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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:34 PM
Number of posts: 848

Journal Archives

Oklahoma Passes Anti-Abortion Bill, Making Procedure A Felony

Source: International Business Times

In a setback for women's health advocates, the Oklahoman state legislature passed a bill on Thursday that makes performing an abortion a felony.

The bill, SB 1552, was passed with a vote of 33-12 Thursday and would make the medical procedure punishable with up to three years in prison and would suspend the medical licenses of Oklahoma doctors who perform the procedure, local media reported. The bill next heads to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin.

The bill was proposed by Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm and the Center for Reproductive Rights said it the first of its kind in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

The bill comes at the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling on a Texas abortion case which could potentially decrease the number of clinics providing the procedure.

Read more: http://www.ibtimes.com/oklahoma-passes-anti-abortion-bill-making-procedure-felony-2371387

Additional information on News9:

Dahm says he's hopeful the measure could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. Abortion rights groups have said the bill is unconstitutional.

I hear they want small government! Small enough to get in there and guard those fetuses!

Filmmakers Caught Walking On Grand Prismatic Spring, Spark Major Outrage

From PetaPixel: http://petapixel.com/2016/05/17/filmmakers-caught-walking-grand-prismatic-spring-yellowstone/

From the article:

The group of traveling filmmaker/photographers were caught on camera disturbing the delicate ecosystem of Yellowstone’s iconic Grand Prismatic Spring for the sake of a few pictures this past weekend, and now they’re paying the price.

To paraphrase an old saying, “hell hath no fury like the Internet’s scorn,” and the Internet is pissed at the filmmakers and photographers who make up the group High On Life SundayFundayz. During a trip to Yellowstone last weekend, the foursome ignored the posted signs and decided to hop off the boardwalk and take a stroll on the largest hot spring in North America.

The perpetrators were initially unidentified, but the Internet quickly tracked down the High On Life team after they posted (and subsequently deleted) some of the images they were capturing during their walk on the spring.

They go on to showcase some of the backlash that these filmmakers received. The article isn't entirely accurate when they say the foursome ignored the signs. Later on, they note that the filmmakers actually shot some footage of themselves reading the signs before hopping the fence to go get some photos.

They owned up to the stunt, and issued an apology, along with an offer to donate up to $5000 to aid in the conservation of the region. Easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission, I guess.

Jermaine Carby was killed while officer was trying to card him

From the Toronto Star:

From the article:

The Peel Regional Police officer who asked Jermaine Carby for his identification minutes before the Brampton man was shot dead by police wanted Carby’s name and date of birth because he was carding him, a coroner’s inquest heard Thursday.

During lengthy and sometimes tense questioning by Faisal Mirza, the lawyer representing Carby’s family, Const. Jason Senechal admitted he had no investigative reason to ask Carby for his personal information.

Passengers in a car stopped for a traffic infraction — this vehicle's licence plate was said to be obscured and its headlights were out — are not required to provide personal information to police. Under questioning, Senechal agreed he was not seeking a suspect who fit Carby’s description, and had no reason to believe the car he was in was connected to a crime. The street check was “a dominant reason” why he asked for Carby’s information, Senechal said.

When asked by Mirza if he read or watched the news, Senechal said: “Honestly, no. I watch sports highlights.”

Ongoing carding investigations by Star since 2010 have shown that, in Toronto, the practice disproportionately affects black and brown men. According to six years of data obtained by the Star last year, black people in Brampton were three times more likely to be street checked by Peel police than white people.

Asked by Mirza if he personally lived in Peel region, Senechal declined to say, agreeing he felt some discomfort disclosing that information.

“So, you can understand why, when you asked an African-Canadian passenger in a vehicle for their name and their date of birth, while they are sitting there quietly, it might be offensive to them?”

After a long pause, Senechal replied that he could.

So, the officer had no reason to card Carby, and admitted that it was for no investigative purpose. The officer also had a clear and huge lack of awareness about the controversy surrounding carding in southern Ontario. But no one could ever have predicted that someone who up until then had been cooperative and compliant would suddenly become combative...

Senechal was also questioned about his response to health information displayed on the in-car computer when Senechal ran Carby’s name.

The computer showed Carby, 33, suffered from mental instability and had suicidal tendencies — the record would have been displayed on Senechal’s screen reading “***Mental Health***.”

“Subject attempted to disarm officer. Threatened suicide, wanted police to shoot him,” the record said, referring to an incident between Carby and Toronto police just one month before his death, which resulted in Carby being hospitalized.

Jurors heard Senechal returned to speak to Carby roughly 30 seconds after seeing Carby’s mental health history on his in-car screen. By then, two backup officers, including Vasquez, had arrived on scene.

