Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008



Let's all sing along now ... Auld Lang Syne.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The holocaust doesn't give Israel license to terrorize and murder at will


I'm no longer going to allow Israel to play the holocaust card. Time and again, Israelis, Jews, and those not want to be accused of being holocaust deniers, have held their tongue, while Israel plays the bully in Palestine. I'm sure if the world turned a blindeye, Israel would wipe the Palestinians off the face of the planet. The latest violence that has erupted in the Palestine is yet another example of Israel showing just how far they can go, thumb their nose at the world, because the Americans will always be there to back them up. That's go to end. If the world accepts this violence from Israel, we accept it from every other military force in the world. This level of offensive action against the Palestinians -- because let's face it, it's definitely not just targeting Hamas -- is totally uncalled for; and it's the type of violence that is seen from every two-bit dictatorship around the world. Israel can claim they're a first world democracy, but they're certainly not acting that way. Shame on you Israel. Shame on you for also using the holocaust in vain.

This, btw, in no way excuses Hamas or others in the region that continue to provoke Israel's military. You jackasses are using your people to gain world sympathy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Climate change is happening faster than earlier thought

More depressing news from the climate change front -- as if we needed more -- and I guess we'd better get used to it, cause I don't expect anymore good news in my lifetime. In a follow up survey to the 2007 results by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- results which the Bush Administration did their best to poo-poo all over -- the US Geological Survey has released a report that says things will probably get bad a lot faster than the earlier prediction. Specifically, the Arctic is losing ice a lot faster than expected, causing a faster rise in sea levels, to the tune of four feet by 2100 -- although the report doesn't expect the Atlantic Ocean circulation system will shut down in this century. For the US, the continued desertification of the Southwest [PDF] will probably occur faster -- leading to droughts, possible food shortages and definitely conflict within the good ole USA as scapegoats are sought out. Those who still think that this won't happen should take a look at what has happened to the climate in Africa in the past 100 years. Disaster is coming, and it's very much man made.

IPCC Reports: Too lazy to read the report? Powerpoint is here to help:


Simulation of Arctic Sea Ice Summer Minimum - 1990 to 2049


Stuck Polar Bears Eating Birds (National Geographic)

Vector ... no more fakes!

Another nail in the coffin comes from Vector -- if the MPAA and RIAA want to take a look at Christmas-future, this is a site they should drop by. Vector -- verified torrents -- gives you the straight goods by filtering out fake torrents -- mostly uploaded by the MPAA and RIAA to mess with your pilfering the content of their sponsors. Anyway, enjoy the site. It will be brought down shortly.

The Corporation

Before I read the book, I had seen the documentary based on it -- twice -- and it was every bit as effective -- disturbing, really -- on second viewing. The book, being read a couple of years after seeing the documentary, was chilling. I'm writing about the Corporation by Joel Bakan -- a book that many will regard as being anti-business, anti-globalization -- but I don't see it that way. The book is hardly anti-business. It's hardly anti-anything. It's actually a book that calls on us to exercise the epitomizes of our civil society: democracy, and social responsibility. Both of these however, run directly against the interests of a monster of our own creation: the corporation.

Take some of these corporate misdeeds and ask yourself why it happened. Enron's collapse. Monsanto's terminator seeds. Blackwater's creation of a mercenary army. Halliburton's bilking of the US public funds. How did it come to be that people, working for a business, would circumvent ethics and morals, and perform inhumane acts to enable the profitability of a corporation?

Bakan answers this question by examining the creation of the corporation -- the granting to it, the legal rights of a person -- and its evolution to become a psychopath. The book is rich with examples and interviews to illustrate salient points. Bakan takes us on a ride into the future by highlighting exceptional cases that prophesies what will come if nothing is done. It's scary, especially since a lot of his examples are not examined by the mainstream media -- the MSM, corporations in their own right, who are not on some altruistic mission to serve the public's interest. At the end, Bakan prescribes a remedy to reign in corporations -- and you'll be surprised at the simple solution. The only institution created to serve the public is government. Government is mandated to pursue the interest of society, even though corporations have slowly been eroding that interest and perverting that goal. It will be our governments, working for us, that has the power to preserve our capitalistic, democratic and socially responsible society.

The book is a must read for every participant of civil society. If you're one of those that can finish a page without your eyes glossing over, the documentary is readily available -- for free!

Cha-cha-changes

Finally gotten around to changing the blog template (see design credit in the footer) -- and did it in 2008, as planned! Sort of. Not sure if I'm going to keep this template. I'm not sure about the blue against the black.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The viagra bribes

I'm not sure what to do with this one. Old Afghan warlords being bribed with viagra to cooperate with US troops. Isn't that like selling the sexual services of (probably) young Afghan women (probably girls) to get a leg up on the war on terrorism?

With lower gas prices, SUV and truck sales pickup ... WTF?!

Is the general population that fucking stupid? Edmunds.com is reporting that with dropping gas prices (and huge incentives to move inventory), people are again turning to gas guzzling SUVs and trucks. Expectation is that hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles will drop in sales in December. Consumers really do not think. Even monkeys are smarter for crying out loud! I'm not even thinking about the continued demise of the environment -- I'm just thinking about the economic disaster we're currently in. You'd think people would want to save money on gas. But in just one month of lower gas prices, they've shifted their purchasing practices. It's like they're unable to think -- to plan -- to forecast. It's all about instant gratification.

So yes, the general population is that fucking stupid. Which just begs for smart leadership and government regulation to ensure we have a future, because you can't rely on the public.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pook Toque

It's my favourite new hat -- out with the Goofy, in with the Pook Toque. Got it for Christmas this morning, and haven't really taken it off. I'll be going to bed shortly, and I'm still debating whether to take it off or not. My wife has a preference, I'm sure, but she was the one who also purchased it for me. What will I do with the pair of socks on my head?

Giving houses for Christmas

Merry Christmas Toronto! And the rest of the world ... regardless of your religious affiliation. I'm not Christian, but I'm in a Christian family ... sort of ... and Christmas is an occasion we mark with friends and family. Christmas for me isn't about celebrating Big J's birthday -- because let's face it -- it's not his birthday -- it's a creation of the church, and nothing more, which coincidentally, co-opted a number of pagan celebrations. Go figure -- the church -- political. Christmas is a time however, for a little introspection -- a time to take a deep breath, regard past misdeeds with a sigh, and make promises to build an improved future in the coming year. Goodwill to everyone, and all that sort of stuff, which the world could always use a little bit more of.

Which is precisely what Habitat for Humanity is all about this Christmas, for the Mpianas -- a family that fled the Congo in 2002 to find refuge in Toronto. The Mpianas were recently given the keys to a brand home built by volunteer hands motivated by goodwill -- a volunteer that includes my eldest daughter, who spends a few days (evenings, weekends) per week at Habitat -- literally putting the roof over needy heads. For the folks who volunteer at Habitat -- those that donate money and materials -- the Christmas spirit is one that is celebrated year round, in countless builds, around the world. If all of us just gave a little -- just a little time, if nothing else -- what a different world it would be.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Setting the stage for future conflict in Afghanistan

Oh, will we never learn? Apparently, the US military wants to arm Afghan tribes so them can take on the Taliban in areas of the country, where few dare to send troops. WTF? Haven't we learned anything from our past excursions in the developing countries? Arming people who are your friends today to fight a proxy war will only end in disaster. It has never ended good. The Taliban was armed by the US to fight the Russians -- look how that turned out? Saddam Hussein was armed by the US to fight Iran -- and that created another mess. Look at what's happening with Israel -- armed to the teeth, it seems less interested in peace as it routinely encroach on Palestinian lands.

Sigh. At least Canada isn't going along with this one.

Civil disobedience is called for

In an act of desperation, Tim DeCristopher chose civil disobedience to disrupt the bidding process that saw 149,000 acres of public land leased off to oil companies in Utah. The lease of the land to oil companies, to allow drilling, has been contested by many who wish to preserve the pristine land, located near Arches National Park, the White River, the greater Desolation Canyon region, Labyrinth Canyon, the benches east of Canyonlands National Park, Nine Mile Canyon, the Book Cliffs and the Deep Creek Mountains. It is one of the final sell-off by the dying Bush administration. DeCristopher showed at the auction, registered as a bidder, and started bidding -- and winning -- with no intention of purchasing or paying for the auctions he won. Way to go dude! You're a hero!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

You are a pirate!

