Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

29 September 2009

In Defence of Offenders

In the news today I see that sex offenders in Georgia and Florida have reputedly taken to living in tents.
The group of nine men were told to live in the woods in the southern state after they were unable to find housing far enough away from areas where children congregated, such as schools and playgrounds.

Georgian law bans the state's 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000ft of schools, churches, child-care facilities and other areas where children gather.
Yeah, that law makes sense. Just like the current fad of "outing" such offenders online, or posting their mug shots in the neighborhoods where they get released.

Look: A sex offender by definition is one who's been caught. Many, if not most, of the ones who do time can't be fully rehabilitated. They need watching, pure and simple. And they absolutely need access to the support systems everyone else has to ensure they're at the lowest possible risk of reoffending.

These guys probably aren't the problem! They're trying to comply with the conditions of laws that would be regarded as unfair if imposed on many other classes of offender.

What's needed isn't exclusion. What's needed is a way to ensure that these guys can return to the community in safety, or conversely where the risk of re-offence is unacceptably high, what's needed is a mechanism to keep them under direct and constant supervision.

And that's why the Stephen Harper Conservative Government of Canada™ pisses me off. They're trying to kick over one of the few frail anti-re-offence agencies that exist. Wish I could find the link to that, dammit ... It was right here a minute ago. They've apparently chopped funding to one of the few working sex-offender post-release counselling-and-treatment outfits. I'll keep looking.

But in any case, the Stephen Harper Conservative Government of Canada™ has an embarrassingly fluffy relationship with the desperately disfunctional US prison system.

The problem is the fundamental difference in perception. Canadians regard the purpose of prison as an attempt at rehabilitation. A machine which turns crooks into citizens (albeit at a very low rate).

US Republicans and the Stephen Harper Conservative Government of Canada™ (if that's not a redundancy) see prisons as a massive private machine where inmates=profit, and rehab and trying to open doors gives way to punishment and training the thugs to damn well stay in their place.

Nonethless, Public Safety caveman Peter van Loan asserts that such places will "return people to the community better able to live law-abiding lives." Despite the fact that it doesn't work. Hasn't worked in the US, and--surprise!--Hasn't worked here.

Note: Yes, I know the government said privatization isn't on the table. Let's consider this like adults, shall we?

Stephen Harper, alleged economist either mistook or lied outright when he claimed there wasn't a recession coming. Immediately after winning his second minority, he said strong measures had to be taken to blunt its impact.

Stephen Harper passed a law saying an election had to be held, was mandatory, this October. Last year he broke his own law (As a lawbreaker himself, doesn't he worry about being carted off to a US-style jail?).

So this government isn't known for what you'd call "frankness". Drop the "f" and you'd be about right. Their ideology calls for privatization of public functions, without regard to inconvieniences like "facts" or "reality."

You want to know where opposition to relaxing marijuana laws comes from in the US? Three guesses and the first two don't count. When prisoners=profit, sacrifices have to be made, eh? Sometimes human sacrifices.

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25 September 2009

Quote of the Day #349

And it's from "E!" network, fer FSM's sake--The gut-spilling, wrenching void of celebrity goss and toss.

"The truth, no matter how uncomfortable, is never too much information."

It's the last sentence of a surprisingly deep blog post that must have been handed out to E!'s headline writers without notification that this was a genuine piece of thoughtful opinion.

The headline is "Mackenzie Phillips Is Not Oversharing!" The headline is a damn-near-slight to a woman who seems to be determined to unburden herself publicly of some of the most asocial revelations anyone could put themselves through. Money quote:
We don't want to hear it. Any of it.

And that might be the ickiest thing of all.
My feeling when a semi-celeb comes out with revelations like this is that you do need to look for the motive. But while Phillips has been doing the talk-show circuit, she could have done that by simply asserting that Papa John had beaten her, or something less ... icky.

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18 September 2009

Obesity Epidemic Hitting Close to Home (Renos)

From my Canadian Tire flier, which arrived as usual with the Friday paper:
Toilet seats 20% off: Wide selection.


Have a good weekend.

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16 September 2009

An Israeli Perspective on the Goldstone Report

And not the one you've been hearing about.For those of you tuning in late, the Goldstone Report, realeased today, offers stern criticisms of Israel's actions in the late wars:
" Although the U.N. investigation found that Palestinian militants also committed war crimes, the overwhelming majority of the criticism in a summary of the 574-page report targets Israel.

Israel "committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," the report says."
~CNN

I happen to rather like the Jerusalem Post. They'll happily print genuine debate on real issues in their pages. Amongst the pro- and con- Goldstone opinions we have Larry Derfner calling the report "A wake-up call from Judge Goldstone". One of the most interesting points of his analysis of the report--which was criticized by Israel's deputy foreign minister as "a dangerous attempt to harm the principle of self-defense by democratic states [which] provides legitimacy to terrorism"--is this one:
And we don't see that we did anything wrong. Somebody's got to tell us. Lots of people have tried, including Amnesty International, the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and, last but definitely not least, dozens of our own soldiers.

