The Rants of Issachar

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Fax spam from Tryten...

On thursday I received my third piece of fax spam from Tryten Technologies, (formerly Tryten Solutions) at work. I used to work for Tryten so I take this a little personally.

Tryten is a small company, (less than a half dozen employees when I worked there), and it was a very nice place to work in some ways. Tony Janzen was a very good boss. For instance he gave me the day off as a paid sick day to attend my friends father's funeral on very short notice.

On the other hand, Tryten used and continues to use unethical practices to promote the business, namely fax spam. As intrusive as advertising is, fax spam is worse because it actually shifts the bulk of the cost of advertising to the person receiving the it.

The advertisement itself is also deliberately deceptive. All three faxes (received months apart) have had the handwritten phrase "Attn: Mike Here's the info R" written across the top. The thing is that there's never been anyone by the name of Mike working at MRCS and the handwriting is identical on every fax. I believe it's intended to make a deliberate piece of unsolicited advertising look like it was intended for another fax number and you are simply the lucky recipient of some useful information.

There is a note on the bottom of the ad giving instructions on how to be removed from the "promotion list". This is a sham. You will not be removed from the promotion list, or if you are, you get added back later. Making no effort to maintain your opt-out list is as bad as not having one. Since I knew Tony personally I actually contacted him the first time I got the fax and explained that Tryten's products were not useful to the school and we didn't want any more faxes. He told me that I'd be removed from the list. I ignored the second one I received sometime after. The third prompted this post.

Fax spam is an unethical way to drive a business. It apparently works, but that doesn't make it right. It's based on harrassing large numbers of people and charging them against their will for the privilege of receiving advertising they don't want in the first place. The fact that a minority welcome ads like this does not make it okay to do this.

I will not buy from a company that sends unsolicited faxes and I encourage others to withhold their business as well. If you're reading this Tony I'm sorry if this hurts you. You were a good boss. But what you're doing is wrong.


Update: June 6th - 9:03PM

Well this actually generated more activity than I expected. As of right now, this page is the third site, (but the fourth hit), on a simple google search for "Tryten". (Out of 54,900 hits). I'm surprised I'm that high on the list, but who are mere mortals to question the ways of google... :P

At any rate, that got a comment below from "anonymous" who later sent me an e-mail going into more detail. I won't post that here. If he wants to, it's up to him.

One thing that he mentioned though was the subject of ethics in blogging and how that related to Jesus' teaching in Mathew 18 concerning correcting a fellow believer. That did occur to me when I posted it, but I wasn't sure how to proceed then, and I'm still not. Firstly, I cannot point to anything in the Bible that says "don't send fax-spam", (for obvious reasons). The reasons I think fax-spam is unethical basically boil down to general principals. I also don't want to be legalistic about this, but rather deal with the general principal that Christ was talking about. Having said that, how could I apply Christ's teaching in this situation? Tony and I aren't part of the same church community, nor do we actually have any continuing relationship. So how do I approach this? Should I have sent an e-mail to Tony saying that he needed to stop fax spamming and if he defended the practice then posted my comment? Wouldn't that seem like revenge in that case? How does step 2 work if we aren't part of the same church community? Should I send an e-mail now?

So... what does anyone else think?


Update: June 6th - 9:52PM

I should mention why I don't remove posts. It's because blog postings are a record of what I've said. (Past tense). When I change them, I'm retroactively changing the record of what I wrote. I will take responsibility for my words. I will correct myself or apologize when appropriate, but removing posts is different. That's changing the past.


:: posted by issachar, 1:47 PM | Permalink | 7 comments | Links to this post

Continuing my self indulgent Sunday posting...

What is a Christ-like tone for writing? As I read other people's blogs I'm sometimes struck by the petty vitriol of some of the postings. This makes me wonder if I unconciously do the same. (If you think that I do, please comment here and tell me so).

I write about politics. Politics tends to be combative and I am attacking ideas. I'm quite comfortable having my own ideas attacked, but am I attacking the people? How do I criticize an idea that I think is false and/or destructive while treating people as priceless creatures made in the image of God. Letting a destructive idea stand unopposed is not right, but it's even worse to mistreat human beings. How do I call a spade a spade when someone in a position of power does something wrong while loving that person?

I should always be honest, but if my honesty abuses people then my heart needs to change.


:: posted by issachar, 12:23 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

long meandering post prompted by OSC...

Okay, I'm part way through writing this post, and it's become a bit long and self-indulgent. But since this is more of an online diary for me, I'm posting it anyway. You've been warned.

I was reading Kuro5hin and there's a discussion about Orson Scott Card's column on the Ornery American. Apparently DailyKos has a thread running too, but I wouldn't recommend reading Kos for anything intelligent. Although it is good for a laugh. Oh, and since I mention Kos, I have to mention his attempt to hide his "screw them" comment about the US contractors killed and hung from a bridge in Fallujah in March of 2004. It was that comment that prompted the Democratic Party to stop linking to him on their website. The thing about blogging is that it's supposed to be permanent and you're supposed to stake your reputation on what you say. Trying to erase your past instead of addressing it is a no-no.

But back to Card's column. I think the K5 article is a little weak. Ender's Game & Speaker for the Dead were written by commitee? Not unless they wrote all his other Sci-Fi for him too. (And since when do committees write engaging fiction?)

Card coins an interesting term with "smartland". It's really nothing new, it's just the elitism of the self-consciously intelligent. The assumption seems to be that intelligence is synonymous with moral fortitude. False assumptions lead you to bad places. Intelligence is a wonderful gift, but its no more a guarantor of moral action than blue eyes are.

This relates somewhat to my thoughts about about the increasing unpopularity of democracy among the self-proclaimed intellectual elite. "We know what's right, we'll do what's best, don't presume to know better". H.L. Mencken's statement that "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance" should give us pause, but I think Winston Churchill provides the best answer to that.
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been."
I hope we remember this as a country soon.


I'm not sure who Card is referring to when he talks about an author attacking Mormonism, but I suspect it might be Jon Krakauer who wrote Under the Banner of Heaven. If you haven't read the book, go ahead and give it a read. Krakauer is indeed attacking Mormonism, but at least some of his criticism are justified. The murder of Joseph Smith the attacks on Mormons in the early days of the LDS church were not as one-sided as Card suggests. The Mountain Meadows massacre and the attempt to blame it on natives stands a particular example of some of the nasty acts committed by Mormon authorities in the early years.

But Card is right when he says that Mormons have not rioted in the streets because of Krakauer if that is indeed what he's referring to. Good for them.

Card's use of the word Christian also makes me pause. Mormonism does of course claim to be Christian. They are not. They are followers of Joseph Smith. A man born in 1805 who claimed that the Bible was not the true record of Christ's teaching, but that Christ's teaching were contained in The Book of Mormon which he claimed to have transcribed from gold tablets that an angel provided to him written in some form of egyptian which he translated using special spectacles. This is fundamentally different from every other Christian denomination. All Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God and that as such it cannot be superseded by later writings. This is enough to make Mormonism an entirely seperate faith. Actually it's very similar to Islam in this respect. Mohammed also claimed that the Bible had been corrupted and that an angel revealed God's true message to him which he transcribed to create the Koran.

To sum up, I like Card's writing. He writes honestly and doesn't try to divorce his moral worldview from the rest of his life. I'm going to keep reading.


Update: June 6th 2005 - 6:51PM

Anonymous Lemming dropped over from K5 to have a nice discussion here. Here's corrected a few things I heard from the Mormon missionaries, but I think we have confirmed that Christianity in the Protestant/Orthodox/Catholic sense of the word is not the same thing asthe Mormon interpretation. I won't try restating what Anonymous Lemming said though. You should read for yourself below...


Update: June 6th 2005 - 7:04PM

I had another thought just now. I was up in the Okanagan this past weekend and on the drive home last night I was listening to a sermon by John Neufeld of Willingdon Church on the first part of the Book of Romans. It's just over a half hour, but seriously, listen to it for five and half minutes and tell me what you think.

I was actually thinking about the exchange with Anonymous Lemming that weekend, and John Neufeld asked the question "What is Christianity all about". It's a good sermon, and I'd recommend you listen to it, but the short answer is: "It's all about Jesus. But when you learn about Jesus, who do you believe? Who will you trust?"

Looking at what Anonymous Lemming and I have said, that's what I think it boils down to. Anonymous Lemming believes Joseph Smith and the current Mormon prophet. I do not. Of course not all choices are equally valid. Some make sense and others do not. I have many reasons that I do not trust Joseph Smith, and I'm sure Anonymous Lemming has reasons that he trusts him.

So who will you believe? And why?


:: posted by issachar, 9:55 AM | Permalink | 12 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hidden Agenda...

Gloria Galloway wrote an article in the Globe (mirror) that seems to have drawn some attention from few people I know including Christo on Potent Pew. Warren Kinsella commented as well and I can't say he's impressed me.

There's a couple of issues in the article that I want to address, but I'll start with the issue of ministers recommending political candidates.

That's a bad idea and any minister should know better. Purely from the a democratic perspective there's nothing wrong with it. In a democracy no one should be disqualified from recommending a candidate to anyone else. To suggest that a minister should be disqualified from suggesting that people vote a certain way is fundamentally undemocratic. The people who suggest things like that seem to motivated by the fact that ministers have influence over their congregants. But why does this form of influence disqualify them from offering recommendations and the influence a writer, an actor or a professional athlete does not?

But while ministers certainly have the right endorse candidates or nominees, I believe they should refrain from doing so. Endorsing a politician ties the reputation of Christ to the behaviour of that politician. If a minister says "so and so is a good man with good ideas, vote for him", and it turns out that so and so is not a good man or that he lies, or that he's simply incompetent, the message of the Church suffers and that's much more serious than any election.

Having said that I think it is a good idea for ministers to address the political issues. Christianity is not some esoteric mental exercise. It has very real practical implications. Divorcing morality and ethics from politics is a very bad move and a minister primary job is to spread Christ's message (including the practical applications), and to help and aid his flock be more like Christ. In a democracy every citizen can be involved in the political process and they should think about the moral implications of their choices. The Church is an important part of that. The separation of Church and State in Canada is designed to stop the establishment of a state religion. Not to make secular humanism the only acceptable religion.

The other problem I see in Galloway's article is the implication that the involvement of Christians in the Conservative party represents some hidden agenda. When you don't like someone I guess you can always rely on FUD. I'm sorry, but this is just insulting. Christians are involved in every major political party in this country. But it's their involvement in the Conservative party that is sinister. Thirty-four Liberals voted in favour of the Conservative ammendment that would have reaffirmed marriage as exclusively heterosexual, but it's only when the Conservatives are against homosexual marriage that it means the party is being infiltrated by zealots. The article seems to imply that it's a somehow a bad thing that new Canadians are joining the Conservative party. I'm pretty sure this is the very first time I've read anything in the Globe and Mail that suggested that immigrants getting involved in the political process was a bad thing. With stuff like this, someone could get the impression that the Globe is attacking a single political party and protecting another...

Finally I'm disappointed by the fact that some Conservatives "wished the party leaders had been more involved in the nominations". In other words, they don't like the people who got the most votes in the riding nominations and wished that the party executive had overruled the vote to parachute in their preferred candidate. What a brilliant strategy for democratic government.


:: posted by issachar, 11:50 PM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

On racialists...

I was talking with someone the other day about job prospects out in Vancouver. She's looking at a couple of jobs and she mentioned offhandedly that I wasn't elible to apply for the job because I'm not a minority nor am I a woman.

Now I wouldn't want the job in question, but that's still wrong. I'm well aware that it is perfectly legal, but that's not what I'm saying. Only a racialist would put a requirement disqualifying whole groups of people because of the colour of their skin. In elementary school I was indoctrinated with the idea that all people of all races were equal and that we should all strive to be "colour blind". That we should judge people on their merits, not on their race. I believed that then and I believe it now.

Sadly that isn't the official line any more. While racism is a particularly loathsome sin in our society, its best friend racialism has been elevated to a virtue. How did we get here?

Think about where all this leads. It's not a good place.


:: posted by issachar, 10:30 AM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Final Thought...

I've been sitting on the deck outside the house reading, blogging and chatting on the phone all evening. I love my place. It's been gorgeously sunny, and Aaron made some awesome burgers.

Goodnight!


:: posted by issachar, 9:54 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

On publication bans...

Is it just me or are publication bans more popular with Canadian judges these days?

As I understand it, there are exactly three justifications for imposing publication bans on judicial proceedings.
  1. Protecting the identity of a minor whether the minor is the offender or a victim of crime.
  2. Protecting the victim of a crime from being further victimized by the trial.
  3. Protecting the right of the accused to a fair trial. The assumption being that publication of the accusations could make finding an impartial jury impossible.
  4. Protecting sensitive sources in cases against terrorists.
The fourth one is controversial and quite recent if I understand correctly, and I believe it's quite unrelated to the other two. It's based on protecting the state, while the others are based on protecting either the offender or the victim.

I have few complaints with the first case although I don't agree that it should be automatic or even frequent. I don't believe it's in the best interest of a young offender or society that all crime by young people is anonymous. (And it's not anonymous to the offender's peers who are the relevant audience).

The second justification is used in cases like the Bernardo murders. We have to be careful with it that we don't make trials unfair, but so far I'd say we're doing okay on that.

The third justification is getting abused. First it's based on the assumption that if a ban is not implemented than it will be impossible to find people who have not been implemented by the publication. (Because we're all that well informed). It also assumes that jurors are incapable of basing their decisions on the evidence presented at trial as when they're able to read second hand reports of what they themselves heard at the trial. Makes total sense.

A publication ban removes all the actual facts from discussion of a crime. All that's left is the inuendo. This is not good.

But...

The most recent publication ban has no justification as far as I can tell. (Mirrored here) The trial is over. There is no jury to be contaminated. What possible justification can there be for not allowing full reporting of the court proceedings? Public reporting is essential for the integrity of our court system. What is going on? With the international and anonymous nature of the internet. Enforcing these bans ultimately requires that everyone but the lawyers be excluded from the court. A ban violation simply can't be prosecuted if you let others into the court room because anyone hearing the information in the court can simply post anonymously on some blog somewhere. From there non-Canadian sources can continue to report the information and it can be read online by Canadians. So if we want publication bans, we ultimately have to close the courtrooms. Secret evidence, secret arguments...

This is bad...


:: posted by issachar, 9:50 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

On the Senate. (Again)...

CB made a comment on my last posting about the senate that got me thinking again. Maybe some day CB will stop posting Anonymously and then signing the post anyway. :P

He brought up with the Triple-E senate idea that Preston Manning introduced when he headed the Reform Party. Triple-E is just a nice soundbite to sum up an elected senate with equal number of senators per province. (Elected, Equal & Effective).

The only problem I see with a Triple-E senate is the issue of small provinces being equally represented in the senate with Ontario. The Americans have that, but they also have 50 states which mitigates the problem of a single state have disproportionate clout. A small state in the US has only 1/50th of the votes. A small province in Canada would have 1/10th of the votes. Of course equality of states is the entire point of the US senate model.

By contrast the entire point of the Westminster system was in CB's words: "the aristocracy given[sic] a somber second thought to the lunatic ravings of the great unwashed mob in the commons". Today, either the aristocracy has been replaced with the pseudo-aristocrats of old money political friends or the senate exists to give the executives of political parties control over legislation regardless of what the voters want. Either way the senate is an embarassment. If they really believed in democracy every single sitting senator would vote down every single piece of legislation until real senate reform began. As it is, they're contributing to an anti-democratic institution.

Paul Martin claims to believe in democratic renewal but his actions (mirror here) speak louder than his words. Alberta held elections for senate nominees in November of 2004. Martin appointed his own choices. Alberta had three seats empty at the time, and they even elected four nominees to let Mr. Martin avoid one choice if he couldn't stomach the person Albertans chose. I guess he couldn't stomach any of them. How fortunate for us that he knows better than the voters who can represent them.

So the only problem I see with a Triple-E senate is the problem of a single province controlling a tenth of the vote. But there is no solution to this problem. We only have 10 provinces, so the problem cannot be avoided. Any attempt to get rid of the problem merely turns the senate into a second House of Commons and there's no point to that.

So I demand a Triple-E senate. Terms to be set at 6 years. I say 6 because I think the Americans have the right idea with not replacing their entire senate all at once. Roughly 1/3 of the senators are replaced every two years which means the senate tends not to have dramatic policy shifts. Oh, and can I anyone justify the fact that you need to own at least $4000 in property to be appointed to the senate?

