Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Marketing Wins

Tim Hortons has the power.

Despite having been employed and worn down by them (past tense) for a serious chunk of my working life, there is still something terribly irresistable about rolling up the lip of a used coffee cup to possibly win a free donut.

Last year, my count was about 90 cups purchased (hey, the contest spans 3 months and I worked a very stressful job at the time, conveniently located just across the street from a Timmies, + of course the post- & pre-work beverages consumed) for a grand total of 2 donuts won. This year, kids, I'm starting on a high note.


That's correct. Let it be known that somewhere in this country (where I live), there is at least one person who is 1 for 1 on this thing. That means: 100% coffees purchased = winners. And I won a coffee, so that should count for two since I get to play again for free. Right? RIGHT??

Note: I will be updating the Tim Rim status in the coming months on my blog. Feel free to post your progress as well. These are exciting times, friends!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Oscars Are Too Long!

No kidding, eh?

Seriously, three hours and forty-five minutes is way too long for an awards show. I felt it was dragging on by the end. The program could have easily been shaved down to three hours and possibly, two hours and thirty minutes.

Was it really necessary to have performances for every song nominated for Best Original Song? Did we really have to hear about the lives of screenwriters? Was there a point to "America On Film?"

Here's how I would schedule the Academy Awards:

There would only be presentations for the ten categories that receive the most coverage (Best Motion Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Foreign Feature, Best Animated Feature). Then, include the Lifetime Achievement award, a vignette dedicated to those who passed away, and a performance of the song, that won the award for Best Original Song. Total time - Three hours, give or take a few minutes.

As for the remaining categories, they can be presented during a ceremony which, is aired over the internet or, on a channel that's affiliated with the host broadcaster. For example, the main show airs on ABC, while the other categories are shown on Disney Channel or ABC Family. This way, the casual fans don't have to sit through presentations they don't know about; and the enthusiasts, won't feel cheated.

Anyway, I am glad that Scorsese finally won an Oscar. The Departed is a great film, but not his best. It's certainly in the top five.

By the way, how can an awards show (using lots of electricity) "go green?" Were they using different light bulbs? Were the statuettes made of recycled scarp metal?

I'm just wondering.

*Cheap Plug: Check out Episode 30 of The Audio Circus*

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Article from Straightgoods

Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines' by Margie

This is an article from the online Canadian newspaper Straightgoods and I feel that is really worthy of posting here. At the end of the arcticle there is a link where you can download Mr. Laxer's book Mission of Folly

Why Canada should bring its troops home from Afghanistan.

Dateline: Monday, February 19, 2007

by James Laxer

Canadians have been fighting in Afghanistan for five years without having had an authentic national debate on the mission. To date the only vote in parliament on the issue was held in May 2006, which carried by a scant 149 to 145. With only two days notice that there would be a debate followed by a vote, the Harper government won a two-year extension of the mission. The country is deeply divided on the merits of the mission. Most Canadians tell pollsters that they do not believe the mission will be successful.

The government of Jean Chr├ętien announced that Canada would send troops to Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001, in the weeks following the September 11 terror attacks on New York City and Washington DC. Since then, the Martin and Harper governments have extended the mission. Forty-four Canadians have died in the mission to date. On a per capita basis, more Canadians have died in Afghanistan than has been the case for any other country sending forces from the outside, including the US and the UK.

When the US pulls out of Iraq, the Afghanistan war will collapse and the ensuing peace agreement will pay little respect to human rights.



The Bush administration invaded Afghanistan with the stated goals of punishing the Al Qaeda terrorists and overturning the Taliban regime in Kabul. The invasion was featured, as an element in what George W Bush announced would be a global War on Terror. From the beginning, the key members of the Bush administration regarded Afghanistan as a secondary target and were planning the subsequent invasion of Iraq. Victory in Iraq was intended to ensure US dominance in the Middle East — with its vital oil reserves — as well as in Central Asia.

In principle, the Afghanistan mission is a NATO operation. Apart from the US, Canada and the UK, however, major NATO allies, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain are involved in the Afghanistan mission only in a very limited way. They are keeping their forces out of the serious fighting in the south, where so many Canadians have died, because public opinion in their countries won't stand for high casualties in a war the public doesn't really support.

Pakistan, Canada's supposed ally, is playing a duplicitous role in the war. The Taliban and other insurgents are using Pakistani territory adjacent to Afghanistan as a refuge. When the fighting gets too tough for them, they retreat across the border into Pakistan and come back in force when they are ready to hit Canadian troops again.

Washington is not prepared to have a showdown with the Musharraf government in Islamabad over this duplicity. The United States has strategic interests in Pakistan that far exceed those in Afghanistan. Pakistan is a nuclear weapons state that plays a crucial role in establishing the balance of power in Asia.

In this game of smoke and mirrors, Canadian soldiers are engaged in a dirty war, in a region of Afghanistan where few NATO allies are willing to go. Washington is anxious to have Canadians do as much of the difficult fighting as possible in southern Afghanistan, where the revitalized Taliban has been taking a toll.

Not least, this is because the Bush administration needs to keep US military casualties to a minimum. American public opinion, already highly critical of the war, is negatively affected by rising casualties. On the other hand, Canadian casualties provoke no such reaction in the United States. The deaths of Canadian soldiers are rarely reported in the American media.

Should Canadians be paying a price in blood in a conflict in which double-dealing is the name of the game?

The Harper government claims (among other things) that the fight in Afghanistan is about the establishment of a democratic government that respects human rights, in particular the rights of women. In fact, this fight is not about human rights and never has been.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda grew out of the earlier struggles of the Mujahideen from the 1970s to the 1990s to overturn the pro-Soviet regime that was kept in power by Soviet troops. The United States provided enormous financial aid and direction to the Mujahideen, knowing that they were virulently opposed to the rights of women. Now the US and its NATO allies are fighting the political forces Washington helped create.

While the human rights record of the Taliban government was atrocious — including the forced removal of women from the workforce, the denial of education to girls and the requirement that females wear the burqa — we must never forget that the US played a large role in creating the Taliban. Moreover, the Northern Alliance and other allies of the US in the struggle to overturn the Taliban government have been guilty of major human rights abuses including rape, public executions, bombing of civilians and the massacre of prisoners.

One of the greatest human rights abuses of recent times, the US prison camp in Guantanamo, Cuba, where prisoners from the Afghan conflict are held indefinitely, is a legacy of this war.

While Canada continues its fight in Afghanistan, the US is rethinking its wider war in the Middle East and Central Asia. Only 25 percent of Americans now support the US war in Iraq, which for the people of the US has been the major conflict, with Afghanistan as the sideshow. Many Republicans, as well as Democrats, want a major change in American foreign policy, including bringing the troops home from Iraq.

Once Americans decide to pull their forces out of Iraq, they'll soon do the same in Afghanistan. When the US completes the change in its foreign policy that is already underway, prospects are slim to none that the ensuing peace deal will ensure democratic regime that respects human rights, especially the rights of women.

The Harper government presents the mission in Afghanistan as being divided between two equally important pillars, the military struggle and the provision of reconstruction aid. In fact, ninety percent of Canada's spending in Afghanistan has been on its military effort and only ten percent on reconstruction aid.

Canada ought to pull its troops out of the conflict. Canadians should undertake to provide additional aid to Afghanistan up to the level of Canadian military spending there to date. That would amount to at least $3.5 billion in additional reconstruction aid.

Canadians should also use the national discussion of the Afghanistan mission to design a new foreign policy for Canada. Among other things, Canada ought to move swiftly to the provision of 0.07 percent of its GDP to foreign aid projects. Canadian governments have long talked about this target, while doing little to meet it.


Related addresses:

URL 1: www.straightgoods.ca/PDFs/JamesLaxer/Mission-Folly.pdf
URL 2: www.jameslaxer.com/blog.html

Friday, February 23, 2007

NO ONE CAN BETTER THESE WORDS !!!

Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines' by Margie

There is still hope !!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's a Crazy, Crazy World

I'm lucky to live in a land where I can say anything I want, however foolish, without getting jailed for four years.

An Egyptian court has sentenced a blogger to four years' prison for insulting Islam and the president.

Abdel Kareem Soliman's trial was the first time that a blogger had been prosecuted in Egypt.

He had used his web log to criticise the country's top Islamic institution, al-Azhar university and President Hosni Mubarak, whom he called a dictator.

A human rights group called the verdict "very tough" and a "strong message" to Egypt's thousands of bloggers.

Soliman, 22, was tried in his native city of Alexandria. He blogs under the name Kareem Amer.

A former student at al-Azhar, he called the institution "the university of terrorism" and accused it of suppressing free thought.

The university expelled him in 2006 and pressed prosecutors to put him on trial.

(Source)


Then again, I'm about thirty kilometres from a country that would have officers knocking at my door if I were to say the wrong thing. I recall a friend in Australia a few years ago who was visited by CIA agents when he made a remark on a message board about what should become of the President. I don't suppose anyone would have a problem with driving 30 km as opposed to flying 4,000.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I'm glad to live in a land where I'm almost free to say anything I would like to.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

MONEY TRUMPS PEACE !!!

Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines' by Margie








Welcome To The World Of Gentlemen, Gentlemen.

I have never been a big fan of car commercials but, I have to mention this one.



Talk about absurdity. It's like something out of a play that's written by Eugene Ionesco.

It's funny. It's memorable. However, it's not going to make me want to buy a Cadillac. And what does it say about Cadillac's take on gender equity? Heck, I didn't even know there was a world of gentlemen.

I wonder where I would go to sign up ;-)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Put it on the label

Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines'

The Liberals had the one ton challenge, the Conservatives scrapped it. Now the Liberals, Bloc and NDP all insist the Conservatives stick to Kyoto and all parties agree that greenhouse gasses must be reduced and consumers are going to have to be a large part of the solution.

I would suggest a label on all products (and all product advertising) that gives you on a scale of 1 to 100 the environmental impact of that product. People have gotten used to thinking of consumer environmentalism in terms of things like fuel efficiency of automobiles and household appliances, recycling, renovating their home to make it more energy efficient etc., and while all of these are good and important things it actually goes much deeper than that.

Every product has an environmental footprint. A brief overview can be found here. But, in short that footprint is established by such things as

  • What is the product is made from?

  • By what process is it made?

  • How much energy is used in making it? (Some products take more energy than others to make - some factories use more energy for a process than other more modern factories.

  • Is the product made from recycled material?

  • Can the product be recycled or composted?

  • How much packaging is involved with the product?

  • How far does the product have to travel to market?

  • By what means does the product travel and how much fuel is consumed in shipping?

  • How long will the product last? (Will it last for years? months? or is it disposable?)

  • Are there hazardous materials involved with the product?

  • Is the product manufactured or harvested in an environmentally sensitive region? What is the impact of this on that region?


  • I believe if environment Canada (or some such agency) would rate each products footprint and then force producers to put that score on all product labeling and advertising it would go a long way toward helping consumers reduce greenhouse gasses.

    It is true that there will be alot of lobbying - with various producers and manufacturers trying to convince Ottawa that their methods, factories, etc., deserve a better score. In many cases though companies will find that making minor changes in their actual practices improves their score for less money than a lobbying/marketing campaign would cost.

    Just as with nutrition, Canadian consumers can have a substantial impact if they are given enough information and just as with nutrition, it should be the responsibility of Ottawa and the companies that produce retail goods to provide that information..

    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    You Can't Be Serious

    I had the strangest dream last night.

    I dreamt that there was this film coming out in a few weeks. It was about a farmer who use to work for NASA. He always wanted to fly to space; so, he built his very own rocket ship in his barn. Apparently, the government found out and tried to stop the farmer. However, the farmer was so determined to achieve his goal, that he risked everything and went ahead with his plans. Despite the government's constant interference, the farmer managed to blast off and become the first..........astronaut farmer.

