Archives for: November 2007

The Power of an Ethics Committee on Parliament Hill?

November 30th, 2007
Where in this world can one find the perfect match of political gravity and theatrical levity in the same room? If you're stumped, you might want to stop by to view the latest proceedings of the parliamentary ethics committee as it questions Karlheinz S… more »

The Ripple Effect!

November 30th, 2007
One of the harder concepts to get across to students studying the structure and growth of local and regional economies is the multiplier effect. For many young minds - and some adults too - the problem lies in picturing a web of business interrelationsh… more »

Silver Lining in Defeat!

November 30th, 2007
Like the pundits, I did not give my Packers much of a chance against the Cowboys in yesterday's showdown between the NFC's top teams. First, they went in with injuries in some key positions, especially Woodson at the safety position. Second, this is a y… more »

David Kaiser's "American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War" - The Lessons to be Learned From War.

November 29th, 2007
Kaiser offers a very exhaustive study on how the Kennedy and Johnson administrations of the 1960s gradually involved America in a bloody and costly war with North Vietnam. While both these Presidents can be excused for having unwittingly inherited a dee… more »

No End to the Story - the Taser Tragedy

November 29th, 2007
Here is a tragic incident that has predictably turned into the makings of a potentially year-long story. There are now at least ten ongoing investigations underway to determine how and why a Polish immigrant had to die as a result of receiving two taser… more »

The Presence of an Unwritten Social Contract - Beyond Our Obligations, Part 2.

November 28th, 2007
In the last blog on the unwritten social contract working in society, reference was made to the terms under which individuals fulfill their duty to the state in return for the guarantee of personal freedom. In this reciprocal arrangement, the greater ne… more »

Andrew Preston's "The War Council" - A Study in How Not to Manage War.

November 28th, 2007
Andrew Preston, from the University of Victoria, has presented a very in-depth analysis of how the National Security Council worked during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations in the 60s. His study focuses on the influence that McGeorge Bundy brought… more »

What are the Chances of Peace in the Middle East?

November 27th, 2007
A lot better than a year ago when all hell was breaking out in Lebanon. A couple of factors are in place today that weren't back then. The West has now decided to get behind the Fatah organization in its efforts to become the officially ruling party in… more »

The Uncertainties of Living in the North

November 27th, 2007
I came to this town over three decades ago with the idea of staying for only a short time. The local school authorities offered me a continuing contract to teach Social Studies at the high school. Back then, there wasn’t much outside of a job and a few… more »

Case Goes to the Jury!

November 26th, 2007
A number of months ago I started my first blog after having just returned from a visit to the old Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam. It was at this site that Robert Pickton was alleged to have murdered dozens of women from the Vancouver East End. At th… more »

The Presence of an Unwritten Social Contract - Part 1.

November 25th, 2007
Most of us run our lives with a strong sense of personal obligation not only to ourselves but to others. In order to enjoy the freedom that comes with satisfying my own needs and wants, I have to first recognize and answer to interests outside my own. B… more »

Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" - Macroeconomics Thumps Democracy?

November 25th, 2007
A lot that Klein says in this book about the global interrelationship between the forces of democracy, economics and politics makes sense. For instance, there is a reality that the democratic power of people to choose their government is often limited b… more »

Filling the Empty Nest!

November 24th, 2007
Our two sons have long ago flown the proverbial nest and set up new lives for themselves hundreds of miles due south. Has the parting been a tough one? Yes and no! For the first little while, we lived in a state of denying that they had permanently left… more »

Running for Town Council: What's in a Sign?

November 24th, 2007
On my way to work the other day, I came across an election sign promoting the candidate’s name and a slogan, “Managed Progress”. Since I recognized the person’s name as a former student, I decided to ring him up and inquire about the catchy phrase. If I… more »

Chretien's Latest Musings

November 23rd, 2007
While I am not part of that throng of Canadians who are jumping to have Jean Chretien declared a saint (read Mark Steyn's latest smarmy article in Maclean's), I still admire his practical and savvy political style. Reading his autobiography/memoir, "Jea… more »

Killing Mice - The Slaughter of Innocence, Part IV

November 23rd, 2007
My less than amicable relationship with mice or rats didn’t improve over the years. In fact, they got a lot worse. I just never found the little ‘furries’ to be very endearing. Too many bad associations and connotations! Anytime I happened to come acros… more »

Ten Good Reasons Why Young People Should Own a Cellphone!

