Archive for January 2007

BLOGGERS

January 31, 2007

Professor Michael Karen or the University of Calgary has just written a book alleging that bloggers are lonely, isolated, rebellious and live in a make believe world:”In the blogosphere, the death of an ancient cat is on the same emotionl level as an earthquake in Pakistan.”

          Not so fast say the bloggers:  “Bloggers love company;  we are incurable social creatures wrapped in a pose of Internet misanthropy.  Blogging is all about intensive engagement to hometown politics and world affairs alike.  Blogging is like travelling the country, chatting with others living in small towns.  Because we do this from out basement offices doesn’t mean we’re lonely.”  What’s this all about anyway?

HARPER

January 30, 2007

The Harper people have just issued a series of ads attacking Stephane Dion.  The ads claim Dion is a poor leader, ineffectual on the environment and ignorant of foreign affairs.  Some claim these ads cost a half a million dollars and one will play to the audience of the Super Bowl on Sunday.  It is all well and good to say these ads don’t work, that they will backfire but in fact all the evidence shows that they do work.  The purpose of the Tories with this enormous expenditure of money is to define Harper as a weakling before he his has time to define himself.  Especially in view of the fact that these ads work, is it legitimate to show them especially to millions of people around the world on this Sunday’s Super Bowl?   

SINN FEIN

January 29, 2007

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of yesterday’s decision of Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein to support and cooperate with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.  This was one of two roadblocks prohibiting northern Ireland from governing itself instead of being governed from London The other roadblock is the refusal of Ian Paisley’s party to share the government of Ulster with Sinn Fein.  Now thatSinn Fein has compromised on the police there are high hopes that Paisley will compromise on the government.  That would open the way in early March for a new government in northern Ireland.  This breakthrough could settle the administration in Ulster for years, if not generations to come.

       Manykey figures played a role in this – Bertie Ahearn, Gerry Adams, Bill Clinton and right at the top I would put Tony Blair.  Over the last ten years he has invested an enormous amount of political capital in the Irish question.  I expect that high in Blair’s legacy will be the great work he did in Ireland.

MOUNT ROYAL

January 28, 2007

A committee is currently meeting to study the future of Mount Royal.  On one side are heritage and conservation groups that seek to slow or stop development on the mountain. This group wants elements on the mountain e.g. playgrounds, parks, lawns to be named “untouchable.”  On the other side are institutional landowners seeking to expand their facilities on the mountain — like McGill University, University of Montreal, St. Joseph’s Oratory and two hospitals.   A spokesman for the development group says the restrictions of the heritage group are “incompatible with the dynamic nature of a city, and with the dynamic nature of our institutions.”   Is a compromise possible here before it is too late?

ABBE PIERRE

January 27, 2007

Seldom, if ever, have I seen an entire nation spontaneously pay tribute to a simple priest.  Abbe Pierre spent most of his 94 years in France helping the poor, the homeless, the unemployed and all those he came across on the fringes.   He had a simple message:  “The true peacemakers are those who open themselves to universal consciousness.”  President Chirac said his death “touched the very heart of France.”   The president, his government, various elites, the poor and the homeless attended his funeral presided over by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris.  

       The response of every layer of society to the life and work of this simple priest says much about what the laity see as authentic in a priest.  He gave of himself, he did not count the cost and advancements and honours were not what he or others judged himself by.  The fact that he was intimate with several women did not in any way diminish the repute in which he was held at least by lay people. 

     Abbe Pierre was called “the little father of the poor.” RIP 

MAHER ARAR

January 26, 2007

Partly as a result of faulty information sent to American police, Maher Arar, found himself in a dank Syrian prison where he was severely torotured on a daily basis.  He did not expect to emerge alive.   What does Canada owe Mr. Arar for a mistake that caused him and his family so much physical and emotional anguish?.  What yardstick should apply? Others have been imprisoned for long periods unlawfully.  Today the prime minister apolologized to Mr. Arar and presented him with $10,5000 of tax payers money.  Do you think the settlement was fair?

THE PICKTON TRIAL

January 25, 2007

A farmer named Pickton in B.C, is reported to have butchered and murdered upwards of 50 women in the most gruesome manner.  Pickton’s trial is expected to last at least a year. Every paper  in the country is carrying this appalling story on its front pages.  Do papers like the Globe and Mail run this stuff on its front pages because the G&M believes this is what its regular readers want to read or because the G&M wants to acquire new readers?

        What does this salacious coverage say about the relative importance of news and about journalistic values? 

EUTHANASIA

January 24, 2007

A man named P. Welby in Italy sith muscular dystrophy asked to be disconnected from a respirator that had kept him alive for nine years.   Church authorities refused him a religious funeral, because said Cardinal Ruini, “it would have legitimized behavior contrary to the rules of the church.”  On the other hand, Cardinal Martini (the Jesuit followed Benedict iin the conclave) said that more pastoral attention must be paid to terminal patients  when they ask with a clear mind.  68 per cent of Italians support the right to refuselife-sustaining medical treatment.

January 24, 2007

Tonight at nine, the PBS program Frontline is running a program called HAND OF GOD about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.  I wonder if it will touch on one of the most curious elements of this whole affair:  the fact that so many priests have been censured and that practically no bishops have paid any price for the cover-up.  The priests are out in the cold and the bishops are in their palaces.

SOVEREIGNTY

January 23, 2007

A leading candidate for the French presidency, Segolene Royal, told PQ leader Andre Boisclair that she supports the independence of Quebec.  Does a foreign citizen have any right to pronounce on Quebec’s constitutional status?  Does Boisclair have any right to boast about it?  Might it help Royal’s campaign if she apologized?