Sunday, March 30, 2008

FYI; Pictures and Objects

I've been working on my other blog Pictures and Objects. That blog is focussed on aesthetics, art criticism and art history. It is part of my drive to pick up my studies in art and its philosophies.

On a more personal note life is good. I'm teaching again, have applied to go back to grad school and feel more grounded than I have in years. Now if I could just get a band going... or at least jam regularly. The wife is getting really buff, but she still has time play drums, if I can book a studio and as baby sitter.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Burying a burial; So this is fiscal conservatism

So Mr.Harper's fiscally conservative, responsible government spent $50 000 to spin a report on climate change. Then they quietly released it because it was leaked a day early. So they wasted the equivalent of a Canadian family's yearly income to create spin they didn't even use.

The general sense is the Conservatives don't like climate science. This report is apparently warning of extensive changes in Canada's climate. The idea that the environment has limits for human impact and that consumption and pollution of of eco-system has real costs is not inline with current Tory notions. Ostensibly they cut the fanfare because the report was leaked. If they supported the work of these scientists, what difference would it make?

This government is leaking like the Titanic. It hasn't hit bottom yet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Evolution and culture

Is human culture an expression of evolutionary processes?

I'm not arguing that any given culture is somehow superior to another. Rather, that the human capacity for culture might be an evolutionary trait.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tom Clark's foot and the Government's mouth

That it was Sen.Clinton's call to reassure the Canadian government that her attacks on NAFTA were just election rhetoric has not been widely reported. I hope the folks in Ohio think about this when they consider their support. Up here in Canada some members of the media, and the Government have some explaining to do;

"The Canadian Press cited an unnamed source last night as saying that several people overheard the remark.

The news agency quoted that source as saying that Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton'scampaign called and was "telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt."

The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats.

Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report.

There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. CTV president Robert Hurst declined to comment.

The Globe and Mail, March 6, 2008

That this leak was so clumsy speaks to the Government's competence(or lack there of). It constitutes a grave diplomatic error. That it was so misreported is damning to the news agency(CTV) involved. Pehaps Mr. Clark should offer a loud mea culpa.

Clinton vs Obama: experience and change

I saw this comment in the Washington Post replying to an article about potential strategies that would allow Sen. Clinton to win the democratic nomination.

"LET ME JUMP THE GUN on the Obama strategy to fight this one. Obama has to go negative without appearing to go negative. Here is how to do that:

Compose a 30 second commercial of just Hillary, in Hillary's greatest hits: A health care disaster in 1993, she couldn't get it passed with a Democratic Senate, Congress, and husband for President. Travelgate. Whitewater. A 10,000% profit on her one and only venture into commodities, still unexplained. Missing records, found years later in the white house. A vote on Iraq. Bill on TV saying "I did not have sex with that woman". Bill talking about what the definition of "is" is. Hillary talking to Russert about a vast right wing conspiracy.

Close with Barack Obama, saying "I am Barack Obama, and I approve this message because it is time for a Change in Washington."

If she argues this is negative, he can counter that it is just the facts, Ma'am. If they can find her saying them. Her experience in politics is my experience of her, and it is not good. I am no researcher, but it shouldn't be hard to put together 30 or 60 seconds of Hillary press conferences over her 8 years as First Lady."

-Posted by: tonycastaldo | March 6, 2008 07:29 AM

I've often thought that experience means nothing if it doesn't change a candidate.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

With friends like these:the National Post on the Cadman case

The National Post has narrowed the focus of the Cadman bribery accusations to this:

The person on trial is the person on tape admitting that "individuals" representing the Conservative Party of Canada were in last-ditch discussions to procure Mr. Cadman's pivotal vote at a critical time for a teetering Liberal government.

Instead of clearing that up, Mr. Harper has now unleashed lawyers to muffle the noise with a defamation action against the Liberals for alleging on their Web site that he'd known about a Cadman bribe. If the Prime Minister was trying to turtle the Liberals back inside their political shells, he apparently misjudged Stephane Dion.

Don Martin, National Post 4th March, 2008

Instead of obsfucating, Mr. Harper should be authorising an RCMP investigation. When Don Martin starts pressing the Conservative party on accusations of corruption, it is time to bring down the Government and set the RCMP to uncovering the facts.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Canada's New Government stifles free speech: Bill C-10

Dear Reader,

The proposed bill C-10 will be a huge detriment to the entertainment industry in Canada. This industry is currently seeing an increase unlike it has ever seen before. With a great deal of television – like “Sophie” on CBC – finally gaining American interest it seems that Canadian television and film is starting to gain its own worldwide audience.

However – if Bill C-10 goes into play there will be an extreme decrease in the amount ofwork being produced. The industry will shut down because funding is no longer guaranteed. With funding that could be pulled away from a project, banks will not fund and the industry will collapse under insecurity.

If funding that is difficult to get already (there is a very specific and long application process already) can be taken away from projects anything that is nationally relevant to heritage may be non-funded by other sources in fears that the Canadian government funding that had been promised might be taken away at a moments notice.

As well, the terminology of the bill itself is vague. Terms like “offensive” leave much to be desired in the description. As “offensive” could mean – to the government – “something I don't personally like” which is subjective and problematic. Especially when discussing conceptualizations like “art” which can exist in public consciousness to create a dialogue one what the government and people do that is construed.

As well – concepts like “publics best interest” is even more problematic. As soon as someone determines “best interest” there exists an increasing pressure for “best interest” to be defined. This is often defined by dominant groups which effectively leaves those without a voice increasingly voiceless.

If you have any interest in increasing the amount of good and socially conscious art that Canada has been known for – please do not support this bill.

-Protest letter taken from Facebook group Against Bill C-10.

Please feel free to copy it and send it to the appropriate Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister or the Prime Minister. While I'm ambivalent about public arts funding, this bill is an attack on freedom of speech. It amounts to the Government stifling what people want to say.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Denial runs through it: The Tories and the Cadman affair

That the Conservative party is going to deny bribing former MP Chuck Cadman is obvious. On The House radio program on CBC one this morning conservative MP James Moore put forward the denial of the two men supposed to pitch the inducement to Mr.Cadman as evidence that they hadn't offered a bribe. I suppose that is sufficient evidence that nothing criminal happened- The Conservatives seem to think so.

Rather more telling is that Stephen Harper is qouted on a piece of tape refering to the offer to Mr.Cadman, shortly after his death. The Conservatives claim that Harper didn't make the comment, that the comment is taken out of context and that the tape was electronically forged. This stumbling, contradictory, angry attempt sounds like the pompous defense style of the Mulroney -era Tories.

The denials are so clumsy, the Conservatives should be ashamed to use such a suspect defense. Damn their lies, and damn them for thinking their lies were sufficient.
We need an election now. And I still stand by my prediction that they'll pull about 34% of the vote, because the Grits are still too arrogant and the Tories still have a base who would deny anything the Tories do wrong. Perhaps the Tories should go for an election now, lose, and come back after the recession that looms.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster