From grad students to seniors, young children to young couples, a diverse crowd came out to U of T’s Faculty Club on Nov. 4 for John Wall’s talk on “A Quest for Co-Existence: People and Other Animals in an Increasingly Human World.” Wall, who is director of the Jane Goodall Institute and a doctoral candidate in Carleton University’s geography and environmental studies department, appeared as part of U of T’s Centre for Environment seminar series.As dusk fell Wednesday evening, Wall asked his audience: what are the processes and prospects of living with endangered species? How do people adapt to living with animals, and vice versa?“[Dr. Goodall’s] research has opened up a new view into animal behaviour, and chimpanzee behaviour and ecology,” Wall said. “She doesn’t see a sharp division between what we need to for other species and what we need to do for people. As she often puts it, ‘Let’s make a better world for the Earth and all of its inhabitants.’”A trip to Uganda as a volunteer development consultant shaped Wall’s research interests. Not only did he become more aware of complicated conservation and economic development issues in the region, but he also began to wonder about how people and animals co-exist.“The encounter” was the motif of Wall’s talk. He pointed out that because not everyone can share the same experiences, each individual encounter is unique. Direct encounters as well as indirect and vicarious experiences can shape our position towards not only animals, but other social groups and communities as well.“For me, an encounter with a chimpanzee, Sophie, changed my mind about people and animals. I was beginning to see myself in her eyes,” Wall said. “Subsequently I thought, ‘Humans are animals too, and just as our eyesight, hearing, smell, and touch are in continuum with other species, some of those species have capacities in those areas that far, far exceed our human capacity.’”Recently, Wall has focused on the mutual adaptations of people and threatened species. He has investigated eastern wolves in the Ottawa Valley, grizzly bears in Canmore, Alberta, and North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy.Wall said he hopes to continue working in human-animal studies that address conservation and development, and to examine how people develop their ideas of nature. “As we learn more about [encounters], and begin to see ourselves in the other,” he said, “it completely transforms our relationship and our desire to live a peaceful and successful co-existence.”
Close encounters key to co-existence
Christian group apologizes for ‘Prayer for Homosexual Community’ at York
Around 50 students protested at York University last Thursday after the student group Campus for Christ advertised a “Prayer for the Homosexual Community at York.”Students felt the invitation for the protest was blatantly homophobic. The prayer was dedicated towards “the homosexuality community [sic]” and asked them to “pray in love for those who seek freedom from this bondage that they may find Jesus and turn away from temptation.”The LGBT student community at York organized a counter-protest, to be held at the same time. In response, Campus for Christ formally apologized and cancelled the event. The group met with campus groups, including Trans, Bi, lesbian, Gays, Allies at York. A revised statement on their website says the event was meant to “address the negative relationship that currently exists on a wide scale between the Christian and homosexual communities.”LGBT supporters decided to have a peaceful protest anyway. “We held the protest for the Campus for Christ student group, to show them that the queer community is strong and that they have to be educated about their ignorance,” said Evelyn Shaller- Auslander, a protestor from U of T.
Tea Party boiling over
A fierce battle is being waged for the heart and soul of the political right within the United States. It peaked when Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race for New York’s 23rd district after poll numbers revealed she was trailing behind David Hoffmann, a candidate for the Conservative Party, an ultra right-wing political faction. Scozzafava’s move was precipitated by activists within the “Tea Party” movement, a conservative activist group of about 3,000 people opposed to the policies of the Obama administration and what they perceive as lacklustre leadership on the part of moderate Republicans.Although Hoffmann lost to Democrat Bill Owens, we should take this as a sign of things to come. In the 2010 elections, conservative activists plan to challenge over a dozen Republican House and Senate nominees who they perceive as being too moderate or liberal. This was exactly the reason Scozzafava dropped out of the race. She was perceived to be too liberal because she is pro-choice and supports gay marriage as well as some Obama policies. The Tea Party faction will also challenge Charlie Crist in Florida for endorsing Obama’s stimulus package. Everett Wilkinson, who heads the Florida Tea Party Patriots, told Politico that “We would lose if Charlie Crist got elected or if another person who doesn’t support our policies got elected.” The disconcerting aspect about the movement’s opposition to moderates is not only that it seems to suggest there is no place for moderates in the Republican Party, but in the whole of America itself. The word “liberal” has become pejorative, and usually marks someone as an enemy of the people, as someone who is anti-American in their support for abortion, gay marriage, and initiatives such as the stimulus package or government-run health care. The suggestion is that if you have any agreement with anything liberal, than you are not an American.The Tea Party movement has been anything but civil. At the town hall meetings on health care reform organized by Democrats in August, the behaviour of Tea Party members was not only atrocious, but undemocratic in the sense that they were encouraged to disrupt free political assembly. A memo circulated by the website Tea Party Patriots encouraged supporters to “Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early. Get him off his prepared script and agenda […] The Rep should be made to feel that a majority, and if not, a significant portion of at least the audience, opposes the socialist agenda of Washington.” As a result of such encouragements, some town halls ended in fisticuffs, hospitalization, and arrests.The point of these tactics is not so much to change the nature of the debate as much as to deny debate period. Extremists always put the conclusion before the premise: any discussion of health care or economic reform is socialist and therefore must be shut down. The message of this group is clear: no freedom of speech except for our group, no political assembly except for our group, no political power except for our group.The other disturbing aspect is that this is not a grass-roots movement. In fact, many of the larger protests have been orchestrated by two right-wing lobby organizations, Americans For Prosperity and Freedom Works, who have chartered buses and given members millions of dollars. In one large protest held in Tampa, Florida, protesters stated that they had been encouraged to protest by the Hillsborough County Republican party and had even been given talking points. The same memo quoted earlier also gave Tea Party members tips on how to successfully control debates and take over the proceedings.This is not a movement about changing the face of government, this is a movement about taking over government and ensuring no one else can change it.
Ontario cracks down on illegal colleges
Private career colleges that offer unapproved programs in Ontario now face fines of up to $25,000. The measure is part of the province’s Private Career Colleges Act, which took effect on Nov. 1.Ontario has 580 registered private career college campuses. Penalties will range from $250 to $1,000 daily for a first offence and can escalate with repeated offences. Previously, students who enrolled in institutions with unaccredited programs had no protection and no ways of getting reimbursed. Last year, Bestech Academy simply closed down its campuses in St. Catherines and Stoney Creek. “Work on the private career colleges has been going on for quite some time. It was one of the recommendations that came from the ombudsman’s report [about Bestech] that was released earlier this summer,” said Annette Phillips, media spokesperson for the Minister of Training and Colleges.In September, Toronto Star reporter Diana Zlomislic went undercover at an unlicensed college. Zlomislic obtained a certificate from the Ontario Academy of Science & Technology to practice as a personal support worker after watching instructional DVDs and reading Wikipedia excerpts for two weeks. The McGuinty government has appointed enforcement officers to inspect and fine fraudulent private colleges. Ontario has also started a campaign to inform students and encourage them to research colleges through pamphlets, posters, Facebook, and the province’s website before signing any contracts.
Saving the best for last
While penalty kicks may not be the fairest way to win, you can’t doubt the drama they bring.The entire Varsity Blues men’s soccer season hung in the balance on one shot. The Western Mustangs needed one goal to vanquish the top team in the Ontario University Athletics rankings but Blues goalkeeper Jon Smits was having none of it.The Mississauga, Ont. native stared down the Mustang shooter, danced on his line, dove to his right and swatted the ball wide of the post. There was elation on the field and in the stands as Smits pumped his fist in triumph.Midfielder Geoff Borgmann slotted one home and the Blues were one save away from the OUA final. It was up to Smits to guess correctly, and make the final save.“I just looked at the guy’s eyes, read him the entire time, and tried to strip down his confidence,” said Smits.Smits went right, the ball went right, and the celebration was on.“What can you say about our keeper,” said forward Nordo Gooden. “He really showed up when we needed him most. He had me in tears—I’m not going to lie.”With the hard-fought 3-2 win, the Blues moved into the OUA final against McMaster Marauders on Sunday afternoon where they eventually lost 1-0 on penalty kicks.Toronto looked vastly different than the tentative team that played Laurentian last week. They played with purpose, confidence, and had the strut of the number-one ranked team in the country.“I didn’t have to do much in terms of motivation,” said Toronto head coach Anthony Capotosto. “Mistakes are made by coaches arousing the players a little too much.”Over a minute into the game, Nordo Gooden headed a corner just past the right post and three minutes later Alexander Raphael had a sure goal taken off the line by midfielder Ryan Avola.“We were preparing all week to have a quick start,” said Borgmann. “Our game plan was to come out and pump some goals early.”The Blues took a well-deserved 1-0 lead in the 18th minute when Gooden got his second of the postseason.Borgmann took a one-touch pass and sprinted down the right side and centred the ball for Gooden, who tapped the ball by the left hand of Western goalie Andrew Murdoch.The early Blues offensive surge left the Mustangs on the back foot as it took Western nearly 27 minutes to get their first chance on goal.Western tied the game in the 28th minute. Michael Marcoccia gathered the ball, turned, and let a screamer go along the turf that beat a diving Smits. It was the fourth goal the Blues allowed in 11 games.The Blues held an 8-1 shot advantage at the end of the opening 45 minutes.Offensively, the Blues didn’t start the second half as crisp as the first. Their work rate and commitment was evident but they seemed plagued by nerves.They moved the ball nicely from side to side, but the touch passes, there in the first half, were either too strong or inaccurate.“It was a lot of jitters,” said Gooden. “We have a lot of rookies playing in the league who are not used to OUA soccer and they were nervous and it was showing out there.”The Mustangs’ confidence grew. They pushed the envelope offensively but didn’t trouble Smits with anything of high quality.Reminiscent of the first half, the Blues strung a series of passes that broke forward Gabe Gala through in the 38th minute. He went in alone on Murdoch but the keeper raced off his line and dove to knock the shot away.Overtime was next.Gooden scored his second of the game in the eighth minute of the first overtime session to give the Blues a 2-1 lead, but Michael Sawchuck tied the game with four minutes left in the second session, sending the game to a shootout.With Borgmann’s goal and Smits’ save in the shootout, the Blues earned an automatic spot in the CIS men’s soccer championship.
NBA Western Conference preview
Los Angeles Lakers
The BuzzGM Mitch Kupchak launched a pre-emptive strike on teams this summer when he signed mock rapper and proven threat Ron Artest, who is incidentally one of the league’s best defenders. Artest is “the only player in the world who can contain [Lakers superstar] Kobe Bryant,” according to basketball analyst Ron Artest. So logically, L.A. should benefit from having the self-professed “Kobe Container” instead of their best player to guard other teams’ scorers.PrognosisThe Lakers’ supporting cast will determine just how dominant the team is this season. Fifth-year centre Andrew Bynum should emerge as a reliable scoring option and defensive presence after knee injuries impeded his progress each of the last two seasons.
San Antonio Spurs
The BuzzThe Spurs are the NBA’s most intelligent franchise on and off the court. When injuries put a halt to their playoff run last season, R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich didn’t panic by chasing every big-name free agent on the market. Instead, they brought in veterans Antonio McDyess and Richard Jefferson to address their weakness at forward, and waited for their stars to recover from injury. While off to a slow start this season, the Spurs are the best at making winning look routine and should be in rare form soon.PrognosisPETA storms the Spurs’ home court and covers defamed bat-snatcher Manu Ginobili in red paint. The state of Texas sympathizes with PETA and hosts its first-ever vegan cuisine festival.
Portland Trail Blazers
The BuzzYoung, skilled, and hungry, the Blazers outplay teams at both ends of the court. While expected to join the elite ranks of the West this season, the Blazers have some underlying issues that could slow their progress. Concern still lingers over former number-one draft pick Greg Oden, who has suffered through injuries each of his first two seasons in the league. Coaches will have to monitor his minutes and continue to rely on back-up centre Joel Przybilla to pick up the slack. Another area of concern is point guard, as the Blazers have decided to slowly integrate newly acquired Andre Miller into their offense rather than start him outright. A point guard controversy won’t be far off if current starter Steve Blake outperforms Miller.PrognosisPortland has a point guard controversy on its hands when Andre Miller accuses Steve Blake of stealing his box DVD set of Alf season three. Coach Nate McMillan is beside himself, and decides to resolve the matter through a blind vote. His strategy backfires when Oden’s Hall & Oates: Greatest Hits CD disappears.
The BuzzFans who followed Denver’s playoff run last season witnessed a talented team come into its own. Once a “gun then run” offense, the Nuggets learned to close out quality opponents late in games and watched Carmelo Anthony emerge as a leader in the process. While this team is a safe bet to win over 50 games this season, there are some weak areas it needs to address. Their biggest issue is a thin bench that doesn’t eat up enough minutes, which could leave the Nuggets starters exhausted in the playoffs.PrognosisMavs owner Mark Cuban calls the Nuggets “a bunch of thugs” after they thrash his team on Celebrity Jeopardy. Cuban’s comments miff Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin, who points out that both teams were playing for the same charity.
The BuzzThere was a moment last year when the Mavs looked like they were done as contenders in the West. Owner Mark Cuban’s tantrum during the playoffs must have inspired Dallas management to give their team one last try. The Mavs have added three forwards (Drew Gooden, Tim Thomas, and Shawn Marion), who create a variety of match-up problems for other teams.PrognosisAnother disappointing season pushes Cuban to the brink of madness, culminating in a proposed trade that would send his entire team to Indiana for forward Troy Murphy. Indiana counters the offer by including forward Mike Dunleavy in the trade, making Cuban come to his senses at last.
The BuzzUtah has had its share of health problems the last two years. However, the return of Carlos Boozer should strengthen their frontcourt and more importantly reunite point guard Deron Williams with his favorite target.PrognosisThe reunion of the NBA’s Damon and Affleck takes a horrible turn after Boozer get hammered, checks into rehab, and Williams starts hanging out with George Clooney.
New Orleans Hornets
The BuzzIt’s Emeka Okafor and Tyson Chandler part two! I felt somewhat validated in my prior assessment of the two centres when Raptors’ commentator Jack Armstrong repeatedly criticized Okafor during Friday night’s game. (Though using words like “robotic” and “adequate” to describe him might be going too far.) Whoever their centre is, the Hornets are a bad situation that could get much worse. Players have had their fill of head coach Byron Scott, wing players Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson are underperforming and overpaid, and then there’s Okafor, of course. With all that said, just how good is Chris Paul if most analysts consider the Hornets a playoff team?PrognosisChris Paul goes above and beyond the call of duty for the Hornets. In addition to winning his first MVP, he solves the honeybee crisis and contributes to the design of the world’s most fuel-efficient car, while still finding time to spread his philosophy of love and happiness through haiku poetry. All this and New Orleans wins only 20 games.
The BuzzIt’s no secret that Phoenix plays defence like they’re participating in the celebrity game on All-Star Weekend. But instead of covering Frankie Muniz and Michael Imperioli, the Suns are tasked with the responsibility of controlling elite players like Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. It’s a good thing this team can score with the best of them.PrognosisSuns coach Alvin Gentry tries to teach his team that defence is about heart and passion. Centre Amare Stoudemire objects to Gentry’s platitudes, and argues that defence is really about profuse sweating and hours of additional practice.
The BuzzThe Rockets represent a fading ideal in professional sports today: a team that buys into the idea of team. However, with Yao Ming out for the entire year and Tracy McGrady looking uncertain, the Rockets will have a tough time keeping pace in the West.PrognosisThe Rockets fire their trainer when forward Trevor Ariza complains of dizzy spells at the back of the team bus.
The Buzz KillI’ve heard the expression “youth is wasted on the young” before, but the Grizzlies really should’ve given it more thought. As one of the league’s youngest teams, Memphis felt it prudent to acquire some veteran players to round out its roster, which would have been fine if those players didn’t include oedipal malcontent Allen Iverson and man-child Zach Randolph. While Iverson is clearly in decline as evidenced by his poor play and crabbiness in Detroit last season, Randolph never had it together in the first place.PrognosisGrizzlies coaches are optimistic when Randolph and centre Marc Gasol box out teammates at the T.G.I Fridays buffet line. That optimism begins to wane when Randolph and Gasol fail to grasp the coaches’ brownie analogy and the ball later that night.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Buzz KillYou really have to like Oklahoma City’s chances, just not right now. While the Thunder has a superb trio of young players, the rest of the team is expansion grade. Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook will resemble a miracle some nights, scoring most of the team’s points and producing more wins than previous seasons in the process.PrognosisForward Etan Thomas gathers the Thunder’s spare parts and leads a mutiny against the team’s coaching staff. The Thunder immediately cut Thomas and seven other players, and replace them with stand-ins from 300. Forced perspective is also used to enlarge these players.
Golden State Warriors
The Buzz KillThings were looking up for the Golden State three years ago, when they upset Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. Then Baron Davis left as a free agent, Monta Ellis injured himself in a moped accident, and the Warriors were back to square one. But why give GM Chris Mullen “the what for”? The Golden State has always been like a basketball purgatory, which is good if you’re Mikki Moore and astonished that you’re still playing—sort of.PrognosisThe Warriors crash and Mullen spends the next decade confusedly pondering what comes before square one.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Buzz KillI have serious doubts about this franchise that go well beyond its players and coaching staff. A 25-year history of blowout loses, incompetent draft choices, and Billy Crystal for a fan can mean only one thing: the Clippers aren’t a basketball team—they’re a money laundering operation.PrognosisBlake Griffin and Eric Gordon uncover teammate Baron Davis’ point-shaving scheme sometime between a rerun of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and a 150-75 loss to the Warriors. NBA Commissioner David Stern hauls off the miserly Davis, who swears he would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!
The Buzz KillWatching the T-Wolves play rates up there with insufferable experiences like having a root canal, or stop-and-chat with some strange acquaintance from elementary school. If you’re looking for some positivity, here goes my best shot: T-Wolves rookie Jonny Flynn has the second-best ’30s gangster name in the NBA next to Rodney Stuckey.PrognosisMinnesotans call a local radio station to complain about profanity and win lunch with Wolves forward Brian Cardinal by mistake. The line goes dead immediately.
The Buzz KillThe Kings remind me of The Odyssey only much worse. One minute it’s Chris Webber playing in game seven of the Western finals, and then fate—or an indictment for lying to a grand jury—takes him far away for a long time. Fast-forward seven years and the Kingdom of ARCO is ruled by a bunch of D-leaguers, who spend their afternoons trying to get recognized at local shopping malls.PrognosisNeeding inspiration, the Kings rent all four Mighty Ducks movies, and learn that the biggest obstacle to winning is having no shot at all.
You win some, you lose some
Varsity Blues fans were not disappointed this weekend as the men’s basketball team delivered nothing but excitement in back-to-back nail-biters. The Laurier Golden Hawks and the Waterloo Warriors visited the Athletic Centre on Friday and Saturday, bringing the Blues a win and a loss respectively.Almost a year ago, U of T visited Laurier and defeated them 80-67, but this time around the Hawks were well prepared and battled the Blues into overtime. The narrow margin of the Blues’ 92-89 victory shows that it really could have been the other team’s game.The Blues started off strong and opened the scoring with a basket by Patrick Sewell in the first few seconds of play. However, the Hawks’ ability to work the inside offensively, and their tight defence let the Blues know early on that the scoreboard would balance out. Laurier was narrowly leading 25-24 at the end of the first quarter.The Hawks soared up 44-39 in the second quarter, although one of the game highlights was Blue Drazen Glisic’s fantastic break and crowd-pleasing lay-up just as the buzzer rang out halftime.It didn’t take long for the Blues to narrow the gap, and with just over a minute and a half left to go in the third quarter, Rob Paris sunk his fifth three-pointer of the evening, finally giving the home team the advantage. Laurier’s Kale Harrison, however, was not about to lose the lead, and tied the score 62-62 going into the final minutes of play.With only a few seconds left in the fourth quarter, the game was tied yet again, the scoreboard reading 79-79. Tensions were high and the crowd was on its feet as Nick Magalas went for the tie-breaking point. It bounced off the rim sending the game into overtime, when the Blues stepped it up a notch and won 92-89 causing the stands to erupt in ecstasy.