07.06.2010 10:04 AM

Tuesday morning bits and pieces, etc.

  • Credit where it’s due, etc.: The Harper government – and principally due to the anti-tobacco convictions of the Prime Minister, I believe – has been far tougher on Big Tobacco than the minority Liberal government that immediately preceded it.  This latest move, on prohibiting flavoured cigarettes aimed at addicting children, is a great one.  I have a very personal interest here, but I think it’s high time that the feds – and the provinces – also started taking legal action against tobacco companies for lost health care costs.  Will they?  So far, few Canadian jurisdictions have.  Maybe Harper will, and lead the way.
  • Conservatives fighting conservatives, etc. This one is fascinating.  Since the G20 debacle, a furious debate has been raging within conservative circles, online and off.  Typically pro-police and anti-protestor, some conservatives (such as Mike Brock, who is not crazy, and Mr. and Mrs. Blazing Cat Fur, who possibly are) have found themselves in the unusual position of being targeted by police during the G20 – simply for standing on a sidewalk.  If what the three of them experienced is in any way true, they deserve to be upset.  However, not all rightists feel that way: some, like the mouth-breathers who congregate at Small Dead Animals, have been highly critical of Brock and the Furs.  Personally, I feel the latter deserve some measure of credit for playing against type, and actually championing civil liberties.  As a result, they come out looking like the true free speechers.
  • G20 about-face, etc. Inevitably and belatedly, Toronto police have acknowledged that they cannot and should not ever review their own conduct.  Along with being utterly contrary to the rules of natural justice, their earlier insistence that “police investigate police” suggested that they knew they made some big, big mistakes on the ill-fated G20 weekend (see above), and were hoping to cover it up.  Time to get at the truth.  There are simply too many stories of G20 police abuse for all be false.  A welcome development.
  • Israel is a democracy, and others aren’t, etc. This story is both sad and encouraging all at the same time.  Sad, because it makes clear that a minority of Israeli soldiers were indeed involved in highly discreditable conduct.  Encouraging, because Israel is pretty much the only country in the entire Middle East that would even bother to investigate such abuses – and then, when found to exist, prosecute them to the full extent of the law.  When was the last time any of the countries surrounding Israel did that?  Never, pretty much.
  • Ravens, crows, etc. As my kids and some friends will tell you, I am a raven/crow nut; I’m obsessed by these birds.  Along with chimpanzees, some of these creatures (such as the incredible New Caledonian crow) are the most intelligent animals on the face of the planet.  I have raven native art all over my apartment, and if I ever get the courage (and find a certifiably safe tattoo place in Toronto), I’m going to get Beau Dick’s Hands of Creation applied to my arm.  Anyway, I digress: the discovery of a rare white raven in B.C. is a huge, huge deal, and the harbinger of much good fortune.  We need it!
  • The power of stories, etc. Nice column in the Winnipeg Sun, spotted only because it came up in one of those Google Alert things.  As someone privileged to work for disabled adults seeking justice, I can indeed attest to this: facts tell, but stories sell.


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    Joseph says:

    Hey, Kinsella, will you be joining Iggy on his Great Canadian Summer 2010 Bus Tour ™? Thanks.

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      Warren says:

      Yeah, right. That invite hasn’t appeared in the mail, yet, but I expect it at any time!

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        Paul R. Martin says:

        What is Iggy doing in China? I read about the bus tour this week, and assumed that it had begun. Next thing I knew, he was speaking to students in China. It is highly unlikely that he will meet many Canadian voters in China. By the time he finally gets on that bus, the summer will be half over. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere.

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    Namesake says:

    re: Credit… well, ok, kudos for putting a finger in the dam, but no surprise: when it comes to actually implementing useful public health & safety reg’s (instead of dismantling them), they’re clearly amateurs.

