In these two videos [1,2], prominent non-believers  Neil deGrasse Tyson and Sam Harris reject the denomination “atheist” as not only inaccurately and/or misleadingly portraying their views on the (non) existence of God, but also, according to them, of little content or use, and even potentially pernicious.
Archive for the ‘Progressive’ Category
All right, so, now that the scenario that some (apparently many) of us feared, and that all pollsters comfortably, self-assuredly and wrongly predicted, has thankfully failed to materialize, let us see if there are some general lessons that can be learned from the recent provincial election in Alberta, which may be of relevance beyond the immediate impact of the consultation on those who happen to live there.
I do not want to start criticizing the newly elected leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, just one day after his inauguration, without even giving him the time to show what he has got. It would be unfair to start on a sour note just because he was not my first choice, nor second, nor third … all right, he was my last choice.
Facts will speak louder than anything else, as usual, and it is not like I have not been wrong before, so, for all I know, five years from now we may look back at his election as a turning point for the party and the nation.
This week has marked the untimely departure of two charismatic leaders from the helm of two very different organizations.
Canada’s New Democratic Party Jack Layton succumbed to cancer, shortly after leading its party last May to the best electoral showing in its history.
Apple‘s legendary co-founder Steve Jobs stepped down from the position of company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). His stated inability to continue to serve in that capacity, is attributed to health problems (he has also been fighting cancer over the past few years, and it seems unlikely that he may return).
Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) held in Vancouver its fiftieth national congress since its foundation. It is presently Canada’s official opposition in the House of Commons, and arguably one of strongest (nominally still) socialist political formations in the Western world. On the agenda, to be voted by delegates, was also a resolution that would change the language in the NDP’s statute, removing any reference to “socialism”. According to some of the Party’s éminences grises, “it is time for it to go”, to paraphrase a former US Vice President (although apparently it will stay for the time being).
This editorial cartoon, published on the Canadian National Post of May 18 2011, has prompted the Italian ambassador to Canada to write a letter to the newspaper, stating his displeasure over a satirical commentary that in his view is “gratuitously offensive to Italian government institutions and to the Italian citizens who select their leaders, as do Canadians, in democratic elections.”
I have to admit it, when I first saw that cartoon I also could not bring myself to laugh (well, not right away) — but not for the reasons expounded by the ambassador in his letter, with whose content I disagree.
Having reaffirmed once again my inability at making accurate predictions, I am going to offer now my very personal reading of the results of the general election held in Canada early this week. I am, of course, no pundit or political scientist, merely an amateur — anyone wanting to find a more informed and insightful analysis can consult a host of respectable and authoritative sources, such as this one (just kidding).
“Good predictions are only made by luck” (anonymous… nah, it’s me)
You would think that, given my ability at guessing the outcome of elections, I would have given up by now… Well, this time I think I am in good company, as I profess my uncertainty — no, utter bewilderment, as to what is about to happen. One thing is for sure, though — it makes for good drama. And to think that some people say that Canadian politics is boring…
In the Italy where I grew up (in the 70s and 80s), most jobs were for life. Most workers, not just government or state ones but also those employed in the private sector, were hired permanently. They could not be let go without just cause, in turn almost always involving demonstrable unprofessional or unethical behaviour on their part. Both private and public sectors had to contend with strong unions, as well as with a legal system that made it very difficult in practice, if not downright impossible, to dismiss employees, even those individuals ostensibly not performing up to standards.
“There is nothing wrong with changing one’s opinion… switching from the right to the left of the political spectrum, and vice versa, is legitimate — until one reaches the age of forty, that is. After sixty, it starts looking clownish and dodgy”
Italian journalist and commentator Indro Montanelli
Many among the most prominent members of the right-wing party currently in charge of governing Italy have a left-wing political past. Some are former members of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), and others even of smaller parties or associations that would position themselves at the left of the PCI. As they warm up to, or wholeheartedly embrace the cornerstones of capitalism (free enterprise, progressive elimination of the welfare state, privatization of services etc.), these people find themselves in high demand as editorialists, political commentators, TV hosts (makes no difference of which television or newspapers, as all Italian media are owned by the same person, who happens to be the head of the government).
Some of them are by far the harshest critics of progressive, socialist ideas, and of those who still advocate them, and rank among the most outspoken and bluntest revisionists.