“Both teams shot the ball really well [and it was] highly entertaining,” said head coach Mike Katz, “I’m glad the fans had an opportunity to witness a great game.”The Blues, however, did not walk away victorious for a second night in a row as the Waterloo Warriors narrowly overtook them 58-55.U of T may have won the tip off, but Waterloo racked up 12 consecutive points only five minutes into the game. The Blues quickly bounced back, and by the end of the first quarter they were only down 15-12. The struggle to dominate the scoreboard did not die down and going into halftime, the home team led by a single point at 24-23.Despite a valiant effort, the Blues narrowly lagged behind the Warriors 43-38 entering the final quarter.As the last 30 seconds ticked away on the clock, the Blues were only one basket behind the Warriors. In an attempt to take control, the home team incurred multiple fouls and put Waterloo on the line twice, tacking three points onto their lead. The Blues couldn’t catch up to the Warriors, who walked away with the win.Magalas, who was named Blues player of the game against the Warriors, said, “[I’m] obviously disappointed. We lost to them in preseason too and this was a big redemption game for us. We don’t match up well against these guys. We have a tough time with them, and I think they have a tough time with us. We always have a lot of low-scoring games when we play them, and tonight we were just on the other side of that low score.”Paris, who had been named the player of the game the night before, summed up the weekend perfectly, “Last night, I think we just fed off the energy of the crowd that was there and tonight we came up a bit flat. Maybe we were a little tired from that overtime game last night. […] Nonetheless, we’re the number six team in the country and we have to come out and play and be much better [than we were] tonight.”
Friday night fights
The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees 4-1 on Friday night at Varsity Arena.Only 55 seconds into the first period, Ontario University Athletics leading goal-scorer and Blues forward Byron Elliott landed in the penalty box, kicking off a game filled with penalty minutes for both teams.Shortly after successfully killing their first penalty, second-year Blues forward David Mooney etched the game’s first goal at 4:12 into the period, past Gee-Gees goaltender Riley Whitlock’s left blocker, off passes from Sean Fontyn and Rob Kay.Blues defenceman and assistant captain Eddie Snetsinger almost buried the lead on a Blues power play at 9:15 into the period, but his shot from the point nicked the goal post and the play continued.It wouldn’t be until 12:06 into the game, that Toronto’s Claudio Cowdrey whipped the eventual game-winner into the opposing team’s net.Both teams failed to take advantage of their respective power plays for the remainder of the period, and the Blues headed off the ice for the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.After a successful first period, the Blues were pleased with their play and confident going into the second period.“We played well on the offensive zone, we cycled the puck hard, we were hard on their defence, we took the puck to the net, and we also buried our chances,” said forward Rob Kay.The Blues ended up in penalty trouble at the beginning of the second as defence Mark Delost ended up in the penalty box at 5:18, only 27 seconds after teammate Matt Walters.Ottawa took advantage of their five-on-three power play as Gee-Gee’s forward Paul Forster buried a goal past Toronto goaltender Andrew Martin at 5:57.The Ottawa goal gave the opposing team an extra burst of energy and the Gee-Gees amped up the intensity, but it wouldn’t be long until the Blues regained their two-point lead.With Gee-Gee defenceman Scott Ashton in the penalty box, Blues forward Byron Elliott’s wrist-shot landed in the net off of passes from David Mooney and Eddie Snetsinger.With power play goals being a strong point of the Blues’ usual game tactics, it was surprising to have to wait well into the second period to see them capitalize.“It takes us a little bit to get going in the game. It helps when we get a couple power plays under our belt before we really get the confidence that we need on the power play to make good passes and make good plays to get the puck in the net,” said Rob Kay, who eventually scored his own power play goal two minutes into the third. Kay, who scored his own power play goal two minutes into the third off passes from Eddie Snetsinger and team captain Brendan Sherrard, ensuring a Blues victory.Martin made 24 saves during the game, and forward Byron Elliott was named player of the game.The Blues travel to Montreal on Sunday to face off against the unbeaten McGill Redmen for the first time since losing to them last year in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.When asked if the team was nervous for the upcoming game in Montreal, Kay responded, “We’re pretty confident. We’re just going to do what we usually do before a game and play them like any other team and go in there looking for a win. We’re going to be confident on the ice and do what we need to do to win the game. We wouldn’t look at it any differently than any other game.”The team remains in third place in the Ontario University Athletics East Division with their victory over the Gee-Gees.