CNN mocks indigenous New Zealand group in segment on royal visit

Sure, thousands of years of culture might have been snuffed out with colonialist expansion, but aboriginal groups around the globe have spent decades trying to reclaim what they can of a history that has been fractured and lost — in New Zealand one such indigenous group even took the time to meet with members of the UK and Commonwealth royal family upon a recent visit. But, alas, the story of a conquered people’s long road toward actualization in the modern world and peaceful meeting with modern representatives of their acquisition isn’t the story.

Nope, there was a butt.

butt 2

To truly understand the scope of the racism and flippancy around this meeting you have to watch the video by CNN where the commentator fixates on a part of a man’s body before going on to make fun of various world leaders who have taken the time and innitiative to connect with other groups on their terms. Hilarious.

Of course there is always room for cheeky news and a side-eyed view of current events — most telling is the Maori’s total disregard for what might be considered proper for Princes and Dutchesses, it is possible they’re getting a good laugh out of the coverage — but to have your culture mocked simply because you don’t adhere to Victorian shamefulness around showing your bum can also be quite hurtful.

What stings the most is the shocking omission of the story that could have been told here.

The story could have been one of redemption for the royals, one of forgiveness from the New Zealand tribesmen, one of the meeting of old and new, north and south in the 21st century.

But no, there was a butt.


Tell us what you think, was the CNN segment racist or are we overreacting?

Should women be charged with assault for taking drugs while pregnant? Tennessee thinks so.

Tennessee is poised to become the first state in the United States to charge pregnant women with assault if they consume drugs while pregnant. The controversial bill passed through both chambers of the state government and is set to come to life at the beginning of July.

The bill states that, should children be born “addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug … as a result of her illegal use of a narcotic drug taken while pregnant” the mother could be investigated and prosecuted for assault — harm in this case including deformities related to drug use — and if a child is stillborn or a mother miscarries as a result of illegal drug use she could be investigated and prosecuted for criminal homicide.

The bill has raised some important questions:

What does this mean for the legal definition of when life (and motherhood, in this case abuse) begins?

What does this mean in terms a setting a president for prosecution the transmission of genetic disorders or lifelong conditions like HIV?

What does this mean for women who consume substances before knowing that they are pregnant?

Alternatively, why should the law protect women (or anyone) who knowingly abuses their child, whether that is post-natal or in utero?

Let us know what you think, should women be charged with assault if their drug use during pregnancy results in ddeformity or addiction in their child when they are born?


India’s supreme court officially recognizes transgender people as third gender

In a landmark ruling out of India’s supreme court transgendered people have officially been granted status as a third gender in the country. With the granting of rights to those who don’t identify as either male or female the courts said “it is the right of every human being to choose their gender.”

Indian trans people, often called hijra, are an ostracized group that often has trouble finding work because of their gender identity. This new ruling means that hijra/trans people will be included in government quotas for employment along with other recognized minority groups.

BBC estimates there are up to two million transgender people in India, a country with a population of over one billion people.

Read more about the ruling in BBC’s coverage.

UofT study finds toddlers are ‘surprisingly sophisticated’ at understanding accents

According to a new study from the University of Toronto toddlers and small children have a much better comprehension of foreign and unknown accents than previously thought, or, in short: baby-talking to toddlers and small children might not be needed after all.

“Fifteen-month-olds typically say relatively few words, yet they can learn to understand someone with a completely unfamiliar accent. This shows that infants’ language comprehension abilities are surprisingly sophisticated,” according to UofT associate Psychology professor Elizabeth K. Johnson.

This means that adults speaking to a child in Australian English, American English, or British English can be understood fairly quickly by youngsters, even if the children themselves don’t say too much yet, possessing similar understanding skills to adults who take longer to fully comprehend accents.

The findings are based on two studied recently published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and in Language Learning and Development.

Women of the week: Hina Rizvi

Hina Rizvi figured out her role in this world very early on. “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, since I was very young,” she tells me.

