Rob Ford and Canada's neoliberal agenda


If you've shaken your head in wonder that Canadians -- gentle, sensible Canadians -- had elected a drug-addicted, violent, lying buffoon to run its largest city, this excellent account of the rise of the Canadian neoliberal right by historian Paul Cohen is required reading. Cohen draws on disparate threads from Preston Manning to Mike Harris and connects them to Stephen Harper, Rob Ford, and the rise of a nasty, ugly Made-in-Canada version of Thatcherism, Reaganism, and modern neoliberalism.

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Poster campaign: Anyone but Rob Ford for Mayor

Rethink (an ad agency that does viral media) has teamed up with No Ford Nation to putup joke election signs in Toronto for an Anyone-But-Rob-Ford campaign. They feature photos of scruffy, disreputable fellows with captions like, "The current mayor threatens to kill people and gets publicly drunk. IF ELECTED I PROMISE I WILL JUST GET PUBLICLY DRUNK."

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Crowdfunding money to finish animated film about Alice in Wonderland on a Toronto streetcar

A reader writes, "Lewis Carroll's Alice takes an eventful trip on a streetcar in contemporary Toronto in this short stop-motion animated video. The character of Alice from Lewis Carroll's famous children's novels is transported to contemporary Toronto where, like many native Torontonians, she takes a ride on the streetcar. As with many trips on the public transit, she encounters a succession of strange characters who engage her in (equally strange) conversations. The dialogue is borrowed directly from Through the Looking-Glass, but given a fresh & funny new twist in this stop-motion animation. Jennifer Linton is trying to raise funds for sound recording to an already visually complete project."

Linton's work is very beautiful, and she's looking to raise a very modest sum to finish a movie that looks just great. It's a pity that there isn't a low reward level that gets you online access to the finished short, though -- this would be a cheap reward for Linton to deliver and would let the movie's patrons see what they've funded ($25 gets you a Blu-Ray disc of all of Linton's work).

Update: She's added a private Vimeo link to watch the movie as a $10 perk!

Toronto Alice

Drunken, swearing Rob Ford lurches around after photo-op with child

A new video has surfaced of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford swearing, stumbling and cursing in front of City Hall after having his picture taken with a young boy whose mother identified as a fan of the mayor. The mayor, who had promised that he would stop drinking, smoking crack, taking marijuana, hanging out with murderers and notorious gangsters, and suppressing evidence in criminal investigations, would not comment on the video. His brother, councillor Doug Ford, told reporters that his brother kept his promises, but when confronted with the video, he clarified that the mayor only keeps political promises, and not promises about his obvious, glaring, horrific substance abuse problems.

Rob Ford heard swearing, slurring speech in new video

Rob Ford's pitiable moment on Jimmy Kimmel

Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford flew to Los Angeles for an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show. What followed was more than a little awkward. Kimmel is a great pains to hide his dislike of Ford, but he's not entirely successful. The hardest part comes at the end, when Kimmel confronts Ford with the fact that he is an out-of-control alcoholic, whose blackouts, binges, abuse and dangerous behavior are putting him, the city, and the people he loves at risk. Ford's total denial is genuinely pitiable. Joey Davilla has a very thorough writeup of the appearance, with links to the other parts of the video.

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Toronto Web Fest call for submissions

Robbo sez, "The first annual Toronto Web Fest is happening this May 9-11th and they are still taking submissions until March 9th - so if anyone has a Web series they'd like to enter - now is the time. T.O. WebFest is a 3 day festival of screenings and industry events being held at the Harbourfront Centre to celebrate the burgeoning Web series community.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford demands removal of Pride flag from City Hall


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford -- who has steadfastly refused to attend the city's massive, economically vital and glorious Pride parade -- has pitched a tantrum over the decision to fly a rainbow flag from the auxiliary flagpole at City Hall. The flag was raised in solidarity with LGBT activists and athletes in a project led by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam at the request of Pride House TO. Ford says he tried to get the flag removed, and has pasted Canadian flags over his office window and the doors of city hall.

Wong-Tam characterises this as evidence of Ford's long-suspected homophobia, which strikes me as extremely plausible. The article in the Globe and Mail points out that Ford recently told reporters that he would not attend Pride festivities even if he was not away with his family, this being Ford's usual excuse for missing it.

