Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Canadian" used as racial slur to refer to Blacks in the South

This was published on Thursday, so perhaps you have heard it before today.

"He convicted Mr. Sosa of a double intoxication manslaughter, got a weak jury to give him 12 years in each, and then convinced Judge Wallace to stack the sentences," Harris County assistant district attorney Mike Trent wrote in an office-wide memo. Then came the odd part: "He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing."

The e-mail was sent in 2003 but came to light only this month as part of an unrelated controversy with his office, forcing Mr. Trent to defend himself against accusations of bigotry -- not because he offended the people of Canada, but because "Canadian" has apparently become a code word for blacks among American racists.

"There is a double meaning to that word and I didn't know it. I was horrified when I learned what it was, and I immediately addressed the issue with the people who brought it up," Mr. Trent told a local Fox News reporter in a recent interview.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How Precious Life Is...

My morning started with hearing the traffic report on my alarm clock radio. An earlier collision shut down the intersection of Heron and Riverside. Oh brother, I thought to myself, it's going to take forever to get to my 8:30am class (which is only 90 minutes long).

I live about a 5 to 7 minute drive from campus, but usually have to leave by 8 to get parking and walk across campus, wait for an elevator, and finally arrive to class on time.

Wanting to avoid Riverside, which I usually take to get to campus, I think to myself, I should go to the Bronson entrance of Carleton and take Airport Parkway. At Hunt Club, the overpass of the Parkway was bumper-to-bumper so I decided to turn around to take the normal way and sit in traffic.

At this point it's 8:15 and getting really annoyed. I'm going to be late!

Riverside is a parking lot and the police have closed it off at Brookfield now.

Great, what a way to start a morning.

I finally arrive on campus and decide to pay for parking, because it's almost 9am and I just don't have time to go up 10 floors of a parking garage, and walk across campus.

Whew, what a friggen day. I'm late for class, and had lots of time to contemplate and be super annoyed with Ottawa's inability to handle it's transportation/artery road system. The same spots always tied up in the morning. I think to myself, don't those radio DJs get annoyed saying the same congested intersections every 10 minutes?

I arrive home from my class just over an hour later, open my email and find out that the car accident that had closed the intersection and connecting roads had killed 3 of my fellow Carleton students, and injuring two others (one critically).

How selfish I was. How selfish, most of us are, who would understandibly reacted in the same way that I did.

Me, me, me. I'm late for work/school. I had a place to be. Why is everyone is MY way.

But how precious life is. RIP Mark Macdonald, Vanessa Crawford and Brianne Deschamps. While I didn't know you, I may have passed you in the halls once or twice.

So the next time you're stuck in traffic, or that jerk cuts you off going 80km/h in a 50, or some twit hogs the passing lane, just think that it could be some parent or husband or wife, driving to a hospital to see their son, or driving across the province to identify their daughter.

While yes we live in a inconsiderate society, cut people some slack too.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Warning: Rental Scam [Updated]

One of my roommates is moving out and we're trying to fill the room. I put up an ad on my university's off campus housing website, as well as on facebook. Within 24 hours, I received 3 enquiries from "international" students who want to rent my room.

Thankfully, my mom was selling furniture on Kajiji this past summer and became suspicious when someone wanted to sell the furniture without seeing it in person, and sent her a cheque for more than the amount due, and mysteriously made a mistake and wanted her to wire the rest back. My mom brought the cheque to the bank saying that she wasn't confident about the situation and if they had heard of similar requests. The certified cheque turned out to be fraudulent.

I have had my rental ad out for 7 days now and have received requests only from "international" students. To get my email address they had to have seen the ad, which has all of the information they are requesting. I truly feel sorry for any real international students who are really looking for a place, but I can't afford to be a victim of some person's scam.

What upsets me, is that Carleton's housing website only warns landlords.

Universities really don't give a crap about students. I have written the housing department, as well as the university's communication department, in an effort to get the word out to students to be aware of this increasingly common fraud.

If you get letters like this be vigilant. Most times the abhorrent spelling/grammar gives them away, even though they want to appear North American/European.

