A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[URBAN NOTE] On the 35th anniversary of the Toronto bathhouse raids, “Toronto’s Stonewall”

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At NOW Toronto, James Dubro commemorates the 35th anniversary of the police raids which kick-started Canada’s gay rights movement.

It was Toronto’s Stonewall, a brutal police raid that brought the many divided elements of the gay community together on the streets to protest in large numbers for the first time.

On February 5, 1981, 150 Toronto police officers armed with crowbars, billy clubs and sledgehammers carried out violent raids on four gay bathhouses.

The cops roughed up and arrested 289 mostly gay men on prostitution and indecency charges or as “found-ins at a common bawdy house.” Twenty more, including owners and staff at the bathhouses, were charged with being “keepers of a common bawdy house.”

Except for the roundup of suspected dissidents during the imposition of the War Measures Act in Quebec in 1970, the raids were the largest police action to that point in Canada.

Operation Soap, the cops’ code name for the raids, inspired novelist Margaret Atwood to wonder, tongue-in-cheek, “What do the police have against cleanliness?” Indeed, the majority of city councillors wanted to know the same thing and ordered an independent review by Arnold Bruner on relations between the police and “the homosexual community.”

Outrage as well as fear of outings, firings and suicides of gay men caught up in the raids led to the largest gay rights demonstrations the country had ever seen.

On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the raids, questions still remain: Why did the police never apologize? Who gave the order?

No one knows, or, at least, no one is telling.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 5, 2016 at 8:39 pm

[ISL] “P.E.I. Supreme Court tosses out $25M e-gaming lawsuit against province”

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This CBC report leaves me baffled by the whole scandal. What, exactly, went on?

The Supreme Court of P.E.I. has tossed out a $25-million e-gaming lawsuit against the provincial government and two P.E.I. businessmen put forward by Capital Markets Technologies Inc. and 7645686 Canada Inc.

But the court also left an opportunity for the company to start over — something the company says it plans to do.

In his decision, Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell called the statement of claim filed by CMT “a long, rambling narrative replete with irrelevant and immaterial facts, evidence, opinion, argument and speculation.” He goes on to say the statement of claim constitutes an abuse of the processes of the court.

Campbell states in his written decision that he does “not consider the claim as written to be capable of being ‘fixed,'” however he grants the plaintiffs the opportunity “to start afresh and file a newly drafted statement of claim.”

Campbell also says, “If the plaintiffs are incapable of succinctly stating the material facts of their claim without reliance on inappropriate or improper pleadings, their claim should not be allowed to proceed.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 5, 2016 at 8:32 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly advises readers how to conduct interviews.
  • City of Brass’ Aziz Poonawalla thanks Obama for quoting his letter on Islam in America.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with The New Yorker‘s stance on Sanders.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the complexity of interactions between stellar winds and the magnetospheres of hot Jupiters.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that ex-gay torturers in the United States have gone to Israel.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the scale of the breakdown in Venezuela.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at changing patterns in higher education.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that carbon capture is difficult.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a preliminary printed map of Charlottetown transit routes.
  • Savage Minds notes the importance of infrastructure.
  • Strange Maps shares very early maps of Australia.
  • Torontoist notes an early freed slave couple in Toronto, the Blackburns.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the implications of global warming for Arctic countries.

[LINK] “Kathleen Wynne honoured at holy Sikh shrine despite same-sex marriage media controversy”

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The Toronto Star‘s Robert Benzie reports on a controversy that, thankfully, never happened. I do wonder what will end up happening in the future, with this and other culture clashes.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was honoured by Sikh leaders at the Golden Temple despite a media-fuelled controversy swirling around her visit to the holy shrine.

Wynne was warmly welcomed Sunday, receiving the “siropa” robe of honour at the Sikh faith’s most sacred site.

A large and aggressive throng of Indian news photographers accompanied the premier — here leading an Ontario trade delegation — as she toured the sprawling temple for two hours.

The second biggest story on the front page of Sunday’s Hindustan Times, one of India’s major newspapers, was about the “pro-gay” premier, who is travelling with her spouse, Jane Rounthwaite.

According to the Times, “the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee … would not welcome her with a ‘siropa’ … during her visit to the Golden Temple as she is a supporter of same-sex marriages.”

