Leo’s Killer Finally Pleads Guilty

leoA long time ago, I fronted a punk band called Johnny Incognito. We were not good. We were fun as hell, and we had a following of people who would come to our shows, but we were never going to make it big. When we first started playing shows, we couldn’t buy a gig with another punk band. This was back before the Calgary Beer Core came to be, when most of us in the underground music scene had an uphill battle and most of the gigs we could get were battle of the bands types.

Along the way, we hooked up with some great local bands and put on some really fun, diverse shows. One of those bands was The Pindolls. I still listen to their album, OMED when the feisty mood takes me. We played a bunch of shows together over the years, right up until they moved to Vancouver. And at most if not all of those shows was Leo.

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Chilling Memoirs From Guantanamo

slahiMost people think of me as a fairly Liberal guy, but that’s only partly true. There are certain issues legally, economically, and socially where I am much more Conservative than people give me credit. I do, for example, support the death penalty under the right circumstances, and I do believe in a much more frequent use of the Dangerous Offender status to ensure that dangerous criminals with high recidivism simply don’t get the opportunity to re-offend. But I gotta say, everything we’ve heard about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and all the other US “technicality prisons” (as I like to call them) makes me utterly disgusted. My patience for dangerous monsters convicted of horrible deeds is limited; my patience with gathering up large numbers of people without trial and shit-beating them into confessions is even more limited.

I’ve just finished reading the first of three installments of The Guantanamo Memoirs by Mohamedou Ould Slahi. You can find the redacted versions on Slate’s web site (this link will take you to the introduction by Larry Siems, and then link you to the memoirs themselves), and I felt I had to share this with my loving readers.

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An Infographic – Seven Billion People

I don’t have a clue who the people from Masters Degree Online are or what their game is, but one of their people has offered to send me infographics that they put together, and this one I really found interesting. It’s about the earth’s population, some trending, some comparisons, and all kinds of neat stuff. I haven’t fact-checked it, so please if there are errors or things you find misleading, let me know here and I’ll forward those to the authors. After the graphic, I’ll provide my thoughts. And you can click to embiggen, and view the graphic after the fold.

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Oslo Suffers Terrorist Attacks

I have to admit, I never would have thought of Norway as a terrorist target. However, today there were two separate attacks which appear to be the acts of terrorists. In the first attack, a bomb was detonated near the government buildings in Oslo, and in the second a gunman started shooting on a nearby island called Utoya during what CNN calls “Norway’s ruling party youth camp”.

I don’t know for certain how many are dead and wounded from either incident, and I don’t believe that they have stated for certain that the two attacks are related, but from what I’ve read that is the going assumption. ┬áIt is also not known (to my knowledge) what the motivation for the attacks was as yet, but a suspect from the shooting spree is in custody.

I’m really very sad to hear this. I don’t understand why people allow themselves to perform these kinds of acts. I don’t understand why people feel that this sort of behavior will be effective.

Speculation that I have read is that this was another terrorist attack by Muslims, but until we hear one way or the other that is all it is, speculation. No matter who is responsible and what ideology they were promoting (because acts like this so often are ideological in nature), I hope we find out quickly so I can denounce the pricks behind it.

Jim

Gay — It’s The New Red

Once upon a time in America, Reds (aka communists, communist sympathizers, liberals, etc.) were thought to be criminal elements dangerous to the future of America. McCarthyism led to many ruined lives. This web site has a list of some “notable people who were blacklisted or suffered some other persecution during McCarthyism”, and it is a sobering reminder of how easily paranoia can spread and become mainstream, even in the super-educated modern West.

Well, in Uganda, gay is the new Red. But it’s much uglier than that. It isn’t just about ruining lives, it is now about ending them. Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is on its way to becoming law, and is likely to be passed in the next couple of days. This law would allow for, among many other things, the death penalty for any homosexual with multiple offenses.

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Out Of Touch And Unimpressed

I admit it, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV news. A long time ago, I noticed that I was becoming depressed, and the amount of news I was reading was a primary cause. The news was really doing little more than telling me over and over again how totally screwed we all were, but it doesn’t match up with the actual world around me. It was overwhelming, and I could not keep letting all that negativity get to me. So I stopped watching.

However, I’m anything but ill-informed. I keep tabs on what’s going on around me through a variety of news sources. Still, sometimes things sneak by my radar until I wind up reading about them on Skepchick. Usually, these stories don’t particularly inspire my interest or venom, but in this case, I have to say I’m pretty annoyed. Lara Logan, who is a foreign correspondent (well, more correctly, chief foreign affairs correspondent) for CBS News, recently got sexually assaulted while covering That Whole Egypt Thing. It was, from all accounts, a rather horrible experience. I don’t honestly know to what extent she was violated, but I understand it involved several attackers, and it was a prolonged attack.

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Let’s Not Be Too Quick To Shout For Joy

Hosni Mubarak stepped down today as the President of Egypt. That’s great news for the Egyptians, but I think it’s still plenty early to be too jubilant. For one thing, he didn’t step down in favor of some sort of democratic solution; he handed the reins of power over to the military. That’s never a good sign in my eyes.

Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on Egyptian politics, but like everyone else on earth, I’ve seen some stuff. And the stuff I’ve seen generally says that handing power over to the military is usually a pretty lousy idea if your intentions are a free and prosperous civilian population. That is not to say that a military leadership has to be cruel and dictatorial, but off the top of my head as I write this, I’m having trouble of thinking about an instance in human history where a villain quits, the military moves in, and good things happen.

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