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Privatizing Toronto’s public transit an option if it would ease gridlock: Hudak

Privatizing Toronto’s public transit an option if it would ease gridlock: Hudak | Ap Human Geo | Scoop.it
Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak says he's going to fix gridlock in the GTA and he's prepared to privatize the public transit system if that's what it takes.
Spencer Anderson's insight:

Progressive conservative party leader Tim Hudak said that privatizing the TTC might be Toronto’s best solution in its current transit woes. He points to the privatization of 6 out of 7 lines of GO Transit and the increased efficiency of service that ensued. He says that this move, along with the reduction of taxes will create over 8000 jobs in the province. He plans to offer the TTC contract to Bombardier, current operator for the private GO lines, and to encourage private sector and pension investment in the system.

 

I thought this was interesting article because it shows how provincial level politics can be intimately connected with the day-to-day life of a city. Millions of Torontonians rely on the TTC and if this is well received by the public, it could seriously improve Hudak’s chances in the upcoming provincial election. In other cities privatization of transit has seen mixed results, some being immensely beneficial; others causing nightmare scenarios. Toronto’s investment in the TTC is a significant one, and the TTC’s infrastructure is instrumental in the planning of Toronto. Who knows what a private company will do in the name of profit?

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Europe's economic crisis is getting worse not better, says Caritas report

Europe's economic crisis is getting worse not better, says Caritas report | Ap Human Geo | Scoop.it
Survey shows increase in the number of new poor in seven countries and challenges the official European Union discourse
Spencer Anderson's insight:

Article states that contrary to EU official position, and popular belief, the European Economic crisis is not getting better; and is actually getting worse. Cites evidence that the poverty rates in the poorest 7 countries of the EU (Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Spain) are increasing, and that the poorest in Europe are getting poorer. The article says that this is part of a global trend of the gaps between classes widening. It goes on to describe situations in Greece and Cyprus, and also states that youth unemployment is on the rise in these countries.

 

This article was chose because it helps to demonstrate the economic position of a large portion of the world. It is a convincing condemnation of the corruption and censorship occurring at the highest levels of continental government (¡¡alliteration, woooooo!!) It provides the counter-point to the official position, yes, and it goes into detail about two different countries, yes, but the article doesn’t provide anything close to a solution to reverse this trend. It blames austerity measures imposed on the nations, but doesn’t explain exactly how they’re affecting the situation. It ties in with the economics unit because it deals with the effects of economic measures taken to staunch the impending collapse of the European economy, and also it explores the human side of economics, something that few sources manage to do. Not a great article, but in lieu of a better one, it serves to prove that things aren’t always exactly as the official position appears.

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Physical inactivity of Canadian kids blamed on 'culture of convenience'

Physical inactivity of Canadian kids blamed on 'culture of convenience' | Ap Human Geo | Scoop.it
Canada’s "culture of convenience" means children and youth sit too much and move too little, in gym class, on the playground, and while travelling to and from school, according to a new global comparison.
Spencer Anderson's insight:

Canadian culture is being changed slowly but surely. Canadian children now spend most of their days inside, and inactive. This is contrasting with the Canadian national image of woodsmen and people who enjoy the outdoors. The article goes on to examine the effects of technology on children, and why, exactly this change has occurred. It states that the acceptable walking to distance to school for children is much lower than many countries, and rates the athleticism and activity of Canadian children against those of other countries.

 

            Even though this isn’t a traditional culture article, I chose it because it’s explaining at least one of the effects that our techno-focused “information age” society is having on culture. Obesity rates are increasing due to the availability of entertainment that doesn’t require exercise, and while technology has a bevy of benefits, this certainly isn’t one. Will society in 20 years be completely inactive and technology focused? It’s certainly an interesting question, and only time will tell what the lasting effects on our culture will be.

