Monthly Archives: October 2015

F&O this week: Daylight Savings; Spectre; oil; China’s children

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World:

America’s Lying Season. By Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

It’s the lying season in American politics.  What’s different is our willingness to accept these lies.

Village children collect firewood for cooking fuel, Tianlin County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. Photo by Nick Hogarth for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). CC

Axing China’s one-child rule unlikely to change population. By Stuart Gietel-Basten

China’s policy change will have little impact on population.

Washington, courts defy Beijing imperialism. By Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

Beijing has been dealt significant set-backs to its  campaign of imperial expansionism.

Global oil industry slipping into the red. By Ron Bousso, Karolin Schaps and Anna Driver

The oil sector is slipping into the red; top companies have cut spending, made thousands of job cuts and scrapped projects.

North Korea’s black market the new normal. By James Pearson and Damir Sagolj

"Soldier-builders" carry things in central Pyongyang October 8, 2015. Picture taken October 8, 2015. To match Insight NORTHKOREA-CHANGE/ REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

“Soldier-builders” carry things in central Pyongyang October 8, 2015. Picture taken October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

The underground market is becoming the new normal in isolated North Korea.

Arts:

Spectre: James Bond in an age of cybersecurity. By Joseph Oldham, Arts

Spectre, the fourth Craig Bond, Spectre, takes us unambiguously into a world that we all recognise.

A Satirist Wanting to Be Taken Seriously: Nancy White. By Brian Brennan, Brief Encounters column

At her most prolific, Nancy White was writing three to five topical satire songs a week and performing –nobody could maintain that pace indefinitely.

Reports:

Daylight savings linked to injuries, heart attacks. By David A. Ellis, Report

More than 1.5 billion people worldwide are exposed to Daylight Savings Time risks, from heart attacks and injuries to mood and productivity changes.

Worldwide daylight savings time. Blue means DST is used, orange that it was formerly used, and red that it has never been used. Paul Eggert/wikimedia, CC BY-SA

Worldwide daylight savings time. Blue means DST is used, orange that it was formerly used, and red that it has never been used. Paul Eggert/wikimedia, CC BY-SA

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Facts and Opinions, a boutique of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders, is independent, non-partisan and employee-owned. F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. You are welcome to try one story at no charge. If you value our work, please support us, with at least .27 per story. Click here for details.  Real journalism has value. Thank you for your support. Please tell others about us, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope Tagged , , , , , , , |

F&O this week: big world, country politics, and arts

Welcome to Facts and Opinions. Enjoy one story at no charge. If you value our work, please chip in at least .27 per story or $1 for a day site pass, using the “donate” button below. Click here for details. Real journalism — no spam, no ads — has value. Thanks for your support.

BREAKING news updateHurricane Patricia spares cities, roars through rural Mexico. By Reuters reporters and photographers

Hurricane Patricia caused less damage than feared on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Saturday, but little was known about an isolated part of the shoreline dotted with luxury villas and fishing villages, where the storm and its 165 mph (266 kph) winds landed.

Big World, Small Planet: excerpt. By  Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum

Big World, Small Planet is a book both alarming and hopeful, a work of science and art that arrives as world leaders prepare — at last? — to address climate change at the summit in Paris. “We need a new way of thinking about our relationship with nature, and how reconnecting with the planet can open up new avenues to world prosperity,” state authors Johan Rockström and Mattias Klum.

The evil of Benjamin Netanyahu, by Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued racist and potentially internationally criminal actions have made things so bad in Israel, one really has to question how long the country can survive with him as its leader.

‘There’s Something Happening Here …, by Jim McNiven, Thoughtlines column

Forty-seven years ago in the United States, the Democrats found themselves going into their Presidential nomination process rather at sea. Does this sound familiar? Does it look like a mirror image of today? Today it is the Republicans who are in disarray. And it all has to do with the boomers.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is accompanied by his mother Margaret Trudeau (L) and his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and sons Hadrien (foreground) and Xavier (R) as he watches results at his election night headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Justin Trudeau’s speech to his kids, by Penney Kome

Canada’s newly-elected prime minister got Penney Kome thinking about George Lakoff’s research on differences between the “conservative” view and the assumption of “progressives” that “the world is basically good and can be made better.”

