If the World could vote

In Canada 88% of us so far would vote for Obama.
Have a look here and vote yourself!

It's an exciting time out here. We watch with a fascination and a little trepidation. How could the USA choose anyone but Obama. The world needs a strong, healthy and wise American President. Nothing fits the bill better than President Obama.

We're republicans and we're OK

We're republicans and we're OK,
We tell scary tales with our robocalls all day,
We love Sarah's high heels cause they're high and red
McCain takes red states and makes them blue, we're dead


Race Religion and Gay cards

Republicans deal from the bottom of the deck...

Look out here it comes. There is nothing more dangerous than a cornered Republican or one with all the levers of power.

The Race Card

In this new ad approved by John McCain, the republicans try to associate Obama with Muslims and dark skinned scary people. The ad is not truthful, takes little bits of information and then distorts it. That shouldn't surprise us right?

Desperate Republican ad...

The Gay Card...

Next we have the Senator Kit Bond of Missouri warming up the crowd for Sarah Palin with this little bit of hate mongering ... "Just this past week, we saw what Barack Obama said about judges. He said, ‘I’m tired of these judges who want to follow what the Founding Fathers said and the Constitution. I want judges who have a heart, have an empathy for the teenage mom, the minority, the gay, the disabled. We want them to show empathy. We want them to show compassion.’”

The Religion Card

In North Carolina, Republican Senator Dole in a very tight race in that state with State Senator Kay Hagan, accuses Hagan of being beholden to atheists and suggests that Hagan would be very happy to support their (atheists) agenda. more here

Dealing from the bottom of the deck is all the republicans have left. It is looking very desperate for the McCain crowd.

Republican shenanigans again and again and ...

Republican shenanigans again and again and ...

We have heard the stories, we all remember 2000 when George W Bush became president due to several nasty tricks and 550 votes more than Gore were counted for him. (Remember not all votes were counted and all those hanging chads.) You may have heard of notices sent out into black neighbourhoods that announced voting for republicans was on one day and democrats vote the next day. These tactics led to suppressing the vote.

In Ohio in 2004, districts which voted Democrat had fewer voting machines and staffing forcing many people to wait up to 8 hours to vote. Many did not or could not wait and George W Bush won the election in Ohio by a slim margin. Don't get me going on voting machines and all the problems that were identified there as more problems are occurring there again.

Here is a handy list of Republican shenanigans again...

Republican Voter Suppression: A Guide

... New Mexico
The state GOP earlier this month held a press conference at which it released the names of 10 voters it said had voted fraudulently in a Democratic primary in June. After ACORN helped established that the voters, almost all Hispanic, were in fact legitimate, TPMmuckraker and others reported that GOP lawyer Pat Rogers apparently hired a private investigator, who intimidated some of the voters by going to their homes to question them about their voting status. Rogers, the P.I. and the state party are now being sued for voter intimidation by several voting-rights groups.

Read more about Indiana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Ohio, Montana, Wisconsin. Florida and Montana

study shows gays make less, lesbians more

study shows gays make less, lesbians more

There is a new study out on incomes for Gay and lesbian people in Canada. The new study found gay men make about 12 percent less than straight men and Lesbian women made a staggering 15 percent more than straight women.
Canadian Journal of Economics provides the first evidence on sexual orientation and economic outcomes in Canada. The study found that gay men have 12 percent lower personal incomes and lesbians have 15 percent higher personal incomes than heterosexual men and women. Christopher S. Carpenter of The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California Irvine used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey which includes standard demographic questions as well as self-reports on sexual orientation. - e! Science News
This is not rocket science. Most of us would guess that gay men work largely in service and helping professions and lesbian women are more likely to work in non-traditional roles than straight women. Educational levels are also something that has been known observationally.

It is good to see the data quantified. It would be useful to see why it is gay men are in jobs that pay less than jobs straight men have and why they pay less, and why lesbian women tend to go to more non traditional roles.


Daily Shame # 7 - Unchristian like attack by Dole

Unchristian like attack by Dole

Is there no shame among the republicans? I guess there isn't. We have seen what Bush and Rove did to win, now we see what McCain, Palin and now Dole will do to win.

Dole, republican Senator for North Carolina is in a tight fight with Democrat Hagan. Hagan was not supposed to do this well. North Carolina is the home of NASCAR and Jesse Helms. Its supposed to be deep dark red country.

After a less than stellar senate term, Dole who voted with President Bush 93% of the time, is referred to as the absent Senator. She is rarely seen in North Carolina. Hagan and the Democrats have seized on these issues and with Obama's long and broad coattails is tied in most polls with Dole.

This latest attack on the Democrat running against Dole is over the top. It suggests Hagan, an elder at First Presbyterian Church, will get rid of god. In North Carolina, its important to profess your faith and all candidates do this. Dole's ad suggests how well Hagen and Obama are doing in the tar heel state. I predict Hagan and Obama takes North Carolina due in part to the ad you can look at below.

In Greensboro this morning Kay Hagan stood with her minister and stated that her lawyers are preparing a cease-and-desist order demanding that Republican Dole stop airing the ad – if the Dole campaign doesn’t pull it in the next 24-hours.

Unchristian like attack by Dole on Hagan. Hardly lady like Ms Dole...

Yes on 8, I mean No on 8

This is a parody of, and response to, the video called "YES on Proposition 8 (Prop 8) your rights".

It takes the Yes on 8 commercial and substitutes "interracial marriage" to show the effect of discrimination:

Senator Dianne Feinstein says no to Prop 8

This powerful new Prop 8 ad featuring California Senator Dianne Feinstein will be on the air statewide tonight in California.

Senator Feinstein is a trusted and respected voice that will resonate with voters. She joins the chorus of leaders across California who are calling on voters to reject this unfair initiative. See Lez gets Real.

