Opening Statement

Sunday 10 February 2013

February Teacher Protest News Digest 2

Updated Monday Feb 18  8:30 pm. News links at top + throughout blog. See my updated acronym list at: Blog Acronyms

Greetings All! We are still digging out from under the blizzard here in Toronto. I can only imagine what it's like across the rest of of the province where it really snows! This is the biggest snow storm we have had here in over 5 years. Toronto has had virtually no snow to speak of this winter until now. It's been very cold though. I myself am a summer kind of guy: beaches, swimming, shorts, t-shirt + a sun hat. OK OK I still wear Hawaiian shirts. Driving around with the car windows and rooftop open. Still it will be summer soon enough. Less than 5 months and counting!

Canadiana: Inuk Hunter

We  have a pretty interesting teacher protest news week coming up. The provincial parties will be doing a lot of posturing before the spring legislature resumes on the 18th. Premier Designate Kathleen Wynne announced her new cabinet on Monday. ETFO returns for day 8 of it's OLRB WTR hearing on Tuesday, which so far has been bizarre to say the least. We wait to hear on how the OECTA PAC seminar went. Is it still Liberal as it goes? OSSTF has been mighty quiet. Check out my OLRB reports from last week if you haven't all ready. Oh! Happy Lunar New Year too! It is now the Year of the Snake.  

News Links? Here we go ...

News Flash!

Martin Regg Cohn sets the teacher union + OLP stage for what follows Monday's Throne Speech. Wynne's first big hurdle? Us. Could  well be make or break! Everybody has something to lose. See: Throne Speech!

Are Wynne + our teachers headed for an inevitable election fight? The Doug Little Report on Kathleen Wynne notes that in the past she always thought there could be a compromise. Sometimes there can't. He suggests the possibility of Letters of Understanding, and that Wynne remove the COT and EQAO testing to make any compromise more palatable.

I recall discussing the EQAO's one on one with Wynne when she was Education Minister. Although she understood our argument + was sympathetic, she pointed out quite frankly that the bottom line is these tests are as popular with parents and the public as they are detested by us as teachers. That's basically the political reality of the situation. Even Kennedy wouldn't touch them for exactly the same reason. It would definitely be seen as a sell out if they or for that matter the NDP were to do so, whether we like it or not. It's not a winning platform. Quite the opposite, in the public eye.

Out front Queen's Park in winter. Brrrrrrr!

Anyway, as Doug points out the storm clouds are gathering. He's pretty sure the unions will throw all our support behind the NDP to bring the Liberals down. Recent polling has not yet shown that an NDP win is any surety, with or without our help. Nor have the NDP shown a lot of interest in or support for us since last year's Policy Conference. Waterloo was helpful for both them +us, but were they actively involved on any large scale from the PDT through to Bill 115? Did you see them at J25-26? 

Perhaps they will just be happy if we just don't support any Liberals. The NDP are pursuing a much more mainstream position than just being pro union as in years past, in hopes they can win. Sure they will take our help, in some measure, but don't expect them to want the public to see us too closely aligned, nor expect any major changes should they win. They are watching the polls very carefully now too. Still who knows? Anything can happen. Just don't think there is an easy NDP answer to our situation. Read + consider very carefully. Doug makes a lot of good points, still ...  Wynne Loses?

NDP Education Critic Peter Tabun's, the PC's Lisa McLeod + MOE Sandals speak on EQAO's. Hope I am wrong on all this and somebody can finally kill the tests without a big public backlash. Watering them down some more would be good but how would that fly for them? Is Tabun's hedging his bets or is he onto something come election time? You decide. See: EQAO's?

Might the Liberals kick our butt where Harris failed? Here's the ugly flip side of the coin, if the OLP were to win a majority or make a pact with the PC's. Still no easy answers either way the coin lands. See: Did the OLP beat Harris in more ways than one? 

Queen's Park in winter, looking south towards the city skyline + lake


I had an interesting discussion with someone familiar with the Premier's office over drinks on Saturday. McGuinty was definitely gambling that the PDT MOU would help him win Liz Witmar's riding from the PC's in the fall to give the OLP their one seat majority. We know this. It's been confirmed before. Anyway, they said they don't think it was Warren Kinsella but rather Don Guy who convinced McGuinty to go for it.

