slothropia.com

News, politics, progressive culture, music, acoustic music

Archive for April, 2011

Canadian Election Predictions and Live Blog

without comments

Sunday evening at 6 pm CDT I will post my predictions for the May 2 election.

On election night I will live blog results as soon as the polls are closed in B.C. and Yukon.

Written by slothropia

April 29th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Canadian Election Update: 4.29.11

without comments

It is finally safe to make at least one prediction irt the May 2 Canadian federal election. There will not be a majority Conservative government when the new Parliament is sworn in.

I typed the preceding paragraph a few hours ago and then went out to tcb. During my travels I learned via twitter that Ipsos Reid had released a new poll and Ekos had released a new seat projection, both of which, if they are accurate, reopen the question of whether or not the Tories get to 155 seats.

Also, as I began typing again, a “news” story about Jack Layton not being arrested 15 years ago was broken by Sun Media – yes the usual suspect for Rovian sleaze in Canada. I will return to that topic later.

The polls have shown a continuing trend upward for the NDP since the debates in mid April. Much of their new found strength comes from unheard of levels of support in Quebec, and there has now developed a consensus that the Bloc Quebecois is ceding much of their territory to the New Democrats. At the same time the Liberals have been trending precipitously downward and now appear to be in a battle for mere party status in the new Parliament. In the last week or so the Conservatives have also experienced a softening of support. For the sake of comparison, here are some of the more recent polls.

Of course while it may look like the Conservatives got a little uptick with the Ipsos Reid poll of April 28, one should compare it with the same firms previous poll released on April 20, which gave the Tories 43% versus 24% for the NDP and 21% for the Liberals. In any case, if the latest Ipsos Reid is predictive, the Conservatives are close to majority territory. If they get something more like 34or 35 % it is less likely.

I have discussed seat projections previously and noted that in 2008, Ekos’ projections was the most accurate. Ekos released a porjection today (not their final one before the election) and described it this way:

In an interesting development, as the Conservative Party’s overall margin over the NDP has shrunk to a mere five points, the newfound parity of the NDP and Liberal Party in Ontario appears to have produced significant benefits in terms of seat returns. So while the Conservatives have lost ground to the NDP and have remained flat in Ontario, the new tie between Liberals and NDP in Ontario is causing vote splitting that has elevated the Conservative Party’s prospects. While they have remained under 40 points in Ontario, they would now be ticketed to receive the lion’s share of Ontario seats with less than two-fifths of its votes. With 61 of Ontario’s 106 seats, the Conservatives are now projected to win 146 seats. This means that they would basically reproduce their current number of MPs although their caucus would be a dramatically different Ontario-based government. The vote splitting also would reduce the joint total of NDP and Liberal seats (109 and 42, respectively) to 151, which is shy of the 155 needed to have a majority.
At these numbers, the prospects of deposing the CPC would be much lower. In fact, with 146 seats, the Conservatives may well be in the range of a secure minority and even though they are down significantly from their position in the polls last election, they are only 9 seats shy of majority. In one final piece of irony, the Liberal collapse may mean that a diminished Conservative performance may yield their elusive majority. The final weekend, particularly in Ontario, will determine what happens but it is conceivable that the Conservatives could back into a majority with just slightly more than one-third of the overall votes. It is hard to imagine what impact this would have on the Canadian public’s view of its first past the post system.

But, and it’s a big but, the various polls disagree about what is happening in Ontario. Here’s Frank Graves of Ekos Research:

On the one hand: “Mr. Nanos points out that the Tories are still comfortably ahead in Ontario — 41.1% support compared to the NDP at 26.1% — but their support has been slipping.” On the other hand, Harris-Decima finds that: “The key battleground of Ontario remains a rare bright spot for the Liberals. Michael Ignatieff’s party led there, supported by 34 per cent of respondents compared with 33 per cent for the Tories and 25 for the NDP.”

