bmtv8 Religion versus Wealth

With this vlog I intend to begin a series focused on questions of poverty, religion, education, health and more. Somehow these things are all inter-related, and I’m going to look into the numbers around the world.

This episode deals with Religion versus Wealth. Using the data from PEW’s 2002 study, we can see the level of religiousness in both wealthy and poor countries. But the conclusions don’t come easy, so I’ve got much more work to do.

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PS — Yes, you may notice I make several guesstimates that are somewhat incorrect in this vlog. I was speaking only from memory, so forgive me. The numbers are still there for you to see for yourself, thats the important part.

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Canada goes American

From Europe yesterday to Canada today, I just read the details point by point, of the proposed Canadian budget from the new conservative government. Some might wonder, who are not Canadian, why one should pay attention to such details. Personally I admire Canada very much and think it’s a great example of a well grounded and rounded country, in terms of national and international policies. Therefore I always keep a close eye on the developments there, especially with what could be a big turn in how the country is run.

My initial impression of the budget is not all bad. Probably because there are some priorities and traditions in Canada that will not automatically change just because a new party is in charge. I’m referring specifically to childcare and education, both of which seem to get adequate funding and tax-credits within the text of the budget.

On the other hand, there are quite a few signs that alot of the trademark characteristics of the Red Maple Leaf are being abandoned. In terms of the environment, funding that was supposed to go to climate change issues has been diverted to tax credits for mass transit users. And as much as I love trains, buses and trolleys, there are other areas that require attention in order to reduce greenhouse gases. Also in the budget, a significant boost in military spending, which was perhaps inspired by their neighbors to the south. While healthcare receives no new funding to address problem areas. It may not be the end of the world, but there is definitely cause for alarm if you’re like me and you admire the policies and practices that made Canada the admirable nation that it is today.

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bmtv4 Constant Gardener

Please let me know if you subscribers don’t like finding my vlogs in the same feed as podcasts etc. I realize my vlogs aren’t really educational or relating to important issues, but hey, I have fun making them. This one features entirely too many visuals of my face doing pointless things in the garden.

My intro is Mingus playing Haitian Fight Song
The main song for this vlog is Joanna Newsome singing Cassiopeia

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Let the World Remember Tsegaye

Sometime during one’s primary and secondary education, for those of us lucky enough to have gotten both, we probably learn some things about poetry. It may not be much or it may not always stick with us, but hopefully there was a teacher who was passionate enough about poetry to awaken the appetite of the student to better understand and enjoy poetry.

Photo Hosted at Buzznet.comUnfortunately for me it didn’t take very well. Ask me to name my favorite poet, and I’ll probably pretend I know alot by naming those all familiar names, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, etc. I can’t recite more than a single line from either of those two great poets, which I consider to be a pity. The only poetry that stuck with me a bit better was Portuguese poetry, which I learned about doing several years of summer courses at the University of Lisbon. But even then I never felt I fully understood it. In hopes that I might one day better grasp them, I keep a Mia Couto and a Luis de Camões book on my shelf.

Beyond that, when it comes to poets from around the world, my own education never seemed to mention much beyond North America and Europe. One might use the excuse that the world is too big, but I still hope that as the world becomes smaller and closer, poets such as Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Ethiopia’s beloved playwrite and poet laureate, will be read in many classrooms worldwide. I heard of his death last week and then took time to search for bloggers writing about his life’s work and it’s importance within Ethiopia and around the world.

I won’t even try to pretend I know enough about him to pass onto to all of you. Instead I refer you to Weblog Ethiopia, Things We Should Have Written Down, and for those who still like mainstream media: The New York Times. After reading them, I’ve made a mental note to read any translations I can find of his work, to one day teach my children.

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