Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Canada as Seen from Sri Lanka: It Ain't Pretty

Those not on Twitter may have missed this absolutely fabulous thrashing of John Baird and Stephen Harper by Dr Kamal Wickremasinghe writing in the Daily News, 'Sri Lanka's National Newspaper since 1918'.

Titled 'Harper and Baird should clean their own backyard before coming to CHOGM', it will warm the cockles of your heart while demonstrating how bloody low Canada has sunk in the world's opinion.

You should read the whole thing, but I'll excerpt some good bits.
The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Foreign Minister John Baird are leading the charge against Sri Lanka as the venue for this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. The language used by Harper and Baird, including references to “evil” and “appalling”, seems quite out of proportion to the significance of CHOGM as an international gathering, as well as its utility to Sri Lanka as perceived by Sri Lankans.

The snarling of the two men carry no weight because both have little credibility - Stephen Harper has never managed to win a national election in Canada in his own right, and resorts to the anti-democratic practice of proroguing whenever he is about to face difficult questions in Parliament; Baird is a buffoon, a former provincial politician and ‘wannabe’ future leader of the Conservatives trying to achieve his aim by kow-towing to the monied Israeli lobby in Canada. The two men, not known for their intelligence or subtlety in international affairs, are the butt of jokes among the Canadian media and bureaucracy.
(There was some chat on Twitter about what the good doctor meant by 'Harper has never managed to win a national election in Canada in his own right'. Does he know about Pierre Poutine? Or he is referring to the 'strong, stable, 39% majority'?)

So what has the Sri Lankans in such fine fettle? A little snit PMSHithead pulled at the last CHOGM.
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper walked out of the summit during its last day when Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited to speak. He also had threatened to boycott the 2013 CHOGM summit, scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka, if allegations of human rights abuses against the country's Tamil minority were not investigated.
From a couple of days ago:
Canadian foreign minister John Baird said Sri Lanka must launch an investigation into allegations of war crimes at the end of the country's civil war.

He said the Commonwealth is "accommodating evil" by affording Sri Lanka hosting duties and the nation has failed to live up to Commonwealth values of democracy, the rule of law and good governance
Which Dr Wickremasinghe finds a bit rich.
The bigger joke however, is the ridiculous attempt by Harper and Baird to assign some sort of global human rights guardianship to a remnant of colonialism like the so-called Commonwealth that represents a litany of mass murders, rape and dispossession of indigenous peoples throughout the world between the 16th and mid-20th centuries.

Harper’s and Baird’s attempts to assume leadership on human rights protection despite Canada’s disgraceful record of treatment of Indigenous peoples of that country is a subsidiary joke.

In fact, a look at the reasons behind the feigned fury of Harper and Baird over Sri Lanka last week shows that it is an attempt to divert attention from the international scrutiny of continuing human rights violations of the Indigenous peoples of Canada that began on April 26 at the UNHRC, under the second universal periodic review (UPR) of Canada.

The world has called the bluff of Canada’s self-righteous posturing as a country committed to protect human rights globally, by questioning the facts on their own treatment of the original owners of Canada being reported to the UNHRC - Russia expressed alarm over Canada’s “Police actions of torture and cruelty against peaceful demonstrators and China complained of “widespread racial discrimination in Canada.”

North Korea, perhaps mockingly, expressed serious concerns about “continued violations of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, torture and other ill-treatment, racism and xenophobia” in Canada; Iran did likewise by referring to “child sexual exploitation and trafficking, the right to food, and discriminatory laws against Indigenous people and minority groups including Muslims, Arabs and African communities”; Egypt complained of “racial profiling of Muslims in law-enforcement action”; Cuba was concerned with “racism and xenophobia” in Canada.
There's much more, including First Nations appeals to the UNHRC, Canada's failure to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, violence against FN women and girls -- the 600 murdered and missing women are mentioned -- and so on.

A damning litany.

But the real fun is in the personal attacks..
John Baird is a walking, mumbling disaster

Harper’s Foreign Minister friend John Baird is a caricature of the loud-mouthed, incompetent, under-qualified politician the people in Western countries have come to despise - he “shoots from the hip” often, displaying appalling levels of insensitivity and tact, about matters relating to Israel in particular.

He also broke Canada’s Official Languages Act requirement of adherence to bilingual communication by government officials when he printed separate English and French language business cards.

While visiting Israel in February 2012, Baird affirmed Canada’s support for Israel’s extremist Likud Party’s opposition to Palestinian statehood. In September he announced the sudden closure of Canada’s embassy in Tehran and the expelling of all Iranian diplomats from Canada - from an APEC conference in Russia. Baird’s actions were praised by the war-hungry Benjamin Netanyahu who described them as “bold leadership.”

In April, Baird broke with the long-standing protocol of foreign officials not meeting Israeli counterparts in East Jerusalem, declared by the UN as occupied Palestinian land, when he met with Israeli politician Tzipi Livni at her East Jerusalem offices.

In November 2011, activists on board the Canadian Boat to Gaza outraged by Baird’s defence of the Israeli forces who had assaulted them told media that “If Minister Baird wants to put the interests of Israeli government before Canadians, he should apply for the job of Israel’s ambassador”.

Dr Wickremasinghe winds up:
Canada should clean its own backyard before preaching to Sri Lanka

As the UN Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter has pointed out, Canada can’t credibly preach human rights on the international stage when too many of its own citizens are going hungry, and Canada, would gain credibility only if it is irreproachable itself.
Canada could launch itself on the path by urgently attending to the following, before attending CHOGM -

· Adopt and fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples;

· Recognise and respect Aboriginal title and Aboriginal and treaty rights; end the policy of extinguishment; and repudiate the racist doctrines of Discovery and terra nullius;

· Stop criminalising Indigenous peoples for defending their rights; and

· Take action to investigate and end the ongoing murders and disappearances of Indigenous women.

Then we will consider welcoming Harper in Sri Lanka.