So, as in so many Canadian elections, what happens in Ontario will likely determine which party or parties (in the case of a coalition) form the next government and how strong their mandate is. We can expect however that the NDP will greatly increase their seat count, that the Conservatives will probably win a plurality of seats and the Liberals and Bloc will have some rebuilding to do if they are to continue to exist.

The Toronto Sun and Sun TV had a big scoop tonight. It seems Jack Layton was found in a massage parlor the Toronto police were investigating as a suspected bawdy house (quaint Canadian term for house of prostitution) – in 1996. He was not arrested. The story in the Sun does not actually say if anyone else in the “bawdy house” was arrested or not. The source is apparently a former Toronto vice squad policeman and expresses hostility toward Layton in the article.

Judging from the Twitterverse and comments to the Sun story itself, it seems that Harper supporters are enjoying the spectacle and most everyone else is disgusted with the smear. Otherwise I am in no position to say if there will be any effect on the election at all. I do suspect (because I was born at night but not last night) that Layton’s political enemies waited until this moment to smear him in an attempt to derail a pretty successful campaign. Whether the Liberals or Conservatives or both are behind it, I cannot say.

I will say that it could be an attempt to depress turnout, which would feed into the Conservative strategy. It could, however, backfire and propel the NDP to even dizzier heights. Whether it changes votes or not, most Canadians will resent this n=further attempt to introduce sleazy U.S., Republican tactics into Canadian politics.

Written by slothropia

April 29th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Peoria Area Peace Network Update 4.27.11

with one comment

Just wanted to pass on the following info from Mike Perillo of the Peoria Area Peace network. Please note that Jasmine Stucky of the International Solidarity Movement will be speaking at the Forrest Hill United Methodist Church in Peoria on May, 6th at 7pm and the Unitarian Universalist Church in Peoria on May 4th at 7pm.

This Wednesday, union members of American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) plan to hold a community rally at the WEEK/WHOI studios in East Peoria. This rally is in response to the recent proposal by it’s parent company, Granite Broadcasting, which is in a labor dispute with AFTRA. Recently, the Granite Broadcasting presented the Union with its “last, best, and final offer,” which has a lot of takeaways and will bust up the union. There is also concern that there may be the possibility of outsourcing it’s local news coverage. To attend this rally, people will meet at WEEK/WHOI studios on on 2907 Springfield Rd in East Peoria at 5pm, Wednesday April 27. For more info please check out the event group on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=179147502136442

Also, next month Jasmine Stucky will be traveling in from Oregon to talk about her experiences in East Jerusalem. She was there with International Solidarity Movement (ISM) back in 2010, doing work to support Palestinian families from being evicted from their homes and then given to Israeli settlers. Curt Keller will be hosting her at the Forrest Hill United Methodist Church on May, 6th at 7pm and she’ll also speak at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Peoria on May 4th at 7pm.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=102901403130327

Lastly, Zack Teague and I are still doing our radio show, The Solidarity Journal, at WAZU 90.7FM Peoria’s only Pacifica Radio Affiliate. You can tune in on Tuesday’s at 6am and 2pm. If you miss us, you can join us and download our shows on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/home.php?sk=group_186083581434610&ap=1

Written by slothropia

April 27th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Canadian Election Update 4.25.11: 100 Seats for the NDP?

with 7 comments

Yesterday, Pundit’s Guide posted a useful corrective to many of the seat projections that have been offered to this point in the campaign. I really recommend reading the whole thing but PG says in part:

This may surprise some people, but very few of the current amateur seat projection websites have even a single federal general election track record under their belts. And none of them has had to predict an election where so many assumptions have been upended, and so many tectonic shifts have been telegraphed in leading indicators whose full effect has yet to be seen in the horserace numbers.

Significantly, not one seat projection methodology over-predicted the Conservatives, and not one under-predicted the Liberals or Bloc Québécois, although there were predictions on either side of the NDP’s final total. Only one predicted that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May would win Central Nova, NS (she didn’t), while 4 of the 9 methodologies missed predicting both Independent candidate Bill Casey’s win in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, NS and André Arthur’s win in Portneuf-Jacques Cartier, QC.

