Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Allan Gregg Made a Liar Out of Me

Walking to work this morning, I ran into a friend and mentioned that I was going to see David Remnick this evening, something I was much looking forward to. The only downside, I explained, was that he was being interviewed by Allan Gregg. We shared our thoughts about Mr. Gregg and I said that if he showed up in a leather jacket I was going to walk out. Of course, I was kidding. Sure the man lives with the delusion that he has reached the level of celebrity that allows him to wear leather jackets inside and still be taken seriously, but it was 40 degrees out today.

Ladies and gentlemen, Allan Gregg interviewed the editor of The New Yorker in a leather jacket!

I must confess that I stayed for the event. When it came down to it I couldn't miss an opportunity to see David Remnick just because Allan Gregg is an idiot. But I did gain some satisfaction from the fact that the interviewee also seemed to recognize this.

Remnick himself was an excellent speaker. Of course I expected him to be extremely intelligent, but I was impressed by how funny he is. He does seem to have a bit of a tendancy to cut people off before they have completed their thoughts. But anyone who has ever been to an event with an audience Q&A understands that this is really more saving grace than character flaw.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Suu Kyi to Remain Under House Arrest

Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest term ended this weekend, leading some to hope that her detention would end. Of course, the term has been extended. The Burmese military regime is not stupid afterall when it comes to clinging to power.

The fact that people continue to get their hopes up about the behaviour of brutal dictatorships perplexes me. It seems to me that you should always expect the worst of governments that oppress their own people, even while pressuring them to reform. Every once in a while they may surprise you, but only very rarely (I am at a loss to think of a single incident). Otherwise it seems that you are setting yourself up for guaranteed disappointment.

The world continues to fail Darfur

Eric Reeves at The New Republic Online explains why, despite the recent agreements, the U.N. cannot be relied upon to end the genocide in Darfur:

Here, then, is what the people of Darfur are being asked to believe: that a piece of paper signed in Abuja marks a change of heart within a regime of genocidaires that has never abided by any agreement it has ever made with any Sudanese party; that these genocidaires, having been effectively granted veto power over U.N. actions in Darfur, will permit the United Nations to take actions that would end the killing; that Moscow and Beijing, loyal defenders of the National Islamic Front, will soon abandon their old allies in Khartoum and allow U.N. troops to deploy with an appropriate mandate; that, while waiting for a U.N. force that is either not coming or is likely coming without the tools to stop the genocide, an existing African Union mission that has failed to protect Darfuris for two years will suddenly protect them now. In short, they are being asked to accept the genocidal status quo. Never has it been more obvious that only NATO military action can save Darfur. The people of Darfur have been waiting for help for three years. If working through the United Nations is the best the international community has to offer, they will be waiting for a long time to come.
Sadly, it seems unlikely that NATO will act. The political will simply doesn't exist. When the public doesn't care and the media is barely paying attention (recent George Clooney led surge notwithstanding), there is very little motivation for member governments to act.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ontario: Yours to Discover (by feeling around in the dark)

The Government of Ontario now has TTC ads that say "The eyes are the windows to your soul, but clean hands are the windows to your health" or some such nonsense.

First they de-list eye care, then they call optometrists terrorists and now they belittle the importance of eye health as part of a public health campaign (they are not actually the windows to my soul... but I find them quite helpful when I want to look at things). Seriously what is going over at the Ministry of Health & Handwashing?

Coming soon, a new campaign for summer: "Sunglasses: They're kinda for sissies" and "Brighten up your life: Stare Directly at the Sun!"

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My Mind Belongs to Another

I apologise for the fact that, despite promises to the contrary, blogging has been non-existant for the past two weeks. I have been very busy, and have not been able to keep abreast of any topics more mentally taxing than Britney nearly dropping little Sean Preston on his head or the Brandon Davis "Lindsay Lohan is poor and that's disgusting" incident. While I could wax philosophical for hours on these topics, I will spare you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Turkey Recalls Ambassador to Canada

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Canada because our government acknowledges their nation's genocidal past. Apparently the ambassador will return after a period of "consultation".

Canada should recall our ambassador in response. Their behaviour is unacceptable. They are using diplomatic pressure against us simply because our nation is no longer willing to politely accept Turkish lies about their past.

Of course, it doesn't help that the Canadian media continues to pander to Turkish denials. The Globe and Mail writes that:

"Armenians say 1.5 million of their people were killed as the Ottoman Empire forced them from eastern Turkey between 1915 and 1923 – and that this was a deliberate campaign of genocide by Turkey's rulers at that time."
Yes the Armerians say that, much like Jews "say" that the German government murdered 6 million of their people between 1933 and 1945. You know, because it happens to be true. The fact that the Turks have not admitted to their crimes, does not change the facts of history.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Peace Deal Signed over Darfur

The Sudanese government and the Sudanese Liberation Movement have signed a treaty aimed at ending the fighting in Darfur, although smaller rebel groups have failed to sign the agreement. Time will tell if this will actually improve the situation for the people of the region.

Sadly it's hard to have faith in people who turn armed militias on innocent civilians and target aid workers.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Shall we try for June?

April has passed and Ratko Mladic remains free. No mention yet of an extension, and it may be that the Europeans will actually stick to the deadline this time and freeze talks with Serbia over membership. We'll see.