Oh, yes. In the immortal words of Prime Shithead himself: 'Canada is back in the bad books of the world'.

h/t CometsMum.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Workers' Memorial Day

Today is Workers' Memorial Day, and I didn't know this:
Workers' Memorial Day was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1984. The Canadian Labour Congress declared an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28, which is the anniversary of a comprehensive Workers Compensation Act (refer to the entry Workplace Safety & Insurance Board), passed in 1914. In 1991, the Canadian Parliament passed an Act respecting a National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace, making April 28 an official Workers’ Mourning Day.
As I know well, workers are killed or maimed on the job every day.

But this past week, there have been two huge industrial 'accidents' that cannot be explained by any factor other than PROFIT over people.

These events sure are different in the reactions they've engendered.

Already, a long list of safety violations at the Texas fertilizer plant is being compiled, including this wowser.
Reuters reported last Saturday that the plant had on site 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate. This is 1,350 times the amount that would require a facility to self-report its stockpile to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

No inspections, shoddy records, laughably small fines, and more.
Think this is bad? Ramit Plushnick-Masti and Jack Gillum, reporting for the AP, note that: “There were no sprinklers. No firewalls. No water deluge systems.” Without such basic fire suppression systems, once the plant started to go, it was almost unstoppable, and the fire spread quickly through the facility without any walls to keep it in check. This made the accident even more devastating than it could have been, and endangered the lives of first responders who arrived on scene to help victims.

An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of this terrible event, but the outcome of that investigation is already obvious: overworked government agencies failed to catch a serious safety problem, and negligence on the part of a factory owner resulted in the development of hazardous conditions.

The question is: will he be held accountable, and will Congress take a critically-needed lesson here and increase funding to government agencies charged with our safety?
Also, look where the plant is located. Not exactly a wise result of sane zoning regulations.

In Bangladesh, where perhaps there is less laissez in their acceptance of rapacious capitalist faire, the wanton negligence and greed that killed hundreds of people in a building collapse has generated protests.

Hundreds of thousands of garment workers walked out of their factories in Bangladesh Thursday, police said, to protest the deaths of 200 [since updated to well over 300] people in a building collapse, in the latest tragedy to hit the sector.

Grief turned to anger as the workers, some carrying sticks, blockaded key highways in at least three industrial areas just outside the capital Dhaka, forcing factory owners to declare a day’s holiday.
And more action -- arrests
The owner of an illegally constructed building that collapsed last week in a deadly heap in a Dhaka suburb was arrested at a border crossing with India on Sunday, a government minister said.

. . . [Mohammed Sohel] Rana, a small-time politician from the ruling party, had been on the run since Wednesday. He had appeared in front of Rana Plaza on Tuesday after huge cracks appeared in the structure. However, he assured tenants, including five garment factories, that the building was safe.

A bank and some shops on the first floor shut their premises on Wednesday after police ordered an evacuation, but managers of the garment factories on the upper floor told workers to continue their shifts.
And more arrests.

So, while we in the West wring our hands over our complicity in our demand for cheap clothes and make fine distinctions on how low safety standards in other countries could justifiably be, I'm finding it simply stunning that there is not more direct, head-to-head comparison of the two events.

They are remarkably similar. Greedy capitalists offer shitty work to disadvantaged people. Greedy capitalists locate their operations without any regard for the community. Greedy capitalists flout rules and regulations. Complicit or overworked regulators do nothing.

People die.

Maybe the good people of West, Texas, are preparing some humungous lawsuits. Because otherwise, they don't seem all that exercised. Sad, sure. Angry, not so much.

Happy Workers' Memorial Day.

ADDED: A good read on the garment industry in Bangladesh.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

All the declinations of terrorism.

 RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, right, has instructed senior Mounties to notify his office before accepting meetings with MPs and senators, similar to the approval required for his own meetings by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, left, last year.

On Monday Harper's Politburo staged a nimble bit of Kabuki theatre, as my co-blogger dubbed it.

No longer content to exploit Canadian children and their families for PMSHithead's photo ops, the PMO rallied RCMP resources in support of an emergency debate on Vic Toews' testerical bill for Combatting Terrorism. Alison at Creekside has everything you need to know about the Harper government Con job in this regard: the background, the public histrionics, the tactics.

And now, this:
Internal e-mails obtained by CBC News show that RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has ordered all senior Mounties to get clearance from his office before committing to any meetings with MPs or senators.

Specifically, they are to notify a liaison office that co-ordinates RCMP strategy with the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has instructed senior Mounties to notify his office before accepting meetings with MPs and senators, similar to the approval required for his own meetings by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews last year.

In an email dated March 22 from Paulson to more than 50 chief superintendents, assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners, the commissioner said that meetings or lunches with parliamentarians "can have unintended and/or negative consequences for the organization and the Government.

The development has opposition critics accusing the government of undermining the independence of the police. "There's a very large pattern in this government of trying to control information," said NDP MP Randall Garrison.

RCMP commissioner not 'muzzled,' Toews says.

"It's not appropriate for the government to reach into the police operation. It's a very, very fundamental part of what we must be assured exists so that the police aren't doing the work of the government, they're doing the work of the public."

Garrison, who is the NDP critic for public safety, said "these memos raise some very serious concerns about whether the government is interfering in the operations of the RCMP to try and assist in controlling their political message. So I think it's very serious."

Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell, critic for an RCMP reform bill, C-42, said he feared the "politicization of the police force."
From here.

In preparing this post, I reviewed news items about the RCMP covered by MacLeans. 

First, beyond the ongoing, systemic, violent misogyny within the force and in the field, this "incident" struck me as quite symptomatic of the noxious, agonic macho culture of the RCMP.
The document says Const. Martin Simpson wired an SD-100 soft detonator inside the doll “with the assistance and planning” of fellow squad member Cpl. Nigel Blake while Hempston was away on Christmas holidays. The detonators, “classified as high explosives,” were seized when a film company tried to import them in 2003. RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau, speaking for B.C.’s E-Division headquarters, offered a markedly different account in an statement, saying an unnamed RCMP member had a “low energy” pyrotechnic squib detonate in his hand. “The member was transported to hospital for treatment with superficial injuries.”

When Hempston returned from holidays, he noticed the doll on his desk had been tampered with and picked it up with both hands. It exploded when he turned it on. Among the severe injuries he sustained, according to the lawsuit: damage to his hands that required several surgeries, nerve damage and a loss of feeling in his fingers and thumb, carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, hearing loss requiring hearing aids, tinnitus in both ears, chronic post-traumatic stress, anxiety, nervous shock and “loss of faith in his colleagues.”

