Archive for the ‘ideas’ Category

Arts funding programs under attack

August 26th, 2008

As you may have heard, several arts funding programs have been cancelled in the last seven days. While many in the press have condemned this decision, government leaks have been handled in such a way that indicates they feel it is electorally profitable for them to cancel these programs.


Hizbullah, Israel, Beirut, Lebanon

July 31st, 2006 4 Comments

I have been trying to find non-mainstream information about the Hizbullah/Israeli conflict online. There are a lot of people blogging about it. I have followed a few links and have decided to make a list of some of the interesting websites, blogs, and articles that I have seen. Please make a suggestion for an interesting blogs by commenting on this post (click the “comment” link above or here).

Regular art posting will return soon.

Human Rights Watch : Questions and Answers on Hostilities Between Israel and Hezbollah

Hizbullah & Deterring Israeli Aggression, Chomsky (ZMag)

Informed Comment : Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion (blog)

Kerblog (blog)

Flickr photos of Qana (warning : graphic images)

Israel Accused of Using Illegal Weapons (

Norman Solomon’s articles on

Why do Curators want to be Artists?

February 24th, 2006 1 Comment

I read the art blog From the Floor often. Today’s post “News Flash: Curators Are Not Artists” is worth reading :

I don’t know why it’s happening all of a sudden, but lately I’m starting to get tired of curators who become so enamored of their own process that they stop thinking about the art they are presenting for display and viewers’ engagement with it.

Protesting Google

February 15th, 2006

Many Tibetan protestors are calling on people to boycott Google. The search engine has agreed to the Chineses government’s cencorship policies. The irony is that I found many Google ads on pages covering the call to boycott. Not only that but I even found stories regarding this using the Google News search tool (I wanted to know if they were self censuring). I think I will change my homepage on my browser to another page – it used to be Google Canada’s site.

Typing “Dalai Lama” into Google’s U.S. Web site yields dozens of pages of results on the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. Top results include his Web site, his biography and news of his appearances around the world.

The same search using yields none of those sites. Instead, Chinese users get headlines such as “Dalai Lama unpopular among Tibetans: chairman of Tibet,” and “Dalai Lama Aims to Split Motherland.”

thanks for the seats (too bad about the vote)

January 24th, 2006 2 Comments

Canadian Federal Election 2006
Here are 2 graphics that show the percentage of popular vote won compared to the percentage of seats won by the parties. In the Canadian graph, all of the parties get more seats (percentage) than the popular vote, exept for the New Democratic Party.

Canada vote, popular vote compared to seat distribution

In the Quebec results, all the parties are at a disadvantage exept for the Bloc Quebecois. The Bloc gets 42 % of the popular vote but wins 68 % of the seats.
quebec vote, popular versus seats

Had the same votes been cast under a proportional voting system, Fair Vote Canada projected that the seats allocation would have been approximately as follows:

Conservatives – 36.3% of the popular vote: 113 seats (not 124)
Liberals – 30.1% of the popular vote: 93 seats (not 103)
NDP – 17.5% of the popular vote: 59 seats (not 29)
Bloc – 10.5% of the popular vote: 31 seats (not 51)
Greens – 4.5% of the popular vote: 12 seats (not 0)

Canadian Ballot recipes

January 23rd, 2006

Today is election day in Canada and most people I talk to are quite nervous of the out come. If polls are correct (they often are not) then we will be waking up to a conservative government tomorrow morning. On this note, I think that we should be able to spoil our ballots and have them counted. This would allow people to express themselves in a positive way (instead of not voting because there are no acceptable options). The percentage of spoiled or ‘none of the above’ ballots should then be released with the official results of each riding.

I am not referring to the eat your ballot option. An interesting option but it may cause strange digestive problems – just think of all that black ink.

In Canada it is actually illegal to spoil your ballot (I assume that eating it is also illegal).

According to section 167(2)(a) of the Canada Elections Act, “no person shall wilfully alter, deface or destroy a ballot.” Subsection 480(1) of the Act also provides that every person is guilty of an offence who, with the intention of delaying or obstructing the electoral process, contravenes this Act.


July 4th, 2005

I don’t often write about politics here much anymore but this story makes me angry. We are sitting by and watching this happen with such detached ‘concern’.

Justin Laku founder of Canadian Friends of Sudan recently paid a four-day visit to three refugee camps outside of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

“In comparison, the condition of a Canadian zoo is 10 times better,” Ottawa resident Laku said of the camps. “There is no water, no sanitation, no toilets, nothing whatsoever.”

The Bush administration still shares intelligence with the Sudan government even after it has stated that they have been commiting genocide. Their reasoning is that is neccessary in the ‘war on terror’. What else are they going to justify with this so called war?

The Bush administration described the Darfur atrocities as genocide in order to please the Christian right ahead of the American presidential elections, according to a senior US official.

Other Darfue news.

referendums are stupid

June 16th, 2005 2 Comments

A friend forwarded me an email to vote online for the “The National Marriage Referendum : Should Parliament pass Bill C-38 to legalize same-sex marriage in Canada?“.

After visiting the site and seeing the Yes votes out voted by the No votes my immedaite reaction was to vote Yes and forward the site link to as many like minded people I know. But I am undecided if I am going to vote as I believe that questions of such matter should not be decided with a referendum. The rights of a minority should never be decided by the majority. Even more, if a right is protected by The Charter, then it is guaranteed, no matter what the out come of a referendum.

The logic of a referendum is such that the majority can deny or take away the rights of a minority. I hope the Liberals do not bow to the Conservatives pressure to delay the vote on gay marriage. Have a back bone and stand up for what you believe in.

I am undecided. I want to see the Yes votes increase but I do not agree with the principle of a referendum.

Note : the site that is organising this online referendum is “the Defend Marriage Project of United Families Canada.”

Canada crawls with terrorists

March 22nd, 2005

Came across this National Review article via Disinfo.

But American officials better eye the northern frontier, too. Canadians seem rather relaxed about some who inhabit the land nestled between Alaska and the Lower 48. While most Canadians are as friendly as Labrador retrievers, that attitude is not universal.

And how is this for instilling fear of Canada among Americans :

Canada crawls with terrorists, suspected violent extremists, and folks worthy of 24-hour surveillance.

Spreading Bad News About Wal-Mart

February 15th, 2005

From Harpers :

Wal-Mart closed a store in Canada to prevent the store’s workers from unionizing;[The Street] in a separate case, the company agreed to pay $135,540 in fines for breaking child-labor laws.[ABC News]

Israel and Palestine : The Problem of Democracy

February 9th, 2005

I read this article in last month’s Harpers and found it to be quite revealing. The author, Bernard Avishai, who went to McGill University, elucidates several views on the Israel/Palestine problem. These viewpoints are not usually seen in mainstream media, or in media that requires any great depth or history.

Worse, there is an obvious way to safeguard a “Jewish majority” that hardly comes up in conversations, though the way most Israelis now grasp their history should give us pause. I mean ha’transfer, reducing by forced expulsion or economic pressure the numbers of Arabs living where Jews do. The fact is, it is impossible to get the “clean” separation Goldberg speaks of without extensive ethnic cleansing. And Israelis know this.
Harpers article

Sensationalist US Media

December 21st, 2004

From the web site

Coulter: Canada is “lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent”; Carlson: “Without the U.S., Canada is essentially Honduras”
View article

Watch video clip:
Windows Media

The End of Suburbia (I wish)

December 20th, 2004

I came accross a link to this documentary on another blog (I can’t remember which). It looks very interesting. It investigates the problematics of suburbia – a topic that I have had an interest for some time. I think that this type of (sub)urban planning creates dead communities. Vast areas of asphalt and manicured lawns where everyone drives around in cars. Have you ever walked through a suburb? You seem very out of place as a pedestrian – chances are, you are the only one walking.

THE END OF SUBURBIA: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream

But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

Voter Suppression, Observers and so called Democracy

November 1st, 2004

I was listening to NPR this morning and the discussion was on the problem of voter suppression or intimidation at the US polls. It is suprising that this type of swaying is allowed on the day of election. Shouldn’t there be a free and unhindered atmosphere at the polling stations?

From Truth Out :

With political analysts agreeing that voter turnout, especially of minority and youth voters, will likely determine the outcome of next Tuesday’s presidential election, civil and human rights groups are pressing the Republican National Committee (RNC) to call off plans aimed at discouraging people from casting ballots.

Perhaps the US version of democracy should be fixed before it is spread around the world. From The Washington Post :

Precincts in Virginia and Maryland will allow international observers to monitor the election process tomorrow, despite concerns from local voters who say such a presence undermines U.S. sovereignty.

Michael Moore is asking people to document cases of election fraud with their video cameras. This article was also published in The Guardian :

The filmmaker Michael Moore has announced a large-scale effort to combat dirty tricks during tomorrow’s US election by stationing hundreds of people with video cameras outside polling stations.

At any rate, it should be an intersting few days for everyone south of the border – and to others observing.

100 000 Dead in Iraq

October 29th, 2004

From The International Herald Tribune :

More than 100,000 civilians have probably died as direct or indirect consequences of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, according to a study by a research team at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Eminem’s Mosh

October 27th, 2004

Eminem has released a new song and video that is a scathing indictment of the Bush Administration. You can view the video here (Guerrilla News Network). Visually it is a strange video due to the type of animation it uses. It has a video game feel to it in some ways.

Happiness : rich/poor, urban/rural

October 22nd, 2004

I found this static interesting (emphasis mine):

And the final twist is that Atlantic Canada is not “poor.” That, too, is relative. The word only comes up because others are filthy rich. If we look at it in world terms, we are in fact mostly filthy rich ourselves. Figures from the World Bank indicate this: If you make $25,000 a year, you’re in the top 10 per cent of wage earners on the face of the Earth.

It is taken from an article that features the result of a study on the happiness of Canadians. Turns out that the happiest people are in the supposed poor areas of the country and the least happy in the richest. I wonder, though, if it is not due to the poor/rich dichotomy but rather rural/urban.

Bush and the NY Times

October 19th, 2004 1 Comment

Here is an informative article that was printed in the NY Times a few days ago. The newspaper has openly declared their supprot for Kerry in the upcoming election (John Kerry for President). To view these articles you will need to sign up (for free). This is an anecdote from the first mentioned story:

There is one story about Bush’s particular brand of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for the record.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ”road map” for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman — the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress — mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

”I don’t know why you’re talking about Sweden,” Bush said. ”They’re the neutral one. They don’t have an army.”

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ”Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They’re the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.” Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ”No, no, it’s Sweden that has no army.”

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ”You were right,” he said, with bonhomie. ”Sweden does have an army.”

Baker’s Conflict of Interest

October 13th, 2004

James Baker is lobbying for countries to forgive Iraq’s debt as he tries to get $27 billion for The Carlyle Group. Conflict of interest? There is even more surprises as shown in Naomi Klein’s article.

Baker is on two sides of this transaction: He is supposed to be representing the interests of the United States, but he is also a senior counselor at Carlyle, and Carlyle wants to get paid to help Kuwait recover its debts from Iraq.
Read the Alternet article

What Barry Says

October 7th, 2004

View ‘What Barry Says’

An interesting short animation film that critiques the US’ foreign policy quite heavily. It was shown in The Brooklyn Film Festival in 2004.

An un-apologetic criticism of US foreign policy and The Project for the New American Century.

Post Debate Headlines

October 1st, 2004 1 Comment

CNN; Poll: Kerry tops Bush in debate

BBC; Kerry, Bush clash over Iraq war

Fox News; Bush, Kerry Battle Over the War

Globe and Mail; Bin Laden free because of Iraq war, Kerry charges

Le monde; John Kerry franchit le premier obstacle

la press; Une colossale erreur de jugement

Le devoir; Kerry attaque, bush tient bon

National Post; Kerry takes offensive in TV debate

NY Times; In Debate, Kerry and Bush Stand Firm for 90 Minutes

Scotland on Sunday; Poll Boost for Kerry after Bush Debate

Washington Post; Bush and Kerry Rush Back to the Trail

Recent Harper’s

September 24th, 2004

Naomi Klein’s article in the recent Harper’s magazine is now online. The issue is quite good with an article on Iraq by Klein and a long feature by Lampham about how the Right in the U.S. effectively bought their power and influence.

Klein’s article :

Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions. The people of Iraq would, of course, have to endure some short-term pain: assets, previously owned by the state, would have to be given up to create new opportunities for growth and investment.


Election Observers Arrive in U.S.

September 21st, 2004

I am curious to know how much coverage this is getting in the U.S. media.

A team of 20 independent democracy experts from 15 countries and five continents has arrived in the United States in order to observe this year’s presidential election article

Poll : World / U.S. Election

September 20th, 2004

Here are some of the results of a world survey on who citizens of other countries would vote for in the U.S. election:

France: Bush 5%, Kerry 64%
UK: Bush 16%, Kerry 47%
Poland: Bush 31%, Kerry 26%
Canada: Bush 16%, Kerry 61%
Mexico: Bush 18%, Kerry 38%

Source: University of Maryland, July-August 2004.

Looks like Canadians favour Kerry by a long shot – almost as much as the French.

Windmills in NYC

September 16th, 2004

I am not sure what I think of the design of the new towers but the fact that it is going to be a green(er) building is interesting.

The Freedom Tower will have a major impact on the New York skyline while minimizing its impact on the environment. Designers say the world’s tallest building will include a wind farm, solar panels and advanced, energy-efficient technology, and will become an icon of environmentally friendly architecture.