Write your local MP: No more Canadian aid for Uganda while they’re murdering gays

Update: Please read Melanie Nathan’s caution on what should and shouldn’t be done to fight this initiative — she strongly urges that countries not withdraw aid because of this bill, because the LGBTI community will be scapegoated and targeted as a result.

I leave the rest of this post intact because I am concerned that they are already in trouble — every activist in Uganda risks being arrested as it stands, with or without economic sanctions from countries opposed to Uganda’s declared murderous intentions. Her advice is excellent for outsiders like us looking in, though.

Uganda’s apparently delivered an early “Christmas gift” — their words, not mine– to all the homophobic Christians in their theocratic regime. Thanks to GOP members, Catholic pastors, and other outside interference by various and sundry religious bigots, Uganda’s finally built enough momentum and passed the two-year-old proposed bill that will require the death penalty for the high crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Update: Apparently Kadaga declaring that it will become law doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s a chance this won’t be passed despite her sabre-rattling.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.

Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.

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Harper government celebrates destruction of long gun registry… quietly

Via Winnipeg Free Press, a spokesperson for the Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed that the long gun registry has been destroyed — at least, except for Quebec’s, where legal battles are ongoing. Interestingly, the Harper government did not issue a press release on the matter; it took gun enthusiasts rumoring about the registry’s destruction before the spokesperson would confirm.

No formal news release appears to have been issued by a Conservative government that has made repeal and destruction of the long-gun registry one of its bedrock promises.

Nor has the government said exactly how much taxpayer money will be saved by repealing the registry, although a study by The Canadian Press suggests it is a small fraction of the millions spent annually on gun licensing.

Could it be because the suggested “savings” are a total canard? A non-starter? A… dare I say it… complete line of bullshit?
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Wayback: remember when Harper’s government wanted to process dead animals too?

Someone tweeted a link to this story a few days ago. The story happened in May, but it’s chilling in light of current events.

The Conservative government is pitching the change as a way to cut red tape and provide greater flexibility to slaughterhouse operators.

But the New Democrats are raising a red flag saying the move invites possible “contamination” of the food supply.

“Under the present regulations . . . it has to come in alive, be slaughtered on site,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland), the party’s agriculture critic.

“Now you can bring in dead stock. It’s okay to bring in that animal into a slaughterhouse, have it cut, wrapped . . . for human consumption.

“The real fear is how did it die, (and) under what circumstances did it die.”

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Beef recall expands… again

The ground beef recall I mentioned recently has apparently increased significantly — including more meat products for the sixth time since the original recall.

In all, the recall involves millions of pounds of beef produced from late August to early September and shipped to stores in Canada and the United States. Beef from the plant has been linked to five illnesses and the recall led to one call for Canada’s agriculture minister to resign.
[...]
To improve safety, XL said it will use video cameras to audit plant processes, will expand washing the sides of beef with high-pressure hot water to eliminate E. coli contamination, and add staff to each shift to monitor sanitary procedures.
[...]
The recall of beef from the plant began September 16, almost two weeks after the CFIA learned of the contamination and began an investigation. CFIA has said it did not recall meat earlier because the products originally flagged had not made it onto store shelves.

Remember, cook your meat thoroughly. E.coli can be killed by thoroughly cooking beef and beef products.

Canadian beef recall due to E.coli

May want to check your ice boxes.

OTTAWA, September 21, 2012 – The public warning issued on September 20, 2012 has been expanded to include additional ground beef products because the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Previously identified products included in this recall can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website at www.inspection.gc.ca/recalls.

The CFIA is warning the public, distributors and food service establishments not to consume, sell, or serve the ground beef products described below because the products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

This recall also includes unlabelled and/or unbranded ground beef products available for sale from August 24 through September 16, 2012 and sold at retail stores not identified in the CFIA’s product list below, which may include small retailers, local meat markets and butcher shops, etc. Therefore, the CFIA is advising consumers who are unsure if they have the affected ground beef product in their home to check with the store(s) where the product was purchased or throw it out.

Full list available here. A little diligence to avoid bloody diarrhea is a decent trade-off.

Blanding’s turtles, nearing extinction, find help in NS zoo

Our local zoo, Oaklawn Farm, has reportedly taken on and hatched some hundred Blanding’s turtle eggs, a breed of Nova Scotia turtle that’s on the endangered species list. Oaklawn Farm Zoo is the former home to the largest African lion in captivity in North America, Rutledge, who died of old age recently.

Blanding turtle hatchlings in a tank

In June, more than 100 Blanding’s turtle eggs were moved from Kejimkujik National Park — in the southern half of the province — to the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford.

They’ve since hatched and the tiny turtles are quickly getting stronger and bigger on a steady diet of trout pellets and mealworms.

“There is a very high predation rate and it’s estimated that only about one per cent of these hatchlings survive naturally,” said Duncan Smith, a biologist with Parks Canada.

“That’s why we’re seeing if we can bolster that with this incubation and headstarting program.”

Blanding’s turtles are medium-sized freshwater turtles. Adults have dark-green, high-domed shells with yellow flecks and are easily identified by their distinctive yellow throats and undersides.

The Nova Scotia population of the Blanding’s turtle is listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, while the provincial Endangered Species Act lists them as endangered.

The original story at CBC has some absolutely adorable video of the hatchlings.

It is good that the Zoo is taking on these new challenges, with how clean and safe and expansive the habitats are (in my estimation) for their charges. Every time I’ve visited, I’ve gotten the sense that the animals are taken care of very well, with plenty of roaming room and appropriate habitats for each species. It warms my heart that the endangered turtle species is being given a second chance by these great folks. If it weren’t nearing the end of the zoo season, I’d take a run down just to see them.

That reminds me, I have yet to post my recent visit to the Halifax Natural History Museum and the pics I took of Gus and some other turtles. Now that I’ve remembered once, I’ll surely forget again. Remind me again sometime, will you?

Halifax NSIS talk: GIRLS and Science

Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal will be presenting the following talk at the Halifax Natural History Museum auditorium, 1747 Summer St., on Oct. 1st, 7:30pm:

GIRLS and Science: Why it’s Important and How You can Support Them

October 1, 2012

Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal
Mount St. Vincent University

The NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Atlantic Region) describes how she became a biologist specializing in craniofacial development and evolution. She will outline why it’s important to encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) careers.

Hat tip to Shawn Wilson of CFI-NS.

More information and more upcoming NSIS events available in this PDF.

Our local canadate

So there’s evidently a local election going on that I wasn’t aware of. It’s probably something at the town level, or I would have seen signs driving about. Want to know how I found out about this election? Well, it’s a funny story actually. I came home from work a few days ago, and Jodi says, “We got the most ridiculous note in the mail today.”

“Oh?”

“I can’t even explain… just read it. It’s on the counter.”

I pick it up. It is folded in half.

Your Canadate [Local Politician] 2012
Ohhhh, this has promise, thought I.
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Canadian families richer than American families — thanks, socialism!

A perhaps startling, but perfectly heartening piece of pro-Canada propaganda err, news from Bloomberg:

According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

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Scientists protest death of evidence on Parliament Hill

Canadian scientists marched on Parliament Hill this past Tuesday to protest the ongoing campaign by the Harper government to squelch any and all science whose results go against party lines on topics like (and especially) the environment.

Evoking images of the Grim Reaper, protesters held a mock funeral procession through the streets of Ottawa before ending up at the House of Commons.

They chanted: No Science, No Evidence, No Truth, No Democracy.

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