The supposed prank raises a number of troubling issues: the cavalier handling of explosives by the elite 14-member disposal unit; the decision not to charge the perpetrators, although an independent police investigation recommended criminal charges; the fact that Hempston continues to work in a tense environment with colleagues he is suing in a bomb unit that demands teamwork.
From here.

This is how a RCMP officer threatened and abused Ashley Smith. 

Instead of investigating spousal abuse, which is a form of gendered terrorism when enforced by individual sociopathic males whose actions are implicitly sanctioned by authorities, the RCMP set up a sting operation to entrap the female victim.

This occured in the same province where the alleged group rape and cyber-harassment of Rehtaeh Parsons was desultorily investigated by the RCMP. 

DJ! also posted about serious miscarriages of justice, at the hands of the RCMP.

So. Who will be carrying out and enforcing the provisions of S-7?

The RCMP.  As Alison put it:
Let's suppose you know someone, perhaps your landlord or a colleague at work, that the government suspects may one day in the future commit an act of terrorism. You can be detained for up to 3 days without charge while being questioned. You don't get to hear, let alone challenge, any evidence given against you or your colleague, even if it's tortured out of someone you've never heard of in Syria, and you can be held without trial for a year if you don't co-operate.

Every one of us is as vulnerable and exposed as this man was, merely for contacting Harper's office to register his opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Who needs the Spanish Inquisition when Harper's Politburo, or "The Centre" has the RCMP to do its bidding? 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Coup for Parliament or a Recruiting Tool for CHP

As we know, Warwara's Wank ended with a further wank, this one about Free Speech.

The long-awaited Speaker's decision on his point of privilege over having his member's statement (S.O.30) snuffed by the CON Whip was announced yesterday at around 3 p.m.

Here's Kady O'Malley's story filed at 4:57 p.m.
If backbench MPs want to the right to speak freely in the House, they're going to have to start standing up to be counted -- even if it means ignoring the speaking lists prepared by the party whip to compete against their caucus colleagues for the attention of the speaker. 

That, it seems, is the gist of House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer's much-anticipated ruling on the point of privilege raised by Conservative MP Mark Warawa after his pre-Question Period speaking slot was abruptly yanked by his party's whip due to his choice of subject -- specifically, his similarly scuttled attempt to bring a non-binding motion to condemn sex-selective abortion before the House.

Although he ultimately found that no prima facie breach of privilege had occurred, Scheer made it clear that, as far as he and his predecessors are concerned, the speaker has never ceded the right to choose which member should be recognized -- not just during the fifteen minute block designated for members' statements, but, in theory, during QP as well. He just hasn't yet been put in a position where he would have to do so, as -- again, at least as yet --  no members have ever attempted to circumvent the whip-created list.
So, fans of the Westminster parliamentary system parsed that all to hell, gleefully anticipating little bobble-heads bobbing up and down trying to catch the eye of the venerable 33-year-old Speaker.

The more cynical of course wondered just how much eye-catching Opposition members might have to mount. Clown-costumes wouldn't be out of place, after all.

Other cynics wondered if this really meant anything at all.

Funny, though, not much attention at all was paid to this story filed by John Ivison at 11:13 yesterday morning, about 4 hours before the decision.

John Ivison: Ruling on alleged breach of Warawa’s privilege to speak freely could head off Tory rebellion

But there are rumblings in caucus that Mr. Scheer may make a significant additional ruling by pointing to the Westminster example, where it is a long established convention that the Speaker has the right to recognize members from either side of the House when they stand during Question Time. In the British House of Commons, a number of MPs bob up and down at any given time, trying to catch the Speaker’s eye, and it is up to the chair to recognize them. The inference would be that if more than one MP stands up during members’ statements and Question Period, they could be recognized by the Speaker, whether they are on the whips’ list or not.

If Mr. Scheer leans towards the Westminster model, it could have profound implications in both the short and long term governance of the House. It would also suggest he will not find Mr. Warawa’s privilege was breached, since he could have been recognized by the speaker if he’d only stood up to speak at members’ statements.

In the short-term, it could head off a rebellion in the Conservative caucus that threatens to culminate in some Tories voting alongside the Liberals. New Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has introduced a motion to allocate members’ statements in alphabetical order which will reach the House on Wednesday and, absent some kind of significant reform, a number of Tory MPs may be tempted to signal their displeasure.
So, at least four hours in advance, senator-in-waiting Ivison was tipped to the outcome.

And indeed, the Speaker's ruling does have the salubrious effect of quelling the now pretty-well defunct Backbenchers Spring.

As the Church Lady would say: How conveeeenient.

Political shenangigans in the Speaker's Office!?!1???

Say it ain't so.

Now of course the question is which of the intrepid backbenchers will get up on their hind legs and attempt to speak to an unapproved topic -- like abortion, for example?

(I've bet @freezingkiwi that his kiwis will really freeze before that happens.)

Will only the nutbars avail themselves of this privilege ignominious display? Will more sensible, team-playing BBers keep shtum and/or clap their flippers as they read the usual 'job-killing carbon tax' talking points ad nauseum?

I wondered if Speaker Scheer had offered any protection -- kinda like whistle-blower protection -- for retribution from vengeful whips and leaders.

According to Mark Jarvis, author of Democratizing the Constitution:

Retired House of Commons procedural clerk, Thomas Hall, went further.

It's down to party constitutions. And ipso fatso, only future Christian Heritage Party candidates will partake.

ADDED: For all of you breathless with anticipation as to what Free Speech Warrior and Defender of Girls, Mark Warawa, would say in his totally unfettered S.O. 31 today -- behold! (I swear you can't make this shit up.)

UPDATE (April 26/13): How successful was Speaker Scheer in quelling the Backbench Revolt? Perfectly. Not one BBer voted for the Liberal motion to choose MPs to make member's statements by alphabetical order.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

There *Must* Be Gosnells

For non-Tweeps, there's this hilariousness going on.

Ever since the Gosnell trial began, fetus fetishists have been wanking themselves into gore-fuelled paroxysms of prurient joy.

