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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So. You know how yesterday I was all like, "Busy busy busy, no time for posty!" Well, today has been a particularly heavy news day and so here I am doing a mini-post (aka a post which is not full of synthesis/critical analysis).

  1. The First World War is... over...?
    So apparently today Germany paid the last installment of the reparation payments owed to Allied countries in accordance of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
    I am really confused by this and can't find nearly enough news sources actually reporting it. I thought that after the Second World War everyone agreed that Germany didn't have to pay anymore...?

  2. Aaah! The atheists! They know our secrets!
    According to a new study, most Americans don't know much about world religions (or, often, their own religions). In fact, atheists and agnostics answered the most questions correctly, followed by Jews and Mormons.
    In fact, get this:
    For instance, only 55 per cent of U.S. Roman Catholics surveyed understand that Holy Communion is not meant to be symbolic but is instead believed to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

    Fewer than half of Americans surveyed knew the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and fewer than half of the Protestants surveyed knew that Martin Luther inspired the Protestant reformation.

    How is it that so many people don't know the main tenets of their own religion? Never mind others. This might explain how 20% of Americans manage to believe that Obama is Muslim even though he doesn't adhere to any of the tenets of Islam (set out here by John Green so much more eloquently than I could do myself):

  3. Fox News and Fox News North
    Speaking of Obama... he said recently in an interview that Fox News is "ultimately destructive for the long-term growth" of the United States, comparing Rupert Murdoch to William Randolph Hearst (that dude they based Citizen Kane on).

    Can you say awesome? I personally have little patience for sensationalized news (that's why I don't read the Globe and Mail regularly, it's bad for my blood pressure) but Fox is often intentionally inaccurate rather than just sensationalist.

    Which brings me to my next point. I have an email from Avaaz in my inbox telling me there's only three more days left in the CRTC's delay on the SunTV case. Will Harper try to push through the mandatory-carriage for Fox News North when the American president himself is speaking up about journalistic inaccuracy? (Probably.)

    I think Sun Media newspapers are the best argument against Sun TV, actually. The Ottawa Sun is one of those papers people only buy for the Sunshine Girls (like the Page Six girls). My current hate-on is for the Kingston Whig-Standard, which has been going off at the mouth lately about "OMGZ LOOK AT ALL OF THESE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PARTYING WHY ARE THEY DRINKING CAN'T THEY JUST GROW UP ALREADY THERE WILL BE MASSIVE DESTRUCTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IT'S GONNA BE NASTY LET'S BRING IN THE TORONTO RIOT POLICE OMGZ".

    (Side note: Every September in Kingston there is a massive street party loosely connected to Queen's Homecoming, although Queen's students are probably the minority of partiers and usually less than 30% of arrests... and there are lots of arrests, especially since they've started bringing in the Toronto Riot Police [last gig-G20 Protests!] and mounted officers from other parts of Ontario. Anyway, my point is: 2000 people partying in the street, 200 police officers [most of whom are either riot squad officers or on horses], 70 arrests, half of which are for "breach of the peace", some of which involved people being tackled by multiple officers, police horses going up on lawns to try to clear people off of them, at least one person getting kicked by a police horse... that sounds like some kind of human rights issue to me but all the Whig can say is "Look at all of these students drinking beer on their lawns! Why won't the students stop irresponsibly partying? Think of the private property! Oh and also someone's going to get hurt although they will probably deserve it!" That is why I am currently frustrated with Sun Media.)

    Bit off-topic. Sorry.

  4. Sex workers=also human beings
    The Superior Court of Ontario has struck down several prostitution-related laws: communication for the purpose of prostitution, keeping a common bawdy house, and living on the avails of prostitution. (You can tell these laws were all made by Sir John Thompson in the 1890s.) Since the actual exchange of money for sexual services is not illegal in Canada--just everything surrounding it--this technically means that prostitution in Ontario is less semi-criminal than before! (I think there are still a few other laws, like solicitation or something, that didn't make it into the case.) More importantly, as Valerie Scott stated,
    We don't have to worry about being raped and robbed and murdered. This decision means that sex workers can now pick up the phone, and call the police and report a bad client. This means that we no longer have to be afraid, that we can work with the appropriate authorities.
    The judge in charge conceded that this means that brothels might now technically be legal (and unlicensed) in Ontario, so she has suspended the effects of the law for 30 days while the case gets passed up to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court affirms Ontario's decision, then Parliament will have to deal with the fallout by creating new legislation--hopefully they will instate licensing for brothels, protections for the personal safety and working conditions of sex workers, etc., but with the Harpercons in power, I don't know if that's likely.

    Just kidding. I love me a good constitutional crisis. Hopefully it's King-Byng all over again!

Well, that's it for today...

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