November 22nd, 2007
Drumroll, please! 1. Everyone should have the freedom to purchase and use within reason whatever suits their fancy; 2. Everyone should have the right to feel connected in this fast-paced world; 3. Using a cellphone is a viable way to ensure one's s… more »

Heather Pringle's "The Master Plan" - the Failure of the Nazis to Prove Legitimacy

November 22nd, 2007
What makes the idea of a thousand-year Third Reich so unthinkable from the start? Was it Hitler’s outlandish and bizarre beliefs in a rebirth of a Germanic empire based on ancient myths that spelt its doom even before World War II started? Or did his v… more »

Ten Good Reasons Why Young People Shouldn't Own a Cellphone!

November 21st, 2007
Drumroll, please! 1. It is an overpriced gadget with some very hefty fees for services offered; 2. It creates the illusion that one is empowered or 'connected' by the mere press of a button; 3. It restricts the kind of friends you hang out with; 4… more »

The Full Facts Need to be Known!

November 20th, 2007
We should proceed both cautiously and expeditiously in our efforts to find the truth behind the tragic death of Robert Dziekanski at YVR over a month ago. While evidence seems to initially point to an unwarranted use of a taser on a defenceless person a… more »

A Visit to a Modern Coffee House!

November 20th, 2007
Yesterday evening, friends of ours invited us out to their coffee 'house' in the country, a place where they commercially prepare coffee for their many customers. As I proceed to share with you the wonders of the occasion, I don't want you to think that… more »

Someone Got it Right on Wall Street - the Power of the Contrarians is Worth a Few Millions in Bonuses.

November 20th, 2007
To be a contrarian means to go against the conventional wisdom of doing something because everyone else is doing it. There is one qualification to that definition: the contrarian must have calculated reason rather than a quixotic hunch for going against… more »

The End of a Season for Two Teams!

November 19th, 2007
This weekend proved to be an interesting pivotal moment for two football teams I had followed during the course of the season; the time when the last home game actually means something for all the right or wrong reasons. In the first instance, Notre Dam… more »

As Thick as Thieves - The US in Pakistan!

November 19th, 2007
For the past couple of weeks there have been a couple of apparently conflicting signals coming out of Pakistan as to the American's position on that country's growing unrest. One possible assessment is that the US is trying to shore up what it conside… more »

A Flying Palace - What One Can Do When Filthy Rich!

November 18th, 2007
Here’s a story for the ages! Early this past week, the networks released a blurb on a sheikh in Saudi Arabia who has just ordered the latest Airbus model 380 for his own private use. Now, this is what his acquisition comes with: over 800 seats, the larg… more »

Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion' - Tough Slugging Whichever Way You Read It.

November 18th, 2007
Whatever possessed me to take another run through Calvin’s “Institutes”, thirty-five years after the first read for a university course on the Reformation! Back then, I took up reading the standard Henry Beveridge translation with the idea of broadenin… more »

The Future of Wireless - A Self-fulfilled Prophecy?

November 17th, 2007
One could almost see this coming. A report/blog on cbc.ca this morning announced that Canadians should start getting prepared for the new generation of wireless, because it is already here. So, for us neophytes and tyros, what does it look like? Accordi… more »

Rick Mercer's "The Book" - Modern Political Satire at Its Best

November 16th, 2007
Mercer's latest collection of political wit and satire disarmingly takes dead aim at some big names in the Canadian establishment. To discover and then exploit those hard-to-find foibles behind the armour of typical Canadian public figures like Rona Amb… more »

Killing a Mouse - The Slaughter of Innocence, Part III

November 16th, 2007
In my closing days of college, a friend gave me two white mice - more the size of lab rats - to look after while he left for an early summer vacation. In other words, the underlying assumption was that if I liked them, I could keep them. Towards that en… more »

The Bonds' Indictment?