Sadly, though, Canadian fetus fetishists are missing out.

Despite SUZYALLCAPS's obsession (I got bored counting at 30 blogposts here: http://www.bigbluewave.ca/search?q=gosnell&updated-max=2013-04-14T22:06:00-04:00&max-results=20&start=20&by-date=false), unaccountably, Canada has produced no Gosnells.

Though it darned well should, according to HER. (I can't embed HER tweets because she has me blocked.)

Claudine Jacques observes:

By their logic, Canada has no law on abortion, therefore Gosnells should abound on every street corner in the land.


Canada's lawlessness is the very reason we don't have Gosnells. And the obverse is equally true.

It is precisely the expense, stigma, regulations and general bullshit gleefully generated by USian 'prolifers' that create the perfect conditions for the very embodiment of olde-timey backstreet butchers like Gosnell.

But they can't admit that or their heads will explode.

The Terrists Win

April 17, 1984, was the first full day of my first visit to London. My pal and I were near St James Square, just wandering around, pretty jet-laggedy stupid. I was finding the noise really quite jarring, then it seemed to jump up several zillion decibels. Sirens.

We didn't know at the time but the Libyan Embassy Siege had begun a couple streets from where we were.

In minutes, it seemed, helicopters were hovering and loud-speakers were telling people to get off the rooftops.

And the sirens wailed.

My pal was excited and wanted to hang around. Me, I was thinking IRA, as was no doubt just about everyone. I said: 'I'd like to go home with all my limbs. Let's get out of here.'

Later, in our B&B, we learned what had happened and what would continue over our entire visit.

People talked about it, it was covered extensively on telly and in the newspapers, but it didn't stop anything. Brits were a bit more exercised about this event because a London bobby -- a female bobby -- had been killed, but otherwise, it was business as usual.

Dumbass tourists like us continued wandering around the city, visiting museums and churches and galleries. We took a Thames River boat trip, went to a West End play. We bought tourist crap and ate the amazingly awful food. (Meals usually went like this: 'Taste this.' 'What is it?' 'Who the hell knows? That's why I want you to taste it.')

In other words, we had a totally normal London visit, except for the siege bit going on in a corner of Belgravia.

I don't mean to glamourize the British stiff upper lip, but really. This past week, USians have given terrorists and trouble-makers in general a text-book lesson on how to paralyze a city.

And isn't it telling that the Boston suspect was found after the 'shelter in place' order was lifted and a resident went out into his backyard to have a smoke and noticed blood on the outside of his boat?

Acting normally is what nabbed the guy.

But. Whatever. Carry on.

BONUS: Thoughtful piece on USians going insane over terrorism but finding 'normal' gun violence perfectly okey-dokey.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

In Harper and CON universe, bullies rule. (Part 2)


The opposition has raised questions about former RCMP Bruno Saccomani's qualification given this, another Harper patronage appointment, as the Canadian ambassador to Jordan.
[...] NDP international development critic Helene Laverdiere, herself a former diplomat, said there is no reason to believe Saccomani has the skills required to fill such an important ambassadorial position.

“At the moment it is one of the hottest region in the world,” she told reporters in French. “We have specialists, professionals who have been in the diplomatic service for years who know the issues who know how to represent Canada more adequately. … This is certainly not someone who has the skills for a position in an area as sensitive as that.”

Bloc Quebecois MP Andre Bellavance alleged the only reason Saccomani received the appointment was because of “his proximity to the prime minister.”
In a previous post, DJ! linked to this, with regard to Saccomani's "diplomatic skills":
The management review report, published in January [2012], paints a grim picture of on-the-job morale for the 117 Mounties who protect the Harpers around the world and across Canada.

"The (review) team found that the examples of conflict in the workplace, harassment, discrimination, intimidation and perceived favouritism given during the interviews were disturbing," says the report.

Evaluators interviewed 41 per cent of the protection unit in December, and found a majority of officers had issues with their supervisor — Supt. Bruno Saccomani. [...]

Some complained about being reprimanded in front of their peers or in public. Mounties reported they felt they were "walking on eggshells" or feared repercussions following the review.

Saccomani appears to have his ardent fans though; look how they gush over him.

Guy Giorno, Harper's former chief of staff, said he's suspected RCMP brass have had Saccomani in their sights for a while.
"This is exactly what the brass was looking for -- to put a bullet into Bruno," he said. "They were happy about this."

Since then, it appears the RCMP have changed their opinion of Saccomani.  Medication taken to curb aggressiveness?  Insider knowledge, applied judiciously to his advantage?
"In his most recent annual performance review, dated March 28 and obtained by Postmedia News, Saccomani receives glowing praise from his manager."

I would guess that Tom Flanagan knows where Saccomani's RCMP manager lives.

More about Harper Cons and their hogs at the trough patronage appointments, at Sixth Estate's blog.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

In Harper and CON universe, bullies rule.

Two recent news items regarding the regard PMSHithead has for certain types of people.

First: Shirish Chotalia.
[Public Service Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion] called Chotalia's behaviour "totally unacceptable" and said that in his nearly 2½ years on the job, he's never come across a worse case of behaviour towards employees that shows a "total lack of respect."

He said Chotalia created a "poisoned atmosphere" in the workplace, and that her manner towards not just her staff but to appointed members of the tribunal was often "belittling and humiliating."

Some of Chotalia's behaviour, described in the report, bordered on the bizarre.

Chotalia ordered an employee to wear a set of keys around [their] neck despite complaints it was too heavy. During an earthquake in Ottawa in June 2010, which shook buildings, she refused to allow employees to leave their offices, despite the fact that many buildings in downtown Ottawa were evacuated. "Ms. Chotalia instead proceeded with her own swearing-in ceremony that she had organized that afternoon despite the safety requirements and staff concerns," the report said.
Chotalia's abusive behaviour was not limited to actions against her employees, but also tactically targeted individuals that her boss directed her to malign.

Then, Bruno Saccomani

Canada's new ambassador to Jordan comes to this patronage appointment with mixed reviews.  One can only speculate that he knows where *Pierre Poutine* is actually buried.

