Saturday, April 30, 2005

Too young to choose but old enough to be a mom

Today I read about a 13-year old Florida girl who had her abortion blocked by a state court. She is 13, pregnant, a ward of the state, 3 months pregnant, too young to make an “informed medical decision”; but not too young to have sex, or become a mother. So instead of allowing a young female to do something drastic like have an abortion, the state ruled that she must carry her pregnancy to term and have a child. Somebody tell me why a kid isn’t “informed” enough to make medical decisions but is informed enough to raise a child.

Florida is a state where brain damaged women in vegetative states should be kept alive indefinitely, you are allowed to shoot someone on the street in self-defence (likely only if you are white), and 13-year old children may have sex, but not abortions. So a girl made a mistake, why punish her and her unborn child? What purpose will bringing an unwanted (and likely unhappy) life into the Florida welfare system serve?

Is Florida really a state that champions the right to life? I had a very hard time grasping why Governor Bush would fight so hard to save a brain damaged woman, yet sign a law allowing people to shoot each other on the street in “self defence”. The two contradicted so beautifully I thought I was reading the Bible rather than the news. The only conclusion I can come up with is that this has nothing to do with a person’s right to life. Florida could care less about a black man shot to death or the well-being of the bastard child of some unruly teenager. The cynical side of me says that the only thing that matters to Florida is the welfare of white-upper class Floridians.

Who will benefit most from a law allowing people to be shot on the street in self-defence? A black man is by default a criminal in a court of law. Terri Schiavo was a white woman who could afford health insurance to keep her alive for 14 years. If she was black, would Jeb Bush try to become her legal guardian? The hypocrisy in Jesusland sickens me. If this pregnant teenager was the daughter of an elite family, I can only imagine that rather than punishing her foolishness, an abortion would have been given quietly and painlessly. A court battle is only reserved for those who can’t afford better. Leave no millionaire behind. Bush doesn’t intend to.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

In the name of EQUALITY

Think girls… what is the last thing you did to try to get a guy’s attention? Did you raise your voice five octaves? Did you give him the “please do this for me” look? Better yet, did you play damsel in distress to get your way?

Admit it! You do it, I do it, Sally does it, we all do it! Every single one of us has at some point tried to get our way by some annoying method or another. Have you ever considered what these cries for attention do to us?

They encourage stereotypes. You know, the bad kind… the kind where men think we’re weak, useless, slow, shallow, dumb; you name it, we encourage it! Every girl that raises her voice five octaves to get her way is another demonstration of why we are paid 30% less than our male counterparts. We all know these stereotypes against us are bogus. Not every woman is a set of walking breasts, as not every black man is a criminal! Why do men and women still think them? We are taught to believe this stuff!

Part of the reason we are still being treated as the inferior sex is because we are taught to behave like it. Every Brittney Spears out there takes a bite out of the work of Nellie McClung and those who came after her. We demean ourselves and somehow expect men not to demean us. Only the absolute self-denial of respect can explain the need for tube tops and micro-skirts. It’s not all their fault girls; we have to share the blame too! We are taught implicitly, whether by media or role model, to pout when men are around. We are told that men should open our doors and slide our chairs out, but never once were we taught about the consequences of these subtleties.

The next time you sidle up to a guy and whine for him to carry your purse, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO YOURSELF. You are telling him that you are weak, stupid, and incompetent, and he in turn will think that you are weak, stupid, and incompetent. See how this works?

The only way to have a man’s (or anyone’s) respect is to earn it. The next time one of your girlfriends plays damsel in distress; slap her upside the head in the name of all womankind! The next time you catch yourself letting a man carry a heavy box for you, go put on sensible running shoes and get a trolley! Yes, you too can change your own light bulb!

Show we are equals by being an equal. Respect does not come on a satin-covered coat hanger, it comes in a vat of elbow grease and you have to get to the bottom to find it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Society Uncivilized

Remember the days we read about in a classic Jane Austin novel where everyone is polite, civil, and everyone does things that benefit society at large? Is gallantry really lost?

As I waited outside a shopping mall yesterday, I observed two vehicles pull into the courtesy parking spaces. (For those that don’t know, courtesy parking is reserved for pregnant women and families with very young children.) The first vehicle was occupied by a single male in his 50’s, and the second was occupied by a couple (with no toddler or pregnant belly in sight!). Rather than walking 3 minutes (gasp! In this country?!?) to an appropriate parking space, these people took advantage of courteous people for their own laziness. We went from a “community first”, to a “me first”, to a “me only” society.

I also had the misfortune of working alongside someone in a not for profit organization who was only there to promote himself. Rather than work for the society’s cause, his only goals were to further his own ambitions. Decisions were made on what would make him personally look good, and what would financially reward him the most. For someone who worked tirelessly to promote our cause, this became not only frustrating, but also very exhausting. Sadly, doing what’s best for the organization and the beneficiaries of the society was hardly worth the fight in the end. I’d like to think I’m not that jaded, but the experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I have only one conclusion. I can’t bring gallantry back by wrestling corruption or greed. What I can do is live everyday as my conscience dictates; strive for what’s right, not for what fattens my pocketbook. Hopefully someday someone will see me walking from the furthest parking space in the lot and see inspiration rather than insolence. Join me. While I don’t think we can change the world, I’d be damned if we didn’t try.

Monday, April 25, 2005


North America (read Canada too!) is full of big fat cars driven by big fat people. I fail to understand this God given right to a 3 acre yard, 5 dogs, and 6 cars in this country. This is a fat country built on raping the land for free and it must stop. We do not even pay for the true cost of energy in one of the cheapest places in the world to produce energy!

Today I visited a dear friend who bought a new house outside of the city. Did I say he was outside of the city? I meant he lives 30 minutes from the nearest outpost of civilization in an enclosed little suburb. We drove through many kilometres of thick forest to get to him only to find hundreds of acres of clear cut land for cheap housing. It frightens me to think about how much environmental damage was done for this community in the middle of the wilderness. Trees cut for roads, houses, power, heating, water… the list is substantial I’m sure. Even pollution is increased because their commute to their work place has tripled.

The government of Canada must act faster to implement Kyoto. It is time these housing developers paid the true cost of pillaging wilderness. Trees cut down should have a carbon tax levied. Gas prices need to rise to reflect the environmental cost of carbon dioxide (and other pollutant) output. Without Kyoto, this “free land” will be clear cut suburbia in no time. Note to suburban (and exurban) elitists, us urbanites consume less energy, pollute less, and we aren’t as fat!

More must be done to combat this problem and we look to the government to do something. Stephen Harper thinks Kyoto is foolish (although I heard he has changed his mind again). I pose this question to all Canadians, if measures are not taken to stop this violation of our environment, do we have the self restraint to drive less and stop destroying Bambi’s home?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Thoughts on the Kyoto Protocol

This is an except from an essay I wrote. It summarizes my thoughts on Kyoto. Flow isn't all there because I just cut and pasted paragraphs from the original essay. If I ever figure out how to upload large files, I may even post the entire essay.

Canada and Kyoto

In Canada, we live a double life of hypocrisy. As a nation, we take the time to separate out our recyclables yet we don’t think twice about trucking our garbage to our neighbours to the south. We like to show that we care about preserving the planet. We were after all one of the first signatories for the Kyoto Protocol which seemed doomed to failure less than six months ago.

Most Canadians have heard about Climate Change and Global Warming. Lobby groups and the controversy of Kyoto have made the issue background noise long enough to register for most of us. What we haven’t done is sift through the noise to answer some fundamental questions about the issue. What are the consequences of Global Warming? Is Global Warming a real threat or merely fear mongered by groups like Green Peace? Has Climate Change already occurred? Why hasn’t anything been done about it?

At the same time that Rick Mercer invades our living rooms through our big screen TVs challenging us to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by one tonne, 50% of all new car purchases in this country are SUVs. Most people in my generation (Canadians in their twenties) don’t seem to fully understand how anyone could possibly dispute the need to address global warming, yet few of us are willing to sacrifice our cars or 30 minute showers. We all agree, CO2 emissions must be reduced, but at the expense of everyone else!

