Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Legislative roundup

First off, here in Alberta, the provincial government has set up a Disputes Inquiry Board to help reach a first contract for workers at Lakeside Packers in Brooks. The workers there have struggled to be certified as a union for several years, and have struggled another year since to get a first contract.

All that time, the provincial government has had a hands-off policy to the certification and negotiation. In other, more labour-friendly provinces, a first contract after certification is (if required) bindingly mediated. But okay, a hands-off policy is ideologically consistent for Alberta's Tories, so I guess it's what we asked for.

But now the province is involved, via the new Disputes Inquiry Board. Okay, hey, thanks for the help. Except that it's non-binding. And not entirely a mediation process. Oh, yeah, and it makes striking illegal for the next sixty days.

This isn't helping the process. Here were are, the morning when workers were planning to be setting up pickets, and they've been legislatively hamstrung. I give the workers a lot of credit - they waited until the U.S. border opened to our cattle before putting in their strike notice. They aren't out to hurt their neighbours more than necessary. But the provincial government doesn't really give a shit.

Lyle Oberg! You're the MLA for these workers. You got some 'splaining to do.

Even living in Edmonton now, I'm with you in spirit, Lakeside workers. I know my electoral improvement last election is heavily associated to you. Albertans are fair-minded people, not reactionary right-wingers like so many members of the Tory caucus. This obviously unfair tactic will only gain you support.

Second, federally, gay marriage has been approved by the Senate, and only requires Royal Assent. This is the stage a frequent commenter of mine is convinced the process will fail.

Do you believe "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith" will enact legislation that is contrary to the Christian faith?
Yeah, I do, actually. But let me add that I really don't think there's anything about same-sex marriage that offends the Christian faith, so the question is moot.

I wish I could find the quote from a United Church minister that compared searching the Bible for rules about gay marriage with reading Moby Dick to learn the mechanics of whaling. The guidance is there, to be sure, but that guidance comes heavily in the direction of love and acceptance and opening the arms of the faith widely. There are ten rules, not to mention a somewhat central sermon by Jesus, none of which suggests God holds any strong opinions on monogamous homosexual behavior. There is a Leviticus rule, but I won't bore you with the litany of casually-broken Leviticus rules. Suffice it to say, even among people of faith, the jury is out. So, no, I don't expect Her Royal Highness to decide this is the hill to die on. But thanks for reading!

Update, Thursday morning: I found the quote. Google-searched it, ended up back here. I've been writing this a while, I see.

The Bible is a collection of writings from many times and places, all at least nineteen centuries old. It's like an album of snapshots, sometimes blurry, giving us glimpses into religious and social life in ancient cultures. Searching the Bible for clear teaching about same-sex marriage will get us about as far as if we read Moby Dick for tips on how to pilot an aircraft carrier.

-Rev. Darrow Woods, United Church of Canada
Clever and funnier than I remembered. But entirely appropriate. The whole commentary is still available, and still well worth reading.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Oh, how I miss it

I'm talking about sweet, sweet unemployment:

People with jobs don't appreciate the terrific time pressures of unemployment. Having replaced a daily grind of drudgery with the ability to do your heart's desire, all day, every day, until the credit lines run out, you find yourself actually having to go out and do that thing, all day, every day. And you get tired. That Russian novel is not going to read itself, the film festival waits for no man, and if it's not four A.M., those bars are still open.
Much, much more.
We're number one!

Actually, we're a very long way down from number one, but at least we can see it from here. Canada has managed to earn a repeat appearance at the Cricket World Cup.

Now how about broadcasting a few of the matches, CBC? SportsNet? TSN? Anyone?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Now here's something you'll really like

Back in 2000, I wrote what I now recognize as my first blog. It lasted all of nine days. It existed to document my involvement in the 2000 Canadian Open of Chess, and included my games, analysis, and some stories from the tournament.

Today, I've started yet another blog. Not for the Meek will document my 2005 Canadian Open. I don't know if it will go on from there. I suppose it will depend a great deal on how much serious chess I play in the weeks and months after this tournament.

If you have any interest in chess, c'mon by. If you don't, you have my apologies for continued inaction here - between work and chess this week, my attempt to keep up even on Meek is going to be exciting.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Almost all terrorism is a form of political jiu-jitsu in which the weaker side (the terrorists) tries to trick the stronger side (the government, the coloniel power, etc.) into an overreaction that really serves the terrorists' goals.
...the guerillas or terrorists are never trying to win a victory on the battlefield. They can't; they don't have enough force. Instead, they are using the very limited amount of force at their disposal in ways that will goad you, the army, into using your overwhelming force in ways that help their cause and hurt yours.

The struggle will be decided, in the end, not by who wins the battles but by which way the mass of the population jumps, into their camp or into yours.

-Gwynne Dyer, Future: Tense
In the wake of the bombing of the London Underground, we will all do well to heed that lesson. Prime Minister Blair already deserves some praise for not allowing the tragedy to derail the entire African anti-poverty effort at the G-8. He will deserve much, much more if yesterday's bombs result in a criminal investigation, arrests, and trials, rather than aimless overseas military adventures which only make matters worse.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

If we do disappoint you, I'd blame your boss and his Kyoto-hating friends

The new American ambassador, David Wilkins, had this to say at his Fourth of July party:
We're looking forward to our first white Christmas.

Don't disappoint me. We will have snow at Christmas, right?
Geez, I dunno. Ottawa? December? Tell you what, Dave - get some of our beef across the border, get the softwood lumber tariff issue resolved, and we'll see what we can do for you snow-wise.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Hopping in

Sorry for the meta-blogging. Yes, I hate it too.

I am, with some reservations, finally breaking down and joining not one, but two blogging alliances. The first, as you'll see in temporary link form along the left side until I put up the proper code, will be the Alberta blogs list. And the other. Oh, the other.

Longtime readers know I've resisted this, and I still won't join the blogging new democrats despite my actually being, er, a New Democrat. And blogger. Which, really, all seems like prerequisite enough. I just wasn't comfortable being pigeon-holed like that.

Meanwhile, in two different ways, James Bow has extended an invitation to join the non-partisan blogging alliance. Finally, I've accepted. I'm not sure why they'd want me when I'm clearly partisan, but there are some awfully good blogs in that list (you'll notice many of them will be linked twice on my page now - I really have to tidy this place up). That was the key to bringing me on board. Thanks, all, for having me.

Edited, Sunday evening, to add: a link to my original post critiquing these alliances. Forgive my one more argument against, despite my having given in. Getting caught up on the blogs for the first time in a while, my attention was drawn to this post at pogge, which answers the question Calgary Observer asks in my comment box. I don't want my words to ever be used for or against the NDP. I'm not playing for a team, here. I'm only representing me.