Friday, January 29, 2010

Stephen Harper not Trusted

       I have always found it difficult to trust statements coming from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I have kept my mouth shut before this and not criticized the prime minister. Lately, he has gone too far for me to remain quiet. Proroguing parliament has pushed me over the edge and I can no longer remain silent. To remain silent means that I approve of his deceitful methods.

        It has bothered me for a long time that Harper announces and reannounces spending projects. He seems to think that I am a fool and fall for this deceit and that I will think he's giving out more money. People who are not well informed will fall for this line. There's an old saying that goes something like this . Take me for a fool and YOU are a fool. That's how I feel. I think that this practice is morally and ethically wrong.

        Harper very quickly blames others for his lack of success in getting his legislation passed. Some of his accusations may have a smattering of fact in them. He's his own worst enemy. When he prorogued parliament he left many of the bills in the House of Commons and they are now lost. They will have to be brought forward again because of his own shiftiness .

        There are more examples that could be described , but two are enough to illustrate my point

       To put it bluntly Harper has used bully tactics and when they don't work he takes his ball and runs away.
 I can appreciate discussion and point of view which differs from mine. I cannot tolerate someone who will stoop to use deceitful tactics to get their agenda achieved and then expect us to think that he is a nice guy and we should vote for him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Enforcement Discussion Grows

        What started out as  a generic discussion  of law enforcement on Hiawatha House  grew when I had a discussion with a paper subscriber. So out in the ice and snow my subscriber asked the innocent question, "What's new?" My immediate response was nothing but I knew that he wanted more than that. So I told him that I had been doing a couple of blog posts on lax law enforcement. This topic interested him greatly and he soon got on to capital punishment as he is  a supporter of capital punishment.

       So with such a discussion I am right back to a blog post I had not thought of making.

       I have been opposed to capital punishment as long as I can remember. Briefly I oppose capital punishment because it doesn't work. We only have to look at murder rates in states which use capital punishment and we do not see lower murder rates. Then there's the nasty problem of our justice system not being infallible. Too many convictions are in error. With capital punishment the sentence cannot be undone. It's permanent.

       So my friend and I had a discussion where we agreed to disagree. He's a person who can discuss an issue and doesn't attack the person who opposes him. So when I visit with him it's always a stimulating discussion as he has made me post a blog on the topic.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Law Enforcement Again

      I am not one of those people who want a law for everything that moves. One of my favorite bloggers sometimes puts on a piece called More Dumb Laws. She hits the nail on the head.

      Laws which are outdated or impractical are a waste of time as they do more harm than good.

     We need well written, necesssary laws and they have to be enforced. Laws which are not enforced or poorly enforced only tell the bad guys that the odds of getting away with something are worth their while to break the law.

     My favorite example of lack of enforcement and that people really go to town and break laws with abandon is highway traffic laws. I'm a little old guy who drives down the highway at 120kmh which is 10 kmh over the speed limit. I'm afraid I'm going to get run over . People pass me like I'm standing still. I do not get the satisfaction of seeing my speeding friends stopped down the road receiving a ticket. What is worse is that in Alberta there are over $100 000 000 of outstanding traffic fines . So even if you do get caught you don't have to pay a fine. So traffic laws must be enforced and then the bad guys get the idea that the odds are pretty high that they will be aprehended. Somehow or other the fines have to be collected. So the offenders not only get caught, but they  pay the price.

      The same thing happens in the criminal law enforcement. Bad guys don't like to get burned. They don't mind doing time , but to get caught is the down side for them. 

     So we are going to have to lobby our politicians to take a serious look at enforcement and do what it takes to enforce laws.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Be it resolved that bylaws be enforced.

        It's time for a gripe. Usually I am fairly calm, laid back and agreeable. I hope that Hiawatha House is usually upbeat. So what has crossed me so that I will complain?

