Thursday 31 January 2019

Something(s) to Think About

I am no Will Rogers or Mark Twain but I gave it My Best

Brewster Babble: 
  1. I had life by the tail. Then I lifted it and had my first look at reality.
  2. If God really wanted us to reform our ways we would all have a reset button instead of a belly button.
  3. With my luck every time I extend the glass to decide if it is half empty or half full I can't find my glasses.
  4. Life is just a bowl of cherries until you eat the last one. Then it's just the pits.
  5. My wife said she wanted foreplay, so I invited over two of her friends and now she is pissed at me.
  6. I got one of those four hour Viagra erections but my partner says I paid three hours and fifty-seven seconds too much.
  7. Surely one of the worst human defects is when a person's brain is in their ass and all their crap comes out of their mouth. Think of anyone in particular?
  8. Fortune favours the bold - and their mistresses!
  9. If birds of a feather do stick together does that make them racists?
  10. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Good Advice, but I'm broke and you can fix me anytime you want.
  11. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder - and hornier!
  12. I am trying to be less critical of others and it really is helping me realize how stupid some people are.
  13. People who live in White Houses should not throw Tweets
  14. My partner asked if her dress made her look fat. I asked if I could blame my beer gut on my pants. Now she won't speak to me. Women!
  15. The early bird gets the first position at the Costco gas pumps.
  16. Old saying updated: Take your eyeglasses off first then give your head a shake!
  17. Why would I want a tat? Mother Nature already creates a new marking somewhere on my body every day and it's totally free.
  18. People who live in White Houses should not throw Tweets.
  19. I wish the person who said "A picture is worth a thousand words" could have seen the smart phone. Now it's thousands of pictures and sadly, no words.
  20. God helps those who help themselves. Even DJT? Now I know why I am not particularly religious.

Sunday 27 January 2019

Government Shutdowns

If It's Broken, Fix It!

Surely with America's recent government shutdown everyone would agree that such an event should not be allowed to happen. Do whatever is necessary to insure that this fiasco can not be repeated. It should be a part of the platform of any new candidates to make this change.

We know what happens when Americans even discuss changes to gun ownership rights. But who will object to this? Surely no political system should result in such a stalemate.

I understand that the root of the problem is simply that the government operates only with funds provided in an approved budget, which must be passed by Congress and the Senate. No budget approval means no funds to spend.

In Canada where I live there is no real parallel. The majority party in the House of Commons forms the government and as such can pretty much approve any budget it wants. When parliament is not sitting - like the period in between elections when it has been dissolved, the existing Governor General can actually approve something called Special Warrants which permit essential spending to carry on.

A similar position should be created in America whereby one person has the power to approve an agreed upon list of expenditures - essential services - and he or she is duty bound to approve them. Alternatively simply eliminate human involvement and list essential services which must always be funded and paid regardless of individual party views. In other words preserve the status quo until a new budget is approved.

Any other suggestions?

The Brewster

Friday 25 January 2019

Donald Trump and Ann Coulter

Ann Who?

Ok I actually have heard of Ann Coulter. No loss if I had not but she makes enough noise every now and then that I have.

Normally I would not venture into the following but hey, when you are talking about Donald and Ann there are no rules. Protocol gets as shut down as the federal government. If you are in the arena with two vipers you had better have at least a vile of venom and a squirt gun on your person. So just to annoy her and her followers and regrettably probably a lot of other women, if she put on a few more pounds she could be an attractive woman. It's just that mouth! I would have respected her more if she wore bunny ears and a tail and hung out at Heff's mansion. There! I am sure she will love that.

I am as anti-Trump as most people but I at least commend him in a twisted sort of way for re-opening the government so all of those innocent workers can be paid. It is probably the most humble thing he has ever done but at least it was a good decision - finally. America deserves at least one from him. (You are after all POTUS!)

The last person on earth he should listen to however is this Ann Coulter. At least the Donald ran and won The Presidency no less. What has she ever accomplished? She mouths off, tries to flog her books, and tweets. That should make her a Tweep but I can only grant 80% - a Twit. I guess that's a failed Tweep. She is more of a Howard Stern wanna be than anything else. And that ain't much.

Stick a brick in it Ann - preferably one from The Wall.

The Brewster

Thursday 24 January 2019

Animal Consumption

Plants are living too - Really?

On Thursday in a local paper was a letter about animal consumption. The author suggested we should not eat plants either because they are also living. Really? Is that what the sixth commandment was about? The author did not propose an alternative. I assume fish are out. Do we consume each other? Where does this end?

I offer this tongue in cheek but the farmers need some form of basic sustenance to raise either the forbidden animals or the plants. Butchering animals can be very cruel. As yet I have not heard plants crying or seen them panicking once they realized they were doomed. Seriously, what does the author eat?

What next - the ASPCP?

The Brewster

Saturday 19 January 2019

Racism and Gun Violence

Are you a racist?

These terms are heard almost daily - "racism" and "racist." Sometimes I wonder if those making accusations involving the terms really understand them. Do I myself?

To begin with there are many attempts to define races and many of the lists and sub-lists are long. Common to many are: Caucasoid (also Caucasian); Negroid; Mongoloid; and Australoid. Some combine Negroid and Australoid. Some include seven. There are many more. So let us ignore the list and start with this: there are several "races" of people. Contrary to a few bigots, I will add that they are all human beings.

Dictionaries almost always include in their definitions of these terms a belief that one race is superior than another or that race determines one's human traits or characteristics beyond mere appearance. The term ethnicity is also introduced. That however includes not just race but culture, beliefs, and practices including religion.

For me the differentiation is as follows: Consider my being born with a twin brother. If my parents break up with one taking me to England and the other taking my brother to India, we would still be of the same race. Years later however our two distinct ethnicities would be obvious.

As a basis for discussion in the last few years of my working life, I was a visible minority at work. I am Caucasian, born and raised in Toronto. My ancestors were also Caucasian - English and Irish. No matter. I worked primarily with Chinese colleagues. Many were also from India. Several were European, especially Russian. This was the quintessential Canadian multiculturalism in practice!

Generally we all got along and conversed but often had coffee with ""our own." This was not policy but mere convenience since many of the others spoke a different language. Even some from Quebec sat together to speak French. Did that make any of us racists? Were we practicing racism? I hope the answer is no. If however I did not want to sit with others because of their race or them with me because I just didn't belong, then that would be racism in my opinion.

Let's press this a little further. It so happened that one or two individuals because of their ethnicity never wore deodorant and by afternoon on a hot day it was difficult for me and others to be near them. Is that racism or just fact? I will also point out that some might have dressed slightly differently for reasons of religion, but that was not a problem. Not racism.

Moving right along, when most of us went home we probably lived in areas populated first and foremost by people - our neighbours - of the same ethnicity and maybe even race. Is that racism or personal preference? In fact most huge cities have a Chinatown; Little Italy; Little Germany, Poland, Pakistan, Greece etc. Racism again? I don't think so, just multiculturalism. People who speak the same language; eat the same food; practice the same religion; shared the same upbringing, like being neighbours. So what?

I happened to commute through an area of North Toronto that has become heavily and predominantly populated by Chinese people. Most of the commercial signs and drivers are Chinese. Entire housing developments and communities are Chinese. It was a joke but also true even amongst my Chinese colleagues that it was a very bad place to drive a car. The drivers were TERRIBLE. Did they pay off the examiners? Was it upbringing in crowded markets where fend for yourself was the rule? I don't know but it was a fact. Is this racism? It might be if I believe that if you are Chinese you are by assumption a bad driver. I am close on this one.

For many decades the Irish and English fought horrible and often extremely violent battles. Are they not the same race? Likewise there were confrontations and in one case a murder involving differences between French and English peoples in Canada. Race? No, ethnicity in both cases.

I am still a little puzzled why my use of the term Negroid might be upsetting to others when mentioning Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Australoid is not. Please note that I am not using any derogatory slang words here.

If there is a lot of reported gang activity in an area - Vietnamese gangs; Haitian gangs; Canadian gangs, I am going to be frightened if multiples of any one of these groups start to follow me home. If they hurt me, the media should report the race involved if that will help other people avoid injury. If I am then more cautious of any such gathering of people too bad. I have a right to be. The same could be said for predominantly white biker gang activity.

