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Alberta Diary: The push-polls prove it again, Canadians hate unions … really, really, really they do! Happy Labour Day

The past is a foreign country: Labour Day in Vancouver, not so long ago. Below: The workers, united, will never be defeated! The goal of union “transparency,” “worker choice,” “right to work” and other Orwellian right-wing buzzwords is to ensure the workers are never united and always defeated. Below that: Stephen Kushner, president of the anti-union Merit Contractors Association.

VICTORIA, B.C.

NOTE TO READERS: Since the Alberta chapter of the Merit Contractors Association, a group of non-union construction companies, seems to have recycled much of its past opinion survey and press release on union “transparency,” I thought I’d recycle (Read more…)

cartoon life: whodunit

Filed under: art Tagged: Cat, madeWithPaper

Susan on the Soapbox: Ms Soapbox Throws Her Hat In The Ring

Ms Soapbox would like to make an announcement: She’s seeking the Liberal nomination in the provincial riding of Calgary Elbow. Calgary Elbow was left MLA-less when former premier Alison Redford resigned her seat on Aug 6, 2014…although it would be fair to say it has been unrepresented for quite some time now.

Are you nuts?

Most of Ms Soapbox’s friends and family support her political aspirations; however a few are afraid she’s lost her mind. (Her father suggested she take up golf).

Ms Soapbox’s hat (sort of)

So why plunge into politics now? And why pick the Liberals?

After (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Institutional Racism In Conservative Ideology

This post has been evolving for quite a long time.  However, in the last few days, a series of pieces have been published which bring together several threads of thought that I have been exploring for the last several years.  

There has long been a degree of bigotry and racism underlying modern day conservative ideologies.  At a glance, it appears to have its roots in the politics of religious literalism and the desire for simple, black-and-white explanations of the world in which we live.  My thinking on this matter has clarified enormously in the last few days.

The first (Read more…)

Staffroom Confidential: Protecting public eduction: As long as it takes…

As long as it takes. This should be the disposition of not just teachers, but also parents, students and citizens who care about public education.

With the latest failed talks between the BCTF and government, it is clearer than ever that the government objective during this round of bargaining is to eliminate class size language for ever and ever. And with the loss of class size language comes the permanent underfunding of public education, constant downward pressure on teacher wages, and an open door to more private schools and worsening conditions in public schools.

Let me explain.

The intransigence of (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: A Wee Design Flaw

The BrightSource Energy plant, a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert, works on the principal of focusing sunlight on a bunch of towers full of water until the water boils and drives a series of steam powered generators.  Unfortunately, the reflected sunlight also focuses on the areas around the towers, and when flying animals like insects, bats and birds pass through that area, they spontaneously ignite into “streamers”, to use the industry jargon.  Possibly as many as two a minute, or 120 an hour, or 2,880 a day, or 1,051,200 per year. So something’s gone all fucked up.

And, if anyone (Read more…)

Queer-liberal: John Tory’s critics complain about TIF but fail to admit all urgent transit relief plans will cost taxpayers eventually

I’m getting a little tired of John Tory critics picking apart his “Smart Track” proposal as “risky” and “dangerous” simply because he hopes to finance it with tax-increment financing or TIF.   

Such a plan could fall well short of paying the city’s $3 billion share of Tory’s plan, forcing taxpayers to pay in other ways.   John Barber is the latest to offer his condemnation. 

Here’s the truth: it doesn’t matter if TIF will pay Toronto’s entire share of Tory’s Smart Track plan or any new rapid transit line plan.  If TIF fails in the future to (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper Conservatives Label Trudeau, Mulcair “Biggest Threat”

A new survey by the Conservative Party of Canada labels federal opposition leaders Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair “biggest threat.”

The post Harper Conservatives Label Trudeau, Mulcair “Biggest Threat” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Sex, violence and TV shows

We just finished watching the third season of Game of Thrones on DVD this past weekend. Before that, we watched The White Queen, another DVD series (one season only, although it deserved more). As we watched both, I found myself wondering why directors and producers felt the need to insert gratuitous – but apparently obligatory […]

DeSmogBlog: Nine Years After Katrina, Coastal Restoration Plans Remain Distant Dream for New Orleans

The scars of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans that remain nine years later are a reminder of the city’s vulnerability to rising tides and storm surges. Both Katrina and Rita, a hurricane that followed just weeks later, washed away miles of coastal marshland, the state’s first line of defense from storms.

Blighted homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward on August 22. © 2014 Julie Dermansky

The landscape in Plaquemines Parish’s Braithwaite neighborhood is still that of a ghost town two years after Hurricane Isaac hit, underscoring the need to restore the coast.

Home in Braithwaite, Louisiana destroyed by Hurricane Isaac. ©Julie Dermansky

The day (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Nine Years After Katrina, Coastal Restoration Plans Remain Distant Dream for New Orleans

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Green initiatives for next term

Collingwood should be in the forefront for green initiatives in Ontario, not lagging behind. There’s no reason we should not be leaders in exploring new ways to reduce greenhouse gases, reduce our carbon footprint, promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly strategies, and reduce our energy costs. These will be some of my top goals for the 2014-18 […]

DeSmogBlog: Is California’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan Really About Conservation?

To understand what California Governor Jerry Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan is all about, you have to understand a bit of history.

