Who to believe? Duffy and Wallin or Harper and Lebreton? Poll!

So, things are getting interesting in the otherwise staid capital of Canada.  It’s focal point, Parliament Hill is ablaze with accusations, gossip and all forms of ridiculousness.  Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin both protest that they are the aggrieved in this debacle.  Harper on the other hand claims exactly the same thing.  His argument is that these two former news reporters for CTV and current members of the esteemed Upper Chamber, have violated rules of conduct around their expenditures as members of the Senate.  Wallin and Duffy say they have done nothing wrong and are being hung out to dry because Harper doesn’t want to offend his ‘base.’

I must say that I wonder about Duffy and Wallin.  They got to sit in the Senate only because they served the Conservative Party.  If fact the Senate is full of political appointees who are all beholden to the Party that put them there.  No problem whipping them for a vote!  So, just for fun, I invite you to answer this simple question: 

Deer, deer, me…ultimate ignorance.

I need to share with you this entry in The Comox Valley Record’s have your say opinion section (page A22, October 10, 2013) where people spout off about whatever they care to.  “Have an opinion?  Feel strongly about an issue?  Share something special…”  This is the place for you.  So here it is:


Over the past few years we personally experienced a total of four accidents with deer at large on the B.C. highways.  The last one which occurred a few months ago fortunately only damaged our vehicle; however, under slightly different circumstances it would have cause the loss of both of our lives and many others.  For these reasons mentioned I am wondering what other people’s thoughts are about animals that cause severe damage to our vehicles and bodily harm.  When I read about cougars attacking humans, I cringe.  We also know that when apple season arrives we can expect bears at our property as it is on the shopping list.  I don’t know what the total yearly damage is by just deer alone, but what I do know is that our damage over a period of seven years is about $6,800 paid by ICBC.  I am thinking of a large fenced wildlife area, maybe like our provincial park up north.  I know my thoughts are out of the box but not so long ago “No Smoking” was an out-of-the-box issue, too.  Maybe it’s worth thinking about, because some of our loved ones might not be as fortunate as we were.  [All the submissions to this opinion section of the paper are unsigned so we have no idea who wrote this.]


OK.  Well, where do I start?  Before posting this I made sure I wasn’t really reading a piece from The Onion, the satirical online ‘news magazine,’ but no, it was the Comox Valley Record alright. Then I thought, maybe this is thoroughly tongue-in-cheek.  But it just doesn’t ring true as tongue-in-cheek.  It’s too, ah…sincere.  So, what can we make of this absolutely insane piece?  That may be a harsh judgment, but who in their right mind would produce such a piece of utter nonsense?  Does this person have the right to vote?  If so, no wonder our ‘democracy’ is in such terrible shape.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not outraged by this piece.  But I am slightly bemused and amused by it. 


So, let me get this straight whoever wrote this piece.  You want to put all deer, bear, and cougars in a large fenced enclosure so they don’t bother you anymore?  What the hell are ‘deer at large?’  Deer ARE at large.  Deer are not domesticated.  They LIVE out there and have lived out there for much, much, longer than you can imagine. They were around long before roads, ‘properties,’ cities, towns, apple trees, you and your precious vehicle.  Damage to your vehicle?  How do you think the deer felt?  Do you think the deer deliberately set out to damage your vehicle?  Maybe they are suicide deer, like suicide bombers, bent on destroying human civilization.  Just for one second think about all the vehicle collisions that don’t involve ‘wild’ animals but only humans.  Maybe WE need to be put in a large fenced enclosure and let all the other animals run free and unimpeded by our roads and stupid, frightened attitudes. But I don’t really want to get nitpicky here. 


What the attitude underlying this piece belies is a profound disconnect with the planet and stunning ignorance of basic ecology.  It is so utterly self and human-centered as to be comical.  However, we have ‘wildlife preserves’ in Africa and large zoos everywhere so it may be just one stupid step further to convince people that this could just work.  Of course we’d have to kill on sight every animal that left the ‘large fenced area,’ but that’s ok as long as they don’t damage our vehicles. 


I’m not going to go on about this.  I could, could I ever.  As I said, I’m amused and bemused by this, but I’m also saddened by the arrogance and ignorance displayed by this piece of silliness.  What do you think about it? 

Just for you I’ve posted a picture of a deer at large. I have no idea who took it.  I got it from ‘the web.’  This is a four point buck. There aren’t many four pointers around.  They don’t usually live long enough to get that many points.  We see a few 2 pointers around but I haven’t seen a 4 pointer in a long time.  



Stanley Milgram and his very controversial experiments.


So, I just heard a CBC DNTO interview with Gina Perry, an Australian writer who just published a book on the Milgram experiments called Behind the Shock Machine.  I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ll be buying a Kindle copy in a moment.   I’ll review it after reading it.  Perry says in the interview that she had thought that Milgram’s work was brilliant and provided incredible insight into the human condition, especially in light of the Holocaust but that upon reading Milgram’s extensively archived notes and research reports, she realized that he had largely fudged  his conclusions, or at least that his conclusions were not justified based on the evidence provided by the experiments.  If you want the official version of what happened during Milgram’s ‘obedience’ research, have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcvSNg0HZwk.  I don’t want to take any time here to outline Milgram’s experiments.  Suffice it to say that in his mind they proved that people are willing to inflict pain on others if they are told to do so by an authority figure, lethal pain in the majority of cases.  His work was inspired by his outrage at the Holocaust.  He wanted to show how such a thing could happen and how easily people can be coerced into conforming to the will of authority.  People, Milgram concluded, easily descend into barbarism because they have no will of their own, no resistance to authority and have a deep need to conform.  Perry argues that Milgram had no right to draw these conclusions from his work.  This is a very damning indictment of Milgram himself but it throws into question the now taken-for-granted (in every textbook I’ve ever seen) conclusions of his work.  She argues that if Milgram had been honest, he would have reported that the subjects of his experiments were creative, determined to subvert the experimenter, sometimes understood the ‘set-up’ of the experiment and toyed with the experimenter.  In fact she concludes that more people resisted the experiment’s goals and defied the experimenter than conformed to his authority.  But before I go on here I want to read Perry’s book and a couple of articles on the subject that also throw light on Milgram’s work, and the work of others like Philip Zimbardo who conducted the now famous Stanford Prison Experiment.  See for yourself what this was all about:


See you in a follow-up post after I read Perry and you get a chance to view the videos.