Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Wonderland

Yes, I realise I am butchering Christmas carols but so is Mariah Carey. Yell at her.

Mummies aren't just for Egyptians or mountain-bound Peruvians anymore:

Four centuries after his death, King Henry IV of France is being laid to rest. Or at least his head is.

A team of multidisciplinary researchers announced today (Dec. 14) that a mummified head and its brain contents long thought to belong to the beloved king really are his. The head, which has been in the hands of private owners, had been removed from Henry IV's body by revolutionaries in 1793 during a symbolic desecration of the tombs of the monarchs of France.

Researchers, led by forensic medical examiner and osteo-archaeologist Philipp Charlier of University Hospital R Poincare in Garches, France, compared the head with sculptures and portraits of Henry, who had been assassinated in 1610, and digitally reconstructed the face. The result was a dead ringer for the beloved king. 

Pretty cool.

The transparency game works if you are actually transparent:

The national organization representing Canada's First Nations chiefs passed a resolution on Tuesday that requires elected band officials to disclose their salaries and other funds to their members. 

The Assembly of First Nations adopted the resolution that affirms "transparent and accountable decision-making" and calls on chiefs and councillors to "lead by example" by making audits, public accounts, salaries, honouraria, expenses, and finances available to community members -- but not necessarily to the rest of Canadians and with no legal framework. 

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, from Soowahlie First Nation, moved the motion, which was adopted by consensus. 

"The purpose of this resolution is to just put it right on the table. The only way I know how to defeat lies, is to tell the truth," he said. AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo lashed out at critics who have recently publicized exorbitant salary figures. 

"Our critics try to brand us as irresponsible. They smear the more than 3,300 chiefs and councillors across the country by exaggerating the pay of a small few through phoney math," Mr. Atleo told an assembled crowd of chiefs, elders and delegates at a meeting in Quebec. 

"We will set the standards of transparency and accountability for our people -- not Ottawa bureaucrats," he said. 

Mr. Atleo's comments come in the wake of revelations from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which--using calculations based on figures obtained through Access to Information -- reported dozens of reserve politicians were paid hundreds of thousands in salaries, with 80 earning more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The AFN on Tuesday released its own figures that rebutted the federation's calculations. It said that travel and per diems were included in figures for First Nations leaders but not for other politicians, and it lowered the number of chiefs making more than provincial premiers from CTF's estimated 160 to 21 -- "an extremely small fraction." 

The report, called The Straight Goods on First Nations Salaries, also rebuts the number of officials making more than $100,000 in "taxable equivalent" income, lowering the number from 600 to 114. 

Kevin Gaudet, the national director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, stood by his previously released figures and said the AFN is "attacking" its own people. 

"I wish they'd focus on making the information public and moving forward and improving the welfare of the average aboriginal instead of wasting their time," he said. 

"They've been compelled to disclose this information in the past and they've haven't complied with that obligation before. We suspect that the only way this will ever be made public is through a law," he said, adding that the information must be made available online. 

They were caught and are desperate to defend their abuse of power.

Apparently Mr. Harper has packed his spine with his summer clothes:

A bill that would make coerced abortion a criminal offence has once again reignited debate over Canada's lack of abortion legislation, and politicians' reluctance to discuss the topic. 

Bill C-510, proposed by antiabortion Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge, still has a long way to go before it ever becomes a law, even if it should pass second reading in the House on Wednesday. The bill would make it illegal for anyone to coerce a woman into an abortion through threats of violence, withdrawal of financial resources or a place to live. It would have no impact on abortion providers nor would it put legal limits on abortion. 

Mr. Bruinooge, whose riding is in Winnipeg, acknowledges there are already general laws against coercion and making threats, but feels a specific prohibition against coercing pregnant women into abortion needs to be spelled out as a message to society. 

"Within our society there is a culture that suggests that abortion is really a procedure that is no different than any other medical procedure," he said. "However, it's my contention that the procedure impacts women in significant ways -- and so applying pressure to a woman to end the life of her child is wrong and the law has to make that clear." 

Mr. Bruinooge said the bill, also known as Roxanne's Law, was a reaction to the murder of Winnipeg constituent Roxanne Fernando, who was beaten to death by three men because she refused to have an abortion. Her body was found in a frozen ditch outside the city a few days after she vanished. 

Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, has already said his government would not support the bill, reflecting the unease the Tories have of being tied to what looks like a social-conservative cause.

Pro-abortion melodrama in five, four....


Embarrassed officials at the Luton Islamic Center defended their decision not to report Taimour Abdulwahab to police after his extremist views alienated worshippers in this small city north of London.

That decision became important when Abdulwahab blew himself up Saturday on a busy street in Stockholm, injuring two people and endangering many more — and, once again focusing unwanted attention on Luton, a nondescript city of 200,000 with a large Muslim population.
Abdulwahab, who died in the blast, did not attract much attention in Luton, but he did alarm mosque elders with fiery rhetoric about what he believed was a concerted attack on Islam led by the United States.

Farasat Latif, the mosque secretary, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that officials would have told police about Abdulwahab if he had shown signs of violence or instability.

"It's a judgment call," Latif said. "You have to give them space to express their views. We don't stop people coming to our mosques because they have beliefs that are unsavoury."

He said mosque officials have to gauge an individual's level of anger reporting him or her to authorities.

"If they think it's OK to kill individual civilians, you have to call the police," he said "But he never showed violent tendencies — just harsh criticism of the Muslim heads of states, like in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for being too pally pally with the United States while America is decimating Iraq."

A website affiliated with al-Qaida said Tuesday that Abdulwahab was targeting a newspaper linked to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad but one of his bombs exploded too soon.

A writer on the Shumokh al-Islam website also wrote that one of the six gas cylinders in the bomber's car exploded prematurely. The writer said the bomber then tried to escape but one of the bombs strapped to his body also exploded too soon.

Neither the writer nor the newspaper was named. Several Swedish papers published the cartoons but Swedish police have declined to say whether any newspapers were the actual target.

Mosque officials say they confronted Abdulwahab about his strident views, prompting him to storm out of the mosque in anger several years ago, but they did not notify authorities.

If Muslims wish to truly combat the extremism they say is not a part of their culture, then they have to mean it, not pretend they mean it or act shocked when something happens. That means when someone threatens to kill others, you call the cops. This self-serving deflection only raises further doubts about the Islamic community's ability and will to prevent violence. I don't think the will is there.

What this guy said (more or less):

Perhaps because one tendency in the West, particularly after 9/11, has been to answer Muslim accusations of injustice (and even real attacks) with an exaggerated declaration of regard. It is guiltily offered as if in embarrassed compensation, inspired by a desire not to appear to tar Islam with the fervent claims made by its most violent adherents. 

Related: who wears the pants in the house and who gets whipped for it.  (WARNING: extremely shocking)

And now the Christmas segment....

Kwanzaa is the L. Ron Hubbard of holidays. What Africans actually do for Christmas.

An Argentinian archbishop decries Santa (but doesn't kick him out of Tienanmen Square):

A Roman Catholic archbishop surprised his parishioners in Argentina by telling the children that Santa Claus was not real, but instead a commercialized symbol of Christmas.

"That's not Christmas," Archbishop Fabriciano Sigampa of the northern city of Resistencia said in mass, insisting that children should not confuse celebrating the birth of Christ "with a fat man dressed in red."

Sigampa's ire was aroused by plans for a snow covered cabin in the city's main square where a Father Christmas figure would hear children's wishes and receive donated toys to be given out to poor children.

"Surely, in the coming days there will be a deluge of advertisements after they inaugurate the house where a fat man dressed in red lives. And we should not confuse, we should not confuse Christmas with that."

He said children "should know that, in reality, the gifts come from the efforts of their parents and with the help of Jesus."

Please note that Archbishop Sigampa did not say that Christmas should be banned the way that Oliver Cromwell did, but rather  that is Christmas is, indeed, the Mass of Christ and not a day where a fat man in a red suit (who was a commercial symbol) hands out toys. Nor did he say that children shouldn't get toys but that, in truth, the parents get them.

I'd save my ammo for real humbugs.

Food forbidden for Christmas? You decide.


Anonymous said...

Lutefish? Eww. I think mushroom soup and corn should also be banned.

Osumashi Kinyobe said...