The Tories: Not Dead Yet

Environics has just released a poll that contradicts almost every other poll I've seen recently:
This latest survey shows that, nationally, 34 percent of eligible and decided Canadian voters would support the Liberal Party if an election were held today, compared with 36 percent in the March-April period (this difference falls well within the margin of sampling error). The Conservative Party now has the support of 31 percent (versus 30%), while the New Democratic Party is also holding steady at 20 percent (versus 19%). One in ten (11%) Canadian voters remain undecided about which party might deserve their support (down from 13%).

Sure it's still embarassing as a Canadian that we have government that was caught red handed bribing opposition MP's for votes and yet still has a lead. But it's better than the doomsday scenarios other pollsters have been painting lately of a Liberal Majority government on the horizon.

This poll had a high sample size, and it was done over a period of a month. Also I wonder when pollsters are finally going to admit the obvious, and have a seperate poll showing the numbers for English Canada excluding Quebec. The Tories and the NDP still don't have a heartbeat in La Belle Province, and until they do, showing national numbers is worthless. Quebec is all about the Bloc vs. the Liberals.

In other words in English Canada both the Liberals and Tories are at tied at 38% based on my calcs. Not something to panick over. It's something to work on.

I guess that's asymetrical federalism for polling, eh?


Yikes. This woman didn't know that GTA wasn't exactly a saintly videogame?

The Hunter is ticked:
...its thanks to hippies like these that we have a) the messed up kids we do and b) the dirt-poor quality titles that we do out on the market because mom or dad thinks it would be a fun game.
Talking about Hippies...

Frist: Policy not Politics?

Frist is obviously playing politics no matter what he says:
With those political realities in mind, Frist argued that his positions on stem cell research and abortion were not inconsistent. He said the decision was about policy, not politics.

How can you believe that life starts at conception, but you only defend that life half of the time? It sounds like a Kerryism to me.

Of course this is about politics. Frist must figure it might cost him with religious conservatives, but he'll gain more from moderates...

This should be a clear indicator to Republicans in the US of just what type of polician Frist is.

The Pope aint Hitler

Shucks, I guess the Pope aint Hitler after all:

"On the basis of data from the World Health Organization," reports Abboud, "in Swaziland where 42.6% have HIV, only 5% of the population is Catholic. In Botswana, where 37% of the adult population is HIV infected, only 4% of the population is Catholic. In South Africa, 22% of the population is HIV infected, and only 6% is Catholic. In Uganda, with 43% of the population Catholic, the proportion of HIV infected adults is 4%."

Isn't this the point where their's supposed to be some shocking melodramatic and slightly corny sound effect?...

At least that's what they had at this point in the CBC documentary they made on JPII. Except that they never mentioned the infection rates in Africa and how in those countries with more Catholics, people seem to live just a little bit longer. Instead they flat out said that the Pope was probably responsible for the deaths of millions in Africa because he was too "conservative."

Now I could go on tooting the horn of Catholicism more, but to be fair Uganda had another thing going for it. It started a campaign years ago that stressed abstinence first, and condoms second as a strategy to combat AIDS. The results are pretty clear. Now whether this was the result of the efforts of the Uganda government, or the result of more Ugandans being Catholic only God knows. Either way, it seems the crucial elements in the fight against aids is a sense of moral values.

Uganda is like a light in Africa right now. People should be looking to it as a model to fight AIDS. But that would mean the UN and the rest of the fanatical socialist agenda warriors in Africa would have to stop throwing condoms from airplanes and would have to start stressing abstinence and fidelity...

That aint likely to happen. If they don't believe in it, they'll never teach it to someone else. You ever get the feeling that sometimes the worst of our society is getting exported all around the world?

The Shuttle Grounded Again...

They've grounded the Flying Brick... Again.

Well I guess using the word "grounded" is a little bit bogus. They're grounded until they can figure out how to solve what's becoming a huge massive blinding headache for NASA Engineers: stop the foam from falling off the ET.
NASA's top priority in the wake of the accident - and the No. 1 recommendation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board - was to redesign the way the foam is applied to the tank to minimize so-called foam shedding. Engineers were confident Discovery's tank would shed nothing larger than a marshmallow, repeatedly stating their belief that the new tanks were the safest ever built.

But during Discovery's climb to space, a few seconds after the ship's solid-fuel boosters separated two minutes and five seconds into flight, a relatively large, pillow-size piece of foam ripped away from an aerodynamic ramp intended to prevent turbulent airflow around cable trays and pressurization lines.

All that Engineering, all that effort, and they still didn't manage to eliminate foam debris...
"We think this vehicle is safe," Parsons said. "We think we can fly this vehicle and we think we can make this vehicle safe for the next flight. We feel very, very confident in our ability to make this vehicle safe."

I don't want to kick someone when they're down, because I can only imagine how far down those Engineers are feeling right now, but it almost sounds like this guy is trying to convince himself.

When this whole venture was started I was skeptical that any of this was useful. First of all there was no way to actually know what caused the last Shuttle to burn up in the atmosphere. Well we knew it was a missing tile, but knowing for sure that foam from the ET struck the wing that caused that tile to fall off is a little harder to prove. Testing was done to prove that foam, that was shown in footage to strike the right wing, could have caused a tile to fall off.

Does that mean it actually did fall off?

For years Space Shuttle tiles fell off routinely. Even the first Shuttle flight showed tiles falling off. This was just from the wear and tear of flight that they would fall off. So I was always a little skeptical that eliminating the threat of the evil bid pod ramp foam was going to solve anything.

Heck, even on this flight a tile fell off from a non-foam cause. Right now NASA is assessing whether or not the bird can re-enter safely without that tile.

Quite frankly, I have to say I doubt you can completely eliminate the chances of tiles randomly falling off the orbiter. Well, you could, but it would take a heck of a lot more time and effort and mulah. And if we're just talking about preventing the foam from being a cause and nothing else, I'd still say that it won't be easy.


So they finally managed to pull it off. The Space Shuttle has returned to space after a hiatus of a couple years.

I had doubted they would make it. And what about the ECO Sensors? This is all I could find mentioned about them:
The final test of the engine cutoff sensors has been completed. All of the sensors continue to operate normally in today's countdown.

The concerns I had about this whole problem with the ECO sensors was that they were showing to be operating sometimes normally, other times not so normally. No one could make heads or tails of what was going on. Theories on grounding were a potential cause, but EM interference from newly installed heaters were also mentioned.

The concern I had was that without a clear identifiable cause for the problem you really don't know what's going on. And by the sounds of it, not a single sensor failed today. If the grounding was really the problem, and we really understand that problem, they should have seen a failure in at least one sensor where the wiring was switched to. Basically, the way I'm understanding it, they were moving the wiring from the sensor that failed, to another sensor, so that they could see if the problem would follow the wiring.

I read Rand Simberg's latest this morning and shook my head...
Now, here's the deal. This is a tough problem to troubleshoot, but the prevailing theory seems to be bad wiring. So they've come up with a clever solution. They're going to swap the wiring between the sensor that failed, and another one. Now, either all of the sensors will check out fine tomorrow, in which case they shrug their shoulders and launch, per the new, stricter rules. Or else, they'll see a failure, except it will be on the sensor that they changed, which will mean that the wiring was the problem, and they now understand the issue. Under those circumstances, they can waive the rules (and this won't be a "last-minute decision," as I heard it reported this morning--it will be a well-thought-out one that they've been thinking about for days) to launch knowing that they still have fail-safe redundancy.

Except that if they don't see a failure, which they didn't, it means they don't understand the problem at all. If you don't understand the problem are you just going to forget about it when it doesn't surface at inconvenient times?

Are we just going to chalk this one up as a reasonable risk to take? They don't understand the problem, so how can they truly know the risks? No one is asking for NASA never to launch the Shuttle again, but we are asking legitimate questions.

Simberg knows a lot more about this than I do, but I just can't understand where he's coming from. He's suggesting that the safety rules in this case are too high... I'm suggesting that regardless they should at least understand what the crap is going on before they flip the switch. NASA wouldn't have had to spend the extra money now, if it had just listened to NASA engineers back in April, when they asked for another fueling test to verify that the fix they made back then on the ECO sensors worked.

What now? Well I hope they don't forget about this, and figure it out for the next flight.

And I guess the proof is a proof - the flight was a complete success. No kaboom. That's something that pretty much shuts me up and vilifies Simberg.

Why Catholics Vote Liberal...

At least that's the question being posed at Free Dominion.
Prof. Blais has also found that the more the voter practises Catholicism, the more likely he or she is to vote Liberal. The most religious Catholics are the Liberals' strongest supporters. Liberal support among them is 19 points higher than overall Liberal support, compared to 12 points higher for "non-religious" Catholics.
What's going on? Damned if Prof. Blais knows. If he doesn't, what about the rest of us? After a thorough investigation, Prof. Blais concedes: "Why Catholics vote Liberal is still largely a mystery, at least for me. I propose the creation of a special prize for the individual or team that solves the mystery."

This is just cannon fodder for the long winded with little to do... In other words me (well I have something to do I just don't want to do it). Might as well take a stab at this one - Every other tom dick and harry will be anyways.

Most devout Catholics, If I had to take a guess, don't really see themselves as Conservative or Liberal. They just really don't think it's too important. At least historically I don't think so. Today, people talk about the sleeping giant of social conservatism, and I have to agree it does exist - but there are some things people don't realize.

The first is that there are fair number of so-called social conservatives, that are fiscally liberal. I bet I could get good odds that those people are mostly devout Catholics, but I'm betting they include a fair number of other Christian denominations as well.

They have them down in Yankeetown USA too. As the issue of the last election focused on Morality, instead of the War in Iraq, many of these people voted for Bush in spite of his Economic or Security agenda. Many of these people were agains the War in Iraq, didn't neccessarily like the Bush tax cut, but they voted for him anyway.

Confused yet?

Well up here in Canuckistan, we tend to be more Liberal than our American brethren. I think I've met very few devout Catholics that would identify themselves as being fiscally Conservative. All express loyalty to the Magestrum, and believe in Papal authority. Pretty much on the moral side of things they are all against SSM, and pro-life regardless of what label they use to identify themselves. Although I get the feeling, that most, if not all want the government involved more in our lives, or at least more than most Libertarians.

Of course there are exceptions to this, but most generally that's been my impression so far. There is nothing wrong with it, you can very well be a Liberal and be Catholic, and Christian. I think they are wrong, and are making a bad choice, but I can't force people to make the right decision. Either way, they have that soft spot for the social gospel side of things... Giving aid to the poor, helping those in need with the public purse...

That's why they vote Liberal. The election issue has never been morality. The issue is always Healthcare, or some sort of social program.

But something has changed. Same Sex Marriage has awoken many of those Catholics that just didn't get involved. It has also knocked the wind out of those that regularly vote Liberal or NDP. Gone are the days of the Social Gospel with Tommy Douglas... There are no more prominent left wing evangelicals. The left, in this country has completely exercised themselves of people of faith in an inquisition styled frenzy of anti-religious bigotry.

It has freaked out a lot of people in the Conservative Party. As some of these Liberal Catholics have already started to migrate over, factions are struggling to maintain control. Some call these new members "obsessed with gay marriage and abortion..." I think the truth is that they are really afraid of the destabilizing effect of having an influx of fiscal Liberal Catholics into the party. Red Tories, and the weird coalition of Neo-Cons, Libertarians and traditional Social Conservatives people have called "Blue Tories" are going nuts. These new Social Conservatives don't fit the mold.

This migration will definitely change the face of the internal politics of the CPC. The question is, will devout Catholics continue to vote Liberal? This time around I doubt it.

I'm Yoda?

I didn't see this coming. Apparently I'm Yoda.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

"Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life greets it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere."

This lefty and this lefty got Picard and Kirk... I don't know what that's supposed to mean... Is Yoda secretly a Conservative? While Kirk and Picard are lefties? I can see Picard, but Kirk was more of a Hawk than anyone else.

Shuttle Aint Going Nowhere

**NOTE: I apologize but I've decided to re-write this post because I'm a complete moron...

Count Tuesday out for a shuttle launch. At least that's what I'm starting to think.
Engineers were hopeful earlier this week that electrical interference caused by subtle grounding problems might explain why one of four hydrogen fuel sensors in Discovery's external tank failed to respond properly to a pre-launch test July 13.

At it turned out, the three grounding problems were very minor - 0.2 milli-ohms of resistance or less - and engineers were never able to duplicate the unexpected behavior of ECO sensor No. 2. As such, the problem remains an "unexplained anomaly."

They are fueling the tank on Tuesday. That's when we'll find out if the sensor glitch is still there or not. It means that they've decided to launch even though they really don't know what the cause of the glitch was.

The test failed to prove that the grounding was the cause of the problem. You'd figure it should follow that one of the remaining causes is the real one. The only other one publicly talked about is electromagnetic interference coming from the new heaters installed on the external tank to remove ice build ups.

Well, we'll see what happens.

Either way, I still think they'll launch before the end of the year. But Robot Guy's prediction that the Shuttle will never fly again is seeming more and more prolific lately.

The Phony Liberals

Yah, it's a little late to comment on Harper's zip through my neck of the woods this past Friday, but I'm a busy man so get off my case....

Harper is hillarious. I think the greatest test of a leader is whether he eats first or last. Harper, off course ate last. Although you could tell he wanted to pounce on that Alberta Beef. He also has a strange thing with Vans. I don't understand what it is, but something always seems to happen with him and and vans whenever I see him...

Anyways, he was brilliant. I think there is a new theme they are trying to push possibly as an election strategy - the Liberals are phony. I don't know how many times I must've heard that line. They even had phony 3 dollar bills with Paul Martin's face on it... Maybe they did some polling on this?

Either way it was a great event. My niece and nephew went nuts. It was just entertaining watching them cause trouble.

I was really surprised by one man screaming behind me... He was a lifelong socialist... He loved Trudeau... And he was shouting for Harper the whole time...

I'm telling you, Stephen Harper will be the next Prime Minister of this country.

What's the point?

You get into these conversations every once and a while. People think you're nuts. And the truth is, you probably are. Dreams are like hope - you need them to survive. But they also make you look Looney. Sometimes they’re like puffs of air, you can’t live without them.

People ask more times than I can count "What's the point?" They don't use those exact words - but they might as well. "What's the point of going into space?" “Why should I care?” "Why not focus on the problems here at home?"

So I could probably talk about the threat of asteroids or comet impacts, or maybe I could quote the “having all your marbles in one basket” line. I could talk about the uses of extraterrestrial power sources and how much cleaner power that would create. I could start talking about Hydrogen on the moon, solar power… But that gets talked about all the time. And that’s not the real reason why I care, and why I think there is a point.

You see, I think the reason is different for most people. The truth is, the reason boils down to, the way I see it anyways, hope.

When the first pioneers from Europe came to this continent, they had hope. They had hope that this new world would be better than the last. They had hope that by starting over they could get a second chance. They knew that nothing would probably change for them, or their children. But they had hope that maybe one day their ancestors would be better off. They had hope that they could go to a place where they didn’t feel like outcasts. They had hope that they could be part of a country, of a place that let them be free.

North America was their escape. The New World was their hope. It was the light of the world. A beacon shouting out to the oppressed, and the downtrodden, to come to a place where you could start over. It was their hope for a final victory over the evils of where they came from. It was the hope that they could leave the worst of the old, and keep the best for the new.

That I think is the heart of it – hope. There is a longing in each one of us to start over new. There a longing to make the wrongs right. And sometimes you can’t fix what’s at home.

Some people have perpetual hope that they can change things. That would be those that stayed in Europe despite the rise of evil. That is those that are in China still trying to change the evils of their own government. And the list of other countries is too numerous to say. Yet there is a point where people loose hope.

There is a point where they are drawn inward, seeking one last refuge. They want that escape. They come to the conclusion that they can’t fix something that no one else wants to fix. They come to the conclusion that they have to leave.

Who is right? Is it the ones that want to stay and fight the impossible fight? Or is it the ones that think the fight is over and go to a new place? There is no easy answer. Only that those immigrants like my Grandfather that left Europe before WWII saw things going sour and took a chance.

He left his friends. He left his family. He left everything he knew.

He got off the boat only with a few dollars in his pocket. The first day he was mugged.

So here he was, right off the boat, no money, no job, and he knew no one. He had to sleep in shipyard in the cold that first night. I can only imagine what was going through his mind. I can only imagine the feelings of hope falling around him.

He got up the next day. In the middle of the Great Depression, he got a job that very same day. It was painting a building. A few years later he was an engineer in Windsor. A dozen years later he owned his own business. He had hope.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side chose to stay. Maybe he figured he should try to fix things at home. He ended up being a deserter of the Italian Army when the war started. Which choice was right?

The funny thing is, that most of the people that will give the hard time, are first or second generation immigrants. It's like the biggest whopping irony I've ever seen. If you want to know why we should be colonizing other planets why don’t you ask your parents, or why don’t you ask yourself what you’re doing here?

You want to know why need to go into space? The reason boils down to hope. We need an escape. We need one, because we don’t have one today – and that’s a very dangerous thing.

The question I always ask myself is what are the evils today?

Lefty Trekkies

They exist. Well at least I think they do. In any event I stumbled across Simon Whitehouse's latest on Doohan's death and had to giggle.
Mr. Scott, a Canadian actor who worked alongside with another Canadian actor William Shatner (Captain Kirk)fought with an allstar crew to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations and promote peace in the galaxy.

I love how he just added that little bit about "promoting peace." Look buddy, if you want to be a real trekkie, you're going to have to promote your agenda using authentic slogans and lines from the series. Come on buddy - you're nerdiness meter is teetering towards "completely not a nerd." Put a little effort into it.
He didn't become a chief engineer to further himself personally, nor did he have visions of becoming the ship's captain since he was a small child. He was in it to make a difference and protect the dylithium crystals.

He was a freakin' engineer. He wasn't in it just for the dylithium crystals, he was in it for the nacelles, the plasma injectors, and giving it more power. Scotty typified every Engineer's dream of being a technical paper obsessed warp junky space nerd on a "Star Trek" of his own.

Honestly he had to be the only Engineer that could that could get away with muliplying his project estimates by a factor of three, so he could always finish early and keep his reputation as a miracle worker. Nerdiness scale going negative buddy.

Imagine that, eh? In today's universe, spacemen like Mr. Scott have been lost among the likes of others,like the evil Klingons or Romulans or Vulcans or The Borg or even the Pentagon who have clearly demonstrated how much they [don't] care about peace in outer space...

Yikes! Let me correct this poor confused wanna-be Trekkie. The Pentagon is not some other race. And he's placing the "Vulcans", the race that is dedicated to logic, the race that produced Spock who saved Scotty's behind on more than one occasion, in the evil category... Do you even watch Star Trek?

Oh and newsflash - the original aliens were just a representation of the evils of the time. The Kligons were supposed to be the Russians, the Romulans were the Chinese, and the Vulcans were supposed to be Japanese (At least I think and it would make sense since the Romulans and the Vulcans have common ancestry).

Oh and the Borg were supposed to be a representation of the 90's fear of technology consuming us... But hey I guess finding a level of Trek nerd on the left of sufficient caliber to know that is well - not logical.
Many Generation fans may remember Mr. Scott's appearance on the episode "Relics" that saved the Enterprise from destruction. What we should remember about this episode is that Scotty worked together with Geordi. Though some Star Trek fans are divisive in who was the better crew, Scotty realized that for the best federation crew of the time to continue in existence, he had to work collaboratively with them.

Nerdiness increasing, increasing...
For that, and for his tireless work to protect the dylithium crystals on the original ship, as well as his work in other areas such as getting the Humpback whales into the Enterprise in Star Trek IV,...

Leftiness showing more and more...
The original crew was asked to dock their ship after the sixth movie, but Scotty was able to find ways to get into future episodes and become influential in maintaining peace in outerspace. If that doesn't speak for his outstanding character, I don't know what does.

Look buddy, you ain't the nerd I was hoping for. First thing you should know is that Scotty was no peacenik. In the Trouble with Tribbles episode it was Scotty that started the bar fight with the Klingongs. In the episode where they find a parallel earth where the Roman empire never fell, it was Scotty that almost broke the prime directive by interfering with planetary power systems.

Crap, when he was on the excelsior, he was the guy that sabotaged the main drive to give the screws to Starfleet Command. That's no peacenik, that's just a good guy rebel rouser looking out for his friends.

I'm not impressed by the lefty Trekkies. I was honestly hoping for more.

Now that I've embarrassed myself enough, I'm going to stop writing.

The RCMP's Unnatural Relationship

CHARLOTTETOWN -- A "very unnatural and cosy relationship" between the RCMP and the Liberals could be to blame for the force's reluctance to investigate the party over Adscam, Deputy Conservative Leader Peter MacKay said yesterday.

MacKay called the relationship between the RCMP and the federal Liberal government "deeply disturbing."

I've heard this whispered too many times, by too many people for their not to be at least some truth to this. I've also noticed some strange maneuverings by the Federal Conservatives that seems almost aimed at avoiding getting the RCMP involved in anything. It's as if they don't trust them. And I have little doubt that MacKay is understating the deep level of distrust that the Conservative caucus has for the top levels of the RCMP.

Scary? Very. It's almost as if Liberals have their own "Feidakin" or "Schutzstaffel" for the Liberal Party.
"There are only three words to describe Peter MacKay's outburst -- cheap, cheap and cheap," Reid said. "Peter MacKay owes an apology to the women and men who don the uniform of the RCMP."

Why do I get the feeling that there is a threat implied there?

The Countdown Begins...

The Shuttle launch is Tuesday. And NASA engineers are effectively going nuts - testing like mad to find the problem with the ECO sensors that cancelled the last flight attempt.

The countdown has begun. Can they find the problem in time? It's like watching an Engineering competition of sorts - because I'm not entirely convinced that they are as close to finding the problem as these reports are saying. So many things could go wrong to screw the plan up.

Either way this is interesting:
Some engineers favored another tanking test prior to any additional launch attempts to collect data in the actual operating environment. But the mission management team today ruled out that option and agreed to press on into a countdown.

Maybe I'm getting confused. Months ago, the ECO sensors failed on a fueling test. Some engineers called for a third tanking test to ensure that the problem was solved when they swaped ET tanks. NASA managers decided it was not neccessary. Maybe that's what this article is referring to. Because if not, it means that those same Engineers have requested another fueling test again, only to get shot down again. In which case, this is just a whole new level of ironic.

Basically, the way I'm reading it, there are basically two possible causes Engineers are focusing on. The first is that it's a grounding problem with the ECO sensor wiring. The plan is, switch the wiring around, and see if the sensors keep on malfunctioning.

The other possibility, is that it is a problem with electromagnetic interference from the newly installed heaters could be a cause of the problem.
Engineers plan extensive troubleshooting to identify possible sources of interference and its effects in an electronics unit called a point sensor box, which routes sensor data to the shuttle's computers. Candidates include the circuitry for new post-Columbia heaters added to the shuttle's external tank to prevent ice formation.
"In the end, analysis of the circuitry suggested that grounding might be a problem. Testing of the (point sensor) box ... in the lab in Houston suggested electromagnetic interference could interfere with the box. We went looking in the vehicle and we found a discrepancy in the grounding of the vehicle.

"We're going to go in tonight and try to replicate as best we can the electromagnetic environment of launch to see if we can trap the signature of it," Muratore said. "Even if we can't trap the signature, we're going to go make the system good. And then the best way to go and further understand the problem is ... to load the tank up and observe its operation and that's best accomplished in the environment of a launch countdown."

I've had a little experience dealing with grounding issues in a manufacturing environment. I can still remember trying to map out the electrostatics of a room... Not pretty. I can imagine the amount of headaches involved with this system. Not pretty at all.

There's talk of amending the rule that all 4 sensors have to be functioning for a launch... Well that's one way of dealing with a problem.

My gut feeling right now is that there will be another launch attempt on Tuesday. Whether or not the bird gets off the launchpad is another thing altogether.

When it works in Africa, Don't Fix it...

Uganda has one of the lowest prevelances of AIDS in Africa. This is due in large part to it having stressed abstinence and fidelity according to some. Uganda years ago started a campaign that stressed abstinence first, and condoms as a last resort. The results are a success story for Africa in the fight against AIDS.

Some people want to fix the situation:
Infection rates have fallen from 15% to 5% but critics say this could now rise because the government is promoting abstinence, rather than safe sex.

Sure. Makes sense. The rates fall, and government is promoting abstinence. So it only makes logical sense, in the la-la fruity land of some, that by continuing to promote abstinence the rates would rise.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

State Controlled Religion

The whole idea of "seperation of Church and State" I thought was to keep the state from officially sanctioning any religion. Then the state would use and corrupt that religion as a power base to control the populace. Just my thinking.

But this Engineering Prof's ideas are just funny because it's almost as if some 2nd year Engineering student could make the same comments:
OTTAWA, July 19, 2005 ( - Just as Senate approaches the final vote on the gay 'marriage' bill, C-38, Canada's national public radio CBC Radio has aired a commentary by a retired professor from the Royal Military College calling for state control over religion, specifically Catholicism. While parliamentarians dismissed warnings by numerous religious leaders and experts that such laws would lead to religious persecution, former professor Bob Ferguson has called for "legislation to regulate the practice of religion."

"Given the inertia of the Catholic Church, perhaps we could encourage reform by changing the environment in which all religions operate," Ferguson began his commentary in measured tones yesterday. "Couldn't we insist that human rights, employment and consumer legislation apply to them as it does other organizations? Then it would be illegal to require a particular marital status as a condition of employment or to exclude women from the priesthood. "

Typical Canadian fashion, he calls on regulation, regulation, and legislation. First of all, the Catholic Church sets its own rules, and there is no right to belong to the Catholic Church. The only reason why the Church survives is because people keep on showing up to mass every Sunday, and keep on putting money voluntarily into collection baskets.
Ferguson continued, "Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada. Indeed I suspect many clergy would welcome the external pressure."

Funny. The Vatican doesn't like some the "changes" the Chinese government wanted either. The Chinese government decided to create an "official" "Chinese Catholic Church" sanctioned and controlled by the state. The Vatican didn't like that. But they did not "come to accept" "as a fact of life..." Instead the church was driven underground, and today they have secret Bishops that hold secret masses. Chinese Catholics are considered among the persecuted church.
Ferguson, would see religion regulated by provinces in the same way professions are regulated. "I am an engineer so the model I am thinking about is rather like the provincial acts regulating the practice of engineering," he said. "For example, engineers must have an engineering degree from a recognized university or pass qualification exams. They must have a number of years of practical experience and pass an ethics exam. The different branches: mechanical, electrical, civil and the like have a code of practice that applies to everyone. Why can't religious groups do the same?"

Yes, I'm an aspiring Engineer myself. The PEO is self regulating body that basically prevents anyone else from calling themselves a "Professional Engineer" unless the PEO gives them a little stamp that says so. Part of believing in Catholism though, is believing in Papal authority. The Pope is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. He's the one that sets the standards, he's the one that sets the tests, and he's the one that sets the code. The Vatican is, in a sense, the PEO of the Catholic Church...
Ferguson also suggests 'obvious' prohibitions on religion including preaching of 'hate'. "I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone. One might also expect prohibition of ritual circumcisions, bans on preaching hate or violence, the regulation of faith healers, protocols for missionary work, etc.," says Ferguson.

"We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires..."
Pope Benedict XVI
(when Cardinal Ratzinger)
"...I do it because I am worried that the separation between church and state is under threat. Religion is important in our lives, but it can become a danger to society when people claim that the unalterable will of God is the basis for their opinions and actions. Yes religion can be a comfort and a guide, but we cannot take rules from our holy books and apply them to the modern world without democratic debate and due regard for the law."

"Truth is not determined by a majority vote"
~Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

I would suggest Mr. Ferguson do a little bit more reading - particularly on Catholicism.

Fidel Castro Vs. the Bishop

The situation in Cuba is bleaker than we know:
We knew that the hurricane had caused a great deal of damage, and currently, Catholic Relief Services and Caritas are both collecting funds for the clean-up in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the dictator Fidel Castro has once again refused aid from the United States and Europe, spewing his usual diatribe of stupidity and abuses against humanity.

My uncle, Emilio Aranguren, is the bishop in the Archdiocese of Cienfuegos.

Yesterday, in an unprecedented and personally dangerous interview through Radio Paz (a division of Paxnet out of the Archdiocese of Miami - check it out sometime) made a personal appeal for aid on behalf of the suffering people in his diocese, people with whom he has a personal relationship, as the clergy in Cuba must act truly as shepherds at all times.

The situation he describes is dramatic -- homes have no roofs, crumbling walls have fallen, killing people, government crops are ruined, and more tragically, what little gardens were kept to supplement an already depleted food store are also ruined. In the next few days, I would expect the effects of poor hygiene and contaminated water to dramatically increase the effects of injuries, leading perhaps to more deaths.

The medical situation is bleaker still, as Cuba is always in a chronic state of poor medical resources. There are simply no medicines, no resources with which to treat the symptoms that are surely arising as I write. Something as simple as pedialyte here, which we take for granted, is unheard of there. A need for anitbiotics will surely arise as well.

She could be exagerating the situation. Then again she might not be. I guess this thing called Communism just never got the kinks worked out of it.

Once upon a time Bishop Fulton J. Sheen used to give talks on Communism. He once said that Marx was proven false long ago. The main fact that religion still exists in Cuba, and did in Russia, Poland and elsewhere is evidence of that.

You see Marx claimed that religion was merely a product of a Capitalist society based on private property. If private property was eliminated, or so Marx's theory went, then religion would disappear.

Communism eliminated private property in Russia. So Bishop Sheen looked at Russia, and saw that there was burgeoning christian underground. Hence his conclusion that Marx was full of something else.

Events in Poland over the last century proved Bishop Fulton J. Sheen right.

Sometimes I think the eventual collapse, if ever, of Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba, may come about with some help from a higher power.

Tip o' the hat to Relapsed Catholic.

Gagnon's Canadian Blunder

Mark Whittington uncovers a new piece by leftist anti-nuke anti-space colonization crusader Bruce Gagnon. I'm sure so many bloggers will be digging this hunk of trash apart - but I have to point out the Canadian blunder he makes.
The aerospace industry has stated that plans for space control, popularly called Star Wars, will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet. But how will it be paid for? In 2005 the U.S. Pentagon is spending $10 billion on space weapons research and development. Clearly the United States cannot afford to fund these programs alone. So far Japan, Australia, England, and Italy have signed up as part of this plan. In recent weeks Canada decided not to join the Bush "missile defense" scheme. Canada’s Prime Minister Paul Martin, with strong urging from the aerospace industry, wanted to join Bush’s program but popular opposition has thus far prevented cooperation.

First of all, "recent weeks," is more like 4 months. Maybe over 16 weeks is "recent weeks" to Bruce Gagnon, I don't know what Bruce's sense of time is.

Regardless, this is a point of complete stupidity for Paul Martin's government. It has been a complete bold in your face lying spree. Paul Martin wanted in on the decisions of BMD over Canadian territory, without providing any support, political or monetary. The US really wanted political and not monetary support - but apparently even that was too much.

And as to "an urging" from the aerospace industry - I don't want to diss Canadian aerospace but what industry? We can't even get our soldiers helicopters, built in Canada, that don't fall out of the sky. We have a legacy of failed opportunities, squandered by government stupidity.

And let's be honest - Our biggest aerospace success is a snowmobile manufacturer that's addicted to corporate pogy.

So just what great "aerospace industry" in Canada is he reffering to that would benefit from BMD? I think it exists entirely in Bruce Gagnon's mind.

Not Bias

This poll isn't biased. It's not like this guy is some raving Liberal maniac:
"Every time Stephen Harper talks about same-sex marriage he's not just opposing that issue. He's campaigning for intolerance," Marzolini said.

Honestly, I just can't believe anyone takes these people seriously.

So many stories are coming out lately bringing down Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. It's a smear campaign. The knives have been sharpening for a while now. And the media has just started the stabbing.

The way I look at it - give it a good go. Get it all out of your system. Because I'm never worried when Harper is underestimated - because honestly there is no way this guy could be this bad. I only get worried when he gets overhyped.

Harper can't go anywhere - there is no time. No one can push him out. He's here for the next election no matter how much people dislike it. He'll go into the next election with the lowest expectations ever...

That's the best thing we can hope for. The lower the expectations, the easier it is for someone to make a small hop seem like a huge leap.

At least that's the way I see it.

Super Pigs

The effects of Space on Pig Sperm is considered a valid use of public money according to the Chinese:
China is planning to study the effects of space on sperm, by sending the semen from pedigree pigs into orbit.
Some 40 grams of pig sperm will be taken on board the Shenzhou VI spacecraft for its October launch.

Some of the sperm will be kept outside the spacecraft's biological capsule and some inside, according to China's Xinhua news agency.
Agricultural experts hope to use the sperm to fertilise pig eggs back on Earth - to see what effect a period of microgravity will have had on the sperm's activity.

Isn't this the part where we turn to the next page and find out that the pig sperm gets horribly mutated in blackness of space... The sperm gets implanted into some eggs, and the piglets turn out to have super powers? Is this the birth of the Super Pigs?

Tip o' the hat to MarsBlog.

Fire Terry Milewski

The CBC reporter that all but jumped up and down declaring Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal a crook, Grewal who just happens to be the man who caught senior Liberals on tape offering him a bribe, has just been lampooned.

Micheal from Blue Maple Leaf has a pretty good round up of the whole affair.

Fire that idiot Terri Milewski. What kind of lousy reporting was that?

Spooky Shuttle Sensors

That might as well be what they should call them. A great technical explanation of the ECO sensors that has kept the Shuttle on the ground has been provided.

One of those things that defies explanation. They know something's not right. They know that it started after mods were made to the external fuel tank and control system. Like good little Engineers they brainstorm potential causes. The typical procedure is to eliminate each potential cause off their list.

That didn't happen with the ECO sensors. They never had a third fueling test to prove all was a-ok. Now they have to go through the pain staking process of getting that awnser that they should have been going after to begin with.

I don't like loose ends. I'm sure NASA engineers don't like 'em either. But NASA managers don't seem to have so much of an issue skirting around the rules.

Panick. That's what I'm guessing is happening in Florida right now. If I was an Engineer working at the Cape I would popping aspirins right about now. They have to find the problem and fix it fast.

Rushing faster than they should? Only they know for sure.

Grewal's Accusers...

