Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why I Might Vote Green. Or Not.

I really wish we had MMP right now. It would make my decision so much easier.

I’ve been trying to get a handle on the local candidates here in Halton for the upcoming provincial election, and I must say I’m not terribly impressed with the Liberal candidate, Gary Zemlak. There’s nothing really wrong with him exactly. He just strikes me as someone who spouts the party platform without adding a single original thought - unless it's a particularly dumb one.

This impression is somewhat superficial, I’ll admit. It’s based largely on his rather lame, boilerplate website and what little I’ve read in the Champion about his responses at local candidates’ meetings. Like this one about MMP:
Zemlak said the Liberals want to stay away from influencing people’s decision, but added if the government is given the power to appoint people, "you’re asking for trouble."

Sigh.

Mind you, I just finished watching "Meet The Candidates" on our local cable station, and of all the painfully stiff and awkward presentations, Zemlak’s was probably the least stiff and awkward. He actually looked at the camera instead of reading the paper on the desk in front of him in a robot-like monotone. However, he still spent most of the time parroting the Liberal agenda on health care and education with barely a mention of issues specific to Halton.

As for the rest, I would never ever ever vote Conservative even if Chudleigh wasn’t such a dick, and I swore off the provincial NDP after Rae. Besides, Hampton seems to be leading them back to their roots as more of a Union party than a purely Progressive one, and even though I support the idea of labour unions, that really isn’t my thing. I won’t even talk about the Family Coalition guy.

And then there’s the Green Party candidate, Andrew Chlobowski. I like most of his platform, especially his strong and well informed anti-sprawl stance, although I’m convinced that this obsession with a cosmetic pesticide ban is just so much baby-kissing bullshit. Other than that, he sounds like a really interesting guy who’s had a really interesting life:
Andrzej (Andrew) Chlobowski was born in Poland in the historical city of Krakow. He spent his childhood and university years there. He finished his Master’s Degree in physics in 1983 and later started the PhD program in molecular biology. He withdrew from that program when he emigrated from Poland in 1986.

Andrzej’s first adventures into political activism started in his senior years of high school, when he was distributing underground literature in opposition to the ruling communist regime. During a brief period of political freedom in 1980-81, he became a member of the Independent Student Union (a non-communist student organization) at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and was elected to its council. After martial law was declared in Poland in 1981 the student organization was disbanded but Andrew continued his political endeavours by running an underground library.

And he has a pony tail. I approve of men with pony tails. It speaks volumes about their character.

So, what to do?

I actually like Dalton McGuinty and what he’s trying to accomplish, even though he hasn’t always succeeded. And I certainly don’t want to risk John Tory getting in and dragging us back into the horrors of the Harris years.

If we had MMP, I would probably vote for the Liberal Party and the Green candidate. But we don’t have MMP, so I’m left with a real dilemma.

I’ll let you know how I decide. Probably around October 10th. In the meantime I’m gonna get me one of those "Vote for MMP" signs to plant on my front lawn.

Friday, September 28, 2007

3:10 TO YUMA

The Western was once a simple morality tale. White hats fought it out against black hats, and good triumphed over evil.

Times change. Westerns have become studies in moral ambiguity, and the lawless frontier is now seen as a place where good men can loose their way and bad men find redemption. ‘3:10 To Yuma’ is a perfect example of this new trend.

This is as much a road movie as it is a Western, and like all great road movies it involves a journey that transforms the travellers in profound and unexpected ways. The process is fascinating to watch, and Bale and Crowe both put in brilliant performances. And yet, I found myself ultimately unconvinced. Somehow their transformation didn’t seem quite complete enough to make me believe either one would really do what they did in the end.

Still, that’s a relatively minor flaw in what is otherwise an outstanding film. I give it four out of five stars.

(and Murray liked it even more!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Castrating Federalism

At first glance, this article in the Star just looks like more whining from Dion about Harper and the environment:
Dion fears result of bid to limit federal powers
Ottawa's ability to act on environment would be hurt, Liberal says


OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper could make Ottawa helpless to deal with the environment if he goes ahead with plans to limit federal spending power, says Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion.

Harper's Oct. 16 throne speech is widely expected to include plans to formally limit Ottawa's ability to spend in areas of provincial jurisdiction. The government already telegraphed this plan in the last federal budget.

The trouble is, Dion is right. This latest move by Harper, if it happens, would represent a significant shift in power from the federal government to the provinces that will have profound implications for our country and how it is run.
"There is an interpretation that it would be a straitjacket, where the federal government would not be able to intervene in environmental policies, except on national parks, and we cannot accept that," Dion said in an interview with the Star.

Several years ago, Dion noted, the federal government regarded provincial efforts to save endangered species as too weak, so Ottawa intervened with its own species-at-risk laws.

"I don't want to have an impotent federal government," Dion said.

"I want to have a strong relationship with provinces. I don't want, for instance, Canada to not be able to have both levels of governments working in full respect to each other's roles, when it's time to strengthen our child-care system in Canada, which is so weak."

Opponents of the limits also like to say that if these limits had been in place several decades ago, there would be no such thing as the national medicare system. The Liberal leader wonders, meantime, how Harper's plan would let Ottawa do anything at all on child care.

"If he comes to the point that there is no federal spending power anymore, I don't see how the federal government could play a useful role for child care," he said.

A weakened, decentralized federal government has been a wet dream of Harper’s since his days with the Reform Party. Once again, he is taking his inspiration from the United States where the ideal is to have the federal government control the military, social security, foreign commerce, and very little else. One need only look at the patchwork of laws across their fifty states regarding everything from health care to the death penalty to (yes) environmental law to see what Harper is getting at.

In fact, this goes a long way to explaining his somewhat bizarre actions towards Quebec over the past year. He’s not just trying to buy votes - he’s seducing an unlikely ally, for a dismantled Canadian federalism is the one bed that both Quebec and Alberta can sleep comfortably in together.

Dion knows this better than anyone, of course. Sadly, Harper’s relentless attacks on him have taken their toll. The media and the public have cast him in the role of Chicken Little, and his warnings will likely fall on deaf ears.

At least until the sky falls on us all.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jen's Addiction

Monday is officially the new Tuesday.

Tuesday nights have always been an issue for me when it comes to my TV habit because I have choir practice that night. Fortunately I have two TVs with VCRs in the house and a husband who knows how to work them, but it’s still a pain in the ass because, for some reason, every year every network decides to schedule all of my favourite shows on Tuesday nights.

I was just looking at the schedule for Monday.

At 8:00 we have ‘Chuck’ which I wanted to check out, and ‘Prison Break’. Ok, so far so good. At 9:00 we have ‘K-Ville’, which I watched last week and thoroughly enjoyed, ‘Dr. Who’, and the mother of all season premieres, ‘Heroes’. Then at 10:00 there’s ‘Journeyman’, the season premiere of ‘Eureka’, and ‘Saving Grace’. And then there’s that Ken Burns ‘War’ documentary that I kinda wanted to check out but I guess I can live without. So none of this would be a serious issue except…

I HAVE TO WORK MONDAY NIGHT!

I don’t know what to do. Do I skip 'Dr. Who' and hope that it gets re-run later in the season? Do I abandon Grace, who I've grown terribly fond of? Do I take a chance that ‘Journeyman’ will be an early casualty that I didn’t want to get invested in anyway?

Maybe I can switch shifts at work. But that would be wrong, wouldn't it?

Hello, my name is Jennifer and I’m a TV addict.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Best. Cover. Ever.

OMFG. I may just have to buy a copy.



Somehow I don't think they're going to be getting that interview any time soon.

Happy Yom Kippur

This one almost made me weep:
In reversal, San Diego mayor pledges support for gay marriage

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders abruptly reversed his public opposition to same-sex marriage Wednesday after revealing his adult daughter is gay.

Sanders also signed a City Council resolution supporting a legal fight to overturn California's prohibition on same-sex marriages. He previously opposed the resolution.

He was going to veto it. His party wanted him to veto it. Most of the people who voted for him wanted him to veto it (did I mention he's a Republican?)… and yet, in the end he decided to do the right thing.

Wow.

So, what the fuck is YOUR excuse, Dick?

There is a transcript of Sanders' press conference here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Parity Blues

For the first time in my memory, the Canadian dollar has hit parity with the U.S. dollar. Border crossing bargain hunters are celebrating, but I suspect they won't be for long.

I know I'm not.

I've been running an online crafts business since 1995 - almost as long as eBay - and the vast majority of my customers pay in U.S. dollars. When I first set up shop, I was getting an extra 35 cents on every dollar, which I worked into greatly discounted shipping rates to the U.S. At one point I remember getting 45% and feeling a little guilty about it.

Then the loonie started taking off. At first I simply absorbed it, but eventually I had to raise my U.S. shipping rates. Then I raised them again. Then I raised my base prices for the first time in a decade. Then I raised my shipping again.

