Policy Mic.com and JETAA Ottawa

It’s been more than a week since I’ve posted here, so I figured I should probably write something giving a small update on what I’ve been doing.

About a month ago I was contacted by PolicyMic.com editors and asked if I would be interested in writing for them.  Obviously, I was and have since written 2 articles, with more in the works.  Both were kind of re-purposed blogs, so, if you look at them and you’ve read my previous posts, they may seem similar, but hey, I was just trying to get it done.  They’re probably a bit better too, seeing as there are legitimate editors reviewing the articles.  I really like how they’ve set up this site.  It’s like a public forum meets a news page.  News is created by users who know about their subjects and then debated and debate is encouraged.

Here’s a youtube video explaining how the site works. Continue reading


Pedaling to normalcy in Tohoku.

It seems that even in a time of crisis (yes, it’s still a crisis 2 month after the earthquake), Japanese bureau-crazy still reigns supreme.  There is a serious need for bicycles in Ishinomaki, Miyagi and while the government there has bikes at their disposal, they won’t release them to individuals in need.   A request must be issued by a neighbourhood organization or a shelter in order to receive bikes from the government.  There are quite a few other prefectures that have access to bicycles as well.  But Ishinomaki hasn’t asked these other prefectures for help, even though they are in need and because of that, no one is helping them because the proper protocol isn’t being followed.  This is Japanese pride getting in the way, while it’s commendable, it isn’t helping anyone.  Attempting to circumvent this government system are Bikes for Japan and Free Tohoku, written by OurWomanInAbiko, who I’ve blogged about earlier.  OWIA wrote about the issues facing those who want bikes on the Free Tohoku Blog, here and here.

I was drawn to the plight of those in Ishinomaki who need bicycles by the flutter of tweets from OurManInAbiko.  They sum up the problem succinctly.

Orange wave is strong, but splits the vote on the Left.

The new political landscape of Canada is a little more blue today and so are the left of center liberals throughout Canada.  Below are the new colours of Canada, the voting results of 2011 versus the voting results of 2008.  Through these national visuals, you can definitely see more orange, but this election was won in the small, densely populated ridings in Southern Ontario.

Canadian Election Results 2011 via CBC - Click for Interactive Map

Canadian Election Results 2008 via CBC - Click for Interactive Map

The orange wave of the New Democratic Party definitely has come crashing down hard, on the Bloc Quebecois specifically.  The NDP gained ground throughout Quebec, one of the major battlegrounds in any Canadian Election. Continue reading

Harper’s Conservatives gain majority: first impressions

Here are just a few quick thoughts, before I head to bed.  I’ll be posting my take tomorrow on all that’s gone on in the 41st Canadian election today.  First, great gain for Jack Layton and the NDP.  From 37 to around 103 seats(still hasn’t been confirmed).  Also, Elizabeth May of the Green Party won the first seat for that party ever and the Bloc Quebecois lost almost all of it’s seats, both good things in my eyes.  The Liberal party was destroyed.  And finally, the Conservatives will form a majority government and I’m not very happy about that.

Image via http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com

Along with the image, here are a few choice quotes from Twitter that convey my thoughts.

“Today we proved that Canadians want change in politics.” – May. “The fuck you did.” – Everyone else.
Hate seniors? Peace? The environment? Arts? Truth? Democracy? The working class? Accountability? Rejoice.
@brentertainer I mean, you really thought Canada would have learned something watching what’s happening in America..
I will try to remember my country fondly, as it sinks beneath the weight of stealth fighters and super-prisons.
Obviously I moved back from japan too soon
What I write tomorrow can be summarized by the following tweet from the Canadian Press.
The rise in NDP fortunes contributed to vote splits favouring the Tories, especially in Ontario where the Liberals were decimated.
That’s all for now.