Friday, April 18, 2014

Glen Campbell moved to Alzheimer’s care facility


Glen Campbell

Matt Sayles,The Associated Press file photo
Glen Campbell poses for a portrait in Malibu, Calif., in 2011. Campbell, who has Alzheimer's disease, has been moved into a care facility, People magazine reports.
                    LOS ANGELES — Glen Campbell has been moved into an Alzheimer's disease care facility, a friend of his family has told People magazine.
The 77-year-old singer's battle with Alzheimer's has sparked an outpouring of support and sympathy from fans since he and his wife, Kim, went public with his diagnosis in 2011. They explained their decision as being motivated by his wish to continue performing as long as possible, and said he didn't want audiences speculating about what might be the cause of his occasional forgetfulness of song lyrics, confusion and repetition of between-song banter...Continue reading...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Muslim Youths Riot on Temple Mount, IDF Preparing to Storm Holy Site.

By · April 17, 2014 ·                                                                                                                         Israeli security officials said on Wednesday evening that they would ultimately have to force their way into al-Aqsa mosque, atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, because hundreds of young Palestinian men are now routinely stockpiling large quantities of rocks and slabs of stone there to attack security forces.

Alabama Shakes, " Always Alright" (Live on SNL)

Pastafarians rejoice as Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is granted permission to register as a religion in Poland

pastafarism, paradise Pastafari, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pastafarianism & The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pastafarians rejoice as Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pastafarians rejoice as Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is granted permission to register as a religion in Poland. Photo:, new religion: the church of the flying spaghetti monster, new weird religion officially recognized in Poland: The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster officially recognized in Poland april 2014Pastafarians rejoice as Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is granted permission to register as a religion in Poland. Photo:
by Heather Saul:
A church that worships an invisible flying spaghetti monster can now apply to be registered as an official religion in Poland, after a 2013 court ruling was overturned on Tuesday.
A Warsaw court rejected a ruling by the Regional Administrative Court because the it had not allowed the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) a two-month extension for submitting outstanding documents, Polskie Radio has reported.
A group of Pastafarians who gathered outside the court shouting "pasta" during the hearing on Tuesday welcomed the ruling.
In January, Pastafarian minister Christopher Schaeffer was sworn into the Pomfret New York Town Council this week with a colander on his head throughout the ceremony to represent his unique religious beliefs.
...Continue reading....Related: Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster

Syphilis rise linked to social media Unsafe 'hook ups' online

By Charles Hamilton, The Starphoenix:
Saskatoon's deputy medical health officer is warning that social media and smartphone dating apps could be driving a syphilis outbreak in the city.Although it was once thought to be nearly retired as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), the Saskatoon Health Region recently declared an outbreak of syphilis.
Dr. Johnmark Opondo, deputy medical health officer for the Saskatoon Health Region, said the spread of syphilis and other STIs could be fuelled by people "hooking up" using online dating sites and apps like Tinder or Grindr, or other online dating sites...Continue reading... Related: What is syphilis? Government of Saskatchewan

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canadian hacker charged in CRA Heartbleed breach ‘straight-A’ engineering student

An encryption flaw now known as the Heartbleed bug has made a major impact on online security. The flaw has affected many online services and websites that Canadians access every day.
Graphic/Global News
 Global News:
...RCMP arrested Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes, of London, Ont., at his home on April 15. He faces one count of “Unauthorized Use of Computer” and one count of mischief. Police also seized of computer equipment during a search of Solis-Reyes’ home.
Solis-Reyes’ lawyer, Faisal Joseph of Lerners Law Firm, described the teen as a “straight-A” second year engineering student at Western University. He said Solis-Reyes’ father, a computer science professor at Western, was an “emotional wreck” over the charges.
The 19-year-old  is listed as a 1500 metre runner on multiple London, Ont. running websites.
Joseph confirmed to Global News that Solis-Reyes voluntarily turned himself into police and has since been released on conditions...Read article here...

