Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Just Six Songs?

Author, musician and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says all music can be classified into a mere six types of song. That’s part of the premise in his 2009 book, The World in Six Songs. I recently started reading it and it has opened some interesting areas of thought for me.* A mere six fundamental themes in […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Pseudo-patriotic madness

This is news, right from the CBC, not April Fool or The Onion: The Massachusetts House of Representatives has finally granted initial approval to a Bill naming the Fluffernutter the official state sandwich. The bill was filed in 2006 by then Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, in response to a motion by State Senator Jarrett Barrios limiting […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Help Conservative Senators Stop Harper’s Banana Republic

Emperor Stephen Harper and his double double.

Interesting times indeed.

8 Conservative senators have decided that Emperor Stephen Harper has no clothes. The Emperor has whipped and intimidated his backbench, cabinet and senators for a long time. Senator Hugh Segal stood up to him on bad legislation. Though he left the senate.

Jim Flaherty stood up to him on how bad a public policy that family income splitting would be. I think he quit politics to avoid the idiocy of Harper firing him from his finance ministry to replace him with the lacklustre lapdog Joe Oliver.

Now we have 8 (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Manners, bloody manners

I was in a local grocery store not long ago, standing mid-aisle and peering at shelves of canned products, trying to find the ones I wanted for my cart. As I reached out to snag a can in front of me, a cart appeared between me and the display. To my right, a woman – talking […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The difficult art of reading poetry

Synecdoche. Metonymy. Not exactly words that trip lightly off the tongue. Unless, I suppose, you’re Harold Bloom. Those are two of the four fundamental tropes in literature, Bloom tells us. Identified originally by Kenneth Burke, who, as Bloom calls him, was a “profound student of rhetoric.” Bloom references Burke in his introduction to The Best […]

Melissa Fong: Electronic music, raves & Toronto’s moral panic on drugs

…they do the work because they want to re-produce the type of city they want to live- the type of city that is worth living in. … …not all entertainment is built the same- some of these very worth while performers and promotors can’t jump through your hoops, or will grow tired doing so. These local, smaller-name talent will seek other places with fewer restrictions- and those other cities, their citizens and tourism will benefit from it. You have local artists just trying to build a city they want to live it- why are you squashing their efforts? One of the (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Oooh, shiny….

Religious texts are full of admonitions about avoiding temptation. The Lord’s Prayer tells God to “lead us not into temptation.” Fat lot of good that does. Not only do we lead ourselves there, we go willingly and eagerly. Pushing and shoving aside those who stand in our way to reach temptation. Ever see the crowds […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:

When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?

And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.

There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reading: A Canadian tragedy… or not?

The map above might show the making of a serious tragedy for Western and especially Canadian culture. It indicates in colour which nations read the most. Yellow is the second lowest group. Canada is coloured yellow. In this survey, Canada ranks 10th – from the bottom! Twenty countries above us have populations which, on the […]

Things Are Good: Indigenous Food and Cultural Protection

Food and ecosystem knowledge which has been passed down for centuries is constantly threatened by the modern mechanical market. To stymie this change in food (and knowledge) consumption there is a global effort to protect the sanity of food and related support systems.

The significance of sacred foods. Many indigenous communities have certain foods—including corn, taro, and wild rice—that are considered sacred and have profound teachings and practices associated with them. One of the most significant ways that indigenous peoples have demonstrated a respectful relationship to their sacred foods is through sustainable land and water practices. Because these totem foods (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: If the 1% Has Russell Brand Killed…

If the 1% has Russell Brand killed, we will see it in the corporate media as a drug OD relapse, or a freak accident.

Why?

He is dangerous because he fearlessly tells the truth and challenges pretence.

Let’s examine this in some detail here [with video]:

His brain works twice as fast as most brilliant people I’ve encountered in my life. He is the socio-political heir of George Carlin. He speaks truth to power AND the masses. And frankly, WE’VE FORGOTTEN THAT THE MASSES ARE THE POWER. He is sober, so no one can credit his speedy speaking style on (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Systemic Pressures Make Journalists Sloppy

Gosh, the corporate media sure can be sloppy.

The heart-wrenching photo of a four-year-old Syrian refugee pictured alone crossing a desert into Jordan spread far and wide this weekend, but the fact that his family was just metres away was left behind.

Photo of 4-year-old Syrian refugee triggers sympathy, confusion – Your Community.

But there are systemic pressures that contribute to this kind of sloppy journalism making everyone #FacePalm sometimes:

Here 4 year old Marwan, who was temporarily separated from his family, is assisted by UNHCR staff to cross #Jordan pic.twitter.com/w4s2mrNnMY

— Andrew Harper (@And_Harper) February 16, 2014

(Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Harlem Renaissance is “Coming Back Again”

Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes dropped earlier this month.

My esteem for Langston Hughes, his insight and vision, and the too-often ignored human/cultural catalyst that was the Harlem Renaissance came back again last night for me when I found Leyla McCalla on the internet.

Merging Haiti, Hughes and the cello, she pulls the Harlem Renaissance forward a century in Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes.

Fitting, she lives in New Orleans, a world struggling to rebirth itself. Appropriately, her Kickstarter campaign garnered 4x her target.

Now you need to watch this, feel your soul massaged, then tweet (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: “Oppressed Majority”: What’s missing?

At the risk of getting a whole lot of Feminist hateration on this- I’m just going to say this: People who are loving this video are people who already get it [1]. It won’t make a dent on a dude that doesn’t honestly understand or recognize his own male privilege.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The 2013 Great Gatsby

Watched the 2013 film of The Great Gatsby last night. The first half was spectacular, grandiose and captivating, if somewhat over the top. Like Busby Berkeley meets The Fifth Element. Extravaganza, spectacle and excess. The film doesn’t feel like it’s set in New York of the Jazz Age. It’s too shiny, too polished, too mechanical, […]

Canadian Dimension | Articles: A religion disparaged by empire

The lwa sits in the corner on a wooden chair, holding a crutch in his hand. A respected general, Jal Bizango needs the crutch because his right leg has been amputated, a casualty of the battles that he has fought. In the circle in which he sits other lwa, or spirits, are similarly mutilated and maimed. They grimace, bare their teeth, and seem to be ready to do combat. As the accompanying guidebook declares, these lwa “are in the image of the fighters of the past and present, whose quest for freedom could not be deterred by any amount of (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with America, Billionaires and Corporations?

Riotously popular economist Umair Haque had a few interesting tweets about America, corporations and billionaires this week. [View the story "What's Wrong with America, Corporations and Billionaires?" on Storify]

December 30, 2013 How the Occupy Movement is Enriching People’s Lives (1) April 18, 2011 Embracing BC NDP Corporate Tax Increases (8) March 27, 2013 The Pidgin Picket, the Housing Crisis and the State (0) July 8, 2013 Terrace: Regulating Housing Dignity Is Far Easier Than You’d Think (0)

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with America, Billionaires and Corporations?

Politics, Re-Spun: Just How Lazy ARE Indigenous People, Anyway?

It’s a trick question.

And let’s not forget how many of us are told we are inherently lazy because we are native. Hard to shake that.

via Twitter / apihtawikosisan: And let’s not forget how many ….

And if you want to read one person’s analysis of destructive, racist stereotypes, try this on, from Frank Assu, also known as Tlakwatsi, a member of the We Wai Kai First Nation of Quadra Island.

December 4, 2013 Are We Good Allies to First Nations? (0) July 25, 2013 Why We Must #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors [#INM] (1) December 17, 2013 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Facebook Is the New AOL/Compuserve Big Brother

The evolution of the decay of Facebook privacy.

The late, great Neil Postman once wrote that we’d more likely voluntarily embrace the fascism of Huxley’s Brave New World than Orwell’s 1984. The corporate version of this is the crack-like addiction a billion people have to the Facebook.

But it’s worse than you thought, in terms of how they’re snooping on you.

