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Category Archive: news

Apr 08 2013

Glimmers of secular hope

There has been a great fracas recently within atheist/secularist circles as ‘Horseman’ Sam Harris has been subjected to repeated critique* as the avatar of a disturbing trend within atheist circles: using “reason” to mask anti-Muslim sentiment in politically pallatable language. I have noted this tendency previously: I don’t think anyone could confuse me with someone …

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Apr 03 2013

Mere speech

There is a long predigree in liberal public discourse about the dangers of punishing hate speech. The oft-quoted aphorism goes something like “the antidote to hate speech is more speech”*. The basic idea is that in a marketplace of ideas, bad ideas will be forced out by good ones, and thus the solution to hate …

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Mar 21 2013

Reporting from the Ministry of Irony

One of my deepest not-at-all-guilty pleasures is irony. If I were a more supernaturally-inclined person, I would point to events like this as evidence that there must be a supreme being: British Columbia’s largest oil spill response vessel got stuck on a sandbar en route to a federal news conference where Monday about strengthening Canada’s oil spill defences. …

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Feb 27 2013

New Required Reading: How a Wound Heals

Did you watch the Oscars? I didn’t. I don’t have cable, and to be honest even when I did the Oscars seemed like a complete waste of time. Other people like them though, so my Twitter feed was absolutely SLAMMED with #Oscars tweets, which is how I learned that satirical news-site The Onion decided it …

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Feb 26 2013

South of what, exactly?

A map of Sutton District High School

One of the chief arguments pressed into service in defence of so-called “casual” racism – that is, racism that occurs as part of popular culture without any awareness of racist content on the part of the majority – is that in the absence of intent, acts are not racist. While we here know this to …

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Feb 19 2013

Schadenfreude: Sun News edition

Those of you who have either been reading this blog for several years or who regularly follow my Twitter feed and have caught one of my unhinged rants on the subject, I am decidedly not a fan of Canada’s Sun News Network. While (full disclosure) I would not be a fan of any ‘right wing’ news outlet, …

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Feb 19 2013

Abuse of power; power of abuse

One of the weird facets of having male, able-bodied, and a great deal of middle-class privilege (that really does border on white privilege at times, my skin colour notwithstanding) is that there are a number of evidently-common phenomena that I have simply never witnessed. I have never known someone to be raped*, I have never …

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Feb 13 2013

B.C.’s premier speaks about her faith

And into the charged atmosphere that is Canada’s current grappling with the theocratic urges of its federal government comes this statement by British Columbia’s premier, Christy Clark: During her informal 50-minute talk before the ethnically mixed audience, Clark discussed what it means to be a lifelong Anglican, her support for “faith-based” social services, her views …

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Feb 13 2013

Canadian government funds anti-gay group to work in Uganda

If you don’t watch the Rachel Maddow Show, you really should. She is unparalleled in her journalistic excellence, and her self-deprecating wit is matched only by her insightfulness. If you’ve watched The Newsroom and longed for a hard-hitting newsman like Will McAvoy, the good news is that Rachel Maddow has been doing exactly what Sorkin fantasizes about, …

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Feb 05 2013

Driving us apart

Long-time cromrades may remember that I took part (mostly as a spectator) in Occupy Vancouver last year. The general theme of the Occupy movement was an invitation to examine the state of inequalities and inequities in our supposedly fair and meritocratic capitalist system. The thesis advanced by Occupy is that this system was not in fact …

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