There's only a couple more things. Not all ridings in the Commons are equal. I wasn't able to quickly google up some hard numbers, but I believe that at least one of the atlantic provinces was guaranteed a certain number of seats in the commons. The effect of which has been that if there are 1000 voters per MP in Manitoba, there are only 750 voters per MP in PEI. (For example). With an equal senate giving less populous provinces bigger clout, we don't need this ineffective attempt at regional represenation. Each riding should have as close to an equal number of voters as possible without making gerrymandering easier.

While we're at it, we can set the terms of the house to 4 years. Fixed elections to coincide with the senate elections.

You know what I just realized? I'm not a constitutional monarchist anymore... Funny how things change. But let's not bother abolishing the monarchy. Unlike our senate it's not hurting anybody.


:: posted by issachar, 8:35 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Canadian Government Identifies Terrorists...

I'm listening to the radio on the drive to work and blogging in the ferry lineup again. :) Too bad I'm writing offline, so I'll some links in and post this later...

The Canadian government has classified the People's Mujadeen as a terrorist group. CBC radio identified them as the largest opposition group in Iran although according to the CBC website they're also an exile group. (Apparently opposition isn't welcome in Iran...)

The Conservative Party is critical. They're thinking that the government is trying to molify Iran's government to make up for the grief they've been giving them over the torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering photo journalist Zahra Kazemi. My first reaction was to think that the Liberals might be right. Just because Iran is run by violent murderous thugs doesn't mean that the opposition isn't a bunch of terrorists. The enemy of my enemy is not automatically my friend.

The Conservative point that Liberal MP's have been friendly with the Iranian opposition recently is well taken, but beside the point. We know the Liberals have been soft on terrorism when the terrorists are popular with minority Canadian voters. As of January, the LTTE were not classified as terrorists by the government and Tamil voters here tend to vote Liberal. (The US, Australia and the UK have labelled the LTTE terrorists). I do believe it was Martin who attended a Tamil Tigers fundraising dinner a year or two ago. (There were a couple of cabinet members there, but I can't remember the details, so it may not have been Mr. Martin). To be fair the Liberals weren't pro-terrorism, they were just clueless about how terrorists raise money in my opinion, but that doesn't mean that we should attack them if they get it right. Are the Conservatives suggesting that being consistent with your past mistakes is more important than doing the right thing? I don't believe any politician will never make a mistake. It's the ones who won't correct their mistakes that are the problem.

But then CBC radio went on to say that government had labelled the Iranian group terrorists 2 years after they disarmed and that they couldn't point to anything they'd done to make them into terrorists. That's a big confusing. If they're disarmed I'm not sure how they're terrorists. If the disarmament is a sham, then the government should say that that's the reason. If it's not, but they've somehow been terrorists all this time, the government needs to say that. As it is, it sounds like the Conservatives might be right, but that makes no sense to me either. Why on earth would the Canadian government care about appeasing the Iranian mullahs? We're happy ticking off the world's most powerful nation which happens to be on our doorstep. Why would we make nice to a bunch of theocrats halfway across the world?

Oh, and did the government ever get around to calling Hezbollah a terrorist group? I don't believe they did...


:: posted by issachar, 6:50 AM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Copyright and blogs...

I've given copyright a lot of thought in the past, but the issue has a more practical implication at the moment. Here's the situation. If I'm writing about an issue, I'm often reacting to articles that I've read online. Consequently I include links to the original article so anyone reading my reaction can get the full context. This is a lot better than simply quoting portions of the article because selective quotes can colour the issue. Full original text gives better understanding of the original author's message than my quotations ever can. I can also use links to reference sources that are more trusted than my own writings. In short, direct linking lends credibility to online writing. It's the main advantage that online writing has over offline writing.

But what happens when the original article vanishes? The link is broken and readers are left with a situation that is worse than selective quotations. Websites go offline when the authors lose interest or financial commitment, companies go bankrupt, executives decide to rebrand the website in a way that kills all the links, and people simply take articles offline if they believe no one is reading them anymore. Information online can be very temporary even as it is more accessible than ever before.

So is it ethical to mirror the article? I'm not talking about what the law is, (I'm fairly certain that mirroring is against the law without explicit permission), but rather about what the law should be. I asked a friend who creates and manages copyrighted works for an internationally popular group of websites and she felt that it was ethical to duplicate the articles text so long as didn't edit it, I gave full credit to the author and copyright holder and said exactly where I got the article from. Of course I still think that it would unethical if I was simply syndicating other people's content on my site. The primary purpose must still be criticism and discussion.

