Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some Killer Animation

Iranians receive court sentence for appearing in "Happy" video

Six Iranians appearing in a YouTube video singing the popular pop song 'Happy' were given suspended sentences of 91 lashes and six months in prison for "obscene behaviour."

Another defendant who faced heavier charges was given a suspended sentence of one year in prison and 91 lashes.

Farshid Rofugaran was quoted in the Iran Wire as saying the verdicts had not been officially communicated to him and so he could not be completely sure about the information he had gathered.

The sentences are suspended for three years, meaning that if any of the seven are found guilty of committing a similar offense, the punishment is carried out.

The women appearing in the video were bare-headed, which is a violation of the strict Islamic dress code.

Barbara Amiel: There’s only one villain at the United Nations

You’ve gotta love Anne Bayefsky. Don’t know her? Well she’s a Canadian unlikely to ever get an Order of Canada. Those go to chaps like William Schabas, OC, a fellow Canadian. Both Anne and William speak about human rights, Israel and the United Nations. The reason Anne hasn’t got an OC might be for her plain speaking: “Why couldn’t the UN . . . sponsor a conference on combating global anti-Semitism?” she asked this week in a jammed meeting room in the United Nations. “Because,” she told the audience, “the United Nations itself is the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism.” As for William, he’s a hired hand of the UN’s legal pogrom demonizing Israel. You can take a boy like William and make him a human rights industry pro, but you can’t take the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) out of the boy.
Forty years ago William, a far left member of the New Left SDS, physically prevented the distinguished University of Pennsylvania professor Edward Banfield, an expert on urban poverty, from speaking at the University of Toronto. Many of us did things 40 years ago of which we are now heartily ashamed but I’m going to hazard a guess—and it’s only a guess—that in his heart William is not ashamed of his attempt to curtail free speech. He doesn’t sound like a person who knows the meaning of shame...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Michael Coren: The Magical, Timeless Popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien

He doesn’t really fit the bill.

J. R. R. Tolkien that is. Novelists these days are supposed to wear their angst on their finely tailored sleeves, to be whirling dervishes of deconstruction, discontent, deviance and the divine right of protest. Yet the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was quintessentially comfortable—in his life as well as in his tweeds. He was also formed, informed, shaped, defined and inspired by his Roman Catholicism.

I write this because yet another movie based—albeit sometimes loosely—on the man’s writings is in the making, and at this rate there will be at least six full-scale feature films. There are two biopics planned about the lives of Tolkien and his friend and fellow Christian, C. S. Lewis. It’s remarkable and welcome, and while purists never welcome publicity or success, the more that is known of Tolkien by a mass audience, the better is has to be for Catholicism.

It’s not only the purists in our camp, of course, who question all this.

When various bookstores, newspapers, magazines and literary societies compiled their lists of all-time greats a few years ago, Tolkien won the contests over and over again. First it was a chain of stores, polling more than 25,000 people. Dickens, Tolstoy, and Jane Austen did well, but the fellow with the pipe and friends in dwarfish places came out top.

This annoyed the chattering classes no end, so the highly prestigious Folio Society polled its 50,000 members. Connoisseurs of fine literature, these good men and women were certain to make a different choice.

A prayer for Rob Ford

He evokes strong emotions from both his supporters and detractors, but anyone who has met Toronto Mayor Rob Ford knows the passion and love he has for his city and his determination to help his constituents.

Over his term as mayor, Ford has beaten opponents who tried to use the courts to undermine his democratic mandate and bounced back from the best efforts of media obsessed with undermining him.

But yesterday, it was announced that he has a malignant form of stomach cancer and is fighting the real battle of his life.

The people who wanted Rob Ford to no longer be mayor of Toronto have got their wish. Ford withdrew from the mayoral race.

So let's all send him our best thoughts and prayers for good health and a total recovery.  Rob Ford made Toronto politics more exciting than it's been since the Mackenzie rebellion and the city wouldn't be the same without him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

He really must have been the Master of Suspense: Patient in vegetative state for 16 years reacts to suspenseful Alfred Hitchcock show

A group of Canadian neuroscientists says they have successfully used an episode of the suspenseful Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series to record the conscious experiences of a patient who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years.
The researchers at Western University in London, Ont., released a paper Monday about a brain scanning technique that monitors the response of non-responsive patients to a shortened version of the episode, Bang! You’re Dead.

plus, more at NATURE

Toronto public school trustees racked up high costs for conference travel

Toronto public school trustees spent $108,000 on conferences over a three-year period, travelling to California, Boston and Whistler on the taxpayers’ dime, say two confidential reports obtained by the Star.
The biggest spenders were trustees Gerri Gershon, racking up $13,804.54 in conference costs; Elizabeth Moyer, with at least $13,727.53; and Shelley Laskin with more than $13,533.93, from 2010-11 to 2012-13, the reports show. There were no cost estimates available for three additional conferences attended by Moyer and Laskin.

