Sunday, May 30, 2010

Live Music to Feed the Soul

Friday night we saw James Taylor and Carole King at the Air Canada Centre. It was my first concert at the ACC and even though we were in the extreme upper edges of the cheap seats, it was an amazing show. The sound quality was perfect and the screens gave an excellent view of everything that was happening on the rotating stage below. James Taylor's voice was extremely rich as he sang simple yet meaning full songs like Fire and Rain, and Shower the People You Love with Love. My personal favourite is definitely, You've Got a Friend, which he's singing in this YouTube video from 2008:

Perhaps the best part of the evening was singing along to some of the songs along with thousands of other people in the stands. It was deeply moving, almost spiritual. That surprised me given the fact that there's nothing religious at all about the lyrics in the songs. Still, I left the concert feeling deeply fulfilled. That's probably why the Church has made music such an integral part of it's worship through the ages. It's also probably part of the reason why massive concerts like this almost always sell out and often very quickly.

Today I'm even more sold on live music than I was before. I'll definitely try to go to another concert at the ACC. Although, I'm probably not ready to go onto ebay and try to grab some Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber tickets just yet.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Scandalous? Hardly

The CBC reported:

that the head of the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS), which is responsible for offshore drilling, had resigned. Liz Birnbaum had run the service since July 2009. Her department had faced intense scrutiny in recent days after a report by the Interior Department said MMS staffers had accepted tickets to sports events, lunches and other gifts from oil and gas companies.

The report "can only be described as appalling," Obama said Thursday. He also accused her office of having a "scandalously close relationship" with oil companies.

Sorry Mr. President, you're rhetoric strikes me as harsh. You're not simply trying to deflect any blame for the unsuccessful clean up efforts from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are you? Seriously if the sins listed in the article are all that was done, there's no scandal at all. Tickets to sporting events are common gifts from companies with season tickets; lunches with clients, suppliers or industry partners are normal and essential for doing business; and other gifts - what does that mean? t-shirts? If so my closet could land me on the wrong side of the President of the United States.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bryant Decision is Just

The charges against Michael Bryant were dropped this week after a lengthy investigation into last summer's accident that killed cyclist Darcy Sheppard. At the time I quickly identified with the victim, he was my age and by some accounts it sounded as if the driver tried deliberately to harm Mr. Sheppard. I said to myself, "I hope they nail this guy to the wall." Turns out it's a good thing we have a legal system.

Michael Bryant seems to have been the target of a random assault from an angry and violent man. I saw in the Toronto Star's coverage that even Darcy Sheppard's father was satisfied with the result. Today's Hamilton Spectator editorial is right, justice has been served:

If anything, Bryant and the charges laid against him were subject to more scrutiny by the justice system because of his prominence. A prosecutor from B.C. handled the case. The investigation was exceptionally thorough and complete. The explanation for withdrawing the charges was lengthy and detailed.

It's part of human nature to try to assign blame for tragic events such as Sheppard's
death. Withdrawing the charges neither diminishes the tragedy nor does it declare open season on cyclists.

Charges are withdrawn regularly in courts across the province, generally with less public airing than Bryant's charges received. That is part of the justice system. In this case, the system worked.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Toronto Star Covers March For Life

Tonight's headline story on the Toronto Star online is the March for Life. I never expected to see the day when this event would get such positive coverage in Canada's left wing newspaper. I suspect the purpose of the coverage is to try to help promote the Liberal 'smear' that Harper is pro-life. Still this particular article is fair and will undoubtedly encourage more pro life Canadians to stand up and be counted. Protecting unborn children at at least some point in their gestation is a mainstream opinion. Today and tomorrow Canadians will know that there were 15,000 people who were willing to stand up and be counted by travelling to Ottawa and standing up for life. I salute every one of them.
In the meantime here are some highlights from the story in the Star:

Around 15,000 pro-life campaigners, clearly buoyed by what they see as last month’s victory on the foreign-aid front, cheered loudly when numerous speakers talked about the next steps in what one called bringing a “culture of life” to Canada.

“We would like some more courage to do something more in Canada in defence of the unborn,” Cardinal Marc Ouellette, of Quebec City, told the crowd. Ouellette minced no words in explaining later what he would like Harper to do next: “Reopen the discussion in Canada about this judicial void; there is absolutely no protection for the unborn,” Ouellette told reporters.

“The next step should be a reopening of discussion about the legal situation of abortion in Canada.”

Pro life Conservative backbencher Rod Bruinooge helped keep the event in perspective:

Bruinooge says he accepts Harper’s long-stated refusal to open up any debate over abortion legislation in Canada. Thursday’s rally was purely for information purposes, he said.

“The goal of the pro-life movement in general is to acknowledge that the unborn have value, that they’re human and we as a society need to consider their value. And I think that’s a message that’s beginning to come out,” Bruinooge said.

He would not comment, however, on whether the movement has gained strength because the increasing clout of the Christian right in Canada, as asserted in a newly released book, Armageddon, by Canadian journalist Marci MacDonald.

“In our country there’s a number of faith groups … there’s Sikhs, Hindus that have many similar philosophical viewpoints to Christians, and I think that many people, from various theological communities, suggest various ideas that I think are important to public policy,” Bruinooge said. “On the life issues, I know that not only are Christians generally supportive of pro-life politics, but I know Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists are as well.”

At the rally, Bruinooge particularly singled out the two Sikh MPs who turned out on stage: Liberal MP Gurbax Malhi and Conservative MP Tim Uppal.

Again, congrats to everyone involved.