Tuesday, October 06, 2015

There Is Always More

Quite a bit going on today...

At first, wearing the niqab- a face concealing garment found nowhere in the Koran- was an important part of Islamic culture, so important that two women made a conscious decision not to take part in a citizenship ceremony. When it was found out that the majority of Canadians wouldn't stand for face-covering, then the niqab "wasn't an issue".  Now, the banning of it is like forcing children into residential schools...

Or some such thing:

Zarqa Nawaz, best known as creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, told CBC's Windsor Morning that Stephen Harper's Conservatives are making a mistake and putting Muslim women in danger.

"This is the mistake the Canadian government made with aboriginal communities, saying they're barbaric, their language is barbaric, their culture is barbaric, we're going to remove them and put them in residential schools," Nawaz said Tuesday in Windsor, where she is to participate in the University of Windsor's Distinguished Visitors in Women's Studies Series.

Yeah! Let's move those goalposts! 

Most important, Ibn Warraq  describes the “mind-set” of most Muslims as intolerant, self-pitying, stagnant, and trained to blame others for their own failures. He also sees the Muslim “mind-set” as akin to that of people trapped in totalitarian regimes. The need to control thought and to sacrifice individuality characterizes both Islamic and Marxist regimes. Thus, we understand the affinity that Western “leftists” have with reactionary Islamists. Ibn Warraq contrasts this with a Western “mind-set” which is built upon Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, scientific, and Enlightenment foundations and is characterized by intellectual curiosity, genuine interest in the “other,” a sense of irony, the ability to engage in self-criticism, and a concern with finding the truth.

Where would Islamism be without victimhood?

So, to take the example that greatly exercised Mayor Nenshi — whose rhetorical style blanches from anything so discreet as a lowly whistle when a bullhorn may be at hand — the prime minister is blowing his dog whistle on refugees. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that refugee resettlement must respect the requirements of national security. That’s the part ordinary people can hear. But there is another part that only the dogs can hear — namely that we have to be careful about these refugees because they are Arab and Muslim. The “dogs” are those animated by sundry bigotries; they don’t like Arabs and Muslims.

Yet I wonder who exactly the dogs are in Nenshi’s imagination. To be fair, he was speaking with Evan Solomon, quondam arbiter at the CBC of what counts as respectable opinion. When the CBC’s favourite mayor is speaking with the man who used to be the next Peter Mansbridge, it’s obvious who the dogs are. They are the people who don’t watch the CBC, which features those voices suitable for the frequency of conventional elite opinion. The dogs listen to talk radio, metaphorical pit bulls foaming at the mouth with hostility. ...

The problem with the dog whistle metaphor is that dogs actually have better hearing than humans do. It is no doubt pleasant to live in a world where one’s biases simply are not challenged by the various experiences one cannot hear; after all, the CBC doesn’t broadcast them. But there are those who know a little more because they have heard more voices. Better to be a dog with acute hearing than that oblivious man who is deaf because he refuses to listen.

(Paws up)

But I thought that they were desperate:

(Gracias, Harold)

It's time to privatise education and abolish teachers' unions:

Power in a free society belongs to the people and is loaned out to elected officials, who must stand periodically for re-election based on their records.

The public didn’t elect the unions. Public employees did, but they work for us and the union works for them.

The union should be low on the ladder.

Current labour strife in Ontario’s public elementary schools proves the point.

Teachers, and now custodians are withdrawing services, even — shockingly — the breakfast program for under privileged children in some schools — yet there is no reduction in their pay.

There is no dictate to do the job or lose the job.

That is the arrangement under which I have always worked and always considered fair.

Erika Willaert, Teacher-Librarian/Special Education Resource Teacher in Newmarket, recently wrote a column in the Hamilton Spectator entitled, “Walk in my shoes for one day.”

“Walk in my shoes,” has become a slogan for the education unions.

She claims not to be political but feels compelled to stand up for herself.

