Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All I want for Post-Christmas/Boxing Week/New Years is an e-mail/cellphone plan

My requirements are simple:

- I need to speak on the phone

- I need to read and write e-mails

- I need to send and receive text messages

- I need to have voicemail

Ideally, I would also have:

- the ability to, very occasionally, browse the web

- the ability to read and write RTF and PDF documents

What's stopping me? Well, for one thing, I can't for the life of me find a plan that does what it says it does. Example: half the plans that say "data" don't include data. Half the phones are sold out.

That's it. I'm going to have to go... *sigh* ...into a store.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Awesome Courage Campaign Photo Petition

Access it HERE

Infamous prosecutor Ken Starr has filed a legal brief -- on behalf of the "Yes on 8" campaign -- to nullify the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in California between May and November of 2008.

It's time to put a face to Ken Starr's shameful legal proceedings. To put a face to the 18,000 couples facing forcible divorce. To put a face to marriage equality. Because, gay or straight, YOU are the face of the Marriage Equality Movement.

My favourite is the one with the sign saying "If 1 John 4:16 then Mark 10:9. Q.E.D."

All the loving and long lasting couples and all their supporters make an eloquent plea against forcible divorce, which is a concept so self-indulgently sadistic that I wonder how Ken Starr or his backers can sleep at night.

Hat tip to Joe.My.God.

Best comment on PoMo EVAR

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Recommendation FAIL

So y'all, I intended to use this post to introduce The Non-Adventures of Wonderella (which I am clearly still doing) but sadly there are no buttons or banners or suchlike with which to give a preview. So um, go look for yourself?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Get thee to a nunnery?

In a perfect world (perfectly lazy world, I suppose) I would not nothing but read and watch TV, and knit and cross-stitch. I have the heavily romanticized idea that this is what it would be like to be a nun.


I don't mind work, but the whole existential, making-something-of-myself deal is harshing my cross-stitch buzz.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas All Over Again

Here's my favourites. Bring it, mall muzak!

"Merry Christmas Baby" - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

"I Saw Three Ships" - Sting

"Christmas Song" - Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds

"Please Come Home For Christmas" - Jon Bon Jovi

"Christmas All Over Again" - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

"Christmas Day" - Dido

"Song for a Winter's Night" - Sarah McLachlan

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - The Pointer Sisters

"Ave Maria" - Pavarotti

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" - John And Yoko

"Mele Kalikimaka" - The Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Vic Schoen

"Silver Bells" - Stevie Wonder

"Santa Baby" - Madonna

"All I Want for Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey

"Blue Christmas" - Elvis Presley

"Feliz Navidad" - José Feliciano

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" - Johnny Mathis

"(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays" - Perry Como

"Last Christmas" - Wham!

"Silent Night, Holy Night" - Mahalia Jackson

"Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" - David Bowie and Bing Crosby

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee

"River" - Robert Downey Jr. or Sarah McLachlan

"What Christmas Means to Me" - Stevie Wonder

"Chanukah Song" - Adam Sandler

"Hey Santa" - Bowser & Blue

"Merry Fucking Christmas" - South Park

"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting) - Nat King Cole

"Walkin' Round in Women's Underware" - Bob Rivers

"Winter Wonderland" - Eurythmics or Dolly Parton


"Huron Carol"

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

"I'll Be Home for Christmas"

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

"What Child Is This?"

"Mary's Boy Child"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Phrase of the YEAR

Care of How I Met Your Mother:


For example:

Barney: [To Ted] Do you have some puritanical hang up on prostitution? Dude, it’s the world’s oldest profession.

Marshall: Do you really think that’s true?

Barney: Oh yeah, I bet even Cro-Magnons used to give cave hookers an extra fish for putting out.

Marshall: Ah ha, so the oldest profession would be fishermen. Kaboom! You’ve been lawyered!


Barney: That’s adorable Ted. You’re such a hayseed. The companionship business is the growth industry of the 21st century. You do realize that 1 out of every 8 adult women in America is a prostitute.

Marshall: Dude you just made that up.

Barney: Withdrawn.

Marshall: Lawyered!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Big brother's listening, eh?

NDP considers legal action after Tories listen in and tape private meeting

"The NDP says it may pursue criminal charges after the Conservatives covertly listened in, taped and distributed audio of a closed-door NDP strategy session."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sign your donor cards

This is the website of a family friend who is participating in a live liver donation to another family friend:


And here is a breakdown of religious attitudes to donation.

And here are some FAQs from the Trillium Gift of Life website (which is here: http://www.giftoflife.on.ca)

Why should I donate my organs and tissue?

Your decision to donate could save a life. There is a chronic shortage of organs and tissue in Ontario and the need for organs and tissue continues to outweigh their availability. More than 1,700 Ontarians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and many others are waiting for a tissue transplant.

If I have indicated my decision for organ donation, will everything be done to save my life?

The first and foremost concern for healthcare professionals caring for critically ill patients is to do everything possible to save lives. The possibility of donation is only considered when all lifesaving efforts have failed. The health care professional teams responsible for supporting donation are separate and independent from the health care professional teams responsible for transplantation.

When does organ and tissue donation become an option?

Living organ donation may be an option for a healthy adult who has a family member or close friend in need of a kidney, liver, lung or small bowel transplant. With living donation, a kidney or portion of the liver, lung or small bowel is removed from the donor and transplanted into the patient in need of a new organ.

Deceased organ donation can take place when someone has been declared brain dead, a doctor has determined the organs can be used for transplant, and loved ones opt to artificially maintain vital organs by ventilator to keep them suitable for transplant. This type of donation is referred to as donation after neurological determination of death.

Another option for donation is organ donation after cardiac death (DCD). DCD offers families the option of donation in cases where neurological criteria for death have not been met, and the decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatment has been made. A DCD patient has no hope of survival or meaningful functional status, but does not meet brain death criteria. In Europe and the United States, DCD has been an option for families for over thirty years. In Ontario, the option of organ donation after cardiac death will be piloted in select hospitals over the next year.

Tissue donation can take place in most cases when someone has died, as long as the tissue is determined suitable for transplant by a doctor. With tissue donation, there is no need for blood flow to be maintained by artificial ventilation after death.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In Defence of Asqa Parvez, Part II

Hat-tip to Facebook, care of KB

Don’t Believe the Hype!!! Call to Action against Toronto Life’s Misrepresentation of Aqsa’s Parvez’s Murder

Join Us in Calling Toronto Life on their Misrepresentation of Aqsa Parvez’s Murder

The December 2008 edition of Toronto Life features the story of Aqsa Parvez, a young Muslim girl who was killed in her home in Mississauga last winter (http://www.torontolife.com/features/girl-interrupted/).

While featuring Aqsa’s story is recognition of a young woman’s life cut tragically short, the Toronto Life article perpetuates common stereotypes about Muslim and immigrant communities, diverting attention from the urgent issue of violence against women across Canada.
On Tuesday November 11th, join us in a “Don’t’ Believe the Hype” Campaign! We are asking you to raise your voice on the important issue of violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia.