Wong-Tam hypothesizes that Ford has "let it all hang loose" and other councilors agree. I wonder if he thinks a dog-whistle for the city's bigots will win him votes come election day.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford declares "Bob Marley Day"

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford declared yesterday to be "Bob Marley Day." It's hard to read the tea-leaves on this one: is it a wink-wink reach-out to the stoner vote from a mayor who admitted to smoking crack and who has been accused by his staff in sworn affidavits of both smoking weed at work and offering weed as a ransom in exchange for the return of his lost mobile phone? Is it a charm offensive aimed at Toronto's large Jamaican/West Indian population, many of whom were offended by the mayor's drunken impression of an angry, ranting patois-speaker? Is it a totally non-ironic celebration of a great musician and great political thinker (albeit one whose politics ran totally contrary to the mayor's own)?

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Toronto's reference library gets a makerspace


Toronto's Metro Reference Library has unveiled its new makerspace, which sports 3D printer and scanners, Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits, and digital AV production gear. They've also lured the Toronto Mini-Maker Faire into relocating to their space. The library's makerspace will over classes and workshops on programming, hardware hacking, and repairing your electronics. It's a great all-ages/all-comers complement to Toronto's existing makerspaces, including Hacklab, Site3, and Makerkids.

The location couldn't be any better, either. I love Metro Ref. When I was 14, I dropped out of high-school without telling my parents and started taking the subway down to Yonge and Bloor every day, spending all day at the reference library, spelunking in the shelves, subject indices and (especially) the newspaper microfilm, which was amazing. And I've always loved the idea of makerspaces in libraries: as I wrote during last year's Freedom to Read week, "We need to master computers — to master the systems of information, so that we can master information itself. That's where makers come in."

In a brief interview with Torontist, Toronto City Librarian Jane Pyper explains why the library's opened a makerspace:

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Rob Ford's re-election campaign

Kelly Manchester put together this brilliant video, suggesting designs for some of Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford's re-election posters for the next Toronto mayoral race. All are real quotes from the real mayor, who is a really, really bad person.

Video imagines nightmare Rob Ford re-election posters (Thanks, Mom!)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford ticketed, allegedly for public intoxication, in Vancouver

More news of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's disastrous car-wreck of a life. After swearing off drugs and alcohol (and insisting that he didn't have a problem with either), he's not only been getting so loaded that he finds himself transformed into the lead in a terrible one-man amateur production of "The Harder They Come"; he also was allegedly so drunk after a family funeral in Vancouver that a cop gave him a ticket for public drunkenness and jaywalking. You'd think a man devoted to ending the "war on cars" would be more deferential to their place in the road.

Ford claims he wasn't ticketed for public intoxication, and that all he'd drunk was a "diet Coke."

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Bieber and Ford as Gilligan and the Skipper

Here's this week's unidentified bit of net.clever seeking reidentification: a photoshopped Gilligan's Island image with Justin Beiber as Gilligan and Toronto's crack-smoking, Bieber-defending mayor Rob Ford as the Skipper -- found in Steve Silberman's Twitter stream. Do you know who made it? Weigh in in the comments and I'll add attribution to the post.

Rob Ford Valentines

$8 gets you six of SScotty 2 Naughty's Valentines cards themed for Toronto's crack-smoking, drunk-driving, thug-beatdown-commissioning lout of a mayor, Rob Ford. They sport slogans like "I must have been in one of my drunken stupors when I fell for you" and "I refuse to resign my love for you." Genius! And romantic.

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Free curriculum for maker-kids: toy hacking, 3D printing, Arduino rovers and more!


Andy Forest from Makerkids, a Toronto makerspace for kids, writes, "Together, Kids Learning Code, MakerKids, TIFF and the Toronto Public Library have just finished developing 7 comprehensive maker curriculum modules for libraries, schools and other organizations who want to get kids started being Makers. The Mozilla Hive Network Toronto provided funding support. The modules are designed for a non-technical audience and contain all the information needed to teach these topics:"

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Rob Ford sued for jailhouse beating of his ex-brother-in-law

Here's a new turn in the saga of Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford, the mayor of Toronto: a lawsuit alleges that he had a couple of his former football team proteges beat six kind of hell out of his estranged brother-in-law in jail. The brother-in-law is suing Ford, saying that when he was in jail, a couple of Ford's former players broke his leg and shattered his teeth as a warning to stay silent about the mayor's drug problem. Cory 30