Racism and the US Civil Rights movement retold

As I read through Rick Perlstein’s book, Nixonland, about American politics and life in the 1950s and 60s, the Civil Rights movement and the reaction to it by white Americans, the narrative astounds me. Such anger, such violence. Such sadness. It seems like such an alien place, dystopian, almost fictional, like an Orwellian novel. I was, it seems from my reading, not really aware, not fully … (more–>)

Why are Pickup Trucks so Anti-Pedestrian?

Take a look at the back of any of today’s pickup trucks. Notice the exhaust pipe, under the vehicle? It points to the right. The same side of the road that pedestrians and cyclists use.* Notice the bike lane in the photo – that’s where cyclists will be when this truck passes by them. No place to move to avoid the fumes. Yet I have seen vintage … (more–>)

Creationism’s stench still lingers in American education

Creationism (and it’s dressed-up-in-drag younger brother, “intelligent” design) is the black mold of education. It’s an insidious infection of the mind, an intellectual parasite. And like real-life black mold, it creates a toxic environment – for learning and critical thinking. This week, creationism again came up in American school board discussions. According to the HuffPost, the American Taliban* – the Tea Party – is behind the … (more–>)

Religion, Logic, and Tornadoes

What has a tornado in common with prayer in schools and US President Barack Obama? Rhonda Crosswhite. Yes, the Oklahoma teacher praised as a hero for saving several children when a massive tornado ripped through her town of Moore, earlier this week. And no doubt she was. But there were many other teachers who were heroes that day,  none of whom have become a rallying point … (more–>)

The Missing Lines

The National Museum of Iraq – known originally as the Baghdad Archaeological Museum – once housed some of the oldest works of literature in the world. Treasures from the origins of civilization, from the cities of Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria were on display*. In 2003, when the Americans invaded**, a battle was fought between US and Iraqi forces at the museum. The Iraqi troops fled, and looters came … (more–>)

The Hobgoblins under the Lobbyist Bridge

Lobbyist. For some, the word conjures frightening images of nefarious trolls and ogres in Armani suits lurking under the bridges and in the woods in the dark night, snatching unwary politicians and dragging them down to whatever hell the gullible and naive descend to (a hell cleverly paved with gold and champagne flutes). The very word itself is printed in bold and in colour in some … (more–>)

Musings on representational democracy

Representational democracy, says Wikipedia, is “…founded on the principle of elected people representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. All modern Western style democracies are various types of representative democracies…” And so is Canada, and by extension so is the Town of Collingwood; small cog it may be in the great machinery of democratic government. We elect people to represent us, to make … (more–>)

Is Tar Baby the new N-Word?

As far back as I can recall, the term “tar baby” was a metaphor in common political parlance for a “sticky situation.” It has no racial meaning in that context, any more than saying “honey trap” or “sticky wicket.” Both have similar, but not synonymous meanings. But in the last decade, “tar-baby” has become the new N-word on the political stage.* The tar-baby theme is common … (more–>)

America’s Intolerant WBC Fundamentalists

[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JAErHl7lZ4] I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I watched this. laugh because Russell Brand* just runs circles around these guys from the Westboro Church and they don’t seem to realize when they are being mocked. Fish in a barrel, I suppose. Cry because they obviously believe their hatred; they obviously believe that their narrow, bigoted and violent take on their scriptures is not only right, but the … (more–>)

Tax the Rich – a video

[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6ZsXrzF8Cc] You really should watch this video. It explains in clear, simple terms the argument of the billionaires and the rest of us. I like it because – while it’s simplistic – it is succinct and presents its argument in a powerful story. It also clearly underscores the very polarized US arguments about both taxation and wealth. This was commented on the Daily Kos as well. … (more–>)

Ten Lessons Learned From the Petraeus Affair

After watching the recent, exaggerated – and sordid – upheaval over the story about an extramarital affair that the (now former) head of the CIA had with his biographer, I have come to several conclusions about America, sex, American media and publicity: 1. Americans, who bought millions of copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey“, a poorly-written, highly derivative, pornographic book, and then turned it into a national industry that includes home … (more–>)

Post-US Election Thoughts: The Blame Game

It didn’t take long for the blame, the vitriol, the accusations and the excuses to start spewing forth from the Republicans, after Obama won a second presidential term. You would think that the party would be chastened, introspective and look to where they failed to engage the electorate. Do some serious soul-searching: what failed? Policies? Platforms? Ground work? Attack ads? Flip flops? Instead they seem to have … (more–>)

Pondering the US election from a Canadian perspective

Canadians often find US politics mystifying, no more so than during presidential elections. It’s not just their byzantine electoral college system (which truly baffles us – even when explained concisely as in the video below). It’s not just the differences between America’s republican governance system and our parliamentary system (although they do contribute mightily to the confusion since they are so dissimilar). These are process issues … (more–>)

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