Saturday, October 28, 2006

Skinny Jeans & Sub Zero

I cheered Milan's fashion catwalk when in a radical move it decided to ban drastically thin models from its catwalks. Imagine a 20 something model wearing clothes that a 7 year old child could wear. Think about Hollywood's pressure on stars to be super thin. I recently saw a comparison of photos of Demi Moore in a magazine; Demi in the 1980s and Demi today. It was proof of how a healthy young woman can starve herself thin. Dove has a wonderful video on their site in support of their self esteem campaign for young women. It shows a model, pretty girl, and then we get to view the transformation she goes through until her photograph is plastered on a billboard. Photo enhancement in magazines, on billboards and in the media is big business. There should be a disclaimer: the people you see in these photographs are real people who have been enhanced to perfection.

And then I discover that the hourglass figure is the shape used for most of women's clothing. Only 8% of women are a true hourglass, and although Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren fell into this shape, Marilyn had to work hard to keep it. Most women are either an apple, spoon/pear or rectangle. Designers don't cut clothes for these shapes and haven't in 50 years!! There is a push on in the fashion industry to change, to start designing and cutting clothes for the top 3 shapes. I await this change and I will applaud it!! Maybe I will finally be able to find skirts and pants that fit my waist without gapping because I have to buy pants/skirts to fit over my hips but which end up being too big in the waist.

This week, I read with horror that there is a new size! Often when shopping sales, I find a plentiful supply of size 0s which haven't sold. Shouldn't this be telling someone that size 0 people aren't plentiful and that there are a mutitude of leftover clothing! Now subzero has been introduced into the UK size 00! Maybe the UK is trying to sell adult clothing to seven year olds?? Who in the world is size 00, other than those terribly sad photos of starving children in Africa? Is this what we are asking our young woment to aim for?

Sure there is an obesity problem in North American, but asking people to starve themselves thin isn't the answer to this problem nor is it a healthy body image to promote.

And then there are skinny jeans at the Gap using Audrey Hepburn as the model. Audrey who was one of the worst eaters, and who like a lot of stars at the time was on a strict diet to maintain her shape.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What About Putting Saddam Back in Charge?

Will Durst thinks it might work...
He’s tan. He’s rested. He knows the territory. Not doing much right now. Still has huge name recognition. Wouldn’t have to re-introduce him to the populace.
And be honest, how much worse could his re-reign be than what’s going on right now? Hell, we don’t need some big time fancy commission to tell us what to do.
Henry Kissinger is on board; ask him. Just resurrect his 32-year-old plan for Richard Nixon. We declare victory, and leave. Reinstall a chastened reformed Hussein and appoint someone to watch over him. How bout Dick Cheney? Kills three birds with one stone: Gets the Vice President, whose approval rating is lower than an anchovy milkshake, out of Washington AND in place to provide hands-on control over his Halliburton operation, AND Bush gets to appoint a successor for 08. Besides, if Cheney can’t instill the fear of Allah in Hussein, nobody can.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kissing Kyoto Goodbye

"It's a path which is indeed, globally, quite suicidal. I just look to my grandchildren and their children and say, 'Jesus, the world is going to be a different place, and it's going to be a much less secure place, and much less comfortable place and there's going to be a whole pile of dead people.'"
-- Former Environment Minister David Anderson

Canada is first out of Kyoto, in deed if not in word, with the Conservative government's so-called Clean Air Act which was introduced last week. Prime Minister Harper, saying this country is showing leadership by sending our boys and girls off to die to honour our NATO commitments, doesn't seem able to show leadership by living up to our international environmental commitments. The true north, strong and free, and the biggest per capita polluters on the planet.
While some might argue that the government's slow pace to bring in hard caps is better than nothing, it's really worse than nothing. For starters, Harper is planning three years of consultation with industry before producing any new regulations at all. Hard emissions caps will be introduced until 2025. This lengthy period of inaction is explained away by the old excuse of not wanting to harm the economy.
This is madness. There will be no economy by the mid-21st century without immediate action on climate control now.
How hard is to say to industry , "2006 is the limit. Next year, you cannot pollute anymore than you did this year. And the year after, you're going to start bringing that down."

What others are saying:




Garth Turner

Green Party

Environmental Defence

Sierra Club


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Olbermann to Bush: 'Your Words are Lies that Imperil us All'...

I'm reposting this from Alternet 'cause it's a not too damned bad statement of the obvious--five years too late.

On the signing of the Military Commissions Act Keith Olbermann delivered another blazing monologue. Bold passage corresponds to spike in blood pressure.

The transcript:

And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.

We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived… as people in fear.

And now -- our rights and our freedoms in peril -- we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the nheritors of our American legacy. For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

And lastly, as promised, a Special Comment tonight on the signing of the Military Commissions Act and the loss of Habeas Corpus.

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived… as people in fear.

And now -- our rights and our freedoms in peril -- we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid… of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight, have we truly become, the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before -- and we have been here before led here -- by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives -- only to watch him use those Acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote, about America.

We have been here, when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives -- only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as "Hyphenated Americans," most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said, about America.

And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9-0-6-6 was necessary to save American lives -- only to watch him use that Order to imprison and pauperize 110-thousand Americans…

While his man-in-charge…

General DeWitt, told Congress: "It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen -- he is still a Japanese."

American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did -- but for the choices they or their ancestors had made, about coming to America.

Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And each, was a betrayal of that for which the President who advocated them, claimed to be fighting.

Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced, survived him, and…

…one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900-thousand votes… though his Presidential campaign was conducted entirely… from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt's internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States, to the citizens of the United States, whose lives it ruined.

The most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.

In times of fright, we have been, only human.

We have let Roosevelt's "fear of fear itself" overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said "the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass."

We have accepted, that the only way to stop the terrorists, is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets, was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute… the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And, always, always… wrong.

"With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?"

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly -- of course -- the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously… was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that "those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

But even within this history, we have not before codified, the poisoning of Habeas Corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital… the most urgent… the most inescapable of reasons.

And -- again, Mr. Bush -- all of them, wrong.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done, to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that "the United States does not torture. It's against our laws and it's against our values" and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "Unlawful Enemy Combatants" and ship them somewhere -- anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this, hyperbole or hysteria… ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was President, or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was President, or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was President.

And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" -- exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?

"These military commissions will provide a fair trial," you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush. "In which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney, and can hear all the evidence against them."

'Presumed innocent,' Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain "serious mental and physical trauma" in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

'Access to an attorney,' Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant, on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

'Hearing all the evidence,' Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies, that imperil us all.

"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," …you told us yesterday… "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas Corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush… they would be "the beginning of the end of America."

And did it even occur to you once sir -- somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 -- that with only a little further shift in this world we now know -- just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died --

Did it ever occur to you once, that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future President and a "competent tribunal" of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" for… and convene a Military Commission to try… not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, sir, all of them -- as always -- wrong.

Joe Scarborough is next.

Good night, and good luck.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Museum petition

A grassroots petition has been started to get the government to reconsider the $4.6 million they cut from the museum assistance program of Canada Heritage.
The money is a small amount of the overall $1 billion package, and many museums were pinching pennies before the cuts, and the cuts will force them to reduce programs, cut collections, and delay renovations.
Then of course, there's the effect on students who will be woefully ignorant of local, regional and national history and culture.
Read the petition over, sign it if you want, pass it on to people you know.
I've signed it.
Here's the link:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Feed Your Car

In this article, Gwynne Dyer points out something that I wasn't aware of:
For the sixth time in the past seven years, the human race will grow less food than it eats this year. We closed the gap by eating into food stocks accumulated in better times, but there is no doubt that the situation is getting serious. The world's food stocks have shrunk by half since 1999, from a reserve big enough to feed the entire world for 116 days then to a predicted low of only 57 days by the end of this year.
That is well below the official safety level, and there is no sign that the downward trend is going to reverse. If it doesn't, then at some point not too far down the road we reach the point of absolute food shortages, and rationing by price kicks in. In other words, grain prices soar, and the poorest start to starve.

