Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[The webcomic "Target audience" from "Flea Snobbery" by Andrés Diplotti. In it a homeopathy vendor hears a radio announcement that homeopathy has been confirmed to be nothing more than placebo, and angrily retorts, "We make them for the fans, not the critics!"]

The funniest part of this comic for me is the idea of homeopathy “labs”.

  • [] White Supremacists Target High Schools and Colleges in Renewed Recruitment Drive

    This is an American story, but the tactics of the bigots tend to find their way northward.

  • [] Education minister orders 2 Christian schools to allow LGBTQ groups

    After months of hemming and hawing, Eggen has finally stepped up and laid down the law on the belligerent Pastor Brian Coldwell.

    h/t Derek Gray

  • [] “The secret inside your phone” (Video: 22:32)

    Mesley’s up to her usual nonsense, this time spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about cell phone radiation. Every actual expert she talks to tells her straight up that there’s not really an issue, but Mesley turns to cranks and to vague implications to get the effect she’s aiming for.

  • [] Idaho Driver Blames Sasquatch After She Hits A Deer

    Not a Canadian story, but too funny to pass up. Presumably she assumed that while she was ogling Sasquatch in the rear view, Jesus would take the wheel.

  • [] A Young Person Is Shot Almost Every Day In Ontario: Study

    Lots of data from the study mentioned in the article.

  • [] Harper spokesperson forced to retract smear against Muslim organization

    So the story is that back in 2014, the National Council of Canadian Muslims wrote a letter to then-PM Harper, calling him out for inviting a rabbi who praised Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer – widely known islamophobes and white supremacists – along on an official trip to Israel. Harper responded by siccing his hatchet man on the NCCM, who – no surprises here – accused them of being terrorists. The NCCM asked for an apology, and when they didn’t get one, they sued for one. So… what’s all this talk I’m hearing these days about how Harper was a “uniter”?

  • [] “Target audience” by Andrés Diplotti (Flea Snobbery)

    Any “medicine” that only works on believers doesn’t deserve the label.

  • [] Crowds from Muslim prayer issue increasing security costs at school board meetings

    As contributor Derek Gray amusingly observes, a lot of the “argument” against allowing students to pray involves imaginary concerns about cost… well the reality is that while allowing students to pray will cost literally nothing, the protests have cost the school board about $5,000 so far.

    h/t Derek Gray

  • [] Peel school board reaches out after protester ripped Qur’an

    While everyone of course has the right to tear up a Quran, that fact remains that doing so hurts believers. Sometimes hurting their feelings is perfectly justified, but that was not the case when a Quran was torn up and thrown all over the floor at a Peel District School Board meeting about accommodating student prayer. It was nothing more than a petty act of ignorance and intolerance – it’s not like Muslims in general hold any responsibility for what the Peel Board decides. However, the bright side to this story is that the Board responded with an act that wouldn’t have occurred to me, but which was remarkably thoughtful and kind. I was not originally impressed with the way the Board handled the prayer issue (specifically, when they violated secularism by trying to make a set of official, school-approved prayers), but their actions since have changed my opinion of them.

    h/t Derek Gray

  • [] Kellie Leitch didn’t know anti-Islamic group was part of Brampton event, campaign manager says

    She flirts with the bigots, trumpets their cause, is held up as an inspiration to them… but she’s such a dishonest, cowardly politician that she doesn’t want to be officially linked to them, so she can keep play-acting the role of a respectable leader.

    h/t Derek Gray

  • [] “Not Rex: M-103 passed and the sky didn’t fall” (Video: 3:20)

    In addition to mocking the inanity of the anti-M-103 crowd, DaSilva makes what I thought was the painfully obvious point that tolerance does not mean tolerating intolerance.

  • [] “Canada’s stand against Islamophobia” (Video: 25:01)

    Al Jazeera’s The Stream talks about the hoopla surrounding M-103. My only complaint about the show – other than that they actually gave Brad Trost a platform – is that despite the spectre of M-103 leading to a blasphemy law being raised multiple times… which is absurd in and of itself… no one mentions that we have a blasphemy law, and all the people – like Trost and the Conservative Party in general – who now pretend to be oh-so-concerned about the issue never gave a fuck about the existing blasphemy law before.

  • [] Conservative lead in national poll shows need to change voting system

    I’ve written before about why electoral reform is so desperately important for Canadian atheists, but Trudeau tossed the promise aside out of stated fears that it would open the door to extremists. Well, now that a recent poll has put the leaderless Conservatives ahead of the Liberals (and considering all the kooks lining up for a shot at the leadership), perhaps Trudeau should rethink.

  • [] Video offering $1K reward for recordings of Muslim students praying ignites fears

    So Kevin J. Johnston – the islamophobic wackadoodle responsible for Freedom Report.ca – uploaded a chilling video where he calls the Peel District School Board treasonous and says they should be locked up, and offers a thousand dollar cash reward for anyone who gets video of Muslim students praying if it contains hate speech. He also wants the names of the students involved. Yup, nothing creepy (or illegal) about that! [/sarcasm]

    h/t Derek Gray

Canadian Atheist’s Weekly Update depends on the submissions of readers like you. If you see anything on the Internet that you think might be of interest to CA readers, please take a minute to make a submission.

27 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. In response to ‘conservative lead in national poll shows need to change voting system’.

    After reading this commentary I still am unable to understand why the voting system needs to be changed. I’ve been following the discussion in the media about this pressing need and like most Canadians I still have no idea what they are talking about. It’s really very simple and always has been, the candidates are listed on the ballot and you pick the one you want. End of story. I fail to see how this can be changed unless you change the order of the candidates names, whose name is at the top for example.

    As an atheist something I’ve always tried without success to find is an atheist political party. There must be millions of people around the world who like myself don’t have a great deal of difficulty seeing religious organizations for what they really are. That is simply criminal gangs that use threat and intimidation to force you to join and if you refuse you become fair game for their members to murder and rob.

    A change I would really like to see in the voting system is an atheist political party on the ballot somewhere someday. In terms of atheist political activity the only one I know of is Aron Ra’s current run for a Texas senate seat. If any one knows of an atheist political party anywhere I would certainly appreciate hearing about it. I could trust an atheist political party as I’m sure no members of the religious criminal gangs would be allowed to join by their gang leaders unless of course in a subversive role.

    • The short answer is: What you want will never happen under the current electoral system.

      The medium answer is:

      Our current electoral system – first past the post (FPTP) or winner-take-all – frequently gives absolute power to the party that manages to scrape *just a few more* percentage points over the others. In the last election, the three leading parties got within roughly 10% of the vote of each other, yet each had roughly double the amount of seats of the next. The Liberals got less than 40% of the vote, but more than 54% of the seats, for 100% absolute power. And that wasn’t even the worst election in recent history. Between 2008 and 2011 for example, Harper got less than 2% more votes… but went from a minority government that *twice* prorogued Parliament to avoid no-confidence motions by coalitions of the other parties, to absolute dictatorial power for four years.

      When tiny swings of the vote can cause such massive shifts in the balance of power, parties are not motivated to cooperate to find reasonable solutions… they are instead motivated to fight tooth-and-nail for every percentage point. And that means sucking up whatever group they think will give them an edge – which, unsurprisingly, usually means religious groups rather than non-religious, but also increasingly means populist extremists. There is actually a political science law called Duverger’s Law that states that with FPTP, politics will eventually degrade into right-vs-left: no cooperation, no compromise, no middle ground, no reason in government.

      If you want a real example, consider Ontario, and the funding of Catholic schools. Now, over 75% of Ontarians want an end to funding Catholic schools. But whichever party seriously pushes for it will almost certainly see a 3-5% hit in the polls. That shouldn’t be a problem, because 5% of Ontario’s seats is just 5 seats, basically. Not really a big deal, and if Ontario’s electoral system were actually fair and proportional, it wouldn’t be an issue at all. Except… in the last election, a difference of just over 6% gave the Liberals more than *double* the seats of the PCs. So it’s never going to happen – no matter how much Ontarians want it, no party can risk pushing an plan to defund Catholic schools – because FPTP causes the tiny, almost insignificant change in popularity it causes will to be magnified into devastating shifts in power.

      Secularism, humanism, atheism, and freethought require reason and compromise in government. None of these things are left or right positions (they only *appear* left now because the political right has gotten in bed with the religious, but that will change *rapidly* once the religious vote is no longer advantageous for the right, which is already starting to happen), so none of them fare well in a political climate that only has left and right extremes (as the US illustrates, as a worst-case example). There will *never* be an atheist political party (at least not one with a ghost of a chance of getting any power) under a FPTP system, because the mere word “atheist” will mean a hit of several percentage points… which under proportional representation is just a handful of seats, but which under FPTP magnifies into dozens and dozens of seats. Studies and actual reality have shown for over a century that proportional representation leads to better, more reasonable government, and *every* country with a more secular, humanist, atheist, or freethinking bent in its governance has some form of proportional representation.

      The long answer is here: https://www.canadianatheist.com/2014/05/electoral-reform/

      Atheists, and people of reason in general, *need* proportional representation, because FPTP turns political discourse into hard-line left-vs-right bickering and pandering, and gives absolute power to whichever group has more members – which, in Canada, is Christians. FPTP gives Canada’s ~65% Christians 100% power, and the ~25% nonreligious 0% power. Proportional representation will give the 65% Christians 65% power, and the 25% nonreligious 25% power. And once we get in the door, we can demonstrate that atheists using reason do a better job running things than those pandering to the religious, so our numbers will surely rise quickly after that.

  2. In order to find out what proportional representation means I followed your link to link after link after link. Finally I did find a site that explained it in simple English which I could understand without needing a PHD in mathematics. This site of all things is called ‘Tall Snarky Canadian’-Alternative voting systems for Canada.

    It really is very simple when simply explained. My choice from the 3 he explains, FPTP, AV (Alternative Voting) and MMP (Mixed Member proportional representation) would be the latter. That is, the way he explains it. I couldn’t make any sense of the way the other sites such as ‘Fair Vote Canada’ try to explain it. One site I found which supposedly explains the MMP system used in Germany states that it was invented by a mathematician and from the looks of the explanation I can certainly believe it.

    I can certainly understand now why the liberal government which promised electoral reform if elected called it off after they were. If they were looking at the same sites I was they probably gave up and realized no one in the world would be able to figure out what it means.

    Tall Snarky Canadian explains that the conservatives favour FPTP, the Liberals favour AV and that the NDP and Greens favour MMP. When one sees his explanation of these 3 voting systems it becomes pretty obvious why.

    • Ah! I thought you already knew what all the systems were, and just didn’t get why *atheists* would prefer PR.

      Well, you don’t need a math degree to understand it all. In fact, I could probably give a simple explanation right here.

      Take a look at the results of the last federal election: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_2015#Results In that table, note the difference between the % of votes, and the % of seats for each party. The Liberals got just under 40% of the vote… but 54% of the seats. The NDP got almost 20% of the vote, but only 13% of the seats. The Greens got 3.4% of the vote, which *should* mean 11 seats; they got 1 seat. The Liberals got the advantage of this unfairness *this time*… but if you look at past elections, sometimes it was the Conservatives who benefited while the Liberals got screwed (and every time a party got screwed, it pushed for electoral reform… then they took it back every time the unfairness swung their way).

      Proportional representation is simply the logic that if a party gets N% of the vote, they should get N% of the seats. That’s literally all there is to it. So in the last election, the Liberals *should* have gotten 134 seats (not 184), the Conservatives *should* have gotten 108 (not 99), and so on.

      PR is obviously fair and democratic. That doesn’t even need to be justified. If 40% of the people voted for a party, it should get 40% of the seats – that’s just logic even a child could understand. If they get 25% of the seats, or 55% of the seats (which actually happened this time), then obviously the system is unfair and undemocratic.

      FPTP is broken; it just isn’t democratic. FPTP is so broken, it is theoretically possible for a party to get a tiny percentage of the vote – even something absurd like only 1% of the vote – yet still get 100% of the seats. (It depends on how many major parties there are. In Canada, because there are 4 major parties, it is possible to get 100% of the power with only 25% of the vote (actually around 25.00002%).) In Canada, for example, because of FPTP we’ve had wackiness like the Bloc Québécois becoming the official opposition, despite only running candidates in Québec (back in 1993)… they got 18.3% of the seats despite getting only 14% of the vote and being beaten by *both* the Reform (19% of the vote; 17.6% of the seats) and the PC (16% of the vote, 0.7% of the seats).

      And FPTP also means that most Canadians’ vote simply doesn’t count. For example, if you’re a Liberal party supporter in most parts of the prairies… just sleep in on election day, your vote won’t matter; you know one of the conservative parties is going to win (in fact, the only reason the NDP won is because the multiple conservative parties split the vote… another thing that can only happen under FPTP, not PR). On the flip side, if you’re a conservative in Newfoundland and Labrador, there’s no point to voting there; the Liberals are going to win. And if you’re a Green party supporter just about anywhere in Canada, don’t even bother. PR would mean that *every* Canadian’s vote counts – even if you don’t vote for the obvious winner, your vote will give more power to whichever party you want.

      FPTP allows allows nonsense like gerrymandering and vote-splitting to work. Neither of those tactics work in PR.

      So our current electoral system (FPTP) is broken – it is undemocratic and unfair. The results do not reflect the way the people actually voted.

      And as an aside, this is not about which party will “benefit” under PR more. PR is simply more fair and more democratic. Period. If a party will “suffer” under PR – that is, if they benefited from the unfairness in FPTP – that just means they weren’t a truly democratic party to begin with. Screw ’em. This is not about parties, it is about democracy.

      Also, AV is garbage. It is not proportional, so it’s just as bad as FPTP. It’s *SLIGHTLY* better than FPTP, but that’s like the difference between eating shit and and eating shit with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

      PR is fair, so the only thing we need to figure out next is which PR system to use. It doesn’t *really* matter – I mean, it sorta does, because different PR systems have different effects, but *ALL* PR systems produce fair results, while FPTP does not. MMP is the most popular PR system being proposed in Canada, others like STV, and there’s the new, all-Canadian Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP) system. Personally, I used to like MMP, but I’m more interested in RUP these days. They’re all proportional, though, so I’d be happy with any one of them.

      So, long story short: FPTP is unfair and undemocratic, it allows “cheating” like gerrymandering and vote-splitting with spoilers, and it means around 3/4 of Canadians’ votes just don’t matter. PR solves *all* those problems. All modern democracies since the 19th century have chosen PR, FPTP is just a relic of an undemocratic age. So we know we need PR. All we need to figure out next is which PR system to use – MMP, STV, RUP, something else – but that’s just details.

      • Common sense always told me that PR is a good idea, just like only having it rain when you need rain is a good idea. The problem I was having is ‘how to implement it?’. Now I know MMP is the way.

  3. re:”Canada’s stand against Islamophobia”

    It would be interesting to know what religion Brad Trost is? My guess would be Christian since I’m pretty sure the vast majority of the members of the Conservative Party are. This might help explain the lack of any mention of Canada’s Blasphemy Law. It’s pretty obvious from the discussion why the other 2 guests on the shown wouldn’t be to keen on bringing it up.

    I found the following definition of blasphemy and the relevant part of the Canadian Criminal Code with a search on my laptop:
    blas·phe·my.
    NOUN
    the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk:

    Canada’s Criminal Code Section 296
    296. (1) Every one who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years

    That this preposterous so called law is solely designed to protect religious organizations against criticism is patently obvious. The reason other belief systems don’t have such criminal laws enacted to protect them is because if they did they also would simply be criminal organizations trying to pass themselves off to the innocent public as something else.

    Incidentally it is pretty obvious where the Conservative Party will acquire new members. From members of the Muslim criminal gang, assuming they can’t get their criminal Sharia Law enforced in Canada. I mean, why go to all of the trouble of passing a bunch of new laws to protect criminals when Canada already has lots of them.

    • > It would be interesting to know what religion Brad Trost is?

      Oh, he’s *very* Christian. He’s the “social conservative” candidate – no gay marriage, no abortion, etc.. He calls himself half-Baptist, half-Mennonite, and virtually all of his support comes from the most Christian areas of the prairies. Even among Conservatives, he’s a bit of an extremist Christian.

      > Incidentally it is pretty obvious where the Conservative Party will acquire new members. From members of the Muslim criminal gang….

      No way.

      Muslims are currently the most hated religious minority in Canada (they overtook atheists several years back). Most of the intolerance and bigotry against Muslims – despite being disguised as fake secularism – is actually coming from other religious groups… particularly Christians. If you find a loud-and-proud anti-Muslim bigot, just dig at them a bit, and you will almost always find that they’re not atheist (and usually that they don’t like atheists).

      The Conservative Party is the party of anti-Muslim bigotry. In fact, outside of Québec, the Conservative Party is *the* place for anti-Muslim bigotry. It has a history of antagonizing Muslims, doing things like accusing them of barbaric practices, making stupid and pointless rules about them not taking the citizenship oath while wearing a veil, deliberately courting people who are outspoken anti-Muslim bigots, and so on. Hell, in this very update, there’s a story of the Harper government accusing a Muslim group of being terrorists (and losing the lawsuit because they really weren’t). It’s no accident that some of the most virulent and intolerant assholes are running for leadership of the Conservative Party, because that’s where all the islamophobic bigots are.

      The Conservative Party is *also* the home of Christian supremacy… but as I mentioned above, Christianity and bigotry against Islam go hand-in-hand.

      So there is no way Muslims will flock to the Conservative Party. Muslims do tend to be conservative, but the Conservative Party is too Christian and too anti-Muslim for them, so more likely, they’ll support the watered-down, centrist Liberal Party… because any of the parties on the left are probably too progressive for them.

      > That this preposterous so called law is solely designed to protect religious organizations against criticism is patently obvious.

      The blasphemy law is toothless – it is a relic from the past that hasn’t been legally tenable at least since 1982. It hasn’t been successfully used since the 1920s, and hasn’t even been *mentioned* since the 1970s. It wouldn’t stand today.

      But it still needs to go, and we are *very* close to having it finally repealed.

      Also, sharia law will *never* happen *anywhere* in Canada. It simply can’t – it would literally be easier to enforce a law requiring every Canadian to get a penis tattooed on their face than it would be to enforce any form of sharia law in Canada. Canada, as a country, would literally have to be destroyed before sharia law could happen. So if you hear anyone warning about sharia law in Canada… walk away. That’s a sure sign you’re listening to an idiot.

  4. I guess it is true what they say…. Atheist groups all over the place are stupid and stuck on Christians. As an atheist, I am very disappointed that someone would lie by saying Muslims are the most hated in Canada when Jews are the most hated. There is a reason why more and more of us dislike Muslims and their religion. You just need to look at what’s happening in Europe! For us who follow the events in Europe we have a good reason to dislike this perverted religion that is Islam and its brainless followers. Again, I am extremely disappointed with yet another blind atheist group.

    • I have to agree with you when you say “yet another blind atheist group”. I do believe atheists have become so intimidated down through history by the Christian’s violent opposition to them that subconsciously, out of fear, they are afraid to say what they really think about them. That is why I call Christianity, Judaism and Islam criminal gangs period. I try not to discuss them in any other light because I believe it is successful criminal activity which is the real source of their longevity. Let the honest people do the work, they’ll just steal whatever they want from them.

      Vilifying anyone who refuses to join them automatically make non-believers (actually non-followers) potential victims for their gang members to murder and rob. The one thing the Christians still have which I believe is really the only thing presently preventing them from collapsing is the special tax exemption in Canada which only applies to religious charities, not to all other kinds of charities. Effectively this makes them a perfect tax dodge for unscrupulous business men to evade paying their fair share of Canadian taxes. I’m certain this loophole in the Canadian tax law has not escaped the notice of other unscrupulous business men around the world, not just those from the middle east who are members of the Muslim gang.

      Did you know that, according to research by Luc Grenon of the Faculty of Law of the Université de Sherbrooke, religious organizations enjoy considerable unjustified fiscal privileges which are not justified by tangible benefits to society?

      Some of Professor Grenon’s findings:
      •Of the four categories of charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, religious organizations receive the greatest benefit, according to data collected between 1997 and 2010.
      •In 2010, religious organizations received about 40% of charitable donations, resulting in a loss of revenu by the federal state of about 1.08 billion dollars. This does not take into account other tax breaks, such as income and property tax exemptions and partial refund of sales taxes.
      •About half (521 out of 1039) of religious organizations state that they invest 100% of their time and resources in religious activities.
      •Non-religious activities, i.e. those which may be of tangible benefit to society, count for only about 15%.

      One of the reasons charitable status can be revoked:
      •the organization is set up for illegal purposes or for purposes that are contrary to public policy.

      How about tax evasion, would that qualify as illegal?

    • While I doubt any amount of reality will shake you of your beliefs, I couldn’t help share this: While the data I was alluding to comes from a 2015 survey (discussed in this CA post: https://www.canadianatheist.com/2015/04/angus-reid-survey-faith-in-canada/), it just so happens that on THIS VERY DAY, the very same day you were barfing up your cluelessness, ARI has published an update to that 2015 survey: http://angusreid.org/religious-trends-2017/

      Spoiler alert: Muslims are *still* the most hated religious group in Canada. Judaism is the third most liked religion in this survey (after Christianity and Buddhism); it was the fourth most like in the 2015 survey (after Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Buddhism). Atheism doesn’t seem to have been counted in this survey, but was in 2015.

      • “most hated”

        It is unfortunate that this discussion isn’t engaged in by more of us.

        There is a new mosque being built on the outskirts of our city. The people attending this facility will be reconnecting with the culture that they left behind. This is important for all people to do.

        This reconnection to our roots can be accomplished in many alternate ways. Two very different ways are the ‘ritualistic practise’ and the ‘scholastic studies’ alternatives.

        Participating in the ritualistic practices is, by far, the more popular. Scholarly investigation isn’t so popular. Reformed Judaism and Christian Unitarians seem to bridge these two very different approaches.

        If the Canadian Mosques would transform themselves into scholastic and social centers they would provide a valuable service to their members and to our country.

        As atheists we know theology is not the study of delusion, it is the practice of delusion. The study of delusion is very important. The practice of delusion is very harmful.

        • You say “If the Canadian Mosques would transform themselves into scholastic and social centers…”. Religious organizations in Canada only have one purpose and that sole purpose is tax evasion for members. If they are ever forced to give up that purpose, and force is the only way they ever will give up that purpose, then they will simply disappear and the criminals they support with them.

    • As an atheist, there is an even wider view.

      Growing and expanding global militarism and all the problems that it stirs up, including religious tensions.

      • Military growth is indeed a problem. Oligarchs and politicians, who are also oligarchs, are absconding a lot of money and gaining a lot of influence. Maybe it is time for the Senators to stage a coup. “Not you too Brutus!”

        • Indeed the real problem is and always has been that the Christian Church HAS NEVER PAID TAXES! This legalized tax evasion has always empowered the worst, lowest and most criminal elements of western society. This enormous never accounted for slush fund has always been used exclusively for the benefit of members of the Christian gang and has accumulated over centuries by the murder and robbery of the good honest people of the world by members of this outrageous criminal organization.

          The individuals I always hold most accountable for their continuous ongoing horrendous crimes against humanity are those gang members who have always benefited the most. A current case in point being Donald Trump who unmasked from the Christian Church’s vast pool of criminal wealth stolen from the good honest people of the world would instantly be seen as the petty little back alley thief he really is. Human history is full of their names, the Queen of England, George Bush, Hitler, ad infinitum.

