Monday, May 31, 2010

When did the Israeli blockade of Gaza start?

Hi everyone,

I would like to know when the Israeli blockade of Gaza started.  Did it start when Israel accused Hamas of firing rockets into Israel, or did it start when Hamas assumed control over Gaza?

Skinny Dipper

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Toronto's Desifest: Thanks Vijay and his friends

It was great to see fellow Progressive Blogger Vijay Sappani at Desifest in downtown Toronto today.  The event is being held on the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas.  I only saw some of the stage events because I went to a few Toronto Doors Open attractions.  The few events that I saw on stage at Desifest were youthful and upbeat.  I encourage anyone in Toronto to go downtown today to Desifest.  Thanks for your great work, Vijay.

Skinny Dipper

Click Desifest, then About Desifest, Vijay's photo is fourth from the right.  Click it for some biographical information.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Would the inclusion of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Pride Week violate Toronto's declaration of a non-discrimination policy?

Would the inclusion of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Pride Week violate Toronto's declaration of a non-discrimination policy?  I don't think so.

From the City of Toronto:


On behalf of and with the authority of the organization named below, I hereby declare that this organization adopts and upholds the City of Toronto’s policy statement which prohibits discrimination and harassment and protects the right to be free of hate activity, based on age, ancestry, citizenship, creed (religion), colour, disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender identity, level of literacy, marital status, place of origin, membership in a union or staff association, political affiliation, race, receipt of public assistance, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristics by or within the organization.

City of Toronto anti-discrimination policy (pdf)

Would Pride Toronto be violating the declaration if it admitted Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) and let this group use the words "Israel" and "apartheid" together? While there are the words "place of origin," I believe that refers to criticizing individuals or groups or individuals because they come from another country or from another place in Canada. I haven't read or heard anything from QuAIA that made fun of or criticized someone for being Israeli. "Religion" is also in the declaration. That doesn't mean that organizations can't criticize the Roman Catholic church. It means one cannot ridicule someone because of his or her religion. As for Israel, it is a country--not a religion. "Family status" is also listed. Does that mean that no one may criticize the group Focus on the Family?

I think the Pride Week organizers do not want QuAIA to participate in the event, not because QuAIA discriminates against Jews or Israelis (it doesn't), but because of political reasons of possibly losing funding from the City of Toronto.  The optics of accusations of anti-Semiticism look bad from the city's point of view.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

G&M: Toronto’s Gay Pride parade will exclude contentious group

Pride Toronto will be excluding Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in the upcoming Pride Week parade and festivities.  I personally don't have a problem if the decision was based on QuAIA not being gay-focused enough.  If the decision was based on QuAIA's perceived anti-Israel or anti-Semitic biased, then I would be against Pride's decision.

Kyle Rae mentioned that "he has no problem with a group supportive of gay Palestinians. But 'it’s my personal opinion that the Pride event is about fighting homophobia, and the group was not doing that. What they were doing is bringing in another issue into a queer community event.'(G&M)"   I have no problem with Rae's opinion.  I do wonder if Pride Toronto is going to ban QuAIA because it is not advocating for gay rights or against homophobia, should it do the same for those who support Israel but don't really mention gay Israelis?

Here is a photo of last year's marchers from Kulanu which is affiliated with Hillel.  I see a few rainbow flags, some Canadian ones, and lots of Israeli flags.  I wonder if this parade group was supporting Israel or gays in Israel.  If it is mainly supporting Israel, then aren't these marchers just adding the "gay" tag to their group like others question about QuAIA?  Bernie Farber marched with Kulanu/Hillel.

Update: Dr. Dawg writes his comments:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Celebrate Whoop-Up Days with Harper: help define what it is

The Harper Conservative rĂ©gime refuses to provide funding for the Toronto Pride Week event through the 2010 Marquee Tourism Events Program.  The government is also not funding any other Pride event across the country.  The Harperites are funding Whoop-up Days which are taking place in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Here is my challenge to readers: describe in your own words what Whoop-up Days is/are.  No cheating!  No, you may not do an internet search before commenting.  I want to read original comments.

I think Whoop-up Days is a celebration of beautiful bosoms.  The climax of the festival is the annual milk-off!  Whichever femme can squeeze the most milk out is crowned "Queen Whoop-up."  Note that femmes need not be human.  There's the usual square dancin' music, horseshoe competition, and steak-off. No vegetarians are allowed.

Please provide your thoughts about Whoop-up Days.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Harper invades Cro-Asia (14+ photo)

Enjoy (or not) the photo of Harper getting reading to show his excruxiating bling and ding-a-ling to the Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia. Harper appears in Adriatic attire.  (14+)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

This is Alabama. Wonly giving that test in English

Tim James, Alabama Republican nomination candidate in his own words (You Tube):

From Rumisouth at YouTube: Dear God: please, oh please let Tim James win the Republican nomination for [Alabama] governor in 2010.

If you need hilp (sic) with the translation:

Tim James: "Why do our politicians make us git (sic) driver's licenses in twelve different languages?  This is Alabama.  We speak English.  If you wanna (sic) live here, learn it.  Wonly (sic) giving that test in English...It makes sense.  Does it tyew (sic)?"
Perhaps 'Labama nids a draver's lassense tist in Redneck.


I don't think Tim James would want foreigners such as these dravin' on the roads of Alabama. They drav like commies from an ex-Soviet republic.


LeDaro has a blogpost about this topic: