Britain and US planned ‘regime change’ in Iran 50 years ago

Saeed Rahnema, political science coordinator in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, reviewed All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer Aug. 16 in The Globe and Mail. The book is about how American president Dwight Eisenhower and British prime minister Winston Churchill orchestrated a coup d’état in Iran 50 years ago against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh, who had nationalized the Iranian oil industry. The book is essential reading for those who want to better understand the causes of the rise of religious fundamentalism, terrorism and the politics of oil, wrote Rahnema, who raised the question: “What would have been the outcome had the United States and Britain not destroyed Iran’s chance to experience democracy 50 years ago?”

Clijsters suffers outage at York

Despite the electrical blackout Aug. 14, the Rogers AT&T Cup tennis tournament at York carried on, reported major Toronto media and national wire services the next day. As the WTA approached its finale, the big news was the “outage” of No. 1 tennis player Kim Clijsters by Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya just before the power went off. Krasnoroutskaya’s win was shortlived, as she lost later to Justine Henin-Hardenne. The National Post figured profits were down $1 million at the women’s event due to rain, few stars and a blackout, and lamented on Aug. 18 that this “is $1 million less to develop our already ailing game.”

Hall controversy won’t stick, says prof

Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, is skeptical that the current controversy over mayoral front-runner Barbara Hall pre-election campaign activities last year has staying power, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 18. He conceded, however that her enemies “will try to make something of it.”

Police chief creating public panic over crime

Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, accused Toronto’s police chief of fanning public alarm over crime, in an opinion piece printed in the Toronto Star Aug. 17. “In the past few weeks our police have once again started to claim that Toronto is a ‘city under siege.’ Chief [Julian] Fantino has pledged to set up closed-circuit cameras at critical crime zones to protect us from vicious gangs. It appears the police are bracing for an imminent explosion of violence and they seem to think that triggering public panic is sound public policy. This current call to arms is even more bizarre in light of the 2002 crime statistics showing that violent crime has been steadily declining for a decade. In fact, the 2002 statistics show that Toronto has one of the lowest crime rates of all major Canadian cities.”

Blackouts then and now

In his recent book Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Nicholas Rogers, a history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, painted a deft picture of the carnival-esque culture of darkness that can still be found to exist in residual form in some of our popular holidays, said the National Post Aug. 16. Rogers’s book was mentioned in a story inspired by the Aug. 14  regional power blackout.

Surfing on company time

Monica Belcourt is one human resources expert worried about employers cracking down on personal Internet use at work. “I think more organizations are asking their people to work more with less and I think a lot of people are putting in extra hours,” said Belcourt, president of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario and a administrative studies professor in York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. “So why would an organization that has these people working outside the 40-hour work week be upset when they took 20 minutes or half an hour to do personal business online?” Her comments were included in a Toronto Star story Aug. 16 about surfing on company time.

Playboy’s ideal has changed

Maryanne Fisher, a PhD candidate at York University, studied the measurements of centrefolds through Playboy‘s history, available online, to show how the models’ waist to hip ratio, and with it, our ideal of women, has changed in 50 years, noted The Edmonton Journal Aug. 18. Her research was mentioned in a CanWest News Service retrospective on the 50-year-old girly magazine.