Sunday, February 28, 2016

First Nations answers to #OscarsSoWhite

Indian Country media network has a post up listing First Nations actors or films that should have been awarded an Oscar, or at least a nomination. Its a great piece, noting in particular the great performances in Smoke Signals, which is one of my favorite movies ever:

And of course Will Sampson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Brer Barak

So the Republicans are saying they're not even going to talk to any proposed Supreme Court Justice nominee named by Obama.
And in response, Obama is pleading with them: Please, Mr. Republican Senator, please vote on my Supreme Court nominee!
The GOP-controlled Senate has said loudly and repeatedly that they’re going to refuse to hold a hearing for any Supreme Court nominee President Obama might pick. In response, he wrote a blog post appealing to the Senate’s sense of fairness, law, and Constitutional responsibility. Hmm.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he’ll refuse to even meet privately with any Obama SCOTUS nominee, and there’ll definitely be no confirmation hearings: “I’ve said repeatedly and I’m now confident that my conference agrees that this decision ought to be made by the next president, whoever is elected.”
In response, the president wrote a guest post for SCOTUS Blog, the heavily-read, well-respected outlet that tracks Supreme Court news and opinions. In it, Obama pretends like everything is normal here and he’s not hostage on a speeding legislative train with shoddy brakes and a bunch of screaming maniacs setting the engine room on fire out of spite.
Because heaven forbid that the Senate not even call a vote on an Obama nominee.  Why, this could become a major election issue, which Hillary to use to get herself elected AND to flip the Senate! Heaven forbid!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Letting the drunk poors freeze

You can recognize when the Sask Party government is doing something based on ideology rather than common sense.
First, they won't announce it or admit to doing it.
Second, when finally called on it, they can't explain it in a way that makes any sense.
And third, its always about money. Added bonus: when it grinds a few more bucks from the poors, just to show them they have no right to exist in The New Saskatchewan.
The latest is that Saskatchewan social services apparently decided IN NOVEMBER that it would refuse to pay anymore for emergency beds for drunks. Yes, just as Saskatchewan was heading into its coldest time of year, our Social Services agency apparently decided it doesn't care if drunk people freeze in the streets.
After all, drunk poors -- why should our government waste its beautiful mind worrying about what happens to them anyway?
As a result, the Lighthouse in North Battleford, which annoyingly persists in providing emergency beds for drunk people, is no longer getting enough funding from Social Services to stay open.  And the Saskatoon Lighthouse is in financial trouble too.
We're presently at the denial and obfuscation stage in this story -- Social Services denies funding rule change at North Battleford shelter . Here's the nut graph:
In a Dec. 16, 2015 message from a ministry employee, Glencross ...was told, “Social Services mandate is to provide emergency shelter for the homeless who have no other means to meet their immediate need of shelter. Our mandate is not to fund the lodging of publicly intoxicated individuals.
A more inclusive community response including police and health services may be required for the latter.”
These people need emergency help  because the Sally Ann won't admit people who have been drinking.  And the police have been trying not to spend their limited time and resources arresting harmless drunks just to get them off the streets when it is cold.
Last winter, the social services ministry apparently stepped up. This winter, not.
The rest of the news story quoted above is a sorry mess of disingenuous bafflegab:
When asked if liability for refusing services to intoxicated people is a concern for the Ministry, Redekop said he wasn’t familiar with where the statement came from, that he isn’t qualified to provide a legal response and that he is “not specifically” aware of any discussions about liability for refusing intoxicated people.
“I didn’t say if I’m aware of the issue or not,” he said.
“We would need to have more information about what the question means. Liability is obviously a very big issue and there’s a lot of elements to it that are beyond my ability to discuss without maybe a legal opinion.
“I want to make sure I’m giving you good information rather than getting into something I don’t have specific information about,” he said.
Redekop stressed the ministry provides shelter in the short term and in the daytime staff work to find the right solution.
“They may be eligible for other programs,” he said.
When asked if the programs are adequate, he said, “Adequate is a very subjective word.”
And we're not exactly talking luxury accommodation -- here's the room in the North Battleford Lightouse where the men sleep:

NORTH BATTLEFORD —  Beds in the men's dorm at the Lighthouse shelter in North Battleford.

Its a few bucks a night, folks.  But its enough to prevent people from freezing to death.
Social Services minister Donna Hapnauer is still denying there has been any change in policy or else its all the auditor's fault or else its Lighthouse's own fault, or something:
Harpauer said they have a mandate from the provincial auditor to scrutinize the organizations managing shelters to ensure they aren't doubling paying for someone.
"The other community based partners that we work with for emergency shelter provisions have not had this issue. "When (Lighthouse) expanded their services with the stabilization unit, their intake rose significantly which brought them under a bit more scrutiny," said Harpauer, adding the stabilization unit was launched without their input or funding to sustain it.
Yeah, right --how dare Lighthouse develop a program for the poorest of the poor?
“This particular shelter is aimed at individuals who are the most chronically homeless and who often have been kicked out of every other waiting room and 24-hour coffee shop. So there's not a lot of places for them to go,” DeeAnn Mercier, communications director with the Lighthouse, said.
The Star Phoenix ran an editorial about this today, calling out the Social Services ministry for what they are doing (not posted yet so no link).
So I expect we'll be at stage two next week.

Friday, February 12, 2016

This is why the Harper Cons lost the election

So the Harper Cons figured out a complicated legalistic way to screw a few thousand poor First Nations people out of a few thousand dollars in long-overdue residential school reparations.
Now the Liberals have put a stop to it.
And that's why the Harper Cons lost the election -- too cheap, too mean, too incompetent.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The awfulness of the Ghomeshi trial

Did ALL of the women that Ghomeshi supposedly abused so badly later sleep with him again and send him bikini photos and love letters? Or only the three who have testified so far at his trial?
And here I was thinking that police and prosecutors only bring charges against someone when they think they have a winnable court case. With Ghomeshi, they apparently scurried to court with charges that are proving so far to be ludicrous.  Was their goal not to protect women but actually just to display their contempt for the CBC and for Ghomeshi's egotistic celebrity?
I know things have reached a truly awful state when I find myself agreeing with Margaret Wente: The Ghomeshi trial turns into a fiasco:
Everybody knew a guilty verdict was far from sure. The bar for a criminal conviction is, as it should be, high. But nobody, not even the most experienced court-watchers, could have predicted how this trial would go. It has turned into a fiasco . . . .
I know the dynamics of abuse can be complex. I know that women can both love and fear their abusers. But these women were not battered wives. They were not in relationships with Mr. Ghomeshi. They barely knew him. They had no reason to fear him, and he had no power over them at all – except the power of his charm and celebrity. They could have walked away. They didn’t.
And all that’s left is their word about unpleasant encounters that may or may not rise to the standard of criminal assault.