Katerina Plotnikova Photographs’ Show Intriguing And fantastical Connections Between Wild Animals And Humans


Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova creates, what she calls ‘another tale about wonderland’. The various photographs bring forth a beautifully shot series that includes images of human/wild animal interactions and whimsical fashions.
Evoking a mythical, fairy-tale world, the images transport the viewer to a place outside of modern settings. The gentle and serene colored landscapes turn these images into something that, upon observation, takes the viewer to a world familiarized though childhood stories; the images can go both ways though;  it can remind them of the latter, or of a high-fashion, fantasy photo-shoot...Read more, photographs here...

"Seasons In The Sun", Terry Jacks Terry Jacks

Saskatoon's 'Sailor Dan doc' going viral

By Stephanie McKay, The StarPhoenix:
Sailor Dan doc going viral

University of Saskatchewan fine arts student Ishtiaq Opal recently released his four-and-a-half minute video about Sailor Dan, who sells his drawings on the streets of Saskatoon. Image courtesy of Ishtiaq Opal.

He is one of Saskatoon’s most recognizable citizens with his nautical outfits and hand-drawn ships, but a new documentary short offers a deeper look into why Sailor Dan makes art.
University of Saskatchewan fine arts student Ishtiaq Opal recently released his four-and-a-half minute video about Sailor Dan, who sells his drawings on the streets of Saskatoon. In just one day, the piece received more than 40,000 plays on Vimeo...Continue reading...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Watch the lunar eclipse ‘blood moon’ tonight, and witness the beginning of the end of the world (maybe)

If you’re into skygazing, you really should stay up late tonight (April 14, April 15) and watch the first of a series of four “blood” moons — a sequence of lunar eclipses called a tetrad that will occur over the next two years, and which some religious types believe signifies the beginning of the apocalypse. Mars is also incredibly close to Earth at the moment, making it one of the brightest objects in the sky. This alignment between the Sun, Earth, Mars, and the Moon has only occurred a handful of times in the last two thousand years, each time coinciding with a “hugely significant” religious event. For non-religious types, though, it’s just a great opportunity to see an amazing astronomical event that probably won’t happen again in your lifetime.
At around 2am tonight (Eastern Daylight Time), the Moon will enter the Earth’s penumbra (the edge of the shadow cast by the Earth), creating a partial eclipse. From 3am through to 4:30am, the Moon will be fully within the Earth’s umbra, creating a total lunar eclipse. During this period, the Moon will appear sunset (or blood) red. It’s really quite beautiful...Read article here, video...

Photos: Ferret Fest - The StarPhoenix

Photos from the Ferret Fest organized by the Ferret Rescue Society at the Westboro Legion Branch 480 in Ottawa, Ontario, April 12, 2014

Ashley Hoard holds 4 year old Felix at the Ferret Fest put on by the Ferret Rescue Society at the Westboro Legion Branch 480 Saturday April 12, 2014. Photograph by: Ashley Fraser, The Ottawa Citizen           Photos here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Death by solar farms: 71 species of birds killed, ‘entire food chains’ disrupted

By Douglas Ernst - The Washington Times:  A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that solar facilities in California are acting like “mega traps” that kill and injure birds. As a result, “entire food chains” are being disrupted. 
USFWS’s National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory studied three solar farms in Southern California: Desert Sunlight, Genesis Solar and Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS). Two-hundred and thirty-three different birds from 71 species were found over the course of a two-year study.

The three main causes of death were:
1. Solar flux: Exposure to temperatures over 800 degrees F.
2. Impact (or blunt force) trauma: The birds’ wings are rendered inoperable while flying, causing them to crash into the ground. Birds that do not die are often injured badly enough to make them vulnerable to predators.
3. Predators: When a bird’s wings are singed and it can not fly, it loses its primary means of defense against animals like foxes and coyotes.
Hummingbirds, swifts, swallows, doves, hawks, finches, warblers and owls were just some dead birds found at the solar facilities’ “equal opportunity” mortality hazards.
In one instance, lab staff observed a “falcon-type bird with a plume of smoke arising from the tail as it passed through [a] flux field.”
The study found that besides the intense heat, birds may be mistaking large solar panels for bodies of water. The injured birds then attract insects and other predators to the area. They, too, are then vulnerable to injury or death.
In one instance, researchers found “hundreds upon hundreds” of butterfly carcasses (including Monarchs). The insects were attracted to the light from the solar farms, which in turn attracted birds and perpetuated a cycle of death and injury...Continue reading...

