10.26.2010

Forget Rob Ford for a couple minutes...

I think we all need a break from the Rob Ford election here in Toronto. Even those of you out there that don't know about the wild tax cutting guy we elected as our Mayor last night will appreciate this lovely and very romantic sign language message on youtube....



Now don't you feel better, I sure do!

10.25.2010

Save our net and your rights to stuff you buy...

How many of you are confused over copyright, intellectual property rights and the Internet.  As you may be aware there have been some regressive steps being taken by government and corporations to seize control over the Internet and its content.  The idea is to charge us all for its content, prevent us from even moving our music from a CD to a flash drive etc.  Don't even try to move your I-tunes from your desktop to your laptop or the reverse....

First the primer.  This is the best Copyright 101 I have ever come across.  Its long and in cartoon format.  It is very much worth the read.  Have a look here.

Next have a look at this petition. 

After years of searching, the SaveOurNet Coalition has found someone who could be an open Internet hero: the powerful *Wizard Clement!  But Clement seems reluctant to protect the Internet. SaveOurNet fears that he may be under the spell of the evil monopolies, or worse – he could just not care.

This Halloween we need a benevolent force to ensure Wizard Clement uses his powers for good. We need citizens across the land of Canada to join that force by sending a letter to Wizard Clement: 

*Wizard Clement - thats Tony folks, just in case you missed that part

Rob Smitherman or George Ford - Not for me Toronto

Today is election day in Ontario.  Municipalities across the province are voting.  In Toronto, we do have some great races and choices for councillors, we however it seems have come down to two front runners for the Mayor's chair.  The Mayor is really not all that powerful unless they also have 23 of 44 votes from council.  Without that they are in fact lame ducks.

The two front runners leave a great deal to be desired.  Both have checkered pasts.  Both are political bullies.  Both have lied about the state of our city.  They have gotten away with it because our current Mayor has failed to communicate the real situation well enough. 

The candidate running to be the progressive voice has not done well.  I can only hope he has a secret weapon today, alas I am not really expecting it to be there.  The race is between Rob Smitherman and George Ford.  They both promise to slash, cut taxes and "fix" Toronto. 

Toronto does not need fixing.   We have a great city that has made great progress over the last seven years. 

The Liberal bastions out there, the Liberal Party of Canada, has done what they generally do at election time.  Vote for us because that nasty right wing Tory will win if you don't.  The worst of it is the LPC folks don't even ask it in an apologetic manner.  It is like it is their born right to expect you and me to abandon our principals for this election. 

Quite frankly it is time to take a stand.  To say no to LPC blackmail.  I know the election is going to Rob Ford right now.  I also know that over 50% of George Smitherman's support right now is from people that just want to stop Rob Ford.  The LPC blackmail means we have many thousands of people in Toronto voting today for someone they don't believe in.  Imagine if they voted for someone they did believe in.

I will vote in the my interests, for who I think would be the best Mayor of Toronto.  It is neither Rob Ford nor George Smitherman. 

Vote for Joe today if you want a better Toronto down the road.  We will survive the likelihood of a Ford or Smitherman as Mayor for four years.  Especially if we act on our conscious today rather than allow ourselves to be blackmailed into something we like as little as the alternative.

10.22.2010

Panty Thefts missed - Fetishist label wrongly used.

“It’s very Silence of the Lambs, all this fuss about the cross-dressing. We’re somehow equating cross-dressing with rape even though there’s no direct relationship between a fetish that’s common to a lot of people and a criminal act." - Rosie DiManno Toronto Star
For some reason the police in Tweed and in Ottawa missed a disturbing number of break-ins in one area of Ottawa and in sleepy Tweed.  The break-ins involved the stealing of underwear that belonged to girls and women.  How did they miss the connections is a good question.  You might agree that connecting the Ottawa break-ins with Tweed would have been a stretch, but missing them within their own jurisdictions seems strange to me.

Did the Police look at these break-ins of underwear as a pranks, or minor because they did not involve something of significance like a big screen TV or a wallet full of cash?

What the person did in the break-ins was intimidate and humiliate the women and girls whose privacy and space he invaded.  He made these girls and women feel very vulnerable and I expect scared.  Some did not report the break-ins because they felt so humiliated.

The Fifth Estate has looked at the break-ins and have provided a map.  Here is the map...

Many of the break-ins happened to be in or near the nieghbourhood of Col Russell Williams.  Now at the time they wouldn't know it was Williams but they could have seen the close proximity of the break-ins and 1) watched the area, 2) warned the community and 3) maybe set up a sting.

The Fifth Estate created a similar map for Orleans.  Again, Russell Williams' home is spack dab in the middle of the break-ins.

You will find much more at The Fifth Estate on this aspect of the investigation.

Today Antonia Zerbisias also goes at this pointing out that established investigative work states that these break-ins are anything but petty.  They point police to someone who may well end up being a serial killer.  These are photos of page 53in the book:  Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers,

Antonia goes on to point out that the connection to the significance of the underwear theft break-ins was not made until The Chief of Police in Bellville started investigating the sexual assault and murder of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau.

What most of us should know by now is that this is not a case of a fetish taking over someone.  Here is part of a post I pointed many too in an earlier post on the differences beteen a Fetishist and a Predator...

A fetishist isn't generally interested in controlling a person; s/he is content to play with an object or collection of objects, and obtains sexual gratification that way. This activity usually doesn't escalate. 

A predator collects human victims as trophies, rendering them into objects to be controlled. When he grows tired of taking easy, inanimate trophies--stolen jewelry, underwear or other personal effects--he begins to entertain the notion of taking humans themselves as his trophies. He escalates his violations over time, in both frequency and intensity, as an addict will increase his dose of drugs when he becomes habituated.

