Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday musings

Well, to start off this week I offer a mea culpa for a line in last weeks posting about the saw mill we visited in Port Alberni. I was under the impression that the mill only milled a few logs for the visiting tour folks but was informed that it indeed is an actual working mill and produces cut wood products for the consumer industry. Which is actually a good thing as it provides a source of revenue for the site and there is never enough funding for such deserving projects. In fact there is a report that a book is going to be produced and if interested in the book and/or the whole adventure package, just Google the link - and hit the contact button for help.

I admit that I do enjoy the occasional feedback I get from my postings as it shows that people do actually read it!
In fact I am surprised over and over again to see where in the world readers come from. Every part of the globe has at one time or the other signed in and I do appreciate that...
I have mentioned about the power of the web for good and bad and I have to say that I think that there is the tendency for abuse of people becoming more and more common these days. Specifically the case of a somewhat well known person in the United States, Ms. Paula Deen. In a TV interview recently she said that while younger that indeed she used what is termed in America as the N Word in regards to African Americans. She is a lady well into middle age and is a product of the American South with all its attendant history. She further explained that she does not do so as an adult and does not condone such language. Of course the twitterverse went batcrazy and slammed the heck out of her. Abuse and condemnation flooded the airwaves and print media as well. Almost all her corporate sponsors have now dropped her and she also has lost her TV show as well.
Well, I have a couple of problems with that.
First is the fact that there is probably not a single person who when hopefully only as a young person, used derogatory words or phrases describing an individual or race.
And honestly, all the political correctness we now live in is a product of mostly the least decade or so.
Back in the 60's and 70's where were the gay rights? Where were woman’s rights? Of course the right to abortion is still under attack today by so called freedom advocates in the States, but I digress... Where were a lot of the things we take for granted now?
And also, it does seem like a one way street at times. A person is slammed for using the N Word but people who are coloured use it on TV talk and award shows with impunity and no criticism. And where is the social storm when a white person is called a “cracker” or “honkey”?
Just saying....
Double standard anyone?
The same applies for drug use by average people -arrest/fines/jail and the famous celebs who post pictures on line holding so called blunts – not a peep from the authorities.
Sad, really sad.
An example of the waning power of the union in Canada came out this week from a University in North Saskatchewan in the small city of Saskatoon. It seems that the University there, with the active consent of the union representing workers, fired/laid off/terminated (take your choice of word here) 29 unionized staff and on the same day posted the exact same job openings but at a much lower pay rate.
As in the case throughout history, the pendulum of fairness and equality in the workplace never sits in the middle but swings from one extreme to the other. One of the biggest factors in the founding and success of the union movement in North America was the pursuit of a fair working wage and safe working conditions. That pursuit succeeded too well as many contracts over the decades became over rich and bloated. Just look at sick days for certain government employees, pension plans and the like.
Just remember that contracts are signed by the employee and the employer though.
After the latest great depression of 2008 hit, many feared for their jobs and the mad dash for cost savings in government and industry began in earnest. And of course the unions were easy targets.
As long as my job is safe – to heck with anyone else seemed to be the mantra.
This is not a defense or attack on unions but more of an observation at how the “pendulum” as I referred to, moves.
At the end of the day, we are still talking about people, with all their hopes, fears and aspirations – we are talking of you and me my friends.
And honestly if all the good well paying jobs are sourced out or lost – then at what cost?
And who is left to buy all the fancy consumer goods and toys?
Think about it.
If the middle class is wiped out – where does the present high standard of living many now enjoy come from and who pays for it if there are no more middle class taxpayers left but only the ever increasing non tax paying poor and the uber rich who bend politicians to help them legally avoid paying any tax at all?
Any suggestions ?
Thought not.
Nelson Mandela is slowly fading away and leaving this mortal world. Cannot the health system and media let this titan go out in peace and on his own terms?
He did so much for humanity in such a tumultuous life and for no personal fiscal gain, we are privileged to have lived at the same time, He will rub shoulders in the afterlife with giants such as Gandhi, Confucius, Socrates and the like.
Egypt seems to be stirring again as more and more pro and anti President Morsi protests erupt. Many observers see this as a fight between religious society control versus democratic society control. It seems that all through the Middle East dictatorial hard line parties hiding under the guise of religion are trying to take over countries. And it seems like the ones to suffer the most as a result will be women. Many wonder why so many men there are so terrified of the prospect of women being accorded the same rights and privileges as men.
And in Syria, continued fighting has claimed more than 100,000 victims according to some reports. And the world sits by.
And sits....
And sits....
Keep an eye out for news from the region of Kashmir as coalition forces leave the Afghan region, tensions that were moderated over the last decade seem to be flaring again. More reports of sporadic violence are emerging and this will have an impact on how New Deli reacts.
Never a peaceful moment on this planet it seems.
Meanwhile on my second most favourite Island, the Maui Brewing Company brewpub will host a fundraiser for Maui's native forest birds.
How cool is that?
We had lunch the other day with our “daughter” the realtor in the small town of Ladysmith and spun many a happy tale and had a great time. She mentioned a rhododendron plant that was over 100 years old and now resembles a tree!
So, here is a photo of it.

and I though that they were only cut plants from my many years on the prairie flatlands!
Well this week will see celebrations of national pride here in Canada – July 1- Canada Day and in the United States – July 4th – Independence Day and best wishes to all on those days. May your countries, as in the words of Spock from Star Trek, live long and prosper!

Hopefully you are enjoying these dog days of summer...
take care out there,

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