(Not) So Ghetto

by matttbastard

As a person of colour, the ‘ghetto dude’ affair hits home in a very personal manner. Even though I grew up in a small Huron County farming community, surrounded by rednecks and hackers (all nearly uniform-white), my complexion automatically marks me as ‘other’.




Throughout my life these and other backhanded compliments have been tossed my way, like crumbs brushed off the table of white privilege. I’ve been called ‘nigger’, constantly questioned about my background (‘no, I mean, where are you from originally?’) , forced to listen as blissfully oblivious (white) friends go on about the various endemic evils of black folks (‘but not you, Matt – you’re different!‘)

But so far I’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided scenarios like the one Evon Reid found himself pulled into – as far as I’m aware, that is. Incidents like this make me seriously wonder just how many prospective employers were negatively influenced by my ethnicity. The racism of Aileen Siu was only exposed by her carelessness. If not for an errant CC, none of us, especially Evon Reid, would have known of Siu’s apparent bias.

Myself and countless others could have been–have likely been–the ‘ghetto dude’ already, without even knowing.


by Isabel LaCoeur

U.N. suspends peacekeepers amid sex abuse charges

The United Nations said on Saturday it had suspended a Moroccan military contingent from its peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire while it investigated allegations of widespread sexual abuse.


U.N. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday the investigation involved Moroccan soldiers having sex with a large number of underage girls in the West African country’s northern rebel stronghold of Bouake.

Turkey’s Brothels Produce Two Election Candidates

Raped by her uncle when she was 9 and sold into prostitution by a man who had promised to marry her, Ayse Tukrukcu remembers her first day at a state-controlled brothel in the southern Turkish city of Mersin like it was yesterday.

“There was a song–‘Is This Justice, World’ by Hakki Bulut–playing in the shop opposite the big metal gate and a line of men waiting,” she says. “I asked the policeman at the door where I was, but he just laughed and pushed me in. My world collapsed.”

It’s been more than a decade since she paid off the $12,000 price she was sold for. Now, in an effort to draw attention to the plight of Turkey’s 3,000 state-registered prostitutes, she’s running as an independent candidate in parliamentary elections on July 22.

Lawn care company offers bikini-dressed mowers in Memphis, Tenn.

One lawn care company is showing a little skin to boost business.

The women of Tiger Time Lawn Care offer to mow customers’ lawns dressed in bikinis – a service that attracts more attention to the ladies than the lawns.

“Oh yeah, they honk and yell. They can do everything you can imagine,” said employee Blair Beckman, 21.

Beckman said the extra attention is expected, but she looks on the bright side.

“You get the attention but you also get a tan, which I need,” Beckman said.

Doctors Treating Older Anorexics

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have long been considered diseases of the young, but experts say in recent years more women have been seeking help in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and older. Some treatment centers are creating special programs for these more mature patients.

Most of the women in this age group who seek treatment have had the problem for years, said Dr. Donald McAlpine, director of an eating disorders clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “The epidemiology is pretty clear that anorexia and bulimia both peak in the late teens, early 20s,” yet “a lot of (patients) continue to be symptomatic right on through to middle life.”

Receding Insight

by matttbastard

I totally missed this, too: Via Idealistic Pragmatist*, Macleans pundit Paul Wells wants to kill universal healthcare deader than Tommy Douglas:

I have long been a (fairly quiet) advocate of private, for-profit, two-tier, American-style, dance-on-Tommy-Douglas’-grave-style health care, on the simple principle that if something is important you should be allowed to buy it.

Hmm. Appears that Wells has been dutifully gorging at the ideological trough of the Fraser Institute. IP is spot on here:

This means that if Wells had his way, the wealthiest among us would all be purchasing air, specific mountain ranges, human relationships, children, and success. Not to mention elections. Oh, wait a minute.

Wells seems to be establishing his ‘balanced’, middle-of-the-road bona fides–a Northern spin on ‘High Broderism‘–before dismissing a hamfisted attack on single payer health care in the US.

Of course, using Wells’ ‘objective’ standard (“profound idiocy” + bad ‘do = STFU), we should arbitrarily dismiss any future insights he brokers.

receding insight

I mean, just look at that hair. Does his mommy still trim it for him?

*Be sure to check out the comments @ IP’s place – Wells shows up and attempts to defend his remarks.

“This isn’t a Confederate flag in a pickup truck… . But it’s the kind of private view that affects decisions about someone like myself in the job market.” UPDATED 07.23 – MCGUINTY APOLOGIZES

by matttbastard

John Tory and Paul Ferreira are exactly right: U of T Poli-Sci student and job applicant Evon Reid (aka ‘Ghetto Dude’) deserves to receive an unequivocal apology from Premier Dalton McGuinty himself, not an office manager or deputy minister:

Discounting the argument that the email was a mistake and not intended to be seen by Reid, Tory…dismissed [Cabinet office manager Craig] Sumi’s voicemail apology as inadequate.

“There is no place that this should be happening in the Ontario government, but that it comes from the premier’s office is beyond comprehension,” said Tory, noting the cabinet office reports directly to McGuinty’s office.

New Democratic MPP Paul Ferreira (York-South Weston) agreed the apology should come from the premier, and went a step further in urging “sensitivity training” for government employees.

Feel free to (politely) let Premier McGuinty know what you think.

Contact info:



1795 Kilborn Ave

Ottawa ON K1H 6N1






Queen’s Park


Rm 281, Main Legislative Building

Toronto ON M7A 1A4





Update 07.23: McGuinty apologizes:

Premier Dalton McGuinty yesterday apologized to University of Toronto honours student Evon Reid for the email from his cabinet office that used the term “ghetto dude.”

