Well this brings my first week of blogging to an end. Lots has happened in the world since I signed on, so I'd thought doing a recap of events local and international might be appropriate.
The death watch has started for John Paul. After weeks of putting off the inevitable it looks like the Vatican is finally ready to admit that he old guy is dyeing. (I thing I'll wait to do an obit though, I'd like to read what others have to say and react.) It does leave questions on how they are going to proceed from here over in Vatican city. Will they continue down this path that's been started of small c conservatism, pushing against the winds of change and oppressing people with a highly outdated moral agenda? Or will they allow the election of someone slightly more flexible? My own feeling is that they are going to stay the course that this current pope has followed and elect someone who is completely out of touch with needs of the world.(I think that probably gives you an idea of my opinion of the current resident of the chair of St.Peter.)
Speaking of the Catholic Church, here in Canada a Bishop is being investigated by a provincial human rights board for comments he made in an open letter to his parishioners. Canadian provincial courts have recently began ruling that denying homosexuals the right to marriage is unconstitutional and contravenes our charter of rights.(marriage is a provincial responsibility)The reaction of social conservatives has been predictable: family values, etc ad nauseum. But this one bishop went even further. In his letter he urged his parishioners to encourage the federal government to use it's coercive powers to outlaw homosexuality and deny them their rights as human beings. This turns out to have too much for even the conservative government of Alberta who have threatened to be the only province not to allow gay marriage no matter what the courts say(a clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows any province to invoke something called the Notwithstanding Clause which allows them to ignore individual rights and freedoms. This was mainly written into the charter on the insistence of Quebec to allow them to have unalingual French language rights at the expense of minority languages. Before 1980 Canada did not have a bill of rights or it's own constitution. We were under the British North American Act which was an act of British parliament. One of the last things Pierre Trudeau did for us was give us our own constitution.)
All the usual hot spots seem to simmering along again this week, more killings in Iraq, Israel and Palestine stumbling in and out of peace, George Bush trying to figure out who to blame next(Iran and Syria are both looking good) We don't here much about Afghanistan anymore, except that elections seem to keep being put off. Another former Soviet republic is teetering, one of the ones that starts with a K and is near Afghanistan, I think we can predict further unrest throughout most of those former satellites for a long time to come. Haiti is being prepared for another out break of violence, with U.N. troops threatening to isolate and attack the poor slums because surprisingly enough that's where the unrest comes from.(Damn those poor folk, can't they just ever know their place) In the what a surprise category Robert Mugambe was handily re-elected in Zimbabwe. The opposition seems to be rather frightened of making any formal complaints. Wow that was depressing wasn't it?
On a more cheerful note there's a new Robert Rodriguez film being released this week in North America. For those of you who don't know him he's the man who's given us Once Upon A Time In Mexico, and Desperado, two wonderfully tongue in cheek movies staring Antonio Bandarras as the mysterious El Marachi ("we call him El... That means the") Once Upon A Time In Mexico included a typical crazed performance by Johnny Depp as a C.I.A.agent. Rodriquez's latest is call Sin City and is an adaptation of a Graphic Novel(Hollywood's latest source of material: adult comics: sex and violence with artistic license.) I hope that Rodriguez can put his usual stamp on this effort and elevate it beyond the mundane.