Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mid-Week Post

What's in the news?

Jian Ghomeshi has been charged with four accounts of assault, has surrendered his passport and can't leave Ontario:

A sombre Jian Ghomeshi stood silently by his lawyer on Wednesday as she told a large crowd of reporters at a Toronto courthouse that the former CBC Radio host would plead not guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault.

The charges — four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking — capped weeks of mounting allegations against the once-popular media personality who could now face up to life in prison if convicted. ...

His bail conditions include living with his mother — who was present in court and acted as his surety — no contact with his alleged victims and an agreement to surrender his passport and remain in Ontario.

And those who knew what Ghomeshi was doing? What happens to that culture of rot?

Related: never let a crisis go to waste:

CBC is promising to tell the story of "what really happened" with Jian Ghomeshi in an upcoming episode of "The Fifth Estate."

The investigative program is set to run an hour-long documentary on the disgraced Q radio host Friday, titled "The Unmaking of Jian Ghomeshi."

"There will be numerous revelations that will cast a new light on what happened," executive producer Jim Williamson said in an e-mail.

Williamson said several employees speak up in the episode for the first time about what they experienced. "The Fifth Estate" pursued the story with support from CBC News senior management, and it will focus on what happened inside the CBC, not the criminal investigation, he said.

In other news, Benjamin Levin, friend to Premier Kathleen Wynne, co-author of a graphic sex education program geared towards children, has plead not guilty to seven charges of producing child pornography:

That's right. A publication ban on trial of Premier Kathleen Wynne's friend and co-designer of a graphic sex education program aimed at children has been set in place.

That must be why (as of this posting) there are no reports of this development from other news agencies.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant has removed safeguards restrictions to abortion in his province:

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant announced Wednesday his government will remove barriers that restrict access to abortion in the province.

Regulation 84-20 in the Medical Services Payment Act requires notes from two doctors stating an abortion is medically necessary.

The Liberals will also remove the requirement that abortions be performed by a specialist.

The reforms will go into effect Jan. 1, Gallant said, and will put abortions in the same category as other insured medical services.

This is what the electorate of New Brunswick voted for: future Gosnells and a moratorium on available energy and the jobs that come with it.

The myth of deradicalising Islamists:

De-radicalization, I told the senators, was just an empty meaningless word. The real challenge was to prevent radicalization and this required confronting the rhetoric of political Islam rather than appeasing those who fanned religiosity and made Muslims believe their first loyalty was to Islam, not their community of fellow Canadians and Canada.

Read the whole thing.

The War on Christmas just gets more pathetic:

A Belmont, Massachusetts, elementary school canceled a second-grade field trip to see The Nutcracker last week because some parents thought children would be offended by the “religious content” of the ballet.

Butler Elementary School’s PTA cancelled the annual trip, a school tradition for many years, after a few parents expressed concerns that the “questionable content” of the ballet may be offensive to some students.

The questionable content? A Christmas tree on the stage.

(Sidebar: bad satire?)

And now, twenty-three facts about Thanksgiving foods (for one's American friends).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

That and Much, Much More!

The world never ends...

Jian Ghomeshi has decided not to sue his former employer CBC for $55 million:

A $55-million lawsuit launched by Jian Ghomeshi against the CBC last month, after he was fired as host of the radio arts, culture and entertainment program Q, is being withdrawn. ...

Ghomeshi launched the lawsuit against the CBC last month after he was fired from the broadcaster. CBC sought to have it dismissed, saying it was "without merit and an abuse of the court’s process."

Ghomeshi, 47, is being investigated by Toronto police after three women filed complaints alleging he was physically violent without their consent. He has not been charged with any criminal offence.

For people who have nothing to hide, they are sure going about it the wrong way:

Three Western Treaty First Nations say they will "resist" the federal government's order to comply with the financial transparency act by tomorrow or risk losing federal funding.

The government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations bands have until the end of Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors. The grand majority — 498 out of 582 First Nations bands — have complied.

