BREAKING: Caitlin Coleman speaks to Canadian newspaper

Photo: Anthony Moretti 30June2017

The Toronto Star has landed the “get” interview — with American Caitlin Coleman, who along with her husband and their children were hostages for five years.

Coleman said Monday that the forced abortion was in retaliation for Boyle’s refusal of Haqqani network efforts to recruit him. “They were very angry because Joshua had been asked to join them, to work for them, and he said no,” she said. “They killed her by dosing the food. They put massive doses of estrogen in the food.”

High levels of estrogen in a pregnancy can force a miscarriage and Coleman says once she lost her baby, whom the couple named “Martyr,” the kidnappers boasted about what they had done.

The Taliban last week issued a statement refuting the claim, saying she miscarried naturally.

Coleman said they kept her other two pregnancies secret, and Boyle delivered both her youngest son and daughter by flashlight as she quietly laboured in pain.

Coleman spoke to the Star Monday alone on the grounds of Ottawa’s Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, as her husband cared for their sons, who are 4 and 2.

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Saudi Arabia casts an eye on south Asia

The Diplomat examines the political — and economic — reasons Saudi leaders are interested in playing footsie with some nations in south Asia.

Saudi Arabia has long seen itself as the leader of the Islamic world, but since the ascendance of a theocratic Iranian government in 1979, that position has consistently been challenged. …

And what better way of cementing one’s leadership of the Islamic world than by backing leaders who have made a concerted effort to court Muslim voters and further Islam as a way of life in their countries? …

This comes at a welcome time. Southeast Asian leaders are belatedly waking up to the realization that their decades-old strategy of depending on China’s economic performance to spur domestic growth is anachronistic. The slowdown of the world’s second largest economy since 2014 has dealt a huge blow to Southeast Asian economies.

Posted in Brunei, Indonesia, international news, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

The Athletic wants the glory

20Oct17, Photo: Anthony Moretti

Competition is competition. But a story in the New York Times suggests that the all-sports digitally delivered The Athletic is playing a different kind of hard ball.

The first issue: raiding the local talent. The New York Times noted that

Newspaper sports editors have been left smarting after losing reporters to The Athletic — four writers for The Athletic Bay Area worked at the Bay Area Newspaper Group a few months ago.

I can empathize with any sports editor who fears that his or her top reporters might head out the door. However, with job cuts in the newspaper industry showing no sign of abating, no seasoned reporter can be faulted for taking the opportunity that The Athletic provides. The bottom line: that newspaper job might not be there tomorrow.

Depending upon your age, you might remember The National, the all-sports newspaper that lasted about 18 months. It, too, sought success by poaching top names from newsrooms across the country. A key difference between then and now: the aforementioned job losses were in their infancy; a journalist in his or her 40s or 50s still had sufficient confidence that he or she was not going to receive a pink slip. Staying in the “local” shop made sense, and the quick demise of The National affirmed that decision.

That confidence isn’t there now.

No, taking top talent from local newspapers doesn’t guarantee that The Athletic will be successful. However, grabbing “name” journalists in various cities will provide credibility.

I’ll support The Athletic on this point.

The second issue: pay for play. Here’s what the New York Times reported:

They have an agreement with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, for instance, whereby Argonauts season ticket-holders can receive a trial subscription to The Athletic, paid for by the Argonauts.

Hansmann said The Athletic pulled no punches in its reporting on the Argonauts, while Mather suggested The Athletic could partner with teams on insider video or events in which subscribers go to the stadium early for exclusive access. Fichtenbaum said his understanding was the Argonauts partnership was a one-off.

No. Heck no. No way.

I have two boys, one of whom attends the university where I teach. Imagine for a moment if he took a class I was teaching. The ethical problems are everywhere; no matter what grade he receives on any quiz, assignment or test, the questions about how hard he worked for that grade or whether I shared any information with him would undermine him and me.

I accept that this example doesn’t perfectly illustrate the ethical disaster that pay-for-play entails. Saying that, The Athletic’s reporters should demand that no future business deals come close to the one that exists in Toronto. (Full disclosure: I am a Canadian Football League fan and the Argonauts are my favorite team.) If the head honchos don’t agree, then many of those reporters are certain to leave.

Journalism ethics are journalism ethics.

I am not a subscriber to The Athletic (and I am most certainly not a subscriber to the Pittsburgh-based operation mentioned in the New York Times’ report), and I don’t envision myself signing up any time soon. I do intend to pay attention to how it develops and to the successes (and setbacks) it encounters. I don’t foresee it collapsing quickly, as The National did, but I’m not prepared to state that it will have long-term viability.

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Adjunct faculty member lunged toward the community college chancellor. He was arrested. His union is defending what he did.

Photo: Anthony Moretti 11Jan2017

Inside Higher Ed has the details.

A Facebook post from the faculty union further described the incident and defended Taylor: “He was tackled to the ground for expressing an objection when administration stifled students’ right to voice support for their faculty. Faculty and students were at the board meeting seeking a fair contract for adjuncts with reasonable job security.”

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Caitlin Coleman: I’ll talk if I want to and when I want to

Photo: Anthony Moretti 30June2017

The York Daily Record has received an email purportedly written by Caitlin Coleman, the American woman who, along with her Canadian husband and children — were held captive for more than five years.

According to the newspaper,

In an email sent Saturday night, Caitlan said she prefers to be called Caitlan Boyle. …

She likened some interactions with the media to prison. She said attention has led to scrutiny, negativity and pressure to speak publicly before she was comfortable.

“Why don’t I have the right to just be myself and be with my husband and children?” she wrote.

“Everybody says ‘No, you have to come out and talk about it’, but no, no I don’t and everybody nice has said it’s my choice and I can talk when I want, and to whom I want,” Coleman wrote.

Meanwhile, a photo of her has been posted in Canada:

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Week 19 CFL Power Rankings

The Western Division champion has been crowned, but the Eastern Division champion still needs to be determined. Here are this week’s power rankings, with last week’s ranking appearing at the beginning of the parenthesis.

Calgary (1, 13-2-1, at Edmonton): The Stamps played so-so at Hamilton and stole a victory. They played uh-oh against Saskatchewan and got routed. Taking an optimistic viewpoint, Calgary is dialing it down and focusing on the post-season. Taking a pessimistic viewpoint, the tank is running low. The extra week off as division champion could matter.

Saskatchewan (4, 9-7, vs Montreal): The Roughriders dismantled the Stamps, with some defensive back making a big play. (Come on, laugh.) Brandon Bridge is the team’s starting quarterback, no matter where he appears on the depth chart. No way that Darian Durant’s return to Regina distracts this team, which will be a dangerous playoff opponent.

Edmonton (3, 10-6, vs Calgary): There is no streakier team in the Canadian Football League: Edmonton won seven in a row, dropped six straight and now has won three straight. The Esks also gave up 22 straight points to the BC Lions before scoring 22 of their own. Mike Reilly as the league’s MOP? The numbers mandate he be given a long look.

Winnipeg (2, 11-5, vs BC Lions): Moe Leggett is gone for the season, and Winnipeg’s championship dreams might have gone with him. Giving up more than 400 yards through the air and not locking down the opponent’s drives are not good. And don’t look past Justin Medlock’s missed field goals of late; he’s no longer a certain points generator.

Toronto (6, 8-9, BYE): Ricky Ray might not win the league’s MOP award, but a strong case can be made that no quarterback as been more important to his team than Ray has been. Likewise, Marc Trestman might not be the coach of the year honoree, but he has steadied this franchise. The Argos might win a division title without taking the field.

Ottawa (5, 7-9-1, vs Hamilton): The REDBLACKS cannot win the Eastern Division this week, but they would lose it by falling to Hamilton. Considering that Ottawa is 2-5-1 at home this season, that could happen. Ottawa is the second-least penalized team in the CFL, a stat that could become even more important in November.

Hamilton (7, 5-11, at Ottawa): If Hamilton wins this week and next, then June Jones will be 7-3 as the team’s head coach. No, he won’t win any awards, but he has stabilized this franchise, at least on the field. Hamilton will need to tighten up the pass defense in the off-season, but optimism about 2018 will not be hard to find in Steeltown.

BC Lions (8, 6-10, at Winnipeg): The losses keep piling up for a team that should be better than 6-10. Perhaps Jonathan Jennings was a one-season wonder. Perhaps Adam Bighill was more valuable than anyone believed. Perhaps being 0-7 while trailing after three quarters suggests this team has no fight. Time to think about 2018.

Montreal (9, 3-13, at Saskatchewan): It’s stunning how fast this team fell. If Montreal had beaten Toronto in Week 9, it would have been 4-4 and in first place. Instead, the Als lost by 32 and haven’t won a game since. In six of those now nine straight losses, the offense has failed to score at least 20 points. Losses this week and next seem definite.

Meanwhile, the ROUGE Standings:

Ottawa: 13
BC Lions: 10
Winnipeg: 10

Calgary: 9
Toronto: 9
Montreal: 7
Saskatchewan: 4
Edmonton: 3

Hamilton: 3
Honorable Mention, Dave Ridgway: 1

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Some people!

Photo: Anthony Moretti, 8Aug2017

Two tales from being on the road the last four days…

It’s Friday morning, and the catering crew is setting up breakfast for conference attendees.

One says to the other: “Did you remember to bring the other water this morning?”

“The other water?”

“Yea, some woman came up to me yesterday and said she doesn’t drink LaCroix water and so we HAD to bring out something different.” (The “had” had sarcasm right at the surface.)

“Wait, that woman came up to us at the reception last night and said the same thing.”

A minute or two later, they open the coffee and water station. I looked into the iced container and found…yup…a LaCroix. I picked it up, held it up (as if to toast the two men who had been having the conversation) and smiled.

And, yes, sitting on the tables later that morning were small bottles of non-carbonated water.

Some people!

It’s Saturday night and I’m stretching my legs at the rest stop. I’m chatting with the bus driver.

He says, “Well, the one guy I’m dropping off in Morgantown wants us to leave now. He doesn’t think it’s fair that the break is 35 minutes. He wants us to get to Morgantown early, even though it would mean we would be sitting in a parking lot there for like 30 minutes.”

“He’ll live,” I add, and the sarcasm was easy to hear.

“Yea, sorry, but I can’t change the required schedule for one guy.”

Some people!

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