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Progressive Proselytizing: How much should graduate students be paid?

Being a graduate student is in some sense in the middle of two extremes: being a student primarily benefiting oneself and being a paid worker benefiting society. Before graduate studies, one is an undergraduate where nobody would expect to be paid to be an undergraduate. After graduate studies, one is (hopefully) going to be paid a paid a sum commensurate with the skill the knowledge accrued during graduate studies and be doing work that, by and large, can be said to “benefit society”. During graduate studies, however  it is somewhere in between. Graduate students are both benefiting themselves by increasing their future potential (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Quebec police unleash violence on anti-austerity protesters [VIDEO]

Protesters hit the streets to protest the Quebec provincial government’s austerity policies. The police unleashed tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets, hitting some of the protesters in the face.

The post Quebec police unleash violence on anti-austerity protesters [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Enough said…

This comic conveys my disgust at people who diss teachers and try to shortchange education. What is wrong with you? pic.twitter.com/P5lQDTuCgP

— Doug Coupland (@DougCoupland) June 18, 2014

Please, take time to scroll through my writings on education.

Canadian Dimension: The Public Value of Public Sector Strikes

Photo from Public Domain

The essence of an unjust society is to continually demand and take from those with the least the little that they have to support their lives and life-goals and add it to the money-value hoards of those who have the power to restructure public life to serve their limitless appetites. So we see a recurrent pattern of struggle across history: those with the least power are forced to fight the hardest just to maintain what little they have.

These two political and historical principles need to be kept in mind when thinking about the ongoing strikes (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s Wrong with Canada? We’re Not Denmark-ish

And I don’t mean we need to become Denmark, but we need to have the dialogue about why they can do what they do and we choose not to.

When Canadians are surveyed, a very large majority of us support these public goods. But those desires get subsumed with corporate, neoliberal, right wing government-cut rhetoric.

We need to explore the political sociology of Denmark to understand how they embraced the tax commitment to provide these public goods.

We can be Denmark, but we choose not to.

We need to respin the messages from the tax-hating corporations and make the economy (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How Does a Politician Define Contempt?

If you’ve ever wondered how a really really bad provincial MLA explains how to define contempt for the population, you must watch this.

At least twice!

February 2, 2015 The So-Called Transit Referendum: Don’t Be Duped! (0) February 18, 2011 Endorsing Alnoor Gova for the Burnaby-Douglas Federal NDP (3) November 29, 2014 International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders (0) March 18, 2013 #SpinAlert: Light Rail for the Valley Instead of a UBC Subway (17)

The Adventures of Diva Rachel: La langue de bois d’ébène: anatomie du mot ‘nègre’ en français

Le maire de Saguenay, Jean Tremblay, s’est livré à des propos navrants une fois de plus cette semaine. Mis à part sa lutte « contre Greenpeace et les intellectuels », le maire Tremblay a parlé des travailleurs de sa région:

« Il y a des gens qui travaillent comme des nègres.

Parce qu’un Noir, ça travaille fort, on le sait. Ils ont pas des gros salaires, pis ils travaillent fort ces gens-là. C’est dans ce sens-là que je veux le dire. Pis ces gens-là, ça fait pitié. Ils donnent leur vie au salaire minimum. Ils ont de la misère (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Media bias in covering the University of Toronto TA strike

At a bare minimum, when the media covers a major conflict between two sides – a union striking, say – it should include the briefest of quotes from people representing both sides of the conflict. This is not exactly a high bar to meet requiring the cheapest and simplest method in journalism: asking the leadership of both sides to provide a quote. We could well wish for higher standard, but this is a bare minimum.  Unfortunately, coverage of the University of Toronto strike by the union representing Teaching Assistants and Course Instructors (of which I am a member), fails (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Media bias in covering the University of Toronto TA strike

Politics, Re-Spun: Reject the Slow Motion Privatization of K-12 in BC

Privatizing education in BC has been largely subtle and hidden. Absurd conflicts like this below [Restricted Vancouver playground access sparks angry exchange between [PRIVATE!] school principal, parent] help the general public see what’s actually been going on for a long time with private schools. Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine. Not ours. This is unacceptable!

