common sense, Current Events, NCSY, News, Opinion, Politics, Thornhill

Classic Dalton McGuinty Fail: Telling a terminally ill cancer patient, “That’s Not True…”

Amidst the non-stop advertizing in lieu of this Thursday’s Ontario Provincial election, I was reminded of this classic Dalton McGuinty video of him giving the cold shoulder to a man telling him that he’s dying of cancer and that McGuinty isn’t doing anything to help. Continue reading “Classic Dalton McGuinty Fail: Telling a terminally ill cancer patient, “That’s Not True…””

Current Events, News, Politics, Sports, Toronto

My favourite Jack Layton & Wade Belak moments

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Over the past two weeks, two well-known Canadians passed away. One was a politician, the other a hockey player. And even though their professions were very much different (besides the aspect of immense competition involved), they both shared in common something more important – they were stand-up & exceptional human beings.

Continue reading “My favourite Jack Layton & Wade Belak moments”

Awesome, Israel, Judaism, Politics

The Definition of Awesome: Shimon Peres says Jews should keep Shabbat

Yes you read that post title correctly. President Shimon Peres of Israel believes Jews should keep Shabbat.

That’s bold words coming from one of the oldest and seasoned veterans of Israeli politics (At 86, he’s been a Knesset member since 1959, until 2007 when he became president).

As much as I’d like to dig into this one – particularly on Peres’ past history on religious items and issues – I’m gonna take a pass on this one and just be happy one of the most powerful people in Israel just outwardly advocated for keeping of the fourth commandment.

(And because I’m a little overwhelmed with work + tired + not in best of moods to write because of something that’s going to happen today…. which I’ll be writing about before the end of  the week).

For more on the above story, check out Arutz Sheva’s coverage of it here.

Nuff’ said!

Awesome, Current Events, Israel, Judaism, News, Opinion, Politics

Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN Speech Full Text Transcript, Sep 24, 2009 promised, here is the full transcript of Netanyahu’s UN Speech. People are calling it Churchillian, likening it to other famous Middle East speeches and moments such as the various handshakes, or soldiers at the Kotel after the Six Day War or Ben Gurion declaring the existence of the State of Israel in Independence Hall in 1948.

Sure it’s all that and then some. But for me… Awesome will do just fine.

I wonder if Livni would’ve done the same thing…

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen…

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland. I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
Continue reading “Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN Speech Full Text Transcript, Sep 24, 2009”

Awesome, Current Events, Israel, Judaism, media, News, Opinion, Politics

Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN Speech Video, Sep 24, 2009

I’m posting video of the entire speech.
Why? No reason really…
It just happens to be the definition of awesome.
Nuff’ said.

The remaining parts can be found in the rest of the post.

The transcripts will be set up on another post.

Continue reading “Benjamin Netanyahu’s UN Speech Video, Sep 24, 2009”

Current Events, Israel, media, Opinion, Politics, rants, school

Justification for my CUPE article and response to criticism

Last week’s edition of the Jewish Tribune featured a story of mine entitled: “Anti-Israel rhetoric flies at CUPE meeting, but no time left for voting.” A day after the paper’s distribution, I was forwarded emails from Hasbara members, who were upset about the content of the story.

This post will explain why I wrote what I did. Actually it’s more like explaining why I included this piece of information in the story. Continue reading “Justification for my CUPE article and response to criticism”

blog stuff, Current Events, Israel, Judaism, media, News, Politics, Random

Stephen Harper at Chabad Flamingo 03/26/09

The following story is a classic example of the kind of day-to-day experiences one can expect as a journalist.

It’s been a crazy day, having been out since 6:20 am. After going straight from morning prayers to school, where we spent the whole morning wrapping up the newspaper, I then spent the next few hours trying to get in touch with actors and journalists to interview them for a project due Monday. I finally called it a day around 5:45, catching the GO Bus back home. I usually walk from the GO Station (after the bus lets me off) to another station where I got on another bus – YRT VIVA Purple – which takes me within a ten minute walk from home. The bus goes down Bathurst from Highway 7 to Atkinson (my stop), where  I notice a long line of cop cars right outside Chabad Flamingo, the synagogue right from across my street. The intersection at Bathurst has Worth Blvd. (my street) on one side, and Flamingo Rd. on the other, and right on that corner is the synagogue.

Wondering what’s up, I call home, maybe they know. My sister answers the phone:

“What’s going on outside Chabad Flamingo,” I ask.

“Who’s the most important person in Canada,” my sister responds.

“Umm… the Prime Minister?”

“That’s right, ” she replies sarcastically.

“Wait, are you telling me he’s at Chabad Flamingo?”

“Well done, Tevy. You’ve figured it out.” Continue reading “Stephen Harper at Chabad Flamingo 03/26/09”

Current Events, media, News, Opinion, Politics, school

Getting friendly with politicians

One of the biggest ethical issues in the world of journalism is the fear of getting too close to your sources. I call it a fear because the traditional notion of getting too close to your sources could lead to the loss of objectivity – a cornerstone of journalistic integrity. I came across this problem firsthand yesterday amidst my reporting for the Toronto Observer. It was a neat experience to say the least, but it wasn’t until after my encounter did I realize that I may have been unintentionally coerced to write my story more favour of the views of my source.

Throughout the week, I’ve been covering a story for the concerning the new Green Energy Act released by the Ontario provincial government. One of the big issues is the possibility of wind turbine systems being erected to use more wind energy, rather than the usual fuel and coal energy we all know and love. It’s particularly important where I’m based because of the famous Scarborough Bluffs, which the province has has it’s sights set for for a the potential introduction of the systems. Many residents in the area have expressed concern for this new process so that’s where my coverage comes in… (I’d love to discuss the story, but that’s not the blog topic.. for more information feel to research to issue on your own;)

One of the first people to be quoted in papers expressing “a not so positive” outlook on the act was Paul Ainslie, councilor for Ward 43 – Scarborough East (the area where the Bluffs are located). I would certainly have to get in touch with him if I wanted to get a better local perspective of the situation.

It’s a little after 5 p.m. and I’m still in the newsroom at Centennial, finally finished gathering information, ready to see if I could contact the councilor. I never intended to actually have a quote by the end of the day, but that didn’t bother me because I knew I had enough time to get his word and still come up with a story by my deadline. I come across his website, where I notice he has calendar. I click on the link, which I hope will give me an idea of his schedule outside of City Hall responsibilities. Not only did I find that, but low and behold there was a scheduled Town Meeting tonight in the area for 7 p.m. Now… normally when these super awesome things come up, I’m never fully prepared; I’m usually missing a camera or recorder, or have no questions prepped. This was not the case!

So after clearing stuff at home, which means no dinner in un-kosher Scarborough, I made my way down to the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre for this meeting. I had to walk a bit of the way (15 minutes) because the TTC buses could only take me so far. It was weird walking down one the streets because some people had stepped out of their houses and literally stared me down as I walked by them… Probably wasn’t me, but hey when was the last time they saw a Jew walk down their street at night?

Once I got there, I was clearly the youngest of the dozen or so people who showed up for the meeting. It’s too bad not enough people show up for these things because they’re actually quite informative and you get to build a relationship with the people running your neighbourhood. The meeting went for about an hour and a half. Later I approached the councilor and began talking to him. We had the interview, which went very well, then told him about our paper and how we’re always looking for stories and issues. I said that we have no problem writing stuff once it gets out, but we suck when it comes to finding it ourselves, or getting spoilers and releases like how big media outlets receive. He understood that, expressing how you put in so much work into something yet little feedback comes in return and its a little disheartening. It’s always great to maintain active network of relationships.

After exchanging contacts, I picked up my stuff and proceeded to leave… then the fun starts…

“How did you get here?” he asks me.

“I took the bus, than walked here,” I replied.

“Can I give you a ride to Lawrence?” (where the bus is)

“Sure… I’m heading back to campus by Morningside and Ellesmere…”

(Here’s where I stuck my foot in my mouth):

“Actually, where are you headed?”

Ainslie: “East around that area, want a lift?”

