Friday Aggregation: News Before Brews

daily-aggregation-21. MICHIGAN’S GAY MARRIAGE BAN IS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL Yay! Alas, the state’s attorney general is trying to force a stay in the ruling, because I guess he doesn’t want gay people to be treated the same way as straight people (i.e. allowed to marry the consenting adult human partner of their choice). Hey, remember in the past when some Americans didn’t think white people should be allowed to marry black people? That sure looks ridiculous now, doesn’t it? Gee, I wonder what made me think of that. Just popped into my head. On a related note, did you hear about the Simon Fraser University economics professor Douglas Allen? He testified to help Michigan keep same-sex marriage illegal? Yeah! He apparently thinks gay people are sinners who go to hell! A Canadian professor! Wow, that really makes me think he’s a rational person and not some nutcase fanatic religious bigot!

2. “IT MUST BE A PROFOUND EMBARRASSMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT” A Conservative appointee to the Supreme Court of Canada is rejected by said Supreme Court, as are the the sketchy Conservative rule changes that allowed it. Good additional story on this here.

3. NEW CANADIAN SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA Story here. Related: analysis on Russia’s annexation of Crimea by 2014 Minifie lecturer Nahlah Ayed here.

4. RAPISTS SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON Yup, another gang-rape case in India. Seems to me it would be simpler for everyone if human males would just knock this shit off.

5. JOHN GORMLEY FINDS IT WORRISOME THAT SOMEONE WOULD PROTEST HIS BOOK EVENT His column on the subject is here. Personally I find it troubling that the protester gave John a snake to imply something negative. Snakes are awesome.

6. SMITTY’S SERVICE A Canadian forces vet with a service dog says he was told he couldn’t bring his dog into the restaurant.

7. BC NDP POLITICIAN WILL REPAY 34k AFTER APPARENT (SOON TO BE EX-) HUSBAND-BASED ERRORS, BUT THE STORY IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT British Columbia MLA and imminent single parent Jenny Kwan has written a cheque to cover vacation expenses that appear to have been paid for inappropriately. The expenses were found in a government audit of the province’s Portland Hotel Society, which runs the critically needed safe injection centre, Insite, and also sticks up for homeless people having trouble with other government agencies. The PHS’s board was forced to resign after the audit. Important background that dogs into the grey areas of the story here. Actually, you know what? Just read this piece in The Georgia Straight. In fact, you should also read this piece in the Tyee that speaks to the good work the Portland Hotel Society has done. Told you it was complicated. A lot more here than one MLA’s family vacation, eh? By the way, the reason I’m linking to a BC politics story is because A.) anything involving Insite is national news in my book and B.) this stuff is a must-read cautionary tale for anyone who sees non-profit organizations as a way to make the world a better place.

8. HAWAIIAN COPS NEED TO SEX PROSTITUTES! So they say. Well, maybe sex work shouldn’t be criminal if cops need the sex, hmmmmmmmmmmm?

9. DON’T HELP CHILDREN DO THEIR HOMEWORK, IT’S BAD FOR THEM Apparently.

BILL NYE TALKS ABOUT HOW AWESOME CARL SAGAN AND SCIENCE ARE This is excellent!

I have a crazy idea: fewer business people, more scientists. Whaddaya think?

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.

11 thoughts on “Friday Aggregation: News Before Brews”

  1. The snake has retained counsel and considering action against Kevin Daniels for associating his species with John Gormley.

    But seriously, while I have mostly contempt for Gormley, I can’t endorse Daniels’ masked attack. Gormley is only polluting current minds, he didn’t rape and pillage anyone 500 years ago (unless he’s immortal… shudder). Intimidation and shouting someone down hurts the cause. If anything, Gormley earns respect for maintaining some composure during the incident, before reverting to form with his post-incident column.

    However I write today about John Klein. I have high hopes for John Klein to someday be an effective political player, so my open message to him is to try and rise above some of the contentious stuff and distance himself from stunts like this one.

    I realize that could be hard, given how offensive and wrong are some of the issues Klein opposes. But I worry that if he fails to maintain an image of reasonableness today, it could nullify him later. If he participates – or is seen to be participating – in histrionics, that might turn off voters and establish Klein, accurately or not, as too radical.

    The unfortunate reality is that politics is a popularity contest ruled by superficiality and first/worst impressions.

    Everyone here knows Jim Elliott is a calm, rational, reasonable person. But the other 95% of Regina believes he’s a flaming radical hippie, because that’s what they’ve been told. It’s to the point where almost anyone with a beard and a brain is called Jim Elliott. As wrong as it is, Jim’s false reputation precedes him. He will never be elected, as the city has proven they’d elect a hollow stick or an absentee former football player before they’d consider a hippie. I name Jim here because I know he can take it, but the same examples could be made of various other people.

    John Klein has so far stayed mostly respectable and diligent, but I worry when he gets a bit too close to the action he could be unfairly painted (as Gormley does) as a “giggling left wing activist”.

    When I say “effective” political player, let me be clear and say I mean “electable”. Klein will no doubt always have a voice and view worth hearing, but his influence will be much greater if he can ever get elected. Once elected, I’m sure he’ll do fine: we have council rooms full of dummies who prove that incumbency matters far more than merit or performance. But getting caught up in stunts or bad impressions prior to actually being elected could ultimately limit how far John goes.