So another crisis is looming in a century already full of crises. While Islamic fundamentalism takes on Western fascism, while we go to war to fight for cheap oil to burn away in our SUVs (and slowly poison ourselves in the process), while we approach massive environmental and economic upheaval, we are running out of food. And where is it going? Dyer further notes:
In the United States, a "corn rush" has been unleashed by government subsidies for ethanol, and so many ethanol plants are planned or already in existence in Iowa that they could absorb the state's entire crop of corn (maize, mealies). In effect, food is being turned into fuel -- and the amount of ethanol needed to fill a big four-wheel-drive SUV just once uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year.

So not only are we killing ourselves and our planet to support our energy-rich western lifestyle, now we're literally starving people to do it.
And the conseqeunces? Dyer notes in this article the baffling non-response of the world's politicians and citizens to the climate change crisis, noting that: civilisation falls into violent chaos as huge numbers of people start to starve. Even two degrees hotter will reduce agricultural output in the main food-producing regions of the world by about a quarter.
Much hotter, and it will be much worse, so we may end up negotiating (or more likely, fighting) over which billion of us starve first. Intelligent human beings, faced with that prospect, would act at once, or so you would think -- especially because the actions required are not really all that painful, provided that they start right away.

We need our governments to put the same effort, if not more, into the right battles as they are into fighting the wrong ones. If we don't spend a greater effort fighting climate change and hunger than terrorism, then fighting the wrong battle will have truly been a monumental waste.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Soldiers' Deaths is the Price of Leadership: Harper

According to this CBC article, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the toll of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan is the price Canada is paying for playing a leadership role in world affairs.
"We see just how proud Canadians are of their soldiers and their families and we have also seen how difficult it is to bear the sorrows of their losses. But, ladies and gentlemen, that is the price of leadership in the world," Harper told the audience.

Whether you agree with the mission of our soldiers in Afghanistan or not, the one thing they are not there for is tho soothe the ego of our nation and to convince our Prime Minister and ourselves that we are a major player on the world stage. If Harper's ego needs placating, he should find a better way of dealing with it.
If that really is why we are spilling our blood overseas, then they should come home right now.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Can the US support 300 million people?

Can the US support 300 million citizens? Accordng to this story, probably not:

The danger, experts say, is that the US may simply have postponed the day of reckoning. Major environmental problems remain, and some are getting worse - all of them in one way or another connected to US population growth, which is expected to hit 400 million around midcentury. Some experts put the average American's "ecological footprint" - the amount of land and water needed to support an individual and absorb his or her waste - at 24 acres. By that calculation, the long-term "carrying capacity" of the US would sustain less than half of the nation's current population.
"The US is the only industrialized nation in the world experiencing significant population growth," says Vicky Markham, of the Center for Environment and Population, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization in New Canaan, Conn. "That, combined with America's high rates of resource consumption, results in the largest ... environmental impact [of any nation] in the world."

Bush Watch: The Saga Continues

Why doesn't Bush buy The Lancet's report that well over 600,000 Iraqis have died a direct result of the American invasion? One reason might be that the death in Iraq is higher under the Bush regime than under Saddam. According to billmon:
But it's hard -- or should be -- for Shrub to take much comfort even in that, because while Saddam ruled Iraq for almost 24 years, the Cheney Administration and the U.S. Army have had the place in their tender care for less than four. Two million divided by 24 equals 83,333 deaths a year. But 655,000 divided by four equals 163,750 deaths a year -- almost double Saddam's annual output.
Or, if you prefer to use more "conservative" estimates for both:
Saddam: 31,250 deaths a year (750,000 divided by 24)
Cheney Administration: 87,500 deaths a year (350,000 divided by four)
But that makes the comparison look even worse.

It's US vs. Them. But who are "them"? Robert Parry suggests that not even Bush knows.
"But I’m never clear who “they” are or exactly what “it” is. If “they” are the Sunni Islamic fundamentalist terrorists of al-Qaeda and “it” is 9/11, U.S. forces could have concentrated on al-Qaeda strongholds along the Afghan-Pakistani border until Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and their followers were captured or killed.
Bush, however, expanded the “they” to include the secular dictatorship of Iraq, the Shiite government of Iran, Syria’s Assad family dynasty, Lebanese Shiite militants of Hezbollah, Palestinian Sunni militants of Hamas, and a hodgepodge of other Islamic radicals around the globe.
So, instead of finishing a winnable war against al-Qaeda, Bush veered off into a diffused struggle against a diverse grouping of Muslim leaders, nations and organizations lumped under a terrorism umbrella.
Bush also has offered no coherent strategy for winning what amounts to a global counterinsurgency war against Islamic militants. Beyond vowing to stay on “the offensive” in Iraq and elsewhere, Bush has promulgated a dubious theory that widespread anti-Americanism can be overcome by imposing “democracy,” through force if needed.
But this “democracy” theory has run aground on the hard reality that Muslim hatred of Bush is so intense that almost whenever citizens get to vote they either act on behalf of narrow sectarian interests (as in Iraq) or they vote for people who have earned popular support by standing up to the United States (as in Iran, Palestine and Lebanon).
That means that the only “reliable” U.S. allies are still the “moderate” autocrats, such as the Saudi royal family, the Jordanian monarchy, or the dictators of Egypt and Pakistan. If the popular will in those countries were respected, the likelihood is that the elected governments would join the “coalition of the hostile” against the United States.
In other words, Bush has no real strategic plan for winning the “war on terror,” short of waging a bloodbath against large segments of the world’s one billion Muslims, a global version of the carnage on display in Iraq since 2003 and in Lebanon during the Israeli war against Hezbollah last summer.
Yet, even a bloodbath strategy along the lines of the Iraq War is certain to fail. As the U.S. intelligence community has recognized, the Iraq War has become a case study in how not to conduct counterinsurgency warfare – as well as an example of how wishful thinking and incompetent military strategies can make a bad situation worse."

And why does Bush keep lying about UN inspectors not being allowed into Iraq before the invasion? From
There’s always been the frightening question of what would happen if a President of the United States went completely bonkers. But there is an equally
disturbing issue of what happens if a President loses touch with reality, especially if he is surrounded by enough sycophants and enablers so no one can or will stop him.
At his Oct. 11 news conference, Bush gave the country a peek into his imaginary world, a bizarre place impenetrable by facts and logic, where falsehoods, once stated, become landmarks and where Bush’s “gut” instinct, no matter how misguided, is the compass for finding one’s way.
In speaking to White House reporters, Bush maneuvered casually through this world like an experienced guide making passing references to favorite points of interest, such as Hussein’s defiance of U.N. resolutions banning WMD (when Hussein actually had
eliminated his WMD stockpiles).
“We tried the diplomacy,” Bush said. “Remember it? We tried resolution after resolution after resolution.” Though the resolutions had worked – and left Hussein stripped of his WMD arsenal – that isn’t how it looks in Bush’s world, where the resolutions failed and there was no choice but to invade.
At other news conferences, Bush has filled in details of his fictional history. For instance, on July 14, 2003, just a few months after the Iraq invasion, Bush began rewriting the record to meet his specifications.
“We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power,” Bush told reporters.
In the real world, of course, Hussein admitted U.N. inspectors in fall 2002 and gave them unfettered access to search suspected Iraqi weapons sites. It was Bush who forced the U.N. inspectors to leave in March 2003 so the invasion could proceed.
Over the past three years, Bush has repeated this false claim about the barred inspectors in slightly varied forms as part of his litany for defending the invasion on the grounds that it was Hussein who “chose war,” not Bush.
Meeting no protest from the Washington press corps, Bush continued repeating his lie about Hussein showing “defiance” on the inspections.
For instance, at a news conference on March 21, 2006, Bush reprised his claims
about his diplomatic efforts.
“I was hoping to solve this [Iraq] problem diplomatically,” Bush said. “The
world said, ‘Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.’ We worked to
make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose
to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the
difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did. And the world is safer for it.”

Saturday, October 14, 2006