A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[URBAN NOTE] “Protesters outside Masjid Toronto call for ban on Islam as Muslims pray inside”

leave a comment »

Torontoist’s Andrea Houston and the Ryersonian’s post were just two links noting a protest Thursday by anti-Muslim activists outside of a mosque downtown on Dundas Street West. One thing that the social media coverage of the event highlighted, which was nice, was that random passersby confronted the activists on the street.

More than a dozen people gathered outside a mosque in the heart of downtown Toronto with loudspeakers and banners in hand, shouting slogans about banning Islam as Muslims gathered to pray inside.

The protest happened Friday outside Masjid Toronto on Dundas Street West near University Avenue.

The shouting was so loud that Tera Goldblatt, who works on the 21st floor in a nearby building, said she could hear it from inside her office.

When she came down to see what was going on, she said, she saw some 15 people screaming, some blocking the path of those trying to enter the mosque.

“The response from the people who were trying to get inside was very sort of ‘Oh well, they’re entitled to their opinion’ and ‘Oh well, I guess that’s just part of life,'” Goldblatt said.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 19, 2017 at 3:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO notes that yesterday was a temperature record here in Toronto, reaching 12 degrees Celsius in the middle of February.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the pleasure of using old things.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the death of Roe v Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey.
  • Language Hat notes that, apparently, dictionaries are hot again because their definitions are truthful.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers if the Trump Administration is but a mechanism for delivering Pence into power following an impeachment.
  • Steve Munro notes that Exhibition Loop has reopened for streetcars.
  • The NYRB Daily considers painter Elliott Green.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that North Carolina’s slippage towards one-party state status is at least accompanied by less violence than the similar slippage following Reconstruction.
  • Window on Eurasia warns that Belarus is a prime candidate for Russian invasion if Lukashenko fails to keep control and notes the potential of the GUAM alliance to counter Russia.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO looks at deserted Mirvish Village.
  • Crooked Timber reenages with the Rachel Carson and DDT myth.
  • The Crux looks at the Mandela Effect, exploring false memories.
  • Dangerous Minds makes the case for the musical genius of Bobbie Gentry.
  • From the Heart of Europe’s Nicholas Whyte recounts his visit to Albania’s bunker museum.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Brazil’s retirement of its only aircraft carrier.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the extent and speed of events in the Trump Administration.
  • Marginal Revolution engages with a book examining France’s carving out a “cultural exception” in international trade agreements.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reports on the passing of rulership of the Australian micronation of Hutt River.
  • Peter Rukavina shares good advice for visiting museums: visit only what you can take in.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian Orthodox Church opposition to a certain kind of Russian civic nationality, and argues Russia is losing even its regional superpower status.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on how local councils in the United Kingdom are speculating on commercial property.

[URBAN NOTE] Raizel Robin in Toronto Life on the Toronto South Detention Centre

leave a comment »

Raizel Robin’s long-form article in Toronto Life, “The $1-Billion Hellhole”, makes the case that the very new Toronto South Detention Centre–only three years old!–is already terribly dysfunctional thanks to any number of problems from staff issues to design flaws, this after having been built at tremendous financial cost to the province.

Before the South opened on January 27, 2014, Ontario’s provincial jails were notorious for being overcrowded, medieval, violent places. The second Don Jail, completed in 1958, wasn’t much better than the original: rats and cockroaches scurried about and black mould grew on walls. Three inmates were often crammed into four-by-eight-foot cells meant for two, with the third man sleeping on the floor, his head next to the toilet. The Toronto West Detention Centre in Rexdale, built in 1976 and retrofitted in the 1990s, was almost as overcrowded and had become a money pit.

In 2008, the Liberals under Premier Dalton McGuinty approved plans for a new, more progressive facility. McGuinty wanted Ontario’s jails to reflect modern incarceration philosophy, which emphasizes rehabilitation over punishment. The new superjail, the Toronto South Detention Centre, would be capable of housing 1,650 inmates—50 per cent more capacity than the Don and the West combined­—making it Canada’s second-largest jail, after the Edmonton Remand Centre. When it came to selecting an architect, the Liberals chose Zeidler, the prestigious firm behind the Eaton Centre’s soaring galleria and the old Ontario Place.

Visit the South today and, were it not for the receptionists seated behind protective glass or the chairs bolted to the floor, the airy three-storey reception area, with its exposed brick and skylit entryway, could pass for a condo lobby. The 73,000-square-metre building, which is LEED Silver certified with a ground-source heat exchanger and low-flush toilets, occupies the site of the former Mimico Correctional Centre in south Etobicoke. Behind the main building are three seven-storey, sand-coloured towers, set off from each other at slight angles. The effect is more chic New Mexico college than imposing superjail.

Inside, there are spaces for Aboriginal inmates to hold sweat lodge or smudging ceremonies, two multi-faith spaces with footbaths for Muslim inmates, a state-of-the-art 35-bed infirmary and a 26-bed mental health assessment unit. The seven-by-16-foot cells are spacious compared to the Don. The units, made up of 20 cells each, are split into two floors and arranged around a communal living room like motel suites surrounding a pool.

Initially, the South seemed like a double-pronged victory for the Liberals: the facility was praised for its design, and the construction process was relatively cost-effective—an important consideration for a government trying to slay a $10.5-billion deficit and manage the fallout from the gas plant scandal. Still, the total bill to the taxpayer was hefty: $1.1 billion, which was to be paid out over 30 years.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO notes that a Toronto family known for its Christmas lights display may be forced to ratchet back by city inspectors.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the apparent discovery of Kuiper Belt objects around white dwarf WD 1425+540.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining the possible orbital inclination of Proxima Centauri b, and points to another one speculating about upper limits to the masses of other exoplanets orbiting P_roxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to interviews with different historians noting how close the United States is to a scenario from 1930s Germany.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the actions of the American deep state to undermine elements of the Trump Administration seen as potentially threatening will certainly also undermine American democracy.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at reasons for the continuing gap in life outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a paper looking at the effect of Huey Long’s populism on Louisiana’s economy, noting that he had little effect on the markets. This suggests that counting on the markets to reign in populists before the crash may be a mistake.
  • Strange Maps links to a map and history of the Gagauz of Moldova.
  • Torontoist looks at the continuing decline of live music venues in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes the origins of Der Spiegel‘s cover art showing Trump with the severed head of lady liberty in a Cuban exile’s work.
  • Window on Eurasia notes differences between how Russians and Americans think about ethnicity and citizenship in their diverse societies.

[LINK] On Canadian and American science and government repression

leave a comment »

CBC News’ Nicole Mortillaro reports on how American scientists are facing communications restictions similar to those imposed on Canadians during the Harper government.

Under former prime minister Stephen Harper, the federal government made it progressively more difficult for Canadian government scientists to communicate their findings to the public.

Efforts by journalists to communicate directly with scientists to obtain information about something as benign as “rock snot” ran into roadblocks. Funding was cut to various scientific agencies, including Environment Canada, and thousands of scientists were laid off.

The scientists’ counterparts in the United States quickly rallied to their defence. Op-eds were penned in major scientific publications lamenting the lack of independence for Canada’s science community. Petitions were signed.

Today, it’s the Canadian government scientists — now free to speak directly to the press without pre-approval by intermediaries after changes implemented by the Trudeau government — battling on behalf of American scientists.

Just days after Donald Trump became president of the United States, alarms were raised after it was revealed that he had emailed several government departments advising them to refrain from posting anything to social media.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 14, 2017 at 6:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

leave a comment »

  • blogTO reports on the history of Toronto’s Wellington Street.
  • Dangerous Minds introduces me to the grim American gothic that is Wisconsin Death Trip. What happened to Black River Falls in the 1890s?
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to hypotheses about KIC 8462852, one suggesting KIC 8462852 has four exoplanets, another talking about a planet’s disintegration.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper modeling the mantles of icy moons.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at small city NIMBYism in the Oregon city of Eugene.
  • The LRB Blog reports on toxically racist misogyny directed towards Labour’s Diane Abbott by Tory minister David Davis, “misogynoir” as it is called.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reports on the elections in Indonesia, a country increasingly important to Australia.
  • Peter Rukavina describes how the builders of his various indie phones, promising in their own rights, keep dropping them.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is optimistic that NAFTA will survive mostly as is.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy examines the ruling against Trump’s immigration order on the grounds that its planners explicitly designed it as an anti-Muslim ban.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the treaty-based federalism of Tatarstan within Russia is increasingly unpopular with many wanting a more centralized country.