Given the Harper CPC operating mode, in the House of Commons, in government and internationally, is to bully, is it any surprise that such individuals are praised and promoted?

UPDATE: Chotalia's partisan quasi-legal bullying has been thrown out by the Federal Court, with regard to the case cited above.
In a much-anticipated ruling Wednesday morning, the court has rejected the federal government's attempts to prevent First Nations groups from arguing for better funding for child welfare on reserves.

The ruling means First Nations and the federal government will have a full-blown hearing about whether Ottawa is treating native children unfairly.

"It's a real victory for all the children who have waited so long for this," said Cindy Blackstock, who heads the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and spearheaded the legal challenge.

First Nations groups say Ottawa is discriminating against native kids because the support the feds provide for child welfare on reserves is much lower than what kids off reserves get from provincial governments – even though the need is greater.[...]

[The Harper government] tried to block the case on technicalities, saying it was not fair to compare federal services to provincial services.

Also, un grand merci to BloozGuy who tipped me off to the Bruno Saccomani news items.

Brave Mark Warawa ^NOT

Been away from the fray for a bit, so to catch up.

Warawa's Wank is toast.
Conservative MP Mark Warawa is dropping his bid for a vote on his motion to condemn sex-selective abortion, an issue that caused several MPs to split with the rest of the party's caucus in recent weeks.

Warawa told reporters on his way into the House of Commons that he is tabling a bill tomorrow that deals with sex offenders who serve house arrest in the same neighbourhoods as their victims, revictimizing them when they encounter each other in the community.
Another brave stand. Warawa demands: Do you stand with the sex offenders or with chastised MPs?

Fetus fetishists are not amused.
In a press release Wednesday, Campaign Life Coalition said they were “very disappointed” that the political pressure used against Warawa’s motion left him where it did.

“We thank Mark Warawa for raising the issue of lethal discrimination against women and girls through sex-selective abortion in Canada,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, CLC’s National Organizer. “It is a shame that this motion was killed.”
We Need a Law (Like a Hole in the Head) puts on a virtuoso display of wooing support (emphasis mine).
“The completely unfounded fear that somehow an expression of Parliament condemning this practice might in some way send women to the back alleys of Canadian cities with coat hangers speaks to the low level of intellect of most Canadian politicians. By their actions, they are avoiding, and in fact tacitly accepting, the very serious global problem of gendercide,” continued Schouten."
Meanwhile, at SUZYALLCAPS' Magisterium of Fetal Gore Porn, not one word about M408. All Gosnell-wanking, all the time.


Meanwhile, some are still desperately trying to spin this petulant foot-stomping revolt as some kinda democratic reawakening, even dubbing it The Backbench Spring.
After Question Period today, Conservative MPs Michael Chong and Pierre Lemieux stood in the House and expressed their support for Mark Warawa’s question of privilege. Their statements are below.

This makes eight Conservative backbenchers who have spoke up in this regard: Warawa, Chong, Lemieux, Leon Benoit, Brent Rathgeber, Kyle Seeback, Stephen Woodworth and John Williamson. Rod Bruinooge, as well, seemed at least open to the idea of change.

The involvement of Mr. Chong, who has pushed for QP reform, would seem to undermine the idea that this is merely a pro-life cause masquerading as a push for parliamentary reform—he voted for Motion 312, but said at the time that he was not in favour of banning abortion and Campaign Life Coalition considers him “not supportable.”
While clear-eyed Alison calls any Backbenchers' Spring officially over.

Mosey over to her place for a fun singalong.

The CON game continues. They'd rather be re-elected than stand up for what they supposedly believe in.

We hope so-cons are taking note.

Monday, 15 April 2013

BAT signal ON!

“We can't stop here, this is bat country!” 

― Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

Word is out that JJ may be (soonish, DJ! hopes) posting at her blog.  In anticipation of this, as well as the tentative arrival of springtime in Ontario  ―possibly in Manitoba and Yurp as well― this seemed relevant. 
In 1985, responding to an influx of mailers promoting insurance company interests in his district, Senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) reportedly said, “A fellow from Texas can tell the difference between grassroots and AstroTurf.” He was referring to the difference between an actual, organic uprising among constituents and a manufactured movement often paid for by corporate or other interests to simulate the real thing. The name stuck, and since that time, the term “astroturf” has been used to describe these contrived public campaigns.

The Tea Party may be a movement that blossomed as a result of this kind of corporate astroturfing. A study by the National Cancer Institute found the tobacco industry paid millions to fund free-market oriented “grassroots” groups that were aligned with their interests against cigarette taxes, the Clinton health care plan and the EPA’s findings regarding the dangers of second-hand smoke. Many key players in the Tobacco-funded groups Citizens for a Sound Economy and FreedomWorks went on to play a major role in the formation of the contemporary Tea Party. Likewise, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and CSE are funded by the notorious billionaire Koch brothers, who have poured their wealth into causes such as abolishing social security, welfare and public schools.

Fortunately for astroturfers, costly forms of the practice, such as the building of physical crowds, are less necessary today now that so much of the public sphere has moved online. As a result, other forms of message control are blooming. Wikipedia is targeted by politicians, corporations and SEO advertisers desperate to improve their images on a neutral but participatory platform. The regularity of these editing campaigns can even be used to predict political appointments or running mates.
From here. Our emphasis.

It reminds us of the MASSIVE blogging fun we've shared, writing about the many failed efforts by the religious right-wing to appear significant to the majority of Canadians.

We're hoping for a scathing follow up to Marci McDonald's "The Armageddon Factor" or better still, an exposé by investigative journalists Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher on the complex range of CPC astroturf tactics, who directs them, how they're funded and if they're connected to Harper ReformaTories' electoral fraud and voter suppression strategy.

Grand merci to Námo Mandos whose hilarious post at the other place brought Gittlitz' piece to my attention.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

MSM on Gosnell: We Are Ignorant Shills!

Unending lies and spin force me to write about Kermit Gosnell. Again.

He was arrested on January 19, 2011; I wrote that blog-post on January 20, 2011. And in a remarkable show of prescience tedious prediction, I called it:
He'll become the fetus-fetishist poster boy for 'Late Term Abortion! Gosnell! Gosnell! SHRIEEEEEK!!!1!1'

Just checked. Yup, they're aaaall over it.

