Thursday, May 24, 2007

Human rights 'eroded worldwide'

Okay, so this is less "news" than "known facts", but I feel this report on Amnesty's review of human rights is interesting if only because it is so scathing and blunt. Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said:

The politics of fear are fuelling a downward spiral of human rights abuses in which no right is sacrosanct and no person safe.

Ouch. Yes, world at large, we suck. Some other lowlights:

During the Lebanon war, the report says, it took the UN weeks to call for a truce. Some 1,200 civilians lost their lives in the conflict.

...the world "showed no stomach" in tacking human rights abuses resulting from severe restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, attacks by the Israeli army and also the Palestinian infighting. ...

Ms Khan described the continuing conflict in Sudan's Darfur region as a "bleeding wound on the world's conscience".

The report says that armed groups in the region waged a campaign of terror in 2006, clearing whole communities from their villages. ...

The thing I hate about these broad indictments is that they don't offer any suggestions other than STOP THIS FROM CONTINUING. I've obviously hewn out a space in the world where I can try and fix some of these things, but its hardly accessible to everyone.


Other pieces of not-really news:

Chronic Pain May Dim Memory (WebMD)

To which all I can say is:

This xkcd is love

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

Here in Toronto, if you say "serial killer" everyone thinks Paul Bernardo. And there's no question--none--that Bernardo is a crazy, evil monster who seriously tests the conviction of Canadians against capital punishment (or say, lynching). But I find it interesting that the same high profile has not accrued (at least in Toronto) to the Pickton case.

A brief summary...starting in the early 1980s, women from Vancouver's Lower East Side began disappearing. However, because they were often transient, prostitutes, heroin addicts, or Native (or more likely, some combination) the disappearances were considered "normal." Robert Pickton, a Port Coquitlam pig farmer, is currently being tried for the murders of six of the disappeared: Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Marnie Frey, Georgina Papin and Brenda Wolfe. Charges have been laid against him for another 20 murders.

For perspective, Bernardo was a serial rapist, but only three murders have been confirmed as his handiwork. Clifford Olsen, heretofore considered Canada's most prolific serial killer, murdered 11 children in the early 1980s.

Although all those cases are horrible in their own special way (Bernardo was an obvious sadist who taped the torture of his victims with his wife as a willing accomplice, Olsen was a pedophile who killed at an astonishing rate) the alleged details of the Pickton case are grisly on a level previously associated with Hollywood movies and television crime drama (it was referenced on a recent episode of CSI). Pickton owned a pig farm, and it is alleged that he used it to dispose of the bodies. He may have fed the meat of his victims to his pigs. He may have ground up their meat along with pork and given it to family and friends.

It's interesting, how we rank our evil by proximity, rather than scope...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's either laugh or cry...

As reported by one of my fav bloggers here: Joe. My. God.: South African Churches Line Up For Gays, now that S. Africa has okayed gay marriage, churches are deciding on whether or not to perform them. The mainstream denominations haven't thrown their hats into the ring (obviously the Catholics won't, but I did sigh with regret when I saw the Anglicans on the list...c'mon Anglicans! Seriously!) but mostly I like to the post because Joe echoed one of the all-time best Jon Stewart/daily show quotes:

When South Africa approved gay marriage, I recall Jon Stewart reporting the story, saying, "Just to reiterate, America is now less progressive than South Africa."

Dear United States: What on earth are you doing?

BBC NEWS Entertainment Moore courts Cannes controversy

So Michael Moore made a movie about the American healthcare system. And he filmed part of it in Cuba. Specifically, he took 9/11 rescuers to Guantanamo to compare the healthcare detainees receive.

And now he's being threatened with jail time and the confiscation of his film for going to Cuba without a permit.

Question: do the American authoritites read newspapers? Like, ever? Do they not have internet access? Because they appear to be ignorant of a few key facts, like the fact that everyone else thinks they're bizarre ban on Cuba is childish, or that silencing a film-maker for criticizing the health care system is Taliban-esque.

They just keep digging that hole...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Whoa...what?

So I was in the waiting room yesterday and I read this column in Chatelaine: Chatelaine.com : Dr. Morgentaler and me. Apparently, you can't get an abortion in PEI and you can barely get one in New Brunswick.

...wait....what?

As the article mentions, access to abortion is considered a constitutional right in Canada, and has been for decades. But apparently two provinces have decided "eh, to hell with the Charter."

No matter what you views on abortion, the provinces can't just disregard the law, for heavens' sake! Of course, I don't see the feds getting into this debate, given the reigning party's stance on abortion...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"...you're the retarded offspring of five monkeys having buttsex with a fishsquirrel--congratulations!"

-- Mrs. Garrison (South Park Season 10 Episode 12 "Go God Go")

Oh how I do love a good South Park one-liner. And you can't look down on a show that features Richard Dawkins, even if most of its humour is (deliciously) scatological. Other recent winners include:

Cartman: If you had a chance right now to go back in time and stop Hitler, would you do it? I mean, I personally wouldn't stop him because I think he was awesome, but you would, right?

Clyde: I'm just going to stop playing.

Cartman: When Hitler rose to power, there were a lot of people who just stopped playing. You know who those people were? The French. Are you French, Clyde?

Clyde: No...

Cartman: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, Clyde?

(S10 E8 "Make Love, Not Warcraft")

Chef: Have you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?

General: I don't listen to hip-hop.

(South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut)


Well, what else is going on? Not a whole lot....so its time for a summary...BULLET STYLZ

  • Last Thursday I nipped over to the field at St. Mike's to try and catch part of my brother's football game. I couldn't find him...because he was on the other side of the field, being held down by the team medic, with a possible T1-T2 injury. He was okay in the end (sore of course) but it made for an interesting evening.
  • I am currently catsitting my parents' tabby/mongrel, Lucy (a.k.a. Lucifur). She spends most of the time under my bed, as she is terrified of my apartment. Er, or disgusted by it...I still haven't repaired the exam period cleaning moratorium. She is loud, and constantly scratches at the floor around her food and water. I am researching to see what is up with that.
  • I have a cold. Not good, people.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Okay, I know I usually stay away from the RL-related posts. I've made a concerted effort to stick to the "objectively interesting" as opposed to self-absorbed wankery....but I really have to tell this story. And then go wash my hands a million (more) times.

I just cleaned a dead squirrel off my exterior window ledge. It was squishy. Then there was a roach in my apartment....only one, which is sort of inevitable in a building this old, but *shudder*

Eugh. Okay. Today is officially the grossest day ever.

LOL Cats

I'm sorry, I know they're cliched and silly and cutesy...but I heart LOL cats to an unhealthy degree. Here's a good batch: lolcats2

BTW, how much raw cookie dough is too much? I'm testing that theory right now.