It seems that someone in the main stream media is actually doing some real journalism:
VANCOUVER - The Vancouver businessman who is demanding a tax receipt for money he gave Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal two years ago says he is a member at large of Liberal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh's riding association.

Sarup Mann insisted that has nothing to do with his now public demands that Mr. Grewal provide him with tax receipts for a $600 donation he made to Mr. Grewal in 2003 and a $1,800 donation he made to Mr. Grewal's wife, Nina, in 2004.

Sure it has nothing to do with it. Just like when a member of the Conservative Party protests at a Paul Martin rally it has nothing to do with him being a Conservative Party member. Ridiculous to say the least.

Gurmant Grewal recorded conversations of senior Liberals close to Paul Martin trying to bribe him for his vote. That is a criminal act - at least if it was done overtly. The truth is they left the right impressions without completely incriminating themselves. You know... Leave some reasonable doubt for safeties sake?

I've been saying for a while, that the corruption charges, that suddenly appeared after he released these tapes, were indicative of someone trying to discredit the man who had found the smoking gun that would prove once and for all that the Liberals are corrupt. As these stories come out, I'm suprised at how right I was.

Any of those wayward Blogging Tories want to retract their condemnations of Grewal now?

Tip o' the hat to NealeNews.

Polluted Babies?

This from Pro-choice Democrat Louise Slaughter:
Rep. Louise Slaughter, a Democrat with a nearly perfect record of abortion support in Congress, shared her shock and outrage that "These 10 newborn babies ... were born polluted."

"If ever we had proof that our nation's pollution laws aren't working, it's reading the list of industrial chemicals in the bodies of babies who have not yet lived outside the womb," Slaughter said.

So now they're unborn babies? Does the unborn need to be polluted before the left gives them rights? This is ridiculous.

Pope B16 and Harry Potter

Lots has been made of B16's condemnation of Harry Potter. But let's actually look at the letter in question:
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Vatican City
March 7, 2003

Esteemed and dear Ms. Kuby!

Many thanks for your kind letter of February 20th and the informative book which you sent me in the same mail. It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.

I would like to suggest that you write to Mr. Peter Fleedwood, (Pontifical Council of Culture, Piazza S. Calisto 16, I00153 Rome) directly and to send him your book.

Sincere Greetings and Blessings,

+ Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The idea is that a book glorifying witchcraft may give kids the wrong idea. Nowhere here is then Cardinal Ratzinger saying that people will loose their soul if they read some children's literature.

But there is an aspect to the Harry Potter series that does glorify witchcraft. If taken merely as fantasy - there is no danger. However if children are not given appropriate guidance I can definitely see there being a problem - a huge problem.

The original witches of Europe were more than willing to do some really bad stuff that we all don't remember... How do you think they got their reputation? Today it's glorified and the bad stuff forgotten - but the end of the path is still the same...

So what's the big deal? Ratzinger, wouldn't yah know it, is actually expressing concern that these books may do some bad in the world. What's the problem? He can't force you stop reading, and he sure can't force your kids to do anything. All he can do is try to enlighten. Which is exactly what he was commending that author on doing in the first place.

Just your average run of the mill Paul Martin supporter...

The DEA agent asked her if he could purchase just 1,000 pills to start, but Puar insisted on a minimum order of 5,000, the documents said.

She also offered to send a driver to Portland with pills, but the DEA agent said he preferred to deal with her, prompting Puar to say her drivers had been working for her for 10 years.

"They don't f--- around with me because ... they will be f---ing six feet under and they know it, because my, you know what, brothers will put them six feet under.

"Yeah, it's that simple. That's what the game is like in Vancouver. You f--- with us, you die. Well I don't know if you listen to the news and stuff. In Vancouver ... you pay for it and you know how bad you pay for it."

She said that is why no one rats out other gang members involved in drugs: "No one talks to the cops. If you're in jail with this person, you have a family member out there."
In one meeting, she claimed "her family organization 'has it very well with the cops' and that police in Vancouver, B.C. work for the organization as her father is very well connected politically," the documents said.

When the DEA agent told Puar that his sister had recently been beaten up, the Vancouver woman offered to have the person who did the assault "taken care of," the documents said.

This woman has connections to the federal Health minister in Paul Martin's government, as well as Paul Martin's team in BC. And they are saying that Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal is a crook? Talk about selective reporting. Grewal is a hero as far as I'm concerned - and he's getting fried for finding the smoking gun.

One huge giant mamooth tip o' the hat to Stupidus.

Shuttle Flight Tanked

So says Robot Guy. And So confirms Reuters. The flight has been delayed a week:
Discovery was fueled and ready with the astronauts strapped in their seats for a planned launch at 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT) when the problem with the liquid hydrogen fuel sensor occurred at 1:32 p.m. (1732 GMT). The sensor is one of four that detects fuel levels when the tank is nearly empty.
In the event of a launch, a sensor malfunction could conceivably cause the main engines to switch off prematurely
Oh really? I remember a previous post I made about some hydrogen fuel sensors... But we were told that that problem was a-ok:

As for the hydrogen sensors, which operated normally the second time around, engineers now believe whatever caused problems during the first tanking test was corrected during extensive post-test troubleshooting.
NASA managers decided June 6 to forego a third tanking test, saying they were confident the new tank would behave normally during Discovery's countdown. Even though the hydrogen pressurization system begins operating just two minutes before liftoff, the countdown can be safely stopped if any problems develop.

I'm thinking those are the same sensors. In which case that would mean that those naysayer Engineers that called for another fueling test have just been proven right. Unfortunately it happened on the launch pad.

The whole concern was that NASA Engineers were not sure if those sensor malfunctions were a cause of the particular External Tank they were using, or one of the modified designs they made to reduce ice build ups. The idea was swap tanks and test it again. If the problem was still there - that leaves the latter.

The third fueling test was never done. And now they had them fail on the launchpad. I guess Murphy's Law has just been proven right again. Now they know that the problem lies in the modifications they made. I bet a lot of Engineers are freaking out right now - because they are going to have to sort through the modifications to test which one is the problem. At least that's what I'm guessing. I'll have to read more to be more confident.

It's hard not to believe in divine providence here: those sensors could have easily malfunctioned in flight while still being normal on the pad. They were said to be working "intermittently." In which case I don't know if they still have the capability to verify the sensor's readings... If they don't, that means you have to believe something was watching out for those astronauts.

Governor General Joe Who?

Yeessh! They are considering Joe Clark to be Governor General?
Other names being circulated include former Progressive Conservative prime minister Joe Clark, current Ontario Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman, and former Liberal Ontario premier David Peterson.

Ms. Clark, in Ottawa Monday, only chortled at suggestions that Rideau Hall might become available soon. He wouldn't say anything further.

Someone told me yesterday that if Joe Clark becomes Governor General - they would leave the country. He's gone from being a short lived Conservative Prime Minister, to one of the most hated politicians by Conservatives themselves.

And guess who else they're considering?

A non-political person some see as a possibility is former astronaut Marc Garneau, who now heads the Canadian Space Agency.

“He's the chancellor of my university and people there have been talking about this,” said Carleton University historian Duncan McDowall.

“He would bring the kind of high-tech, ‘Canada in the new global economy' edge to things.”

I'm torn on this one. Garneau is the only Canadian Astronaut I can't say anything bad about. Julie Payette came across as arrogant when I first met her. And Hadfield's comments bashing space tourist Dennis Tito for not "earning" his way into space have put him on my hit list. I know first impressions don't mean squat sometimes - but that was one big stinking first impression Payette gave me.

If the choice is between Garneau, a former socialist Premier, a former Liberal Premier, and a former washed out in the closet socialist Conservative Prime Minister then I'll take Garneau anyday.

The Stick Stinks

Or so Selenian Boondocks says. The Stick is the nickname for a proposed new launcher system design to carry on blasting "asstronauts" into space after they retire the Shuttle. In a nutshell "The Stick" is a huge firecracker SRB with a second stage plunked on top. The top stage would have shuttle derived engines... And because no one likes to loose their jobs, many, including some Congressman in Florida, are going to like the idea of using shuttle derived tech.

My head aches after reading... But good read nonetheless...

This little tidbit is just golden:
We have to chose whether we're trying to open up the solar system for human development, or if we're trying to run welfare for aerospace nerds. NASA can't afford both.

Yah but what will the poor aerospace nerds do without their pogy? Don't the nerds have a human right to be paid to do cool stuff everyday?

SSME Problems

I found an article actually praising the work done on the SSME and SRB's (That would be the Space Shuttle Main Engines and the Solid Rocket Boosters for those not nerdy enough). It's seems suspiciously like a few other articles I've read recently - all praising NASA for finding a faulty capacitor... Is it possible the buggers are all operating from the same set of NASA press releases?
Since the shuttle grounding, NASA SSME managers in Huntsville have been especially concerned that they not allow "process creep" to disarm flight safety, says Gene Goldman, engine project manager at Marshall. "This has been to assure ourselves that we are not getting into the 'normalization of deviance' that has been cited" as a key factor in the Columbia accident (AW&ST Apr. 28, 2003, p.29).