Get Involved in Three Ways!!

1) EMAIL or PHONE Toronto Life Editor in Chief, Sarah Fulford.

Once you do that, call up five of your friends and get them to do the same. You can reach Ms. Fulford at 416-364-3333 ext 3063, editor@torontolife.com or letters@torontolife.com

WHEN? Between 9am – 9pm on Tuesday November 11th (If that doesn't work for you, anytime is better than never!)

WHY? Violence against women, racism, and Islamophobia are issues that affect all of us in diverse and important ways. Join us in voicing your concerns and helping to call attention to misrepresentations that are all too common in our media

WHAT TO EXPECT? This number 416-364-3333 ext 3063 will take you directly to Sarah Fulford’s office, where her assistant will either pick up, or you will be put through to her assistant's voicemail. You can leave a personal message or voicemail recording for her assistant to pass on to Ms. Fulford.

WHAT TO SAY? Identify who you are and where you are from. State that you are leaving a message for the Sarah Fulford, Editor In Chief and express your dismay with the article on Aqsa Parvez. Bonus Points: Talk about a personal experience that proves to you why addressing this issue is so important and urgent.

Here are a couple of talking points about the article that may help. Feel free to use them directly or make up your own:

1) Aqsa’s murder must be looked at through the larger context of violence against women in Canada. The problem is not limited to any one community or religious faith.

2) The article calls Aqsa’s murder “Toronto’s first honour killing”. Approximately 25 women a year are murdered in incidents of domestic violence. The use of the term "honour killing" is an attempt to sensationalize the situation by invoking common stereotypes about the prevalence of "honour killings" among South Asian Muslim families, thereby suggesting that domestic violence is not occurring at alarming rates across Canada. Instead, we should be working to end violence against all women.

3) The article associates Muslim religiousity with a tendency towards violence. In other words, the more religious a Muslim is, the more likely s/he is to engage in this type of violence. This is false and based on Islamophobic stereotyping.

4) The question, “Has multiculturalism gone too far?” suggests that Muslims and immigrants are threats to Canadian society, rather than contributing members to Canadian society. The idea that “our” tolerance or respect for cultural diversity has let “them” continue their oppressive and dangerous behaviours is not only based on racist and Islamophobic stereotyping of diverse Muslim and immigrant communities, but also ignores the ongoing racism that exists in Canada despite our public commitment to multiculturalism.

5) The focus should be on violence against women, not hijab. The article sets up a false dichotomy between Muslim women who wear the hijab as oppressed and Muslim women who do not wear the hijab as liberated. Furthermore, it reinforces the idea that all young girls want the same things, completely ignoring the diversity and richness of Muslim women's voices and lived experiences.


On Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM at YWCA located at 80 Woodlawn Avenue East, Main Lounge. Panelists include representatives of: Muslim Young Women, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children, Urban Alliance on Race Relations. For more information contact
416-703-6607 x 3


It is a grassroots zine that is open to all 13-35 year old young women who self-identify as Muslim. This issue’s theme is self-defense and resistance. It is a creative avenue for us to express ourselves, share our own experiences, and connect with others. Submissions deadline is December 1, 2008. aqsazine@gmail.com Blog: aqsazine.blogspot.com

In Defence of Aqsa Parvez, Part I

This month's issue of Toronto Life is dedicated to immigration issues. Obviously, this is something that caught my eye, and I was excited to see what the magazine had to offer on the subject.

"Minority Report" is the name of the feature, and it covers a number of immigration-related issues, including an article on the growth of unusual tropical diseases in Toronto due to the immigrant population ("Sickness and the City") and a profile of the rapper K'naan ("The Prince of Little Mogadishu").

But what I read first--and what prompts me to raise my head up out of the fog of articling to post this--is the first article I read, "Girl, Interrupted" by Mary Rogan. The article is about Aqsa Parvez, a Grade-11 student in Mississauga who was killed by her father in December 2007. Her murder seems to have been due to her rebellion against her family, including her refusal to wear hijab.

Now, full disclosure: I am firmly W.A.S.P. in background, so this is definitely an outsider's perspective. But personally, I found the article disturbing, deeply so, in that gets-under-your-skin-and-bothers-you-but-you're-not-immediately-sure-why way. At the end of the day, my conclusions are that the article both legitimizes the Islamophobia that makes the hijab such a hot-button issue, and supports the patriarchal authoritarianism that is the source of so much genuine harm in many faith- or culturally-based communities, of whatever type.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Another E-Mail Forward

A Letter to the Editor (excellent letter),

So many letter writers have explained how this land is made up of immigrants. May be we should turn to our history books and point out to people why today's Canadian is not willing to accept the new kind of immigrant any longer. 

Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to  Canada, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in Halifax and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new Canadian households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home. They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. 

Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labour laws to protect them. All they had were the skills, craftsmanship and desire they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity. 

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. Canadians fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany , Italy, France, Japan , Czechoslovakia , Russia,  Sweden, Poland and so many other places. None of these first generation Canadians ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Canadians fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of  Japan. They were defending the Freedom as one people. When we liberated  France, no-one in those villages was looking for the Ukrainian-Canadian or the German-Canadian or the Irish-Canadian.

The people of  France saw only Canadians. 

And we carried one flag that represented our country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be a Canadian. They stirred the melting pot into one red and white bowl. 

And here we are in 2008 with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes a Canadian passport and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being a Canadian is all about. Canadians have been very open-hearted and open- minded regarding immigrants, whether they were fleeing poverty, dictatorship, persecution, or whatever else makes us think of those aforementioned immigrants who truly did ADOPT our country, and our flag and our morals and our customs. And left their wars, hatred, and divisions behind. I believe that the immigrants who landed in Canada in the early 1900s deserve better than that for the toil, hard work and sacrifice those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags, fighting foreign battles on our soil, making Canadians change to suit their religions and cultures, and wanting to change our countries fabric by claiming discrimination when we do not give in to their demands. 

Its about time we get real and stand up for our forefathers rights, we are CANADIAN Lest we forget it!!! I am a Native of this Country & proud of it!

NO MORE not saying CHRISTMAS in stores and our schools, Seasonal  Holiday be dammed!!!   

I Want my  Canada of birth BACK !!!                


Hope this letter is read by millions of people all across  Canada!!

Okay, first problem:

Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to  Canada, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in Halifax and be documented.

Immigration in Canada had a peak in the early 1900s, but it's nothing compared to the rates now.

As for the language thing, I would like to respond with this xkcd:

It's a constant flaw in anti-immigration (and frankly, pro-immigration) debates to cast the yesteryear of immigration as some sort of paradise of perfect integration and people giving up their national identities to buy in to some great ideology of Canada.

THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED, PEOPLE. The Anglophones and the Francophones have never gotten along together. The English, Irish, and Scottish have never gotten along. The Catholics and Protestants haven't. The various types of Protestants haven't. See, e.g.: http://www.hopesite.ca/remember/history/racism_canada_1.html.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Oh sure, you can trust the government

Corrections minister apologizes to inmate jailed too long

Kyle Dufresne, 19, who's from the Joseph Bighead First Nation, was sentenced to serve a month and a half in jail for breaching his probation.

Instead, Dufresne spent an extra 4½ months in jail in Meadow Lake, Prince Albert and Regina.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Rock the Strategic Vote

Go visit http://www.voteforenvironment.ca/

This online gem allows you to plug in a postal code and receive an analysis of whether your riding needs the boost of strategic voting to oust Harper's Conservatives, or whether the riding is so firmly ABC* that you can vote your heart.

Personally, I'm an avid ABC-ist, to the point that Jack Layton's ads make me cringe. The NDP will never form a national government, and when they try, and I mean alienate-CAW-and-demonize-Dion try, they practically guarantee vote-splitting and a resulting Conservative win. Unless you own stock in sweater-vests, this is bad.

So, why do I dislike Harper? It's not just because I'm generally a pro-choice, pro-same-sex-marriage, pro-social programs lefty. I didn't agree with the old Progressive Conservatives, but I didn't dislike them.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released The Harper Record, a look at some of our great leader's moves since he's been in office. The Scandalpedia is also an excellent reminder of why we need a change in government.

For a look at the Harper Conservatives' less-then-stellar economic record, check out this article from CUPE.

Personally I'm horrified that a man/cabinet/party which tried to subvert the Constitution might become Prime Minister again. Even after a succession of courts ruled that same-sex marriage was covered by the Charter, Harper's party put forward a motion--thankfully, defeated--to re-open the issue, and re-instate the law making same-sex marriage illegal.

In fact, the election itself has been called in defiance of Harper's own law setting a fixed election date for next year!

So, to recap: Harper is a liar and a hypocrite. He's anti-arts, anti-environment, anti-women's rights, anti-human rights, and anti-rule of law. Even if he were going to save us all a few hundred a year in taxes--which he is NOT--it would hardly be worth the risk of losing the rights and protections for which stand.

* Anything But Conservative. Also check out:
The Straight slate to stop Stephen Harper

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ringtones and bad news

I have to admit, while I appreciate the sentiment, I don't do this. So far, my top ringtones (in order of listener appreciation) are:

  1. Muppet Show Theme
  2. "Who Are You"/CSI Theme
  3. Law and Order Theme

The last two are obviously job related.

But here's a hint for those still in law school: if you have a sufficiently clever/interesting ringtone, you may avoid getting into trouble when your phone rings in class.

And now the bad news:

CBC Reports: Conservative lead widens, poll suggests

What the hell, people? Is everyone suddenly swayed by those noxious sweater-vest ads? Are we seriously considering voting in a party and leader that has spent the last two terms blithely trampling on the environment and human rights? Are we still going to have our Bush even after the US has gotten rid of theirs? Harper is literally the most hypocritical politician I have ever been exposed to, and no one else seems to mind? Gaah.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


So, it's been a month since I started articling (insert shocked expletive here) and while I love it, it's cut into my other activities. Like eating, and sleeping, and oh yes, blogging. Yesterday I had an unscheduled, migraine-induced 24-hour sleep-a-thon.

But it's not all bad news. I really do enjoy it, except when I'm verging on hysterical screaming fits at the next person who asks me to do something. I've attended hearings, visited prison, written first drafts of important documents, and filed things in court. I'm doing important work, and I'm learning, and I like the people I work with.

But I will try to get on here more often, and Law Is Cool too. Promise.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah's Home for Old Pets

Is there such a thing as palliative care for cats?

I ask because it seems the shelters and Humane Society are always full of older cats. And I would have no problem adopting them, except I wouldn't be able to afford big vet bills. But surely living out the last four or five years with a loving owner and being put down when it got sick is a better fate than living in a cage and being put down NOW because no one adopts it?

Pets: they're all furry cuteness and ethical dilemmas.

Explain this to me II:Yes, another puppy

This one has been there for a few days. What is wrong with people? I can understand being wary of adopting dogs who are behaviourally difficult (by breed or individual temperament) so while I feel bad about it, I get why all the Staffordshires and bulldog mixes and whatall rarely get adopted. But these are young, small dogs. City dogs. APARTMENT dogs, even. It boggles the mind.

I am an unaltered female, gold and silver Yorkshire Terrier mix.
I am estimated to be about 1 year and 1 month old.
I am currently available for adoption.
This information is less than 1 hour old.

For more information about this animal, visit:
Toronto Humane Society
Ask for information about animal ID number: A126354

Explain this to me

How  is this dog still not adopted? In fact, how was she there long enough to make it up on the website?

TEDDY - ID#A124873
I am an unaltered female, brown English Cocker Spaniel.
I am estimated to be about 8 months old.
I am currently available for adoption.
This information is less than 1 hour old.

For more information about this animal, visit:
Toronto Humane Society
Ask for information about animal ID number: A124873

Sunday, August 10, 2008

If you stay up till 4am, you get to hear explosions

I heard something thunderish at 4am today, and then again shortly thereafter. I scoured to local news sites, but saw nothing, and given the weather, thought maybe weird thunder? But in fact: Massive fire at Toronto propane depot forces thousands to flee (CBC News)

If the condo I'm cat-sitting at didn't face east, I'd probably have figured it out. Still, freaky.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Avena/Medellín Update

(Via International Law Reporter)

José Ernesto Medellín (the subject of International Court of Justice Cases) is scheduled to be executed today at 6pm in Texas. In the flurry of briefs surrounding Medellín petition for writ of certiorari, the state of Texas made the following concession:

[S]ome defendants currently incarcerated in Texas and subject to Avena may not have received "review and reconsideration" of their claims of prejudice under the Vienna Convention on the merits. Accordingly, and as an act of comity, if any such individual should seek review in a future federal habeas proceeding, the State of Texas will not only not refrain from objecting, but will join the defense in asking the reviewing court to address the claim of prejudice on the merits, as courts have done for Medellín.

While their willingness to abide by international law and presidential recommendation is a positive change, the bargaining strategy they seem to be employing here is perplexing. "We promise we won't illegally execute anyone else, if you just let us execute this guy."

For more information:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Quotable DEXTER

"There's something strange and disarming about looking at a homicide scene in the daylight of Miami. It makes the most grotesque killings look staged, like you're in a new and daring section of Disney World: Dahmerland!" -- S01E01 "Dexter"

"Needless to say I have some unusual habits, yet all these socially acceptable people can't wait to pick up hammers and smash their food to bits. Normal people are so hostile."-- S01E01 "Dexter"

"The only real question I have is why in a building full of cops, all supposedly with a keen insight to the human soul, is Doakes the only one who gets the creeps from me?" -- S01E01 "Dexter"

"The problem with eating and driving, which I love to do, is not being able to employ the 10-2 hand position on the wheel. It's a matter of public safety. But there's always a sacrifice." -- S01E01 "Dexter"

"I can kill a man, dismember his body, and be home in time for Letterman. But knowing what to say when my girlfriend's feeling insecure ... I'm totally lost" -- S01E02 "Crocodile"

“Her husband’s a crack head and her boyfriend's a serial killer ... it’s kind of hard not to take that personally.” -- Season 1


Deb: The Bay Harbor Butcher is one of our own.
Lundy: We keep this to ourselves for now. Just the three of us.
Angel: Well I'm gonna go tell it to a bottle of scotch.

-- Season 2

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In which I am glad to have high-speed internets

From the minds who brought you "This Land is Your Land" in 2004:


And another treat:

Passover goes Hip Hop in JibJab's illin'est music video! Just because you don't recognize Jesus as your personal savior doesn't mean you don't recognize phat rhyme when you hear it. L'chaim, G-money!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


To my huge honour and delight, I have been invited to join the crew at Law Is Cool. I'll still be posting here, but I'll be crossposting anything law-related there as well. If you don't already, I encourage you to read it. And I'm not just saying that out of shameless self-promotion, either. smile_wink

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In which South Dakota neo-cons butcher free speech, proving the NYT wrong


In June 2008, the New York Times published this article: "Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech" by Adam Liptak. In the article (which caused a big todo in Canada, since we were mentioned! In the New York Times! Above the fold!), Liptak takes exception to the BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing of a complaint against Maclean's.

My fellow blawgers at Law Is Cool have been more on top of this than I, and have posted some background info. I have been reticent to comment because I'm of two minds on the issue. Not the case, so much, because I think Stein is an Islamophobe and basically a jerk, and I have long despaired of Maclean's practicing fair and balanced journalism, but the issue of hate speech versus censorship is one I find very troubling.

To quote Liptak, "In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence."

Indeed, the threshold for making speech illegal is that it provokes imminent violence. "Mere advocacy of violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government is not enough; the words must be meant to and be likely to produce violence or lawlessness right away."

Liptak also quotes Jason Gratl, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Journalists: 

“Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech,” Mr. Gratl said in a telephone interview. “We don’t subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.”

Update, South Dakota

Nearly a month after the Liptak article, this particularly disturbing article comes into my RSS feeder: "Telling Doctors What To Think: South Dakota's unbelievable new abortion law", by Emily Bazelon.

Once again, South Dakota anti-choice lobbyists are working to overturn Roe v. Wade by passing a law to seriously limit abortions. Their attempts to outlaw it entirely having failed, they have a new strategy, and it works like this:

Q. How do we convince doctors to tell patients that abortion is murder?

A. Pass a law forcing them to say that abortion is ending the life of a person!

Q. But Roe v. Wade ruled that a fetus is not a "person", so how can we circumvent that?

A. Use the phrase "human being" instead!

Q. What if someone argues that "human being" and "person" mean the same thing?

A. Define it in the legislation! That makes it true!

The truly appalling thing is that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that forcing doctors to say:

that "the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being," and that they have "an existing relationship with that unborn human being" that is constitutionally protected. (What does the constitutionally protected part mean? Who knows.)

is not a violation of the right to free speech.

One of these things is not like the other

What South Dakota (and, apparently, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal) fails to realize is that Tautology is a rhetorical and logical failure, not a legal doctrine to be followed. The narrow-mindedness is underlined by this choice quote:

"The bottom line is if the state Legislature orders a professional to tell the truth, that's not a violation of the First Amendment," said South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long, who is defending the law in court.

Apparently, South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long is unaware that "the truth" is an objective fact, not (a) what he personally believes, nor (b) what the legislatures drafts in the definitions sections of a statute. The appeal to authority is another logical fallacy which runs rampant all over this case.

Doesn't this seem to run counter to Adam Liptak's (and other's) panegyric to the Great American First Amendment? Sure, in America you can say hateful, distasteful, horrible things until your dying breath, and there you are protected by the Constitution. But woe betide doctors who would prefer not to lie to their patients, when the South Dakota legislature has decreed that "abortion is murder" is an Absolute Truth...even when everyone knows it's not.

Friday, July 11, 2008

ICC to charge Sudanese Prez with genocide: no, seriously!

From MSNBC/WaPo, via Opinio Juris:

The chief prosecutor of the Internationals Criminal Court will seek an arrest warrant Monday for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity in the orchestration of a campaign of violence that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the nation's Darfur region during the past five years...


The violence in Darfur began in February 2003 when two rebel groups attacked Sudan's Islamic government, claiming a pattern of bias against the region's black African tribes. Khartoum organized a local Arab militia, known as the Janjaweed, and conducted a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that has left more than 300,000 people dead and has driven more than 2 million more from their homes. The Bush administration accused the government of genocide.

I guess people are going to have to stop accusing Luis Moreno-Ocampo of pussy-footing around. Of course, there's always a chance the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber won't issue the warrant, but I doubt the prosecutor would go forward on such a contentious issue without a rock-solid case.

There are concerns that this move by the ICC will jeopardize the UN and African Union peacekeepers already in the area, but since the government appears actively hostile to them anyway, I'd say it's not a big enough risk to change anybody's mind in the Hague.

The Beeb offers this overview of the Darfur situation: Q&A: Sudan's Darfur conflict.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

In which the Federal Court surprises me...pleasantly!...with new US deserter decision

U.S. deserter could qualify as refugee: court (CBC)

Joshua Key is one of multiple US military deserters who have come to Canada. Several of them have unsuccessfully claimed refugee status.

I'm of two minds about these cases. On the one hand, I think we regularly deny/deport more deserving claimants. These people just don't rank extremely high on my righteous-indignationometre. On the other hand, the Refugee Board and the courts have refused to consider key legal issues in the cases, such as whether the war in Iraq is illegal and therefore being forced to participate in it would constitute persecution. Instead, these central issues have been brushed off as irrelevant and outside the jurisdiction of refugee law, which I find hypocritical. Under international law, participants in illegal military actions could be prosecuted for participation. Logic suggests that if we would prosecute someone for doing something, then we should not condone his government for forcing him to do that same thing.

Of course, logic and international law...even "law" and international law...are often at odds.

The gist of the ruling:

[Federal Court Justice Robert] Barnes said the board erred “by concluding that refugee protection for military deserters and evaders is only available where the conduct objected to amounts to a war crime, a crime against peace or a crime against humanity."

Citing a case from the U.S. Federal Court of Appeal, Barnes said officially condoned military misconduct could still support a refugee claim, even if it falls short of a war crime.

"The authorities indicate that military action which systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates either combatants or non-combatants is capable of supporting a refugee claim where that is the proven reason for refusing to serve," Barnes wrote.

Barnes said the board imposed a legal standard that was "too restrictive" on Key, who lives in Saskatchewan.

While I would not be surprised to see this appealed and superior courts to cop out, I am delighted to see this decision conforming with the internationally agreed-upon rules and standards we claim to live by in Canada.

Also via CBC, some of the others:

Also interesting: the House of Commons--yes, that's right, the organ of representative democracy in this country--passed a motion to allow the deserters to remain in Canada. However, it was a non-binding motion, and the government kiboshed it. See this? This is my shocked face.

Friday, July 04, 2008

I'd really appreciate it if you stopped using the term "abortionist"...how about "doctor"?

Par example:

Abortionist Henry Morgentaler's Order of Canada should be revoked to preserve the dignity of the now-tarnished award, an angry Calgary Roman Catholic Bishop Fred Henry said yesterday. ("Bishop wants honour stripped", Bill Kaufman, Sun Media)


"Order of Canada for abortionist" (headline, Peterborough Examiner)

NOT that it's technically incorrect. Dr. Henry Morgentaler, recent recipient of the Order of Canada, does perform abortions.

But that's not why he's being honoured, per se. It's not like he has the most abortions under his belt, so clearly he should get the award. It's because he fought for women's right to control their own reproductive health. Now, my stance on abortion has been seen by some (radical feminists) as conservative.[1] But I don't think you have to share Morgentaler's cause to admire his courage or integrity.

Also, doesn't "abortionist" sound like some horrifying religion where one actually worships abortions?

So let's try "doctor" shall we, or perhaps even "pro-choice activist" as opposed to a fully loaded term used to denigrate, rather than describe.


[1] I'm pro-choice, however I think that women in equal relationships have an ethical (not legal) duty to inform the father, and that a father who is willing to raise the child should have a chance to make a case for not aborting--a fairly heretical idea to some.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In which I have another reason the be peeved at the US "justice" system

Before I even get to the articles there are some problems.

First, clearly, the court could hear Arar's case if it was so inclined. I am willing to admit that there may be a microscopically small range of instances where a government may be justified in screwing someone over on the grounds of national security, but I am awfully tired of the "Aw shucks, there were nuthin' I could do" attitude when they do so. This is not only a criticism of the United States (although they are major offenders). The least you could do is to own the fact that your national security trumped an individual's fundamental rights. If you truly were justified in your actions, the analysis will show that the choice--and it is always a choice--was the correct one (or at least a reasonable one).

Second, "alleged" rendition victim? "Alleged"? Here are some sunglasses, Denver Post--your eyes must be light-sensitive from so many years living in that cave.

Now, here's my concern with the actual substance of the decision: "...Arar, as a foreigner who had not been formally admitted to the U.S., had no constitutional due process rights." (CBC) If you read "constitutional due process rights" to mean "dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's of procedural niceties", then yeah, like it or lump it, these have never been available to non-legal residents of any country. Traditionally, for political reasons, one would try not to mistreat the nationals of other states who were transiting through.

On the other hand, if you read "constitutional due process rights" to mean "not imprison someone, hide them from their own consulate, and then without warning ship them off to a hole in the desert to be tortured and mistreated for months" then generally speaking this is considered dirty pool regardless of the person's nationality.

That's why HUMAN Rights and CIVIL Rights are two different things.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Makeover makeover, makeover makeover, MAKEOVER!

I have done a wee little bit of juggling of my layout. You will now find the Caveat Lector, Tags, and Archive at the bottom of the page. Also, I have converted my clumsy link lists into snazzy new blogrolls, except where it's a more-or-less static page. Still toying around with some things though.

In other not-news, I've been looking at the possibility of grad school. Oh, the horror. It'll cost an arm and a leg, and I won't be making that kind of money right out of school. Also, since I'm articling at a small firm, I'm hardly guaranteed a position right out of articling. And as far as hanging up my own slate goes, well, I'd rather be punched in the face.

I figure I should use my articling year to bone up on any other areas of law I'm interested in. Landlord tenant for one, maybe wrongful dismissal, disability. It's not so much the money (although I do need health benefits) as the security, so I know I can start putting away money.

Ideally, if I could just be an RA or a GA or a Law Journal staffer for the rest of my life, that would work out nicely.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Extremely long time no blog/News Roundup

My apologies, as I've been caught up in the Bar Ads Course/Convocation whirlwind.

Let's peruse the news, shall we?

Plutonium spill in Boulder, Colorado has spread (via Boing Boing)
Generally I'm skeptical of anti-nuclear fear-mongering, but I have to say I'm glad I don't live in Boulder this week. Notably, the plutonium was from a lab and not a power station. Also notably, Wikipedia states that plutonium is less toxic than a lot of things, and is in fact on par with lead.

Law 'to change' on witness rules (via BBC News)
The UK Government is flipping right out over a House of Lords ruling that quashed a conviction obtained through the use of anonymous evidence (Law Lords ruling is here). This is a no-win situation, of course: it is a foundational principle of the rule of law that one should be able to face one's accusers, but this allows witnesses to be intimidated out of giving their testimony. Actually, this reminds me of what we covered last week in the LSUC Skills and Professional Responsibility course, namely, positional versus interest-based bargaining. Not, the position would be that anonymous witnesses contravene the accused's right to a fair trial, and therefore should never be allowed. However, the interest behind that position is (a) to ensure that the witness is cross examined, and (b) to ensure a proper cross-examination to the witness, to divulge any conflict of interest (e.g., the witness has a hate on for the accused). I would think that proper weighting of testimony and judicial scrutiny of the potential anonymous witness would compensate the defence for whatever prejudice the anonymous witness caused. But then, I haven't read the full decision yet...

Paying off a debt with a daughter (via BBC News)
Afghan farmers have been forced to sell their own children to ward off debt collection, since their traditional crop of poppies has become illegal (and the illegality enforced). While the international heroin trade is obviously of major concern, you'd think that it would occur to someone that morphine is still widely used in medical situations (and is, in fact, under-distributed in many countries) and that a properly regulated poppy crop is what Afghanistan really needs. Poppies are apparently the ideal crop for the terrain, climate, and labour structure. Instead, farmers are joining the Taliban for the wages, in order to feed their families. Awesome.

And in not-exactly-news news, an excellent post by John Scalzi: Where It Began.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

In which I am in agreement with Kung Fu Monkey

John Rogers of Kung Fu Monkey has an excellent post on the myriad problems of supporting Clinton qua female candidate. Would it have been awesome to have a female president? Yeah, I guess so... (I am honestly not fashed by the lack of women world leaders--as long as the numbers continue to increase and not backslide, I can think of a dozen good reasons for it, like oh say, men can't have babies yet and they throw a wrench into ones career, or maybe the fact that world leaders are baby boomers and thus one of the first generations to take sexual equality seriously ... these thing do take time to work out, you know).

But Clinton went nuts. Yes, women in the public spotlight are held up to harsher standards (Belinda Stronach, anyone?) ... but Clinton went mental. Excuse me for being so terribly post-feminist here (some, I realize, would say naive) but honestly people, how much respect have women "earned" if we support, en masse, a lesser candidate just because she shares our chromosomes?

Friday, May 30, 2008

In which Islamophobia now applies to Rachel Ray

First, the headline: "US chain drops 'terror scarf' ad"

The BBC reports that Dunkin Donuts has dropped an online ad featuring Rachel Ray (pictured below, in an AP photo via BBC) because she is--wait for it--wearing a "terrorist scarf".

She was wearing a black-and-white checked scarf around her neck that resembled a traditional Arab keffiyeh.

This fashion choice incensed at least one prominent conservative blogger, who said it evoked extremist videos.

The blogger, Michelle Malkin, called the garment "a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos".


"Fashion statements may seem insignificant, but when they lead to the mainstreaming of violence - unintentionally or not - they matter," Ms Malkin has written.

Malkin's bald-faced lunacy can be read here: "Of donuts and dumb celebrities" and "The keffiyeh kerfuffle". She actually calls it--wait for it--"hate couture". Somebody typed the words "hate couture" and meant them seriously!

Wikipedia has a good article on the Keffiyeh--both as a symbol and, oh yeah, a traditional and practical accessory all over the Muslim world, and outside it too. (British soldiers wear it, clearly in support of terrorism.)

By this logic, the following items are now clearly supportive of terrorism:

  • Balaclavas
  • Arabic writing
  • Urdu writing
  • Olive green
  • White
  • Black
  • Khaki
  • Vests
  • Cargo pants
  • Jackets
  • Orange
  • Banners
  • Standard military camouflage (woodland version)
  • Turbans
  • Facial hair
  • Appearing on videotape

Nice job, Captain Crazypants. I feel much safer, now that I can identify my enemy. Of course, it appears that my enemy is just about everyone...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In which I discover something fabulous, that's not studying for the bar exams

Okay so, newsflash, I love me some criminal procedurals. I also love me some sci-fi. And I have discovered a treasury of both!

Shadow Unit is an episodic series of stories, strongly reminiscent of Criminal Minds but with an oogedy-boogedy component. To quote the site:

The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit hunts humanity's nightmares. But there are nightmares humanity doesn't dream are real.

The Behavioral Analysis Unit sends those cases down the hall.

Welcome to Shadow Unit.

AWESOME. I have read two episodes so far and je suis une admiratrice.

Monday, May 26, 2008

TORONTO STAR briefly confuses CHILDREN OF MEN with reality

In an editorial, New use for old schools, the Toronto Star makes this statement:

School boards across Ontario have been watching their enrolments fall for years as a result of rapidly declining fertility rates. That, in turn, has led to half-empty facilities and painful decisions about school closings.

Now, I know "fertility rate" can technically refer to birth rate, rather than, say, actual fertility rate (i.e. the extent to which a population could have children if it chose to maximize, as opposed to the amount it chooses to have--which is maddening, by the way, I hate it when terms don't mean what they plainly mean). Nonetheless, I find its use in place of "birthrate" to connote an Apocalyptic decline of the species, which I'm sure was unintended in an article about use of public property.

Apparently "fecundity" has replaced "fertility"? Or did "fertile" slip into "fecund" and is now slipping back? According to Merriam Webster, they can both mean both productive or potentially productive. Maybe I'm just irrationally prejudiced against "fecund" because, well let's face it, it's sort of an ugly word.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quotable FIREFLY

Episode 1 & 2: "Serenity"

Shepherd Book, to trained courtesan Inara: "I brought you some supper but if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped...sin and hellfire... one has lepers."


Jayne: "Testing, testing. Captain, can you hear me?"
Mal: "I'm standing right here."
Jayne: "You're coming through good and loud."
Mal: " 'Cause I'm standing right here."


Episode 3: "The Train Job"

Mal: "Well they tell you: never hit a man with a closed fist. But it is, on occasion, hilarious."


Mal: "And Kaylee, what the hell's goin' on in the engine room? Were there monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose?"


Jayne: "Do you know what the chain of command is here? It's the chain I go get and beat you with to show you who's in command."


Episode 4: "Bushwhacked"

Harrow: "I know him. And I think he's a psychotic lowlife."

Mal: "And I think calling him that is an insult to the psychotic lowlife community."


Inara: "Thank you for the wine. It's very... fresh."

Mal: "To Kaylee, and her inter-engine fermentation system.”


Episode 5: "Our Mrs. Reynolds"

Book: "If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."


Mal: "I would appreciate it if one person on this boat would not assume I'm an evil, lecherous hump."

Zoe: "No one's saying that, sir."

Wash: "Yeah, we're pretty much just giving each other significant glances and laughing incessantly."


Episode 6: "Jaynestown"

Book: "What are we up to, sweetheart?"

River: "Fixing your Bible."

Book: "I, um...(alarmed)...what?"

River: "Bible's broken. Contradictions, false logistics - doesn't make sense." (she's marked up the bible, crossed out passages)

Book: "No, no. You - you can't...

River: "So we'll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God's creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah's ark is a problem."

Book: "Really?"

River: "We'll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat." (rips out page)

(later) River: "I tore these out of your symbol and they turned into paper, but I wanna put them back, so..."


[River is hiding after seeing Shepherd Book without his hair tied back]
River: "You see, the snow on the roof is too heavy, you see, the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger."
Book: "River, please, why don't you come on out?"
River: "No! Can't. Too much hair."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

In which I try to argue tort law

Law Is Cool: “Dead fly in water bottle” case to be decided by Supreme Court tomorrow

Wait a tick, doesn’t fly in the face of the thin-skull rule? Either Mr. Mustapha was reasonable in his reaction, and the basic nervous shock doctrine applies, or he was unreasonable due to a pre-existing “obsessive” personality. The tortfeasor must take the victim as he finds him.

I’m looking at Vorvis v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ([1989] 1 S.C.R. 1085) for this. Once some harm was foreseeable, the company should be liable for the whole thing.

I thing some harm is foreseeable from dead bugs in your water. Given that Culligan recruited Mr. Mustapha on the basis of the cleanliness of their water (”a representative of Culligan called on him and represented to him at length how pure and healthy Culligan water was, including how it would benefit pregnant women and children, and how much better it was for someone than city water.”) and that he had a contract with them for fifteen years … it just seems pretty reasonably foreseeable to me. But it’s not mentioned anywhere in any of the cases.

I hope the SCC will deal with it, since it’s implicated enough that it should be included in their discussion, and since it’d be nice to have some juicy POST-1980s case law on the subject. (crossposted)

Go read the rest of the comments too

Law Is Cool: Follow-up: SCC tosses “dead fly” appeal

I still think this analysis suffers GREATLY from a lack of discussion of the thin-skull rule, and here’s why: if the complainant was regular dude who reacted this way, then okay, unreasonable. But from what I can glean from the decision, he showed more than a few signs of OCD. His obsession with cleanliness was not only potentially pathological, but it was the vary trait to which Culligan marketed! Hence pre-existing condition, hence thin-skull application. I’m not saying it would have been successful, mind you, just that I’m disappointed it wasn’t argued.

