Like most law schools across Canada, the University of Windsor Faculty of Law runs a Community Legal Aid (“CLA”) program in which students (under the supervision of real lawyers) provide basic legal advice to people who might not have access to a lawyer. It’s a noble program intended to increase access to justice, especially for the poor or disadvantaged. Which makes its recent announcement that it will no longer act for accused persons in domestic violence cases, unless that person is female, particularly appalling. Yep, you read that right, that would be an honest-to-god faculty of law, under the guise of a program intended to increase access to justice, engaging in gender-based discrimination.
An Austrian grocery store (the “common sense” grocery store, if you believe it) has experimented with a new product – pre-peeled, packaged, bananas.
Now this is an inherently dumb idea (buying a “pre-peeled” banana is kind of like buying a “pre-opened” condom – you don’t want anything to do with either) and probably violates a half-dozen EU environmental and packaging regulations (Greenpeace is up in arms, but what else is new?). But what gets me it what this says about how the store perceives its consumers? Do they really believe that their customers are too stupid and/or lazy to peel bananas by themselves? Are their customers basically monkeys, albeit without the ability to peel a freakin’ banana?
Then again, it’s Europe, so it’s quite possible that some of their customers are sinfully lazy/stupid. Or else they may believe that they have a human right to have bananas peeled for them – much like the infamous EU human right to a vacation and the “right to be tourists” (seriously, you can’t make this stuff up) – so maybe the store’s on to something. If we don’t make bananas more accessible, how can we ensure banana equality?
I told myself this weekend that I would take it easy on the “Religion of Peace” this week. After all, between “Innocence of Muslims”, embassy attacks, Iran and Pakistan, I’ve been putting the boots pretty hard to the Islamic world for the last few weeks. And while that’s fun, sometimes you need a break.
So imagine my disappointment when I read this article about the Pakistani cabinet minister who has put a $100,000 bounty on the head of the person responsible for producing “Innocence of Muslims” and anyone else who makes a similar film. At a news conference late last week Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, the Pakistani railways minister said:
“I announce today that this blasphemer who has abused the holy prophet, if somebody will kill him, I will give that person a prize of $100,000… I also invite Taliban and Al-Qaeda brothers to be partners in this noble deed… I also announce that if the government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me.”
So 60 Minutes broadcast an interview with Mitt Romney last night. If anyone wants to know why Mitt Romney is losing the presidential election, I give you the money (no pun intended) quote:
Scott Pelley: Now, you made on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?
Romney: It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.
Pelley: So you think it is fair?
Romney: Yeah, I think it’s the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.
I was struck by this story in this morning’s Globe describing the suffering of our federal civil servants in light of the federal government’s austerity measures. According to the Globe:
A distress line for federal public servants is on track to receive a record number of calls this year as prolonged staffing cuts create high levels of anxiety.
Those poor kittens. Anyone else share my decided lack of sympathy?
A few years ago, in response to the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan by the Musharraf government, the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) issued press releases, organized rallies and circulated petitions urging Ontario’s lawyers to support the efforts of their counterparts in Pakistan to restore the rule of law in that country. All very noble and honourable.
I was thinking about that when I read this story, in today’s Globe, about a group of 500 Pakistani lawyers storming the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad wearing headbands inscribed with “Lovers of Prophet, Death to the blasphemer”. Meanwhile the Pakistan Bar Council called for a day of protest against “Innocence of Muslims” and condemned the US for failing to take action against it. Nice to see the people charged with defending the rule of law in Pakistan are so reasonable.
I wonder if the OBA and LSUC will be circulating petitions calling for our “counterparts” in Pakistan to respect religious freedom and freedom of expression. Why do I suspect they’ll remain curiously quiet on the subject.
So, a Coptic Christian of Egyptian ancestry living in the US produces a film that denigrates Mohammad and which was broadcast repeatedly on Islamist TV stations in Egypt. And how do Muslims in Lebanon and Afghanistan react? By burning Israeli flags and chanting “Death to Israel”. [Update: Muslim protestors in Sri Lanka spent yesterday throwing slippers at the Israeli flag – better than bombs, I suppose – while a North American Muslim group is calling for a protest against Zionist “hatemongers“]
Am I missing something?
I guess ranting and raving about the US wasn’t sufficiently irrational, so they figured they might as well blame a country that, literally, has no connection to the “Innocence of Muslims” fiasco. They might as well be chanting “Death to Finland” for all the sense it makes (maybe I shouldn’t be giving them ideas).
[On further thought, I’m now convinced that the whole “Innocence of Muslims” bun-fight was orchestrated by the Acme Israeli and American Flag Company trying to clear out it’s inventory for the 2013 models.]
In the wake of last week’s attacks on the US embassy in Cairo and the US consulate in Benghazi, and the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya and several of his staffers as they helped evacuate that consulate, US (and other Western) embassies have been attacked across the Islamic world. These attacks were purportedly instigated by a new film, titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which claims to portray the life of the Prophet Mohammad. At the very least the film gave Islamists a pretext for attacking the United States. But it is the reaction to “Innocence of Muslims” throughout the Islamic world that is a telling indicator of the intolerance of the Islamic world and, I think, gives a good example of why many in the West are, with good reason, afraid of Islam as practiced by a good chunk of its adherent. (As a side note, I refer to the Islamic world rather than Islam intentionally. Like Christianity and Judaism, or any other religion, Islam is capable of tolerant and open-minded interpretations and intolerant and hateful interpretations. It is what its adherents make of it).
This is the first post dealing with Tuesday’s murderous attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which 4 American diplomats, including the US ambassador to Libya, and the storming of the US embassy compound in Cairo. At some point I’l put together a post about what the reaction to the film that allegedly started the latest round of unrest says about the Arab world, but for now I want to talk about what the attack on the US Embassy in Cairo. Although the attack on the Benghazi consulate was the bloodier of the two assaults, the assault on the embassy in Cairo tells us more about the failure of American foreign policy in the Middle East.
When I was a kid, I used to love looking at the suits of armour at the museum. I loved the armour from the 15th century, when the armourer’s art reached its pinnacle. Those suits were strong, light, flexible and beautiful to boot. They were also obsolete before they were built. No matter who beautiful and elegant they were they were no match for even the crude firearms of the day.