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Dead Wild Roses: In Alberta, some things never change

Somewhat ironic, considering Rachel Notley said “spring is here” last night.

Filed under: Canada, History, Humour Tagged: #abvote, Irony, Spring

Bill Longstaff: Why the U.S. can’t solve its race problem

Is the Unites States a racist society? This is a question the nation wrestles with as one young black man after another is killed by the police. But the question may in a sense be irrelevant. The current turmoil may be due less to lingering racism than to the ignoring of history.

To explain, allow me, as this is Stanley Cup season, to use a hockey analogy. Let us assume we want to play a pick-up

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Count of Monte Cristo

Many of us grew up on the stories of Alexandre Dumas; from cartoons to comic books, TV series and movies. And, yes, books, albeit often abridged for the young market, with drawings of swordsmen, women in flowing dresses, and the court of kings. Swashbuckling adventures, romances with honour and swordfighting. We may not have always […]

PostArctica: Dillinger/Hitchcock/Lynch (The Woman In Red #2)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Written by God?

I don’t pay as much attention to American politics as I suppose I should, in part because despite the entertaining craziness of some of their politicians, the internal politics seldom affect Canadians, and also in part because the craziness not only baffles me – it scares me. But this week I paid attention when I […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Shakespeare Changed Everything

I have been reading an entertaining little book called How Shakespeare Changed Everything, which, as the title suggests, is about the pervasive influence the Bard has had on pretty much everything in our lives ever since he started putting quill to paper. Stephen Marche’s book was described in the NatPost as a, “sprightly, erudite sampling […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Saskatoon Riding the Coattails of History

Acknowledging that an important feature in Saskatoon was constructed by the government, then bragging that construction of a future valued feature (a wind turbine) was avoided by the government instead of an opportunity seized upon, is a repugnant attitude. People like Sandra are not leaving a better world for our children, and Stephen Harper’s grand-daughter.

It's Back To The Future for Harper's granddaughter! #cdnpoli @HarpersGDaughtr pic.twitter.com/9JDdd7EAWB

— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) April 22, 2015

Dead Wild Roses: Wealth Inequality – A Historical Problem.

There has always been a struggle by the people against the gratuitous accumulation of wealth and power. So the inequality we live with today is a problem that humanity has been grappling with since is inception. Tariq Ali explains how in this passage:

 

[…]

In Sparta in the third century BCE, a fissure developed between the ruling elite and ordinary people following the Peloponnesian Wars, and those who were ruled demanded change because the gap between rich and poor had become so huge it couldn’t be tolerated. A succession of radical monarchs, Agis IV, Cleomenes III and (Read more…)

wmtc: everything is political: bewitched and "george washington zapped here"

You may recall that my current comedy-before-bed TV sleep aid is a sitcom from my childhood: “Bewitched”. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying watching its ridiculous, predictable humour and sometimes surprising messaging. I was in the middle of the eighth and final season when Netflix pulled the show. (Argh!) But thanks to our amazing world of media, I was able to switch over to YouTube, viewed on TV via Roku.

In Season 8, episode 21 and 22, Bewitched recycles a template from an earlier episode. In Season 1, daffy Aunt Clara (played by Marion Lorne) mistakenly brings Ben Franklin into the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Forcing An Athiest to Practice Religion

Here’s what it can feel like to practice religion when you don’t believe in the common fantasy [AKA faith].

I knew from a young age that I didn’t see religion as a literal interpretation of moral code sent from God, but rather a human construct of what we (those writing holy books) wanted or imagined it to be. Being commanded to participate for years after in routine rituals is boring and felt like a giant waste of time/effort. The only consolation was that it was still time spent with family, and friends in the community sharing snacks and meals, (and (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: No Good Men Among The Living – Dispelling The Imperial Narrative

We tell ourselves the stories we need to hear. This is excerpt details American involvement in Afghanistan, but from a non-embedded reporters point of view and analysis.

 

“The central thesis of the American failure in Afghanistan — the one you’ll hear from politicians and pundits and even scholars — was succinctly propounded by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage: “The war in Iraq drained resources from Afghanistan before things were under control.” In this view, the American invasion of Iraq became a crucial distraction from stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, and in the resulting security vacuum the (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: War On Drugs Still a Losing Battle

Why are drugs still illegal? I wrote a while ago about the success of Portugal, where all drugs were legalized, and the money previously used to enforce drug laws were instead used to fund social programs to help those with drug problems. Not only was Portugal’s drug abuse problem significantly reduced, but HIV and crime rates plummeted as well. It has been almost 15 years since Portugal started their non-prohibition experiment, with revolutionary results, and yet other countries still refuse to let go of their self-defeating War on Drugs.

I have recently read a fantastic interview with Johann Hari, on Sam (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Pompeii: Swords-and-Sandals Flop

As a film setting, the town of Pompeii in the first century CE is a lot like the deck of the Titanic in 1912: no amount of special effects or clever script writing is going to save it from the disaster awaiting. As a film, Pompeii has a lot of the former, but precious little of […]

Dead Wild Roses: Canadian Colonial Legacies – The Inconvenient Indian

We here in Canada often like to think of ourselves as the ‘good guys’. Our history somehow a few degrees shinier, more pristine than the the bloodstained record our American neighbours seem to bandy about with pride.