So that's what I'm going to be doing. If I get legitimate requests from copyright holders to remove articles from my site I'll comply, but until then I'm going to post mirrors. I've already done that with the BC-STV flash animation anyway. If anyone wants to mirror my stuff feel free, but I ask that you don't edit my writing. Please mirror a posting in it's entirety. Also please give me credit for the work and provide a direct link back to the original place you found it on my site.

Any comments?


:: posted by issachar, 7:14 AM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Senators

I was listening to the news on the way to work this morning and I heard the announcer saying "Senator so and so says...", and all I could think was "who cares?". What conceivable legitimacy does a senator have? It's an indefinite unelected appointment that is decided on by a single man who is himself not directly elected by the entire electorate. The appointment is not vetted by elected officials and is normally used these days as a way of rewarding political friends.

Politicians bleat on about democratic renewal, and yet this stupid situation continues. Senators should be elected. I defy anyone to justify anything else. We can argue about methods of election or about how the senate seats should be distributed, but appointments of posts that collectively have full veto power over any legislation is just anti-democratic. Martin's sad attempts at diversion by whining about piecemeal reform is just silly. That argument boils down to "We can't fix everything, so let's not bother improving anything".

If the Liberals leave office without changing how senators are appointed then they either don't know what democracy is or they don't really believe in it. If the Conservatives take the government and don't change the senate system than they've betrayed us. I for one will be watching this.


:: posted by issachar, 7:06 AM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Monday, May 23, 2005

More on Belinda...

I'm not sure why I'm posting about Belinda. Probably because she's political news that I don't find entirely depressing. It's got a certain comedy to it that takes away from it's sad commentary on the state of our democracy.

But anyway... I don't normally read the Langley Advance News, (or any local news for that matter), but I'll read anything when I'm eating. I found this editorial by Leanna Jantzi. A bit over the top I think. I've read a bit of the commentary on Belinda's betrayal, and I haven't seen anyone calling her a whore or a hooker as Jantzi claims. I could see people saying that she was whoring her principles, but that would fit with the definition of the word, and I haven't seen anyone writing that anyway. I've heard people call her a bitch, but those are the same people calling other politicians assholes, so I think it's about on par. I don't see sexism there. Jantzi mentions that political cartoons show Belinda in bed with Martin and this is evidence of sexism? Really? I thought showing politicians in bed with each other was pretty standard fare. I seem to recall at least one cartoon with Tony Blair saying a bed with George Bush.

Am I wrong? Anyone think that the criticism of Belinda is motivated or guided by sexism?


:: posted by issachar, 12:54 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

I like my new place...

I didn't really mention this on the blog before, but I moved at the end of April. I'm living with some guys out near the Starbucks on 200th Street in Langley. (Willoughby area). Nice place, fantastic kitchen and a good group of guys. And those same good guys had a party last night. Ryan and Aaron ran the show. We had some very nice steak and Ryan made this killer Vanilla pudding with Rhubarb. It helps to use a ridiculous amount of real vanilla beans. I ended up staying up until 3ish, so I woke up a bit late this morning. (I guess I was a bit tired from the weekend too).

It being Victoria day today, I'm sitting in my lovely kitchen making coffee. I'm going to see Revenge of the Sith tonight which is apparently quite good. Jeremy scored some cheap tickets through his job at EA, so we're going to make it a double feature and hit The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy while we're at it. Not the most ambitious use of a day off, but it's a typical overcast Vancouver day... :)


:: posted by issachar, 12:32 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Desmond is married...

So now there's this couple called "Mr. & Mrs. Desmond & Michelle Wong. Cute.

I love weddings. Mark Wallenberg from North Langley Vineyard did the ceremony and Mr. Skellie (who is also a pastor) did a blessing at the end. It was in a cute little chapel on Bainbridge Island, Maria Whelton played the harp and Leo and Tiffany sang. Very, very good. Des & the groomsmen wore these really cool Chinese outfits. Really cool. And they did the Olympic Games kiss rating. Mr. Wong rated it a 9.8. Mr. Skellie rated it 1.7. Yes, it's a sort of a corny setup, but it's still funny.

