Thursday, August 30, 2012

Calling All Western Students Who Speak/Write Canadian

So, I don't know why there isn't such a big uproar about this, but why is it that "centre" is spelled incorrectly on an official Western University, CANADA, webpage?

The Canadian spelling is "RE", so why is it spelled "centER"?

This is the 5th year I've been staring at this typo and have wondered why no one seems bothered to fix it.

I'd like to hono(u?)r my fellow Canadian neighbo(u?)rs and petition to change the spelling of Western's "Student CentRE".

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Laurel Broten - Minister of Judas

Please distribute widely.

Watch how the CBC's Suhana Meharchand shows that Laurel Broten - who makes over $165,000 a year - is in fact not wearing any clothes.  Hmmm.  And why is a lawyer the Minister of Education?  Hmmmm.  And I wonder where her two kids go to school (or if they even go to a publicly funded school)?  I'm sure they'll be having a great time in the classroom come September 4th.

How can you say "put students first" if she's not even putting her own children ahead of her own political agenda?  Ya, I'm throwing her under the bus considering she's just a puppet, but that's how it goes in politics, right?

Here's the interview.

Meharchand: "Are teachers not worth it?"

Broten: Question avoided.

Meharchand: "How much does the average teacher make?...What is the number?...I'm sure you have it on your finger tips."

Broten: Question still not answered.

You know what the cool thing is about the internet?  You can Google and see the salaries of public officials who make over $100,000 a year.  The Sunshine List.

All of these folks that make almost 7 times more than what a new teacher would make are in the Ministry of Education.  And none of them have to be a psychologist, musician, artist, coach, role model - oh ya, and surrogate parent - in addition to their job:

Kevin Costante, Deputy Minister - $259, 298.58 
Barry Pervin, Assistant Deputy Minister - $184,548.74
Gabriel Sekaly, Assistant Deputy Minister - $182,182.50
Grant Clarke, Assistant Deputy Minister, Learning and Curriculum - $169,115.07
Soussan Tabari, Chief Information Officer - $167,161.80.

If this is all about cutting the "15 billion dollar deficit" and saving "473 million dollars" by taking it from the salaries of those in education, the provincial government might want to look in the mirror and clean house first.

Take a stroll on this list if you ever wonder where your "taxpayer" dollars are going and to the people that really don't do much, but make a hell of a lot.  Google them, find out where they work, have a conversation, and ask them if they deserve their salaries that you, the taxpayer, are cutting from educating our future generations to put in their pockets.

And I wonder how much it's going to cost to start the Legislature two weeks early? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Time to Get Political: McGuinty is a Fraud

I rarely write about things I actually care about on this blog, let alone use this as a platform to speak my political views.  But this is one issue I'm taking to heart because I just can't sit back and watch what our provincial government is doing to the education system (again).

Let's face it, McGuinty is using this back-to-work legislation as political fodder.  From the CAW, the Doctors, the Nurses, CUPE, and pretty well any union that stands in his way, McGuinty, the Liberals, and their foot soldier - the media - is cutting down the foundation he built to get votes, since the political climate has changed.  As it always does.

I've been quite disappointed with the Star's coverage until an article today really hit home the political nature of what is going on and not the rhetoric that "we're putting students first" bullshit.  (Where the hell did this $473 million dollar number come from anyways?  Sounds a lot like that 40% Black kid drop-out number people were throwing around a couple years ago).

Read Cohn's article here.

And if you live in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding and decide to vote Liberal in a couple weeks, you must suffer from some serious Mike Harris-amnesia  (mind you, Hudak would pretty much cut any and all publicly funded groups and have all of us working in Northern Ontario digging minerals - on Native land - like we're in the Industrial Revolution). 

Oh ya, by 2016 McGuinty wants more universities built.  Something ain't adding up, Mr. Dalton.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Up and Down Like Kangaroo - Liberia's PepeSoup

Coming out of Liberia: PepeSoup - Pump Tire

Also out of Liberia, check out Nasseman feat. Takun j - Down in Africa

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Study: Coke is Healthier Than Water - Coca-Cola Says So

I have no idea where society is going.  Seriously.

Check this story out about how Coca-Cola is blaming Ottawa for using "taxpayer" dollars for promoting healthy living as opposed to drinking coloured sugar water.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chavs: What Class Do You (Really) Belong To?

I just finished reading Owen Jones' Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class and it's got me thinking.  Although it's a book about class in Britain, it really got me thinking about how I, and we in Canada, perceive class.

I decided to buy this book after seeing it on the shelves on my trip to London and started to ask questions about class divisions, and particularly White identity, in the UK.  If you've never been to the UK and you are Canadian, the mythical and supposedly outdated concept of "class" will literally slap you in your "middle class" face.

First and foremost, "chav" is a derogatory term identifying some segments of the the White working class in Britain.  Lazy, child-bearing, unemployed, project living, teen moms, that we get to see here in North America on the show Wife Swap.  Here's a negative characterization of a "chav" - Vicky Pollard - that Owens cites in his book.

Owens (the same guy in the YouTube video in my post on Brixton sitting across from the old fart of a bigot historian), explored how "chav", has become a "term of pure class contempt", both within and outside of the working class.  (That being said, he did explain that similar to how some in the gay community have reclaimed the word "queer" as a term of endearment, some in the working class have done the same with "chav".)