Kermit Gosnell: Hero of the Forced Pregnancy Gang.
For the last few days, fetus fetishists have been SHRIEEEEKING that the MSM has been totally, absolutely, left-wingedly ignoring this MAJOR story.

Which, as Snopes notes, is total crap.

Yet also noted in the Snopes piece are examples of grovelling from the MSM.

OMG how did we all miss this? wails Kirsten Powers in USA Today and Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.

As Snopes points out and as a Google search targetting January 2011 to June 2011 proves, there was tons of coverage and not just by RadFems, as we are styled.

Just on the first two pages pages, I see CBS, ABC, AOL News, BBC, as well as lots of local Philadelphia coverage.

So. Are the MSM pundits complete ignoramuses, incapable of nosing out timely stories for themselves?

Or are they tools of the Right Wing? Willing to SHRIEEEK on demand?

Because you really can't have it both ways.

Oh. Wait. You can. Ignorant shills.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

All abortion is selective

From The New Yorker:
The abortion laws passed last week in North Dakota are troubling first and foremost because they restrict women’s freedom to control their own bodies. More insidiously, they criminalize selective abortion, which means that a woman cannot choose to terminate a pregnancy because she knows the fetus has a genetic abnormality, or to select for other characteristics, such as gender. The very use of the world “selective” here indicates how right the pro-choice movement has been to emphasize “choice.” All abortion is selective, and whether a woman has selected not to have a baby at all or has selected not to have a particular baby is not a matter the state should parse. No one should be forced to have a child she doesn’t wish to have.
Excellent point.

All abortion is selective. Women have their own reasons. Not now. Not this man. Not this fetal defect. Not these circumstances. Not at all.

They select to abort a particular pregnancy. Their reasons are personal and private.

None of anyone else's business.

The fetus fetishists are being over-clever again with Warawa's Wank.

'We're not trying to ban abortion,' they say. 'We're just condemning one reason for it. Sex selection.'

Condemn one reason, and you're your way to condemning them all.

Remember Ken Epp's 'Unborn Victims of Crime' bill, C484, that sought extra charges against attackers of pregnant women by counting the fetus as a 'person'? In opposition to that, the rallying cry was 'One body. One person. One count.'

It's time to go on the offensive on M408 too.

No to M408. All abortion is selective.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Movie review: Oz the Great and Powerful

I've been meaning to review this movie for some time now, and it's been out a while and kind of old, but as usual I was too busy to be timely about it. But, on the Interwebs, it is never too late!

This movie is an attempt to revisit the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz story as a prequel, focusing on the initial arrival of the Wizard---presented as a circus magic show charlatan, womanizer, and swindler---by balloon. The basic thematic arc of the story focuses on the Wizard's self-realization that he is hollow inside and his subsequent to redeem himself by becoming the champion of the people of Oz against the despotic Wicked Witches of West and East---all the while still being a charlatan, incapable of real magic. (Because, you know, the real magic? It is inside! In the Human Spirit! *places hand on heart* Have you not watched enough Disney cartoons to have known that?)

So, it was visually very pretty, yet another triumph of CGI and artwork. No, it really is. Worth the price of admission, actually. I can't say much about the acting, because I saw it dubbed in another language. The dubbers were pretty good, though.

But here is my problem: I am a totally corrupted, unreliable reviewer for this movie. Reason why? Because I can't help but watch it through the prism of Gregory Maguire's excellent take on the Oz phenomenon, WICKED: the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I have read this book twice and seen the famous musical twice also, and dBO knows that I can't say enough good things about it. WICKED, for those who don't know the book, portrays the Wicked Witch of the West as a frustrated social reformer, trying to maintain her integrity in the face of a genocidal power politics played in large part by a despotic, Hitleriffic-yet-banal Wizard.

And because I have read WICKED, I really wanted to see this movie. How well would an Oz movie from the perspective of the Wizard fit a hypothetical propaganda film of the despot in WICKED? And the truth is, quite well. Change the names a little bit, and this is very nearly exactly the film I would have made if I were Maguire's Wizard, to excuse my own failings and scapegoat the Witches. This movie deploys the sexist tropes of Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned in explaining the righteous anger of the Witch of the West, Only A Man Can Restore Balance By Ascending The Throne to explain why the Wizard is necessary in Oz at all, and last of all, BEAUTY Catfight to explain the conflict between the Good Witch Glinda and the Wicked Witches. The people of Oz are portrayed as goofy, hapless, incapable in the face of the Wizard's heroic hypercompetence. So yeah, the Wizard is an interloper from another world, and not a good man either, but...people can change, right? They just need to be put in charge and allowed to do their thing. I mean, the Wizard's personal failings are the same qualities that Oz needs in a leader, nay, they are exactly what a leader of Oz needs to dispel the beautiful nymphomaniacs who rule it unjustly, and his rakish James Franco handsomeness? Glinda is falling all over herself for that, her years of apparent resistance merely a placeholder...

So yeah. Much of this is merely the danger of "Arriving Prophecied Ruler" fantasies. Tolkien avoided this by making the primary perspective the little people. Putting it from the perspective of said arriving ruler leads to all kinds of problems.

And anyway, I was a little too jaded to accept this movie, as I said. It also looks, *sigh*, very sequelly, especially since the Wizard generously offers the unreasonable Wicked Witch of the West the opportunity to redeem herself and come back to him (as part of his wizardly seraglio or something?), and she spitefully flies off rejecting it, like Dr. Claw telling Inspector Gadget and the end of every episode, "I'll get you NEXT TIME Gadget, NEXT TIME!" as he flies off in a stream of polluting black smoke. (Stroking his Evil Cat, for those of you who know this Saturday morning cartoon reference.)

Since we just had Les Misérables movified, I suppose it's too soon for a big-screen WICKED, but it would be a welcome antidote.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A continuum of cop violence against women: systemic and authoritarian, sexualized and fetishized. (updated)

From Ayesha, we learn about yet another woman's death, as a the tragic outcome of a desultory police investigation.
In an extensive post on a Facebook memorial page, her mother Leah Parsons described how the straight-A high school student became depressed and suicidal after the incident.