To be fair, Rizvi is still what many would define as young. But this makes her success in her field all the more remarkable.

She received her law degree from the University of East London in London, UK. After graduating at the top of her class in 2008, Rizvi set out to conquer the legal world. While working in the field, she would gain an important mentor, a sole practitioner, who, she says, “gave me the confidence to not only be a lawyer but an entrepreneur.”

Yes, not willing to be simply a cog in an established legal firm, in November of 2012 Rizvi set out on her own. The reasons for going solo, she says, are threefold:

“One, I have more freedom to choose cases; two, it’s a better investment [in terms of salary and economy control]; and I can expand into New York. Not all firms have New York clients.”

She chose a good time to explore an independent firm, as clients are starting to look beyond established Bay Street firms. One reason is the cost: solo practitioners’ fees are lower than those of Bay Street, yet they still have the resources to provide clients with quality services.

Rizvi has an extra edge, as she has UK experience and has qualified for the bar in both Ontario and New York. In this new “localized” corporate world, she provides her clients the option of having one lawyer serve their needs across borders.

She also understands the need to adjust and work within the client’s specific needs, as her international education, she says, “opens your mind to different morals and principles.”

“It is very important where the client is coming from […] what their values are.”

One of Rizvi’s areas of specialty is collaborative law, a legal option for divorcing parties. It is an area Rizvi would like to be more well known. “Quite a few people are not aware of it, and would pursue this option if they were aware of it,” she says.

Collaborative law allows her to help people minimize the negative effects of a divorce, as it “promotes out of court settlements between families” and “healthy relationships between families,” which is important when children are involved and the parties need to work together.

As well, Rizvi, through social media, is doing her part to help the general public become more aware of the legal process. Using her blog (“blawg”), she defines areas of the law to her readers. This initiative of hers allows people the chance to learn more about areas of the law on their own time.

With an impressive resume so early in her career, Rizvi is sure to go far. Yet she is quick to stress that she is not done the learning process.

“I am still adapting and developing myself as a person and lawyer,” she says.

It is safe to say these future permutations will be an asset to the legal field.

Newsflash: April 10, 2014

Jim Flaherty has passed away, Patrick Brazeau back in the slammer, Pauline Marois turns down payday, Quebec Liberals will bring back secular charter, massive layoffs hit CBC, Sarah Thomson unveils first leg of transit plan, and a New Brunswick abortion clinic is shutting its doors.

Former Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty died today in his Ottawa home at the age of 64 only one short month after resigning his position. His final tweet: “It has been an honour to serve Canada. Thank you for the opportunity.”

Suspended Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau spent the night at the police station after cops were called to a Gatieau home where Brazeau was apparently wasted and found to be in possession of cocaine on top of assaulting someone. Looks like Patrick keeps getting so high he thinks his charity boxing match against Trudeau is still raging on.

Pauline Marois became the first premier to ever turn down their severance pay after the loss of an election/seat, saving the taxpayers over $180,000. It’s a shame it took her this long to do something worthwhile. But, of course, she can always court some extra shady cash from some other engineering firms if need be.

The new Liberal government in Quebec will continue on with their own version of the divisive secular charter that the PQ crafted. It won’t end in firings for public servants like the PQ charter would, Coulliard assures. Uhh… Well at least he isn’t a separatist.

The CBC has announced they will cut 657 jobs and won’t compete for pro sports rights any more to make up for funding lost from the government and revenue shortfalls. The hashtag #CBCcuts was trending on Twitter with many journalists expressing greif for their peers who might soon be unemployed. The layoffs will be spread over two years and will most likely hurt the sports division of the Corps. Say, don’t the feds always promise they’ll be creating jobs for Canadians?

Sarah Thomson announced the first leg of her transit plan today on CP24 that includes full funding for a Yonge Street relief line through tolls on the DVP and Gardiner expressway. The rest of the plan is under wraps for now, literally, with the other portions of her graphics covered up. The rest is expected to be unveiled some time over the next few weeks.

