A synCReTiC idea CRiTiCized: Fifty years of Canadian Content laws

The captalization of the letters CRTC in the words isn’t an accident.

Prior to 1970, Canadian radio and television was the near exclusive purview and stomping grounds of foreign entertainment. Almost everything that was broadcast was either from the US or the UK. (In English, anyway; the Quebec music scene was more developed.) Television and radio stations had neither the money nor the interest in producing or developing Canadian artists and actors. Canadian authors, writers, poets, newspapers, journalist and painters were famous at home and abroad, but at a time when TV was now a household appliance with immediate gratification and popular music dominated by record sales, Canadian culture was being silenced and shut out. The only voices you heard or saw were those popular internationally: Joni Mitchell, The Guess Who, Paul Anka, Wayne and Shuster, etc. There was no domestic-only broadcast culture, period.

In 1970, the Canadian government had the Bureau of Broadcast Governors (in 1976 renamed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC) create what would become the Canadian Content Regulations. Written by Stan Klees and approved by BBG chairman Pierre Juneau, the policies were announced in November 1970. They became law in January 1971, immediately changing the artistic landscape.

For television, broadcasters were required to provide a specific amount of prime time slots for Canadian produced shows, and not just sports. This included dramas, comedies, arts, music programs, movies or others. This forced broadcaster to spend money developing their own shows. And it wasn’t limited to prime time, children’s television benefitted greatly: Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant, Circle Square, Polka Dot Door and many other long running shows. Many Canadian television programs ended up being broadcast in the US: You Can’t Do That On Television, The Beachcombers, Degrassi High, SCTV, King Of Kensington, E.N.G., Littlest Hobo, Trailer Park Boys, among others (e.g. 1980s CBS late night shows Night Heat, Adderly, etc.).

Canadian radio stations were required to play a minimum percentage of songs that qualified as Canadian Content. In 1971, it was 25%, becoming 30% in 1980, and 35% in 1999. New stations since 2000 must play 40%. At that time, radio stations and record companies saw Canada as a place to play US and UK music, but now they had to spend money to develop and produce Canadian bands. Talent existed, but the amount of recorded material available was small. You could end up hearing Anne Murray ten times a day in 1972. As years and decades passed, the back catalogue become much larger, making it easy to fill the 35% or 40%. MuchMusic and its sibling channel had a 10% minimum in the 1980s when it began; I don’t know the current standard.

What qualifies a song as Canadian Content (or CanCon, as most call it)? It has to meet the MAPL rules: Music, Artist, Production, Lyrics. For any song produced before 1971, it only had to meet one of the four, so any Canadian artist’s music would suffice. After 1971, it had to meet at least two of the four requirements. That means if a song was written by a foreigner, both the artist and the producer had to be Canadian, e.g. Streetheart’s cover of “Under My Thumb”. On the other hand, songs written by Canadians but recorded by a foreign act would still qualify as Canadian Content – for example, Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” (written by Eddie Schwartz), Santana’s “Hold On” (written by Ian Thomas; his version is better), Bonnie Raitt’s “Something To Talk About” (written by Shirley Eikhart).

Increased opportunities and A&R money meant bands that were once ignored would both get time in the studio and airplay on the radio. Many went on to significant international success: Rush, Frank Marino, April Wine, Prism, Chilliwack, Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan, Drake, Cowboy Junkies, Alanis Morissette, among many others. The music scene in Quebec is so vibrant that its artists have dominated France’s pop charts for decades (e.g. Roch Voisine, Michel Pagliaro, Isabelle Boulay, Les Cowboys Fringants).

It wasn’t only Canadian artists who benefitted. The increased domestic music system included recording studios and venues for bands to play. Styx (from Chicago) benefitted heavily from their proximity to Canada and received airplay they weren’t getting in the US during their early years. Some male members of Heart (from Seattle) were draft dodgers from the Vietnam war. They lived in Vancouver, recording their debut album “Dreamboat Annie” at Mushroom Studios. Several studio musicians on the album are Canadian (e.g. drummer Kat Hendrikse).

There was a downside to CanCon.  Many US, UK and other countries’ radio stations took (and still take) the chauvinistic attitude, “They’re only on the radio in Canada because they’re Canadian”. Some Canadian groups became popular abroad over the next fifty years, but many Canadian artists have had decades-long careers producing high quality music yet are unknown abroad. If a group sucked, Canadians wouldn’t be watching them in clubs, arenas, or buying their records.  (Country music is a different animal, many artists successful in the US.)

