Latest additions below are posted in Large for your convenience.
For the last days of December I'll be tweeting the Blog's 2013 Best: that is the most read articles and any of special interest. You can subscribe to me on Twitter:
I'm just back from a dive trip off the Atlantic coast at Jibicoa between Habana and Varadero Cuba. It was a very long flight back to find we were without power due to the crippling ice storm when we finally arrived home at 5am this morning. Janet and I are now at Second Cup recharging our computers, Iphones, internet hot spot + so on. Also getting a real cup of coffee! Finally. I will bring you up to date on everything, but for now, to put it briefly:
TEACHER + UNION
Ex President Kevin O'Dwyer is confirmed as the new permanent Collective Bargaining and Contract Services secretariat officer [Talk about out of the blue!]. A list of his assignments will be announced, but the position would normally mean he's actively involved, if not indirectly, in the upcoming 2013-14 contract talks. General Secretary Marshall Jarvis made the announcement late last week after the PE monthly meeting. Excellent news if you are in the pro OECTA MOU units I guess, but otherwise?
Merry Christmas + Happy New Year from OECTA Provincial?!?The Brock case was not discussed on either day of this month's OECTA PE meeting. The 3rd party legal report is still missing in action.
How the OECTA Grinch stole Christmas:
President Ryan was served notice of Mr. Brocks civil suit on December 6. Last Thursday OECTA Provincial lawyer Paul Cavalluzo's firm advised that it had filed a Notice of Intent to Defend with the OSCOJ [Ontario Superior Court of Justice]. Later Thursday it was also advised that Provincial is seeking a Demand for Particulars. It's essentially questioning whether the civil case can proceed on the grounds of whether Mr. Brock is or was an OECTA employee. More of the technical legal language + references later.
Hope everyone survived the last week of classes and is ready for the Christmas holidaying! Of course our hearts are with Richard Brock + OECTA Halton Elementary unit during this very disappointing + unfortunate development at OECTA Provincial. An excellent opportunity for a moral change of heart + a turn in a constructive, positive direction has been lost. Seems it's full speed ahead with OECTA Provincials controversial and divisive course of action to bully + silence any opposition or dissent. Having abandoned the high ground I see little good coming of all this nor much of a future for OECTA as a Catholic school teacher union acting to represent all it's members collective interests in an open, fair and democratic manner.
Mr. Brock will without doubt need very deep financial pockets to deal with the OECTA legal strategy. He does not have access to the membership fees for paying his legal costs as does OECTA Provincial. Everyone is reminded that contributions can be made to the Richard Brock Trust Fund. It's a worthy Christmas gift for all to give who care about justice and fair play within the union movement. Don't doubt the other affiliates are watching how this case proceeds with great interest. Also don't doubt yours could be next to follow suit if OECTA succeeds and you get uppity during the upcoming round of provincial concessions, oops I mean "negotiations" this spring. More info on the Fund @ Brock Legal Trust Fund
How OECTA stole Christmas 2013 ...
CUPE educational workers rally to protest Thames Board implementation of the MOU. Hmmm. So its not just the Catholic schools now too eh? They are all in cahoots if you ask me. More @ CUPE
A union drive squashed by a union? University workers claim to have been left hanging. A fight involving 50 students erupts as post unionization drive harassment allegations fly. Hey, OECTA isn't the only union we need to keep a close eye on at the grassroots level y'know. More @ CUPE?
Some Waterloo region parents in uproar as Catholic + Public boards co-ordinate bell times for next September. Some schools will start 40 minutes earlier, some 40 minutes later @ School Bells!
Harris/ Decima Survey shows strong support for unions in fight against Work to Rule 4 Less, despite some reservations. You will find a detailed breakdown of the questions asked + answers received in the article + slide show @ Huffington
Economic "trickle down" theory: It doesn't work. Surprised? Take a gander @ $21 Trillion?!?
Unemployed beginning teachers are scooping up fulltime teaching jobs in the UK! My niece Katrina got one in London. Says there are so many that if you get a lousy school or admin you can just cross the street and get another teaching position there. She holidays + spends long weekends in Paris, Monte Carlo, Amsterdam + so on. Something to think about. Many if not most of her fellow graduating class are unemployed back here in Canada right now, often having to take crummy service industry jobs at a restaurant or bar. Still what about your superannuation/ pension plan? Story @ Lots of teaching jobs!
Here's the New York Times 75 best Education books from 2013. Most teacher readers here on my BlogSpot are in Ontario Canada, not the US of A but am sure you can pick and choose for relevance as need be @ Top 75!
Final 2013 Forum poll forecasts another minority government: PC=38%/ OLP=31%/ NDP=24%/ Greens=5%! Seat count would be: OLP=51 / PC=43/ NDP=13! PC's would apparently need 41-42% in the polls for an outright win. NDP's Horwath still ahead in leader popularity poll, with Hudak still languishing in dismal 3rd place. Story @ Toronto Star
OLP using Internet loophole to increase their publically funded government ads @ CTV
Is it cold?!? Even Jack Layton needed a scarf on Christmas Day!
QP has wrapped up for Christmas holidays until February 18 2014. Sounds like quite a hangover! Nice work if you can get it, eh! Don't forget our teacher provincial contract talks will follow. Also a quite possible spring election!
Ontario Landlords' Association complains Province's Rent Control increases for 2014 are too low @ Want more $$$
CPC-ML Political Forum provides an interesting labour perspective on what to expect in the spring legislative session. More attacks on workers for sure! Gotta balance the old Ontario bludget on the backs of the poor or what are the rich folks to do?!? Umm ... get richer??? Read @ CPC-ML
Joy to the world ....
Bill 122, the new Provincial Bargaining Legislation passes 2nd reading 65 to 31 with OLP/NDP voting for, PC against. 3 days of committee hearings will be allowed. More @ Bill 122
Premier Wynne admits to running on wrong side of the road in her last TV "jogging" political ad. I thought it was a rather dull, didn't grab me, but Janet + some of the girls have said they really like it. Just Wynne running and talking? Hmmm. Guess I am not the target audience as a middle aged guy. Makes sense @ Jog right!
On the Ice Storm Campaign Trail: Premier notes she was 3 nights without electricity in her Toronto home. A good "Just plain folks" move. She also continues to don her Commander in Chief hat to tour the province's worst hydro stricken areas, always a good political move in times like these @ Commander Win?
Reconsider: Are new Canadians a strong recruiting base for the Conservative party? Not necessarily! Many came to improve the quality of their lives, not the quantity of life. Think about it: they left better jobs + positions of status to come here for less. They want education, better work + living conditions, on and on the list goes, not just more money + less taxes as the Cons will promise if they can slice social services so they and their supporters get more of the pie! Read @ Conned Recruits?
IN OTHER NEWS
Christian left: Time to put a compassionate Christ back in the streets!
An interesting Christmas perspective: Social conservatives are giving Christianity a bad name. Many reasonable folk look at us in disgust because of their attitudes and claims, supposedly made in the name of Christ. Enough is enough @ Religious right sucks!
Very strange Story from New Brunswick: Did the RCMP + US Army infiltrators work together to forcefully bust up a First Nations protest exposing a bad "Irving Oil Canaport" gas leak to silence the news story ASAP? News source claims to have photographic evidence that the RCMP was armed with assault rifles. The US army had snipers in place. Explosive devices might also have been used. Story @ What really happened?
Pro lifer angry with Federal Conservatives supposed concern over the rights of the unborn. A lot of Pro Lifers I know, with the best of intentions, keep getting sucked into supporting the Conservatives because they will tell them whatever they want to hear but they are NOT to be trusted. Very despicable + unfortunately effective. Read @ Con
Did you know you can get electrocuted from just walking on the ground near a fallen hydro wire? Pass it on -great to know if it saves even just one life, perhaps a kiddie!
Toronto Ice Storm: Crisis?!? What crisis?!?
How many homes were really without power after the Ice Storm? Consider this @ Fudging it!
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford MIA Sunday morning during ice storm crisis/ not a crisis @ What crisis?!?