    At this point the urge to go hoof to hoof with Gormley’s barnyard antics has to be irresistible. I implore Klein to shake it off. Keep turning the cheek to Gormley. Actually, if you can, go further: be even nicer to him. Laugh off his attacks. Go on his show and make light of his unfair portrayals. Be the Obama to his O’Reilly. Don’t participate in his negative spiral, and be the bigger man. Of course that will be hard, and I certainly couldn’t do it. But if you can, we might all benefit later.

    Think of Prime-Minister-in-waiting Brad Wall. Back when he was a vocal critic, he went nowhere. Cultivating a bland and harmless image is how he made himself electable.

  2. “[A] large burly man walked in, trailed by two middle-aged women…” Good one, Johm. Everyone knows, Johm, that “large, bulky” men are useless tits (easily dismissible) while “middle-aged women” who trail “large, bulky” men are just useless because of their age, Johm. Disparaging metaphoricals. Also, I wasn’t there when the alleged “Marxist/Leninists” broke up some lecture with “baseball bats” 40 years ago, but I’m pretty sure lectures have been heckled since, oh, I’m sure at least one Freeper wingnut has disrupted a women’s studies class or pro-choice demo since 1974.

    I like how Johm uses the experience to humble-brag his way into mainstream, middle-class, middle-age respectability, le voix de raison, steeped in the ways of Robert’s Rules.

    I’m sure Johm can find common ground with people on egg white omelettes and other rightwing yuppie crossover obsessions, but he’s still the mind-polluting corroded battery spewing acidic corporate-funded hate on mainstream hate radio.

  3. I can say that John Klein should never go on Gormez ‘z show, if he hasn’t already. Wait until the next election man.

    JGL is for the entertainment of JG & his personalality / ego trip.

    My ego say don’t read into him so much… Have you ever head any givin, show of his when he has his quota 5 callers over 4 hours, and butts / interjects into their sentences… The Twist is his favorite part of the dance.

    If we leave him alone …. Prarie Dogs may eventually Bark Louder..

  4. Oh, Ron, where do I even start?

    Talbot: eat a Snickers.

    Reader: You’re on the money, but it still took you a hefty word count just to say “Grow up”.

  5. White people tell Native man he protest wrong! Native man should listen to wise palefaces!

  6. Oh, Stephen, did you learn nothing from the U of R cheer squad incident? Falling back on movie-Indian English is not wit; it perpetuates stereotypes.

  7. Looks like everyone else is in the mood to discuss #5, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about #1. In particular, I’d like to discuss Dr. Douglas Allen’s role in the trial (and the debate).

    First, regarding the fact that Dr. Allen thinks homosexuality is a sin and gay people are Hell-bound: as far as I’m concerned, that should never have come up in trial at all. While I think the belief itself is a silly holdover from Iron Age thought, the question forcing Dr. Allen to express his belief was a transparent attempt by the plaintiff’s attorney to poison the well. Dr. Allen was not brought on as an expert witness in theology or morality; he was brought on as an expert in the meta-analysis of studies of outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents. In a court of law, an expert witness should be judged on three things: their credentials, the content of their argument, and the argument’s relevance to the question at hand. Dr. Allen’s religious beliefs neither qualify nor disqualify him as a scientific expert. There are loads of religious secularists who understand that public policy debates must be framed in terms of verifiable facts about the world to be effective. Dismissing their public opinions because of their personal religious beliefs is bullshit. There’s no religious test for public office, there’s no religious test for science, there should be no religious test for expert witnesses.

    Now that that’s out of the way, Dr. Allen’s work is completely irrelevant to this case. Dr. Allen’s paper argues that 52 influential studies on the outcomes of same-sex-raised children are inconclusive (for a variety of reasons). He makes no claim that there is harm to children raised by same-sex couples, he merely argues that there is not yet enough evidence to claim conclusively that there is no harm. Whether or not his argument is sound (and I make no judgement here), it should have no bearing on the issue of same-sex marriage. It is a long-standing principle of Western law that liberty should only be restricted where there is evidence of harm. Freedom of speech doesn’t extend to yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre. Freedom of religion doesn’t extend to withholding medical care from your children. In these cases, harm has been established. In many other cases, like publishing unpopular opinions or raising a child Catholic, harm has not been established and we try to err on the side of more freedom. Likewise, in the case of same-sex marriage, we should err on the side of allowing people the freedom to marry the person of their choosing unless and until harm has been established.

  8. 500 years ago? I am pretty sure leaders in the residential schools were raping folks far more recently than that. The peak of the residential school system was in 1931. Guys that was 83 years ago. The government carried out “nutritional experiments” in the 1950s on kids in those schools. The last school closed in 1996!

    People in Saskatchewan need to stop acting like this all happened forever ago.

    It is recent, still affects people, and will continue to affect them for a long time yet. Especially if we all just pretend it didn’t happen, or that it happened so long ago that people need to just “get over it.”

  9. What Collette said. Kidnapping generations of children and sending them to re-education schools where they were tortured and killed is going to screw up race relations in Canada for a few more generations probably.

    As for Reader’s advice, I’ve appeared on Gormley’s show years ago when I had time, but now I don’t. I won’t be making time for him either, until he publicly corrects the record and admits his conspiracy theory was made up by him, and was wrong. I don’t take kindly to being libeled in newsprint, on TV (even if it was only Sun), and on the radio.
    Here was my response, as a letter to the editor (an editor who should have run a correction for Gormley’s column) http://johnkleinregina.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/libel-lecture/

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