The inherent bias in seat prediction methodologies to favour previous election results means they tend to overly favour parties set to lose seats, such as the Liberals and Bloc Québécois in the last election. They also tend to miss the likelihood of parties on the rise to gain seats, such as was the case with the Conservatives in the last election. Only the NDP, whose vote intention numbers showed little gain by the end of the 2008 campaign, saw seat count predictions on both sides of its eventual total.

Another problem for the seat projection methodologies is that they are backward-looking. They’re using days-old polling data at a time of incredible movement in the polls, and laying that on top of results from the last election when incumbency was a factor for some political parties’ votes that is no longer at play.

Moreover, they can’t account for turnout, in the sense that parties with momentum, or who have strong on-the-ground organization, will experience higher turnout of their own vote, than will parties who are organizationally weak and/or whose supporters are feeling demoralized.

The above problems were underlined in ThreeHundredEight.com’s projection/prediction for the 2010 New Brunswick general election, one that saw a one-term narrow Liberal majority turfed in favour of a massive Progressive Conservative majority government. His then-methodology over-predicted the Liberals by 10 seats (23 versus 13) out of 55.

Since then, ThreeHundredEight’s sensational projections have predicted doom and gloom for the NDP on the front page of the Hill Times (no, he’s not a “pollster” as they wrote) and the Globe and Mail. As recently as late January he claimed they would lose 13 seats, upped to 16 seats by early February, which emboldened some Liberals to predict they could gain 100 seats during an election campaign.

It took some peer review to examine his original methodology and determine that he had in fact placed a cap on the number of seats a party could be projected to win in any region (equivalent to the maximum it had even won plus those it came within 10% of winning), but put in place no comparable floor. Clearly the wrong assumption for the current election!

Apparently the methodology has since been changed, but not before it set the entire frame of coverage by the Parliamentary Press Gallery for the period leading up to and just following the federal budget vote (“NDP weakness sets up two-way race between Harper and Ignatieff”).

Indeed one could say that this one blog – without a single federal general election’s track record to its credit – was responsible for the mass failure of the Ottawa punditocracy to foresee either the NDP’s willingness to or interest in voting down the budget at the end of March, and for all we know the willingness of the Liberals to provoke an election dating from around that time.

So, what does all that mean for the current election?

It means that:

*the Liberals and Bloc are still likely being overly favoured by all these seat prediction methodologies,
*the projection methodologies are going to wind up missing NDP gains, particularly if the party continues to climb in the polls, and that
*projected seat counts for the Conservatives will likely fall on either side of their final tally.

It also means that the “strategic voting” websites, who are basing their recommendations on seat projection/seat prediction methodologies like 308’s are likely making a number of erroneous recommendations — another reason to be rid of those undemocratic and irresponsible projects once and for all — and that people voting in the Advance Polls shouldn’t put a lick of confidence in them, as a result.

On cue, there were a number of polls released today including one from Ekos who also provided a seat projection. Now I happen top like this seat projection because it gives the NDP 100 seats while the Conservatives are held to 131,far less than a majority. BTW, the Liberals and BQ get 62 1n3 14 respectively in this scenario. But just because I like the prediction, all of Pundit Guides caveats about seat projections apply to it as well.

Except that, Ekos does have a track record and not a bad one at that.

But starting tomorrow, there are there are more polls coming, including fresh ones form Ekos and Nanos and who knows who else. There will also be more seat projections until the end of the week at least. The pressure is on the pollsters and projectors in a contest to see who can be most accurate. It will be difficult for them because they are shooting at a moving target. A poll is supposed to be a snapshot of public opinion at a given moment in time. In the next week before the campaign there will be movement, how much and in what direction I cannot foresee from my little homestead in the Land of Lincoln.

I will suggest though that just as there has been bleeding of NDP votes to the Liberals in past elections, there could be movement this time from the Liberals to the NDP. It may be that the Orange Wave has not crested yet but will carry Jack Layton and his party to 30% on election day and x number of seats.

Stan Rogers: First Christmas and Mary Ellen Carter

without comments

Easter counter programming: Here is the saddest song ever written and sung. Well maybe that’s hyperbolic, but it’s a five hanky song:

And to cheer us up, here is the rousing Mary Ellen Carter, a song I consider to be the alternative Canadian national anthem. This video is taken from a 1989 documentary on Rogers and includes an introduction by someone who knows what the song is about. :

Written by slothropia

April 22nd, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Canadian Election: Tories Attack Layton and NDP

without comments

I was wrong. In my last post I predicted that the Conservatives would try to ignore the NDP and continue to focus their fire on the Liberals. But today, they posted anad on Youtube that took direct aim at Layton and accused him of all plotting with the Bloc to form a (gasp) coalition – before the last election.

The NDP responded quickly:

A Conservative attack ad contains misleading information and should be pulled, New Democrat candidate Paul Dewar told reporters on Friday.

The attack ad emerged on Friday afternoon, and alleges that NDP leader Jack Layton planned a coalition with the Bloc Québecois “before votes were even counted” in 2008, and that he was willing to let Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe be the “driving force” in a coalition.

Both statements are false, said Dewar.

“The entire ad is based on complete fabrications,” Dewar said during a press conference at his riding headquarters in Ottawa-Centre.

Dewar noted that last week when the Liberals misquoted Stephen Harper in an ad that attacked his credibility on health care the Conservatives asked for the ad to be pulled. This is the same situation, Dewar said.

“At least come up with stuff that is true,” Dewar said. “If you want to put ads on the airwaves that reflect the facts and issues, fine, but you have to stop making stuff up.”

I suspect that the change in Conservative tactics came as a result of internal polling showing the NDP eating into Conservative support, a development they had not planned on.

It is interesting to note that the ad was originally released in January of this year. Could it be that the Cons need ed something right away but having treated the Liberals as their main competition had nothing in the can to use against the NDP? Rest assured, there will be more and fresher attacks over the next 10 days.

Written by slothropia

April 22nd, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Canadian Election Update 4.22.11: Wow, Just…Wow!

without comments

A flurry of new polls are out in the last couple of days showing the NDP in first place in Quebec or in the case of Nanos with continuing and rising strength in that province.
here’s a link to a Wikipedia site that provides the latest Opinion polling in the Canadian federal election, 2011. From there you can link to the individual polls to get regional breakdowns and whatever other info the pollsters publish.

West of Ontario the NDP is the main opposition to the Harpists. This is also true in Northern Ontario and increasingly in parts of Southwestern Ontario. As already mentioned, Quebec has turned upside down, with the NDP ahead of all other parties and the Liberals at the bottom, drifting slowly down into Green Party territory.

A lot of chickens are coming home to roost. The Liberal party has grown increasingly dysfunctional in recent decades. Before the laws were changed they never had to work raise money (large corporations and wealthy individuals threw donations at the Grits to gain and maintain access) and they have not been good at grass roots organizing for a long time (something the NDP continued to work at even during their nadir in the 90’s).

Then there are the policy betrayals, like NAFTA and the GST, which Chretien promised to do away with and then strengthened. Furthermore, and as Jack Layton never tires of repeating, the Liberal record on health care funding in the last decade (especially under Martin) is far from stellar.

Finally the sponsorship scandals in Quebec may have finished the Liberals as a national party. it is no wonder the Liberals have had leadership problems since the departure of Trudeau. Dion was a compromise that did not work out (too bad, he had a lot of good qualities) and Ignatieff was a convenient but desperate choice who has never inspired much trust, let alone affection.

Progressive Liberals may be thinking hard right now about what they can do to advance their ideals.

Having said all this, what are the various parties doing to either encourage or mitigate the latest trends?

As I have written previously, the Conservatives have for the entire campaign to this point been satisfied to play a Republican game of maximizing turnout by their base and suppressing turnout for anyone else. The rhetorical weapon the Tories have flourished has been an atempt to get Canadian voters to fear a “coalition” of Liberals and “socialists” supported by “separatists.” Had they asked me and if I had been able to answer honestly I would have advised against such a strategy, because it would have been easier to get the last few seats needed for a majority by going after soft centrist, so called “blue Liberal” voters. But they chose to listen to Karl Rove instead and now they are stuck on a questionable course.

The rise of the NDP in Quebec, largely at the expense of the Bloc, dramatizes the weakness of the conservative strategy. they’ve been demonizing the Bloc while attacking the Liberals both of whom at this point are drifting out of the picture. Should they start attacking Layton? They might as well shoot the Easter Bunny while they’re at it. don’t get me wrong, the NDP is not immune to criticism from the Right, but it wouldn’t help the Conservatives very much to talk about the “socialists” and their lovable leader at this point. So I expect them to continue going after Iggy and the Liberals, while some Tory candidates avoid all-candidates meetings and Harper refuses to answer questions.

Updatye: 4/22/2011 8:56 pm CDT: Correction: The Conservatives released an attack ad against Layton and the NDP this morning.

The Conservatives are also suddenly doing a fair bit of damage control. In the wee hours of Thursday morning, Harper’s spokesman had to call a press conference in the middle of the night to refute an incumbent’s boast that he had provoked the government into blocking funding for Planned Parenthood International. Another scandal involves a more traditional example of possible corruption:

A series of recordings posted on YouTube are raising fresh questions about the role Stephen Harper’s key spokesman and former Quebec adviser may have played – and who he was dealing with – in an unsuccessful attempt to influence in 2007 the choice of who would be the new president of the Montreal Port Authority.

Allegations that Dimitri Soudas intervened in a bid to help Montreal engineer Robert Abdallah secure the plum post took a strange twist Thursday when Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe distributed transcripts of conversations in which men identified as Montreal construction boss Tony Accurso and businessman Bernard Poulin discuss the job and who they think should have it.

Incidentally, thoughtful conservative Andrew Coyne has written a Macleans column in which he speculates about what Harper may do should he be defeated in the new House of Commons:

Indeed, so unyielding and dogmatic have his statements become, against the views of every constitutional scholar, that I have to wonder whether there is something else going on. That is, I wonder whether he is preparing the ground, not just to prevent the opposition from electing enough members to be in a position to bring his government down, but to thwart them should they make the attempt.

What he may have in mind is this: that after losing a vote of non-confidence, he would advise the Governor General to dissolve the House and call new elections — rather than call upon someone else to form a government. He would then dare the Governor General to overrule his first minister’s advice, something that Governors General are quite properly extremely reluctant to do.

He would, in short, be doing another King-Byng, provoking a constitutional crisis rather than yield power, hoping to intimidate the Governor General and/or rally public opinion to his side. If so this would be extremely disturbing, though not alas unprecedented.

If the Conservatives are a prisoner of their chosen strategy, imagine the dilemmas Liberal strategists are facing right now. The plan was,as in numerous previous elections, to move left at the beginning of the campaign, thereby marginalizing the NDP, and then to pivot and attack the Conservatives following the debates. The trouble with that plan was that the voters did not cooperate. Who could have foreseen such a thing? The plan has always worked before – except that it has been less and less effective with each succeeding election. Paul Martin in 2006 Stephane Dion in 2008 and now Ignatieff have all followed the same pattern and in each campaign’s final stages, asked NDP voters for strategic votes to stop the Conservatives.

And they would have gotten away with it this time too if it weren’t for that meddling Jack Layton who it turns out won both the French and the English debates. Never mind what the flash polls said. It was the debates that gave voters the material with which they could fashion the narrative of the campaign.

And so, the Liberals are stuck repeating what is surely a tired old line about how the NDP has no chance so why waste your vote. Today’s variation on that theme is that Liberals have that New Democrats lack. By the way, Ignatieff made these remarks in Westmount Ville Marie, a Montreal riding the Liberals have had since Noah docked on Ararat.

Montreal is where the NDP surge in Quebec has reached its high point to date. A Crop survey has the NDP at 36% in Quebec but at 40% in Montreal. No wonder Ignatieff feels compelled to defend what should be safe Liberal turf.

A trend is not a final result. Polls do not vote. Polls are for dogs. There are thousands of expressions that all amount to the same thing. Don’t count your chickens, etc. The election is not over and the trends and the narrative could still change. But Ignatieff and the Liberals have some difficult days ahead. Victory seems out of reach, and the best they can hope for is to drag the NDP down to their level or lower. I do not expect to see Ignatieff spend much time west of Ontario between now and May 2.

The leader who appeared to have the easiest task in the campaign was Gilles Duceppe. After all, the Bloc only runs candidates in Quebec’s 75 ridings, so Duceppe would be spared the rigors of touring facing the other leaders. Furthermore, Quebec voters seemed comfortable with both Duceppe and his party, even if many opposed his nominal goal of sovereignty for Quebec. Then he phoned in his performance in the English debate before appearing to rally and dominate the French one the following night.

Then the perfect storm struck the Bloc. The NDP had been working hard in Quebec for years and finally gained a foothold with Thomas Mulcair’s election in 2008. In the moths leading up to the election writ, the NDP had begun rising in the polls, but no one seriously saw them as a threat to anyone, and especially not the Bloc.

Then, with feisty performances in both debates, Jack Layton moved ahead of the other federalist parties in the minds of many Quebec voters. Suddenly, Duceppe had a rival who posed a serious threat to his entire project. Duceppe began attacking the NDP and Layton, so far to no apparent effect. The Bloc has little choice now but to attack the NDP while trying to limit the damage in selected priority ridings.

But does he attack the NDP for being too centralist, driving federalist social democrats into Layton’s waiting arms, or does he appeal to strategic voters whose priority is to stop a Tory majority?

So far, predictions have been fo modest NDP gains in Quebec, partly because there is not a lot of NDP organization on the ground there. We shall see how true that is or how much difference it makes on the eve ning of May2. A problem for the Bloc on election day is that if the polls arfe correct, many Bloc voters are now supporting the NDP but may not have told the Bloc. The Bloc will do their best to get their supporters to the polls, but may inadvertently be helping the NDP as they do so.

The NDP’s challenge in the last week or so of the campaign is to consolidate their new found strength in Quebec and elsewhere, while identifying this ridings where they have a real opportunity to make gains. Of course, they will need to do this while countering the suddenly vicious attacks from the other parties.

Early this week, Le Devoir, a Quebec nationalist newspaper that supports the Bloc, published a story about a New Democratic candidate, Francoise Boisvin in Gatineau, alleging she had been thrown out of the Liberal P arty for breaking House of Commons rules while serving as a Liberal MP. The allegation was that she had given a job to her lesbian partner.

This was an attack that (it appears to me) was coordinated between the Bloc and the Liberals who together agree that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, the attack came too soon and gave Boisvin and her party time to repair any damage.

But the NDP should expect attacks like this and worse in the final days of the campaign.

Canadian Election Update: NDP Has Big Mo

without comments

A flurry of polls were published on Monday, nearly all of them showing the Conservatives with diminished prospects for a majority government, the Liberals falling back slightly or treading water and the NDP enjoying a surge in voter support, at the expense of both the Bloc and the Liberals.

All these polls were conducted after the debates on April 12 and 13. The only tracking poll listed here is Nanos, which polls 400 respondents and aggregated the results of three days combined polling refreshed daily (each day the latest results are added and one day’s results dropped).

The Conservatives are hovering around their 2008 result of 38% while the Liberals seem to have lost a little ground from their 26% in the last election. The Bloc too is apparently bleeding support to the New Democrats who clearly have the most momentum according to this latest round of opinion sampling.

The regional sub samples in all these polls are subject to larger margins of error, but all seem to indicate an unprecedented rise for the NDP in Quebec. What that means in terms of seats is unclear.

These numbers at least partly reflect voters’ reaction to the debates, as well as the various campaigns. Note well they are al different to some degree (reflecting differences in methodologies I am told) and can’t all be right. With 12 days or so before the actual election, all kinds of dynamics can affect future polls as well as the final actual count of the votes. New Democrats and Conservatives appear to have most reason to take comfort from these results.

Coming soon: Strategies and tactics.
Update: Here is a Wikipedia site with all or most of the polls done for this election: Opinion polling in the Canadian federal election, 2011

Written by slothropia

April 19th, 2011 at 7:22 am

Jasmine Stucky to Speak in Peoria

without comments

And in local news, I have received the following 411 from Michael Perillo, President of the Peoria Area peace Network:

Curt Keller, minister at the Forest Hill Methodist Church, and the PAPN are sponsoring Jasmine Stucky to come and speak here in Peoria.

Jasmine Stucky is a political and environmental activist from Portland, Oregon, who spent four months in Israel, from January to May 2010, in a section of East Jerusalem called Sheikh Jarrah (a predominately Arab neighborhood), she also visited villages in the West Bank called Bil’in, Al-Walaja (an enclave located in the West Bank), Ramallah, Hebron and many other places.

Jasmine spent a lot of time in Sheikh Jarrah which was once a refugee camp established in 1948 after the Nakba (“disaster” or “the catastrophe”). Due to the Absentees’ Property Law from 1950, which was created to protect the new Jewish state from the claims of the Palestinian refugees, Palestinians were stripped of any rights to property. Stucky provided 24 hour night watch for the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, media coverage, organizing community meals, protests or mass demonstrations to get in the way of Israel authority from arresting Palestinians or evicting them from their homes.

Here’s the schedule so far at where and when she’ll be speaking:
*Friday, May 6th in the evening at the Forest Hill United Methodist Church.
*Saturday, May 7th in the morning at the Islamic Center Youth Group.
*Saturday, May 7th in the evening at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington, IL.

Also, the PAPN holds an anti-war vigil every Saturday at the corner of Main and University in Peoria from noon-1pm.

And check out the Solidarity Journal on WAZU 90.7, Tuesdays at 6 am and 2 pm.

Written by slothropia

April 15th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Debat des Chefs du Canada 13 Avril, 2011

without comments

That’s enough French for now. I hope someone will tell me if I made any errors in the title.

So last night the four leaders met again on the same game show set and hammered each other in Canada’s other official language. Polls and opinions differ but there seems to be a consensus that Duceppe won, with Layton second. I watched and listened to the English translation so I can’t really comment on many of the nuances expressed in the debate.

Both Duceppe and Layton achieved their goals, although Layton “wins” by being taken seriously in a debate aimed primarily at Quebec. Many of Duceppe’s voters are unavailable to Layton, but many of them are. It’s those potential Bloc/NPD switchers that Layton was addressing.

Duceppe, was playing a home game with house money, if I may mix and mangle two metaphors at once. His problem is that the Bloc has been around for two decades, serving Quebec’s interests well but without achieving its supposed reason for being, Quebec sovereignty. Some Quebeckers are apparently looking for an alternative to the Bloc and neither the Liberals nor (certainly!) the Conservatives qualify.

Fortunately for the NDP/NPD, Layton is a good debater in both French and English and mostly gave as good as he got versus Duceppe. Translating his limited success in the French debate into seats on May 2 will be more difficult, but he and his party are earning a lot of admiration for their strong effort to do so.

Written by slothropia

April 14th, 2011 at 9:54 pm