We've tried to smear them all, to silence them, to drown out the message that keeps repeating itself from one source to another. Now we have the message, the same message again, from one of the world's most respected, accomplished men of justice. South Africa's Judge Richard Goldstone has a record that no one in this country would dare try to tarnish. What's more, he's not only a Jew (and a former president of World ORT), he's also a friend of Israel. He was on the board of directors at the Hebrew University, got an honorary doctorate there, he's visited this country any number of times, his daughter's lived here for awhile.
So there we have it. From an authoritative and sympathetic voice, a stern warning to Israel that it has to stop acting like the people it purports to be defending itself against.

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13 September 2009

Why Ask Why?

Over at the theoretically-leftish Toronto Star, an editorial asks the question: What's the reason for an election?
The question is: why an election now, other than that it would save the Liberals and the others from the embarrassment of having to continue "propping up" the Conservative government
Now personally, I feel that that question answers itself. However, Randall Denley at the usually-rightish Ottawa Citizen expresses it better in an editorial entitled "Ignatieff has nothing to lose if the writ drops" (subtitled "And neither do we, so bring it on"):
Ignatieff's decision to push for an election now is being portrayed as odd or inappropriate, but it's neither if one considers it from his perspective. Simply put, all the alternatives are worse.

Minority government is tough for the party in power, but it's just as bad for the opposition. It's pretty lame for an opposition leader to condemn the government and then vote for its policies to avoid triggering an election, but that's Ignatieff's other choice.
But it doesn't end there:
As he tries to show why an election is needed, Ignatieff has found an unlikely ally in Harper. Harper gave us a clue as to the breadth of his vision for the country when he reminded Canadians that an election now could deprive them of the cheques they have been counting on from his home-renovation program. There is no real chance that the Liberals will cancel this witless crowd-pleaser, but it tells us where Harper thinks our interests are. Canadians, in his view, can't see beyond the flaps of their wallets.
Yup, that sums it up nicely. Harper believes we're so venial and myopic that we're willing to sit still for the dismantling of our nation in return for a mess of pottage.

And while I personally quite like pottage, I prefer an election.

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05 September 2009

Egg on My Face

Or maybe it's just gyproc dust ...

Barb and k.morrison pointed out in the comments on the post below that the floor for receiving the home renovation tax credit is $1000, rather than $10k.

Serves me right for posting in a hurry. Also for getting my information from home reno store handouts rather than the website. So the tax credit may be of some worth. Though I personally feel a new government is a better investment.

Thanks for the corrections to both.

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03 September 2009

A Glimmer From the End of the Tunnel?

Michael Ignatieff, that shifting mass of shapeless ego currently fronting the Liberal Party of Canada, has decided that a Loyal Opposition party should, like, oppose something the government proposes.

For most of his reign, Steve Harper (PM pro tempore) has been sneaking poison pills into his legislation which effectively turn everything into a confidence vote. Thus, should the opposition actually manage to do its ₤µ©λing job and oppose, they run the risk of triggering an election.

Harper's also been gambling that fear of triggering an election he keeps claiming no-one wants (which is true--No Tory wants an election, not with their tragic record of hubris and ham-fisted mismanagement).

And he's largely succeeded. The Liberal opposition has been confined to saying "Hey--You better not cross this line--Yeah, this one here ... Okay, but not this one ... We really mean it. Well, I guess we can live with that then ..."

But Ignatieff may have managed to drag the Opposition out of irrelevancy by saying that they will simply no longer go along. To which I say thank ₤µ©λing Christ and can we have the election already?

At the moment, polls show the Libs and Refor--I mean, Alli--I mean "Conservatives" neck-and-neck. However, Harper knows what that means. Unless he comes up with a world-beating idea (unlike any other he or his cronies has ever managed to have), he's toast. Which is actually a pretty safe bet anyway if he continues to foul up the economy as badly as he has thus far.

Of course, Harper prefers fear to actual, y'know, ideas and stuff. He threatened that, last election, if the Libs got elected it would spell econo-disaster (while simultaneously denying that a) there was an economic crisis on already and b) that he hadn't made it worse by denying its reality). He can't use that one again, I'm guessing.

So this time he's whinging that the Liberals might turn off a tax credit for building additions onto your home. Bad news, Harpy: The credit only kicks in after $10 thousand. And how many people have ten grand to throw down for a 15% tax credit? Given the current economic non-disaster you apparently think you've presided over?

So let's have the election. Keep it clean, above the belt, and no clinching in the corners. I realize that Mr. Harper may be handicapped by those rules, but all lousy things come to an end, so I've heard.

Let's just hope it's true.

Oops--I blew it. The tax credit goes from $1000 to $10,000. We regret the error.

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