Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].
I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and (Read more…)
We tell ourselves the stories we need to hear. This is excerpt details American involvement in Afghanistan, but from a non-embedded reporters point of view and analysis.
“The central thesis of the American failure in Afghanistan — the one you’ll hear from politicians and pundits and even scholars — was succinctly propounded by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage: “The war in Iraq drained resources from Afghanistan before things were under control.” In this view, the American invasion of Iraq became a crucial distraction from stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, and in the resulting security vacuum the (Read more…)
As a film setting, the town of Pompeii in the first century CE is a lot like the deck of the Titanic in 1912: no amount of special effects or clever script writing is going to save it from the disaster awaiting. As a film, Pompeii has a lot of the former, but precious little of […]
We here in Canada often like to think of ourselves as the ‘good guys’. Our history somehow a few degrees shinier, more pristine than the the bloodstained record our American neighbours seem to bandy about with pride.
Like any colonial narrative though certain distortions are present and sometimes the distortions are encouraged. Let’s take a look at one incident in our history through the lens of Thomas King in his work The Inconvenient Indian – specifically about a land grant in 1717 by the French Crown of a parcel of land by the Ottawa River to the (Read more…)
The gentleman in the uniform on the right is William Gordon Pudney, Chief Petty Officer and engineer on the cruiser, Niobe, one of the earliest ship’s in Canada’s fledgling navy. William (Bill) was born in Canada, in 1893. He is perhaps in his early 20s in this undated photograph, taken a century or more ago, […]
This week I received email from my friend Alan, formerly known in this blog as Alan with one L, or AW1L. Subject line: Re: 34th Street/Penn Station Just Now
Out-of-Towner [leaning into packed Uptown Express [2 or 3] train]: “Does anybody know if this goes to Times Square?”
About 10 Passengers [as one--all with exactly the same *annoyed* tone]: “Yes!”
It was *excellent*! [I *love* this town!!]
I loved this little story! I loved that AW1L thought of me when this happened. It also made me feel homesick and wistful for my old hometown. I replied, in (Read more…)
Jan 2006 – Sept 2008
In part three of our series examining the things that Mr Harper and his supporters have done that impacted our democracy we cover the period of “Canada’s New Government” tm which lasted 2 1/2 years before Harper declared it “dysfunctional” and called a new election in direct contravention of his own fixed election date legislation. It was highlighted by Harpers attempts to control the press and his refusal to answer anything but pre approved questions and the oppositions attempts to hold the government to account without bringing about an early election.
On 23/1/2006 the Conservatives (Read more…)
Fascinating article by Thomas Barker- here is the conclusion. Find the rest on Counterpunch.
As with so much of the racial tension in the United States, the origins of the present situation can be traced back to slavery. In his ground-breaking work on the American slave system, the historian John Blassingame has suggested that black passivity in the antebellum South existed primarily in the minds of whites—on the one hand, to justify white paternalism, and, on the other, to dispel the fear that they felt toward slaves: ‘Like a man whistling in the dark to bolster his (Read more…)
TL:DR version – learn your history before you shoot off at the mouth.
June 2004 – Jan 2006
This is the second of a series of monthly articles examining the actions of Stephen Harper and his Party colleagues both before and after his rise to power with particular emphasis upon words and actions that effect our democracy. This period is most notable for Harpers support for the concept of cooperation / coalition between opposition parties a concept which he was later to call undemocratic, the ‘in and out scheme’ re election funding and the Cadman affair of attempted bribery. It was but a small glimpse of things to come.
The Liberals were re-elected (Read more…)
We kicked off a Netflix addiction with “The Croods” [5/10] last night, and “Megamind” [8/10] this morning. At Christmas we replaced a tube TV with a more modern LED version that can get free broadcast channels and hook up to a laptop. Cutting the cable was made possible also with the prospect of Netflix, which I managed to hold off pushing the go button on until last night. My parents stopped by with some pencils for the kids, some cell phone stands for us, and some birthday cards from The White House for my Grandmas’ birthdays.
I’ve spent enough time (Read more…)
The term “weaponized Jesus” comes from an article I read on politicsusa.com, from November 2013, titled “The Religious Right With Their Weaponized Jesus Are Not Christians.” It’s worth a read, if you enjoy the political-religious debate. I eventually traced the phrase back to a 2010 story in Mother Jones. It’s a good description of the way […]
I was an 8 year old awash in fossils, so I was a tad more generous than this former 9 year old PEI lad with his much more valuable fossil. I donated a lower mandible piece from a ~12,000,000 year old Saskatchewan rhino to the Sask. Natural History (now Royal Sask.) Museum in the 1980s. I too used plastic bristle brushes (AKA tooth brushes) to dust off fossils I collected from the surface of a gravel pit near Wood Mountain, SK. Many more fossils and fossil fragments from that pit have since ended up in cement in the area.
