Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

A Puff of Absurdity: The Religious Extremism of New Atheists

I wrote a tiny blurb about this over a month ago.  This one is much longer and leans heavily on solid arguments from many critics – letting their words speak for themselves. The issue has become serious enough to warrant a lengthy rebuttal.

THE DANGERS OF SIMPLISTIC, BIGOTED IDEOLOGY: 

My concern with the New Atheists is born of classroom conversations.  In most of my classes there are a few students who are Muslim and, recently, a few who are followers of the New Atheists’ leaders: particularly Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins, and Maher.  I’ve had students of different races and religions in (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Bully Pulpit

“I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!” US President Theodore Roosevelt uttered those words in office (reported in the February 27, 1909, issue of The Outlook magazine), coining the phrase ‘bully pulpit’ in referring to the presidency as an ideal platform from which to expound his […]

Zorg Report: Zorg Report 2015-03-27 07:56:00

Germanwings 9525 = Al-Qaeda Triumphs Again

 Abstract: Fear and paranoia enabled the conditions and killing of the passengers on Germanwings 9525; in honour of the victims of that flight, and for all future fliers, sensible policies, that do not replace reasonable prudence with get-tough politically-expedient reactions and expressions of fear, nor place sole power in the hands of One person or agency, should be enacted.

 Surely I’m far from the first (1000, 10 000?) people to make this simple point, but fear and paranoia and obsession with “security” appear to have led to another disaster and mass (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Fisk On Harper

It’s articles like this one that make you wonder if the Canadian media is telling you everything you need to know. (Seriously though, that’s plainly obvious.)

If Stephen Harper is serious about criminalising ‘barbaric cultural practices’, then he should arrest himself for even suggesting it

And while he’s at it, he can lock up all the other Western leaders who have savaged the Muslim world too.

Harper […] is about to push a truly eccentric piece of legislation through parliament in Ottawa. It’s called – and I urge readers to repeat the words lest they think it’s already April (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Alternatives Journal Spells Out Canada’s Map to Sustainability

Canada has a horrible international reputation when it comes to the environment. The federal government even has climate change deniers and actively supports the shameful tar sands. At Alternatives Journal they have worked with some of the smartest people in Canada to show Canadians there’s no reason to continue down the self-destructive path we are on.

Within the issue they look at many aspects of Canadian life from cities to mining.

THIS IS THE most important issue that A\J has ever published. It will land in the hands and mailboxes of more Canadians than any issue in A\J’s 44-year existence. (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: More Spy Stuff

The bottom half of this page is all about CSE.

Canada’s had a recent track record that’s bad. PONY EXPRESS ring a bell? So what is our watchdog really doing? Not much, judging by recent news reports.

If you're in Canada I'll be on @cbcasithappens shortly talking about our story exposing CSEC's secret hacking. https://t.co/lzOE69668Y

— Ryan Gallagher (@rj_gallagher) March 23, 2015

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Conrad Black: Off the Rails

I generally read Conrad Black‘s columns for their entertainment value, but I also read them for the language. Black is the best tosser of pithy epithets since Spiro Agnew*. And like the former US VP, he’s a pompous git who puffs up his intellectual feathers like a pigeon in heat – that puffery of sound […]

cmkl: Canada’s public sector keeps private sector pain at bay: Michael Babad in the Globe

Okay, that’s my take on his headline. Unlike him, I am morally and contractually bound not to repeat the enemy’s framing. At least in a headline. But apart from that Babad’s commentary in the Globe today is just about right. It’s a critique of a CFIB study complaining about how much harder life is for … Continue reading Canada’s public sector keeps private sector pain at bay: Michael Babad in the Globe →

A Puff of Absurdity: Criminalizing Protest

Now, legitimate protest is under threat once again. Not just overseas, in some far-off dictatorship with cockroach-infested prisons, but here, where the divide is economic and political and increasingly bitter. It’s environmentalists who are the new fifth columnists, and new mechanisms are being forged to squash them.