Of course, it backfired badly. McGuinty had gambled + blew it big time. Now he was damaged goods. A real liability. He knew he had to go. Within the OLP ranks the party hacks are confident they can now still pull off an election win, even turn the teachers around, with McGuinty gone. They are not in panic mode, incorrectly or not.

So far Wynne has been settling in nicely with her office handlers. She performs well in her meetings, news conferences and speeches. She's a natural and can swing it no sweat. She hasn't had to mix much with the public nor been put under the gun as premier yet though. She's better than McGuinty for sure. We've seen her in action before. She comes across very straightforward.

Tim's been a real &%#$! The OLP + PC's have long had an understanding that they will openly allow observers at each others party events + so on + so forth. Two members are allowed to attend, with passes and all the proper courtesies. Otherwise they know somebody's going to be sneaking around or getting the goods second hand etc. Much easier + pleasant this way. Now Tim suddenly won't let anyone from the OLP attend the PC functions. They have still been letting the PC's in so far.

No secret I suppose, Tim is one nasty piece of work. Not a nice guy around the QP building even in just the staff's regular day to day interactions over the course of the legislature day. 

McGuinty was good to work for if you weren't a big shot or anybody special. Not a lot of political info, if any, got out when the staff were working with him, or even just relaxing and horsing round with him at the end of the day. He wasn't careless. They still liked him and he was a decent guy. Not everybody always is eh? You might be surprised who some of the real mean, nasty + rude so and so's are, when you throw in the Ministers et al.

The last few weeks were awkward. The transition team forgot to tell the regular office staff whether they were staying or not until the very last moment, then apologized profusely. They figured if they hadn't heard otherwise they knew they'd be keeping their jobs, someone else told them or whatever. 

Back to School

"Take that ETFO t-shirt off I say! Off! Off! Or I will discipline you with my stick!"

School Edition Believe It or Not! ETFO KPR teachers have been told not to wear "I am ETFO"  t-shirts to school on Fridays!!! Some staff have made it a point to wear ETFO gear all week. Local unit advises members it is their right. Board has warned disiplinary action will be taken. Big showdown today as members persist? Are any other boards trying this? Please advise + stay tuned!!!

ETFO Lakelands publicly complains about $100,000s spent on expensive board lawyers during the long drawn out ETFO WTR OLRB case. Good. Well done! In the Kawartha's the big local public scandal has that been the board sends $1200 a day to send it's members down to Toronto to watch, which is merely the tip of the iceberg. This is something real big for the public to chew upon. Check out my OLRB reports to see what an awful time waster the affair has been just this + last week alone. Don't doubt all the public boards are watching this WTR case with relish. See more below. For news expose see: $$boards$$

Trillium + Upper Canada Boards are confident the upcoming ETFO WTR OLRB ruling will be in their favour. However there seemed little evidence that ETFO "ordered" their members to withdraw from EC's since Bill 115 put them back under contract at the hearing. Compare: My ETFO OLRB blogs from the past week + the newspaper report: Board WTR win?

ETFO'ers at J26. Can't get much more clearer than this!

CPO-ML Ontario Political Forum does a great job of succinctly reporting the key issues at both the OECTA + ETFO OLRB hearings this past week or so. Yes, yes, they reference my blog, I know, but this isn't a vanity link for me. If anything they improve on just getting to the point. ;-) You can click on the articles or just scroll down the site when you get there. You will find alot of other good reads along the way with a distinctly left POV [point of view]. See: OLRB reports

Upper Canada board teacher morale in tailspin as board's belligerent management style results in lengthy unbecoming ETFO WTR OLRB hearing. See my Feb 13 blog report, and : Upper Canada Bluez

Support the Rank + File Education Workers! For more info on the March 1st pub fundraiser and social go to: R+F at the Free Times Pub

For more info on the Rank + File's activist initiatives see my January blog: R+F blog 

ECKOS Poll shows OLP bump to 32.5%/ PC's at  28.5/, and NDP at 25.6%, a major reversal from Abacus Poll results released earlier this week [see below]. Poll was taken Feb.1 to 10th. 1790 Ontarians were polled on a dual land line + cell phone survey with an estimated margin of +/- 2.6% 19 times out of 20. Writer urges caution: extensive convention media blitz might be responsible for current support. Also, as we have seen this week, all odds seem off on the polls these days by the wide variances and surprise election results. New dual line approach promises to be much more accurate however. See: OLP lead?!

