Thursday, July 28, 2005

JUST MADE HALIFAX YESTERDAY (GOD DAMN THEM ALL)

HALIFAX – The world’s second-largest cruise ship was in town yesterday, filled with passengers wishing they were elsewhere. The 4,700 passenger Voyager of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean, docked in Halifax Harbour after fears over tropical storm Franklin prevented it from going to its Bermuda destination. Passengers were not pleased.
Daily News (Halifax)
I understand that paying for Bermuda and getting Halifax could be disappointing, but travellers should have at least considered the possibility when booking a Caribbean cruise in the middle of hurricane season. I imagine that such a cruise in July is cheaper than in January, and that the decreased demand for the former is not only temperature related.

Given the ticket agreement specifically says the company can't be held responsible for acts of nature, I say no refunds.

UPDATE, later in the day:
Via comments from Dad comes this link to an animation of last year's Atlantic hurricane season. It's pretty cool.

[original story via Neale News]

Posted by Matthew @ 3:27 PM :: (8) comments

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

NO DEFENCE NECESSARY

Charles, over on the 401, has called me out, "to hear a solid defence of organized labour in Canada."

Fair enough. I'll try and present one, if I can, when Charles presents a solid attack of his own.

Charles' full post is here.

As far as I can tell, Charles has presented some pretty good evidence to suggest the membership and leadership of the CAW don't have their priorities straight, but he has done little to discredit the right to organized labour and collective bargaining.

Unions in Ontario form and are disbanded at the will of a majority of employees in any given workplace. In fact, under laws enacted by the Harris government, the ability to disband a union has become significantly easier, many would say fairer, since the previous NDP government. Further, the actions of union leadership in bargaining are held accountable to the general will of the union membership.

So, if the membership of the CAW prefers to persue short-term personal gain at the expense of the long-term health of their industry and own jobs, that is their
prerogotive.

If Charles is trying to make an argument to deny the right of labour organzation he has to do better than this. If he's trying to make the argument that unionization inevitably leads to actions such as those of the CAW, he has at least made a modest start.

But again, are the members of the CAW not free to make their own choices? Clearly, Charles will never join a unionized workplace; and that's his choice.

----
In a pre-emptive counter to the innevitable questions regarding the rights of the minority of employees in a unionized workplace who oppose particular actions of the union, or the union altogether, see my previous posts here, and here.

Posted by Matthew @ 4:01 PM :: (4) comments

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

TIMING

Provincial governments across Canada face a big-time decision as they deal with an American move to extend daylight time by two months, so that it starts on the first weekend in March and ends in November.
cbc news
I love that different political jursidictions can change the hour of the day that the sun will rise at.

And yet, the sun will still rise at the same time everyday.

Update, the next evening:
Apparently the Government of Ontario wants your opinion on this whole bizzaro time-change issue. Supposedly the government is serious about getting your input; they set up an e-mail account.
Ontario residents will be able to e-mail their opinions to the government on whether the province should add two more months of daylight time each year to stay in sync with the United States.

Attorney General Michael Bryant said the government is turning to the internet to gather views from different sectors of the province before it makes a decision.

The e-mail address is daylightsaving@jus.gov.on.ca.
cbc.news

Posted by Matthew @ 5:23 PM :: (2) comments

GOOGLE MOON

July 20, 1969 Apollo 11, commanded by Neil Armstrong, piloted by Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins made the first human landing on the moon.

To commemorate the occassion Google has a graphic on their main page as they often do on particular days of note. However, today, if you click on the Google icon you're taken to Google Moon, a Google Maps style interface showing a satellite view of the moon with the six Apollo mission landing sites marked.

Just like on Google Maps, you can zoom in and out on the Google Moon images. Be sure to zoom in to the closest level.

(Thanks to my Dad, for pointing this out.)

Posted by Matthew @ 3:13 PM :: (0) comments

Saturday, July 16, 2005

SMALL PROGRESS

I was talking with a friend this week about my M.A research and I mentioned that the bulk of my primary sources were contained in the Indian Affairs record group at the National Archives.

When I said this, my friend automatically assumed that I was referring to a division of Foreign Affairs that dealt with the country of India. It was not until a few moments later, as I began talking about nineteenth century Upper Canada, the state, and Aboriginal people, that my friend realized that when I had said "Indian Affairs" I was referring to the government's dealings with First Nations people.

My friend then remarked that not even ten years ago, upon hearing the word 'Indian' he would have been unsure if it referred to Indian nationals or First Nations people.

We both remarked that it was intersting to realize the change in language usuage over our short liftimes and that it was a positive development, if a small one.

Posted by Matthew @ 4:59 PM :: (1) comments

AT LEAST I STILL HAVE A FEW READERS

In the comments to the post below, Ikram calls almost everything Mader has ever written 'unintelligent.'