Friday, April 11, 2014

'Heartbleed' Bug Prompts Canada To Shutter Online Tax Services

[image]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             by
Earlier this week, we learnt that the Heartbleed bug, which attacks OpenSSL — the open-source encryption technology indicated by the little padlock in a web browser — could’ve left basically everything we’ve done online in the past two years vulnerable to hackers. It’s now come to light that some of the Internet’s biggest players, including Google and Yahoo, were affected by Heartbleed, along with roughly two-thirds of the Web. Oh, and some didn’t even bother to mention it.
The Heartbleed bug is good news, however, for web users in Canada who are not on top of their tax filing. The Canada Revenue Service has temporarily shut down access to its online services, including the Efile and Netfile services and several other key sections of the CRA website. If you miss the Canadian 2014 tax filing deadline of April 30 because of the shutdown then you won’t be penalized.
In a Google Services online security update Wednesday, the search-engine giant said it had been taking steps to ensure that all Google platforms are safe...Continue reading...

Blackberry Smoke, "One Horse Town" (live at Peach Festival)

GoPro: Director's Cut - Shark Riders (video)


"Third Day" is valued at $1.8 million and was the entrance piece at Jeff Mitchum Gallery at MGM Grand.

Facebook faces class action suit in Canada over interception of private messages

IDG News Service (Bangalore Bureau) — Facebook is facing a class-action lawsuit in Canada over its alleged interception of private message of users of the social network.
The lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court alleges that URLs (uniform resource locators) in the private messages were "harvested" by Facebook in violation of its users' privacy, without their knowledge or consent, Rochon Genova, the law firm representing the users, said Wednesday.
Facebook did not disclose to users that their private messages would be intercepted and scanned, and the contents of those messages treated as "likes" for third-party sites through the social plug-in function, according to the law firm.
The complaint is without merit and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously, a spokeswoman for the social networking company said via email.

The company is already facing similar lawsuits in the U.S. over its alleged interception and scanning of the content of private messages...Continue reading...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Former WWE Star Ultimate Warrior Passes Away at Age 54

Former PM Brian Mulroney appeals for fearless leadership on resource agenda

By: Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press: OTTAWA - Brian Mulroney says the country needs risk-taking leadership to get domestic oil and gas moving overseas, as well as a plan to work co-operatively and bring Canadians onside.
The former Tory prime minister's speech Tuesday, organized by the progressive think-tank Canada 2020, comes as major pipeline projects languish in limbo.
They have been stymied largely by opposition from First Nations, environmentalists and ordinary Canadians concerned with the impact on their communities.
"Prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are chosen to provide leadership," Mulroney told a rapt crowd that included politicians of all stripes.
"Leadership is the process, not only of foreseeing the need for change, but of making the case for change. Leadership does not consist of imposing unpopular ideas on the public but of making unpopular ideas acceptable to the nation."
Stephen Harper's Conservative government has faced criticism for not doing enough to create consensus and allay environmental concerns at home and in Washington. Environmentalists have been referred to as "radical groups," and the official Opposition as "treacherous" and "clowns."
Mulroney pointedly urged a more collaborative approach to resource development, saying there needs to be agreement of all the players including the First Nations, the provinces and environmental groups.
"Canada is a vibrant federation. We are not a unitary state," Mulroney said. "The Government of Canada cannot act unilaterally to resolve this matter."...Continue reading...