Premier Wynne "optimistic" about progress in  ETFO + OSSTF talks. Claims discussions are "moving forward." Hopes 4 "good outcome in near future". Claims a "new process" needs to be put in place. Good news? See: Wynne win?

Bad News from Outer Space

None of this might matter!! Why you ask?!? Please see below:

Planet Earth to meteorite:" Go away! Go away!" It approaches impact + the big boom!

Meteorite smashes into Planet Earth! 500 injured in Chelyabinsk Russia. Just misses school! Students suffer injuries from imploding glass windows. Fortunately also misses nuclear and chemical weapon disposal facilities. See videos: Bad Bad News!

NASA confirms the meteorite is not related to an asteroid expected to make very close fly by later today! Cancel recess? It's headed for Earth that is, not necessarily a school, yours or anybody elses. Whew! Then again it's a heckuvalot lot bigger than a meteroite, equal in force to 1000 Hiroshimas!. Ouch! A teachable moment? Excellent links to computer simulations, charts, live stream video and Q+A here too! See: NASA statement

See fly by simulation here. Not for the weak of heart: Oh oh!

Family Day weekend cancelled due to Asteroid Armageddon? No need for lesson plans next Tuesday or now on? Enquiring minds need to know!

NASA HD TV online coverage starts at 2 pm Friday Feb 15: Good bye cruel world?

Buy a bottle of union made wine + watch! See:  Friday nite excitement?

Astronomers + ISS space crew were asleep at the telescope. Nobody saw this meteorite coming. Interesting to note that 100 tonnes of space debris hits earth each day. Injury estimates for Friday's direct hit is now 1000, mostly from flying glass. See: Asleep at the telescope?

Best scientific coverage + "caught live" videos here: Astronomy Magazine Online

NEOP [Near Earth Object Program] presses for space gun or net to shoot down space projectiles before one does! Info link to follow! 

OK OK! I know! Enuff! So meanwhile back in the world of:

 Ontario Educational News

Here's an interesting political play in so many ways. Or did a media officer from Tim's PC office screw up by letting the cat out of the bag?  Hudak admittedly would combine Catholic + Public boards for cost savings except bigger union would wreck things: Catholic schools?

Abacus Poll shows Wynne, Howath + Hudak in dead heat. PC's stuck at 33%, NDP at 31%, OLP at 30%. The poll of 1200 people was done Feb.6-8 and is has a 3.1" margin of error 19/29 times. The big surprise is no bump for Wynne. Hudak is not expanding his base. It will be interesting to see if this is confirmed by other polls but NDP seems to be the only one doing well. See: Abacus Poll

Lotsa chuckles + laughs but for how long? Only one can win!

Wynne confirms on news today that talks with ETFO + OSSTF leaders is on and looks "optimistic but no deal yet." I am waiting to see the members reaction if a deal is suddenly announced. News link to follow.

Wednesday meeting top level meeting is referenced in rather wishy washy Toronto Star article on the ETFO WTR OLRB hearings. Directors of Education at the table now too [?]. For the head count see: New OLP teacher talks

OSSTF's Ken Coran meets with OLP Thursday, another meeting scheduled for next week. He claims it "went well". Twitter tweets?: to lift EC boycott OSSTF needs guarantee democratic rights will be restored in the next bargaining round, it will be a fair process + the members need to vote on the contract terms. I wonder how members will react? Links to follow.

Teacher News

MOE Liz Scandals: EC demands but nothing else concrete put on the table!?!

Education Minister Liz Scandals won't tear up contracts but adamant she wants EC's restored. Careful, the honeymoon might not last long toots! See: Talk talk talk?

Liz makes a big deal about being ready to listen. Why wasn't she planning to do so all along? See: Listen?

Liz claims teachers want EC's so she should be able to get unions to go along. Whoa! Sounds like something along the divide + conquer lines a Tory might say! Reality fix time? What if the teachers are more militant than the unions + a deal is made between the leadership and the OLP? See: Teachers verses unions? 

Trustees seem happy with Liz Scandals. OSSTF's Ken Coran optimistic. See: Sandals Yay or Nay?

More happy trustees: Liz + Wynne?

Toronto Sun's Christina Blizzard doubts Sandals + Wynne can succeed with a winning Liberal message to teachers after the damage McGuinty + Broten have done. See: OLP Blizzard

Windsor Essex board concerned early year teachers may not participate in voluntary WTR evening Kindergarten open house. Administrators will do it themselves. Boo hoo? See: Admin to do Kindergarten Open House

Toronto Star editorial speaks out against Regulation 274, the fair transparent hiring clause in MOU. Leave it up to the principals to choose based on character + talent?!? A "damn the students" clause? Did Tim Hudak write this? Says it's an opinion too, but no name attached that I can see. Will Liz be sympathetic? See: Fair transparent hire?

Sarnia ETFO Elementary meets with PC Education Critic Lisa McLeod to discuss "White Paper" on education. Concerns remain: PC McLeod

PC Hudak gets an "F", College Minister Brad DuGuid too!

Hudak wants student grants + loans tied to grades. Ok. Let me see if I got this right? A well off student with excellent marks and all the breaks gets lots of loans, while an economically and/ or socially challenged student who has to bust their butt for every hard earned good grade does not? What's wrong here? Even scarier? Colleges Minister Brad DuGuid won't rule it out! See: Loans 4 the well to do?

Toronto Star editorial denounces Hudak plan as "preposterous". Blocking educational opportunities doesn't spur economic growth. See: Another bad idea!

Dulce et Decorm blogger Nora Loreta explains the 11 clues that Tim's "Pathway's to Prosperity" are an incredulous proposition. See: Tim's Bad Jokes!

National Posts Chris Selley takes jab at Hudak + Ford's neo con "over promising" miss steps: "back peddling" ensues: Ford + Hudak

OSSTF report on Supreme Court challenge provides the Charter Challenge, a formalized schedule , an OSSTF Q+A document. Start dates of Oct 25-26 has been confirmed. See: Charter Challenge

CTF launches "Hear My Voice". Speak out to protect democracy in Canada! SeeHear! Hear!

Trustee Pam's Blog explains difference between negotiations + talks. The whole PDT MOU Bill 115 debacle was always just the latter. Very clearly explained + good to share + understand! Read: Negotiating vs talking

OSSTF's Leslie Wolfe + Cindy Dubue presentation at the Feb 3 Bill 115 Committee hearings. An interesting + informative  Youtube video: Wolfe + Dubue

Toronto Star Opinion/ Editorial says teachers should extend olive branch to Liz Scandals by resuming extracurriculars. Since it's voluntary how can you be directed by your union to participate when bad feelings run so deep? Disciplinary action? I think the public and government don't understand the difference between a union leader verses a union boss. I myself have never been a sheep. See: EC's?

Gerald Caplan's Toronto Star article acknowledges teacher union muscle in thwarting the OLP but also points out some were hedging bets by also making donations to the various OLP leadership  candidates. He makes a good argument that we cannot split the Liberal/ NDP vote to let the PC's pull off an election win. However he seems quite certain that can only be done by supporting the OLP again. The next polls should give us a better idea if there is an orange tide on the way. Either way what do teachers do where it's a shaky OLP seat verses a strong PC candidate + the NDP have no chance in the riding? If the seat count looks close or like a split,  Caplan's quite right in one respect, we DON'T want a PC government or we are in deep deep trouble, much moreso than now. Our Liberal + NDP pundits will be arguing we can only win by supporting them, Our teacher unions will have to consider their next election strategy very carefully. See: OLP Vs NDP Vs PC?

The good, the bad + the ugly: a collection of letters to the Toronto Star. Quite a few take the Star to task for it's coverage of the teacher protests. What is the Toronto Star's real agenda? There has been some disturbing concern about it expressed in the Comments to my blog. We might well consider this carefully. See: Toronto Star union coverage?

Ontario teacher college applications down 75%. Very few jobs, low placement rates cited. Jobs available in UK, Asia, Sweden + Australia. A wave of retirements is expected in 2014-15 though. Gee, I wonder why?!? My niece Katrina graduated last spring and is  teaching in England for now. Has a place downtown London. Can go to Europe on weekends + holidays. She volunteered in Kenya for a while too. It is a good way to grow your teacher perspective + world view I think. Course, everyone likes to be close to family + home. See: Teacher Grads?

Teaching jobs? What teaching jobs?!? Bad news for grads!

My Local OECTA Rant

RAC Rocks! :-)

My OECTA TSU RAC [Religious Affairs Committee] meets at the Madison Pub tonight to finalize the details for our social, starting between 4-4:30 pm until 6 or so. Theology on tap anybody? Time to kick start things + make sure we stay relevant. Can Catholic/ Christian actually be fun, kool + meaningful? Jesus always made sure his followers got some wine! Can we not follow his holy way? I should think not! Dunno if he liked beer, nachos + wings but no matter. ;-)

Very important: We will run with a social justice theme! Good talk, fellowship + we will hoist a few to our teaching vocation! Special thanks to MS, AZ, CC + IU. Details forthcoming at TSU [Toronto Secondary Unit]! And in case you are one of those who fret, no this is not an official OECTA TSU blogsite, + I don't care if you think I am going to hell when I die, blah, blah, blah. RAC rocks the Madison Friday March 1st 4-7pm!!!

New Ontario Government Sworn In

Trouble brewing? Absence of NDP MPP + OLP backbenchers at swearing in suggests all might not be well. Lots of Tory MPPs in attendance. Check out the tea leaves for yourself to decide: Absentees 

Premier Wynne's pant suit kerfuffle continues to make columns + headlines. There's even a Kathleen Wynne fashion guide. Holy smokes.Get a life! See: Pants + Skirts

It's official! You can check with the pundits news leaks to see how many were right below. CBC news gives us the new cabinet line up. See: New cabinet Names!

OSSTF Press release welcomes the new Education Minister: OSSTF

ETFO extends welcome to new Education Minister, hopes can work together. See press release: ETFO

Here's the parliamentary bio for new Education Minister Liz Sandals: Sandals

Earlier: The pundits scoops: How accurate were they? See below:

So who's who in the new government  cabinet. Here's the insider's scoops. I will list a few newspaper links below. We can confirm by 3 today. In case I am at stuck at the garage after school today, the news will be everywhere but you can check back here later, or watch it on the live stream.

A Sunday Toronto Star articles claims Sousa will be made Finance Minister, Scandal's Education Minister, Chiarelli gets Energy portfolio (no not me. Bob. When Wynne called I said Education or nothing ... yup! ...;-), Zimmer to Aboriginal Affairs, Naqvi Labour, with Broten being demoted to Intergovernmental Affairs. See: Cabinet Calls

Laurel: Sure I'm getting a cabinet post. Only it's this big.

All 10 MPP's who supported Wynne get in along with 8 of Pupatello's.  Glen Murray gets Transportation + InfrastructureDeb Matthews Health + Deputy PremierEconomic Devlopment goes to Hoskin,  Windsor West's Pirruza moves up for Child + Youth Services, DVE's Michael Coteau up to Citizenship + ImmigrationLinda Jerries switches to Municipal Affairs + HousingGravelle switches to Northern Affairs, Oreazetti to natural resources, Milloy stays as House Leader, Bradley in Environment  Meilleur in Correctional Services and Chan in Tourism, Culture + Sport. Takhar keeps Government Services. Margaret Best dumped from cabinet post as Consumer Services. Wynne has said she will take Agriculture herself.

Kennedy did not want Education without having a seat. What he does next remains unclear. Pupatello was wooed with Finance but has chosen to go back to Bay St for now it seems.

The Globe + Mail reports: Globe

Monday Swearing in news stories of note:

Like the OLP or not, today was a historic first in Ontario!