Like any colonial narrative though certain distortions are present and sometimes the distortions are encouraged. Let’s take a look at one incident in our history through the lens of Thomas King in his work The Inconvenient Indian – specifically about a land grant in 1717 by the French Crown of a parcel of land by the Ottawa River to the (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Bully Pulpit

“I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!” US President Theodore Roosevelt uttered those words in office (reported in the February 27, 1909, issue of The Outlook magazine), coining the phrase ‘bully pulpit’ in referring to the presidency as an ideal platform from which to expound his […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Family, a Century Ago

The gentleman in the uniform on the right is William Gordon Pudney, Chief Petty Officer and engineer on the cruiser, Niobe, one of the earliest ship’s in Canada’s fledgling navy. William (Bill) was born in Canada, in 1893. He is perhaps in his early 20s in this undated photograph, taken a century or more ago, […]

wmtc: subway tokens, greek coffee cups, and me: missing nyc

This week I received email from my friend Alan, formerly known in this blog as Alan with one L, or AW1L. Subject line: Re: 34th Street/Penn Station Just Now

Out-of-Towner [leaning into packed Uptown Express [2 or 3] train]: “Does anybody know if this goes to Times Square?”

About 10 Passengers [as one--all with exactly the same *annoyed* tone]: “Yes!”

It was *excellent*! [I *love* this town!!]

I loved this little story! I loved that AW1L thought of me when this happened. It also made me feel homesick and wistful for my old hometown. I replied, in (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 3 – First Con Minority

Jan 2006 – Sept 2008

In part three of our series examining the things that Mr Harper and his supporters have done that impacted our democracy we cover the period of “Canada’s New Government” tm which lasted 2 1/2 years before Harper declared it “dysfunctional” and called a new election in direct contravention of his own fixed election date legislation. It was highlighted by Harpers attempts to control the press and his refusal to answer anything but pre approved questions and the oppositions attempts to hold the government to account without bringing about an early election.

On 23/1/2006 the Conservatives (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The Liberal Media and the Ideology of Black Victimhood

Fascinating article by Thomas Barker- here is the conclusion. Find the rest on Counterpunch.

[…]

Conclusions

As with so much of the racial tension in the United States, the origins of the present situation can be traced back to slavery. In his ground-breaking work on the American slave system, the historian John Blassingame has suggested that black passivity in the antebellum South existed primarily in the minds of whites—on the one hand, to justify white paternalism, and, on the other, to dispel the fear that they felt toward slaves: ‘Like a man whistling in the dark to bolster his (Read more…)

centre of the universe: Same same?

TL:DR version – learn your history before you shoot off at the mouth.

Democracy Under Fire: Harper History, Part 2 – In Opposition

June 2004 – Jan 2006

This is the second of a series of monthly articles examining the actions of Stephen Harper and his Party colleagues both before and after his rise to power with particular emphasis upon words and actions that effect our democracy. This period is most notable for Harpers support for the concept of cooperation / coalition between opposition parties a concept which he was later to call undemocratic, the ‘in and out scheme’ re election funding and the Cadman affair of attempted bribery. It was but a small glimpse of things to come.

The Liberals were re-elected (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Megamind Time Machine

We kicked off a Netflix addiction with “The Croods” [5/10] last night, and “Megamind” [8/10] this morning. At Christmas we replaced a tube TV with a more modern LED version that can get free broadcast channels and hook up to a laptop. Cutting the cable was made possible also with the prospect of Netflix, which I managed to hold off pushing the go button on until last night. My parents stopped by with some pencils for the kids, some cell phone stands for us, and some birthday cards from The White House for my Grandmas’ birthdays.

I’ve spent enough time (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Weaponized Aryan Jesus?

The term “weaponized Jesus” comes from an article I read on politicsusa.com, from November 2013, titled “The Religious Right With Their Weaponized Jesus Are Not Christians.” It’s worth a read, if you enjoy the political-religious debate. I eventually traced the phrase back to a 2010 story in Mother Jones. It’s a good description of the way […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Fossils To Museums

I was an 8 year old awash in fossils, so I was a tad more generous than this former 9 year old PEI lad with his much more valuable fossil. I donated a lower mandible piece from a ~12,000,000 year old Saskatchewan rhino to the Sask. Natural History (now Royal Sask.) Museum in the 1980s. I too used plastic bristle brushes (AKA tooth brushes) to dust off fossils I collected from the surface of a gravel pit near Wood Mountain, SK. Many more fossils and fossil fragments from that pit have since ended up in cement in the area.

(Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Excerpts from “Letter to a Young Army Ranger” – Rory Fanning

A brief note. I think that this essay should be required reading for all those who consider joining the armed forces and participating in the cycle of terrorism and destruction that currently dominates our foreign policy and geo-political goals here in the West. Many thanks to Tom’s Dispatch for hosting the essay.

“Why The War on Terror Shouldn’t Be Your Battle.”

[…]

Let’s start that unpacking process with racism: That was the first and one of the last times I heard the word “enemy” in battalion. The usual word in my unit was “Hajji.” Now, Hajji (Read more…)