I figure I've lost a couple of grand over the past two years on the exchange alone. More importantly, my sales have dropped for the first time ever this year. Significantly. This may be partly due to my price hikes, which were less than 5% overall, but I suspect that the real problem is that Americans have finally sensed the coming storm and have simply stopped buying non-essentials.

To those who are breaking out the champagne and scouting out car dealerships in Buffalo, let me remind you of a few cold, hard facts:
- Canada has a significant trade surplus. This means that we export far more than we import, especially to the U.S. Since a high dollar is bad for exporters, this makes it bad for the country as a whole.

- U.S. companies doing business in Canada are looking at our rapidly rising labour costs and other local expenses and are packing up and going home. This will include movie and television productions unless cities like Toronto start bending over backwards to keep them here.

- Local manufacturers and retailers are going to be drowned by cheap imports. You think Wal-Mart is a problem now? Just wait.

What can we do? In the larger scheme of things, probably not much, but as a country we can start by unhitching our wagon from the dying horse that is the U.S. economy and start looking far more towards Europe and Asia.

As individuals, I have two words for you:

BUY LOCAL!

Canadian companies, Canadian products, whenever you can. Screw Wal-Mart. Find out which stores are Canadian owned and shop there. Read labels. Buy local produce at the grocery store. It's good for the economy AND good for the environment.

That is all.

Health Trumps Religion

In a rare display of good sense, the Halton Catholic School Board narrowly voted down a motion to ban the new HPV vaccine from their schools. Instead, they have opted to leave the decision up to parents.

Imagine that.
HPV vaccine not a threat, Catholic board deems

BURLINGTON, ONT. AND TORONTO — The debate about the controversial HPV vaccine that has been playing out across the country came to a head Tuesday night after trustees for the Halton Catholic District School Board decided that the Catholic faith was not being "threatened" by allowing the program into their schools.

In a 4-3 vote, the trustees defeated a motion to ban public health officials from administering the vaccine for human papillomavirus, which causes 70 per cent of all cervical cancer and 90 per cent of genital warts, to its students.

"I'm not sure what elements of our Catholicity are being threatened here," said trustee Rev. David Wilhelm. "What the bishops are telling us is that parents have the right and the responsibility to make these decisions for their children and I don't think any of us have the right to take that away, as difficult as that may be.

I know there is a lot of concern about the speed with which this vaccine has been approved, and that concern may or may not be justified. However, that is an entirely separate issue from the asinine arguments being raised by certain members of the Halton and other Catholic school boards - namely, that administering a vaccine for a sexually transmitted virus will somehow encourage their dear darling daughters to have sex before marriage. Because of course they would never, ever do that otherwise.

I have a family member who was infected with HPV. She never developed cervical cancer, but did end up with serious cervical scarring that very nearly cost her her child.

By all means, deal with the medical issues. But don’t you dare bring religion into this.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Et tu, Iggy?

Sometimes I wonder if politics are just too important to be left to politicians.

Dion loyalists charge byelection sabotage

OTTAWA — Michael Ignatieff supporters are sabotaging Liberal efforts in the Outremont byelection in hopes of weakening Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, Dion loyalists say.

A poll in La Presse of Montreal on Friday suggests the NDP may win a historic breakthrough in the riding on Monday. That would be a disaster for Mr. Dion, who personally selected international affairs expert Jocelyn Coulon as the Liberal candidate in what should be a safe seat in downtown Montreal.

Dion loyalists suspect Liberal organizers who support Mr. Ignatieff have been undermining the campaign, hoping that a loss would force Mr. Dion out of the leadership once Liberals realized that he couldn’t deliver seats in Quebec.


I really don’t know what to make of all this. Either it’s true and the Ignatieff camp is stepping up their plans for a coup d’etat, or Dion’s supporters are so insecure that they have become paranoid and delusional.

In either case, I’m sick of it.

I watched the Liberal leadership convention with great interest. I was underwhelmed by Dion’s speech, but I generally liked what he was saying. He is considerably more impressive in person, but the fact remains that he is not the most charismatic person we could have picked to lead the charge. I had hoped that the support of his opponents as part of the so-called 'Dream Team' would produce a solid front line, but apparently that's not happening.