That’s from Elizabeth Renzetti’s article yesterday. We’re no longer environmentalists who recognize the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, we’re “anti-petroleum extremists.”

This two-minute video explains the importance of being anti-petroleum (h/t Lorne):

Bill C-51will criminalize “activities that undermine the security…economic or financial stability of Canada.” They’re (Read more…)

Pop The Stack: Should America Make Voting Mandatory?

So US President Obama recently suggested that making voting mandatory. There are multiple reasons for this, one being that the people who don’t vote are more likely to be low income and democrat so it would favour his party. But he also suggested it would reduce the influence of money in politics since the candidates that can spend more to make sure their base get out would lose the advantage.

I don’t disagree but I think there are many better ways to get people voting, like ensuring every vote counts equally and that every significant voice is heard even if (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatchewan Needs a Real Change of Destination

Greg is making a good point in his latest column, but I had to throw in a Green campaign slogan into the title in good fun. The bottom line really is that the Sask Party is propping up the dying fossil fuels industry, while calls to divest from it are coming from around the world. There’s no stopping this change (for the better).

While the Saskatchewan Party remains bent on thinking small, any reasonable look at the world around us suggests it’s long past time for a big change in direction. And if if this year’s budget again fails (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Leave It In The Ground

The world has much more coal, oil and gas in the ground than it can safely burn. That much is physics.

Watch this compelling, factual argument about how to solve the climate crisis. I first became aware of this straightforward idea after watching Do The Math by 350.org run by Bill McKibben. It is MAD lunacy to spend billions of taxpayer dollars exploring for more fossil fuels when the existing known reserves would destroy our climate should it all be burned!

if we and our children are to have a reasonable chance of living stable and secure lives (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Don’t Be A Scared Tool

Here’s a song for radicalized Canadians to sing.

I’m white and scared (clap clap) They want my guns (clap clap) And veils are wrong (clap clap) Except on nuns! (clap clap)

“I’m white and scared (clap clap) you know it’s true (clap clap) I’m scared of terror (clap clap) Because I’m a tool (clap clap).”

— Hat tip to Jay Bird

Trashy's World: The NRA folks must be smilin’…

… as Harper seems to be moving toward an American style position on gun ownership rights. Now, not only are Canadians being told that there are terrorists around every corner, but armed criminals are just waiting for us at our country homes and cottages. Scary country, Harper’s Canada! Harper’s comments are being promoted by the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Manufactured Terror: Bill C51

Stephen Harper wants you to be afraid. VERY afraid. If you’re frightened, you likely won’t question his and his party’s destruction of the country, the decaying economy, job losses, homelessness, the ignored murder of aboriginal women, the muffled and cowed bureaucracy, hobbling the CBC, undermining Canadian science and scientists, and our waning credibility on the […]

Dead Wild Roses: Too Much Joy Over Alberta’s Bill 10 (GSA’s in Schools) – Missing the Point

GSA’s OK!

Allow me to put on my cynical hat for just a second to analyze the recent legislative flip-flop by the Alberta Government. I’d like to investigate why it is wrong to paint the narrative of this picture as anything other than shameless pandering to the people of Alberta.

We’ll let the Edmonton Journal set the stage:

“EDMONTON – In a stunning about-face, the Progressive Conservative government Tuesday passed a new law making the approval of gay-straight alliances mandatory in Alberta schools, a move celebrated as a leap forward for human rights in the province.”

This is (Read more…)

Terahertz: E-petitions come to Canada

Congrats to Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart on getting enough support to make his dream of e-peitions in Parliament a reality. After the next election, Canadians will be able to submit petitions online, forcing a response to every petition over 500 signatures.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s probably a small change, but it’s one that makes democracy easier, not harder. In an age of restrictive voting ID laws and robocall fraud, it’s good to see a positive tool for democratic engagement win support.

Currently, petitions in Canada have to be signed on paper and the originals sent to (Read more…)

Eh Types: Mr. Harper’s Veiled Threats

What do you call a solution without a problem? If you’re Stephen Harper, you call it an election strategy. The Conservative government has been proposing solutions in desperate need of problems. That they do so at all, and the manner in which they do is ironically a big problem. Last week was their announcement that […]

Larry Hubich's Blog: Connie – Anti-Terror Legislation – 22 Minutes

Dead Wild Roses: We Need to Properly Fund the CBC

The CBC does such a remarkable job for a mere pittance per Canadian. We need to up the ante and properly fund the CBC at least to the average amount, $82 dollars. Imagine no commercials on CBC Radio 2 and a sharp curtailing of the ‘adult contemporary’ drivel and a return to the classical haven Radio 2 once was. Oooo…warm and snuggly feelings all over in DWR land.

Time to properly fund the CBC.

Filed under: Canada Tagged: Canada, DWR PSA, Onwards to a new and brighter CBC!, Politics

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: We Need to Properly Fund the CBC

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: “I have looked at the numbers.” – PM about Wallin’s Expenses

Pamela Wallin’s disgrace has been taking place in slow motion, with the latest chapter hitting headlines again.

“In terms of Sen. Wallin, I have looked at the numbers,” Harper told the House of Commons two weeks ago.

“Her travel costs are comparable to any parliamentarian travelling [sic] from that particular area of the country over that period of time.”

Yet the RCMP allege she committed fraud. Similar to the Nigel Wright bribe for Senator Duffy, no charges have been laid despite the RCMP’s findings.

RCMP: "After reviewing hundreds [&] hundreds of e-mail exchanges…" But PMO said they had (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Jim Prentice’s Broken Mirror – Refreshingly Arrogant.

Hey Jimmy Boy, you certainly have shown where you priorities are and what you think of Albertans.

I don’t blame you though; we let you take power basically through acclimation – no fucks were given, as long as got rid of that WOMAN who was single-handedly ruining the province. The flyby-night parachute (Hi Steven Mandel and other assorted Tory hacks! Your exercise in nepotism and narcissistic self-aggrandizement is noted) elections that merely waved at the trappings of democracy, that shit was cool here in Alberta where the electorate gave an enthusiastic “hell ya“. It’s all (Read more…)

somecanuckchick dot com: On whistleblowers and whistleblowing…

Remember when the Harper government™ created the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), the supposed whistleblower protection law?

Of course, the Harper government™ is keen on whistleblowers and whistleblowing…

Allan Cutler, Sponsorship scandal

You know, when it is ^NOT Harper government™ activity and/or conduct being exposed…

Sylvie Therrien, Fraud quotas [Employment Insurance] Richard Colvin, Afghan detainees Edgar Schmidt, Conservative legislative agenda inadequately evaluating whether proposed bills violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

I’m sure the aforementioned of Harper government™ whistleblowers and whistleblowing have nothing to do with why the Conflict of Interest, Loyalty and Confidentiality (Read more…)

somecanuckchick dot com: Why is the Globe and Mail the only Canadian news agency to implement SecureDrop?

Why is the Globe and Mail, as of March 4, 2015, the first—and the only—Canadian news agency to implement SecureDrop?

One would think that more Canadian news agencies would have implemented the open-source software platform for secure communication between journalists and sources (whistleblowers)… i.e. CBC, Montréal Gazette, Toronto Star, Vancouver Observer, etc., etc., etc.

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Climate Change AKA Global Warming Denial History

Here the case is made that “global warming” was supplanted by “climate change” because it sounded less urgent, (much as tarsands became oilsands), and other history is presented about the Denial movement infesting political discourse.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2015/mar/05/doubt-over-climate-science-is-a-product-with-an-industry-behind-it

Bad Science: A Resource Book – described in Merchants of Doubt as a “how-to handbook for fact fighters”.

Produced by the tobacco industry to help any industry fight any legislation that responded to scientific findings, this was a representation of big tobacco’s playbook in written form.

The book provided soundbites and ready-made talking points to arm any industry fighting regulation. Among the (Read more…)