Saturday, September 30, 2006

Quebec infrastructure

The same thing happened a few years ago in the same general neighbourhood. Where does the money go? For fascist language laws and new signs for renamed streets and towns?


An overpass in Laval, Que., collapsed on Saturday, injuring five people and possibly trapping at least two others under a massive slab of concrete, police said.

Three vehicles and a motorcycle fell about 15 metres on to Highway 19 from Boulevard de la Concorde after three lanes of the overpass gave way just after noon ET.

Three of the five taken to hospital were listed in critical condition with head, chest and abdominal injuries, said André Champagne, a spokesman for the Urgences-Santé paramedics service.

Emergency crews have not been able to get underneath the rubble to reach the people believed to be trapped because they fear more of the road might collapse.

Friday, September 29, 2006

They left out "bowling league champ" and "God"

"Swinger, Philosopher, Prime Minister
CBC Archives looks at the life and career of the inimitable Pierre Elliott Trudeau."
--from the CBC web site

Thursday, September 28, 2006

This might change things

Some people in France seem to enjoy watching the US expend blood and treasure fighting terror, while France works behind the scenes to expand its influence in its old colonies in the mid-East. Now, al Qaeda says France is not immune:


By Kathryn Haahr, Journal of Terrorism Studies

Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri's recent September 11 threat to France, coupled with al-Qaeda's official integration with the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), is significant for two principal reasons. First, from al-Qaeda's perspective, it is a formal alliance with an "out-of-area" Islamist group to specifically engage in jihad against Europe and elsewhere. Secondly, the GSPC's merger with al-Qaeda formalizes the GSPC's participation in al-Qaeda terrorist-related activities against Western targets. This development brings the GSPC to the counter-terrorism debate in a different way than before. The GSPC-al-Qaeda integration portends increased opportunities for al-Qaeda to recruit European jihadists for ongoing terrorist operations in the West and the Middle East and signifies the potential for an increased operational tempo by the two organizations against French and Western targets.

My advice to Jan Wong

Take fucknuts to the press council.

Quote of the day

"It's very unfortunate for other women who want to seek public office in this country."
-Belinda Stronach, CTV Newsnet, Sept. 27, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Doug Booth

A magazine piece that I worked on through the summer is finally on the streets. It's certainly one of the more bizarre ones I've written. It's about Doug Booth, who committed his single major crime -- murder of a 73-year-old woman -- in 1965, when he was 37. Booth was sentenced to death, won a new trial on appeal, and lost the second trial. Again, he was sentenced to death. Booth might have hanged in 1966, but four days before he was scheduled to die Parliament got rid of the death penalty for everyone but cop-killers and Booth's sentence was commuted.
Booth served some 13 years in prison, then skipped out while on a weekend pass and went up to the DEW Line to join his girlfroend in a construction camp. He was there for four years, sometimes working weekends guarding prisoners at the RCMP lock-up. He came back to Ottawa for a while, then ran a group home for troubled teenage girls. That's where the cops found him.
He went back to jail for about three years, then got parole and found work as a handiman at a seniors' home. Today he's retired, except for some volunteer work cooking at a shelter for unwed mothers.
Nice enough guy, in great shape for his 76 years. He has a lot of signs of a narcissist and a sociopath. He's bold, he's utterly shameless, but I still wonder why he just went off that one time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Max Hastings on the War

This is an interesting piece:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1880091,00.html

Max Hastings is a first-rate military historian and a fine newspaperman. He talks quite a bit of sense in this article, though I think it's simplistic to blame Bush and Blair for every mistake made in the war on Islamic fascism. Some were built into the nature of the military response. For instance, had Bin Laden been caught in the fall of 2001, rather than be allowed by corrupt Afghans and Pakistanis to escape into Pakistan, the U.S. would have, at least, scored a major victory early-on.
But I find the comments more interesting than the article. People are now thinking in slogans. Depleted uranium in shells is equivalent to WMDs. Using white phosphorus in bombs (as opposed to napalm? chordite?) is the moral equivalent of hijacking airliners and crashing them into office buildings. The problems started with Lawrence of Arabia... the Zionist movement... the Six Day War... It's the West's inability to compromise, not fundamentalist Islam's quick resort to violence, that's to blame.
It just goes on and on.
No one seems to work this through.
What happens in Israel/Palestine, when Hezbollah has the artillery and soldiers to shake the Israeli state?
What changes when Iran explodes a nuclear weapon, and, with the missile technology it already has, points those weapons at Israel and Europe?
What will America be if someone sets off a WMD in New York, Washington, Chicago or LA? What civil liberties will be left? What would a fully-moblized US, in a total war mode (converted industries, conscription, wartime press control) do to its enemies?
At this point, the War on Terror is being fought on the cheap, as a sideshow in a peacetime economy. Most scenarios, especially those involving a Vietnam-style retreat, end with something much worse.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bu-bye

By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - British forces shot and killed a leading al-Qaida terrorist Monday more than a year after he embarrassed the U.S. military by making an unprecedented escape from a maximum security military prison in Afghanistan, officials said.

Omar al-Farouq was gunned down after he opened fire on British forces during a raid on his home in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, British forces spokesman Maj. Charlie Burbridge said.

Burbridge said he could not comment on whether it was the same man who allegedly led al-Qaida's Southeast Asia operations, citing British policy not allowing him to link an individual to a specific organization.

There's joy in the Iggy camp

Bob Rae beefs up his team. Apparently, Volpe's coming on board, too. But there are friends you want, and there are friends like these:

Fry drops out, backs Rae
Eight candidates currently heading to Montreal
Sep. 25, 2006. 10:21 AM
CANADIAN PRESS


OTTAWA - Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae has received another boost with the news that Hedy Fry is dropping out of the race and throwing her support behind him.

Fry's decision follows that of Carolyn Bennett, who dropped out of the race to back Rae last month.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wong writes on Warren

People may wonder why Kinsella's masturbatory blog has been sitting for more than a day with a cartoon making fun of Jan Wong. Here's the reason: the column where she made Kinsella into lunch. It came out in the fall of 2001, just after the launch of Kicking Ass in Politics:

Warren Kinsella is "someone that politicians across Canada know, admire, love or loathe . . . and fear." At least, they do according to the press release promoting his new book, Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics .
But mention his name to a non-politician, and the reaction is: Isn't that Evelyn Lau's boyfriend? No, that would be W. P. Kinsella, an aging writer, who several years back had a very litigious breakup with Lau, a youthful writer.
Ask if he's even related to W.P., this Kinsella nearly chokes on his Diet Coke. "Not a [f-word deleted] chance," he says. "He's this Reform Party reptile."
Not that this Kinsella has anything against sharp-toothed animals. For his part, he'd like to be known as "the Liberal Party's resident pit-bull politico." (See same press release, which, by the way, also describes him as the "master of the Liberal war room" and "the architect for the Grit victory.")
He also wouldn't mind being called "Canada's own Prince of Darkness." (See book jacket.)
But perhaps Kinsella, 41, is merely a legend in his own mind. At this lunch at Toronto's Patriot Restaurant, a kick-ass question is put to Kinsella: Are you actually a nobody masquerading as a somebody?
He grimaces, especially when reminded what a reporter at Canada's Other National Newspaper wrote. "Mr. Kinsella was not the 'architect for the Grit victory.' He was not 'the master' of the war room. In private moments, he has even been known to admit as much,' " the reporter, Paul Wells, wrote in the National Post last June.
"I really thought Paul was an [a-word deleted] for doing that," Kinsella says. "I wanted to murder him at first. I mean, to push a theory using information I provided."
But isn't Kinsella supposed to be the master of the spin? So much for kicking ass. At lunch, he orders a lamb burger, fries and a second Diet Coke. He's wearing a charcoal J. P. Crew blazer, crisp white shirt and faded jeans, the dress code for lawyers at McMillan Binch in Toronto. At 6 foot 1, his grey hair is receding, though he goes to rock concerts whenever possible.
Kinsella got into politics as a speechwriter for Jean Chretien, a man who famously can't read a speech. "Part of this guy's appeal is that he's unscripted," Kinsella says diplomatically. In his book, he calls the Prime Minister "a truly remarkable guy."
Currently, Kinsella is a paid lobbyist in Ottawa for Random House, the publisher of his book. In his past, he was an executive assistant to David Dingwall, then federal rninister of public works and government services. He was also a legal adviser to Frank magazine, which he now detests because he's been caught in its satirical cross hairs.
But Kinsella's main claim to fame is that he played "key roles" (see book jacket) in two Chretien election campaigns. The emphasis is on the word "claim." He wasn't the main organizer, someone else ran the "war room," nor was he in charge of opposition research.
But he was usually available to appear on television. His big moment came when he mocked Stockwell Day's beliefs about creationism by flashing a purple plush dinosaur on live TV. Even so, the Barney stunt was someone else's idea.
"I say that in the book," Kinsella says a tad defensively.
Alas, his magic touch didn't work when he ran as a Liberal for Parliament in North Vancouver in 1997.
So much for kicking ass.
"I got clobbered," Kinsella says, modestly adding, "I was also probably too controversial for some people." He's referring to the accusation, by the Reform incumbent, that the Liberals parachuted Kinsella into the riding. He had lived there less than a year when he ran for office.
In his book, Kinsella styles himself after James Carville, the squinty-eyed Democratic operative whose own wife says he looks like an axe murderer. (Okay, she works for the Republicans.) For his part, Kinsella happily points out that his wife, Suzanne, who attended a private girls school in Montreal, once worked for Brian Mulroney and that her father was Mulroney's law partner.
But Kinsella is no Carville. The press kit for Kicking Ass offers an "insider's" list of "dirty tricks." At lunch, we go through the checklist one by one.
Did he monitor an opponent's cellphone conversations? "No." Did he steal documents? "No."
Did he disrupt opponents' events by calling in cancellations to hotels? "No." Did he dumpster-dive for scandalous garbage? "No."
"Random House did that list," he concludes lamely. "You get caught. It's not worth it."
So much for kicking ass.
His lamb burger arrives, oozing grilled peppers, onions and sauce. Kinsella grabs it with both hands and tries to take a bite. He can't quite get his jaw around it. "My mouth isn't big enough," he says. Too late, he realizes he's just uttered a quote for the ages. He stops talking about the food, pushes off the bun and proceeds to eat the burger with a knife and fork.
The son of a doctor at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital, Kinsella attended the Jesuit-run Loyola High School. At 15, his family moved to Calgary, where he played in a rock band. Later, he took a four-year journalism degree at Carleton University, working summers at the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen. He studied law at the University of Calgary.
At McMillan Binch colleagues had hoped that he would bring in lots of government-related work. But Kinsella hasn't exactly been a rainmaker: He bills about 1,800 hours a year, average, not fabulous, but not so low he's in danger. Kinsella does appear on television frequently, a feat he touts on his Web site. Within nine hours of the birth of his fourth child, he was flogging his new book on a morning show. The paid announcement in The Globe and Mail began, "As previously announced on Canada AM . . . Warren and Suzanne . . . are delighted to welcome another miracle . . ."
Asked how the birth went, Kinsella takes another bite of burger. "Great this time. You see, we're infertile." Emma, of mixed Inuit and native Indian descent, was adopted in Whitehorse. Ben was the product of in-vitro fertilization. "Sam was an expensive dinner in the Eastern Townships," Kinsella says, adding that Jake, the new baby, was a surprise.
In an e-mail announcing Jake's birth, Kinsella added this promotional twist: "To ensure that Jake et al receive a solid post-secondary education, mother Suzanne . . . insisted that father Warren go ahead with a scheduled book promotion spot Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics available now at bookstore near you) . . . Kinsella, who hopes to run again for public office some day, draws no sharp line between public and private life.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Don't know what to do.

I had an interview earlier this week for my dream job. Then the latest crap with the blog. It really brought things into perspective.
I don't know about posting on a blog. There's no money in it, it is rarely fun anymore, and, to say the least, the point of it all is lost on me.
But we are engaged, right now, in a struggle of reason and liberty against religious fascism and terror. I want to take a stand in this and fight to prevent the things that we've won in the last 500 years -- representative government, religious liberty, freedom of speech, equality before the law. Yes, the West and its institutions are not perfect. But no one has come as far as we have. We cannot return to a dark age. And I believe we will if we don't take a stand against those who would make us rely on blind faith, rather than our own ability to think, to debate, and to employ empirical analysis to all the world's problems.

Blog recovered.

Looks like the thieves bailed out of my blog.
The investigation continues.