Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Prison-Industrial Complex Is Hiring: Long Hours, No Pay

This article in The Atlantic, "American Slavery, Reinvented" is depressing, but it is also important. I particularly like this quote from the thirteenth amendment of the US constitution:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

This quote explains the private prison system in which prisoners work for multi-national corporations. It also explains the increasingly harsh sentences, and the new trend to criminalize ordinary human behavior with prison time for non-crimes like inability to make child support payments: the prison industrial complex needs more slaves.

How long will we tolerate this inhumanity?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Canadian Association For Equality Marched In York Pride Parade

The Toronto Pride Parade banned the Canadian Center For Equality (CAFE) for life this year. But Jacob Gal, head of the York Pride Fest, reached out to CAFE and invited them to join the York parade on June 20, 2015 in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto.

Justin Trottier, one of CAFE's founding members, informed Gal of the Toronto Pride decision and, after looking into the background and details of the "controversy," Gal concluded that the exclusion was unjustified. Gal was pleased to welcome CAFE to his event in Richmond Hill and, after the event, went even further, saying that he would be pleased to partner with CAFE in the future since they shared common goals.

Gal learned that Toronto Pride organizers, like executive director Mathieu Chantelois, were concerned that CAFE was not catering to every group but was primarily focused on issues affecting men. But Gal pointed out that many, if not all, of the groups participating in Pride parades target specific demographic groups. Gal indicated that specialization is often necessary in order to better meet the needs of a particular demographic, adding that if he excluded specialized groups, there wouldn't be much of a parade left. Gal also noted that

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tim Hunt fired for a mild (true) jest

I put off writing about Tim Hunt's firing for a couple of days, perhaps partly because it hits too close to home, partly because I've been waiting for some follow up: to learn that the Nobel Laureate would get his job back with a full apology from University College London ... something.

The story is disturbing on many levels: that a great scientist could be forced to retire for such a trivial reason, that he essentially accepts the reason and has issued a groveling mea culpa, that his wife essentially accepts the reason and has had to fall back on feminist bromides as a form of defense ("He does all the cooking ..."). They are a pathetic couple not least because of the injustice that has been done them but also for their seeming inability to think for themselves about what has happened. Get angry, for goodness sake.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Warren Farrell and Erin Pizzey In Conversation

Don't miss our yearly live event with two cultural icons of our time, Erin Pizzey and Warren Farrell as they discuss hot topics in family matters and gender relations.

Erin Pizzey is a prolific author who's most recent book This Way To The Revolution details the difficulties she experienced, not only from clergy and public administrators but even more so from feminist groups, when she single-handedly launched

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Video Workstation Configuration

My desktop finally died. It didn't owe me anything since I bought it refurbished five years ago for $900. When the fan on the video card quit working two years ago, the desktop would crash after a few minutes as the video GPU reached about 120 degrees C. This was an odd sized fan and I could not find a replacement to fit, so to keep the PC running I removed the side panel and GPU cover and put a small USB powered fan to blow air over the cooling fins on the graphic card. This worked for a couple of years, but other things also began to fail: the front USB connections, card readers, and finally the PC would not stay on for more than 10 or 20 minutes. Rather than buy a new desktop I decided to run entirely off my laptop, which is a bit under-powered for video editing, but I'll see if it works.

Four-monitor laptop workstation 

Friday, March 27, 2015

White House Council on Boys & Men

Dr. Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power, Why Men Are The Way They Are, Father and Child Reunion, and many other books on masculinity, and his supporters are requesting that president Obama establish a White House Council on Boys & Men.

The proposal outlines several problems facing men and boys. It concludes that we are facing a profound crisis in the education, work, and physical and emotional health of our sons. Some important facts taken from the proposal include:
  • Boys are more medicated and less educated
  • Boys’ suicide rate goes from equal to girls’ prior to adolescence to five times girls’ between 20 and 24
  • one out of three children in the U.S. living in father-absent homes
  • the male-female life expectancy gap has grown from one year in 1920 to more than five years today
  • boys and men die earlier than girls and women from nine of the 10 leading causes of death
  • One of every five men 25 to 54 is not working
In this video, Dr. Farrell explains the difficulties involved in bringing this proposal to the attention of the White House, which includes the necessity of sending a contingent to the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses to meet the candidates while they are still accessible before the election efforts are in full-swing. Donations to fund this effort are needed, and welcomed.

I have been invited to document this effort, which begins in April, 2015.

Gender Relations in India with Filmmaker Deepika Bhardwaj and Men's Rights Pioneer Anil Kumar

The details vary slightly but the one-sided, false-narrative of female-victim / male-villain in domestic violence is being told around the world in many different ways. Join us on March 31 at 10 AM EST (7:30 PM IST) to discuss how this narrative is playing out in India today.

Deepika Bhardwaj is a filmmaker in India whose current project, Martyrs of Marriage, explores the "legal terrorism" inflicted on men by section 498A of IPC, a law which

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Florence, Italy - A Traveler's Tale, Part 2

My first language is English but I speak enough French to get by, even to enjoy myself. In fact I like it when my French is better than the English of someone I meet because, more often than not, people will default to English and I miss an opportunity to practice my french.

English is so widely spoken in Europe that, as an English speaker, it seems possible to avoid any other language since there's always someone nearby who can translate, and a surprising number of people in the service industry speak English. Add a little French and you can do well in most of Western, and even Central, Europe. It doesn't hurt to have a little Spanish from High School under my belt either - although I can't carry a conversation I can often figure out what was said, and make sense of simple written sentences. But Italy is different. Italians are not as multilingual as other Europeans.

View of Ponte Vecchio from San Niccolo neighborhood
We are staying in an apartment in the neighborhood of San Niccolo, Florence, and I was surprised at how alienating it is to be unable to communicate even simple thoughts. I have had short experiences of "inability to communicate" in the past but they were easy to dismiss because they were quickly over. It's different to face a couple of months in a foreign country where contact with most of the people is restricted to meeting simple needs like "un cappuccino per favore."  It can make you feel isolated even though surrounded by people, and

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Florence, Italy - A Traveler's Tale, Part 1

I am not a good traveler.

The Duomo, Florence Italy

For years I thought I could become a good traveler, but I haven't improved. Travel stresses me out. At 55 years-old this seems unlikely to change, but I love to see the world and learn about people and cultures and I love to explore cities on foot. I used to cover 20, to over 30, kilometers in a day, which meant 6 hours of walking. Work and family responsibilities brought that to an end almost 20 years ago. Even an hour or two on foot became uncommon, which probably accounts for the extra 30 lbs I now carry on my waist.

I am also not a good sleeper. Unfamiliar noises keep me awake, especially traffic, loud music and sounds of people partying. I envy people who can sleep through anything, but I have to be near death to sleep in those environments, so I am obsessive about finding a quiet place to rest at night, and I never leave home without ear plugs.

Selfie inside Casa del Popolo, Circolo Arci, Florence
Which brings me to Italy: I write this from Casa del Popolo, Circolo Arci, a small cafe / community center in a downtown neighborhood of Florence at 33 Via di San Niccolò.

My wife, Dawn, had miscarriages in 2006 and 2008 after which she started to have pain and difficulty raising her right arm. She was sent for an MRI when physical therapy failed and her pain continued to get worse, and the results were devastating.

At one point the doctors thought that the MRI machine was broken because