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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TDSB trustees working toward ending partnership with Confucius Institute

As many of my readers know, I'm running to be Public School Trustee in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina ward.

The NDP, including Toronto Ward Councilor Mike Layton, endorsed and pushed former TDSB Trustee Chris Bolton on Trinity-Spadina. Bolton resigned three months ago following revelations that a charity run out of Bolton's home was getting funds from the School Board.

Now the NDP is running a candidate endorsed by Mike Layton, NDP Council Candidate Joe Cressy, and Olivia Chow opposing me in the race who suggests she will be different than Bolton. As far as I can see, the major differences are that she was a speaker at a rally supporting an Islamist terror group and that she has a history which, according to the University of Toronto's newspaper The Varsity, includes rigging a crooked election.

Trustees at Canada’s largest school board are taking their first formal steps to dissolve a controversial partnership with the Chinese government.
A Toronto District School Board committee will table a motion on Wednesday to terminate the agreement with the Confucius Institute. The motion is expected to pass, with six of nine trustees on the planning and priorities committee opposed to teaching elementary students Mandarin and other cultural programs offered by the institute, sources say. The motion must then be approved by the full board of trustees...
...Former TDSB chair Chris Bolton was the driving force behind the Confucius Institute. Mr. Bolton abruptly resigned in June, five months before his term as a trustee was to expire, leaving his colleagues on the board to deal with the fallout from the agreement with the Confucius Institute.

Monday, September 29, 2014

New poll has Olivia Chow's campaign in a catastrophic freefall as Doug Ford edges closer to John Tory

The Toronto mayoral race is starting to look like a two-horse contest as Doug Ford edges closer to John Tory whiles Olivia Chow falls into third, according to a new poll.
The Mainstreet Technologies poll released Monday put frontrunner John Tory at 37% support among voters most likely to vote. Doug Ford — who was said to be in a dead heat with Olivia Chow for second place in previous polls — is within seven points of the leader with 30% support of voters. Meanwhile, Ms. Chow is at 21%.

"Queers Against Israeli Apartheid's" personal Council representative plays the victim card

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Hezbollah-friendly Public School Board candidate in Toronto

I'm running for Public School Board Trustee in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina. My opponent is someone who went out to speak to and support a pro-Hezbollah rally.  Now imagine if someone like that was making decisions about how public education was delivered in Toronto:

TORONTO - During the heat of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon in July 2006, Ausma Malik was front and centre at a peace rally denouncing the conflict and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hezbollah missile fire.

Pictures from that day show the Muslim woman, wearing a headscarf and attending the University of Toronto at the time, outside the U.S. Consulate, speaking beside Ali Mallah, a well-known pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas activist and CUPE official...

... (Toronto Sun reporter Sue-Ann Levy) asked Chow at a Toronto Sun editorial board how she could align herself with a woman who reportedly contended publicly that Israel committed “state-sanctioned murder” and whether such a woman espoused “caring” values.

At first Chow, looking like a deer caught in the headlights, said she wasn’t 100% familiar with Malik’s background or her “foreign affairs point of view.”

Asked whether she checks people out before she endorses them, Chow said she does know “who she is”...

...Malik’s opponent for trustee, Richard Klagsbrun, who happens to be Jewish, said he is running to “rid the TDSB of the egregious politicization” that has made its way into the curriculum.

“Ms. Malik, a speaker at a rally that was out supporting an Islamist terror group ... represents much of what’s wrong with public education in Toronto,” he said.

See also:  

Downtown Toronto NDPers refuse to condemn actions of election candidate who spoke at pro-Hezbollah rally

Time to take some of Ontario Municipal Board's power away

Personally, I think ALL its power should be taken away. The OMB is basically an arm of the development industry and it should be eliminated:

TORONTO - The Ontario Municipal Board is unaccountable, out-of-control and too often bows to developers, say its critics.

It’s adversarial in nature, costly for communities to fight and arbitrary in some of its decisions, they claim.

And it’s wreaking havoc on local decision-making, say planners, politicians and local resident groups who’ve tried battling high-handed decisions by the unelected body.

The OMB routinely overrules decisions made by local councils and has thwarted municipalities in their attempts to slow urban sprawl.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Facebook post about a creepy hipster on the TTC who thinks his bag is more important than a person goes viral

"So after work I get onto a packed 72 Pape bus and I ask this COLOSSAL DOUCHEBAG very nicely if he can please (and yes, I did say PLEASE because I'm always polite) move his bag off the seat beside him so I can sit down. He says "no my bag is there" I say "Yes I can see that, but the bus is packed and your bag doesn't need a seat of its own ..." He laughs. I say "really dude, can you just move it, I have a headache, I'm tired and have had an awful day at work so I'd really like to sit down" He says "get the fuck away from me airhead the seat is occupied" and STOMPS down on my foot..."

Simon Houpt: Ezra Levant’s ‘slut’ comment may have been juvenile, but Trudeau’s response is wrong

Ezra Levant is a clown who loves nothing more than being in the middle of his own three-ring circus. But that doesn’t mean we should let a politician try to silence him and his colleagues.
On Tuesday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pouted that he would “not engage” with any outlet belonging to Sun Media, after Levant aired a five-minute segment on his Sun News TV show The Source gleefully mocking the sex lives of Trudeau’s parents. The loose news peg for Levant’s rant, which ran more than a week ago, was a photograph of Trudeau kissing the cheek of a bride whose wedding party he apparently ran into during the recent Ontario Liberal Party annual general meeting, held at a hotel and conference centre in Markham.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jonathan Kay: The one place in Canada where racism is still tolerated: native reserves

...The government of Canada is, in effect, directly subsidizing what just may be the most officially racist community in the entire Western world.
And yet little is being done. Why are the human rights mandarins not descending on this community? Why are Parliamentary leaders not denouncing this outbreak of explicit, old-school racism? …
Oh wait. Sorry. Cancel the front-page scoop. It’s a native reserve that’s enforcing the anti-mixed-marriage edict. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, to be more specific. They even put their racist edict on official Mohawk Council letterhead. Nothing to see here, folks. Politicians, you may continue to stare awkwardly at your shoes as Canadian citizens get thrown out of their homes because of the colour of their skin...

It's a new Toronto mayor's race as Doug Ford comes out swinging, Tory stumbles, and Chow is stuck in reverse gear

...Opening salvoes were fired Tuesday night at York Memorial Collegiate at Eglinton and Trethewey, a suburb of Ford Nation.

The school’s auditorium seats 640, it overflowed, and about 639 of them were hooting and hollering. In days of yore, you’d have expected rotten vegetables.

The seven virtues, highlighted in stained glass, circle York Memorial’s lovely auditorium. Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility. At least six of them were broken on Tuesday night.

Before long, the loudest Ford backer — and it was hard to choose — had been marched out by cops. A sign mocking Doug and Rob as Tweedledee and Tweedledum was torn from its owners hands.

“Ford more years!” and “We want Doug!” reverberated among the carved York roses and elegant pillars. I think there were a few chants of “Olivia!” and “Tory!” but damned if you could hear them...

...as often happens in debates, the tide turned late, on a simple point.

“What committee does purchasing?” Ford demanded of Tory, during discussions about budget cutting.

Tory could not answer.

(It’s the government management committee.)

“How many standing committees are there,” Ford persisted.

Tory said five.

(There are seven.)

For the first time, Tory looked dazed, even a little lost, like he wasn’t sure what actually happens at City Hall. “If you think knowing what committee buys pencils...” he stumbled, but Ford smelled blood, and so did his home crowd.

Issues? They took backseats to the slugfest between the two men. We’ve heard their positions umpteen times.

Olivia? Same backseat.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Enduring Legacy of Phil Hartman

As much as Phil Hartman's work and influence lives on, the Ontario native has so far escaped the kind of mainstream legacy re-appraisal that so many other late standups and sketch players have enjoyed.
You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman, which takes its name from the catchphrase of The Simpsons mainstay Troy McClure (voiced by Hartman), aims to right that. The long-overdue appreciation of Hartman's genius, which will be published tomorrow by St. Martin's Press, looks at the arc of his career — from his little-known stints as a rock 'n' roll roadie and album-cover designer to his comedy work with the Groundlings and beyond — as well as the off-stage, off-camera details: Hartman smoking pot, surfing, writing poetry, laughing.
Given his tragic fate, it's tempting to reduce Hartman's personal legacy to a tortured artist with a smiling persona, a man who endured private agony and professional highs but never quite found his star vehicle — despite creating roles that no one else could fill on Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and NewsRadio.
But author and Chicago Sun-Times journalist Mike Thomas paints a more symmetrical, often brightly-colored picture of Hartman's life. His detailed, reporting-driven approach yields a less sexy but far richer portrait of this consummately professional comedian who improved the prospects of every sketch, sitcom, and series he touched.

h/t Kathy S.

The math says Doug Ford might be Toronto's next mayor

From of all places, The Toronto Star:

A charm-school dropout he may be, but mayoral candidate Doug Ford has seized the helm of a mighty political ship — the cadre of disaffected, angry Torontonians who swept his brother to power. How and where he chooses to steer it over the next five weeks is anyone's guess but, aghast as the prospect may render left-wingers and centrists, there is a potential course leading straight to the mayor's office. Charting that course is a math exercise underpinned by deeply-held attitudes and beliefs among Toronto voters, now complicated after Rob Ford's cancer diagnosis by an upswell of pathos.
In the haze of hindsight, it's easy to attribute Rob's 2010 win solely to his larger-than-life persona. But the 383,501 Toronto voters who put their “x” by FORD had more in mind, something that burns hotter than whoever happens to be the current keeper of the flame: the Ford agenda of respect for taxpayers and stopping the gravy train. In 2014, it's alive and well. If Doug Ford can speak to that agenda, make it his own, and become the champion of the many who continue to take it to heart, the math suggests the mayoralty is his for the taking.

ISIS urges jihadists to attack Canadians: ‘You will not feel secure in your bedrooms’

The spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham called for attacks on Canadians on Sunday in an apparent attempt to deter members of the military alliance that has formed to challenge the terrorist group.

In a 42-minute audio speech, Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani urged ISIS supporters to kill Canadians, Americans, Australians, French and other Europeans, regardless of whether they were civilians or members of the military...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Don’t be scared of the spiders moving indoors for fall, says expert

Peacock Spider photo by Jurgen Otto

VICTORIA — Big and hairy spiders are persistent home invaders every fall, but their reputation for turning up in a favourite shoe or coffee cup and scaring people witless is completely undeserved, says a spider expert at the Royal B.C. Museum.
The creepy crawlies, some big enough to fit in the palm of your hand, are not looking for a warm cupboard to camp for the winter, they’re looking for love in all the wrong corners, said Claudia Copley, the manager of the museum’s entomology collections.

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 voltaire@hotmail.ca, Website: www.klagsbrun.ca

Monday, September 15, 2014

Not the kind of education we hope for: London children as young as ten being 'trained to be junior jihadis,' warns Deputy Mayor

London children under the age of ten are being “trained to be junior jihadis” in a disturbing new sign of the growing extremist threat in the capital, City Hall’s policing supremo warned today. 

Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh said that the way some children were being radicalised was  “horrendous” as he revealed that both he and Boris Johnson have been briefed on cases in which primary pupils have been subjected to propaganda and “extremist ideology” by their families.

His comments, ahead of a counter-terrorism summit at City Hall today, came as a new report added to the concerns about terrorism by warning that at least 40 British fighters involved in the conflict in Syria and Iraq are likely to attempt “blowback” terrorist attacks when they return to this country...
More at the London Evening Standard 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Gaza War in 5 Minutes: Thoughts from Col. Richard Kemp

A phony NATO flap

One would think from the recent media outburst regarding Canadian defence spending that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had endorsed the Iceland paradigm (no standing army) as Ottawa’s new security model.
The garment rending view with alarm was prompted by the recent NATO summit desire that NATO members spend at least 2% of their Gross Domestic Product on the military.
Ho-hum. One recalls the cynical NATO definition, “No Action: Talk Only.”
There has never been a NATO defence review that didn’t call for greater spending by alliance members.
It has been NATO’s constant drumbeat for well over a generation.
NATO defence spending has never reached the objectives sought in its annual defence planning questionnaires, a review of every member’s military spending.
Then, as now, Canada spends significantly less on defence and security than objective reviews of its economy suggest is possible.
Hectoring simply doesn’t work.
Canada has not spent affordable amounts on defence since the Korean War (1950-53).
Essentially, Canada came to an implicit conclusion about defence spending.
That is, that it could never defend itself against a hostile USA, regardless of defence expenditures.
But that any other threat powerful enough to concern Canada would also threaten the United States — and it would have to address it and thus defend Canada.
Hence, Canada could be poorly defended at great cost or poorly defended at relatively little cost.
Actuarial assessment drove the conclusion money not spent on defence in Canada could be spent on social and health benefits.
Nevertheless, even minimal defence expenditures can be costly. And easily politicized.
It is useful to recall the disconnects between the three major Canadian political parties on this issue.
In contrast to the U.S., where Democrats and Republicans agree it should have the best defence/security forces and bicker only over how excessive expenditures should be, Canadian political parties are defined by their differences.

h/t BC Blue

Sunday afternoon movie treat: Caesar and Cleopatra

From the play by George Bernard Shaw. Starring Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh.

Climate hysteric Michael Mann disavows his own résumé

From the fantastic Mark Steyn:

...the graph that has "absolutely nothing to do with Dr Mann" is listed on Dr Mann's own CV as one of his published works. And, when Mann's lawyers (John Williams and Peter Fontaine) state baldly that "Dr Mann did not create this depiction", he is, by his own admission, one of the co-creators of said depiction.

One is inclined to be generous. My old friend Irving Caesar, lyricist of "Tea For Two" and "Just A Gigolo", had a legendary Broadway flop with a show called My Dear Public. The reviews were scathing, and singled Caesar out particularly, as he was the show's producer, and lyricist, and co-author and co-composer. The following morning he bumped into Oscar Hammerstein and said, "So they didn't like it. But why pick on me?" That's Mann's attitude to the 1999 hockey stick he co-authored: So it's misleading and over-simplified. But why pick on me?