Fetishists are rarely violent. Many are quite odd, but this is beside the point; their oddity generally harms no one. They tend to respect the dignity of others.
Predators are increasingly violent. Often they do not stand out as odd on first glance; their cultivated façade of normality IS the point. It enables them to escalate their crimes until they die or are caught, whichever comes first.

So, we can see that a fetishist ≠ a predator. If anything, they are diametrically opposed. - Sabina Becker - News of the Restless
 I would like to add its even disturbing that we would need to point this stuff out and I fear some will feel at liberty to continue to equate the Russell Williams horrific crimes as those of a fetishist gone mad.  If they do we will continue to see vulnerable people and women the subject of more gruesome crimes.  In Ontario a woman is raped every 17 minutes.  That's more than seventy in the course of a day.

We are safe from Russell Williams.  He will never be released.  Next time you hear about a woman's home being broken in, think about this case.

Election Graffiti - Toronto

Some graffiti is just too much...

Isn't there a 24 hour rule in this city to remove offensive stuff


courtesy Twitter user

Toronto progressives might settle for second best

The Smitherman campaign for Mayor of the best city in Canada is losing some traction. In recent debates Smitherman has lost his cool, ie shouting back at people in the audience during the debate on the John Tory show, telling AIDS activists he disagrees with them on harm reduction, in fact Smitherman has taken the same position as Stephen Harper. Harper and the Conservatives have tried to end the federal permit allowing the Vancouver Safer Injection site to operate.

At the LGBT debate in which Smitherman appeared to be making a guest appearance, (it lasted only 30 minutes because he scheduled an endorsement from Montreal MP Justin Trudeau for 8pm.) he called safer injection sites shooting galleries. For the former Minister of Health to suggest such a thing is reprehensible. That is the language you expect to hear from candidate for US Senate, Christine O'Donnell and Rob Ford or Vic Toews.

At the same debate Smitherman was asked about funding HIV/AIDS prevention programs at the city. Smitherman said he would protect the funding envelope but refused to say if the funding envelope would be smaller. Pantalone suggested that neither Ford nor Smitherman could promise to protect much of anything in public services when you take into account their promises to cut and freeze taxes and eliminate some taxes all together. Pantalone went on to say he would at the very least increase funding by the rate of inflation.

It seemed to be that Smitherman had decided he did not want a debate on queer issues if Rob Ford was not there. Again, he was "forced" to be there or he would have been confirmed as a hypocrite. With Ford there, Smitherman could point to Ford's homophobic politics hiding the shallow politics of his own.

The other problem for Smitherman at the queer debate was Pantalone's record. He has been there for the queer communities from the beginning. He has supported our issues at city council and has called on the Ontario government to add to Toronto's efforts. Imagine the nightmare for Smitherman, in his own neighbourhood facing a straight man who has quietly done as much or more for our queer communities. No wonder Smitherman dashed off to pay homage to Canada's political royal family.

And as the Toronto Star pointed out recently, one half of Smitherman's support comes from people who are voting for him because they don't want Rob Ford. Hardly a ringing endorsement. I know some who have done this in early voting and more that will do so on October 25, hold their nose and vote for Smiatherman.

I won't be holding my nose, I won't be happy with the election for Mayor outcome. I will however feel good about my vote. I know I and thousands of others will have our job cut out for us trying to save what we can from the budget slashing to come.

10.21.2010

Russell Williams was a Predator - He killed, it wasn't the underwear

Elizabeth Pickett at Rabble writes about the media's attempt to cover the Russell Williams trial. The lurid fixation toward wearing women's underwear means they are largely ignoring Williams sexual desire in having power over these girls and women.

I have noted in recent days that Williams may have had a fetish for women's undergarments, it was not this interest that made him break into the homes of girls and women, to sexually assault them and finally to murder two of them. Read Elizabeth Pickett's article for a well written assessment of the media's failure...

Wearing women's underwear doesn't lead to raping and murdering women. Predatory behaviour leads to rape and murder. The desire for power and control over women leads to predatory behaviour.

To break into the house, the bedroom, the dresser drawer of a girl or woman, try on her underwear and spend hours taking pictures of yourself wearing it while masturbating isn't a fetish, it's a violation of the personal space and the sexualized belongings of the girl or woman. It made Williams feel powerful and in control -- feelings he was clearly very fond of. To masturbate all over a woman's bedroom is a violation. To tie her up and take pictures of her while masturbating and taking pictures of yourself is a violation. To do the same and then kill her is a violation. This is escalating predatory behaviour in the service of power and control, not fetishism.

See more here:  The horrific Williams murders were about power not personal fetishes

Gordon Pinsent reads Justin Bieber's new memoirs.

Canadian Icon, Gordon Pinsent reads his favourite quotes from Justin Bieber's new memoirs. This is of course from Canada's premier news program, This Hour Has 22 Minutes.



I thought it was funny, and you know you have made it when you become the subject of satire.

10.20.2010

Media wrong on Col Russel Williams

The media coverage of the Russell Williams case is starting to piss me off big time. Media reports focus on his wearing of womens underwear. He did do that but that is not what made him break into some 70+ homes, sexually attack two women and murder two more. He was a predator. He broke into homes and stole underwear, sometimes he jacked off while in the homes he broke into.

It was always from a place of power. He wanted people he stole from to know he was there. In one case he left a note on a young girls computer saying "Merci". Thats saying to the person, "I can do whatever I want and you can't stop me."

