Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Red Pen is Now The Port City Post

the red pen

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


First of all I want to thank all of you who have come to this site and read my little musings daily.

I am proud to say that I have "KICKED IT UP A NOTCH" and have now moved to my new site "THE PORT CITY POST"

My site now offers alot more than just my usual daily post. Come visit!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Women and Porn

Warning: Today’s post may make some women (and men for that matter) uncomfortable and if you are my mother – log off now and come back tomorrow.

Personally, I like my pizza deliveryman to do one thing: bring me my dinner. But mention this guy to a group of women, and, while most of us will think of cheesy pies with tomato sauce, a good number of us will conjure up that hilariously bad porn cliché, the randy fellow who's always ready to accept sex in exchange for a medium sausage and mushroom.

Notwithstanding how lame the cliché is, or how simply bad most porn is a new study at McGill University shows that the fact is, millions of women use and enjoy "explicit sexual imagery." That’s a fancy word for “dirty pictures and movies.

A few days ago as usual hubby came home and got on the laptop to check his e-mail and such and the internet history showed that I had visited a porn site during the day.

“What are you doing looking at porn?” he asked incredulously.

“I haven’t!” I shrieked (yes sometimes apparently I shriek.) I got all flustered and embarrassed less he think that this was how I spent my days. The truth was that I did come across a site “ACCIDENTILY.” But more interesting was my reaction to this. I felt that I had to defend myself, I was embarrassed – I reminded myself to erase the history in the search bar before 5:00 p.m. daily!!!!! I WAS NOT watching porn.

But then I thought…what if I had? Would that have been so bad? Why would I have not be able to admit it?

In the first three months of 2007, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, approximately one in three visitors to adult entertainment Web sites was female; during the same period, nearly 13 million American women were checking out porn online at least once each month.

Theresa Flynt, vice president of marketing for Hustler video, says that women account for 56 percent of business at her company's video stores. "And the female audience is increasing," she adds. "Women are buying more porn." (They're creating more of it, too: Female director Candida Royalle's hard-core erotic videos, made expressly for women viewers, sell at the rate of approximately 10,000 copies a month.)

These same McGill University researchers – (my god how do you get this job?) monitored genital temperature changes to measure sexual arousal and found that, when shown porn clips, men and women alike began displaying arousal within 30 seconds; men reached maximum arousal in about 11 minutes, women in about 12 (a statistically negligible difference, according to the study).

Even more compelling were the results of a 2004 study at Northwestern University that also assessed the effect of porn on genital arousal. Mind you, a copy of "Buffy the Vampire Layer" and a lubed-up feedback device isn't most girls' idea of a hot night in. But when the researchers showed gay, lesbian, and straight porn to heterosexual and homosexual women and men, they found that while the men responded more intensely to porn that mirrored their particular gender orientation, the women tended to like it all. Or at least their bodies did.

But that's the hitch: Even when our bodies respond to what we're seeing, not every woman feels empowered to enjoy the show. For years we've been told that we won't -- or shouldn't -- be turned on by porn, end of story, and sleep tight.

When everyone tells you that what you might be curious about, or even secretly like, is wrong, bad, sleazy, and shameful, you don't have to cast a line very far to land a set of inhibitions.

And, indeed, many a smart, strong, sexually self-reliant girl has popped in a porn DVD and ejected it just as quickly because she saw something that offended her or made her uncomfortable.

Apparently research shows that many women that they don't like the sense of being "out of control" they get from watching porn -- that disconnect between how their body is feeling and what their brain is telling them is acceptable. I like to remind these women that porn won't make you do anything you didn't already want to do before you pressed Play on the "Edward Penishands.”

We have also heard, plenty of times, that porn degrades women. That argument always makes me wonder about gay male porn, which lots of women appreciate for all its hunky hotties in flagrante. If heterosexual porn degrades women, does gay porn degrade men? What about porn made by women -- is that degrading, too?

For me, the real problem with most porn is its hokeyness -- the ridiculous costumes, the awful cinematography, the ludicrous story lines, the terrible acting (not to mention how scary the close-ups sometimes look, how fake the boobs are, how some starlets really sound like injured animals...)

The biggest roadblock for women (and men) to enjoying explicit imagery is the fear that they don't "stack up" to the bodies and abilities of the people onscreen. Erotic models and actresses bring up a whole range of adequacy issues, from breast size to weight, from what you look like "down there."