Note the editor conspicuously omitted the word “private” from the headline’s description of this school principal. Spin alert!

And why have we given a free pass to the premier for sending her child to a private school? That’s not (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Austerity Strangles Ontario: the TA strikes in Context

Photo by Philipp Hienstorfer

Toronto is in the midst of an unprecedented strike by over 10,000 Teaching Assistants (TA) and contract faculty at York University and the University of Toronto: the country’s two largest universities. Only blocks away from the University of Toronto picket lines, the Liberal government in Queen’s Park has been waging a war against the Ontario Public Service (OPS), represented by OPSEU, raising the prospect of the first OPS strike since 2002. From universities to the public service, from healthcare to municipal services, the Ontario Liberal austerity regime has now lasted longer than Mike Harris’ time in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Solar PV Nearing Grid Parity

Cambridge and #PWC [PDF] say #solar PV will be at grid parity on most of Earth, in only 2 years!

“It is clear that renewables will be an established and significant part of the future energy mix, in the [Gulf] region and globally.”

Regina’s potential ranks about 6th in the WORLD.

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Everything is awesome

Few students in BC graduate from post-secondary schooling laden with debt, according to Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education in British Columbia.

Wilkinson asserts there is no student debt problem. He claims (wrongly): “70 per cent of students go through their higher education with no debt whatsoever.

From the minister’s vantage point, everything is awesome. Wilkinson, a guy with a west-side home worth 7-figures, has long enjoyed annual income in the large 6-figures and he can afford to hang in spiffy places. Even so, when he moves around the province, taxpayers pay the bill for him and the entourage.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Nora Loreto rightly challenges the instinct to respond to tragedy with blame in the name of “responsibility”, rather than compassion in the interest of making matters better: Blame is the projection of grief, sadness or fear. It is the projection of our own inadequacies; of our own feelings of, “oh god, that could be my kid” wrapped up in “thank god I’m a better parent than that.” It pretends that all things are equal, that all family situations are equal and all children are essentially the same.

But it’s malicious. Blame, (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: What Happens to the Eloi When the Morlocks Leave Town: A Lesson for Jim Prentice from H.G. Wells

“History is a race between education and catastrophe.” — H G Wells

HG Wells may not have had a time machine, but he was certainly prescient.

In The Time Machine the narrator, known simply as the Traveller, invents a contraption that takes him to 802,701 AD. There he finds a world inhabited by waif-like Eloi who loll around doing nothing and ape-like Morlocks who eat them. The Traveller temporarily upsets the balance of this efficient economic system when he accidentally starts a forest fire.

Wells’ premise is simple. Humans without intelligence evolve into Eloi; those with intelligence evolve (Read more…)

centre of the universe: Saskatchewan Racist as Fuck No Surprise To Anyone But Folks Who Don’t Like Indians

Yeah, I stole the title from my own Twitter stream. I’ve seen these headlines over the last couple of days that talk about how SHOCKED everyone is to find out that SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH has PROVEN that Saskatchewan is full of people who pretty much hate each other. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has lived in this … Continue reading →

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jacques Peretti discusses how corporate elites rewrote our social contract in a concerted effort to the inequality we’re fighting today – and suggests it’s well past time to push back in the name of moral economics: Politicians have now, as then, conspired in their own diminishment — outsourcing foreign policy to Washington, saying there’s nothing we can do about global capitalism.

But it’s not up to them, it’s up to us to be uncompromisingly moral at a moment when the criminal immorality of 30 years of misguided economic policy has been revealed.

The (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: Many Canadians aren’t voting, particularly young Canadians. Why? Because politics moves slowly.

This article on the ongoing decline in Canadian voter participation, particularly by youth in the Globe today by Michael Adams, President of the Environics Institute for Survey Research and  Maryantonett Flumian, President of the Institute on Governance  has been shared by more than a few people I know on Facebook, so I thought I would share my thought on the subject and some of the ideas the article raises.“One reason for declining turnout is a deep shift in social values away from deference to institutional authority. It used to be that if society’s leaders told us to do (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Many Canadians aren’t voting, particularly young Canadians. Why? Because politics moves slowly.

