Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rehtaeh Parsons/ stop violence/ YWCA

Apr. 13 Rehtaeh Parsons: The hactivist group Anonymous managed to find the 4 boys who raped Rehtaeh Parsons and exposing their identities.  This was on Apr.11, 2013 of the 24 news. 
There is the Anonymous statement: "Our demands are simple: We want the N.S. RCMP to take immediate legal action against the individuals in question.  We do not approve of vigilante justice as the media claims.  What we want is justice.  And that's your job.  So do it."
RCMP have investigated the rape, but said there wasn't enough evidence for charges.  Rehtaeh's father Glen Canning says: "How is it possible for someone to leave a digital trail like that yet the RCMP don't have evidence of a crime?"
Me: I don't get that.  Like did Rehtaeh take a shower after she was raped and washed all the evidence away?  Like as soon as you get raped, you head to the hospital to get a rape kit done.  Don't take a shower or wash anything like your body or clothes.  It's all physical evidence.
There were also pictures of the rape and I have read somewhere the 4 guys admitted it, so that's evidence.  You can report it to the police, but you don't have to press charges.  It's your really your decision to press charges or not, but you should because that person could go out and rape again. 
Well if we know the four rapist's identies, that's fine.  There's a sex offender list, and everytime they move to a new place to live, there is a warning for everybody to know who it is for the community's safety.
Here's a Yahoo article about it:
 Here's a Yahoo article about cyberbullying:  

Apr. 14 Audrie Potts: I found this on Yahoo.  This California teen was gang-raped by 3 boys, and then she committed suicide.  Her parents got lawyers and are going to get those 16 yr old boys to be charged as adults for homicide.


Apr. 15 Stop violence: I read in a 24 news article "LRT hero hoping to stop future violence" by Pamela Roth.  It's about Manwar Khan who tried to stop a fight between 2 men on an LRT on Dec. 28, 2012.  He is 37 yrs old and he saw a guy beating up another guy.  At first, he thought they were just friends playing around, until he saw blood on one guy's face.

Khan: "I want to let everyone know that as bystanders, we are all powerful.  We just don't know how powerful we can be." 

A scared woman whispered to Khan to push the emergency button at the back of the train.  He did, and the attacker gave him an angry look.  Khan told him he was a provincial employee, and the man stopped beating him up for a moment, but then went back to it.

Khan is described as 5 ft. 4 inches.  There were 15-20 people there, and 2 were large guys.  No one stepped in to help.  One man stepped forward and asked what to do.  Then they stopped at the Belvedere station and everybody got off. 

Khan runs to an ETS member on the platform and told her what happened, thinking that help was on the way.  Then the train drives away.

Khan: I had a feeling it was going to get worse.  I saw the other started to hit him again.  I just felt helpless."

At the next stop at the Clareview station, the police arrested Jeremy Newborn, 29 and took John Hollar, 29 to the hospital.  He died 2 days later.  They were both known to the police.

Khan doesn't feel like a hero, but he has received hundreds of emails from the public including Premier Alison Redford.

Khan will start his anti-bullying campaign on Apr. 27 at Churchill Square from 3pm-5pm.

Me: I'm going to give Khan points for doing something like pressing the button, yelling at him to stop, going to an ETS worker.  I wouldn't intervene physically because of my size.  But remember that time I told you when I saw 2 guys fighting outside my restaurant?  I immediately yelled at them that I will call security, and I did.

I always call for help and get someone else to intervene.  I then filled out a security report about what happened.

YWCA: I was reading an Albertan magazine called Legacy.  I got this back in summer 2007 issue when I was in Professional Writing.  There was an article called "A Century of Solidarity" by Olenka Melnyk.  It talked about how the YWCA is very helpful in the community.

It talked about Marggo Pariseau who was 14 and Metis when she went to Edmonton from Faust.  She lived in a poor household with other siblings.  She only had $20 in her purse.  Two young men came up to her and were really nice and invited her to dinner.  A middle-aged Aboriginal woman intervened and the young men left.

Pariseau: "She made me promise not to go anywhere until she came back, and not to talk to anyone, especially men.  She wore an armband with YWCA Volunteer written on it.  I didn't know what the YWCA was, but I thought she must be important."

"I don't want to think what would've happened otherwise.  I knew nothing about pimps in those days.  I was clueless and, coming out of a bad situation, I was desperate for someone to care about me."

The YWCA started a Traveller's Aid program where they go up to women at train and bus stations, and direct them to the Y residence.  It was created in Aug. 29, 1907 to help women who are vulnerable to "homelessness, prostitution, and exploitation."

They launch other organizations like:"the Edmonton Community Chest (now the United Way) in 1941, and later, the Elizabeth Fry Society, Rape Crisis Centre, Business and Professional Women's Club, and Big Sisters."

Flashbacks: That bus station story brings me a flashback.  I wrote about it in "writer's streak/ Anonymous Rex/ perspective."  


I wrote in the "perspective" part about how I was watching Angel and the slayer Faith gets off at a bus station.  This guy comes up to her and I was 14 yrs old when I saw it.  I knew Faith was going to beat him up, and she does.  It's not until I was 22 yrs old, I saw the ep again, and I immediately thought: "This guy was a pimp."

At 14 yrs old, I did know what a pimp was.  I think I may have known it since I was 11 yrs old.  I remember reading this teen magazine about this girl who ran away from home, and she met a pimp.

It's like I knew what a pimp was, but I didn't think of it when I was watching that Angel ep.

Apr. 19 Racism: I found this article on Yahoo.  Hyun Lee went to pick up her photos, and then when she got home, she realized on the receipt it was changed to "Ching Chong Lee."  She is now suing for $1 million in "mental and emotional damages. The suit was filed in federal court in Camden."

Me: What?  I am offended by it, but I don't know why she would sue for $1 million.  I figured sue them, but I don't know what number I would put on it.  It's like that time last year, this guy was rude to me and saying racist things to me.  After 15 seconds talking to him, I got up and went to the bus driver and told him about it. 

Later, the ETS security came and heard my story.  They then removed the guy, the woman friend and the little 6yr old girl he was with, off the bus.  I don't sue, I report it.

Here are some more comments on Yahoo:

Brian: $1,000,000 for name calling and you get $10,000 if a cop beats you down ....hmmm some thng wrong here people !

Fatboy: horrified? hardly. P.O.ed yes.I'd raise a stink, and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to fire this idiot. But a million bucks?

TheHammer: Apparantly they should have written Cha-Ching! Cha-ching! on the receipt.

Me: lol.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Update on Hamid Ghassemi-Shall. Thank you for taking action!

I got this from Amnesty International:

Thank you for taking action on our urgent appeal to bring Hamid Ghassemi-Shall home to Canada

Hamid is on death row in Iran, in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, and unless we're able to exert enough pressure on decision-makers in Iran, his execution could take place at any time.

Your voice is so important. Please help us save Hamid's life.
Amnesty International has been working to uphold Hamid's rights since 2008, and we're doing all we can in Canada to support Hamid's family and to ensure Canadians are made aware of the urgency of this case.
You may wish to watch and share a short video by Hamid's wife, Antonella.
Everything from the circumstances surrounding Hamid's arrest, to the charges of "espionage", to the trial and conviction has been suspect.
The highest levels of the Canadian government have publicly asked for his release and a halt to his execution and the House of Commons unanimously endorsed an urgent appeal to the Government of Iran to grant clemency to Hamid Ghassemi-Shall. You may know that Canada has seized diplomatic relations with Iran in September 2012. Amnesty believes that Canadian diplomatic efforts on Hamid's case must continue. Given the strained context of relations between the two countries, cases like Hamid's must become an even greater priority

Thank you so much for being with us in this critical effort. Thank you especially if you are one of the many who have written a letter directly to Hamid. Actions like these are very moving and meaningful to Hamid and his family, and help give hope for his ultimate release.
If I can ask you to help us in another way, please consider distributing the postcards that you see in Antonella's video. Do you have a place in your community to share Amnesty's postcard with a large audience? At your school, faith community or workplace? If so, please contact Gloria Nafziger at gnafziger@amnesty.ca, including in your message an address where we can mail the cards, an indication of the number of cards you can circulate, as well as a brief note on your distribution plans.
Thank you again. We will keep you informed of any updates to Hamid's circumstances.
Alex Neve
Amnesty International Canada

Sunday, April 28, 2013

leave a message/ bullying on TV/ helpful websites

Apr. 17 Leave a message: One of my friends told me that she doesn't like it when I leave messages on her phone saying: "Oh hi, it's Tracy calling.  Just wanted to talk.  I thought you would be available to talk because it's the weekend.  Well, call me back."  If you are one of my friends reading this, you would know that I leave this message to all of you guys.

Unbeknownst to me, she is annoyed when I leave that kind of message.  I thought I was self- aware of my behavior, but no one told me that it was annoying.  So the lesson is for me, that if I were to leave a message, it should be something specific like an invitation.

Ex. "I won 2 free movie tickets.  Do you want to see this movie _______?"

Or to ask a question like: "Do you have the book ______?  I know you're interested in it, so it's on sale at Coles for 30% off." 

When I call my friends, it's never really to discuss anything important.  It's just for fun and to touch base with you guys. 

Flashback: What I have learned a long time ago, when I was friends with this girl in gr.5 &6 is that, your friends are not always going to be there for you.  She was the neighbor who constantly rang my doorbell everyday asking to play and to be entertained by me, but I rather read a book.

She was always so needy, so I always said to myself that I won't be needy.  The older you get, the more busier your life gets.  The harder school gets, the more time you spend doing homework and studying. You can join sports teams or dance classes in jr. high school.  Then in high school, kids get part-time jobs and don't get me started on the dreaded boyfriend.  I've been reading teen magazines since I was like 10yrs old, and there were articles of your friends getting boyfriends, and the friends spend less time with you.

Lessons: The other lesson is, that not everything revolves around you.  It's like that time back in 2006, I was working at Call Centre #1 and Call Centre #2.  Both jobs are at night shifts from 4pm-9pm.  All my friends had school and work.  Sure, I can call on a weekday during the daytime, but no one is going to pick up the phone.

Maybe if I call at noon when people are having their lunch break.  I don't know.  But I never really did.  Maybe once when I called Leslie to tell her that I got accepted into Professional Writing.  Well, it was very exciting so I had to tell somebody.  lol.

Due to my working at night, I wasn't really able to talk to my friends on the phone or see them.  So that's why there are the weekly emails.  I would never call one of my friends and pressure them to: "Skip school or work and hang out with me."  Absolutely not.  I value school, especially if you're paying for it.

Well even if you aren't paying for it, like going to a public high school, I wouldn't pressure
my friends to skip class and hang out with me when I have a spare.

Bullying on TV:
I got this sent to my email about the TV show Arthur, that's based on children's book by the same name.  They have 2 episodes about bullying.

Monday, May 6

"The Last Tough Customer"                                 
The Tough Customers realize it's time to quit bullying and set out to find a new hobby - but can Molly ever truly change her ways?

Friday, May 10

"So Funny I Forgot to Laugh"                                                                   
Arthur thinks his jokes about Sue Ellen's new sweater are all in good fun but Sue Ellen's feelings are hurt. Has Arthur become...a bully?

The latter one seems to be about Arthur lacking self-awareness and how his actions can hurt other people's feelings.  I'm guessing the lesson is be more mindful, self-aware, and sensitive to others.

Apr. 18 Phones: I wanted to add to the leave a message subject.  Then there are people who are annoyed when people call and don't leave a message.  That means the person will have to call back to ask what they originally called about.  The other person doesn't pick up, and then you play telephone tag.

So that's why I always leave a message and tell why I called, which is usually nothing important.  Then my friends would be like: "Oh, okay.  No point in calling Tracy back.  It's not important."

Clothing store: I'll throw in a flashback from 2005.  My co-worker Jordan worked at a clothing store with me and he was ranting about how you leave one message a day.  Leave a message, and then don't call back hours later, and leave another message.  That annoys him.

I think it's okay to leave 2 messages in one day, if there is something different you want to say in the 2nd message.  Ex.

1st message: "Do you have my book?  I think I left it at your house last week.  Call me if you find it."

2nd message: "Never mind, I found it."  lol.

Apr. 19: So this message is to all my friends: "Please tell me if you like it when I leave a message or not.  Then I can make a personal note of it."

As for me, it's okay if you call and don't leave a message.  If it's important, I will assume you would have left a message and told me what it was.

Apr. 20 Angry: You guys may be thinking: "What?  I thought you would want someone to leave a message.  Remember your emails where you said not knowing things get you angry?"  Well I will assume it's not important if you didn't leave a message.

Apr. 27 Summer: That reminds me of last summer.  I remember calling 2 of my friends who worked in downtown.  I called at like 3pm on a weekday afternoon and they both picked up their cells and said they were at work.  I invited each of them to go to this festival at Winston Churchill Square after they're done work, but they said they were both busy after work.

Helpful websites:

Bedsider.org: I was watching Teen Mom 2 and it mentions this website.  I looked into a bit and it talks about health, sex, and safety tips about sexual health.  There's information about birth control, like what methods and where to get them.  I like the design of the site and it's informative:


Feeding America: I was watching Dr. Phil the other day, because it was about teen pregnancy.  In a commercial, he advertised this website for Feeding America.  It turns out Target helps feed school children:


Thursday, April 25, 2013

They want us to forget about her

I got this from Amnesty International:


They want us to forget about her

  Help us stop the horrific bombing of civilians in southern Sudan  
  One of many victims: 11 year old Nafeesa was hit by shrapnel from a long-range rocket

She was so badly torn apart by the bomb that her neighbours had to gather up the body parts.
Dear Tracy,

Khadija’s 90-year-old neighbour was blown apart by a bomb dropped from a Sudanese warplane that attacked the refugee camp where she was living. But some of the most powerful voices in the world want us to forget her.
Amnesty International is demanding the United Nations take action to stop to the attacks on civilians in southern Sudan.   Please support our call to action by making a donation today .
Khadija was one of the lucky survivors that I spoke to when I visited southern Sudan on a fact-finding mission for Amnesty International to investigate the terrible human rights abuses against more than 300,000 men, women and children in that war-torn region.

At every turn, I was asked “Why?  Why doesn’t anyone care about us? Why doesn’t someone just stop the planes?”

That is exactly what we tried to do last week at the United Nations in New York. Together with a team of Amnesty International campaigners, I presented our eyewitness report on the illegal bombings, indiscriminate killings, and widespread human rights abuses that are happening unchecked in southern Sudan.  

The key to ending the bombings is for the UN Security Council to break the global stalemate that's preventing action. But the Security Council is being blocked by Russia and China - the same countries who are preventing efforts to end the civil war in Syria.
“Many would like us to forget about this crisis”. That’s what we were told by UN officials and experts and at the offices of Security Council members.
But we’re determined not to abandon the people of southern Sudan. Amnesty International will continue to press for action to protect the people of southern Sudan. I hope you will stand with us by making a donation to support our vital work to protect people at risk.
Together, with your financial support, we can continue to demand an end to the killings by:

  • Telling the world through our eyewitness accounts of the horrific killings happening right now in southern Sudan
  • Increasing the pressure on UN decision-makers to take action to stop the attacks on civilians
  • Stepping up our campaign to end the use of indiscriminate weapons -- like warplane bombs -- that destroy the lives of so many innocent civilians

If you believe, like I do, that the world cannot afford to stand idly by while helpless civilians are targeted for attack by military warplanes, please make a contribution today. 

Thank you.

Alex Neve
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
P.S.:  Our research mission documented irrefutable evidence of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. I shared my eye-witness experience while in South Sudan, and need your help now as the real work begins in bringing this harrowing testimony to decision-makers, backed by clear solutions, and the voices of Amnesty International supporters like you.

Please make a generous gift to help us mobilize to stop the bombing and saves lives.

Tracy, help free Nasrin Sotoudeh

I got this from Amnesty International:


How does standing up for the rights of women and children become an "act against national security"? 
Dear Tracy,
Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer and mother of two, was arrested, unfairly tried and jailed in Iran for her fearless but peaceful defence of women and children - acts deemed to be critical of the government.

This was in September 2010.

During her imprisonment, Nasrin has spent lengthy periods of time in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. To protest against the appalling conditions that she and other prisoners face, she has put herself through several hunger strikes. This has left her extremely weak and recent reports indicate she dropped to an alarming 95 lbs after a hunger strike of 49 days.

Alone and isolated in prison, Nasrin has been denied even a picture of her family. She worries about the effect of her absence on her two young children. Still, Nasrin maintains her belief that the pain her family and others in Iran have had to endure is not in vain. She expressed this in a letter to her daughter: “Justice arrives exactly at a time when most have given up hope. It arrives when we least expect it. I am certain of it.”
Alex Neve
Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada
P.S. You can also help raise awareness and funds for our campaign to free Nasrin Sotoudeh by joining our live online Yoga Day event this Saturday at noon. Learn more.

Robin Thicke/ Charles Heston/ spring cleaning

Mar. 30 Robin Thicke: I was reading the Edmonton Journal, and I read an article about Robin Thicke releasing a new music video called "Blurred Lines" where he features nude models.  It talks about how RT's wife/ actress Paula Patton said she was okay with it.  There is the 18A version.  Here is the PG-13 version that anyone can watch:


I first saw the clean version, and then I saw the unrated version.  Let's talk about the clean one.  I thought the video was boring.  It's just RT, and the rapper TI and rapper/ producer Pharell dancing around in a white background.  There are 3 hot women in white skimpy outfits and clear plastic over it.  They're all dancing around with random props like big dice, toy car, a stool, whatever.

I also don't really like the song either.  Maybe it will grow on me after a few more listens, I don't know.

The unrated version was the same models and they were nude.  I didn't like it either.  RT's new album is coming out this summer so I have to check it out.

Music video: I might as well add "Scream and Shout" by Will.i.am ft. Britney Spears.  I thought the song is okay, and I have to avoid listening it too much on the radio or I will get sick of it.  The video was kind of boring too.  It just shows them dancing a bit, replicating images of themselves, random props like a car that has the doors lifted up.

However, I do find this video more interesting than RT's.


Apr. 1 The Following: This TV show is on CTV,.  It stars Kevin Bacon as FBI agent Ryan Hardy who was the one who managed to shoot and arrest the serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy.)  Years later, Carroll escapes out of prison and Hardy has to find him and arrest him again.

Carroll has a following of fans who will kill themselves and others for him.  I saw the pilot when it came out in Jan. and I thought it was really good and well-written.  It was very dark, scary, disturbing, and violent.  I am very tense when watching the show.  It showed a woman who stabs herself in the eye at the police station and another woman's eyes that were pulled out.

The writing and acting are impressive.  However, it was too dark for me.  Yeah, I watch Criminal Minds, but The Following takes it a step further.  If you can stomach it, then watch it.

On a side note, one my favorite Canadian actors Shawn Ashmore is in it and plays a cop.  You may know him as Ice Man in the X-Men movies.


Charlton Heston: I was reading this Betty cartoon on Mar. 21, 2013.  It mentioned Betty's husband asking: "What was the name of that Charlton Heston movie where he discovers the food source is people?"  Betty asks: "Was it Soylent Green?"

I researched Soylent Green and it's a 1973 movie that's set in 2022.  Food is scarce and Charlton Heston's character investigates a murder that leads to the disturbing reason why this person was killed.


Here is Omega Man (1971):

"Army doctor Robert Neville struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race."

These are some interesting sci-fi movies to check out.

Apr.11 Viewership: I found this article "Viewers gun-shy with new shows" by David Bauder.  People are time- conscious and don't want to waste time on shows that aren't going to stick around.

It was in the Edmonton Journal on Apr.2, 2013.  Zack Estrin, the Zero Hour producer says: "Audiences don't watch because they fear it's going to be taken off, and it's taken off because audiences don't watch."

I am still kind of annoyed that NBC canceled Do No Harm, the modern version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I saw the promos, and I was interested.  I saw the first ep, and I was like: "I'm going to watch this show every week."  Then they canceled it after the 2nd ep.  I was then wary to even tune into Golden Boy, this other mid-season show.

However, I wanted to check out the pilot.  I saw it, and it was good, but I wasn't very interested in it.

Apr. 13 Spring cleaning:

Newspapers: I don't know if any of you guys noticed this, but I've been writing a lot about newspaper articles that I read.  This is my new project: writing about newspaper articles.  I have cut out quite a lot, for my own reference.  However, there are lots of articles I want to write about and then recycle it.

The news I usually write about are like business news for my business/ work email.  There are some current events I write for my news email.  Mostly it's about what's happening in the world, and Yahoo articles.

I did use to write a lot about those articles that are sent through my blog, but they stopped coming last month.  Now I'm doing some spring cleaning, by writing about these news articles.  After I write about it, I recycle it so it's like cleaning.

If you can't bring yourself to throwing things out, you can warm yourself up by deleting emails and old files on your computer.  It's not a tangible thing you can really touch, so it may be easier to delete.

Apr. 15 Matthew Gray Gubler: He plays Dr. Reid on the show Criminal Minds.  I emailed him and he emailed me back.  I found this little interview of him back in 2004 in the now closed down magazine Elle Girl.  It has a picture of him a muscle-shirt and a tattoo on his right arm.  It's a contrast to his nerdy, and conservative look on the show.

MGG: "I'm obsessed with Wes (Anderson), and during my senior year at (NYU's art school) Tisch, I got an internship with him.  Then I wouldn't leave, so he put me in his movie (The Life Aquatic.)

MGG (on being labeled a tasty cake in Elle Girl): "I told my mom, and she said something must be wrong with the world.  I think I look like an androgynous Muppet."

MGG (on his ideal girl): "Optimism, wit, creativity and ambition are sexy.  I like a girl who is into violent snowball fights, ghost stories, prank calls, and root beer.  Oh, and I've always wanted a girl to make a heart- shaped peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich for me.  I think that'd be the cutest thing in the world."

He seems like a really down-to-earth guy.


Apr. 19 Glee:

I was looking up to listen to the song "No Scrubs" by TLC.  I like that song when it came out back in 1998.  I looked it up on Youtube, and it turns out Glee did a version of this song on their show.  It's guys singing it.  They do sound good:


Britney Spears: Glee also covered the song "Womanizer" by Britney Spears.  I didn't notice this, until I was reading the comments.  The girl in the yellow jacket towards the end of the video, is Toronto actress Shay Mitchell from the TV show Pretty Little Liars.

I think the performance was good with all these girls singing and dancing around the school.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

She was brutally murdered. Still no justice.

I got this from Amnesty International: 


Dear Tracy,

Two years ago today, 24-year-old South African Noxolo Nogwaza was raped, repeatedly beaten and stabbed.

Why did a young mother, soccer player, and human rights activist die so brutally, her body dumped in a drainage ditch?

Noxolo's murder was an apparent hate crime. It is believed that she was targeted because she was a lesbian and an active campaigner for LGBTI rights.

Two years later, Noxolo's murder remains unsolved, and her friends, family and fellow activists wait for justice. Demand an end to the climate of fear for the LGBTI community in South Africa, and demand justice for Noxolo!

Raped, beaten, stabbed -- but why won't South Africa's authorities fully investigate and solve Noxolo's case? In two years, there has been no progress in the investigation into her murder and Noxolo's killer(s) remain at large.

"Contempt, mockery or general disinterest" - that's how police are often reported to respond when LGBTI individuals try to report hate crimes.

Homophobia in South Africa goes far beyond taunts and insults -- behavior that in and of itself is already entirely unacceptable. LGBTI individuals are targets of terrible hate crimes, particularly in townships, informal settlements and rural areas, ranging from assaults to rapes to murders, just because of who they are.

Noxolo's killer(s) remain unpunished. And as long as murderers and perpetrators of hate crimes are allowed to go free, LGBTI people will never feel safe in South Africa.

But there is hope. The world is marching towards justice -- just yesterday, France became the latest country to pass marriage equality legislation.

Momentum is on our side and the world is listening to calls for LGBTI rights.

The time to speak out for justice is right now.

Today, march on and honor Noxolo's memory by taking action. Demand a full investigation into Noxolo's murder and an end to violence against the LGBTI community in South Africa.


Samir Goswami
Director, Individuals and Communities at Risk Program
Amnesty International USA

P.S. Hurry, there are only hours left to make your online action mean even more -- share the message of justice for Noxolo on social networks together with other Amnesty activists, all at the same time! Take action before 5PM Eastern time today and join our Thunderclap to share automatically on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Are drones above the law? Depends on whom you ask.

 I got this from Amnesty International:


Dear Tracy,

Can the U.S. government ignore human rights when it sees fit?

According to the law, no.
According to some members of Congress and the Obama administration, yes.

Set the record straight -- take action now to prevent unlawful drone killings!

Proponents of the "global war" theory see the entire world as a battlefield to which human rights do not apply. Today a Senate committee is, rightly, holding a hearing on one of the most disturbing results of that theory: the U.S. government's secretive killer drone program, a program that has inflicted grave damage to the U.S. government's human rights credibility.

Human rights activists like you helped convince the Senate to hold today's hearing. But the fight has just begun.

Senator Lindsey Graham is part of a group of lawmakers that want to double down on the centerpiece of the global battlefield theory -- the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force -- and keep us in a state of vaguely defined drone "war" against armed groups forever.

Bad idea.

Tell officials to pull back, turn around, and ensure security with human rights. Sign on to Amnesty's letter urging lawmakers to reject the global battlefield theory and rein in drone killings.

The thing is, we don't need another law to guide the use of lethal force. The law governing any state's use of lethal force -- whether with a drone or a gun or most other weapons -- already exists.

Here's what the law requires:
  • Lethal force outside of specific recognized zones of armed conflict can only be used when it is strictly unavoidable to prevent a truly imminent threat to life.
  • If there is any doubt as to whether a person is a civilian, then treat the person like a civilian anyways.
  • All people have human rights and a shared right to life. In other words, no citizen -- whether from the U.S. or any other country -- is above any other.
Sounds good, right?

Yes, I will speak up and tell the U.S. government to follow existing law and protect human rights.

The U.S. can't ignore human rights when it sees fit in the name of never-ending and vaguely defined "global war." There is a better way: U.S. federal courts and law enforcement systems are equipped to handle armed groups and individuals.

Help us send this message today, when lawmakers are listening.


Zeke Johnson
Director, Security with Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA

bipolar disorder/ Catholic Social Services/ family

April 10: That Rehtaeh Parsons story has an effect on me.  I feel like writing all these important news stories.

Bipolar disorder: I have a flashback of Labor Day 2006.  It was the day before I was to enter Professional Writing.  I was with one of my friends and we went to a hospital to pick up one of her friends so we could go to lunch.  We were sitting at a picnic table waiting for that one friend to come out, and there was a woman sitting there smoking a cigarette.

We all got to talking and we asked why she was at the hospital, if she didn't mind telling us.

Woman: I've been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Me: Oh, so I guess all you need is lithium.
Woman (surprised): Yeah, how did you know that?  When I told all my friends and family about it, they didn't know what it was.
Me: When I was a teenager I read a magazine article about this girl who had bipolar disorder and she took that as her medication.

Article: I have an article "Bipolar stories need to be told right" by David J. Fekete for the Edmonton Journal on Nov.29, 2012.  It talked about the movie Silver Linings Playbook character Pat Solitano who has bipolar. Solitano was in a "mental hospital."

The term "mental hospital": "..damaging and misleading images of mental illnesses that media like to portray."

"...people with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims, rather than the perpetrators of violent acts."

It goes on that if they take their medication regularly, they will lead normal lives.  Fekete has bipolar and he says he has a master's degree from Harvard University and a PhD from the University of Virginia.  He is now a full-time ordained minister.

Homicide: I cut this out from 24 news.  On Dec. 5, 2012, the homicide rate rose for the first time in 3yrs in 2011.  There were 598 homicides in Canada.  That's up by 44 from 2010. 

35% stabbings
27% firearms
22% beatings
7% strangulation

Alberta increased with 32.  Quebec increased with 21.  Ontario got the lowest rate since 1966 with 28 fewer.  5th yr in a row, Winnipeg had the highest homicide rate.

Men are 7/10 victims and 9/10 accused.

Catholic Social Services: Here's a 24 article "Catholic Social Services helps provide hope" by Trevor Robb on Dec. 5, 2012.  It profiled Grabriel Rios who was addicted to drugs in 2005.  He and his ex-wife moved from Arizona to Windsor, Ont. to get clean. 

In 2008, his marriage ended and he moved to Alberta for work, and then the recession hit.  He moved to Alexander Reservation and got his girlfriend pregnant.  He got clean, but she didn't.  He got a job working at a renovation crew and 8 months later got a call to the hospital.

Rios: "I went to the hospital and there was my daughter.  She was born, and she was born positive for cocaine, benzodiazepines and opiates.  I hate to say it, and I never thought I would be saying these words, but my baby was a crack baby."

The baby Siveah was taken to the mother's aunt and uncle to take care of.

Rios moved to Edmonton to stay at the Hope Mission-Herb Jamieson Centre for 4 months.  While there, Children's Services paid for his treatment at the Henwood Treatment Centre.  He was interviewed by Catholic Social Services to part of the Alpha Residency Program.  It's for people who completed drugs and addiction treatment.

It's funded entirely by the Sign of Hope fundraising campaign.  There are Alpha houses for men and women.  Rios is the only client to have his kid live with him.

Rios: "(Sivea) She's blossoming.  Her speech is better.  It's been priceless to have this house here.  I'm really happy and I don't want to leave but the umbilical cord has to be cut.



Apr. 11 Family:

Good grades:
I found this in the Edmonton Journal, around 2000 or 2001.  It says "Two children equal better grades" by Kristin Kane.  England Essex University did a large study that kids with a sibling do better in school than those in larger families or without siblings.  The oldest get the best grades.

Other factors are birth order and family size.  The smaller the family, the less competition for the parent's money and attention.  Mixing with other kids is important. Only children scored lower in math, but their scores improved with more social interaction.

Rescue: I cut out this "Brave teen sprints to rescue drowning brother" by Ryan Cormier in the Edmonton Journal.  I think it was in 2002.   Kyle Healey was 12 yrs old and he was tobogganing and he plunged into the thin ice.  He was with a friend and the friend ran to Healey's home to get help.  His 17 yr old brother Brandon was at home, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. 

As soon as he heard that, Brandon said: "I just ran out, as fast as I could. I've never run that fast before in my life.  When something like that happens, you don't get any fear.  You just go on total adrenaline.  Normally, I would have been terrified."

The father Mickey Healey says there should be a fence around the lake.  There's a warning sign nearby, but he doesn't think that's enough.

Emergency Response Department spokeswoman Karen Carlson said they should call 911 to alert professionals to it.  Edmonton's fire department rescues 6 people per yr when they fall into the ice.

The boy's mother Dianne Arnott: "It wasn't until later that I looked at him and realized, 'Oh my God, you saved your brother's life."

Mental health: I found this article "Breaking the silence around mental illness at work" by Linda White in 24 news.  It was on Mar.4, 2013.  It talked to Mary Ann Baynton of Mary Ann Baynton and Associates Consulting in Toronto. 

She's a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada's Workforce Advisory Committee and program director for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.

Banyton: "Talk about what you're seeing without passing judgement or making assumptions.  It's not the employer's job to diagnose, treat or provide therapy.  Their job is to help someone to be successful while they're in the workplace and where possible, link them to resources to deal with health and/ or personal conditions."

"We have to realize that mental health issues are conditions many of us live with and they do not have to be a disability."


Apr. 12 Doggles: I found this Edmonton Journal article "Raising scratch for guide dogs" by Dan Ovsey in 2002.  The Observatory is a eye glass shop on Whyte Ave.  They sell Doggles, sunglasses for dogs that are $30.  It's for the Western Guide Dog Foundation to help fund training for Seeing Eye dogs that can cost up to $20,000..

The glasses are to protect dog's eyes from bugs.  Rescue dogs were these at the World Trade Centre on Sept. 11.

The Observatory that's still in business:

Where to buy Doggles:


How your support has made a difference!

I got this from Food Banks Canada: 

How your support has made a difference!

Food banks around the country tell us that the cost of housing is the number one reason why people are forced to seek help from a food bank to feed themselves and their families.  Quite simply, too many people each month in Canada have to make the difficult decision between choosing to pay their rent or buy food.

To address this issue, Food Banks Canada has worked over the last year to identify key housing programs that are in place to help those struggling to make ends meet.  Two of these programs: the Affordable Housing Framework and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, were scheduled to have their funding end in 2014.

Food Banks Canada highlighted these two housing initiatives in our HungerCount 2012 policy recommendations and made affordable housing a focus of our advocacy efforts in Ottawa. We are delighted to announce that an additional five years of funding for these two key housing programs was confirmed in the recent Federal Budget.

This commitment demonstrates that the government will maintain its $253 million a year investment in the Affordable Housing Framework as well as committing $119 million a year through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to support a ‘Housing First’ approach, in addition to $100 million over the next two years to assist northern communities by building 250 new housing units in Nunavut.

These commitments, made ahead of their due-date of 2014, are important steps to ensure housing stability for Canadians.

Food Banks Canada, through its direct lobby efforts, is proud to have had an impact on the federal government’s decision to extend funding for housing initiatives. We will continue to work closely with the government to ensure that more Canadians have access to affordable housing, with the goal of reducing the need for food banks.

This accomplishment would not have been possible without your support – Thank you!



Sunday, April 21, 2013

corporate trainer/ Practice Perfect/ free job apps

Apr. 9 Corporate trainer: This was a few months ago, but I did an online test and it listed some career choices like a corporate trainer.


Teacher: I have imagined what it's like to be a teacher.  However, I don't want to teach elementary, jr. high or high school kids because they will give me attitude.  Not all kids, but some.  At least with college kids or adult education classes, they don't.

I don't want to spend 4 yrs to get a Bachelor's degree in Education.  I also don't have the patience to teach people.

Article: On Nov. 10, 2012, there was an article called "Corporate trainers aim to drive success" by Kathryn Boothby.  It profiled Philippe Ayoub who interested in cars and theatre arts that lead him to make training videos for Nissan Canada.

Ayoub: "When you learn how to be on camera, you learn how to make things come across in a compelling way.  And as a trainer, you have to entertain or you will lose your audience."

Linda White works at Scotiabank and she says: "Our rigorous on-boarding program helps new employees to understand the bank's values and culture, how we're organized, and the customer values and culture, how we're organized, and the customer value proposition.  We want them to be the best at helping customers to be better off through timely advice and better solutions."

"Training never stops- even at the most senior level.  The world is so complex and frequently changing.  We have to keep learning and growing all the time."

"There are many people that want to teach, but not at the school level.  Corporate training offers an alternative, combining an interesting mix of teaching and business."

Ayoub was inspired to teach and train when in gr.10, he was failing math and the teacher helped him to get 95%.

Ayoub: I want to motivate others in that way.  It's very enriching."

You can get a certification at the Canadian Society for Training and Development:


Career counselor: On Dec. 1, 2012, I found an article called "Counseling offers a diverse job field" by Denise Deveau.  It profiled Harris Silverman who spends a lot of time "advising and career management, as well as coaching clients on interview skills, resumes and job search techniques."

He was in human resources for years.  "You have to think in terms of their interests and be a creative thinker in order to guide them to what they want.  Sometimes that means coming up with ideas on one has thought of yet."

There is:

Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counseling:


Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners:


The book Where's the Work?  Helping Career Development Practitioners Explore Their Career Options by Deirdre Pickerell.

Buzzwords: On Dec. 5, 2012, I found an article in the Globe and Mail.  It listed the most common words on a resume.  LinkedIn looked at 187 million profiles and made a list:

Creative, analytical, effective, experimental, motivated, multinational, responsible, and specialized.

In 2011, it was: Creative, organizational, and effective.

The lesson was to use different words to make your resume stand out.

Apr. 10 Career Connections: I was the U of A job fair back in 2011.  I had picked up lots of papers and brochures and wrote about it.  It turns out I didn't finish reading this Career Connections magazine I picked up.  The issue was mainly about undergraduate research so it did not particularly pertain to me. 

The job articles were good about signing up for a professional association to make networking connections, mentoring, salary negotiation, and information interviewing.

It's like 40 pages and mostly ads for AB companies to work for.  It's free.

Practice Perfect: In Dec. 5, 2012, there was an article "Be like an NFL player and practice your job" by Harvey Schachter.   HS reviewed the book Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov and Erica Woolway.

It talks about practice makes perfect, and the authors say practice makes permanent. 

"A critical goal of practice, then, should be ensuring that participants encode success- they they practice getting it right- whatever 'it' might be."

"To become great, you should focus more on practicing the 20 percent of things that most create value than on the other 80 percent  of things you could plausibly spend your time on."

HS: "Eliminate complexity until you start to see mastery, and then start building the extras back in."

Leadership 2.0: This book is written by psychologists Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves says leadership is down to 7 skills.

1. Strategy
2. Action
3. Results
4. Emotional intelligence
5. Organizational justice
6. Character
7. Development

Interior decorator: I think it would be fun to be an interior decorator.  I can be creative.  I enjoy reading about interior design in the Edmonton Journal's Home section, The Globe and Mail Life and Arts section where they cover it once a week (and Globe Style), and the National Post Weekend Post where they write about design.

However, I don't really want to pursue it because it's not my passion.  It's just decorating a room or house.  I like it, but I don't love it enough to pursue a career in it.

Apr. 11 ARPA: I was going through my papers and I found this brochure for Alberta Recreation and Parks Association and their programs and services.  I know I got this from the 2011 job fair.  I then checked my blog to see if I had written about it.  No, I haven't.

It's in Groat Road, so that's really far away.  I went to their website and it's really good.  It offers memberships, programs, events, volunteering, scholarships and awards.  There's an extensive job board from office jobs like clerical staff and coordinator, and lifeguards.

To be a part-time jr. lifeguard is $19.21/hr.  That sounds like fun to be sitting by the pool all summer.  I'm going to put this on my Facebook status so people know about these jobs.


Free job apps: On Mar. 27, 2013, there was an article in the Globe and Mail by Jessica Leeder who reviewed some apps.

This is really good because it has over 100,000 Canadian postings, syncs with LinkedIn, FT, PT, freelance, private or public sector jobs.

Wowjobs.ca: It has thousands of job postings and "worth downloading if you can stomach the clunky design."

It has lots of postings.  The cons were that it was picking up Kijiji jobs, and outdated postings.  Download if you're patient.

Monster: It's "worth a shot."  The pros: it filters by "posting date, job type, career level, education level and geographic radius."

Canadian Job Force:
It lacks Canadian jobs and it brings some US results.  The article says: "Take a pass."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

desert joke/ teacher joke/ hotel joke

Apr. 11 Jokes: I got these from Daily Silly:

Desert: Two guys met in the middle of the desert. One was carrying a car door, the other an umbrella. The one with the car door said to the guy with the umbrella, "Why are you carrying that umbrella around, it isn't going to rain in the desert?" To which the guy with the umbrella replies, "Yeah", but it keeps me out of the sun! By the way, why are you carrying around that car door, you don't even have a car to go with it!" The guy with the car door says, "Yeah, well at least if I get too hot from the sun I can just roll down the window!"

Me: lol.  Stupid and funny.

Diet: Mr. Johnson was overweight, so his doctor put him on a diet. He said; "I want you to eat regularly for two days, then skip a day, and repeat this procedure for two weeks. The next time I see you, you should have lost at least five pounds." When Mr. Johnson returned, he shocked the doctor by having dropped almost twenty pounds. "Why, that's amazing!" the doctor told him. "You did this just by following my instructions?" The slimmed down Mr. Johnson nodded. "I'll tell you, though, I though I was going to drop dead that third day." "From hunger, you mean?" "No," replied Mr. Johnson, "from skipping."

Family: Due to inherit a fortune when his sickly, widower father died, Charles decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with. Going to a singles bar, he spotted a woman whose beauty took his breath away. "I'm just an ordinary man," he said, walking up to her, "but in just a week or two, my father will die and I'll inherit 20 million dollars." The woman went home with Charles, and the next day she became his stepmother.

Me: It was funny, but I kind of cringed at it.  That reminds me of 2003, there was a TV show called Method and Red.  It was about the 2 rappers named Method Man and Red Man and they move into this rich upper class white neighborhood.  Cue the "black people are different from white people" jokes. 

I remember reading a comment on Fametracker Forums about that show.  Someone said: "I laugh as much as I cringe."

Marriage: Mo and Jo are sitting in boat fishing, drinking beer and chewing tobacco when out of the blue Mo says, "I think I'm gonna divorce my wife she ain't spoke to me in over a month" Jo sips his beer and says, "Better think it over, women like that are hard to find."

Me: Okay, that joke was kind of sexist against women. 

Here's one against the men:

Wife hit her husband with frying pan. Husband: "What was that for?" Wife: "I found a paper in your pocket with the name Jenny on it" Husband: "I took part in a race last week and Jenny was the name of my horse" Wife: "Sorry!" Next day wife hit him with the frying pan again Husband: "What now?" Wife: "Your horse is on the Phone."

Airplane: Four people are in an airplane, the pilot, the smartest man in the world, the richest man in the world, and a punk teenager. The airplane experiences some difficulties, and the pilot informs the three passengers that the plane is going to crash, and there are only three parachutes on the plane.

The richest man in the world takes one, because he says that his lawyers will sue everyone else on the plane if he doesn't survive. The smartest man in the world takes a parachute, because he thinks that the world would be a worse place without him. The pilot says to the punk "There's only one parachute left, I'll fight you for it." "That won't be necessary," said the punk, "The smartest man in the world took my backpack."

Me: That starts my writer's imagination.  The punk then jumps out of the plane.  The smartest man then clings onto the richest guy for dear life as they jump off the plane.

My friend Sam emailed me back about this.  I asked her if I can quote her on it, and she says yes.

Teacher joke: I got this from Daily Silly.

"If there are any idiots in the room, will they please stand up" said the sarcastic teacher. After a long silence, one freshman rose to his feet. "Now then mister, why do you consider yourself an idiot?" inquired the teacher with sneer. "Well, actually I don't," said the student, "but I hate to see you standing up there all by yourself."

Me: It was kind of a mean joke.  I bet the teacher in real life would yell at the student and send him to the office for talking back.

Sam: or maybe just maybe the teacher would realize that her own words gad come back to her, and learn and work with the class on it "oh darn! i was hoping no one would notice!"

i remember teaching my first class to tell fellow classmates 'you are being a silly twit' when they were acting out, to try and defuse it. one day a student said it to me. i am proud to say i stopped, thought about it, and admitted that yes, she was right, i WAS being a silly twit. he and i were able to laugh about it.

Apr. 12 Hotel: Bill, Jim, and Scott were at a convention together and were sharing a large suite on the top of a 75-story skyscraper. After a long day of meetings they were shocked to hear that the elevators in their hotel were broken and they would have to climb 75 flights of stairs to get to their room.

Bill said to Jim and Scott, let's break the monotony of this unpleasant task by concentrating on something interesting. I'll tell jokes for 25 flights, and Jim can sing songs for 25 flights, and Scott can tell sad stories the rest of the way. At the 26th floor Bill stopped telling jokes and Jim began to sing. At the 51st floor Jim stopped singing and Scott began to tell sad stories. "I will tell my saddest story first," he said. "I left the room key in the car!"

Me: I'm sure all of you guys are groaning.  But when I think about it, I think they should have gotten a refund on their room.  I wouldn't walk 75 flights of stairs.  That's like an 1hr of walking.  I don't know, could be 30-45min.  I would check into another hotel or maybe a motel 6 to sleep in.