But it's worth remembering that if porn performers looked like you and me, they'd be out of a job. They're abnormally thin, they get cosmetic surgery literally (and sometimes frightfully) from head to toe, they have makeup in places you'd be surprised makeup can be applied, they shave and wax everything imaginable, and they're weirdly flexible. They occupy a tiny end of the gene pool, and that's why they're capable of acting out fantasy sex. Though I've sometimes felt that my job as a porn reviewer (for Web sites like is akin to being a canary in a bad-taste boys' club mine shaft, I've seen a change in quality in the past few years that I think is a direct reflection of the growing female audience. As more discriminating viewers, we've demanded better porn -- and lo, it is being made.

Women are changing the market. Director Maria Beatty's gorgeously shot movies (all of which feature strictly lesbian action) look like 1920s noir films with sex, but not explicit sex -- just a lot of tease and dreamy outfits and music. And Comstock Films, maker of high-quality, documentary-style, real-couples videos, aggressively markets to women with the simple tagline "Women love real sex."

So just what do we love about it? First, the way it lets us satisfy our very normal, very human sexual curiosity. If you're like me, you're the kind of woman who'll peep at Pam Anderson's new boob job just to see the latest installations. But it's not just what the bodies look like; it's what they look like aroused -- and what they can do. Watching people have sex can be fascinating.

Porn is also a fun and versatile toy. Sure, I sometimes feel like I need Google Earth to show me where the good porn is, but once I find it, I can figure out what to do with it faster than you can click Zoom In.

Til later

Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Blood Diamonds - Now Blood Computers

When the film Blood Diamond came out in 2006, people were startled at the alleged origins of the precious stones from areas of bloody conflict and began asking whether the jewels on their fingers cost a human life. Will consumers soon find themselves asking similar questions about their cell phones and computers?

In a report released earlier this week, Global Witness claims that multinational companies are furthering a trade in minerals at the heart of the hi-tech industry that feeds the horrendous civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC. However, the accused companies, with varying degrees of hostility, deny any culpability, saying Global Witness oversimplifies a complex economic process in a chaotic geopolitial setting.

The provinces of North and South Kivu in the eastern DRC are filled with mines of cassiterite, wolframite, coltan and gold — minerals needed to manufacture everything from lightbulbs to laptops, from MP3 players to Playstations. Over the past 12 years of armed conflict in the region, control of these valuable natural resources has allegedly become a lucrative way for warring parties to purchase munitions and fund their fighting. The Global Witness report claims to have followed the supply chain of these minerals from warring parties to middlemen to international buyers.

By the time metals reach electronics companies, they may have changed hands as many as seven times. This means that without a clear supply history, when a consumer sets her cell phone to vibrate, a function enabled through the mineral wolframite, it is virtually impossible for her to know whether she is using wolframite mined in the eastern DRC, the site of horrific fighting and killing.

More than 5 million people have been killed since the conflict began in 1996, some through direct abuse, others through the political and economic chaos that the conflict has created. Armed groups frequently force civilians to mine the minerals, extorting taxes and refusing to pay wages. The report quotes one miner from South Kivu: "We are their meat, their animals. We have nothing to say."

According to Global Witness, although the Congolese army and FDLR rebel groups have been warring on opposite sides for years, they are collaborators in the mining effort, at times providing each other with road and airport access and even sharing their spoils. Researchers say they found evidence that the mineral trade is much more extensive and profitable than previously suspected: one Congolese government official reported that at least 90% of all gold exports from the country were undeclared. And the report charges that the failure of foreign governments to crack down on illicit mining and trade has undercut development endeavors undertaken by the international community in the war-torn region.

The study, Faced with a Gun, What Can You Do?, raises questions about the involvement of nearly 240 companies spanning the mineral, metal and technology industries. It specifically fingers four main European and Asian companies as open buyers in this trade: Thailand Smelting and Refining Corp. (owned by British Amalgamated Metal Corp.), British Afrimex, Belgian Trademet and Traxys. And it questions the role of others further down the manufacturing chain, including prominent electronics companies Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Dell and Motorola.