“The person Rehtaeh once was all changed one dreaded night in November 2011. She went with a friend to another’s home. In that home she was raped by four young boys . . . one of those boys took a photo of her being raped and decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehtaeh’s school and community where it quickly went viral,” Leah Parsons wrote. “Because the boys already had a ‘slut’ story, the victim of the rape Rehtaeh was considered a slut.

“This day changed the lives of our family forever.”

Rehtaeh, who was a 15-year-old high school student in Cole Harbour at the time, was repeatedly bullied at school and “suddenly shunned by almost everyone she knew.”

“She was never left alone. She had to leave the community. Her friends turned against her. People harassed her. Boys she didn’t know started texting her and Facebooking her asking her to have sex with them. It just never stopped,” her mother told CBC.
Racialized women in Canada experience this daily.  First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Black, all brown-skinned women of mixed ancestries rarely if ever trust the police to take reports of sexual violence directed at them seriously, and to investigate properly. In reality, reporting such violence makes them vulnerable to the cops' own abusive practices, as case after case demonstrates. Operation Thunder Bird attempted to expose this reality.

In Ottawa, a judge recently exonerated the sexualized brutality that a police officer used against a woman detained for alleged public intoxication - a "charge" which was never actually shown to be founded.

Violent cops like Steve Desjourdy can sexually humiliate, degrade and punish jailed women with impunity. His actions which were challenged in criminal court, have been excused and thus can become the official standard that police taking women into custody can apply.

According to the judge who presided over the trial, Desjourdy "used reasonable force".

Many who viewed the internal video that captured Desjourdy and his colleagues' actions, observed that he seemed to be enjoying his job, exerting force in order to break the detained woman's will and her instinct to defend herself from the cops' deliberate, sexualized violations.

Familiar patterns of cops' fetishized brutality against women keep surfacing.  It would appear a measure of implicit identification with the perpetrators of sexual assault impinges upon some police officers' professional capacity to effectively investigate violent crimes against women.

In my opinion, the RCMP has become irreversibly corrupted and poisoned by misogyny; this latest outrage is more evidence of the toxicity of its systemic sexist culture.

UPDATE: Two excellent blogposts that MUST be read. Both cut to the core of the way rape culture enables violence against women and girls.

Child porn isn’t a “community issue,” RCMP from Steph Guthrie really nails the misogynist sub-text of the shoddy excuse the RCMP provided for its MASSIVE lack of due diligence, with regard to the taking and distribution of the photo of Rehtaeh Parsons.  A crime was committed; it's the RCMP's job to deal with it.  Unless its officers' sloppy lack of professional dedication is a recognition that the institution is de facto complicit with child pornographers and sexual assailants in that community.

This is heart-wrenching:
[...] where the fuck were the school officials, the members of the law enforcement, the people who should have made sure that she had adequate follow-up mental health care after her hospitalization? Where were they, and why didn’t they do anything? Or if they did do something, why didn’t they do enough?

Rehtaeh’s rapists are still out there. They are still in high school, they are still going to parties and they are, quite likely, still raping. Why wouldn’t they? They got away with it once, didn’t they? Rehtaeh’s rapists are still living normal, untroubled lives, and she is dead. [...]

Saying that we need to educate boys and girls about appropriate behaviour is victim-blaming. Saying that this wouldn’t have been a problem if the pictures hadn’t ended up online is like saying that rape is fine, but publicly broadcasting it isn’t. Calling Rehtaeh’s death a tragedy because we’ve lost a beautiful young woman is a joke – seriously, what bearing does her appearance have on how sad her death is? And since Landry is refusing to open an official review into how the RCMP handled this, isn’t he basically saying, “I think she was lying about the rape, but gosh, she sure was hot”?

All of this, every single word of this statement, all of the things that Rehtaeh endured, every single detail presented here is rape culture.

Read the comments too.

So, with regard to the way it deals with sexual violence against women and girls, should Canada feel *superior* to India?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

We're missing a blogger

I've tweeted a few times asking about JJ, The Unrepentant Old Hippie.

But Twitter is ephemeral, so I thought I'd blog too.

Here's her most recent blog-post dated November 17, 2012.

It's a typical JJ take on fetus fetishists in general and the Fetal Gore Tour gang and their FetusMobile in particular.

Nothing like another post of hers from December 2010 when she announced she'd had it with blogging, which prompted this from us.

She returned after that one and I think I've heard that she'd hung 'em up before that too.

(There's something addictive about blogging. I should know.)

She and I share a loathing for all things xmassy, so here's a tweet expressing her relief.

Note the date. She's been quiet, at least under her usual handle, since.

I hope nobody -- particularly JJ herself -- sees this as stalking.

It's just that I and -- judging from the number of RTs tweets about her get -- many others miss her and hope she's well.

In fact, I hope this is what she's looking at right now.

If anybody knows what's going on, please let me know. You can DM me on Twitter and I'll respect any conditions/confidences.

Image source.

UPDATE: Yay! (Check out the comments.)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Surprise! Canadians Do Want the Opposition to Cooperate!

The poll I helped pay for has been released.

And guess what? All those pundits saying Canadians don't want cooperation among the Fucking Useless Opposition® are wrong.

Canadians support electoral reform, would vote for cooperation candidates – new national poll

April 4 – Toronto –  A new national Environics poll shows that Canadians think our democratic system is broken, overwhelmingly favour proportional representation, and are willing vote for cooperation candidates to defeat Conservative MPs in the next federal election.

The telephone poll, which sampled 1,004 voters, comes just days before voting in the Liberal leadership race is set to begin. Cooperation and electoral reform have been major topics of debate between the two top candidates, Joyce Murray and Justin Trudeau.

Poll Findings
1. Canadians more likely to say our democratic system is broken than effective. When asked if our democratic system is broken and needed to be fixed, or effective and works well – 45% said broken and 33% said it works well.

2. Seven in ten Canadians support move to proportional representation. When asked if they would support a move to proportional representation – 70% of Canadians would support, with Liberal supporters at 77%, NDP supporters at 82%, Green supporters at 93%, and Conservative supporters at 62%.

