Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Lou Reed dies at 71

Lou Reed died in his Southampton, N.Y., home Sunday. He was 71. Reed had been suffering from liver failure, and had received a new one earlier this year. His literary agent told news sources the cause of death was related to complications surrounding the transplant.

The Velvet Underground is a formative element in many people’s lives, mine included. Sweet Jane, Walk On the Wild Side, Heroin were for many soundtracks to idealism, alienation, and opposition to all things normal.

The New York Times said this about Reed. It’s a beautiful paragraph, ensuring Reed stays in the playlists of those he was playing for:

“Mr. Reed played the sport of alienating listeners, defending the right to contradict himself in hostile interviews, to contradict his transgressive image by idealizing sweet or old-fashioned values in word or sound, or to present intuition as blunt logic.”

He was polarizing, a pioneer, and a legend. [Source: NYTimes]

2. UK storm kills 13

A storm ripped through Britain Monday morning, killing four and leaving 600,000 homes without power.

Winds reached 159 kilometres per hour during the brief, powerful storm. Heavy rainfall was also reported. Many flights and rail lines have been suspended and continue to be so, as flood alerts are still in effect, and reports of damage continue to come in.

Network Rail told BBC over 100 fallen trees are currently laying on their many tracks. [Source: BBC]

3. Vandal resigns from EPC 

Winnipeg City Councillor Dan Vandal announced his resignation from the executive policy committee Sunday. The second one to do so in almost as many days. Vandal told Winnipeg daily news sources the move is not intended as a slight on Mayor Sam Katz.  And that it also has nothing to do with recently released audit report on the fire hall replacement deal.


Coincidence is not nearly as frequent as strategic timing.


Coun. Scott Fielding left the EPC Friday. And did so over vocal opposition to the proposed tax hikes slated for 2014.

Vandal told CBC he intends to spend more time during his last term in St. Boniface working with his constituents. He’s then hoping to get the federal Liberal nomination in the same riding in 2015. [Source: CBC and Freep]

4. Our senate

And in news that’s really difficult to digest: The Canadian Senate dogged by allegations of taking bribes, personal vendettas, and backroom deals.

Headline reads: Senators on edge as auditor-general prepares to name names in sweeping spending probe. 

No doubt.

This, while our own finance minister is calling for its abolition, saying having an unelected body is an “anachronism.”

Conservative senators were scheduled to meet Monday, and one item on their agenda, perhaps the main one, is to discuss the possibility of not suspending without pay senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau . An alternative punishment would be chosen.

If leniency is the direction these alternative punitive measures take, it’s clear the Liberals will respond, but unclear how.

Go senate go. There are people in this world smart enough to explain the good of an unelected senate, but in Canada, right now, those would need the Midas touch of argumentation skills. And then it’s just craftiness, and hardly convincing. [Source: NP and NP]

5. Texans pay to hunt endangered rhino

The Dallas Safari Club of Texas is auctioning off a permit to hunt and kill a black rhino, one of the most endangered animals in the world.  The permit was granted by the Republic of Nambia. There are approximately 5,055 black rhinos remaining in this world.

It’s a species the safari club wants to preserve, despite what auctioning off this permit suggests.

“By removing counterproductive individuals from a herd, rhino populations can actually grow,” executive director of the club Ben Carter said in a news release.

Conservation groups are calling Carter’s logic faulty, claiming that the multimillionaires who would bid on such a permit could just as easily give money to help save the species without shooting any of them.

Culling is not a new phenomenon, and it shouldn’t be as controversial as it is. But the act of hunting as sport is very different from the more humane forms of killing often done in a facility.

The permit is expected to bring in from $250,000 to $1M, with all proceeds going towards the Conservation Trust Fund for Nambia’s Black Rhino. [Source: ABC News]