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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Mazatlán mayor informs youth delegation they have impunity to drink and drive

In Mexico impunity is not only a privilege, it is also a gift. If you know the right people, and are in the right place, those in power will sometimes bequeath you the right to do as you please.
Carlos Felton: Partier in Chief

Carlos Felton, the mayor of Mazatlán, in Mexico’s Sinaloa state, drove that home recently when he told hundreds of young people at the Second National Congress for Innovation in Education that, as visitors in his town, they could avoid a breathalyzer test if they flashed their Congress membership card.

“Don’t forget to enjoy some good scallops with a Pacifico beer,” he told the kids. “If you are stopped for a breathalyzer test, just pull out your card from the Second National Congress for Innovation in Education.”

Friday, 16 January 2015

Saudi Arabia is (not) so gay! John Baird sentenced to 600 word lashes

In Canada it is not libelous to call someone a homosexual, for the simple reason that homosexuality is nothing to be embarrassed about – it is, quite rightly, considered neither a good nor a bad thing. It just is.
Baird: playing it safe in Ottawa

In that respect, the notion of “outing” a gay person in Canada becomes somewhat moot, because sexual preference is no longer such a big deal. For example, Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird, is a homosexual. That’s hardly news, which might be why not a single major media outlet in Canada, including the CBC, reports this fact. However, there is a political angle: the Conservative party would rather not broadcast Mr. Baird’s sexual orientation for fear of losing support among its socially conservative base.

That’s a political choice that might be craven, but hardly the end of the world. That said, Mr. Baird is minister of Foreign Affairs, which complicates matters given that many countries around the world have strict laws against homosexuality. One of the worst offenders is Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by life in prison, or even death.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mexicali madness: gay couple must be crazy to want to marry

In Mexicali, Mexico, gay marriage is legal, but mentally unstable people are not permitted to marry, and since a gay couple must be crazy to want to get married, they’re out of luck.
"My rights are not crazy"

Mexicali is the capital of the State of Baja California, on the US border near Tijuana. Civil marriages of gay couples is legal throughout Mexico, according to that country’s Supreme Court, but the reality is that local prejudices still hold sway: despite repeated attempts, no gay couple has ever been married in Baja California. Usually the roadblocks are due to unexplained “paperwork” and other bureaucratic canards.

Mormons buying a Mexican stairway to heaven

The Mormon faith is notable for its insistence that its parishioners abstain from all intoxicants, including caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. However, in Mexico the Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), has been spending pesos like a drunken sailor on a bender in Tampico.
Joseph Smith,
founder of Mormonism

According to the Church’s own financial statements, it has investments in Mexico totaling 11,200,000,000 pesos, over US$767 million at today’s exchange rate. The purpose of the financial statements is to assess the economic value of the Church in Mexico, and does not include philanthropic spending.

Practically speaking, as a result of reforms to the Mexican Constitution in 1992, “foreign” (i.e. non-Catholic) religious groups can have tax-exempt legal status in Mexico that allows them to acquire real-estate and hold funds in Mexican financial institutions. Non-Mexican missionaries are also allowed to proselytize, and the LDS can set up places of worship and even educational institutions.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau a terrorist? Yes (but you don’t get to decide)

The attacks in Ottawa on October 22, 2014, by Muslim-convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, in which he killed an unarmed honour guard at the War Memorial and then stormed parliament, have been called “terrorist” by the RCMP, the government and, depending on weather conditions, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Thomas Mulcair: soft on "terror"? (Source: CBC)

However. Tom Mulcair, leader of the official oppositions, has stated categorically that “When we look at the individual...we are not in the presence of a terrorist act in the sense that we understand it.” 

In Mulcair’s view, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction, and repeatedly sought help, had committed an uncommon and horrific crime, but not a terrorist act.

Unconfirmed audio of Stuart Mclean reading explicit material: CBC in damage control

The top brass at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation are said to be in damage-control mode now that an audio has emerged which appears to be radio personality Stuart Mclean reading erotic material.
The audio may come from Mr. Mclean's
"hip" period, thought to be between
July 7 and August 21, 1972 (Source: CBC)

In the clip, the popular host of CBC’s Vinyl Cafe begins with “Dear, Penthouse Forum” and then proceeds into a vulgar account of an onanistic adventure.

If true, Mr. Mclean has clearly not done anything illegal, but may have put himself offside of any contract stipulating that his persona, and any free-time adventures, not compromise the CBC brand.

This is particularly relevant given that the demographic for the Vinyl Cafe, a Canadian version of the Prairie Home Companion, is more familiar with Mr. Mclean’s wholesome, family-centric material.

It also comes on the heels of the dramatic dismissal of Jian Ghomeshi, former host of Q, after accusations of abusive sexual conduct.

By comparison, if true Mr. Mclean will have committed a mere indiscretion, as can be heard in the clip, in which his folksy demeanour is on full display.

The audio clip can be listened to here.

Its authenticity has not been confirmed.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Jian Ghomeshi on track to be Canada’s Pee-wee Herman

After recent allegations of abusive sexual conduct, and the loss of his job as host of CBC Radio’s Q, Jian Ghomeshi’s career as a media personality in Canada is likely over.
Together in the wilderness?

Ghomeshi got out ahead of the game, defending his actions on a Facebook post saying that the behaviour was always consensual, with the attacks against him being orchestrated by a “jilted lover” and an over-zealous journalist. 

It was a shot across the bow but, without anything else in his arsenal, that cannonball may simply sink, forgotten, to the bottom of the ocean.  The same can be said for his $55 million legal action against the CBC, which is essentially a nuisance suit.