Monday, June 29, 2009

cleaner air is probably a good thing

in honour of my newly asthmatic lungs i thought i'd post what i found on greener news awhile ago:

"Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air. This is accomplished with 3 types of carefully selected basic and common waist high potted plants. Areca Palm , Mother-in-law’s Tongue and “Money Tree”"

toronto has shitty, shitty air quality.

a bgillion tonnes of pollution, questionably built old houses with bad air circulation, the intense humidity the city is practically famous for, and riding your bike in heavy traffic where exhaust replaces actual oxygen and you have a recipe for respiratory problems and a myriad of other health issues.

in this video, kamal meattle discusses how using three really common plants(as well as taking care of them properl) can drastically alter the quality of air in your home, which is important when your lungs start sounding like a really old car engine.

most people like having plants in their apartments/houses, so why not get plants that will actually make your quality of life better?

he suggests 3-4 of one type, 6-8 of another, but i feel like you could start with 1-2 of each and then keep adding.

it sounds pretty great and i wonder if you'd actually be able to feel the difference after awhile, but it's not like anyone ever really regrets buying plants so i guess even if you didn't feel your lungs getting lighter you'd still have some pretty plants to look at.

Friday, June 26, 2009

michael jackson is dead, but so are some other people!!

so eff and i just went to the ohbijou cd release at the opera house, and it was really good.

but, we were disapointed because noone did any shoutouts/cover songs/libations for the king of pop, for our little monkey loving friend, michael jackson.

michael jackson died today, yo. he died! and anything musical needs to give proper props.

blah blah blah, twitter, internet etc. michael jackson died, of course people covered it.

the news is already giving us "timelines" of the "coverage". like it matters how quickly people noticed or how they disseminated said knowledge.

the news is so inane and annoying.

on my way home from the show i heard this couple on the subway talking about the news headlines scrolling. two CHILDREN died... one was "floating in a pool" the other had something else happen to him.

but this couple, this gross couple, decided to squawk every time a death notice came up:
"noone is going to care about that kid, theyre only going to care about michael jackson!"


"noone gives a shit about that, they'll only remember michael jackson."

well... those kids had parentsand families and friends, disgusting couple on the subway, and maybe before you run your gross and totally offensive mouth off you should remember that just because the mass en large doesn't notice a child's death, it doesn't mean you can talk about how noone cares about it, because most likely, people do.

michael jackson died today and that's sad, but other people died today too and shouldnt that be just as sad??

Thursday, June 25, 2009

and we all thought this day would never come...

oh noooo!!!

there are many media sources claiming that michael jackson, who was taken to hospital today because of a heart attack or something, is actually DEAD.


while it's being reported through numerous outlets, its all still alleged and based on a report... and TMZ is almost always right..

is michael jackson dead?!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

what makes swine flu spread? oh, racism!

everyone is so worried about the swine understandable concern i'm sure but considering that most of us live in cities where we can, you know, wash our hands we don't have a lot to be worried about.

if you live in a first nations community in canada, however, you do have something to worry about. despite the bizarre ideas that circulate about how first nations communities get shit loads of money to build elaborate and awesome accomodation the reality is that the majority of these communities don't have clean water, or even running water at all.

this is a huge problem in terms of things like the swine flu, or even common illnesses, which can be easily curbed with frequent and rigorous hand washing.

so health canada is all like, we know, it's all about hand sanitizers for these communities. presumably this is a good idea(forgetting just for a second that these communities don't have basic infrastructures which are actually human rights) except they forgot to factor in one tiny little thing: racism.

shit bitch, health canada is saying, we can't send ALCOHOL-based hand sanitizers into reserves because those people are going to DRINK it.

senior public health adviser to the Assembly of First Nations, dr. kim baker, said that this is just another example of how the swine flu measures are " ill-suited to the social realities of some aboriginal communities that lack running water for hand washing."

let's just repeat that: "lack running water"...." for hand washing"

according to baker, that people were even arguing the pros and cons of the alcohol based sanitizers "because of the conersna bout addictions in communities" is "absolutely outrageous".

there have been some chiefs involved in the discussions as well, who have made the argument that the concern was legitimate because many communities are dry, so they don't allow alcohol there.

one such perons, chief david harper from the garden hill first nation, says that this still isn't a good excuse for delaying the supplies that are so desperately needed and that he was able to buy alcohol free sanitizers.

he also says, of health canada:

"They know that there's hand sanitizer wipes that are available, which are alcohol based...What are you saying? We're going to start chewing on them? I don't think so."

you can read the cbc report about it HERE.

i feel like, regardless of the huge issues of infrastructure and racism, health canada just needs to send the sanitizer because people need it right now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

caledonians to crazy militia: we don't like it and we don't want to put a ring on it

(GUEST BLOGGER: my good friend and colleague, elle, gives us a behind the scenes look at the caledonia/militia/occupation!)

I rarely tell anyone where I’m from when they ask but, today, I’ll share a little secret – I’m from Caledonia.

Most of the time when I spill the beans – outside of groups where my politics are not already known – the assumption is that, since I am white and from Caledonia, I am a racist. This, in turn, leads people to do one of two things a) proceed to talk about land rights and colonialism, assuming that because I am a racist, I need to be educated. Of course, even though the person speaking to me may share my white privilege, they clearly are better than those “Caledonia folk” and do not share the responsibility for a history of colonialism in the same way that I do. b) The person becomes thrilled that I am obviously a racist and that they can then talk to me about the “lazy”, “greedy” natives. Usually when this happens, I get to hear lots of comments about how the army should be called into Caledonia.

Well, lucky me, now my town has something even better - its very own militia! More reasons for me to go around bragging about my childhood home!

This recent development speaks to the complexity of the situation. What’s complicated about a militia you ask? You are either for it or against it right?

Right. But the complicated part about it is the local politics involved. I think (hope) most people are against this recent development, including the landowner (Ernie Palmer) whose property was recently occupied by Aboriginal protesters. In an interview with the Hamilton Spectator he said, “I drank a lot of coffee with the natives and we came to an agreement that they move off my land in a few days”. So peaceful negotiations, in an incredibly tense situation, are possible! While this gives me hope, it is not something that local racists like to hear and so they form a militia to create further fear and anger (which is discussed here: caledonia wake up call).

This is the same group that has been using people’s confusion and frustration for their own purposes for the last few years. In short, they’ve been stirring up shit.

I am certainly not here to dismiss nor deny that racism is alive and well in Caledonia. I do not have some idyllic vision of the town that I grew up in. In fact, the minute I graduated high school, I got the hell out of there. I guess all I want to share today is that you are not alone in your anger about the Caledonia militia. Many people with roots there, including Ernie and me, are pissed off too.


Monday, June 22, 2009

i'm sorry, a militia?

eff and i were at high park today and discussing current affairs.

we got around to this crazy bullshit, which clearly should not be allowed to happen:

some idiot(Doug Fleming), who the media calls an "activist" is planning to form a militia to "enforce the law and protect property owners from trespassers" in caledonia.

if you don't know, "trespassers" here is actually code for the aboriginal protesters, six nations members who have been occupying the douglas creek estates housing development since february 2006 as part of a land claim that is 200 years old.

the province of ontario owns the land and has stated that protesters can remain there(ie: the occupation is legal) while the land claim is negotiated.

for real, the last thing ontario needs is another goddamned GTA suburb, especially when that land doesn't belong to the people trying to develop it.

according to the cupe 3903 first nations solidarity working group, the militia is being formed
"to directly confront"native lawlessness" in Caledonia. According to Fleming, the militia would patrol areas in Caledonia by car and by foot wearing uniforms and communicating with radio equipment. If alerted to an instance of "native lawlessness" the militia would then use "reasonable force" to effect a citizen’s arrest and would hold the native person until such time as the OPP arrived to take the "prisoner" to jail."

woa, woa, woa. let's just hold up the militia train one second. "reasonable force"? how are civilians in any position to decide what legal "reasonable force" is?!

and "native lawlessness"? i'm going to go ahead and assume that doug fleming is a white dude. you can correct me if im wrong there. but why don't this group of white dudes form a militia to prowl their streets and bust their fellow white dudes abusing their wives and children? why don't you focus on ACTUAL lawlessness, since what the six nations protesters are doing is completely fucking legal?

