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NEWS, REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY, COURTESY OF THE PAPER TRAIL

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just because

Since it's the last day of August, the symbolic end of this cruel, cruel summer, you know I have to give you another video.

Just a little something that's been running through my head.



Man, the start of classes can't come soon enough.

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The State of the World

Hospital report says murder "unforseen"
A report released by a special committee of Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital concluded there was no way to predict the November deaths of nurse Lori Dupont and Dr. Marc Daniel.

The report does reveal that Daniel was already on a 12 month probation for ongoing threats and harassment against Dupont and two other nurses. As well, Daniel was allowed back to work less than three months after a suicide attempt, despite the medical chief of staff's recommendation that he stay on leave.

Despite calling the report "thorough," all of Dupont's colleagues present at the time of her murder, all of her family (except her brother) and top members of the hospital administration declined to be interviewed by the committee.


Drug trafficker apologizes to Atkinson's family following conviction
Coty Clifford Defausses, an 18-year-old who's crack trafficking scheme resulted in the death of Windsor Police officer John Atkinson, was sentenced yesterday to 20 months in jail.

Th judge presiding said that even though Defausses didn't pull the trigger, his enterprise resulted in Atkinson's death, the first murder of a Windsor police officer in the history of the force.

Nikkolas Robert Brennan, also 18, faces first-degree murder charges, use of a firearm while committing an indictable offence, and possession of crack for the purpose of trafficking. It is expected Defausses will be a key witness in Brennan's trial.

Defausses offered his apologies to Atkinson's family before being escorted from the courtroom.

Iran refuses to halt uranium enrichment
Surprise to no one, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to heed a UN Security Council demand that his country stop enriching uranium in the pursuit of nuclear technology.

"The Iranian nation will not accept for one moment any bullying, invasion or violation of its rights," Ahmadinejad told a crowd of supporters Thursday.

The refusal sends the West scurrying back to find a method to impose sanctions light enough to garner the support of Russia and China, who depend on Iranian oil exports.

Said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, "This deadline will invariably be followed by another deadline and another. This is a game that will play out over five years, not a game that will play out tomorrow."

The Iraq War, lie by lie
For those of you into that sort of thing, Mother Jones has an interactive timeline of the Iraq War, going back to August 1990.

It's a very large presentation, and certainly won't do much to quell your personal conspiracy theories, and certainly doesn't do much for "cowboy diplomacy."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Singing in the rain

So you may have heard by now that a group of 11 universities got together and told Maclean's to take a flying leap, refusing to give the magazine any information to help it compile its controversial rankings of Canadian universities. While at the time the University of Windsor had stayed out of the fray, today word came that it has, of its own accord, decided to withdraw as well.

In a letter to Tony Keller, the Managing Editor for Special Projects at Maclean's, University President Ross Paul explains why:
"I have long believed that Maclean’s reliance on inputs over outputs, a heavily weighted reputational survey with extremely low participation rates and, especially, the aggregation of data from a range of differently weighted variables that may or may not reflect the mission, mandate and priorities of a particular university can lead to quite misleading and unfair perceptions about an institution."
In a letter published in the National Post last week, Keller takes a defiant stance:
"...by refusing to make public this information, the goal of the 11 is, apparently, to make it impossible for Maclean's to produce its 16th annual University Ranking Issue, or at least to make it impossible for us to evaluate those 11 universities.

"If that's the plan, it won't work. This year's Maclean's University Ranking Issue will hit newsstands on Nov. 2, and it will, as always, contain complete information on all 47 ranked Canadian universities -- including the 11 signatories of the letter. I can promise this because most of the facts and figures that we use to create the rankings are either compiled by us or available from third parties."
Keller goes on to write that the information the boycotting schools are withholding involve things like entrance requirements and student retention.
To the magazine's credit, Keller goes on to point out a number of changes Maclean's is making to the rankings, including giving students an opportunity to draft their own rankings online, weighing things that matter to them appropriately, as well as including a score for each school, so potential students can see just what the difference between first and last really is.

So what does all this kerfuffle really mean, behind the drama and rhetoric? Probably not a whole lot.

If you follow these things at all, you should know that, up until now at least, the rankings devote the largest weight to the infamous reputation survey, which is given to business leaders, other university presidents and high school guidance councilors. A boycott won't make much difference there, and if you need proof, you should know that Ross Paul hasn't participated in that one for years, for all the good it's done.

Also, for the past three years Windsor has gone to great pains to point out that difference between first and last isn't that much. Well, if what Keller says is true, we'll now be able to see that for ourselves, in a much clearer way, and we'll know whether or not that was a defence worth hiding behind.

Lastly, after the 2005 rankings came out [last place for the fourth year running], the administration rolled out professors to explain how the rankings actually operate, and how they fail.

I attended one of them last year, and what stuck the most, and I may be remembering this wrong, was the idea that any changes made to the university, if Windsor decided to make sweeping changes to cater to Maclean's, those changes would not be felt in the rankings for about another three years. So it would seem that a boycott in 2006 would not make a difference until the rankings are published in 2009, at which point I don't doubt the schools and the magazine will have kissed and made up.

So then what are we left with? Well, we're left with a pissing match. And guess who's left getting soaked?

Hope you packed an umbrella, Windsor.

The State of the World

Three Arrested in East-End Murder Case
Windsor Police have arrested and charged two with first-degree murder and arrested a third in connection with with the death of Troy Hutchinson.

25-yeard-old Shane Huard and 29-year-old Susan Sladic, both Windsor residents, were arrested Monday afternoon. A 29-year-old man was also charged Monday, but police are not releasing his name.

While police aren't revealing much about the investigation, saying there is much more work to be done, they did say the suspects and victim were acquainted.

Israel refuses to lift blockade
Despite an appeal from U.N. head Kofi Annan, Israeli leader Ehud Olmert refused to commit to even a partial lifting of Israel's blockade on air, sea and land traffic to Lebanon.

With falling popularity due to his handling of the war, Olmert is taking a hard line in the carrying out the recent ceasefire.

Annan is also scheduled to visit Syria and Iran on his tour of the Middle East, visits the rest of the world will be watching closely, given the two countries' key positions in the stability of the region, and the U.S.'s refusal to negotiate with them.

Certainly Better Than 'You're This Close...'
Lakehead University has been getting attention for its recent approach to student recruitment.

By surfing to the website www.yaleshmale.com, visitors are greeted with a picture of George W. Bush and reminded that, "Graduating from an Ivy League university doesn't necessarily mean you're smart."

They then click a link if they agree and are offered contests to win a car lease or PlayStationPortable, or visit Lakehead's site for prospective students.

Despite concerns from alumni and some current students [the leader of the student union called the campiagn 'repugnant'], administrators said they had no intention of stopping the campaign, but would try to address individual concerns.

The Dumbest Reason to Go to Jail. Ever.
A Chicago man faces three years in prison for lying to officials at O'Hare airport, claiming that a suspicious looking object in his luggage was a bomb, when in fact it was a penis pump.

His mom was with him. He didn't want her to know. I suspect she'd rather have an insecure son walking free than behind bars, but hey, what do I know.

Flotsam

It's been sort of slow lately for any of the odd pop culture tidbits I usually depend on to make it through a day chained to the desktop, but there are a few of note.

Boing Boing has word that Google Books has started offering public domain works as downloadable PDF files. A search of 'free view' will bring up a list of other available works, but a Google account seems to be required.

CTV reports that a photo in the 2007 IKEA catalogue does not depict a dog with a human penis, citing an 'unfortunate' angle, causing the canine's leg to bear a striking resemblance to the aforementioned appendage.

After the last video's outtake reel, is there anyway I can resist a mashup of the Wu-Tang Clan and Dixieland jazz? I didn't think so [select songs and torrent available in the link].

For those of you who care about this sort of thing, it appears that the spawn of TomKat will be revealed to the world in the October issue of Vanity Fair. The link details some of the....extensive security measures being undertaken to protect the exclusive.

And, in a story that is sure to cause a great deal of upset to a number of young ladies I know [much to my amusement], Jessica Simpson and John Mayer appear to be getting frisky with each other.

And I still have barely begun to pack my belongings. The "week before the week you leave" is really a dreadfully boring time.

In closing, the misheard lyrics to a Finnish metal band. Dogs at the gate, to bed with me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The State of the World

Five arrested in connection with homicide
Following up from yesterday, Windsor police arrested five men last night as they continue their investigation into the murder of Troy Hutchinson.

However, none of the men arrested were suspects, and all were released without charges. Said Staff Sergeant Gord Purdy, the men were "peripherals that we need to be dealing with."

Police say they haven't been contacted by Hutchinson's next of kin, and "have very little information on the victim." The investigation is still ongoing.

My Weekend Entertainment Options Severely Narrowed
Police in Scarborough dismantled what they believe to be the largest known movie pirating operation in the country last Thursday.

Police said the mini factory, in the basement of a Scarborough mall, used 142 DVD burners to crank out as many as 560 DVDs an hour. A source close to the investigation said the factory could haul in $17 million a year in profit.

Police seem to be cracking down on such operations after a report published in April by the U.S. put Canada with China, Russia, Malaysia and India as the worst piracy offenders.

After the Storm
Everyone seems to be whipping out their Hurricane Katrina retrospectives, examining how New Orleans has recovered in the aftermath of the storm [The answers seem to range from "not good" to "rotting away"].

Two of the more interesting pieces you can find online: Slate is publishing the memoirs of Katrina survivor Blake Bailey, an evacuee, albeit a white, upper class evacuee. Hard to know how to feel. Yes, Bailey lost everything in the storm, but his most recent dispatch mentions his recently PhD'd wife lining up a salaried job as he continues working on a biography of John Cheever. Something tells me he'll be all right.

Secondly, CBS has a writeup of its interview with New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin up online, including Nagin's instantly infamous comment that his critics should be fair on the speed with which the recovery is moving, because "You guys in New York City can't get a hole in the ground fixed. And it's five years later."

Nagin has since apologized for the remark.

The Perils of eBay
A man who bought a Benz off of eBay was robbed at gunpoint when he went to deliver the payment.

23-year-old Shahzad Ali Sha was told if he paid up front in cash, the seller would not offer the car to anyone else. When Ali Sha arrived at the arranged meeting place with his mother and brother-in-law, four men approached them, one of whom was armed, and demanded their keys and the money for the car.

Ali Sha described the ordeal as "terrifying," but did not indicate if he intended to leave the seller negative feedback.

This week in The Lance
Get the inside story on what schools boycotted the Maclean's rankings this year, and why Windsor wasn't one of them; how the talented Mr. Raslan spent his summer vacation; projectors in the CAW Centre and more, only in The Lance.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Gist

So I know what you're thinking, Windsor. You're wondering what exactly the deal is here on this old blog, and you want to hear it from The Trail, and know what he's up to.

Well, here's the deal. Unless completely beyond my control for some reason, this blog will update at least twice a day. First thing in the morning will be a headline roundup of some of the top local, national and world stories, as well as videos done by both me and the rest of the Lance, and news and notes about what's going on around your campus.

The second post of the day is where you can find the little oddities that make the internets worth living on, as well as get a dose of The Trail the way you remember him, offering commentary and opinion on campus life, pop culture, or how he's adapting to life in a new city.

Which, by the way, is moving much more slowly than I would have hoped. The great keep/trash sorting of my life has enlightened me to how much and how little I have amassed during my life. I suspect when the parents, after returning from the parade I'm sure they'll throw once I've gone, notice how much crap is actually staying here in storage, my departure will become bittersweet.

So that's about what you can expect here on a daily basis. It's worth pointing out that if you have a diehard craving for more local news than you can find anywhere else I've seen online, stop by The Voice of Windsor, a new blog dedicated to city and county news and events, and is more thorough than I could hope to ever be, to be honest. Give them a shout if you're interested in doing some writing or your reporting on your city, lord only knows it needs more independenty media outlets.

And be sure to be on the lookout for the first issue of The Lance for the 2006-2007 year. It'll hit stands sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, so be sure to pick one up.

And is it just me, or does Windsor Welcome Week actually look pretty good this year? Makes me glad I'm not taking off til the 9th. Nice work, Carbone.

I'm off for a snack, since my Monday night ritual is a scant two hours away.

Learn to love it, learn to live with it Windsor. See you tomorrow.

The State of the World

And we're off. We'll save the fanfare for later.

Homicide rocks Eastside Neighbourhood.

Police are searching for two suspects in connection with the murder of Troy Henry Hutchinson, a 28-year-old Jamaican citizen in Canada as a refugee, who was shot in the stomach Sunday night at the corner of Ford Boulevard and Reginald Street.

Police describe the suspects as white males, between ages 16 and 20, between 5'6" and 5'11" with medium builds, one with short blonde hair and one with shoulder length brown hair. Police are also appealing to the public for information on a shirt [pictured in link] found discarded in a yard near the crime scene. Anyone with information is encouraged to call them at 519.255-6700, ext. 4830.

The article points out that Hucthinson, the city's fifth homicide this year, was murdered "only blocks from where Const. John Atkinson was murdered in May," making Atkinson a tragic litmus test for any murder that might happen in the city.

The Iceberg who would be Prime Minister

The Globe has an extensive profile on Michael Ignatieff, arguably the leading [and most complex] candidate for the Liberal Party leadership position. It's a fascinating, and not always flattering, look at a man who, in the need to continuously develop, will sacrifice relationships with friends and family for what he perceives to be the greater good, sometimes ruthlessly.

Says Ignatieff: "The point about ruthlessness that's important is that I am prepared to pay the price of my own life. You can pay your own bill, but inflicting the cost on other people is very hard — and you do get up in the night and think of that."

Military Lowers Security Clearances to Boost Enrolment

The Canadian Press is reporting that the Canadian military has "relaxed some background security checks" and is considering relaxing more as they attempt to meet recruitment goals.

A candidate granted "secret" level clearance was previously subject to a background check that went back 10 years. That number has been lowered to seven years. The background check for "confidential" level clearance, which most people in the forces have, has been lowered from 10 years to five. Representatives from the military claim its an acceptable risk while maximizing recruitment.

Hezbollah regrets soldier kidnapping

The Guardian reports that Hassan Nasrallah, the cleric leader of Hezbollah, told Lebanese media Sunday that the militia would not have kidnapped two Israeli soldiers if they had known it would have sparked a war.

"We did not think, even one percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude," said Nasrallah.

The comments come just as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrives in Lebanon to strengthen the uneasy ceasefire in the area.

Despite worries the ceasefire will not last, Nasrallah said he does not want to see the conflict renewed.

"We are not heading to a second round," he said, which is bound to ruin some people's plans.

Plan B Now an Option

The American Food and Drug Administration, after much debate, has finally approved the sale of emergency contraception Plan B without a perscription to individuals 18 and over.

The decision has resulted in the expected reaction from the expected people.

“Let there be no mistake about it, today’s decision lies at the feet of President Bush and has created a lasting rift with the Catholic faithful who compromise a large part of his support base,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of the Virginia-based anti-abortion group Human Life International.

Of course, this is old news here. Health Canada made the same decision over a year ago.

Guess that means I'll see you in hell.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Happy Wednesday

One week and one severely tested friendship later, a brand spanking new video for you to enjoy. I, for one, think the opening is fresh!



Yes, I know I misused the word 'genre' in the opening segment.

As an added extra, and for context purposes, the video of the writer with the questionable delivery can be found here [skip to the three minute mark, that's where it all goes downhill]. Geekery abounds, as it's a post on the state of comics journalism, but you should have no problem getting a sense of what I was referring to.

A good example of Amanda Congdon's headflippery can be found here.

Granted, a lot of people found Congdon's style appealing. I am not one of them. The default approach for a lot of vloggers [including myself, though I'm trying to wean myself off of it], seems to be a combination of 'wacky' coupled with 'too cool for school'. I think that hurts the credibility of the medium more than the nontraditional mode of transmission ever could. Or maybe I'm just too much of an old fart to appreciate it.

We love to hear what you Comm Studies majors and burgeoning media guerilla types think about stuff like this. Always feel free to leave us a comment or drop us a line at lance [dot] paper [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Briefly

First, all you eager beavers who have stopped by early can tell your friends that Paper Trails officially goes live daily on August 28, the day before the first issue of the academic year.

Second, yesterday's editorial meeting was very productive. Some great ideas were tossed around, and if we can follow through on them, you're going to have quite an informative and entertaining year, Windsor.

Third, a late night, chain smoking video edit session guarantees that a new video will be uploaded on the weekend, though we'll probably wait to post it until Monday. We do our best, Windsor, but there are day jobs to contend with. Try not to read too much into that.

Fourth: Hayley Joel Osment got hit with a DUI and pot possession yesterday. [Registration may be required. Hit up Bugmenot for a login and password.]

Say it with me, Windsor: "I see dead careers."

See you at the gala unveiling.

EDIT: So, my coproducer Hollywood has been off in space this weekend, and it's all I can do to keep him tethered to Earth long enough to finish the new video. Weddings, family gatherings, mackery, laptop battery life and perfectionism regarding some audio issues have prevented us from getting the video up as early as we would have liked. Sigh.

He assures me it will be finished tomorrow evening before I settle in to watch WWE RAW. I assured him he better have a saddle on, because I'm going to be riding his ass. Thoughts on the new media revolution and bonus outtakes coming your way. SOON.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Saturday Night

So after four hours, I finally beat XML into submission, leaving you with a selection of quality, unintrusive music to accompany your reading. Not too shabby for a guy who can barely input links manually with HTML.

You people better appreciate it, because I damn near gave myself an aneurism trying to figure it out.

More videos next week.

EDIT THE FIRST: As well, the Atom syndication feed is up and running, the link's at the bottom of the archive listing. So add us to your newsreader of choice [and here's a list of software that supprts Atom syndication].

EDIT THE SECOND: Metric added, in recognition of longtime Lance groupie and dear personal friend, Melissa Pulleyblank, who celebrates her champagne birthday next week. Please, you think I'd listen to that? Have a good one, Mepu.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Prologue

Before we get things firing on all cylinders around here, The Trail took it upon himself to put together a brief introduction to what we're trying to do here, and why you should visit.



It truly is a brave new world, Windsor.

Hollywood and I get bored easily, so I'm sure you can look forward to at least one more of these before the summer is over, probably on what I really think of the so-called new media revolution.

Stay safe, Windsor. We'll see you soon.

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