If there are a lot of violent incidents involving any groups of visibly different individuals - minority or otherwise, the press has to report this. If ultra right white supremacist groups are attacking other non whites, the press has to report it. I want them to. Likewise with any other group minority or not.

When a local bear wanders into a town and attacks people, I am going to be very frightened and hide if I see one. I can't tell if it is a nice bear and don't care if most them are nice. I will hide. I also won't entertain a debate over whether bears attack any more of us than say mountain lions.

Sorry if you are offended by the bear analogy. I don't mean to offend black bears, white bears, brown bears, mountain lions, or people. However more and more violence is happening in our cities. The teeth and claws are guns. If white people are pulling the trigger - tell me that. Likewise black, yellow, red, purple - I don't care.

What the hell can we do about it? If it were bears we would keep them in cages, shoot them if they were repeat offenders, or take them back to where they belong. We would argue about what colour they were or if mountain lions were a bigger threat later.

In short I am very colour blind when it comes to stopping gun violence regardless of who is carrying. Give authorities whatever tools they need.

The Brewster

Sunday 6 January 2019

Welcome to Democracy, Western Style

Don't You Just Love It - What a System!

It happens every time. CEOs of major corporations receive huge compensations when the company does well. When the bottom line is slipping, who takes the pay cut or is told they have to accept a zero increase - those same executives or the employees? HINT: it isn't the first group.

In politics it is the same - from local mayors to premiers, governors, prime ministers, and presidents. When things go well they vote themselves increases in salaries, benefits, and pensions. When things are not going so well, then what? 

Isn't it still true that we the electors put these people where they are and our taxes pay them salaries, benefits and pensions to work for US, the electorate? If workers of a failing company take the hit does it not follow that politicians who work for the voters should also take the hit when, for example, a government shuts down? What did its employees or its electorate do to be so-punished?

What am I missing here? Let them eat cake or at least humble pie.

The Brewster

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Carding and Random Searches

OK to Check for Alcohol But Not for Guns?

This is a sensitive one but here goes anyway. Perhaps that is my point - why so sensitive?

Here in Toronto we had a very bad year for homicides in 2018, a lot of them gun related. This is generating the usual debate about whether police should stop and search people or not. Some groups say that this practice results in discrimination against members of minority groups. Others - especially police officers both active and retired, say some of those groups are the ones shooting each other.

The really sensitive issue is actually the practice of "carding" when those stopped have to produce personal ID and must "justify" their presence. The police then record data about this person. I totally understand the indignation this causes even though it has not happened to me. Yet.

What I don't get is this:

Every year around Christmas and New Years the police step up their RIDE program (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) and randomly pull over cars. The drivers have to roll down their windows and speak to an officer who is checking for the symptoms of drinking - primarily the smell of alcohol on the driver's breath. Most people are in favour of this, unless of course it is YOU and you have indeed been drinking! It is still thought by most to be in the best interests of everyone using our roadways.

The practice is "random" because it is often at night. The officers can not see the driver or whether they are or are not a member of a visible minority. In addition they often stop all cars on a given street, whether the driver has shown erratic driving patterns or not.

In a similar fashion, we accept the necessity of scanning everyone before boarding an aircraft. It is in the best interests of all of the passengers. EVERYONE is scanned.

My suggestion is to supply police with the same types of hand-held scanning devices used in airports. Make it legal for police set up a mini "RIDE" type program for pedestrians and cars.

Those stopped will quickly be scanned. If nothing shows up they go on your way - no ID is needed and no data is recorded. This will only take seconds. I would even support the pulling over of cars at random just like the Christmas RIDE program. In this case all occupants AND the car could be legally and briefly searched.

On the other hand if someone is carrying illegally, they are arrested on the spot.

This might be inconvenient but how could any one group complain if all parties are scanned? Surely it would go a long way towards reducing the shootings that we are witnessing in broad daylight .

Before reacting remember - it is normal at airports and at Christmas for alcohol and it is generally accepted. Alcohol is not used deliberately to kill other people. Not so for guns.

The Brewster