Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 Detritus, Part 1

I have an open file on my computer called 'blogpost.doc'. It's like a notebook into which I paste links to articles and posts that catch my eye, sometimes adding a title or a few of my own thoughts as a preliminary step towards writing a blog post. Some of these evolve into actual posts, but sometimes they simply languish as the news marches on and other bloggers say whatever it was I wanted to say first, and better.

Or I just get lazy and forget about them.

I thought it might be interesting to browse through these abandoned links and share some of them with y'all. Sort of a combination year-end retrospective and writer's housecleaning. Enjoy!

April 21st: The Wall, Redux

From The Guardian:
Latest US solution to Iraq's civil war: a three-mile wall

The US military is building a three-mile concrete wall in the centre of Baghdad along the most murderous faultline between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The wall, which recognizes the reality of the hardening sectarian divide in Baghdad, is a central part of George Bush's final push to pacify the capital. Work began on April 10 under cover of darkness and is due for completion by the end of the month.

The highly symbolic wall has evoked comparisons to the barriers dividing Protestants and Catholics in Belfast and Israelis and Palestinians along the length of the West Bank.

May 3rd: It’s not easy being green

John Baird seems to be having a tough time finding anyone to support his new, ‘aggressive’ environmental plan. David Suzuki hates it, and finally caught up with Baird to tell him so in person, despite concerted efforts by the PMO to avoid that particular confrontation. Al Gore, obviously wary of having his words misconstrued again, called the plan "a complete and total fraud". Even economists who had once supported the Tories are now backing away from Baird’s plan, saying it’s too full of loopholes to actually have much of an effect and that his claim that Kyoto will cost billions and spark a recession is "an extremely simplistic calculation".

(Boris at The Galloping Beaver says it beautifully.)

And now they’re mocking the Environment Canada website.

April 26th: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad NEP?

A bit of perspective on that great western bugaboo: the National Energy Plan. An article by Gordon Laxer, and another on the Council of Canadians website.

May 14th: The Kyoto Implementation Bill Passes 3rd Reading

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Forcing Ottawa's hand on Kyoto

...Bill C-288 could force the federal government to take action to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The bill has had little media attention, but legal experts say it actually has the power to force the Conservative government to meet Kyoto targets, something the Harper government has repeatedly said it cannot and will not do.

"This is the one thing that the Conservatives can't circumvent," said Lalonde, a translator from Notre Dame de Grace who launched the petition campaign last week on his EcoContribution website. "Once it's law, it's law."

Bill C-288 would do two important things if it became law: It would force the government to publish a plan to meet its Kyoto targets within 60 days of its enactment, and to enact legislation within six months that would enable Canada to meet those targets.

(It passed, of course, and the Conservatives did... nothing. Let's see if it actually ends up in the courts this year.)

May 19th: Tony Rosato

As a long time SCTV fan, this story made me very, very sad:

Rosato a step closer to release

KINGSTON–Former television star Tony Rosato moved a step closer yesterday to getting out of the jail cell where he has been held without trial for the last two years.

Rosato, a one-time star of SCTV and Saturday Night Live, appeared in Superior Court – less than a week after his plight was reported in the Sunday Star – to make a bid for a bail review. His trial on charges of criminal harassment is set for November.

News of the comedian's plight shocked civil libertarians and his show business friends who say he should be held in a hospital until his trial.

More background on Rosato's story here.

June 5th: Big Brother Really Is Watching

A chilling little tale from south of the border.

June 28th: Harper Allows Armed U.S. Service Agents Into Canada

A nice op-ed by Thomas Walcom in The Star:

The federal government plans to give an unspecified number of American police agents carte blanche to carry guns in Canada. It insists that in the post-9/11 world it is just being sensible. It is not.

Few things are more crucial to a nation's sovereignty than its control over legalized violence. It is quite often lawful for the police to shoot you. It is almost never lawful for you to shoot the police. We accept that arrangement only because those who have been given this remarkable life and death authority are in some sense "ours" – they are responsible to governments that we elect.

Ottawa's plan would dramatically change this relationship. It would introduce a whole new array of armed peace officers into this country that are answerable to a foreign power.

Stephen Harper's government, which quietly published these proposed regulatory changes in its Canada Gazette last weekend, suggests the move is designed primarily to accommodate armed air marshals who routinely fly back and forth across the border. But it also says the arrangement would apply to other situations, including "various cross-border enforcement initiatives between Canada and the United States."

Ah, yes. More of those unimportant "regulatory changes" meant to harmonize our security with that of the U.S. Nothing to see here.

July 10th: China executes ex-food safety chief

China executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog on Tuesday for approving untested medicine in exchange for cash, the strongest signal yet from Beijing that it is serious about tackling its product safety crisis.

Ahh... I got nuthin.

August 11th: What's a 'Blue Dog', Anyway?

An interesting analysis of the two wings of the Democratic Party, why some Democrats are trying to win by becoming more like Republicans, and why that is a monumentally BAD IDEA. Courtesy of the Daily Kos.

August 11th: Support Our Troops. Unless They're Gay.

Church learns vet was gay, cancels memorial

ARLINGTON, Texas - A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.

Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.


August 31st: About Those SPP Petitions...

It seems the raison d'ĂȘtre for the big March on Montebello wasn't quite as important to some of the organizers as one might have thought:

Letter to Council of Canadians

[Andrea from People's Global Action picked up the CoC's petitions at the anti-SPP demonstration and decided to make a few points while offering to deliver them.]

Dear Maude and Staff at the Council of Canadians,

I just wanted to write to let you know that the 10,000 petitions you delivered with great fanfare to the gates of the Chateau Montebello last week are safe. You know, the ones in the three clear plastic bins with the blue lids. The ones featured in that photo on your website (www.canadians.org).

You are probably frantic right now. You've likely been searching for them since you put them down in front of the line of riot police and retreated back to the family friendly zone when you finished your media scrum and speeches...

And so on. OOPS!

More miscellany later. Promise.

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