Yar har, fiddle di dee,
Being a pirate is alright with me!
Do what you want '‘cause a pirate is free,
You are a pirate!
Arr yarr, ahoy and avast,
dinky-dink-dink-a-dinkadefast!
Hang the black flag
At the end of the mast!
You are a pirate!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

UN votes on right to food: US the only country that votes against. WTF?!

By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population.

And there you have it folks. It's quite simple. The United States has voted to starve the world -- including people in the US -- in its participation on the UN Human Rights Council's Working Group on the Right to Development.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly would express concern that, in many countries, girls were twice as likely as boys to die from malnutrition and childhood diseases and that twice as many women as men were estimated to suffer from malnutrition. Accordingly, it would have the Assembly encourage all States to take action to address gender inequality and discrimination against women, including through measures to ensure that women had equal access to resources, including income, land and water, so as to enable them to feed themselves and their families. By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would urge Member States to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people, who have expressed in different forums their deep concerns over the obstacles and challenges faced in the full enjoyment of the right to food.

After the vote, the representative of the United States said he was unable to support the text because he believed the attainment of the right to adequate food was a goal that should be realized progressively. In his view, the draft contained inaccurate textual descriptions of underlying rights.

Is it me, or is the US set on declaring war on the poor, starving, children and girls? Or maybe this is the US' war on the rest of thw world? If the world goes one way, the US needs to go the other -- especially where the UN is concerned. I for one can't wait until the Obama government boots the Bush lackeys out of power. Hopefully the Obama administration won't disappoint the world.

Read more here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

HeroRATS saving the world!

HeroRAT at workThe problem of landmines in Africa is horrifying in its numbers, as it is deadly effects. The numbers are astounding. There are probably close to 45 million landmines scattered across the continent, left over from various conflicts – much of the mines having been manufactured, sold or given to various pet projects by the developed world to fight their proxy wars.

To make Africa a safer place, heavy investment is needed and lots of time. Traditionally, dogs have been used to sniff out mines so they can be properly disposed of. But dogs take a long time to train, are costly to maintain and there are only so many dogs that can be handled. Enter a new and unique solution to this problem: rats. Not just any rats however – HeroRATS!

HeroRATS is project by APOPO, that train rats to sniff out landmines (as well as certain diseases and as to aid search and rescue workers). Other ways of detecting landmines are expensive and rely on foreign expertise for development, maintenance and execution. Rats however, are a low tech vapour detection technology.

It’s a totally cool, inexpensive idea, that empowers those in the countries affected, to help themselves. What better way to save the world? If you have a bit of spare cash, you can help this program by sponsoring a HeroRAT. It takes 5€/month to sponsor a HeroRAT, that can clear a 100 square metre landmine field in 30 minutes –- much faster than a human can.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Toronto bans bottled water sales

OK, it's not an outright ban, but nevertheless, it's a start. Way to go Toronto! Banning bottled water sales from municipal premises. It's a start, and hopefully, it is only the start. I for one would love to see a tax, akin to the tax on cigarettes, be placed on bottled water sales to discourage their sales. The proceeds from the tax collected could be used for city waste management. People are just way too lazy, and if they are lazy, make them pay!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yo! Gullible People!

Yes, you, gullible -- mostly white people, but also a whole lot of immigrant Indian people -- stop being gullible, Deepak Chopra is actually full of shit. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but he's been feeding you shit in his books, lectures, audio and other media releases. If you need anymore evidence that the man is full of shit, just check out his recent verbal diarrhea on CNN, regarding the acts of terrorism in Mumbai.
OK, after getting over the shock that Larry King is still alive, any reasonably intelligent person must be asking themselves, since when has Chopra become an expert on terrorism or geopolitics? Maybe you need to be a transcendental bullshitter to be on the seance that is the Larry King show. Or maybe they were just looking for any brown guy to keep the idiot box going, and Chopra the media whore just happened to be scratching on the door after the murder started. (I did notice that it took CNN some time before they could actually find some Indians to talk about the carnage in Mumbai.)

Chopra, I am sure, was a good, practicing medical doctor. But somewhere along the way, he went horribly wrong. It could have been his first meditation -- where he just lost his mind, and never found it again. I know a lot of people are looking for more meaning in their existence, and any Indian guy talking shit appeals to you -- but please -- it's all bullshit. So don't let him start lecturing you on terrorism.
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