A New Brunswick private abortion clinic is closing its doors at the end of July after being unable to receive government funding to provide abortions. Abortions are available at two hospitals in NB, however provincial restrictions state that patrons must first get two doctors to sign off on the procedure being ‘medically necessary’ — a definition that can mean almost anything.




The best tweets from #DayOfPink



Meet Valeria Lukyanova — the ‘Human Barbie’

Some girls like to play with Barbies and dream of becoming her, and for Valeria Lukyanova that apparently became a reality — with a little help from plastic surgery and makeup.


See a resemblance?


Valeria is known not only for her Barbie doll looks but also some of the more, um, interesting views she has. For example, in February she announced she acheived her thin waistline when she converted to Breatharianism, the practice of only absorbing water and sunlight for nutrients (also known as anorexia).

human barbie

She also came clean in August, 2013 to the Daily Beast about her contact with extraterrestrials. “My communication with aliens is not verbal — we speak the language of light. I have learned a lot from my contact with them. Now I know that my spirit is very old. And also that humans are the least sophisticated civilization — we’re on the lowest level of evolution.”


She also said some vaguely racist stuff to GQ in April 2014, stating that “ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this.” Um, what?


Finally some evidence that you need food to think properly.


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RECIPE WEEK: Healthy hot cocoa

Woman of the Week Ann Barnes, has provided us with her delicious recipe for healthy hot cocoa. Give it a try when you’re looking for a tasty, guilt-free treat.


  • 2 Cups Rice Milk (raw nut milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (or raw Agave Nectar)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Roasted Hemp Hearts
  • 1 Teaspoons ground Chia
  • 1/8 Teaspoon vanilla extract (1/4 tsp raw ground vanilla)
  • Pinch of both pinch cinnamon and nutmeg

Cooking instructions:


  1. Blend the roasted hemp hearts along with 1/4 cup of the rice milk in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add cocoa, syrup, chia, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg & blend.
  3. Add the 1.5 remaining rice milk to a sauce pan and place on stove top element.
  4. Put on medium heat.
  5. Take the blended mixture and add while stirring to the rice milk.
  6. Heat to desired temperature.
  7. For a frothy “top” place 1 tablespoon hemp hearts and 2 tablespoons water in a blender – blend until fluffy and top off the hot cocoa with it.
  8. Note: For a “new flavour” try adding 1 tablespoon of orange juice.


Newsflash: April 8,2014

Quebec has a federalist Liberal government and Pauline and the PQ are out out out, fourth time could be the charm for man continually charged with murder of Hamilton woman, Theresa Spence was allegedly not idle when he dipped into band money, and some guy totally lost it in a Vancouver Tim Hortons.


Pauline Marois and the PQ lost yesterday’s Quebec election, essentially handing a majority to their Liberal opponents. With the PQ’s defeat many are saying that the vote was also a loss for the concept of Quebec sovereignty and the proposed charter of “values” (read: racism), although as reported in The Beaverton, since Pauline Marois failed to secure her own seat she was the first public sector employee to lose her job as a result of the charter.

Robert Badgerow is facing charges for the murder Diane Werendowicz for the fourth time. Hamilton police are certain that this is the guy who, after having sex with the nursing assistant, strangled her and threw her in a ditch by her apartment 33 years ago — although no conviction has stuck — and another woman who was attacked by the same ravine identified him. After 33 years this case might be forever stuck in OJ territory.

The partner of Theresa Spence, vocal leader of the Idle No More Movement, has been charged with fraud and theft. While Harper didn’t seem to care too much about the outcome of the Quebec vote bringing in a federalist government he no doubt enjoyed this news quite a bit.

Some guy leveled a downtown Vancouver Tim Hortons after he was asked to line up before placing his order. The man threw chairs through windows, ripped a debit machine off the counter, and destroyed the furnishings of the coffee shop. Funny, he seems to be acting out the rage felt inside everyone who has ever seen some asshole bypass the line they are patiently waiting in to place their order like they are the Queen of England. Jerk.