So… a raccoon walks into an art class…

Cultured raccoon creeps into Scarborough high school’s art class

‘He did not have time to get into the paint,’ art teacher says

toronto-raccoon-scarborough-high-school

A Toronto raccoon seemingly sought sophistication in its Wednesday morning escapade and crept into an art classroom at R.H. King Academy.

Mark Tufford, an art teacher at the Scarborough high school, arrived at work shortly after 8 a.m. to prepare for the day.

He opened the windows and left the room, only to return to the critter perched on a desk, “looking at me.”

“It was mostly disbelief,” Tufford said of the sight. “It was definitely a story to tell.”

“He was sitting on a table. I could see him clearly through the window of the door.”

Tufford locked the classroom door and informed the main office.

“The raccoon was terrified,” he said.

“King” the raccoon later sought refuge in a supplies cabinet, Tufford said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/raccoon-scarborough-school-1.3464178?utm_content=buffer6bd73&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

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Maintaining public housing status quo wrong

TCHC

By PAT WATSON

Mould, leaking ceilings, broken windows covered with cardboard, leaking rusty plumbing. Any of these could be describing housing conditions on any one of the poorly supported reserves where indigenous people live in Northern Ontario. But they also describe conditions crying out for attention within the properties managed by the City of Toronto.

The list of problems would also have to include the rate of violent crime that occurs on or in the vicinity of public housing property, which exceeds the rate in other parts of the city.

Is it too far a stretch to characterize City management as a slumlord?

Here is what the mayor’s Task Force looking into the crisis we call Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) came back with: “TCHC is an organization that, because of its history and structure, is unsustainable financially, socially and from an operating and governance perspective.”

Yet, rather than do away with this whole enterprise, the Task Force has come back with two main recommendations about the structure of the organization, both of which would mean keeping TCHC in existence in one form or another.

The Task Force has recommended changing the name of TCHC to NewHome. NewHome, old home, what’s the difference if it looks and functions no differently?

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/maintaining-public-housing-status-quo-wrong/#sthash.4b51f6RC.dpuf

Pat Watson is the author of the e-book, In Through a Coloured Lens.

The Dusty Crystal Ball does a snow job on 2016

The Dusty Crystal Ball does a snow job on 2016

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By PAT WATSON

The seconds are ticking into 2016. At this time and in this space, as one year hands off to the next, the Dusty Crystal Ball nudges its way to the centre to again prognosticate, with absolute improbability, expectations for the year ahead.

Here then, for your amusement, are the top 10 events to watch for in 2016 – none of which are expected to materialize. Remember, this particular crystal ball is very, very dusty, and has yet to see any of its predictions come true…except for the odd accidental piece of irony.

Prediction 1: The unusually warm Christmas 2015 season, during which time so many across Canada finally began to talk about the reality of global warming, will quickly be forgotten once meteorologists and climatologists ramp up their statements that this year’s weather anomaly is the result of yet another El Niño system. The questioning will end when a more typical winter returns by the end of January. Then, the talk among strangers at bus stops while waiting in the freezing cold for the bus or streetcar will be, “Global warming? What global warming?”

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/the-dusty-crystal-ball-does-a-snow-job-on-2016/#sthash.hTEzz2NS.dpuf

Pat Watson is the author of the e-book, In Through a Coloured Lens. Twitter@patprose.

Comments sections rife with hate and nastiness

Troll

http://sharenews.com/comments-sections-rife-with-hate-and-nastiness/

By PAT WATSON

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has issued a notice that it is suspending comments posted below news reports on matters concerning indigenous people because “over many months these stories draw a disproportionate number of comments that cross the line and violate our guidelines.” The notice posted earlier this week characterized some comments as “clearly hateful”, “vitriolic” and “ignorant”.

The suspension will continue until the middle of January, perhaps longer. We shall see.

This suspension of comments follows a similar suspension decision by the Toronto Sun daily newspaper announced at the end of September.

Well, there is that saying that “haters gotta hate.”