Yesterday I pointed you to a blog that was raising concerns about this matter. The writer is right on. She noted the media language which was saying "Williams fetish escalated" missed what was really happening. It was not a fetish that escalated. It was his behaviour. I know a few guys (mostly straight guys by the way) that wear womens underwear, they didn't break into homes to get it. They bought it. They share their fetish with their partners and sometimes with others. They have no connection to the behaviour and actions taken by Russell Williams.

Russell Williams forced women to do his will. He had and sought un-consenting, complete, power over women. Read on here.
Oh, for fuck's sake. When the media latch on to a bad concept, they REALLY latch on and don't let go. Two days ago I blogged about how the Russell Williams case had been mischaracterized as a "fetish" crime. Did anyone get the memo?
The Star's Heather Mallick sure didn't. She went all melodramatic, and then right back to the ol' hinky-kinky:
Up to that point, Williams had been a pathetic panty thief and haunter of little girls. Panties don't talk back. They're mere containers for the living female that inhabits them. Williams later told police that underwear had been his fetish since his 20s, which shows the extraordinary power of a minor brain pattern. He was hopeless with girls. The evidence of his rapes shows that he didn't know how to talk to a victim, and there was even a strange, awkward politeness.
Oh sure. Just another socially awkward panty raider, who raped because he needed to get laid but didn't know how to talk to girls. Weirdo, weirdo. Case dismissed. That seems to be a pattern at the Star, because another article, one purporting to get inside his criminal profile, also misses the mark:

Read more here at News of the Restless. Thank you whoever you are for being so informed and sharing this information with the rest of us.

The real fight starts October 26 in Toronto

I am amazed at how easily the right wing has taken flight to gain hold of Toronto City Hall.  Rob Ford is an all out capitalist with goals to eliminate jobs, privatize garbage collection and slash taxes.  The result will be fewer city services, dirtier streets, more homeless and city parks, pools and arenas will start to fall apart.  I am not exaggerating. 

If you eliminate jobs, then there are fewer people to do the work.  If you privatize garbage, then the costs go up over time as we are then captive to their service.  If slash taxes, how do you find the money to pay for upkeep of pools, libraries, arenas, community centres, and parks.  Some choices will have to be made and they won't be easy.

Smitherman on the other hand is a wolf in sheep's clothing, though his disguise is coming away.  He too wants to cut taxes, he too wants too see jobs cut and more private delivery of city services.  You might say Smitherman has poured a little sugar on his campaign, just so it tastes okay, but after the election, there will be no more sugar.

So those two are the front runners.  Unless there is a big swing, ie Pantalone manages to swing some voters, either George or Rob will be Mayor.  That will mean more work for many of us to beat back the cuts these two men have been proposing. 

This is a time to stick to our convictions and The Bullet has some good advice,

This means that the election in Toronto has become a plebiscite on privatization. In this situation the left should back Joe Pantalone, despite his silence on the city workers strike and his support for the police during the G20. The better showing for Pantalone means a bigger base from which to challenge privatization in Toronto.

The fight against Ford, Smitherman and their right-wing corporate agenda though won't be won through the ballot box, but through mobilizing and fighting back. In Toronto, several campaigns have been successful in stopping previous attempts at privatization.

The Water Watch campaign beat back the privatization of the water system. Toronto Hydro workers have built campaigns that beat attempts to sell off Toronto Hydro. It will be crucial to push the leadership of the municipal unions to link up with communities to fight the attempts that will come under Ford or Smitherman to privatize city services or contract out work to the lowest bidder.

Grimm Brothers meets Toronto Mayors Race

I have said this a few times, so I thought you may want to hear it from someone else.

"So it seems George Smitherman has unveiled the final act of his storybook – no, wait – Grimm Brothers march to the mayoralty. Rather than an uplifting coda, singing to us all about his plans to make Toronto a better place, he goes subterranean, pointing out the monster waiting under the bed if we don’t vote for him, appealing to our basest trait, fear. The picture perfect, logical conclusion to the most cold-blooded, calculating campaign in recent memory." 
See the rest at All Fired Up In The Big Smoke -Toss Us A Bone, George

Purple in Spirit all the time.

Queer thoughts is purple all day today. Then again, aside from the colour being purple today, we are purple in Spirit all the time.

Today collectively we are wearing purple. Its about making bullying visible and remembering those that have suffered at the whims of bullies. Anyone young or old can be bullied. It is particularly hard on young people in high school.

In high school we are learning how to socialize, we are on our own away from our parents and make many more of our own decisions. Sometimes we don't fit in. If you are different then you can be the easy target of a bully. Homophobia is one of the causes. Kids do not innately become gay haters. They learn that behaviour. They hear their parents talking about fags, at church they hear the preacher telling you gays are going to hell so don't be gay. In our workplaces, sporting venues, our laws and our culture, we have demonized gay people.

You don't have to be gay to experience homophobia. Someone just has say you look gay, you must be gay, or you have gay friends, or you don't fit in, presto, you're not like us so you're gay.

Today things are better for gay kids collectively, laws are slowly eliminating legal discriminations from Marriage to adoption to the workplace. Individually that's not so much the case. Being bullied today because you are gay or are thought to be gay, hurts just as much as it did when I was bullied in school 35 years ago.

There is no excuse today. Adults in authority must be responsible and take action every single time they see bullying. Imagine if you were a boy sitting in the stands in Ohio last week and all the boys around you stood up and started chanting "Powder Blue Faggots" over and over. Would you remain seated, would you stand up? Would you join in the chant? Heady questions when you understand that your actions may result in being called a fag yourself, or worse beaten and or taunted all the time. Just because you didn't join in the ritualized chant.

Kids learn to be bullies, kids learn from you and me...



Its not easy being different, especially when you yourself may not know why you are. It shouldn't be easy to bully either.

10.19.2010

best tweet on #VoteTO today

best tweet on today

Casey Oraa
But @ I thought Ken Chan was a lesbian doing a drag king performance? You know, given how much he lipsync's...

and the second best cause its almost as funny but not intended to be is this


Sarah Thomson
Feeling a little shunned by CP24 who have put Ford's employee in the audience but shoved me up in the loft.
Did somebody tell her she was just another volunteer?  She's not a candidate for anything?

CBC - 1992 Don Cherry and Scott Thompson

Not much is off-limits for tough-talking Don Cherry, but watch him with gay comedian Scott Thompson From CBC-TV's "Friday Night with Ralph Benmergui."

Don holds Scott in a lovely embrace here... lol

"Are you willing to accept the consequences if Rob Ford becomes mayor?"

A friend called me tonight, he was pondering his vote for Mayor here in Toronto.  He was going to vote for Smitherman to stop Rob Ford.  He wants Joe but thinks he has to vote for George to stop Ford.  I told him about this.


He is now confident in voting for Joe.  Smitherman has really put his foot in it. He needs Joe's supporters to ensure he can win on election day.  In fact Smitherman's support is 50% made up of people that want to stop Ford.

Tonight during the debate, Smitherman has kissed away a lot of votes.  My friend would have held his nose and voted for him.  Not now.

If Rob Ford were to win on October 25, it will be because not enough people could be bullied by Smitherman to vote for him.  It will be because Smitherman is not a builder, but a divider.  It will be because Smitherman is too far right for most of Toronto.

Both Smitherman and Ford have been attacking our city relentlessly since they got in the race.  You would wonder why the heck they want to be Mayor of such a shitty city.  They have lied about the city taxes, the city budget, the cost of doing things, they both would delay and or cancel major portions of the transit plans, they both would cut city spending slashing programs that are needed in our city.


Some facts about Toronto.  We have the lowest tax rate in the GTA, Toronto is the 6th largest government in Canada and the only one with a balanced budget.  Toronto will have a budget surplus at the end of the year.  Next years tentative budget also calls for a significant surplus. 

All of this means that Toronto is more than competitive with other cities in the GTA.  All of this means we are living well within our means.  All of this means that who ever wins the election on October 25, will be handed the keys to the best city in the country.  Lets hope that whoever gets the keys doesn't ransack the place.

Hillary Clinton says "It Gets Better"

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a message to the LGBT community that "Tomorrow Will Be Better," at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., October 19, 2010. [Go to http://www.state.gov/video for more video and text transcript.]

DADT dead for now- Queers at the gates

Oh my god, DADT is dead! It appears the US is now accepting queer applicants to join the military. I am sure its a shock for some of the recruiters, what with all they have done to keep gays out of the place. Its kinda too bad gays want to join in the first place. But alas its is suppose to be the home of the brave. If you want to join, then you should be allowed to do it.

Better read the fine print. Each applicant that identifies as gay is being told they may not be able to stick around, I guess that means Sen McCain, were he to become chair of the armed forces committee would stop all this nonsense.

Come on America, get with the times. All your major allies allow queers in. It won't hurt, just let me a little bit, I promise it will be okay!

See story here Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants from Associated Press writer Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tenn.

also see Military Told To Accept Lesbian And Gay Recruits at Lezgetreal

more links The Advocate -Recruiters to Accept Gay Applicants

The Washington Post -Pentagon instructing recruiters to accept gay applicants

CNN -Military recruiters told they can accept openly gay applicants

This is escalating predatory behaviour, not fetishism.

I am so happy to read today's blog by Antonia Zerbisias in the Star. The media has been focused on a fetish aspect of the crimes committed by Russell Williams. They suggest it was an escalation of his fetish that led to the sexual assaults and murders. Nothing could be further from the true aspect of this case. Williams is a sexual predator. He broke into homes of young girls and women.

Antonia does a good job of addressing the matter here. It is a must read. Thank you for this Antonia

You may also want to read this post as well, predator vs fetishist

I'm Not A Witch - Clever Youtube rendition

A little humour in your day! Christine O'Donnell will be wishing she did not do that ad!



Swedish powerpop band Roomie's cover of "I'm Not a Witch" by the excellent Gregory Brothers/Auto-Tune the News people.

No copyright infringement intended. You can mail us at roomieofficial at gmail.com.

Be sure to check out the Gregory Brothers' original version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44mqiB...

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/roo...
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RoomieOfficial
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/artist/3ti6Kz...

Lyrics:
I'm not a witch
I'm nothing you've heard
I'm you, you, you
I'm not a witch, bitch
None of us are perfect
But none of us can be happy with what we see all around us
Politicians who think spending, trading favours and backroom deals are the ways

To stay in office, stay in office
Politicians stay in office
I'll go to washington and do what you'd do
Doo doo doo doo
I'm Christine O'Donnell
I'm not a politician
And not a witch, bitch
I'm Christine O'Donnell
I'm you, yoooou

h/t to on twitter!

Broadway singers tell us "It Gets Better" LGBT youth

Broadway stars rock out in a celebration of life, in the wake of LGBT suicides across the nation. Please SHARE this original song and video to help send a message of hope and support. Available October 19th on iTunes, with all download proceeds benefiting The Trevor Project. www.thetrevorproject.org (c) 2010 Jay Kuo & Blair Shepard.

My heart is warming and I hope that all of you, young or old, take the inspiration from this song and live. H/t to Joe.My.God

predator vs fetishist

With all the hysteria over Russell Williams in the main stream media one blogger gets it right

Here is an excerpt ...