Justin Trudeau inherits an international freeloader, Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs

In many ways, Justin Trudeau and Canada’s newly-elected Liberal government are fortunate coming to office at this time when the whole associated field of Canada’s foreign, defence, trade and development aid policy is a wasteland.

Pierre E. Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien, and Lester Pearson. Photo: Library and Archives of Canada via Wikipedia

Pierre E. Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien, and Lester Pearson. Photo: Library and Archives of Canada via Wikipedia

Fishing subsidies are emptying oceans. By Rashid Sumaila

Fish numbers are rapidly dwindling globally, and fishery subsidies are one of the key drivers behind this decline. In 2009, these subsidies totalled about US$35 billion, creating incentives for fishers around the world to increase their catch. But this short-term “race to fish” is jeopardising the long-term environmental, social, and economic security that fisheries offer us all.

The Remaking of Fleetwood Mac: Bob Welch. By Brian Brennan, Brief Encounters (paywall)

Like Stuart Sutcliffe of the early Beatles and Ian Stewart of the early Rolling Stones, Bob Welch was an early member of Fleetwood Mac who left before the band hit the big time … But more than just being an early member of the group, I discovered, Welch was also a significant figure in the artistic evolution of Fleetwood Mac.

11745830_557363954402243_1920631379308902148_nSicario: a movie that haunts. By Sebastian Rosella, ProPublica

I saw the movie “Sicario” the other day. And it reminded me why the border still haunts me. “Sicario” is an important contribution to a cinematic genre that examines the dark realities of the U.S.-Mexico border. The film centers on an FBI agent in Arizona who joins a shadowy, CIA-led task force pursuing a Mexican drug lord. She becomes alarmed by secretive, brutal methods that leave a trail of corpses. She discovers that the unit’s mysterious Colombian “consultant” is an assassin (sicario) unleashed by the U.S. government on the cartels.

 

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders.  Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Welcome! Try one story at no charge. If you value our work, please chip in at least .27 per story or $1 for a day site pass, using the “donate” button below. Click here for details.  Real journalism has value. Thank you for your support. Please tell others about us, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.

F&O’s CONTENTS page is updated each Saturday. Sign up for emailed announcements of new work on our free FRONTLINES blog; find evidence-based reporting in Reports; commentary, analysis and creative non-fiction in OPINION-FEATURES; and image galleries in PHOTO-ESSAYS. If you value journalism please support F&O, and tell others about us.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Political change sweeps Canada

Breaking: TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper will resign as leader of the Conservative party following its crushing defeat to the Liberals in Monday’s election, the Conservatives said in a statement.

The party will appoint an interim leader through a leadership selection process, it said. Harper has been prime minister for almost a decade. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Alan Crosby)

UPDATED: F&O’s line up of Canadian election stories: 

Justin Trudeau inherits an international freeloader, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs

In many ways, Justin Trudeau and Canada’s newly-elected Liberal government are fortunate coming to office at this time when the whole associated field of Canada’s foreign, defence, trade and development aid policy is a wasteland.

Justin Trudeau’s speech to his kids, by Penney Kome, F&O

Canada’s newly-elected prime minister got Penney Kome thinking about George Lakoff’s research on differences between the “conservative” view and the assumption of “progressives” that “the world is basically good and can be made better.”

Justin Trudeau poses before he spars at the Paul Brown Boxfit boxing gym in Toronto, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Justin Trudeau poses before he spars at the Paul Brown Boxfit boxing gym in Toronto, August 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Trudeau topples Harper in stunning Canadian election, Reuters

Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau rode a late campaign surge to a stunning election victory on Monday, toppling Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with a promise of change and returning a touch of glamour, youth and charisma to Ottawa.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: vows change, hope as Canada PM. By Leah Schnurr

Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is moving back to the house where he grew up. He was born to great publicity on Christmas Day 1971 and stayed in the limelight until his father left office in 1984. He returned to prominence with a moving eulogy at his father’s 2000 funeral. A former teacher and snowboard instructor, he was first elected as an MP in 2008, and led his Liberal party to victory in the Oct. 19 Canadian election.

The Canada We Hope For. By Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Crafting an ideal Canada—the Canada to which we aspire—lies in engaging muscularly with the past and the future. It means a thousand simple acts of service and a million tiny acts of heroism. It means acting at the community level: on our streets, in our neighbourhoods, and in our schools. It means refusing to accept the politics of fear. And then it means exporting the very best of Canada, that ideal and real Canada, to the rest of the world.

“Throw the bastards out.” Editorial by William Thorsell

Not in recent times have Canadian voters had an opportunity to “throw the bastards out” in the classic phrase. Elected officials generally leave office before such public urges get to them. Knowing when to leave is among the more elegant qualities of any CEO, but then Mr. Harper has never laid claim to elegance.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

Canadians are committing an act of insanity. On October 19 millions of Canadians are marching to the polls to repeat a time honoured tradition: throw the rascals out! The rascals in this particular situation happened to be the Conservative party who without a doubt deserve to be thrown out. But the more things change the more they stay the same.

Photo © Geoff Grenville 2015, used with permission

Photo © Geoff Grenville 2015, used with permission

Canada’s strategic, desperate, election: Anybody But Conservative. Deborah Jones, Free Range column

The shambles of Canada’s democracy, and paralysis in the face of existential economic, environmental and civil threats to the country I call home, drove me from being a lifelong, carefully non-participatory journalist observer of politics, into activism during this federal election.

When Democracy Becomes Controversial. By Stephen Collis, guest essay

Poet and professor Stephen Collis,  and biology professor Lynne Quarmby, were awarded the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on Oct. 13. Here is Stephen Collis’s acceptance speech: “Here’s perhaps a bit of controversy: we’re not living in a democracy. Not, at least, if we take seriously the idea that a democracy is a system of rights and freedoms enshrining the self-determination of a community’s constituents. As many thinkers are now pointing out, western democracies in fact function much more like oligarchies …”

Voting and Canadian values. By David Suzuki, guest essay

When my grandparents arrived from Japan in the early 1900s, Canada was far less tolerant than it is today. Women and minorities couldn’t vote, nor could Indigenous people who had lived here from time immemorial. In 1942, the government took away my Canadian-born family’s property and rights and sent us to an internment camp in the B.C. Interior simply because of our ancestry. Canada has come a long way in my lifetime.

Niqab: Radical feminism or female subjugation? By Christopher Majka, guest essay

Unexpectedly (or perhaps not) the wearing of the niqab has emerged as an issue in the Canadian federal election. Yes, that’s right — the Canadian federal election, not that of Pakistan or Yemen. And in the year 2015, not 1015. How is it that we are even having a discussion about how a very small minority of Muslim women in Canada dress in the context of determining the political future of Canada?

A barbaric cultural practice: using racism to earn votes, Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

There comes a moment when every country goes through a “dark night of the soul.”  Canada’s was evident this month, after some buffoon named Chris Alexander, apparently Canada’s immigration minister, said that if re-elected in the October 19 general election, the Conservative party would install a tip hotline, so people could inform on their neighbours practicing “barbaric cultural practices.”

Why it’s right not to vote in Canada. Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

There’s a brouhaha as Canada prepares for the upcoming federal election, over whether Canadians like me who live abroad should have the right to vote after being out of the country for a certain period of time. We should not. Even if I had the right to vote in election Canada I wouldn’t use it.

Spoken Word artist, poet and author Shane Koyczan has this to say about Canada’s state of politics:

John Oliver weighs in, breaking the Harper Government’s law against foreigners telling Canadians how to vote.  (Which is a joke in itself.)

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and we do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Focus on Canadian politics

Today Canadians head to the polls for Canada’s 42nd federal general election. The campaign, one of the longest in Canadian history, has been ugly and divisive. Canada’s three traditional parties, the incumbent Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats, are challenged not only by the Greens and, in the province of Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois –but this year also by large blocks of organized strategic voters, bent on electoral reform of Canada’s anti-democratic first-past-the-post system.

Following are essays and columns that, together, attempt to capture the national desire for change suggested by opinion polls after 9.5 years of Conservative rule. Tonight — following the only poll that matters in the end, at the voting booth — Canadians will find out if change prevailed.

Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary, Alberta, was awarded first place Feb. 3 in the 2014 World Mayor Prize

The Canada We Hope For. By Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Crafting an ideal Canada—the Canada to which we aspire—lies in engaging muscularly with the past and the future. It means a thousand simple acts of service and a million tiny acts of heroism. It means acting at the community level: on our streets, in our neighbourhoods, and in our schools. It means refusing to accept the politics of fear. And then it means exporting the very best of Canada, that ideal and real Canada, to the rest of the world.

