Opening Statement



Monday, 29 February 2016

On Being Change: Teacher Free Speech News + Views!



As explained previously[See], my Teacher Free Speech Monthly News and Views Blog highlights important news links on the progressive issues that I would like to see highlighted in the mainstream media, -especially ones that usually aren't given enough attention. A brief overview or guide to the monthly feature might be in order. Consider this a supplement to the comments on my Twitter Service in the blog that follows below. 

My Blog Acronym Guide [Seeis always located at the top. Unfamiliar ones are introduced in full for the first time, and I try to cut back from there, once they begin to reoccur regularly. My latest news links and running commentary are added in large type for your viewing convenience as the month progresses. My sources are regularly updated but typically include the mainstream ones we are familiar with in Toronto, Ontario and Canada. In addition there are a lot more that I find on line via the social media, as well as in my everyday life. Here is an overview of how I try to organize them each month:



TEACHER + UNION: Here you'll find education and labour news including the social justice issues being focused upon in the Canadian teacher movement. My focus is NOT limited to Ontario, though that's my starting point. The Big 4 usually include our provincial and local CUPE, ETFO, OECTA, and OSSTF affiliates. However, I increasingly try to provide more insight into other jurisdictions across Canada and around the world as they relate to the same issues, themes and concerns.

PARTY POLITICS: The focus is Ontario provincial politics on and off the road from the government seat at Queen's Park, including the big three, the Ontario Liberal, Conservative and the New Democratic Party.

IN THE NEWS: Here you will mostly find news and views on Canadian Federal politics, issues, events and trends. Also world news with a Canadian internationalist focus. Anything big that happens affecting us across Canada or for that matter folks around the world -check here!

KULTURE KULT INK: Society, culture and the mass media provide the source for entertainment and important insights into all of the above categories but down here, at the end of my monthly blog. I like to keep it fun and upbeat, with more of an underground focus, hence the letter "K" in Kulture and Kult ...

Kindly note these categories aren't tightly fixed and continue to evolve over time. I will sometimes cut and paste a section out to create a special blog as my interest arises, especially when there is a lot happening, or I think a dedicated blog with more backgrounder info and links might be in order. My February News and Views blog [See] could easily have been divided into 4 separate blogs, one for each category, an option I am still considering for the future, among others. If it isn't broken though, I am hesitant to try fix to it, and so it goes. Is much more work too.

Final Notes: Remember, guest blogs are always welcome. For more info see LINK!

Also, your Comments can be posted in the space immediately below each blog. Check it out: besides the interesting conversations and debates, we also sometimes get a really great reader tip or insight.

In Solidarity/
Pax!

David C

PS: My Teacher Free Speech 2011-15 News Link Archive can be a useful research tool. For starters you might check my News and Views blogs going back, organized by month and year. More info is @ Here!



COMMENTS:

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Teacher Free Speech Twitter News Service!

Or: Be The Change You Want To See!


Subscribe to my Teacher Free Speech News + Views Twitter Service


#davidchiarelli

Why? This complimentary service regularly peruses a wide variety of alternative and progressive Twitter feeds for my monthly Teacher Free Speech News y Views blogs. Some links make the final cut, others don't. Perhaps one might consider the monthly blog as a "best of digest". But that's not to say that the rest aren't very interesting and worthwhile too!

Indeed, my #davidchiarelli Tweet Service is often much more comprehensive and immediate. I filter out the internet porn, commercials and hater crap for you! I look for thoughtful and informative "other" sources of different news and views from across the spectrum, as food for thought. It's meant for those of us who are interested in rising above all the mediocre media lies, half truths, and obstruction out on the web as caring and concerned free speech thinkers.

Did you know that April will be the fifth anniversary of my Teacher Free Speech blogsite? Many readers have regularly followed my site for years. Others of you are new! You come from Canada, the US, the UK, Europe and around the world. I, for my part am Toronto, Ontario, Canada born and bred, and a retired teacher and union executive member too. I am still quite politically active, but independently now, strictly on my own terms. That helps me cut through a lot of the BS regretfully coming from all sides, to say what needs to be said, when it often isn't. At the very least, it lets me provide you with some interesting, different perspectives for your consideration.

Whenever teacher news hits the fan, my coverage focuses a lot on that of course. But I also provide a lot of news and views about many other progressive, alternative issues, events, trends and concerns both at home and around the world, from a distinctly Canadian Internationalist perspective. International readers might find that refreshingly different. I dare say, Canada could even be considered relatively progressive these days, when we consider what's happening elsewhere, most notably stateside in the U.S of A! 

Alas! In Canada however, we too are saddled with our own brand of plutocracy! It's run by the same Neo Lib corporate elite, like in the other so called "western democracies". Change is coming at us too, like a tidal wave, from both home and abroad! Today, we are all citizens of the post modern Global Village! And there is no stopping change, whether one likes or agrees with it or not! 

Some changes, like the "Terror Wars", "Austerity" and the recent "Worldwide Economic Collapse" are very frightening and worrisome indeed. Others, especially in regards to equity and inclusion, depending upon one's racial, sexual, religious, nationality or other human rights' orientation might seem very disconcerting for some too. However, as the saying goes, "No Justice -No Peace!" With more social, economic and political "justice", I still hope that in time, we might actually achieve more of the real prerequisites and prospects for a lasting, and sustainable "peace" and a chance at the "good life" for all in the new millennium.

You may say I am a dreamer. Nor am I getting any younger! However, if I am to have any lasting legacy of sorts, I definitely wouldn't want it to be as someone who fought or stood in the way of real, progressive change for others in the years ahead. 



Nothing is ever for certain! However, with the world wide web including blogs and tweets, we can now share information in the form of news and views unlike never before! As teachers know, education can provide opportunities. It can be a leveler in creating the possibility of a better world for all. Human nature might mean folks will not necessarily choose to learn, use the info at their disposal constructively or for that matter even care, but as a teacher I have always believed that it is the best and perhaps only chance we really have.

Over the course of my career as a teacher unionist, I always hoped like many others that someday we could have our own progressive news media, be it a newspaper, radio, or even a television station. Regretfully, the odds were always stacked against it. With the social media, that is now no longer necessarily so. 

However, it's also become very clear especially nowadays in Ontario, that our teacher union elites are still struggling with the new media reality in a typically narrow, tight, and ham fisted manner. I believe that change will need to come in time through grass root renewal and not from "on high". Regretfully, our new union media orthodoxy still sadly lacks the open level of free speech and nuanced thought that I, for one, would like to see as a well educated and concerned professional. 

Therefore please note: the new motto for my blogsite, as we approach it's fifth anniversary is "Let's be the change we want to see." My Twitter Service, like my Teacher Free Speech News y Views contains the links I'd want to see reported in a better, more caring, inclusive, equitable world, whether that ever happens in my lifetime or not. For here on my site and via my Twitter Service at least -it is so!

Well, I will probably have more to say on all of this later, as I further develop my thoughts and follow my muse. In the meantime, your constructive Comments and thought provoking Guest Blogs, as always, are most welcome! My Teacher Free Speech Monthly News y Views and other blogs will continue. Moreover, I also heartily invite you to please subscribe and join me online for my expanded Twitter Service @
#davidchiarelli

In Solidarity!

David C

PS: On a lighter note, my Twitter Service also includes art, music and entertainment tweets for us to enjoy too. As we know, all work and no play makes for sad boys and girls ....!



COMMENTS:

Monday, 8 February 2016

Teacher Free Speech February News + Views!

hEY hO! yUP i'M sTiL WORkiNg ON iT! kEEP ChECKing BAcK! ;-) My Blogsite Acronym Guide @ hErE!


TEACHER + UNION

The CLC's [Canadian Labour Congress] Marie Clarke Walker explains why unionists celebrate February as Black History Month in Canada @ CLC

CTF [Canadian Teacher Federation] joins in the global teacher union clarion call to remove education from the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] as a corporate threat to quality, sustainable, public education. See the letter on my Feb 1st blog. Read more @ CNW

As educators we can make a difference! A Chicago teacher explains why she is a youth activist @ Voices

Neo Lib Blinders: Child poverty and inequality play a major, often conveniently overlooked role in the Nova Scotia education crisis, as truth be told it does across the rest of Canada. A Dartmouth high school teacher explains CBC


Welcome to Winter in Canada: 19 Painful Memories for Students [and Teachers] Who Have Classes In A Portable @ BuzzFeed


C-C-C-O-L-D portables: winter is here!!!

Concession Bargaining Shocker: Toronto outside workers trade off job security for a 5% pay raise. CUPE 416 members have now ratified the deal @ Star

CUPE's letter on how the new Ontario provincial 2016 budget benefits Bay Street @ CUPE.ON.CA

Ontario budget moves to heavily subsidize university tuition for low income families earning less than $50,000 @ Globe

Start crunching the numbers to see that tuition is not actually "free" as often reported @ MacLeans and @ TVO

ETFO provides PD to help teachers welcome Syrian refugee students, especially in boards where the experience and necessary infrastructure are lacking @ Chronical

York Region teachers are preparing for a 100 new Syrian refugee students. They are receiving a one day seminar to prepare @ CTV

Syrian refugee students in Canada eagerly resume their studies after years of being unable to attend school because of the war @ Star

OSSTF D12's work to rule continues as a local contract for the Toronto secondary school public teachers continues be be allusive. Members tell me it's good in that it they have very carefully picked and chosen what to do and not do, so it's not too onerous for them, and has a minimum impact on the students. Instead, the focus remains on admin and so be it, for however long the board wants to drag this out @ Star

Toronto ETFO ETT teachers have ratified their new local contract by 96.5%. New terms include a recognition that extra curricular activities are in fact voluntary. More @ ETT

Bravo! ETFO members in Waterloo Region are boycotting the KW Record because of it's teacher bashing. Of course, the PC's are whining to the MOE @ CBC



Black Lives Matter confront Toronto Mayor John Tory at his Black History Month "reception" over police carding and a shooting. NB: Many none persons of colour might falsely believe that carding has been ended but it hasn't. Of course, the Star article leaves out the details of their arguments, complaints and concerns @ Star

Newswire provides somewhat more details on the BLM Toronto city budget concerns, which include demands for better school funding CNW

Black Lives Matter's Toronto chapter is an extension of the Black Action Defence League's activities to fight racism in the city during the 1980's on @ CBC

Toronto outside city workers have reached a tentative deal. Meanwhile negotiations continue with the inside workers now on work to rule. I've been watching the coverage on CP24. Mayor John Tory has been paying lip service to his Neo Lib bosses by bemoaning how the average worker doesn't enjoy the same benefits city employees sometimes do, in a typical "race to the bottom" argument. However, it is thoughtfully being challenged by union requests that he help lift the bar for all workers by setting acceptable standards. Emphasis on how the work to rule will hurt admin and not those requiring city services is also a nice touch. News story @ Rabble.ca


Dunbarton School Stabbings: Can't happen here?! 

Girl, 14 arrested in mass stabbing at Dunbarton secondary school in Pickering, Ontario. Fortunately it seems nobody was seriously hurt @ Star 

Dunbarton stabbings renew interest in school metal detectors, which MOE Sandals is rejecting, though Premier Wynne notes the incident is "very worrisome" @ Sun

Accused Gr.9 Dunbarton student's online social media accounts cast an unseen light on her dilemma that many adults would've been oblivious too, including talk of isolation, suicide and threats of violence. This might well not be a story about armed thugs and the attendant Toronto Sun debate about putting metal detectors in our schools! One is somewhat reminded of the excellent "American Crime" drama series dealing with a school shooting in the US @ Globe

Bullying, and mental health issues including depression all seem to be factors behind the school stabbing @ Star

Friends in high places? A BB gun found in an "agitated" secondary school student's locker in the Toronto Jane Keele Finch triangle apparently poses "no danger" according to the board. An police statement about a scuffle with staff and admin is quickly retracted, but still .... @ CTV

TCDSB considers balancing the budget on the back of it's most challenged Special Ed students by laying off 100 Educational Assistants. See my March 2015 News Y Views blog for more about how they slash, cut and balanced a budget error last year, without union partner consultation, despite claims to be a "community board". Latest @ Star

Baffling: Despite continuing to cut Special Education funding, the MOE, in it's divine wisdom, or rather lack thereof, decides in PPM 8 that programming must now be extended to "any" unidentified students who "show challenges in learning" and would "benefit". OSSTF explains the inexplicable @ Update



Quebec's Common Front shows us how it's done! 

Local bargaining wins Manitoba teacher locals 4 year contracts with a 9.3% pay raise @ Winnipeg

Quebec's "Common Front" of teacher and labour unions continue to ask hard questions and even vote against the deals struck with the government after the massive Dec 9 province wide strike. Of course, we have no such thing as a teacher common front in Ontario anymore, let alone any healthy open questioning or debate of our new largely secretive teacher MOU's. More @ Socialist.ca

Get This: How unlike Ontario! CTU [Chicago Teacher Union] teachers take the good fight seriously. 16 teachers are arrested and jailed after a "sit in" at a Bank of America to protest their bad investments in Chicago School Funds, as contract talks continue to drag on. Hundreds of their colleagues then protest in the streets disrupting rush hour traffic. Seems collaborating with the Neo Lib establishment is definitely not on the agenda @ CBS

Much more on the CTU teacher protests and arrests @ MSN

Bennett Jones provide a thoughtful brief on the growing legal need to accommodate students [though no mention of teachers ....] with a legitimate medical marijuana licence within our Ontario Schools. More on legal pot in Canada below under "In The News". Read the brief @ BennettJones



Stalled Contract Talks? CTU show what to do! See links above photo!

Interim TDSB Director John Malloy grapples with a very dysfunctional, broken school board and a culture of fear @ Star

Blogger goes viral nationally with his reports on how badly our school EA's are undervalued, understaffed and short changed @ Gary Direnfeld

The HCDSB chair is trying to rally staff to counter the high public demand for a one school system approach to balancing the provincial budget on the government "Talk Ontario" website @ CBC

Alberta's Catholic boards are being given "latitude" on the provinces new LGBTQ policies after last month's dust up with the Archbishop of Calgary @ Journal

Non Catholic Midland Ontario graduate files a human rights complaint against her former Catholic school for excluding her from many school activities @ Globe

PSAC [Public Service Alliance of Canada] denounces the Trudeau governments sick leave plan as a continuation of the Tory's short term disability program in disguise @ Ipolitics

Our unelected, Tory ruled Canadian senate is threatening to block Prime Minister Trudeau's decision to repeal two particularly loathsome Harper attacks on the Canadian labour movement, C-377 and C-525 @ Huff