CanCon laws are under threat because of the “trans pacific partnership”, falsely labelled as commercial protectionism.  While some Canadian musicians and TV creators have benefitted from the law, it’s biggest effect is cultural.  It gave Canada a sense of national identity we didn’t have before, unifying the country despite how disparate the different regions are (the Pacific, Prairies, Easterners, Maritimes, the Arctic).  It’s not “for better or worse”, it’s mostly for the better.

More below the fold.

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Just Wait: The uneducated will be all over this in no time

Forget crop circles, here’s a new thing for the ignorant to fawn over and start claiming “aliens”.

A helicopter pilot who monitors wild sheep in the Utah desert found something by accident: an unmarked and highly polished metal monolith in the middle of Utah’s desert.

Helicopter pilot finds ‘strange’ monolith in remote part of Utah

A mysterious monolith has been discovered in a remote part of Utah, after being spotted by state employees counting sheep from a helicopter.

The structure, estimated at between 10ft and 12ft high (about 3 metres), appeared to be planted in the ground. It was made from some sort of metal, its shine in sharp contrast to the enormous red rocks which surrounded it.

To his credit, the pilot said he thought it had a reasonable explanation – a stunt, someone’s idea of art, or some other natural explanation, though the “news reporter” sounded gullible.  Given how many ignorant people believe in nonsense like bigfoot, pizza pedophiles and “trump re-election victory!”, you can be sure some of them will start travelling out to see it.

And no doubt a few will probably have to be rescued after getting lost in the desert.  Here’s a pic from the Utah Highway Patrol‘s facebook page:

Cover Up: Now I have to wear masks everywhere!

I’ve said before how Taiwan was one of the first to act on COVID-19: to test incoming travellers, to quarantine people, and to shut down international travel.  It was also one of the first to mandate masks, though that wasn’t difficult since many are used to it (re: the pollution in some cities).

In advance of flu season, the government is now mandating masks everywhere, come December 1st:  ALL indoor locations, including nightclubs unless “social distancing” is possible.  So much for wearing lipstick when I go clubbing.  (And what about my birthday party in February…?)  I wouldn’t mind so much if I could find the leopard print medical masks some people are wearing.

Taiwan to require masks at most public venues from Dec. 1

Taiwan will mandate the wearing of face masks at eight types of public venues from Dec. 1, with fines of NT$3,000 (US$105.16)-NT$15,000 for non-compliance, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday.

The new rules are intended to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses during their peak season in the winter months, and to prevent the overburdening of Taiwan’s healthcare system, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at a press briefing.

Masks were already required on public transit, taxis, schools, and certain other places, and many stores, banks and others chose to enforce it.  Now it’s mandatory which means almost everywhere with enclosed spaces or dense gatherings of people.  About the only place people won’t be required to wear it will be home, sidewalks and parks or other outdoor spaces, or while you’re eating in a restaurant.  It’s an annoyance, but nearly everyone is complying already.  Among the foreigner community and in many Taiwan-based facebook groups, there are trumpkins who are anti-mask as much as they are anti-vaccination.  I hope they get deported when they refuse to be innoculated.

More below the fold.

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They Live On: One biography and one obituary

Friday was Transgender Day of Remembrance (a topic I still need to write about).  The stories of two important women made the news on the weekend.  One is Lynn Conway, finally getting the recognition and apology she deseres.  The other is Jan Morris who recently died.  Morris and her name will live on through her many highly regarded books.

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Lynn Conway is a giant in computing, responsible for many innovations that make cell phones, the Internet and reduction of computer chip size possible.  She transitioned in 1968 at a time when even the word “gay” and “homosexual” could get you fired, a year before anyone ever heard of Stonewall.

While it’s good that IBM apologized to her, they haven’t offered any financial compensation for the billions they earned in profits over the next few decades (e.g. her VLSI advances which made Intel’s 80×86 series possible and powered the IBM PC).  She may have done well despite their actions, but words aren’t enough.

IBM Apologizes For Firing Computer Pioneer For Being Transgender…52 Years Later

You’ve likely never heard of 82-year-old computer scientist Lynn Conway, but her discoveries power your smartphones and computers. Her research led to successful startups in Silicon Valley, supported national defense, and powered the internet.

Long before becoming a highly respected professor at the University of Michigan, Conway was a young researcher with IBM. It was there, on August 29, 1968, that IBM’s CEO [Thomas Watson Jr.] fired her for reasons that are illegal today. Nearly 52 years later, in an act that defines its present-day culture, IBM apologized and sought forgiveness.

[. . .]

First finding work as a contract programmer, Conway rapidly ascended the career ladder. By 1971, she was working as a computer architect at Memorex Corporation. Her rising reputation led to her recruitment by the (soon to become famous) Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973.

