Mar. 10th, 2006

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Reading Kieran Healy's post "Evangelicals and Democrats", wherein commenters argue that, yes, the Democrats should be willing to trade off support for gay rights in exchange for a greater share of the evangelical vote, is one of those things that makes me happy to be a Canadian.

I'm just saying.
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Finis Finlandiae is a gruesomely interesting timeline posted on soc.history.what-if by Finnihs contributor Jukka Raustia, describing in painful detail (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) the consequences of a Soviet conquest of Finland in 1939 in the Winter War. In OTL, it seems that Scandinavia was lucky.
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Douglas Muir writes about Montenegrin separatism at A Fistful of Euros, calling it a "deeply, obviously stupid idea."
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Over at A Fistful of Euros, Brussels Gonzo makes a counter-argument to Muir's argument against Montenegro.

I tend to agree with the former writer, especially after reading Mark Mardell's rather dispiriting BBC article "Europe diary: Balkan trauma". It seems that a complex of Serbia as a victim, unfairly punished by the outside world, is still popular; it seems that the independence of Kosova and soon Montenegro will be taken by the Serbian population as unfair punishment; it seems that this shock might drive Serbians further into self-imposed isolation.

Tough for them. Weimar Germany was always latently threatening to the entire world. Post-Milosevic Serbia is more pathetic than not. States exist because people want them to exist; forcing people to remain is, besides being bad form, counter-productive. Democracy and empire can't co-exist, I fear.
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The Globe and Mail was one Toronto news source among many that covered the Toronto segment of the Italian election campaign.

Vittorio Coco, a host on Toronto's multicultural CHIN radio station, is campaigning to become a senator.

His riding stretches from Cuba to Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, up north to the United States and Canada. Among his constituents are as many as 137,000 Canadians, 5,000 people from the Dominican Republic and a lonely three in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The only thing these voters have in common is their Italian passports.

"I never imagined I'd be running for the Italian parliament," said Mr. Coco, a genial 66-year-old who wears a dark pinstripe suit and violet silk tie (Italian-made, of course). "Italians living abroad were classified as B citizens for years. This new law allowing us to be elected recognizes us as first-class citizens. Before when we screamed, no one listened in Rome. Now if we scream, they will have to listen."

Mr. Coco, who has lived in Canada since 1959, is running in Italy's national elections on April 9 in the new riding of North and Central America, where as many as 403,000 people are eligible to vote.

"It's kind of an experiment," he acknowledged over a risotto lunch at an Italian eatery in Toronto. A long-overdue experiment, he feels.

Italy's move to allow Italians living abroad to be represented in parliament took more than five decades to achieve. Italy had to change its constitution and then persuade dozens of other countries to let dual-Italian citizens living abroad stand as candidates and campaign through the Internet, e-mail, print mail and Italy's diplomatic network.

The decision to allow diaspora representatives to sit in the Italian parliament with full rights to engage in debates and vote on bills has been controversial both at home and abroad. Six senators and 12 deputies will represent the ridings of North and Central America (three seats); Europe (nine); South America (five) and Australia (one). That leaves 18 fewer parliamentarians for Italians who actually live in Italy.

I disagree with the suggestion could threaten Canadian sovereignty, since, as I read the issue, there won't be many critical conflicts between the Italian and Canadian states. It's not as if Little Italy or Corso Italia are going to become territories of debatable sovereignty. The Italian diaspora, though a substantially fictive diaspora, hammered together from different emigrant populations which left different regions at different times, does exist.

One issue that I can imagine is that where once this measure would have helped the Italian left, given the diaspora's origin in poverty and political oppression, the now-established and prosperous and older Italian communities are--as this thread at suggests--likely to bolster the right. I've problems with this mainly because I doubt the competency and morality of the Italian right; others' mileage may vary. Another issue is that extending representation to the diaspora will, as the article notes, weaken the representation of the Italians living inside Italy. Another, more serious criticism is that extending the vote to the legally-constituted diaspora while people of immigrant stock in Italy itself are deprived undermines the relatively territorial basis for the Italian nation-state and instead imposes much more restrictive criteria for membership based on descent. If Italian-Canadians a generation removed can vote while a first-generation Romanian-Italian can not, there's problems.

Even so, none of these issues, not even the last, are quite enough for me to condemn this new law. Let's see how this works.
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I hope that the responsible parties in the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation are happy with this news.

Luna, the playful killer whale who won the hearts of many around the world, was killed Friday after an incident with a tugboat off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Dr. John Ford, a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, told CTV Newsnet that it appears Luna died after getting sucked into the current of the tug's powerful propeller.

Tissue samples collected by fisheries officers confirmed the animal was a killer whale and they are convinced it was Luna, reports The Canadian Press.

"The behaviour of the whale prior to the accident and the location, all point toward it being Luna, unfortunately, so it's really a tragic end to quite a saga over the last five years," said Ford from Victoria.

Federal fisheries officials said the boat was idling to escape rough, stormy waters in Nootka Sound, just off of Gold River, when the accident happened.

Ford described the vessel as a powerful, 100 ft. ocean-going tug which was holding position in the water.

Ford said Luna likely died "instantly" after treating the 27-tonne General Jackson as he would any other idle or slow-moving boat -- swimming underneath the hull, rubbing up against it and pushing on its rudders.

Scientists had tried to reunite the young Luna with his pod, but the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation insisted that Luna was reincarnation of a recently dead chief and refused to let Environment Canada relocate him to a safer clime. Some radical environmentalists agreed, on the grounds that the Canadian government was unjustified in and morally incapable of relocating Luna.

This tragedy was inevitable only because these beliefs persisted unchallenged, and determined the course of some actions bound to end in tragedy. The pity of it is that the same is done to human beings all the time and no one notices, not especially. As Luna goes, so we all?
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The intersection of Queen and John Streets in Toronto is, in many ways, the heart of the Queen Street West district. This centrality was, perhaps, reinforced by the location of MuchMusic's Toronto headquarters on this intersection's southeastern corner, in an instantly recognizable converted warehouse, all white stone facades and windows.

It's funny. It used to be that there was a time that I'd be excited just to pass by this building, on foot or on streetcar. Now it's just another building.
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It seems to have taken the poorly reviewed Sarah Jessica Parker/Matthew McConaughey film movie Failure to Launch to trigger a global debate on the "adultescent" and the nefarious influence of said character. Articles like this one from the Vancouver Sun are sprouting up on Google News, full with outrage at the reluctance of people in my 20-35 demographic to leave their childhood homes.

Canadians in their 20s and early 30s are enjoying a life of leisure once limited to the rich or retired.

They drive nice cars, take frequent vacations, have their meals prepared for them, and never, ever do their own laundry.

Such luxury isn't afforded by top-notch educations or good jobs, although many of them have both. It's the upshot of living with their parents.

According to social scientists, grown men and women are increasingly becoming caught in a suspended state of "adultescence." While their professional accomplishments permit leaving home, their unwillingness to embrace independence keeps them from doing so.

"A lot of young people are telling me they could afford to live on their own, but they couldn't afford to live in the manner they're accustomed to," says Barbara Mitchell, author of
The Boomerang Age: Transitions to Adulthood in Families.

"It's almost like the luxuries of yesterday have become the necessities of today's generation because we've gone more into a consumer-oriented culture of designer handbags and fancy sports cars."

Statistics Canada reports the number of twentysomethings living with their parents spiked from 27 per cent to 41 per cent over the last two decades. In the U.S., there has been a 50-per-cent increase in the number of 24- to 34-year-olds living at home since the 1970s, leading to a nearly 20-per-cent rise in shared housing costs incurred by parents.

"Historically, it's unprecedented," says Mitchell, a sociologist at Simon Fraser University. "[Previously], if kids did stay at home longer, it was more to help their aging parents, whereas now it's because they're getting the benefits of housing and economic support to save money."

Australia's The Mercury is somewhat less upset in its take on the phenomenon.

In Australia, adultescents are single people in their late 20s to early 30s, many also living at home, delaying traditional milestones such as marriage, children and taking out a mortgage.

There are 1.5 million adultescents in Australia and statistics show 50 per cent of people aged 18-30 are without a partner, mortgage or child.

Twenty years ago that figure was 10 per cent.

Instead of marriages and mortgages, they're investing in expensive holidays, fancy mobile phones, DVDs and cocktails.

I live on my own, but I have friends who live with their parents. Why do they live with their parents? It certainly isn't because they're lazy. Rather, it's because it's quite expensive for them to move out on their own. Consider that with what it costs me to rent a bachelor with shared facilities in Toronto, I could rent half of a house in Charlottetown.

I know full well that living on my own is expensive, especially in a costly city like Toronto, but it's something that's much better for me than any of the other alternatives (like, say, living on Prince Edward Island). Other people who aren't faced with the same life-and-death imperative for independence as me can be expected to make more economically rational choices like, say, living with their parents at home.

Speaking as a representative of my generation, it would be nice if the responsible people in my parents' generation would start wondering why we aren't moving out on our own in terms that don't involve blaming their children for their incompetence. It would be nice; it also isn't going to happen. Blaming other parties is, as always, a hot thing to do.
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