    It’s already sprung a leak there, not to mention all the other ways kids can still get tobacco products. The Cons’ bill was far too specific about what they were banning (even specifying the weight), and like the cynical death-dealing bastards they are, at least one tobacco co. has already got around it by releasing essentially the same product, except it eliminated the filter and replaced it with more tobacco to make it heavier (& deadlier).



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    allegra fortissima says:

    A great homage to a majestic raven by one of my favourite American poets, Edgar Allan Poe:


    Since I am a gardener without clippers (“let it grow, let it grow, let it grow”) several of those mythical birds live in my huge birch tree – to my very delight!

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    scanner says:

    Go for the Tat! It’d be awesome, but what about the copyright? – won’t you have to get the minister’s approval first? or the Dick family?

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    Marc L says:

    Good move on flavoured cigars — I agree. But I don’t agree with targetting them for health care costs. If you want to do that, just make cigarettes illegal, that’s all (and I probably would not object to that). Or tax them even harder to reduce consumption further. Hell, make the tax so high as to be prohibitive. But it is a tad hypocritical to allow cigarettes to be sold, rely on those sales to derive large amounts of tax revenue, and then to sue the companies for selling cigarettes. In addittion, one of the reasons for taxing them so heavily is presumably to account for the health care costs. Also, smokers have to have some degree of responsibility as well — in the 1940s people perhaps did not know how toxic cigarettes were, but today there is not one smoker out there who is not aware of the extreme health risks involved. yet, they started to smoke and continue to smoke anyway. So, why just sue the companies — people are well aware of what they are consuming. Make the smokers pay for their health care costs as well.

    My preferred approach is still to steadily reduce demand by taxing them more and more heavily.

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    Cath says:

    Ravens? As they are important in first nations lore….ok, but I draw the line at those ones that beat up the little birds to steal their seed. Got that new dog yet?
    Can ravens be tamed? Inquiring minds want to know.

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      allegra fortissima says:

      I don’t think so – unless it’s a female raven named “Yvette”!

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    J. Coates says:

    Crows and Ravens are far too intelligent. Especially the one that screams on the tree outside my bedroom window at 4 AM. Unfortuately it illegal to discharge a firearm within Calgary city limits. Dang! I have an air rifle! Death to noisey birds.

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      allegra fortissima says:

      4 AM is a good time to wake up, J.Coates – Carpe Diem!

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        J. Coates says:

        So you wake up at 4 am you stupid fool. I work a fifteen hour day already. I don’t need a lazy house wife advising me.

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          Doug says:

          Those 15 hours are clearly not spent working on your manners.

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          allegra fortissima says:

          I just had a serious talk with the craw that’s sitting outside your bedroom window – the wonderful bird promised me to start its “ra-ra-ra” at 3 am in the morning.

          Sweet dreams, cowboy 🙂

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      aa says:

      We must be neighbours. Any way to get rid of them without the air rifle solution (that I’ve been considering as my last resort).

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      smelter rat says:

      A crow, maybe. Ravens usually range much further north than Calgary. I think the Raven should be our national bird, btw.

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    CQ says:

    Ravens, crows, etc: “my apartment”? Who is writing this entry?

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    Dave says:

    Tobacco may be bad, but costly to the health care system it’s not. Remember that everybody dies of SOMETHING. Lung cancer and heart attacks are among the cheapest and quickest ways to go. If smokers didn’t die of those things, they would die presumably more expensive deaths.

    Not meant to be callous; ideally tobacco would be banned outright, and we’d crack down on the contraband stuff. But I think the health care costs argument is a misguided one. There is more than one empirical study backing this up.

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    Iris Mclean says:

    We have a pair of ravens that have recently taken up residence near our barn. Yeah, I know we are country “hicks” that Liberals don’t have much use for, but these birds are amazing. I hope they stay around and come back next year.

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      Warren says:

      Um, what the Hell does politics have to do with these wonderful birds, Iris?

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        Iris Mclean says:

        Nothing, I guess. My apologies.

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