In 1977, while leading PARC research into enhanced methods for computer chip design, Conway began co-authoring a book on the methods with Carver Mead, a professor at Caltech. On sabbatical from PARC as a visiting professor at MIT, she created and taught an experimental course on Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) chip design based on the draft of her textbook with Mead.

[. . .]

“. . . Among [Conway’s] many foundational contributions to computer architecture are the scalable digital design rules she invented for silicon chip design and the ARPANET e-commerce infrastructure she developed for rapid chip prototyping – thereby launching a paradigmatic revolution in microchip design and manufacturing . . .,” explains John L. Anderson, President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

She was fired personally by Thomas Watson Jr.  It was Thomas Watson Sr. who willingly supplied tabulation machines to Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

To their credit, IBM willingly and openly began supporting Transgender rights in 2018.  Unlike most companies which engage in “pinkwashing”, IBM does not sell products to indivduals after selling their PC business to China’s Lenovo in 2004.  Their revenue now comes from institutions (government, big business, education), some of which oppose human rights for Transgender people.  They are actually putting their profits at risk with their support, not trying to increase profits by slapping a rainbow on them.

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Jan Morris was an author and historian who wrote several groundbreaking and award winning books, including “Pax Britannica” (a three volume history of the British Empire), her novel “Last Letters from Hav”, and “Conundrum”, her account about her transition.

Jan Morris, historian, travel writer and trans pioneer, dies aged 94

Jan Morris, the historian and travel writer who evoked time and place with the flair of a novelist, has died aged 94.

As a journalist Morris broke monumental news, including Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest, and the French involvement in the Israeli attack on Egypt in the Suez war. As a bestselling author of more than 30 books, she was equally lauded for histories including Pax Britannica, her monumental account of the British Empire, and for her colourful accounts of places from Venice to Oxford, Hong Kong to Trieste. But she was also well-known as a transgender pioneer, with Conundrum, her account of the journey from man to woman, an international sensation when it was published in 1974.

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Unfortunately, the Guardian deadnamed Jan Morris in her obituary.  Perhaps that will happen less now that infamous TERF bigot Suzanne Moore has been “let go” by the Guardian. Unfortunately, the Guardian’s other infamous TERF bigot, editor Katharine Viner, remains in a position she is unqualified for and undeserving of.

Cue the inevitable TERF whining about “censorship” and “deplatforming”.  Trust me, if Trans people could silence TERFs we would.  You know we can’t because TERFs never shut up.



Mark Up: What I did on the weekend

On Saturday, my appointment with a tattoo artist finally arrived.  I have a handful of ideas I want to get over the next year, the two most important will be the next ones.  I had considered getting more tattoos before now, but not done much about it.  Now that travel isn’t possible, I might as well spend money and recuperation time on this.  (Next weekend I’m off to Kaohsiung for Taiwan’s third pride parade, the only travelling I’m doing this year.)

On my left shoulder is the p/g logo from Rush’s 1984 album, “Grace Under Pressure”. The album is bleak, recorded not long after Reagan’s idiotic “we have outlawed Russia” speech (likely the inspiration for the album’s opening track, “Distant Early Warning”).  The second track “Afterimage” is about the death of a longtime tour employee and friend Robbie Whelan, the third about survivors of death camps (after Neil Peart talked with Geddy Lee’s mother, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen and then Auschwitz), the fourth “The Enemy Within” (part one of “Fear” trilogy).

But it’s also an album of defiance, the theme of not giving up running through it (especially in the fifth song “The Body Electric”; 1001001!).  The phrase grace under pressure is attributed to Ernest Hemingway, his definition of courage.  I would rather have a phrase from a Canadian author, but neither Pierre Burton, Farley Mowat, nor others were used on Rush records.

I have found a good, clear black and white image of the clock from “Clockwork Angels” (the symbols and clock hands, no colours).  I’m planning a 20cm or 24cm diametre tattoo of the clock on my lower back.  I don’t want a “star man” tattoo, it’s overdone and it references Ayn Rand (ugh).  “Clockwork Angels” is a concept album based on Voltaire’s novella, Candide.

On the right shoulder is the Pacific Dogwood tree (Cornus nuttallii).  They’re considered leaves, not a flower, but most people won’t stick around for the explanation, so I don’t try.

The dogwood tree grows all over the northern hemisphere: across Asia (including Taiwan), Europe and North America. But every other species has two, three, four or five leaves.  Only the Pacific Dogwood has six.  It’s found in southwest British Columbia and along the US west coast (down to the northern quarter of California).  It’s also British Columbia’s provincial flower (again, no point in arguing).  BC is still home to me, even if I haven’t been back in nineteen years.

