Thursday 27 June 2013

Working in Ottawa today --Flame Retardant Babies!

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

A few totally unrelated pulpettes this AM for you.

Good news --  Babies born in Toronto and Hamilton are now pre-treated with flame retardants in the womb!  That's right folks, no longer will young mothers fret over needing to protect their charges from open flames, the petrochemical and industrial complex has looked after it for you.

See now that's how to write uplifting and 'feel good' headlines.  Instead the Health section of today's Globe and Mail lists 'Toxins found in newborns'. Seems researchers found between 55 and 121 toxic chemicals in the cord blood of the newborns tested.  110 of the chemicals are known to be toxic to the brain and nervous system.  

Today would be Helen Keller's birthday, if she were still alive.  Helen Keller.. wasn't that the deaf dumb and blind kid that sure played a mean pinball?  No.  That was Tommy.  Keller was born this day in 1880 with sight and hearing but lost it as a result of illness at a year and a half.  It was 'Miracle Worker' Anne Sullivan that taught Keller how to speak and write. Keller went on to become a popular author, public speaker and left-wing activist.

But what about Helen Graham, student in 1921 California?

Do you know the name Helen Graham?  No?  I can beat it out of you if necessary.. a couple smacks across the head with a phone book, deprive you of sleep for 72 hours and try a bit of water boarding.  I am sure that I can get you to confess to knowing the name.  

Helen Graham was the first suspect to be tested on a polygraph machine, a lie detector.  Helen was one of 19 female students suspected of stealing from a few other female students in a Bakersfield, California college dorm.  The investigating police officer was John Augustus Larson a twenty-nine-year-old rookie who had earned a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of California.  Larson theorized on the applicability of measuring physiological responses to questioning as a means of determining the truthfulness of suspects.

Helen became so rattled by the test process and the rapidly moving graph pens that she fled the interview.  She later confessed to her crimes.  Today's polygraph machines are substantially unchanged from Larson's design and strategy of questioning.

Of course we still torture people for confessions -- even false confessions are a great way to clear open cases.

Have a great day -- to thine own self be true.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Not working in St. Louis, Mo today --Eat, Drink on your own Nickel

Good day folks,

I am not working today, and by the time I get a chance to post this in email and pulp, would have landed in St. Louis, Mo.  Will be away until tomorrow evening, returning to my office on Friday.

Senator Pamela Wallin was well in her way to escaping the wrath of my pen (touch keyboard doesn't sound too formidable) and then she opened her mouth.

Last Thursday Wallin explained to the TV viewing public that her expense woes stem from the large amount of paper work associated with gov't.  My reaction on hearing this blatherscarb is to beg the Senator not to blow smoke up Canadian's collective assess and ditch the dumb blonde act, "..sort of more paperwork than is humanly possible.." Give me a break.

Her woes are because she asked (and collected $ from) the Canadian public to pay for her travel associated with her non-gov't activity, specifically travel associated with her membership on boards of several NON-PUBLIC corporations.

That's not filling out the wrong form, that's fraud.  Canadians have had enough of this crap.  Repayment is not enough, I'd like to see these pocket lining freeloaders kicked out of the Senate and brought up on charges.  (Fraud over $5000 is an indictable offense in Canada.  If the RCMP needs help locating the sections in the Criminal Code, I will be available Friday.)

Alright, enough from the political desk..  How about we pick a fight with the Breatharians and the Solarians?

Um..  Uncle Daniel, what's a Breatharian?

Glad you asked Sparky!  What would you call a group of people that attempt to survive by only breathing and sunbathing?  Dead people.

The Breatharians are an interesting set of humans that have turned their backs on logic, science and the advice of doctors and believe that we humans need not seek nourishment from ingestible foods, but rather we can seek nourishment directly from the Sun's rays and the air that we breathe.

Huh?  yay!

The practice of living without food is generically referred to as Inedia and is familiar to Catholics as certain saints were reportedly able to survive extended periods without food or drink other than the bread and wine of the Eucharist.  Mmmmm bread and wine.. I could live happily for a while as well.

The Breatharians however claim to be able to survive on Prana, the Vital Life Force of Hinduism (tm),  I will point out that the Hindu do not believe that one can survive on Prana alone.  The Breatharians write books, hold classes, and recruit the gullible to join them in their slow walk.. kind of a Weak Zombie-Like Shuffle Towards Death (tm).

They further have the gall to dismiss those that suffer death by starvation as being weak willed and incapable of tuning their bodies to the frequencies of nature and all that is good.   I suppose that this is an intersting assessment of those that have died from malnutrition and starvation, we can blame the victims!  Don't send food aid to countries ravaged by corrupt dictators and drought -- send frequency tuners and words of encouragement!

And lastly.. (This is just for extra marks). Solarians.  When I first heard of Breatharians I thought.. I wonder why they don't call themselves Solarians.  And then I remembered.  The name was already used.  Solaria was the name of a planet of Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Robot series.  The Solarians were a strange bunch even by today's standards.  They were extreme isolationists, shrinking away from contact with other humans at all costs and were dependent on a large robot workforce.

The Solarians had such a distaste for social contact that they genetically modified themselves to eliminate male / female biological traits and ended up as hermaphrodites.  One less thing to worry about:) That and visitors. The Solarians' robots would kill visitors to the planet Solaria as they had been programmed to catagorize non-Solarians as non-humans.