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/comments-sections-rife-with-hate-and-nastiness/#sthash.kRtdgUXu.dpuf

 

Subsidized Housing task force response lipstick on a crumbling pig

TCHC task force response lipstick on a crumbling pig

By PAT WATSON

Have you ever sat in an exam, written what you thought was a really good response to an essay question, only to find out that you did not read the directions for the question properly? No matter how well you wrote the paper, you then get a failing grade. In some sense, that is what we could make of the recent announcement from the executive at Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) regarding how they plan to improve the portfolio.

The plan of action sounds rosy, but does it truly answer the key problem, which is the model of public housing that now burdens the city? That burden includes a growing $1.7 billion backlog of repairs on a heap of crumbling bricks and mortar that houses more than 50,000 people in 2,200 TCHC buildings.

The promises for improvement follow the interim report put out in July as part of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s Task Force on Toronto Community Housing. Tory has made some comments about what needs to be done to improve safety and security within TCHC sites, among them evicting residents involved in criminal activity. For most TCHC residents, this latter is a pointless argument, as they are being wrongly characterized in this matter. Many who use TCHC property as sites for doing illegal business are not residents.

The report coming from TCHC Chair Bud Purves and interim CEO Greg Spearn places a good deal of emphasis on increasing security as well as providing information to residents about how to anonymously report crimes. Crime, including bodily harm and murder, occur more often per capita in and near TCHC property than in other parts of the city. Safety and security will always be an important concern, but to overlook the environmental design and social components that would allow for a higher rate of occurrence is to write the wrong answer to the question.

However, to show they mean business, the city plans to re-mortgage the properties in order to finance the $400 million they plan to spend over two years, starting almost immediately, to carry out such initiatives as pest control, job creation and increased security features.

But picture TCHC workers putting security cameras on the side of a building only to have them fall off along with bricks a few days later. It could happen. An entire four floors of brick facing fell from a TCHC building in Scarborough back in April, just as the spring thaw was setting in. Imagine if it was only the cold that had been holding those bricks in place.

No. Putting lipstick on a pig is not the best answer that could have come out of this task force. How about…

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/tchc-task-force-response-lipstick-on-a-crumbling-pig/#sthash.emRPQLkX.dpuf

Abuse of women is not a game – Opinion column

Here is my latest column in Share Newspaper (Sharenews.com)

Physical and Sexual Abuse of Women is Not a Game

By PAT WATSON

Another high-profile man has been outed for his abusive behaviour involving women. The insistence by a well-known, now former, CBC radio host that his habit of choking women he invites on dates and then punching them in the head is consensual has appalled many. This individual has reportedly hired a top-notch female lawyer to defend his case as he has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against his former employer.

This matter of female abuse is a very emotional issue, therefore after this particular case came to public attention, a wave of female voices rose up to share stories of being the targets of abuse.

At the same time, a two-minute video showing how men sexually harassed a woman walking the streets of New York City went viral. Some hailed the video. And, it was criticized by others because of the way it racialized the males who hassled the woman. The producer of the video is male and he has stated he edited the 10 hours of footage to make his point not about race, but about the daily abuse of women on the streets.

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/physical-and-sexual-abuse-of-women-is-not-a-game/#sthash.lHNSwvK5.dpuf

Radio interview & more free e-book download days

Hello All.

Here is the url for the author interview that took place on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 15 on Diasporic Music with host Otis Richmond to  further promote In Through A Coloured Lens. It can be heard in the last 30 minutes of the recording, but the entire 2-hour session is good.

http://uhurunews.com/radio/playaudio?resource_name=sly-dunbar-pat-watson

In other promo news, another free download period at amazon.com has been added: Dec 16 to Dec. 18. So catch it while you can. If you don’t have a kindle reader, your copy can be downloaded to tablet, smart phone or computer using features available at amazon.com.

Once you’ve read In Through A Coloured Lens, remember to leave a comment and rating at amazon.com . Please share your opinion there with other readers.

Find it at: http://www.amazon.com/Through-Coloured-Lens-Pat-Watson-ebook/dp/B00F8EODTC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387174867&sr=1-1&keywords=in+through+a+coloured+lens