The Practical Radical

Speed Bump Girl – $15,000 worth of Hype

September 13, 2010
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Speed Bump Girl

Speed kills, and speed is especially dangerous in relation to children. A Canadian organization has recognized this and is working with the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School in West Vancouver, British Columbia to test an innovative way to slow people down.

Dubbed by ABCnews “the Speed Bump Girl“, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and Preventable.ca have created a 3D optical illusion of a little girl chasing a  ball on the road in front of the school. There has been a huge outcry online about how this image is absurd and dangerous, with many critics writing that the image could make people slam on the brakes or even swerve off the road.

Unfortunately, what is illusory is Speed Bump Girl’s supposed 3D effect, what is not illusory is the projected $15,000 cost for the project.

I went down to École Pauline Johnson just the other day to check out this project. Please watch my video and see what I found.


The coming of the “Ice” Tea Party

August 23, 2010
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"Do not Resuscitate"

I very much dislike citycaucas.com, a well-read blog focused on the civic politics of Vancouver. It’s not that they don’t have well researched information, it is the outright partisan pettiness of the blog that bugs me. Their latest missive on the (possible) revival of the long-thought-dead conservative Non-Partisan Association (NPA) is one example of this (the picture above is from that blog – the caption is mine.)

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Social Networking Gone Wrong

July 1, 2010
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Canada Day – Gone Fishing and Tired Out

July 1, 2010
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I don’t know about everyone else, but I am just pooped out. Tired. Its been a great and “interesting” ride the 8 months, but really, I do not have the energy to go out and celebrate Canada.

It’s not that I am not possibly more patriotic, but with the year being so far bookended by the Olympics and the G8; recovering from a global meltdown; a dysfunctional parliament; and, in Vancouver at least, rainy spring like weather … well … I just am too tired to party and play.

So, I am going to stick around home, surf the web, have lunch, hug the kids, put on a new batch of wine, and … chill.

Happy Canada Day.

* My favorite Gone Fishing song by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong


Pradical Blog: Harper Consolidates his Minority!

May 16, 2010
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10,000 Harper Loyalists

There has been much hullabaloo about Harper bring back the old chestnut of abortion – the reporting on this issue reflects the general opinion about Harper from many commentators (for example Rex Murphy, Don Martin) which  seems to be that this issue only plays to the Conservative base, demonstrates Harper is an ideologue, and won’t allow him to gain a majority.

I believe it is much more Machiavellian than that.

Except by complete implosion of one of the 4 main parties, there will be a minority government, and Harper knows it. Of course he will never say this – keep the dream alive! – but he is too canny a player not to realize it.

So, if we put his actions on abortion and other policy pronouncements such as climate change within this context, what he is doing makes sense. He is energizing his base through wedge issues, just as one Karl Rove was so good at with George W. in the states. Activate the base, demoralize the others.

So the 10,000 people on parliament hill rallying against abortion with 18 Conservative MPs in tow? All dyed-in-the-wool-never-to-vote-for-anyone-but-Stephen supporters.Those 10,000 people are the vanguard, and they will assure Harper his minority and slim chance majority (watch for a Conservative/Bloc alliance in the next election).  The Armageddon Factor is a good read on the religious right and Conservative politics in Canada, or read some quotes from evangelical youth leader and Conservative darling, Faytene Kryskow. She believes her Christian fan club should emulate the Hitler Youth, who she admires for mobilizing people to their cause, and ponders how much more who group could accomplish with the power of God behind them. To understand her impact, Check out her group MY CANADA and her blog, which outlines her political work like the recent face to face meetings with 30 MPs and the reception she hosted that had in attendance 70 conservative MPs.

Harper has made the calculation that it will be a minority government – and has duped the media and the general public into believing that a coalition against him would be the coup d’etat by the social hordes. The other parties? Still trying for a majority seemingly. Until such time as the NDP – who have never been in government – and the Liberals – who believe they have never been out of government – get together and strategize it will be Harper all the way.


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