frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
All of Ontario is flooded. From Ottawa to Thunder Bay, from Toronto to North Bay, most homes have been swept away, all agriculture is ruined for this year and possibly the next year, factories are gone and will take years to rebuild. You're stranded in Toronto with 3 million other people and you can't get to Montréal because the 401 has been washed out in many places, and so have rail links. Lake Ontario now runs up to the bottom of St-Clair hill, but even everything north of there has been washed out.

The Canadian armed forces are air-dropping bottles of water, because everything coming out of taps, where there are taps left and they still work, is brown. Condo owners thought they'd be safe in their towers, but most have been broken into to escape the waters; many are overcrowded. The Canadian armed forces drop loads of water bottles every day, but heavy rain impedes their work. You only had 3 small bottles of water today, and 2 pre-packaged sandwiches. Some of the Muslim friends aren't even as lucky, and have been breaking their Ramadan fast with water only.

In Québec, where already one million Ontarians are taking refuge, food prices have gone through the roof due to the drastically reduced supplies and increased demand. The floods continue and some hydro-electric dams in the region of Saguenay/Lac St-Jean might burst, spreading the devastation to Québec.

Back in Ontario, there are currently 10 million people facing imminent serious health problems if they don't get enough water and/or medication. Water-born diseases are starting to spread among the people that are in refugee camps at various higher ground points throughout the province.

---

That's Pakistan today. The flooded area in Pakistan is nowhere as large as Ontario, but the number of people affected (14 million) is greater than the province's population. The 10 million figure of people in serious risk is quite scary. An update on the current situation: Pakistan's crisis will outlast floods: UN

Two sets of pictures to consider:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/severe_flooding_in_pakistan.html
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/08/severe_flooding_in_pakistan.html

Donate today: redcross.ca.
Chapati Mystery has links if you live in the USA, and elsewhere.

---

One thing that's bugged me is how the media are complaining that "islamist groups are providing aid to refugees in the devastated areas, gaining influence".

Seriously? The government is utterly failing at providing relief, and you complain that islamist groups are providing aid? Don't worry, they probably can't respond to the demand either anyway. Every person that islamist groups help is someone who won't die. So stop that whining.

---

Ottawa is pledging another $30M, on top of the initial $2M peanut the government came up with.

Hopefully Zardari can skip on his 10% cut this time.
frandroid: Picture of a pro-LTTE protest blocking the Gardiner Expressway, Toronto (tamils)
If you aren't in Canada or haven't been paying much attention to the news, most news organizations have been obsessed with the Tamil refugee ship, the MV Sun See, that's arrived in BC. On board are 490 Tamils seeking refugee status in Canada.

This is very much a story about media fear-mongering about brown people coming to Canada.

Now, I don't know if news organizations have paid attention, but the LTTE have been pretty much been annihilated. By that I obviously don't mean to say that there are no Tamil Tigers left, but organizationally, they've pretty much hit the bucket. What are they going to be doing in Canada? Raising funds? What for? The war is over.

We were warned last time that there were Tamil Tiger "terrorists" on board, but no one has either been arrested or sent back to Sri Lanka, as far as I know. Granted, this time the Sri Lankan government is saying that the ship's crew and some passengers belong to the Tamil Tigers, but considering how racist this government is, what's that worth? I mean if they are Tamil Tigers, I'm guessing that they have even more of a case in claiming refugee status in Canada, since they can be severely mistreated in Sri Lanka, if not killed in the case of the most serious commanders. I don't know.

The whole media circus around this stinks to high heaven. I hope no one on board is seriously sick; there have been reports of TB. The Victoria hospital has opened a ward for them, at least. Great thanks for public health care.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Latest Right-Wing Meme: Von Brunn's A Lefty

wuh-wuh-what?
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
White House Czar Calls for End to 'War on Drugs'

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration's new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting "a war on drugs," a move that would underscore a shift favoring treatment over incarceration in trying to reduce illicit drug use.

In his first interview since being confirmed to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske said Wednesday the bellicose analogy was a barrier to dealing with the nation's drug issues.

"Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country."

Mr. Kerlikowske's comments are a signal that the Obama administration is set to follow a more moderate -- and likely more controversial -- stance on the nation's drug problems. Prior administrations talked about pushing treatment and reducing demand while continuing to focus primarily on a tough criminal-justice approach.