After that it was High Tea at the Golf course. Apparently I can be an MC and do a half decent job. (I'm not sure why the pianist played the Imperial March from Star Wars when I came up for the third or fourth time, but I'm taking it as a compliment). :P

So we're back at the Ifland's house on the Island with a bunch of people about to have some pizza. The Wallenberg's, the groomsmen, and I stayed at their place last night too. (And Sarah Koenig). Oh, the rehearsal dinner was great! A really nice Thai restaurant. Dave chatted about Church, theology and Orthodoxy with Mark and a good time was had by all.

Good lunch with Caleb yesterday too. It's a good weekend... :)


:: posted by issachar, 6:54 PM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Going to Seattle tomorow...

Desmond and Michelle are getting married. I'll be leaving tomorow morning for Seattle. Goodnight. Be back Sunday.


:: posted by issachar, 11:53 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

BC-STV

Well it got defeated. 57% in favour last I checked and that's 3 points short. I'm surprised it went that high. Well let's ask the question again sometime down the road...

I still haven't heard a convincing argument against BC-STV. The only reasonable one I heard was that if you had more than one MLA representing you, you wouldn't have a clear person to go to for the regular non-policy MLA stuff. Not a good argument. What's the problem with asking more than one person? People tend to do that anyway. "Oh, I voted against my MLA and you're in the party I support, can you help?". And if you ask more than one MLA and MLA #2 is always the one coming through for people, do you think he might get more votes next time? And wouldn't that be a good thing? Finally, this counts as a reason to keep an unrepresentative electoral system? Because we might duplicate some MLA's paperwork?

I've heard two other arguments against BC-STV.

1) Too complicated. Oh please. It's really not that complicated. Anyone with a basic high school education should be able to understand that easily.

2) It will help party X and I don't like party X. If that's how you feel then you don't really believe in democracy. I suspect that BC-STV will mostly likely hurt the BC Liberals and I voted for them and for BC-STV. Why? Because BC-STV is more representative and democratic. And that's a good thing. If you just want to effectively take away someone else's vote because you don't agree then why pretend you like democracy? I don't care if they're voting for the Platinum Party, the Marijuana Party, the DR-BC, the Monster Raving Loony Party, the Natural Law Party or even the Federal Liberal Party. Their vote counts and they should be represented. What goes around comes around. If you try to shut people up, eventually they'll try to shut you up.


:: posted by issachar, 11:38 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Belinda Stronach...

Well I've read up on Ms. Stronach's reasons and I'm not impressed. Christie Blachford said it best. Canadian politics is a truly sad state of affairs.

It honestly boggles my mind that there are people who think that the Liberals are fit to govern Canada.

Left, right, I don't care, but it's really sad that Canadians are prepared to put up with this. And they are. They'll vote the Liberals back in and they'll continue to steal money from the public purse for themselves and their friends. Sometimes they'll do it through blatant money laundering and sometimes they'll just play pork barrel politics. Just remember that if you vote for them, you're asking for exactly that. The entire party needs a serious time-out or they'll never learn.


:: posted by issachar, 11:31 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I'm back...

Well I didn't go anywhere... I just got sidetracked with moving and then I got this crazy idea that my ideas had to be polished. Silly rabbit.

So I'm going to try and post more often starting by posting on my lunch break.

So what to talk about? Well it's election day in BC, so I hope you're all well informed and ready to vote if you live in BC. But we're also voting on the BC-STV referendum. If you don't know what it is, watch check it out. I have no idea what the copyright on that little flash presentation is, but if you happen to own the copyright on it, I am hosting a copy on my own server, I got the file from this. If you own the copyright on that file and you want it removed from my site send me an e-mail. My address is andrewATgormanDOTcc.

So now that you've seen that, vote in favour of BC-STV today.

In other news Belinda Stronach the former Conservative Party leadership candidate switched to the Liberal Party. I don't know anything more than that about it. I guess I'll have to read her reasons later. She'd better have some good ones because it looks like typical "I want power" politician behaviour. I mean, the neither the basic platform of the Liberal Party nor the basic platform of the Conservative party have changed since she was saying she was the best person to lead the Conservatives. And now she figures she's a good fit for a Liberal cabinet member. Hmmm...

Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do...


Update: May 25th. In keeping with my feelings on mirroring content, I should say that that flash file was found on the Citizens Assembly website, at this location. I presume that the Citizens Assembly owns the copyright on that file.


:: posted by issachar, 12:19 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post