The Daily GRRR! - Feb. 16, 2015 - Your “Ugh, Monday Morning” Edition

Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! on the air every weekday morning from 9-10 a.m. here at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Monday morning show for February 16th, 2015.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Feb. 16, 2015
1. Supreme Court of Canada finally recognizes constitutional right to strike
2. Oregon gets ready to welcome first openly bisexual governor in US history
3. Canadian author condemns anti-gay protest against his young adult novel
4. School resources to promote inclusive language under fire from parents
5. Intergenerational learning program brings SK seniors, students together
6. Families for Families in Detention event brings “Family Day” to ON prison
7. Best V-Day gift Canadians got? Sun News shutting down permanently!

1. Supreme Court of Canada finally recognizes constitutional right to strike

As reported by Rabble.ca, trade unionists across the country were delighted to see the Supreme Court of Canada finally recognize a constitutional right to strike. The landmark decision overturned legislation impeding the right to strike, and acknowledged that the right to strike is a form of freedom of association. The decision also recognized that legislative interference in the right to strike gives undue power to employers, who already have the upper hand in bargaining.

This comes as welcome relief, particularly to public sector workers and workers in parts of the private sector, such as Air Canada, who have been subject to repeated government interference. Indeed it may provide some relief to unions that are habitually legislated back to work or worse, have had contracts imposed by legislation. Canadian governments might say that legislation is a last resort, but in practice follow a doctrine of permanent exceptionalism, whereby every strike is deemed special enough to require government interference. Yet laws and legal challenges do not win gains for workers. They may influence the environment in which workers’ struggles take place, but no court decision will turn the tide of neoliberalism. To do that, workers need to use the right to strike.

2. Oregon gets ready to welcome first openly bisexual governor in US history

As reported by the Huffington Post Gay Voices section, when the State of Oregon’s present governor resigns from office this Wednesday, his replacement—the current Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown—will make history as the nation's first openly bisexual governor. An openly LGBT governor has still never been elected in the United States, though New Jersey did have an openly gay governor, briefly, after Gov. Jim McGreevey came out as gay in 2004. Unfortunately, he was forced to resign after admitting an affair with a man he had appointed to a position in his administration. Brown, on the other hand, was the nation's first openly bisexual-identifying statewide officeholder. While she is married to husband Dan Little and may be wrongly mistaken as monosexual and straight by those who don’t know her, Brown has bravely discussed her sexuality in past campaigns for public office and her career seems to be hotter than ever. Previous to this, Brown served in the Oregon state legislature before being elected to the secretary of state position in 2008. Moreover, as she ascends to the governorship, Brown will be just one of three Democratic women governors in the nation.

3. Canadian author condemns anti-gay protest against his young adult novel

As reported by The Guardian, award-winning young adult author Raziel Reid has condemned the “strong anti-gay sentiment” in Canada that he believes has led almost 2,000 people to sign a petition calling for his literary prize to be withdrawn. Reid’s novel When Everything Feels Like the Movies was described as “an edgy and uneasy story with no simple resolutions” when it beat 229 other titles to win the children’s category of the Canada Council for the Arts’s governor general’s literary awards in November. The story of a gay teenager in a small-minded town, it is “unflinching”, said judges, with Reid’s protagonist “audacious, creative, rude, often hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking”. But despite the acclaim, the novel has become the subject of a petition calling for the prize to be removed from Reid because of “the offensive and graphic nature of the words and images used ... and the influence this will have on children’s minds”. The petition to the Canada Council for the Arts features a “vulgar” extract from the novel in which Jude is wearing his mother’s boots, and in which he and his friend Angela discuss the Hemsworth brothers. “‘You’d do them both in the same hole,’ I laughed. ‘But who wouldn’t?’ ‘Who do you think is bigger,’ she asked, ‘Chris or Liam?’ ‘Liam. He’d have to be to fill Miley.’” The petition is now signed by 1,863 people, but Reid said he was “surprised” by the outrage, “because I didn’t realise there was still such a strong anti-gay sentiment among adults in Canada.” As he went on to say, “I thought that kind of prejudice was mostly found in small-town schools like in When Everything Feels Like the Movies. It’s obvious that for those who have signed a petition to censor my book from a teen audience, that it is only socially acceptable to be gay as long as you act and look like everyone else.”

But Reid added that When Everything Feels Like the Movies deliberately sets out to provoke people. “It’s a frank and brutal depiction of contemporary youth. I’m not glamorising sex or drugs. Internet culture has done that for me. The criticism is that my book is too vulgar for young adult readers. I have to question how in touch those critics are with teens of today. There is an undeniable vulgarity to generation Y – a culture that exists behind an iPhone screen and is obsessed with the cult of celebrity. Instafame has killed discretion and manners. They don’t get you Twitter followers,” he said. Reid’s creations, Jude and his friends, are intentionally “superficial, crude and nihilistic”, according to the author. “They’re desensitised to sex, drugs and violence. They grew up with porn on their phones. Every day, a terrorist attack or a school shooting is trending. Their childhood Disney idols are high on molly , and so are they. The more provocative you are, the more attention you get on social media. And that’s all they care about,” he said. The Canada Council for the Arts told the Guardian that it “stands by” the choices of its judges, who “base their decisions on the literary and artistic merit of the books in the competition”. A rival petition has also started up, stating, “We believe attacks on the book are homophobic in nature, and we also believe that attacks on young people’s freedom to read challenging and mature books are regressive and unhealthy… oung queer people deserve to see their lives, loves and struggles considered and reflected in works of art and literature.”

4. School resources to promote inclusive language under fire from parents

According to reports out of Belleville, ON, school board posters designed to foster inclusive language among students and teachers are now coming under fire from local parents. Posted on the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board website and throughout local schools, the six posters show examples of inclusive language, like “referring to the parents/guardians of a child vs. mother or father”—so as not to misgender people—or saying “staffing the display booth” rather than “manning” said booth. The posters – which have been around for more than two years – are apparently focused on abilities; appearance, age and socio-economic status; ethno-cultural, racial and faith identities; sexual orientation and gender identity. The creation of the inclusivity campaign came from the board’s public equity and inclusivity committee which has representation from members of the public, business members, parents and guardians, board employees and students.

The posters state inclusive language should be used to promote respectful and accepting interactions and language should be accurate and fair, so it’s unfortunate that they are receiving such negative reactions from some parents. As one father has complained, “I don’t consider myself to be an ignorant person, I don’t consider myself to be homophobic, I don’t have an issue with any of that. What I do have an issue with is this kind of blanket attitude where – on a provincial, county, municipal or national level – these people are coming in and taking control of the types of language my child has to use.” This attitude is itself narrow-minded though, as it fails to take into account the negative and exclusionary effects that language can have for already marginalized students, parents, and teachers alike. It is frustrating that so many people today still stubbornly persist in writing off others’ life experiences with complaints about so-called “political correctness”—but initiatives for inclusive language like the one just described will be well-positioned to school kids better as they grow up.

5. Intergenerational learning program brings SK seniors, students together

As reported by Global News, an innovative classroom concept is bringing two generations together Monday through Friday in what’s being called the iGen program. The intergenerational classroom launched at Saskatoon’s Sherbrooke Community Centre in September 2014, and students from all over the city applied for the program. Twenty were accepted and will complete their Grade 6 education at Sherbrooke, where the daily lessons are reciprocal between the students and the seniors, who are residents at the community centre. Aside from the curriculum, students learn empathy, compassion, communication and general life lessons. But there are also extracurricular opportunities, as when several students taught a senior resident how to play an online game or when budding pianist Sami arrives early every Wednesday for a one-on-one lesson from a resident who plays many songs from memory.

“It’s like the little things that make them smile,” said Sami. “Even saying, ‘Hi’ makes their day and it’s awesome.” The feeling is mutual, too, according to Jodi Grant, a former professor at the University of Saskatchewan who once taught literature in Jamaica. A vehicle accident placed Grant at the care home long before she was ready to give up her career as a teacher. But with the iGen program, “It’s just pure heaven,” Grant said, after spending part of the morning reading to the students and discussing the book with them. The program has impacted her as much as the students, she says: “It’s gone from dismal to super invigorating. Prior to iGen, I had to try really hard to keep going.”

6. Families for Families in Detention event brings “Family Day” to ON prison

As explained on the Facebook event page, which we’ve linked to here on our podcast page, “Immigrant detainees are being held indefinitely and without charge or trial in Lindsay’s maximum security jail. Unlike many of us, this Family Day, they will not be reuniting with their families. In fact, they are unable to see their families on most other days because Lindsay is inaccessible by public transport. On February 16th, bring your family, young and old – sisters, fathers, sons, grandmothers and friends – and stand in solidarity with hundreds of families that are impacted by indefinite migrant detention, and the 100,000 more separated by detention over the past 8 years.”

That event is taking place this afternoon at the Central East Correctional Facility in Lindsay, Ontario, with free buses leaving from Toronto, Peterborough, and Guelph. It has been organized by the Youth Committee of the End Immigration Detention Network, and we highly encourage you to check out their website to learn more about the important work the network is doing.

REUNITE: Families for Families in Detention event: https://www.facebook.com/events/828057040573722/?ref=22&pnref=story

7. Best V-Day gift Canadians got? Sun News shutting down permanently!

As reported by CBC News, to the delight of so many across the country, Sun News Network went off the air at 5 a.m. ET on Friday after failing to find a new owner when it was excluded from sale of Sun Media Corp. to the Postmedia conglomerate. Sun Media Corp. issued a statement saying it spent months unsuccessfully trying to find a buyer, but financial losses meant it could not continue to operate. The network began broadcasting in April 2011, launching a right-of-centre programming schedule, but it has had a constant challenge attracting viewers. Its supporters blamed the CRTC for not giving it the same access enjoyed by news channels operated by CBC and CTV, but everyone else in the country expressed a sigh of relief when the federal broadcast regulator denied Sun News a guaranteed spot on basic cable TV packages in August 2013, thereby limiting public exposure to the network’s right-wing propaganda. When Quebecor launched the station, media pundits quickly dubbed it "Fox News North” for the network penchant to provoke viewers at all costs, with little to no concern for journalistic ethics or public responsibility—as exemplified by Ezra Levant, one of the most controversial hosts of Sun News, showing the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad on the station’s first day of broadcast. (Levant also lost a court case back in November after being charged with defamation and was forced to pay $80,000 in damages.) But it seems that many potential viewers chose to shield themselves over the past few years from the Sun News neoliberal drivel, with data released as part of their CRTC application showing that, while the network was available to 5.1 million households, it was only attracting a low average of 8,000 viewers at any given time. The network has employed around 200 people, but in light of right-wing complaints about Canada’s employment insurance program being a crutch for lazy and unmotivated people, the former Sun News employees will surely be fine. If they find themselves cold and hungry though, they can always head to a local food bank—but they had better use up all of their resources and eat their words first, or someone might accuse them of fraud, like one Sun News columnist did not too long ago. But all of that is in the past now, as we bid a gleeful goodbye to Sun News.

Midway Music: Kiss Me Through The Phone by Test Their Logik

Feature: “Rewriting the Future: Using Science Fiction to Re-Envision Justice” by Walidah Imarisha for Bitch Magazine
http://bitchmagazine.org/article/rewriting-the-future-prison-abolition-s...

Closing Song: The Warden by Old Crow Medicine Show

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