GRE score: 1330
Verbal: 740, 99th percentile
Math: 590, 50th percentile
Oh well, 1330 is still a very good score.
GRE score: 1330
Verbal: 740, 99th percentile
Math: 590, 50th percentile
Oh well, 1330 is still a very good score.
I have a bunch of posts planned (and a round-up post to clean up the areas I promised I would visit, but have neglected to do so) but I will be unable to write as often as I would wish right now. You see, I have the pain-in-the-ass GRE test coming up on July 29th, which will consume most of my free time. However, I will do my best to post when I can.
Speaking of the GRE, have any of you taken it? If so, any tips, comments, or resources that you think are helpful would be great. Justin at FlashPoint, I’m looking at you. He had a great idea for a student blogroll, which would be a handy resource for things such as this.
On a more somber note, you will notice my lack of commenting on the London bombings. For some reason, an impersonal blog post does not do justice for me. It does not attain the sentiment merited to be expressed, at least, not in the immediate aftermath. Like Declan has also said, I think a forum dedicated to debate is an improper one for such sentiments. However, to remain silent, when given an opportunity like the one we bloggers have, may be worse. So, in any case, I would still like to express my sympathy and well-wishes to those in London, and around the world, who have been subjected to hardships such as this, and to those who continue to face them.
Our second installment. This time the fight was brought to me. A blogger known as Embarrassed to be Canadian (whose site is apparently just a bunch of funny pictures of John Kerry) managed to draw me into a fight that was somewhat off topic, but it had to be done.
And I am wondering if it was a good idea or not. The criteria of Post Mortem is to leave your opponent spluttering, effectively ending the thread. This time I killed my own thread. Hmmmm… That doesn’t sound too smart, does it? Well, at least it enables me to squeeze out another post.
And don’t forget to give me your blogging duels, as well.
An interesting phenomena discovered by social scientist was a revelation that, at first, seemed counter-intuitive. It was commonly believed that to know a person’s attitude on certain subjects and situations was to be able to reliably predict their actions. To know “John” hated ice cream would allow you to predict how John would behave when offered ice cream, right?
Well, what the experts were astonished to find was that attitudes do not account for actions very well at all. In fact, the general rule discovered was that attitude accounts for 10% of the variance of behaviour, meaning you are still uncertain what an individual will do 9 out of 10 times.
With a title like that, where am I going, you ask? Hang on…
Now, what I find the most interesting is, in fact, behaviour generally leads to attitude change - completely fascinating. Once John eats ice cream, even after proffessing abhorrence for the stuff, John is very likely to change his feelings about ice cream. A simple example, one that could be eplained different ways, but this phenomenon is a proven relationship; behaviour causes attitudes.
So, if action feeds attitude, can laws change your own ardent view point? Can your strongly and deeply held belief actually be circumvented by legislation? Results from the laboratory and history resoundingly say yes.
For example, seat belt laws, in the beginning, were heavily opposed and viewed as an onerous and a waste of time. Now, seat belt use has risen exponentially as has attitudes towards their use. Desegregation and the various civil rights acts of the 1950’s and 60’s in the US were often met with outright hostility and even violence. Now, this type of behaviour is viewed as bigoted, discriminatory, and immoral. Nearly everyone in the US favours integration in the not only the educational system, but in the public realm as well.
Interestingly, this type of evidence lends itself to the idea that morality can be legislated. However, this is not the aim of this post. I could endlessly debate, on either side, such a nuanced and complex concept, and I am sure you could too. What I want to relate this to is the passing of Bill C-38.
Officially recognizing gay marriage is a move to uphold the basic rights and freedoms guaranteed to us as Canadians, and as human beings. To deny such to a certain group, one that has historically been denied equality and continues to be denied is to marginalize that group while promoting immorality. Canada has taken a historic step, one that we should be proud of. Of course there are others who do not feel the same as I. For instance, Brent Colbert proposes to continue the fight for traditional marriage, the people at Novopress have continually advocated for the protection of what they deem as important values.
I am here to tell those people that the fight is over. The social forces and mental processes involved in the phenomena I described above are already hard at work. In time gay marriage will gain the recognition it deserves from Canada as a whole, and discrimination will take a severe blow. Some of your fellow traditionalists have already shifted their perceptions (somewhat, at least) to align with the recent legislation. Measures taken to ensure safety, equality, or morality are often fully recognized for their worth, and Bill C-38 is no exception. So, not only will you get over the passing of this bill, in time, you’ll come to believe in it.
Well, it is pouring in Winnipeg, again. This city seems eternally overcast, while half of that, I’m sure, is only perceived, it still seems forever gray.
