Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tata Air Car

Gawd, I love capitalism :-).

...sucker runs on compressed air and needs a 1 litre vegetable oil change every 50,000 miles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Omar Khadr's lawyer said:

"We're hoping that the Canadian public will recognize that if you put aside any concerns or guilt or innocence... and look at the compassion we feel, that children have a special significance in society," (Canoe News/CP).
Why in the world would I want to put guilt or innocence aside? a courtroom, no less.

Given the strong emotional response from the public to the video, Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae cautioned that Khadr's fate should not be subject to a "popularity contest."

"He was brainwashed and sent in to fight NATO troops. I think we all recognize that's deeply troubling to Canadians," said Rae.

"We have our troops there, obviously it's deeply troubling to all of us. The issue is not that. The issue is, isn't it appropriate for Canada to take responsibility for Mr. Khadr?"


Nope. I wasn't involved and none of my friends were either.

But, heck, I'll go with the brainwashed bit for the sake of argument. Let's see where that takes us...

So... If not Omar, how about the parents taking responsibility and paying the appropriate price? Would that work for you, Bob?

After all, isn't responsibilty a direct correlate to control? Who controlled him, Bob? It wasn't "Canada" pulling Omar's strings.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mandatory Voting...

Over at Werner Patel's blog (Werner Patels - A Dose of Common Sense) Werner's running a couple of posts in favour of mandatory voting, here and here.

I gather Werner is displeased at my behaviour on his blog because he's asked me not to post there any more. I'm not sure why he found me that troubling, but: fine with me; it's his place, so if that's how he wants it, that's what he gets. Castle/king and all that very good stuff.

But that doesn't mean I'll just let things slide. After all, Werner did say: "From now on, please stay on your blog..." ;-)

I challenged the idea of forcing people to vote on ethical grounds. You can read the details by visiting his site, and in any case Werner didn't really address those objections. He chose instead to engage in name-calling and also to note how lots of folks agreed with him.

Well, OK, he's free to behave how he wishes at his place...

But anways, all purely ethical considerations aside in favour of more practical considerations, I was re-reading the two threads, including additional queries posted by ScruffyDan, and I came across these curious exchanges:

Mandatory voting may increase voter turn out, but not voter education. I fail to see how forcing uneducated voters to cast a ballot will make things better. which Werner replied:

Voter education as such is a hopeless undertaking -- at least, in this country. We'd have to raise the general level of education first and then move on to political education. As this re-education process will take decades, and we don't have time to wait for that, must happen now:

(a) Mandatory voting (plus stiff fine for those not voting)

Evidently, Werner thinks (even apart from the ethical considerations he chose not to discuss) that forcing uneducated people to vote *now* will somehow still improve things--even though the voters won't be motivated or knowledgeable.

Exactly how that will work isn't explained but I'm sure the mental gymnastics required to even make the idea seem sensible would be thrilling to watch.

But there's another flaw in Werner's reasoning.

Werner and I had this exchange:

Werner: "Look at the rotten and corrupt government Albertans are now stuck with because so many people didn't do their share".

Me: "Actually, by your logic, the damage was caused by the only people who *did* do their share: the folks who voted."

In reply, Werner wrote:

The last Alberta election clearly demonstrates what happens when people are too lazy to vote (they were home getting drunk or watching a moronic hockey game, no doubt): we end up with a government that has no democratic legitimacy (with only 22% of the electorate, it is certainly not a majority government and therefore doesn't deserve the number of seats it claimed for itself) and that views itself as being not accountable to voters at all (after all, only a tiny minority of voters showed up for the election, so the government doesn't feel obligated to do right by the people of the province).

and Werner had stated earlier in the thread that "Most of those who stayed home would not have voted for Stelmach, because the 22% who did already represent his only remaining core support (give or take).

That's fascinating.

If Werner is correct (and he has no way of knowing, actually--he's just assuming) then, logically, Werner *must* be saying:
  • that it was the *left* that was too lazy, too ignorant, too selfish or too stupid to vote, and
  • that Mr Stelmach's supporters were the only folks responsible enough to do what Werner calls "their civic duty".
I'm not sure those were the points Werner was trying to make, but those are the only things that logically follow.


An aside:

Don't take this post as any sort of blanket condemnation of Werner. I disagree with him lots about this issue and others, but he often makes good points; he works to be benevolent and he's worked hard to gain some considerable skills. Plus, he's brave enough and straight-up enough to put his real name behind what he says. He stays on my "Blogs I Appreciate" list.

This is *my* place.