Williams's crimes had a sexual overtone that was impossible to miss. He stalked single women and girls. He broke into their homes. He rifled through their clothing, particularly their underwear. He photographed himself wearing said clothing, particularly the victims' underwear. He masturbated on their beds. He stole hundreds of pieces of underwear and other intimate objects, and kept extensive photographic files on his computer as trophies of his violations. And when that didn't suffice him, he graduated to sexual assault, and then to killing.
As far as the major media are concerned, it appears that Russell Williams is a sexual fetishist gone off the deep end. He isn't.

He is a predator. 

There are several crucial differences between the two. These are the differences:

For a fetishist, an object (or specific body part) stands in for a human being in a sexual context. For a predator, a human being becomes an object; the objectification is sexualized. 

A fetishist usually doesn't steal fetish objects; s/he prefers to buy them or barter for them. Fetishists prefer to obtain the consent of the person from whom they get their things.

A predator invariably steals. Consensual activity does not interest him. Stealing, for the predator, is a form of control; it renders victims uncertain, ashamed and afraid. The predator is aroused by the notion that he has control over a victim's emotions. He appropriates what is not rightfully his, often making it his by wearing it, posing for photos in it, or mutilating it. Often, the more intimate the object--underwear, for instance--the more desirable it is as a means to scare his victims. This is why a predator's thefts should not be laughed off as a kind of solitary panty raid, but taken seriously an indicator of more devious criminality below the surface.
Read the whole article here at News of the Restless

Marco 13 - Takes on Bullies

After seeing the video of the Ohio high school supporters taunting the opposition with anti gay slurs, I was so happy to see this story via my twitter account.

Marco says he's been bullied since the school year began. Mostly verbal assaults, but once he was pushed down and hit his head. Marco said, "It makes me upset ... not that upset to where I want to kill myself ... but upset to where I want to make a difference to help people who are getting bullied and keeping quiet and to the people who are the bulliers."

Its amazing what each of us can do on our own.  This 13 year old boy with the support of his parents is taking direct action. It would be a good idea if others in his area went out to help him.  Marco Melgoza goes to Desmond Middle School in Madera County California.


Here is a video of an interview he did with KFSN, the local ABC affiliate.

Ohio - Powder Blue faggots

High schools are dangerous places for many young people. Especially if you are gay. Watch the video below. Its a high school football game and some 300 students are taunting the opposition team, chanting Powder Blue Faggots.



The game officials did nothing. The chant went unchallenged. The school says they students have learned a life lesson, that is until they are at the next game.
Former North High student Heather Ike took the video. "I sat there for a little bit thinking it would stop, and it happened again, and it happened three times," Ike said, adding that she left the game after a few minutes, disgusted.

All of this occurred after world wide attention on the suicides of several teenagers caused because they were being bullied because they were gay and or perceived to be gay.

Its clear to me, after three separate chants, the school has decided to do nothing. The game should have been halted. The offending students evicted. If it kept up, then the team they are supporting should be banned from playing football for the rest of the year.

Get serious. Adults are abandoning their responsibilities here. Teenagers are bullying because they know nothing will happen. And just maybe, they know some of the adults like what they hear...

10.18.2010

Is Smitherman blackmailing voters?

I was looking forward to watching the debate at the 519 tonight. Toronto candidates for Mayor were to be there and address issues as the queer community thought important.

Rob Ford declined. Of course he would as he has little hope of gaining gay votes and he may actually say something which would rattle some of his less conservative supporters. Too risky, so good call Rob, we don't like you much either.

The debate was scheduled for 90 minutes. It lasted 30 minutes as George Smitherman had to go to pick up his endorsement from Montreal Liberal MP, Justin Trudeau.

Obviously the debate couldn't go on with just Joe Pantalone. Too bad the queer communities debate was cut off before a full airing of the communities issues could happen. Is George taking our vote for granted? Its looking like its going to be close election, not the time to piss off potential or leaning voters.

We it seems are being blackmailed by the George Smitherman team. They are guessing that we have only one person to vote for because as he lays it out, if you don't vote for him Rob Ford wins.

That's a compelling line. Very few in the queer community want to see Rob Ford win. Still as one queer voice, said on twitter tonight "I appreciate @'s outness, but when he open his mouth, he turns me off. Why can't @ be doing better in the polls?"

Tonight was one of the last opportunities for Smitherman to demonstrate leadership. He was in a friendly room at the 519. That same room was friendly to Pantalone who they know has demonstrated support for our communities in over 20+ years on council.

My plan for Smitherman would have been to avoid attacks on Joe, (after all you want his supporters to vote for you), accept your disagreements, remind the group why you deserve their support and end the evening welcoming people to come join your team.

Instead Smitherman comes off as a guy desperately seeking power, you're either with us or against us. The last guy to say that made a horrible mess of the world. Smitherman was last seen dashing out the door to a waiting car so he could be sure to not keep Prince Justin waiting.


You can watch the debate on video at Xtra here. I just checked it and unfortunately they cut off Joe's opening remarks. Now I am sure it was a mistake but could it be this that saw the video shortened, I'm just sayin.... Maybe Xtra can clear this up.

Media Geography - Los Angeles as Moving Picture

Media geography, I won't try to explain it, being a lay person, I will let the Journal Aether do that here...

Aether offers a forum that examines the geography of media, including cinema, television, the Internet, music, art, advertising, newspapers and magazines, video and animation. It is our goal to provide a space for contributions to current issues surrounding these media, beginning with constructions of space & place, cultural landscapes, society, and identity.

What took me to the journal was knowledge that Ken Hillis, a professor from the University of North Carolina had a paper accepted for publication. Now Hillis is one of the smartest persons I have ever met, sometimes I have him use more words to explain his theories and it clicks. (Why use a whole paragraph when six words will save time and space.)

The article is fascinating and thought provoking, especially if your idea of geography involved maps and topography.