The Canadian Aboriginal Arts and Stories contest is asking young people to write a short story or produce a 2D art piece on a defining moment in their indigenous history or culture. Considering the shortage of first hand literature and art work specifically by and for young aboriginal readers, it seems a most worthy task. Help the aboriginal youth express themselves and discover their voice! Please share this at school! Deadline is March 31st! More details @ Our-story.ca

We Canadians like to think we built and live in a fair and just society. However, the TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Report] on our indigenous residential schools at the very least shows that is historically not true. How shocking to now learn that Federal investigators have also identified over 5,315 alleged abusers who may never face criminal charges! No justice -no peace @ CBC

Meanwhile actual victims from the Huronia residential school have bravely joined a public education campaign to teach us what really happened from their own first hand experiences @ Star

First Nations declare a state of emergency over the dire shortage of medical supplies and the high suicide among young people @ Macleans

For Shame! Ontario First Nation's need to take their need for safe drinking water to the UN, pointing out Canada's human rights violation against our indigenous peoples @ CBC

Read Trudeau's Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Louis Riel Day with it's focus on "inclusiveness" and "equality". Won't help poor old Louis much but let's work extra hard to hold our latest PM to his word @ Media Release

Not taking any chances: The Annual March for Missing Women and Girls continues across Canada @ Global

Canada's Inuit groups are heavily involved in gathering suggestions for the Trudeau government's Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls @ CBC

Report helps disprove the false and misleading claims that indigenous Canadian males and domestic violence are responsible for Canada's 1200 missing and murdered indigenous women @ Indian Country

OSSTF has created an invaluable list of resources with links to help educators learn more about the history and impact of residential schools on the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada, including but limited to the TRC report @ OSSTF


Can't Happen Here??? Black on Campus is organizing here in Ontario now at the Universities of Guelph, Toronto, Ottawa and Ryerson to draw attention to racial discrimination. Reports are that there has been quite an angry backlash via the social media after an event in Guelph @ Rabble.ca

Vaughan African Canadian Association charges that racism is "swept under the rug" at the York Region Board despite an apparent policy of equity and inclusion. Racist allegations at one predominantly white school are being taken by a parent now, to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal @ Star

Islamophobia rears it's ugly head in Ottawa after a public education campaign on why Muslim women wear a hijab is announced @ Sun

Happy Pink Shirt Day! UNIFOR explains why we need to "work together" against gay bullying @ UNIFOR

Man explains how he was targeted, groomed, coerced and sexually assaulted as a youth. Please note: It was still unwanted and unsolicited even though he didn't complain nor fight off his assailant @ IndianCountry.Ca

Boycott "Party City": A "Not So Happy Valentines Day Surprise" or "Another Reason Why We Need a Union": The "Party City" retailer remains fey after being questioned on their response about an Edmonton employee who received a hateful homophobic Valentines Day card calling him a "faggot" and "joking" he was "not getting shifts for a reason"! Read @ Global

UBC Pride Collective reports that the Rainbow flag they raised for OUTweek has been set on fire. A planned march was cancelled for safety reasons @ Georgia Straight



Unrealistic demands for social learning and a collaborative style are resulting in teacher burn out, driving many to an early retirement. Of course, large class size doesn't help either @ Atlantic

Positive reinforcement theory can help, but in real life, we can also learn from failure and our mistakes as unpleasant as that might be. Duh @ Star

PARTY POLITICS



Wynne Austerity: the splatter affect!

OECTA President and MOU'er Ann Hawkins discusses meeting with Neo Con PC Party Leader Pat Brown. OSSTF are also considering his overtures @ Globe

Hurting: Ontario's 2016 Budget increases the deductible for prescription drugs a whopping 70% for seniors earning more than $19,300 @ CARP

A PR Exercise Within a PR Exercise? Public consultation over the Ontario budget sparked debate over Catholic school funding, health care, Hydro One and fiscal responsibility, but it seems to have just been a flubbed public relations exercise. Especially interesting here, is the Toronto Star's "Clarification" below the article that it has been re-edited and posted again to specifically highlight that the process sparked a Catholic School funding debate @ Star

Toronto Archbishop Tom Collins is only given 3 minutes as a part of the ridiculous Ontario budget public consultation public relations process, as he advocates for greater social spending @ Star

CUPE is encouraging the Wynne government to reverse it's Neo Lib austerity course and make sure people are their priority in the upcoming provincial budget. Good luck. They aren't listening @ 4148 Reports However, read their very worthy, and well considered complete Pre Budget submission @ PDF

Despite our understandable concerns with the Wynne government on the economic Neo Lib front, Kathleen might well be more fondly remembered in the years to come for the other important, once taboo, social issues she has directly placed on the provincial agenda. I can't help but think that the Ghomeshi trial provides a case in point for why "consent" has to be clearly taught and understood by our students. Also consider this Ontario government news release on research findings about sexual violence and harassment with it's emphasis on police sensitivity and training @ ON

NDP MPP/ LGBTQ critic Cheri DiNovo is refreshingly open and blunt about socialist politics as well as her bi sexual orientation and traumatic home life as a youth @ Globe