“Sure! That be great.”

So I got ride to along with the councilor in his big black van back to campus. We schmoozed about the community, school, yeshiva in Israel, how he failed the LSAT 3 times and then started a food business and other things. That was really nice of him. I’m naturally very appreciative when kind deeds are done for me.

But then as I began waiting for the bus, I wondered had I accepted too much from him? I’ve never shied away from accepting a ride somewhere (See future post of rant about public transit) and at that point he was just another human being, who deserves proper respect like any other person, who’d do something for me.

But when writing my stories, including this one, it doesn’t resonate in my mind how nice a source was to me beyond the matters of exchanging information for stories. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them taking the time to answer my questions. Rather, it’s the opposite. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be cited in newspaper articles regardless of what paper it is. Yes, you have bear in mind the role source plays in stories, but I don’t know anyone who would deliberately shoot down a source (aka with malicious intent) in a story. Unless substantial reasoning exists, that’s not right…

I hope I can maintain a respectful relationship with my sources in the future.

Facebook, Judaism, media, Politics, Random, school

Professor Obama

Like many yesterday, I took the time to watch inauguration ceremonies.

The location: From the seat of my Magazine Journalism class. For me, it seemed different not sitting @ home watching something like this, rather @ school. But I don’t think it’s that unusual nowadays that technology has allowed us access to pretty much whatever we want, wherever we are.

Nonetheless, our entire class was fixated towards the overhead screen at the front of the class and with several others were right outside our class watching off an even bigger screen in the main atrium of the HP Campus @ Centennial College. Having President Obama in a sense “give us lecture” with his inauguration speech was fun to watch.

Things that stood out from yesterday’s proceedings:

1) Rick Warren reciting the Shema: Talk about catching me off guard… I was sitting @ my desk working on an in-class assignment meanwhile the CNN feed is being shown on the overhead because our Prof wanted to watch it. I wasn’t constantly watching, but I heard everything loud and clear. All of sudden I hear the words “Hear O Israel…” and I’m thinking What? I turn to look and yes indeed, Rick Warren was reciting the Shema. For those who don’t know, the Shema is the most important verse in Judaism. Written in the Torah, it’s recitation represents a fulfilment of the paramount commandment of acceptance of G-d’s absolute sovereignty (Artscroll Siddur). Good for Warren, who’s also a pastor, for reciting the holy words. Jews all around the world watching must have felt special @ that moment…

2) Wow did Chief Justice John Roberts screw up reciting the words for Obama during the swearing in. He said way too much for him to repeat afterwards and spoke way to fast. To be honest, Obama did look a little nervous. And @ one point I actually thought he said one of the words wrong… And every time I watched a replay on the news, you didn’t hear the mistakes, rather a quick snippet of Obama reciting a line or two. Wonder if anyone else noticed it?

3) My mom asked this one: “What if Obama has to go to the washroom?”
It’s not like he can’t go during the speeches, parades, balls, or whatever event that requires him to be on television. They probably snuck him out in between proceedings.

4) How much bloody coverage Michelle Obama’s dresses get: Okay, I maybe conservative in this case but honestly, is it really that important to know every single detail about the clothes worn by the First Lady? Maybe it’s because I’m a guy too… At one point when discussing the dress, I actually learned something interesting about the dress – it had to do with the tradition of these balls and the likeness of Michelle Obama towards Jackie Kennedy and what they both symbolize to the American public. Fine. But they still went overboard with the coverage…

5) The balls: 10 Balls? He had to go to 10? And dance @ them all? The same dance? Talk about patience… It’s actually quite admirable to see someone who genuinely seems to enjoy and care about all the places and things he saw and heard. Must be gratitude. Michelle Obama on the other hand… you could tell her attention span was dwindling @ times…

6) CNN’s Live Feed + Facebook Statuses: How cool was that? In addition to watching the inauguration, you could also check your friend’s Facebook statuses too. In fact, most of them were probably watching the inauguration the same way you were too. I was very impressed.

So January 20th, will be a day history will never forget.
They better not forget it. I had my Bar Mitzvah on January 20th (2001).