Chav is a contentious, politicized, and even racialized term.  I think the best way for a North American to relate is to see how inflammatory, but also widely accepted, the word "nigger" has become in popular culture.  Shit, I was out at the Kiss 92.5's WhamBam concert the other night and you had lily-white teenage girls rapping along word-for-word to Drake and dropping "nigga" like they were auditioning for a role in a Spike Lee movie.  (I'll save those thoughts for another post at a later date.)

What Owens did that I found most intriguing, was talk about class.  He made no bones about it to challenge this British (and I'd argue North American) myth of: "we all belong to the middle class".  Bullshit.  You need a top and bottom to have a middle right?

While the book is specifically about the British class system, particularly to the class war and the deliberate "divide and rule" destruction of the working class by Thatcherism in the 1980s, Owens' theory that the ruling elite, and its soldiers at war - the middle class - have declared open warfare on the most vulnerable in society (through its ideological characterization as a bunch of undeserving and lazy "chavs"), is a framework that I believe can be applied to what's happening in Canada right now.
Owens' definition of the working class:

"People [who] work for others, and lack control over their own labour". (p. 145)

From time to time, our government might call us taxpayers, the "middle class".  But who, or what, belongs to the middle class in Canada?  Owens described those who went to Oxford or Cambridge and sent their kids to private schools the middle class.  What's the Canadian equivalent?  Is a GM worker facing layoffs in Oshawa a part of the middle class?  What about the teachers and doctors our provincial government has decided to piss on?  What if I send my kids to private and not to publicly funded schools, does that remove me from the middle class to the upper echelons of society?

If there's a 1%, ostensibly those of the upper class, is the 99% percent the middle or the working class?

You've got the big bad bankers on Wall Street and the rest of America on Main Street, so who's that dude sleeping on the corner of Unemployed Blvd?  What class does he belong to?  Better yet, what about the 25 year old history graduate working at a call centre?

Start to question the bullshit you hear in the media and from our politicians.  Class is not a dirty word.  Ignorance is.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Barbados Stand Up and Turn Up The Love

Rihanna isn't the only hot pop artist coming out the Island.

Far East Movement ft. Cover Drive - Turn Up The Love

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blake is Better than Bolt - At Cricket

If you've been following my blog, you know I'm a big fan of T20 cricket.  Who knows if these stories are true, but if Blake and/or Bolt suit up and play, it'll only be good for both sports (and selling a bazillion Bolt jerseys).

I wonder when the IPL is going to come calling?

Hey man, strike when the iron is hot.  And for Bolt and Blake, no time is better than the present.  Check the story out here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eat an Egg, Chase it with a Cigarette

That's right.  A study out of Western University (the school I go to, so I'm taking what they say as gospel), says that eating egg yolks is almost as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes.

I wonder how many people are going to read between the lines and pick up smoking. 

Check it out here.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

London Calling - Part VI - Women's Marathon

Of course it decided to rain, but after Super Saturday yesterday, nothing could dampen the festive mood (and the huge crowds)  sweeping London.

Not many Olympic or professional sports that you can get this close to the action.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

London Calling - Part V - Brixton

There's no line between my research and my family history, and visiting Brixton was no exception.  This is where my immigrant story began in the 1950s.

If you watched the Opening Ceremony, you might have noticed a short blip of a bunch of Black men with suitcases with a giant replica ship behind them.  The ship was the Empire Windrush, and the group of Black men were the first West Indian (Jamaican) emigrants in Britain in 1948.  Not only did they, and the tens of thousands of West Indians that came in the decades after them, help rebuild post-War Britain, the Ceremony in 2012 cemented and showed to the world that they are a part of British history and its social fabric. 

It's a shame that Canada didn't set the precedent when they had the chance in Vancouver.

My Father and my family were a part of this history.  Welcome to Brixton.

Windrush Square

Ackerman Road - Where the Taylors lived.
What their house (now demolished) would have looked like. 
The site of their house.

Many West Indians were recruited in the Caribbean (including my Dad) to work for London Transport.  The buses are new, but these are the same Brixton streets that they would've suffered verbal and physical abuse from British Whites.  I got a chance to hear some of the stories from my Aunt who was one of the first female conductors (conductress) that came in 1956.
And what is a Black neighbourhood without a whole bunch of hair product shops.  Had three in a row all selling the same stuff on a street off of Electric Avenue (yup, the same one Eddy Grant sang about).  And all three had Asians selling weaves and Black hair products.  I've got a real problem with that.

Sidenote: Asians in the UK are what we in Canada call Brown people - Asians are Orientals, and Brown people are Banglasdeshi, but not Indian, because Indians are just Indian.  Racialized identity is fascinating.  And Brazilians are supposedly terrorists.  I plan on getting more into British White identity, specifically Chavs.  Check this link here about race issues in Britain especially following the riots.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

London Calling - Part IV - GB vs. Brazil at Wembley

First live football match.  Wembley Stadium.  London 2012 Olympics.  Great Britain vs. Brazil.

One of 70,000 plus at the stadium (and yes, I'm supporting Kenya as a political statement.  How the hell do they have a White swimmer - who hasn't won a damn thing outside of Africa - carrying their flag when they've got a pile of the best runners in the world?  Ever.  This is the colonial games, folks.  I wonder what Mugabe thought about the White chick carrying his flag).  And for all those wondering about tickets and empty seats, by the end of the match the place was packed.  Minus one section that was completely empty.  Hey Visa, give me a free ticket, man!