charloween: (Default)
So far I've done #6 on this list, none of the others.

In the mean time, news update! My Facebook feed has been full of Canadians talking about the election, Brits talking about austerity!fail (well, they don't call it that, but if they were in fandom they'd totally call it that).

For your reading pleasure, I give you Johann Hari on "The Biggest Lie in British Politics": that cutting spending in a fiscal crisis is a good idea. Actually, paying down national debt is the worst possible policy.

Also, here's the BBC's take on the cause of the Canadian election. Contrast the election issues "The state of the recovering Canadian economy, along with ethics and accountability" with their description of Ignatieff: "a 63-year old historian, writer and political commentator". They didn't need to tell us what he did before leading the Liberals. Perhaps we're meant to read this as a suggestion that Ignatieff knows stuff about politics where Harper (training and previous profession not mentioned) only knows how to lie about the cost of stealth fighter jets. Every BBC story on the Fall of Harper 2011 mentions "stealth fighter jets".

But the BBC's need to make everything about a certain upcoming event is my favourite: "Royal wedding: Stephen Harper unlikely to attend". *facepalm*

A close second is the report of the Bloc's easily-defaced election slogan: "Forget coalition, Quebeckers just want to talk ‘tail’". 1) tee hee, but also 2) way to remind us that Quebec is all about les sexytimes.

Finally, this has nothing to do with Canadian or UK politics, but I love the headline, "Berlusconi lawyers want George Clooney to testify at prostitution trial". ...I'm sure lots of us would like George Clooney to do lots of different things. Dream on, Berlusconi lawyers.
charloween: (pure style)
And this, my friends, is why public television + question period = awesome.

charloween: (pure style)
1. Anti-prorogue rally went well: a few thousand people stuffed into Yonge/Dundas square, 3500 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and rallies across the country (and a few with ex-pats, overseas) shows the power of Facebook. Now it's just waiting to see what Monday brings, and see if any of the MPs actually go to Ottawa.

2. My part-time boycott of the TTC is also going well: the fare increase and the mild winter is as good an excuse as any to start walking more. I've been down to Young/Dundas four times this week (for school, meetings, to see Rent, today's rally) and I've taken the TTC once, one way. It's only about a 40 minute walk, no big deal.

3. PAUL GROSS! PAUL GROSS! PAUL GROSS LIVE AND IN PERSON... acting Mozart? For the TSO? Heck yes. Tonight and tomorrow afternoon, the TSO is doing this "Behind the Concerto" multimedia do-dad where they take apart Mozart's Concerto 27, show its connection to commedia dell'arte and for some reason have Paul Gross sitting on stage (in a sorta-period tie, tails, and reading glasses), sorta-acting out all the primary source quotes to balance the narration (from TSO Musical Director Peter Oundjian). The performance was good, the presentation enlightening, and [ profile] firstgold and I watched Paul Gross do Paul Gross things. Like half-trying to do accents and character voices but deciding two words into the line to just use his normal voice. And reciting a silly poem in his "I'm being dry and sardonic now" voice. But no \o/, alas. Paul Gross, Paul Gross, Paul Gross and the TSO.
charloween: (Unimpressed)
In his blog post "Days of Snow Days", Rick Mercer says the following:

There's a very good reason why the word prorogue doesn't come up that often in our society. Why would it? The word has absolutely no resonance with anyone in Canada because the notion that you can shut down anything for months at a time is a total fantasy. That's the thing about life; it's relentless. If you are an adult, and live in the real world, proroguing isn't on the agenda in much the same way levitating isn't. God knows I love the idea of proroguing. Everyone in Canada has lay in bed and prayed for the elusive snow day. The idea that while you slept the heavens opened up and dumped so much snow on the ground that the front door can't open and the school bus just can't come. [...]

But snow days happen to children. If you are an adult it doesn't matter how much snow falls you still have to get to work and you still have to shovel the walk. Snow days don't apply to adults unless you happen to be the prime minister of Canada, who with one phone call has the ability to give every member of parliament two months off.

I agree, Rick Mercer. The PM is behaving like a child. One rumour is that Parliament was prorogued to kill the subcommittee that was investigating the Afghan detainee torture allegations. Another rumour links the government's embarrassment over the Afghan situation to an unwillingness to confront this ugliness during the Olympics (to which I say: lie in that bed you made, Harper). There is a Facebook group with just under 60K members, but Facebook groups are worthless without action.

All Canadians should be angry about Harper's actions, especially conservatives who believe in small government. Government doesn't get any bigger than when our leader decides he wants to take his toys home to Calgary and won't let any of the other kids play when he's away. Proroguing is the PM's equivalent of holding his breath until he gets a cookie, but the cookie is wiping all business from the agenda. At the minimum, and at whatever size, our elected government should show up to work.

Now, we have to wait until March! Aside from the entirely shameful affair of the Afghan detainees (which Peter McKay should lose his job over), four of the bills killed by Harper had to do with technology law. Last summer, there were extensive consultations on the future of copyright law and related issues (I participated - did you?) and there's no word at the moment if those consultations will legally have to be re-done, or if the data collected will still be usable.

So please: write your MP, and ask them to go back to work on January 25. There's a precedent in UK Parliament, where prorogued MPs showed up to work anyway, and got on with things. When you write, tell them what you want them to table when they're there: investigating why Harper's Conservatives are so unconcerned about the torture of Afghan detainees, finding a way to update our technology-related law without making syncing to an iPod an illegal act, killing support for the Alberta tar sands in favour of funding for trans-Canada high speed rail service. Pick your cause. Write your MP. Let your voice be heard. We're not powerless, this is not natural, and don't let Harper get away with this again.
charloween: (pure style)
The Pirate Party of Canada needs some more members before it can be recognized as an official political party. Elections Canada wants paper originals of the registration forms. (yikes!)

Earlier this year, Sweden's Pirate Party gained a seat in the European Parliament, and a few months later, a German MP who had been sitting as an independent in his national legislature joined the German Pirates.

This isn't a joke party, but a serious (if cheeky) movement that stands for (as they say on their website): copyright reform, reform of the patents system, better respect of privacy, net neutrality, open government. I'll have to read further to see what they mean by reforming the patents system (into what?), and what an open government would look like, but if they're like their European brethren, these Canadian Pirates are a group I'd not mind associating with. It's not like Harper would ever get my support, or one of his lackeys my vote; but it bears repeating that how the Conservatives are running this country (with the cabinet and PM absolutely unapproachable by even other MPs, etc) is damn scary.

When I was in Ottawa last December, I saw the void between how government and industry view media (traditional media, new media, media technologies) and how I experience media. Attempts at drafting legislation to "protect copyright" reflect this inability to see what the digital life looks like: in one version, it would have been illegal to transfer legally-purchased songs from your computer to your portable music player.

Nutty, right?

I'm going to have a good long think about joining. If none of the other parties will speak to copyright reform and net neutrality issues, then I may have to take some small action and, er, put my praxis where my theory is.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for the heads-up on this one.

Oh, Obama

Feb. 24th, 2009 10:23 pm
charloween: (Default)
I watched Obama's speech tonight with [ profile] amyisyellow and her BF (they were watching, I heard Obama's voice and joined them). It was, as always, a great speech that was delivered well.

One thing, though: apparently America has to watch out for "cyber threats".

I choose to believe this means robots. Killer robots.

Do you hear that, robots? Obama's got his eye on you.
charloween: (Default)
As if we needed more reasons not to vote for Stephen Harper and his Conservatives: before becoming Prime Minister, back in 2003, Harper gave a speech supporting sending troops to Iraq. Reprehensible as that is, apparently Harper cribbed much of his speech from Australian then-PM John Howard.
charloween: (Default)

I wish there was one Canadian politician that was as interesting as Obama. We have to vote on October 14, and what are our choices? Creepy Stephen Harper? Boring Stephane Dion? It's one of the two, 'cause the other three parties don't have a hope. Jack Layton's ambition is making him look spineless and opportunist, the Bloc don't field candidates outside of Quebec, and Elizabeth May, well, bless her. I hope the Green party comes out of this with at least two seats - hers and the guy who crossed the floor to become a Green one week before the election.

But the point is, the eternal choice between Conservatives and Liberals is between a boring-but-creepy guy who makes my flesh crawl and a guy who has all the presence of, like, rice pudding. This is our third federal election in four years, probably because we haven't had anyone interesting to vote for. Any bets on how long it'll take for Justin Trudeau to be courted as a potential party leader?
charloween: (Default)
Hey, Canadians! Have you contacted your MP about bill C-61?

I did (using this form), and I just received the following letter (email) back from my MP (Olivia Chow!):

She says: 'In fact, this bill is worse than we originally feared: there is no evidence of an attempt to strike any reasonable balance that would protect either artists or consumers. Instead, we are faced with a full capitulation to the U.S. corporate lobby that will pave the way for the criminalization of perfectly reasonable behaviour (like format shifting of most legally purchased content).' )

There are several ways to speak out, through online advocacy groups with form letters already written. The letter I sent cc:'d Jim Prentice (who introduced the bill) and Josée Verner, the Heritage Minister.

All you have to do is type in your name and hit send. If you haven't already, take the three minutes and let them know you're not happy. You don't have to go to a rally or demonstration - hell, you don't even need to buy a stamp - just fill out the form and do your part.
charloween: (Having a bad day...)
One quick thing about yesterday's election: it's easy to continue in power when your opponent is an absolute moron.

Just saying, is all. For some unknown reason, the Conservative leader decided to make the biggest issue in the election something entirely bizarre, to the detriment of all other issues. John Tory wanted to extend public money to all religious schools. Uh, no. Because of that, and because his campaign was run with the underlying message "if you don't vote for us you're a bigger idiot than we thought, you idiot", Tory lost in his own riding. By nearly 5000 votes. Running against the current Liberal Education Minister. HA. HAHAHHA.

Way to shoot yourself in the foot, asshat. Run a campaign where you sneer at your opponents and then fight for something that no one thinks is a good idea (don't get me started on the schools thing)... and the CBC morning show keeps snickering at him for losing his riding and reminding us of all his other political failures. HA. HAHHAHAAAA.

Also. According to the radio, barely more than 50% of the eligible voters turned out. I find it pretty damn irresponsible for anyone to decide not to vote because they don't care; just because you don't vote doesn't mean the decisions made by politicians won't affect you. Tuition. Health care. Public transit. All these things are run by taxes and *surprise* the people who make decisions about how to use these taxes are the people we elect.

Sometimes the choices are depressing, but there were seven people on my riding's ballot - running the gamut from scary Ayn Rand objectivists to snuggly tree-huggers. Surely even for the most disgruntled voters there's someone there worthy of your X. If you want to make a statement, show up and spoil your ballot. The point is to show up. If you can't be bothered to get even a half-assed grasp on who's running and participate in the system then you deserve crowded broken buses, crushingly high tuition and no family doctor.

And yes all the major candidates sound the same. Yes the issues spoken of in the election were mostly irrelevant. Yes the marketing surrounding the electoral reform referendum was worse than terrible. However, I spent my afternoon researching, made a choice and voted because I care about my city.

IN OTHER NEWS: The first RIAA file-sharing case went to trial, and the nasty criminal? A Native woman who's a single mother, making $36K/year. Of all the possible defendants, it had to be her. Wired, linked above, says:

The RIAA, after all, is the guardian of an industry so antiquated and oppressive that having sympathy for these guys is a little like feeling sorry for a Georgia slaveholder after watching Sherman's troops fire his mansion and scatter his livestock.

The column goes on to laud Radiohead for offering their music direct to audiences for nearly free, and reports that the vast majority of downloaders are paying Radiohead market value for their music. I paid a little less than that, but more than a penny. (And the album? Not bad at all!)
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