November 16th, 2007
Having already done a blog on the pervasion of steroids in professional and amateur sports, it seems only right and proper that I follow up with a commentary of Barry Bonds' indictment for lying to a grand jury. Right from the beginning of this growing… more »

The Power of the Press is in Controlling the Story!

November 15th, 2007
The latest revelations coming out of the tragic taser incident at the Vancouver International Airport only reinforce the power of the press -the 5th Estate - to disseminate a story worldwide in all its living color and frightening detail. The incident i… more »

The Power of Religion in the World - It is a lot more than meets the eye!

November 15th, 2007
I’m in the process of reading the latest Economist’s cover stories on the state of world politics and religion. While I commend this magazine – one of only a few secular ones to do so – for admitting it was wrong in predicting, as late as 2000, the disa… more »

I Finally Bought A Coffee Roaster!

November 14th, 2007
A few blogs back I was in a dilemma to whether or not to buy a coffee roaster. For the past year I've toyed with the idea of capturing the essence of roasting my own beans, while saving some money. As I searched the Internet, most of the available roast… more »

Michael Moore's "Sicko" - the Message far Outshines the Medium

November 14th, 2007
In Michael Moore’s little world of political cinematography, where individual experiences and personal reactions are keyed-in to score points in aid of some greater cause like gun control and the anti-war movement, the viewer may have a hard time distin… more »

A Trillion Plus Dollar War, So what!

November 13th, 2007
It seemed only a short while ago that America cobbled together the Alliance of the Willing in 2002 and went off to fight and finally topple the pestiferous Saddam and liberate Iraq. A few years later, with Saddam now dead, his regime in tatters, and a s… more »

Organized Sport Up Against a Tough One!

November 13th, 2007
The modern image of professional contact sport anywhere in the world today is one of a tough-man, no-holds barred, rugged warrior persona. This characterization translates into players hitting harder, taking greater risks with their bodies, and often ex… more »

The Mulroney Legacy - Hanging Around Like a Dirty Shirt that Needs a Wash!

November 13th, 2007
As a prominent public figure in Canadian politics, Brian Mulroney has always let it be known that he will take every possible step to secure an affirmative place for himself in Canadian history. Hence, the careful and meticulous trotting out of reams up… more »

Killing a Mouse - The Slaughter of Innocence, Part II

November 12th, 2007
A mouse had caught its leg in the trap and was frantically dragging it around in a terrifying attempt to get free. We moved in closer to check out the situation, and we immediately decided to finish off the work of the trap. In so many words, eliminate… more »

Michael Herr's "Dispatches"

November 12th, 2007
This personal reflection on the Vietnam War goes a long way to capturing a sense of futility and loathing that percolated just below the daily moil and toil of killing. This was definitely a horrible time in American history where young men and women we… more »

Canadian Jurisprudence: The Weighing of Trial Evidence

November 11th, 2007
I watched an hour of “Jurisprudence” on the CPAC channel last night, as two eminent Canadian barristers argued the merits of an appeal case before the Supreme Court of Canada. While I would not recommend such viewing for anyone looking for “Law and Orde… more »

Pamela's Ballinger's "History in Exile" - Revising the Revisionists

November 11th, 2007
Ballinger’s historical study on the controversial dividing and resettling of Istria by Yugoslavia post-WW II uncovers some very interesting facts and myths as to how and why Italians and Slavs still see this small chunk of the old Italian Irredenta alon… more »

Dion's Liberals Take On Poverty - Over a Million Votes out There for the Taking!

November 10th, 2007
The Federal Liberals have been floundering for months as they look for an issue on which to fight the next election. Nothing they say to date on the state of the economy, or the state of Canada's role in international war, or the state of the criminal j… more »

Brian Fagan's "The Long Summer" - Compelling Evidence in Support of Global Warming

November 10th, 2007
While I wouldn’t call this book scientific in terms of original research, it certainly employs a wide range of data (climatology, geology, ethnobotany, and archaeology) to show that the earth has likely experienced a series of significant warming and co… more »

Killing a Mouse - The Slaughter of Innocence (Part I)

November 10th, 2007
Every house built in a country setting – especially with a basement – is susceptible to rodent infestation. Back in the sixties, the mousetrap, as opposed to the exterminator, was the chief weapon for expunging these pesky little creatures. How they got… more »

What Does it Mean to Show Compassion?

