Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Post

Some quick thoughts.

Obama was never a friend to Canada. Do you believe it now?

Nebraska and TransCanada Corp reached a deal Monday on finding a new route for the stalled Keystone XL pipeline that would steer clear of environmentally sensitive lands in the state.

Under pressure from green groups, the U.S. State Department ordered the company last week to find a new route for the line in a decision that set back the $7-billion pipeline project by more than a year — until after the U.S. presidential election.

The pipeline would deliver 700,000 barrels a day of crude from Alberta’s oilsands to refineries on the Texas coast. But environmentalists strongly oppose the project, because of the route, concerns about spills and carbon emissions from production of oilsands crude.

In the deal with Nebraska, the state would pay for the new studies to find a route that would avoid the Sand Hills region and the Ogallala aquifer, which provides water for millions in the area....

The news came as Premier Alison Redford of Alberta was in the U.S. Monday, saying that a “more sophisticated” approach is needed on selling the pipeline in the U.S., one in which the province will stress its work on environmental stewardship and renewable energy.

Still stinging from the Obama administration’s decision last week to delay the project until 2013, Redford said it’s clear Albertans are being hurt by the province’s image in the U.S. as the Texas of the north.

“My point is that it’s not only about trade. Even if your objective is to ensure there is greater economic development or greater opportunities . . . you don’t get there by coming and banging your first on the table and saying, ‘Boy this makes good business sense,’” Redford said during the first day of a two-day U.S. mission. “It has got to be a more sophisticated conversation.”

The Alberta premier said she wants to “tell the story about what Alberta is actually doing” on energy policy — including investing in renewable energy and carbon sequestration projects.

“It’s not to meet a particular agenda on oilsands in order to ensure everyone decides that oilsands . . . matters more than anything else to Alberta.”

Redford was to meet Monday night with Republican House Speaker John Boehner — who has been a strong supporter of the Keystone XL project — and has meetings planned Tuesday morning with several other members of Congress. She will travel later Tuesday to New York.

“I am not here as the premier of Alberta to lobby particularly for this (Keystone XL) project,” she said. “So I have not sought out meetings with political leadership who are opposed to this project for the purpose of trying to convince them they should be supportive of this project.” There is a tendency in the U.S. — and in parts of Canada — to think of Alberta exclusively as a producer and marketer of oilsands, Redford said.

“It is not who we are, and we will be telling a much different story.”

This pipeline means jobs and security, particularly for Alberta which is why Alison Redford should be a honey badger about this or leave office. The talk of giving China oil is just wrong-headed as that octopus doesn't deserve our oil so that it may continue being the aforementioned octopus.

It's like he wants to be convicted:

Shafia, his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their oldest son Hamed may not have been the sharpest knives in the drawer — even after their arrests on July 22, 2009, as they sat in a police car waiting to be driven from Montreal to Kingston, they couldn’t keep their lips zipped — but they surely rank among the cruelest.

Once, for instance, Yahya appeared to be minimally ruing the deaths of her two youngest daughters, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13.

“I know Zainab was already done,” she said flatly of the 19-year-old who had run away two months before her death, “but I wish two others weren’t.”

That mild hint of regret or self-doubt launched Shafia into one of his most vicious screeds.

“No, Tooba, they were treacherous,” he snapped.

“They were treacherous. They betrayed both themselves and us. Like this woman standing on the side of the road and if you stop the car, she would go with you anywhere.”...

Collectively, the conversations show a shattering lack of any emotion other than rage at the girls for dishonouring the family name. Any suggestion of kindness or empathy is reserved for the surviving children — there are but a few of these — or for themselves, as when Shafia carried on about how much the parents had done for their children.

Because very few here have the intestinal fortitude to tell those from emotionally retarded cultures that killing one's daughters is wrong, let's take a moment to do so now. Not all cultures are equal. This might sound painful to hear but it's true. Any culture that sees women as chattel who can be killed for some ridiculous reason as "honour" is an emotionally backward one and we should be able to say it and qualify it by punishing those who would murder their female relatives.

Throwing money around and white guilt are not effective methods of keeping aboriginal students in school or producing results:

As the federal government’s Aboriginal Affairs department shifted its efforts to boosting First Nations’ businesses, child rights advocates criticized Ottawa’s funding for schools on reserves, alleging officials are shortchanging First Nations youth.

While Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan announced new federal funding to aboriginal businesses in Ottawa Monday, critics released a new report calling on the United Nations to review Canada’s treatment of aboriginal children who are forced to attend schools in “deplorable conditions.”

Each child on a First Nation receives between $2,000 and $3,000 less a year than children at other Canadian schools, say the authors of a shadow report to Canada’s recent submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

They say the disparity has led to a lack of resources for aboriginal students, affecting everything from libraries and computers to issues such as overcrowding and declining graduation rates.

I once lived in a northern town with an aboriginal majority. No one went to the school library unless they were forced to and never used the books for anything other than scribbling on or ripping out the pages. School equipment was routinely destroyed or stolen. Parents often didn't care. The parents who did care made damn sure their children never mouthed off to the teachers but these were few and far in between.

Change the culture, change the outcome.

A frightening report:

First is the burgeoning illegal trafficking in human organs where people are prepared to pay handsome black market prices for a no-questions-asked kidney, liver, or heart. Unscrupulous middlemen prey not only on the potential recipient, but also on the poor and vulnerable who are often cheated out of organs for a pittance. Nowhere is this practice more odious than in China, where organs are harvested from the corpses of freshly killed prisoners and sold to recipients anxious to survive at any cost. Legal regulation may lessen the demand for available organs but is also likely to drive unethical procurers deeper underground....

Another more chilling alternative has been offered recently by several Belgian doctors attempting to increase the number of organs available for transplantation: Harvesting the organs of euthanized patients. Euthanasia is legal in Belgium and most often occurs in the patient's home. However, the Belgian doctors saw an opportunity to determine the exact moment of death, thereby providing optimum conditions for removing the euthanized patient's organs. They describe in detail their procedure from admission of the patient about to be euthanized, how the living patient was medically prepared for organ harvesting after death, how the patient was killed and how the organs were removed by a waiting surgical team in an operating theater adjoining the death room. It's a clinically grizzly read, made all the more chilling by the assurance that the euthanized patients had agreed to have their organs harvested after being killed. Whether this can be classified as an act of altruism on the part of the patient is debatable.

My God, the humanity! The snowmen humanity!

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