Final Thoughts On Today's George W. Bush Visit

I reviewed Lily Allen's new disc It's Not Me, It's You a couple issues back. It's a good album, lots of sharp-tongued, pop music fun with boatloads of naughty words (and I don't mean "boat") and nasty wit. It's rude and childish and juvenile and I love it. Here's a link to a Yootoob bootleg of Allen live, singing my favourite song off the disc. Judging from the line "You want to be like your father, it's approval you're after" I'll go out on a limb and say this is about Canada's guest of the day, George W. It sure as hell isn't about Luke Skywalker.

Warning: copious F-bombs. But you can see that from the video's title.

St. Patrick's Day bonus: apparently this is from a show in Dublin!

Ironic? Yes. Shocking? Sadly, No

Intrepid Dog Blogger Paul Dechene already made note of this story, but clearly, it needs a rant. As the Globe And Mail reported early this morning, federal Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear is refusing to state whether or not he believes in evolution--saying only "I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't believe anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate."

Sigh. The Cons recent cuts to funding scientific research across the country--and just as insidiously, their absolutely insane tactic of directing the funding that's left by demanding that it go to science projects that will "benefit business"--doesn't seem all that shocking now, if it ever did.

The simple fact is evangelicals--which, like his leash-master Stephen Harper, Gary Goodyear is--are pretty much universally opposed to unfettered freedom in terms of scientific research. And really, who can blame them? For centuries, science has been coming up with nasty little facts that bump up hard against religion--the earth is round, maybe you shouldn't have burned all those "witches" after all, and hey--it looks like those dinosaurs were really old!

Which, of course, brings us back to evolution, the scariest fact of all for evangelicals (and fundamentalists of all religious leanings, it should be noted).

Simply put, evolution is a fact--and it's a fact that's wiped out, among thousands of others, evangelical beliefs like the 6,000-year-old earth (hello, Stockwell Day), the Adam and Eve origin story, and, in recent years, the idea the HIV/AIDS is a plague from god to rid the world of homosexual sinners--or, for that matter, that homosexuals simply "choose to be gay."

But back to Gary.

Again under the "hardly shocking" category, Goodyear has been endorsed by "Vote Marriage Canada"--who are against same sex marriage, of course--along with numerous other evangelical groups, including Charles McVety's Focus on the Family Canada. I wonder if they're happy that the big G is in charge of the country's science portfolio?

I'm sure they are--but the rest of us should be absolutely outraged.

In the midst of the biggest recession we've seen in my lifetime, at least, our Conservative government is abandoning any hope of maintaining Canada's position as a leader in scientific research--at the very time a U.S. president is (finally) placing an emphasis on it in that country. If you didn't think that was enough to drive the best and the brightest from this country--ladies and gentlemen, we present to you our creationist minister of Science and Technology. How long before the Big Valley Creation Science Museum in Alberta becomes the centre of government-funded research in this country?

Clearly, Gary Goodyear has absolutely no business in this portfolio, and should be removed from his position post-haste--and if Ignatieff's Liberals have a shred of backbone, they won't stop screeching about that until it happens. I'm not holding my breath on that--but I am maintaining a tiny shred of hope that Canadians across the country will vent enough outrage to make it happen.

Ah, well--it's not all bad. At least we can finally stop feeling bad for the Americans and their eight-year slide into ignorance and fundamentalism--because now, they feel bad for us! Who saw that coming back in the Dubya days?

Happy St. Patrick's Day From Some Guy's Cat


(Located via YooToob search)

Extra-Ranty Bonus News

It's St. Patrick's Day. I'm not Irish (but I drink at their pubs) but I am wearing a green shirt. This is partly because I had two and only two clean shirts to choose from this morning and the other one was brown. Brown! You see my situation here.

But you don't care about that, so here's some news links with comments.

PRINCE ALBERT IS OKAY WITH IT Asurvey suggests Prince Albert residents don't mind having a nuke plant in their backyard. (Leader-Post). Well, fine, they have a right to their opinion. But I feel obligated to point out the following problems nuclear energy has, if my understanding is correct :

1.) it's not "green" because significant emissions are produced in the mining and transporting of uranium, plus, the primary need for this plant unless I am sorely mistaken is to power tarsands extraction which is extremely, ultra, mega not-green 2.) nuclear plants are famous for multimillion dollar cost overruns; this is not cheap energy 3.) there isn't a satisfactory way to dispose of nuclear waste 4.) (most important in my view) the money invested in this expensive, outdated, dead-end and outdated technology could and should be invested in sustainable energy research (solar, wind, geothermal, and weird, cool new things we haven't thought of yet) that will bring us through this century and into the next 5.) from bombs to bullets uranium has a tendency to end up weaponized and the planet doesn't need any more of that bullshit 6.) uranium is a non-renewable resource, do we really want to pour more money into yet another short-term solution to our planet's power needs (correct answer: no) 7.) nuclear plants have the potential for cataclysmic mishaps (see: Chernobyl), and more informed critics than moi say their capacity for (and history of) casual environmental destruction form leaks is horrifying.

