Monday, December 28, 2009

Present Laughter

Attempted bombing raises fears about al-Qaeda in Yemen

That is one of many headlines round the world today following the "incident" aboard Northwest flight 253 approaching Detroit.

But it hardly begins to cover the depth of the problem, does it?

What about Denmark, Holland, London?

Chattanooga for all we know.

In recent weeks, I have read two major articles and watched one video all with the same theme - the "Islamification" of Europe.

Did you know that there are now more mosques in London, England than churches?

That the largest mosque in the world in being built in London?

Denmark and the Netherlands, deservedly known for decades as open and tolerant and inviting countries are reversing long-standing government policies of inclusion and diversity.


Because Muslims have moved into those countries in huge numbers, eating up welfare payments and health benefits.

Women in tents dominate the city streetscapes.

Gays and Jews are routinely beat up.

Mohammed is the most popular boy's name in Malmo, Sweden.

It is unsettling to say the least to listen to myself, a squishy liberal, tarnishing entire peoples with a single brush, fearful of people because of their appearance or their name or their professed religious beliefs.

But that is where I am on this sorry date.

Denmark has now declared that immigrants must study Danish history and social customs and live (somehow) by Danish social mores.

Good luck.

At least eight years ago, a dear friend of mine who lives in Europe told me this:

"Judaism can be seen as a Religion of Laws. Christianity a religion of Forgiveness & Compassion. Islam is a religion of the sword. Beware the future."

Well, the future is here.

The 19 who perpetrated 9/11 and Mr. Abdulmutallab who was dragged off that plane in Detroit are mere signals.

They have already seriously altered how we do business and how we travel and how we live.

I am not worried about al-Qaeda in Yemen, although I probably should be.

I am worried about the radicalized lunatic exchange student(s) at SFU.

And I am worried about flying to Italy to see old friends and more cathedrals and paintings.

Good luck to us all.

Unchanging Dark

In 1967, when I first began working with Native Indian ex-convicts, the recidivism rate for aboriginals in Canada was 97%.


That is not a typo.

Of every 100 male Aboriginal inmates released from a prison in Canada at that time, 97 could be assured of a return trip.

And soon.

Inmates and guards alike used to joke with someone being set free, "We'll keep your bunk warm for you, Buddy."

How much have things improved over the years?

Not much.

Here's the front page of this morning's Globe:

"Courts falling short on effort to keep natives out of jail

Ten years after landmark ruling, prison numbers tell a dismal story

Statistics tell a dismal story. Aboriginals amount to fewer than 4 per cent of the Canadian population, yet accounted for 24 per cent of those admitted to provincial or federal custody in 2006-2007 – up from 21 per cent the previous year. In Ontario, twice as many aboriginal youth are being jailed as non-aboriginal youth who commit the same offence."

Everyone is to blame.

Aboriginal communities and people themselves.

Courts, police, parole, probation, me and you.

We won't spend the necessary money on good rehab programs, substance abuse treatment, early childhood ed, you name it.

And native peoples are not demanding enough of themselves and their children.

Success, pride and hard work are the interlocking circle that makes for better lives.

Not easily come by, of course.

But they are always there, waiting for the willing.

Until then, we live with a national disgrace.

One that has persisted for over 40 years.

How much longer?

Deja Vu

Over the last few holi-days, the NFL Network has been runningand re-running a very special football game in their Classic Games series.

It is the January 10, 1982, NFC Championship match between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Fransisco 49ers.

Dallas, "America's Team," came into Candlestick Park full of themselves and their press releases confident that they would destroy the upstart who-are-they-anyway 49ers who had suffered through so many years with some great players but bad management and many losing seasons.

Now the Bay area team had Bill Walsh coaching, but he was at that time a guy with a record something like 22-37.

And they had a young, slight Joe Montana from Notre Dame at quarterback.

It was a great game and the final minute was unbelievable.

You can see it below in the video.

So...I watched this thing two days ago and I knew the outcome and I've seen "The Catch" only about 900 times over the years.

Nevertheless, I was sitting on the edge of the sofa, bouncing up and down, almost unable to watch because of the tension.

When The Catch happened, I leaped up screaming as if this were right here in front of me in real time.

Craziness, I know.

But great fun.

This game marked the end of Dallas' great run and the beginning of the 49ers dynasty.

San Fransisco went on to the Super Bowl to beat Cincinnati and quite a few championships after that.

The Catch