Wynne pulls the carpet out from under the NDP anti Racism Directorate petition by deciding to go ahead with the minister appointment 10 years after the provincial Liberal's first authorized the position @ OPO

Then the social activist Kathleen Wynne many of us knew from many years ago resurfaces long enough to announce that the province will also spend $100 million to fight violence against indigenous women. The focus is on domestic violence @ CBC

PM Trudeau wades into the Ontario provincial by-election in Oshawa, appearing on stage at a rally to praise the Premier and party candidate for their strong leadership. He might be careful not to cheapen his brand! More @ CBC

Star Writer might be reading too much into the Whitby By-election results. Yes, the PC's gave the provincial Liberals a good ass kicking -seems even Trudeau couldn't help make pearls from swine. However by-election results are usually fickle at best. Still, the OLP could well be in big trouble come the 2018 provincial election, unless they can put the brakes on one non stop disaster after another. Current polls show the party 3 points behind the Conservatives. Meanwhile, Pat Brown is playing his social conservative cards close to his chest and is busy networkingwhile the NDP [Who?!?] still flounder @ Hepburn


Jian Ghomeshi? So. When exactly is it OK to hit, threaten and harass your "love interest"?! It's not! Download the "It's Never OK" document to read and please also pass on to the local media covering the trial @ PDF

Many Ontarians are shocked by how Jian Ghomeshi's lawyer has been able to get around Canada's "rape shield law" to put the women he is accused of sexual assaulting on public trial instead. One wonders how the province will react, if the case is dismissed, to reassure women that it's safe to come forward if they are raped and assaulted?! More @ Post

Cheri DiNovo, the NDP MPP from Toronto's High Park- Parkdale riding isn't afraid to say that the party consists of "democratic socialists" and "not Liberals" as Trudeaumania Part 2 makes them seem increasingly insignificant, lacking in direction and out of touch with their grass root support. More below, and @ Sun

Pensions aren't good for greedy corporate profit and worker exploitation types: Big Biz interests are hoping to prey upon public ignorance and fear to discredit hopes of creating a viable, and sustainable Ontario Pension Plan @ Cohn

IN THE NEWS



Superbowl Black Panther Redux?

Beyonce gets political with a Superbowl show that evokes Malcolm X, Black Lives Matter, and the Black Panthers. More below under "Kulture Kult Ink". Also read @ Mail

As the BLM [Black Lives Matterprotests gain momentum, some activists are now running for public office. Such is the case for DeRay McKessen who is hoping to be elected Mayor of Baltimore, Ohio, home of the shocking 2013 death of a black man in police custody @ NYT

Obama's Drone Wars: a different kind of terrorism! You can even use these and still win the Nobel Peace Prize! Go figure @ Huff


Writer/ political analysis Michael Eric Dyson was in Toronto at the "Different List" bookstore on Bathurst for Black History Month to speak on his new book The Black Presidency: Obama and the Politics of Race in America. Very thought provoking. Much free speech. Nothing status quo. 

Dyson argues that Obama has been a historical rather than a transformational president for most black folk, since whites have benefited much more from his economic policies. As for his foreign policy, the US is still very actively involved in military attacks upon people of colour around the world. He very seldom speaks out forcefully on black issues like police violence, or others of special import for black women, black LGBTQ etc. etc. etc. However, if Obama is criticized, it plays into white hands. Although Dyson notes many black leaders don't want to thereby discredit his presidency, much more still needs to be said and done. But there's a lot more. A book review @ NYT



All Hail the Wars for Peace, Freedom and Decency?!? Drone footage shows how Syria's 3rd largest city is being horrifically destroyed by ISIS, the Syrian Government and Opposition Forces to "save" the people. With friends like that, who needs enemies?!? So. Why then are our Canadian CF fighters still dropping bombs despite Trudeau's election pledge to bring them home?!? The Post 11 "War against Terrorism" continues to be an unmitigated disaster. See why the Syrian refugees are fleeing to Canada @ Eyes

Sure we Canucks are "just" .... up to a point! Canada's $15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia is a go despite their persistent record of citizen human right violations. Both the Trudeau government and UNIFOR remain pretty mum on the topic what with our current economic crisis and with so many long term jobs up for grabs. I asked a UNIFOR exec about the union position, and they told me that they have been instructed to be quiet. Say nothing. Details on the controversial Saudi deal are @ Globe

Ottawa is facing a court challenge over the Saudi arms deal to justify the sales to a supposedly "friendly" human rights pariah under our weapon export restriction laws @ Globe



As our CF-18 Jet fighters continue their bombing runs, Canada has helped contribute to the death of over 2 million people in Iraq since the first Gulf War in 1992. Now the media are astonishingly trying to pull a feel good, snow job on this month's anniversary celebrations as the conflicts drag on. The author remembers the Rexdale Ontario Litton weapon guidance system protests instead @ Now

It's official: Canadian CF-18 air strikes against ISIS will end Feb. 22 BUT our "training forces" in harm's way with their "boots on the ground', so to speak, will triple @ CBC

So. Why is Obama praising Canada, while the Conservatives aren't saying much? More @ MacLeans

Oh Oh Canada!?! Why is our government still spying on peaceful protesters? Turns out that the GOC [Government Operations Centre] has been collecting info on over 800 quite legal protests, demonstrations and academic panels since 2006. It still seems to be continuing business as usual since the Trudeau government came to power promising change late last year. Say it won't be so Mr.T! More @ Star

Way North Foods: Food prices in Nunavut are on average 140% higher than for the rest of Canada. This new viral parody video campaign attempts to draw more attention to our northerners' plight @ EndThePriceHike.ca

Canadian Politics News Tip: CPAC's complete schedule of it's live broadcast coverage from parliament hill is posted daily @ CPAC

It's official!!! Why? Because Fox Sports says so, that's why!?! ..... At least it's so stateside but not up here in Canada. A Fox sportscaster explains that the province of "Saskatchewan" is named after the "Sasquatch" because there are apparently so many sightings there. Locals however, should know it's a Cree terms for a "swift flowing river". More @ CTV


Right Wing Extremism: can't happen here?!? 

We Canucks shouldn't get too smug as the US gets poised for their "Hitler Moment" with right wing demagogue Donald Trump taking the lead in the Republican leaders' race -right wing extremism is alive and well in Canada too! Studies show they are more violent than the much touted domestic Jihadist threat, and are even moving into municipal politics although they remain divided for now. Regretfully, police tend to consider them "lone wolfs" and pay little attention to their criminal activities @ Vice

Leger Poll shows that 70% of Canadians have a very bad opinion of Donald Trump, with 65% downright scared of what is happening south of our border! Those who identify themselves with the Canadian Conservative party however, support Trumps plan to ban Muslims by 55% @ Reverb

Non Gratis: Sign the petition to ban the Donald from entering Canada @ YouLeadNow



Amongst all the ISIS tears and fears, the media are hellbent on portraying Muslim terrorists as "radical Islamists". So then, why not label their homegrown domestic equivalents as "radical Christians"? More @ dailykos.com

The Yankees are Coming!!! The Yankees are Coming??? As the US electorial circus sideshow veers off into far right wing la la land, Canada is increasingly being seen as the America many left leaning Americans are apparently really looking for .... but will they escape across the Great Lakes as Boat People?? Or try their luck at the border crossings as Car People?!? Enquiring minds want to know @ Post


With the War in Syria going very badly for NATO's proxy forces, what's the end game going to be, or do they even have a viable one? Analysis @ Syria 360

NATO ally Turkey seems to be getting a free media pass on reports that it's Special Forces have executed 60 civilian Kurds in Cizre and are touting it as a victory on the social media @ KurdishInstitute

The Russians are Coming!!! The Russians are Coming??? Is the US- Ruskie Cold War heating up again? The New York Times seems to be gunning for bear @ Global Research



Obama will become the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928 during his recently announced trip on March 21 to 22nd. He claims he will speak out on human rights. No mention if he will also apologize for decades of state sponsored "Operation Mongoose" [Chomsky] [Doc] [History] terrorist attacks on the tiny, socialist state, sparking the existing state of emergency @ CBC

The US continues to play the Cuba Card to interfere and promote "regime Change" throughout South America and the Caribbean, despite it's seeming change of tact @ Global Research

Stateside Obama's comments make more political sense during an election year as he faces an uphill battle with the Republican controlled Congress who's consent is still needed to actually lift the existing US embargo @ NBC

Democratic front runners Clinton and Sanders both support normalizing relations with Cuba. The GOP's Cruz and Rubio are vehemently opposed. Raul Castro, for his part, wants Obama to live up to his 2009 promise to close the controversial US prison camp and naval base at Guantanamo @ VOA



Will the thaw in US Cuban relations bring widespread economic and social change to the embargoed Caribbean isle's Afro Cuban population and women? Food rationing is still in place for everybody, as my recent blog shows. However, more severe race and gender disparities are continuing to grow @ NACLA

When in doubt Improvise: How Cubans have had to make do on their own without a lot of the scientific advances we have enjoyed during the 50 year US embargo and the "Special Period" after the collapse of the Soviet Block @ ScienceDump

Rising income inequality has become a pressing concern in the new Cuban economy. There's my blog on how the average Cuban views the changes. It's based upon my own first hand discussions with the students and teachers at the Santiago de Cuba schools. Recently, there's also a piece by sociologist/ writer/ prof Sujatha Fernandes @ Nation

With the US embargo firmly in place for the past 50 years few of us are aware that Cuba is frequently hit by devastating hurricanes too, like New Orleans or Cuba's other Caribbean and Gulf neighbours. However, their National Civil Defence is highly trained, coordinated, and as a result the country avoids the high casualty rates suffered elsewhere across the region @ Granma



No! No kidding Mr. President!! Seriously?!? Put. Up. The. Covered. Roof!!!!