fleming is quoted in the toronto star as saying:
"I don't want to do this. You think I want to form a militia? Are you kidding?"

no, you're kidding if you think you can just roam the streets and attack aboriginal protesters(or any aboriginal person for that matter) and get away with it.

to state the obvious, this "militia" reeks of colonialism. it reeks of the disgusting and morally corrupt colonialism enacted upon the aboriginal peoples of this nation and others in the past and continuing today.

there is a protest planned on facebook, but the event also has some really good info(and websites, etc):

probably this should make you feel enraged. if it doesn't, well, maybe you should go join the militia.

a thousand is a lot of pages..

i posted a few days ago about reading in the summer and my friend renee posted a comment about this: the infinite summer challenge.

"the challenge

Join endurance bibliophiles from around the world in reading Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009, June 21st to September 22nd. A thousand pages1 ÷ 92 days = 75 pages a week. No sweat.

1. Plus endnotesa.
a. A lot of them."

i am currently reading a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again, by david foster wallace and i really liked consider the lobster. it's just kind of sad to read david foster wallace after his 2008 suicide
so maybe i'll do this, but also, it's a really long book and i don't really like a challenge. it's also supposed to start june 21st and i'm already a day late.

someone else do it, and then report back.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

summer+books=best idea ever

summer is here and for some of us that means extra reading time.

sarah waters has a new book out called little stranger and you should probably go out and get it immediately. i read it in just over a night and pretty much loved it.

it's one of those books(much like every other sarah waters book) that you put down and then can't wait to keep reading again. read it!!

also, reading any and all of her other books is a good idea too. tipping the velvet, fingersmith, affinity, and night watch are all great.

actually, night watch wasn't so great and the only reason i even finished it was because i was on a trip and was delayed in an airport. i mean, it's good, but it's just not very compelling.

tipping the velvet is by far the sexiest of the books(and also the first book she wrote), whereas her later books are more mystery than anything. i always say i don't like mystery novels, but thats a lie.

oh yes, go buy some books.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

really? how new could it possibly be....

today i was walking up bedford road and pasted on the construction barrier were like a hundred posters for "the jonas brothers"--who are apparently some teenage band? who knows.

the point is, they have a new album. and the posters(see below), say "NEW ALBUM" across the top.

but they were pasted onto the barrier in a crinkly way, and it looked like it said "NEW BUM".

and i laughed.

you should laugh too.

Monday, June 15, 2009

b'nai brith at it again...

i just received this in my inbox...

*QUICK ACTION ITEMS below ... Please distribute widely*
Dear colleagues,
You may have heard by now that both B'nai Brith and CIJA have launched a very public campaign denouncing the upcoming "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace" to be held on Glendon campus(YorkU) from June 22-24, 2009.

Most recently, B'Nai Brith has asked Minister Gary Goodyear to review the SSHRC funding of the conference (see B'Nai Brith statement at the end of this e-mail). The Minister has responded by asking SSHRC to consider conducting a second peer review of the conference funding application!

For other examples of how this attack on the conference is being waged, see the CIJA site (Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy):
... and an article in yesterday's National Post:

CALL FOR ACTION: Support academic freedom! Challenge these attacks on academic conference!

1) Write to York University President Shoukri.
Congratulate him on his strong stand in support of the conference and academic
freedom (though he also denounces the academic boycott of Israeli universities more generally). Tell him that you do not agree with CIJA.
E-mail: PRESIDNT@YORKU.CA (NOTE: There is no second "e" in this e-mail address; it is not a typo)

2) Write a letter to Minister Goodyear. Tell him that you object to a second peer review, and ask him to account for his actions.

You may also wish to say that you support CAUT's call for his resignation (
He can be reached at GOODYG@PARL.GC.CA

3) Attend the conference. Program and registration information can be found at:

4) Write a letter to the Globe and Mail, responding to today's article (200 words or less). E-mail LETTERS@GLOBEANDMAIL.CA
Here is the link to the article:

5) Sign Faculty4Palestine Open Letter to defend academic freedom and freedom of speech on Palestine in Canadian universities and
colleges. Go to (click on red icon to view petition). To sign, send an e-mail to

NOTE: For all letters, please add BCC: to (to make conference organizers aware of your support)

B’nai Brith Canada has brought to urgent attention of the Government the sponsorship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of an upcoming June 22nd-23rd conference at York University titled, “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace”. As many of you know, this conference being held under the guise of academia is in fact a blatant exercise in anti-Zionist propaganda. Its entire thrust calls into question the Jewish State’s very right to exist, and promises to be a veritable ‘who’s who’ of anti-Israel propagandists.

We were disturbed to learn that the SSHRC, a federal agency that is answerable to Parliament and which reports directly to the Minster of Industry, was listed as a lead sponsor on the conference’s website, contributing both moral and financial support.

Subsequent to our appeal to the Government on this matter, the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, released a statement on the conference that is reproduced below. While the statement stops short of announcing a funding withdrawal, it does bring into question the SSHRC’s continued support for the conference.

Statement from the Hon. Gary Goodyear

OTTAWA, June 5, 2009 – The following is a statement from the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, on the conference at York University entitled, “Israel/Palestine: mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace”.

“Our government is committed to the principle academic independence and the independent, arms-length, peer review process for assessing applications for research grants.

“It has come to my attention that following a recommendation of a peer review board earlier this year, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council provided $19,750 under its Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences Program to a conference at York University entitled “Israel/Palestine: mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace”.

“Approval of this funding was based on an initial proposal that did not include detailed information on the speakers at the conference. Since funding was provided, the organizers of the conference have added a number of speakers to their agenda.

“Several individuals and organizations have expressed their grave concerns that some of the speakers have, in the past, made comments that have been seen to be anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic. Some have also expressed concerns that the event is no longer an academic research-focussed event.

“Therefore, I have spoken to the president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to bring these concerns to his immediate attention and asked that Council give them full consideration. In particular, I asked that the Council, once they have seen this information, to consider conducting a second peer review of the application to determine whether or not the conference still meets SSHRC’s criteria for funding of an academic conference.”


Convey your thanks and appreciation to the Minster for his request to the SSHRC that it reconsider its support for this conference in light of the serious concerns that have been brought to light.

Urge the Minister to direct the SSHRC to immediately withdraw its funding from this sham of a conference that seeks to delegitimize the Jewish State and its supporters here at home.

Please send a blind carbon copy of your letter to B’nai Brith Canada at

Office of the Hon. Gary Goodyear
117 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
T: (613) 996.1307
F: (613) 996.8340

B'nai Brith Canada has been active in Canada since 1875 as the foremost Jewish human rights organization. To learn more about its advocacy work and diverse community and social programs, please visit


i should be doing work..

so i should probably be doing my assignment that is due tomorrow, but youtube is way more interesting.

i found this today, it's from the chipmunks adventure movie(1987) and i feel that probably this song had a lot to do with me developing feminist politics.

not only are the chipettes extremely politically aware, but they have awesome outfits.

you can be cute AND take on the powers that be.

the video is also full of little things, like the girls knock over some greek orthodox priests and in the acropolis there's a statue of the medusa--the scariest of all feminists in greek mythology.

youre living in a mans world they tell us
but we aint gonna buy it
those things they're trying to sell us

thanks mom, for letting us watch this movie repeatedly and not killing us.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

big car vs. little bike

yesterday, i bought a bike. it's pretty rough around the edges but i've been looking for one forever so when finally a craigslist person emailed me back with something other than "it's been sold" or "it's for giants" i bought the thing.

so last night i rode it along a route i used to have to walk like a sucker and i was all like, sweet, now i don't have to walk like a sucker anymore because i have a bike!

no such luck, because apparently i'm still a sucker.

if you live a bit north you might know the sobey's grocery store at dupont and ossington and maybe even know its several parking lot exits--all of which a responsible driver would stop at before going over the sidewalk, you know, to be sure there aren't pedestrians/cyclists/or other cars heading their way.

if you're "paulo" and you drive a gigantic black hummer, you're jumping the sidewalk yo. when you drive a hummer the road, the sidewalk, the sobey's, dupont street-they all belong to you. you don't have to watch where you're going or even be cognizant of the fact that you're driving because you're driving such an enormous monstrosity that you surely will not be hurt if an accident were to ensue.