Should charisma matter? Probably not, but it obviously does. Can he win against Harper? I honestly don’t know, but here are a few things to keep in mind as fall approaches and the knives come out:

1) Harper was about as charismatic as a turd on a stick when he first took over the Conservatives, and he still can’t deliver a joke without sounding like he’s reading it off the teleprompter - which he usually is. On the other hand, Chretien almost had too much character, to the point where he had become a caricature. The gravely voice, the outrageous accent - who could possibly take him seriously as a world leader? The Campbell campaign tried to capitalize on that and… well, we all know how that turned out.

I am ashamed to admit that I too got sucked into the ‘election-as-beauty contest’ paradigm that year (plus the whole female Prime Minister thing), and for the first and only time in my life voted for a PC candidate. Stupidest vote I ever cast. I voted for Chretien next time and was proud to do so.

2) People are obsessing over Dion’s personal charms right now because they don’t have any actual Liberal policies to discuss. The party is playing it coy, ostensibly to prevent the Cons from preemptively hijacking their agenda. The wisdom of this strategy is debatable, but to even consider switching leaders at this point would be suicide. If they’re worried about the Liberals being perceived as weak and rudderless, imagine what the perception would be if they pulled their pitcher before the game even got started.

3) Whatever you may think of Stephane Dion and his chances in a federal election, Michael Ignatieff is NOT the answer. If the Liberals do abandon Dion (and I think that would be a huge mistake), I would much rather see Bob Rae or Ken Dryden, or really anybody but Iggy take his place.

Ignatieff may call himself a Liberal, but he certainly doesn't represent the kind of post-Pearson Canadian Liberalism I grew up with. I used to think he was more of a Libertarian, but he's more slippery than that. He changes his tune depending on who he's talking to or which way the wind is blowing, and he never seems to have much to say about economics or social issues. But the fact that his one consistent message has been a downright hawkish support of American foreign policy and overt Canadian militarism is profoundly disturbing. He may have written a belated mea culpa on Iraq claiming that we had all been deceived and misinformed and that he made an understandable "error in judgement", but seriously - how many of you actually believed for one second, even all those years ago, that Bush was really invading Iraq to get rid of WMDs or to free the Iraqi people from tyranny?

Anyone? Bueller?

While allowing Ignatieff to take control and shift the party to the right on foreign policy (and Gods only know what else) might appeal to enough disaffected Conservatives to win an election, I believe it would utterly destroy the Liberal party. To me, that is too high a price to pay, even if it means being rid of Harper.

A similar dilemma is facing the Democratic Party in the U.S. right now, giving rise to the ‘Blue Dog Democrat’ phenomenon. These are conservative Democrats who, despite having a majority in Congress, have caused their party to cave on just about every major vote that has been put to them, from extending the Patriot Act to funding the war in Iraq. Why? Because they feel they have a better chance of winning the next election if they don’t scare off too many conservative voters by being… well, Democrats.

The problem with this approach is, of course, that you end up compromising your values to the point where you become indistinguishable from your opponent. And while nobody wants the Canadian political landscape to divide itself into armed camps the way it has in the U.S., we still need to have clear choices. If the Liberals become nothing more than Conservatives who support gay marriage, what kind of choice is that?

Michael Ignatieff is our Joe Lieberman. Michael Ignatieff is not the solution.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Death Proof

(some spoilers - consider yourself warned)

Dear Quentin,

Just saw the movie. Great idea! Needs a lot of work, though. Here are a few notes:

1) The first act needs to take up somewhat less than the entire first half of the movie. Twenty minutes, maybe half an hour, tops. Seriously. That’s just your set-up. The good stuff comes with Rosario Dawson and her friends. Leave the lap dance but cut the rest in half, at least.

2) Kurt Russell is by far the best thing about ‘Death Proof’. Way more of him, less with the chicks talking.

3) You missed a major money shot. You know, the one with the Kiwi chick flying off the hood of the car? Yeah, that one. They’re driving, they spin out, and then… she’s just not on the hood of the car anymore. Stop trying to be clever - this is Grindhouse. Just show us.

4) What the hell happened to cheerleader girl? They just left her there with the owner of the car and then… what? Nothing? How about a few cuts back to the two of them chatting about, say, popular music, or the porn business, or Greek philosophy or something? That would be funny, and very Russ Meyers.

5) I’m just some chick who works at a video store - why the hell don’t you know all this? You are obviously spending way too much time with Eli Roth. He’s sucking you dry, man.

Yours truly,

A Fan.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fun and Games at the Department of Public Safety

I know, I’m sorry - I’ve been neglecting you. Unfortunately my obsessive blogging has had to take a back seat this week as I play catch-up after my trip to Maryland. Orders to fill, newsletters to publish, and another show this Saturday have left me with precious little time to write or even cruise the net for stories to entertain you with.

