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Nov 26 2008

Open thread

Since I’ve been neglecting this blog while work is slowly wearing me down (and Fallout 3 has so much of my attention), please, feel free to consider this a “blank post” so you all can rant to your hearts content.

I’m upgrading WordPress again, as well, so let me know if anything breaks.

820 spams blocked?  Jeez.  Why do they even keep trying?

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Jason Thibeault

    Haha, this is cause I said I needed to rant about something.
    Ok this is probably going to be rather long so watch this space……

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    ok lets see, where to begin :P

    I am a member of many random forums about random things and in the past few days there has been a discussion on one that has driven me to write this rant, which is rather long (so sorry, it’s really really long) and complicated as it deals with a couple of separate yet slightly similar issues.

    I often complain about how bad my high school education was (and it really was) but the one thing they did teach me to do effectively was question the media, news stories, papers, articles, that kind of thing. I was taught to basically never take anything at face value, and not to jump to conclusions.

    It seems, not everyone paid attention during that class.

    The thread that has got me upset today was meant to be talking about the show canada’s worst driver, and quickly spiraled down hill into ‘It’s the kids! Those damn kids!’ I was choosing to ignore it until it was suggested that:

    my HONEST opnion, is that every teenager should have to visit the morgue and talk with familes of victom’s of driving related accidents. sometimes a DOSE OF REALITY can really bring home the MESSAGE.

    and while I actually highly disagree with this idea, and loathe the caps (ow, hello? stop yelling!) I could have ignored that too. Then this article popped up. (quoted in full below) To which there was all kinds of replies such as………

    its a dam good thing something like that dosent happen  arround me as i dont know if i could controle what i might do.

    needless to say it angers me to even think about it. 
    Maby i have seen too mutch in my life and am sensitive to what theyse kids did. the lack of respect is astounding and it is the main reason the world is the way it is today..

    (Anyone like to point out what is really astounding about that guy’s post? :P)
    And

    Yeah, it’s not too nice of a thing to know what people are (or aren’t) capable of in situations like this.

    I see it more as these types of folks lack the ability to feel empathy.  That’s where you can place yourself in another person’s shoes and then act according to how you’d feel if you were in the same situation.  I’m sure that even if you could do nothing to help someone in a situation like that (and one really shouldn’t attempt to move them, for one), a person could at least go to them and talk to them, reassure them that help is coming, etc.

    The fact that they could eat while that was going on shows how little empathy they feel.  My stomach wouldn’t be able to hold anything down at all.

    And

    And those kids should be tossed out of a moving van to bounce around the road for a while and let people sit around laughing and pointing at them. Shit like that makes me sick.

    Now just in case you didn’t want to click that link to the article, here it is in full so we can have a look at just what got these people so riled up.

    Youths ‘ate as man died after car crash’

    10:00 AEST Mon Nov 24 2008
    2 days 6 hours 57 minutes ago

    By ninemsn staff

    A group of youths sat on the roadside and ate fast food while an elderly man lay dying from a crash involving their high-performance car, witnesses claim.
    The four teenagers and one 27-year-old were travelling in a blue Subaru WRX STi when it collided with a 1974 Ford Escort panel van on Saturday at a roundabout at Miami on Queensland’s Gold Coast, the Gold Coast Bulletin‘s website reports.
    The panel van was hit with such force that it flipped onto its side, partially ejected an 82-year-old man. He suffered chest injuries and later died in hospital, while his 72-year-old partner sustained abdominal and leg injuries and remains in a critical condition.
    A police media spokeswoman said the Subaru, carrying five occupants, was unregistered and the 18-year-old driver disqualified from driving.
    Police also confirmed to the Bulletin that the car and its owner were known to them, having been impounded on November 13 for 48 hours for hooning offences.
    Witnesses to the accident told the Bulletin they were disgusted with the youths’ behaviour, saying not one of them attempted to help, and instead sat and ate McDonald’s that had been dropped off to them.
    “They just stood there and then they sat down and then someone dropped Maccas off to them,” local resident Fabian Atzori told the Bulletin.
    “What is it with young people where they can just turn off to human injury?”
    A passenger of the Subaru was charged with failure to provide information to police, and three other Subaru occupants were handcuffed but not charged.
    Sergeant Brendon O’Reilly said the crash investigation team were still investigating the crash to determine whether the Subaru was speeding at the time of the accident.

    Ok so obviously the big upsetting part of this article is the part where the teens apparently just vegged out and watched this old man die while eating their supper. That’s what the title says, that’s what the above comments are upset about, but is that what really happened? And this is what is bothering ME…… anyone with just a shred of critical thinking would be able to figure out that, no, most likely, that is NOT how the situation went at all. Let’s take a look at a few things and I’ll tell you why I think this.

    First off, the title says “A group of youths sat on the roadside and ate fast food while an elderly man lay dying from a crash involving their high-performance car, witnesses claim.”

    Two things about the ‘man lay dying’ part:

    1.) He didn’t die until after he was taken to hospital. Which leads me to

    2.) If a man is injured badly enough to eventually succumb to his wounds but not so badly that he doesn’t die until after he was taken to hospital would you know that he was ‘dying’ while you were waiting for help to arrive? Do people think that some big flashing sign appears that says ‘This man is dying!’ so you know he’s not just badly injured but indeed in need of immediate help? What’s more, if you were an 18 year old who was just in a car crash do you think you would be able to tell the difference? My point is I’m fairly certain nobody pointed out to the kids that ‘that man is dying over there’ and they then chose to just watch him get to it.

    Second, lets look at the part where they just sat down and ate. How could anyone do that right? Those damn kids! Well, again with the critical thinking. If you look at all the quotes, we have two from obviously angry neighbors, and one from just the article writer telling us that other people were also angry that they “sat and ate McDonald’s that had been dropped off to them.” Woa….. hang on a second, “had been dropped off to them?”. Who would drop off McDonalds in the middle of a crime scene? Well the fact that it was ‘dropped off’ tells us that it’s highly likely it wasn’t the parents, would YOU drive out to where your kid was just in a terrible car accident, hand them some McD and then saunter off? ‘Got to get back to work kids! Have a nice time with the police!’ Don’t think so. So we’re left with two options really:

    1.) It was a police officer, which implies that the kids were ‘approved’ or possibly even told to sit down and stay out of the way
    2.) It was a sympathetic witness who obviously thought the kids were shaken up enough to need to sit down and be given something to ward off shock

    Either of those options seem reasonable to me, and not cause for exclamations of ‘those damn kids!’ And about the whole ‘they didn’t even try to help’ or ‘they are so lacking in empathy, how could they eat?’, a couple more points.

    1.) How many times as a kid were you told to ‘go over there, sit down, and stay out of the way’ when adults were doing something important? I certainly was, and the adults I was around rarely ever did much more important things than preparing christmas dinner. I can’t think of a single person who tells their kids ‘If you’re in an emergency, help everyone you can!’ As nice as that would be, no, most parents teach their kids that if something bad starts to happen ‘get yourself to safety, and stay out of the way while the professionals do their jobs’. Hollywood and the media enforce this as well.

    2.) Something that I probably should have pointed out earlier, I’m fairly certain all this standing around/not helping/eating thing was taking place while help was already on the scene. Why do I say this? There were witnesses saying that they were just standing around, witnesses that were also standing around long enough to take it all in and be disgusted about it, so assuming these witnesses were concerned for the accident victims (which it sure seems like they were) we can conclude that the professionals had the situation well in hand.

    3.) About the eating thing. Very recently my Uncle was driving home from the night shift when he suddenly came upon a person lying in the middle of the road. He immediately stopped and went to check that the young man was ok, but to his horror found that he was dead, and had been for a while. He called 911 of course, but by the time they got there my Uncle was so shaken up that he could barely stand. So what did the paramedics and police do? The sat him down and made a run for Tim Hortons. My Uncle doesn’t drink coffee, the doctors tell him it’s bad for him and he listens, but the police made sure there was always a cup in his hands and by the time they took him home he had downed three large coffees.

    Now that’s a very very long post about that article, and I apologize, but the truth is that it was just the last straw of something that has been building for a while and I needed to rant about it. Mainly I’ve been seeing two issues a lot that have really started to bug me. First is this whole lack of critical thinking thing………. enough said I think, people are just stupid. Second is how extremely often I’m hearing ‘kids are so disrespectful these days, they weren’t nearly as bad when I was a kid‘.
    sigh That is just such a load of bullshit it isn’t even funny anymore. Kids are not more disrespectful these days at all. Kids have always disrespected their elders, since the begining of time. As proof I give you this quote:

    “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
    frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond
    words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
    respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
    [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint” (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

    It is their ability to disrespect and question us that moves the world forward in a progressive manner. Yes it sucks when someone younger than you shows you up or is just plain rude, I’ve had it happen even though I’m only 22, but it’s life. We also have a couple of things going on right now that make it seem like lack of manners and poor attitude are on the rise.

    1.) A global media. We get to hear about almost every single bad child incident because people love to gossip and with the global media, internet, email, IM, blogging etc etc etc it spreads like wild fire. We just hear about it more, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen just as much 50 years ago.

    2.) There are more kids today. Technically, bad manners has risen in the world, but only because the population has about tripled. It only makes sense that with more kids there will be more of them that are unruly, but that still doesn’t mean that those kids are more disrespectful today, there are just more of them.

    I wish more people would think about these things. I understand that there has and will always be a generational divide in the world but it pains me to see people trying to throw away our youth. They are our future. We need to at least try to be there for them. How are they going to learn to care about the world if we all just give up on them as soon as we are no longer considered youths ourselves?

    </rant>

  3. 3
    Matthew Clairmont

    I found this very reminiscent to a conversation I had in February with a Halifax woman on the Facebook group, Breakfast Television on ASN. Her comment was:

       Hi everyone, I think that the school boards should start teaching a new curriculum in school on how drugs can affect your life. They should target grades 6 to 12 and bring in recovering addicts/alcoholics, police, doctors, prosecutors and even take the older students to the morgue to see that drugs do kill. After all bringing in a police officer once a year is a start, but like math and english, this subject must be tackled more heavily.

    To which my reply was:    I respectfully disagree. I would submit that far less than half of today’s high school students are using addictive, dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine, so we would be punishing the majority by implementing the idea of bringing them into morgue or addiction treatment centres.    Being obese can lead to diabetes and heart disease, but should we bring overweight kids to the morgue to see what the dangers of not eating right are? Absolutely not.     As individuals we all have a right to decide our particular lifestyle. Whether that includes healthy habits or unhealthy habits really is no one else’s business, except when it brings harm or breaks the law. I understand that society has a vested interest becuase of the cost of treatment, but rather than tax the school system to find more creative ways to bring the “Say No To Drugs” campaign home, we should be placing the emphasis back where it belongs – on the guardians and the family.    I honestly have never used illegal drugs nor have I felt inclined to – I even waited until the legal age to consume alcohol - solely because I was raised knowing what kind of person I should strive to be and how that didn’t fit into the equation. I was taught to have respect for myself, my body and mind, and was shown more intuitive ways to deal with my problems. That being said, I understand that people who do use illegal drugs are no less valuable to society.    Today, kids are using drugs because they have not been taught better ways to cope. For some it is the only escape they know. As parents, grandparents, and authority figures in general, we have relied on the school system to teach our children about sex, drugs and life skills in general, to the point where our roles as child-raisers is moot.    I know how uncomfortable and anxious it would have made me feel if I was forced to visit a morgue – or even forced into an assembly with recovering addicts sharing terrible stories about addictions I never would have turned to anyway. When I was in high school so much of the focus was on drunk driving and we sat through three long videos graphically displaying the aftermath of horrible accidents, during which I nearly vomitted. I haven’t driven while drunk, but I have lost several classmates in the years since who decided to take the wheel while intoxicated, despite the video.    Again, it all comes down to raising the child properly with goals and pride in what they do. It is only when these kids congregate and feel hopeless and lost that they do stupid things like drive drunk, vandalize property, and take drugs.    I think the idea of subtly incorporating your message into the curriculum might be a better alternative – like finding stories about addiction recovery and discussing them in English class – but we can’t continue to pressure the school system to fix the problems our laziness created.    You admitted with frustration that we have lost the ability to physically reprimand our children, but does that mean we’ve run out of ideas on how to discipline them? If the only way we know to teach someone life skills was to hit them when they did something wrong, the only reason they would change is to avoid abuse – as soon as they were old enough they would stop caring.    Teach them why it is important to respect your elders. In fact, rather than bringing your child to the morgue, bring them to the local Veterans hopsital and let them talk to our wounded war vets. Or even better, make a donation to your local hospital and bring your child in to see the difference it makes to children stricken with leukemia.    That is the kind of teaching we don’t do anymore, not because it’s no longer allowed, not because it’s frowned upon, but because we are lazy and expect someone else to raise our children. Every generation, it would seem, makes a sport of blaming its successor for the sad state of modern affairs. Very seldom do we ask if we’ve done anything wrong, or for that matter, if we could be doing more…