          • Without the favourable tax exemptions, not to mention the actual cash grants dollar for dollar on questionable charity offerings, the religious industry might be reduced to a shell of what it is. Never forget the financial support diverted from hospitals, schools and prisons.

            The churches, mosques and synagogues are actually projects completed here in Canada. Recently, a rogue of sorts, within the Canadian United Church, took a decidedly strong turn towards scholasticism. What a refreshing turn of events. The United Church was an early attempt at social unification here in Canada. It only makes sense that they would be one of the first to turn away from unsupported dogma.

            As for governmental support, scholasticism must be a worthwhile public good.

  5. Yes somehow the religionist institutions have wrested control of the charitability industry from common sense minded people and we must all do our part to retrieve it back home where it belongs.

  6. “the tactics of the bigots tend to find their way northward”

    And southward. It depends on which side of the aisle they’re on.

  7. “Every actual expert she talks to tells her straight up that there’s not really an issue”

    I saw the episode, and what the “experts” said was that the test was designed to test the phone held away from the scalp by several mm, and that there’s no risk at that distance.

    However, that use case doesn’t exist. People hold the phone directly against their ear and cheek, when in use, and (in the case of men) directly against their thigh, except for thin pocket fabric, when “not in use” (which is never not in use if it’s doing things in the background).

    At least she had real evidence to back up her claims. You have offered none here to contradict them.

    Now, you can dismiss a claim without providing evidence against it, if there was no evidence for the claim in the first place. But that’s not what you’re fighting against here, though you deeply wish it were so.

  8. “what’s all this talk I’m hearing these days about how Harper was a ‘uniter’?”

    I don’t know. You tell me. I Googled it and I couldn’t find a single instance of anyone making that claim. Nice strawman, though.

  9. “it’s not like Muslims in general hold any responsibility for what the Peel Board decides”

    This is a joke, right? It is Muslims in general who decide that they need special time out for a Friday noon-time prayer (By the way, just look for yourself at what is involved in the two rakkat and the sermon… for any other group, we would recognize this as the abuse it is).

  10. “Sometimes hurting their feelings is perfectly justified, but that was not the case when a Quran was torn up and thrown all over the floor”

    Why not? That book is responsible for endless suffering! And these days, when mass-production has made books worthless anyway, why NOT tear up such a thing, to punctuate a point?

    The very idea that SOME books should be treated as if they were human themselves, even given a BURIAL, shows just what sort of twisted thing we’re up against.

  11. “the painfully obvious point that ‘tolerance does not mean tolerating intolerance’.”

    In a hall of a thousand mirrors, you would still not see yourself.

  12. “now pretend to be oh-so-concerned about the issue never gave a fuck about the existing blasphemy law before”

    See? We CAN agree on something. You’re still wrong, though.

  13. “Conservative lead in national poll shows need to change voting system ”

    Uh, no… that’s not how this works.

    Valid reasons for choosing an electoral system:

    * you think a voter’s vote should count only if their candidate wins, or all the time
    * you think a voter’s vote should elect the same (or different) number of people, based on where they live
    * you think a voter’s vote should reflect (or not) their entire view of the candidates or just one of them

    Invalid reasons for choosing an electoral system:

    * locking in a political party, or locking out another

    But even though I hate them, I will be voting Conservative, because the left has turned into something even fouler, and something must be done.

  14. “nothing creepy (or illegal) about that”

    No, there isn’t. The Friday prayer contains readings from the Quran, and we’re told that board can’t pick which reading it is.

    Take a Quran. Throw a dart… oh… uh oh… throw a… throw a pen (NOT the exploding kind… don’t be racist!) at it. Repeat 5 times. Now read off three consecutive verses from wherever the pen marked the page.

    Now, it may be possible that you can find reasonable, peaceful, worthy verses this way. But EVERY time I’ve done this myself, I get the most horrible things. Is it just luck? Or is the Quran really a bad, bad place to get ideas from? What’s more likely?

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