Vote No on Prop 8.

See whats really behind the Churches war with the gay community.

Write to Marry California

The Mormons, Catholics and the Evangelicals are pulling out all the stops to win Prop 8, a ballot measure that will see thousands of marriages invalidated and write discrimination into the state constitution.

The Christian church in North America has spent years raising money fighting gays. These churches were seeing declining membership when Jerry Falwell decided in the early 70's to declare war on homosexuals. With the help of celebrities like Anita Bryant, politicians like Jesse Helms, they ascribed every failing in America to the acceptance and or tolerance of gays.
“Having Governor Schwarzenegger on board since the beginning made it easier to get other people,” Republicans Against 8 campaign director Scott Schmidt. “San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, L.A. sheriff Lee Baca. ... Big government shouldn’t be telling people who they can marry.”
This was designed to bring people back to church, to fill the pews, to fill the coffers. It worked with local and state governments passing regressive laws prohibiting recognition of same-sex couples, health benefits, adoption, housing and employment rights, and more.

They formed an alliance with politicians through coercion, either you oppose all gay rights or we kick your ass out of office. These actions accompanied many other actions as well. The imposition of laws forbidding women from accessing abortion, common law couples received fewer benefits from the state than married couples, sex education was changed to abstinence only, often without discussing sex.

"Prop 8 is an unfair and unnecessary measure that would eliminate equal protections for same-sex couples and write discrimination into the California state Constitution," siad co-organizer Dana Rudolph, founder of LGBT-parenting blog Mombian. "As marriage equality spreads throughout the country, people in all states have a vested interest in making sure this hard-won right is protected."

These churches and the politicians beholden to them pressed for and got regressive criminal sentencing, more death penalties, longer sentences. The result was more crime, even higher numbers of Blacks and Hispanics in jail, higher poverty rates, fewer workers rights.

The other major effect the Churches have had is stopping a national health care plan that would see every American having health care. The Churches, their politicians, have formed an unholy alliance with profit making insurance companies and drug companies. Framed as socialist, health insurance remains very profitable and in many cases unaffordable. Even those with coverage, half of the personal bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills.
"In my lifetime, I've seen discrimination," said United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, "and I see it again in Proposition 8." Regardless of your position on marriage, she said, vote against the measure to vote against discrimination.
The fight to stop gay marriage is solely a religious one, made to support the coffers of churches. These institutions need fear to keep people in the pews and the donations coming in to fight these fears. Ironically, the church needs gays to keep fighting in order to keep the fears going.
Republicans against Prop 8

The yes side of Prop 8 in California is throwing every imaginable falsehood into the fight. They are asserting schools will teach children about homosexuality, that churches would eventually be forced to marry gay couples and it goes on. The Mormon church has poured over 20 million dollars into the campaign, by far the most generous spender in this effort.

California is ground zero in the fight to stop gay marriage in America. If the churches lose this ballot measure, they will see other states go the same way. It will eventually see more and more states approve gay marriage. If they win, they have bought some breathing room.

In the end this is not a fight to protect America, but an effort to keep the churches full, the coffers overflowing and the right wing politicians in power. Keep that in mind if you are voting.


Quotes from all over

"...George W. Bush has spent tax dollars like Paris Hilton on a shopping binge -- even with a Republican Congress -- and that he's nationalizing banks faster than you can say "Hugo Chavez," but he still lauds the ideal of "limited government" and praises the "power of the free market." - Joshua Holland, AlterNet.

"At that time, the best thing was not to proclaim it," Stringfellow told ABCNews.com. "When it comes down to being a black man, oftentimes we are forced to make a decision, 'Is my community or family more important than my own well-being?' We choose to live in silence and play the role, living on the down low." - Roland Stringfellow is a former baptist minister explaining why he left town to come out of the closet

"When my loving parent walked me down the aisle last month and I legally married the woman I have shared my life with for almost 17 years, it didn't hurt your marriage or anyone else's. It didn't take away any church's tax-exempt status, and it didn't have any impact whatsoever on curriculum in California public schools. Instead, it gave me the same rights, protections and dignity enjoyed by straight folks. That's only fair." Lorri L. Jean is an attorney and chief executive of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center. LA Times, October 28, 2008

"It has tainted everything for me," Oldham said, choking up during a telephone interview. "I am afraid to go there and hear people say mean things about gay people. I am in mourning. I don't know how long I can last." - Carol Oldham can't face one more sermon against same-sex marriage. She can't tolerate the glares at the rainbow pin on her lapel. Oldham, a lifelong Mormon, is troubled by her church's zeal in supporting a California ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. She feels the church is bringing politics into her sanctuary. - Salt Lake Tribune, October 26, 2008

"Until we make laws that make it clear these attacks are not OK, the nation will continue to be scarred," says Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 19 states hate crime laws don't cover sexual orientation. USA Today on increase in hate crimes against gays

"I still love Canadians, but it's made me realize that fear and homophobia exist in Canada, just as in the US and other countries." Alex Sanchez, author of books on high school and coming out, on his trip to speak to students in New Brunswick. Xtra.ca


an abomination to God's word, says black preacher

"an abomination to God's word"

African American minister W. James Favorite rejects equating the struggle for gay rights with the civil rights movement.

105 years ago today that Sigmund Freud told the world homosexuals were not sick and they should not be treated as sick. It would take the American Psychiatric Association 70 years to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Culturally it still remains a sickness in the hearts and minds of the majority of people in most countries. Successes have been many compared to where we were yet so much more is needed to allow homosexuals to live full and happy lives. Most of Europe and Canada have passed laws that protect against discrimination as have many US States and cities. It remains a political football nevertheless. The old adage, that ones rights are only as good as the next election rings as true today than at anytime in our past.

As the United States approaches a watershed election, poised to erase one gigantic barrier in the fight for equality by electing a black President, gays are again suffering a backlash. Republicans and many Democrats have spoken in favour of ballot measures amending state constitutions to ban gay marriage.

The ballot measure in California would reverse a court decision that said it was discriminatory to ban gay marriage. To beat the courts, Californians are being asked to change the constitution. If successful, the amendment would forbid gay marriage.

The ballot measure is a ruse to get likely republican voters out to support the republican ticket. The measures are designed to play to peoples fears. It worked for George W Bush and it may hold a couple of states for McCain. McCain can still win the election if they motivate enough people, scare them with the 'homosexual agenda' or the prospect of having a black President.

The Obama campaign is riding high. Obama is leading among, urban, women, youth and college educated voters. Yet none of these groups come close to his overwhelming support in the Black and gay communities of America. He is expected to rack up 80 percent or more of all black votes in this election. Democrats are use to receiving the support of black voters, yet they have never seen such lopsided support from any community before with the exception of gays.

Obama's success is exciting for all of us looking for equality and hope, yet there likely will be some unintended consequences for gays in Florida. Florida's ballot measure to prevent gay marriage is also supported by a very large number of blacks in that state. In the tight race for President, republicans are getting the evangelical vote out because of the ballot measure. Democrats are getting the vote out for Obama. The unintended consequence for the Democratic ticket in getting the black vote out, may be the success of a constitutional amendment that discriminates against gays and unmarried straight couples.

African-American Beulah Baptist Institutional Church in Tampa views gay marriage as "an abomination to God's word," minister W. James Favorite told USA Today. He rejects equating the struggle for gay rights with the civil rights movement.

The vote to bar gay marriage requires a 60 percent threshold to succeed. Right now polls say the measure has 55 to 59 % support. A record turnout among blacks and young voters backing Obama could cut both ways.

The St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald statewide poll found 48 percent of Democrats support the amendment and a whopping 69 percent of black voters. "Its promise lies in the fact that you are going to see an increase in turnout among African-American voters," Kellyanne Conway, president of the Polling Company told the St. Petersburg Times.

It would be a tragedy to see so many that have suffered so long in their pursuit of equality rejoice in Obama's success, only to see the rights of others eliminated as they celebrate. Obama is everyone's hope.

Read here of one persons "Welcome to the family experience" and Andrew Sullivan's Big Fat Straight Wedding.

recommend this post


Florida red and blue
Vote no on 2
Equality California
No on Prop 8


jesus and superman swap spit

Jesus and Superman get it on in Argentina...

Mauro Guzmán, représente l'artiste en Christ qui embrasse sur la bouche un superman en costume

Here is the best picture of a controversial art work I can find, being displayed in an art exhibition in Rosario, Argentina.

The Catholic Church is none too happy with this display. Fortunately the artist is living in 2008 outside the Vatican.

more here Superman embrasse le Christ: un scandale!

and here
Cristo y Superman

A Russian responds to Governor Palin

Mrs. Palin, I want to fly into your airspace.

Russian responds to Governor Sarah Palin and the Republican VP candidate...

h/t to scott


Toronto Jamestown

Jamestown is a little place not far from downtown. Thousands live here, Immigrants retirees, gays, trans, families, young and old, poor and those hanging onto middle class under the shadow of Toronto's pride...

It is mostly a friendly place, several playgrounds, a couple of schools, and tons of strollers making their way through dudes on cell phones making another sale.

Everyone seems to get along mostly. Then there was the shooting not 2 weeks ago...


God's plan video

Some people actually believe all this stuff. Check out this video, it spoofs the republicans but its a little too close to the truth. I was a little upset by the end of it. My stomach was in rough shape. It almost made me sick, especially as a gay person.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

McCain Palin Flashcards for God's Plan

Read warning before using Republican

Remember to read the label and listen to warnings. The Republican party has many side effects!

This is too good and too real.

check out this video

American election, warning label if using republican!

Opie Taylor for Obama and the Fonz too

In a video posted Thursday on http://www.Funnyordie.com, the actor-turned-director reprises his role on "The Andy Griffith Show" as a way to rally support for Barack Obama.

While speaking into the camera, Howard has his beard shaved, dons a youthful red wig and puts on the kind of outfit he would have only worn as Opie Taylor in the '60s.

"I've never done this before and I hope never to do it again, but I guess you could say I'm feeling pretty desperate these days," explains Howard. "So as a demonstration of my sincerity, this is for you America."

Then, in black-and-white, Howard sits down in the woods to talk to "Pa": Andy Griffith. Griffith advises Howard-as-Opie that he'll be able to vote someday, so long as he eludes the butterfly ballot.

That's not the only old TV show revisited by Howard, who years ago traded child stardom for directing movies like "A Beautiful Mind" and this fall's "Frost/Nixon."

Another wardrobe change prepares him to step back into "Happy Days," the beloved show that ran from 1974-1984 in which Howard played Richie Cunningham.

Standing in front of a vintage car and clad in a leather jacket is Henry Winkler, once again with the unmistakable coif - and greaser demeanor - of the Fonz. Winkler, still having some trouble with his pronunciation, tells Howard this election is everyone's chance to right a wr-wr-wrong.

Stepping back out of character, Howard says he, Griffith and Winkler returned to their television roots to urge support for Obama and "really think through this important election."

Ron Howard Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler.


Palin supporters seeing the bear as a symbol of Palin opponent

Palin supporters seeing the bear
as a
symbol of Palin opponent

It appears the bear cub killing may have been a very calculated act. There is a website in Alaska, the state where Sarah Palin reigns supreme. The site is called Grizzly Bay and they don't like Sarah Palin or the republicans. Since the announcement that Palin was the VP running mate for the republicans, the people running Grizzly Bay website have had over 600,000 hits, most of them Sarah Palin supporters. These republicans have some very scary things to say..

The similarity of tone and metaphor of the hate mails was uncanny. They were often infused with violent threats against bears and wildlife and often used the same violent metaphors. Threatening to “barbecue bears”, “eat bear steaks”, “shoot bears”, and “hang bears” up on their walls, Palin supporters were particularly virulent about describing the infliction of violence upon an animal that our website supports. It is not insignificant that the implication of these emails was that liberals and “demorats” should be barbecued right alongside the bears. As one Palin supporter wrote, “Too bad you dumb fucks can't be hunted from the air...now that would be sport”.

Since Palin has a pathological hatred of bears (and all wildlife), threatening to kill them became a common way for Palin supporters to express their support for her when writing to us – the authors of a website that comes up on the first page of a google search on “Sarah Palin”. We have gotten over 600,000 hits to our website in less than two months – which translates into lots of Palin supporters seeing the bear as a symbol of Palin opponents – or Obama supporters." - Grizzlybay.org

The killing of this bear is in fact a signal to others, don't mess with this election, don't vote for Obama. Its pretty clear that Palin supporters have identified the bear as a proxy "Democrat for Obama" voter.

What else could happen in the United States? This is much worse than I thought. I just hope we don't see any more bears killed in this fashion.

Bear sacrificed to send message

Bear sacrificed to send message...

Too bad bears don't have the right to bare arms...

A bear cub was shot and dumped at the entrance to Western Carolina University. The cub appeared to have been shot in the head and had two Obama posters stapled together and pulled over its head.

University police called in N.C. Wildlife Resources officials to remove the body and help in the investigation. Its bear hunting season in Western North Carolina. They found the bear at the roundabout near the Catamount statute about 7:45 a.m.. Tom Johnson, chief of university police reported the Citizen Times of Asheville. “...this is certainly unacceptable,” Johnson said. “Someone evidently was wanting to draw attention to the election. If we find out who they are, we'll make sure they'll get some attention themselves.”

Just how far are people willing to go during this election. This is a deplorable act and emblematic of the dire, no desperate state of the Republican campaign in the state of North Carolina. These people want to send a message, plain and simple.

Linn Beachem, owner of Beachem Carpet & Tile Care ion Arden has offered a $500 reward. (This) is not about the potential political message behind the incident. Instead, he is motivated by the act of someone killing and then dumping a bear on campus.

“I don’t want to make it about politics,” he said this morning. “It is just a despicable act.”

Beachem is hoping the $500 reward will spur others to offer even more reward money that might lead to an arrest in the case.

It doesn't take much to figure out what the message is. Thankfully this is 2008 and not 1968.

Carolina blogger had this too say...
'They may not want to speculate on the perpetrator of this atrocious and bizarre act, but we will. Was it a Sarah Palin-lovin,’ moose-hunter out to make a statement? Was it a racist taking out his Obama rage on an innocent black bear?'

And someone commenting on a wway3 television news channel had this to say ...
'... This is scary stuff. I'm afraid to put a sign in my yard after reading this morning about people having rocks thrown through windows and tire's slashed.. What is really scary is this is what we have been living with the whole time only now it is coming out because we have an African American running for President. How sad. !'

'Once again, my state continues to shock me. Is this a threat? Someone’s idea of a stupid, sick joke?' - Another Carolina blogger.

Daily Shame #6

Daily Shame #6

Republicans going for broke, which means gays in sites again...

Sarah Palin supports a Federal Marriage amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. That's not a huge surprise to me or to many of you. In Alaska she and most of Alaska passed a State constitutional amendment doing just that.

What is really interesting and galling is the language the right wing religious leadership use and Sarah Palin has it down.

Here is the text of her response to David Brody during an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network

Brody: On Constitutional marriage amendment , are, are you for something like that?

Palin: I am, in my own, state, I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that that's where we would go because I don't support gay marriage. I'm not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can't do, should and should not do, but I certainly can express my own opinion here and take actions that I believe would be best for traditional marriage and that's casting my votes and speaking up for traditional marriage that, that instrument that it's the foundation of our society is that strong family and that's based on that traditional definition of marriage, so I do support that.

"...I'm not going to be out there judging individuals, sitting in a seat of judgment telling what they can and can't do, should and should not do,..." When somebody is saying this you know they are judging. It a little like saying 'Obama's America is not our America'. The inference is clear.

On the good side of the issue ...I almost want to say thank god, but i will stick to thanks be to the universe for Biden's comments on proposition 8 in California. That effort to ban gay marriage in the State is funded by every holy roller and deep pocketed republican in the land. Its seen as a benchmark. If they can ban gay marriage in California, they can do it anywhere in America.

Biden said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show...

“that if he lived in California he would vote against a ballot measure that seeks to ban gay marriage. DeGeneres, who is gay and newly wed to actress Portia de Rossi, has urged Californians to reject Proposition 8. “I think it’s regressive. I think it’s unfair, and so I vote ‘no.’”

Check out No on 8


US Biblical gay hater on talk show

Not often are you going have me say, check out Western Standard's Shot gun Blog

Today if you are interested in the gay marriage debate, all but dead in Canada but very much in play in the USA, listen in with a discussion with conservative Christian broadcaster, Frank Turek as he makes his case against gay marriage and host Terrence Watson defends it. They have phone lines opening just after 5pm. Its always good to know what the other side of the issue is saying.

From Western Standard...

Frank is coming on to talk about the issue of gay marriage. He's against it. I'm for it. As far as I know, out of the three hosts of Political Animals (the others being Jay and Ben, at this time) I'm the only one who unabashedly supports gay marriage.

