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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
  • blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs’ challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country’s history of emigration.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn’s smaller moons.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus’ religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin’s famous quote about what parents do to their children.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO looks at eleven recent Toronto-themed books, from fiction to children’s literature.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Far Outliers reports on how German East Africa substituted for foreign imports during the blockade of the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the fall of Rome may have been due to the failure to reconquer North Africa.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the exuberant art of Jazz Age Florence Stettheimer.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a stunning portrait of Jupiter from the New Horizons probe.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the idea of containment in the post-Cold War world.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the British election.

[LINK] The National Post on the Patriote flag

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The National Post has a feature from Graeme Hamilton noting the controversy associated in Québec with the flag of the Patriote rebels of 1837.

On May 22, as the rest of Canada celebrates Victoria Day, Quebecers will get a day off in honour of les Patriotes, the 19th-century rebels who fought to bring responsible government to what is now Quebec. It’s no surprise that the mostly French-speaking province isn’t terribly keen on paying tribute to a long-dead British monarch, and such Patriote leaders as Louis-Joseph Papineau, Jean-Olivier Chénier and Wolfred Nelson are worthy of celebration. Yet last week, Quebec’s Liberal government angered nationalists by blocking a proposal to have the Patriote flag fly above the legislature in Quebec City.

Q: Who were the Patriotes?

Charles Alexander Smith via Wikipedia
Charles Alexander Smith via Wikipedia”Assemblée des six-comtés”, a painting depicting the Assembly of the Six Counties, held in Saint-Charles, Lower Canada on October 23 and October 24, 1837
A: The Patriotes was the name given to Papineau’s Parti canadien and the popular movement he and others inspired to rise up against British colonial rule in 1837-38. “The primarily francophone party, led mainly by members of the liberal professions and small-scale merchants, was widely supported by farmers, day-labourers and craftsmen,” the Canadian Encyclopedia says. They advocated democracy and the right to self-government, but at the same time they were in no hurry to get rid of the seigneurial system. After the rebellion was crushed, many participants were imprisoned, exiled or hung.

Q: What is the Patriote flag?

A: The flag was introduced in 1832 by Papineau’s political party and was carried at political speeches and into battle during the rebellion. It is a simple design consisting of three horizontal bars, green, white and red from top to bottom. The flag was seen by the Montreal aristocracy as a revolutionary symbol, and in 1837 the Montreal Herald wrote urging people to destroy it. Some early versions also featured a beaver, a maple leaf or a maskinonge fish. Today, the flag often has the profile of a musket-toting, toque-wearing, pipe-smoking rebel superimposed in the centre.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 11:29 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Tory is right to raise hell with province, but must also find a way to fix social housing”

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Earlier this month, Edward Keenan argued that, whatever his legitimate disputes with the Ontario government, John Tory has to fix social housing.

If you’re the mayor of Toronto, as I’ve written before, sooner or later the province will always screw you. Because it can, and it has its own priorities that are different than yours.

And so sooner or later, if you’re the mayor of Toronto, you have to get into a war of words with the province about it. Because what else can you do?

Mel Lastman said of Mike Harris, “everything he has touched has turned to crap.” David Miller said Dalton McGuinty was being “disgraceful.” Rob Ford was “furious” over a “last-minute blindsiding” from Kathleen Wynne.

And now it’s John Tory’s turn to turn his rhetorical guns on the province and raise hell about their neglect. Tory has hauled out his signature move — holding lots of press conferences in different parts of the city to announce the same thing over and over— to complain about the province stiffing Toronto by not chipping in to repair or build social housing. “Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government had a chance to stand up for Toronto on transit and on housing. Instead, at least on the pages of this budget, they turned their backs,” he said last week, outlining the theme of the week to come.

The man has a point.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO profiles Robert Burley’s lovely new photo book, An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands.
  • Border Thinking’s Laura Agustín looks at the New Orleans sex trade in the fiction of James Lee Burke.
  • Crooked Timber argues that philosophy majors are uniquely well-suited to being good citizens.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the point that American conservative voters are not monocausal.
  • Steve Munro notes that the TTC can count on delivering unreliable service, thanks in part to its concentration on terminals
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the fables of Syrian writer Osama Alomar.
  • Savage Minds looks at the very serious anthropology of Bronislaw Malinowski.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi announces his upcoming participation in the Robots vs. Fairies anthology.
  • Window on Eurasia argues a Russian annexation of the Donbas would be doable only in the aftermath of a wider Russian war against Ukraine.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
  • Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley’s Comet.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the “Apache” dancers of France.
  • Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity’s future.
  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.
  • Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.
  • Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.
  • The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom’s own UDI.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.
  • Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France’s Alstom.
  • The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the “thanatopolitics” of the Republicans.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at Trump’s constitutional crisis.
  • Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States’ planetary science exploration budget.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at Argentina’s underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.
  • Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.
  • Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.

[ŴRITING] On the end of my LiveJournal experiences

Goodbye, rfmcdpei

Almost two hours ago, I deleted my LiveJournal. User rfmcdpei is no longer active on this site.

I do allow for the possibility that I might change my mind. Maybe I will bring it back temporarily, so as to convert it to some kind of personal docment via BlogBooker, or perhaps I will restore it in the name of minimizing link rot on the Internet and to continue to be able to read what few (ever fewer) people still write only on LiveJournal. This post, however, is the first post that I will not be crossposting from Dreamwidth over to LiveJournal, and no other post shall follow.

I did join the rush on account of the new user agreement unleashed earlier this week, of course.

Any number of news sources, like the Daily Dot and Boing Boing and Gizmodo and Charlie Stross at Autopope, have written at great length about the new terms of service agreement. That this agreement is not available, not in a legally binding form and not in a well-translated form, in the English language made the exodus inevitable.

Russia, as a classical dictatorship, wants to be able to restrict what people write about within its sphere, to do away with anonymity and to limit the range of permissible subject matter. LiveJournal, which happens to be based in Russia as a consequence of a long series of business decisions (bad decisions, I would argue, ones which kept LiveJournal from emerging as a lasting social network of worldwide scope), is subject. Therefore, anyone who is not dependent on LiveJournal is leaving a social network that appears to be fatally compromised.

(What is the opposite of soft power?)

I have long had alternatives ready. Back in October 2012, I blogged about how I had moved away from LiveJournal as a primary blog, towards Dreamwidth for LiveJournal-like social networking and to WordPress for the more blog-like functions. I am losing nothing as a consequence of this. My regrets about this are not especially profound ones, characterized much more by wistfulness and nostalgia than by serious regret.

rfmcdpei has been around for a month short of fifteen years. It’s amazing.

LiveJournal was always been there for me. I remember reading Tom’s LiveJournal, and the LiveJournals of others, back in early 2002 when I was so desperate to connect with anyone. I remember how excited I was when I got an invite code from Darren back in June of 2002. I remember writing an online diary of my life there, and then, first slowly then with speed, transforming this diary into a blog. I know that I met all sorts of people who I know nd like even know there, came to learn all kinds of things there, helped other people learn through LiveJournal. In my life, LiveJournal was a huge net positive.

And now it’s over. It’s an era that was bound to end, I know, and what an era it was. Thank you, LiveJournalers and LiveJournal founders, too, for making this so good and fun.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm