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Fat and Not Afraid - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 06:30

Ok, so I guess the Universe is never really done kicking anyone in the pants. A few days ago I found out a dear former professor and idol passed away from cancer. I hadn't spoken with her in a couple of years but I still feel her loss keenly. Dr. Alanna Bondar was a my introduction to feminist and Canadian literature greats like Margaret Atwood, and I credit her with beginning me on my path to actual critical thinking of the media I used to blindly injest. She introduced me to post-modernist analyzation of works and the Old White Guys club of literature, and when I began university she was a powerful symbol to me of what a woman could do. I remember one night very early on she introduced herself as "Doctor Bondar" and we should remember the Dr. part because she had worked very hard for it and it meant something to her. She wasn't "Ms" or "Mrs", she was Doctor. Alanna was the heart of our university's annual creative writing publication and our poetry night. She travelled and wrote a book and had not a few articles published in various feminist and eco-feminist publications. I looked up to her and always thought she'd be out there somewhere in the world, drinking wine, having conversations that sparkled, wearing ridiculously colourful outfits and absolutely refusing to settle down and be anything but her most authentic self. Her memorial will be sometime in November and I plan to attend regardless of whatever else life has in store.

Rest in peace, dear teacher. Or don't; I imagine the after life is an even brighter and more interesting place now that you're there, and there are some who could use a good conversation.

Then we lost Robin Williams. This stings. Every time I think about how I'll never get the chance to meet him, to tell him how much I love (most) of his work, I get a bit teary. But the worst is how much Robin always reminded me of the best of my dad. For me this has been a tiny insight into how much it will hurt when someday my own father dies. I am rarely, if ever, affected by celebrity deaths as I have no actual connection to them. Sure, I might like their shows or movies or know a little bit about their personal lives, but more than "Aw, that's too bad" doesn't happen. This time, however, it's very different. Ever time I see a picture of him, grey blue eyes sparkling with mirth and irreverence, hairy arms and short, broad torso in mid gesture, I am strongly reminded of my dad at his absolute best, and it just hurts. Thankfully, my dad is still here so I have (I hope) lots of time to tell him how much I love him and how much he means to me, but in the meantime I'm just avoiding the media circus as best I can around Robin's death.

And finally, because bad things tend to happen in threes, a part of my son's innocence was stolen from him at knife-point at the park on Monday. He and a friend went to play and a pair of bigger kids from his school were already there and somehow, none of us grownups is sure, one of the bigger kids ended up threatening Gabe with a knife. Gabe knows him from school and as far as we can figure out he was telling his friend to avoid the two bigger kids because he'd had problems with the one before. Gabe and his friend ran home and we had the police here Tuesday morning to speak with Gabe and the friend and figure out who had done the threatening and then go talk to that kid and his parents. While things seem to be resolved for now I'm planning on calling the school to advise them of what happened so they can keep an eye on that kid, and on the bus too (He takes Gabe's bus too and from school every day).

I don't know if I can express how angry I am that this happened to my son, my baby boy, in a place that should have been safe for him. It was the park. The park! It was two streets over, less if you take the forest path. He was with a friend. This should not have happened but it did and I'm at a loss. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that he's alright; things could have gone much worse, especially if the knife weilder had tried to hurt his friend, but I know that after Monday he's different. He knows that there are people out there who will hurt him for real, for no other reason that they can. I don't want to think what might have happened if he had been alone. He didnt' tell us about it himself because he was afraid the big kid would find out and hurt him. We had to find out about this from Gabe's friend's parents, who live across the street. My son has the biggest heart. He is a good person. He is a sweet, funny, caring boy. This should not have happened.

So I'm sad. And I'm angry. I don't know what to do with it, as usual. So I'm writing. Thanks for reading.



Hot Air And Bad Law

Northern Reflections - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 05:58

Steve Sullivan writes that Stephen Harper's obsession with PR makes for bad laws. Consider the recently passed "Increasing Offenders Accountability For Victims Act:"

The latter bill, which came into effect in October 2013, requires judges to impose $100 or $200 surcharges on convicted offenders. Prior to the law, judges had the discretion to waive the surcharge for offenders who could not pay. Across the country, provincial governments rely on surcharges to fund services for victims of crime, such as sexual assault centres.

Recently, Ontario Court Justice David Paciocco convicted Shaun Michael of nine offences, including theft, assault and breaching probation. Michael is a drug-addicted alcoholic Inuit man; he had to steal food before he was 10 and started abusing alcohol when he was 13. He lives on $250 a month.

Paciocco could have imposed $900 in victim surcharges but he noted that each of the surcharges represents 40 per cent of Michael’s monthly living allowance. Paciocco found the mandatory surcharge law to be “cruel and unusual” punishment and ruled it unconstitutional. He will no longer impose the surcharge in any cases, even when an offender can pay. Although the ruling is not binding, other judges are following suit; an offender who volunteered to pay the surcharge was told he did not have to.
By removing judicial discretion in the application of the law, Mr. Harper is crippling services for the very people he says he is working for. As is the case with so many other files, the prime minister's take on criminal justice makes things worse.

Hot air makes for bad law.

Justin Trudeau Speaks

Politics and its Discontents - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 05:51
But, unfortunately, says nothing.

As I have noted elsewhere in this blog and in comments on others', I have grave misgivings about the Liberal Party under the leadership of Justin Trudeau. Despite the latest EKOS poll showing the party with a commanding lead while the Conservatives continue to sink under the heavy hand of Herr Harper, I cannot escape the notion that Trudeau is superficial, intellectually flaccid, and a political opportunist (the latter quality, of course, putting him in good company with so many others who hold elected office).

Earlier in the week I wrote a post entitled Thomas Mulcair Speaks which revolved around the fact that the NDP leader, likely due to political pressure from within his own party, moved beyond his usual platitudes in discussing the Israeli assault on Gaza that has killed about 2000 innocent Palestinians. In his strongest words yet, he called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Gaza.

Unfortunately, Trudeau has not been moved to make a similar gesture.

In today's Star, Haroon Siddiqui writes the following:

Liberal supporters wondered why Justin Trudeau issued a statement July 15 laying all the blame on Hamas but not calling on Israel to show any restraint. They were further outraged by a solidarity trip to Israel by two Toronto-area Liberal MPs, John McCallum and Carolyn Bennett — paid for by the pro-Israeli lobby group, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

Trudeau's response was to give an address Monday in Mississauga that began rather inauspiciously:

About 100 protesters waited for him at the Derry Rd. locale, carrying placards and shouting slogans for more than an hour — “Killing children is wrong,” “End the occupation,” “Occupation is a crime,” etc.

No longer quite the accessible and forthright politician he has been promoted as, Trudeau dodged them to enter the hall where he read a prepared speech.

The speech itself had little substance, his boldest declaration being, “There is no military solution to the crisis that continues to plague the Middle East . . . A safe and secure Israel can only exist when it exists next to a safe and secure Palestinian state.”

According to Siddiqui, the rest was a homily on Canadian diversity. No questions were taken from the floor.

After reading the column, I couldn't help but think of the boxing match in which Trudeau bested Patrick Brazeau. Doubtless there was much bobbing and weaving involved. Perhaps the leader of the Liberal Party has not yet learned that in the political arena, such a strategy will only take you so far.

Recommend this Post

Stephen Harper and the Shattering Impact of the EKOS Bomb

Montreal Simon - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 03:44

By now it should be obvious, if only by the bizarre way he has been behaving, and the way him and his Cons have been trying to smear Justin Trudeau, that Stephen Harper has never been so desperate.

And just one look at that much talked about EKOS poll must have given him the shakes, or had him climbing the wall.

Or riding the bomb.

With good reason...

Because with numbers like those he won't be Great Warrior Leader for much longer. He'll be Tiny Shrunken Leader looking for another job.

But although much of the discussion has centred on the suggestion that Canadians are returning to their centre-left roots.

What is even more striking, as Paul Adams points out, is the number of assumptions the poll shatters.
Read more »

Reefer Madness:The Cons Try To Use Doctors to Attack Justin Trudeau !!

Montreal Simon - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 23:19

There is apparently no sordid depth to which Stephen Harper will not stoop or plunge, no sewer he will not crawl through, in his depraved and desperate attempt to smear and destroy Justin Trudeau.

He's called him a girly man, a junkie and a terrorist.

And now he's trying to use doctors to attack Trudeau's position on marijuana. 
Read more »

“You got me so that my nerves are breaking”

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 21:15


Late night Hump Day rawk out continues unabated:


Filed under: music, Uncategorized Tagged: music, Nervebreakers, power pop, punk, rock, Texas, The Troggs, video

Finnish Rock N Roll Represent

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 21:05


Bedtime rawkout in 3, 2, 1…


Filed under: music Tagged: bandcamp, Daggerplay, Finland, punk, punk n roll, rock, rock 'n' roll

Just Another Quiet, Peaceful Night In Sleepy Ferguson, Missouri

Bastard Logic - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 18:45

Via Charles Johnson: Cops in paramilitary gear are now pointing sniper rifles at peaceful black protesters in Ferguson, MO.


Filed under: law enforcement Tagged: #michaelbrown, #mikebrown, Ferguson, Michael Brown, racism


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