Archive for October, 2007

Who made the biggest impact in the debate?

I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I’ve talked more about this guy than anyone else. 

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Great Interview on Peak Oil, the US Dollar and the war in Iraq

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Video : Melting arctic sea ice

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Can we get the election over with now?

I spent some time on the CBC election blogs today.  On the loonie left we have someone who can’t get passed the fact that Grant Devine and Brad Wall probably saw each other in a hallway.  In the blogger’s mind the Devine era was "pure hell" where the "rich got richer and the poor got poorer".  Now I have no love for the Devine government but his problems didn’t have anything to do with a lack of concern for Saskatchewan people.  You can argue he butchered the civil service, surrounded himself with folks that could have been a bit brighter and spent way more money than he should have but he was no heartless conservative.  His main problem was that he wasn’t conservative enough on fiscal matters.

Lets slide on over to the right where the man from Rosetown comments on the lack of NDP and Liberal lawn signs in his town.  He then goes on to blame the NDP government for all the hospital closings and school closings while new superstores go up in Saskatoon and Regina.  What the heck does the government have to do with whether a Sobey’s opens up at Preston Crossing?  Why do people who vote for right wing parties expect the government to make sure they have grocery stores?  Wouldn’t that kind of government be far left of the current NDP?

The Rosetown man tries to help us understand his discontent by using the example of the Liberals pandering to Ontario and Quebec.  I’m still at a loss as to figure out how we were so poorly treated under the Chretien/Martin Liberals.  I guess there was the gun registry.  The government wanted people to fill out forms and spend money.  Don’t forget registration really means confiscation.  So many times I’ve heard someone start ranting about their western discontent and watch others nod in agreement.  I’ve yet to find someone to articulate a bona fide reason for that discontent.  I think the real western discontent is that Ontario voted for the people that won and so often we voted for the people that lost.  The actual pandering to Quebec started up again just recently but that doesn’t count because the folks doing it are the ones we voted for.

Among the real politicians the debate is up a notch from the mindless banter on the CBC but it is no more inspiring.  We have 3 parties jumping over each other to find the center with no real issues to define the campaign.  The NDP have tried to make the campaign about the evils of Brad Wall and it isn’t working.  It is interesting to listen to people who have drunk the NDP kool aid but only in the way watching a car accident is entertaining.  The NDP seem like they are sure of one thing, they need to win. 

The SaskParty hasn’t done much to inspire either but I’m not sure if they were in a position to be bold on policy.  Knowing the NDP would try to label them as scary they have kept things pretty tame.  When a PST cut on used cars is a major plank of your policy you aren’t running a bold campaign.  What is more sad that NDP actually responded to this promise with the assertion that this will increase the cost of new cars when you trade in a used car for a new one.   What the????  The SaskParty knows they can cruise to victory as long as they don’t do something stupid and they have played this right the whole way through. 

I do like some of the Liberal policy ideas.  I do like the shift on property taxes and not-for-profit surgical centers but sadly no one is really taking the Liberals seriously.  With my friends I’ve mused about voting Liberal and more than once I’ve been told not to "waste" my vote.  I am really disappointed in their environmental policy.  Their only major push is curb side recycling which Saskatoon is already moving towards anyway. 

What would I have liked to see discussed?
A carbon tax, investments in affordable housing, massive investment in renewable energy, funding for increased public transportation, real health care reform, poor health and poverty among first nations people on and off reserve, and electoral reform. 

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Lynae barfed on the SaskParty

I just had a SaskParty flunky BSing me about the NDP’s strategy to burn more coal and how their wind power strategy is 10 years old.  I didn’t bother to point out how the NDP’s coal strategy was a "clean coal" plant and it had been scrapped in favour of new natural gas generation.  Nor did I mention that the the latest wind power project one came on stream in 2006. They are actively working towards adding more "Environmentally Preferred Power."

The flunky might have done better if he pointed out the SaskParty’s actual environmental plan.  They promise to honor all the targets the NDP have set.  They even promise low interest loans for geothermal installations and green power generation.  So…..their environmental plan, which seemed non-existent a little while ago isn’t that bad.  The Liberals have yet to reveal any environmental policy at all.

Lynae was playing with the little SaskParty brochure that I received from the flunky and promptly upchucked on it.  I’m not sure my opinion is much better.  There is a pretty good chance they are going to form government.  At least they have elevated themselves to the standard of the NDP on the environment which is to say the right things.  I’m naturally suspicious of the SaskParty’s sincerity but the NDP have proven themselves to be insincere.

