Saturday, July 30, 2005

Disengage this!

While the disengagement seems tragic but necessary, Israeli citizens are still under daily attack from their neighbours - in this photo, Elliot Chodoff of Mideast On Target is doing reserve duty in Gaza. He writes in the site's frequent email updates:

"Elliot holds the tail of a Qassam rocket that fell on a house in Gush Katif (note damage to wall on right). This family has a collection of four Qassam tails, all of which fell on or around their house."
An email subscription is well worth the read.

In a piece by Ne'eman that cannot regretfully be found online:

"The orange clad anti-Disengagement demonstrations of last week began and ended as a lost cause. PM Ariel Sharon made sure everyone understood that in a speech he made Sunday declaring the evacuation from Gaza to be one of the most important steps taken in the Zionist epic. He made it clear that after the Gaza and northern Samaria withdrawal the Palestinians will no longer be able to make claim to a "Right of Return". US President George Bush made this clear in his April 2004 letter to Sharon. In her recent visit US Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice apparently reiterated the point as part of the price to be paid by the Palestinians in the American orchestrated plan for conflict resolution. For the first time ever this past Saturday, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas made it known publicly that "not all the refugees will be returning home." As related by former foreign minister Shlomo Ben Ami and others at the Camp David talks in 2000, Abbas was the most vehement (even more than Arafat himself) in demanding the full return of all the Palestinian refugees to Israel."

It's about time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

York's ultimate whiners...

As a teacher, I can tell people that the word "ultimate", often used to mean "most extreme", technically means "last".

I have determined that June's whiner of the month (Yeah, I'm tardy. So sue me.) is possibly the ultimate York whiner of the month - since I officially graduated in June, I make no guarantees that future whiners will be from York.

As such, it is appropriate that June's ultimate York whiners of the month (three individuals from one organization) are both "last" but also "most extreme".

This one's easy, even with the sparse contents of the June 1 Excal. Is there any doubt that the dishonour goes to the York Federation of Students executive members Omari Mason and Corrie Sakaluk and their councillor Milton Chan?

Corrie Sakaluk, presently the VP but formerly the college councillor from Winters, has a bee in her bonnet about some new people moving into Winters.

As the Accolade Project is underway, plans for the Fine Arts and Music departments to vacate their college offices leaves (sic) room for space reallocation in Winters, Founders and McLaughlin colleges. Winters will be the first college to experience the ripple effect of certain departments and faculties moving into college space. This has spawned a negative reaction from the college community since they were not initially consulted or notified about their new roommates until a few weeks ago.

According to vice-president of students Robert Tiffin, the renovation proposal was a decision made in the winter by the University's executive committee to move the Faculty of Education out of the eighth floor of the Ross building in order to make room for the expanding Faculty of Arts.

Apparently, according to Sakaluk, Ed is just not welcome in their space:

"This is a clear attack and infringement of student space," says Sakaluk, adding that there has been a lack of communication and consultation with the students and master.

FACT: Fine Arts students are getting the big-ass Accolade project building all shiny and new for their use. The fact that they don't get to keep their Winters space entirely to themselves as well should not be a big issue. We're all students, aren't we?

Or is Sakaluk acting like the member of CFS she is and suggesting that her special interest group is more important than someone else's special interest group?

Anyhow, there's more.

In the other front page article, a piece bemoaning the dismissal of long-time equality crusader Teferi Adem strikes a few of the wrong chords:

Adem's forced departure has the YFS and many student groups looking for justification since he was an integral part of the student community.

YFS president, Omari Mason, believes that it is important for the University to be as transparent to students as possible and that failing to provide an adequate explanation for the decision to dismiss Adem is questionable.

"There should be no reason why the university cannot reveal why they would choose to remove someone who has contributed to the university within a very important capacity for almost 20 years," says Mason.

Nazareth Yirgalem, the YFS presidential commissioner whose focus is on the dismissal of Adem, states that he has a historical connection in terms of what he did on campus.


According to Yirgalem, Adem was the only black representative for students.

The YFS did not pay the salary of Teferi Adem. Should they choose to hire him to work for them (something they could feasibly do), it becomes their business. Until then, the only person who can complain is Adem, who could easily file a wrongful dismissal suit with an actual court of law if he felt he was wrongfully dismissed.

But a YFS-led witchhunt will do no one any good, especially if it disempowers many other black employees at York by suggesting that York's sole black student liason was fired.

Let's finish off with Milton Chan's ghastly op-ed suggesting that YFS exec salaries be increased:

To be perfectly honest, even full-time remuneration wouldn't really reflect the long hours that student executives devote to their work. It is always a sensitive task to talk about salary increases for politicians, but I believe student leaders should not be exploited and penalized for their dedication.

I was at York for four years and didn't feel that my life was so significantly benefitted by or affected by any student government, except maybe when the shenanigans of various YFS administrations (mostly Milton's leader Omari Mason and his people) led me to be embarrassed by my duly-elected representatives.

Message to YFS execs: Our lives are NOT enriched by your services. Why should you be enriched by our student levy?

Message to Excalibur: When did you become the unedited mouthpiece of the whiny YFS?


With this last post, I allow that from this day forward, I am not a York student and I don't have the same right to comment on the goings-on of York students as I did in March. Nonetheless, I'll continue to do what I please and comment as I see fit.

As always, I say to those who dislike what I have to say: Go read someone else's blog.

A welcome double-cross

In recent days, the revelation has popped up that the federal Liberals may not have spent the farm on $4.5 billion of promises as much as we thought. As Grumpy Young Crank points out, Martin is now saying that the promised cash only comes at the end of next year IF we have a surplus.

I can't say I'm surprised. I can say I'm delighted to discover that Paul Martin at least has some sense of the fact that you don't spend money you don't have.

As for Jack Layton, I hope no bank ever gives the guy a credit card.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

"A Party of Inclusion" part two

This is a few weeks old, but worth reading nonetheless due to its timeless nature.

About a month ago, Howard Dean, already not the American most in touch with reality, called the GOP a "white Christian party". Then he went on to praise the Democrats. Courtesy of the GOP email list, a National Review Online rebuttal noting that Howard Dean was likely absent the day they taught history in history class. Quoth Peter Kirsanow:

Dean’s comments clearly suggest that the GOP is, if not hostile to a demographic broader than white Christians, at least cool toward including non-whites and non-Christians in the party. If Dean truly believes these statements, then he needs to both review his history texts and spend some time on current events.

In terms of sheer historical hostility toward minorities, the Republican party fares a bit better than the competition. For example, it wasn’t the GOP that opposed the Emancipation Proclamation. Nor was it the GOP that opposed the Thirteenth Amendment prohibiting slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing equal protection, or the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteeing voting rights. (In fact, Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act in greater percentages than did Democrats.)

As a Jewish woman, this speaks to me because there are many who wish to tell me that as a woman, I should vote Democrat and/or that as a Jew, I should vote Democrat.

This is silly. When you vote for a party because they're that party regardless of how they act (sort of like Canadians who keep supporting the Liberals) then the party doesn't need to be responsible to you. George W. earned my vote in 2004, and whomever runs in 2008 will need to earn my vote.

The Republicans tend to see their weaknesses, I think, and are working hard to include. The Democrats need to figure out what theirs are (and fix them!) if they're ever going to get back into power.

June whiner of the month delayed due to me having a life

I need to do June whiner of the month. It will happen. Let this be notice, though, that
June whiner of the month will very likely be the last one with formal ties to York due to me no longer being there as I graduated.

One last call for nominations, which I may choose to not care about.