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March – Electric Chair

I think we all understand that one season does not a statistic make, but the recent spate of tornadoes ripping through the American heartland is certainly enough to make one think about the consequences of global warming and the associated climate change that can occur when there is more energy (heat) in the atmosphere. According to a March 4th report on Discovery, the average number of tornadoes in the month of March is 87. Preliminary reports indicate that March 2nd saw 81 in a single day. Again, this is not proof of climate change, but it does show the sort of weather that could be expected in future.

Along with the tornado tragedy goes the predictable mangling of science by the popular press. In one report I heard the announcer mention that due to the large amounts of agricultural land in the area, death and destruction from tornadoes was usually low, but this time the twisters had “targeted” urban areas. The next day another reporter described the systems as “attacking” cities. Anthropomorphising animals is bad enough, but to ascribe malicious intent to weather is indescribably bad journalism.

Once again I will enter into the political spectrum, but there is a skeptical side. By now you may be aware of the current issue regarding ‘robo calls’ that were allegedly used during the last federal election in an apparent attempt to send voters to a fake location. From the evidence I have heard so far I have no doubt that calls were made, but let’s not instantly assume that it was some far-ranging conspiracy by one party or another. Not long after the news broke about the incidents in Guelph, Ontario, other areas of the country seemed to recall similar incidents, and the number reporting them seems to be growing. We might do well to remember the ‘recovered memory’ fiasco of the late 20th century, wherein many people were convinced that they were either the victims or perpetrators of various crimes. As it turned out, the memories were not recovered but implanted. I am not saying that the later claims of voter fraud are the same thing, but we must keep an open mind to the possibility. On a strictly personal note, I sincerely hope that, if such things did occur, they were the work of criminally over-enthusiastic workers and that it was not orchestrated by anyone in a position of authority. Because if the allegations are true, and if it was carried out with higher approval, I weep for what my country has become. This is not simply a case of dirty tricks that can be combated by publicising the facts about a claim. Rather, it is an attempt to subvert the very basis of democracy — the vote. And to my mind, such a thing is barely one step short of treason.

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