Feel free to check out my evening rant that became sameoldndp.com.

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Why Christians should take Richard Dawkins seriously

It’s easy to get annoyed, but Christians really ought to listen to and take seriously what Richard Dawkins has to say. With his high profile books, articles, television programmes and general media coverage, he has become the number one scourge of religion and religious believers of all and every stripe. He is articulate, passionate, an excellent speaker and a formidable intelligence. He has made important contributions to his particular discipline of evolutionary biology, most famously with his first book The Selfish Gene, but no less impressively with the follow-up volume The Extended Phenotype, and a series of subsequent books. He is a major player in his discipline.

His book The God Delusion appeared in 2006. This isn’t about evolutionary biology with a few side-swipes at religion thrown in, this is a concentrated assault on religion. He launches a series of exocet missiles at religion, at the concept of God, the ‘supernatural’, faith-heads (which is his term for religious believers), theology – the whole bang-shoot, in fact. Inevitably he has triggered much response. The theologian Alister McGrath, an Oxford colleague of his, who had already written one book critiquing Dawkins’ views on religion, riposted rapidly with The Dawkins Delusion. Another Christian riposte has come from a more evangelical quarter in Andrew Wilson’s Deluded by Dawkins? Both authors demonstrate that many of Dawkins’ arguments are strewn with error and misunderstanding.

However, in response to the statement “theologians say that Dawkins is wrong” we can echo Mandy Rice-Davies: “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?” It’s part of their job description. Perhaps more significant, then, is the response Dawkins has drawn from non-Christian – or non-religious – quarters. Don’t get me wrong: there are many who agree whole-heartedly with Dawkins. But consider the review of the book by Professor of English Terry Eagleton, a non-believer, which appeared in the London Review of Books (19 October 2006): it is a high octane demolition job.

Eagleton starts off “Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don’t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince. The more they detest religion, the more ill-informed their criticisms of it tend to be.” He continues for another 3,500 words to elaborate on this.

Read the rest here.

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Heroes

A friend lent me his Heroes Season One DVD set to watch on my way to Abottsford last week.  I had watched an episode in the middle of the season and it didn’t make an impression.  After watching it from the beginning was hooked.  I really love this show.  I had been feeling pretty down about some things going on in the world.  Heroes has inspired me, at least some of the characters in Heroes have kind of inspired me.  One thing I like about these characters is they are real and they are flawed.  The show doesn’t follow the typical good guy/bad guy formula.  Some characters are bad, some are really bad, some are conflicted, some are good, and some are sacrificially noble. 

I think we need stories of good, noble people willing to down their lives for others.  It is good to be reminded of what we can be if we could just see past ourselves. 

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Federal Greens pass NDP in Quebec, tied in Ontario

This poll is a little bit old but it looks the Greens have become real player in Canadian politics.

The Conservatives have still made gains in Quebec, where the Liberals have shown a drop in support. The Greens, meanwhile, are now ahead of the NDP in the province (percentage-point change from an Aug. 10-12 poll in brackets):

  • Bloc Quebecois: 37 per cent (same)
  • Conservatives: 26 per cent (+5)
  • Liberals: 17 per cent (-7)
  • Green Party: 12 per cent (+3)
  • NDP: 9 per cent (same)

In vote-rich Ontario, the Liberals continue to maintain their lead over the Conservatives, while the NDP and Greens are now tied (percentage-point change from an Aug. 10-12 poll in brackets):

  • Liberals: 40 per cent (same)
  • Conservatives: 33 per cent (-2)
  • NDP: 14 per cent (-3)
  • Green Party: 14 per cent (+6)

From CTV

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Missional Church

I’ve been swimming in the emerging church/missional circles for sometime now. I’ve read blogs and books. I’ve gone to conferences and listened to audio from conferences. I’ve never observed anyone suck the life out of the topic like I did tonight.

Other aspects of the conference have been good. The most informative and engaging session was a history of the Mennonite Brethren. You would think something like that would be a real snoozer but it was done well.

If I’m brave a I’ll blog more when I get home.

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Going to a conference

My friends the Mennonite Brethren are having a study conference in the most holy mecca of Abbotsford, British Columbia.  For a couple of days we will be chatting about Church, Gospel and Culture.  In less than an our a van full of faithful pilgrims embarks on a righteous pilgrimage through the night.  I’ve got my power inverter, laptop, Season 1 of heroes and a box of halloween candy.  If you are reading this and are going to the conference come say hi, I’ll be the tall one, or, umm…. at least one of the tall ones.

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