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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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2/19/2005

"Tradition" fails Harper

Poor Harper.

It is sad to watch an essentially decent man twist himself up into a poll pandering populist on an issue as profoundly trivial as SSM.

In an attempt to justify what his pollsters are telling him is selling in Canada the man confuses fundamental human rights with equality before the law, appears to take a cheap shot at the Grits on the Holocaust, mangles a Supreme Court decision and demonstrates a woeful lack of perspective. Not bad in a fifty minute speech.

Harper would have been better off simply singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof and sitting down.

"Tradition" is a wonderful thing and something which I genuinely believe is a vital part of a civil society. But, if traditionally, we always let Chinese people file their income tax six months late I would think that wrong at law. If tradition barred women from medical school I would think that wrong as well.

The fundamental human right at stake in SSM is the right to be treated equally before the law. No one is arguing that it is a fundamental human right for gays to marry; rather, the right involved is to be treated equally by the chap at the wicket at the Marriage Registry.

Whether you think SSM is a good thing or the work of Satan, equality before the law is a critical value. Which Harper and the CPC should know.

The learned commentary of our assoted legal friends is important simply because it sets out the conditions under which the fundamental value of equality before the law may be abridged. They are very stiff conditions.

Essentially, to deny equal rights you have to present a compelling case as to why such denial is reasonably justified in a free and democratic society. Reading Harper's remarks I cannot see how his arguments meet that test. "We've always done it that way." is just lame.

Harper's problem, of course, is that he has no fundamental, principled, position against gay marriage but his back bench is yowling. In the absence of a strong commitment to individual rights Harper is forced back to the embarassment of citing time worn tradition.

Fifty years ago divorce in Canada, leave aside England, was a difficult, expensive, blame-casting business. It reflected the then prevailling view that marriage was, by definition, forever. The evolution of the Divorce Act demonstrates that the definition of "marriage" is a fluid, dynamic and socially constructed thing.

"One man, one woman, forever." became "One man, one woman, for as long as they stay together". It is not a huge stretch to say, "Two people, committed."

If Harper could get his mind, and his caucus, around that idea he'd be rather better off.

This is not good News

A leading US team of climate researchers on Friday released “the most compelling evidence yet” that human activities are responsible for global warming. They said their analysis should “wipe out” claims by sceptics that recent warming is due to non-human factors such as natural fluctuations in climate or variations in solar or volcanic activity.

Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California have been working for several years with colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to analyse the effects of global warming on the oceans. They combined computer modelling with millions of temperature and salinity readings, taken around the world at different depths over five decades.

The researchers released their conclusions on Friday at the American Association of the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington. They found that the “warming signals” in the oceans could only have been produced by the build-up of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Non-human factors would have produced quite different effects.
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/4c7db6de-81b7-11d9-9e19-00000e2511c8,dwp_uuid=d4f2ab60-c98e-11d7-81c6-0820abe49a01.html
I am more than a little sceptical about the science on global warming but this report is worrying. All the more so given that the Kyoto agreement is such a lame attempt to deal with the problem.

(It had to be lamed in order to get India and China to sign on. Sign on they did without any requirement to reduce emissions in their very fast growing economies.)

2/17/2005

Slipery When Wet

Northwest B.C. residents who dial a toll-free government number in the Terrace-area phone book to check on road conditions will get an explicit description.

Just not about roads. "Ummm, baby, you've dialled the right number, hot, wet and . . . ummmm . . .," the sexy female voice at the other end of the line moans, then gets into detail.

The 1-800 number for Ministry of Transport road report appears in the B.C. government blue pages of the northwest region directory.
yahoo/cp
And you get a $700.00 phone bill....

2/14/2005

Hunda

For a variety of reasons (inter alia, I'm boring myself; I'm boring you; I'm irritating my wife, who is fully capable of stabbing me while I sleep, and no jury would convict, etc. etc.), I am declaring an armistice with Coyne/Spector/Wells/dozens of deservedly anonymous white'n'right bloghaters who I periodically torment for amusement.
he who must not be linked
One time honoured tactic is when you are in a hole, stop digging. But not sliming, "white'n'right is just so Mr. K.

Of course, better to be white and right than Irish and wrong....