Penney Kome: Over Easy

Feminists mourn Wendy Robbins

Feminists across Canada and abroad are mourning the sudden death of Professor Wendy Robbins, a Canadian sociologist who championed women in academia, health care, and activism.

Trump’s gurus taken off air

Alex Jones, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes inspired some of US President 45’s wildest claims

Americans turn Canadian about health care

U.S.  public opinion is forcing Republicans to think “expansion,” not “repeal,” of the Affordable Care Act.

Fukushima still in hell

Members of the IAEA fact-finding team in Japan visit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant May 27, 2011, to examine the devastation wrought by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Copyright: IAEA Imagebank, photo by Greg Webb IAEAhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/iaea_imagebank/5765318454/in/album-72157626815913418/

Six years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ruined four nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi, urgently needed clean up is still stalled. What affects one nation affects us all. The ongoing  tragedy cries out for the United Nations to step in, take charge, and direct all the world’s best minds and resources to containing the disaster and rescuing the people who live there.

Where have all the jobs gone?

We live in a time of paradoxes. Sixty-three million refugees are on the move globally, fleeing war and famine — famine in four countries simultaneously. At the same time, U.S. corporations are sitting on $1.9 trillion in their bank accounts, not invested in any active enterprises at all — despite the tax breaks they get as “job creators.” Everybody is waiting for the next innovation. Here’s an innovative idea: let’s share!

Media literacy in a post-fact age

Fake news is as old as the Internet. From the 1990s, I remember spam, scams, and ghost ship “rolling” petitions that sailed the white-font-on-black-background PINE and LYNX seas – almost as soon as the first E-list was compiled.

Pain. Artist: Harrygouvas, via Greek Wikipedia. Creative CommonsChronic pain fuels opioid epidemic

Of all the stories I’ve seen about the prescription opioid epidemic, only a few touch briefly and lightly on the major factor driving all the prescriptions — chronic pain — before they skip on to recommend better patient and physician education. In the U.S., having 40 per cent of the population in chronic pain is not a given, it’s a catastrophe.

The Canadian roots of the indigenous equality rights declaration

Article 44 of the 2001 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The wording closely echoes Section 28 of Canada’s 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.”

‘The killing has to stop:’ Canada’s missing women’s inquiry

“The killing has to stop,” said Nicole Robertson, naming the most urgent goal of Canada’s inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) at a panel discussion in Calgary.

America Reclaims Its Decency?

Decency and basic values as the central concerns in a U.S. election? No wonder the U.S. news media are confused. They’re used to talking about tax cuts and horse race comparisons.

US Democrats watch their language, as bilingualism grows

The current election shows that the U.S. is joining the rest of the world, becoming a place where it’s an advantage to know at least two languages.

Singing is the best revenge

After Orlando shooting friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club,in Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

REUTERS/Steve Nesius

Heightened security will greet a major Denver music festival, from  July 2 – 6. For a week, the U.S. city’s music venues will showcase 6000 singers in 130 groups.

What Muhammad Ali, conscientous-objector, taught me

As a young teen studying at the Illinois School of Ballet, I didn’t follow sports much, which is probably why I didn’t recognize the big man right away.  The top of my head came to his elbow. My dad was 6’2″, but this guy was really big. A block away, it hit me: I’d just crossed paths with champion boxer Muhammad Ali.

The despair and death of America’s middle-aged women

Americans are dying in their prime years, especially middle-aged white women. The rise of an entire population’s death rate shows the folly of America’s insistence that health care is a private matter and not a public responsibility.

Deepa Mehta, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director and producer whose work in film has attracted significant recognition, including the Governor General’s award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. Photo: Simon Fraser University

Deepa Mehta: pushing boundaries with Beeba Boys

All of Deepa Mehta’s major films have caused controversy, including the latest, Beeba Boys. Just released,  Beeba Boys (kind of a Sikh Sopranos) depicts the stylish, violent  world of  second- and third-generation Indian gang-bangers in metro Vancouver.  The topic is timely, but not one that the local South Asian communities particularly want aired.  Deepa Mehta is used to pushing people’s boundaries.

Disneyfied Star Wars an iconic kids’ flick

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: as the sun rises, the camera pans in on a droid rolling across barren dunes, burbling and tweeting to itself, on an errand to deliver a crucial message to the Resistance.  Spoiler alert: in some ways, The Force Awakens is a mirror image to the very first Star Wars movie, the 1977 space opera that was so fresh and inspiring that it became the only movie I’ve ever paid money to see in a theatre three times.

Depiction of mass bomber raid on Cologne, by The National Archives, UK. via Wikimedia Commons

Climate watch: the world cannot afford a war

War, the most costly and damaging human activity, is outside the scope of Paris climate talks. “If the war was ranked as a country in terms of emissions, it would emit more CO2 each year than 139 of the world’s nations do annually, more than 60 percent of all countries, said one report.

Unpacking the backpack of Christian privilege

So Starbucks has won 2015’s first “War On Christmas” prize, by offering seasonal red, green and white paper coffee cups that some evangelicals deem not Christmasy enough. And it’s only the beginning of November!

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

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.”

Nice Guys Don’t Go Looking

Big news! The Ashley Madison website lied, and 35 million men  fell for it. Married men who told themselves they were willing to risk everything for a quick guilt-free fling, now find out just how much they’ve risked. Two suicides might be linked to the hack! That’s dramatic. That bleeds, so that story leads. But there’s another story here too. Women avoided Ashley Madison like the plague. They not only spotted the duplicity, they rejected the premise.

Iran, nuclear waste, and Fukushima

Unfortunately, one thing that two years of US+5 negotiations with Iran did not achieve is to remove the most urgent nuclear threat to the world, The world still contends with every scrap of radioactive nuclear waste generated since Enrico Fermi’s first controlled chain reaction in 1942 – some 250,000 glowing toxic tons of used fuel alone.

On wanting to fit in and Rachel Dolezal

 I had no idea that braids had any social implications when I was in kindergarten. I just wanted to fit in. We moved and I transferred out of that school soon anyway. But I was wearing my hair in braids when the civil rights movement came along 10 years later, and indeed until I reached middle age. These memories re-surfaced when the bizarre Rachel Dolezal story broke.

Canada’s Famous Five would be proud

The swearing-in of new Alberta premier Rachel Motley was a family affair, in the capacious park that fronts the province’s legislature. Crowds roared as the first woman premier was sworn in, to lead the province where Emily Murphy and Nellie McClung fought for the vote a century ago.

Mature babes: Granny admirers more overt in the UK (Paywall)

Stepping up to the line to throw my three darts, I sank into my sideways stance and studied the score and the dartboard. From the corner of my eye, I saw an older man squirming appreciatively in his bentwood chair, his hand around a pint of bitters. He was giving me the eye. That hasn’t happened much since I let my hair go gray. I stood up and looked around, confused. Then I sank again, and not only did the first guy squirm, so did the fellow at the next table. I wondered if my husband was watching.

The Degree Bubble.

Convocation at the University of Alberta was a bittersweet occasion for at least one family. Yielding to parental pressure to attend the graduation ceremony, our son the graduate irreverently considered adding a bright duct tape debt message to his mortar board: $47K. That’s the accumulated debt from a basic part-time seven-year Bachelor of Arts, not the fees to earn a medical or law degree.

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Award-winning journalist and author Penney Kome has published six non-fiction books and hundreds of periodical articles and columns. ….Read more. 

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