Congratulations Premier Kathleen Wynne! Enjoy your big day! You made history!

The OLP glass bubble might well be about to break. How long will Wynne last? Martin Regg Cohn lists 4 big challenges that lie ahead, for starters: How long? article by Rick Salutin examines Wynne's unexpected appeal. Her he likes! The OLP insider experts? IMHO he provides some good advice. See: Wynnes winning appeal?

New PC attack ad launched on swearing in dayIMHO very cheesy, desperate + inappropriate. Like the OLP + Wynne or not, today was historical, our first woman premier was sworn in, an openly gay one at that. Sooner or later these ads are going to backfire on Hudak: New PC attack ad

NDP's Andrea Horwath gives Wynne an respectable parliamentarian welcome before the gloves come off. I think your average folk will respect that style of politics more. Tim's mean, angry man routine wears thin + grates. Good move. See: NDP Congrats

Today's press questions about her pant suits + fashion sense weren't much better. Did anyone ever challenge Harris on his frumpy outfits? Remember Frank Miller for crying out loud?!? He made Willy Wonka look like something out of GQ. More later. PS: Yes! IMHO Wynne could seriously use a makeover but hardly the sort of thing you ask about at her first press conference as premier. Just saying, I don't think it would've happened if she was a guy.

New Madame Premier blog tracks sexist comments about female premiers across Canada. See: Madame Premier

How do Ontarians expect our first woman Premier to dress?!?

More Ontario Politics:

Horwath meets with Wynne to present 6 point Back to Business agenda that she argues is very doable. Expects results will speak for themselves as to whether OLP + NDP can work together in the upcoming legislature. See: NDP 6 point agenda article by Rick Salutin examines Wynne's unexpected appeal. Her he likes! The OLP insider experts? IMHO he provides some good advice. See: Wynnes winning appeal?

Martin Regg Cohn sticks to the Tory threat argument. NDP did not approve a formal coalition or a non competitive strategy for working with the OLP at last weekend's Provincial Council. Infighting between the parties still means Tim could win through a voter split. Labour could get thrown under the bus, as NDP switches focus to winning as a more mainstream, rather than a progressive political party. See: NDP vs OLP vs PC

Would an OLP shift to the NDP left of centre open up more room on the right for Hudak's PC's? Will Ford Nation come through for him in Toronto/ GTA? I'd say polling over the past year has suggested he's hit a definite right wing ceiling with 35% of the vote max for his neo con "alternative" However it's still the NDP/ OLP's election to lose if either or both of them screw up + there is a voter protest vote. See: More space to the right?

Bentley By election in London predicted to be a tight 3 way race! See: OLP Fortunes?

Federal NPD leader Thomas Mulcair speaks at the Ontario NDP Provincial Council this weekend as election prospects run high. It would be great if I could get some great visuals for my site. Even with Andrea I am pretty much stuck using file footage.See: Mulclair

Leftist is concerned the NDP isn't providing a progressive alternative to the OLP + PC's in it's populist approach to issues, except to be vaguely somewhere to the left of the other party agendas. Wonders where the NDP was during the Bill 115 and J25 + J26 rallies? Shouldn't they have been all over this? Rabble encourages a clear social democratic approach to creating their platform, with a vibrant party left, not more surveys to set their priorities based upon what they think voters want them to be. See: Whither too NDP?

Andrea Horwath's NDP: A bird in the hand or is it still 2 in the bush? Her big chance is coming up + a lot is riding on it in progressive Ontario politics!

The Globe + Mail's Adam Radwanski speculates: Who will Premier Designate Kathleen Wynne pick for her new cabinet to be announced on Monday? Liz Sandals in the Education Ministry? I will be real interested to see what happen with Laurel Broten. Might say a lot. To play it safe I'd bet she just gets shuffled her around for now not to ruffle too many party feathers. Her + Kathleen were tight, but then Laurel veered to the party right as Education Minister and also endorsed Pupatello during the leadership convention. Wynne can't seem petty. Her win was an upset for the party status quo among insiders. See: Cabinet making?