In manufacturing they set up rotations of line workers, so that no single employee does one job over and over again without end. By rotating people, they prevent injuries because everyone isn't over familiar with what they are working on, so they tend to be more cautious. I wonder why that wouldn't work at NASA... Problem solved. But I guess that would be too simple wouldn't it?

In any event this whole piece is a joke. Nowhere does it mention some of the problems that the External Tank fuel sensors had that did not receive the same level of testing as some said it should have. Maybe the ET is not considered to be officially part of the SSME system. Although for the life of me I can't understand why. Either way I find it disturbing that the author didn't mention this at all. He must have found this out in his research... Didn't he?
The SSMEs, unlike the solid boosters, involve extremely complex turbomachinery with thousands of parts, some rotating at nearly 40,000 rpm. And unlike the more massive SRBs, the liquid engines can be tested more frequently.

This is just weird. I don't know the author, so I don't want to claim that he was getting confused about the technical aspects of the shuttle, but there is one thing that makes no sense in that paragraph. At first he talks about the liquid rocket SSMEs. He correctly identifies them as having lots of moving parts and turbomachinery. Then he compares them to the SRBs and then says that the SSMEs can be tested more than the SRBs.

My initial thought is that I hope to crap that the SSMEs can be tested more than the SRBs. You light the SRBs, and it's done, it's over, it's finito. The SRBs are just solid rocket fuel stuffed into a shell. Light rocket fuel on fire and you try to stop a launch. How are you going to do a engine firing test of an SRB? That would be an interesting piece of science fiction.

The SSMEs are liquid rocket engines, that can be turned off and on. They can be controlled. Von Braun originally went with liquid rocket engines, throwing away the idea of SRBs, because of the issue of control. Von Braun was a good little engineer, and like a good little engineer, he values control above all else.

So I'd hope that the SSMEs can be tested more than the SRBs. That comment just seems a little... odd. It's not like he was wrong, but it seemed like the sentence was added in without a purpose. But then again who the crap am I to comment on other people's strange grammar. If you've read this far - you're probably laughing at the spelling of an Engineer.

Either way they are really pushing this whole isse about how they're rigorous testing found a faulty capacitor on the shuttle and replaced it - showing of course how "rigorous" and "detailed" the testing was.
Propulsion safety requires rigorous pre-launch testing and quality control, which earlier found a manufacturing flaw in Honeywell electronic capacitors for the critical SSME engine controller (AW&ST June 27, p. 22).

Gee whiz. Well I guess the Shuttle is safe afterall. Me and my silly worrying. Look they actually found a capacitor problem that was on the shuttle probably for years. Well don't I look stupid now.

After all, the shuttle has been "rigorously" tested, and is safe now. Good to know. But I won't be boarding anytime soon.

Accountability Forgotten

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal has released more tapes to the RCMP surrounding the government's attempts to buy his vote. The media has been meticulous in reporting the details of which tapes Grewal did and did not release, along with reporting on such ridiculous things like a missing section of audio. Of course they don't even remember what this was all about: corruption. Paul Martin tried to buy Gurmant's support. He can deflect all he wants to - but he is a crook.

Paul Martin and the people around them believe they are above the law. They didn't break the letter of the law, they just danced on the edge and broke the intent of it.

What is Paul Martin's response to his borderline criminal behavior?
"The CPC [Conservative Party of Canada] had a choice. They could hang Grewal out to dry, or they could rally around him," Mr. Martin said.

"The party leadership has to answer for this now. It ceased to become just one rogue MP's responsibility when the party sent him home on stress leave and assumed responsibility for the file."

Deflect. Deflect. Deflect. A little spin. Deflect.

Where is the accountability? Where is the media to hound Martin about the actions of his inner circle that were bribing MP's with patronage appointments, and suggesting that corruption investigations will disappear if Gurmant voted the "right" way?

Where is the CBC hounding our glorious Prime Minister on who was involved, and how much direct knowledge he had?

Where is the supposedly "Conservative" National Post to grill the Health Minister on his own personal involvement?

No, we're more concerned about tapes we haven't heard, that we know nothing about, that were released to the RCMP. Meanwhile the fact that the person that actually did commit a crime, and has been caught red handed gets away scott free.

For shame.

Sonic Wimper

NASA is pursuing the quest to make Sonic Booms a Sonic Wimper. I've heard this said that the only thing preventing widespread commercial super sonic flights is the huge sonic boom that is made in the wake of an aircraft. Nobody likes to hear sonic booms crashing through their bedroom windows on a daily basis apparently.

If this is true then developing a supersonic design that mitigates the sonic boom could lead to a huge advance in airline travel. But I've heard of studies going on for years.

Maybe if they got some private company to partner with NASA, the research stuff would get done. Otherwise this sounds like another one of those projects from NASA that seems to drone out for years until finally they abadon it for the shear moula that's been dished out without showing any tangible results.

Comartin Banned

MP Joe Comartin has been barred from being allowed to participate in his local Church's activities for his support of Same Sex Marriage:
Comartin had said he hoped that one day the Catholic Church would recognize same-sex marriages, noting the issue is about love and all couples being treated equally.

"My recent comments expressed my sincere hope that someday the leadership of the Catholic Church would embrace a fuller sense of inclusion," he said in a release after hearing of Fabbro's letter.

He added that "the actions of Bishop Fabbro have deeply hurt and saddened myself and my family."

I've tried not to reveal to much of myself in this blog. I guess I'm about to throw that out the window.

I used to have this image in my mind of what a Christian was. I can remember the image like it was yesterday. It was this middle aged liberated woman trying to act like she was twenty years younger than she was, talking all the time about "peace" and "love"... Christianity to me was some sort of weird pleasure fest that I saw no meaning in whatsoever. Everything was about loving other people. No hurt. No pain. Everything was a like surreal type of existence that wasn't the reality I was living everyday. No emphasis on Christ. No emphasis on God. Everything was "love."

As with most stereotypes, I eventually found out how wrong that was. But MP Joe Comartin is doing his best to spread that perception of Christianity in that quote above.

Life is pain. Christ told his disciples to take up his cross. That didn't mean it would be the end of pain. His disciples knew very well what that meant. It meant that our burdens, our pain, our weaknesses, have to be taken up and embraced the way he embraced his cross. He was showing us the way, and from that we derive joy. It's a deeper joy - and not some self induced druken stupor.

He told us to love each other. But that isn't a meaningless love. It isn't a mindless love. It isn't just neurons firing off in your brain or hormones building up in your body. It's true love. True love means to show loyalty, courage, honour, fidelity, fellowship, commitment, and devotion. It isn't someone looking beautifull, or being "inclusive," or treating people "equally." Some of the people that I've felt truly loved by are those that haven't treated me equally, and haven't been inclusive when I needed to be taught a lesson. You may not like someone at that particular moment, but you still love them - as strange as that seems.

Either way Comartin is doing a great diservice by making statements like that one above. Christianity isn't all about "love." Christianity is all about Christ. Christ told us to love. And the love Christ was talking about isn't the same one Comartin is talking about as far as I'm concerned. And If I'm wrong, he should be more careful as to how what he says comes across.

Tip o' the hat to NealeNews.

The Russian Shuttle

Russia is actively seeking European help with it's new Kliper initiave. Russia has been toying with the idea of a vertical take off winged spacecraft launch system for years. Money, after collapse of the USSR, hasn't always been forthcoming. Perhaps that's the reason for this new European push.

The Soyuz capsule, although well proven, is considered too old. Russia wants something new. I can't for the life of me understand why. The Soyuz capsule has proven itself time and time again. After years of developing that huge wealth and vast experience with one design they want to throw it away?
Full scale mockup of Kliper, with the old Buran Shuttle, in the RKK EuroNews 'Space' magazine today focuses on one of the most exciting projects, Russia's new generation manned spacecraft. After 40 years of making the venerable 'Model-T', the Soyuz capsule, Russia is actively searching for international cooperation on its Kliper spacecraft.
"The Soyuz is basically a concept from the sixties and is getting rather old," agrees Frank de Winne, ESA's Belgian astronaut. "It is also getting rather difficult to produce this type of spacecraft. The Americans are examining a new system of manned space transport, called the Crew Exploration Vehicle; and there is the Russian Kliper project, in which Europe is particularly interested."

How is the Soyuz getting difficult to operate? Compared to the shuttle it's shown itself to be more reliable if anything else. Costs were supposed to be the main driver behind moving from EELV's in the 60's to partially reusable spacecraft like the shuttle. The idea was that throwing away capsules after launches was a terrible loss of equipment and money. Create at least a partially reusable sytem like the Shuttle and costs would go down. Instead they doubled. And if you would believe some estimates they quadrupled.
"Kliper is a new generation spacecraft, incorporating brand new ideas in its design," explained Vladimir Daneev, engineer at the RKK Energuya company. "Since the construction of the Shuttle and Buran, a lot of new materials have been found and new technologies have appeared. We will use all this Russian know-how in the new spacecraft, and we are eager to incorporate a maximum of European technology in the design."

All I can read here is dribble. Why is there a push for a new vehicle for the Russians? All I hear here is a bunch of pretty language talking about Russian know-how.

Maybe that's it...

Maybe this is about Russian pride. A new vehicle may just be about showing off the Russian space programme once again. It would show the world that Russia is modern and unique. It would show that Russia is moving forward with new technologies and is at the leading edge... Fill in the rest of the BS here.
Two options have been retained for Kliper's return to Earth. The spacecraft will be able to descend under parachutes in the vast deserted areas of central Asia, or more conventionally like a plane on a hard runway in more populated regions.

I've heard of this idea before. Basically instead of a conventional landing on a runway, you deploy a chute. I've heard that the main justification of having a winged spacecraft, is that the stresses from the aerodynamic forces of re-entry are lower. In other words, the wings are only there for re-entry. In the end, we really shouldn't be caring whether the thing actually lands on a highway. And really it might be cheaper for it not to.
ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes is confident that the response will be positive. "It is not just that Kliper is a good political deal, or that it provides us with a powerful piece of technology," said Daniel Sacotte. "It will give us a vision, a scientific goal that young Europeans badly need today."

A "vision?" A "powerful goal?" Will the BS ever end? This is about politics. The Europeans see a chance to ally with the Russians in a contest for national pride. Kind of notoriety race against the big bad Americans. And what's worse is that European and Russian taxpayers will pay for it. I guess it's too much to ask that if the Russians want to pay for a space program they should be spending the money wisely and for better reasons than to have a "powerful goal..."

Death Count over 50

The death count is now over 50 in yesterday's terrorist attack on London. My heart and prayers go out to the families of this tragedy.

The Warfare of Desperation

It doesn't seem real. It doesn't feel like it actually happened.

At first the reports were only of a "bombing" in London. My initial reaction was remorse. Then there was that familiar feeling of fear. Fear that it might be a terrorist attack. Slowly the feelings faded. It was normal again.

Later on, the first reports started to come out that it was in fact the one thing I feared: they struck again.

But I don't feel right. I'm almost numb to it. Somewhere inside of me I know the feeling is there. But its almost like I'm holding it at bay. Too many mundane things to do. Too many more important things to worry about... Then I hear about the 40 dead. Then I hear about the 300 wounded.

I've heard far too many times the excuse given for those that commit terrorist acts that "it's all they can do..." In other words, they can't fight against a superior enemy, so they fight with what they can. That means with terror. I think most of these comments apply mostly to Palestinian suicide bombers but I think it sometimes is meant to apply to other terrorists as well.

First I want to say that I've heard these comments from people I respect. I respect them but I don't agree with them. And it's at times like these I'm reminded why that is.

Just ask one of those families that just has been victimized why...

How many of those dead were not supportive of the war in Iraq? How many of them were Muslim? How may of them were children? How many of them were heroes? How many of them were peaceful people? What did they do to deserve this?

The murder of innocent civilians, civilians that have never done anything wrong, is not acceptable. Desperation is no excuse.

Stop the Aid?

I want to make perfectly clear that I support aid towards Africa in principle. I would rather the money go through non-governmental organizations and charities than through governments, but I don't think Paul Martin will listen to me.

The issue I have with giving a blank cheque to African countries is that I worry if the cheque will cause more harm than good. What if by giving aid to African governments, all I do is boost morally decrepit regimes? What if the aid just encourages African governments to repeat the problems of the past because they know I will just bail them out?

James Shikwati, confirms my worst fears:
Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

I really don't know if we should be stopping the aid. But one things for sure - I'm more doubtfull of foreign aid now than ever before.

Tip o' the hat to NealNews.

Angry's Angry

Angry in the Great White North has gotten noticably irritated over that article in the Globe and Mail about MP's being denied communion:
For Symmonds, what was so upsetting was the feeling that the church had made "a blanket decision without even knowing who I was ... I knew that the church was not supportive of abortion rights. However I felt that the church would be supportive of me.'

I couldn't help but laugh myself when I read this part of the article. Symmonds seems a little arrogant to believe that she is bigger than the church itself. Angry gets well Angry:
Me. Me. Me. It's always about "Me" with these people.

For some reason, these people seem to think that their "selves" are separate from their "choices". The Church could be against abortion, but embrace those who support it, according to Symmonds twisted non-logic.

News flash to Angus and Symmonds: we are all defined by our choices. You know that because you claim to be Catholics. You understand that in Catholic teaching, as opposed to Calvinism, for example, the choices you make are the basis on which you will be judged.

I'd like to add a comment on this quote from the very same article:
Symmonds, who once managed the now closed Planned Parenthood office in Medicine Hat, Alta., had to find another place to be married about a month before her wedding in September 2002 after her priest discovered from a newspaper article that she was pro-choice on abortion.

"I was shocked,'' says Symmonds. "When you grow up Catholic you grow up awaiting the day where you can walk into that great big cathedral with your husband. It's something you dream of as a little girl.

"And it got crushed within seconds.''

I certainly hope that she wanted to get married in the Catholic Church for more than just the "great big cathedral." As a Catholic, sometimes I wonder if it would be better for the Church to have masses out in a shanty in some back alley from now on. Maybe that will get it through people's heads that's it's not the sights and smells, but it's substance that matters.

The costs of Litigation...

For your comedic relief today:
"Nobody has yet proven that this experiment was safe," says Ms Bay's lawyer Alexander Molokhov.

"This impact could have altered the orbit of the comet, so now there is a chance that the Tempel may well destroy the Earth some day!"

This claim was brushed aside by Nasa mission engineer Shadan Ardalan.

"The analogy is a mosquito hitting the front of an airliner in flight. The effect is negligible," Mr Ardalan told BBC News.

Litigation troubles for slamming a hunk of junk into a giant block of ice that is owned by no one?

That's just a whole new level of greedy lawsuit chasing I've rarely seen... Except for that other NASA probe, that other time... Hey and that one came from Russia too... Those crazy Russians. It keeps me laughing.

Rods from God

Should have figured this would be said by someone:
The arrogantly named "Rods from God" weapons from space weapons of mass destruction "WMD" program is well underway and has received a substantial boost from the successful trial attack on comet Tempel-1. The NASA probe "Deep Impact" provided military observers with significant data and analysis concerning the proper design for kinetic energy weapons configured to slam into an Earth ground target, releasing an explosion similar to an atomic weapon but without the radiation.

Conspiracy theories are very attractive I know. But in all seriousness the practicality of sending up massive tugnsten rods into LEO as part of an orbital attack platform isn't very good. The way the thing would work is basically huge tugnsten rods would sit on an orbital platform in space. If released at the appropriate moment the tungsten rod will fall from space and strike a predetermined location. The equavilent energy of the strike would be about that of a nuclear bomb except without the radiation.

The costs would be massive.

And we aren't talking about a guided weapon here - we are completely dependent on math. If our math is wrong, we can easily take out LA or who knows where else. Not to mention the problems they would have trying to design a tugnsten rod that didn't burn up in the atmosphere, and had the appropriate shape to not tumble out of trajectory because of aerodynamics.

My own personal conspiracy theory was that this mission was NASA's secret way to test detonations on celestial bodies. It's only a matter of time before one of these mammoths gets Earth in its crosshairs. And if that did happen, with our little knowledge, we could do nothing.

But hey one conspiracy theory is as good as another. And they're probably both wrong.

Tip o' the hat to Deep Space Bombardment.

Glad to be Intolerant


That word gets used often enough. Usually it's meant to be something negative to say about someone. Usually it's meant to say that a person is some bare knuckle dragging ape that can't keep an open mind.

Then infamous rapist, and murderer, Karla Homolka gets released, and stops by the CBC to offer an interview:
Ms. Homolka appears to be eager to be accepted into Quebec society, which she has repeatedly said she considers more tolerant than the rest of Canada. She insisted on having her recent court hearings in French, and chose a French-language media outlet to make her first public pronouncements because she considers anglophones more hostile to her, she said.

If being intolerant means being revolted with the thought of her unspeakable crimes, than I guess you can chalk me up to being one proud intolerant person.

The real reason why she wants to stay in Quebec is because the court case didn't get as much attention there as it did in the rest of the country. If Quebequers only knew more about her they would be equally outraged.