Since meeting Mader in Gardner Hall in our first year at McGill, we have agreed on very little. Several long running debates can be found in the archives of both of our blogs. However, of all the ways I could characterize Mader, 'unintelligent' wouldn't be one of them.

Of course, Mader can defend himself.

At least I know some people are still reading this page. On the other hand, bloggers other than me seem to be posting the more interesting content.

Posted by Matthew @ 12:21 PM :: (0) comments

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

MORE THOUGHTFUL THAN ME

Pretty much the only two blogs I continue to read regularly right now, Mader and Alan. Both are commenting today on the significance of the London bombers being British born.

Mader with, 'They were British.'

And Alan with, 'Home Grown.'

Posted by Matthew @ 10:36 AM :: (6) comments

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

PSYCHOLOGY OF A TERRORIST

Muslim extremist Mohammed Bouyeri confessed today in a Dutch court to the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. On November 2 of last year Van Gogh was shot, nearly be-headed and found with a five page screed stabbed to his chest. The killing is believed to have been an act of retribution for Van Gogh's film Submission, which criticized the treatment of women under Islam.

Bouyeri's remarks provide a pretty good example of the nature of the terrorist enemy we face.

"If I were released and would have the chance to do it again ... I would do exactly the same thing."

"What moved me to do what I did was purely my faith. ... I was motivated by the law that commands me to cut off the head of anyone who insults Allah and his prophet"
Turning to Van Gogh's mother, who was in the court he said,
"I have to admit I don't have any sympathy for you, I can't feel for you because I think you're a nonbeliever."
Boyeri is allegedly a member of a terrorist cell known as the Hofstad Network and faces several other terrorism related charges.

This man and others like him are not motivated by unjust poverty and disenfranchisement. Their violence is the result of an ideology of racism, hate, and absolute religious extremism. They are a threat to all free and rational people regardless of nationality or religion.

Posted by Matthew @ 6:08 PM :: (1) comments

Saturday, July 09, 2005

THIS IS NOT THE END

Coincidentally, on the day before the London attacks, in one of my now intermittent postings, I picked up on a question Alan asked.

Alan surmised that at some point we will be in a post-‘post-9/11’ era and he was on the lookout for signs. He suggested that the re-emergence of anti-globalisation protests at the G-8 might be one of them.

Being a history student, I understand that it is impossible to define or even recognize historical eras while at the same time living in them, and I suspect Alan would agree, but I nonetheless found his question interesting, partly because of the impossibility of answering it definitively.

Mader, a fellow McGill history alumnus, picked up on the question and provided his own interesting analysis. Mader wrote in part:

Matt asks whether the re-emergence of anti-globalization protests marks the end of the 'post-9/11' era.
I don't think so.

What we're seeing is not, therefore, the end of an era or the beginning of something new. Rather, I think we're seeing an attempt by many to return to what was before.

That doesn't mean it's 1999 again, though, and it doesn't mean that 2005 is the new 1999. Instead, it means that, in years to come, we will look back on 2005 and wonder how we could be so silly as to believe we could ever go back.
The following day, when London was attacked, Mader seemed to imply that the previous day’s question had been proved inconsequential.

If I read Mader correctly, I disagree, but only, I think, because of a difference in understanding of what was meant by “post ‘post-9/11.’”

I titled my last post ‘The End of the Beginning?’ in obvious reference to Churchill’s remarks in London of 10 November 1942. I did so because, for me, the question of a post ‘post-9/11’ era does not necessarily imply that the war on terror is over, or even that the war on terror is no longer impacting our lives. Like Churchill of November ’42 I recognize that the war is far from over, but, in picking up Alan’s question, I was wondering what will be the possible signs that the beginning of the war is over?

So, to continue the Second World War analogy, what stage are we at? 9 May 1940, 4 June 1940, November 1942, or perhaps only August 1939?

Do the attacks in London indicate that there are inevitably more attacks to come, or does the scale of Thursday’s attacks, relative to those in New York and even Madrid, indicate a decline in the enemy’s capabilities?

Whether the ‘end of the beginning’ or the ‘beginning of the beginning,’ it is clearly not the end. However, will we be able to recognize the end when it comes?

Posted by Matthew @ 6:53 PM :: (0) comments

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

THE END OF THE BEGINNING?

Alan, ruminates on the signs that we are beyond a 'post-9/11 era.'

I am trying to note if I see any markers for the ending of an era. Whether you think that that terrible day was caused by the alignment of a great number of extraordinary unlikelihoods giving the terrorists a clean run they would never have gotten on any other day or whether you think the years since 9/11 without a repetition of the horror are as a result of the winning of the war on terror, there will be a time some day that will be after the post-9/11 era.
He notes the re-emergence of large scale protests at major interantional sumits as were common in the late twentieth century, as a possible sign.

I have to admit that I thought 9/11 and the true begninning of the 21st century marked the end of such protests. Perhaps this is the entering of a new era?

Posted by Matthew @ 7:31 PM :: (0) comments