Who really shot John F Kennedy? Will we find out in our lifetime? The last of the secret documents from the US National Archives are set to be released Oct 2017. There are 3063 of them which have been "fully withheld" since the Warren Commission Investigation after he was shot on November 22, 1963. Only a presidential decree can now further prevent their release. However, a number of them, dealing in specific with supposed lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald, are deemed "Illegible Material" and some names removed as "Protected Sources" since they are still alive @ Politico

Sssssshhh! Not! IMF and EU bail out "leaders" can demand austerity cuts as they please, but the average Greek isn't taking the drastic reforms to their all important pension plan quietly. Tens of thousands have been joining in a crippling general strike and rioting, largely overlooked here by our own media @ Star

Little discussed fact: for better or worse Canada is quietly selling off our gold reserves. According to this article it doesn't matter anymore. Hmmmmm @ Global



This international socialist critique of the Federal Canadian NDP's election debacle argues that the social democratic parties leader, Thomas Mulcair, fought a losing "Harper Lite" campaign portraying himself as a "right wing establishment politician" while Trudeau, leader of the "big business" Liberal party chased the progressive vote. Interesting @ WSWS

NDP support plummets to 10% as the April convention approaches and Federal Party Leader Thomas Mulcair doggedly hangs on @ Star

Canada's Federal NDP party might not be facing a leadership review but many argue it has grown downright politically boring and is sadly out of touch with it's grass root support @ Rabble.ca

Moreover, the NDP continues to deny or at the very least play down it's socialist roots as our version of Trudeau Liberal Lite, or at times even some weird, watered down PCC Conservative Party concoction. Tommy Douglas must be rolling in his grave. More below andCanadian Dimension

Canada's top court has overturned a former Conservative government ban prohibiting legal medical marijuana users from growing their own weed. The Trudeau government has 6 months to change the legislation @ Star

Marijuana and the Politics of Race: A major reason for making marijuana illegal was very racist. Early US DEA officials during the 1930's argued it made "darkies" think they were "as good as whites"!  Even as recently as 2013, ACLU studies show that blacks are four times more likely to get arrested, even though whites use it in equal measure @ COA

Top Tory Canucks smoke pot! See mountain$ and God! Guess what?!? Federal Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose has changed her position on Trudeau's plan to legalize marijuana in Canada! For recreational use! This from the former Harper Health Minister behind the PC's bizarre "reefer madness" ad campaign last year which was clearly against it! Perhaps she's upset that many small time, indie entrepreneurs are all ready opening pot dispensary shops before her big corporate buddie$ can move in for the ca$h kill?!? While the government seemingly turns a blind eye? More @ Huff



Marijuana dispensary stores are all ready popping up across Toronto, with the current count at about 50 and with prices at around $10 [Cdn] a gram/ $225 an ounce. Hmmm! Sounds a bit ...... high @ Sun

Who are these fiends and where can they be located?!? Toronto marijuana dispensary guide @ Leafly

Little Known Facts: Victoria seems to be the "Chronic Capital" of British Columbia, with one medical marijuana dispensary per 3,600 Victorians, even more than in Vancouver, the provincial capital @ CTV


Too much hassle? Sounds uncool? Toronto's Cannabinoid Medical Clinic provides marijuana licenses for legal prescriptions to those who qualify instead. They are friendly but stringent and the criteria is actually quite straight forward and fair. I'm retired so I can be open. I don't care. Alas! I qualified after a confused, six foot, 250 lb DDME student attacked me! Tried to bite my neck! Got his teeth stuck in the twill collar of my handy dandy union polo shirt. Then threw me against the blackboard and onto the floor. Ouch! [Link

So, do you have a bad back or nerves? Like something relaxing that goes good with the tunes? But don't like to drink or take scary pills? My family doctor originally prescribed oxycontin ..... No way! However, there are lots of other good reasons why you can qualify for your "get out of jail free card" too. If need be, check out the good doctor by applying for an appointment online @ CMC

KULTURE KULT INK



Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River albums resonate with many baby boomer's who grew up during the 70's-80's! But how authentic is Bruce Springsteen's media image as a "spokesman for the working class"? More @ Pop Matters

Here's a trez kool Springsteen video of the Boss playing "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" in Toronto @ 2012

Hello! Goodbye! Seems Beatlemeister Paul "Macca" McCartney wasn't VIP enough to get into this post Grammy party. No Fool on the Hill he takes it graciously @ How VIP?

Oscar Politics: Theme wise, which film wins movie of the year might depend on how the US primaries go @ US Today

Rapper Snoop Dogg weighs in on the Canadian marijuana industry, praising us being on the "forefront of the business model", and investing in Tweed, a domestic pot producing company, with a new, renewable, 3 year deal @ Star

Withheld tapes from the 1969 Apollo mission reveal the astronauts heard mysterious, unexplained music while orbiting on the Dark Side of the Moon! But was it Pink Floyd?!? Not unless they just go "Whooooooooo"!!! Maybe it was the Great Gig in the Sky?!? Ummmmm .... they didn't release their spacey, landmark album until 1973!!! So, who or what was it?!? Enquiring minds need to know Huff


NASA's space tourism posters, besides being trez kool, portray a future where space vacations around the solar system are possible. If high tech trickle down is the engine of technical innovation then let it be for space exploration rather than more and more deadly, military, weapon systems! See @ Newsweek



When's an Ace an Ace and a Duce a Duce?!? ESPN Sportscaster cuts Canuck Arcade Fire's frontman Win Butler short for praising Canada's universal healthcare system during this month's 2016 NBA All Star Celebrity Game in Toronto with a curt, "We're talking about celebrities and not politics." @ ESPN

A queer, black man and hip hop aficionado discusses opposition to misogyny and homophobia within the movement @ BGD


Kendrick Lamar's performance of "Blacker the Grape" at this year's Grammy's dealt with racial violence issues in arguably a lot more indepth manner than Beyonce, if reactions are any indication @ [Youtube] and @ [Roddy]

Compton Grammy winning rapper Kendrick Lamar brings 6 teenage homies from the hood as his guests to the awards show to give them hope, in his continued efforts at good role modelling. It's interesting to note that his "To Pimp A Butterfly", the Grammy Rap Album of the Year deals with the issue of police violence against black youth, though this seemed lost on the .... ahem ... "family values" based US media @ GoodNewsNetwork



Kendrick Lamar brings Compton youth to the Grammy's!

Neo Cons have a Hay Day with Fox News attacking Beyonce's new video and Superbowl salute to Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matters. Seems that they aren't "wholesome" or "decent", like ummmm..... football violence, nor do they "show respect" for police officers, a slippery slope at best, considering the ugly rash of police violence, especially in the US @ RawStory.com

Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garcia reviews Beyonce's new "Foundation" video and Superbowl performance. Reservation notwithstanding, she finds a lot to welcome her to the movement @ Rolling Stone

Political Analyst Michael Eric Dyson, at his Toronto "Different List" lecture wryly observes [see "In The News" above] that Miley Cyrus and the Kadashian's spicey hijinks rarely seem to draw much wrath for their lack of wholesomeness and decency in the mainstream media. Soooooo, explain the difference ................?!

Complaints from the Peanut gallery: Toronto City Councillor Jim Karygiannis plays "Me Too! Me Too!" by insisting Beyonce shouldn't be allowed into Canada for her May Toronto show because of her "pro gun" and "anti cop" sentiments, and support for radical groups, another slippery slope at best. What a nimnose thing to say during Black History Month!! Black Lives Don't Matter?!? No mention of the pressing concerns over police violence and shootings are included in Karygiannis less than enlightened comments. Doesn't happen here?! More @ City News



As If: Will you and your loved ones be corrupted for life by exposure to an er .... negro dance video and a football halftime show that includes ... ahem ... references to sex and radical political groups!?! 

See Beyonce's complete Superbowl performance to find out! Ooooh Nooooo! @ Live Formation @ Show

Oh BTW -Beyonce sez "Stop Shooting Us!": Also see her controversial "Formation" Video @ Youtube Plus,discussion of the video @ Pop Trigger

FYI -Interesting Counterpoint: But just how much political depth does Beyonce, really have? And why now? More @ Pop Matters

"Creole" verses "Negro": Beyonce's "Formation" video inadvertently seems to trip over some contentious black fault lines that are being overlooked @ Colorlines

Critics argue that Beyonce is all about herself, and the Superbowl version is but a watered down myth of the strong empowered individual, hardly a revolutionary stance. BTAIM, let's not forget that pop kulture speaks to the average person and can create an interface for a more meaningful dialogue that might very well otherwise allude us. Indeed, the "K" in my Teacher Free Speech "Kulture Kult Ink" blog contributions means it's very well perhaps out of whack, whatever else that means these daze, but also irreverent and waiting to be reclaimed as our own. More @ Hyperallergic



So You Read This Far .... [your monthly bonus] ....

Whew! Imagine the shock for us white peeple!!!! Saturday Night Live's "The Day Beyonce Turned Black!" is a must see @ Youtube

Decent, well intentioned white folks can sometimes make problematic statements about race issues without meaning or realizing it. Here's what we might consider saying or doing instead @ Huff

The "Rap Critic" reviews Public Enemy's 1989 hit "Fight The Power" to show how things are different nowadays -not! @ Youtube


Hey Flav -what time is it?!? 1989 .....or 2016???

How to rank every David Bowie album from the worst to the best?!? I certainly disagree with a lot of the choices made here but there are some good reviews and it is fun @ COS

David Bowie was a great Glam Rocker, but Marc Bolan's T.Rex was King, as this Midnight Special "Bang A Gong" live video amply shows @ Youtube

Worth a rerun: Keifer Sutherland introduces the Tommy Douglas' "Mouseland" video, socialism humorously and succinctly explained Youtube

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Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

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Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

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The Temple of Kukulkan!

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Under Reconstruction!

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The Snake!

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