Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Canadian Auditor General's office pays for New Age "rebirth" for one of its employees

Rebirthing is a New Age technique in which the subject supposedly relives her (I use the feminine pronoun because women are more likely to fall for this nonsense) own birth experience, resulting in a process of healing from traumatic events. The fact that the human brain at birth isn't sufficiently developed for memories to be stored doesn't seem to matter to those who facilitate or go through a rebirth.

As reported by QMI reporter Mathieu Turbide on August 9, 2010:

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada says that "rebirth" sessions are "beneficial to increase its employees' confidence."

"It is a personal development course that the direction approved as being beneficial to increase the confidence of the employee as well as (increase) their capacity to communicate with others, improving their relationships with their colleagues and clients," explained Ghislain Desjardins, spokesman for the Auditor General's office, by e-mail.

The AG's office authorized the $345 course for one of it's employees. The course aims to "heal subconscious memories using breathing" techniques...

...The rebirth workshops that an employee with the office of the Auditor General participated in last fall, which was paid for by tax payers, follows the "re-birthing" techniques, a hyper-ventilation exercise that allows the person "to clean out the memories hidden in the subconscious."

"It is effectively the re-birth technique, which was rediscovered during the 1970s," said Julie Nantel, one of the workshop coordinators at Knowlton's Institute for Personal Development (IPD). "We relive and clean things that we could have lived through in the subconscious at the time of birth. Our rebirth workshop uses breathing too, but we don't only focus on that. Each person will do it in their own way."

The IPD workshops have been known for several years as professional training courses under Quebec law on competencies, which requires employers to spend 1% of their salary expenses on training.

On its website, the IPD explains the workshop "allows for the liberation of energy that was blocked during past experiences, when that memory, anchored in our subconscious, directly limits our quality of life."

Nantel said that to take part in the rebirth workshop, the participant must already have taken the Awakening the Inner-Self workshop.

Nantel said both courses allow employees to be better at their jobs.

"Doing this allows people to have a better attitude at work, better relationships, more spirit, more participation and more general interest as a person who works on a team," she said...

...Description of the workshop on the IPD website.

"To become free from the past. A conscious experience to free the energy blocked by past events through the powerful healing effects of a breathing technique. Each participant is professionally accompanied. The

process is both gently and respectful of each person's energy, thus assisting the recovery of a state of peace and well-being, and promoting the full realization of oneself."

This seems like strange stuff to be subsidized by a secular government, much less a federal government that, according to certain woefully ignorant and bigoted people in the media, is under the influence of extreme right-wing Christian zealots. As now-retired broadcaster Bruce Hogle would say, "...but they will pay for garbage like this."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

40 years ago: Pornography not harmful?

On August 5, 1970 a draft report of U.S. President Richard Nixon's National Commission on Obscenity and Pornography was publicized, finding that erotic books, films, and magazines did not increase sex crimes or corrupt the morals of youth.

My scholarly reponse to this finding is "Oh, yeah?"--although I suspect that at least some of what was regarded as pornographic, even as late as 1970, would be considered tame today. The movie Joe had been released in theatres just three weeks earlier, and I don't know if Peter Boyle's brief nude scene, which is unlikely to inspire sexual activity of any kind, was used in the Commission's study.

On October 24, 1970 President Nixon called the Commission's conclusions "morally bankrupt," and said that smut "should be outlawed in every state in the union."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Astrologers don't show up to answer a challenge in British Columbia

According to the Vancouver Province:

A group of self-styled Indian rationalists are challenging astrologers to prove their ability to make predictions for a $100,000 grand prize.

Avtar Gill, a Punjabi resident of Surrey, said he is tired of watching self-proclaimed swamis, gurus and astrologers rip off superstitious South Asian clientele.

"These guys don’t tell the truth. It’s all guesswork and rubbish," Gill, a semi-retired taxi driver, said in Punjabi. "And I feel that in North America, people are even more superstitious than back home, so we want to educate them."

Gill finds it astonishing how popular these astrologers are within his community.
"When they come on the local TV channels, you can’t even get through because the phone lines are so busy," he said. "And they’ll say, give me $1,500 and I will make your court sentence go away, you’ll have a male child or your visa will come through."

His group, the Tarksheel Cultural Society, which promotes rational and scientific thinking, is hosting a challenge competition Monday at noon at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey.

Astrologers, ghost busters, black-magic practitioners — whatever their speciality — are all invited to answer 10 questions based on a person’s janam kundli, or astrological birth chart.

If they get all 10 questions right, the Tarksheel Cultural Society will give them $100,000, raised from donations from 40 members.

"And if they get all the questions right, we’ll dissolve our group," he vowed.

The result:

Avtar Gill of the Tarksheel Cultural Society said his group rented a banquet hall in Surrey for the noon hour showdown with the swamis.

"No astrologers showed up," said Gill, who wanted to debunk the ability of the so-called gurus, swamis and astrologers to predict the future.

The catch may have been the $1,000 security deposit required before answering the questions to claim the prize.

Astrologers say they are able to answer questions based on a person's janam kundli or astrological birth chart.

While the swamis failed to show up Monday, there were plenty of people in the Grand Taj Banquet Hall, which can accommodate 300 people.

"The hall is full," said Gill.

The meeting was advertised in local Punjabi newspapers and on radio stations such as Red-FM and Sher-e-Punjab.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I don't know what this female criminal looks like, but I suspect she's a blonde

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

Whatever she looks like, this woman is definitely a candidate for the year's dumbest criminal:

Police say a woman went to a Barrie, Ont., business to apply for a job over the weekend wearing clothes she'd stolen from the same place just the day before.

The woman allegedly stole from the store for a second day in a row when moments after dropping-off her resume with the manager on Saturday, she was seen taking several more items.

Police say the woman then left the premises with the stolen goods but was easily tracked down using the resume she'd left behind.