From the Writer’s Desk: Living Up to My Name

Writers-Desk

In hindsight I could not have picked a more appropriate moniker for this website as I truly have been lazy when it comes to updating it. That being said, I have not been idle. Over the past twelve months I have interviewed politicians, participated in an election campaign, travelled, met my heroes, fell in love, had my heart broken, volunteered, and made friends with new and interesting people. In short, after too many years in school I took some time off to actually experience life. But enough is enough and it’s time to get back to work.

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Site News: Lack Of Posting

Hello Readers,

I’ve missed the scheduled posts for much of this week, and I apologize that your day may not have been complete without them. Fortunately, the reason for their brief disappearance is good one: My big project (which I’ll detail in greater depth later today) to contact all 308 of Canada’s MPs has gone swimmingly. Over the next two weeks I’ll be conducting interviews with 12 of the MPs, and potentially more as they find the time to respond. Due to these interviews, 3 of which have been conducted already, and scheduling them, I didn’t leave myself much time to write. Now that I’ve done so, however, I can get back into the swing of things.

Stay Tuned!

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Site News: Upcoming Projects

After two weeks of steady posting and tremendous support from the community the La(z)y Intellectual has decided to embark on a series of larger adventures. The first of these adventures is an attempt to find out what role(s) Canadian youth play in today’s political system from the people that would know: your Members of Parliament. Through a series of interviews the La(z)y Intellectual will try to find out what our legislators think about youth involvement and what the future might hold. Expect to hear more in the coming weeks.

Also in site news, a column will be launching on Thursday: The Power of Words. This column will discuss the power and importance of words in Modern societies and why an innocuous comment can change the world. It’s also an excuse for the La(z)y Intellectual to indulge his inner pedant.

As always, thank you for your support as the site continues to improve and add new features.

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Behind The Scenes!

The internet is full of peoples opinions; some right and many wrong. From op-eds to articles to news posts, what you see is always the finished product. But have you wondered how your favourite bloggers and writers came to their opinions? Have you ever wondered if they’ve always gotten the answer right the first time? Or have you wondered if they slowly worked through their ideas, debating back and forth on each point they write, asking themselves, “Am I right?”

We can’t answer for the others, but here at the La(z)y Intellectual you get a special backstage pass to see how each post, review, and rant developed from a few scribbles to a literary masterpiece. Every time a new article or review is posted you can find the early drafts that go with each in the Behind the Scenes section of the website.

To start things off, here’s a look Behind the Scenes at our review of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think:

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Book Reviews: Who Speaks For Islam?

Let the Awe and Mystery of a Journey Unlike Any Other Begin

The future is modern and secular…or so it was once thought. In the decades that followed World War II social scientists were convinced that with better technology and better education modern societies would quickly abandon religion. By the turn of the twenty-first century this secularization theory had been discredited: public expression of religion had grown exponentially and with it religious extremism. Far from disappearing, religion has come to take a central place in our lives, socially, politically and personally, and the need to understand its developments has never been greater.

For many North Americans the increased presence of Muslims in contemporary society has been a disconcerting and unfamiliarizing experience. Influenced by long established stereotypes and the fear of terrorist attacks, they have understood Islam as a religion of backwards, violent and repressive people; people that many of them had never met or talked to. Published in 2008, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think is Gallup Press’s attempt to counteract and dispel these stereotypes and provide its readers with a better and more accurate understanding of the 1.3 billion people who call themselves Muslim.

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The Daily News: June 16 Morning Edition

What's News?

The Daily News is a daily column that provides you with the latest news and why it’s important to you. Start making informed decisions about what’s going on in your world by reading the Daily News.

Do We Have A Right To Death?

What It’s About: Western governments have pledged to defend the right to life of their citizens. Recent events in the UK and Canada have forced us to ask whether protecting this right denies us the right to death:

  • A recent poll in the UK indicates that almost two-thirds of British doctors support assisted dying. The growing consensus is that, like abortion, a death can be botched and cause a patient more harm than if their death was assisted professionally.
  • Despite the request of doctors for assisted dying, a British High Judge has denied the request of an anorexic women to die in comfort and has ordered that she be force fed until she has recovered.
  • Across the Atlantic, the Canadian Supreme Court has determined that banning physicians from performing assisted suicide is unconstitutional as it discriminates against the physically disabled.
Why It’s Important: Death is an unfortunate part of life, an inevitable fate. The question of how and when we face our death has been a matter of significant social stigma in Western societies. In the cases linked below, the request for an assisted death has embodied a different aspect of the debate:
  • Does it apply to the elderly who are already near death?
  • Does it apply to those who are physically trapped in their own bodies?
  • Does it apply to those who are unhappy with their lives and wish an end to it?

The number of reasons for which one could request an assisted death prevents the development of a single solution. It also raises the question as to how much control does our government have over our bodies, and should it? Where do you stand on the issue?

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The Daily News: June 15 Morning Edition

What's News?The Daily News is a daily column that provides you with the latest news and why it’s important to you. Start making informed decisions on what’s going on in your world by reading the Daily News.

Israel Under Pressure To Change Domestic Policies

What It’s About: Thursday saw Israel come under intense criticism and scrutiny for its domestic policies regarding immigrants, living conditions in Gaza, and the relocation of Jewish settlers:

  • NGO’s have called on Israel to end the blockade of Palestine so that resources could be spent on development and not humanitarian work.
  • The deportation of 1500 African immigrants (a significant number illegally) as threats to the “Zionist dream” has led to some considering it to be an act of racism.
  • The Israeli government has come under fire from pro-settlement groups for its decision to evict Jewish settlers from the West Bank.

 Why It’s Important: As a nation that receives a significant amount of financial and political support from the United States and Canada, Israel’s desire for a Jewish (rather than Israeli) state and its disregard of UN resolutions and human rights laws implicates its Western allies. This largely unquestioned support (at the government level) weakens our arguments to enforce human rights in other countries. For those interested in promoting human rights the Israeli-Palestinian situation is one area where your voice can have a direct impact by contacting your elected representative.

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What’s Happening In Your Community?

What’s Happening In Your Community? is a weekly column that focuses on non-profit organizations and events seeking to improve the lives of others. Find out how people around the world are promoting change through innovation and how you can help out.

Who Are They?

Over the last ten years the internet has revolutionized how we connect to one another around the world and how we gather information. It provides us with instantaneous communication, entertainment, business and health advice, and the data we need to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to, or can afford, the internet and the services it provides. One such group is the rural poor of Africa.

Farm Radio International is a Canadian based charity that seeks to provide rural African farmers with relevant and helpful information through the cheap and accessible medium of radio. Founded in 1978, the charity has established a network of local broadcasters throughout 39 African countries and provided them with the training and informational resources needed to meet the needs of small farmers.

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The Daily News: June 12 Evening Edition

What's News?The Daily News is a daily column that provides you with the latest news and why it’s important to you. Start making informed decisions on what’s going on in your world by reading the Daily News.

Obama’s Popularity Declining

What It’s About: As the leader of one of the largest economies in the world, and the commander and chief of its armed forces, Barack Obama has helped to shape global policy during his four years in office. With the 2012 American Election season nearing, critics have begun to ask whether he’s done enough to secure re-election. An overly negative campaign that focuses on the problems left by George Bush, not on his own accomplishments, and unpopular foreign policy agendas has left Americans and the global community unconvinced of Obama’s ability to fulfil the promises he made to the Nobel prize committee.

 Why It’s Important: Hope was the word on everyone’s lips in 2008 as Barack Obama won the presidency. Over four years later few share this sentiment as dissatisfaction with the Obama’s progress on issues like human rights, healthcare, and the economy has increased. Consequently it is conceivable that Obama could lose the election; an outcome that would significantly affect America’s position in the world. Although not always popular, Obama has made consistent efforts to reach out to minorities and to apologize for past injustices on behalf of American foreign policy. These steps towards a more accountable and tolerant America have the potential to be replaced by a more Hawkish set of policies that favour American Exceptionalism.

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The Daily News: June 12 Afternoon Edition

What's News?The Daily News is a daily column that provides you with the latest news and why it’s important to you. Start making informed decisions on what’s going on in your world by reading the Daily News.

 Protesters in Russia Demand Putin Resign

What It’s About: On May 7, 2000 Vladimir Putin became the President of Russia, a position he would hold until 2008. A former Russian intelligence officer, Putin has been accused of enforcing anti-democratic policies and ignored, or taken part in, the massive corruption that afflicts his country. In 2012, Putin once again stood for re-election to the presidency, and won.

Today, over 18,000 Russians have taken to street in protest over what they consider to be rigged and unlawful elections. Echoing the controversy of the previous elections many of the protests organizers have been detained and questioned.

Why It’s Important: As one of the richest and most influential nations in Europe and the world, and one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia is capable of exerting a significant influence on global policy. If the allegations of the Russian protesters are in fact true, it represents a significant blow to the cause of human rights in Europe. If the UN is unable or unwilling to curb corruption and human rights abuse in one of its leading countries, its abilities to do so elsewhere becomes suspect.

       

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