i'm a sucker because i saw this hummer coming and i stupidly assumed it would obey the law and stop at the sidewalk.

it didn't. it hit me. it made a crunch sound and knocked me off my bike.

then, the assholes didn't even get out of their car. they sat there, mouthing "im sorry".

needless to say there was some loud swearing, etc, on my part because this dude claimed he hadn't seen me. i'm sorry, sir, you are driving a hummer that has industrial strength headlights that could light a baseball diamond for a night game and you didn't see me on a bright and busy street?? directly under a street light? when you should have been looking actively to see if anyone was coming?

this guy, hummer aside, was clearly a douchebag and he clearly hadn't been looking.

we got his license plate and a phone number and he claims to live in the area(because everyone drives their hummer around the block to pick up groceries, right?) but needless to say, if you bike in the dupont/ossington area you might want to watch out for a big black hummer because the idiot behind the wheel will probably run you down then act like he's just woken up from a nap.


Monday, June 8, 2009

will president shoukri please shut the fuck up?

i was up at york today and i grabbed the latest issue of yorku magazine for something to read on the subway ride home.

yorku is a pretty glossy and expensive magazine for a university that claimed money trouble in order to get out of paying its employees, but york isn't exactly a 'walk the walk' kind of institution.

every issue there is something outrageous and ridiculous in this magazine--mostly in the letter from the president at the beginning of each issue.

in this issue president shoukri's article is called "coming together" and is about how it's been such a hard year with the economy, the strike, and the racism but we still have a lot to be proud of--like our most recent batch of graduates.

for the moment i'm not even going to touch the title... according to shoukri convocation time(spring) is a time to "come together as a community, as a family." It only makes sense, he writes, that we "build the kind of university we want, and to treat each other as want to be treated."

it's been a long, shitty year at yorku. this is something we can all agree on. but i resent shoukri's attempts to paint over the difficulties of this year with this kind of bullshit about togetherness and community.

shoukrie writes that "this has been a challenging year, in more ways than one: a lengthy labour disruption, the difficult economic climate and student behaviour that has been, at times, less than collegial."

i agree, it has been a challenging year, but what i don't agree with is what he writes next.

"One of my priorities is to help rebuild a sense of community, and I believe that dialogue is key to building a sense of community-with unions, student groups, staff, parents and stakeholders alike. It's surprising how far civil discourse can take you. It's hard to turn your back on someone with whom you have a good working relationship."

so when thousands of copies of an alternative student newspaper were blatantly destroyed by two individuals who were caught on tape doing so and you refused to comment on, engage in,or condemn these actions that was your way of rebuilding community?

when you ignored requests for discussions by your students and staff for three months during the strike then held a town hall meeting in which you blamed us for the lack of communication, that was another community building tactic?

when you appointed the incoming dean of the largest university faculty in canada under false pretense of his academic achievement, then blamed it on your subordinates, then went after university professor's private emails who rightfully called what you were doing academic fraud, this helped our community rebuild and heal?

if you don't give a shit about community building, then don't hide it behind this wishy washy rhetoric about civil discourse, dialogue, and community building. we all know that the university is more interested in pleasing its corporate stakeholders and other political lobbies than it cares about building any kind of working dialogue between anyone.

it is going to take real work, really hard work, to bring together the different voices on campus. it's been a divisive and difficult year but what's most important is that we not just sweep these issues under the rug for the sake of moving on. there are serious problems at york, and im not just talking about the strike. freedom of speech and academic freedom are under attack, our right to privacy is being eroded, corporate interests are steering the decisions of the administration, and the widespread exploitation of graduate students and contract faculty has become essential to support the rapid expansion of the university.

shoukri writes that "york is a dynamic university, still young and still evolving; we have great strengths and even greater potential" and this is totally true. york is young and has historically been a dynamic and political place. the challenge is trying to enact positive change in the face of the shallow, insipid, and spineless nature of the administration who would sell us down the river for a pharmaceutical company pay out or a free chauffeur.

so let's just be honest, shoukri and the university don't really want us "coming together"because that would mean that all parties are getting something out of this encounter. instead, york and shoukri are employing a more selfish technique which leaves the rest of us feeling frustrated, unsatisfied, and used.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

if 50 cent posted it, so can we...

i read this post on mondoweiss today and was really struck not only by the censorship involved but that had the video they're discussing been filmed in the united states(or canada) and some young men and women said that all they wanted to do was "smoke a blunt and eat some chicken wings and watermelon with obama" the reaction would have been incredibly different--like, people actually would have heard about it and been infuriated by it.

as it happens it was filmed in israel, and the young men and women saying these totally disgusting and racist things are young israelis or israeli americans.

the short clip--filmed by max blumenthal(who also filmed sarah palin being "cured" by a "witch doctor" in her alaska church and posted it on the huffington post as well as posting about toby keith's pro-lynching song ) in jerusalem the night before obama's speech in cairo-- was released on mondoweiss and the huffington post and according to blumenthal:
I received an email from a Huffington Post administrator informing me he had scrubbed my video from the site. “I don’t see that it has any real news value,” the administrator told me. “For me it only proves that one can find drunk people willing to say just about anything. Especially drunk, moronic people.

ok, i'm actually going to take a break from writing this and go over to the huffington post to see what qualifieds as something with "real news value"....

here are a few more stories which are clearly more newsworthy according to the huffington post:

apparently because some of the people in the video were drunk it makes it completely invalid--a criticism that has come from all sides-- to which blumenthal has responded:

"Beer does not, to my knowledge, contain a special drug that immediately infects drinkers with white supremacist sentiments, violent rhetoric, and anti-democratic tendencies. I get drunk as much as any social drinker and I have never called for “white power” or declared, “fuck the niggers!” as one of my interviewees did. No amount of alcohol could make me express opinions that were not authentically mine. If anything, alcohol is a crude form of truth serum that lubricates the release of closely held opinions and encourages confessional talk."

these young, educated, and entitled people say such non-newsworth things as:

"he's a fuckhead.. i don't know politics, but he's a shit head. he's an asshole and deserves to get shot"

"white power, fuck the niggers"

"oh he's a muslim for sure, and who even knows if he was born in the united states.. we haven't seen his birth certificate yet, he's not from the u.s, he's, like, a terrorist. just what has he done for this country so far, nothing..and i'm a political science major so like... i know my shit ("question: do you know who benjamin netanyahu is?") it the israel prime minister or something? i dont know who he is, who's benjamin yahoo?"

"i think you're a pussy...i'm going to teabag your ass, and put it on youtube, faggot"

"i just want to smoke a blunt, and eat some chicken wings and watermelon with obama, hes just another nigger from the towns"

you can read max blumenthal's entire response HERE and you can write to the huffington post at it's totally laughable that a website like the huffington post would even presume to have the right to decide what does or does not have news value, especially when it publishes such fucking bullshit.

Friday, June 5, 2009

elton john + school assembly = best idea ever

i stumbled upon this on carnalnation today. a primary school in broadstairs, kent(UK) held an assembly on bullying for its students. as part of what counts as bullying the school included homophobia and played an elton john song--explaining to the students that elton john was gay, but that doesn't mean he deserves to be bullied.

i feel like it's pretty great of this school to even address homophobia under the umbrella of bullying in a school setting but apparently some of the parents didn't.

according to the article some parents "expressed outrage over the assembly, saying that their children were left "confused" and "worried" by the information they received."
one parents went so far as to say "that the information about homosexuality has scared a number of the little girls and led them to question their friendships with other girls. " because "Little girls often cuddle each other if one of them is crying or has fallen over, and now they are afraid to do that in case the others think they are gay," she said."

i have news for this parent... sometimes your daughter isn't just cuddling another girl because one of them is "crying or has fallen over", sometimes those little girls want to bang eachother and chances are they either already have or are going to in the near future.

as my dear friend eff put it recently, growing up you're allowed to have sleepovers with your girl friends, not the boys. which means that whether or not you grow up to identify as a full-on lesbian or even bisexual you're probably going to do some sexual experimenting with another girl at some point.

what these weirdo parents should be focusing on is the fact that even if their girls are big old lezzies it doesn't matter, because the school they attend isn't going to tolerate any homophobic bullying and isn't that the kind of world we want to live in?

in the mean time, here is a website that lists books with gay characters to direct your children to after they've heard elton john and become so extremely confused:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

guest blogger: dialogue key to resolution in sri lanka

(guest blogger Zincia Francis, MA Candidate in Women's Studies at Memorial University)

Sri Lanka’s 26-year-old civil war became a humanitarian crisis when thousands of Tamil civilians became sandwiched between the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GOSL) army forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE). Suddenly in the frenzy created around the unfolding events and between the mass protests by Tamil expatriates around the world, speculating reports from both the GOSL and the LTTE, and various news media coverage, the sea of (mis)information regarding this crisis has created some confusion. As such, I will begin this piece with a condensed history of Sri Lanka in order establish some context to the situation at hand.

In 1948, colonial Britain granted independence to Sri Lanka, which formed a government based on the idea of a nation that formally cast minority Tamils as second-class citizens. Racism became instituted into the government policies, where Singhalese held majority of the seats. As a result, the Tamil people were forced to struggle for civil rights immediately following independence. Following violent riots against the Tamil people in 1956, 1977, 1981, and 1983, small groups, with some support from the Tamil community, took up arms against the Sri Lankan government. Eventually, the LTTE established itself as an armed organization against the wide spread discrimination against the Tamils of Sri Lanka and declared its intent to ruthlessly carve out a separate state known as the Tamil Eelam.

Between 1983 and present day, human causality of warfare has steadily risen but neither the GOSL nor the LTTE made any solid efforts to bridge the gap between the Tamils and Sinhalese as a possible means to end the civil war. Instead, Sinhalese communities in Sri Lanka and globally continue to be alienated from Tamils held hostage by systematic discriminations of the GOSL and the LTTE’s ruthless pursuit of a separatist state. While many Sinhalese understand that Tamils have been discriminated against and marginalised, they are unable to grasp the environment that is fostering anger and resentment of Sinhalese assumptions about ‘Tamilness.’

On the other hand, Tamil communities within Sri Lanka and globally are caught between supporting the only group willing to fight for them, the reality of supporting unelected, nondemocratic militant group, and international and Sinhalese communities that have yet address serious violations of the Tamil’s basic civil and human rights. Without any intervention, racism has continued to fester, alienating communities through misinformation, and propagated fears of the Other.

In Toronto, the prolonged and continuous protests regarding the GOSL’s war against the LTTE at the cost of Tamil civilian lives have elicited Torontonians’ general concern, as well as, annoyance at such disturbances to the public with some voicing loud objections to such protests. Firstly, I would like to stress that civil demonstrations are an important part of democracy without which minority groups can become silent. While we become desensitized by prolonged exposure to the any number of crises that cry out for our attention, we cannot afford to be indifferent to such humanitarian issues in an era where human rights laws are being too easily discarded by cooperate agendas in favour of capitalist pursuits.

Secondly, given that GOSL has denied media and United Nations access to the war zone, and displaced persons camps, the global community may be forced to stand powerlessly aside while further violations of human rights take place. Furthermore, when the global community allows such effective blinding of systems put in place to protect human rights, it sets precedence for a model of behaviour that avoids accountability.

Thirdly, such protests have been able to create awareness about the crisis and by being vigilant, are able to demand accountability. With the exception of the breakaway group that protested unsafely on the DVP highway, such protests have been peaceful and organized and as such, are both useful and necessary part of global citizenship.

At this critical point, it is essential that dialog between communities begin. This Other must be broken down and made human again. It is our ability to not only recognize human suffering, but to act prevent or alleviate it, that speaks to our humanness, enables us recognize the human in the Other. While such dialogs should be encouraged by the GOSL and Tamil community leaders, in the historical failure of such leaders, politicians, and organizations, it falls on the everyday citizen to reach out to their fellow citizen. Fortunately, there are several models based on forgiveness and reconciliation that can be implemented in the absence of a justice system. I suggest we being looking to earnestly to solve this issue before yet another generation has to pay the price of ethnic warfare.

I suggest we earnestly begin to solve this issue before yet another generation has to pay the price of ethnic warfare.

ok, toronto pride isn't SO bad...

we wrote about toronto pride banning political groups(or, specifically, queers against israeli apartheid) here.

apparently the issue has been grossly misrepresented by the media and b'nai brith, the coalition against israeli apartheid has issued a press release:

"Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)
Statement for Immediate Release
2 June 2009


Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QUAIA) attacked by pro-Israel B’nai Brith; Toronto’s Pride Committee stands up to political pressure to exclude QUAIA from city’s annual celebration of LGBTQ pride.

On May 27, a National Post article by Joseph Brean incorrectly reported that Queers Against Israeli Apartheid “has been banned this year” from Toronto’s annual Pride parade. In response, Pride Toronto has issued a public statement which makes absolutely clear that “it has no intention of banning any participants from the Dyke March and the Parade because of their political agenda”. CAIA applauds Pride Toronto for standing up to attempts to discipline this year’s Pride parade grand marshal, El-Farouk Khaki, for speaking at a recent public event organized by Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

CAIA stands with Pride Toronto in its refusal to cave in to pressure tactics from B’nai Brith and other groups that aim to silence well-founded criticism of the Israeli state for its ongoing violations of international law. Violations include Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories; its settlement-building and construction of an apartheid wall on occupied land; its refusal to respect the right of Palestinian refugees to return; and its recent attacks on Gaza which resulted in 1400 Palestinian deaths and over 5000 injuries in 23 short days.

Despite boisterous and persistent claims by B’Nai Brith, criticism of the Israeli state is not anti-semitic or “hateful and divisive propaganda”.

B’nai Brith has issued several press releases recently, each aimed at silencing critics of Israeli policy, including queer community activists and artists. B’nai Brith has, for example, tried without success to shut down a reading of Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza, featuring the acclaimed writer and theatre artist, Anne-Marie MacDonald. Queer Jewish artist Reena Katz
has also been attacked for her support of the Palestinian cause. At the same time, B’nai Brith chooses to ally itself with Christian fundamentalist homophobes.

As an organization committed to ending racism and homophobia, CAIA recognizes Queers Against Israeli Apartheid as a vital and legitimate LGBTQ group in the tradition of the Simon Nkoli Anti-Apartheid Committee (SNAAC). SNAAC was active for many years in Toronto and organized the city’s LGBTQ community against South African apartheid. Comparisons between Israeli apartheid and South African apartheid have been made by a number of well-known figures including former US President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop
Desmond Tutu.

In the face of growing support and understanding of the Palestinian plight, including that faced by Palestinian queers, the Zionist movement is responding with intimidation and repression. We are fully convinced these actions will fail and be seen for what they are: a desperate attempt by a failing movement to shut down free speech and the right to organize.

CAIA fully supports Pride Toronto’s refusal to exclude QUAIA and stands in solidarity with queer activists and artists and all those who refuse to remain silent in the face of silencing and intimidation.

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) statement, also endorsed by:

Students Against Israeli Apartheid (University of Toronto)
Students Against Israeli Apartheid (York University)
Educators for Peace and Justice

Monday, June 1, 2009

shoe throwing=best idea ever

i really hate g.w.bush. my hatred for bill clinton isn't as intense, but i still kind of hate him as well. so when they were speaking together at the metro centre last week i figured i should probably go to the protest.

i don't even know what they were speaking about, it was billed as "current affairs". it seems completely bizarre to me that anyone would pay money to go see bush talk about current affairs like he has nothing to do with the current state of the world. these are two men who have shaped policy that continually impacts people's lives all around the world and instead of taking any kind of responsibility for their actions they're just going on a talking tour.

there weren't as many people at the protest as i thought there would be, but it was a good turn out and the toronto coalition to stop the war had some really interesting events planned and played really good music.

the best part of the protest was the shoe-throwing. hands down. a tribute to iraqi journalist muntadhar al-zaidi who was put in jail after throwing his shoes at bush in december, people threw their shoes at a huge mug shot of bush. one photographer was beaned pretty hard in the head, but other than that it was a pretty creative protest strategy i think.

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