“Throw the bastards out.” By William Thorsell

Not in recent times have Canadian voters had an opportunity to “throw the bastards out” in the classic phrase. Elected officials generally leave office before such public urges get to them. Knowing when to leave is among the more elegant qualities of any CEO, but then Mr. Harper has never laid claim to elegance.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

Canadians are committing an act of insanity. On October 19 millions of Canadians are marching to the polls to repeat a time honoured tradition: throw the rascals out! The rascals in this particular situation happened to be the Conservative party who without a doubt deserve to be thrown out. But the more things change the more they stay the same.

Photo © Geoff Grenville 2015, used with permission

Photo © Geoff Grenville 2015, used with permission

Canada’s strategic, desperate, election: Anybody But Conservative. Deborah Jones, Free Range column

The shambles of Canada’s democracy, and paralysis in the face of existential economic, environmental and civil threats to the country I call home, drove me from being a lifelong, carefully non-participatory journalist observer of politics, into activism during this federal election.

When Democracy Becomes Controversial. By Stephen Collis, guest essay

Stephen Collis: When Democracy is Controversial

Poet and professor Stephen Collis,  and biology professor Lynne Quarmby, were awarded the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on Oct. 13. Here is Stephen Collis’s acceptance speech: “Here’s perhaps a bit of controversy: we’re not living in a democracy. Not, at least, if we take seriously the idea that a democracy is a system of rights and freedoms enshrining the self-determination of a community’s constituents. As many thinkers are now pointing out, western democracies in fact function much more like oligarchies …”

Voting and Canadian values. By David Suzuki, guest essay

When my grandparents arrived from Japan in the early 1900s, Canada was far less tolerant than it is today. Women and minorities couldn’t vote, nor could Indigenous people who had lived here from time immemorial. In 1942, the government took away my Canadian-born family’s property and rights and sent us to an internment camp in the B.C. Interior simply because of our ancestry. Canada has come a long way in my lifetime.

A barbaric cultural practice: using racism to earn votes Rana Ossama/Flickr, Creative Commons

A barbaric cultural practice: using racism to earn votes
Rana Ossama/Flickr, Creative Commons

Niqab: Radical feminism or female subjugation? By Christopher Majka, guest essay

Unexpectedly (or perhaps not) the wearing of the niqab has emerged as an issue in the Canadian federal election. Yes, that’s right — the Canadian federal election, not that of Pakistan or Yemen. And in the year 2015, not 1015. How is it that we are even having a discussion about how a very small minority of Muslim women in Canada dress in the context of determining the political future of Canada?

A barbaric cultural practice: using racism to earn votes, Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

There comes a moment when every country goes through a “dark night of the soul.”  Canada’s was evident this month, after some buffoon named Chris Alexander, apparently Canada’s immigration minister, said that if re-elected in the October 19 general election, the Conservative party would install a tip hotline, so people could inform on their neighbours practicing “barbaric cultural practices.”

Why it’s right not to vote in Canada. Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

There’s a brouhaha as Canada prepares for the upcoming federal election, over whether Canadians like me who live abroad should have the right to vote after being out of the country for a certain period of time. We should not. Even if I had the right to vote in election Canada I wouldn’t use it.

Spoken Word artist, poet and author Shane Koyczan has this to say about Canada’s state of politics:

John Oliver weighs in, breaking the Harper Government’s law against foreigners telling Canadians how to vote.  (Which is a joke in itself.)

Update:  William Thorsell’s editorial and the John Oliver video were included after this blog was originally posted

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and we do not solicit donations from partisan organizations. Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Facts, and Opinions, this week

In the first of two Frontlines posts this weekend, F&O offers our weekly lineup of eclectic reads and stunning images for your weekend pleasure. Watch for our Focus on Canadian politics, prior to the federal election Monday Oct. 19.

© Michael AW, courtesy of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, London.

A whale of a mouthful, by Michael Aw, Australia: a Bryde’s whale rips through a swirling ball of sardines, gulping a huge mouthful in a single pass. As it expels hundreds of litres of seawater from its mouth, the fish are retained by plates of baleen hanging down from its palate; they are then pushed into its stomach to be digested alive. © Click here for more information and our full Photo-essay of winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, London.

© Don Gutoski

© Don Gutoski 2015

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Natural History Museum, London

Canadian photographer Don Gutoski won Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 in the annual competition by London’s Natural History Museum.  His image, Tale of two foxes in subarctic Cape Churchill, Canada, portrays a red fox devouring a white Arctic fox, which it has just killed.

China faces crippling water shortages and pollution, by Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs columnist

China’s drive for wealth and power is stumbling and could collapse over the country’s lack of water and its gross mismanagement of the resources it does have.

"Factory in China at Yangtze River" by High Contrast - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 de via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Factory_in_China_at_Yangtze_River.JPG#/media/File:Factory_in_China_at_Yangtze_River.JPG

Your Smart Home Knows a Lot About You. By Lauren Kirchner, Reports

As the trend toward networked “smart homes” and “connected cars” continues, security precautions are more important than ever. But customers may not always be aware of just how much information their devices are collecting about them in the first place.

 

Sister Rachel Denton views the sunset from a vantage point near St Cuthbert's Hermitage in Lincolnshire, north east Britain September 25, 2015. Denton, a Catholic hermit, rises early to tend to her vegetable garden, feed her cats and pray. But the former Carmelite nun, who in 2006 pledged to live the rest of her life in solitude, has another chore - to update her Twitter account and check Facebook. "The myth you often face as a hermit is that you should have a beard and live in a cave. None of which is me," says the ex-teacher. For the modern-day hermit, she says social media is vital: "tweets are rare, but precious," she writes on her Twitter profile. The internet also allows Denton to shop online and communicate with friends. "I am a hermit but I am also human." A diagnosis of cancer earlier this year reaffirmed Denton's wish to carry on a life of solitude, prayer and contemplation. REUTERS/Neil Hall

REUTERS/Neil Hall

SISTER RACHEL DENTON: Out of the Cave and Onto Facebook. By Neil Hall and Angus Berwick

MARKET RASEN, England — Like any good hermit Rachel Denton rises early in the morning to tend to her vegetable garden, feed her chickens, and pray. But the former British nun, who has pledged to live the rest of her life in solitude, has another routine that sets her apart from her society-shunning brethren – she has to update her Twitter account and check Facebook.

Adios, Buena Vista Social Club. By Rod Mickleburgh, Arts

It was a magical night, mixed with a heavy dose of poignancy, as the vaunted Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club made its final appearance win Vancouver, Canada. There will be no more tours. Many of the aging Cuban music stars we got to know and love from Ry Cooder’s venture to Havana in the 1990’s are no longer with us.

Getting Back to his Country Roots: Kenny Rogers, a Brief Encounter column by Brian Brennan (*subscription required)

Kenny Rogers was having a musical-identity crisis at age 39 when I spoke with him in 1977 before a club gig in Calgary. At that point his beard was already turning salt-and-pepper and the wrinkles were starting to show around his eyes. He was still wearing the Beatles suit of his rock years, not the cowboy clothes that later defined his look as a country-pop superstar.

Last but not least, F&O is pleased to announce that author Brian Brennan, one of our regular contributors to Arts, has published his 11th book. An introduction:

Rogues and Rebels: Unforgettable Characters from Canada’s West, documents the life stories of 32 larger-than-life Westerners – some infamous, some obscure – who threw away the rulebook, thumbed their noses at convention and let their detractors howl. They include such political leaders as Ralph Klein and Tommy Douglas, the suffragette Nellie McClung, who fought successfully to have women recognized as “persons” for the purpose of Canadian Senate appointments, and the mysterious cult leader Brother XII, who convinced thousands of wealthy Britons and Americans to follow him to a small island off the West Coast of Canada to await the coming Age of Aquarius.
For more details, visit Brennan’s website at www.brianbrennan.ca

Published by University of Regina Press, Rogues and Rebels is now available in bookstores throughout Canada and the United States, and  online from international retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We are ad-free and spam-free, and we do not solicit donations from partisan organizations.  Please visit our Subscribe page to chip in at least .27 for one story or $1 for a day site pass. Please tell others about us, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope Tagged , , , |

Thankfulness, Columbus, and our Fresh Sheet of works

(000730-GSL06.jpg) L'ANSE AUX MEADOWS, NEWFOUNDLAND. 27JUL00 -- NEWFOUNDLAND VIKING FESTIVAL -- Peter Adrian, of Sweden, pilots his viking ship, the Thor Viking, in the waters around the Norstead viking encampment near the L'anse aux Meadows National Historic Site which is the only proven Norse settlement in North America and the site of a festival marking 1000 years since the settlement was founded by the Viking Leif Ericsson. Photo by GREG LOCKE. --COPYRIGHT (C) 2000. ONE TIME USE ONLY. NO ELECTRONIC ARCHIVING PERMITTED. NO THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTION.

