1. FATAH AND HAMAS ARE MEETING IN CAIRO TODAY to choose a leader for the Palestinian unity movement. They’ll need to come to some kind of agreement if they want the United Nations to officially recognize a Palestinian state when they’re expected to vote on the issue this September. Here’s hoping they can work it out. (via Christian Science Monitor)
3. TALLY HO! It’s Day One Of The Royal Ascot! You can follow all the breaking news here. It’s going to be some party. On an entirely unrelated note, did you know that horses can get herpes? Neither did I. (via Guardian UK and NYTimes)
6. FERTILIZER COMPANY TARGETS GROWERS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Miracle-Gro wants to help pot-growers produce better a better bud. Can broad legalization be too far behind when fertilizer manufacturers officially want a piece of the action? (via Wall Street Journal)
By now, you may have already heard about the plucky young page that was fired yesterday from her post in the House of Parliament, after she mounted this protest against Stephen Harper and the Conservative government. Her press release echoed what most of us are thinking; “Harper’s agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation”. I don’t know about you, but I was pretty moved. Yes, she’s only 21 and her contract was up in a couple of weeks anyway, but still, if you’re going to go out, you may as well go out in flames.
Official reaction to DePape’s protest has been pretty humourless. And unanimous – with Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella suggesting it raises security concerns, Elizabeth May essentially saying that there’s a time and a place, and Justin Trudeau complaining that it wasn’t in line with the decorum that should be observed during the throne speech. It’s true that this was an unprecedented protest, but this is an unprecedented government; Harper has prorogued parliament (twice!) when things weren’t going his way, renamed the Government of Canada the “Harper Government”, and his government was found in contempt of Parliament. I’d say they’ve done a fine job of not adhering to decorum themselves.
6 UNCLES AND AUNTS, LITTLE CHILDREN LOST THEIR PANTS*: You’d think it was something they’d rather forget, but they’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic in Belfast today! Oh well, it wasn’t their fault (that’s what my dear old Irish mum says anyway). *As an aside, I was almost 30 years old before a friend corrected me on the lyric to “It Was Sad When The Great Ship Went Down”. Apparently the line is “little children lost their parents” which, I concede, makes more sense. -But, in my opinion, the way my 8-year-old ear heard it is far better and lends a bit of levity to the whole thing. At any rate, I’m glad I learned that song instead of this one (no, I don’t recommend watching the whole thing):
The New York Public Library celebrated 100 years today! This past weekend was a flurry of activity at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, which opened on May 23, 1911. There were readings and panel discussions (Adam Gopnik even moderated a couple of them!), and a tour of the stacks! There are 75 miles of them! And three million books! Dear readers, I can tell you that, on the weekend upon which the world was supposed to end, there was no finer place to be.
The whole event was pretty inspiring. And moving. In spite of the fact this is happening at a time when more and more libraries across the U.S. are being radically cut back or axed altogether, or worse.
In honor of the occasion, the NYPL and Penguin books have published a commemorative paperback entitled with the library’s new slogan ‘Know The Past, Find The Future’ (isn’t that the best slogan for a library you’ve ever heard?). It features many cool and interesting people (check out the link and see) who reflect on their favourite items in the library’s collection, and they’ve been distributing free copies to patrons throughout the NYPL’s branches. Now that’s civilized.
Have you had a chance to listen to this week’s installment of the Ultrasonic Alarm Call yet? If so, you might recall Danny Kresnyak’s stellar contribution on the subject of Regina’s Heavy Metal scene. At one point, the conversation turned to more macabre sub-genres, which I think weirded a few of us out. -But, just when I was about to write that whole scene off as sick and debased, I came across this, and my perspective was changed again.
It’s a bit long, but as an old friend of mine once pointed out; “when it starts to get annoying, that’s when the comedy really kicks in”.
Given the results of this past federal election, it’s not surprising to see an outpouring of interest in Proportional Representation across the country. Fair Vote Canada, the national non-partisan Proportional Representation advocacy group has events planned across the country today. Sadly (and strangely) no events seem to have been planned for today in Saskatchewan. What’s up with that? You’d think, given the way things went in Saskatchewan this past election, there’d be an army of people willing to gather in support of electoral reform. I don’t get it.
This one is pretty obvious, given the recent flap about Brad Trost and his self-congratulatory statements at the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association convention a couple of weekends ago in Humbolt. By now, you’ve likely already heard about how Trost lauded the assembled crowd for their pro-life petitions, and informed them that it was largely due to these efforts that the argument was made to de-fund International Planned Parenthood. Good for you, Brad! You helped to make it even harder for women in developing countries to get much-needed reproductive health care, effectively refusing them access to HIV screening, pap-smears, and post-natal care. Feels good, doesn’t it?
By the way, wasn’t it a nifty trick the way Trost created a little media frisson about the de-funding of International Planned Parenthood, thereby giving Stephen Harper a plum opportunity to assure everyone that he’s “not interested in opening the law on abortion”? Why, it’s almost as though they had spoken at some point earlier in the week and cooked the whole thing up to target voters on both sides of the debate. No, I don’t think that’s far fetched. These people aren’t as dumb as they look.
Below is a video of Trost* in a debate with NDP candidate Denise Kouri. There isn’t much that’s terribly revelatory in this clip. It’s pretty much the same-old, same-old from Trost, reiterating that he’s a social-conservative (pro-life, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-long gun registry, generally hateful, blah, blah, blah). Still, it’s nice to see him slapped down by Kouri and to have the crowd erupt in applause for her.
Have you ever wondered why some people think one way and others think otherwise? Turns out, it’s because of our brains! At first glance, I thought this study might smack of phrenology, but it’s nowhere as deterministic as that.
On behalf of my people, I call upon all of you to cut it out with the broad stereotypes and derisive comments. Haven’t we been through enough? When you say those things about us, you don’t just seek to diminish us – you diminish yourself.
It’s been a long time coming, but another city is about to implement the Montréal-based Bixi bike program, furnishing its citizens with access to affordable (and cute!) bikes for rent. And this time it’s happening in… Toronto!
I was holding off on posting this because it sort of looks like a giant sea monster and, in light of the ongoing grimness on the Pacific rim, and some inappropriate jokes I heard this past week concerning Godzilla, I worried (probably unnecessarily) that it might offend. Anyway, now that you know why I held it back, here it is.