Saturday, December 02, 2017

The Books Everyone Read

I recently read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It was a good book. It held my attention through the 800 pages. It makes you think. Set in the 19th century Imperial Russia, many of the themes are still relevant today.

I'd always meant to read that book. It was one of those books I grew up thinking everyone read. Well I thought everyone read them. So with Anna along with these other titles I've completed in recent years I have finally completed the task to read these books that everyone read.

Atlas Shrugged
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Anna Karenina

There are still some classic books that I've been meaning to read for a long time and perhaps I will get to them. So the reading and learning journey continues.

I have some ideas but I'm not entirely certain what to make of Anna. I'd be interested to hear the views of others who have read it and what they think it is about.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Comment on The Church Virtuous Circle

In my previous post on virtuous circle life in the church, it was some things I'd been thinking about for some time. Writing it in a diagram helped me to visualize stuff I'd always known about and grew up with but never really thought about in that way.

I think the chain style is important, as it helps visualize where breaks in the chain can occur and how people can come be non-churchgoers.

It's well known that church attendance is in decline in Canada. Also at the church I grew up in, and still attend sometimes. Recently there was a fellow from Michigan speaking, a good speaker. He said at his home church they had 23 kids in their program for ages 3-7. It just struck me how healthy his home church was. I'm confident they will still be around a generation from now.

It was a bit painful too, the diagram made me examine my own life, choices I made along the way, and my kids relationship to church and religion such as it is.

From the bottom left I got though the first two links. I was born protestant and grew up going to church every week. However within a year of finishing high school I was basically done with church and effectively stopped going for many years. Now in modern times I've come back somewhat to around 1-2 a month on average for the last couple years or so. The same church I grew up in.

Also in the later links, I married outside my church. Nominally a catholic, like me very seldom actually attended church. In the years I was dating then married we never once got up on a regular Sunday morning that wasn't Christmas, Easter or some occasion and voluntarily went to church, any church.

If you read the Old Testament outmarriage was the downfall of Israel and Judah starting with King Solomon. We were warned in the church as kids that outmarriage was the major cause of people leaving the church, and they were right.

For my kids, well I did not do a good job with religion. They were baptized catholic but basically never went to church as children. So it wasn't a natural part of their routine growing up. Plus the failed marriage of their parents is hardly going to steer them to be churchgoers now or into independent adulthood. So more breaks in the chain from my own experiences and choices in life.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Church Virtuous Circle

I will just post the diagram I drew of what occurred to me. Will comment more in later posts.

Church Virtuous Circle Diagram

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Prime Minister substitute drama teacher

So what to make of Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. At this point it's nearly two years in. Somehow it seems to have gone by quickly. Lots has changed during that time.

Trudeau is the affirmative action Prime Minister. He was elevated to the leadership of the Liberal party due to his ethnicity as the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Luckily he actually has his father's recognizable last name, which is a bit of a feat for where he comes from. To be fair to Justin he did win a federal election so he does get credit for accomplishing that.

Justin's background as a substitute drama teacher suggests he aspired to and came into this role of Prime Minister perhaps somewhat by accident, a bit later in his adult life after bouncing around some. Now during the election campaign the Liberal ads assured us that Justin was "ready" to be the leader of Canada. That old substitute teacher, ski bum, bouncing from school to school stuff, that's the past.

Based on the advertising, I think a lot of people expected Justin to "molt" from his early adult form into the form of a Prime Minister. The reality is that has not happened. Justin hasn't molted. He is still the sub drama teacher, always was and always will be.

His agenda since being elected seems at times like the musings of a sub teacher speculating what he would do as PM. Mandate an equal male-female balanced cabinet regardless of qualification. Thumb his nose at the Americans with cheeky Tweets about anyone in the world who can get here is welcome to come and stay in Canada. Renegotiate NAFTA with the emphasis being on social justice instead of trade.

Trudeau comes across as not especially interested in the job of Prime Minister. As far as I can tell his top priority, the only thing he's really motivated about, is criss crossing the country from Halifax to Vancouver to Toronto attending gay pride parades. And that's about it, Prime Minister gay pride. Is there anything else Justin seems really engaged with? Well establishing himself as the alpha male feminist too.

There's so much that he could and should care about and focus on. Each month thousands of primarily Haitian "refugees" from the USA flooding into Canada across an open border. Millions of jobs in Canada on the line in the NAFTA negotiations. Rising interest rates for better or for worse. Possibility of Canada being hit by an errant or intentional nuclear missile strike from North Korea. But he just doesn't seem to overly care about any of that stuff. Maybe it was unrealistic for Canadians to expect him to.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Canada NAFTA negotiations

So there's another round of NAFTA negotiations ongoing. The original trade deal was the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and USA back in 1987, about a generation ago.

