Diplomatic Immunity

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Was watching a TV show last night where the story involved diplomatic immunity. I’ve always thought it’s a strange thing, so afterwards I decided to read more about it. It’s so easy to look these things up on Wikipedia that I try to make a habit of it (it’s also fun to just randomly follow links there and read the articles).

Anyways, here’s the one for today: Diplomatic Immunity

One interesting tidbit is the argument for still using diplomatic immunity, since I didn’t know there really was a good one. It’s that the likelihood of an official of another country, especially a non-friendly one, getting a fair trial would be low. So, the home country is supposed to handle the prosecution.

Interesting.

A few good things today

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Well, even though one bad thing happened today (Conservative minority), here is the bright side:

  • The Conservatives didn’t get a majority. At least they won’t get the far-right part of their agenda.
  • The NDP increased their seats by about 50% to 30.
  • Martin to quit as Liberal leader

It’s time for the Liberals to regroup, pick a good leader, then be strong heading into the next election.

Canadian 2006 Election Results

Does capitalism always equal more money?

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Found this article on Metafilter and it’s a good read:
The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart

It’s about a company that gets offered the chance to be Wal-Marts primary brand for a product but refuses. Whether or not you like you like Wal-Mart it’s good to see a company standing up for some kind of principles. They’re not necessarily altruistic principles; it’s still related to a business decision. But, this CEO could have just said “yes” to Wal-Mart and there’s a good chance he’d walk away with a boat-load more cash 10 years later.

Political Party Picker

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Ran into an online quiz that will tell you how well you match up to each Canadian political party.

It’s interesting, I’d suggest taking it. It’s too bad I ran into it after having voted, but it confirmed I made the correct decision in ideological terms.

Vote Selector Quiz 2006

Here’s how I ranked:

  • 100% – NDP
  • 93% – Liberal
  • 68% – Bloc Quebecois
  • 31% – Conservative

I was glad to see BQ was my third ranking. I don’t know how I could live with myself had I gotten a rating of over 50% for the Conservatives.

Harper: getting even worse

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This makes me mad: Harper rejects Kyoto, native deal

If Harper gets into office and takes Canada out of Kyoto I’m willing to spend a lot of money and effort getting him out. One thing I will not stand for is making it so that my future children will not be able to lead a safe and healthy life. Especially not so he can simply stuff even more money into his rich friends pockets. Kyoto transcends petty national politics or greed.

Whole Foods really supports renewable energy

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Wow. Whole Foods, a grocery chain in the US, is buying wind credits for 100% of its projected energy usage for 2006. They can’t hook up each store to a special renewable-energy grid so the way you get around it is by buying credits which pays for renewable energy to be fed into the grid at some other location.

Whole Foods goes with the wind

Aside from the obvious reasons of being good for business, ie: there’s no way to make money if there’s no world to live in, it’s also great marketing. If I still lived by a Whole Foods I’d be even more likely to shop there. I did shop there, but mostly for specialty items. I found it a bit expensive for my every-day shopping, but if the company is willing to do this they deserve more of my money.

Canadian Election: Closer to decision time

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I just found out I’ll be out of town for election day so I’ve got to do the advanced polling this Saturday. I still haven’t decided what to do, so this complicates things.

I still haven’t been swayed from my original position. The debates, while interesting, didn’t address my problem. Here’s my criteria:

  1. The Conservatives don’t get in power, and
  2. Failing the above, the Conservatives only have a minority
  3. Platform-wise I would be relatively happy with either the Liberal or NDP agenda
  4. If the Liberals were leading in the polls I’d likely vote NDP
  5. The riding I’ll be voting in has gone almost entirely Conservative over the last few decades (it’s a rural riding)
  6. If there’s a chance this riding could go Liberal I’d probably rather vote for them because Liberals are preferable to Conservatives
  7. If the riding is certainly going Conservative I’d maybe vote NDP to show support.

So, given all these things, I need to make a decision. I’d love to hear any thoughts on the matter to help my decision.

Afraid of Stephen Harper

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I’ve been doing some reading today about Stephen Harper and I’m even more afraid of him now that I was before, if that’s possible. So far what I’m hearing from a lot of people is that they’re afraid of him as well. This seems echoed in the media quite a bit and I’ve never heard a person without that opinion yet, personally. But, there’s obviously the large undercurrent of unhappiness with Martin. I’m not advocating what the one correct course of action is right now, but what I know is the incorrect one would be Harper.

Some of the quotables I’ve found:

  • He wants the Supreme Court to “defer to parliament” rather than the Charter. This sounds like an echo from the neo-cons in the US who are unhappy with “activist judges” not ruling the way they’d want. This is A VERY BIG DEAL as it basically circumvents the Charter. Canada will no longer have a basic guarentee of rights and freedoms, it will depend on the party in power. And, we all know what will happen to minority rights if Harper was in power.
  • He uses religion to support his argument for self-entitlement. He seems to forget the vast amount of content in the Bible about helping the poor.
  • He understands “liberals” so badly that he equates them with nihilism. This is required to support his position of moral superiority.
  • He sees the fall of the Soviet Union as “depriving conservatives of all shares of a common external enemy.”
  • The guarentee of universal health care and womens rights horrifies him.
  • He equates the NDP to “the devil.”
  • He is in favour of discrininating against anyone who doesn’t fit into his personal traditional social and religious definitions.
  • His main policy adviser thinks of the people who lived in North America before they were decimated by the Europeans simply as “earlier immigrants” and therefore have zero claim to land.

Some of the articles I’ve been reading, which also link to other sources of information:

O’Reilly just can’t go anywhere these days

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This is everywhere, but in case you haven’t seen it, check this out:

IFILM – Letterman vs O’Reilly [2006]

David Letterman had Bill O’Reilly on his show the other day. Their exchange was as good as the recent one on the Daily Show. I’ve never seen Letterman this way, and he was even more blatant in his distaste than Stewart was.

Letterman really got mad when O’Reilly badmouthed Cindy Sheehan. Now, even though O’Reilly is doing it for the wrong reasons there is a real debatable issue going on there. I disagree completely, but it should at least be debatable whether it’s “distasteful” to badmouth a sitting president during a war. Where O’Reilly and his ilk go wrong is they associate that distastefulness with being “unamerican,” even likening them to terrorists. The hypocracy of this is unbelievable: you’re in a war trying to “spread freedom” yet you’re saying it’s bad to be free to say whatever you want back at home? Come on. The dividing line of what’s acceptable to say in public in a democracy can be likened to tastefulness, but saying what’s on your mind should never be “unamerican.” That’s supposedly a strongly-held American value.

Saving Gas

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I’ve been trying to think of ways to save on gas lately, and did some research. Lately there have been news articles about how some hybrid owners complain they’re not getting anywhere near the MPG ratings shown. But, these same drivers are trying to drive their new Prius like it’s a racecar. Driving habits have a huge impact on fuel consumption. Accelerating more slowly and not driving over 100kph/60mph can save up to 33% more fuel: Driving More Efficiently

Also, I stumbled onto this page that’s especially relevant up here in Canada: Idling: Myths Versus Reality. Apparently it’s somewhat harmful to idle cars for long periods and it becomes more energy efficient to shutoff and restart a car if it’d be idling for more than 10s. There’s lots of other interesting pages on those links above too.