Frank is supposed to be a nice guy, so I'm sure we'll have a civil discussion -- more than what you'd get from most other talk radio shows, that's for sure. At the same time, I expect we'll get to some fundamental issues: to what extent, if any, may a government "legislate morality"? What impact will the legal recognition of gay marriage have on society more generally?

The libertarian response to gay marriage tends to be something like "The state shouldn't be involved in marriage, anyway." I accept that response, but think there's still more to be said. We'll see what Frank thinks at 5!

The show starts at 4 pm EST. You can tune in to Political Animals via live Internet feed here (click "Launch Player"). Please call in with questions and comments at 1-888-7WBGUFM.

Frank Turek actually went looking for Noah's Ark, and appears on the following shows, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Faith under Fire, Politically Incorrect, The Bible Answerman, and Focus on the Family.

Okay, so now you know, he's not on our side, I wonder what he has to say tonight, my guess is he doesn't like Obama, daycare or baby kittens!

For more on Frank the Kitten eater go to biblioblography

This is a blog with much to say about Frankie.

Daily Shame #5

Daily Shame #5

BC refuses to make new course compulsory or even an elective...
Homophobia - licensed to pursue in BC
First Quebec and now British Columbia gets in on the act (part way) and the religious right is up in arms on Pacific as they are on the St. Lawrence. The Ministry of Education is offering an elective course which school boards and can choose to offer or not. The BC minister of education has stated the course would not be compulsory as a similar one in Quebec is.

At issue is a course the ministry developed after they lost a human rights complaint. The resulting settlement agreement was that a course be created addressing diversity, respect and tolerance for BC school children. The course is called MAKING SPACE, GIVING VOICE.

The school system therefore strives to create and maintain conditions that foster success for all students and that promote fair and equitable treatment for all. These conditions include;
equitable access to and equitable participation in quality education for all students
school cultures that value and honour diversity and respond to the diverse social and cultural needs of the communities they serve
school cultures that promote understanding of others and respect for all
learning and working environments that are safe and welcoming, and free from discrimination, harassment and violence
decision-making processes that give a voice to all members of the school community
policies and practices that promote fair and equitable treatment for all.
(Diversity in BC Schools: A Framework, 2004, p.
Alas the BC government has not made the course mandatory as an offered elective. Each school district can choose to make it available or not. That's why this has hit the news. A BC couple, Murray and Peter Corren, have taken the School District in Abbotsford to the BC Human Rights tribunal for failing to offer the elective course even after 90 students have signed on to take it.
Murray Corren said... 
"We have waited long enough for the Board to reconsider its decision,
and now we feel the students are entitled to the learning opportunities
afforded by Social Justice 12, as opposed to the replacement watered-down
course offered by the Board. In fact, the students and their parents were
fully aware of the content of Social Justice 12 and were looking
forward to what it had to offer."
The National Post says... 'The Education Ministry, Social Justice 12 is not
a course on homosexuality, but one meant to "raise students' awareness of
social injustice, to enable them to analyze from a social justice perspective,
and to provide them with knowledge, skills and an ethical framework to
advocate for a socially just world."'

Class discussion varies from a range of topics affecting society's aggrieved, including homophobia, ageism, consumerism and even species-ism -- the mistreatment of animals.

The class is expected to discuss a wide range of issues. One of those that has the ire of the religious right, such as the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), is about those people that have sex with the same sex. You know who they are, all those fags, gays, queers, lesbos, trannies.

It seems CCRL have still not accepted the rights of all Canadians, just those that agree with them. I can hardly wait for us to get the public money out of the discriminatory Catholic school education system here in Ontario. That will take time I expect as the Premier of this province won't rock the boat at least not until after the next election.

The Shame here is largely however with the BC Minister of Education and the Gordon Campbell government. They have consistently shied away from moving forward on equality issues. In 2000, the then BC NDP government joined the court fight for marriage rights of same-sex couples. The Campbell government, soon after being sworn in withdrew their support of the effort.

The BC Govt could at least have some of the moxie displayed by the Quebec government. Ensuring this course, "Making Space, Giving Voice," was an available elective in BC schools is the least the Campbell Government could do. Their failure provides a license to promote homophobia as the unofficial official school policy.

Montreal Simon: Bullied Children and the Gay Bashers


Daily Shame #4

Democrat voters use fingernail only...

In West Virginia voters using a touch screen voting machine saw their vote for Obama flip to McCain. They did it again and the vote went to McCain. Several stories of people using these screens have come up over the last few days of early voting.

Retired factory worker Calvin Thomas of Ripley...

"When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor's office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. After I finished, my daughter voted. When she pushed Obama, it went to McCain. It happened to her the same way it happened to me."

When they complained about this the polling clerk asked if they were sure they touched the screen inside the box. The State's Secretary in charge of the election stated that they had problems before when they moved the touch screen voting machines from storage to early voting places.

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna. When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge "responded that everything was all right. It was just that the screen was sensitive and I was touching the screen too hard. She instructed me to use only my fingernail."

Even after she began using her fingernail, Matheney said, the problem persisted. When she tried to vote for candidates running for two open seats on the Supreme Court, the electronic machine canceled her second vote twice.

The question is that if this has been a problem before, why were the machines not re-calibrated before voting began. How many people voted for someone they did not want and missed it or just gave up? Voters also have the option in some areas of using an optical scan machine with a paper ballot. I know which one I would be using.

Even after all the problems that the elections that Bush won, why are they still unable to assure people that their vote is being counted, it will go to the person you have chosen. It brings into question the integrity of the American democracy. Perhaps bringing an end to partisan control and over-sight of elections could begin to restore faith.

