Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Accidental Deliberations: On reasonable responses

Let’s offer a quick reminder to the Libs’ spin machine, and particularly to the people who should know better who are choosing to echo it.

No party is under an obligation to reflexively attack or belittle everything another party proposes in its election platform.

If a platform plank or general principle raised during the campaign can’t reasonably be opposed, the appropriate response is to at least recognize that fact before trying to start spinning. And one Lib spokesperson roughly followed that course in addressing the NDP’s push to fund women’s shelters to ensure nobody in need of a safe place (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Branko Milanovic answers Harry Frankfurt’s attempt to treat inequality as merely an issue of absolute deprivation by reminding us how needs are inherently social: “[Under necessities] I understand not only the commodities that are indispensable for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without.” (Book 5, Chapter 2)

Smith’s observation has far-reaching consequences. If our needs depend on what is socially acceptable, then they will clearly vary as between different societies. They will depend on (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Ashley Madison Is Not Nearly So Black and White

The Ashley Madison hack is bad news for cheaters—and just as terrible for everyone else – By Harris O’Malley

It’s like the royal family: glamorize them so we can bash them down to earth.

A bit of a mindfuck.

If Ashley Madison were a straight infidelity website among heterosexual couples in a world of simple heterosex, then yes, let’s judge all these people. Because we love to judge.

But if you’re interested to see what kind of other people use[d] Ashley Madison for arguably not so black-and-white sinful reasons, you may realize that quite a few people are getting hosed (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Because words matter: Differences Between Sex and Gender

Every once and awhile something good bubbles up from the seething mass known as tumblr. This is a good summary of what sex and gender are and how they interact in our society.

 

“It seems like on here at tumblr there’s a lot of misinformation going around. people are using sex and gender interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. There’s a lot of unclear information and everything seems rally vague and distorted so the goal of this post is to help clear some of this up.

What are the differences between sex and gender?

The (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Stephen Marche discusses the Cons’ ongoing efforts to make Canada a more closed and ignorant country: Mr. Harper’s campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education.

But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: JRfm Promotes Rape Culture, Sigh

Is it only sexual assault if he rapes her?

A male person didn’t run up to CBC-tv’s Megan Batchelor on air in Squamish and shout, “Fuck Her Right in the Pussy.”

Maybe he knows people can get fired for that.

Instead he was maybe trying to be “nice” by trying to kiss her. She complained to the RCMP.

If I went into a car dealership and kissed a woman or man on the cheek, out of the blue, I think the business would support their sexually violated employee. That makes sense.

If I went into a Starbucks and tried (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: New Research Explains WHAT CAUSES RAPE

This just in…choose to not rape anyone this weekend.

August 6, 2013 Women As Meat, Volume 874,597 (1) February 19, 2015 Looking for Heroes? (0) November 27, 2012 No, Taylor Swift. No. (4) November 30, 2012 “Female Characters Are Still Sidelined, Stereotyped, and Sexualized in Popular Entertainment Content” (0)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Anna Leventhal warns against the danger that even the best-intentioned of charity drives might be seen as replacing the need for social supports: Now campaigns are ubiquitous, and range from book tours to pet surgeries to basic subsistence for marginalized people in crisis. But with crowdfunding increasingly called on to plug the holes left by funding cuts (consider that in 2014 Canadians pledged over $27 million to Kickstarter alone, and that from 2013 to 2014 the amount crowdfunded globally jumped from US$6.1 billion to US$16.2 billion), the stakes are getting higher (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Carol Goar rightly criticizes Stephen Harper’s plan to deal with an apparent recession by making Canada’s economy even worse off through yet more cuts. Andrew Jackson writes that denying or ignoring an economic downturn won’t make it go away, while Louis-Philippe Rochon traces its origins to the Cons’ own ill-fated choices. And Michal Rozworski makes the case for stimulus which would both boost our economy in the short term, and better position it for the longer term: (T)here is a space and an opening here in which to push for alternatives. The (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Bullying and the enforcement of normal

Via Shakesville, I stumbled across this powerful and insightful article about bullying among school kids. As somebody who grew up bookish, queerish, funny-looking, and with poor mastery of social skills and “appropriate” gender performance, this totally resonated with me.

The furthest I have come is to accept that I have both been bullied and a bully, both oppressed and oppressor, and that I have thoroughly soaked in a definition of “normal” that I am still trying to undo, day by day. Some of that “normalization” has been enforced by other marginalized people, too — even my own friends — which (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Gardening while female

The front flowerbed at Arb’s and my place is starting to take off – perennials that I’ve planted over the couple years we’ve owned the house, are established enough now, that they can dedicate some energy to blooming! Of course, weather that’s good for flowers is also good for weeds, and our weed crop is plentiful, so I was out pulling weeds yesterday evening.

Working in the front yard is not a peaceful and relaxing experience for me. I feel self-conscious about bending over with my back to the street and my butt in the air and often get into (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Justin Wolfers discusses new research showing how location has a dramatic effect on the future of young children. And it’s particularly striking that the negatives of moving seem to outweigh any positive effects of a surrounding neighbourhood for older children – suggesting that if there’s any truth to the theory that poverty is merely a stage on the way to relative wealth for a meaningful number of families, then those families may systemically be in the worst circumstances when it does the most harm.

- Meanwhile, Denis Campbell reports on how austerity has (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How You May Be Able to Be a Better Feminist

I don’t need to add anything here. If you like/hate what you read, click the link and get up to speed on the rest of it!

White feminists: this is a call for you to get your shit together. The point of equality isn’t to claw your way to the top so that you can treat other people just as badly as white dudes have treated you — we need to elevate each other, amplify each other’s voices, and maybe let someone else tell us if we’re allowed to be on their team. Because, as per Flavia Dzodan, if your (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Following up on last week’s column, Frances Ryan laments the UK Conservatives’ choice to inflict needless suffering on anybody receiving public benefits: During seven weeks of undercover work at a universal credit contact centre in Bolton, Channel 4 journalists witnessed a farcical mess of centralised IT failure. But what really stood out were the underhand tactics DWP staff were found to use against claimants: from deliberately withholding hardship payments from people struggling after having their benefits sanctioned, to hiding the flexible fund put in place to pay for clothes or a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Robert Reich discusses how outsized corporate influence in the U.S. has kept the general public from sharing in any nominal economic improvements: The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

What’s behind this? Two big facts.

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.

In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Being a Better Ally: #IWD

Click me; it’s good for you!

International Women’s Day is a check-in point for me: I try to take stock of what has improved or worsened since last year. Doing so helps me be a better ally.

Our soul as a nation has suffered this past year. It has suffered from the continuing culture of rape and violence against women. The behaviour of the Dalhousie male dental students is just one more indicator of our continued dismissiveness and our neglect of dignity, though the process of restorative justice they’re now participating in offers some hope.

The worst sign, by far, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Janine Berg writes about the need for strong public policy to counter the trend of growing inequality. And Gillian White traces the ever-increasing divergence between worker productivity and wages in an interview with Jan Rivkin: White: Some say that the decrease of collective bargaining has played a role in creating the gap, how true do you think that is?

Rivkin: There are a number of causes, one is the underlying shift in technology and globalization. Another is systematic underinvestment in the commons, which is a set of shared resources that every business needs (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Looking for Heroes?

I’ve been watching The Book of Negroes this week. I have no words. I only recognize justice, integrity, brutality, acknowledgement, witnessing, story telling and a myriad of other foggy responses.

It’s easy to also ponder qualities of heroes.

Then I read this from earlier this week, and nodded. Do you get it?

Anishinabe Women Protest Energy East Pipeline on Family Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2015

‘Protect the Water, For Future Generations’: Message being shared today with local families, starting at Market Square at noon.

Kenora—Dozens of Anishinabe Women, their families, and supporters converge today on Market Square at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Pink Washing: Does This Pink Shirt Really Say Enough?

By Emily Griffiths

Pink Shirt Day is almost upon us. The annual campaign to raise money and “awareness” on the issue of “bullying” takes place on February 25. As this date approaches, I’m sure you’ve noticed an inundation of bright pink. Even at this very moment, I am sipping my tea from a Blenz paper cup, wrapped in a festive Pink Shirt Day cardboard sleeve. Blenz is one of “a bunch of great businesses [that] are holding fundraisers during the month of February with proceeds going to Pink Shirt Day.” Blenz doesn’t actually give money; they just provide us (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: 23 Questions About the SHOCKING New Renee and Uma

Who IS this anyway?

Stop the presses. Two women who used to look a certain way, now look different.

Renee Zellweger had the audacity to change her look. Now, Uma Thurman has done so! CTV put it this way: “Uma Thurman has Zellwegered her face.” And if you follow the CTV link, you can use a slider to examine her before and after pictures, which is your right, as a consumer of media!!!!!!

And who is THIS?

 

What have they DONE to themselves? Does it matter? Who are we to ask? What do they owe us? Should (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: You Deserve Better Wages and Benefits

Right wingers want to pay no tax. It’s hard to bleat about that in public without sounding like the greedy, selfish people they are.

Instead, they say that public sector workers are paid too much, and that we should privatize everything. THAT way, governments get to starve themselves to the point where they collect virtually no taxes.

Instead of letting rapacious corporations dictate what market wages should be, we should explore living wages, then dream up a world not so different from ours when private sector workers make the stable wages and benefits of public sector workers.

Dream with me, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: MORE Sexism Against Female Canadian Athletes!

THIS picture respects the dignity of a tennis player. Not, “give us a twirl” demeaning, sexist abuse.

Today is a terrible day for gender equity in sports. What it looks like is either continued sexism, or increased anti-feminist backlash against women who have been asserting their human rights to safety and dignity around the world.

Female World Cup soccer players have to play on plastic artificial turf while the men have played on actual…grass. They started a human rights complaint but have now dropped it. And last year at the Australian Open, an idiotic [female!] Australian media interviewer asked (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…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Who Cares About Fixing Poverty in BC?

Well, it’s the Poverty Reduction Coalition!

One of their many activities is to send recommendations to the government when the government deigns to ask people for their ideas. The Finance Committee is an all-party committee of the legislature, so the government usually ignores their recommendations.

As citizens, we need to make the government respond to our demands, particularly when legislative committees provide pretty good recommendations!

Here’s what’s going on this year, from the Poverty Reduction Coalition.

Read it, below Then email, phone [250.387.1715], tweet or Facebook the premier and tell her to listen to the Finance Committee (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Shhh, The Bold Revolution Has Started

We live in tumultuous times:

Ferguson and other non-indictments of white police who murdered people of colour ISIL and other extremism Stephen Harper’s continued assault on democracy and embrace of soft fascism [has he had CRA audit YOUR favourite progressive group yet?] Accusations against Jian Ghomeshi Accusations against Bill Cosby The epidemic of campus rape, and necessary reflection about why it has taken this long to take this seriously Victoria’s Times-Colonist newspaper’s racist editorial cartoons, and necessary reflection about why it has taken this long to take this seriously Pipelines, fracking, dirty energy, tankers The destructive Site-C dam (Read more…)