    Thank goodness that was just a dream.

    I know movies are about suspending our beliefs. But honestly, who's going to buy into a film about a farmer who somehow manages to gather all the necessary parts needed for a rocket ship and is able to build it without any flaws? Besides, even if the farmer was successful, the launch would result in the entire farm being destroyed.

    Fortunately, we all know Hollywood would never allow such a ridiculous film to be made, right?



    Oh no....

    I guess it wasn't a dream.

    *Cheap plug time: Check out Episode 29 of the Audio Circus*

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    The Beginning of the End of the Beginning for Recording Artists

    Originally Posted to 'Roar of the Beaver'

    When I first set up this blog I did a test post so I could get an idea of how the text would look etc. Before I could take that test post down it had generated the following comment:

    "Hello, My Name is Ernie Dufour, Singer Songwriter from Canada. I think it’s impossible to make a living with music in this country...after all, Supreme Courts within Canada pass the notion to still download Mp3 music legally. Even if I were to try and sell my music on the internet the next minute it would be on multiple music sites for free. Please if have any solutions please let me know."

    I told Ernie that I would eventually respond to his concerns, but that it was a subject that could not be covered quickly or easily. So, here goes (at least in part):


    If you think that the big record labels will win the war over downloads, you must also believe that the U.S. lead 'War on Drugs' will soon rid the world of narcotics. The reality is that, no matter how hard they try to prevent it, anything that can be played can be recorded and no agency, public or private, has anywhere near the manpower or technology required to monitor more than a small fraction of internet traffic.

    The War on Drugs anology is actually fairly appropriate to this situation. If the big record labels (and other big media) continue on their present course the result will look alot like the results of the drug war: Tens of thousands of otherwise law abiding people, people who would otherwise be fans, will be sued for ammounts they cannot possibly afford, some may even go to jail. In any event lives will be ruined and they will probably not be quite the fans they might have been. This is not to say that people who copy and CDs and DVDs and sell them should not be prosecuted - but those people represent a very small percentage of the people who download music.

    However, as artists like the Barnaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, Sam Roberts, Sloan, Billy Talent, Sarah McLachlan and others have figured out, this is not bad news for artists, or at least for most artists. Repeated studies in Canada, as well as the U.S. and U.K. have all shown that the people who download the most music, also buy the most music. Thait is not to say that they buy everything that they download (any more than you buy everything you hear on the radio) but these are the true music lovers. They download music, they seek out new music to listen to, they buy CDs, go to shows, buy t-shirts, and perhaps most importantly they tell their friends what they should be listening to. These are the people you want to impress, not the people you want to sue.

    What the internet means for recording artists (and other artists) is not that 'people steal your music' it means that music lovers around the world get to hear your music and you get a chance to make fans out of them. It levels the playing field to an extent, you may not have a big marketing budget but if you're just starting out, recording your music at home in Sudbury, Ontario you have the opportunity to court fans in every country on the planet.

    Now that music lovers get to listen to music from everywhere the days of multi-billionaire pop stars are likely over. But it will very likely mean that more musicians than ever before can quit their day jobs and make a respectible living making music. If you are in muisc because you love making music and would like to make a living at it (and you're any good) this is good news for you and others like you. Set your music free, let people download it, let them share it with their friends. In fact you should encourage them to. Think of it as playing on a street corner with the entire planet (all 6.5 billion people) passing by. If one person in ten thousand tosses you a loonie once a year that's $650,000. The trick is to get as many people as possible to stop and listen. If, on the other hand, you got into music to make tens of millions of dollars, ride around in limousines, develop a heroin addiction and occasionally trash a hotel room - then you'd better think of something else. I hear professional sports pays pretty well.

    Note: If you are in a medium other than music the same basic rules apply. If you are in a business (feature film for example) Where $650,000 isn't enough, then you just have to do better than one in ten thousand.