Have a good day.  Eat, Drink, but pay for it yourself.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Working in Ottawa today --NO NEED TO YELL

Good morning folks,
I will be working in Ottawa today, and will be sure to keep a close eye on my wallet, what with 105 Senators there.
In the continuing saga of improper Senator spending and just a plain general corruption and lack of oversight and accountability in gov't, guess who else owes a bag of money to Canadians?
Senator 'Smiling Mac' Harb owes $230k.  Yep.
Just a bit of sanity checking here, we have 105 Senators in Canada, and they have expenses, but the view from here is that by a few bad strokes of a pencil a Senator can easily 'accidentally' overcharge Canadians $200,000.  That means that with 100 bad pencils and a lack of prudent accounting skills these Senators could cost Canadians (that's you and I) $20,000,000 in overcharges.  That's in addition to the legitimate charges.  So the question begs to be asked..
Who the hell is in charge?  When my staff submit expenses I examine them for legitimacy and accuracy and then I sign off on them.  The buck stops here.  Does no one in the hill have the responsibility of approving expenses on an ongoing basis?  Performing audits years aft the fact is just plain horseshit, trying to recoup $230,000 is awfully hard compared to simply saying no.  Let's try this all together, no.
The Senators will have you believe that there is vagueness and uncertainty in the rules of expenditures but there isn't, that their expenses were approved by committee, but they weren't.  Paying a submission for reimbursement is not an approval.  Perhaps tacitly yes, but it does not constitute a review and approval.
In Smiling Mac's case, the way I understand it, and the way David Tkachul sees it is this was willful abuse.  Let me break it down for you.  Harb has lived in Ottawa since being a young man.  Represented Ottawa center as an MP and was an Ottawa Alderman.  Then he was appointed to the Senate in 2003 by 'A proof is a Proof' Jean Chretien.
In 2010 he purchased a house in Pembroke, and then started charging living expenses in Ottawa to the Senate.  The view of the Senate Committee on Internal Economy (yeah, that's its name) takes the view that since Harb spends effectively all of his time in Ottawa and has done so for years, that his primary residence is in Ottawa.  

Thursday 6 June 2013

Working in Montréal today --Cover your junk

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

No one ever talks about the 4th amendment to the U.S Constitution on TV land, always talkin' bout the 1st (no establishment of a state religion, freedom of speech, press), the 2nd (the right of the people to keep and bear arms),  and the 5th (covers a lot, but every knows the right not to self incrimination).

But the 4th is a good one, a great one.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Let's chat about privacy for a second.  Last night I played racquetball. A typical activity for me on a Wednesday night and Sunday AMs too.  I played for two hours or so and then hit the showers.  Dried off and tried to open my locker.  eeep!  No key.  My gym bag has a hole in the key pocket and my key dropped out somewhere in front of the courts.   So while Darren was off to look for my key (I was buck naked and not in good form to wander the club) I stood and chatted with Brian about his miserable performance on the court.

Oh wait.  He bought beer last night.  He played an outstanding set of games!

And then...  A woman walked in.  A female.  A member of the gentler persuasion.  She let out a squeak and stopped dead, performed a quick pirouette and existed hastily.  Brian and I just laughed.   Now for me, I was in good form, freshly showered, body in reasonable shape and looking good after a few hours of running around the court and most importantly, I had not been in the pool.

If I had to choose a moment for a reveal of naked body Daniel, it would be a good pick.  Was my privacy violated?  Sure but it was by accident, and the exposure was limited to one female for about 2 seconds.. maybe 3.. she may have lingered before her pirouette :)

But how would I feel if she had taken pictures and shared them with the world?  Not so great.  You see although I really have nothing to hide, it's my junk and I get to decide who should see it.  And that is the argument against people that invariably answer breaches of privacy with, "well if you have nothing to hide you should not care.".

I read today that the U.S. gov't has ordered Verizon to provide on an ongoing and daily basis to provide records of all phone calls occurring on its systems.  All.  All local calls, all intra-LATA calls, all Inter-LATA calls, and all calls between the U.S. and other countries.  Yep. They mean all.   For every subscriber.  100 million wireless, 12 million residential wireline and 10 million commercial lines.

This order has been made without any regard of individual suspect of wrongdoing, it is search and seizure in bulk.  And I will add that if Verizon was ordered to do so, then the other Telco's were as well.

A violation of the 4th's requirement for probable cause?  I think so.  And what about Canadians?  I suppose we can't bitch too much if our neighbours to the south are constantly willing to give up their privacy with barely a whimper, but this also involves the privacy of Canadians.

Records of calls between you and I and U.S. phone numbers will be supplied to the U.S. gov't.  Perhaps Harper and his interest in Canadian privacy will intervene, didn't he think the Census was too invasive?

I also read comments to the news like, "I have nothing to hide, I don't call terrorists."  Well I don't call terrorists either, but it is still none of the U.S. gov't business who in the U.S. I call, or who my family and friends there in the U.S. call.

If the 1st amendment protects free speech, then gov't activity that monitors it and causes persons to avoid speaking to protect their privacy is a violation of those rights.

The 2nd amendment allows the keeping and bearing of arms to defend from an abusive federal gov't -- how much abuse will Americans tolerate?   See: prior pulp on sedition.

That's it for me, on final descent into Montréal.  Have a good day, cover your junk.