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Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Evening Links

This and that for your Saturday reading.

- Keith Banting and John Myles note that income inequality should be a major theme in Canada’s federal election. And Karl Nerenberg points out that voters will have every reason to vote for their values, rather than having any reason to buy failed strategic voting arguments.

- PressProgress charts the devastating effect of precarious employment in Canada. And Wayne Lewchuk writes about the precarity penalty, and the need for public policy to catch up to the reality facing workers: Uncertain future employment prospects can increase anxiety at home.  Lack of benefits can (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Final Exams

A recent article in the National Post suggests that exams are passé.  Joseph Brean writes,

Psychologists have a quip about IQ tests — the only thing they measure is your ability to do IQ tests. They are not, as they purport to be, an objective measure of intelligence, like the air temperature of a room. Rather, they are variable, and vulnerable to luck and circumstance, like the score of a hockey game. Exams are the same. They are cruel in their way, in their pose as objective measures of a student’s worth.

The article suggests that since exams are stressful, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Michal Rozworski reminds us that while a shift toward precarious work may represent an unwanted change from the few decades where labour prospered along with business, it’s all too familiar from a historical perspective: (P)recarity is what it means to have nothing to sell but your labour power, to use Marx’s turn of phrase. Taken in this sense, precarity is wide-spread: today, the bottom 40% of Canadians today own a measly 2% of national wealth and the bottom 60% own just over 10%. The fact of owning relative peanuts gives precarity an (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Investing in Mental Health is Good for Everyone

Mental health is important for everybody and painting it can be challenging for many people. As with most preventive practises it’s wise to invest in it. The benefits of keeping society in good mental health is a benefit for everybody.

Where relevant statistics have been available, a huge trove of data has been collected over the past 15 years on how these mental health issues translate into healthcare costs and disability claims expenses. While nations that don’t really recognize or provide for mental health issues don’t have to deal with the aforementioned costs, the data also consistently shows that mental (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: #BellLetsTalk about mental health in politics

Connecting back to my last post, today is a big day for online, hashtag activism: #BellLetsTalk day. For every tweet tagged with the hashtag, Bell will donate 5 cents towards mental health services.

It’s a good cause to raise awareness and start discussions towards mental health, but it is take a critical eye towards what is also a giant PR campaign for a huge teleco. I don’t discourage people from tweeting with the hashtag, but I also encourage people to find and share some people with critical views on it, and make sure that we talk about mental health (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Restricting Free Speech

 “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall

I’m not so sure I agree with Ms. Hall’s famously misattributed line.  People say some truly cruel things, and I’m not convinced we should have a right to be publicly malicious.  As always, I say too many things in one crazy long post instead of breaking it up into many separate issues, but I tend to see issues too interconnected to separate.  So there it is.

Let’s begin by contemplating on some different scenarios: some fictitious (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Acting Nice

I’ve been watching lots of movies and thinking about this bit from Aristotle:

“But we get the virtues by having first performed the energies, as is the case also in all the other arts; for those things which we must do after having learnt them we learn to do by doing them; as, for example, by building houses men become builders, and by playing on the harp, harp-players; thus, also, by doing just actions we become just, by performing temperate actions, temperate, and by performing brave actions we become brave.  Moreover, that which happens in all states bears testimony to (Read more…)

Eh Types: Warm to An Idea

I’m going to tell you about something I did yesterday that gave me an idea. It’s a simple one, nothing to change the world, but because it’s simple I hope it’s one you’ll consider. Yesterday I found a pair of gloves in a coat I haven’t worn since last winter. Like I suspect most men, […]

Left Over: Keeping Remembrance Day in My Own Way….

Gap’s ‘Remembrance Day deal’ not appropriate, Toronto veteran says ‘The point is not to exploit and profit from this day,’ says Cpl. Chuck Krangle

CBC News Posted: Nov 10, 2014 11:10 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014 10:57 AM ET

Have to agree with Cpl. Krangle, it is beyond inappropriate to exploit Memorial Day with yet another phony holiday ‘sale’ and shows no respect for our veterans, living and dead..

Then again, no ‘sale’ on any public holiday advertised as such is truly appropriate..but you hear little if any criticism of it..Still the media is happy (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Heather Mallick and Linda McQuaig both weigh in on the connection between income splitting and the Cons’ plans for social engineering. And Scott Clark and Peter DeVries point out that a giveaway to wealthy families is as indefensible from an economic standpoint as from a social one: (T)his tax conversation is simply the wrong one for us to be having right now. Why the rush to cut taxes? More importantly, why these tax cuts — ones which will do nothing at all to jump-start Canada’s anemic economic growth rate?

The unemployment rate (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, asking what we can do to make sure that individuals who seek help for their mental health and addictions issues through the criminal justice system find more support than Michael Zehaf-Bibeau did – both for their own well-being, and for the safety of the Canadian public.

For further reading…- CBC reported on Zehaf-Bibeau’s interaction with the criminal justice system. And again, Ian Mulgrew also weighed in on the failure to offer any help to somebody who was crying out for it. – Karl Nerenberg writes that the Cons’ expected response to last week’s shootings – consisting of (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: On Ghomeshi

Years ago, in the house of a queer friend from Atlantic Canada, I joked about Jian Ghomeshi and how he rudely and aggressively hit on her once. She laughed, I laughed, we laughed. She was queer – I thought he was queer. It was comedic gold. I didn’t think anything about it, and I sort of thought it was one of those “flaws” that celebrities have. I didn’t think twice about it.

I lived in Toronto. Used to joke with female friends about going and seeing George Strombolopolous’ show, because he was kind of funny. And I was from Vancouver, so seeing (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tony Burman comments on the increasing recognition of the dangers of inequality even among corporate and financial elites: (I)t is significant that the policy debate among many decision-makers seems to be changing. Rather than the nonsense about “the makers versus the takers,” there is increasing focus on the notion that income inequality could be a key factor in why overall economic growth has been sluggish in recent years.