Much has changed in Canada in only a generation. I remember trade agreements used to be about increasing trade, creating jobs in Canada, preserving key industries like dairy farms and auto manufacturing. In 1987 Canada's negotiator was Simon Reisman, a well-known, respected, successful Jewish businessman. He got it. He understood we were negotiating a trade agreement and his job was to get the best trade agreement for Canada.


And then there's today.
Look at Canada's so called priorities of this "trade" negotiation. The environment, Indians, gender, outlaw right to work in USA, etc. No mention anywhere of trade, industry or jobs. We can assume none of those things matter to the Prime Minister Trudeau.

The whole thing seems to be about advancing the social justice warrior agenda. Reads like some tripe written by the Dalhousie student union.

Who is the negotiator? On the USA side the leader and face is unquestionably President Trump.

And on Canada's side we have Chrystia Freeland. What a comparison from Mr. Reisman in only a generation. Freeland comes to cabinet from a career in big media, and appears to have no experience in business or industry.

Freeland seems to be a feminist sjw, writer of books with titles like "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else". The wiki page states "She is a proponent of personal asset seizures..."  No doubt. It's not clear how Mr. Trudeau saw her as the best Canada could find as the lead NAFTA trade negotiator, but the Prime Minister seems to have little interest in this matter.


Given that, best outcomes to Canada from this NAFTA negotiation are no change, or cancel the NAFTA agreement. No gain can come to Canada from an agreement negotiated between Trump with his priorities and Freeland with her priorities.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Atlantica Party of Nova Scotia

I discovered the party a bit by accident in the last provincial eletion cycle. I saw a couple banners around Halifax and visited the Atlantica website. I was a bit surprised and liked what I saw. Unfortunately they didn't have a candidate in my riding on the ballot or I might have voted for them.

A few thoughts on the Atlantica platform and website. First of all they should disable comments. Comments just attract trolls and it takes away their control of the narrative. Let the opponents expend their own time and energy to set up their own websites. Comments either undermine the message by opposing it, or even supporter comments can dilute the message without really adding value.

They should lead with the health care message. Health was the top issue in the election campaign. It is by far the largest provincial budget item. So lead with it. Their ideas for health care in Nova Scotia are quite interesting and innovative.

They make some good points about education too. So move that up to second on their website.

Everything else seems a bit w/e. Privatize the liquor commission? The LC is like meh, who cares one way or the other if it is private or crown. Maybe 30 years ago the way things were in the old days there was a case to privatize the LC. Today not so much. They have modernized, offering better hours and Sunday shopping. In-store service is good and friendly in my experience. There is also better customer experience with boutique outlets in grocery stores and rural corner stores.

I think the privatization of Nova Scotia Power was seen as a shot across the bow to the Liquor Commission. The LC got the message 25 years ago to act more like a business and less like a government department. Today I can't see a good case to make the change to private. Thus without a compelling case to privatize I'd say don't bother. Also we didn't gain anything from the NSPC privatization. A one-time $300 million of money to the province that was of course immediately spent with nothing to show for it.

MLA recall is a bad idea. In a multi-party first past the post system, riding winners will often pull less than 40% of the vote. Campaigns are often hard-fought and the margins of victory on election day thin. Recall would just be abused by sore losers trying to reopen and re-fight lost election campaigns. We already have recall, on election day.


On this site I've had some ideas about education and training and a proposal to reduce the burden of rules and restrictions which I will offer here as suggestions to Atlantica for future platform ideas.

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I appreciate the discussion that only Atlantica is willing to have at this time. I guess a soft landing from the statism of the past generations, going back to the 1970s and earlier. Admit that what we have been doing the last decades is failing. Let's move forward in a sustainable way. It's better to have a controlled soft landing now than an uncontrolled sudden stop and crash later.

It takes courage to bring it up and discuss it so credit to Atlantica for that. Thanks for being the only party willing to have an honest conversation about where Nova Scotia is today and what the realistic alternatives are at this point.

Atlantica makes me think of the Ivany report [PDF]. I think Atlantica should try to seize Ivany and identify with it. Demonstrate their platform is to basically implement Ivany. That's what it feels like a bit from their site anyway.

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I think Atlantica has more support than was reported. I think they ran a pretty good campaign with limited resources and exposure. I hope Atlantica continues and gains traction. It won't be easy, the status quo is deeply entrenched and will use their resources to very strongly resist any real change to the longstanding narrative of the past decades.

I think it was unfair of the media on election day to lump Atlantica and their darlings the Green party together as 0.4 % support "other". That was in my opinion basically appropriating Atlantica's votes to Green for reporting purposes which was wrong.

During the campaign the media basically tried to pretend Atlantica didn't exist, hoping Atlantica would go away if they just ignore them. Anyway that's stage 1, ignore and pretend it doesn't exist. Stage 2 which hasn't happened yet is ridicule, attack, and vilify. Stage 3, if they reach it, is when you win.