Monday, March 09, 2015

Monday Post

Quickly now...

Whatever you do, don't build a pipeline:

The federal government defended its efforts to boost rail safety Monday in the wake of a fiery derailment in northern Ontario that has stoked concerns over the transportation of crude oil by train.

Last Saturday's derailment of a CN train near Gogama was the second such incident near the community about 80 kilometres south of Timmins in less than a month, and the local member of provincial parliament said it left residents on edge.

Well, this is embarrassing:

The RCMP has searched offices of the top Ontario Provincial Police union leaders as part of a criminal investigation, prompting the senior officials to step aside.

Ontario Provincial Police Association president Jim Christie and vice-president Martin Bain have taken voluntary leaves of absence following the RCMP search of their offices in Barrie on Friday, the union said in a statement Monday.

That's curious because I remember a substitute drama teacher's father riding about with a German helmet and giving the Nazi salute during the war:

In 1939, the MS St. Louis was turned away from Canada.  915 Jewish refugees were sent back to Europe to face the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps.  This is a stain on our nation’s history.  A time when the popular thought on Jewish immigration to Canada was “none is too many.”

Luckily, since that horrendous crime against humanity, Canada has become a welcoming mat for those who face persecution and genocide elsewhere.  The way we are today will never make up for the sins of the past.  But we can all be proud of what our nation has become. 

Almost all of us…

Justin Trudeau inexplicably compared the Conservative government’s policies with the anti-Semitic immigration policies of the 1930s and ‘40s.

“So we should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a ‘none is too many’ immigration policy toward Jews in the ’30s and ’40s being used today, to raise fears against Muslims today,” Trudeau said. 

What Trudeau is referring to is the Conservatives’ policy to ban the niqab during citizenship ceremonies.  One could legitimately oppose the Harper government’s decision to force all new citizens to show their face at citizenship ceremonies.  Although many Canadians, and in fact many Muslims, will agree with the government’s decision on this, it is possible to have a legitimate grievance with it.  Justin Trudeau’s hyperbole, and his comparing something that is quite legitimate to the fate that awaited those 915 refugees as they returned to Europe, is simply beyond the pale.
Whatever it takes to win, eh, Justin?

Oh, dear:

Women provide 66% of the work, produce 50% of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property. We can change this.” ...

Amazingly enough, most of this factoid — the 66 percent of work, 10 percent of income and 1 percent of property — dates back to some very fuzzy research from the late 1970s. Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociology professor, in 2011 traced it to a journal published by the International Labor Organization in 1978. Without any sourcing, the journal made this assertion:

“A world profile on women, using selected economic and social indicators, reveals that women constitute one half of the world population and one third of the official labor force; perform nearly two-thirds of work hours; but according to some estimates receive only one-tenth of the world income and possess less than one-hundredth of world property.”

So you can see right away that, whatever the provenance of this figure, it is surely somewhat dated nearly four decades later, especially given the movement of women into the workforce in many industrialized countries.

In 2007, Krishna Ahooja-Patel, an Indian lawyer who had worked for the United Nations for 25 years, wrote a book, “Development Has A Woman’s Face: Insights from Within the U.N,” in which she revealed she was responsible for the statistic.

We’ve embedded a copy of the relevant text at the end of the column, but her explanation is maddeningly imprecise. She says she relied on “various UN statistics,” “available global data,” and “fragmentary indicators at the time.” As Cohen put it, the statistics turned out to be “a guess based on an extrapolation wrapped round an estimate.” Yet Ahooja-Patel even suggested that women might own “much lower” than 1 percent of world assets.


In 2010, encouraged by a provincial initiative to encourage green energy, Blind River arranged to borrow $49.5-million from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. CMHC was offering low-interest loans for infrastructure projects as part of the federal government’s Economic Action Plan.

The town already had its own small hydro dam and a wind turbine. This loan would allow Blind River to build a massive solar farm that would create jobs – much needed in the area – and give its people low-cost, renewable and clean energy. All very admirable.

Quickly, however, the best-laid plans began to go wrong. The solar farm couldn’t get approval to hook into the provincial grid. Solving the conductivity problem would prove hugely expensive, so the town looked for an alternative. ...

(Merci beaucoup)

Are people really that stupid?

Two American tourists have been accused of carving their initials into Rome's Colosseum.
The women, from California, scratched the letters J and N with a coin in the 2,000-year-old stone of Rome's arena, local newspaper Il Messaggero reported.

Afterwards the pair, reported to be 21 and 25, took a selfie.

The women had broken away from their group to scratch the initials, which are each reported to be about 8cm (3in) long.

They were briefly held by Rome’s police and questioned.

Il Messaggero quoted the two as apologizing and saying they did not think it was a big deal, but they might still face penalties over the vandalism.

And now, copy-cat recipes. Ingest the salt.

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