Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Once upon a CKLN


I was on the board of CKLN from the summer of 2009 until the station's demise. It was a very intense, and ultimately very disappointing time. We certainly made mistakes as a board but we also faced challenging circumstances - getting the station up and running after it had been off the air and locked out of its offices for several months, doing so with no funds (the RSU refused to release CKLN's student fee money for several months) and facing an onslauight that included a lawsuit that absorbed all our funds once they were released and a determined and unscrupulous band determined to take the station over, or take it down whose activities included a barrage of mostly pseudonymous complaints to the CRTC and online harassment of various individuals. The lockout and several month gap in programming is what got the wheels rolling at the CRTC and resulted in the hearings into our license. Our key mistake was not hiring a station manager and instead trying to manage the station on a volunteer basis. We had planned to hire a station manager but the lawsuit resulted in the the funds that would have been used for that, and many other station functions, to go to legal fees instead (the previous board had allowed the station's insurance policies to lapse and the lawsuit was filed while our new insurance application was being considered - resulting in it being rejected). 





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Michael Laxer turns the page


I've known Michael for about 25 years. He's a good friend, activist and writer. Recently he and his partner Natalie shut down their used bookstore in Etobicoke, which had existed in various forms on Lake Shore for 14 years, and will be moving his bookselling business online in a recognition of changing consumer habits. While the loss of yet another used bookstore, as well as what had become a unique community space, is sad the good news is that this will give Michael more time to write. Check out his blog, The Left Chapter, where Michael writes about politics, food, social issues, and various other topics.
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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

A target of harassment


Tim Rourke is a rather meanspirited person who has been engaging in online harassment me and a number of other people for several years now. This image of me (Rourke's version had my head on Eric Cartman's body) is from his "cause pimps" website and I think shows the calibre of the man. It's unfortunate that a person in his sixties devotes so much time to character assassination and infantile personal attacks. I sued Mr. Rourke for defamation in small claims court last year over the attacks he made on his website (the cartoon itself was not part of the litigation except in passing). Rourke filed a defence but then claimed, bizarrely, that he hadn't been allowed to do so even though his statement of defence was on record. He tried to delay the inevitable by filing motions and then attempting to further delay proccedings by refusing to show up for trial after all his motions were dismissed but his maneuvering failed and I was awarded $25,000 in damages, the maximum allowable in small claims court, by Deputy Judge Chris Ashby who in his private practice is renowned as a lawyer who specializes in defamation and slander law. His website discredited, Rourke has moved the contents to another domain name (unfortunately, small claims court only has the authority to award damages, it can't actually issue cease and desist orders) but as someone who has been found liable for defamation he has no credibility. 
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Monday, 28 December 2015

At an anti-Zundel rally


Andy Lehrer (right) and
demonstrator at anti-Zundel rally
Back in the summer 2004, neo-Nazi Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel was in detention at the Metro West Detention Centre. Neo-nazis and anti-Semites, under the leadership of Paul Fromm, had held a series of rallies outside the jail, calling for Zundel's release and received coverage on Global News and other weekend newscasts. Since senior assignment editors and journalists tended to have the weekend's off, the reporting was left to inexperienced reporters who took Fromm at face value and described him on the air as a "free speech advocate" while failing to challenge his assertins that Zundel was some sort of historian being persecuted for his views. As the rallies were becoming a focal point for neo-Nazi organizing and were getting kid gloves coverage in the media, anti-racists in the city decided it was important to openly challenge the views of Zundel and his followers. The photo above was taken at one of two counterdemonstrations that were organiazed. The fellow beside me who has part of his face covered did so because the people being opposed had a tendency towards violence and had a history of trying to identify anti-racists and stalk and beat them up if possible.
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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Fred Checkers is watching you (if you're an NDPer)

Michael Laxer reports on his Left Chapter blog on Fred Checkers and the state of internal democracy in the NDP. 
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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Quote of the day

"I can't give you a brain but I can give you a diploma"
 -- The Wizard of Oz
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Friday, 3 April 2015

Chag pesach sameach, more or less

I tried to take my 80 year old mother to synagogue for Passover because I thought she'd like it. The first synagogue we tried in Kensington Market was closed - we found the attendant just as he was leaving to go somewhere *else* for Passover dinner. Then we tried to go to Caplansky's Deli for some Passover food but it was closed for the Caplan family's Passover dinner, same with Free Times Cafe which was closed for the Pearly family seder. So then we tried the Minsker synagogue - which was open - but my mother didn't want to sit through two hours of boring prayers so we went for Chinese food instead. ‪#‎Passover‬ 
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Monday, 30 March 2015

Quote of the day


There are two types of people those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.

-- Edward A. Murphy, Jr.

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