Under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, First Nations had 120 days after the first quarter to comply with the new rules. In August, the government gave those holding out another 120 days to meet the new requirements.

First Nations from Treaties 4, 6 and 7 say the federal government is "threatening to withhold funding for non-essential services on Nov. 26" and that if they still don't comply after that, "funding for essential services will cease on Dec. 12."

A record-breaking number of voters turned up Friday to vote out Shuswap First Nation chief Paul Sam and his ex-wife, councillor Alice Sam, in an election on the band’s reserve near Invermere.

The Sams were ousted after news they had been earning tax-free salaries of more than $200,000. The band’s finances were revealed under a new federal law requiring First Nations to post audited financial statements online.
Genuine protests against dictatorial regimes look like this:

Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested Joshua Wong and Lester Shum, two of the student leaders at the heart of pro-democracy protests that have shaken the Asian financial hub since August, and began swiftly clearing a major demonstration site.

Riot police scuffled with protesters trying to resist attempts to force them off the streets of the gritty Mong Kok district following clashes overnight, Reuters witnesses said.

Hundreds of protesters remained on Nathan Road, at the heart of the protest site in Mong Kok, brandishing yellow banners and chanting for "full democracy" in the former British colony, but were pushed back by the large number of police. After about two hours most of the protesters' tents had been removed.

"You can't defeat the protesters' hearts!" screamed Liu Yuk-lin, a 52-year-old protester in a hard hat holding a yellow umbrella, the symbol of the protest movement, as she stood before lines of police in helmets and goggles.

Mong Kok has been a flashpoint for clashes between students and mobs intent on breaking up the protests, which have posed one of the biggest challenges to China's Communist Party leaders since the crushing of a pro-democracy movement in Beijing in 1989.
This unknown man is brave. This guy is just some douchebag the popular press, with all their self-unawareness, has used as a prop to re-characterise Ferguson as the new Birmingham.

Ferguson is just another sh--hole:

PHOTO: One of the buildings burned to the ground during protests after a grand jurt decided not to indict a police officer in the killing of an unarmed teenager, Nov. 25, 2014, Dellwood, Mo.
Photo taken from here.
This poor woman had a cake shop until it was burned down by rioters. Luckily, there is a happy ending for her.

Wilson said Brown was “swingin’ wildly” and struck him in excess of 10 times in the face, neck and shoulders. ...

Wilson told the grand jury that he still doesn’t know why Brown stopped and came back at him.

“His whole reaction to the whole thing was something I’ve never seen,” the officer said. “I’ve never seen that much aggression so quickly from a simple request to just walk on the sidewalk.”

Wilson fired four times, striking Brown at least once.

“He’s still coming at me, he hadn’t slowed down,” Wilson told the jurors. “I’m backpedaling pretty good because I know if he reaches me, he’ll kill me.”

Brown was “8 to 10 feet away,” when the officer fired another six shots, striking the teen in the head.

“I saw the last one go into him,” Wilson said. “And then when it went into him, the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone.”
Police sources tell us Brown`s Grandmother, Pearlie Gordon, along with Brown`s Cousin Tony Petty, were selling t-shirts and other Michael Brown merchandise.

A police report describes a car pulling up and several people getting out.  One of those people, was reported to be Michael Brown`s Mom, Lesley McSpadden.  A witness described McSpadden yelling ‘You can`t sell this s%$&”  One of the relatives, who was selling, reportedly demanded McSpadden show a document proving she had a patent.

The police report says that`s when an unidentified person with McSpadden assaulted Petty so violently that it resulted in a 911 call.

Germany and Russia hate one another? It's like history repeating itself:

For nearly four hours, Merkel -- joined around midnight by new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker -- tried to get the former KGB agent, a fluent German speaker, to let down his guard and clearly state his intentions.

But all the chancellor got from Putin, officials briefed on the conversation told Reuters, were the same denials and dodges she had been hearing for months.

And now, behold the versatile tater tot!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Post

Answer to the word jumble below...

Busy news day:

Looting reported in Ferguson, Missouri as a grand jury determined that a reason to charge Officer Darren Wilson did not exist.

A federal probe into this matter remains in effect. No word on whether there will a federal probe into other crimes against young black men.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who publicly bristled with Obama in dealing with ISIS, has resigned:

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned on Monday, leaving under pressure as President Barack Obama faces critical national security challenges, including fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and revising plans to exit Afghanistan.

It was the first major change to Obama's Cabinet since his Democrats were routed in midterm elections three weeks ago, and Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, are looking for a new approach from the White house. 

Hagel was appointed less than two years ago as Obama pushed his signature program of winding down wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a process now being upended with U.S. re-engagement in Iraq and greater military cooperation with Kabul.

He had privately expressed frustration to colleagues at the administration’s strategy toward Iraq and Syria and at his lack of influence over the decision-making process, a source familiar with the situation said.

Officials said publicly the decision for him to leave was mutual but privately others said he was forced out. "There’s no question he was fired," said one source with knowledge of the matter.

Hagel raised questions about Obama's strategy toward Syria in an internal policy memo that leaked this fall saying the president's policy was in jeopardy due to its failure to clarify its intentions toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama has insisted the United States can go after Islamic State militants without addressing Assad, who the United States would like to leave power.

Obama is going to be quite vicious in these last two years in office. The mid-term elections were not simply a wake-up call but sirens going off. Obama, who does not want ISIS defeated, and his insistence in deposing Assad as opposed to confronting ISIS head-on and eliminating them is maddening, not just alienating.

Why can't these Tides-funded thugs be arrested en masse?

While the majority were arrested peacefully, at least two protesters face criminal charges. One man was taken into custody for assault after spitting at a police officer and another was arrested for obstruction after interfering with the first arrest, Burnaby RCMP said in a statement.

Among those taken into custody is Tamo Campos, who was joined by grandfather David Suzuki on Sunday when the world-renowned environmental activist travelled to Burnaby to support the demonstrations.

(Sidebar: you may remember that his grandfather had his @$$ handed to him on Australian television.)

Some insight in the Korean left and how not-too-different they are from the Western left:

Thus, what American and European liberals almost always get wrong about the Korean left is how illiberal it is, and how little it has in common with them. The Korean left lacks the liberal passion for protecting the vulnerable. American liberals want to lift restrictions on immigration and spare illegal immigrants from deportation; the South Korean left despises North Korean refugees and heaps abuse on them. It would rather let them die in place than offend Pyongyang by letting them in. Euro-American liberals loathe racism and nationalism; the Korean left propagates and exploits them. Euro-American labor unions fight for decent pay and working conditions globally; the Korean left supports the slavery and exploitation of its fellow Koreans at Kaesong. Traditionally, Euro-American liberals stood for freedom of expression. The Korean left would sacrifice the right of South Koreans to speak nonviolently, and of North Koreans to freedom of information, to appease the totalitarians in Pyongyang …

Thus, what American and European liberals almost always get wrong about the Korean left is how illiberal it is, and how little it has in common with them. The Korean left lacks the liberal passion for protecting the vulnerable. American liberals want to lift restrictions on immigration and spare illegal immigrants from deportation; the South Korean left despises North Korean refugees and heaps abuse on them. It would rather let them die in place than offend Pyongyang by letting them in. Euro-American liberals loathe racism and nationalism; the Korean left propagates and exploits them. Euro-American labor unions fight for decent pay and working conditions globally; the Korean left supports the slavery and exploitation of its fellow Koreans at Kaesong. Traditionally, Euro-American liberals stood for freedom of expression. The Korean left would sacrifice the right of South Koreans to speak nonviolently, and of North Koreans to freedom of information, to appease the totalitarians in Pyongyang - See more at:
I wouldn't accuse the Western left but being dissimilar to the Korean left. Who publicly mourned for Kim Jong-Il when he died? Who makes universities into the pits of screeching censorship and idiocy they are now (SEE: practically anything that goes on at a university. I mean- hold up a pro-life sign while wearing an Israeli flag as a cape and see how far that gets you.)?


And now, studying dogs' brains:

That's right — scientists are actually studying the brains of dogs. And what the studies show is welcome news for all dog owners: Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Post

Look closely...

Police in Burnaby, British Columbia gradually move to execute a court injunction to remove activists from a Kinder Morgan work site:

Burnaby RCMP say a total of 34 anti-pipeline protesters have been arrested and charged with civil contempt since police began arresting people Thursday morning for defying a court injunction to stay clear of Kinder Morgan's work site.

Twenty-six people were arrested Thursday and eight today. ...

Kinder Morgan is proposing to bore a tunnel under the mountain for the rerouting and expansion of its existing Trans Mountain pipeline.

The company obtained a court injunction last Friday to have protesters removed from the site, but police did not step in to enforce it until Thursday morning.

Would these people "protest" against much-needed oil for free?

Since 2009, Tides has paid out $20 million to at least 70 aboriginal and green groups that oppose pipelines, including the proposed Kinder   Morgan expansion. Meanwhile, oil production in Texas has almost doubled and there’s no multi-million-dollar campaign against that.

Look at this interactive chart that details the people and organisations that have a vested interest in shutting down this pipeline.

Canadian veterans join the Kurds in their fight against ISIS:

A number of Canadian military veterans say they'll be enlisting with the growing ranks of foreign fighters who have joined the Kurdish battle against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Perhaps they will meet a few familiar faces and then blow them away.

Canadian Olympian Alexa Loo calls Chinese-only signs "ridiculous":

"I believe in inclusivity and as such we have to have signs that people can understand. The whole point of having a sign is that people communicate. Well, if you're not communicating in a common language, what's the point of having this sign? It's ridiculous."

"I think sometimes there is a fear around putting up an English sign, because now, there is an expectation I have to speak English, as the shop owner. And there is a real fear there if you are not comfortable operating in that language. However you are never going to get better if you don't try."

This common sense may be catching.

There is a reason why countries adopt official language laws. A common language helps eliminate the needless friction and frustration that persistence and ignorance maintain.

If the Republicans had any stones, they would start the impeachment process against Obama:

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday sued over the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, according to court documents.

But of course:

In exploring what could have been done differently, the new report honed in on his mother, Nancy Lanza, who backed her son's resistance to medication and from the 10th grade on kept him at home, where he was surrounded by an arsenal of firearms and spent long hours playing violent video games. ...
"Records indicate that the school system cared about AL's success but also unwittingly enabled Mrs. Lanza's preference to accommodate and appease AL through the educational plan's lack of attention to social-emotional support, failure to provide related services, and agreement to AL's plan of independent study and early graduation at age 17," wrote the report's authors.

How many counter-productive gun control measures were entertained when the answers were apparent the entire time?

ISIS are a pack of b@$#@rds:

Sabreen is 15. When Kurdish forces protecting Yazidi towns retreated in early August, IS fighters took her to a school in Tel Afar near the Syrian border with several hundred other women. There, IS took all children between the ages of five and 10 from their mothers. When the women screamed and tried to take back their children, the gunmen fired in the air and said they would kill them if they didn’t stay back, she says.

Sabreen also ended up in Syria, in an isolated farmhouse near Raqqa.

“Lots of men used to come and look around and when they would see a girl they liked they would say ‘I want to buy that one,’” she says. “There was an emir who was taking money for the girls – $1,000 to $1,500.” Sabreen says she escaped from her Palestinian and then Saudi "owners" and is now living with an uncle’s family near Dohuk.

The uncle, Hamid, said he was sending his sons to retrieve another distant relative who is believed to be the only surviving member of her family. He raised $5,000 – a year’s income for many families here – to buy her back from Tel Afar through a middleman. 