November 8th, 2007
In my latest blog, I referred to the need for all of us, from time to time, to become more immediately compassionate or caring in our dealings with others. By taking the time to help those who are oppressed by the circumstances of the present, we take o… more »

An Escalation in Fear and Violence Leads to Choices

November 8th, 2007
There is a strong religious view out there that as history comes to a close, the world will become a more violent place to live. As its key evidence, advocates of this belief point to the increasing breakdown in legal authority around the globe as seen… more »

Jerome Blum - Lord and Peasant in Russia

November 7th, 2007
Reading Blum's monograph on the history of Russian feudalism has really opened my eyes to the complex nature of this country's history and culture. During the nine centuries that Blum covers in his examination of the relationship between lord and peasan… more »

Purchasing a Coffee Roaster - What to Consider!

November 7th, 2007
For the past year, I've been toying with the idea of purchasing a home coffee roaster so that I can begin enjoying the aroma of a fresh roast throughout the house and save with the actual purchase of green beans. Until now, I've managed to convince myse… more »

The Spillover Effects of International Conflicts - Part Two

November 6th, 2007
The Horn of Africa - that projection of land in the northwest section of the continent that contains the nations of Ethiopia and Somalia - is once again embroiled in open warfare today. For an area that has known little peace over the last fifty years,… more »

Naomi Klein's "No Logo" - Big Corporate Branding

November 6th, 2007
Klein, in her classical work on how big corporate America’s efforts to control retail markets worldwide, takes the reader through a very scientifically refined process by which old and new consumers come to identify and rely on their logos for purchasin… more »

A Strange Day at School

November 6th, 2007
Every so often, a day in school, or a day in the trenches as some teachers like to call it, takes on a whole different meaning. Both the teachers at the front of the classrooms to the students in their desks knew that something profoundly puzzling and a… more »

The Spillover Effect of International Conflicts - Part One

November 5th, 2007
The type of geopolitical conflict that has most internationalists worried these days is the one that refuses to be contained within the boundaries of one country. Since most boundaries are artificially set as to never satisfy all contending territorial… more »

Notre Dame and Navy - A Long Drought Finally Over!

November 4th, 2007
Let’s see, I think it’s been over forty-three years since the Midshipmen of Annapolis beat a Notre Dame varsity football squad from South Bend. I was almost twelve at the time Staubach and his team came in and hung a resounding licken on the Irish that… more »

The Power of Fear - the Surge in Gold Prices

November 4th, 2007
Ownership of gold, as a precious metal and commodity, has always been regarded as the perennial hedge or protection against inflation eating into the monetary value of personal assets. The general wisdom for most investors is to hold up to 20% in one’s… more »

The Heart of Dialogue - A Conversation with a Student

November 3rd, 2007
In the last number of years of teaching in a public high school, I have had fewer occasions to enter into a meaningful discussion of ideas with students. Too often, students or, as some educators call them, learners simply want to listen, copy down, mem… more »

Should Public School Teachers be Expected to Teach Morals in the Classroom?

November 2nd, 2007
Society has always had the expectation that school teachers should conduct themselves as exemplars of moral integrity. Such a view is reflected in both the wording of the provincial code of ethics and the Education Act, which imply that teachers are to… more »

Are we Expecting too much from our Medical System?

November 2nd, 2007
A number of years ago, a member of my family experienced a life-threatening disease that required serious medical attention for well over a year. While we are eternally grateful that a lot of high powered medical expertise was called in to help this per… more »

"Blame It on the Weather" - a Thoughtful Explanation as to all this Weird Weather!

November 1st, 2007
David Phillips and his colleagues have produced a helpful and informative little book that offers some very reasonable and intelligent explanations as to why we are going through some very strange weather patterns over the last while. They believe that… more »
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