Since there was no urgency to speak to Carby — who was still compliant and calm in the car — Mirza asked Senechal why he didn’t make a plan with his colleagues, considering the high risk Carby posed to himself and others.

“You didn’t sit and take five minutes to discuss with them the plan of approach in relation to Mr. Carby, correct?

“No, I did not,” Senechal said.

Oh, wait. Yes, he had that information at his fingertips. He was provided that information when he searched for Carby's name for "no investigative reason."

Anyone believing that Canada is some post-racial society is kidding themselves.

100+ arrested at ‘Democracy Spring’ sit-in at US Capitol (VIDEO)

Source: RT

Dozens of “Democracy Spring” protesters have been arrested on the steps of the US Capitol. Thousands of activists arrived in Washington DC, after a 10-day, 140-mile (225km) march from Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, to protest the role of money in politics.

“People are fed up with the system, they are fed up with the corruption, and we want free and fair elections,” Cenk Uygur, host of the TV show Young Turks and one of the participants in the protest, told RT. “This is our core American right.”

“The fight begins today. It doesn’t mean we win today. But in the end, we always win,” Uygur said. “Progressives have never lost. We won in civil rights, we won in women’s rights, we won in gay rights, and we’re going to win in getting our democracy back.”

Attendees are being asked and trained to be non-violent protesters with guidelines that include no destruction or damage of property, “no weapons or any means of physical defense, including shields,” and no masks or other ways to conceal identity.

Read more: https://www.rt.com/usa/339192-democracy-spring-protest-capitol/

Precious little mainstream media coverage of this, even though the police have arrested so many at the Capitol that they're running out of space. Apparently there's been some chanting of "Where's CNN?"

Premier Wynne meets publicly with Black Lives Matters in Toronto

It's the meeting the BLMTO group has been begging Mayor John Tory for, but it looks like Kathleen Wynne is going to take the public meeting with the ongoing BLMTO protest group.

This is breaking, so right now it's mostly just tweets as it happens from the reporters:

And some breaking news on the CBC website:

For a little more context, BLMTO has been occupying a camp outside of the Toronto Police Services building in downtown Toronto near College and Yonge. The protest was sparked by the SIU investigation of the police shooting death of Andrew Loku last summer. They've set up an occupy-style camp there, and have also been out in front of Wynne's house. They've been asking mayor John Tory for a public meeting, but Tory said he would only meet them in private, not in public.

This is a developing story, but fascinating to see Wynne actually address them in public. That's huge news.

Here are a few more articles addressing Wynne's engaging of the protest:

On Ideological Purity - or - Save This House!

This primary has been contentious, to be sure. The media has mostly been focusing on the GOP side of things because, let's face it, it's been more interesting to watch. The three-ring circus over there certainly has more entertainment value than the far more rational Democratic primary race, but all the fighting on the Democratic side has been among supporters.

In the novel 1984, the key passage (to me) has always been O'Brien's speech about ideological purity near the end, when Winston was in his office:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

In the divide between Democrats and Republicans, we can see this. The republicans -tend- to support a candidate because they are a Republican in the firm and trenchant belief that have an R in power is superior to having a D in power, regardless of their platform or ideology. One of the neat things about progressives and liberals is that they tend to be progressive in different ways, which makes ideological purity on the left a very difficult thing, and that's a good thing!

But right now, it's creeping in. Ideological purity and a strong us vs. them tribalism is filling this site and is filling supporters of both Democratic candidates. Bernie supporters are angry and defensive towards Hillary (she's not electable/she's a liar/she's a corporate shill). Hillary supporters are smug and dismissive of Bernie (he's not a Democrat/he's just a dreamer/he doesn't have a chance). Hillary supporters want Bernie to call out his supporters for being racist and sexist. Bernie supporters want Hillary to call out her supporters for lying about his voting record and history with the civil rights movement.

Let's all take a deep breath there, okay? Now, I just said that ideological purity as we frequently see on the right and far right is not a good thing, but can we take a look at the right and far right candidates right now? Remaining in the race are Trump, Cruz, and Kasich, and Kasich is likely not long for this campaign. Trump and Cruz are both utter disasters waiting to happen. There is no way to pretend either of the Democratic candidates wouldn't be better than Trump or Cruz.

But the problem now is that the supporters of the candidates are driving other supporters away. Please look at the candidates and not the loudest and angriest people supporting them! Is Bernie a perfect candidate? Nope! Is Hillary a perfect candidate? Nope! Is there such a thing as a perfect candidate? Guess what - NOPE!

Hillary had a great night last night on March 15th. Congrats to Hillary Clinton and her supporters, and good job. She has run a very strong campaign and she continues to make gains. Bernie supporters had a rough time last night, but he's run an amazing campaign thus far, and has raised an incredible number of donations without tapping corporations or SuperPACs. He's not out of the race yet, by any means, but it's a tough road ahead.

Stop the vitriol. Stop the dismissal. Let's have an actual conversation here, and not just squabbling. The GOP is tearing itself apart very publicly, and the Democrats are slowly pulling apart without so much media attention. Unless you're in a very safe district for one party or the other, any time a progressive or liberal stays home and doesn't vote, you are voting for the Republican nominee. There's too much at risk, and we can't keep setting the furniture on fire because we didn't get -exactly- our way.

Sorry, that went on longer than I'd hoped. Here's a little song to lighten the mood. It's about environmental issues, but it applies to this situation, too. Save This House by Spirit of the West:

Ontario plans to trial universal basic income

Edit: Doh, someone linked me to this, and I totally missed that it was already posted on Breaking News. Sorry.

From the Independent:

Ontario has announced it could soon be sending a monthly cheque to its residents as it plans to launch an experiment testing the basic income concept.

While officials in the Canadian province are yet to release any specific details of the project – including how much will be given to residents who participate – the finance ministry has published a report confirming the government’s intention to roll out the experiment.

Proponents of the idea say it would save on welfare administration costs, reduce the poverty traps of traditional welfare states, be fair to people who have jobs, and give people more autonomy in general.

“As Ontario’s economy grows, the government remains committed to leaving no one behind. Maintaining an effective social safety net is one part of the government’s broader efforts to reduce poverty and ensure inclusion in communities and the economy,” Ontario’s budget statement said.

It added: “The pilot project will test a growing view at home and abroad that basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support in the context of today’s dynamic labour market.

Whole article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ontario-to-pilot-a-universal-basic-income-experiment-a6916571.html

Showing up on Twitter right now: #VoteBlueNoMatterWho

Some interesting images showing up, too (I'll link to them to save bandwidth):






Full disclosure, if I could vote in a US election, I'd be feeling the Bern in a big way, but there's no way to pretend that if Hillary got the nom, that Rubio, Paul, Cruz, or Trump would make a better leader. No way at all. Hillary may be more of same, but the alternative is almost totally unconscionable.

Check out the hastag #VoteBlueNoMatterWho and SUPPORT your candidate, don't TEAR DOWN the other. And yes, supporters on both sides are doing it.

From Cracked: Attacking the gun culture with humour:

And a reminder: Don't read the commends.

No, really. Don't read the comments.

New "Stolen" app allows people to "buy and sell" your Twitter without your consent

There's a new app out there that's letting people accrue "social currency" with which to buy and sell people on Twitter, also allowing people to write messages on their profiles, etc...

Gadgette.com has an article about one of their writers discovering the app only after someone had bought her: http://www.gadgette.com/2016/01/13/stolen-app/

As it transpires, it’s from an app called Stolen. I’d never seen it before, was entirely unaware of its existence, and certainly hadn’t opted in. Stolen is a new iOS app that allows you to buy and sell real people’s Twitter accounts as if they were trading cards. Now, before anyone gets too panicky, this doesn’t give you access to their account – it’s more of a bragging rights thing. “I now own @Jack! Yeahh!” – like being the Mayor of somewhere on Foursquare.

Still, it’s tremendously unnerving to have someone tell you out of nowhere that they “own” you now. That your name and likeness is being traded on an app you had no knowledge of and hadn’t given permission to. The whole concept of people being able to own, buy and sell other people without their consent is absolutely abhorrent to us, and raises a slew of problems that it’s clear the team at Stolen haven’t anticipated.

As someone who’s received a fair amount of harassment and trolling over the last few months, I can’t tell you how disquieting it was to see a total stranger’s name plastered across my Twitter account as my “owner.” And worse, once someone buys you, they can write whatever they like on your page, giving you a ‘nickname’, advertising their products, whatever they want. There doesn’t even seem to be a swear filter in place – someone sent us this screenshot of what they were able to write on a company’s account:

Anyone who’s been on the internet for more than five minutes can immediately see the problems with this. Any platform – no matter how well-meaning – will be used to abuse and harass people, and Stolen seems an absolute gift for the trolls of the world. This app allows men to buy women, racists to buy minorities, Gamergate supporters to buy games journalists – and so on and so on.

At the time of writing, Stolen has 40,000 users. Rather than use an opt-in system whereby people can CHOOSE to be traded on the app if they so wish, anyone who signs up automatically adds all the people they follow to the service. So I’d been added without my knowledge or consent, and at the time there was no way of opting out. Stolen has since added one – see our note at the end.

So far it's a closed beta, and you require a code to get in, but the app does not require you to opt in to be bought and sold. There is a page to opt out, but it still requires a Twitter authorization to actually opt out.

Just a heads up, in case anyone suddenly starts seeing notifications that they're bought and sold by strangers.

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