In Canada, we have seen the push for alternative forms of energy thanks in no small part to the Kyoto Protocol. Research into renewable energy is evident to all Toronto commuters who drive by the Windmill at the Exhibition grounds as they drive daily to work in the city. Canadian companies understand that the issues surround Kyoto is now a permanent part of the business landscape. Business as usual cannot continue without addressing pollution concerns whether or not the plans for Kyoto are met.

If Kyoto is a dismal failure, it has already succeed in sparking innovation in emissions and pollution control as well as put the issue of atmospheric pollution at the forefront of business development decisions. Future generations will realize the importance of curbing pollution even if this generation fails to act.

The cost of reducing GHG and in particular Carbon Dioxide is extremely high given the uncertainty surrounding whether or not it is actually directly related to the problems faced by global warming. Two facts are clear: CO2 levels are increasing, and the average temperature of the Earth is rising (its cause is disputed, not the facts).

Global Warming is an issue that will have devastating effects to many parts of the world. Although the correlation between our GHG emissions and global warming is not 100%, how can we wait to prove it conclusively when so much evidence links the two facts together? Are we willing to wait until we prove ourselves right before taking the necessary steps to combat the problem? What is the cost of waiting compared with the cost of action?

Whether or not CO2 causes warming is a non issue. We are releasing unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and that alone should be cause for environmental concern. Even if Kyoto is a complete failure and its costs skyrocket out of control, it has brought the issue of environmental pollution to the forefront of Canadian media. Kyoto could be a very costly stumble for Canadians since we are neither on track to meeting our targets nor do we have a plan to get there. However, Kyoto is a first step to tracking GHG emissions. It might be a very expensive stumble, but it’s a stumble in the right direction.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

All we 18-35 year olds must speak!

You, yes you. Chances are if you are reading this blog you are in this age group. Probability also dictates that you didn’t vote in the last election.

Did you hear what was said today in Ottawa? Who is looking out for our issues? Election this, scandal that, big business this, day care that. Tell me something I care about. Don’t get me wrong, these issues are important, but do you see a trend? Dalton McGuinty increased drug benefits, and cut preventative medicine. Stephen Harper wants to legislate a ban on gay marriage. Paul Martin pours money into decreasing wait times for MRIs, cardiac surgeries, cataracts, and a bunch of other surgeries with “excessive wait times”. Do you know anyone in our age group who is waiting for a cataract surgery? (Parents and grand parents don’t count)

These people know something, and they are right. People our age are too apathetic to vote. So logic dictates, don’t waste political capital on issues that will benefit an entire generation of non-voters. Wait till these people are old. Guess what?!? I don’t want to have no pension when I’m old. I don’t want to be so sick I will need 45 surgeries because my preventative healthcare is no longer paid for. Heal me now while I am young so I won’t cost a fortune when I am old.

If we want our politicians to start caring about us, the solution is simple. Go out and vote! Whatever the party you support, learn the issues and where everyone stands. Our leaders in the House of Commons threatened to bring down the government today. Don’t wait till you’re old and cranky to whine about your needs. Be heard now. If an election happens, be active, campaign, volunteer. Unless we tell these people that issues relating to us are important, we will always be ignored. Do you want your cardiac surgery in 20 years or do you want preventative healthy living now?

Do what you have to do. Vote, be a good citizen. Don’t prove the parliamentarians right.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Lay off Paul Martin already!
Here's a guy willing to clean house, he calls an inquiry in a scandal which he knows will cause him bad PR, and yet he is being made a villian by the media. How can we ever expect an honest politician to air dirty laundry out in the open again if this is the type of media we give them? If we keep rewarding those that sweep dirt under the rug, we deserve the corrupt politicians that we elect. Its time we stop focusing on this stupid sponsorship scandal (let's be honest it was chump change anyways given the government's budget), and let the government govern!
He had the guts to call an inquiry and we should reward his honesty. Does anyone remember the conservatives calling an inquiry in the Airbus affair? Didn't think so.

Talking Geek

So it seems everyone is blogging these days. Hey, why not jump on the bandwagon? Who will read this anyway?

Thanks to Alter and Ninja Sarah, I have been motivated to start my own. Rather than keep an online diary that no one will care about, I've decided to make my blog my outlet for all those political tirades from a geek's perspective.

Who said Engineers have no political opinion?