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    Anna Nicole Smith, 24/7, CNN

    It was a bizarre end to a bizarre life.

    However, I am not here to eulogize the life of Anna Nicole Smith. Instead, I wish to write about a certain media channel’s coverage, that I found to be a bit disturbing.

    Most newspapers, television and radio stations, gave Smith’s death a respectful amount of coverage. You either had an 800-1000 word article or a standard 2-3 minute news piece. Say what you will about her, Anna Nicole still died, way before she should have. Whether you agreed with her actions or not, she deserves a proper memorial. Most media outlets followed through on this. CNN, on the other hand, went way beyond what was necessary.

    CNN gave extensive coverage on Smith’s death; and when I say extensive, I mean EXTENSIVE. Every image, every caption, every scroll bar, everything that was said, all focused on Anna Nicole. The last time CNN gave a story such wide and in-depth coverage, would be Hurricane Katrina. Anna Nicole's passing was the main story on The Situation Room. Wolf Blitzer was talking about Anna Nicole instead of the usual world and political issues that his show covers. If you never knew who she was and you watched CNN yesterday afternoon, you would think that Anna Nicole Smith was the President of the United States and she had just been assassinated. No disrespect to Smith or her family, but was all this “extensive” coverage from CNN, really necessary?

    I would understand if this was the death of a much loved world leader or a head of state. But let’s face facts. She’s just a model and a reality-television star. On a scale of important figures, Anna Nicole is most likely to be in the middle then at the top. And what happens when another pop-culture figure passes away? Will he or she receive the same attention that was given to Anna Nicole?

    What’s really sad was that it wasn’t a “slow news day.” There were events taking place in Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and in the US. Each having more importance then giving an intense analysis to the untimely death of a celebrity.

    Clearly, it would appear that CNN follows a bad set of priorities.

    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    HARPERMONIZTION OF CANADA TO THE USA

    Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines' by Margie

    HARPERMONIZTION OF CANADA TO THE USA

    With the onset of the anti Liberals ads by Harper and his Conservatives, they not only show contempt for our political process but pro American Harper is harmonizing this process with those of the USA by using personal attacks as political ads.

    Yet, it is not just our political process that is at risk but also our policies. Please remember that until a few weeks ago Harper has often said the Kyoto Accord was nothing more than a "boondoggle" and he has never been convinced that global warming is a result of human activity.

    Those who know Harper's history were not surprised that this would be his stand on the Accord. After all he has 20 years experience of attacking environmental regulations, especially in the oil industry. As a policy advisor to Preston Manning he always came out against strong regulations and heavy fines for the corporate polluters he would instead parrot the whine of industry; "It will hurt our competitiveness" in the world market.

    With Harper now being a "reborn environmentalist", he and his party are proclaiming to be on board for regulations to start cleaning up the environment. YET, at they same time they are also citing the need all provinces to adopt the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement ( T.I.L.M.A.) that will see the deregulation of environmental laws at both the provincial and municipal levels.
    Just like in the US, this agreement will give corporations the power to sue the province and/or municipality if they are barred from coming in and setting up their business - no matter what effect that business may have on the environment.

    Think about it!

    Ageism and the music industry

    Originally Posted to 'Roar of the Beaver' by Raine

    I had posted this on a new blog, but decided to post it here too. I would like to hear some people's thoughts on why the music 'industry'/business worldwide, as a general rule, does not value musical talent over the age of 28. Other industries value their talent/workers over this age i.e. business, medicine, lawyers....but not the music industry. American Idol, for example, with its 28 year age limit is a prime example of the music industries view on age. Canadian Idol, I think is 30 years age limit. In 2005 American Idol upped the age limit from 25 to 28 because they couldn't find enough talented people....at least that's what it said on their website. Watching Larry King the other week, Bucky Covington commented that now he is 29 he was reaching 'near the end' of any opportunity to have a music career so now was the time for him to make it. So that means if you're over 29 you'd better forget pursuing a music career? This is sad and not something unique just to American Idol/Canadian Idol but to the music industry as a whole. My past experience is that if you're over the age of 28, you have next to zero hope of obtaining a record deal or being taken seriously on a mainstream level regardless of how talented you are. I am a much better singer and songwriter than I was when I first started out....and isn't it a given that you should get better as you get older, learn from your mistakes and learn new techniques and skills? Out of curiosity, I recently had a professional critique done of my music by a music consultant. On a scale of 1 to 5, he gave me the following ratings:RATING SCALE "1" Indicates the Lowest Score"5" Indicates The Highest ScoreRecording Quality/Production: 4 to 4.5Lead Vocals: 5Musicianship: 4Lyric Writing: 4 to 4.5Music Composing: 4Overall Melodies: 4.5Song Arrangement: 4 to 4.5His response regarding the problem of ageism in the music industry was as follows:"I agree with you regarding the age thing in music.So many great artists don't get the respect or interest they deserve all because of their age. That drives me crazy when I see that happening.To me, talent is talent. I understand image and marketing, but where did talent get lost in the equation on this industry? I could go on about that for hours....." This is a problem affecting all musicians because we all get older every day and ultimately all of us will experience it....you can't turn back time! Some may say that the cutoff of 28 years old is because the majority of record buyers are under 28. This is not true. Many studies I have read indicate, suite the opposite, that the people with the extra income are people over the age of 30 and that legal downloading of music online is by customers over this age range....illegal downloading of music is by the 16 to 24 year age range.As someone over 28, I want to buy records from artists that I can relate to and have experienced what they're singing about (i.e. lost love, hard knocks of life etc).....not somone that's 16 to 21 singing about something he/she is too young to have experienced yet. I think the music industry needs to start promoting older musicians which will inspire higher quality musicianship and songwriting....and not something fired off by a team of producers/writers packaging music for the teen signed to a major label . Maybe Taylor Hicks, with his gray hair, has paved the way and the American public is voicing its desire....that age doesn't matter....only the music matters.

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Here's To You, Tony Dungy

    Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts. Super Bowl champions.

    If there is one person on the Colts that I am really happy for, it's their head coach, Tony Dungy.

    Dungy is one of the most respected coaches in the National Football League. This admiration is not only for his work on the field, but also for his work off the field. Unlike other coaches in the NFL and other professional sports leagues, he is very respectful to his players and doesn't raise his voice or go on a power trip.

    Fourteen months ago, Dungy was probably at the top of his game, when tragedy struck his family.

    Three days before Christmas, Dungy's 18-year-old son, James, died of a drug overdose. A preliminary coroner's report showed that James had committed suicide. The death was devastating to Dungy, his family, and the Colts.

    At the time, the Colts were having a phenomenal season. They went an impressive 13-0 before finishing the 2005 campaign with a record of 14-2. Many had picked Indy to win the Super Bowl. However, James' death clearly affected the Colts, who seemed to lack the desire and energy they showed for most of the season. They ended up being eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. Nobody could blame Tony Dungy if he wasn't focused on winning. The fact that he was able to return to the sidelines, just a couple of weeks after burying his son, was something no one was expecting.

    One could only imagine the pain Dungy was and probably still is feeling. The worst thing for any parent is outliving a son or a daughter. I hope I never have to go through that. I pray that it never happens to any of my friends or family. You have to appreciate how Dungy was able to come back this season despite carrying such a heavy burden.

    The Colts were not as impressive as they were in 2005. They went 12-4 and failed to earn a bye to the second round of the playoffs, as they had done in the previous year. However, they managed to fight their way to the championship. Many teams are not be able to hold on, when it appears that any chance of winning would end up unfulfilled. I believe the Colts were able to win because of the strength and leadership provided by Dungy. He is not only their head coach but also an inspiration and a metaphor for overcoming your deepest sorrow.

    Of course, winning the Super Bowl will not bring back his son. However, it will help ease the pain, just a little bit.

    Here's to you, Tony Dungy.

    Indie is the new mainstream

    Originally posted to 'Roar of the Beaver'

    While the big record labels (and lately other large media companies) spend billions convincing people to listen to their offerings and then billions more suing anyone who does the indie labels are on the move according to wired magazine. Amazingly it still doesn't seem that a single large media organization (anywhere in any media) has truly read the writing on the wall. A few of them have adopted the window dressing of the new media landscape, but not it's rules.

    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Is it Hate or is it Fear?

    Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines' by Margie

    If any of you peeked at my blog a few days back you know that I wrote in regards to gay bashing. I had received an email from a young lady that graphically described how her trans gendered brother died at the hands of hateful cowards. Now I have read about and seen on TV far too many examples of hate crimes but the horror of this young man's death has really stayed with me and I have been having a really hard time doing a follow up blog.

    I would like for you to imagine, if you will, being locked in a glass room. Your family and friends are all milling around having fun, life continuing as though the real you does not exist, and though you can hear them speak to you, they do not hear your voice. That is the only analogy I can come up with to try and help you fully understand a transgendered person. The person they should be is locked within themselves and it is totally the opposite of what you see on the outside. They do not choose to be this way, it is how they are born.

    None of us have had any say or control in our genetic makeup and yet there are those amongst us, maybe even someone you know, who deem that unless one fits a certain criteria their freedoms, rights, and very lives count for nothing.

    If it were not so horrifically sad, I would laugh at the term "white supremest". Please tell me what is so pure about a race, that is really nothing more than the bastardization of every other race? I believe that is why we whites do not have any common distinct characteristics except for the fact our skin is light in colour. The very fact that some of our skin turns brown in summer and some of us burn is a loud statement in and of itself.

    To fear what we do not know is normal. People of courage and maturity when faced with a fear will step out and learn about what ever is making them afraid. When they realize that their fear is unfounded, they embrace the difference and soon find that their heart, spirit, and lives have been enriched. Those that lack the courage to know their fear will hold that fear inside and each time they encounter that fear it builds inside of them until finally it is sparked by the anger of being afraid. Finally it just explodes they strike out and it is an innocent person who pays. They are powerless cowards who think in "mob mentality" mode because, it is very rare that you will find one on one hate murders.

    How many more who are deemed "different" will be debased, terrorized, and murdered before people get the message? The colour of ones skin, where one goes to worship, or who one chooses to love, has nothing to do with who that individual is as a person. Who we really are is what is in our heart and what we put out to the world and those around us in everyday life.

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    The Global Warming Burden of Proof

    Originally Posted to 'the Fake Headlines'

    It's time for a reverse onus. The global warming deniers have argued for the last several years that unless there is incontrovertible proof that global warming is caused by humans that we cannot take action to reduce CO2 emission because of the damage to the economy.

    At the moment there is not incontrovertible proof and there is unlikely to be in the near future. That kind of scientific proof generally takes generations to acquire, for example there is still not incontrovertible proof for the big bang, or evolution. Most of the time we have to go with the preponderance of the evidence or science would make no progress at all. Frequently medicines go on sale at the point where there seems to be a great benefit and there don't seem to be severe side effects.

    Right now the preponderance of the evidence suggests that global warming is caused by people. The consequences of global warming (even if we act now) are going to be catastrophic. The consequences of waiting any longer, according to the preponderance of the evidence, to act will be far worse.

    Exxon is currently offering $10,000 apiece to scientists who can find fault with the UN Report on Global Warming. Some, doubtless, will find fault with it (real or imagined.) But, I would argue that that is not enough anymore.

    The risk of doing nothing at this point is too great. If Exxon and the other companies that would risk global disaster and the health, well being and possibly survival of future generations in exchange for short term economic gain want us to do nothing then the burden must shift to them. They must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that humans and CO2 do not cause or contribute to global warming. Otherwise we must act on the best information we have and we must act swiftly, sweepingly and decisively.