3. Canadians would vote for cooperation candidates to defeat Conservative MPs.When asked if they would vote for a candidate that was jointly fielded by the Liberals/NDP/Greens to defeat a Conservative – 37% would vote for the joint candidate, 25% would vote for the Conservative candidate, 18% are undecided and 18% would not vote (this number is comparable to the number of people in this poll who said they did not vote in the last election.) Notably, over 70% of Liberal and NDP supporters would vote for the joint candidate while less than 7% would vote Conservative.

4. Disenfranchised Canadians would be more likely to vote. People who did not vote in 2011 were asked if this idea would make them more or less likely to vote in the next election – 22% said more likely, 10% said less likely, and 66% said it would have no effect.

The poll was funded by 692 Canadians who donated online through Leadnow.ca. Leadnow.ca supports cooperation for electoral reform. Interviewing for this Environics National Telephone Survey was conducted between March 18th – 24th, 2013, among a national random sample of 1,004 adults comprising 502 males and 502 females 18 years of age and older, living in Canada. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.
PDF at link.

And it is just so cool that 692 Canadians paid for this.

I've signed up as a LPC supporter. I got my ID and PIN number yesterday. I'm going to vote for Joyce Murray. It won't stop the coronation, but if she gets enough votes, it may make rabid partisans think again.

I've also written to my NDP MP to report this. I've heard nothing back. Maybe I'll try again.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

M408 is NOT a Free Speech Hill to Die On

As regular readers here know, we don't give a flying fuck about whether Warawa's Wank is voteable or not. As long as it's got the CONtard knickers in knots, it's all good with us.

But for interested parties, there was this today on Twitter.

That would be Thomas Hall who describes himself as 'retired House of Commons procedural clerk, Constitution nerd, and word nut dans les deux langues officielles'.

He made good on his threat with a series of tweets.

Then Emmett MacFarlane got into it to disagree with Hall.

Hall provided a link to the records of the subcommittee meeting. Scroll down.

In short, in the opinion of the retired House of Commons procedural clerk, the subcommittee was correct and Warawa and Coyne and MacFarlane are all just wanking.

Others are weighing in too. As deBeauxOs blogged earlier today, some are taking issue with the newly minted free-speech spin.

And here's another.

Warawa's Wank is about abortion. It is sexist and racist.

It is about targetting pregnant women from 'certain' communities and vilifying them for allowing themselves to be 'coerced' into abortion.

it is NOT about free speech.

Pro smack-down of M408

One of the MASSIVE irritants that swims in the eddy churned up by CON MP Mark Warawa's misogynistic M408 is the twitter spamming campaign in which the antiChoice lobby engages.

The shrieeeking, the lack of finesse, the crude lies, the pitiful attempts at logical thinking.

My co-blogger fern hill has done a brilliant job of addressing, challenging and smacking down the most odious of those tweets.  And she has blogged frequently at DJ! in response to the obfuscation and sheer stoopidity of M408.

And yet, some in the media appear content to parrot Warawa's and Woodworth's twisty prevarications about women's right to choose —with the support of Canadian healthcare professionals— whether to continue carrying a pregnancy to term or not.

It is a simple, clear-cut proposition. The voluntary termination of a pregnancy is a medical procedure.  It is regulated in Canada through public health care.  Canada is not a christian theocracy.  It has - or used to have - a secular government.  Religious freedom implies that individuals can observe their own private religious beliefs, practices and rituals at will - but NOT enforce those upon people who have different ones.

This Op-Ed piece in the Ottawa Citizen addresses the abusive obfuscation that M408 has generated, most lucidly and potently.
That the fetus you are carrying is female is certainly a terrible reason to have an abortion — but, good or bad, your reason is none of the government’s business. It’s simply not the place of our federal Parliament to voice an opinion on the merit of this or that reason behind a woman’s choice to have an abortion.[...]

It’s not for Parliament to voice an opinion on women’s reasons for having abortions, for human fetuses are neither in fact persons nor recognized as such in Canadian law. They are not persons for they have no interests; they lack the self-consciousness necessary for having interests.

Since they lack interests, human fetuses cannot be wronged. They cannot, therefore, be wronged by being discriminated against, not on grounds of sex, not on any grounds.

Warawa’s motion, then, makes no sense. No fetus is wrongfully discriminated against when it is aborted on account of its being female, so sex-selective pregnancy termination involves no wrongful discrimination for Parliament to condemn.

Now this is not to say that the fact that some women in Canada choose to abort fetuses because of their sex is no proper concern of civil society or even of the Canadian government.

It may very well be a proper matter of concern for you and me, and perhaps our government eventually has some role to play. But no one, no doctor, no ultrasound technician, no politician should seek to place any barrier between any pregnant woman and an abortion.
"It’s simply not the place of our federal Parliament to voice an opinion on the merit of this or that reason behind a woman’s choice to have an abortion."  Expect the zygote zealots to shriEEEk in reply to this view. It is a bracing, thoughtful antidote to the religious fundamentalist, authoritarian, crotch-sniffing ideologues who are lobbying to criminalize abortion.

Update: fern hill caught tweets from @ThomasHall17 - a retired House of Commons procedural clerk, who sets the record straight with regard to M408.  That alleged sacrosanct parliamentary "right" that some mansplainers tried to foist upon proChoice supporters, bellowing that Warawa was entitled to something that was bigger and more important than our silly little hill of beans? 

All self-indulgent BS.  Thomas Hall has the real 411.

It starts here.  A very good, illuminating read.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Lego retrograde

From here:
Are we really living in 2013? The Lego ads from the 1980s seem more modern to me.

Now it's a gendered, bubblegum-pink sexist campaign geared to girly-girls - and most certainly NOT girly-boys!


Indeed.  My physician daughter, who in many ways (clothing choices, for one) resembled the child in the advertisement above, had her own Lego sets in the 1980s, as well as the full collection of the daring and exciting adventures of Yoko Tsuno, a female electrical engineer of Japanese ancestry.  That's not the only reason she pursued a career in science; strong female role models in her families, as well as the encouragement of her grand-papa supported her ambition as well. 

At least Google had an important reminder today about women in science: the 366th birthday of entomologist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian. 

Grand merci to my fuzzy buddy who RTed the above link!