There has always been a “common sense’ element to this argument. The wealthy tend to save a larger percentage of their income because they (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Geoff Stiles writes that instead of providing massive subsidies to dirty energy industries which don’t need them (and which will only have more incentive to cause environmental damage as a result), we should be investing in a sustainable renewable energy plan: (W)hereas countries such as Norway have gradually reduced…subsidies as their oil industry matured, at the same time maintaining one of the highest royalty rates in the world, Canada has allowed its subsidies to remain at a relatively high level while many provinces have actually decreased royalties on oil company profits.

(Read more…)

wmtc: what i’m reading: how i live now, excellent (youth) novel by meg rosoff

Last year, I wrote about an excellent, unusual youth novel called There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff. I recently read the author’s 2004 debut novel, How I Live Now, and I’m here to lay down a flat-out rave review.

Most of How I Live Now is told from the point of view of a teenaged narrator, in a present-tense first-person stream of thought, with long, rambling sentences and minimal punctuation. I often have problems with quirky or immature narrators as the voice feels forced and inauthentic to me. I found some famous and popular novels unreadable because (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Umut Oszu contrasts the impoverished conception of rights being pushed thanks to the Cons’ highly politicized museum against the type of rights we should be demanding: In their modern incarnation, human rights were fashioned after the Second World War and entered into widespread circulation in the 1970s and 80s, when they came to be deployed by Western governments and non-governmental organizations as part of a Cold War “battle of ideas.” Designed in predominantly civil and political rather than social and economic terms, the rhetoric of human rights has since been mobilized to (Read more…)

My journey with AIDS...and more!: I’m Thinking, “This is Going to Hurt!”: On ‘How Not to Deal with Grief’

From my friend Betty Ann on her Facebook page: “This article deeply moved me…as I suspect it will for any of you who have been impacted by the kind of grief associated with multiple loss, deaths due to overdose and or HIV/AIDS. Rather than just clicking on “like”, can you write a few sentences in […]

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bert Olivier is the latest to weigh in on Paul Verhaeghe’s work showing that the obsessive pursuit of market fundamentalism harms our health in a myriad of ways: What does the neoliberal “organisation” of society amount to? As the title of the book indicates, it is market-based, in the tacit belief that the abstract entity called the “market” is better suited than human beings themselves to provide a (supposedly) humane structure to the communities in which we live. But because neoliberal capitalism stands or falls by the question, whether profit is generated (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Glen McGregor reports on Michael Sona’s conviction as part of the Cons’ voter suppression in 2011. But both Michael den Tandt and Sujata Dey emphasize that Sona’s conviction was based on his being only one participant in the wider Robocon scheme – and that Stephen Harper and company remain fully responsible for covering up the rest of it.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar duly mocks Tony Clement’s attempt to talk up open government while serving as one of the least accountable ministers in the most secretive Canadian government ever.

- And Justin Ling discusses (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: International Youth Day: Youth and Mental Illness

by: Public Service Alliance of Canada | Posted Thu. Aug 13, 2014

August 12 is International Youth Day, a day endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 in a resolution upon the recommendation by the World Conference of Minsters Responsible for Youth. This year’s theme is “Youth and Mental Health.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada as a union has been a relentless advocate for youth welfare and employment, workplace health and safety – including mental health — and work-life balance. We are, therefore, in complete support of this year’s theme for International Youth (Read more…)

wmtc: depression is to sad as cancer is to pimple (a few thoughts after the death of robin williams)

Reading a news story about Robin Williams’ death, I saw a tweet from Jimmy Kimmel. It said, in part: “If you’re sad, tell someone.”

Depression is “you’re sad” the way cancer is a pimple. And telling someone doesn’t make it go away. For severe depression telling someone is… well, it’s nothing.

I’m assuming Kimmel meant, if you’re depressed, seek help. Yes. Good advice. But Robin Williams did seek help. He was in treatment. So was David Foster Wallace when he killed himself. So was… I could go on.

Severe depression is often untreatable. That’s the terrible truth.

Today I’m (Read more…)

OPSEU Diablogue: One helluva story

Glenn French has a helluva story to tell. The President and CEO of the Canadian Initiative on Workplace violence provided the keynote speech after two days of meetings by OPSEU’s Mental Health Division. He spoke about a cleaner in a … Continue reading →

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Following up on this morning’s post, George Monbiot discusses the need for a progressive movement which goes beyond pointing out dangers to offer the promise of better things to come: Twenty years of research, comprehensively ignored by these parties, reveals that shifts such as privatisation and cutting essential public services strongly promote people’s extrinsic values (an attraction to power, prestige, image and status) while suppressing intrinsic values (intimacy, kindness, self-acceptance, independent thought and action). As extrinsic values are powerfully linked to conservative politics, pursuing policies that reinforce them is blatantly self-destructive.

(Read more…)

knitnut.net: Where have I been?

Where have I been the last few months? I’ve been depressed. I still am, but I’m doing better now than I was. It was bad. It started in December and peaked in February I think. Between crazy workload issues and packing and moving and selling the house and renovations and migraines and awful migraine prevention meds and Duncan dying and other stuff I just got overwhelmed and anxious and then I couldn’t sleep and I would wake up in the middle of the night and worry for hours. And you know how that goes, it’s always catastrophizing, imagining the worst (Read more…)

My journey with AIDS...and more!: Blog CPR

Facebook and Twitter have become my primary means of internet communication as of late but there is within me a desire to give my writer’s block the angioplasty treatment it may need. In the meantime, evidence that I have continued my love of photography: