Thursday, December 21, 2006
Partially-prepped plate of trilobites. October
The long, hot summer
Trilobite hunting, upstate New York, November
Ian's birthday party (June)
The Press Gallery newsroom (The Hot Room) before renovations (July)
Kitchissippi Willie, King of the Katz
At Powell River, Marion's home town, August
Texada Island: Ian, Meg and Maia
Heaven: Deep Cove, BC
Maia at a giant blackberry bush, University of British Columbia, August
Meg at UBC
The family at 24 Sussex (June)
Meg, Ian and the Prime Minister (Press Gallery kids' Christmas party, Dec. 16)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Days earlier, he had been moved from the Santiago Military Hospital's intensive care unit to an intermediate care room.
Pinochet, 91, had been at the hospital since Dec. 3, when he suffered what doctors described as an acute heart attack.
Doctors performed an angioplasty, in which a catheter is introduced into a clogged artery to enlarge it and allow restoration of blood flow to the heart.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
If I had known this was going to happen at the Grit convention, I would have moved Heaven and Earth to support Buffalo Bob.
This really is a new low in Canadian politics. I would really like to know who was behind it. Rae may have been a poor Ontario premier, but, on this issue, he's right. This is outright fascism.
I will complete my doctorate in History in the next few months. My thesis area is on censorship in World War II in Canada. One of my comprehensive fields is on the immediate post-war period in Europe.
I wish to participate in this conference. I will argue conclusively that millions of Jews were systematically murdered by Nazi Germany. Many were worked to death as slaves. Millions more died in killing factories. Special railway lines were built to these slave and murder camps. Millions of people who were alive in 1940 were never seen again. Documentary, forensic and archaeological evidence exists to prove this. Among the documents are confessions by the perpetrators, a massive amount of eyewitness testimony, and the records of the German regime and German industries.
I am willing to pay my travel and accommodation costs if the Government of Iran is too impecunious to cover them.
TEHRAN (Reuters) - The Holocaust is now a subject of serious debate, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday.
Iran has invited scholars from 30 countries to attend a conference starting on Monday about the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
"For 60 years talking about the Holocaust was a crime in the West but now there is a serious debate about the Holocaust in the media and also in political and popular meetings," state television quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Ahmadinejad sparked an international outcry by referring to the Holocaust as a "myth" and saying Israel should be relocated to Europe or North America.
"Even some Western politicians have declared that the original foundation of the Zionist regime (Israel) was a mistake," he said on Saturday.
Ahmadinejad has said his questioning of the Holocaust is aimed at encouraging scholarly debate and an examination of the reasons behind the creation of the state of Israel.
Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi has said the Holocaust conference will look at issues such as "whether the gas chambers were actually used by the Nazis".
The conference has been condemned by various countries and organizations. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described it as "disgraceful."
"It is just flabbergasting that ... the leadership of the regime continues to deny that 6 million plus people were killed in the Holocaust," he told reporters on Friday.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the British Holocaust Educational Trust, called the Iranian conference "ridiculous".
"Denial of the Holocaust is a virulent form of anti-Semitism," she said in a statement. "It is not only deeply offensive to Holocaust survivors but to any right-minded human being."
Iran was also sharply criticised for hosting a cartoon competition on the Holocaust this year.
(Anyone who actually believes Chretien wrote his own autobiography should look at how the old crook types. He can't. And could Warnout go any farther up the pTit Gars' arse without SCUBA equipment?)
(Sunday update: Numbnuts has taken it off. Poor sport.)
Seems people only comment when Kinsella's mentioned. Lord, hardly a reason to waste an hour or so a day. So many blogs, so few worth reading. And it's easy to come across negative.
So, some happy thoughts as the year, and the blog, come to a close:
1. Happy 3d BD, Meg!
2. Ottawa's downtown is beautiful at night. Anyone close by should go see it.
3. My step-mom-in-law is off to China for a week. Have fun, MFG.
4. MVDW is in exam mode, and still seems to still love law school. Unlike Joe Clark, she will pass Property.
5. I haven't taken the time to congratulate Kady on landing her new job. My bet: Ottawa Bureau Chief in 2010. No one knows Ottawa like Kady.
Friday, December 08, 2006
There's an over-abundance of loneliness in the world and a chronic shortage of happiness. If a couple of grown men or grown women, or a gaggle of them, for that matter, are honestly happy together, fine by me.
I suspect, in the end, the number of gay and lesbian couples won't change. The freedom to be together in open relationships has been around a long time. It's an ingrained part of Canadian culture, as it is pretty much everywhere else in the Western world. If they want to be married, with the legal responsibilities and pitfalls involved, fine by me. And if the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians won't perform the service, well, that's the price of freedom of religion.
I'm glad Harper says this is now a dead issue. Now maybe they can spend time on real problems, instead of straw men.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I just have one problem: the way he's dealt with this. Brushing aside reporters with "next question" is not a way of answering the question. Canadians really can handle candor. If the French citizenship is a tribute to his French mother, fine. We can handle that. If Dion sees himself as a citizen of the world and believes the idea of single "citizenship" is a relic of the kind of nationalism that cursed the 20th century, that's OK. A case can certainly be made for wide-open borders. If Dion believes his EU citizenship is valuable and something that might open doors for himself and his children in the future, that's OK with me. Unfortunately, three of my four grandparents were born in Canada, and my grandmother was born in the States, so there are no easy second citizenships out there for me. The U.S., unlike the EU, does not grant second-generation citizenship. I'd gladly accept Irish, British or French citizenship, but my ancestors from those countries came here too long ago. My wife's parents were born in the Netherlands and her father has Dutch-German dual citizenship. Would I like my kids to have that? You bet. Like France, those countries expect no obligations or national service from expatriates. If, in the future, they did, my kids would be able to make their own choices.
And to really piss people off, here's a thought: I bet Mahar Arar would have liked to have some kind of EU citizenship. A lot of good his Canadian citizenship was, both in New York and in Syria.
Wanting Babies Like Themselves, Some Parents Choose Genetic Defects
By DARSHAK M. SANGHAVI, M.D.
Published: New York Times, December 5, 2006
Wanting to have children who follow in one’s footsteps is an understandable desire. But a coming article in the journal Fertility and Sterility offers a fascinating glimpse into how far some parents may go to ensure that their children stay in their world — by intentionally choosing malfunctioning genes that produce disabilities like deafness or dwarfism.
The article reviews the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or P.G.D., a process in which embryos are created in a test tube and their DNA is analyzed before being transferred to a woman’s uterus. In this manner, embryos destined to have, for example, cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease can be excluded, and only healthy embryos implanted.
Yet Susannah A. Baruch and colleagues at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University recently surveyed 190 American P.G.D. clinics, and found that 3 percent reported having intentionally used P.G.D. “to select an embryo for the presence of a disability.”
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Somali Canadian Women's Association c/o The Arab Community Centre of Toronto$58,300 over two years for a community kitchen initiative. This will help reduce social isolation among East African women in South Etobicoke, grow volunteer leadership to sustain the kitchen and evaluate the model for other high-need communities.
Toronto Vegetarian Association$156,500 over three years to support a volunteer development initiative that will build the organization’s capacity to provide communities with information and support related to vegetarian issues and healthy eating.
Caribbean Tales (grant has citywide impact)$150,000 over two years to produce three media-based educational products rooted in Caribbean-Canadian storytelling, including the production of "A Winter Tale". Subjects addressed will include gun violence, racism or multiculturalism.
Town of Penetanguishene c/o Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame$134,600 over two years to create, care for and exhibit the sports history of Penetanguishene and its heroes. Funding will also support the creation of educational and marketing materials for the newly constructed Hall of Fame.
Canadian Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association, Toronto Division c/o Canadian Electric Wheelchair Association$115,000 over three years to stabilize the organization's operations and expand its volunteer and fundraising capacity in order to expand the wheelchair-hockey league and increase the number of participants.
Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble (grant has citywide impact)$90,000 over three years to increase organizational effectiveness and expand the reach of the company's creative educational programming, increasing awareness and understanding of Aboriginal history and communities.
Acton Aqua Ducks$75,500 over four years to enable the group to implement revenue replacement strategies that include increased sponsorships, the development of a novice swim team and CPR courses.
Théâtre de la Vieille 17$175,000 over three years to develop, create and deliver two French theatre projects in three regions, encouraging strong, sustainable partnerships between the participating organizations and individuals.