Of course, the SCC seems to have been constrained by the lack of discussion in the lower courts, which implies to me that the issue wasn’t plead. Que sera, sera.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If I had a million dollars... (V)

I'd do this:


Grand Capitals of the Middle East

Small Group Touring 14 days from $4,049

14-day small-group escorted tour through Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, Amman, Jerash & Petra from $3999

Our 14-day small-group escorted tour in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon through Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, Amman, Jerash and Petra starts at $4049 and includes 26 meals, sightseeing and all on-tour transportation.
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Damascus, Hama, Aleppo, Palmyra, Baalbeck, Amman, Jerash, Ajlun, Petra, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Seriously? You're trying to demonize Romeo Dallaire? ... Seriously?

Full disclosure: I consider Dallaire a secular saint, which is to say I have a massive crush on him, and am in law school largely because of him and what happened to him in Rwanda, and I believe him to be an example of what makes Canada great.

So I'm am obviously put-off by the Conservative freak-out over his remarks that, by ignoring our obligations to Omar Khadr, we are sinking to the level of the terrorists we claim to be fighting.

Tory continues to attack Dallaire over Khadr (Toronto Star)

Dallaire says he didn't mean Canada is equal to al-Qaida (Canada.com)

Dallaire blasts Ottawa, U.S. over handling of Khadr case (Toronto Star)

'Child soldier' Khadr needs protection, Dallaire says (Globe and Mail)

BTC: My heavens, Romeo Dallaire said what? (Maclean's)

Okay, let's...once again...look at what was actually said, shall we? Except we don't know because we won't have access to transcripts for months and the minutes say nothing...so let's piece it together from the media.


“The minute you start playing with human rights, with conventions, with civil liberties, in order to say that you're doing it to protect yourself and you are going against those rights and conventions, you are no better than the guy who doesn't believe in them at all.”


“Is it your testimony that al-Qaeda strapping up a 14-year-old girl with Down's Syndrome and sending her into a pet market to be remotely detonated is the moral equivalent to Canada's not making extraordinary political efforts for a transfer of Omar Khadr to this country?” he asked. “Is that your position?” (He's referring here to a report that this happened which was disproved...a while ago.)


“If you want a black and white, and I'm only too prepared to give it to you, Absolutely,” he said. “You're either with the law or not with the law. You're either guilty or you're not.”

"You are not allowed to go against (international) conventions and if you do, you're going down the same road as those who absolutely don't believe (in the law)."

Dallaire never said "Canada = al-Qaeda"! Kenney said it, and Dallaire said basically "In this context, yeah," and then qualified what he said.

And guess what, sportsfans. I concur wholeheartedly. Canada has totally lost the moral high ground on this one -- not just lost, but pursued a burnt-earth policy, and for no apparent reason, either. The UK, official second banana of the Coalition, was good enough to retrieve its citizens and (eventually) legally resident non-citizens from Guantanamo. Note how they weren't punished for daring to counter the US.

My (nauseated) suspicion is that we don't want Khadr home because he's "not nice"; he fails to live up to the Canadian ideal of warm fluffiness. Gosh, he very well may have hurt someone!

What's sickening is our ability, as a nation, to turn our backs on someone because he makes us uncomfortable, and yet to feel little or no cognitive dissonance with the fact that by doing so we're thumbing our noses at our supposed commitment to the rule of law, human rights, and oh yes, basic human decency.

Newsflash: Omar Khadr was raised by a pro-Bin Laden family, in and around al-Qaeda and its supporters. He was brainwashed from birth. Then at 14, right around the time humans begin latching on to anything that might give them a sense of identity, he was thrust into working for militant in Afghanistan by his own father. He may have thrown a grenade that killed an American soldier. He was seriously wounded, almost executed, and shot in the back. Various reports suggest he was denied medical treatment as punishment, and that he was interrogated using illegal techniques. He was, at this point, 15.

There is no ambiguity about the fact that Khadr was a child soldier and should have been treated as such, The fact that his "trial" is only proceeding now, when he is 21, is not his fault and I fail to see a single reason for the continued flaunting of international and domestic law that the US and Canada are indulging in here. Bottom line: Dallaire was right.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In which whackadoo Islamaphobia is even more prevalent than I thought

From Joe.My.God.: Project Dumbway

 NYC-based fashion designer Doron Braunschtein has launched a line of "Jews Against Obama" shirts. From his press release:

“I am a true anti-Obama New York Jew. The word on the street is that New York Jews will vote for McCain anyhow. The majority of the Jews - at least the ones that are proud of their religion and practice it - like me, don’t want to see Obama- a man who’s middle name is Hussein, and his family from his Kenyan father’s side is Muslim, as the leader of this great country. More than that, after Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, honored Louis Farrakhan- definitely one of the most racist and anti-Semitic people alive - Obama lost us Jews totally. That made me start this political movement in the first place.”

According to Braunschtein, the shirts are doing "brisk business."
(Via - JMG reader Christian)

So...wait, what? In a Christian-majority country, they oppose Obama because he's descended from Muslims, but also because he's not actually a Muslim, but the wrong kind of Christian? This argument is so devoid of logic that it makes my head hurt.

Also, those t-shirts are hideous, Mickey-Mouse amateur-hour monstrosities. If you're going to be crazy, the least you could do is be aesthetically pleasing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

In which I titter over Savage Love...as usual

Reading the latest Savage Love column; this one is chock-a-block full of awesome quotes. Observe:

Think of this column as a sex-ed gangbang I’ve arranged just for you but, um, don’t describe it to your parents that way.

The AIDS virus isn’t fire and gay men aren’t twigs: it doesn’t matter how vigorously you rub us against each other, we’re not going to suddenly burst into HIV.

I’d like to add to this list [of ways to minimize the risk of HIV infection]: Don’t sleep with total sleazefags, don’t be a total sleazefag yourself and don’t allow anyone to pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do.

Sleazefag is so my Phrase of the Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

*Bad* ICTR ... no cookie for you!

Opinio Juris serves up this piece of ridiculous-pie: "ICTR 'Disowns' Human Rights Watch".

Apparently, although HRW is an NGO on which "the UN Court has relied on for the last 14 years for expert testimony", "the prosecutor accused HRW of lack of credibility and having confused the collection of information on the violations of human rights in general and international criminal proceedings". To which I can only respond: come again?

This is ICTR's response to HRW's arguments against sending the remaining accused persons to stand trial in Kigali, which would allow ICTR to close up shop. Kevin Jon Heller, author of the OJ post, has written on the unlikelihood of fair trials for the accused under the Rwandan justice system (Heller, Kevin Jon, "What Happens to the Acquitted?" . Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 21, 2008 Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1005772) and HRW has documented the problem as well.

Now, call me crazy, but isn't this part of the justification for international ad hoc tribunals anyway? And wasn't everyone (justifiably) up in arms when the Iraqis tried Hussein in sketchy circumstances? On a human level, I can't really blame the Rwandan system for being willing to play a little fast an loose with the rights of the accused, given the horrific nature of the crimes. But the fact that we may empathize doesn't mean we agree.

Also, I am sooo tired of human rights NGO's being relied upon when it suits a courts purposes, and then discarded the second they disagree. I have seen this many times in the refugee system: Amnesty or HRW suggests a country is safe, back you go! But if they suggest otherwise, and a "neutral" source (99.9% of the time, US State Department reports) disagree or are less emphatic, then obviously the NGO, as a partisan organization (who goal is, apparently, to invent or exaggerate human rights abuses, as if that were necessary, to allow fake refugees to make claims) cannot be believed.

Keep an eye on this, folks.

Friday, May 09, 2008

That's so funny I can't believe I heard it

So I'm listening to Mad Dog and Billie (shut up SHUT UP I love me some Top 40) when I heard the following amusing exchange:

Billie was talking about things she can no longer say because now her mother says them, and, by example, mentioned that her mother just sent her an e-mail which opens "Hollah" (hoh-lah) and now she can't use "Hollah" (as in, Hollaback Girl) anymore. I--and about a million other Torontonians--automatically realize that her mother said "Hola" (oh-la), as in "Hello" in Spanish.

When someone calls in to correct them, they still don't get it at first, and say her mother must have been learning Spanish on tape...this still doesn't make sense...

Oooh, and they just read my e-mail on the radio! Woo!

Anyway, it's probably true that most people would see "Hollah," reading an e-mail. I'm so used to hola because ever since we developed our obsession with Mexico, we use it all the time...also *cough* just got back from Spain.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

News that makes you nod sagely

Joe.My.God. recaps the story of Mildred Loving, the aptly named "black woman whose fight against Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to the Supreme Court overturning all such laws nationwide" Clickity-click.

And Slate has an interesting article on "What should Israel do with its thousands of Christian and Muslim African refugees?"...because what that country needs is another demographic problem that implicated international human rights. Click.

Buenos Días, mis lectores

For those who are interested, and because otherwise I will forget stuff, here is our itinerary copied right off the website (http://www.insightvacations.com). Pictures to follow, of course!

Overnight flight to Madrid.

Welcome to Madrid! On arrival at Madrid Airport there are complimentary transfers to your tour hotel. The afternoon is at leisure – relax and settle in. In the evening, join your fellow passengers and Tour Director for a Welcome Drink.
Hotel: Melia Galgos.

Follow the wide arid plains of Castille. After passing Guadalajara, follow the Jalón River Valley, dotted with Mudejar Towers which are survivors of the bygone era of Moorish domination in Spain. Continue eastwards, passing Zaragoza in the province of Aragón, before encountering a different culture and language in Catalunya. Your home for the next two nights is the dynamic city of Barcelona. Tonight, visit all of Spain in one park at the ‘Pueblo Español’, before your Dine-Around evening, where you can choose from a selection of restaurants. Before returning to your hotel, drive past the Olympic Games site and enjoy glittering views over the harbour.
Hotel: Melia.


We drive towards the sacred mountain of Catalonia. Ascending this staggering rock formation, we enjoy the spectacular panoramic views, before arriving at the "Basilica Real" to see the mystical Black Madonna.

Visit Gaudi's Guell Park. On entering Guell Park, one has the impression of entering an enchanted world where Gaudi designed mushroom-like houses, undulating benches and a mosaic dragon on a flight of stairs.

Visit the Gothic quarter on a guided tour and see the ancient cathedral, and see the famous Ramblas, with its open-air markets and cafes. In contrast to the old part of town, drive along the broad, elegant avenues of the Eixample district to admire Gaudi’s extraordinary unfinished creation, the Sagrada Familia church, about which opinions are so strongly divided.

Follow the Costa Dorada south, stopping in Peñìscola to view the white-walled cottages clustered around the sea-lapped castle used in the film El Cid. Continue past the famous orange groves to Valencia, your home for the night. An orientation tour with your Tour Director shows you the City Gates of Serranos and Cuarte, the Gothic Generalidad Palace, El Miguelete Cathedral with its octagonal bell tower, and the ultra modern Centre of Arts and Sciences.
Hotel: Husa Reina Victoria.

Leave for the Costa Blanca, passing through the stately waving palm tree forests of Elche and past the lemon groves in Murcia. Drive through the superb scenery of the Sierra Nevada with magnificent mountain views on all sides, and cross the Mora Pass to reach glorious Granada. Here, over looking the town, awaits one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built, the Alhambra. Explore this exquisite palace; a fantasy of stone cut lace, arabesque gardens and fountains, built as a citadel by the Moors in the 13th century. Also visit the exotic water gardens of the Generalife, the Royal summer residence.
Hotel: Saray.

A beautiful drive through gleaming white villages and brilliant fields of golden sunflowers leads to Seville exquisite capital of Andalucìa, and one of the most charming cities in Spain. You’ll stay in this ‘city of Carmen’ for the next two nights, so settle into your hotel.
Hotel: Melia Lebreros.

Seville has a distinctive character and presence which a local guide will unfold. Visit the massive cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus and enriched with the spoils of the New World. Pass the slender Giralda Tower, once the minaret of the Great Mosque, see the Alcazar and tour the fashionable Santa Cruz Quarter with its flower decked wrought iron balconies. This afternoon is at leisure. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. 

Set off early along the Guadalquivir valley, past villages and towns studded with Moorish towers and fortresses, stopping in the perfectly preserved Moorish city of Cordoba. See the famous 2000-year-old bridge before a guided visit to the magnificent Mezquita, an 8th century mosque with a Christian church built inside it. Cross the Sierra Morena mountains and the plains of La Mancha, following in the steps of Don Quixote, on your way back to Madrid.
Hotel: NH Eurobuilding.


Visit the Prado Museum to admire the world famous paintings of Velázquez and Goya. Take time out to relax at a café or shop in the boutiques of Serrano. In the evening, consider joining a farewell dinner in the heart of town, complete with wine and music.

A specialist guide takes us to the unique city of Toledo, Spain's capital during the golden era, and where El Greco lived and worked. We visit the fine Gothic cathedral, admire the old city views along the Tagus gorge and later visit a specialist Damascene workshop.

The tour ends with transfers to Madrid Airport.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Allrighty then, darling readers...

I'll be away till early May. Till then, please do check out some of the more awesome stuff I read daily (or so). I'll update my blogroll/linkroll later when IE and Blogger aren't both being difficult.












Monday, April 21, 2008

Massive Casting Fail

The 2007 movie Rendition was clearly about Maher Arar.

They did do too bad a job casting the Maher Arar replacement, as you can see.







However, attempts to cast a counterpart for Arar's wife (Ph.D., federal NDP candidate, observant Muslim) pictured here:


Ended in...well, this:

November 22, 2006
Photo by Sam Emerson/newline.wireimage.com

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No. No no no no no.

I would have recommended Anne Hathaway,

anne hathaway

...in a hijab, thankyouverymuch.

Catherine Keener would also work.