On Columbus Day, may we recommend from our archives, The Vikings are Coming.  L’ANSE AUX MEADOWS, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA — Peter Adrian, of Sweden, pilots his viking ship, the Thor Viking, in the waters around the Norstead viking encampment near the L’anse aux Meadows National Historic Site which is the only proven Norse settlement in North America and the site of a festival marking 1000 years since the settlement was founded by the Viking Leif Ericsson. Photo by GREG LOCKE. –COPYRIGHT (C) 2000.

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada, where F&O is based and where many of our readers reside. Canada’s thanksgiving has nothing of the glitz and commercialism of America’s famous festival a month later. Here it is, perhaps like Canada itself, more moderate, a celebration of feasts and gatherings, rooted in the northerly harvest season. This time Canada is also in the throes of an angry, divisive and lengthy campaign for the federal election on October 19. Most Canadians will feel far more thankful on October 20, when the pain of the election subsides.  Watch this week for F&O’s Focus on Canada’s election.

Today is also known as Columbus Day, commemorating the date Christopher Columbus arrived on American shores and changed the world, forever. Those who still “celebrate” Columbus Day now seem embarrassingly out of touch, oblivious to the horrors visited on the people living in the Americas after his arrival –and to the evidence that the conquerers caught syphilis** in the Americas and carried the disease back to ravage European societies. And while recognition is due to Columbus Day as a historic landmark, can we please junk the myth that Columbus “discovered” the Americas? Many other peoples sailed across that ocean blue, or trekked to it on land bridges, long before Columbus.  To mark the day, I re-read a tale I wrote about Vikings in 1991, to find that it remains remarkably fresh. You might like to take a look at it: The Vikings are Coming: A 1,000-year-old Viking journey revisited.

In case you missed these on our Contents page earlier, here are the latest works from F&O, including from Jonathan Manthorpe* — whom we warmly welcome back after a period of travel and an injury.

*Please note that our paywall has been replaced with password-protected pages for some of our original works. If you have donated to support us, or are a paying subscriber, and our note with the password did not make it through to you, please email me at djones AT factsandopinions.com and I’ll send it. Thank you for your support; F&O is an ad-free and spam-free zone reliant on you, our readers, to continue. 

 

Schweizer Armee Füs Gr 2, by Wikimedia Commons user TheBernFiles

Schweizer Armee Füs Gr 2, by Wikimedia Commons user TheBernFiles

America’s gun cult, Switzerland’s firearms culture, by Jonathan Manthorpe, Opinion (*password needed)

In the ranks of “barbaric cultural practices” the results of America’s firearms addiction are of the same order of magnitude as world wide of terrorism. Why do the Swiss not massacre each other at nearly the same rate?

Waiting for America’s next mass murder, by Tom Regan, Opinion

We Americans won’t have to wait long. He’s out there right now, with guns. We don’t know his name, or where it will happen….

Singer, Songwriter … Novelist: Sylvia Tyson , Brian Brennan’s Brief Encounters (*password needed)

Sylvia Tyson was learning how to be on her own when I met her …  “What’s past is prologue,” she liked to say, quoting a favourite line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Love Canal: Utopia to Dystopia, a Thoughtlines column by Jim McNiven

A case study in entrepreneurship, and environmental good intentions: In the late 1880s, a mysterious stranger, said to have come from the West, appeared in Niagara Falls and began to scout the opportunities there.

Homage to Mad Max, by Mario Anzuoni, Arts/Photo-essay

Being a product of the seventies, my first post-apocalyptic vision of earth was the 1979 film “Mad Max”. So I was intrigued about attending Wasteland Weekend, a festival inspired by that dystopian vision.

Playing the market: China’s small investors. A Reuters photo essay

Millions of mom-and-pop investors – from pensioners, to security guards, to students – dominate China’s stock markets.

New conversation needed for complex GMOs. By Maya Montenegro

Some GM crops could have some benefits. What I object to is a lack of complex evaluations of the technology, the overzealous selling of its benefits and the framing of cautionary skeptics as anti-science scaremongers.

Syria: new weaponry test bed. By David Stupples

Syria is the new test bed for electronic weapons, in which the US, Russia and Europe invest billions, with Asian countries, led by China, catching up.

What Tibetan Buddhists, Andean Paqos, teach about climate change. Brian Bienkowski

Glaciers have for decades supplied crucial water to mountain communities worldwide—but they also quench spiritual thirst.

Gaumukh Gangotri glacier in Nepal. Atarax42/Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Gaumukh Gangotri glacier in Nepal. Atarax42/Wikipedia, Creative Commons

 

Bird watcher Lech Jedral photographs birds at Tommy Thompson Park located on a man-made peninsula known as the Leslie Street Spit, in Toronto August 9, 2015. It was created over 60 years ago by the dumping of dredged sand, concrete chunks and earth fill, expanding what was once just a thin strip of land in the city's busy harbor. An unexpected urban oasis, the development brings marshes, lagoons and forests to the centre of Canada's largest city. REUTERS/Mark Blinch TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY PICTURE 15 OF 29 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "EARTHPRINTS: LESLIE STREET SPIT"SEARCH "LESLIE SPIT" FOR ALL IMAGES

Earthprints: Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit. Andrea Hopkins/Mark Blinch, Reuters

Like a rooftop garden in an overcrowded financial district, Toronto’s Leslie Street Spit is an unexpected urban oasis.

A barbaric cultural practice: using racism to earn votes, by Tom Regan

Canada entered “its dark night of the soul” this month, with a  Conservative party pledge for a snitch line to help people inform on their neighbour’s “barbaric cultural practices.”

In Arts:

The Brain-Injured Pop Star: Jimmie Rodgers, a Brief Encounter column by Brian Brennan (*password needed)

He had made his mark at age 24 when his first single, “Honeycomb,” sold a million copies in the United States. He quickly followed that with two more million-sellers, “Kisses Sweeter than Wine” and “Oh-Oh, I’m Falling in Love Again.”

*Please note that our paywall has been replaced with password-protected pages for some of our original works. If you have  donated to support us, or are a paying subscriber, and our note with the password did not make it through to you, please email me at djones AT factsandopinions.com and I’ll send it. Thank you for your support; F&O is an ad-free and spam-free zone reliant on you, our readers, to continue. 

**Wikipedia page for Syphilis

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Marg!, Princess Warrior joins the fray

Newfoundland writer, actress and comedian, Mary Walsh, finally chimed in on the Canadian election with her character, Marg! Princess Warrior, this week with her Marg Brings Change campaign. Made famous on This Hour has 22 Minutes, Marg has been smiting politicians with her foam sword for many years and her love for Stephen Harper is legendary.

“Don’t waste time turning in your neighbours on the barbaric Harper hotline; send some real ‘cents’ to Ottawa instead,” advises Princess Warrior Marg Delahunty.

“Prime Minister Harper didn’t want to save Syrian refugees, our right to privacy or democracy, but he did want to save the penny. Unfortunately, like the cent, Harper will take a while to get out of our system so let’s send a load of cents to Ottawa now — and on October 19.”

Joining the ever-increasing crowd of prominent Canadian musicians, writers, artists, scientists, social activists, unions, environmentalists and the millions of Canadians who want change this election, Marg urges Canadians to help her bring change to Harper.

“I’ll give Mr. Harper our two cents,” Marg promises Canadians. In a campaign launched today entitled, Marg Brings Change, the Princess Warrior has created a video calling for Canadians to click on the virtual cent on her website www.margbringschange.ca ; she vows to match every click and every share with a real cent. Later this month Marg will personally deliver everybody’s two cents to Mr. Harper.**

“And vote!” the Princess Warrior commands. “Vote anything but Conservative! Don’t make me come back and smite you!”

**All money will go to aiding Syrian refugees in Canada.

Watch the Video, Click the cent, Share widely and Help Marg bring your two cents to Ottawa!

Visit www.margbringschange.ca

or the Facebook page: Marg Brings Change
https://www.facebook.com/Marg-Brings-Change-1474903259506286/timeline/

Posted in All, Canadian Journalist, Current Affairs, Gyroscope Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |