March 31, 2009

Mount Allison University Campus: Maps and Photos

I thought I'd share a few things with you.'s not very new anymore...but Mount Allison changed its homepage...and now has a semi-permanent link to the blogger site in addition to the rotating giant picture of a blogger.

The New Homepage:Below is the old map of campus...pretty plain and not very detailed:

The new map at detailed...but is a little outdated...the bookstore is now in the student centre.
Below are pictures around give you a better feel of campus. Hopefully one day Google will drive a streetview van through campus? But wishful thinking doesn't really get anybody anywhere. I did find out why in the streetview of Calais, Maine the van did not drive in the direction of the border, apparently it may have violated Canada's stronger privacy laws. But soon enough streetview is coming to 11 cities in Canada. It doesn't look like they're going to be stopping between St. John and Halifax...too bad.

The Old Student Centre...currently mostly unused except for Windsor Theatre:
Barclay (Chemisty Building):
Campbell Hall:
One of the many church in Sackville across from the Swan Pond:
Harper on left and Jennings Dining Hall in the centre:
Centennial Hall- (Houses Mount Allison's Dendrochronology Lab...and various offices):
The Chapel:
Campbell Hall:

The New Student Centre on the left, Bigelow and Bennet on the right:

The Athletic Centre
The Chapel on the left, the Owens Art Gallery on the right

"The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act"

The U.S. embargo on Cuba has been an abject failure for almost fifty years. With many American lawmakers coming to this conclusion, Senators are introducing The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act in an attempt to take the first step at dismantling a failed policy reversing what has amounted to a ban on travel to the country.

I wrote an
 essay examining possible changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba. I've been a supporter of Barack Obama (not only in spirit and attire like many here, but also by volunteering and voting for him) in part due to his new look on foreign policy. This new, Canadian approach to looking at U.S. Government and Politics at Mount Allison has served to further validate my belief that the U.S. policy on Cuba, among various other failed policies is in need of change.

Senators see support to end Cuba travel ban

Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:45pm EDT

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill on Tuesday to allow U.S. citizens to travel freely to Cuba and predicted Congress would approve it as a step toward ending the five-decade-old U.S. embargo.

"I think we've finally reached a new watermark here on this issue," Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan said during a news conference. "I think there's sufficient votes in both the House (of Representatives) and the Senate to finally get it passed and get it to the president."

Dorgan, whose home state of North Dakota could benefit from increased agricultural sales to Cuba, introduced the bill along with fellow Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd and Republican Senators Richard Lugar and Mike Enzi. Seventeen other senators also are sponsoring the measure.

But congressional opponents of any move to ease the embargo promised a tough fight to keep this measure from becoming law.

"This is the time to support pro-democracy activists in Cuba, not provide the Castro regime with a resource windfall," Senator Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican who was the first Cuban-American elected to the Senate, said in a statement.

President Barack Obama said during last year's presidential campaign he favored easing U.S. restrictions on family travel to Cuba and the sending of cash to family members.

But he stopped short of supporting the lifting of the trade embargo, even as an increasing number of U.S. lawmakers believe it has proven ineffective in forcing change in Cuba's communist-run government.

Vice President Joe Biden told reporters "no" when asked in Chile on Saturday whether the United States would lift the embargo, as many in Latin American favor.

Obama is expected to face pressure from regional leaders to improve U.S. relations with Cuba when he travels to Trinidad in mid-April for the Summit of the Americas meeting.

The United States expanded an arms embargo on Cuba in 1962 to include other goods after the Cuban government under the leadership of Fidel Castro seized the properties of American companies doing business on the island. The Cold War-era restrictions were codified into law by Congress in 1992.

Efforts to loosen the embargo remain politically difficult because of the influence of Cuban-American exiles living in Florida, a state often important in determining the outcome of presidential elections.

Dodd told reporters there were too few votes in Congress to end the embargo completely. "My sense at this point is that's a step too far," Dodd said.

U.S. farm and business groups promised to lobby hard for removal of the travel restrictions.

"Allowing unrestricted travel to Cuba will increase U.S. agricultural sales and boost tourism," American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said.

The United States currently sells about $400 million worth of rice, wheat, poultry and other agricultural goods annually to Cuba under a 2000 law to loosen the embargo.

"The U.S. embargo on Cuba is a 50-year failure, and lifting the ban on travel is a good first step toward a more rational policy," said Myron Brilliant, a senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Will Dunham)

Constantines and the Weakerthans at George's Roadhouse in Sackville, New Brunswick

Sorry I haven't posted recently...I've been pretty busy with end of the year academics. Here's a few pictures from the Constantines/Weakerthans concert at George's Roadhouse earlier this month.

Not too much to say about it...really good concert...but not the best photos. The Constantines were pretty great...their latest album was ranked #1 rock album of the year by the A.P. See more information and the article below.