Happily, my sister-in-law dug this one up for me:
Government moving to access personal info, sparking privacy fears

Government agencies are moving to gain access to telephone and internet customers' personal information without first getting a court order, according to a document obtained by CBCNews.ca that is raising privacy issues.

Public Safety Canada and Industry Canada have begun a consultation on how law enforcement and national security agencies can gain lawful access to customers' information. The information would include names, addresses, land and cellphone numbers, as well as additional mobile phone identification, such as a device serial number and a subscriber identity module (SIM) card number.

…Canada's move is in contrast to one by the United States, where last week a federal judge overturned a part of the Patriot Act that allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to secretly obtain personal records about customers from internet providers, phone companies, banks, libraries and other businesses without a court's permission.

Speaking on the phone from Paris, Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel for internet search giant Google Inc., told CBCNews.ca that even in the security-conscious United States, courts have moved to curtail excessive attempts by the government at extracting personal information.

Lovely. Not only are we copying every dumbassed policy the Bush administration has ever instituted in the name of Homeland Security, now we’re trying to implement the shit that even THEY can’t get away with!

Public Safety has been typically reticent about disclosing any details about this particular consultation process. But when confronted, a spokesperson from Day's office promised to have the information posted on their website by Thursday. It took a bit of digging, but I found it. Such as it is.

(H/T to Emu)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm Back!

In case you didn't know, whenever I'm not blogging, selling wood crafts online, working at the video store, writing half a monthly movie review column for the local paper, or publishing genealogical books and newsletters, I sing with a little Renaissance-themed a capella group called Nero's Fiddle.

For money. Really.

The Maryland Renaissance Festival was a tremendous success. Not only did we have a brilliant time and get to reconnect with old friends, but Nero's Fiddle was a GIANORMOUS HIT!!! We actually had fans following us from show to show with all of our venues circled on their little schedule sheets. We had crowds of semi-professional Ren Fest patrons closing their eyes and rocking in their seats as we sang 'Red Is the Rose'. We even got called up to sing a song during Pub Sing. Pub Sing!

(Ok, you have no idea what I'm talking about. But really, it was cool!)

This is the sort of crowd we got to sing for this weekend:



It was stinking hot and humid, my ankles are swollen up thicker than my calves and every article of clothing I packed smells like ass, but I'm totally stoked.

Out of my four or five paying jobs, this one rates way up there.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Blogging Off

Farewell good gentles! I'm off to Maryland for a few days with the wenches of Nero's Fiddle to sing at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It's our American debut!


(That's me on the left. Now you know.)

And yes, it's three in the morning right now and my ride should be arriving in about... fifteen minutes. Good thing I like long road trips.

I was going to give you a brief post on John Tory's gaffe of the day to chew over while I'm gone. But after reading some of the vitriol being spewed on the subject, I decided I wouldn't want to touch that one with someone else's blog.

You'll just have to find some other way to amuse yourselves.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another Summit, Another Protest

Here we go again.

World leaders will be meeting in Sydney, Australia this week for the APEC conference, and oh look: a fence.



PM Howard is getting a head start on dismissing the protesters as violent, left-wing loonies who hate progress and have something against making money. Just to drive home the point, authorities have shut down much of Sydney’s business district to protect it from ‘property damage’, turning the area into a ghost town and thus completely screwing downtown business owners out of doing business.

Way to stand up for capitalism, Johnny!

One curious side note to the week’s discussions will be Canada and Australia’s potential inclusion in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (gee, there’s that ‘Partnership’ word again). Harper is, as usual, staying mute on whether or not Canada is going to be getting involved with this particular little club, but given how much he delights in joining things like this I suspect that the decision is already made.

I should point out that I personally approve of nuclear power - at least in principle. In practice there are still some serious disposal problems that need to be addressed, but when balanced against the safety and environmental issues with coal and gas, the maxing out of our hydro capacity (unless you want to flood more of northern Quebec), and the impracticality of large scale solar or wind generation, I still think nuclear is still our best bet.

[duck]

ANYWAY… From what I've read so far, I have at least three problems with the GNEP:

1) It would force nations that produce uranium (like Canada and Australia) to "repatriate" it and dispose of it, even if it was exported to and used by another country (like, say, the U.S.). Like we don’t have enough problems disposing of our own nuclear waste, now we’d have to take out the Americans’ trash as well.

2) It is a thinly veiled attempt to divide the world into energy haves and have-nots, with developed nations establishing a monopoly on nuclear technology in the name of security:

"The group includes many of the main countries involved in the nuclear fuel cycle, including Russia, China and France. Its broader aim is to eventually secure the entire fuel cycle and confine production and reprocessing to the group, with smaller countries effectively leasing nuclear fuel from the partnership and returning waste to it for reprocessing."

3) It’s an American-led initiative. That can't be good.

Edit: Here's an even better shot of the fences in downtown Sydney. I like the convenient gates.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

What I Was GOING to Say...

Don’t you hate it when you think too long about a post and then someone else beats you to it?

I’ve spent the last two weeks tinkering with a potential blog post about protests in general and why I suspect a misunderstanding of the notion of ‘non-violence’ may have decreased their effectiveness.

Then lo and behold, Rick Salutin at the Globe & Mail (who is rapidly becoming my hero) writes a brilliant editorial on Friday in honour of Labour Day on precisely that theme.

Bugger.

I’m still not happy with what I’ve been writing on this subject. It’s wandering all over the place and getting into areas that I really know nothing about. So instead of inflicting the whole mess on you, here are a few of the more coherent thoughts I’ve had in nice, neat, somewhat random point form:
1) I think that demonstrations like the one at Montebello have become too generic. It seems to always be the same groups with the same banners chanting the same all-purpose slogans. And while there is undoubtedly a deep connection between the peace, environmental, labour and anti-capitalist / -corporate / -globalization movements, unless there is more specific focus at specific events the message is in danger of getting lost.

2) There appears to be a distinction that I was previously unaware of between the so-called ‘Black Bloc’ protesters who cover their faces and wear black clothing to avoid being identified or singled out by the police, and those who simply wear vinegar-soaked bandannas to protect themselves from tear gas. The latter group, from what I saw, make no attempt to conceal their identities, and are apparently less inclined to throw things or damage property (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Both groups seem equally willing to put themselves in harm’s way for a cause they believe in.

3) The commenter on one of my previous posts who said, "I don't believe that violence accomplishes anything" may be missing an important point. In fact, violence has an important role in traditional Gandhi/King-style ‘non-violent’ protest: specifically, violence perpetrated by those one is protesting against.

4) It’s important that this violence not be provoked by throwing rocks at the police or smashing windows. That sort of thing only alienates people and accomplishes nothing. Instead, violence can and maybe should be provoked by reasonable and non-violent direct action such as burning passes, making salt, registering to vote, squatting / sit-ins, etc. This kind of provocation is not only acceptable, it is probably the most effective way to establish the moral high ground and illustrate the injustice of the status quo.

5) Not everyone taking part in these demonstrations is willing to take a truncheon to the head or pepper spray to the face, or even risk being arrested. Those who are willing should not be marginalized or simply dismissed as ‘radicals’. Instead, it may be time to start meeting them half way. If they are that anxious to place themselves in harm’s way, then we should respect them for that. But protest organizers need to be the ones provoking the authorities to action in a meaningful way and on purely righteous terms.

6) Conversely, if organizers aren’t willing to do more than wave flags and make speeches, then they shouldn’t be surprised when it’s the shot of the mailbox going through the plate glass window that ends up on the 6 o’clock news.

So there you go. My personal and largely uninformed opinion. Have at it.

Edit: And now, the view from the far left. Interesting. I disagree with some of what they're saying, especially towards the end, but it's point of view worth taking seriously.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Three Things To Love About Milton


1) The Farmer’s Market. This morning I got my cheese fix from the Upper Canada Cheese Company, stopped and chatted with Leslie the Librarian and ex-candidate Peter Haight, and then ran into Les from Nero’s Fiddle, thus saving me a phone call. And I can do this every weekend!


2) Waldie’s Blacksmith Shop. Yes, we have our very own working blacksmith’s shop, which aside from a 30 year hiatus at the end of the last century has been in continuous operation since before the town was incorporated. The Waldies still live next door. How cool is that?


3) Milton Steam Era. Steam enthusiasts come from all over the country to show off their babies, camping out in trailers and RVs that ring the Fairgrounds, which is all of two blocks from my house. Once a year I get to listen to steam whistles and watch unbelievably old tractors chug past my front door on their way to the site.

I love this town.

Edit: And here was the scene right in front of my house later in the day. There was apparently some sort of delay on the way to the parade.