Yes Man answers our yes/no questions page 8
Obama Drama page 3
university of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
vol. XXXII N0. 18
January 28, 2010
Harper gone rogue
GC red tape frustrates staff, students
Canadians are listening
Live-in against illiteracy
AMY STUPAVSKY When you spend long, blearyeyed hours studying at Robarts, it may sometimes feel as if the library is your second home. For students Afton Chadwick and Lorenzo Somma, the nightmare has become a reality. The two have set up camp on the first floor from Jan. 23 to 30 to raise money for Live-in for Literacy, an event that raises mon-
ey to build educational facilities in developing countries in Asia and Africa. The students forego classes and break for only five minutes every hour. “We put our own educations on hold to help others,” said Chadwick. An initiative of DREAM (Discovering the Reality of Educating All Minds), Live-in for Literacy was started at Queen’s
University in 2005. The organization hopes to raise $20,000 across nine participating universities towards the construction of a library in an Indian village. It also plans to sponsor 10,000 copies of a book published in the local dialect. Shopping for volunteer opportunities, Chadwick decided Continued on page 4
U of T’s latest meeting has stirred up discussion about the university’s decision-making processes. After three hours in Simcoe Hall on Jan. 21 without any concrete, mutual dialogue, students and staff are concerned that U of T’s administration has become too wrapped up bureaucratic red tape. “The Governing Council has just become a rubber stamp,” said Andrew Agnew-Iler, one
of eight students on the fiftymember council. “It is completely useless as any kind of democratic institution. There isn’t much actual debate going on at any point. People are voting, but the votes don’t matter. Nothing ever gets voted down.” Since the Governing Council is the highest decision-making body at U of T, critics feel that such developments will have direct effects on the university’s Continued on page 5
There was a telling crescendo in the voices of the crowd gathered at Dundas Square as they sang out “we stand on guard for thee” during the national anthem. An estimated 7,000 people came out on January 23 as part of a cross-country rally, organized through Facebook by Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament (CAPP), to protest Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s prorogation of parliament. Harper announced on December 30 he would suspend parliament until March 3. The PM denies accusations that he is eschewing some tough quesContinued on page 5
January 28, 2010
We don’t need no... more students in university
As a result of an overwhelming response to a Reading Week trip to Montreal (Feb. 17-20), UTSU will make more spots available to those who couldn’t register due to full capacity . To register, visit www.utsu.ca. Submit completed forms and payment during regular UTSU office hours.
dan craig Everyone likes to feel good. Most people also like to feel they are doing some good in the world; however, even the best of intentions don’t always lead to the best outcomes. Subsidizing ethanol production comes to mind. So does bringing democracy to Iraq.
In the same vein, the righteous urge that many people feel about increasing access to university has led to several problems in our post-secondary system. One might be tempted to say, “But wait a second, Dan. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone read Plato or Malthus? Doesn’t access to high-
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er-education lead to a nation full of enlightened citizens?” First, let’s forget for a moment that universities do not always lead to enlightenment and can sometimes propagate dangerous ideas (Plato and Malthus come to mind). How much of the student population even care about higher learning? In the last Classics class I attended, I spotted one student playing Street Fighter on his laptop and at least three others doing some urgent Facebooking. Do we really want more of these types of students in university? One of my first-year English professors seemed to share this sentiment. One day, he asked his class of more than 100 students if they would take a bachelor’s degree if he offered them one for free that day. By a show of hands, nearly half of the class would’ve taken it. His point: Many students don’t really care about the content of their degrees. Motivation and a thirst for knowledge aside, there are two other problems with jamming our universities full of more students. Both of them involve the concept of inflation. First, we have what is known as academic inflation. The concept can be summed up quickly with a question: What is a bachelor’s degree worth when everyone has one? Jobs that once required only a bachelor’s degree now require a master’s, a PhD, or even a post-doctoral degree due to the sheer number of undergrads these days. Not only does this mean that we now need closer to eight years of education to get the ‘good’ jobs, but it also means that more and more people with ‘good’ educations are underemployed or over-qualified for their jobs. This is why approximately 12 per cent of American federal mail-carriers hold college degrees. A second problem with having too many students enrolling in university is the fact that this drives the cost of tuition through the roof. A recent set of statistics released by the Council of On-
tario Universities indicates that, since 2000, there has been a 46.2 per cent increase in university applicants in Ontario. This represents an explosion in demand for university enrollment. And guess what, you don’t need a degree to know that when demand goes up, so does the price. Of course, increased demand isn’t the only reason that tuition has out-paced CPI inflation for the last few decades. Many students, arguably most, would have been priced out of the education market long ago if it weren’t for cheap money available in sub-prime student loans. Wellintentioned politicians, who are often under pressure from student unions and other interested groups, have helped plunge more students into debt while simultaneously allowing universities to inflate their fees without real market consequences. Universities have little reason to lower their fees because students can always find a government-backed loan to cover the cost. Basically, the politicians get votes, the universities get higher revenues, and the students get stuck with the bill. If we really want universities to lower their fees, we should encourage more people to stop going to university. There are plenty of other options available. Learn one of the trades. Get a CUPE job and hold the city hostage for a few months. If applications to university were cut in half rather than steadily increasing each year, universities would be forced to make some serious decisions about cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and lowering tuition fees to attract more students. Who knows, maybe they would even dip into their endowments which are larger than the GDPs of some small countries. A serious hit to demand for enrollment would do a lot more to lower tuitions than cheap slogans, “Drop Fees” posters, and sit-ins combined.
Attention all owners of unused TTC tickets; you now have until the end of March to refund your tickets! From February 1 to March 31, riders can cash their tickets in at the south entrance of BloorYonge station or at TTC headquarters at Davisville station between 7am and 7pm.
An Ethiopian Airline passenger plane carrying 92 people crashed into the Mediteranean sea shortly after taking off from Beirut airport. The plane disappeared from radar screens roughly five minutes after take-off in stormy weather. Eyewitnesses claim they saw a ball of fire in the sky before the jet crashed into the sea. A rescue operation is underway, but the number of survivors is unknown.
Debenhaums department store launched a divorce gift list service to reflect increasing popularity of gift cards, parties and cakes celebrating divorce; the store also provides assistance in splitting assets of divorcees. Items on the divorce gift list include cookware, crockery, glasses, non-iron shirts, plasma screen TV`s, and computer games. -Amina Stella
CALLING ALL THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Hardened newswriters, gossips, ad men, mad men, writers, cartoonists, more writers! OPEN WRITER’S MEETING Every Thursday at 5pm, the newspsaper office.
January 28, 2010
FOUR HUNDRED WORDS EACH
Obama’s first year in office Yes We Can or No We Can’t?
According to the standards President Barack Obama set for himself in his 2008 election campaign platform, his first year in office has been unsuccessful. During the presidential election, Obama tapped into American voters’ yearning for “Hope” and “Change” after eight years of Bush. Although critics derided these campaign slogans as vague buzzwords, Obama’s platform was detailed in scope and set out to reverse the Bush administration’s damage. He promised universal healthcare, restoration of civil liberties, and a dramatic change in foreign policy and economic management. What he delivered in his first year, however, was at best a watered-down version of those promises, and at worst a complete policy reversal. Initially, Obama promised a healthcare bill that would expand coverage and keep insurance companies in check with a governmentrun insurance option and drastically cut healthcare premiums. The bill that the US Senate actually produced is a supreme disappointment to the Barack Obama of 2008; it has no public option and is essentially an insurance company bailout package. His first term has been a string of failures and half-successes. Obama promised to overturn Don’t ask, don’t tell (DADT) and to fight for same-sex marriage, but he has done nothing to further gay-rights. He
has not succeeded in closing Guantanamo Bay. He has neglected to discuss gun control, needle-exchanges, or mandatory minimum sentences, which are all issues adversely affecting African Americans. At the Copenhagen Climate Conference, he failed to fulfill his promise to achieve a binding agreement. In Afghanistan, Obama has adopted Bush’s Iraq strategy. Alhough he promised to engage in discussion with countries like Iran and Venezuela, his foreign policy has been timid. He has made no effort to shift American foreign policy away from Bush’s conception of the “War on Terror.” Although Obama is not to blame for America’s economic woes, his stimulus package has failed to benefit average Americans. The US banking system, which received billions of dollars after it collapsed and effectively caused the recession, has not been newly regulated under Obama. On Jan. 25, Obama announced a proposal for a three-year spending freeze. This policy was originally put forth by John McCain, and Obama continually attacked him for it. Herbert Hoover also implemented this policy after the 1929 financial crash. In his column for The New York Times, economist Paul Krugman called the policy “appalling on every level.” Obama has squandered his mandate for change by acting so tepidly. He has isolated his most enthusiastic supporters while failing to convince his most enthusiastic detractors.
January 20 marked the anniversary of American President Barack Obama’s inauguration. As the Obama presidency teeters between hopeful and hopeless, the newspaper asks two writers to face off over whether his first year has been a success or a failure.
the letter to the editor I’m writing in response to the article in last week’s newspaper entitled “Should UofT ban bottled water?” Should UofT ban bottled water? Absolutely. Bottled water is among the most (unnecessarily) environmentally destructive industries. It takes massive amounts of energy from fossil fuels to pump, transport, process and refrigerate. Post-consumption in Toronto, 50% end up in our landfills. That’s 60 million everyday. Bottled water is privatization of water. When you privatize something corporations do what they do best: turn a profit. So water is allocated based on ability to pay rather than need. This industry denies 2.8 billion people access to clean, safe water because people can’t afford to pay for it.
Approximately 3900 children die everyday because their family cannot afford safe water. You may think bottled water is somehow better, cleaner or safer but when you bottle water it is no longer water it is regulated as a food product meaning it doesn’t have to meet water sanitation standards. While Toronto’s municipal tap water is tested every 4-6 hours bottled water is inspected on average once every 3 years. David Suzuki, one of the most famous environmental scientist stated “I think in Canada it’s absolutely disgusting that people are so uncertain about their water that we buy it, paying more for bottled water than we do for gasoline.” In fact we spend two times on water then we do for gasoline.
Bottled water is the third largest industry behind oil and elecricity. Most leading brands are no more then city tap water. Pepsi’s aquafina is Brampton’s tap water and Coke’s Dasani is Mississauga’s tap water. To conclude you can support an industry that unnecessarily contributes to environmental degradation, on that is dishonest about the source and safety of their product, you can support rich CEO’s who have appointed themselves the right to own lakes, rivers and streams, and an industry that denies 2.8 billion people water because they can’t afford it or you can choose to “unbottle it” and tap into our public water system. You vote it’s your choice. Ashley Thackaberryv
Barack Obama has gone from being known for his famous slogan, “Yes, we can” to a more subdued posture in the past few months. His new and subdued posture is a good thing. When Obama arrived at the White House, the expectations of an entire nation, not to mention the entire world, were on his shoulders. Bush left him with two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. How could one man possibly live up to all the hype? It is easy to claim that Obama has “done nothing,” as satirized in a recent SNL skit. This could not be further from the truth. In one short year, Obama has appointed the first Latino Supreme Court Justice, and has signed legislation that guarantees women equal pay in Illinois. Obama has also passed an economic recovery bill, which is slowly progressing. He has promised to send additional troops to Afghanistan and he began the pullout in Iraq. Obama also passed the bailout of the auto industry and pressured their management to make changes. It has only been one year. JFK’s first year was considered a failure and Abraham Lincoln ended his first year in tremen-
dous debt and with very few results to show for it. Obama has a lot left to do, and a lot of time to do it. Obama’s 2009 Nobel Peace Prize win demonstrates that critics should not only ask, “What has Obama done?” but “Who does Obama stand for?” Obama captured the world’s attention and gave hope for a better future. He has inspired a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained its footing, with a focus on international institutions, such the UN. This is a marked step away from Bush’s unilateral approach Let us keep our critical eyes on Obama, but refrain from Fox News-style derision. In one year, Obama has done more to change the course of history than most of the presidents before him, not only for what he represents, but by asking critical questions and starting debates on important issues, such as universal healthcare. Obama has become a voice for those who felt they had none, and he has done it with a tattered economy and two wars waging. Give him two terms, and Obama will be remembered not for the colour of his skin, but for his positive actions.
the blotters In an effort to put a little more pulp in our paper, both petty and indecent, we present you with the scoundrelly deeds that occurred on campus this week.
January 16 Occurrence type: Liquor Complaint Location: Gerstein Library Details: Campus Police investigated a liquor complaint. A provincial offences ticket issued.
January 17 Occurrence type: Indecent Act Location: Philosopher’s Walk Details: Campus police investigated an indecent act.
January 18 Occurrence type: Mischief Location: Woodsworth College (Interior) Details: Campus Police investigated damage to an office desk
January 18 Occurrence type: Theft Location: Clara Benson Building (Interior) Details: Campus police investigated a theft of a vacuum.
January 19 Occurrence type: Trespassing Location: President’s Residence Details: Campus Police investigated a person for trespassing. A provincial office notice was issued and the person escorted from the property.
January 28, 2010
Toronto Centre gears up for by-election the newspaper cuts through the political jargon
another city to show up, and, in five or six years, run for a seat here,” said Wiseman. “I represent a constituency where I’m typical,” Murray answered in response to this criticism. “Half the people who live in Toronto Centre weren’t born in this country. I bring a very rich experience from different communities, and I bring a lot of national leadership.” The key debate issues are the Liberal government’s record, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), LGBT rights, and community development. Taylor hopes to capitalize on Murray’s unfamiliarity and by attacking the Liberals’ tax policy. Graham White, professor of political science at U of T, points out that the Conservatives “surely have no expectation of winning, but want to
see if they can bolster their vote substantially by hammering the HST.” Crowe also voices concerns about the HST’s affects on small businesses. All candidates said they want to improve post-secondary education and transit. Taylor proposes a more efficient TTC with more effective use of funds. She believes that increasing funds is secondary. Crowe gave few details about public transit in her interview with the newspaper. She did say, however, that the provincial government needs to increase its TTC funding. Murray hopes to integrate better transit technology to increase efficiency and improve planning to connect more neighborhoods. He says that the economic benefits of such measures would enlarge the tax base and provide more
money to fund public transit in the future. Premdas emphasizes the need for more bike lanes, more car-free zones, and extensive TTC routes, all of which will require more funds. As far as post-secondary education is concerned, Taylor says she wants to improve the economy to create jobs for graduates. She also wants to bring students into discussions about making college and university more accessible. Murray suggests increasing financial assistance for those going to school. He says that the provincial government and the non-profit sector need to take an active role in funding. Crowe calls for a tuition freeze. Premdas says that the government should create more grants and improve access to student loans. When the newspaper asked if tuition fees should be frozen, he replied with an emphatic “heck yes!” The final debate will happen on January 31 at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre. Advanced polling took place on January 23, attracting high-profile Liberals like Bob Rae and Smitherman, who voted for Murray. Voter turnout will likely be low, which, according to some,
will work to the Liberals’ advantage. “I don’t sense that there’s any huge set of issues that people are eager to punish or reward the McGuinty Government for,” said White. “Nobody seems really stirred up about provincial politics. All this points to a Liberal win.” Wiseman agrees: Murray will probably prevail. The new MPP will then have only 20 months to get ready for Ontario’s general election in the fall of 2011, which will be the true test of the Liberal government’s strength.
convince people to give while they’re studying,” said Chadwick, “but the student body overall has been very generous. I really get to see compassion firsthand.” Students can contribute through straight donation or buy raffle tickets ($2 each or $3 for five) for a gift basket draw. To close the live-in, the group is holding a pub night on Saturday at the Brunswick House ($5 cover), with all proceeds benefiting the cause. What will Chadwick and Somma do when they pack up their campsite? “I’ll get back to my own studies, and I’ll be back at Robarts studying,” laughed Chadwick. “This will probably be my home for eternity.” For more info, visit www. liveinforliteracy.com and liveinforliteracy.wordpress.com
cont’d from page 1 to participate in this untraditional activism after seeing last year’s campers. “This fit my values for education,” she explained. “As a university student, I think educating someone is the greatest gift you can give.” Five days into the live-in, Chadwick said she and Somma are “feeling good. It’s an adventure for sure.” A small group of volunteers bring them food and supplies while they camp out. This is the second year U of T has participated in the challenge. Last year, the students raised $3,200. “It’s hard to
Candidates are scrambling to prepare for a provincial by-election on Feb. 4 in Toronto Centre, one of the city’s two downtown ridings. Premier Dalton McGuinty called the election after Liberal MPP George Smitherman resigned on Jan. 4 to run in Toronto’s mayoral race. The main candidates are Glen Murray (Liberal), an openly gay ex-mayor of Winnipeg who was chosen to replace Smitherman, Cathy Crowe (NDP), nurse and social activist, Pamela Taylor (PC), lawyer and businesswoman, and Stefan Premdas (Green Party), an employment councilor who is also openly gay. Toronto Centre roughly borders Queen’s Park and Yonge St. to the west, the waterfront to the south, Don Valley to the east, and Mount Pleasant cemetery to the north. The riding’s neighbourhoods are economically disparate and include many immigrants. The riding has voted Liberal since its creation in 1999. According to Nelson Wiseman, political science professor at U of T, the trend is likely to continue. Murray, however, has only lived in Toronto Centre for five years, which has raised some eyebrows about his ability to represent the riding. “It is quite something for a mayor of
January 28, 2010
Here’s looking at Mrs. Pakistan Gov Council cont’d from page 1
U of T alum redefines the pageant cliche
amina stella and amy stupavsky Move over, Miss America. U of T graduate and lecturer Tahmena Bokhari has proven that beauty and brains can coexist when she won the title of Mrs. Pakistan World 2010 at the end of December. She has become the fourth married woman to represent Pakistan with the international title. As Mrs. Pakistan, Bokhari will assume an ambassadorial role of raising Pakistan’s profile on the international stage and aiding women in local South Asian communities. While she says she felt “surprised and honoured” by her win, Bokhari quickly points out that she is “not a typical beauty queen and it isn’t a typical pageant. It’s very political.” Contestants are judged not only on looks, but on their ability to field questions about Pakistan’s international relations and how they would alleviate the country’s domestic problems, such as poverty and terrorism. Born in Toronto, Bokhari spent her childhood in Faisalabad, Pakistan, where she was “was very much a tomboy.” She has been involved with social justice issues since her youth, citing her grandmother, who started a girls’ school in Pakistan, as her greatest influence.
U of T grad Tahmena Bokhari won the 2010 Mrs. Pakistan World pageant. She graduated from U of T with a Master’s in Social Work after completing her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies, which galvanized her interests in feminism and social work in the immigrant communities. Bokhari became involved with the Mrs. Pakistan pageant as a means to reach a larger audience. “Working in the women’s sector helped to aid women who had already experienced abuse,” she explained. “The audience I wanted to reach, Pakistani women, did not associate themselves with feminism or shelters. I also wanted to reach men. I felt that the pageant was a great fit for me because it would give me the platform to speak about issues I am
passionate about and to appeal to audiences in a non-threatening way.” Bokhari has many goals she hopes to accomplish during her term. Currently, she is planning an event for International Women’s Day on March 27. Her main message to young women is to avoid pigeon-holing themselves. “By having someone who looks like me out there, I think women can relate,” she said. “By saying I’m Pakistani, Muslim, a professor, a feminist, and a beauty queen, I want women to understand that they can be some or all these things without compromising any of those identities.”
transparency. “There are no remaining spaces—at least no regular, standardized spaces—where dialogue and debate can occur properly,” said Adam Awad, UTSU VP University Affairs. During the meeting, the Association for Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS) held a rally outside Simcoe Hall to protest the extension of President David Naylor’s term. APUS representatives are adamant that the president’s agenda sacrifices accessibility and academic freedom in favour of corporate research funds. Many of the association’s students and staff became frustrated when the Governing Council, despite being an open forum, did not allow them to put forward these arguments before reappointing President Naylor until 2015. All speaking requests submitted by APUS were rejected. Students expressed concerns about Governing Council’s unwillingness to listen to dissent and policy criticism. “At the very least, we should be al-
lowed to attend a public meeting,” said Oriel Varga, APUS Liaison Officer. “Having locked doors and undercover police defies any meaning of ‘public’ I’ve ever heard. And even those inside the meeting aren’t given a chance to finish their points before votes are cast.” President Naylor acknowledges that such bureaucracy can be confusing, but he is quick to point out that Governing Council is not representative of all U of T administration. “Students are frustrated that all sides of an issue are not being worked through at these public meetings,” he said, “but this is an unfair misunderstanding of how governance works. Anything the administration does is shaped by a range of stakeholders in departments and divisional councils. Both students and staff on these councils have a say. By the time an issue moves to a final public meeting, it’s likely that most of its aspects have been considered and talked over.”
Prorogue cont’d from page 1 tions regarding the Afghan detainee scandal, citing that current economic troubles and the upcoming winter Olympics necessitated the parliamentary break. The prorogation has effectively terminated debate on 37 bills before parliament. Critics also say it raises important questions about the state of Canadian democracy, like whether Harper is accountable to parliament or vice versa. If Harper was counting on a complacent electorate in what is arguably a stable political landscape, the protests prove him wrong. In fact, the prorogation has only intensified scrutiny on the PM. Lead organizer Shilo Davis said, “I hope that the rallies have shown that Canadians DO care about what the government does, and that we ARE paying attention. And that we will hold our politicians accountable for their actions.” “It is important to see prorogation, at least the way in which it can currently be called, as emblematic of greater issues in our system of government,” added organizer Christopher White .”The rules are set up to keep whoever is in power at the helm, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. We
need to change that. This is never going to happen unless we organize and keep the pressure on all of our elected leaders. Protests are one form of showing discontent.” The non-partisan protest brought out activists of all stripes alongside a healthy U of T contingent, including student faith groups. Sheryl Johnson, a co-ordinator and chair with the Student Christian Movement at U of T, is one voice among many that questions what Harper is trying to avoid by suspending parliament. “As Christians committed to social justice and activism on a wide variety of issues from poverty to the environment to social services and rights for immigrants, the [SCM] could certainly provide a long list of things that should be looked at and could have kept parliament busy!” The protest looped from Dundas Square down Yonge to Queen Street, Bay, College, and ended back at the Square. CAPP has another protest planned for February 13 that will see two torches relayed from either coast, meeting in Ottawa on March 3. What has yet to be seen is whether Harper will listen to the outcry against his prorogation.
January 28, 2010
the listings New Music Festival Conversation with Krzysztof Penderecki The famous Polish composer is U of T’s distinguished guest at this year’s New Music Festival. Thursday, Jan 28, 12:10 p.m. The Chamber Music of Krzysztof Penderecki, Part II The program features Tre Miniature for clarinet and piano and Second Violin Sonata. Thursday, Jan 28, 7:30 p.m. Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, Edward Johnson Building (80 Queen’s Park) Free Literature for Our Time Spring 2010: An Hour of Talk and Conversation with Lynn Crosbie The author of controversial books Paul’s Case, based on the Bernardo-Homolka sex crimes, and Dorothy L’Amour, inspired by the murder of Playmate Dorothy Stratten, talks about her latest book, Liar, a confessional poem about the mother of all breakups. Presented by the Department of English. Friday, Jan 29, 3:00-4:00 p.m. Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles St. W.) Free
StopTalking3 Performances, poems, and stories by 10 locals, including several U of T students. Friday, Jan 29, 9:30 p.m. BAD BLOOD (13 Kensington Ave.) PWYC
“ the campus comment ” the newspaper asks the impossibly open-ended question: when is it too much?
“When I puke on myself.” Andrew Woods, Philosophy
“When there’s no room for anything else.” Kathy, Raver
“When my cup runneth over.” Sarah DAngelo, English
“You never know until it’s too late.” Helene Goderis, newsie
“It’s never too much.” Michael Evans, Urban Studies
“Talk to me about ‘too much’ when you’ve had people fondle you, year after freaking year.” Gargy McGarg,
Wavelength 498 Catch local bands--International Radar and The Two Koreas-and Shotgun Jimmie at the third last installment of the weekly Wavelenth Sunday music series. Sunday, Jan 31, 9:00 p.m. The Garrison (1197 Dundas St. W.) PWYC ($5-$10 suggested)
January 28, 2010
Arts & Crafts in da House
Associate Arts Editor gets crafty at Hart House I am having flashbacks to Girl Guides at Craft Week’s Knitting Workshop on Monday, as I hold up my knitting needles, trying and failing to mimic instructor Day Milman’s exaggerated gestures. She insists that it just looks complicated. I can feel the ghost of my atrocious wool uniform scratching my leg, along with a good dose of pre-teen angst, looming over me as I fumble with my purple wool. Instinctively, I think that this is the part of Craft Hour where I re-negotiate said craft. My petulance is about to get a reality check. “Something I always think of, when knitting, is the genius of women,” Milman says to her students. “Crafting has farreaching social and economic implications,” she says to me, afterward. “In knitting something, you gain an awareness of the real value of the garment, something that is lost to us in first world countries.”
Indeed, in a year that caused us all to re-evaluate the value of everyday things, some oldfashioned DIY could be a great resource for penny-pinching students. This is Craft Week’s first year,
Dino Jr Coming back from extinction will martin The Dinosaur Jr. reunion began as a brief flirtation with the Amherst slackers’ former glory, but with two new albums and some extensive touring under their belts, it seems like Dino Jr. are back, at least for now. This past Thursday, J Mascis brought the reinvigorated power trio to the Phoenix, for a performance that perfectly reflected the band’s attitude, at once laidback and aggressive. A few days before the show, Mascis announced they would be playing an in store set at Sonic Boom a couple hours before the show. As the Sonic Boom stage is rather intimate, this was quite exciting for fans. Unfortunately it filled up half an hour before the band was supposed to play, the band was 45 minutes late, they played four songs, and it was acoustic. Bullshit. The Phoenix was sold out, which is also bullshit, because the crowd of excessively drunk morons keep yelling and bumping into you and spilling their drink. Oh well, Dinosaur Jr. was going to make it all better. And for the most part, they did. Unfor-
tunately, signature drummer Murph didn’t clear customs, but the replacement was more than competent. Playing a wellbalanced mix of old and new, the band made sure to touch on all their biggest hits, with Freak Scene, the Wagon and Feel the Pain all making mandatory appearances. Damian Abraham, leader of Toronto hardcore punk act Fucked Up, joined the band for their final track, Chunks, and generally made people feel good about Toronto’s mostly shitty music scene. Lots of people have been making the point that when most bands reunite, they don’t write new material (Pixies), or the new material is just shit (Polvo), but Dinosaur Jr. hasn’t suffered this fate. True, but they do suffer from what I call Woody Allen Syndrome. Allen has made three fantastic movies 30 times, and Dinosaur Jr. has written three fantastic songs 30 times. So after a couple hours, Dinosaur Jr.’s verse, chorus, verse, blistering J. Mascis solo, chorus, can start to border on bland. Really though, you can’t exactly knock the boys for doing what they do and doing it well time and time again.
and the turnout has been fantastic; instructors were taken aback by participation. With that said, individual attention is given to students eager to learn a new skill. “Craft Week is an extension
of our weekly Tuesday Craft Nights at Hart House,” says Milman. “It’s a low-pressure, casual environment, for people interested in a variety of crafts.” Craft night is open to everyone, and every medium.
As I look to the girl at my left, half-done a scarf with perfectly-even stitches she started 15 minutes ago, I inquire hopefully: “You’ve done this before?” to which I get a delighted “Nope!” “Knitting is like cooking!” chimes Milman. “Everyone finds their own style.” I look down at the mess on my lap and christen my style “Purple Spaghetti and Chopsticks.” Like I said: worst Girl Guide ever. Everyone should take advantage of Craft Week: it’s free, the instructors are insightful, the atmosphere is pleasant; and most importantly, yours truly excepted, a one-hour workshop could be the beginning of a beautiful and useful new hobby. Craft Week, along with the lost meaning of its namesake word, is a hidden gem. Hart House Craft Week runs through January 29 (11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.) at Hart House Reading Room. For more information, visit www.harthouse. ca/craft_night.
While last week’s debut focused on the archeology of menswear-inspired vintage finds, this week’s protagonists have a feminine style that exalts in the raw beauty of fashion. Beauty is Fashion’s fickle mistress: in the words of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, “Dressmaking creates beautiful things which become ugly; while art creates ugly things which become beautiful.” It’s CAILIN SMART a fine line: mind the gap…
Amy Stupavsky, News Editor the newspaper offices
I’d like to call my style simple and ladylike. My favourite garment is a beautiful white beaded dress I just bought at 69 Vintage. The mesh overlay and intricate beading remind me of Grace Kelly’s wedding dress. Bright lipstick makes my perfect outfit, it always makes me feel much more put-together, no matter what I’m wearing. I like to buy basics from Club Monaco and J Crew. I’ve also been acquiring more vintage recently (both from stores and from my mum’s closet!)
My style is unabashedly girly. Pretty, printed dresses are staples in my wardrobe. I love colour punctuated with neutrals. I’m a very sentimental person. I bought this dress in Vienna, and when I wear it, it reminds me of that city. My clothes are my souvenirs. I think everything I own has a story behind it. I enjoy trawling Toronto’s vintage stores for cheerful accessories. Gadabout on Queen East is my favourite. The greatest sartorial gift you can give yourself is to love your body and know what works for your shape.
Out of Sight teases the senses
Art symposium proves art is not just for the viewing
Pranksters for a cause Yes Men don’t take no for an answer
ASCHILLE CLARKE-MENDES stephen miniotis U of T’s Department of Art’s fourth annual graduate symposium took place last Thursday and Friday. Out of Sight: Looking Beyond Seeing was an interdisciplinary symposium addressing the non-visual senses as a means for understanding in the arts. The conference provided an opportunity to explore those senses usually ignored in the appreciation and experience of art and culture. Generally, the act of looking has always taken precedence in our analyses of art and culture. Yet sound, olfaction, and touch often play an enormous role in our reception of the complete artistic experience. Barbara Fischer, Executive Director/Chief Curator of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, remarked how exciting and avant-garde it is to bring notnormally-included topics into discussion of the arts. With speakers from Canada, the U.S.--and for the first time since the inauguration of the symposium--Europe, the audience was largely composed of graduate students. Speakers, composed of Masters and PhD students, visited from 10 different universities and a variety of programs, including Cultural Studies, Communication Studies, Art History, and Literature. Keynote speaker, Dr. Jennifer Fisher, kicked off the symposium by discussing Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche 2009--which used
the city of Toronto as a canvas for art by closing down Bay street for 12 hours, and utilizing the financial district, C.N. Tower and Union station. This, Dr. Fischer claimed, proved that we are moving toward a “mass art audience who can deal with the medium of art, with gusto.” The papers presented were divided into four sessions, each one dealing with the non-visual senses: sound, taste/smell, touch, and multi-sensation. Topics presented varied from the aesthetics of food art to the implications of touching. The full version of selected papers presented in this symposium will be published in the online U of T Art Journal (http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/ index.php//UTAJ). Papers on the sense of taste broadened the field of what we would normally constitute as art. Art, in this case, cannot be framed or archived in the museum. It is transient, degradable, yet its memory is archived in our sense of taste and smell. The session dealing with touch demonstrated how feeling can either advance our understanding or interpretation of art--as in the case of Bernini’s Constanza--or inhibit it, as in the case of museum technology. Academic symposiums of this nature are important because they present opportunities for graduate students to share their research, offer insight, and receive feedback from other scholars in the field.
January 28, 2010
You may have been ecstatic to hear that Dow will be compensating Bhopa 12 billion dollars for their 1984 chemical catastrophe. Or that HUD would reopen public housing facilities that had been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Then you probably hit the roof when news leaked that Canada-Colossal Fossil Award winner-will be reducing their carbon emissions to 40 per cent below 1990-levels by 2020. Then your dreams were thoroughly crushed when you discovered them to be, as HUD called them, “a cruel hoax.” But don’t let your heart sink too deep; these “childish pranks” (as called by Stephen Harper) were the brainchild of spoof masterminds Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno--a.k.a. The Yes Men--who tactically raise awareness for such global issues. Their upcoming film, The Yes Men Fix the World chronicles their adventures as they deliver a satirical address in front of government and corporate agents, shielded by only their aliases. “What we’re doing is just a tiny part in social mobilising to change government policy,” Bonanno, Associate Professor of Media Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, tells the newspaper. “We hope our audience is encouraged to get out of their seats and onto the streets to put pressure on their government to make things happen.” Such are the aims of this hilarious new documentary that the men themselves describe as a fusion of Sacha Baron Cohen and Michael Moore.
One perplexing Monday, December 14, the world took note of a deceptive press release from “Environment Canada,” claiming that Canada would make a U-turn on its climate change position from their disregard of the Kyoto Protocol. Orchestrated by the Yes Men in conjunction with Actionlive and activists from Canada, Denmark, Uganda, among other countries, this news lead a series of false congratulations and denials, spinning the heads of journalists everywhere looking for truth. The false hope was intended to raise awareness over Canada’s climate debt. “Canada should be a leader in making sound environmental judgments, as to secure the future for everyone on the planet,” says Bonanno. “There’s still a colonial mindset about what someone of the slums in India, suffering from the effects of a large catastrophe, might feel or think,” says Bonanno, referring to the aftermath of the Bhopa Disaster. “The people there know who to blame, and it’s definitely not us.” The Yes Men may have only let down the residents of Bhopa briefly, but one who holds their grudge is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who is suing them for impersonation, or what Bonanno and Bichlbaum calls “identity correction.” “It’s hilarious because the largest lobbying organization in the world is taking us to court,” laughed Bonanno, winking at where their next movie material may lie. Whatever the verdict, The Yes Men Fix the World hits Canada Square Cinemas on January 29 and won’t fail to disappoint. You can hit them at challenge.
theyesmen.org or visit their movie website: theyesmenfixtheworld.com.
January 28, 2010
THE CD REVIEWS gORD bROWN OK Go is, so the story goes, named after a phrase that a teacher of a couple of the lads in the band used to start their art class. Maybe it’s my cynical nature, but I wonder if a story this good is too good to be true. Or is it part of an elaborate and overarching plan for world domination? OK Go is most famous for their viral marketing through Youtube (i.e. “the treadmill video” for Here We Go Again) which brought to a bigger audience their rather subversive parodies of fashion and dance, as well as their well-thoughtout aesthetics of music and the visual arts. And, of course, all done around and without any help from its record label in the best DIY tradition. This, of course, begs the question: Are these guys – and girl (their videos are also the product of lead singer Damian Kulash’s sister, Trish Sie) – too smart for their own good? Based on their new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, my answer would be an emphatic no. In fact, they stand well within the tradition of art
school bands, a tradition that stretches back as far as the Rolling Stones (referenced in the song White Knuckles) and includes such revered bands such as Velvet Underground, David Bowie (named by the band as an influence), Talking Heads and Radiohead. Not bad company to keep at all. One of the Art School Band’s favourite forms is the collage, which takes found objects from high art and low culture and throws them together to see what they say. One of the great things about the album is how OK Go borrows sounds, ideas, and music phrases from the best. In addition to the above mentioned rogues’ gallery, listen for nicks from the Beatles, the Eels, Tom Waits and, among the album’s highlights, lots of Prince. Lyrically, the band does unrequited love really quite well. Speaking of which, how can you not love a song entitled I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe? Other fun themes include the weather, regret, depression, and hoping against hope. All in all, a fine follow-up to their initial viral video excess/success.
Check any thesaurus and you will find that a decent synonym for “grunge” is sludge - a word that describes the painfully slow tempo of the new Alice in Chains CD, Black Gives Way to Blue. Eight years after the death of founder and lead singer Layne Staley, four years after replacing him with new lead singer William DuVaul, and a full fourteen years after their previous album, Alice in Chains is back. Always one of the more interesting grunge bands, Alice in Chains combines goth atmosphere along with the flannel shirts. At their best, they were as good as Peter Murphy and the Bauhaus. At their worst (on this record) they sound nothing so much as an Iron Maiden cover band. Generally the songs with acoustic guitars hold together a little better, but it seems the band thinks that slowing things down is majestic and Significant (note the capital ‘S’). There are moments on the painfully drawn out Acid Bubble when Jerry Cantrell’s guitar line reminds us why Alice in Chains was a headliner on Lollapalooza, second to the Smashing Pumpkins. Weird fact: an unrecognizable Elton John sings on the title track. Overall, for completists only.
What makes Toronto-based K-OS special is a deep, deep respect for the entire history of African-American music - which may seem odd for an artist with roots in Trinidad and Ajax, but there it is. The latest disk from Torontobased K-OS - The Trill: A Journey So Far - is a greatest hits package, although it includes remixed versions of several songs. All of the great ones are here – Sunday Morning, Crabbuckit, B-Boy Stance, Crucial, Man I Used to Be. Though not the greatest singer by any means, K-OS’s voice somehow works with the lush trucks as they’re laid out, and the way he freestyles quirky references out of the blue is not without its charms. But somehow it works really effectively with the careful and inventive rhythm tracks. Highlights include saxophone lines on Crabbuckit, the strings on Love Song, and the guitar lines on Crucial and Born to Run (more Police that Bruce Springsteen). Less successful is the flamenco guitar on Follow Me, but he gets points for rapping over flamenco samples. Well worth your time if you’ve listened to these tracks on the radio and appreciate the quirkiness of this local adventurous artist.
Someone has pissed off Jared Leto. The actor/lead song-writer of Thirty Seconds to Mars has once again taken a brief hiatus from movie-making to release the band’s third album This is War. From beginning to end, the album is comprised of methodical and epic tracks, laced with aggressive fighting words sung by Leto, and echoed by an army of Tibetan monks. The battle theme is evident from the opening track, Escape, a short two-minute introduction which crescendos from a drum-line instrumental, into a massive chant led by Leto, “This is War!” before drowning out again. It’s standard 30STM - slower-tempo anthems that gradually build, while setting the stage for Leto’s charged vocals. With that said, there isn’t remotely enough differentiation between the songs. Repeatedly listening to the album front-to-back, few tracks jumped out and pulled me in. After the first four tracks, the album’s best, I consistently found myself zoning out from Leto’s Messianic calls. Even the militaristic chants lose their luster after the ninth time. And like in the past, 30STM will have a difficult time translating the epic sounds of the album into a comparable live show. The first time I saw 30STM, while Leto’s voice carries over incredibly live, the backup vocals are brutal, leaving the songs sounding like solitary pursuits. They have their work cut out for them, and may need some generous pro-bono work from their audiences. V
easier to be green at tim ryan
U of T
Over the past number of years, U of T has increased progress towards the long-term goal of institutional sustainability. With the introduction of the Sustainability Board in 2007, and Sustainability Offices at the St. George and UTSC campuses overseeing sustainability initiatives at all campuses, the foundation has been laid for the improved co-ordination and execution of energy and resource conservation plans at the university. As with any undertaking of this scope, adequate funding is critical to success. The university has done a commendable job in acquiring funding for these projects. In 2008, they applied to internal and external agencies for grants and applications totaling over $650,000, coming away with $329,000. The efforts have generated an encouraging combination of unique energy saving initiatives on-campus and research projects focused on the development of future programs for energy saving Last week, the newspaper covered a set of initiatives at U of T that are currently installed and actively saving energy and money. Today, we take a look at U of T research projects behind the development of new energy saving technologies, and those that analyze which initiatives are financially feasible for introduction at the university moving forward.
sustainability at u of t: It’s getting cold in here THIRU SHATHASIVAM Refrigerators and freezers are not at all that exciting. How about 732 of them? That’s how many units are housed in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) at U of T, according to Tim Lang and Adebukola Olatunde. As a prominent research facility, MSB is home to eight scientific departments, with 241 labs/offices, and a medical supplies store. The prominence of refrigerators and freezers, ranging from -80oc to 4oc units, exert their importance as storage for samples, buffers, and experimental kits. However, their presence is not cheap, monetarily or electrically. When pooled together, all 732 units have an annual primary electricity consumption of 1636 MWh, costing $163,600 each year. -80oc freezers constitute 64 per cent of the annual power consumption, although they comprise only 16 per cent of the total
number of units. In comparison, 4oc refrigerators, which also account for 16 per cent of the units, only contribute to four per cent of the power consumption. In addition to this primary electricity consumption, there is also an associated cooling load. Specifically, air conditioning systems must produce an extra 195,409 tons (costing $27,800) to offset the heat produced by the refrigerators and freezers. According to the authors of the initial report, replacing all consumer grade units with more energy efficient products is not financially viable, since the payback would take approximately 30 years and result in an annual savings of only $8,500. A more feasible option involves a 15-year payback that would require replacing the ancient units (pre1978!) and fridge-freezer hybrids (from 1978-1993) to reduce annual costs by $6,000.
January 28, 2010
Gerstein saves a forest with double-sided. What if, instead, administrators of MSB adopted the approach taken by U of T’s Athletic Centre, as reported by Tim Ryan in last weeks issue (http://thenewspaper.ca/the-science/item/170-acsolar-panels) To recap, 100 new solar collector panels were installed at the AC in order to generate energy to supplement their needs. During peak sun-hour months, the panels are expected to produce enough energy to sup-
port 25 per cent of the heat used by shower and laundry services Assuming the same system could be installed at MSB, with an output of 208 MWh/year, I calculate an annual reduction of approximately $20,800 in the electricity bill. Agreeably, the technology has a significant initial cost, but in the long term, it will pay for itself--and contribute to reduced green house gas emissions.
Fueling the bio-economy adam kupevicius As we have come to realize that fossil fuels are both a finite resource, as well as one that is
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contributing to the almighty challenge represented by climate change, new sustainable energy alternatives are being sought out. The conversion of biomass into heat and power is gaining momentum as a viable industry that can help offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel based energy production. Bioenergy is extracted from breaking down the chemical constituents of organic matter (primarily cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) and converting these substances into usable energy through gasification, pyrolysis, and or combustion. The energy that is recovered, in the form of heat and or power, can be integrated into existing industrial mills, where organic substances are processed, or they can be utilized in standalone power generation facilities, such as the electrical plant in Williams Lake, British Columbia. While bioenergy is an attractive green energy option, much work remains to be done to evaluate the cost and the greenhouse gas balance of this en-
ergy system. New research being conducted by PhD student Peter Ralevic of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto seeks to address gaps in research related to supply chain analysis of bioenergy in Ontario. This work looks at a full life-cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions associated with bioenergy extraction and use, deriving from both unused trees and residues (non-merchantable timber). Currently,
80% of biofuels in Canada is used in integrated mills where organic waste (i.e. sawdust, chips) supplements the mills power and heat consumption. However, if Mr. Ralevic’s supply-chain research proves that sustainable bioenergy production could reduce GHG emissions at a production price comparable to fossil fuels, bioenergy in Canada might just have the spark it needs to help ease our crude addiction.
the 2010 progress report Putting the spin over Hart House Farm tim ryan This past Tuesday at U of T’s Athletic Centre, 100 new solar collector panels became functional and began supplying energy to run the facilities within the building. In peak sunshine months, the panels will generate enough energy to contribute approximately 25% of the heat used by the shower and laundry services, significantly reducing overall consumption of natural gas. This initiative is the biggest of its kind in the GTA and U of T believes the largest of its kind at a Canadian university. Solar panels, commonly made of silicon or cadmium telluride “cells”, use light energy to generate electricity via the photovoltaic effect. When photons of light strike the solar panels, their energy is transferred to an
electron within an atom in the cell. With its new found energy, the electron can escape its normal position within the atom and become part of a current in an electrical circuit. The solar panel has a built-in electric field with the voltage required to push the current through an external load -- such as a water heater or light bulb. The reduction in natural gas use will result in fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the year. The annual reduction in GHG emissions will be the equivalent of taking 11 cars off the road and, simultaneously, the energy saved will be enough to heat 11 fully detached, average-sized Canadian homes. Finally, although these renewable technologies come with an initial associated cost, in the
long-term, these solar panels will quickly pay for themselves and become a considerable money saver for the university. Moving forward, solar panel technology, now well past its infancy, needs to be embraced and gradually expanded upon at U of T, where there is no shortage of flat roofs on which to place them. Although there is a high cost of installation, there are avenues of subsidization for these projects; one-third of the AC solar panel initiative was funded by the Ontario Solar Thermal Heating Incentive and the federal ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat Incentive. And if that isn’t enough motivation, Captain Obvious told me that renewable energy sources pay for themselves in the longterm! It seems so logical, just take the free energy, yet we con-
tinue to struggle with it.
gord brown In an effort to move ideas in sustainable development from academia into the real world, the Department of Geography and Planning is hosting a series of professional development programs this year entitled “Leading Change in Cities: Skills for Planners.” The series, which will be held at Sid Smith, is offered in conjunction with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and is designed for professionals working in the urban planning field to develop new skills or perfect existing ones. The series aims to help professional planners to develop “the skills in leadership and management necessary to make change happen.” In the real world, how many great ideas are killed simply through institutional inertia or resistance due to lack of imagination? The car-centred way
cities have been organized has had an enormous impact on the choices citizens and sustainability (or lack thereof) in modern lifestyles. If urban planning has been part of the problem, it also must be part of the solution. The first of these programs, “Urban Design and Planning for Green Development,” will be held February 8 and 9. U of T professor Paul Hess will team with three working urban planners, Chris Hardwicke, Matt Humphries, and Regan Smith to present “a broad overview of sustainability issues as they relate to planning and development.” This includes discussion of certifications and training available to urban planners and practical tools to help address climate change, waste management, health and food issues, preservation of habitat. On April 22 and 23, the second program focuses specifically on climate change. Hosted by Eva Ligeti, Clean Air Partner-
ship Executive Director, it “is intended to help planners who are developing and managing programs with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Highlights include presentations on real-life experiences in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Clean Air Partnership was established as a charitable foundation to green cities through programs aimed at cleaning the air. The final events include “Winning in International Markets: Successful Strategies for Planning and Engineering Consultants” in June and “Modeling Impacts of Climate Change on Cities” with William Gough of the Department of Physical and Environmental Studies.
Department of Geography teaches sustainability
January 28, 2010
January 28, 2010
the missed connections
Dear hot dog vendor: I dig your sausages. To our chicken wing editor: Happy belated birthday
Across 1. Strength 4. Energy 6. Fools and morons 9. Columns 10. Gauge 11. Double agents 12. Noahâ€™s ship 13. Surfaces 14. Packs and suitcases 16. Ordinary 19. Pacify 22. Coats 24. Ancient Peruvian 26. Aluminium 27. Abundantly 29. Thin 30. Freedom 31. Snaky shapes 32. Guitarist ___ Paul 33. Climbs
Down 1. Tubes 2. Eager 3. Paths 4. Means of access 5. Halloween staple 6. Tows 7. Booty 8. Staircase 14. Rim 15. Battery size 17. ___-Tac-Toe 18. ___ Vegas 20. Bowmen 21. Enrapture 22. Tropical forests 23. Domains 24. Concern 25. Some art models 27. Yellowish-brown 28. Tricky string toys