Ford refuses to declare a state of emergency as 250,000 frozen Torontonians are without heat and electricity, for up to Christmas Day, if not the end of the week! He doesn't want folks to worry! Hey! I feel better all ready!!! Now you don't suppose this is one of his drunken stupors again eh? No. No. Don't forget: If Rob declares a state of emergency then Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly must take charge because our Rob will be stripped of any emergency power or authority. Instead we get the friggin' fool's stupid TV + radio announcements listings where he reads the name and address of every warming centre across the city in ad naseum as if he's firmly in charge. Great "just plain folks" appeal though.The guy never gives up! Full storm coverage @ Toronto Star
Should the provincial government intervene + declare a state of emergency in Toronto? Read @ 92.8 blog
Toronto Housing Residents give Ford an icey blast over his Ice Storm response across city. Many are afraid to leave their homes despite lack of heat + lighting @ Cold reception
CBC to Fords rescue finding sources saying he was right to not call an emergency but others remain critical. Con side argues citizens were not in danger though we have had sub zero temperatures all week + some parts of Toronto are still without lighting and heat @ CBC
Of course you can just check Toronto Hydro's constant Twitter updates or go to their site. There's a complete list of shelters etc there too @ Toronto Hydro info
Huffington Post also provides a good ice storm update page. Plus it covers outside Toronto. You ... you ... you mean there are folks actually living OUTSIDE TORONTO?!?! Yes there are my friends + they are cold too! Learn more @ Huffington
Possible Ice Quake hits Toronto Christmas Eve @ Ice Quake?!?
The NASA Cassini Space Orbiter provides us with this tres kool photo of planet Saturn. Hey, if somebody doesn't come up with a way to save Earth from itself I might want to be moving there soon by golly @ Far Out [so to speak]!
From Earth to deep space: NASA's best of 2013 @ Youtube
Cold colder coldest?!? Antarctica wins hands down! Yay Antarctica!
How cold can it get?!?! The record is in Antarctica on August 10 2010: minus 93.2 Celsius/ 136 Fahrenheit! No thanks! Story @ NASA Reports!
Winter in Canada: Real pretty but ....
Thousands in Toronto still without power on Christmas Day. Now that would be a real bummer eh? At east a coal in your stocking could keep you warm! ;-) More @ Xmas Outage
Mikhail Kalashnikov inventor of the famed AK-47 assault rifle dies at age 94. Favoured killing tool of many a freedom fighter and terrorist [Which is which? depends upon who's side they are on really .... ]. See @ AK-47
KULTURE KULT INK
Merry Christmas 2013! The Kulture Kult Kristmas links have been moved to my December 25th blog~
Holiday amusements: Aaaarg! Look! 8 T.Rex's are watching you. Ohhh noooo! Ones in your den! Ha. It's an optical illusion. Pretty kool @ T.REX Attack!
All I want for Christmas is ...... an unreleased Beatle's album?! It's true. Scroll down the blog page for my Quickie Review of the new Apple Itune Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 release!
Be forewarned: If the major US telecoms get their way "internet neutrality", that is any ones ability to online invent, communicate, broadcast, create, share etc. etc. etc., may soon be a thing of the past. OK. Remind me again why folks aren't free in Red China unlike in a democracy?!? Read @ Bye Bye Freedom!
Hey! Don't forget to keep checking Rob D'Addario's Tweeted Times for all your techie news. Actually, I heard there's more than one D'Addario working on this. The more the merrier @ Tweeted Times
The "selfie": Just what the heck is that all about?!? One opinion @ Selfies
Early Christmas release for the new Bruce Springsteen "High Hopes" album is now available on ITunes prior to the January 14th CD. It certainly highlights the changing marketing priorities for music @ Bruce Springsteen
Hey whatever happened to that Hanna Montana who all the young girls looked up to? Wanted to be just like her? Ho boy! Does she look just plain ridiculous or is she a serious bad influence? You decide. An evolution in style in 64 steps @ Smiley Miley
Objects de arte?! New medium creates sculptures that look like they are made of human skin @ Creep Out Time!
I am posting my Jibicoa Cuba Diaries over the next few days of Christmas as separate blogs, with photos + text. Also see the slideshow on the top left of the my blogsite.
I find myself now in the ironic situation of suffering from too much sun and sea while being stuck in an ice storm back in the true north strong and cold. But was it worth it? You bet!!!!!!!!!
PS: Fortunately Janet + I got our power back on, for now anyways, at about 3am Monday morning!
PPS: Well dear readers it's been quite the Christmas week for me! I got food poisoning in Cuba on the last day. It's finally moved through my system a week later. I think it feels like being pulled out of your skin, thrown on the floor and given the boots. Yes, that would probably be about right. Totally jarring!!! I hurt and ache all over + have been nauseous with diarrhea all week! Blech. I figure I get a bug one out of 10 trips down south, and was long overdue. Yes, I took Dukerol, but so it goes.
More to come ...
Ahh warmer climes! It seems like only yesterday .... Oh wait a minute ...... It was!!!!!!!!!!!!!