Hello, My name is Annie Adams Born in Portland Oregon i am a female 27 years old ,I am honest and friendly,i lived in the Portland alone. My dad work for a communication company in UK and my mom passed away when i was still a little girl, presently am in Africa cos my dad as been transfered there for the expansion of their communications network.I will be relocating to Canada anytime soon but first i need a room/apt to stay for awhile to settle down, I am interested in your room/apt and i will like to know the rent per month and the exact date with the room would be available. I will appreciate it if you can reply me at annieadams4u@yahoo.com i do not check my facebook often Hope to hear from you today


Hi Happy New Year.Am Angelina By name 21 years,i wish to inform
you that am interested in renting your unit for the period of 6 to 10 months depending,i will love to the actual asking price per month,terms of lease and details of how i can get it secured.Hope all the ultilities are working in good conditions?Looking forward in hearing back from you soon.Thanks.

Hello sir/ma, I am tad dakes, am interested in renting your room, i am female 22 years old from Dubai.UAE.,i am international student coming to study my masters in { MainCampus in area university } So i need a room appt for a month,i do not smoke,no pets and i dont have friends and i dont walk late in the night.Do get back to me with the price of the room per month ,hope to read from you soon warmest Regards

am dianaam a graduate of Limerick University,
Ireland and work as a professional network engineer. I
am currently working on contract for my company;
Adavanced manufacturing,supply chain management. here
inwest africa. I am a very dedicated individual who is
totally committed to human development, friendly, very
trustworthy and value relationship above anything. I
love travelling, sporting and enjoy meeting people. I
dont smoke but do not mind people who do being around
me. I am cool headed and easy going person with no
criminal record and like to have an apartment / room
with you ..I saw your advert and i am sincerely
interested in the apartment. advertised as i will like
to move to as soon as i leave here
please i will love to hear from you .for the apartment
/room preferably through my email
dianamamasweet @yahoo.com )
Thanks as i anxiuosly await your mail.please i will
like to know the total cost of the apartment/room so
as to arrange payment as soon
as possible.You can as well mail me back through my
email address .
looking forward to hear from you soon .
kindest regards,

Hello I am sera muse am interested in renting your room, i am female 24years old from united arab emirate dubai, i am coming to study,So i need an apartment to stay so i will like you to tell me more about the room and you can try as much to send me the pictures of the room,i do not smoke,no pets and i am not dirty and friendly as well.Do get back to me with the price of the room per month and the term of lease,hope to read from you soon warmest regards Sera

Update: Here's another one:

I saw your housing advert at the Carleton University Off campus housing listing,am interested in your room and i will like you to kindly get back to me with the following.....

.... Rent per month
.... Exact date of available
.... Length of Lease
.... Security Deposit
.... Full address of the property

Also i will like you to know am an international student from US, i attended Canisius College Buffalo New York.

About myself.....

.... Sex: Female

.... Age: 23

.... Firstly i will like you to know i take my study first
before any other thing.

.... I am very neat and i don't have any pet but can live with
then if available.

.... My Hobby is sport... Basketball.

.... I make friend with every one around me.

I got admission into Carleton University and i will like you to kindly get back to me with the above details.Thanks i look forward to hear from you soon.

Best Regard,
Jean Baker

Another today (Jan 26th)

Gina Bowen (ginabowen001@hotmail.com)

How are you Faring?My name is Gina,from England.I am coming for Research in Carleton University so i need a place to stay.A little about me.I am 28 years old,i am gentle, neat,respectful,i mind my own business, no smoking,no overnight guest,i don't attend night parties,i promise to keep the place neat as you ever wanted,my favorite colors is white.I will love to rent from you and i will love to rent for one year but i may extend the rent later so tell me more about the place and i will also appreciate some pictures of the place.If there is any application that i will need to fill please have it sent to me via email so i could print,have it completed and bring it over with me when coming over cos i do not have access to fax machine.I will be happy to rent from you so get back to me as soon as possible.
God bless you.


mariam tah (mariamtah2002@yahoo.com)


My name is Mariam Tah i was born in Richmond,Virginnia.I am female 27 years old ,I am honest and friendly,i lived in Virginnia alone. My dad worked for a communication company in UK and my mom passed away when i was still a little girl. I will be relocating to canada anytime for further studies in Carleton University soon but first i need a room/apt to stay for awhile to settle down, I am interested in your room/apt and i will like to know the rent per month and the exact date when the room would be available.
Thanks i hope to hear from you today.

kelvin steve (kelvin_steve2000@yahoo.com)

Hello there,
Am Doctor Kelvin and I live and work in Ireland as a
veterinary doctor.
I would like to make enquiries on your accommodation. I would
like to know if its available because I would like to rent it
for my daughter who is a prospective student of U carleton If available,i'ld like you to provide me with the following
.... Rent per month
.... Exact date of available
.... Length of Lease
.... Security Deposit
.... Full address of the property -
Also i will like you to know a little about my daughter
She is an international
student from the Republic of ireland,
Her name is Linda,she is 21 years old ,
She is a very neat girl and doesn't have any pet but can
live with them if available.
She makes friend with every one around her and takes
studies seriously.
Best regards

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yes, Nicol This Thought Train Does Make Sense

Nicol over at The War Room, wrote an terrific post today. Do go over and read the entire thing (I'll wait). I was going to leave a comment, but it became rather long-winded and I decided to write a post about it instead.

Nicol poses an important question:

My question is, to those of you with strong beliefs, do you find it easy to be friends with people whose beliefs are polar opposite to your own?

I don't mean friendly or on nice speaking terms. I mean friends who share deep experiences with each other.

The conversation turns to the news of his soon-to-be born daughter:

We seek to baptize our child Catholic. Can one invite [his friends] the academic or the pagan to the baptism when you know they have communicated to you that they see the faith as a form of oppression and hate?

Take the flip side; if one really believes the war in Iraq is about nothing but oil and greed and oppression of other people, how can that person be good friends with someone who is for it?

Unless of course you conclude the opposing side is just ignorant, misinformed and stupid...which is of course just as problematic. I feel like I am at a bit of a turning point in my life as we prepare for our daughter to be born.

And that is my question. I truly believe one should seek out many diverse friends to have with differing views and beliefs. But realistically, in the arts, I do not have that many conservative, Christian or Catholic friends.

You are not alone in your sentiments. I feel that way a lot.

I got away from Sociology and decided to do a Masters in public policy. The simple reason was, in Sociology, there was only one way of (allowed) thinking. I will never forget the time when in an Analysis of Social Policy class (this was around the beer and popcorn incident) when I raised the possibility/questioned whether it was in the government's role/responsibility to provide child care as social policy. I was basically laughed at by my colleagues, and tsk-tsked by the prof for thinking in the "status quo".

In a classroom, why must I hide under a shield of saying that I'm "playing devil's advocate"? Because, I would have no friends in university.

Switching gears in academic fields was the best thing that happened to me, but I truly wish there was more diversity of opinion. My public policy degree requires courses in economics, statistics and politics, and thus it does not allow students to fly by on just an arts degree. Perhaps I was naive to think that this would create an environment where students who see things in more than one political colour.

On my first week of class this January, two out of three profs poked fun at our current PM. They don't dare name "him" though, they says "our current government" and give a frowned look when referring to poverty, environment etc...

I do feel alone. I cringe in a classroom when we talk about "global warming"/"climate change" and how profs and colleagues refer to the opposite side as "climate change deniers." I finally spoke up this week in class (but was cautious not to make myself the guilty party) and said "climate change deniers" is inaccurate as many of them acknowledge that climate changes, which is their very point. I wish I had had the courage to add, "if you would actually being a little open-minded and actually read/listened to the other side, instead of belittling it, you would know that." How ignorant of my prof (and most of Canadian/MSM) to call them "climate change deniers" (only because the language changed from 'global warming' to 'climate change') when they aren't even denying that climate changes! It is precisely their point that it does change!