(pauses to inhale)

So basically: nuclear is not green, it's not a long-term solution to anything, it's a waste of money, it's potentially dangerous, it's a step backwards instead of forwards and it's possibly extremely evil militarily.

But I imagine a nuclear plant would be good for P.A.'s economy short-term. And Bruce Power might make a couple of bucks too.

I wonder how violently my P.A.-living hippy friend's head is exploding today. My guess is an 8.4 on the head-exploding scale. Fortunately she has kittens to hug.

NO CAMERAS! NO JOUNALISTS! After I typed this up I realized Paul had already written about it but too bad, I want to squawk on the topic. So: George W. Bush! He should be arrested as a war criminal (yes, you can quote me on that in perpetuity). Instead, he's making a pile of cash as a lecturer. But the most annoying part of his speaking engagement today at Calgary's Chamber Of Commerce is the fact that journalists won't be let in. Although in fairness, if I recall correctly there weren't any press passes for Bill Clinton's visit to Regina. Or Al Gore's. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong). So maybe this attitude towards the media is less reflective of Bush being a dick than it is of all ex-presidents being dicks. (Calgary Herald)

MAYBE THE RULES WILL APPLY TO CEOS, AFTER ALL (HE SAID HOPEFULLY BUT SKEPTICALLY) Well, Obama sounds like he means business when he says he wants AIG executives' bonuses cancelled. (Toronto Star)

CONDOMS GIVE YOU AIDS! After I typed this up I realized Paul had already written about it but too bad, I want to squawk on the topic. So: why do people turn away from religion? Does their sinful lust for the forbidden pleasures of an immoral lifestyle drive them from the Lord? Well sure if you're lucky I guess. But it's also because of asinine comments like the one reported on here. As long as religious leaders like the Pope say things that are not only demonstrably untrue but can also directly contribute to people contracting HIV, their privaleged positions as moral authorities will be challenged by actual experts. um, and bloggers. Grr! (Telgraph)

SPEAKING OF RELIGION... Here, courtesy of YouTube and copyright violation, is a Veggie Tales video about the origin of St. Patrick's Day.

Six in the Morning

1. SCIENTISTS WORRY SCIENCE MINISTER A CREATIONIST: Gary Goodyear, a chiropractor by trade and presently our Minister of State for Science and Technology, refused to answer a Globe and Mail question about whether or not he believed in evolution by responding: “I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate." Heads up, Gary: belief in evolution is a question of science -- your portfolio -- not religion. And while I'm here, this is what SkepticWiki has to say on the subject of chiropractic. (Globe and Mail, SkepticWiki)

2. POPE SAYS RUBBERS WON'T ERASE AIDS: In his first explicit comment on the subject, Pope Benedict has said that condom use is not the solution to Africa's AIDS epidemic. Maybe he thinks the solution is abstinence clowns? (Globe and Mail, SciencePunk Blog)

3. A "W" IN CALGARY: Protesters are expected to be out in force today as George W Bush gives his first post-presidency speech at the Epicentre of Oilmageddon. (rabble.ca)

4. PETA TO MAKE CLOONEY-FLAVOURED TOFU: You read that headline right. PETA is hoping to turn a sample of George Clooney's sweat into a tofu flavour. You know, sometimes I think PETA is a collection of the greatest comic geniuses of all time. Sometimes not. (SFGate)

5. DID YOU MISS PI DAY? We celebrated at our house with a big ol' blueberry pie we bought at the Farmers' Market (which is held Saturdays at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre). When was Pi Day, you ask? March 14, duh. Why am I posting about it after the fact? Because this Pi video is too awesome not to share. (SciencePunk Blog)

6. PRAIRIE DOG BLOGGER A GROGGY IDIOT: Frequent prairie dog contributor, Paul Dechene, woke this morning and, thinking it was Wednesday, groggily fired up his computer then went on to complete five items towards his mid-week "Six in the Morning" blog post before realizing that it was in fact Tuesday morning. Not wanting to waste all that effort, the idiot posted those items anyway. Will he do a Wednesday "Six in the Morning" as scheduled? Tune in tomorrow to find out.