Los Angeles as Moving Picture
Ken Hillis
University of North Carolina

Abstract

In a city synonymous with film and media, it is not striking that visual representations-the moving image of film and T.V., the television program set in Los Angeles, the L.A. Film in which the city itself acts as a character-arguably serve collectively as the city's principal form of mimetic "monument" and memory maker. There are many such monuments, and I turn to a abbreviated discussion of a few L.A. films to indicate how technology of moving images as a form of inscription memorializes, politicizes and naturalizes the city as a "text" as itself a representation. The supremacy of Cartesian space and a related disembodied public sphere is reflected in these films' deployment of a conceptually disembodied masculine eye, often figured literally by the use of a bird's-eye point of view.

Published in AETHER, The Journal of Media Geography You can read the full article here.

Justin Bieber may start anti-bullying effort

Justin Bieber will take a stand against bullying and homophobia after he was on the receiving end of a bigoted name this weekend. During a game of laser tag Friday evening in British Columbia, an overly aggressive player targeted Bieber which lead the singer to tell him, 'That's enough.' 'What are you gonna do about it, f*ggot?' the kid responded.

Bieber is telling friends he had no idea how hurtful these comments could be but even though he's a straight teenager, he now wants to take a stand against bullying and homophobia. Proud parenting has been told Bieber will be going public probably within the next week to lend his support to the anti-bullying campaign.

That's exciting news. Bieber's audience is big, his fan base is second to none. If he lends his voice to anti-bullying, I expect we will see a change.

Many young people are taunted at school. I am gay but did not know it when I was in school. My classmates seemed to know and did call me names and beat the crap out of me on more than a few occasions. I hated most of high school. To have had then Bieber like stars of the day, Michael Jackson and or Donny Osmond speak out would have helped.

You go Justin! Here's a rapping Justin

10.15.2010

Holy Crap - A Democrat with conviction!

It is a relief to hear a Democrat actually speak up instead of trying to avoid tough issues. Kudos to Mario Cuomo, Democrat for Governor of New York State!

"I don't want to be the governor who just proposes marriage equality. I don't want to be the governor who lobbies for marriage equality. I don't want to be the governor who fights for marriage equality. I want to be the governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York." - Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, speaking at the Empire State Pride Agenda's annual fall dinner.

from Joe My God

Lake Shore timelapse video - Toronto

Something a little different!

Parkdale resident Matthew Blackett, who looks out over the area from his 24th-floor apartment on Close Ave., made this time-lapse video of construction work at westbound Lake Shore over the Gardiner between Jameson and Dowling Aves. Video production by Sam Javanrough.

From Toronto Star


10.14.2010

fckh8

Now this is telling it straight! Okay, you know what kind of straight i'm talking about.


If the f word bothers you, then go the bleeped version here

FCKH8.com Straight Talk About Gay Marriage from FCKH8.com on Vimeo.

Memories to share with 13 year old

I was really moved by this "It Gets Better" video. A local councillor in Fort Worth Texas, Joel Burns talks about the many young boys that have taken their lives due to bullying. These boys were gay or perceived to be gay. Its a very touching speech. He touches much about my life. I will write about that in a post in the next few days. I hope you can watch this video. I hope you can reflect on this and just maybe, you can help another young person survive. to see that It Gets Better.



"High school was difficult, coming out was painful," he said. "I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better. ... Life will get so, so, so much better."

Burns' sometimes tearful comments drew praise from his fellow council members.

"So very proud of my friend and colleague Joel Burns for his stance against bullying of gay youth and those perceived to be gay," Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks wrote on Facebook during the meeting. "I am sure he saved many tonight."

Councilman Sal Espino echoed Hicks' thoughts.

"Burns displayed tremendous personal courage today in speaking out against bullying against youth and children particularly gay youth in light of the recent tragedies," he also posted on Facebook. "Fort Worth is a diverse community and we believe that all of God's children should be treated with dignity, compassion, and love."

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/10/12/2542148/fort-worth-councilman-offers-hope.html#ixzz12LEtf3Tl

10.13.2010

Same -sex adoption meeting in BC

Are you in Vancouver BC this October 16th. If so you maybe interested in a meeting being hosted by the Adoptive Families Association of BC for same-sex couples thinking about adopting a child. This is fabulous. Adoption of children by gays in BC became the law in the 1990`s under the Glen Clark government. I`m pretty proud to have been a small part of that ...

10.12.2010

Trash Talkin`Toronto wanna be Mayors

It seems to be the game of the day.  If you were from outer space and landed in Toronto, you would think it was falling apart and about to join the ranks of  countries like Greece and Iceland for debt default and recklass spending.  You would thin that if you were listening to George Smitherman, Rocco Rossi or George Ford.  They are all running for Mayor in our city.

Yet they are misleading us.  You see, it is easier to run an election on fear than on ideas.  Its easier to tear something down than build something.  This has been ticking me off for some time, all this trash talk.

Finally I found a very good rebuttal to this trash talk.  Look at this video.  It says it all.  Toronto taxes the lowest in GTA.  Tax rates lower today than 2005.  Toronto measures up among top cities in the world.  Just watch it...

Second Toronto Twitter disabled idiot button

What more can you say about these guys.

I saw this tweet tonight on the voteto twitter page.

That follows this one i posted about last week.

Let me, a gay man, hold the purse strings to the City

Canuck Attitude visits the country

It finally happened. I have been trying for sometime to get my buddy and fellow blogger, Bruce, to visit our farm in the middle of no where, ie, west of Ottawa and north of Perth. Its my sanctuary and lots of work place. Its a special place for me and one I like to share with others.