Outside of the classroom I go out with friends, but I can't say that there is any one person to whom I feel particularly close. Like you Nicol, I have very few conservative friends.

Blogging, which Nicol was my inspiration to start, in the BT community actually makes me feel less alone. I've neglected blogging the past 6 months because I am trying to distance myself from the childish "Celine Dion/Dijon" vocabulary and genuinely try to blog from a non-partisan perspective. I even considered leaving the BT. However, in this time in my life right now, this is where I fit in.

The past three years I have grown considerably. I have made 4 realizations in my early 20s:

1. "Tolerance" means 'think like me' (and secretly criticize and/or dismiss any opposing view)
2. Inequity is not only a reality, but not necessarily all bad
3. Being "open-minded" apparently does not include (big C) Conservative/(small l)liberal ideas
4. Being a "critical thinker" apparently means to abide by #3 at all times.

Nicol, you talk a lot about the baby-boomer generation. You sound a lot like my partner who is a Gen Xer. I'm Gen Y, and I'm even more worried for my spoiled-spoon-fed generation.

Friday, January 11, 2008

For those of you with sisters...or who love wine

Often topics about end-of-life scenarios and euthenasia can turn into a very controversial discussion. I hope this email-forward makes you laugh out loud, as I did. For those of you who really know me, you know which sister I am in this scenario!

Last night my sister and I were sitting in the den and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all, If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

She's such a bitch.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do I Want to See More Support our Troops Ribbons?

An Anonymous comment made on my previous post, got me thinking. Instead of leaving it in the comments, I have put it in a new post.

S/He was refering to my comment:

In Canada, while support for the war is controversial (so controversial, that a reporter was suspended for supporting the troops), I see more Support our Troops ribbons on cars than I've seen in my recent travels to the US.


I live in Canada and I don't see any.

Why don't you just say what you mean...you'd like to see more yellow stickers?

Here is my response:

Would I like to see more ribbons on cars? Yes and no.

I would like to see more support from Canadians on a UN-sanctioned mission/war. This is not Iraq. Canada did not invade another country.

Canadians often compare themselves to their closest neighbour because of our similarities in culture, language, etc. I even did it in this blog post. But our missions in other countries, and our foreign policies are completely different; however, the media does manipulate this, in my opinion. The current mission in Afghanistan is much more politicized today compared to other Canadian missions in the past, since the Korean war.

The trouble is that nationalism is dying and more and more people are identifying not with their country, but rather their interests. We now live in an age of special interest groups, and identity politics. We are living in an age where our enemy/conflict is not with another country but attitudes against different cultures.

I guess I just don't understand what is so controversial about supporting our own rebuilding another country? What is so controversial about helping another country put more girls in school and less girls subject to female circumcision or other atrocities? What is so controversial about getting rid of a political force (the Taliban) and trying to develop a democracy where all members of a country have the oppotunity and right to share their voice.

While yes, we are imposing our "Western ways" of thinking/running a country, but truthfully, I don't see anything wrong with it. A more educated population is good for the world, a country whose people are not poor and whose voices are heard in the democratic system, is good for the world. I make no apologies about that.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Where have all of the (American) Support our Troops Ribbons Gone?

I recently returned from a vacation in Boston, MA. We drove down going through NY state. On our way down there was one Support our Troops Ribbons. On our return, we saw only two.

Why am I so shocked?

Two years ago, in February 2005, I travelled to Atlantic City, NJ. We also drove down, driving through NY state, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. At that time, I was shocked with the number of decals on almost every vehicle on the road!

What happened in two years?

According to media critic/Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz, we should look at network nightly newscasts.

Kurtz, who has written a book on the subject, asserted, "I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war."

If you read the entire transcript, Cuomo and Kurtz appear to brag about the media's ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq.

In Canada, while support for the war is controversial (so controversial, that a reporter was suspended for supporting the troops), I see more Support our Troops ribbons on cars than I've seen in my recent travels to the US. Depending on what city I'm in it could be 1 in every 10th car has a decal, while in more military towns, (e.g. Petawawa, Trenton) I notice decals on 1 in 4 cars.