Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Larry & Jerry’s Inferno

I had forgotten about this book until recently when I came across a reprint. I read it originally in the late 1970s when I was reading a lot more sci-fi than I do today. (Many years ago, I ran a Toronto computer convention where I invited the authors to be the keynote speakers. I got to […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Regina Women’s History Month #womenhistory

October is Women’s History Month. This year I was invited to the event at the Conexus Arts Centre, and I’d suggest you check it out next October.

wmtc: a war resister connects the dots: canada, is this the war you want to fight?

A U.S. war resister in Canada writes in this NOW Magazine. Very soon you will begin to hear about Canadian planes sending “humanitarian aid” of food and medical supplies to those affected by the fighting. . . .

And now ISIL is touted as the new enemy from the darkness as if their emergence was not foreseeable. In reality, ISIL is just the latest incarnation of a very old xenophobic sect of Islam, the Wahhabi movement, finding new breath in the aftermath of yet another war. Our bombs have only made them stronger, just as they always have.

The Harper Conservatives are (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Cold Mountain Poems

I first became aware of the Tang dynasty poet, Han Shan, in the late 1960s, when I was engrossed in reading the poets of the earlier Beat generation. It was at that time that, through them, I started to discover and explore Western Buddhism – as it was adapted and represented through their experiences and […]

Dead Wild Roses: US Support of Fundamental Islam – The Alternative is Worse.

In the crazy fun house world of imperial politics nationalist regimes are less preferable than radical religious ones. Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek discuss the motivations of empire in the Middle East in this selection from the book: On Western Terrorism – From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare.

“Noam Chomsky:

“Anyhow, going back to the Middle East after World War II. The British role in Iran was reduced and the US began to take over. IN Iraq in 1958, there was a so-called independent government, but it was basically British-run, and it was overthrown in a military coup. (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Cold War

I was reminded by an article on Slate that the (to me) iconic film of the Cold War, Fail Safe, was released fifty years ago this week. And as the article records, more people remember the satirical film, Dr. Strangelove than the more chilling drama, Fail Safe. Perhaps they have forgotten it, as they have […]

Dead Wild Roses: Some Recent History in the Middle East – ISIS and US.

Fascinating reading about some of the circular nature of events that are playing out in the Middle East as of late. This excerpt from the Counterpunch article titled Once More, Into the Quagmire.

 

The Middle East Needs Our Military Might

One can hear, in the reverberating noise of mainstream justifications, a series of claims. Among them is the idea that the Middle East is united in opposition to ISIS. Indeed it is, if you confine your poll to the rotten monarchies of the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Adding Jordan to (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: People’s Climate March: Economic resistance went mainstream

Kate Aronoff, a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia, argues that the recent People’s Climate March and Flood Wall Street protests made climate change “impossible for even the most mainstream of media to ignore.”

The post People’s Climate March: Economic resistance went mainstream appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

wmtc: keith olbermann: derek jeter is not god. (a must-see!)

Dog, I am a glad this baseball season is over. And not only because the Red Sox finished in last place.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Forgotten Gulag

In the introduction to Anne Applebaum’s Pulitzer-prize-winning book, Gulag: A History, she ponders why the “crimes of Stalin do not inspire the same visceral reaction to the crimes of Hitler.” Yet Stalin’s actions and policies killed millions more than the Nazis. Maybe it’s because the USSR wrapped itself in as much secrecy as it could […]

Dead Wild Roses: History of Racism – Heroine Dorothy Counts (1957)

Fifty seven years ago seems like a long time, but in term of changing cultural norms it was mere minutes, we still have such a long way to go. Three cheers for Ms.Counts and her steely determination, courage and perseverance in the face of such ugly human behaviour.

In 1956, forty black students applied for transfers at a white school. At 15 years of age, on 4 September 1957, Dorothy Counts was one of the four black students enrolled at various all-white schools in the district; She was at Harry Harding High School, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Three students (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Amazing Discovery

Have you heard about the amazing discovery the Harper Government is responsible for?

No, not the Franklin Expedition which remained known to the Inuit for almost 200 years through oral history, I’m talking about the discovery in Ottawa that the federal government isn’t maintaining important national landmarks related to science.

wmtc: what i’m reading: indian horse by richard wagamese, a must-read, especially for canadians

Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese, is a hauntingly beautiful novel about an Ojibway boy’s journey into manhood. It was the Readers’ Choice winner of the 2013 Canada Reads, CBC Radio’s book promotion program. But if you’re like me and don’t listen to the radio, you may have missed it. Don’t miss it. Indian Horse should be widely read – by everyone, but especially by Canadians.

In a slim, spare volume, drawing vivid pictures with very few words, Wagamese brings you into the Ojibway family. They are struggling to hold onto their culture – and indeed, to keep their (Read more…)

wmtc: revolutionary thoughts of the day: kareem abdul-jabbar, the new yorker, howard zinn

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has an excellent essay in Time, something only a big-name writer can get away with in the mainstream media. Abdul-Jabbar names the stark truths behind the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. And the mere fact that this appears on Time.com is reason for hope. This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The First Dark Age

The causes of the first “Dark Age” have long been the topic of debate among historians and archeologists. Many ideas and theories have been put forward; none have found universal agreement. It’s commonly referred to in scholarly circles as “The Catastrophe.” Earthquakes, drought, migrations (or the more popular single-people migration theory), volcanoes, barbarian raiders, climate […]

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Perks #nlpoli

A story in last weekend’s Telegram documented all the perks that former Premiers get.

Aside from a severance package, a couple of extra months pay, and a government car allowance for three months,  they also get a free game license (big, small,  salmon) if they want one. Now truth be told,  those game licenses go with the job anyway.  From the day a Premier gets the job, he or she can lay claim to a license to hunt or fish whatever they want. 

Most of these date back to at least the 1970s around the time the first guy who served as Premier got booted out and the second guy replaced him.  The Telegram story covers all of that.

(Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: America Is Shutting This Shit Down – John Oliver on Nuclear Weapons

The anniversary of World War I has been in the news as of late. Solemn words have been said, and in Canada, the funny idea that somehow it forged our nation from a quaint backwater into a respected player on the world stage. Sending people to die horrible deaths should not be the price of entry into world politics. WWI laid the foundation for WWII and both featured the notion that somehow civilian casualties were OK and even necessary to the war effort. Here we are in the 21st century and have the ultimate ‘soft target’ (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: My Grandfathers’ War

One hundred years ago World War I began, a war that started as a clash in a tiny, almost unknown Balkan state and blossomed into a violent, gruesome war that spread across Europe, the Middle East and reached into Africa and Asia. Within a few years, tens of millions would be dead, the political face […]

wmtc: babe ruth was not a fat red sox: thoughts on historical fiction arising from dennis lehane’s "the given day"

I recently read The Given Day, Dennis Lehane’s novel about 1919 Boston, especially the Boston police strike, and the widescale rioting that followed.

The book is an engaging hybrid of historical fiction and noir crime thriller. It deals with labour history, racial bigotry in both Jim Crow states and Boston, radical political organizing, and the United States during World War I and on the eve of Prohibition. It’s also full of great characters, plot twists, and suspense. If you enjoy historical fiction, I do recommend this book. However, I’m writing about it to highlight something that bothered me, (Read more…)

wmtc: nadine gordimer, 1923-2014

Nadine Gordimer was a great writer, and a steadfast voice for justice.

Gordimer, a white South African, was a member of the African National Congress when the organization itself was illegal. Several of her novels, which explored the affects of apartheid on those who lived it, were similarly banned.

Gordimer was a courageous woman, an outspoken intellectual, and a writer for whom art and politics became inseparable. She lived life on her own terms, and died at the old age of 90. Despite that, her passing feels like a great loss to the world.

Nadine Gordimer’s obituary in The Guardian (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lawrence in Arabia

I recall with some vividness seeing David Lean’s masterpiece film, Lawrence of Arabia, when it was first shown in Canadian theatres. I was 12 and utterly astounded by the movie. Not simply the great, sprawling, adventurous tale that meandered through 220 minutes (plus the intermission), but by the incredible scenery. It was a world totally alien […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Cup of Dragon Well

Legend has it that, in the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong (1711-1799 CE), the grandson of the Emperor Kangxi, went on a holiday to the West Lake district, in the Hangzhou area of Zhejiang province, China. He stopped at the Hu Gong Temple, nestled under the Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng Shan). There, he was presented by […]

Peace, order and good government, eh?: Reflections On Canada Day: The Impact Of Canadian History

I’m writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2014, thinking about all the fascinating things I’ve read about and seen, and all the people I’ve met. One thing I’ve come across is all the different parts of Canadian history I’ve studied, and how they’ve tied into many of the recent issues we’ve faced in Canada.

Take, for instance, the recent Quebec election and the idea of separatism popping up yet again; Aboriginal people disputing developments in places like northern B.C. and Caledonia; Alberta’s development of its energy resources and the disputes it’s had with other parties over the (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Canada Day – Have some Canadian History :)

Did you think Canada was all about the fun? Nope, nope, nope! Learning first, then fireworks and beer.

“The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Canada Day – Have some Canadian History :)

Did you think Canada was all about the fun? Nope, nope, nope! Learning first, then fireworks and beer.

“The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to (Read more…)