Norah Jones; "Come Away With Me", "Cold Cold Heart"

Scientists discover big clue to how caffeine wards off Alzheimer's

The tau mice on chronic caffeine did not develop the spatial memory impairments seen in the controls.
Written by :
German and French researchers have demonstrated that caffeine has a positive effect on tau deposits, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. They showed how giving regular doses of caffeine to mice bred to develop tau protein deposits in their brains slowed memory decline compared to control mice.
The team believes the findings will eventually lead to a new class of drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease...Continue sylvester cat Sylvester the Cat Drinking Coffee

Eight wives, dozens of movies later, little big man Mickey Rooney dies

London Daily Telegraph: Mickey Rooney the diminutive Hollywood star has died at the age of 93, according to his family.
Rooney might be best remembered for his ceaseless ups and downs, his dramatic failures and his many comebacks. But his roller-coaster melodrama – he was married eight times and quickly spent the fortune he amassed – wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't also had genuine, enduring talent.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, while under contract for MGM, Rooney was one of the most popular stars on the planet. At just 19, he was the top box-office draw.
He became the United States' biggest movie star while a brash teenager in the 1930s and later a versatile character actor in a career that spanned 10 decades. Rooney died on Sunday of natural causes in Los Angeles...Continue reading...
 Two child stars: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in a publicity portrait for the film 'Strike Up The Band', in 940. photo.

Remembering the Day Hank Aaron Broke Babe Ruth's Home Run Record

On April 8, 1974, more than 50,000 fans descended on Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Atlanta Braves.
That's what the box score will tell you, anyway. In reality, those fans were there for the sake of a man and a number: Hank Aaron and 715.
Aaron arrived at the park with 714 career home runs to his name, tying him with Babe Ruth for the most all time. Between him needing one more to top Ruth and the fact that the game was Atlanta's home opener, it's no wonder a massive celebration had been prepared.
An American flag in the shape of the United States was painted on the grass in center field, which, according to Ron Fimrite of Sports Illustrated, served as the site for a pregame television special. Pearl Bailey was there to sing the national anthem. Sammy Davis Jr. was also in attendance, as were Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson and then-Georgia governor Jimmy Carter.
Also arranged were several thousand balloons, dancers and two bands. And whereas typical Atlanta openers had 17 policemen on duty, this one had 63...Continue reading...

NASA photo on strange light on Mars has UFO buffs talking

(04-08) 18:15 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Microbes, faces and rusted cars have all appeared as images on the surface of Mars, and now an official NASA photograph shows a bright light shining from the Martian surface.
It has - as they say - gone viral.
UFO buffs claim the light could be proof that some form of "intelligent life" is living underground and uses light "just as we do."
But scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, who have discovered evidence that ancient streams of water once flowed across the slopes of a vast Martian crater, are suggesting more prosaic explanations for the light...Continue reading...

Kennedy, the common-law spouse of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, charged with theft and fraud

Buildings on the Attawapiskat reserve in November 2011. The federal government had appointed a third-party manager for the financially troubled First Nations community thast year, following a housing crisis.
Adrian Wyld/The Canadian PressBuildings on the Attawapiskat reserve in November 2011. The federal government had appointed a third-party manager for the financially troubled First Nations community thast year, following a housing crisis.[photo]
CBC News Posted: Apr 07, 2014
The former co-manager of Attawapiskat First Nation is facing fraud and theft charges for writing a $51,000 cheque.
Clayton Kennedy is charged with fraud and theft over $5,000.
The charges against him are listed on a charge sheet filed March 27 by Det.-Const. Trevor Martin of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service.
The document alleges the fraud "by writing a cheque" occurred in Attawapiskat on or about Aug. 28, 2012, and that the stolen money belonged to the Attawapiskat First Nation. The court document does not provide any other information about the cheque.
Kennedy, 62, was co-manager of the northern Ontario band’s finances from July 2010 until the end of the summer of 2012.
Kennedy is the common-law spouse of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence...Continue reading...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

APOCALYPSE NOW: Why a rare astrological event TONIGHT could herald the 'End of Days'

Mars, Earth, and the Sun will all align tonight, a rare 'opposition of the planets' that only happens once every 778 days.
But what makes this so remarkable is that it comes precisely a week before everyone on earth will see the first of FOUR dark red 'blood moons', an extraordinary event some Christians believe represents the End of Days and the second coming of Christ.
The King James Bible predicts: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD comes," [Joel 2:31].
And, according to NASA, a highly unusual 'Tetrad' - four successive total 'blood-red' lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons - will, indeed, start a week today and finish on September 28 next year.
The incredible alignment has only happened a handful of times in the last two thousand years but, remarkably, on each of the last three occasions it has coincided with a globally significant religious event...Continue reading...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Drinking coffee linked to decreased liver cirrhosis death risk
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis is the 11th cause of death in the US, killing nearly 32,000 people in 2010. But now, researchers are suggesting that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%.
Published in the journal Hepatology, the study adds to growing evidence that coffee has real health benefits.
Medical News Today recently published a feature on how caffeine affects our health, listing benefits such as reduction of liver cancer risks and decreased risk of suicide.
One study recently suggested that consuming 200 mg of caffeine each day could boost long-term memory...Continue reading...

Jake Bugg, "Two Fingers"

                                             Jake Bugg

Alaska Would Rather Have Putin for a Leader than Obama

A little bit of Russia in Alaska: A Russian Orthodox Church in the village of Tatitlik.
David McNew/Getty Images

March 29, 2014,
By Elizabeth Nelson:

Just as Crimea "chose" to succeed and return to "Mother land" Russia, guess who wants to leave home, and Obama, and follow Crimea's example? Alaska has started a petition to secede from the union and return to their home Country of Russia, and if they hit 100,000 signatures by April 20th, Obama has to acknowledge yet another "futile" succession petition. 

The “Alaska Back to Russia” petition appeals to the region’s historical roots when Siberian Russians originally migrated across the Bering Straits “16-10 thousand years ago.”, according to the official petition form/page...Continue reading...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ben E. King, "Stand by me", "Spanish Harlem"

Ben E King - songs

Meet the Washington Mudslide Rescue Dogs

Rick Wilking/Reuters
Tryon the rescue dog waited to go through the decontamination area after searching for victims in Oso, Washington on Sunday.
As the search for missing persons in the aftermath of a massive mudslide in Washington enters its second week, some searchers will be taking a much-needed break.
Rescue dogs, who have been essential in the search for victims of the mudslide that hit Oso, Wash., on March 22, will be getting some rest after working long hours in the cold and rain, rescue crews said Sunday. The dogs can lose their sensing ability if overworked, officials said, according to the Associated Press.
“The conditions on the slide field are difficult, so this is just a time to take care of the dogs,” said Kris Rietmann, a spokeswoman for the team working on the eastern portion of the slide.
Dogs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that arrived more recently will continue working, said Heidi Amrine, another spokeswoman for the operation.
Late Saturday, authorities revised the number of people believed to be missing from 90 to 30, while the official death toll edged up to 21...Continue reading, photos...

Midget pinch-hits in the Majors

Tigers pitcher Bob Cain couldn’t believe his eyes. As he stared into home plate to get the sign from his catcher Bob Swift, the tall right-handed hurler faced a batter unlike any other he had ever seen. Eddie Gaedel was 43 inches tall and waved a toy bat in his hands, but he was a legitimate big league hitter, at least for that one plate appearance.
The date was August 19, 1951, and the Detroit Tigers were playing the St. Louis Browns in the second game of a doubleheader in St. Louis. In between the games, the Browns had put on a show to delight the 18,369 spectators. There were jugglers, trapeze artists, a marching band, and a woman who was sawed in half by a magician. It was, Browns owner Bill Veeck promised, a “Day of Surprises.”
As Cain warmed up for the second game, a large cake was wheeled onto the field. Seconds later, emerging from the cake was a tiny little fellow – a miniature man – who waved his arms to the roaring crowd and trotted from the field, the latest spectacle in the sideshow. That little person was Gaedel.
Gaedel was 26 years old, a dwarf from Chicago who made a living making appearances in shows and circuses. During World War II, Gaedel had worked as a riveter, crawling into the tiny spaces of airplane wings to perform his work. In the late 1940s he was discovered by Veeck, who never met a promotion he didn’t like. His appearance against Cain and the Tigers was Gaedel’s biggest moment.
Wearing a Browns uniform with the number “1/8″ stitched onto the back, Gaedel arrived at home plate to lead off the first inning, announced as a pinch-hitter for Frank Saucier. Immediately, umpire Ed Hurley objected. Hurley was a no-nonsense veteran of the big leagues, but when St. Louis manager Zack Taylor, barely concealing a grin, produced a valid MLB contract for Gaedel, Hurley had no choice but to holler “Play ball!”...Continue reading...

Cancer Guide: Inspirational Patient Stories

 Inspirational Patient Stories[click here]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Related:

Jim Kelly was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. (David Maxwell/Getty Images)
Jim Kelly was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. (David Maxwell/Getty Images)

From his hospital room and surrounded by family, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly details his second—and more serious—fight with cancer. Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills legend, fighting for his life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Violinist James Ehnes was born to play

By Cam Fuller, The StarPhoenix:
Violinist James Ehnes was born to play
 James Ehnes travels the world, and always knew he would. Photograph by: Photographer: Benjamin Ealovega. 
Before the record-setting Juno Awards (the eight and ninth coming this past weekend), before the more than 30 albums, there was just a boy with a violin growing up in Brandon.But even then, James Ehnes had an idea of what his life would be like.“This is kind of nerdy but funny in retrospect,” Ehnes laughs. “I would go into my parent’s bedroom — that would be Carnegie Hall. And then I would go down into the basement and that would be Vienna. The living room, that’s Paris: I would go on tour in my own house.”
How right he was. So far this year, he’s been to London, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, German and Nashville. In two weeks, he’ll be in Prague.
That kind of life came as no surprise to Ehnes because he grew up in music. His parents met on tour — his mother a ballet dancer, his father a musician in the orchestra. She would go on to start a ballet school while his father taught trumpet at Brandon University.
Naturally, talent had something to do with it. He started violin at four, progressed rapidly, and stood out from his classmates and knew it.
“It certainly was the love of music that pushed me along, but I can’t deny that having that feeling that I was kind of special at this was helpful. I’m really thankful that I got that kind of encouragement from my family and my teachers and peers...Continue reading...

Massive ant swarm marching toward Houston

by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer: (NaturalNews):  As the ground begins to warm up in Texas, it is literally squirming, coming alive, crawling and teaming with a vicious and mobile predator.

Experts predict 2014 to be the worst year yet for distinct ant invasions throughout Texas. Like a plague rising from the earth, this specific ant species is projected to descend on Houston, Texas, engulfing whatever stands in their way...Learn more            Related: The Rise of the Crazy Ants

The Ant Sweeping the Southeastern U.S.
Image: Joe A. MacGown with the Mississippi Entomological Museum[link]

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Zombies, "Time Of The Season"

Photo: Mother hummingbird feeding her baby

Tues. morning, Apr. 1, 2014. Still snowing and the Blue Jays lost

[photo]A year ago, Toronto Blue Jays fans gazed upon their team and saw a contender.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I'm a tad down this morning. The Blue Jays lost their opener and it's still snowing in the City of Bridges. I' m not sure if you can call this site a blog or not... not. Oh well!! Sally and Sam will keep on posting from time to time.  So sad, the Jays losing Reyes and Janssen for 15 days. Hey, Thomas, one game does not a season make, and the snow will go and the sun will shine again.

Voter ID: what makes this so hard to understand?

By Les MacPherson, The Starphoenix: You can't cash a cheque without identification. You can't get a library card or rent anything without identification. You can't get onto an airplane without identification. Except in an emergency, you can't get health care without identification. You can't even buy beer without identification unless you're an obvious geezer.
"May I see some proof of age, please."
"Sure. Check out these liver spots."
Voting, it seems to me, should at least be as tough as getting a library card or buying beer. Even so, Stephen Harper's governing Conservatives are under sustained fire for tightening the rules around voting to about the same level. Most of that fire is coming from the Harper haters, who reflexively denounce everything he does. Now they are twisting themselves into human pretzels to condemn the most basic electoral security.
Voting is so important, they say, that people should be able to cast a ballot without presenting identification of any kind. It's good enough, they say, to have would-be voters vouched for at the polls by someone who does have identification.
Vouching wouldn't pass muster at the off-sale counter, but for voting it's fine? This doesn't make sense. If voting is so important,
we should make it at least as secure as off-sale, shouldn't we? Critics say the dastardly Harper Conservatives are practicing selective voter suppression. Their real purpose, supposedly, is to disenfranchise undocumented voters who mostly don't vote Conservative. Sure. And the public libraries are in on it too, insisting as they do on identification before they trust you with a book.
Of course, borrowing library books is a privilege while voting is a right. But it isn't a universal right. There are strict eligibility requirements relating to age, citizenship, residency, and so on. I just don't think it is too much to ask of voters to establish their eligibility with something more substantial than someone else's sayso.
This is exactly the kind of thing that police tell us to watch out for to protect ourselves against consumer fraud. Why would we accept a lower standard for elections? Some are predicting court challenges over the abolition of vouching. It will be interesting to see if someone can file a court action without any kind of identification.
The degree to which vouching interferes with electoral integrity is not clear. There were 50,000 "irregularities" reported in the last election, but most of these, according to officials, were clerical deficiencies. Of actual fraud, there were only "a handful" of cases, we are told. Maybe so, but an honour system for voting is a standing invitation to fraud. One of the electoral fraud cases that was successfully prosecuted was that of a guy who voted at three Toronto polling stations to expose the slack registration procedures. If he hadn't written a magazine article about it, no one would have known. That says all you need to know about enforcement.
Maybe that's why other countries are more careful. Voters in American federal elections, for instance, must register in advance of elections to vote. To register, they must show identification. There is no provision for vouching. So far as I can determine, no other democracy in the world makes any provision for vouching in national elections. Voting is too important for that, they would say. But when the Harper Conservatives say the same thing, they are denounced as self-serving villains and enemies of democracy.
Proposed regulations would require voters to show one piece of government issued, photo identification or two pieces of approved, non-photo ID. These can include a treaty card, a health card, a student card, a hunting license, a social security card, a bus pass, a letter of residency from a shelter, a government cheque stub, even a library card, when no other agency in the world besides a library would accept a library card as proof of identification. This is not exactly indicative of excessive restriction.
By the standard of other transactions in a modern society, voting still will be pretty easy. The problem is that not voting always will be easier.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Equinox, new Cree teen superhero, joins DC Comics lineup

CBC News:

Metropolis's Superman and Gotham City's Batman are getting a brand-new colleague from Canada this spring: a teenage Cree superhero hailing from Moose Factory, Ont.
The isolated James Bay communities of Moose Factory and Moosonee take the spotlight in the forthcoming Justice League Canada, a five-issue story arc written by comic artist Jeff Lemire for the comic series Justice League United. The stories, featuring artwork by Mike McKone, debut in April...
...An interest in Canada's First Nations stories and a desire to share a different perspective than typically shared in general society and the media played a major part in Lemire's vision.
The result: along with the Justice League's Canadian relocation comes the brand-new heroine Equinox: a 16-year-old Cree teen from Moose Factory named Miiyahbin, whose power stems from the Earth and changes with the seasons.
"Creating a teenage female superhero was interesting to me because, generally, most superheroes are white males. We need diversity and we need different personalities," Lemire said...Read complete story here...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sealfie: Northerners respond to Ellen DeGeneres's seal hunt views with fur photos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Related: Inuit tweet 'sealfies':                                     The Mighty Quinn likes to eat seal.The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo) by Manfred Mann's Earth Band on Grooveshark