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    Excellent reply and thanks for reading my very long rant lol.
    I got a bit caught up and forgot to touch on the morgue comment, but I absolutely agree with you. In fact I think the harm done from such ‘shock’ treatments would out weigh the benefits.
    When I was a child, my own father thought he knew how to ‘properly teach me a lesson’ about not going to public washrooms by myself (I think I was 6 or so). He waited around a corner until I had walked passed on my way back to the store where my mum was working and grabbed me from behind. He picked me up and carried me off for some distance before I broke free and ran away. It was a traumatic experience for me, one that I have never really fully forgiven him for. And the main point? Do I cautiously look around corners when I am alone and worry about people jumping out at me? No. So his ‘lesson’ didn’t really stick, all I got was emotional scars.
    I also went to many funerals and saw dead friends and family in their caskets when I was younger and it was very hard, but at least I had the support of other friends and family to help me through it. It’s a completely different atmosphere than being marched off with the rest of your classmates and told to look upon the face of someone who died as the result of something you might do one day. I just can’t imagine that that would have the intended results without some consequences.

    I really like your idea of “Or even better, make a donation to your local hospital and bring your child in to see the difference it makes to children stricken with leukemia.” I think it’s important to do those kinds of things early with kids and show them how they can help as opposed to just showing them how they can not make things worse.

  5. 5
    Matthew Clairmont

    Thanks and sorry about the crazy formatting in my post, I couldn’t get it to add paragraphs right – shows what I know of html.

    The basic message I take from both of these cases is that we all make mistakes, and making an example of someone is not as effective a teaching tool as illustrating the right thing to do.  I find it funny to consider than after eons of human evolution the previous generation always seems to be the one who figured it all out and got it all right. It’s the kids, the next generation that can’t live up to their standard of perfection. 

    Eighteen months ago I started doing some research for a short story/book about kids in New Brunswick who vandalized graves, seeking insight into their motives and the answers they gave were tremendous. In some cases these were misguided, troubled youth lacking direction, but for the most part it was normal kids who were completely discouraged by the way they were perceived. They saw striking back as their only option.

    It was even worse in Bluefield, PEI – I believe it was 2004 – when Vice Principal John Russell, along with MADD, organized a fake automobile accident and mislead the students of Bluefield High into believing at least one of their classmates had been killed in the school parking lot – complete with sound effects and staged victims, paramedics, etc. Grief cousellors were brought in, even as the event was revealed to be a hoax, because several of the students were so traumatized. One wonders how Mr. Russell would react were he to receive a phone call indicating his wife were dying in hospital, only to rush to the emergency room to discover it was also a hoax.