British Amalgamated Metal Corp. (AMC) firmly denies the accusations, citing its standing objective to improve visibility so that warring parties do not benefit from trade. "We are disappointed with the number of inaccuracies and omissions in the report and are concerned that all the facts should be properly represented in a balanced way," AMC said. The company statement went on to say, "We are concerned that Global Witness' approach will lead to a de facto ban on the trade which we do not believe is in either the short term or the long term interests of the Congo either economically, politically or socially."

Traxys CEO Mark Kristoff told TIME that his company suspended trade in the DRC in May 2009 until there is a clearer road map for cooperation among companies, the U.N. and governments for a plan of social action. He added that Traxys' $50 million in trade in the DRC is equivalent to 1% of the company's total business. Afrimex told TIME via e-mail that its last shipment from the DRC took place in September 2008 and all such transactions have since ceased. "Any link between Afrimex's past mineral-trading and armed groups remain wholly unfounded," the statement said. "We remain at a loss to understand why Afrimex is still being mentioned by Global Witness." Global Witness spokesperson Amy Barry said, "Just because they have claimed to stop sourcing at this point doesn't change the fact that they were sourcing during our research. So we still think that the evidence we uncovered is worth bringing to the public's attention."

Other companies were less confrontational. In a statement, Hewlett-Packard said, "We are helping to address this serious concern through voluntary measures. Ensuring that electronics manufacturing does not contribute to human-rights violations in the DRC takes co-operation and commitment within every layer of the supply base."

Some of the companies named in the report defend their business in the DRC by noting that their practices abide by the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct or the ethical principles of the International Tin Research Institute. Global Witness calls for higher standards in these industry guidelines to successfully monitor trade systems in conflict areas

"We are absolutely not calling for companies to pull out because we acknowledge it is a legitimate source of livelihood." The group's chief Congo researcher, Carina Tertsakian, puts it this way: "This is a question of will. If the companies are serious about trading in a way that is clean, they have the means to do it."

Til later

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Telegraph-Journal Apologizes to Prime Minister Harper - Monkeys to the Rescue my! What a nasty little can of worms this turned out to be. You have to be very careful when you mess around with the Holy Ghost and the Catholic mass. Isn't it just the oldest game in history - mixing politics and religion?

Take a close look at this picture - just what is he doing anyways.....

Yesterday the National Post and a few other Canadian news media covered the story of how the Saint John Telegraph-Journal - Saint John's terribly one sided paper 'inaccurately' made the statement tht Prime Minister Stephen Harper was attempting to pull a little slight of hand with the communion wafer during the recent Romeo LeBlanc funeral mass.

I could not believe this when I read it. An amateur video showed Harper holding the wafer but not eating it... Was there no new lows this man would not sink to in his pact with the Devil? What was he doing with it? Was he not able to take communion because of unforgiven trespasses against God and man? Was he going to plant it on Michael Ignatieff during a political debate in an effort to discredit him? Just what was he up to? Did he commit a sacrilegious faux-pas by walking away with the body of Christ?

Yesterday the TJ were forced to apologize to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the story which the newspaper said "was inaccurate and should not have been published." The story created a national controversy that lasted for several days while Harper was attending a G8 gathering in Italy and preparing to meet the Pope. THE POPE NO LESS!!

"There was no credible support for these statements of fact at the time this article was published, nor is the Telegraph-Journal aware of any credible support for these statements now," said the apology. "The Telegraph-Journal sincerely apologizes to the prime minister for the harm that this inaccurate story has caused."

The newspaper also apologized to the two reporters whose bylines appeared above the story. "Our reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras, who wrote the story reporting on the funeral, did not include these statements in the version of the story that they wrote. In the editing process, these statements were added without the knowledge of the reporters and without any credible support for them," said the apology.

The story said that a senior Roman Catholic priest had demanded that Harper's office explain what happened to the communion wafer which was handed to the prime minister during the state funeral. The story also described video footage that showed the prime minister taking the wafer, but cut away before Harper was seen consuming it. I highly doubt that. With a Cathedral full to the rafters and media cameras galore, he was actually eyeing Harper to see if he 'chewed' or 'did not chew' the wafer. Yeah.

You would think that a paper would have checked all the facts before making a ridiculous statement such as that. A Telegraph-Journal newsroom employee who answered the phone said "no one will be talking" about the issue. An aide to publisher Jamie Irving said there would be "no comment."

CBC News has confirmed that editor Shawna Richer has been fired and that Jamie Irving is no longer the publisher of the paper. Earlier, their names had been removed from the paper's list of senior staff.

"Our reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras, who wrote the story reporting on the funeral, did not include these statements in the version of the story that they wrote. In the editing process, these statements were added without the knowledge of the reporters and without any credible support for them. "The Telegraph-Journal sincerely apologizes to the prime minister for the harm that this inaccurate story has caused. We also apologize to reporters Rob Linke and Adam Huras and to our readers for our failure to meet our own standards of responsible journalism and accuracy in reporting."

Who the heck is in charge of editing this rag I wanna know? A room full of monkeys. Apparently no!...monkeys would have caught that gaff!!

The apology comes on the same day that a dozen professors from the University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University and St. Thomas University issued a news release stating that they will no longer talk to the newspaper because of its decision to fire a student intern over factual errors that appeared in a story.

In May, Matt McCann was fired after writing a story about a faculty protest against Premier Shawn Graham receiving an honorary degree from the University of New Brunswick. Richer said McCann's story was unbalanced and contained three errors. The professors joining the boycott include six from St. Thomas, four from UNB and two from Mount Allison university. They say they will reconsider the boycott when McCann graduates in 2010 or if he is reinstated at the Telegraph-Journal.

It was another in an embarrassing string of events for the Telegraph-Journal. Saint John Mayor Ivan Court dared the newspaper's publisher to a debate and temporarily imposed his own ban on speaking to the Telegraph-Journal in January over his belief that the paper was too negative in its coverage of city hall. Court then said in late June that Irving and several senior newspaper staff members had told him in a private meeting that if the city cut taxes and replaced its manager, the tone of city hall coverage would change. "I and our former manager met Jamie Irving and his editorial staff in the manager's office. And we were told that unless we did what they wanted, they would continue what you see daily in the paper. And we saw the result of that: We no longer have a city manager," Court said.

From my point of view, this has nothing to do with the Irvings, this has nothing to do with the size of the family business. It all has to do with the editorial integrity of the newspaper, the health of civic debate and what looks to me like a bit of an infringement on journalistic independence.

Til later

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Canadian Seal Saga - Episode 3

Just when I think this story is over, it crawls out of it's hole in the ice on it's little flipper's and strikes again!

Canada will launch a formal protest with the World Trade Organization over a ban on the import of seal products approved by the European Union, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day announced Monday. The ban, which was approved Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, would be implemented in all 27 EU member countries over the next nine months, in time for Canada's next seal hunt. The ban applies to products and processed goods that come from seals, including their skins, meat, blubber, organs and oil.

At an Ottawa news conference, Day and Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said they were disappointed with Monday's vote, which they said violates WTO guidelines. "Associations of veterinarians and others have determined that Canada's hunt is indeed humanitarian, scientific and follows environmental rules of sustainability," Day said.

"And it is our view inappropriate that a trade decision is taken which is not based on the science. And for that reason we are announcing that we'll be pursuing an appeal of this vote today. We want it made very clear that there should be a clause which reflects any country that is following the humanitarian, scientific and environmental guidelines established by the EU themselves, should in fact be exempted from this particular ban."

Denmark and Romania abstained from supporting the ban during the vote, as did Austria, which wants even stronger measures against seal products. But then, I think it's Romania that itself is facing an outraged EU about it's consumption of door mice.....

David Barry of the Fur Institute of Canada, (who works at a FUR institute?) said the ban's approval was "not unexpected." "We feel it's certainly irresponsible, completely counter-productive in terms of looking at seal practice and how to do it well, and it's simply a political move on the part of EU decision-makers," Barry said Monday morning on CTV News Channel.

In a statement, the foreign ministers said the ban was a response to concerns about the animal welfare aspects of seal hunting practices.

Many of the EU's 27 member countries charge that Canada's seal hunt, the largest in the world, is inhumane. The EU objects to the large number of animals killed during the annual hunt, which can be as high as 300,000, and the methods used, such as clubs and rifles.

Both Day and Shea said experts have deemed Canada's seal hunt to be humane, something that animal rights groups say is not true. Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Humane Society International Canada, said government reports show that 97 per cent of seals killed during the hunt are less than three months of age. What about Veal and Lamb - as I remember those are baby cows and baby sheep - is that inhumane as well? Wheres the outrage? Is nothing said regarding this practice because the Veal and Lamb industry worth approximately $5 billion in North America Alone?

