Sunday Roundup2


My latest book went to the publisher some time ago. Two errors, both mine, merged to give both the editor and me headaches. First, I had sent the wrong version, unedited and unrevised. During May and June I had worked on the manuscript and then carefully saved it — to a usb drive. I didn’t remember that and sent the most recent one on the computer. The next mistake was in using Word. I didn’t know that there was a small button in the reviewing toolbar that I had to click in order to accept all my edits and create a final version. The editor received a file full of corrections, strike-throughs, and sidebar comments.  Once the Microsoft tech told me what to do — success. The publisher, Arline Chase of Write Words Inc. and  Cambridge Books, has been great about it and I have sent along the revised  version to the editor.

Tech Support

I needed support from both Apple and Microsoft to solve the problem, and both technicians were great. The wait time was brief and the information clear. It was Saturday evening, so not too much traffic at support, I imagine.

Another outfit that has an efficient website and great service is Rail Europe. I used them to book our tickets from Madrid to Seville in the fall. From booking to the UPS driver at my door took three days, including a border crossing!


Sakineh still waits in that prison in Iran, while they review her sentence for a murder she says she didn’t commit and of which she was acquitted. Through an intermediary she says that the international pressure is embarrassing Iran. I hope that this country, once such a pearl, can be saved, with Sakineh, from the madmen at the top. Please continue to embarrass them and sign the petition. Website follows.

The census, still.

This week, Sylvia Ostry, former chief of Stats Can and an internationally known economist is quoted in Michael Valpy’s article at the Globe and Mail, as saying it is “shocking” and “ridiculous” that Ottawa should have abandoned the long form census. She was receiving an award for public policy at the Couchiching Conference.

Why the government is staying with this sorry decision is difficult to understand, unless it is Harper’s ego in play again. Hubris best describes it I think.


I went to a summer theatre this week, to see a play, out of John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps, by way of Hitchcock’s film, filtered through an English music hall. The actors were excellent, but I didn’t enjoy seeing Buchan’s work turned into burlesque.

I hadn’t read the book for many years, so I reread it this week. It’s a cracking good yarn, with lots of adventure in the Scottish highlands of a century ago. John Buchan was also Lord Tweedsmuir and served as Canada’s fifteenth Governor-General from 1935-1940.

One thing I noticed, as I have in Christie, Naigo Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and other writers from England of that period is the pervasive and off-hand anti-semitism. Buchan, though, confines it to a character who is soon murdered, and whose attitude towards Jews is called “strange”.

Sunday Roundup

BBC News – Brazil offers asylum to Iran woman sentenced to stoning.

The BBC is reporting that Brazil has offered asylum to Sakineh, but there has been no response at this time from Iran. And that’s it. On July 21st, the governemnet of Iran announced that a decision on her sentencing would be made in 40 days. In the meantime, her lawyer is missing; his wife and brother-in-law are held without charge; her sons are muzzled. All we can do is keep talking and posting, and writing about her and all the others who languish in those ghastly prisons.

Nothing new on the census front, except for the nearly universal condemnation of the government’s decision. Even the Canadian Catholic Bishops are upset.  One article calls it disconnecting the past from the future, which is what this action does. We simply won’t know how to compare what is with what was, and no way of knowing if we’re improving, or failing. In 10 years, when the census rolls around again, with perhaps, fate willing, another government in power, it may be made mandatory again. So the gap, instead of 10 years will be 20, and in those 20 years what mistakes will have been made as decisions are taken on erroneous or at the very least non-comparable data, or worse on a politician’s “philosophy”.

Our trip to Spain is coming closer. This weekend, I was able to book our train tickets from Madrid to Seville, on the AVE, Spain’s version of the TVG in France. Spain is working to connect the major cities by this very rapid transit. Madrid to Seville is a 550 km drive and takes about 6 hours by car. The train takes 2 1/2hrs and includes lunch!  I booked through RailEurope which is painless. The tickets should arrive this week. I think I’ll have to wait until we’re in Seville to get the bus tickets for Ronda.

The Census

It has been an unusual week. The conflict over the census, which cost a good man his job and lost the services of that same career civil servant to the government, has spread to interprovincial affairs, with most of the provinces weighing in on the side of keeping the long form the way it is, minus the threatened jail time. Today Jack Layton wants to sit down with the PM and work out a compromise. John Ibbitson in the Globe talks about Tony Clement “defending a false fact”. All along I thought there were no false facts, just facts and non-facts.

The Conservative government has been unable to say “we made a mistake” for all these long years they have been in government. Since they imported Guy Giorno, a former Mike Harris staffer, the attitude of the government seems to me to have become more hard-nosed, and certainly more small-c conservative. I suppose he’s on Harper’s wavelength or Harper on his. Things didn’t go well with Harris originally and I sure don’t like the retread.

The news from Iran is bleak. No word on Sakineh and now her lawyer has disappeared, his wife and brother-in-law held without legal representation. Add your voice, sign the petition.

Now Iran is kidnapping.

Attorney of Iranian Condemned to Be Stoned Faces Arrest | News | English.

Tthe Iranian government wants to arrest the lawyer who has been defending Sakineh and is involved in human rights works. They can’t find him, so they have arrested his wife and brother-in-law who have done nothing, not even been involves in any human rights work. In other words, judicial kidnapping, hostage-holding and extortion. The inmates have taken over the asylum in that poor country.

The continued international outrage may help. Who knows what may be going on in the government and judiciary there? How long with Iranian people put up with this state of affairs? It is appalling. Please sign the petition.

Sakineh – International Response

CNN reports this morning on world wide protests against the sentence to death by stoning handed down to Sakineh, and 9-15 others in prison in Iran. One can only hope that continual pressure from the international community will end this abhorrent practice and bring some semblance of justice to the Iranian judicial system.

The Iranian people abhor this practice so much that the stonings are no longer held in public, but carried out in secrecy. Military men cast the stones, led by an official from the Judiciary or a Mullah. Cowards and barbarians all.

Sign the petition at


Iran stoning case woman ordered to name campaigners | World news | The Guardian.

Sakineh is apparently still alive and being questioned, one fears tortured, so that her jailers may know the names of those who are coordinating the campaign to save her. As well, according to the article in the Guardian, her sons are being warned to keep silent. The message to the jailers has to be that there are hundreds of thousands of us, all independent. Heather Reisman initiated the campaign here, but now it has a life of its own. No coordination, just people who believe that the barbarism has to stop. Please sign the petition.

Saving Sakineh

Iran’s Sakineh Be Stoned Possibly Today: Despite Total Lack of Evidence :: Hudson New York.

The article above states the belief that the death sentence for Sakineh may have taken place as early as yesterday. Nothing in the press today to confirm that outcome. The writer believes that the execution of Sakineh and all the others jailed and condemned to stoning may happen quickly to decrease the bad press Iran is receiving. I think the even if Sakineh is not saved, the international campaign must continue, to prevent this happening to all the others in the same situation in Iran. Please sign the petition at

Saving Sakineh

It’s a crime to be a woman in Iran – The Globe and Mail.

Margaret Wendt’s excellent column in the Globe this morning goes beyond telling us Sakineh’s story to that of the many women killed and imprisoned by this regime.

Sakineh matters; one person matters; all of the people awaiting death for this non-crime matter. Please sign the petition. The madmen in charge of Iran appear to have some response to the world’s outrage. Make them hear you.

Iran elected to the UN Commission on the status of Women

Canada ‘deplores’ Iran’s appointment to UN women’s rights panel.

I missed this report in May but noticed a reference to it in an article about Sakineh. The leader of Iran likes to go to the United Nations and give his demented speeches. Iran is a country, and I suppose its leader has a right to go to the UN, but for the Assembly to elect Iran, a country in which women are no more than chattels and in which they are subjugated to torture, lashing and stoning, is reprehensible. Our government has spoken out against this travesty. I hope our representative holds Iran accountable at every available opportunity.

Remember Sakineh. Please sign the petition at


The Globe and Mail reports this am that the stoning of Sakineh may go forward. This was according to the head the Judiciary in Tabriz. As well, a so-called human rights commissioner  “Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, lashed out against the international campaign to spare Ms. Mohammadi Ashtiani, while pointing out that stoning is rarely used.”

Further we are told that the regime has to hire rentathugs to carry out these appalling sentences. Only countries that treat their women as equal partners in the world can move into the 21st century, in my view. All others are mired in the superstition and brutality of the past.Women of Iran are increasingly educated to university level and make up a high proportion of graduates.How long must they be kept subjugated and treated as male possessions? to sign the petition