The Toronto Star's QP bureau speculates on Eric Hoskins as Education Minister. Phone calls are expected to go out today to the new appointees. No prank calls ok? ;-) See: Hello you win!

Ontario Lt. Gov. David Onley revamps the office to make it less stuffy and more in touch with our communities + culture. He's become Mr. Tweet, has a new website + will be making a cameo appearance in an Murdock Mysteries [sort of like CSI in late 19th century Toronto but somehow it works] as Sir Oliver Mowat [?!]. He is also doing some great work with our aboriginal youth. He is definitely a great example and acknowledgement of the valuable contributions our often overlooked handicapped colleagues make in Ontario. He will also be swearing in the new premier + cabinet on Monday: See: Oliver Mowat?

In Other News:

Justin Trudeau + PET in 1973

Justin Trudeau contributes a blog piece on the importance + needs of education for Canada's new workforce as we eye the future. I personally, really like this one. See: Trudeau on Education

OFL President Sid Ryan explains how PC Tim Hudak is working lockstep with his big Tory brothers in Ottawa to drive down wages in Canada for their corporate sponsors through Right to Work [for less]. Very straightforward credible explanation. This is going to be the big fight especially for our next generation of teacher union leaders well into the foreseeable future. Hope everybody is up to it! See: No Rand?

The impending apocalypse? Dead serious! No laughing matter! Be prepared!

Canadian parliament prepares for Zombie Apocalypse. No need to spend millions! Max Brook's "Zombie Survival Guide" provides full info on all scales of zombie attacks, how to spot them + how they spread, along with the "best practice" defences + top 10 survival tips for protecting you and your loved ones. This book is logically consistent throughout + will make perfect sense. Ignore the "nervous nellie" reviews which try to laugh the book off as being funny. This book is dead serious! Highly recommended. Every home should have a copy. I have two, one for home and another for school. Cheap too! See + order here: Zombie Survival Guide

Pope Lando the 1st? His names still up for grabs!

Pope Benedict becomes first Catholic pontiff to step down from office in 600 years effective Feb. 28. Regretfully cites failing strength of age + wish to dedicate the rest of his life to prayer. For his official statement see: Benedict

Papal enclave to choose next pope expected mid March. See: Enclave

Papal enclave might be moved up so it does not coincide with Holy Week. Historic rules being re-examined. It's a very interesting process; an excellent teachable moment for Religion classes! See: Holy Week?

Q: I would like to be pope someday! How do I choose a papal name?!? A: Every pope chooses one. Some past favourites? You get the Pius', the Leos, the John +/or Paul's, all very popular + used repeatedly. Then there was Lando the 1st. Nobody used that one again, same with Conon + Valentine the 1st. See here to find out how it's done: Pope Names?!?

Unions are viciously under attack in  the US. Now Canada too!

Wake up call: Unions across Canada are in the cross hairs of big business + the media in a concerted attack. See: Canadian unions under attack!

Premier Kathleen Wynne visits historic gay positive Toronto church to say thanks for the spiritual support over the years. See: Metro Community Church Toronto

Celebrating Family Day in non traditional families is okay too! What to do if you were abused for example? Would hardly want to go over to chuckle it up with them. Then there's divorcees, widows, widowers, group homes etc, etc. Something to reflect on. We don't all have "normal" families and not all families are the same, but people are. See: Family day reflection

What is "normal" anyway? Is it a social construct or ..... Nope. I'm not going there. Nope not today ....

Paul Bernardo seemed like a perfectly normal guy.

Then there's "reality". What is "real"?... Ho boy! ... I digress ....

Are women bloggers a setback for the feminist movement? Ho boy! This freedom of speech thing sure freaks a lot of folk out. IMHO I've posted a lot of links to blogs written by women + men and they both seem to hold their own to me. However, the Purple Fig disagrees. Consider this: Women bloggers weak?!?

Pit Bull rights activists still after Wynne for discrimination against their pets as a result of OLP banning them in Ontario after a rash of assaults. Apparently Pit Bull safety laws were actually a red herring to draw public attention away from OLP woes in 2005 as part of an OLP dogs rights abuse strategy. Pit Bulls are being discriminated against because of the way they look.  I dunno. This is getting very bizarre. The advocates know all the buzz words. 

However when my son was 10 years old  he was attacked by a pit bull who's owner let him off his leash for a run in the park. Pit Bull ran straight for the kids who were minding their own business playing after school, taking a big chunk out of my son's leg! Owner whistled for dog + fled: a bite and run! I was called at school and had to rush him to emergency. It was one nasty bite with a sizeable length of exposed bone + a huge flap of ripped flesh. I like to present as many different points of view on my site as I can, so I will run with this one more time. Truth be told at first I thought it was a joke. Please note site address if you are further interested, I'm not. See:Barking Mad!?  

Here's part 2 of rock icon the Who's Pete Townshend's interview from a week or so ago. He's perhaps most famous for the rock opera "Tommy", the sixties anthem "My Generation" + two of his tunes from the "Who's Next" album are still used as the theme songs for CSI: "Teenage Wasteland" [aka "Baba O'Reilly", and "Won't Get Fooled Again" [" .. "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" .. ] Kindly indulge me, I'll be adding links to all 4 parts of the series as they become available. When I was in high school the holy trinity of rock was the Beatles, Stones + The Who. See: Who Am I?

Diane Ravitch's stateside blog asks how our American teacher counterparts can stop the organized attack on teaching in the USA? What's the state of their teacher unions? Imagine if the Harris-Eve Tory's hadn't been defeated in 2003, and were still in power! Or think of 10 years of a Tim Hudak provincial election win! See: Teaching in the USA

Here's a Washington Post book review on an interesting anthology of profiles in courage where US teachers have taken a brave exemplary stand on such issues as merit pay, state testing and others that we can well relate too. Check this out in solidarity with our brother + sister teachers in the US: Educational Courage Book Review

Remember vinyl record albums, especially from the 1960-70's? This BBC documentary explains their popularity and what effect they not only had on the recording artists and the music industry, but also upon us in the sociological sense as pop culture. It's also quite interesting to note that they are making a comeback with younger people in our age of CD's + Itunes too. What is/ was it all about? For some light + quite fascinating viewing see: When Vinyl Records Ruled!

Enjoy winter!


Kulture Kult Ink said...

Thanks! I've seen some of these but can't seem to save twitter images as download to post as pix on my blog. Just the links. If anybody knows please do tell.

Timothy King said...

An interesting response from Sandals to the Harris comparisons flying around as Bill 115 was brought in in September:

Thought you might enjoy it... it gives you some idea of where she stands on things.

Anonymous said...

Wow great poll numbers for Wynne. I thought that the Star had an amazing poll last week with Wynne in first and the rags to riches story was so complete. Now it looks like the real story has unfolded. Hey wait didn't OECTA PAC conference have that same pollster there to spin the PAC members? OECTA is an integrity house of cards that is showing major signs of collapse. First they misrepresent their members and then they lie to their political action acolytes. What a farce but then again their tactics closely mirror those of the Liberal government!

Kulture Kult Ink said...

The fact Wynne didnt get a bump in the polls from the convention and non stop daily news coverage is very bad news for the OLP! I saw the oecta pac seminar binder today, and was told there was indepth polling analysis but nobody could take the notes home. I bet. Wonder why? Talk about being cut off from reality. I know a lot of good oecta partners who i have worked with for years now walking around glass eyed as if this actually makes sense. Very discouraging!

Anonymous said...

Its too bad Ken Coran was at the Wynne swearing in getting ready to pucker up and bow to his new master. Good between AEFO, OECTA and OSSTF the ETFo must want to hang somebody! ;)

Kulture Kult Ink said...

Wonder if O'Dwyer was there? I heard it through the grapevine Hammond and Coran are quietly meeting with Liz Scandals behind closed doors this week. Notice how quiet they have been?

Anonymous said...

Yup, quiet as kept. OSSTF presidents voted last Thursday to resume negotiations under the understanding that imposed contracts would not be ripped up. The great teachers union climb down has begun. After all Wynne's boots (muddied from stopping teachers) do need a good polish. The show must go on.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good one david.

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