All I can add is that I am pleased i have the paper ballot here in Canada. If I were an American voter, I think I might use the mail-in ballot. At least then there is a copy and I can see my vote is in the correct box...

...more here and here

The Rocket scores # 500

The Richard scores his 500th goal...

Fifty-one years ago today, Rocket Richard scored his 500th career goal. It was in a game at the Forum in Montreal against the Chicago Black Hawks. Richard was low in the slot when Jean Béliveau sent a pass out. Richard one timed it into the back of the net.
I live in Toronto today, though became a Montreal fan growing up on the west coast. I asked my Mother in 1967 which team in the Stanley Cup finals was from Canada. She said Montreal. I have been a Montreal fan ever since. I have mixed loyalties today, the Vancouver Canucks as hard as I try, remain number two for me. Don't even ask where Toronto is on my list.

Living 350 miles into the interior of BC, I drove to every Montreal game I could in Vancouver. In those days the legendary Babe Pratt used to be at the front doors of the Pacific Coliseum greeting as many fans as he could.

He saw me looking at my ticket, trying to figure out where my seat was. He reached out for my ticket, "What a lucky young man you are son, your seat is where Guy Lafluer starts his rushes up the ice!" He said it with such excitement, I knew I had the best seat in the house. It was not bad, in the Canadiens end, at ice level in the corner. I know there are many better seats than that one, but on that night none were better.

The mystic, the magic, the passion, the firewagon hockey, the class of Montreal have kept me cheering since 1967.

Montreal's 100th year ought to be fun!


Religious fast-food in quebec - Awesome

The Evangelical and right wing Christians
are not liking this...

In September 2008, a new ethics and religious culture program was implemented in elementary and secondary schools in Quebec. I doubt this course of study could have been started in many places in this world and it makes lots of sense to see it starting in Quebec.

Quebec has a long historical connection to the Catholic church and many wrongs have been committed in the name of the the "official" church. Just as we see many nations around the world based on a religion, Quebec was one of those places. The Catholic Church held sway for 100's of years until the 1960's and its influence started to fall away. Today Quebec stands as one of the most progressive provinces with respect to separation of state and religion.

The course will...
recognize different ways of viewing life, relationships with others, and the place and role of human beings in the world
reflect on values (freedom, equity, equality, justice, respect, integrity, etc.) and social prescriptions (laws, rules, regulations, etc.)
take a reflective position with respect to problem situations in which different values are at stake or choices have to be made
make choices based on the common good, get involved and act toward others autonomously and responsibly
It looks too me that it is a giant step forward in education. And because it is a giant step forward there are some getting exercised in a big way over it. This course is compulsory and children cannot be exempted. It replaces three options that had been available to Quebec students - a generic course in moral education or two other courses that were either Catholic or Protestant in nature.
A Catholic private boys' school in Montreal, Loyola High School, made a request to be exempted from the compulsory course, on the grounds that the course conflicted with the school's Catholic character. The Ministère de l’É ducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Michelle Courchesne, rejected their request. The school is indicating that they may take it to Court.

Another family is also taking a local school board and the Ministère de l’É ducation, du Loisir et du Sport to court. Sylvain Lamontagne, says he is concerned the course exposes his children to world religions at a very young age thus threatening their Christian faith, and will cause confusion and push his kids towards atheism. "It's religious fast-food. We can't do this to children. It will only confuse them," said Lamontagne. "Religion isn't a Chinese buffet. You can't just pick one and then another however you want."

Last year Jean Morse-Chevrier of the Association of Catholic Parents, told Lifesite News the course covers different world religions as if all are equal. The major religions focused on in the program are Christianity, Native Spirituality, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Atheism is also covered as a cultural expression. Instruction equating homosexuality with normal family life is to be presented as early as grade one. Under 'ethics' for grades 1-2 the course is intended "to bring children to explore the diversity of relationships of interdependence between members of different types of families."

There is a protest being planned for today in Montreal, the organizers are hoping for thousands of parents to attend. I suspect it will not be that large and secondly, I seriously doubt that they will be able to change the mind of the Ministère de l’É ducation, du Loisir et du Sport.

Some days you just have to love Quebec. I say right on Quebec, the sooner kids are exposed to the alternatives in this world, the less chance we have in seeing them brainwashed by their parents and Churches.

Daily Shame #3

Daily Shame #3

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister- Senate appointments

Harper has stated he wants to change the Senate. Harper wants to elect Senators and to place an eight year term limit. Harper stated he would introduce two bills to effect the change in the House of Commons. The bills then would have to be passed by the Senate.

Its really a hypothetical exercise as Harper will never get his bills passed in the House of Commons let alone the Liberal dominated Senate.

Harper went on to say he would start appointing Senators to ensure that the elected will of the House of Commons and the people of Canada is reflected in the Senate. Right now that is all talk. He wont get a reform bill on the senate through the house in the first place.

Alberta Senator Bert Brown, a Conservative, who was selected by Harper for appointment to the Senate after he was elected in a provincial election, has raised doubts about the legality of the proposed changes without the approval of the provinces. "... the Constitution calls for these types of measures to meet the approval of at least seven provinces with half the population of Canada." Quebec and Ontario are likely not going agree to such a change.

I'm no big fan of the Senate, lets get rid of it. Harper is just looking for an excuse to appoint Conservatives to the 16 vacancies. And he will do that. Harper went onto say...
"I do not believe it is justified that the Senate would continue to [be] dominated by a party that did not win two consecutive elections."
Harper has been elected twice, to what looks like very short terms. He was elected to minorities. This ought to imply that he does not have an over-whelming mandate.

One other Canadian Prime Minister used extraordinary powers to appoint eight additional Senators so as to pass the GST in the Senate. Brian Mulroney had no problem and Harper will have even less problem doing it. Harper could in fact appoint as many as 24 Senators. Imagine that Canada.

The Conservatives are attempting to paint themselves as the anointed ones by the Canadian voters. They received fewer votes than the last election and some 65% of Canadians voted for people other than Harper's Conservatives. That's hardly a mandate to do as you wish.

The last Parliament allowed Harper to do pretty much what he wanted it to do. The Liberals played ball with the Conservatives, either by not showing up for a vote or showing up and voting in favour of a bill, this they did 43 times. I wonder if they have learned their lesson.


Daily Shame #2

Daily Shame #2

Conservative MP, Dean Del Mastro

Normally one would leap stand up and applaud a Conservative candidate or MP for standing up for first nations treaty rights. At the first ever all candidates debate in the First Nations community of Curve Lake in the riding of Peterborough, Del Mastro running for re election stated he was concerned about First Nations treaty rights. In denouncing the Liberals doomed Green Shift Mastro according to the Peterborough Examiner, finding a reason First Nations members ought to vote for him,
"...the Liberal's Green Shift carbon tax plan would violate their treaty right to not pay taxes to the federal Crown by putting a tax on everything."
I haven't met a Conservative yet that wouldn't want to eliminate these treaty rights. It was a crass attempt to drive votes from possibly going to the Liberals to either the NDP or Green Party.

More about Del Mastro here


Daily Shame #1

Daily Shame #1

Wal-Mart begins our Daily Shame ...

Wal-Mart is closing a tire-and-lube garage in Gatineau where workers won a major victory last August when a Quebec arbitrator imposed a collective agreement on the company...

Wal-Mart is the biggest company in the world, according to the Fortune 500 rankings, and recorded nearly $13 billion US in profits in 2007 — yet its front-line employees make less than $20,000 US a year, on average.


h/t Just another willy loman

Gay writer uninvited to New Brusnwick schools

Young and alone...

Alex Sanchez was invited to speak to students about gay youth and their struggle to find acceptance after going through his own struggles as a teenager in high school.

Excerpt from Rainbow Boys ...

"...He'd read about the group for teens in his school newspaper the previous spring. He'd torn out the phone number and carried it in his wallet for weeks. Every so often he would unfold it, stare at the numbers, then fold it up again -- until one evening, when his parents and sister were out and he was home alone, he uncreased the scrap of paper and dialed the number.

A man answered: "Rainbow Youth Hot Line." Jason slammed the receiver back into its cradle and jumped up. He couldn't believe he was actually going through with this.

After a while, his breathing slowed and he called again. This time he stayed on the phone. The voice on the other end of the line was friendly and warm, not at all what he expected.

"Are you gay?" Jason asked, just to be sure. The man laughed. "Of course."

Charlotte County schools in New Brunswick decided against having a gay writer speak to high school students after a protest from a few parents.

His break out book was Rainbow Boys...
"An important, groundbreaking book, Rainbow Boys takes an honest look at gay teen life today. The characters are enormously appealing and the situations as contemporary as the evening news. This is a book that could change thinking--and could very well change lives." - James Howe, author of The Watcher

Principals from the local schools were not comfortable allowing him to address their students after hearing from some parents. There does not seem to have been a ground swell of parents protesting the planned talks with students at several high schools.

Jay Remer, a spokesperson for one of the sponsoring groups, the Charlotte County Rainbow Support Group, told CBC, "Sanchez is a terrific public speaker whose message is about tolerance..." Remer added, "Sanchez’s mission is 'to help the gay youth in the community to feel less isolated and more part of the community as a whole.'"

The school district superintendent, Keith Pierce said he changed his mind about allowing the author to speak in area schools after meeting with school principals. "A few of them were getting pressure from a few parents, and they just weren’t comfortable going in that direction," Pierce told CBC.

Lifesite news reported that the principal of Fundy High School in St. George, Lynn Farmakoulas stated...

"We made a decision that we couldn't take any more time away from the learning of students. That was the reason we decided not the have the speaker in."

It seems to me that this is learning, its about making schools safe for all and its about understanding and tolerance. That is part of learning. This is an issue that schools in many parts of Canada fail. They fail all of their students, not just those that are queer or questioning their sexuality.

It is stories like this one that tell me we are a long way from acceptance and understanding what queer youth face in school. It's not good enough to say you support queer youth if they still don't feel safe or unable to be who they are without being subject to ridicule or abuse.

Sanchez's two New Brunswick appearances are listed below...

Mon Oct 20 - 7pm
Wesley United Church
77 William Street
St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Tues Oct 21 - 7 pm
Mary Oland Theatre
New Brunswick Museum
John, New Brunswick

Charlotte County is located in the South Western corner of New Brunswick. You can contact the school district with this information:

Keith Pierce, Superintendent
School District 10 Main Office
11 School Street
St. Stephen, NB E3L 2N4
Phone: 506-466-7301
Fax: 506-466-7868
website: http://www.district10.nbed.nb.ca

recommend this post

Deficit looming

Parliament dysfunctional?
It was his control of our cheque book...

It looks like we are headed to a deficit next year and maybe even this year. Now we know why Harper decided to go to an election at this time. He was protecting himself. It wasn't Parliament that was dysfunctional, it was his control of our cheque book that mandated an election.

The Toronto Star is reporting a possible 10 billion dollar shortfall for 2009-10. That would be the first deficit since the mid 90's. Its a good thing we have re-elected Stephen again, because he is Conservative and they are the best at managing our finances, right?!!

We just spent an election where Harper and Dion were hell bent on beating each other to cut more taxes and layton was going to spend it all. In each case the Liberals and Conservatives said they would not run a deficit, but would go ahead with the tax cuts worth about 50 billion dolllars.