It is funny. There is something wholly its own about this city. Winnipeg emits a duality, and a love/hate dichotomy exists for every person who lives here. While today may be ashen gray, a promise of gold lingers above. Every day of sun has you looking to the horizon, or over your shoulder, trying to catch the gloom that seems to live out of the corner of your vision. And that dyad is Winnipeg. It may not make sense unless you have lived or are living here.
It is hard to put a finger on it, but Winnipeg’s dichotomy can be characterized through its highs and lows.
It is a city known for its arts, and yet its people are responsible for the injection of its local, obese radio DJ into 34th place on the CBC’s “The Greatest Canadian“.
The NHL found a home here for an abysmal franchise, and left.
The AHL gave the city the Moose, who seem to be the visiting team no matter how often they win.
Winnipeg was once supposed to be the capital of Canada, now we have an overly large legislature serving as a reminder.
Winnipeg is home of the “almost was”, or the “could have been”. But, it is also the home of a diverse and vibrant culture, a place of “we are”.
…And I recently ran into a beautiful song that captures the essence of Winnipeg, and the see-saw relationship its residents have with the city. If you can,
download listen to it.
It is called “One Great City” by The Weakerthans. If you are a ‘pegger, you’ll identify with it immediately. If you aren’t, then maybe the song will give you an understanding of what it is like to live “at the forks”.
“One Great City”
late afternoon another day is nearly done
a darker grey is breaking through a lighter one
a thousand sharpened elbows in the underground
that hollow hurried sound of feet on polished floor
and in the dollar store the clerk is closing up
and counting loonies trying not to say
i hate winnipeg
the driver checks the mirror seven minutes late
crowded riders’ restlessness enunciates
the Guess Who suck, the Jets were lousy anyway
the same mood every day
and in the turning lane
someone’s stalled again
he’s talking to himself
and hears the price of gas repeat his phrase
i hate winnipeg
up above us all,
leaning into sky
our golden business boy
will watch the north end die
and sing ‘i love this town’
then let his arching wrecking ball proclaim:
More: Apparently, Manitoba is the only province without an official motto.
To give much credence to the idea that there is a vast right-wing conspiracy in the US altering the news and people’s opinions is to ignore basic common sense. Firstly, the country has shifted to the right (see the last election), and a slight shift in the point of view of the news is natural. Secondly, the administration in power is of the right. Now, of course, a more realistic question follows. Does the MSM experience pressure for favourable and biased reporting from the group in power? This idea is more sophisticated, and I think, more accurate. What most interpret as an ideological conspiracy (for both the left and the right, see Al Franken on the media coverage of the Bush-admin. or Ann Coulter for media coverage of the Clinton-admin.) is more likely the result of the Whitehouse flexing its muscle and exerting an influence on media output. For a quick example, I encountered this question by Paula Zahn of CNN. The topic was Saddam in his first court appearance.
ZAHN: And there were a lot of people stunned by what he had to say in the courtroom, in particular an exchange about the accusation that he had gassed the Kurds, where he more or less said, I heard about it on television. Do you believe he was delusional today or crazy like a fox? (emphasis mine)
(Reporter) AMANPOUR: Well, I’m not sure which one of those to choose.
What, the hell, kind of question is that?
Now, I know this is only one instance, and I plan to post a more total representation, but it is worth looking at. Anyway you interpret it, outside of Zahn just being an idiot - which she isn’t, that kind of question is a blatant attempt to colour opinion. To portray Hussein as “crazy” or “insane” would have certainly lent weight to the administration’s argument for the Iraq war. The mere fact that they were unable to do this is suggestive of why we hear so little of the former dictator now. The issue, then, becomes who was it that decided to table that question? Simply Zahn herself, or was it a question representative of the agenda of CNN? Do the faces or the suits of CNN alter news to please the government?
Again, this is only a single question and proves nothing, but, in the past, I have noticed a pro-administration taint given to news for both Bush AND Clinton. I will post more examples, but the trend can easily be proven. The result, naturally, is the opposition becomes more salient to this shift and brings the issue to the fore. This has occurred in the past and continues today. This, I feel, is another advantage of the Blogsphere over the MSM. Major networks are easier to grasp. They are entities that are much larger and the power is more centralized. To try to seize those of the blogging world would be to end up grasping at air. Bloggers as a whole will never be accessible by coercive means.
More:In the comments Aaron from Grandinite provides some insight into the type of pressure available to the administration in terms of journalistic access.
A recent poll by Ekos Research Associates Inc. has caused many to jump on an ever growing band-wagon, condemning Canadians as Anti-American. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports:
Canadians believe U.S. President George W. Bush is almost as great a threat to our national security as Osama bin Laden, according to a government opinion poll obtained by the National Post.
The 1,500 people contacted for the poll, conducted last February for the Department of National Defence, listed “International Organized Crime” as the top danger, with 38 per cent ranking it as a great threat to security concern and another 50 per cent listing it as moderate
But tied for second in the poll were “U.S. Foreign Policy” and “Terrorism,” with 37 per cent rating it a great risk. Just behind those worries came “Climate Change and Global Warming.”
The results of this poll are being seriously construed. To fear Bush more than Bin Laden would be preposterous, of course, and that is exactly what the American parrots are reporting this poll shows. However, perceiving the current American administration as a greater threat than Al Queda is a completely different issue. To say a unilateral state, with whom we have been allied, has seemingly been in a race for hegemony poses a greater risk to our security than terror abroad demonstrates (at least some) Canadians ability to grasp the bigger picture. Through years of strong arm foreign “policy”, America has effectively buried Canada along with itself in a strong hatred of the West; found especially in the Middle East. Perceiving the totality of this threat as greater than that posed by the terrorists of the world is justified. This is especially true when the hatred that burns brightest is stoked simply by the pure fuel that is American action abroad.
What Americans are quite known for is their inability to accept blame; forget where the problem originated, the problem must lie with someone else. So, unsurprisingly, culpability falls on anyone but the Americans themselves. Hatred for Americans has no reasonable cause, apparently - the people of country X are said to be jealous - jealous of democracy, jealous of the American way, jealous of freedom. Forget who imposed the conditions leading to country x’s oppression, they only want what America has. Forget Saddam Hussein had the stars and stripes draped over his shoulders, and American artillery in his tyrannical hands, their hatred has its source in their lack of freedom only.
Now, even dissention has been brought under this ‘infallible’ blanket thrown over the electorate of the US, the edges of which are starting to encompass area north of the 49. “You are either with us, or against us” has been a moniker with which the Bush administration has successfully divided and conquered the voting public, and has been seeking to sway opinion abroad. Opposition is quickly devalued with words like “traitor”; the branding of liberal burns with the sting of an insult, now. People like Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly have great success as their views align perfectly with the administration’s agenda. The shift has been succesful, dissent=anti-Americanism. Currently, a tide of fear has arose in Canada, one that can only be assuaged by bending over for America. Celucci, the previous American ambassador to Canada, constantly ridiculed us for our lack of “loyalty”, saying friends don’t abandon each other in times of need (when in the real world, a true friend will stand up tell you when you have taken the wrong path), and this chorus was picked up by the weak of Canada. Anti-americanism became a cliche, a catch-phrase, even a sin, symbolic of a suppossed hostility and inferiority expressed by Canadians. The blame-shift came full circle once again.
This is fully demonstrated by the recent study done by the Fraser institute. Anti-Americanism was characterised by disaproval with the Iraq war, or negative attitudes expressed during post 9/11 or after we lost 4 soldiers to American fire. This is hardly a representative sample nor are these valid variables used to obtain the mythical “anti-Americanism” result. So, does the moral-eye at Fraser institute turn to the states to investigate possible reasons for this bias? Of course not. An outright insulting and deleterious view of Canadian culture as a whole is served up. “Garrison mentality” and immature cultural identity’s cause us to resent whatever it is America has. A culpable US is an option that is not even dismissed, it is outright ignored.
So, returning to the previous poll’s results, I find attaching anti-Americanism to anti-Bush admin. more than over-reaching. As I stated before, the results are justifiable, and Canadians should not have to feel guilty expressing such opinion. Legitimate dissention should never be cast so negatively. This is why I fear the Rachel Marsdens, the Tucker Carlson’s. The death of Respect is a movement forwarded by their likes, and is gaining momentum. To beware the branding of anti-Americanism is not only to understand the value of opposition, but to obstruct a greater deception. Whether they know it or not, Canadians are American’s best friend.
I’m extremely lazy today but I still feel the need to post something, so I thought I would provide some links to some excellent posts.
1. Andrew Spicer has an innovative post up entitled An Adaptive, Performance-Driven, Health Insurance System. It’s an interesting presentation that proposes to reverse the current supply-driven system into a demand-driven system, allowing “the health care market to provide services at adequate levels.”
4. If you are like me (a human), you probably don’t like the vitriolic Rachel Marsden. This Coulter-bot has recently taken up shop at the National Post and has stayed true with one mindless, sensationalist, apathetic, stereo-typing, disrespectful piece after another. Thankfully, Canadian Cynic has taken up the enormous task of critiquing Ms. Marsden. So check it out and personally thank him.
5. Gauntlet is always a good read. His latest post is a critical look at O’brien’s stance and the system that allows such power.