“Suddenly you get a phone call out of the blue saying ‘We have your daughter.’ They don’t tell you their names or anything like that,” says Hamid. “Or ‘We have your girl. We want this amount of money.'”

“If you can find someone you can trust, that man goes and says, 'I want this girl to marry,' and he pays it straight to IS,” he says. “You can’t say ‘I want to buy three girls back’ – they won’t give them to you like that.”

Hamid and others said most families with missing wives and daughters were trying to raise money to buy back them back. He says they paid $10,000 for the first girl rescued in the family but that price has now dropped.

“People were willing to pay any amount of money,” says Hamid. “But now in my own family, we have about 30 girls missing. If you have to pay $5,000 for each one of them … you will not be able to buy all of them back.” 

While IS has murdered members of all religious groups during its takeover of northern Iraq and systematically stolen cash and property, it has meted out special punishment to the Yazidis – whom it considers pagans.

Bob Geldof is an idiot:

The answer to the rhetorical question posed by the Band Aid single, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’, is broadly yes. Christmas Day is a public holiday everywhere in Africa except Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Somalia, although countries have widely differing customs associated with the event.

Culture: it matters no matter how many stupid songs based on fiction one produces.

And now, the ever-resourceful Japanese use IKEA bed for their cats.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mid-Week Post

Damn you, global warming...

Retaliation for a vicious attack in Jerusalem during which four rabbis were killed in cold blood and seven others were injured:

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to win “a battle for Jerusalem” after four rabbis and a policeman were killed in a frenzied attack on a synagogue.

The attack during morning prayers in the west Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Nof was carried out by two Palestinian cousins wielding meat cleavers and a pistol. They were shot dead by police at the synagogue.

Three of the fatally wounded were born in the United States and the fourth was a British-born grandfather. A police man later died of his injuries and at least seven others were wounded.

Mr Netanyahu declared Israel is “in a battle over Jerusalem, our eternal capital” after the bloodshed and vowed to “settle the score with every terrorist and their dispatchers”.

However, he warned that "no-one may take the law into their own hands, even if spirits are riled and blood is boiling".

The Israeli PM also denounced what he described as “shouts of joy” from the dozens who celebrated in the streets of Gaza after the killing spree.

In an act of retaliation, he also ordered the demolition of the homes of the attackers.

Israel handles these things because Israel.

Related: Obama proves what a piece of crap he is:

"At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace," said Obama ...

(Sidebar: how did rabbis ask to be butchered with meat cleavers?)

The US Senate votes against the Keystone Pipeline:

After a day of emotional debate in which Canada’s oil was either praised for contributing to U.S. energy security or disparaged for harming the environment, the United States Senate failed to pass legislation Tuesday evening to allow construction the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas.

The bill was one vote short of the 60 needed to force President Barack Obama to take a stand on the Canadian project after six years of regulatory reviews and five environmental studies, all of which concluded there would be no significant impact.
What’s in it for us? The dirtiest oil in the world, so Canadians can make more money?
(Sidebar: Why, Senator Markey, you say that like it's a bad thing. Do you like being in a poor, has-been nation like the US?)

Obama, in his efforts to be a rabid rat trapped in a corner, is going to do his utmost to make his last two years miserable for the American electorate that twice voted him in.

Oh, look:

As early as next week, President Barack Obama is expected to issue an executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, a use of power that would be unprecedented in U.S. history.

Speaking of stupid voters:

People had plenty of time to ask questions about McGuinty, Wynne and Benjamin Levin's (the former, one may remember, is due in court on November 26th relating to charges of producing child pornography) controversial plan to groom children but instead ignored the issue and voted accordingly.

They have the government they voted for, as skin-crawling as it is.

How is losing winning?

Prime Minister Harper's Conservatives won both federal byelections last night, in Whitby-Oshawa near Toronto and in Yellowhead, near Edmonton. ...

Turnout in both ridings was low, as is typical of byelections, with a 31.8 per cent turnout in Whitby-Oshawa and just 16 per cent in Yellowhead. 

 So they all ran out in droves not to vote Liberal, did they?

Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest fund-raisers of terrorism, is afraid that ISIS will incite sectarian violence in its borders:

Tighter security in Saudi Arabia has made it hard for Islamic State to target the government so the militants are instead trying to incite a sectarian conflict via attacks on the Shi'ite Muslim minority, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.

Hhmmm... an embattled Saudi Arabia would leave a nice vacuum to fill for Qatar which funds ISIS.

British Columbia will allow alcohol sales in grocery stores next year:

The B.C. government announced Wednesday that the province's grocery stores will be permitted to sell alcohol beginning April 1, 2015.

Other changes going into effect that day affect government B.C. Liquor Stores, which will be allowed to offer walk-in coolers, to stay open for longer hours and to open Sundays. ...

Under the policy, liquor stores will be able to relocate their operations to grocery stores, or provide a connecting entrance from an adjacent location.

However, grocery products and liquor will be separated in order to prevent illegal sale to minors.

There will be no minimum size requirement for the liquor retail space within the grocery store. Minimum pricing regulations will remain in effect.

Well, that solves the convenience problem.

And now, the Kingdom of Gondar.

Monday, November 17, 2014

For A Monday

Beginning the week anew...

It's beginning to look a lot like the time before Christmas:

Areas around Toronto will see daytime temps around the freezing mark drop to -6C Monday evening, feeling like -15 with the windchill.

Windchill values could make it feel like -17 in Hamilton during the overnight hours.

That trend is expected to continue into the following day.

"It will feel like January on Tuesday," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.
Snow squall warnings and special weather statements are in effect in southern Ontario.

Damn you, global warming!

Calling Peter Kassig 'Abdul Rahman-Kassig' does what exactly?

Even while the media is describing Peter Kassig, the ISIS hostage who apparently converted to Islam in captivity and was beheaded, by his American name, the Obama statement calls him by his Muslim name.

“Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter,” Obama’s statement reads.

“While ISIL revels in the slaughter of innocents, including Muslims, and is bent only on sowing death and destruction… ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”

Most of the hostages had in fact converted to Islam, with a exceptions like Steven Satloff. It’s understandable that his family would have wanted to push the “He’s a Muslim” line in the hopes of saving his life (a futile effort) but it’s truly despicable for Obama to exploit the murder of an American in order to do public relations for Islam.

The interesting media phenomenon is that Westerners who convert to Islam and become terrorists are almost never referred to by their Muslim names. Meanwhile Kassig who was killed by Muslims is.

Peter Kassig was killed by the very people who embodied Islamism and Obama knows it.

He does not want ISIS defeated.

Strong-arm tactics the Liberal party uses:

After challenging Justin Trudeau for the Liberal leadership in 2013, David Bertschi is now being blocked from running as one of Trudeau's general election candidates in a move he says is "a purely political decision that came directly from the top."

Bertschi was running for nomination in the Ottawa area riding of Ottawa-Orleans. Several Liberals active in the riding said he was poised to beat the only other challenger, retired general Andrew Leslie.

Leslie would be one of Trudeau's star candidates should he run. He currently serves as co-chair of an international affairs council set up to advise Trudeau on foreign policy and defence issues.

Trudeau is attempting to staff his party with star candidates. Would Andrew Leslie advise Trudeau to stand up to Putin?

Wouldn't count on it.

Normally, Vladimir Putin would face down any international criticism but he did leave the G20 summit early. Being a pariah to the West would only serve him well in Russia but the declining economy is too much even for the former KGB agent.

Australians still find something funny in almost anything:

The Queensland Police Service posted a photograph of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s G20 motorcade to Facebook over the weekend, taking the opportunity to tease Canada about some of our greatest hits.

"They have given the world Celine, Bieber and Nickelback but we’ll still help with the Canadian PM’s #G20 motorcade," reads the post, accompanied by the hashtag #nohardfeelings.

A poorly implemented program that costs money with no positive results can only be the result of a big, bloated government that can't even manage its own books:

A crisis is brewing in childcare as full-day kindergarten pushes daycares out of business.

Daycare operators blame the Liberals' roll-out of their controversial full-day kindergarten (FDK) programs for forcing them to shut down.

Herb Goldsmith has been in the childcare business since 1979. His company, Edukids, owns or operates 21 centres throughout the GTA.

He says the FDK program was poorly implemented, with the government insisting on rolling it out for both junior and senior kindergarten children.

"If they'd taken the time to figure out what the ramifications would be and implemented it slowly, with senior kindergarten first, all these centres wouldn't be closing," he said.

It's left parents with younger kids scrambling for care.

With the focus now on infants and toddlers, many daycares require major retrofits, which some can't afford. Goldsmith says his company is large enough to move resources around, but smaller operators are going broke.

"The province should never have taken both groups at the same time out of the childcare field. If they had just taken five year olds, there's a good chance some of these centres could have survived," he said.

While the government provided funding to the non-profit sector for retrofits, the commercial sector was left out.

Goldsmith knows of nine centres in Durham Region alone that have had to close. A centre in Whitby will close at the end of the month.

Compounding the problem, the province is now insisting schools provide after-school programs.
Independent home-based childcare providers are also feeling the squeeze.

Heidi Higgins of the Independent Childcare Providers of Ontario says changes proposed in a new Bill 10 will make it even more difficult for independent operators to continue.

They're already regulated by the Day Nurseries Act and are unlicensed only because legislation doesn't allow them to be licensed.

Current regulations allow her to care for five children under the age of 10, not including her own children, with no restrictions on age.

New regulations would permit five children under the age of 13. That includes her own children - and no more than two children under the age of 2.

"This is going to reduce availability," the Ottawa mom said in an interview.

"From a common sense standpoint, at the age of 12, a child can go to St. John's ambulance and get a babysitting certificate. That child is gone most of the day - but has to be counted in the numbers," she said.

I see no reason to bolster a reformed myth because the UN thinks it's a good idea:

Stephen Harper said Sunday that Canada is preparing to make a contribution to a UN fund that helps poor countries cope with the impact of climate change, a move that follows a $3-billion donation from the United States. He did not specify an amount.

The prime minister, speaking at the end of Group of 20 leaders' summit in Australia, again lauded the recent deal between China and the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions but gave no indication he would commit to bigger reductions on behalf of Canada.

And now, humourous signs in the London Underground.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday Night Special

funny high five husky
It's Saturday. Let's high-five.
First of all, robot sword-fighting:

Next, that which should melt our pre-Christmas hearts:

Gracie Lynn was at a Bob Evans restaurant in Evansville on Wednesday when she recognized him.
Santa was sitting at a nearby booth. And he was having breakfast alone.

Gracie asked her mom if she could go keep Santa company. Mom caught the moment on camera and sent it to us. ...

Lindsey says her daughter and Santa talked like they'd known each other for years.

Thanksgiving recipes to make in a slow cooker.

A brief history of the enormously fun "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.

Saturday Post

Too much going on in the world...

Though a new Keystone pipeline bill passed in the House, Obama swears he will not allow it to go through:

A Keystone bill swept to easy approval in the House Friday, with 31 Democrats joining the Republican majority, and a parallel bill is scheduled for Senate action next week, with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) of Louisiana as a lead sponsor. (Until now Senate majority leader Harry Reid has kept the issue off the Senate floor, in a bid to protect Democrats from a divisive vote.)

Senator Landrieu hopes that passage of a measure to move ahead with the pipeline, with her as high-visibility sponsor, will help persuade Louisiana voters to keep her in office in a December runoff election.

It’s not clear if it will pass (the Senate vote will be close). But if it does and Obama vetoes it, he will look like he’s casting a member of his own party adrift at a pivotal moment, as well as blocking a project the public supports.

A veto would make it easier for Rep. Bill Cassidy, the Republican running against Landrieu, to argue that Democrats are thwarting job creation and energy supplies, and that Landrieu’s efforts can’t fix the problem.

A political argument for a presidential veto, however, is that Landrieu would remain an underdog in the runoff, even if Keystone is approved. A veto would allow Obama to keep his options on Keystone open. 

Traveling in Myanmar, Obama told reporters he “won’t budge” on his position that a Keystone review process including the State Department still hasn’t run its course.

Critics of the president’s policy say a State Department review is already in hand, with estimates of relatively small environmental risks. On carbon emissions, a key concern of environmentalists, the State Department concluded that the Canadian tar-sand oil is likely to be produced whether it ends up flowing through the Keystone pipeline or is transported by some other means.

It's time for impeachment.

At the G20 conference in Brisbane, Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin with this:

“I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Harper told Putin ...

... which is all very well and good except that no one has shot down a Russian jet or sunk a Russian warship yet.

The Australians are impressed, however:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has earned some love from the Australian media for his dustup with Russia's Vladimir Putin on the first day of the Group of 20 summit.

All-news networks and Australia's Sunday Mail reported on the prime minister's bold admonishment to Putin to "get out of Ukraine" at a private leaders' retreat ahead of the official opening of the summit earlier this weekend.

"Handshake came with a slapdown for Russian leader," read the headline of the Sunday Mail piece. It featured a photo of a beaver chomping on the Russian flag.

Australia's Business Insider also reported that Harper showed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott "how to shirtfront the Russian president." Shirtfront is an Australian expression for smack down.

Abbott will get around to "shirtfronting" eventually.

Artist's rendition of former boxer Tony Abbott finishing off Vladimir "Gentleman Jim" Putin after two rounds.

You mean that deal didn't include your parents' freedom?

What’s the next step for you?

What can be done has been done, what with Harper raising this issue at the highest levels of government. I don’t know what else is left to do, except for us as a family to keep making sure people don’t forget about it. That’s our goal. But seeing progress like this happen has definitely been a big help.

Russia will return North Koreans:

A new governmental agreement drafted by Russia and North Korea will see Moscow hand over Koreans who have fled the totalitarian regime in their native country.

The deal comes at a time when Russia is strengthening ties with the isolationist leadership in Pyongyang, apparently to snub the United States, said Andrei Lankov, a leading Russian expert on Korea.

The agreement may yet prove to be a formality, experts said — but Russia has handed over escaped North Koreans before.

Russia has similar agreements with many countries and blocs, including Ukraine and the EU. But the North Korean deal stands out because the UN has explicitly advised against the forcible repatriation of North Koreans, who face jail and even execution for fleeing the motherland.

The agreement, available on the Russian government's website, outlines expulsion rules and procedures for illegal immigrants from North Korea, whose leadership has been accused by the UN of crimes against humanity.

The same rules would apply to Russians illegally entering the far eastern state, though experts polled for this story could not recall a single such instance.

An Ottawa professor was extradited to France and will stand trial for the 1980 synagogue bomb attack that killed four people:

Hassan Diab was charged with first-degree murder and other offences in France on Saturday after being extradited in connection with a decades-old terrorism case, and his lawyer says the former Ottawa sociology professor is ready to prove in court there is no real evidence against him.

Diab was removed from Canada on Friday, a day after the Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal of the extradition order.

French authorities accuse Diab of involvement in the anti-Semitic 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four and injured dozens — accusations he has long denied.

The plot thickens:

The man who shot and killed a Canadian soldier in October and then stormed the country's Parliament with a rifle before being shot down himself, had taken a tour of the building less than three weeks earlier, a parliamentary spokeswoman said on Friday.

The information suggests that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Muslim convert who struggled with drug addiction, may have planned the Oct. 22 attack well in advance.