Is Olivia Chow nuts? She endorsed a TDSB candidate who was a speaker at a pro-Hezbollah rally

The NDP establishment in the downtown ward of Trinity-Spadina is pushing out an extremely troubling figure for Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee.  The candidate, Ausma Malik has been endorsed by high-profile NDPers including Mike Layton, Joe Cressy, and former MPP Rosario Marchese.  She's also sharing a campaign office with Layton and Cressy.  In fact, so close are the three that they appear to consider themselves an allied slate, as opposed to three individual candidates.

Who is Ausma Malik?

According to The Varsity, Ausma Malik played a major role in a crooked student union election at the University of Toronto - which is located in the very ward in which she is now running for TDSB trustee...

Blogwrath is crowdsourcing support for a book about the media vs Rob Ford

You can read more and support him HERE

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

eBay/Participant Media's Jeff Skoll endorses Toronto School Board Candidate Richard Klagsbrun

Participant Media's Jeff Skoll
TORONTO, Sept 16,2014 /CNW/ - World-famous Canadian philanthropist, entrepreneur, and Hollywood movie producer Jeff Skoll has done something unprecedented for him this week. The eBay innovator who was both its first employee and first president, took a public position in Toronto politics by endorsing Richard Klagsbrun for Public School Trustee in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina district.
Skoll's eponymous Skoll Foundation is one of the premier catalysts for Social Entrepreneurship in the world and his Skoll Scholarship program has awarded millions in education grants. Among Skoll Foundation awardees is Sal Khan'sKhan Academy, whose highly effective methods Klagsbrun has proposed utilizing to a greater extent in the Toronto District School Board.
Said Skoll, "I have personally worked with educators in both Canada and the US at a systems level.  Amongst other partners in education, the Skoll Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Free the Children in Canada and the US and as such we have had great visibility into both country's systems.  While the Canadian system in many respects is superior to that of the US, both systems suffer from bureaucratic logjams.  It takes someone like Richard Klagsbrun, who is passionate, knowledgeable and fearless, to break these logjams and help our kids get the best possible education to prepare them for the modern world."
Klagsbrun was one of the first employees at Skoll's Participant Productions, where as a Strategic Planning and Creative Executive, he helped formulate the organization's unique model of tying social action campaigns to the company's films in partnership with legislators and social action groups.  That model is considered one of the main reasons of the tremendous success of Participant's Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
A writer and consultant who has been a fierce critic of the decline in standards in public education, particularly inToronto, Klagsbrun has been featured in national publications and as a television commentator.  He also served for a year as co-Chair of the School Council at Central Technical School, the largest school in Trinity-Spadina.
"We need a complete overhaul of the way education is delivered in Toronto's public schools, where our kids are becoming victims of a politicized curriculum,"  said Klagsbrun. "The current political establishment will only make things worse. The NDP is trying to impose a candidate on Trinity-Spadina who represents deplorable aspects of identity politics. She was a speaker at a rally that supported the terror group Hezbollah and at a pro-Marxist conference, and according to the University of Toronto newspaper, The Varsity, as a U of T union official, colluded in a corrupt investigation of a crooked student election. The other ward candidates have offered nothing but meaningless platitudes. This election is an opportunity for Trinity-Spadina voters to choose between real change or the dismal status quo."
Among Klagsbrun's other endorsers are author and CFRB radio host Tarek Fatah,  Harvard University professor Aurel Braun, broadcaster Michael Coren, and Toronto FC Goalkeeper Chris Konopka.
Added Skoll, "I have known Richard Klagsbrun for over 20 years and he is thoroughly knowledgeable and passionate about public education and the need to improve it. Ward 10 couldn't hope to have a better representative at the TDSB.  As education standards are declining and the curriculum is becoming increasingly politicized, Toronto needs Richard, who will fight for the next generation's right to an education that provides them with the tools they will need to succeed."
SOURCE Campaign for Richard Klagsbrun
 For further information: The Campaign for Richard Klagsbrun at, Website: