The Rants of Issachar

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A wonderful snowy weekend...

This weekend was great. We got a nice dump of snow, (two nice dumps actually), I had my first day of skiing up at Big White, which was excellent despite an incredible lack of snow. (Only two chairs open, and only if you're counting the plaza as a chair). Still we got sun in the afternoon, and I got to ski through fresh powder down runs that I've only ever seen packed. Sweet...

On the downside I can't find my camera, so this is another post without photos.

The other great thing about snow is that I practically have the roads to myself as a lot of people didn't get snow tires. (Seriously, if you live in the Okanagan you need snow tires).

That's all for the weekend.

:: posted by issachar, 10:12 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jalalabad, Afghanistan

Caleb's sister Morgan has posted a picture I thought I'd link to. It's not exactly the stuff I normally see in the newspapaper. The explanation for the photo is on Morgan & Mel's blog. (Check out the rest of the photos of Afghanistan).

Morgan's over in Jalalabad, Afghanistan right now as a medic with the US military. If you're interested in a an honest first person perspective on the ground, you should check the blog out. Particularly these posts. I love their honesty.

Say what you will about military intervention, Morgan's making a positive difference in the lives of Afghanis every day over there and risking her life to do it.

:: posted by issachar, 9:22 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Worst... Blogging... Ever.

Well, not quite, but have been offline for far too long. I've just lost the habit. (That may have something to do with my commute being a three minute walk these days rather than a 15 minute drive plus a 45 minute wait in a ferry lineup. That was a pain, but it did give me plenty of time with little else to do but blog or read the newspaper.

I've also probably lost most of the people who used to drop by every once in a while to read this, (Major John, this means you). Still, I didn't start writing this assuming anyone would read it. (Although comments are always nice to read).

So what's been going on?

Well, read the post below...

:: posted by issachar, 5:52 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Bill Clinton comes to Kelowna...

This post is only a week overdue, but yes, Bill Clinton came to Kelowna. I'd like to believe it had something to do with the weather or the lake, but he came in November, so I'm guessing his speaking fee had a little more to do with it.

When I moved away from the coast I didn't think I'd be meeting a former President before Christmas and listening to him speek about global poverty, AIDS and what he thinks we should do about it.

So how did this happen? Well to make a long story short, CIBC Wood Gundy put on the event with President Clinton and my parents know Brock Aynsley, the man who organized it and introduced the President. Mum & I ended up going not only to the speaking event but also to the reception before hand. It seems nothing of interest comes up when the secret service do a check on me to see if I should be in the same room a former President. That's a relief. :)

Unfortunately, the reception was a bit of anti-climactic. It was supposed to be a forty-five minute reception to meet the President with 74 other people, but it didn't quite work out that way. The President was about 50 minutes late, so it ended up as a simple receiving line to get your photo taken. (Although I did exchange a few words with him, and he does have that rare ability to make you feel as though you know him better than you do). It was a bit odd. I haven't got the photo back yet, but when I do I'll repost it here.

Update: April 22 2007 - I got the photo a few weeks ago and we got a better scanner at work last week, so I've posted the photo.

It would have been nice if the reception had gone as planned, but I understand why it wasn't. The man was clearly exhausted, and I'm guessing he was asleep for the 50 minutes he wasn't there. I doubt I'd have been able to give any speech at all if I was operating on the amount of rest he was.

The speech itself was really good. I was impressed on a few points in particular. Firstly, he didn't slam President Bush while bringing up points of disagreement. He actually managed to respect the office and an opponent while disagreeing better than almost any other politician I've listened to. (I'd say it was a tie in that respect with the speech I heard Preston Manning give at Regent College after he retired). Clinton also defended President Bush's positions on immigration and dismissed the idea that opposition to immigration had anything to do with racism. Rather it's based on objections to rewarding illegal immigrants over people who've tried to enter the US legally, and legitimate concerns about immigration driving down working class wages.

I also appreciated the fact that Clinton made a deliberate point about thanking Canadians for our military help in Afghanistan, and he pointed out that there is are completely different justifications for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. As I've said before, whatever you think about Iraq, I think it's indefensible to suggest that Canada should not be fully commited to a serious military role in Afghanistan. It seems that Clinton and I agree on that point at least. :)

One thing a lot of people might not expect is that the content of the President's speech could as easily been the subject of a sermon at my church. (Or at least my church back in Langley). I'm not going to try to go through his points, but I did like one argument in particular. He pointed out that if one day every politician you thought should be elected was elected, and if they enacted every policy you thought they should, that there would still be tremendous gaps in addressing global poverty and the like. No matter what happens in politics, the world still needs ordinary people making a difference, and that despite the big contributors such as the Gates Foundation, ordinary people have never been more able to band together and have a great impact in the world. My former pastor, Ian Meredith could easily have given a very similar sermon at North Langley Vineyard. (Apparently Ian and Dave are running a coffee shop in England these days).

A couple of random things...

The secret service guys seem to blend in really well, and the whole security setup seemed a lot more relaxed than it does in the movies. (Apparently Hollywood has misled me again).

Also, I somehow got assigned what I think was virtually the best seat in the house. Seriously. It was in Prospera Place, and I ended up in the second row, dead centre. I guess the front row might have been better, but I might have had to crane my neck a bit. :) I wasn't much farther away from Clinton than I would have been if we'd been sitting down having drinks in our living room.

It was also interesting to see who else was at the reception. Very heavily weighted to slightly older than middle aged men. There were a few women, and a similarly few number of people under the age of 40. I think Brett Aynsley, my cousin Nicole, and a couple of girls I didn't meet were the only other people under thirty-five.

I heard my Uncle Nick talking at the reception, and apparently the organizers want to make this sort of thing a regular annual event in Kelowna. I'm not sure how they're going to top this next year, but if I can finagle myself an invitation, I will. Perhaps we could get Bono?

:: posted by issachar, 1:02 PM | Permalink | 6 comments | Links to this post