Why? “When you are being bullied, you aren’t given much choice but to take extreme measures,” she wrote.

Unlike her, many teachers and principals tell me it is their union that is the bully.

Fair enough, but it is long past time for those teachers to go public and set an example for young people in standing up for what is right.

If they won’t do it when breakfast programs and fundraising events are being cancelled, when will they?

“Please just walk in our shoes, for an hour, a day, a week. At least then, when you judge, it will be an informed opinion,” wrote Willaert.

Willaert talked on NEWSTALK1010 to Jim Richards. Here is a transcript of part of that conversation.
EW: “My salary is not derived from taxpayer money. Taxpayer money goes towards maintenance of the schools.”

JR: “Who pays your salary?”

EW: “The board. Whatever money they are able to make.”

JR: “Where do you think that money comes from?”

EW: “I honestly don’t know.”

JR: “Are you kidding me? You don’t think the board gets money from taxpayers?”

EW: “They probably get some of it. I am not an economist. I don’t pretend to know anything about numbers and money.”

This woman is entrusted with the education of children.

Let that soak in.

And now, 3D images of the victims of Pompeii:

In Italy, a group of experts appointed by the Archaeological Superintendence of Pompeii are slowly bringing the ancient tragedy of Pompeii's volcanic eruption to life, one CAT scan at a time.

Archaeologists are working side by side with computer engineers, radiologists, and orthodontists, using cutting-edge imaging technology to scan the plaster-cast remains of 86 individuals who perished when the Italian city was decimated by a volcanic eruption in 79 CE. The scans, which provide a strikingly detailed look at the remains' teeth, bones, and facial features, are teaching the researchers more about Pompeii's residents—their gender, how old they were, what they ate, and whether they were in good health.

So far, researchers have scanned about 30 individuals. They recently shared their findings, revealing humanizing 3D pictures of the bodies beneath their plaster casts. The images include the remains of a presumed family: a 4-year-old boy, who was found resting near an adult man and a woman with an infant.

 And the most fascinating cases of disappearance:

On November 5, 1872, the Mary Celeste set sail from New York Harbor, bound for Genoa with a cargo full of industrial alcohol. Almost a month later, the ship was spotted drifting 400 miles east of the Azores. The captain of the boat that spotted her, David Morehouse, noticed something strange about the way she was sailing, and sent his chief mate and a small party to investigate.

Aboard the Mary Celeste, they discovered a perplexing scene: a ship under full sail, but with not a soul aboard. There was no sign of a struggle, and a six-month-supply of food and water was still among the supplies. Almost all of the 1701 barrels of alcohol seemed untouched. But the lifeboat was missing, as were most of the ship’s papers and several navigational tools. The boarding party also found two open hatches, and 3 feet of water in the hold; however, the ship was basically in seaworthy condition. The last entry in the captain’s log had been made 10 days prior.

Morehouse’s chief mate sailed the Mary Celeste to Gibraltar, and Morehouse himself later claimed the salvage rights to the ship. Suspicions about the crew’s disappearance initially settled on him—perhaps he had murdered the crew for the salvage rights?—but a British vice admiralty court found no evidence of foul play. (Morehouse did receive a relatively low salvage award, however, perhaps because of lingering suspicions about his involvement.)

Many investigators believe the crew abandoned ship deliberately, since the lifeboat appeared to have been purposely detached rather than torn off in a wave. Some theorize that a quantity of the industrial alcohol—nine barrels were later found empty on the ship—had leaked, and the resultant fumes left the crew terrified of an explosion. They might have left in the lifeboat and intended to watch the ship from a safe distance until the fumes dissipated, then fell victim to a wave, a storm, or other calamity. Other theories surrounding the ship’s disappearance have mentioned mutiny, piracy, ghosts, and giant squid, while more recent speculation has centered around a malfunctioning ship pump. Regardless of the truth, the mystery has continued to fascinate, helped along by multiple retellings (and embellishments) in both literature and film.

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