A brief note. I think that this essay should be required reading for all those who consider joining the armed forces and participating in the cycle of terrorism and destruction that currently dominates our foreign policy and geo-political goals here in the West. Many thanks to Tom’s Dispatch for hosting the essay.
“Why The War on Terror Shouldn’t Be Your Battle.”
Let’s start that unpacking process with racism: That was the first and one of the last times I heard the word “enemy” in battalion. The usual word in my unit was “Hajji.” Now, Hajji (Read more…)
This is the first of a series of monthly articles examining the actions of Stephen Harper and his Party colleagues both before and after his rise to power with particular emphasis upon words and actions that effect our democracy. The 2015 Federal Election will undoubtedly be critical to to whether or not our Parliamentary Democracy survives or degrades further into the abyss of an elected dictatorship. It is I believe important that we remember the actions of this Regime over the last 15 years or so that have moved us so close to this situation. It is these things that (Read more…)
Oh, those wacky religious Muslim terrorists are at it again going all murder happy on people who dare to make fun of their religion.
This event is completely ludicrous and, in 2015, should not be happening, some reasons off the top of my head:
1. Mohammad, Jebus, Krishna, Sif – pick your imaginary friend – they all don’t fucking exist.
2. If they did exist wouldn’t there be some godly smiting going on, like all the time? Being immortal and all powerful and all that shite, you would think that they could take care of business without (Read more…)
Domestic violence is an issue that deserves more time in the basket labeled “things society cares about.” I am only one generation removed from a time when women were widely thought as of the property of their fathers, then their husbands. Then Radical Feminism got into the mix and started to analyze, deconstruct and protest this unacceptable situation. Andrea Dworkin from Women Hating Right and Left:
Putting ideas and concepts together so that they can be shared, and more importantly passed on, to the next generation is so frightfully important, yet it is not being done. (Read more…)
The so called war on drugs contains so much irony, we’ll need a new solar system to keep it in check.
“As long as demand and prices remain at current levels in wealthy drug-consuming nations, traders will enter almost any potential production area with wads of currency to elicit supply that can meet this demand. Over the past thirty years, the U.S. and UN prohibition has simply served to push production and processing, and smuggling of illicit drugs back and forth across the globe’s three critical trafficking areas – between Turkey and Laos within the Asian opium zone, (Read more…)
Traditionally this is the time of the year that we look back over the past 12 months and remember the highlights, both good and bad, in an effort to ‘do better’ in the coming year. I would suggest that perhaps we had better keep our eyes firmly in the future lest we walk off the cliff from the highlands of a vibrant democracy and fall into the swamp of authoritarianism and tyranny, we have been traipsing through the scrub-lands of oligarchy for some time now.
However when we have strayed from the path it is often instructive to retrace our (Read more…)
“The truth of history,” Napoleon wrote in his memoirs while exiled on St. Helena, “is a fable agreed upon.” Agreed upon mostly by the victors, one should add. The losers seldom agree with it. In 1865, Mark Twain added in his work, Following the Equator: “The very ink with which all history is written is […]
Following up on my 2010 blog post on solar for the White House, it takes almost 3 years to get solar added to a historic national building.
That’s why we should all get started with pressing Parliament Hill’s renovation to include commercially available PV solar panels to the south facing slopes of Canada’s iconic government building.
Simply put, solar panels mean less carbon pollution, and more jobs for Americans – jobs that can’t be outsourced. They’re good for our energy future, and they’re good for our economy.
Time to follow America, again.
Revolutionary thought of the day: All of this is why any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews, a process of rebuilding and reinventing the very idea of the collective, the communal, the commons, the civil, and the civic after so many decades of attack and neglect. Because what is overwhelming about the climate challenge is that it requires breaking so many rules at once – rules written into national laws and trade agreements, as well as powerful unwritten rules that tell us that (Read more…)
If we just listened to Stephen Harper and the BBC, what a wonderful world this would be! Below: Catherine the Great, USAF Gen. Philip Breedlove.
Last Wednesday, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported in shocked tones on its online news site that “NATO’s top military commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, has warned that Russian ‘militarization’ of the annexed Crimea Peninsula could be used to exert control over the whole Black Sea.”
This story appeared almost word for word on dozens of other Internet news sites originating in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere in the word.
U.S. Air Force Gen. (Read more…)