More interesting stuff – 2016-12-02

There’s so much interesting stuff going on that I’m going to do a second one of these this week. In fact, I might take a bit of a break from the ngrams. Most of what I found interesting recently I’ve already covered.

I blogged previously that the federal government – in an act of accountability and transparency never experienced under a Harper government – put a lifelong gag order on a whole bunch of people with respect to the jet fighter situation. Now they have pulled a paper from the DND website that was critical of their current course of action.

So how’s that “change in government” thing working out?

In a child porn case involving teenagers distributing naked images of other teenagers the BC’s highest court overturned the sentence handed to a girl who vindictively snagged naked photos of another girl off an ex-boyfriend’s phone and distributed them. She was originally charged with distributing child porn which, by definition, is exactly what she was doing.

Then the whole concept of “harm” came into the discussion (as it so often does). Because, you see, there is certainly harm in distributing naked images of a young girl to other friends and enemies – the court acknowledged as much – but by golly, the harm that would come to the perpetrator if she were forced to endure the penal system… well that’s just too much!

The horrible thing, of course, is that the legal system is based on precedence, so because this girl gets out of hot water on that issue that means that other kids who vindictively distribute naked images of their friends and enemies can punt their legal issues to “precedence” and walk away with, perhaps, a mild slap on the wrist.

But of course, it’s far better that teenagers start blackmailing each other with naked pictures of their friends then, Heaven forbid, a handful of them spend a bit of time behind bars.

So here’s a crazy thought; don’t let other people take pictures of you naked!

The committee tasked with considering electoral reform in Canada concluded that there are a number of options and that a referendum ought to be held to let Canadians decide.

My word, can you imagine the horror? A referendum? The Liberals just had to step in and prevent such a travesty, which they attempted to do in Parliament.

I mean, seriously, if we started having referendums we might end up like Switzerland where, you know, people actually get to make decisions on things instead of just picking their “leaders” once every four years.

And this quote is golden,

[T]he Liberals on the committee said they don’t believe Canadians are engaged enough, and committee recommendations are “rushed,” “too radical” and “racing toward a predetermined deadline”

Gee, almost sounds a little like the assisted suicide thing a little while ago, right? The Supreme Court wielded their unelected power to impose a completely arbitrary deadline on the government, and the government danced to their tune. The result? “Rushed.” “Radical.” “Racing toward a predetermined deadline.” Check, check and check.

But apparently these things weren’t a problem on that issue. Letting some Canadians kill other Canadians was pretty straightforward and definitely didn’t require the input from Canadians, but deciding how we choose our leaders… well… that’s a massive and complicated issue with no easy answers.

Glad we have our priorities straight.

Just a couple of days ago I posted an article about the challenges faced in the media, and how their descent into sensationalism is, at root, the most rational response to our reading habits. Now MacLean’s reports that Rogers Media (which owns MacLean’s) is doing some more layoffs.

Furthermore, they are reducing the number of print magazines they publish, and are trying (and failing) to sell some other publications.

I hope they can resist the urge to descend in sensationalist reporting.

While the challenges facing the media (with respect to advertising revenue) may seem insurmountable, the CBC has come up with the perfect solution; get the government to pay all the bills!

In order to go ad-free and achieve other goals in its proposal, CBC/Radio-Canada said it would need the government to boost its per-person funding to $46 a year — an increase of $12 per Canadian.’

Which means, right now, Canadians are paying about $34 per person per year to keep the CBC afloat. For a family of four that comes to $136 per year, or about $11.33 per month.

By comparison, premium Netflix (which would let you watch on four separate devices) is $11.99 per month. The difference, of course, is that Netflix has at least some stuff you might want to watch.

Speaking of Netflix,

“Advertising revenues for conventional television are down as audiences become more fragmented, ad-free content becomes more available, and alternate content providers such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and, Apple TV/iTunes continue to make inroads.”

What they would prefer is funding that is,

“predictable and stable, tied to the existing five-year licence cycle, indexed to inflation, and separated from the election and annual government budget cycles.”

Predictable and stable. Right. Because that’s how the real world works. It’s not like the private sector in, say, media, oil & gas, or who knows how many other industries would enjoy a little “predictable and stable” funding that is conveniently “indexed to inflation” and so forth. But that isn’t the real world; that’s a fantasy land. The public sector has a longstanding track record of resisting dealing with the constraints of the real world, especially not when it’s just so much easier to suck a little more tax dollars out of the government.

And if they get their ad-free increase – while all those poor saps in the private sector are stuck with pesky things like “competition” – then the monthly rate to Canadians goes up to $15.33 / month. To be honest, I’d consider paying that much for the content selection at the American Netflix.

I’m not sure about you, but this strikes me as something of an affront to justice. Some taxi driver sexually assaults a woman after she paid the fair, and the judge let him off because he’s a white Christian! The judge said,

“The damage that I spoke of that troubled me with regard to Christian taxi drivers, you have done to your fellow Christians, that damage. They do not deserve it, and I hope that people will not approach a Christian and feel distrustful; they ought not to.”

Oh, wait, I got that all mixed up. The judge was going to issue a more severe punishment, not a lesser one because of his religion and race.

Oops, and it was because he was a dark-skinned Sikh, not because he was a white Christian. He went on to say,

“You are a Sikh of swarthy complexion. We do not want people saying, ‘I won’t get in a taxi driven by a dark-skinned person.’ That is not fair to the driver who is trying to make a living this way. We do not want people reacting that way, either. Therefore, something firm must happen to you.”

Christian. Sikh. White. Brown. Justice is supposed to be blind. This is an example of discrimination that should not take place.

Speaking of racism, remember all that stuff post-Trump about “crying wolf” by calling everything racist, sexist, etc, etc, etc. Here’s two more stories to add to the discussion.

First, some people want to ban any hockey team with a name that references an indigenous people group. Because they are “racist.” The complainant stated such banners created a “hostile environment.”

Second article, and speaking of hostile environments, yet another professor is in hot water because of “racist” activity. In this case, daring to walk out of a talk when a black woman was at the podium. As the article says, “No one appears much interested in finding out what led him to leave the room…” Maybe he had to tinkle?

Similarly, no one appears much interested in how, exactly, having hockey teams with references to indigenous peoples creates a “hostile environment.” Where all this is going is summarized very well at the end of the second article,

A good old-fashioned “struggle session,” wherein the guilty have to publicly confess to their “crimes” as they did in Mao’s China, may be just what the doctor ordered.

Indeed, welcome to the “new tolerance.”