Dead Wild Roses: As If You Needed Another Reason to Pick Up a Musical Instrument.

Playing an instrument enhances your cognitive abilities. I just wonder if they’ll find a way to motivate people to practice.

 

Filed under: Education, Music Tagged: Music, Playing an Instrument, TED talk

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rethinking Economics Waterloo Conference, Feb 7

Ali Kraushaar and Geoff Evamy Hill, co-founders of the Rethinking Economics Waterloo initiative, are organizing a conference to be held Feb 7. It looks good! See below.

We want to inform you about the Rethinking Economics Waterloo Conference happening at St. Paul’s University College on Saturday, February 7. We invite you and all your members to be there, and hope we can collaborate on spreading the word!

The Rethinking Economics Waterloo Conference is all about asking if, how, and why economics can and should be rethought. Over the course of the day, participants will be hearing from a variety (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Logic: How to PWN an argument, without getting the RPOJ

If you want to take down somebody else’s argument, a certain familiarity with the nature of intellectual or philosophical (as opposed to playground) argument is required, so that you can construct your own counter-argument. In an intellectual argument, the person putting forth an argument sets out a number of premises (statements of facts), which, when you add them together, at best makes it impossible for their conclusion to be false (deductive argument), or at least makes it much more likely that their conclusion is true (inductive argument).

If you want to show that somebody’s argument is wrongity wrong, there (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Alberta Needs Charlie Hebdo

Wednesday’s massacre of eight journalists, five of whom were political cartoonists, at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo unleashed a torrent of “We are Charlie Hebdo” editorials across the world.

Newspapers fell all over themselves in an effort to demonstrate solidarity with the slain cartoonists—but they had a concern. Was it enough to simply describe Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons or did they have to reprint examples of the magazine’s work?

Some reprinted the cartoons, others did not, arguing that reprinting an offensive cartoon would be disrespectful to Muslims.

In both cases publishers reassured themselves (and us) that when it came (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Charlie Hebdo

Oh, those wacky religious Muslim terrorists are at it again going all murder happy on people who dare to make fun of their religion.

This event is completely ludicrous and, in 2015, should not be happening, some reasons off the top of my head:

1. Mohammad, Jebus, Krishna, Sif – pick your imaginary friend – they all don’t fucking exist.

2. If they did exist wouldn’t there be some godly smiting going on, like all the time? Being immortal and all powerful and all that shite, you would think that they could take care of business without (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How to Excuse Your Child from the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)

Well, it’s that time again: Foundation Skills Assessment in BC.

There are so many things wrong with the FSA tests. I won’t go into them here, but you can read about many of them in these places:

Foundation Skills Assessment: Another Dirty Trick The BCTF on the FSAs.

And so you know, the BC Ministry of Education has an information FAQ for parents and a brochure. Neither tells parents that/how they can exempt their students from this silly test. No surprise. While the government “says” it doesn’t support the use of test results for school ranking, the BC (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Dictionary Definitions Are A Starting Point

I would like to take this time to edify and hopefully illuminate those with access to my very small part of the blogging community.

Blogging community, if you care to listen please note that for future reference that if you intend to talk about a topic that you are unfamiliar with, or wish to actively criticize please recognize that looking up terminology you will be dealing with in a dictionary is not the endpoint of your commitment to honest discussion.

Defining your terms is important, but the level of detail present in most dictionaries is not sufficient to base (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

 - Emma Woolley discusses how homelessness developed into a social problem in Canada in large part through public neglect. Judy Haiven is the latest to emphasize that charity is no substitute for a functional society when it comes to meeting people’s basic needs. And Ed Lehman is rightly concerned that Brad Wall and company are still determined to avoid acknowledging the fact that there are plenty of Saskatchewan residents trying to make do with nowhere near enough.

- Emily Badger reminds us how inequality early in life can shape – and block – opportunities (Read more…)