    We don’t educate adults that way because we have too much respect for them to do that. I wish I knew why we can’t respect the children of our society and their right to feel safe while getting an education as well.

  6. 6
    ReformedYankee

    I concur.

    In other news… I am by no means a Conservative, and I don’t pretend to be happy with the fact that they are currently in control of the Canadian government.  That having been said, recent talk out of Parliament about the formation of a Coalition Government between the Liberals and NDP ousting the Conservatives after the Economic update on Thursday frustrates and bewilders me. 

    Canada seems to be in a pretty good spot right now.  The rest of the world is bracing for economic turmoil and we are running on a surplus budget.  Sure we have some spill over from our southern neighbor’s woes with GM closing doors in Ontario and I’m sure there are other examples that are eluding me right now, but the point is that we as a country have been fiscally responsible and have not gone too far beyond our means.  The conservatives have opted to continue to run a surplus and not introduce a stimulus package like so many ’1st’ world countries are currently trying to do.  According to them, right now we are not in need of a stimulus package (which would cause a deficit) but it could come in the near future. 

    This lack of a package has the Liberal knickers in a twist (o_O)
    Not like they need a reason to try and overthrow Harper but this seems to be the issue they are going to grab a hold of.  But instead of racing to the polls again, The Liberals want to pal up with the NDP and with the blessing (but not direct involvement) of the Bloc. 

    Now, check my numbers here… Currently the Conservatives have 143 seats, the Liberals, 77, NDP have 37 and the Bloc hold 49 (there are 2 Independants as well.)  This means that even if all votes went 100% by party lines, any Liberal/NDP motions would require 30 Bloc votes to beat out a Conservative opposition.  I can’t see this relationship lasting longer than a one night stand, and it’s the entire nation that will inevitably walk away with Syphilis. 

    We can’t afford another election right now.  I say let the Conservatives take the lead on this one and pick your battles.  Let them weather the upcoming storms that are on the horizon and after the dust settles and it is time to start rebuilding then make your move.  We do no have the need for great change right now.  We just need to stay level and weather out whatever is headed our way.  A solid minority government is capable of doing that.  The last coalition government Canada had was in 1917 and that was created in order to force conscription on the country during WWI.  Needless to say, we have been weary of coalitions since then.

    Well, I think that this has been long winded and scatter brained enough for right now, what does everyone else think? 

  7. 7
    Jason Thibeault

    Don’t think you got the whole story behind the confidence vote, ReformedYankee.  It’s partly coming because Harper’s government tried to cut out 30 million from the budget for campaign contributions, which would have eviscerated everyone’s ability to campaign against the Conservatives (sort of to seal the deal as it were and give more power to the Conservatives than they already have), putting them in financial jeopardy despite the insignificance of the 30 mil in the budget itself.  Also, Harper’s government is facing potential criminal charges right now for having wiretapped NDP conference calls in an attempt to smear them as “anti-Canadian” — Watergate anyone?

    And yeah, there’s a better chance we’ll be able to weather out the storm than other countries, but with our economy tied so heavily to the States’, it’s better to be safe than sorry — we’ll need to be ready in case something hits the fan.  Having a plan for when things go wrong would be nice, and it’s that lack of a plan (Harper’s plan amounts to “everything’s fine, we don’t need a plan”) that the confidence vote will hinge on, despite alleged wrongdoing and an attempt to hamstring opposition.

  8. 8
    Miranda

    Ok, my pet peeve for today. This comes from reading far too many comments regarding the traffic situation during the snow storm a few weeks ago, there is apparently a class action law suit starting up by some of the people who were stuck in their vehicles on the cobiquid pass during the storm. Ridiculas in and of itself in my opinion. What really has me annoyed is all the comments about the “ambulance chasing lawyers” who would dare start such a ridiculas law suit.  Lawyers don’t start law suits, a lawyer can’t simply wake up and say to themselves “Hey, I think i’ll start a class action law suit today, just for fun … who can I sue?” Another person must approach the lawyer and request that the lawyer start the suit for them. And for those who are about to cry “the lawyer should turn down such a stupid client and never start the suit” what about a persons right to fair representation? A lawyer definately has the right to turn down potential clients who want to do something stupid, but someone has to represent them. If they don’t have a right to representation because some people think that what they want to be represented about is stupid, then what right do any of us have to any representation of any kind?  *sigh* There, I got it off my chest, thanks for listening, I hope it was coherent enough considering the lack of caffine and sleep I am currently running on.

  9. 9
    Jason Thibeault

    The meme of “ambulance chasing lawyers” and class-action lawsuits being ways to make a lawyer some money is perpetuated by Republicans frequently in the states, usually in some attempt or another to relax regulations against corporations.  The term “trial lawyer” is often used in demonizing those laws that keep businesses in check and keep them from running roughshod over the rights of the “little people”.  The funny thing is, no matter what the idea is that a conservative peddles, there’s usually an ulterior motive — e.g. unions cause businesses to lose money from having to treat their workers equitably and give them decent living wages, gays marrying will devalue “traditional” marriages, “trial lawyers” have too much power to hobble businesses with their bringing lawsuits against companies, etc.  I’m sorry that you have to be on the receiving end of the hate dribbling out these corporate shills’ mouths.

    Regardless of what these goobers want to sue over, they have the right to have their complaints heard by the judges, and it’s the judges who have the ultimate authority as to what’s frivolous and what’s a legitimate complaint, regardless of who brings what lawsuit and who makes money off these idiots pooling together to try to fight over having been stuck on a pass during a snowstorm.

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Hey Reformed Yankee! The Canadian Conservative party has just released another series of attack ads accusing Stephane Dion of a power grab, of trying basically to usurp Harper against the will of the people.  Must Harper be reminded that only 37% of the voting population voted for him?  And that all the other alternatives (Bloc, Liberals, NDP and Green) are on the left side of the spectrum, and that makes up the other 63%?  That means a supermajority of Canadians disagree with Harper. 

    Another tactic that Harper is attempting to employ is the use of Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament — that is, to shut down the House of Commons until January to prevent a confidence vote.  When a dictator is about to be voted down in a no-confidence vote by a majority in the other branch of government, it is a dictator’s tactic to simply shut down that other branch of government before the vote can take place.  While prorogation happens often enough for legitimate reasons, to use it in order to dodge a political bullet is just plain low. You stay classy, Harper.

  11. 11
    ReformedYankee

    After further study of the situation and the events that have transpired over the past week, I recant my previous post.  Bear wit me folks, I’m Reformed, but I have a tendency to relapse into Ignorance and propaganda from time to time…

    The first step is recognizing there is a problem…

  12. 12
    Jason Thibeault

    No worries.  Don’t be too hard on yourself — the smartest among us can be fooled if our attentions are drawn elsewhere (like the fucking economy, or your home life, etc.). 

    If you still feel bad about it, as penance, throw me some links to stuff you’ve been reading, then I’ll do likewise.  I got lucky and found a thread on DailyKos that pointed me to a bunch.

    As for my own thoughts, three words: that coward bastard.  Dissolve parliament to dodge a political Perfect Storm of retribution after you’ve done everything you can to stomp in the face of the left while you had the Bush-style “mandate” of merely winning the election at a near-tie.  The tie in our case coming by virtue that the political left is fractured to the point where the Conservative coalition seriously tipped the scales such that 36% of this country can decide exactly what Canada does despite 64% disagreeing.  Unfortunately we slip toward bipolar disorder where Good (and slightly corrupted) and Evil (Dressed As Good) fight in an eternal battle, and use chairshots like unifying with another party into a minority win while the Left is weak and splintered, to do it.  That the Left is rallying lately is encouraging.  I just wish our debate can get back to where it was once upon a time (a long long time ago), a civil discourse regarding differences of opinion rather than Crossfire or Bill O’Reilly style cross-talk and shouting-down.  (Not that I’m doing much better in screaming “coward bastard” on this blog.)

    BAH

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