       Here's an example. Our city has a bylaw which says that receational vehicles cannot be parked in a front driveway from Nov.1 to Mar.31. On my daily rambles through the neighborhood I see all kinds of recreational vehicles parked in the front drive way. They don't bother me, but if they were right next to me it would be a nuisance. 

      Here's my point . The city only enforces the bylaw when someone complains. So somebody has to be the bad guy and turn in his neighbor. How many people will do this? Not very many. The city will not make a patrol and request owners to move rec vehicles. Most other bylaws are treated the same way.

     Now here's my point. If we have laws which are nor enforced it tends to give people the wrong idea. People will think that their chances of geting away with things will be pretty good.Yes, people will easily think that they can get away with many other violations because bylaws are not enforced. We are giving citizens the wrong idea. We would be better to not have bylaws if they are going to cause other problems. Are we bringing about a general disrespect of laws and bylaws?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chinook : Winter Break

       We have been enjoying a week of mild weather after 40 days of worse than average winter weather.

        Through December and early January we had winter temperatures which were lower than average. There was no break. Lots of wind. We had above average snowfall. So we had a streak of weather to complain about.

       Fortunately in the Red Deer, Alberta area we get chinnooks. We've had this one for over a week. Some of our snow has melted. But mostly it's been a nice break. We do not get chinook temperatures as high as Calgary or the Crowsnest Pass, but we don't get the high winds either. For a site that keeps all kinds of great weather stats click on . This site also has excellent weather pictures.

     So we will take this chinook and enjoy it. There's lots more winter yet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Copenhagen Climate Disasters #3

        For my last post on Hiawatha House I dealt with what individuals can do to help fight gobal warming and climate change. Individuals do have a very vital part in climate change.

       For this post I will deal with the broader picture. The Copenhagen Conference was a group of nations who supposedly met to bring about some solutions to climate change. It is important for treaties to be made as governments set up rules, regulations and policies which hopefully would lead to a decrease in the productions of green house gases which contribute to global warming. The citizens and industries of each country would be forced to reduce their contributions to green house gases.

      Industries produce most of our green house gases. One culprit which produces highly is the power industry and coal fired power plants. In Alberta, the oil sands contribute not only an enormous volume of green house gases, but also destroy natural areas and our water. For large industries the monetary implications are huge. Investment and competition complicates things. We as individuals want more power. So we're all in this together. As consumers we are going to have to pay more for energy and products we purchase so that costs to reduce green house gases can be covered.

     So all people on this earth are going to have to be prepared to contribute more to reduce green house gas. The key word is reduce. Our Canadian government wants us and the world to think that they are doing wonderful things to reduce green house gases.Unfortunately for us, our Govt. is only spouting words and playing shell games. It's a complicated issue and for the ordinary citizen it's difficult to know what is going on.

     All of us have to take global warming seeriously and work together to begin reducing it. We can't just look at the other guy and expect him to do the job while we do nothing.

     Let me know what you think we could do to bring about some solutions to this issue.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Disasters Than Copenhagen

As a world conference the Copenhagen fiasco was a failure in a class of its own. There was much to be gained by success in this conference, and such an enormous loss if the conference failed. The governments of the world achieved both in this case. They lost out in achieving any gains and they lost by not finding any solutions.

Canada sent the wrong people to Copenhagen. We chose the wrong government and we didn't influence Prime Minister Harper and his government to take a positive, proactive stand. Absolutely nothing was achieved at the Copenhagen conference except to lose time - precious time, which we have already frittered away by intentional inaction.

As individuals we will have to do more than wring our hands in useless gestures. Although the big picture is where it's at to reduce the production of green house gases, there is much an individual can do. Each person can alter their lifestyle to do their part in the reduction of green house gases. We can all drive less, buy cars which produce fewer greenhouse gases, and buy products which take less energy to produce. As consumers we have the power to choose products which leave a smaller mark on the climate.

The biggest thing we can do is become proactive in as many ways as possible. We have to influence our politicians and leaders. We can all write to the authorities and express our support for climate change. One letter at a time on a constant basis mounts up, and will bring about change. We will have to inform and educate ourselves about the policies that political parties stand for . We must make political parties act upon what they say their policies are. Bums like we have in power now have to be voted out.

We must also become more informed and better educated about the science of climate change . It's not rocket science. It's looking at the evidence we have. Two years ago a very large ice shelf broke off in the Arctic . An ice shelf is ice which has become solidly attached and hasn't moved, like a land mass. The ice shelf in the Arctic warmed and detached. Some of this ice is hundreds, even thousands of years old . Now it's gone. Fortunately scientists took many core samples which can be used to study the earth's climate going many years back.

Start today, this year, and do something each week to make a difference in climate change. We will then push governments and businesses along to make changes.

Monday, January 4, 2010

514% Increase "Ain't" Bad!

     I recently read a news item dealing with the increase in Face Book accounts for 2009. The part that caught my attention was that there was a 514% increase in accounts started by ages 50 and over! And I was one of the 514%!

     I was certainly aware of Face Book . But I listened to CBC interviews and the scoop was that Face Book was for younger people ...possibly college or university age. I had no interest in Face Book . The rumor was that security was a problem.

    However, a friend or two kept talking about Face Book. In fact, we were discussing using Face Book as a vehicle to increase membership in an organization we belonged to.
    So one day I ended up looking at Face Book . Before very long I found people I knew and looked at their list of friends and saw more people I knew. Then I accidentally checked on relatives! I found most of my nieces and nephews on Face Book. That did it! I started a Face Book account and found out how to navigate through aspects of Face Book. I very cautiously invited 2 or 3 friends and then sat back. People invited me to be their friend and things just grew.

     I happily reported to my brother that I had started a Face Book page. He very flatly said, "We won't be on Face Book!" Less than 6 months later his wife was on Face Book because my brother thought it would be a good idea! So there's two of us with the same idea who changed their minds quickly. We could see the advantages to be gained from Face Book.

     From then on I followed what people were doing and reported my activities. Now I eagerly anticipate Face Book activities each day. So, since I joined Face Book in 2009 and am much over 50 , I fit into the 514% and am proud to be part of  that crowd.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Copenhagen Disaster

As you can see from some of my former posts I am somewhat passionate about the natural places on this planet. So I have written about birds, animals, plants and weather. The blogs I follow have a relationship to similar topics.

So it was to my great dismay and disgust that I observed the pathetic performance of the planet's governments at the Copenhagen conference. Governments from various blocs sought to snooker other blocs into a corner to squeeze out their own agendas. For example, countries which are less developed wanted more money out of wealthier groups of nations. Top economic countries wanted the others to make similar contributions to lessen green house gas production.

All countries at the Copenhagen conference completely forgot about the earth and any responsiblity they have to curb global warming. Our Canadian government was absolutely disgraceful in its performance and position. Our government made no effort to move forward on reducing green house gases. Since our government is rather secretive, one might suspect that they were not in any way working to reduce green house gases.

Much debate takes place on climate science. Extremely skillful manipulators attempt to distract the agenda and confuse issues so that doubt arises as to the validity of climate warming. We don't have to look very far to see monstrous examples of global warming. The Arctic shows some very obvious and extensive examples. I spent 5 years in the Arctic in the 1960's. We would fly from Inuvik to Sach's Harbor on Banks Island, which is a distance of about 450km. In July and August there was open water about 15 to 25 km from shore. The rest of the way was loose ice, and some years there would be large areas of solid ice. Today all of the ice in the Beaufort Sea melts in the summer. Small boats will cross from Cape Bathurst or Cape Parry. To me this is an appalling change. This is all the evidence I need to become alarmed about the dangers of climate change caused by man. Seals and polar bears use the ice as habitat and are in great peril as a result.

This year, Hiawatha House is going to run a number of posts on global warming. We have to push our governments to take action on reducing green house gases.