The Obama administration is likely to deal with drugs as a matter of public health rather than criminal justice alone, with treatment's role growing relative to incarceration, Mr. Kerlikowske said.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
The Morning After ‘American Idiot’ - Good article on the new Green Day album.
Obama Is Nudging Views on Race, a Survey Finds.
Voices Reflect Rising Sense of Racial Optimism in the wake of Obama's election. (Companion article to the survey above)

On a more sour note, if you read French:
De la haine d'Obama à la violence armée -- From hatred of Obama to armed violence... Talks about the increase in the number of right-wing extremist and hate crimes groups, and hatred of Obama in general from the like.

Speaking of which, [livejournal.com profile] springheel_jack reposts: A longshot Georgia candidate for governor who’s already admitted having sex with a mule before finding God says he’s ready to sacrifice his own son in an effort to get his state to secede from the union.


Bonus for [livejournal.com profile] icecreamemperor: Leonard Cohen transformed 'Hallelujah' into a revelation
frandroid: Stephen Colbert giving a thumbs up in from of the American Flag (Colbert)
Palin hasn't yet quite turned on the racist hatred yet (she's promising to talk more about Rev. Wright soon though), but her supporters know a fellow hate-mongerer when they see one... Read through Richard Hétu's round-up, or if you don't understand French, just click on the links in the text, which send back to American media articles... "Taitor!" "Terrorist!" "Kill him!" are some of the reactions from Republican crowds to statements by Palin & McCain questioning Obama's character.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
RCMP officers pinned down aboriginal teenage girl, tasered her legs and her groin area after she threw a drunken punch at an officer.

Her mother wants to know why the officers had to resort to such force when they could have walked away and left her in the locked cell.
[...]
The girl, who is a high-school student, said her wounds were painful for days. The taser broke the skin, leaving red and bloody circular marks on her thighs. The police didn't tell the girl's mother about the incident when she picked her up the next morning, and the girl was too ashamed to tell. As a result, the wounds became infected.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Mildred Loving, matriarch of interracial marriage, dies

(hat tip to [livejournal.com profile] schoolofsoul on [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite)

By DIONNE WALKER, Associated Press Writer
Mon May 5, 4:17 PM ET

Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday.

Peggy Fortune said Loving, 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford. She did not disclose the cause of death.

"I want (people) to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble — and believed in love," Fortune told The Associated Press.


Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.
cut! )
frandroid: The letter "L" followed by Mao's face, making the LMAO acronym. (mao)
China ready to discuss Tibet

But the decision to talk also reveals a "dilemma" the Chinese Communist Party leadership is now facing, caught between the burgeoning forces of Chinese nationalism on the one hand, and the demands of world civil society on the other. "This will definitely be seen as a climbdown by many people in the nationalist movement," Hughes predicted.

What is this? The "nationalist movement"? Who is the biggest promoter of nationalism in China but the Chinese government? Mao was so successful in part because of his deft use of nationalism (in the light of an anti-colonial struggle) to rally the Chinese people to his side. The "nationalist movement" is not something that is exogenous to the government.

If the Chinese government is afraid of nationalist fervour preventing them "climbing down" on Tibet, they only have themselves to blame. The only kind of demonstrations that have been allowed in China for years have been those that have stoked nationalism, in the face of perceived anti-Chinese actions abroad, in particular the visits to the Shinjuku shrine by the Japanese leaders.

Anyway, if the Chinese government is willing to acknowledge that the Dalai Lama is human after all, it's a good first step, and a vindication for all the violence of the pro-Tibet movement in recent weeks. Violence that pales greatly, it must be said, by the nearly 60-year campaign of cultural genocide by the Chinese government against Tibet, with thousands imprisoned and killed.

(This is no laughing matter, but this is also my only Chinese icon.)

*** ETA:
With a little more than 100 days until the opening ceremonies, the government is keen for its citizens to welcome Westerners, and everyone from around the world.

Of course, the government itself is the not most welcoming to foreigners right now, greatly limiting visas to pre-Olympics visitors.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
"For Mississippi, it's a moment to bask in the national spotlight. And for a state with images of a strictly segregated past, the Democratic primary is a chance to alter some long held stereotypes.

We're seeing a contest where I think you're going to see a huge turnout of voters voting either for a woman or an African-American, and that gives us a chance to make a statement," said Marty Wiseman, a professor of political science at Mississippi State University.


Kumbaya!!! However, earlier in this very article...

As has been the case in many primary states, Obama won overwhelming support from African-American voters. They went for him over Clinton 91-9 percent.
[...]
Mississippi white voters overwhelmingly backed the New York senator, supporting her over Obama 72 percent to 21 percent.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Dear Ms. Winfrey,

It is with the greatest respect and adoration of your loving spirit that I write you. As a young child, I would sit beside my mother everyday and watch your program. As a young adult, with children of my own, I spend much less time in front of the television, but I am ever thankful for the positive effect that you continue to have on our nation, history and culture. The example that you have set as someone unafraid to answer their calling, even when the reality of that calling insists that one self-actualize beyond the point of any given example, is humbling, and serves as the cornerstone of the greatest faith. You, love, are a pioneer.

the rest on his MySpace
pasted here for the rest of you livejournalers )

Saul FTW! (Thanks [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite)
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
Carole McNeil was just interviewing Halle Berry on the CBC... McNeil's first questions were a bit condescending and simplistic, so Berry sent her back some of her banter:

McNeil: "Happy belated 40th birthday."
Berry: "Thank you."
McNeil: "How does it feel to be 40?"
Berry: "It feels fine. How old are you?"
McNeil: "43."
Berry: "How did it feel to turn 40?"

The rest of the piece was about racism in Hollywood and its continued presence, even for Berry.
frandroid: We are the Canadian Borg. Resistance would be impolite. Please wait to be assimilated. Pour l'assimilation en français.. (canada)
I always find infuriating the way in which the English Canadian media depict separatists (when not depicting Québécois in general) as racists. What I hate is the implication that the separatists are racists and that the rest of people in Québec and Canada aren't. Today the noon news bulletin on the CBC was highlighting André Boisclair's "slanted eyes" faux-pas. Boisclair was commenting on how there were a lot of students from Asia at Harvard, that developing countries sent a lot of students to industrialized countries for their education, that China wasn't just sweatshops. So you could call it an unfortunate formulation, but the intent was not racist.

On the other hand, you have the leader of a party, Mario Dumont of the ADQ, who has spent most of the pre-campaign and a fair chunk of this campaign complaining about "reasonable accomodations" and "setting limits" to what the (other) cultural communities should be subjected to, playing the "foreign invasion" card in the most disgusting way. The debate in Québec has been whether it was fair to compare Dumont to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the Front National party in France, whose slogan is "La France aux Français". Does the CBC report on this barely closeted racist populist's campaign? Do the National Post, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star have headlines about whether Dumont should present excuses? They don't, because the ADQ is not a separatist party, and it's not quite newsworthy when (quasi-)federalist leaders make racist statements. Québec is about to elect what's the equivalent of the Reform Party (and I said that instead of saying the Conservative Party, because the ADQ is at the stage Reform was at back in the 90s) and somehow, that's not news.

Vincent Marissal wrote about the same thing on his blog on cyberpresse.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (great worm)
Largest cache of bomb-making explosives found in British history, terrorists get no bloody attention:
Police officers raided a home in Lancashire on Monday night and uncovered a huge cache of chemicals used to make explosives. Officers say it is the largest haul of such chemicals ever found in this country. One man has already appeared in front of Burnley magistrates charged under the Explosives Substances Act 1883. Another man has also been charged after a raid on his house uncovered rocket launcher and a nuclear biological suit.

You'd have thought this would be national front page news, wouldn't you? After all the hype, at last we have solid evidence of terrorists attempting to perpetrate a murderous outrage on the population - prosecutors say the pair had "some kind of master plan".

Except, of course, that the men charged are not Asian Islamists, but white fascists. Robert Cottage, who has been charged for the explosives haul, stood for the BNP in Colne at the last elections.


follow-up 1: I wrote to the BBC asking why they had not covered the story that bat020 drew attention to of the huge bomb factory discovered in the hands of far right activists, and I got the following reply.

follow-up 2: So, does anyone know what date it is?

newslog

Mar. 18th, 2006 03:00 am
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (great worm)
Largest demonstration in chicago's history against racist immigration bill

In Chicago last Friday, March 10, no less than 300,000 people hit the streets, bringing the city center to a standstill with the largest demonstration in its history. They marched in protest of legislation which has already passed the House of Representatives making the "unlawful presence" of immigrants in the U.S. a federal felony. If enacted the new laws also make an instant felon of anyone who offers medical care or rents a room to, shelters or even gives directions to an "unlawfully present" human in the U.S. If enacted, it would provide up to five years in prison for each such offense.

James Travers on Rick Hillier's vision for the Canadian military.

A capital more comfortable with bland, bureaucratic generals is struggling to get its collective head around a chief of defence staff who is neither. The first top soldier in decades to become a household name, Gen. Rick Hillier is a hero to his troops, a mixed blessing for his political masters and a cannonball demolishing Canada's benign military self-image.

What I think: Very interesting ideas, wrong implementation partners in the wrong battleground.

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