Layton said he would not run a deficit either. So all three said we won't go into the red. If the Conservatives go ahead with the promised tax cuts to business, where will the new income come from? Will it generate more revenue because of the good old trickle down trick? And if it doesn't trickle down what will Harper cut from spending to avoid a deficit?

The same question goes to Dion and or whoever the next Liberal leader is, what will you cut? I expect the Liberals might put on a slightly more progressive face on their cuts but it would not be pretty. Would the Liberals still go ahead with refunding the court challenges program? Would they still reinstate funding that was cut from HIV/AIDS funding, will they still implement fully the Kelowna accord?

And the NDP and Jack, would they still go ahead with a national pharmacare program, Childcare, and court challenges program and the Kelowna Accord if facing a deficit? What would they cut and would they cut some taxes for business or would they leave them where they are?

If you believe any of the leaders, they would do almost anything to avoid a deficit. That said, how the heck would they do it? We are facing a deficit, we are in the middle of an international financial crunch. Families are worried about being robbed of their pensions and savings.

We are in the potential hole at this time due to some decisions made by our current government. They have cut many sources of government revenue. The GST has been cut twice, eliminating 10 billion dollars annually. I can not estimate how much they have cut taxes in other areas readily as i write this.

The next few months will be critical because its important we avoid a deficit less we fall into the trap of doing so regularily. I can hardly wait to see the discussions and Parliament coming together as one to agree.

ok i admit, im feeling a lil silly right now...


Next Liberal leader?

Rae, Ignatieff, Dosanjh, McGinty, Kennedy, Smitherman, Keith Martin, Trudeau, Manley


One plank at a time

stop planning the implementation of the "New Jerusalem" on day one...

wins but miss big opportunity.

No doubt the NDP can be happy with the election, they should not however be too happy. In an election where the Liberals were on the ropes, where Quebec was snuggling up and beginning to say sweet nothings into your ear, you have to pounce.

First the NDP campaign did a much better job of than in past years. Layton managed to get through the whole election without snickering once when he said he was running for Prime Minister and the media only snickered a few times. Well done.

The NDP platform was almost good enough. Much of it held things that were important to people. Bank charges, mortgages, health care, child care etc worked well. Unfortunately the NDP fell back to the tired slamming of Corporations and banks. Its true most of us don't care for these folks but at the same time we recognise that we can't always be talking about making them pay.

The NDP stated they would end the proposed tax cuts for business. Its a lot of money, 50 billion dollars. Canadians understand that business can move away, that the world is becoming increasingly smaller. That means we need to be at least on the outer fringes of competitive taxation. The message may appeal to the NDP's core support but it is a red flag for many that like the other things we talk about but are concerned about the reality of business.

Harper has learned a lesson in politics. He is practising incrementalism. Something the NDP could and should look at or the chances of electoral success will be limited to victories like this one. We have a few more voices but never enough to change direction of the flow.

The NDP don't call for leaving NATO or nationalising the banks anymore because it a lost cause and not needed. We don't need to bash business or blame them for everything. We use to have policies that were good for small business, yet they never get discussed because we have allowed others, the media, the Liberals, the Conservatives to define us. They can do it because our leadership are quick to dice up corporations the minute a microphone is stuck under their nose.

We need to know who it is that will vote for us. Its low and middle income families, people that shop at Wal-mart, IKEA and Canadian Tire. Immigrants should be voting for us as well, yet we losing to the Conservatives. Rural Canadians should be voting for us but we are losing there to those same Conservatives. Quebecers should be voting for us, yet we look like old radicals to most of them.

When we stop planning the implementation of the "New Jerusalem" on day one of our election to government, we will be elected to government. One plank at a time comrades...

Dion humiliated publicly

The end was near before the infamous three strike tape made it to air. I'm not saying the tape did not hurt, heck I'm a veteran of the NDP in BC and I know first hand what the media can do.

The 98 pound weakling described to Canadians by the Conservatives for a year leading was never addressed by the Liberals in the first place. Dion was humiliated publicly every time he voted for a Harper budget or confidence motion. Dion did not have enough time to change it.

The Liberals showed they were not ready for the fight when it was called, they looked second class with the use of an old plane, that would not be ready for days into the election, which left Dion travelling on greyhound.

The decision to visit only friendly ridings in the first few days also spelled trouble. It was seen as stemming the lose of seats, rather than trying to win them. While Harper was in Quebec and Layton was in Calgary taking the fight to Harper's doorstep, the Liberals were pleading with their own to stay with them.

The Green Shift proved to be an anchor. It kept pulling Dion down. It was too easily ridiculed as a costly tax and too hard to justify. It does not matter that it may have been the best idea, you can't sell it too people if you can't explain it in a few sentences.

Dion spent too much time fighting the NDP. He had to take Layton on because the NDP were making inroads on his support. I am sure the Liberal internal tracking polls told them this. He fell back on telling the NDP supporters they need to support the Liberals to stop Harper. Layton and the NDP just had to point to the 43 votes that the Liberals voted to keep Harper in Government. This election most of the NDP support stayed home though my guess is the Liberals did get some of them.

Where to go from here. Dion has a few serious issues to deal with, I hope he has a small army of folks watching his back. His number one problem is the less than enthusiastic endorsements received last night and this morning from Bob Rae and Iggy. Add to that the election of Justin Trudeau and his leadership favourite, Gerard Kennedy and Dion has a pretty complicated chess board to play with.

The Liberals will need to decide in the next few weeks on keeping Dion or going to a leadership contest in the coming months. My suggestion is that they do it quick or not at all. But do it. Now that would be the kind of leadership Dion didn't show during the election.

Me, I will watch, tear them apart when I can and then work too see Jack Layton and the NDP move a little more to the centre, creeping onto that Liberal grass, and maybe start mowing it ourselves.