From the Monday morning news sites

1 – We here in Canada and the US can, if we so choose, criticize our governments freely in our blogs.  I haven’t done so recently, but when the Conservatives had a minority, more  issues made the news before they were passed and I had no problems ripping into the government if I felt they were wrong, or trying to mislead the public.  I’m sure there are others out there, on both sides of the 49th parallel, who do so as well.   I came across an  item on the CP24 news site this morning that said three bloggers in Vietnam have been sentenced to terms ranging from 4 to 12 years for writing blogs critical of the government.  Sorta helps remind us just how much freedom of speech we really do have, doesn’t it?

2 – There is a big furor at the moment, created by first year art students in Toronto.  Again, from the CP 24 news site (although I’ve seen the exact same article on other sites, so it’s obvious from Canadian Press), these students are, rightfully in my opinion, upset that they are being asked to spend $180 for an art text that contains no art.  Where the art should be, there are blank spaces.  Students are expected to go online and find the art there.  According to someone from the book industry or university interviewed for this, the alternative was to put the art in and charge $800 for the text.  Art class with no art.  About the only thing sillier would be an instrumental music course with no instruments or music.

3 – Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, went to Chicago for two days last week.  This was a city trip and involved himself and some councillors and was intended to improve ties between the two cities.  Robbie hosts a radio show every Sunday on one of the Toronto stations.  As part of yesterday’s show, he claimed the trip wouldn’t cost city taxpayers “a dime”.  Once again, this man is off on his own little planet.  It may not cost “a dime”, but what about the dollars some of the councillors will claim for expenses on this trip.  Robbie is wealthy and could (and may have) paid his own way, but if he thinks other city councillors are going to do that, he’s dreaming.  His visit received little to no media coverage outside of the Toronto media entourage who also made the trip.  NBC Chicago, according to an article on the Toronto Star news site today, posted a blog calling Robbie “obnoxious”.  As a commenter said, “how bad do you have to be to have an American call you ‘obnoxious’?”

And, under “biting the hand that feeds you” file, Robbie and brother City Councillor Doug ripped into media coverage of his domestic screwups, such as improperly using city property and staff for personal uses.  Among the media mentioned was the very station hosting their show.  Dougie is about as dense and self-centred as his brother and mistook a newsbreak for an ad criticizing the Ford trip to Chicago.

Just think – Toronto is stuck with them for another two years.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.