Karla isn't repentant. To me it sounds like she's putting up a mask. She says she's sorry for her crimes. Then she starts talking about how all those that are revolted by her crimes are "intolerant."

"Intolerant?..." Now I wonder if the left is going to keep on using that word to describe anyone who disagrees with them, now that Karla Homolka seems to love that word.
"I didn't initiate my offences. I was a follower," she said of her past crimes, insisting that she is no longer a danger to society.

If you are truly sorry for what you did, stop blaming other people, and start accepting the blame yourself. You made the choice. You may have only followed, but you still had that choice. Part of repentance is accepting culpability.

Only God and Karla Homolka really know if she is truly sorry for what she did. Either way I'm proud to say that I am intolerant of rape. I'm intolerant of murder. And I'm intolerant of lies. And I honestly hope that I never become tolerant on any of those issues.

Then I think... There are a whole wack of people called intolerant today... The Catholic Church is called intolerant. People against SSM are called intolerant. Christians are called intolerant. The west is called intolerant. Pro-lifers are called intolerant... From the mouth of a rapist is it possible we have learned the true meaning of that word?

On a Another Note:
I can't help but compare Karla Homolka to Alessandro Serenelli who attempted to rape and then killed St. Maria Goretti. Allessandro converted in prison. After serving 30 years in prison he showed up on the doorstep of Maria's mother to beg for forgiveness. She not only forgave him, but legally adopted him as her son. He spent the rest of life living in a religious order. It was his testimony that lead to Maria's canonization. I heard somewhere that he was haunted for the rest of his life with the thought that he had killed a saint. A far cry from Karla Homolka.


Not bad for a little satellite collision. Ever wonder if those NASA brats were just doing this mission just for an excuse to play cosmic bumper cars? I mean finding out what the early solar system is made of is nice - but blowing up a comet is just friggin neat.

Via Spaceflightnow:
"It's considerably brighter, there's considerably more material coming off than I thought," Yeomans said, watching the initial impact images come in. "The predictions on the science team were all over the map. Someone won a fairly large-size pool here with a long-shot prediction of a rather extraordinary impact.

"We've got an object the size of a washing machine going in here creating a crater and ejecta that's just enormous. At least that's the way it looks like now. ... One of our science team members actually predicted the impact would release sub-surface pressure and we'd have a far bigger explosion than they anticipated. That may be what happened, I don't know."

Whoever that lone scientist was he deserves a beer. Of course it could have been a lucky guess. The explosion may have been larger because of other factors - like say a material on the comet surface previously unknown that acted as fuel... Either way he must be happy.

That being said the biggest use I can see coming from this mission won't come from the science - it'll come from monitoring the collision. This type of information could prove critical if ever we find ourselves staring down this or any other comets path in the future.

It's Bull

Apparently eating nothing but chips everyday ain't a good idea:

When Gina Gough was rushed into hospital in agony, with severe abdominal pains and jaundice, doctors initially suspected hepatitis and put her to an isolation ward.

In fact, the 22-year-old's condition was the result of a three-year diet that consisted almost entirely of crisps. She was eating up to 15 bags a day and went into hospital weighing 14st.

You could chalk this one up to the "Devoid of Common Sense Files" but that would be to straight forward... No we got to label chips now warning people of the horrible dangers:

Now Miss Gough is calling on crisp makers to put warning labels on their products. "I didn't listen to my parents, but official labels, telling people to eat crisps in moderation and warning about possible adverse effects on health, would certainly have got me thinking. Children are eating foods such as crisps with no idea about what they could be doing to their bodies."

Bull. She knew exactly what she what she was getting into. She had an addiction. Addictions are usually only the outward sign of something else going on in your life that needs to fixed. In this women's case it was her depression. Putting a darned label on her drug isn't going to cure her of the depression. She's fooling herself, and quite frankly I worry that she hasn't learned anything from this experience. I'm speaking from a painful personal experience with an addiction of my own: it's bull.

She was eating herself to death. It don't matter if it's chips, cocaine, heroine, alcohol or the drug of choice - it was taking control of her life. She was using it as an escape from her problems instead of dealing with them.

Now people are going to be railling about how chips are so unhealthy for you. But I'm sorry this man is right - and it's not corporate propaganda:

A spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation, which represents several crisp manufacturers, said: "Eating too much of anything - even fruit - is not a good idea. Snacks and treats can always be enjoyed in moderation.

Remember people when you point the finger at evil corporations for your own problems addictions and ails there are three fingers pointing straight back at you.

Going to McDonald's won't kill you. Eating chips won't kill you. Drinking won't kill you. But if you let any one escape from reality take control of your life it will destroy you.

Tip o' the hat to NealeNews.

Griffin's Decision...

NASA has apparently already decided how it will get cargo into space once the shuttle retires:
According to a new NASA study, when America goes back to the moon and on to Mars it will do so with hardware that looks very familiar.

NASA has decided to build two new launch systems - both of which will draw upon existing Space Shuttle hardware. One vehicle will be a cargo-only heavy lifter, the other will be used to launch the Crew Exploration Vehicle.
According to sources familiar with the study's final recommendations, the heavy lifter will be a "stacked" or "in line" configuration (one stage atop another) and not a "side-mounted" configuration as is currently used to launch the space shuttle. The first stage will be a modified shuttle external tank with rocket engines mounted underneath. The first configuration will use 6 existing shuttle (SSME Block II) engines.

The drive to use some shuttle derived technology in the new vehicle was obviously heavy. NASA, for all intensive purposes, is no longer an organization in the business of expanding humanity into the cosmos - it's a government institution where layoffs mean unhappy voters. NASA has become a deposit for socialist government job making schemes...

Politics, as we all know, trumps everything else - even space exploration.

I guess it does make some sense to use existing infrastructure to build the next generation of heavy launchers for NASA. They've made the vehicle inline - which means crap flying into equipment won't be a problem anymore. However I can't help but wonder why NASA needs to build a heavy launch vehicle at all?

I guess the words "Titan," "Atlas" or "Delta" don't ring a bell to anyone anymore. I don't see what NASA couldn't have used the heavy launch capability that the Air Force has invested loads of money into, and that NASA has used in the past, to depend on future cargo delivery? Even at Titan's bloated prices I'm sure I've read somewhere that they still are cheaper than NASA's costs. Private industry doing a better job at rocket launches than government... That would just make to much sense.

Maybe the payload capabilities weren't large enough? Maybe someone had an axe to grind I don't know. But the dreams many had that NASA would actually start to tender contracts for regular cargo delivery to the ISS or elsewhere to small start up companies like SpaceX have just burst into flames.

Tip o' the hat to Curmudgeons.

Also I would laugh if Curmudgeons is right - that it will be the military that helps to pony up the cash for the new system. Millions spent developing one system, give up on it, then fresh millions thrown at a new system... It's the never ending story...

Darth Cruise Kills Oprah

I always knew there wasn't something quite right about all that scientology jazz...

No wonder Kidman dumped him - he's pure evil... Posted by Picasa

Tip o' the hat to Stupidus.

Martin's Archbishop Clarifies...

Paul Martin's Archbishop has finally released a statement explaining his position on the ex-communication and denial of communion to the Prime Minister:
He did not personally bring his party to adopt this policy. He has come to the conclusion that it is according to the plan of God for him to accept to be the leader of his party and, in this arena, it is acceptable for him to represent its policies. As the leader of the party in power, he believes that his personal opinion is not relevant to his role as leader. While I do not agree either with his argument or his conclusion on same sex marriage, I do not think, at this time, his position merits refusing him communion.

The reason for all this confusion is that Bishop Henry from Alberta has said before that if Paul Martin were in his diocese - he would not allow him to receive communion. I think Bishop Henry kind of sees the denial of communion as something to shock someone into action. A kind of slap up side the head when it comes to your soul.

I don't think anyone has suggested that Paul Martin be ex-communicated. Though it was well for the archbishop in my opinion to clarify his position on it. Rumours were swirling around questioning his loyalty to Rome, and everything else that whent along with it. I was under the impression that Paul Martin's local parish priest was in favour of same sex marriage. The Catholic Church needs to get better at these types of things. Relations with the media is never an easy task, but not saying anything only allows the media to hunt down rumours and inuendos.

Now that the archbishop has explained the way he sees the situation I can understand now how delusional Paul Martin has become. If Paul Martin doesn't believe in Same Sex Marriage he has a duty to say so. It's like John Kerry's famous "I'm personally opposed..." Catholic politicians need to stand up for Catholic teachings. If they don't they are shirking their moral duty. And it sets a horrible example.

The situation may not merit Paul Martin to be denied communion, but it does merit for him to snap out it, and stand up for what he believes - if he actually believes it. It's not easy for me, and it sure couldn't be easy for Paul Martin, but it's his moral duty as a Catholic and a Christian to do so.