I thought plants were a way to say where someone was from without being controversial until I met a Serbian who lives here and talked about it.  He said Serbs, Croats and others in the region still argue about which land belongs to whom, and unique plant life could be a source of argument.  Good thing I’m not from there.

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Am I talking tough if I say I fell asleep while the dogwood was being tattooed?  I usually fall asleep when I get a body wax.  The woman who owns the waxing studio has to prod me to turn over or change positions.

I Jest: A modest proposal

I have “a modest proposal” of what to do to the US, now that the election is over and it’s clear too many in the country are irredeemably uneducated.  We don’t have time for rational solutions.

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1) The light blue and dark blue are together a new country named the Federated States of America. The red area is renamed “jesusland”.

2) The light blue states (the land, the natural resources and political autonomy) are reserved for and given to all First Nations people who can now travel freely from Canada to Mexico as they did centuries ago.

3) Those who want to be FSA citizens will be relocated at the expense of jesusland. The property owned by any whites relocated to jesusland will be confiscated and given to Black people as compensation for slavery.

4) Forcibly move all the trumpkins, those who donated to Cheetolini, fundy christians, mormons, racists, Chads and Karens, cops, MAGAs, and the other undesirables out of blue states and into jesusland at their own expense. Make them pay for construction of a wall (similar to George Carlin’s, not Cheetolini’s).

5) Those in jesusland can keep their guns, but they get no boats, airplanes or military equipment of any sort. (None of them wants to travel abroad anyway.) They can travel internally by horse and cart until they can afford to build their own railroad and power it by solar electricity…IF they can figure out how to do that, since they’re anti-science. (Petroleum will no longer be imported.) They can secede if they want – or better yet, cut adrift as a third world nation.


Here’s what I mean about George Carlin’s wall:

Music Rules: Blondie’s Autoamerican turns forty

Blondie’s fifth album Autoamerican was released on November 19, 1980. It’s still one of my favourite records, somehow managing to straddle Punk, Pop, New Wave, Rap and even Disco without sounding dated.

There’s not a weak moment on this record, so many good songs that I can’t pick favourite tracks. The songwriting was strong and spread out.  Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Jimmy Destri contributed about a quarter of the material each, with other co-writers and cover songs.  There’s the opening instrumental “Europa”, the jazzy “Here’s Looking at You”, the cover of The Paragons’ “The Tide Is High”, “Go Through It” which sounds like something from Parallel Lines, the rap of “Rapture”, the surf-inspired “T-Birds”; the list goes on and on.

  • Europa
  • Live It Up
  • Here’s Looking at You
  • The Tide Is High
  • Angels on the Balcony
  • Go Through It
  • Do the Dark
  • Rapture
  • Faces
  • T-Birds
  • Walk Like Me
  • Follow Me

There’s a theory (claim? notion? idea?) that the number one song on your fourteenth birthday defines your life.  It’s not true for everyone, but it is absolutely spot on for me: “The Tide Is High” was #1 in Canada during February 1981.

Here’s a youtube playlist of the album.  Share and enjoy:

While most other XYs in my day dreamed of dating Debbie Harry, I dreamed of being her.  Another heroine from my teenage years.

Attention Due: November 13-19 is Transgender Awareness Week

As the title says, November 13-19 is Transgender Awareness Week.  And Friday November 20 is Transgender Day Of Remembrance, a grim day this year.  Life intruded (e.g. last Saturday’s pride parade in Taichung, among others) or I would have talked about this earlier.

To quote from GLAAD.org:

Each year between November 13 – 19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

The week before Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence that year.

Read more about Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance below, and find out how you can participate.

From Planned Parenthood of Illinois:

Transgender Awareness Week is a time for reflection, resilience, and action

This week is Transgender Awareness Week, a time to raise visibility about transgender people and address issues faced by members of the community. The week ends November 20, on Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience, a day to honor the memory of people murdered in acts of anti-transgender violence.

During this important week, we are reminded of a grim reality: despite some progress in recent years, many transgender people, especially Black and Latinx trans women, deal with discrimination and violence on a daily basis. 

If you’re not already taking action, now is the time to start.

While there’s been noticeable progress in some areas in recent years, like the visibility of transgender people in popular culture, historic wins in the recent election, and improvements in health care, the transgender community still faces daily discrimination and violence from loved ones, our education systems, our workplaces, in social services and shelters, from law enforcement and medical professionals.

Artist Margot Durling an art piece called Chosen Family which is displayed in the Halifax Commons, of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This week marks Transgender Awareness Week, and one Halifax artist hopes their piece inspires others to feel accepted.

Margot Durling is the trans and non-binary artist behind the new Chosen Family art piece standing tall at the Halifax Commons.

“There’s a history of genders beyond the binary,” Durling says.

They knew they weren’t female when they were very young.

“I’ve always been an artist so I drew a lot as a child and anatomically I was drawing myself as male very early on.”

Awareness is necessary because just as Transgender and Non-Binary people have become more visible every year, so has hate, bigotry and violence.  It’s not just in backwards countries with undemocratic rightwing and fascist governments (e.g. Brazil, Poland, the US).  Even in allegedly “Trans friendly” countries with laws that are supposed to protect people, governments are turning a blind eye to discrmination.  Because they can without consequences, because those being hated have no political or social power.

These items are all within the past week, not counting thousands from the past year along.  From Pakistan:

Eunuch Activist Seeks Investigation In Transgender Women Attack

Prominent transgender social activist and political worker, Nayyab Ali has demanded the authorities concerned to urgently investigate the violent attacks on a transgender woman Heera Malik in Islamabad.

Heera Malik was allegedly attacked and tortured by some unidentified man on October 3st1 night, near a traffic signal, in an area of sector F-11, Nayyab Ali told APP.

It has been more than a week to the incident and the concerned police station had not registered a First Information Report, shifting responsibility to other police station, she alleged.

From Human Rights Watch:

Trans People at Risk in Honduras

Government Should Protect LGBT People from Violence, Discrimination

William Alejandro Martínez, a trans man from Honduras, stood up for his rights when military police officers stopped him in Comayagüela in May 2019 and asked to see his identity card. They questioned him about his gender identity, physically assaulted him, and threatened to arrest him. “Don’t touch me, I’m a human rights defender,” Martínez insisted. That’s when an officer pointed a rifle at him, saying “I don’t give a damn what you are.” “My life passed before my eyes,” Martínez remembered.

By some counts, Honduras has one of the world’s highest rates of homicides of transgender people.

Ten years before Martínez stared into the barrel of a gun, Vicky Hernández, a trans woman, sex worker, and activist, was killed on the streets of San Pedro Sula. Last week, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard a case arguing that the Honduran government is responsible for Hernández’s loss of life.

And from New Zealand, where the government condoned it:

Woman evicted with 3 hours’ notice for being transgender

Kristine Ablinger was kicked out of her flat because she is trans. The Human Rights Commission says the homeowner acted within the law.

“Final Notice” was the subject line of the email sent to Kristine Ablinger just before 1 o’clock on a Monday afternoon. 

It was from her flatmate who owned a three-bedroom house in Auckland’s Birkenhead. Kristine rented a small room with a little balcony and a sliver of a sea view. The room felt perfect: cosy and private. A space of Kristine’s own, where she would be safe when she began taking hormones.

[. . .]

It said she had 24 hours to move out.

Awareness is vital because ignorance breeds bigotry.  Those who know the least are the first to believe fictions, especially fictions that drive them to violence.  Fictions about “bathroom predators”, about “danger to women”, about “internalized misogyny”, about fake “science”.  And the only known violence is perpetrated by those who lie and claim that Transgender people are a “threat”.

The facebook page S*** TERFs Say aptly stated:

A terf calling trans activists “genderists” is on par with creationists calling people evolutionists.

From an item by organizational psychologist Nancy Doyle:

Trans Awareness Week: Liberating Our Thinking From The Rules That Bind Us

Researchers are tentatively reporting a higher prevalence of transgender identities in neurominorities than in neurotypicals. What does this mean for inclusion? For me, I think of the trans community as being at the edge of our boundaries, pushing our conceptualization of social norms in new, exciting directions.

Transgender and non-binary individuals advance the cause of gender equity, by really forcing us to examine the boxes we have put ourselves in, the limits we assign to each other by accident of birth and allow us to recalibrate “the rules” of gender. Similarly, the neurodiversity community have challenged to reconsider what we think of as “normal” in terms of thinking, learning, communicating and expression of ability. It is no surprise that these communities overlap, though I must note caution about correlation and causality–there is no evidence to suggest that one causes the other.

We have become happier to talk about transgender as our society has become more open-minded, and loosened the restrictions on what people are, and are not, allowed to be. Indeed, like the oft-cited “increase” in autism, I would argue that the “increase” in transgender and non-binary people coming out may simply represent a more accurate reflection of what has always been there. And therefore the same argument applies to trans as applied to neurodiversity: this is a normal variation in the human species, which enriches our world. And therefore, the same benefits apply, an opportunity to recalibrate what we think of as normal, and move into new ways of thinking and being.


Summed Up: Lawrence O’Donnell says it best

Others have commented sufficiently and accurately on Cheetolini’s last gasp, knee jerk, grasping at straws attempts to stay in power by firing Christopher Krebs.  I can’t add any more.

What I can add are Lawrence O’Donnell’s words, seen at 1:18 in the video below. He succinctly sums up what it means to keep working for the regime at or past this point:

“If you leave the Trump administration on January 20th without being fired by Donald Trump, you will carry that disgrace to your grave.”

Empty Words Spoken: You call that an apology?

Philadelphia has uttered a meaningless and empty apology to the survivors of the terrorist attack upon the MOVE complex on May 13, 1985.  Unless all the surviving perpetrators (e.g. all the cops involved) are signing guilty pleas and accepting life sentences, those are just empty words.

Philadelphia city council apologizes for approving the police bombing of one of its Black neighborhood’s killing 11 people, including 5 children

Philadelphia City Council voted to formally apologize for their decision to approve a bombing, which left 11 people dead, including five children, and burned down 61 homes in 1985.

On May 13, police dropped an explosive device on the roof of 6621 Ossage Avenue in West Philadelphia after a daylong confrontation with the Black radical group, MOVE, as officers tried to evict them from their compound, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The bomb then sparked a blaze that was left to rage by authorities until there were 11 deaths, including those of five children aged seven to 13, and 61 homes destroyed in the largely black neighborhood, according to The Guardian.

Typical of the corporate media, they continue to use loaded language that blames the victims.  The item’s intro says:

On May 13, 1985, police dropped an explosive device on the roof of the compound of MOVE, a Black radical group, as officers tried to evict them, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The beliefs and actions of the victims are irrelevant, and use of the word “radical” is done to infer the people were a “threat” and thus their deaths “justified”. There is no justification for bombing people who are not committing criminal acts.

Philadelphia cops intentionally dropped an incendiary bomb that they knew could kill people.  Then cops intentionally fired bullets at people escaping the fire, an estimated 10,000 bullets before, during, and after their terrorist attack on the MOVE complex.  People were forced to choose: stay inside and burn to death, or leave and be shot.

I vividly remember the cops terrorist attack upon MOVE because it was within a week of my high school graduation.  It’s one of those news stories that you never forget.

A Word Coined: What I learnt today

Today in an atheist women’s group, someone mentioned the origin of the word scientist.  I didn’t doubt the writer, but reading up on the back story was worthwhile.

Mary Somerville (1780-1872) was a Scottish science writer and polymath, at a time when women weren’t allowed to attend universities due to male insecurity (see also: Mary King).  Somerville was fortunate to come from a well-to-do family and had access to mathematics and books, as well as formal education in Latin and other languages.  She was self-driven and educated, read and wrote scientific books and papers, translated scientific works of others (including Newton) and was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society on her own merits.

Prior to 1834, people were called “cultivators of science”, “natural philosophers” and other wordy or awkward terms.  Lexicographers needed a simpler word.

How The Word ‘Scientist’ Came To Be

In 1834, Cambridge University historian and philosopher of science William Whewell coined the term “scientist” to replace such terms as “cultivators of science.” Historian Howard Markel discusses how “scientist” came to be, and lists some possibilities that didn’t make the cut.

[. . .]

[Ira] FLATOW: The history of the word scientist. Scientist is not that old a word, is it?

Dr. MARKEL: No. I was really amazed. It’s only about 176 years old, to be precise. It came around in 1834. And a Cambridge University historian and philosopher of science named William (technical difficulties) coined it.

[. . .]

FLATOW: Mm-hmm. And so how did they get around to using that word?

Dr. MARKEL: Well, no one really knew what to call a scientist. There was all these different names like cultivators of science and…

FLATOW: Wasn’t there a natural philosopher used?

Dr. MARKEL: Natural philosopher, yes. And so he thought – you know, there’s a lot of consilience. In other words, he came up with a lot of jumping together of all fields of science. And we ought to come up with a word that refers to all of them. And so he was actually writing in 1834. He came up with (technical difficulties) terms. The first he considered was savant, or men of learning. But he dismissed that for both being presumptuous and French. He was British, as you recall. He also considered the German term naturforscher, which is really naturalist. But he worried that some might make fun of that term, calling it nature-poker or nature-peeper. And as you just mentioned, natural philosopher was dismissed because it was simply too wide and too lofty a term.

But eventually he came up with, by analogy with artist, that they might (technical difficulties) word scientist. But he had a few qualms about that because it was close to a few other words that were not held in high regard. The first was economist. That may still be true to this day. And the other was atheist, which was a real problematic term back in those days. But he came back to it, nevertheless and he said, you know, I think this is a word, a cultivator of science in general ought to be called a scientist.

Somerville was the first person to be described as a scientist in a publication.  Granted, timing had a lot to do with her being the first, but the quality of her work stood on its own and she deserved it.

Google Doodle for Mary Somerville: Woman on whom the word “scientist” was coined

Google has dedicated a Google Doodle to honour Mary Somerville, Scottish scientist renowned for her groundbreaking science papers. Somerville has the distinction of being the first female author to be published in the Philosophical Transactions, the world’s oldest science publication that is active till today. February 2nd marks the date when in 1826 the UK’s National Science Academy — the Royal Society of London — read her papers on experimental physics.

[. . .]

Somerville’s book The Mechanism of the Heavens, released in 1831, shattered many myths prevalent in those times regarding the solar system. This laid the groundwork for her groundbreaking book – The Connection of the Physical Sciences, which became among the highest-selling science books of the 19th century after its release in 1834. Astronomer John Couch gained a lot of clues in his discovery of the planet Neptune from the third edition of her book that released in 1836.

A reviewer first coined the word “scientist” after reading about the underlying links between different sciences as revealed by Somerville in her book, Connection.


Trumpster Dive: The one without dignity is taking it away from others

And some funny cartoons below the item.

It’s well documented that goldfish have a longer attention span than Cheetolini.  But today I read a Politico item from 2018 which reports that long time (30 years) and non-partisan white house staffers loyal to the office were forced to degrade themselves in order to do their jobs.  And worse yet, fired as Cheetolini put the petty in petty fiefdom.

Somehow, it’s not all that shocking.

Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together

The president’s unofficial ‘filing system’ involves tearing up documents into pieces, even when they’re supposed to be preserved.

Solomon Lartey spent the first five months of the Trump administration working in the Old Executive Office Building, standing over a desk with scraps of paper spread out in front of him. [. . .] Armed with rolls of clear Scotch tape, Lartey and his colleagues would sift through large piles of shredded paper and put them back together, he said, “like a jigsaw puzzle.” Sometimes the papers would just be split down the middle, but other times they would be torn into pieces so small they looked like confetti.

[. . .]

Lartey said the papers he received included newspaper clips on which Trump had scribbled notes, or circled words; invitations; and letters from constituents or lawmakers on the Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” he said. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”

Lartey did not work alone. He said his entire department was dedicated to the task of taping paper back together in the opening months of the Trump administration.

One of his colleagues, Reginald Young Jr., who worked as a senior records management analyst, said that during over two decades of government service, he had never been asked to do such a thing.

“We had to endure this under the Trump administration,” Young said. “I’m looking at my director, and saying, ‘Are you guys serious?’ We’re making more than $60,000 a year, we need to be doing far more important things than this. It felt like the lowest form of work you can take on without having to empty the trash cans.”

And now for something much lighter.  Dragged kicking and screaming:

I must admit, I laughed:

Excuse the profanity, but I don’t feel like changing it.

Poppy Fascism Sucks: Another year of ignorance and fanaticism

As a Canadian, November 11 is an annoyance.  Poppy fascism always rears its ugly and violent head.

What is poppy fascism?  It’s certain Canadians and English apeing the worst behaviours of Americans, the “participate or shut up” mentality, the desire to harass and commit violence against those who won’t obey the ignorant rabble, when concepts like individual freedom and democracy are seen as a problem by those who claim to believe in individual freedom and democracy.

Poppies are allegedly a “symbol of remembrance” for those who participated (or died) in wars and war crimes.  Instead, they have become symbols of nationalism and militarism, of forced indoctrination.  Just as Americans become angry and violent for those who burn flags and refuse to stand for the magic song, Canadians and Britons become angry and violent towards those who refuse to wear poppies.  And it gets worse every year.

Whole Foods of Canada made the decision not to allow any political symbols on their employees’ clothes or uniforms.  This applied not just to poppies, but also to BLM imagery, political parties, cops, or anything else.  It was a consistent policy across the board.  But to poppy fascists, the idea that a private company on private property could choose to set a policy within its workplace (which did NOT apply to customers nor to employees when they are not working) was “offensive” to them.  Whole Foods was threatened and harassed not just by the publc, but also by the Canadian media.

Canadians blast Amazon’s Whole Foods for ban on veterans’ poppies

Whole Foods Market, the luxury grocery chain owned by Amazon.com Inc., has ignited a storm in normally placid Canada after telling staff there that they can’t wear poppies to commemorate Remembrance Day.

[. . .]

As reports began to circulate on Canadian media about the decision, the chain began to trend on Twitter.

[. . .]

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the decision “disgusting,” later adding that the province will introduce legislation to stop any employer from banning employees from wearing poppies during Remembrance Week.

Typical Ford, not understanding the concept of democracy and individual rights, wanting to impose participation and override the rights of business owners – but only when it’s what he personally thinks.  When he agrees with a business’s policy, I’ll bet he wheezes a different tune.

More below the fold.

[Read more…]

No Lawyer Jokes Allowed: Not when the laws are a joke

Usually I have only derision for lawyers, but this story made me smile.

Kimberly Ayala graduated from law school in Paraguay five years ago.  But because she is Transgender, the government refused to swear her nor give her a license to practice.

Why?  Because her government issued ID lists her deadname and AMAB gender.

Why didn’t she change her name and gender identity?  Because the government wouldn’t allow Transgender people to change their names and gender.  The so-called “Supreme Court of Justice” demanded she “dress as a man” and work only under her deadname.

How exactly is their bigoted law her fault?

For five years, she fought for the right to changer her name and gender identity, to become a lawyer.  She did it not just for herself, but for all other Transgender people in Paraguay who suffer the same discrimination in society and the workplace.  Now, after years of fighting, she will be able to advocate for those she wants to defend, and for the rights of others.  She is the embodiment of a heroine.

From a Paraguayan news site, via google TRANSlate:

Kimberly Ayala, first trans lawyer in Paraguay

Kimberly Ayala, the young woman who the Supreme Court of Justice prevented from swearing in as a lawyer for being Transgender, finally did so this Monday morning. Her case is historical in Paraguay.

Five years ago, Ayala finished her law degree but the Supreme Court of Justice did not recognize her gender identity, so it did not allow her to swear or access her registration.

The event aroused public outrage and generated an intense campaign on social networks promoted mainly by the diverse and feminist community with the support of organizations in favor of human rights.

Precisely, a large number of people gathered this morning in front of the Palace of Justice, after the call called “Birretes Al Aire”.

The criticism of the Court had a positive result and Kimberly was sworn in this morning at 11:00.

Her achievement represents a milestone in Paraguay as she is the first Transgender person whose gender identity is recognized by the Court, therefore she is also the first Paraguayan Transgender lawyer.

After being sworn in, Kimberly expressed her happiness on social networks and mentioned that she will finally be able to celebrate what she considers a victory for all the population.

Here’s a video news story from Paraguay, where they actually get her gender and name right:

Can Republiclowns Evolve? : And grow a spine?

The US continues to set record after record of new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and daily numbers could potentially double by January.  Now that the republiclowns (hereafter called “republicans”) have lost the presidency, will they jettison Cheetolini’s regime with an eye on saving their political futures?

Consider this scenario:

1. The republicans concede the white house, willingly removing Annoying Orange and Mike Hypersensitive “because they’re endangering the country”.

2. They agree to put Pelosi is put in charge until January.  Seriously.  It’s only two months.

3. The democrats get COVID-19 under control with science, lockdowns, sufficient money and medical equipment, thus reducing transmissions and deaths.

4. Republicans agree to a few months of stimulus cheques.

5. Republicans keep catapulting the propaganda (“democrats are violating your freedumb!”) during November and December national lockdowns that bring the disease under control.

6. The republicans try to take credit for the democrats’ actions (reduced deaths, stimulus money, etc.) during January’s run-off senate elections in hopes of keeping their thin majority.  And hope people have selective and short memories.

Currently 1% of people are infected in the US.  If infections hit 3-5% and deaths 500,000 to a million by the inauguration because of republican interference, they could suffer political fallout for years. Keeping the senate may be their only means of keeping control for the next decade.

President Tsai won a majority here in Taiwan back in January, but her government’s approval rating is ludicrously high, as are New Zealand and Mongolia’s governments based on recent elections results.  There is no “political opposition” in these countries right now.  The US republicans need to make sure they’re seen as “part of the solution”, not the ones who made the problem worse.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

As I noted in a comment elsewhere, four times in Russian history, invading armies were defeated by the natural phenomenon of brutal Russian winters as much as by the defending forces.  COVID-19 has turned out to be Cheetolini’s Russian winter.  And the inevitable Hitler parodies are already appearing on youtube.