Years ago, I wrote about how people left AOL, Compuserve and other full service “internet” portals when they learned that there was this huge real Internet thing out beyond their gated community. One of the ideas was that they (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Art in the Age of Fatalism

“What is the nature of art in a period of extreme ideological confusion and inverted political frustration?” That’s the question the iconic art critic John Berger struggled with in the aftermath of the defeats of 1968. Some four decades later the Left’s inability to take advantage of openings created by the great financial crash has placed Berger’s question on the agenda again. That he asked this of artists and not more generally was rooted in Berger’s special concern with the distinction between our desires and the world as it currently is. “All art,” he provocatively asserted, “is an attempt (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Canada Post writes its own obituary

Headline news this week: Canada Post moves to end home delivery. End home delivery? For me, both as a writer, a lay historian, and growing up in an era where letters were important for communication, business, family and for art, that’s just crazy. I mean really, seriously, way-more-insane-than-the-OLG crazy. But, in an age of declining letter […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Does Joe Clark have an idea about how to fix Canada?

// < ![CDATA[ // app: // res: window.s = window.s || {}; s["base_url"] = "//storify.com"; s["env"] = "production"; s["git"] = "d296e475"; s["namespace"] = "storifyapp";

window.s = window.s || {}; s.user = window.s.user || {}; s.user["username"] = “politicsrespun”; s.user["canEdit"] = false;

window.s = window.s || {}; s.story = window.s.story || {}; s.story["sid"] = “529e16c3db563ee22000a809″; s.story["slug"] = “joe-clark-visits-ubc”; s.story["permalink"] = “http://storify.com/politicsrespun/joe-clark-visits-ubc”; s.story["title"] = “Joe Clark Visits UBC”; s.story["date"] = {“created”:”2013-12-03T17:37:07.086Z”, “modified”:”2013-12-03T17:48:53.468Z”, “published”:”2013-12-03T17:48:53.468Z”}; s.story["stats"] = {“popularity”:0, “views”:0, “likes”:0, “comments”:0, “elementComments”:0, “embeds”:[], “elements”:{“text”:1, “quote”:21, “image”:1, “video”:0, “link”:0, “other”:0}}; s.story["canEdit"] = false; s.story["liked"] = undefined; s.story["not_indexed"] = false; s.story["author"] = {“username”:”politicsrespun”, “name”:”s. (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Does Joe Clark have an idea about how to fix Canada?

A Puff of Absurdity: On John Stuart Mill, Free Speech, and Climate Change

I got caught up in a few arguments about climate change recently that just reinforced to me, that there’s still such a strong bashlash against the entire idea that we’re unlikely to move forward quickly enough to be effective.

Paper is trees!

My school board is fundraising for the Philippines, and I’m totally on board with it. But I commented publicly on the irony of sending each kid home with a piece of paper on the issue. That’s over 60,000 full pieces of paper or about 8 trees for something that will be crumpled at the bottom of a knapsack (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: More CBC Privatization

The private sector is grinning at the stealth privatization of Hockey Night in Canada.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hockey Night in Canada, privatization version!

Yes, the CBC is now in a privatization scheme called a public-private partnership [see below] to continue its mission to dump the most culturally significant media brand in Canadian history: Hockey Night in Canada.

Selling off the CBC outright would be a politically dangerous venture. So the federal government is simply eroding it, piece by piece. First, it dismantled the CBC orchestra. Then it didn’t bid on renewing the rights to the theme song of (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Evaluating Elysium

Science fiction is frequently at the cutting edge of social commentary. From Ursula Le Guin’s 1974 novel The Dispossessed to Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 film District 9, science fiction writers commonly use allegory and dystopian themes to offer powerful critiques of the contemporary world.

Blomkamp’s newest film Elysium continues in this critical tradition; he set out to make a sci-fi film about the kinds of social inequality he observed when relocating from South Africa to Vancouver, Canada. Elysium tells the story of Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), a troubled member of the future working class who must escape the poor (Read more…)