The Weakerthans Announce Tour With Constantines
Posted by Jennifer Van Evra on Dec 08, 2008 | 12 comments | » Post a Comment
The Weakerthans have just announced that they’re hitting the road with the Constantines for The Rolling Tundra Revue 2009 Canadian National Tour.

The extensive tour will see the two favourite Canadian bands roll all the way from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, B.C., and all the way up to Whitehorse in the Yukon, playing in 20 Canadian cities from March 19 to May 4, 2009.

The two groups – each of them mutual fans of the other – have joined forces for many shows and tours in the past, including on the first Rolling Tundra Revue in 2005.

Top 10 rock albums
Published Monday December 22nd, 2008

Music Toronto's Constantines top the best of what 2008 had to offer
Jake Coyle

Rock music in 2008 was dominated by relics from the past, most returning with respectable albums: Guns 'n Roses, AC/DC, Metallica and, er, Coldplay. But there was better stuff to be found, even if it didn't, like Chinese Democracy, take 17 years to create.

The Constantines’ ‘Kensington Heights’ was rated the top rock album of 2008 by The Associated Press. The Toronto rockers will perform at the University of New Brunswick-Fredericton on March 23 along with The Weakerthans.
With apologies to fans of Kings of Leon and Bon Iver, here are the top 10 rock albums of the year. (Note: Radiohead's In Rainbows, given away in 2007 and released traditionally in 2008, was rated last year, when it topped this list.)

1. Constantines, Kensington Heights: The most underrated band in North America hails from Toronto, is led by Bryan Webb's angst-ridden growl, and is capable of leaving any beer-soaked bar crowd slack-jawed and devastated. Five years after the excellent Shine a Light, the Constantines are still carrying on the tradition of Bruce Springsteen with anthemic, uplifting rock dirges. What could be more vital in these troubled economic times than the pulsating and mature Kensington Heights? On Credit River, Webb sings: "I may be in the red but I'm still hungry."

2. The Hold Steady, Stay Positive: Like the Constantines, the Hold Steady worship at the altar of the Boss. This is a good thing. Though their last, Boys and Girls of America, may have been better, the Hold Steady, ah em, hold steady with another stellar album. The glorious single Sequestered of Memphis is surely the first song to make the phrase "I went there on business" sound riveting.

3. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes: The sonorous, multipart harmonies of Seattle's Fleet Foxes bring to mind the Beach Boys, had they moved up the coast and swapped their surfboards for a wooded campfire. Half a year after their debut, they're beginning to age like Crosby, Stills & Nash - but there are worse things.

4. Santogold, Santogold: You could quibble that Santogold isn't truly "rock," but she really defies genre categorization. L.E.S. Artistes and Lights Out were among the best rock tunes of the year. She'll make "name droppas" of us all.

5. No Age, Nouns: Who knew L.A. punk existed? And that it was so good? Nothing about No Age was expected, making it all the more exciting.

6. Lykke Li, Youth Novels: Lykke Li is a 22-year-old Swedish pop pixie. Little Bit and I'm Good, I'm Gone were two of the most danceable songs all year - as evidenced by no less than the ever-jitterbugging Lykke Li herself. But it's the cooing Time Flies that cements Youth Novels as an excellent album.

7. TV on the Radio, Dear Science: The bouncy guitar riff on Crying is, alone, really enough to make this one of the year's best. The Brooklyn brainiacs' last one (Return to Cookie Mountain) was better, but TV on the Radio are nevertheless the most vital, current band in America.

8. Black Keys, Attack and Release: The Black Keys could be anyone's favourite band. Two goofy dudes from Akron, Ohio, who make some of the rawest, most soulful blues. This is their most dynamic and full album yet, which can be partly attributed to producer Danger Mouse. (Danger Mouse's most famous project, as half of Gnarles Barkley, also put out one of the year's best, The Odd Couple, thanks largely to Cee-lo's powerful James Brown tribute: )

9. Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue: Like Elvis Costello (who guests on Acid Tongue), Lewis will likely turn out an excellent album most every year - whether as a solo act or in her band Rilo Kiley - for decades to come. The best example of her prodigious songwriting talents here is Bad Man's World. Unless it's Acid Tongue. Or Carpetbaggers. (You get the idea.)

10. Dr. Dog, Fate: Some find this Philadelphia group too retro. They, after all, seemingly want to, literally, be the Band. But with a bass that thumps just like Rick Danko's, Dr. Dog stirs up life in old sounds.

Honourable Mentions: Firewater, The Golden Hour; Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer; M83, Saturdays Youth; Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend; Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs; Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Lie Down on the Light; The Walkmen, You & Me; She & Him, Volume One; Deerhunter, Microcastle; Mogwai, The Hawk Is Howling; Portishead, Third.