But Wynne was presented with the orange cotton robe in a private ceremony at the end of a tour that also saw her preparing chapati in the massive kitchen that serves 70,000 free meals to pilgrims every day.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 4, 2016 at 5:47 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “How Trump Bungled the Deal of a Lifetime”

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Bloomberg View’s Timothy L. O’Brien notes that, for all of his reputation as a deal-maker, Trump is actually bad. For proof, O’Brien offers Trump’s mishandling of a major deal in Manhattan.

Through Trump’s rise, fall and rebirth, there was one major real estate project that he tried to keep. The tale of what happened to that property should be of interest to anyone looking for insight into how Trump might perform as president. It was a deal of genuine magnitude and would have put him atop the New York real estate market. And he screwed it up.

The deal involved Manhattan’s West Side Yards, a sprawling, 77-acre tract abutting the Hudson River between 59th and 72nd Streets and at the time the largest privately owned undeveloped stretch of land in New York City. The Yards were a vestige of the Penn Central Transportation Company, a failed railroad enterprise that, in 1970, filed what was then the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. In the wake of that collapse, Trump leveraged his father’s ties to New York’s Democratic machine and local bankers to acquire pieces of Penn Central’s holdings, including the Yards, in the mid-1970s.

Unable to reach agreements with the city and community groups on how to develop the site, Trump let his option lapse in 1979. His Yards saga began in earnest in 1985, when he bought back the property from another developer for $115 million.

Trump’s plans for the property included office and residential space; a new broadcasting headquarters for NBC; a rocket-ship-shaped skyscraper that would have been the world’s tallest building and cast shadows across the Hudson River into New Jersey; and a $700 million property tax abatement from the city as an incentive to build it. The $4.5 billion project — which Trump called Television City — would have been New York’s biggest development since Rockefeller Center.

Like London’s Canary Wharf, begun a few years later, Television City promised to reshape a significant portion of a major urban center. “It’s an opportunity to build a city within the greatest city, and I don’t think anybody’s ever had that opportunity,” Trump said in an interview at the time.

What happened? Go read.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the earliest mentions of Proxima Centauri in science fiction.
  • D-Brief notes that early oceans could moderate chemical reactions that could lead to life.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that most super-Earths around red dwarfs may not be close enough to burn off their excess hydrogen/helium envelopes.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at the continuing Russian war in Syria.
  • Geocurrents notes, using the Philippines as an example, that sea can unite language communities more readily than otherwise.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is wondering why Bloomberg would run for president.
  • Torontoist enlists Steve Munro to see if John Tory’s new mass transit plan would work for Scarborough.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Melissa Click, an American university professor who called–on video!–for some muscle to chase away student journalists from a protest, has been charged with assault.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes that Russia’s economic troubles are, indirectly, promoting radical Islam in Central Asian countries dépendent on migrant workers.

[LINK] “Can the North Caucasus adapt to political change?”

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At Open Democracy, Denis Sokolov writes about the fragility of the current system in the North Caucasus in the context of Russia’s various issues. Things are set to break.

If 2015 was the year of purges of regional elites for the North Caucasus, 2016 will be the year of political innovation. And Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has been first off the starting blocks.

Kadyrov began the year by announcing a new political agenda — at a federal, not just regional level. In a joint statement with two other senior Chechen politicians, Kadyrov labelled Russia’s opposition and dissenters as “enemies of the people” and “traitors”.

The North Caucasus, and particularly Dagestan and Ingushetia in the region’s east, is bound to respond to these clear (and pretty scary) signals. Especially when you consider that the local political process is already moving in a dangerous direction. Both state and public institutions are in decline. They are short of money and no longer care where and how they get it. The law of ‘might is right’ is back, and it isn’t just Kadyrov’s dog Tarzan who is sharpening his fangs.

In the 1990s, when the Russian state was ‘on its knees’, the institutional specifics of the Caucasus came to the fore in the growth of ethnic nationalist movements, a rise in religious fervour and the emergence of Islamist parties.

In its most brutal moments, the national-liberation struggle descended into open war, while global Islam became the ideology behind the ‘village revolutions’ in rural Dagestan. At one point, two villages (Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi) declared themselves an ‘independent Islamic state’.

During the gloomy years of the 2000s and the first half of the 2010s, the infamous ‘power vertical’ was built in the North Caucasus, and with it, the emergence of a new political class. This new group came from former members of the FSB and other defence and law enforcement operatives.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 26, 2016 at 12:01 pm


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