Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday Post

Lots to talk about...

Oh, dear:

A second powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck southern Japan early on Saturday, trapping people across a wide area in collapsed buildings barely a day after a quake killed nine people in the same region.

"The total number of deaths rose to 32," said Yumika Kami, a spokeswoman at the Kumamoto prefectural government. 

Around 70,000 people have been evacuated, including 300 from an area close to a dam thought to be at risk of collapse.

Rescuers dug through the rubble of collapsed buildings and mud and debris on Saturday to try and reach those trapped, but continued aftershocks hindered rescue efforts and fuelled fears of more powerful quakes.

This must be embarrassing:

A private grassroots news agency did what the Chronicle-Herald could not (read: would not) do: it actually reported the news.

Again, interpreters are not the answer. People frustrated by linguistic differences do not resort to slapping and choking.

At least normal people don't.

The undoing of the previous government continues unabated:

The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down two federal laws from the previous Conservative government's tough-on-crime agenda, ruling both to be unconstitutional.

The decisions mean an end to rules for minimum sentences for specific drug crime convictions and limits on credit for pre-trial detention in certain conditions where bail is denied, giving trial judges more leeway in how they deal with offenders.

Long-term expats denied the right to vote in federal elections expressed delight Thursday after the Supreme Court of Canada said it would take on their case.

At issue is part of the Canada Elections Act that disenfranchises citizens who have lived abroad for longer than five years.

“The time has come to restore expats’ right to vote from abroad,” said Jamie Duong, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

Duong and Gillian Frank, both of whom live in the United States, challenged the constitutionality of the legislation, enforced only under the previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper.

They initially won before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2014, but the government appealed and the province’s top court overturned the ruling in a split decision last July, prompting the plaintiffs to turn to Supreme Court.

During the election campaign last fall, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau indicated they would take another look at the ban, citing a goal of encouraging more voting rather than less.

Canada’s 600,000 Metis and non-status Indians are indeed “Indians” under the Constitution, the Supreme Court of Canada declared Thursday in a long-awaited landmark decision more than 15 years in the making.

Ah, judicial activism. There is nothing like it to add 600,000 race-based (word-of-mouth, by the way) welfare cases, add non-residents to Liberal voters blocks and give drug-dealers the week-end off.

Why, even if some felt the upcoming Soylent Green laws did not go far enough, one can simply wait for bankrupt parents to put their mentally disabled children into care and from there into the eugenics wood chipper.

Calling it now.

No one is buying it, Justin. We've all heard you speak. You couldn't convince anyone that you dress yourself let alone understand the quantum physics written on a cue card.

How much of a "genius" could one be if one is putting millions into fragile states that neighbour a much-hated Israel?

The Kim dynasty has been faking its credentials before that was cool.

But one will take a look at your domestic holdings and "family trusts":

In addition to his $340,000 prime ministerial salary, the Liberal party leader receives regular dividends from a holding company, 7664699 Canada Inc., according to a compliance agreement published on the federal ethics commissioner’s website last month.

Daddy Trudeau didn't squirrel away dough so that his various juniors could fritter it away.

It's time for Justin to pay his fair share.

The same jackanapes who found "Merry Christmas" greetings to be offensive was again voted down when a prayer at a volunteer appreciation dinner was deemed not a violation of human rights:

The Saskatchewan Human Rights commission has dismissed a complaint by a Saskatoon man dealing with public prayer.

In 2012, Councillor Randy Donauer offered a brief Christian prayer before a City of Saskatoon volunteer appreciation banquet. 

One of the volunteers, Ashu Solo, was offended, and lodged a complaint with the commission. Solo, an atheist, said that there should be a separation between religion and the state, and that the prayer, "made him feel like a second-class citizen."

However, while the commission ruled that Solo had legitimate grounds to file a complaint, the prayer didn't violate his rights.

The ruling by Chief Commissioner David Arnot noted that the City of Saskatoon doesn't have a practice of praying at city council meetings, and that a prayer wasn't given at banquets held in subsequent years. He also noted the prayer was relatively short.

Ultimately, Arnot ruled that there was no evidence that, "the City of Saskatoon had a goal of promoting Christianity at the expense of other belief systems."

Offense is in the mind of the ever-offended.


The governor of Tennessee vetoed legislation on Thursday that would have made the Christian Bible the state’s official book, saying it would violate the U.S. Constitution, but lawmakers vowed to hold a vote to overrule his decision.

In a letter notifying top state lawmakers of his intent to veto the legislation, Governor Bill Haslam, himself a Christian, said the proposal violated religious freedoms enshrined in both the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution.

“My personal feeling is that this bill trivializes the Bible, which I believe is sacred text,” Haslam, a Republican, wrote.

The veto comes a week after the state Senate voted to make the Bible the state’s official book. That vote followed the state House’s approval last year.

I can see the point. I would not want any government promoting one religion over another but only ensuring that the government and special-interest busy-bodies stay clear from others' beliefs (oh, hi, Obama). I also would not want a text of great spiritual, historical and cultural importance like the Bible reduced to a trivial object people point at.

Having said that, it would be a mistake to reject and even fear the mere mention of the Bible and its contents in public. It's an important book and as such it has value, whatever one's beliefs.

Seoul reports that a North Korean missile launch has failed:

A North Korean launch of a missile on the birthday of its revered founder appears to have failed, South Korean and U.S. defence officials said Friday.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency carried an unsourced report that the failed launch was of a powerful new mid-range missile that could one day be capable of reaching far-off U.S. military bases in Asia. The U.S. and South Korean officials, however, provided few details, including the type of missile, of what would be an embarrassing failure for Pyongyang, if confirmed.

The launch comes as the two Koreas trade threats amid Pyongyang’s anger over annual South Korean-U.S. military drills that North Korea calls a rehearsal for an invasion. The North has recently fired a slew of missiles and artillery shells into the sea in an apparent protest against the drills.
Worry about the day when Kim gets it right.

And now, could corgis be the next Russian paramilitary dog?

Russia’s police specialists are looking to employ a new kind of cadet: corgis. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is currently training two Pembroke Welsh corgis (also known as the Queen of England’s favorite pups) in the hopes that they can become effective bomb-sniffing search dogs, according Huffington Post.

Police in Moscow are putting a 2-month-old and a 6-month-old corgi pup to work hoping that their short stature will make them the perfect employees to search for explosives and contraband under cars, Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

A cuddly ball of stubby-legged cuteness or stubby fury?

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