Ban will affect 'many Canadian livelihoods'

The federal government has always said that a ban unfairly targets Canada's Northern communities. The views of Canada's Inuit have not been considered by the EU. They have made themselves quite clear that an exemption will not help them, yet European officials persist in pretending that it will. The ban does exempt products that stem from traditional seal hunts carried out by the Inuit, as well as traditional hunts in Greenland, Alaska and Russia. Products from traditional hunts can be exported to the EU, but only on a "not-for-profit" basis.

Last year, Canada exported about $3.5 million worth of seal products to the EU. The federal government estimates the ban could cost some 6,000 sealers in Canada up to 35 per cent of their earnings. The sealing industry is crucial to many small coastal communities and to Northern aboriginal people, where few economic opportunities exist. In caving to pressure from NGOs for a seal product ban, European Union has taken short-sighted and irresponsible actions that will affect many Canadian livelihoods.

The ban will not compromise the main seal product markets. Russia and China are developing markets for seal skin and oil, (where their bad press?) while markets for meat are found in Northern communities and Newfoundland.

But the ban puts a negative label on the 12,000 Canadians who have commercial sealing license., It more so affects them in a labelling sort of way in the sense that we have 27 Western nations who have now arbitrarily decided that a commercial seal hunt is somehow inherently inhumane.

And again, I want to stress that I am a animal lover and a VERY non-violent person. Just ask hubby - I have not smacked him in weeks.

Til later

Monday, July 27, 2009

Irving Giveth and Irving Taketh Away....New Oil Refinery for Saint John Shelved

Rising fuel-efficiency standards, changing consumer habits and growing use of ethanol in the United States played a big role in the cancellation of an $8-billion proposed refinery in New Brunswick.

Irving teamed up 18 months ago to study the feasibility of building a second 300,000 b/d refinery in Saint John to boost gasoline supplies in the U. S. Northeast. Construction was slated to start in 2011 or 2012.But they scrapped those plans yesterday after spending nearly $80-million on technical and commercial feasibility studies. Kevin Scott, director of refining growth for Irving, said gasoline demand has declined in the past two years, after growing steadily by 1% to 2% for years, and those declines appear permanent.

The move marks the third cancellation or delay of refining projects in Atlantic Canada in the past year. Harvest Energy Trust has deferred a $2-billion expansion of its Come-by-Chance plant in Newfoundland, and plans by Newfoundland and Labrador Refining Corp. for a new facility were stalled by the credit crunch. The refinery project was already on a slow track. Late last year, Irving changed the project's timing to a maximum eight years from three or four. At the time, the company said it was concerned about labour shortages, financing costs and the economic slump. The new refinery would have sourced oil from Canada's East Coast offshore projects, the North Sea, West Africa and South America.

The cancellation means the company will not need, for now, to try to repatriate thousands of tradesmen that moved to Alberta from Atlantic Canada in recent years to work in the oil sands.

The cancellation deals a major blow to New Brunswick's vision of a building a major energy hub in the Saint John area to serve Eastern Canada and the U.S. Northeast. The new initiatives would have been anchored by the expanded Irving refinery capacity, which would have doubled in size. The refinery expansion would have contributed about $7-billion of the $15-billion to $20-billion in new capital investment touted for the region.

The hub idea, heavily endorsed by Irving Oil and the provincial government, is to use Saint John's location and deep harbours to become a key delivery and transmission point for the U.S. Northeast.

Much was riding on these proposals because of Saint John's recent history of economic decline, given the loss of a sugar refinery, of ship-building operations, and the difficulties facing the provincial forestry industry. At its peak, the project was expected to create several thousand construction jobs.

Scores of energy projects were cancelled or put on hold in the oil sands last fall, but some are being re-considered with the economy recovering and oil prices rebounding. While the recession played a role in depressing gasoline demand, the proposed refinery is one of the first in North America to be scrapped because of expectations of lower consumption over the longer term.

Til later

Saturday, July 25, 2009

California's drive to legalize Marijuana

"Yesssss......" we are one step closer to totally domination. America thinks that we Canadians just sit up here in our deep freeze, quietly watching hockey and drinking beer. Appearing serene and non-lethal, slowly our way of life is seeping into the American psyche.