Reid, 22, picked up the telephone in his Malvern-area home to hear a man’s voice asking for him. When he identified himself, the caller responded: “Dalton McGuinty here.”

The premier told him “he deserved an apology and there was no one better to deliver it than him,” according to Reid.

“He also said he heard good things about me from the cabinet office and that the cabinet office is taking the incident very seriously. Most impressive, though, he said he was proud of me for making it public.”


Reid characterized McGuinty’s call as “very thoughtful … I feel somewhat encouraged.”

He stopped short of saying he had accepted the apologies.

Not going to give any cookies to McGuinty for doing the right thing. The fact remains that a staff member in the cabinet office used a racial slur in official intra-office communication to describe a highly qualified job candidate. Her initial explanation for the incident (that she wasn’t referring to Reid; the implication that because she herself belongs to a visible minority means she can’t be racist) is utterly ridiculous and insulting in light of the evidence, as is the downplaying of her importance by Giles Gherson, deputy minister of communications, and civil servant Craig Sumi.

Hopefully the NDP and Conservatives don’t let this drop so easily.

The Best and Brightest?

by matttbastard

Memo to Dean Barnett: The plural of anecdote isn’t data.

(And rehashing the ’60s yet again is just fucking played out, man.)

The fact that some individual soldiers are eager to become gristle in the meat grinder is, to be blunt, entirely irrelevant. Just because one can cherry pick a few clean cut upper-class white boys to represent the ‘9/11 Generation’ (and use them to bludgeon the dirty fucking hippies–“See? they’re wealthy and educated yet still look forward to dying in Iraq!”) does not make the current options available to the US military (barring any drastic policy shifts) look any less bleak.

Via Memeorandum.

Updatemaha cuts herself a switch and gives Barnett’s tortured rhetoric a good lickin’.  Remind me never to get on her bad side.

Ante Up

by matttbastard

No surprises here. Coming after a week in which Senator Hillary Clinton was chastised by a Defense Department official for boosting “enemy propaganda”, shameless Iraq dead ender William Kristol has accused The Nation and The New Republic (and, by extension, the entire ‘left’) of “betraying” US troops:

With the ongoing progress of the surge, and the obvious fact that the vast majority of the troops want to fight and win the war, the “support-the-troops-but-oppose-what-they’re-doing” position has become increasingly untenable. How can you say with a straight face that you support the troops while advancing legislation that would undercut their mission and strengthen their enemies? You can’t.


Having turned against a war that some of them supported, the left is now turning against the troops they claim still to support…. [The troops] are our best and bravest, fighting for all of us against a brutal enemy in a difficult and frustrating war. They are the 9/11 generation. The left slanders them. We support them.

For some reason, hawks have long considered this dubious line of argumentation the pocket aces of rote pro-war apologia. Hell, Kristol even resorts to Red-baiting The Nation, directly pegging the magazine as a fellow traveller of Stalin. Recognizing a blatant tell, Steve Benen calls his bluff, noting that “conservative discourse [on the war is] stuck in 2003”.

Via Memeorandum.

Real Sexual Education.

by Isabel LaCoeur

The Nation has an excellent interview with Heather Corinna, who runs scarleteen.com. Scarleteen.com supplies accurate, practical and comprehensive sexual information to teens in an accessible and straightforward manner.

A quick excerpt from the interview:

You start out telling readers that they can choose to create a “healthy, happy and fulfilling sexual life.” This notion alone is at odds with the tone of most media reports about teens and sex; why do you think teen sexuality sets off such controversy?

Corinna: Teenagers being sexual are often presented as teens “out of control,” even when historically, psychologically and physiologically what they’re doing is completely developmentally normal and appropriate. I think one reason why teenage sexuality is so controversial has to do with adult fears about losing control over a class of people who, quite earnestly, can have an awful lot of power and influence when they choose to harness it.

But some of that is also just plain old worry, coming from a good place. A lot of parents really love their kids, and feel they made errors with sexual partnership or sexuality they don’t want their own kids to make.

The rest here:

An example of the great practical advice that Scarleteen.com offers:

Your Basic Safer Sex Kit for a Pittance

* 10-12 latex condoms, preferably NOT spermicidal, and in a variety of the styles you like. Keep a couple flavored ones (Trustex makes great flavors) in there for fellatio (oral sex on a man). At Scarleteen, we prefer condoms made by Durex, Kimono, Crown and Inspiral. If you are allergic to latex, then polyurethane condoms (like Avanti). Never use animal-based condoms for safer sex purposes as they do not block microorganisms.
Average cost: $8
* One bottle of latex-safe, water-based lubricant. You can even get lubricant in single-use tubes and have a variety of lubes, including flavors. Astroglide is our personal favorite.
Average cost: $8
* 10 pairs of latex gloves — any drug store or medical supply sells them. If you’re allergic to latex, there are latex alternatives.
Average cost: $5
* 5 dental dams, or, if you can’t find them, a box of plain old plastic wrap (the kind you’d have in the kitchen for wrapping food) for cunnilingus (oral sex on a woman). Sheer Glyde dams are the best we’ve found. If you’re allergic to latex, go with the plastic wrap.
Average cost for five dams: $7
Average cost for one box of plastic wrap: $2
* A little tube of organic aloe vera gel. Say what? Sometimes, our skin reacts badly to certain lubricants or condoms. When it does, a little aloe will soothe your skin and stop swelling and allergic reactions that can make the transmission of disease more likely. Let it sit for a little bit, then wipe with water, and you’re all better.
Average cost: $3