Years of labour peace between the government of Ontario and teachers came to an end this year. Like their colleagues in British Columbia
, Ontario teachers and support staff are complaining of unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional legislation -- the Putting Students First Act, 2012
-- that gives the Education Minister, Laura Broten
, unchallenged power to ban strikes, job actions, set compensation and benefits, and to take over local school boards who are non-compliant
. Ontario school boards are unanimously opposed
to the Act, which reduces their power, and so are teachers and support staff, who feel the government is manufacturing a crisis
. Most see this as a cynical ploy to capture public support for two by-elections
this week that could nudge the Liberal government into majority status. ETFO and OSSTF, two of the teacher unions involved, have repeatedly pointed out that "the school year is not in jeopardy"
, that they had already accepted a wage freeze, and that local bargaining is proceeding well.
As legislation looms aheads, teachers, support staff, and labour activists are wondering: is this the end of collective bargaining for the public sector? [more inside]
posted by The Hyacinth Girl
on Aug 31, 2012 -
Panhandling in Arcata tests the city's tolerance.
'Long known as the "Berkeley of the North," Arcata traditionally has welcomed the downtrodden, embraced the leftist fringe and fostered a live-and-let-live ethos.' 'But balancing the comfort of the haves with tolerance for the have-nots has come down to a complex question of just who is worthy of help.' 'Councilwoman Susan Ornelas reflected the community's torn conscience: "While we're a progressive town and we're very open-hearted," she said, "we have limits on our tolerance."' 'A report last fall by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
found that slightly more than half of 234 cities
surveyed had bans on aggressive panhandling, the same proportion had outlawed it in specific areas, and one-fourth forbade begging citywide.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Aug 7, 2012 -
Silent march by thousands protest NYPD's stop-and-frisk tactics.
'Nearly 300 civil rights groups were represented in the 30-block walk, from elected officials and labor union members to New York residents angry about how they're being treated when they walk the streets. Critics say the NYPD's practice of stopping, questioning and searching people who police consider suspicious is illegal and humiliating to hundreds of thousands of law-abiding blacks and Hispanics. Last year, the NYPD stopped close to 700,000 people, up from more than 90,000 a decade ago.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Jun 18, 2012 -
In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
posted by zarq
on Jun 7, 2012 -
Andrew Sullivan's Daily Beast
reports that Jan van Lohuizen, "highly respected Republican pollster", has advised his fellow conservatives to embrace GLBT civil rights. The text of the memo is reproduced in full at the link.
posted by Ipsifendus
on May 12, 2012 -
When the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia
in 1967 declared laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional, the last affected state in which a legal interracial marriage occurred was South Carolina in January, 1969, in the city where the Civil War started. What most people don't know is the bride
was a transsexual. [more inside]
posted by 23
on May 10, 2012 -
We Who Are About to Bug Out Salute You
Rutherford B. Hayes.... brought the troops home and ended Reconstruction, with the almost unanimous support of the nation’s liberal establishment. They too fought politically against slavery before the Civil War, risked their lives to emancipate its victims, and, too soon, couldn’t wait to bug out of the South.
posted by Joe in Australia
on May 7, 2012 -
Civil rights activist, (and adopted Newfie) dies at 88
As reported previously,
Philips was the sole black survivor in a shipwreck of US navy vessels of the coast of Newfoundland. The kindness shown to him by those who nursed him in the tiny town, where no one had seen a black man before, inspired Phillips' life of activism for civil rights.
A good reminder of the power of small kindnesses ...
posted by chapps
on Mar 13, 2012 -
Even as medical marijuana activists in states like Arkansas
, and Massachusetts
look to legalize medical use in 2012, the ATF has sent letters to gun shops
in existing medical marijuana states. The letter says that shop owners cannot sell guns or ammunition if they have
"reasonable cause to believe" that the customer is a drug user, even if their use is legal under state law -- and that having or even mentioning a medical marijuana card constitutes reasonable cause. The entire text of the letter can be viewed here
. [more inside]
posted by vorfeed
on Oct 5, 2011 -
The Washington Mall welcomes another hero.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is unveiled. Sitting directly between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, "the composition of the [King] memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love." [more inside]
posted by darkstar
on Aug 22, 2011 -
The Secret History of Guns.
"The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Aug 10, 2011 -
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 24, 2011 -
Charles Barkley on homophobia in sports It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”
posted by ThePinkSuperhero
on May 18, 2011 -
My Student, the 'Terrorist' If this were a movie, the story might end with a triumphal courtroom scene, or an intrepid Washington Post reporter breaking the story. It might have a sentimental ending, with a conservative Muslim family and community locking arms with Christians and Jews and atheists and turning the country back to its commitment to civil rights. The government, shamed, would reform its practices.
But this is not a movie, and inhumane treatment is well protected in post-9/11 America. [more inside]
posted by bardophile
on Apr 7, 2011 -
Worcy Crawford ran the only bus company that would transport colored passengers in pre-Civil Rights Act Birmingham. Mr. Crawford recently passed away and now the buses sit in disrepair
posted by reenum
on Mar 21, 2011 -