First we crank them up with Tim's Horton's coffee, now we will mellow them out with legalized medicinal marijuana, and soon they will all be quietly "California Dreaming."

For years they have been pointing north and claiming that Canada was an example of what legalized pot produced. A whole country of laid back potheads, who produced bad movies and wouldn't support them when they invaded third world nations.

BUT...they have changed their tune now baby!! In the last week or two, proposals to legalize medical marijuana have advanced in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken a significant step further, saying on Tuesday that it's time to debate legalizing marijuana for recreational use in California.

They say desperate times call for desperate measures and they are definitely in desperate times. The biggest problem about the US economy is that they don’t make anything anymore. They closed the textile mills and now get their clothes from China, they get electronic goods from Japan, food from God knows where.

"I think it's time for debate," he said in response to a reporter's question. "I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues -- I'm always for an open debate on it." "Right now, the state is in a budget fiasco that not going to go away soon... It's about time they look outside the box at ways of generating revenue."

America was sent into a depression 80 years ago after the US made alcohol illegal . During that time organized crime flourished while the economy suffered. America did not bounce out of that depression til after they made alcohol legal again in 1933.

If there is anything Americans know how to make, market and distribute, its marijuana. America has been marketing marijuana for years through music, movies, comedy and t-shirts. Illegal botanists have been making various high powered strands of marijuana while the US hasn’t had an agricultural innovation since the peanut.

But supporters of legalization may have been handed their most convincing argument yet: the bummer economy. Advocates argue that if state or local governments could collect a tax on even a fraction of pot sales, it would help rescue cash-strapped communities. Not surprisingly, the idea is getting traction in California, home to both the nation"s largest supply of domestically grown marijuana (worth a estimated $14 billion a year) and to the country"s biggest state budget deficit (more than $26 billion).

A recent California Field Poll showed that more than half the people in the state, where marijuana for medical use was approved more than a decade ago, would approve of decriminalizing pot. The state's faltering economy is one reason why. If legalized, marijuana could become California's No. 1 cash crop. It could bring in an estimated $1 billion a year in state taxes.

America has not had a cash crop in years. Sugar and the rum trade gave the Americas its first economic boom. Tobacco gave it its second. America has a long history of making money of drugs. People have reported that marijuana is the nation’s biggest cash crop, more than corn and soy combined. It is said that marijuana is responsible for $36 billion annually in the USA, none of which is taxed.

Today we are paying farmers not to grow crops. If farmers were allowed to grow marijuana, they would not need anymore subsidies and also be able to create badly needed jobs in the agricultural industries. If weed were legalized, farmers would also be able to grow hemp which can be used to make clothes, fuel food and many other things. It would be nice for America to have a product to export rather than importing everything, hemp could fill that role.

A lot of marijuana smoked in the states comes directly from Mexico or Canada. I hope this doesn't affect our sales!! So the sucking sound from the bong is actually American money and jobs going to Mexico and Canada.. Many agricultural, packaging and distribution jobs are all being outsourced to Mexico and Canada due to our strict marijuana laws.

Marijuana smokers are used to paying black market prices for weed. If marijuana was to be legally cultivated, it could be produced and distributed legally and cheaply. The government could then tax marijuana heavily as marijuana smokers are already used to paying marked up prices. If the USA were to legalize marijuana, many other countries would follow and America could begin importing and exporting marijuana all over the world.

Making marijuana illegal does not stop people who want to smoke it from purchasing it only makes it more of a hassle, wasting time and money on behalf of both the government and marijuana smokers.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin all grew hemp our last three presidents have smoked marijuana. One third of all Americans have smoked marijuana. Half of all 18 year old in America have smoked marijuana. Almost 1 million people are arrested for marijuana in a year 90% for simple possession. How many police man hours goes into arresting, incarcerating and processing these smokers?

Already many states have big problems with overcrowded prisons that they cannot afford to fund. Wouldn’t it be better to let out the marijuana smokers then the rapists, thieves and killers. Proponents of marijuana legalization have advanced plenty of arguments in support of their drug of choice - that marijuana is less dangerous than legal substances like cigarettes and alcohol; that pot has legitimate medical uses; that the money spent prosecuting marijuana offenses would be better used on more pressing public concerns. While 13 states permit the limited sale of marijuana for medical use, and polls show a steady increase in the number of Americans who favor legalization, federal law still bans the cultivation, sale, or possession of marijuana. In fact, the feds still classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, one that has no "currently accepted medical use" in the United States.

Soon they will be giving up guns...too high to shoot straight.

Til later

Friday, July 24, 2009

Murder In the Name of Family Honor

As many as 5,000 women and girls lose their lives -- most at the hands of family members -- in "honour killings" around the world each year, according to the United Nations. Up to a dozen have died for the same reason in Canada in the last decade, and it's happening more often.

There are a number of organizations which don't accept the idea of honour killing; they say it's a Western-propagated myth by the media, but it's not true. Honour killing is there, and we should acknowledge it, and Canada should take it seriously.

Kingston, Ont., police are now investigating that as a motive in the deaths of three teenage sisters and an older female relative who were found in a car submerged in the Rideau Canal in Kingston on June 30. The girls' mother, father and brother were arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder.

The suspicious circumstances that led to a car, carrying the bodies of three sisters and their father's first wife, being submerged in the Rideau Canal began to unravel on Thursday, amid allegations of an unfathomable scenario where the girls' parents and brother conspired in a premeditated murder. The small detail in the indictment added yet another twist in a tragic story that appears to border on the bizarre -- including tearful displays of mourning by those who are now accused of murder, allegations from relatives that it may all have been over honour, and a revelation that the adult initially described as a cousin was actually a first wife.

In our Canadian society, we value the cultural values of everyone that makes up this great country, and some of us have different core beliefs, different family values, different sets of rules. Certainly, these individuals -- in particular, the three teenagers -- were Canadian teenagers who have all the freedom and rights of expression of all Canadians.

Honour killings can be sparked by a woman talking to a man, having a boyfriend, wearing makeup or revealing clothing. Children of immigrants who grow up inwestern nations take those freedoms for granted, which can throw them into conflict with their parents' rigid standards.

When people are moving to another country, they leave everything they have, all their possessions, behind. But what they can bring with them is what they believe, their culture, their traditions, their religion. Unfortunately, they are choosing to show the worst part of that, and the worst and criminal part of that is controlling women.

One of the earliest honour killings involving a Canadian occurred in 2000, when Maple Ridge, B.C., resident Jaswinder Sidhu was murdered in India in what police called a contract killing, after she married a man she met while travelling.

In 2003, Amandeep Atwal, 17, died after her father stabbed her 17 times. The Kitimat, B.C., teen had been secretly seeing a boyfriend.

Sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez's father and brother are currently awaiting trial for her strangulation death in 2007, and friends said the Brampton, Ont., teen had been clashing with her family over her refusal to wear the hijab.

In May, an Ottawa man was sentenced to life in prison for killing his sister, Khatera Sadiqi, 20, and her fiance.

There is nothing in the Koran, the book of basic Islamic teachings, that permits or sanctions honor killings. However, the view of women as property with no rights of their own is deeply rooted in Islamic culture.

Men occasionally die in honour killings, but young women are almost always the victims in western countries. Honour killing is most prevalent in nations with large Muslim populations. Some perpetrators use religion as a "cloak," but honour killing is about patriarchy, not religion. A few women are really sacrificed to terrorize all women, to push them into submission, where they are not in the position to defend themselves or even their daughters or sisters.

It's wrong-headed to blame particular cultures or further stereotype the Middle East, but Canada cannot overlook the motivation for these heinous crimes. In Canada, we have been extremely culturally sensitive, and that's a good thing, but in this particular case, we may have pushed the pendulum a little to the other side, in the sense that there are cultural components in these types of crimes which we cannot ignore.

Til later

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

America, beware the bogeyman of Canadian-style health care.

O.K. we - Canada - are getting way too much attention in the USA these days. I am getting nervous, you really don't want to piss these guys off!

With U.S. President Barack Obama in the midst of an intense political fight to pass comprehensive health-care legislation this year, U.S. opponents have returned to a familiar argument in efforts to derail the plan — warning Americans that all roads lead to a dysfunctional, Canadian-style, single-payer health system.

I watched an ad against health care reform in the U.S. showing Canadian Shona Holmes staring straight into the camera and telling the audience a brain tumor would have killed her had she relied on her government-run health plan, which would have provided treatment far too late. "Now, Washington wants to bring Canadian-style health care to the U.S.," a narrator says darkly.

Someone check her Social Insurance card - if she actually is Canadian - then she is guilty of treason and better start packing!

In congressional testimony, in television advertising campaigns, and on cable news talk shows, critics this week answered Obama's call for a public health insurance option with dire predictions Americans would soon face long wait times, rationing of care and poor-quality treatment that they say is common north of the border.

The increased use of Canada's health system as a political tactic in the U.S. debate followed Obama's decision this week to ramp up his personal involvement in pushing the health-care issue.

One Republican senator has even taken to attacking the Canadian system by citing a decision two years ago by former Liberal cabinet minister Belinda Stronach to seek breast cancer treatment in the United States.

"Like under the old Soviet system, everything is free and nothing is readily available," David Gratzer, a senior fellow with the conservative Manhattan Institute, said in describing Canadian health care in testimony this week to U.S. lawmakers.

Gratzer, a Manitoba-born doctor and outspoken opponent of Canada's system, counselled Congress against the "temptation" of embracing government-funded universal health care."Canadians wait for practically any diagnostic test or specialist consult procedure, and some of them opt out of the system by crossing the (U.S.) border."

"When she got cancer, what did she do? She came to the United States for her care. That's what Canadians do," Barrasso said in one interview. In another, he said the MP came to the U.S. "because we do a better job with prevention, we do a better job with early detection."


Stronach, a former human resources minister who battled breast cancer in 2007, has also been unwillingly caught up in the debate. A source close to Stronach said Barrasso had his facts wrong. Stronach chose to have a highly-specialized type of reconstructive surgery at a California facility during a latter stage of her treatment. The treatment had nothing to do with early prevention or detection, nor her faith in the Canadian health system, the source said. Her cancer WAS treated in Canada.

Me thinks this guy has been partaking some our medicinal "Ganja", if he thinks that we would travel to the U.S. for early detection.

Obviously he has not heard of the development of the "Lab on A Chip" developed by Canadian Cancer researchers, which allows for patients to be able to walk into their doctor's office, give a few drops of blood and get a diagnosis within minutes. These quick test results not only gain precious time for patient treatment, but also offer significant savings, as testing can be done at a fraction of the cost of current methods.

This advanced diagnostic development has now become a world wide protocol. We have people from all over the globe traveling HERE for cancer treatment.

In his televised interviews, the Republican senator called Canada's health care a "trick-or-treat system, and that's because it's about Halloween time when they run out of money to do things like artificial hips and artificial knees." O.K. now that's just plain RUDE!!

Ironically, Obama has also faced criticism from activists on the political left who favour the wholesale adoption of a single-payer system but complain the White House, and congressional Democrats have essentially shut them out of the debate. And Canada has its defenders in Congress.

Representative Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat and perennial presidential candidate, got into a heated debate with Gratzer — the Canadian health-care critic — during a House committee hearing this week on health reform.

"Do you know what Statistics Canada says the median wait time is across Canada for elective surgery?" Kucinich demanded of Gratzer.

"Why don't you inform us, sir?" Gratzer replied. "It's four weeks. And what does Statistics Canada say the median wait time for diagnostic imaging like MRIs is? It's three weeks," Kucinich continued."How many uninsured are there in Canada?""Probably relatively few," Gratzer said. "That's right, none or very few," said Kucinich.

Even federal Industry Minister Tony Clement, who previously held the health portfolio, felt compelled to defend Canada's health-care system at a recent business forum in Washington.

"Not a single person who is unemployed has lost the ability to access health care" during the economic recession, Clement said.

Then he recounted a long-ago appearance at a U.S. health conference when someone told him Canada's system is the bogeyman for Americans.

"And as it turns out," Clement said, "the bogeyman for Canadians when it comes to health care is the United States."

By the way Belinda Stronach would have looked ALOT better on camera.

Til later

Footnote: since the publishing of this post the media & public reaction to Ms. Holmes has been brutal - in her defense I must say that she took action at the time of her illness which best suited her situation - and I am grateful that she was treated and survived what was obviously a very serious medical situation. - Fundywriter