Every thanksgiving we invite queer guys to come and have some fun, good company and of course good food. Bruce was one of those friends I have wanted to come along for sometime. I was greatly surprised to have him accept the invitation and more than happy he would finally see where it is I disappear too almost every weekend from April to December.

video

All in all we had fifteen folks there. Did I say it was all veggie. No meat for meals. Still the food was great and Bruce did something he hasn`t done for years. He made bread. Not once but twice. The bread was awesome. He made the bread from his family cook book, put together by his sister sometime ago. I stole the recipe. I figured if Bruce could make great tasting bread that easily, I bet that I can do it as well.

The hard part of the weekend must have been the lack of Internet. My laptop was broken, thus we could not check email, the blog world or anything else for that matter on the world wide web. That left lots of time to discover new stars in the sky, enjoy the warmth of many evening fires and a couple of beers to boot.

I almost forgot, Bruce helped put the water system to bed for the winter. No small task, as he walked the length of the water pipe three or four times, ensuring it was well drained.

Thanks for coming Bruce!

10.04.2010

Vigils - Lives Lost to Homophobia

Vigils are planned across Canada this month, for lives lost due to homophobic bullying:

Toronto - Oct 6, 8pm - Church & Wellesley
Kingston - Oct 6, 8pm - JDUC, University & Union
Montreal - Oct 6, 8pm - Parc de l'Espoir, Beaudry Metro
Ajax - Oct 20, 8:30pm - Heritage Square, Ajax Town Hall

more info at Xtra Canada  

When I learn of additional vigils, I will post them here.

People without benefits has grown in Canada

Recently a bill to extend and improve EI benefits failed in the House of Commons.  Harper and the Conservatives voted to defeat the bill and 17 Liberals and 5 BLOC MPs missed the vote.

The bill was defeated despite the fact that 90,000 more Canadians this year are without jobs and have no Employment Insurance. Why would the Conservatives vote to defeat a bill that would provide a lifeline to those 90,000 Canadians?

The government is claiming the unemployment picture is better than last year  Is not, check out The Progressive Economics Forum for the break down.

"In September 2009, there were 818,000 EI recipients among 1,549,700 unemployed workers, leaving 731,700 without benefits. In July 2010 (the last month of EI data), there were 672,200 EI recipients out of 1,493,100 unemployed workers, leaving 820,900 without benefits." - Progressive Forum

Sun Media - Can't read a whole press release - they get it wrong for RIGHT reasons?

The HST is adding a great deal to the heating bills for people in Ontario and BC. In Ontario the bill has actually gone up 17% due to the increased profit margin granted to electricity providers. The Ontario provincial NDP are asking that the Premier remove the 8% provincial portion from the hydro bill in order to help many low and middle income families cope. To date the request has fallen on deaf ears.

Federally, the NDP Leader Jack Layton has asked Prime Minister Harper, to reduce the HST on heating bills. Being the ever right wing protagonist, Brian Lilley at Eye On the Hill, a SUN media blog, came out with a story today with only half the facts, stating that Jack Layton was a Climate Change denier.

Lilley conveniently failed to read all of Jack's media release. Layton calls for reducing the HST and measures to assist people retrofit their homes to assist in reducing heating costs. You can read Brian's misrepresentation here and Jack's press release here.

You are not alone. #stayalive

Shamelessly take from the Youth Blog and reposted here

From Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line

I’m not sure if folks are aware of this, but in the past month, five teenage boys in the United Stats have committed suicide related to anti-gay bullying.

On September 9th, Billy Lucas, a 15 year old from Indiana killed himself over anti-gay bulling.
September 13th, Cody Barker. He was 17, in Wisconsin. Again – over anti-gay bullying.
September 18th, Seth Walsh, from California. 13 years old. He hanged himself over anti-gay bullying and was pronounced dead on September 26 after ten days on life support.

On September 23rd, Asher Brown, 13, from Texas, killed himself over anti-gay bulling.
And on September 29th, Tyler Clementi. He was 18 from New Jersey, and is presumed dead after jumping from the George Washington Bridge after being humiliated online for his sexual orientation.
That’s 5 since school started in the beginning of September.

Five.

Now, I know this is happened in America, which may seem ‘way over there’ to some, but it affects all of us in the LGBTQ community and it’s definitely an issue in Canada, too. Many of us have also faced bullying due to our gender or sexual orientation (or just bullying, for whatever the reason); we’ve all faced isolation and feeling alone. We all know what it’s like to be queer without support systems in place.

Call the number above if you need help or know someone that does. The blog is here

10.02.2010

HST in BC - A Liberal con game

I am hopful people will actually get out and recall a few Liberal MLAs over this. Their government lied. Many of those MLAs may never have known the extent to which "their" party was deep into bringing the HST to BC prior to the election.

Having learned that since, you would think they have had their opportunity to say we have been hoodwinked big time. They remain silent or worse, supportive of the HST.

BC does not need sheep, they need MLAs and a government that listens and does what is right, not what will benefit their corporate backers the most.

Recall them and start with my first choice, Donna Barnett in Cariboo South. She remains one of the most ardent defenders of the decision to bring in the HST.

She has also received thousands of dollars from the forest companies. She knows what side her bread is buttered on. And I am sure voters in Cariboo South know that even more so today!

Here in Ontario voters are quiet but angry.  The latest polls show the Liberal government barely ahead of the NDP and that is doing something in the Land that Bob Rae once ruled.   The new look "Mike Harris" gang of conservatives are well ahead.  May the universe hear our pleas for a Liberal minority here in Onatrio. 

Wal-Martin Ship building

That will be the Day, when we will build our own Ferries.

The BC Liberal government of Gordon Campbell decided soon after they were elected in 2001 that they would not be wasting money by building ferries in BC or Canada for that matter. Ship building was dead in the water. They said good riddance to hope of reviving the industry. Instead they did what all wal-martin folks do. They cast their net in the ocean and scooped up the cheapest boats they could find. They bought ships from Europe.

The Liberals decided the BC industry was just a bunch of unions and it was better to spend money on German and Polish ships made by unions in those countries than support BC workers. The cost for doing so was a federal tax meant to support ship building in Canada. The BC Liberal Government decided the import tax amounting to 119 million dollars was worth the death blow they would deliver to union made ships in Canada.

This was just the first step in their ultimate goal of privatising BC Ferries. After buying the ships from European ship builders, the government then made BC Ferries a private corporation. The expressed rational was that it would make it easier for BC ferries to attract private capital needed to build and revitalise the BC Ferries fleet and physical infrastructure.

The downside which most people did not understand was that a private company pays more to borrow money than the government does. That means BC Ferries is paying a premium for its borrowing today. A premium it did not have to pay when it was a crown corporation. This is an additional cost and that additional cost has to come from somewhere, the consumers.

Now back to the the federal tax of 119 million dollars BC Ferries paid to the federal government on ships built in Europe. Stockwell Day has come to the rescue and returned the money to BC.

Why you might ask are they doing this? At first it looks like a federal government responding to the cash strapped BC government. Kudos should be in order. Not so fast though. The BC Government and Gordon Campbell are likely the most despised government in all of Canada. The HST and the way they implemented it have made it so. Campbell's friends in Ottawa don't want to see the Liberal brand damaged so much that the NDP forms the next government.

A little good news was in order. The federal hand out to BC, (we will gladly accept it) is a blatant effort to buy votes. Reducing BC Ferries fares is good news. And right now any good news the BC Liberals can deliver is welcome. The recently announced 2% fare reductions just shows us how much more we have been paying due to Campbell's goal to privatise BC Ferries.

I am however concerned in that Stockwell day states that the Federal government will forgo up to 250 million of the import tax. Does this mean that BC Ferries can now go back to Europe and buy more ships at the expense of ever having or reviving a ship building industry in Canada?

Of course it may not be Europe that provides the ships to BC Ferries, It may be a "Fast" boat from China" because thats the Wal-martin thing to do.

10.01.2010

Okay its a truce...

I am ready to call a truce.  By that I mean I am willing to focus on Harper and less with my disappointment in the Liberals utter failure in opposition.  The next election I want the see the Harper government defeated.  It likely means that the Conservatives or Liberals will not have a majority.  That means a tough fight. 

I can play nice for awhile.  I would much more prefer a Liberal minority government to a Harper Conservative or Conservative government of any kind.  There I said it.  Now lets get the job done.

The Party of Trudeau is Dying

The Liberals like to portray to progressives they are the Party of Trudeau. They ceased being that party when Paul Martin became Finance Minister. I feel for many loyal Liberal members and supporters. They hang on, hoping their MPs will show some courage. MPs like Kennedy, Dryden, Bennett, Rae and Fry are being ignored or told to wait it out, due to the race to the right by the Liberal election planning team.

The progressives have been pushed to the side and with Iggy's right wing approach to war and torture is it any wonder the Liberals so many Liberals did not show up to vote on the War Resistors Bill. It was not a priority for them. I feel bad for progressive Liberals like Kennedy. They are living in the past if they think the Liberals will remember Trudeau on these issues.

There is no excuse for missing the vote. Its the old game of sending in the old line Liberals and leaving a few outside, just a few, enough to ensure the bill does not pass. How many Harper budgets have past due to Liberals pretending to be unavailable to vote? How many times has Harper survived confidence motions because the Liberals either voted with the Harper Conservatives or stayed away from the house.

These people are MPs. They were elected to represent their constituents. How are they doing their job if they fail to vote on important legislation on budgets? The answer is that they are not doing their jobs.

The NDP on the other hand have stuck to their principals. They voted against Harper's budgets, they voted against Harper almost at every turn. They took the hard road on the Long Gun bill. It wasn't easy, the balancing the right of MPs to vote as they feel their constituents want them too on the long gun bill when so many of us New Democrats are opposed to ending the Registry. Yet the NDP and Jack Layton made sure the votes were there.

Iggy may be leader in name of the Liberal party, yet he has failed to deliver. His failure has made sure the Harper agenda has succeeded since 2006.

The next election will be crucial. The Liberals will have to stand for something if we are to prevent Harper from forming another government. As it stands now, it would appear most Canadians will vote for someone other than Harper. The Liberal leader will have to be willing to work with the other opposition parties, to form a government and to end four years of regressive governments.

If you want to read more on the War Resistors bill, check out Creekside and We Move to Canada.

Old Voting Habits Hard to give up

Something doesn't add up. Scott Brison has been the Federal Liberal critic in the House of Commons on all things financial. This week when the BLOC party Bill on expanding Employment Insurance was to come to a vote, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff stated that the Bill was too costly and it would not be prudent to pass it. See here.

Now given that the leader of the party said “This bill is not fiscally responsible,” why would the party finance critic vote for it? Why would every single Liberal party member in the house vote with the BLOC and NDP to pass the bill save one Alan Tonks.

The Liberals seem to want it both ways on the EI issue. Seventeen Liberals were absent for the vote including the Leader. I suppose that given the Liberals have returned to the past voting habits, enough Liberals stayed away to ensure the Bill would not pass and the Liberals could say they voted to pass the Bill. The leader couldn't be there to vote because if he were then he would have to vote against the BLOC Bill. The optics of 57 Liberals voting one way and the leader the other would have been, well ghastly...

The vote was recorded here at How'd They Vote.