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America's Breadbasket Is Turning To Dust

America's Breadbasket Is Turning To Dust | Ap Human Geo | Scoop.it
Farmers are now forced limit water use.
Spencer Anderson's insight:

In California, a record-breaking drought is occurring. Farmers are losing thousands of acres of crops, as more than half a million acres of land is unplanted due to lack of water this year. California is the source of more than half of American produce, and the shortage is expected to significantly inflate the cost of produce this year. More than 14,000 farm workers will lose their jobs this year due to the drought, which scientists say is due to global warming. The snowpack from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, traditionally the source of water for California’s crops, traveling from the Sierra Nevadas to the fertile central valley by way of an extensive network of canals and pipelines, has been reduced significantly, with some regions that commonly have 40 inches of snow, having none at all. Farmers are taping into groundwater and using drip-irrigation, but these short-term measures cannot replace the lost water, and may be devastating environmentally in the long term.

 

I chose this article for the Agriculture unit because it illustrates part of a large problem affecting the southwestern United States- lack of water. California is only the latest in a series of states to experience a chronic water shortage, and is using methods to allay the damage that have been proven disastrous elsewhere. In their pursuit of increased agricultural output, it seems that American farmers may have expanded beyond their environment’s means to support. In years to come, we might see an agricultural “Malthusian” disaster, where the region’s agricultural output is significantly overtaxed with potentially disastrous and dangerous results. Already we are seeing produce prices beyond what many low income families in the US can afford, and if only processed food is within the realm of possibilities for these families in the future, the current obesity crisis in the US could increase exponentially. 

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Putin says Ukraine in 'full-scale civil war'

Putin says Ukraine in 'full-scale civil war' | Ap Human Geo | Scoop.it
Russian leader blames US for crisis in Ukraine advance of presidential vote amid reports of more deaths in the east.
Spencer Anderson's insight:

President (TSAR) Vladmir Putin of Russia has said that the conflict between pro-Russian and pro-Kiev Ukrainians has developed into a full-scale civil war. He blames the US government for the fall of the pro-Russian Yanukovich government, stating that it was an illegal coup d’état. His remarks came on a day where more than eight people were killed in the fighting.  Ukrainian president Turchynov said on the same day that his government would never stand for being turned into a Russian client state. Russian government officials then announced that they were withdrawing all troops close to the Eastern Ukrainian border, “leaving less than nothing behind.”

 

            I chose this article for the Geopolitics unit, as it is a classic example of a regional power playing the geopolitical game. Russia is attempting to bully Ukraine into submission, and reports of plainclothes Russian soldiers spreading chaos in the eastern half of Ukraine are widespread. Control of Ukraine is important for Russia because Russia’s main defense in times of conflict is its enormous strategic depth. It’s almost impossible to invade Russia and not be at the bitter end of a supply chain, and Moscow has exploited the vast size of the nation for centuries. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia's western flank has been a wild card. Belarus is firmly in Russian hands, unofficially of course, so Russia’s north-western flank is secure, but Ukraine on the south-western flank, especially in recent years, has shown signs of drifting towards Western Europe’s sphere of influence- eliminating any security Russia had by having a neutral or allied country on its flank. For Vladmir Putin’s government, a Western-influenced Ukraine is a massive threat, and in the game of Geopolitics, any threat means death. 

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Pentagon looks to enlist illegal immigrants seeking citizenship

Pentagon looks to enlist illegal immigrants seeking citizenship | Ap Human Geo | Scoop.it
The Defense Department said Monday it is looking at expanding its application pool by letting some young illegal immigrants join the military, in what could be another tool for an Obama administration seeking unilateral steps to take on immigration reform.
Spencer Anderson's insight:

A new bill, known as the Enlist bill will be brought to US Congress. The Enlist bill seeks to allow illegal immigrants to the United States to serve in the military. Right now, illegal immigrants are only able to serve in the US military if they posses “critical language skills”- and Spanish is not considered a critical language. Advocates for illegal immigrant rights are eager to see the bill passed as it will enable young illegals an opportunity to acquire green cards and university level education. 


This article connects with the population and migration section because it illustrates how much of an impact the large amounts of people migrating to the US from Central and South America has on American society. This would be a beneficial bill for both parties involved, as the illegal immigrants would get the ability to stay and work in the US after their terms of service, as well as getting an education; and the US government would benefit because more than 50% of Americans are currently unfit for military service, mostly due to obesity, and their pool of manpower in the event of a crisis is shrinking swiftly. 


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