Back in 1982, once and future governor Jerry Brown pushed through a plan to build a canal that would divert water from the Sacramento River before it gets to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in order to feed the voracious appetite for water among farmers in California’s Central Valley and municipalities in Southern California.

The canal plan was defeated by a state-wide referendum in a stinging rebuke of Brown’s plan. Californians’ objections were based largely on concerns about (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: #MacKayTees

I won’t claim to match Stephen Lautens’ collection of #MacKayTees. But I will add a couple to the mix.

First, making using of a picture which fortuitously made its way around the Internets yesterday:

And second, encapsulating conservatism in four small words:

cartoon life: black cat stretch

Filed under: art Tagged: Cat, madeWithPaper

Dead Wild Roses: Humans Need Not Apply

I’ll treasure my special snowflake status as a special needs teacher until the teaching profession succumbs to the efficient robo-teachers of the future. :> I’m guessing that behavioural robot teachers will air-deploy Valium and whatever else is required to maintain the learning environment.

 

Filed under: Technology and Computers Tagged: Robots, Technology

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Eric Reguly examines Apple as a prime example of how supposed market successes actually reflect the private capture of public investments – and suggests the public should benefit financially from its investments which facilitate corporate growth: Apple is such a runaway success that its profits pile up like snowdrifts in the Rockies. At last count, Apple was sitting on $165-billion (U.S.) in cash and securities. That’s more than the GDP of Hungary.

What to do with the windfall?…Here’s another idea: Give the surplus cash back to the taxpayer.

It will (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Coldest-Ever Cold War?

When I stumbled across a report yesterday about NATO raising a 10,000 strong, standing “expeditionary force” and that Canada was interested in contributing soldiers, I thought, “oh Jeebus, not again.”

The exped force is pretty obviously being created to respond to Russia.  That much is clear from its membership.  The countries providing the troops include Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia along with Norway, Denmark and Holland all under the command of Britain.  At the same time, Finland and Sweden are preparing to sign “host” agreements to permit NATO forces to operate in their countries. Finland is expected (Read more…)

wmtc: "humility is the foundation of all learning"

My grandmother had always referred to the universe as the Great Mystery.

“What does it mean?” I asked her once.

“It means all things.”

“I don’t understand.”

She took my hand and sat me down on a rock at the water’s edge. “We need mystery,” she said, “Creator in her wisdom knew this. Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility, grandson, is the foundation of all learning. So we do not seek to unravel this. We honour it by letting it be that way forever.”

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse (2013)

kirbycairo: The Harper Tipping-point, Hope or Fear ?

I tend to agree with Heather Mallick in her recent interesting (and surprisingly forthright) article on why people like Trudeau over Harper. And I agree with what many commentators (and most of the polls) suggest, that we have finally reached the tipping point of Harper’s political currency. Outside of conditions of extreme nationalism and social turmoil, it is very difficult for any politician to maintain power and popularity with a political persona of anger, hate, fear, and extreme secretiveness. Harper’s zenith was inevitable and we now have a confluence of events which are dragging the Con’s political machine ever downward. (Read more…)

DeSmogBlog: Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

Initially filed as (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Burger King Causes Indigestion

At least among the substantial numbers of Americans who appear to be taking grave exception to the burger emporium’s tax dodge by merging with Tim Hortons. While Finance Minister Joe Oliver may crow about the success of our low corporate tax rates, American consumers are not nearly as sanguine about what many see as a corporate betrayal of the United States.

A sampling of the comments on Burger King’s Facebook page is instructive of prevailing sentiments:

burger king crowned king of the tax dodgers! boycott!!!!!

As a veteran I encourage you to sponsor a bill that shuts down every single (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Taoist Lessons for Politicians

Those who look down upon this world, will surely take hold and try to change things. So begins verse 29 of the 4th century BCE Chinese classic (Jonathan Star translation*), the Tao Te Ching. That verse suggests that those who feel themselves superior to the world and to others, who feel their actions, thoughts, views and beliefs are above […]

Northern Reflections: The Petro Goose Is Getting Cooked

                                                            http://eatocracy.cnn.com/

The oil industry has stopped laying golden eggs. Its profits are being squeezed. That news has not been widely reported. But, Andrew Nikiforuk writes, it has been hiding in plain sight on the U.S. Energy Administration website:

Last July the government agency, which has collected mundane statistics on energy matters for decades, quietly revealed that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash.

They are now spending more than they are earning. Profits have lagged as expenditures have risen. Overburdened by debt, these firms are selling assets.

(Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: The War of Words

I am tired of beating my head against the wall repeating things I have been saying here in this blog for over 5 years, this week I am going to simply point you towards a few other folk who are also aware of the dangers of believing everything we are told by the truth spinning oligarchs that have the nerve to call themselves a democratic government. They are not, they are a regime whose sole stated purpose is to bring our government bureaucracy and election process to the point where they and only they can hold the reins of power (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Why would you force people to vote?

It is one of those silly ideas that surface every once in a while. Someone notices how low the turnout of voters is at elections. They get all concerned and say, “We must get more people to vote.” Why?

Some even suggest that there should be fines for people who do not make it to the polls. Do you really want people to go and take their pique out on the politicians? ‘Leave sleeping dogs lie’ is more than just an aphorism. It is good advice. It can save people from being bitten.

There is the story from many (Read more…)