Women's Habitat of Etobicoke$100,000 over six months to create an accessible entrance and washrooms at this outreach facility located in Etobicoke, helping to improve access to services for women and their families who want to live free from violence.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
From the PMO:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pleased to announce the nomination of Mr. Robert Marleau as the new Information Commissioner.
A former Clerk of the House of Commons, Robert Marleau is a well-known and respected parliamentary figure, having served the House of Commons and its members with loyalty and distinction for over 31 years. Mr. Marleau joined the House of Commons in 1970 and, over the years, held positions of increasing scope and responsibility. In 1987, he was appointed Clerk of the House of Commons and served in that capacity for over 13 years. From July to November 2003, he took on the responsibilities of Interim Privacy Commissioner to begin a process of institutional renewal to help rebuild the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
“A man of extraordinary professionalism, integrity and demonstrated leadership, Robert Marleau is well-suited to take on this important role,” said the Prime Minister. “Mr. Marleau has dedicated his career to public service, and I am pleased that he has agreed to be nominated for this position and to, once again, share his knowledge and expertise serving the public,” added the Prime Minister.
So, here's my take on our PMs.
Stephen Harper: Too soon to say. Hampered by weak cabinet.
Paul Martin: Tool.
Jean Chretien: Fool. Possibly the most corrupt in Canadian history.
Kim Campbell: Too brief a term to rate.
Brian Mulroney: Disaster, possibly corrupt.
John Turner: Too brief a term to rate.
Pierre Trudeau: Disaster. Lacked focus, staying power on most issues, especially economic.
Lester Pearson: Brilliant diplomat, disaster as PM. Could have been worse with majority.
John Diefenbaker: Insane.
Louis St. Laurent: No friend of civil liberties. Competent, no better.
WLM King: Brilliant, careful, utterly successful as a PM.
R.B. Bennett: Cursed by God. Did better than could be expected, considering he was elected at the beginning of the Depression.
-- PMs who served before the Statute of Westminster of 1931 are harder to rate because they had limited powers, especially in foreign affairs. --
Arthur Meighen: Played way out of his league. Was in Senate by the time he was ready to be PM.
Robert Borden: Capable, very solid, unimaginative and not bold when boldness could have saved lives.
Wilfrid Laurier: Possibly at least slightly corrupt. Adequate.No one remembers any Laurier achievements.
Charles Tupper: Too brief a term to rate.
John Thomson: Gifted lawyer, youthful prodigy. Very principled. Possible greatness, had he lived.
John Abbott: Caretaker, more concerned with simultaneous job as senator, Mayor of Montreal.
Mackenzie Bowell: Head of the Orange Lodge. Proto-fascist.
Sir John A. Macdonald: Corrupt, even, perhaps, more than was normal for the time. Played the Brits well, blew off the Americans. Still, did well with the limited powers he had.
Monday, December 04, 2006
In a move aimed at covering losses or potential claims by copyright holders against YouTube, Google has set aside 12.5% of the purchase price owed to YouTube to be paid out in a year. YouTube, the video-sharing site, was purchased by Google for 3.66 million shares of its prized stock, along with a convertible warrant. The amount of stock being held back by Google is worth more than $200 million USD. In a brief statement, Google stated that the stock was being withheld "to secure certain indemnification obligations".
The reserve suggests that Google is trying to protect against copyright infringement lawsuits. YouTube features both homemade and pirated videos. Although it has promptly removed pirated videos when requested to do so by copyright owners, questions have lingered as to its exposure to claims for distributing content owned by other media. YouTube never turned a profit, and required $15 million USD from Google to pay its bills until the deal closed. Now that its owner has 'deep pockets' it may become a more appealing target for copyright owners. However, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, YouTube should be safe from future lawsuits so long as it continues to respond to infringement complaints promptly.
Hmmm… right before Christmas. Wife’s back at school. Nortel stocks aren’t exactly leaping like dolphins. A hundred grand may be tough to scrape up. But I have an idea of where they can get it.
Serious earners? Job security? Well-honed senses of public service? Ottawa’s city council is the type of demographic that Munter’s fundraisers, along with American Express marketers and Holt Renfrew ad buyers, dream of.
Golly. Maybe if we had known the money was so good, more of us would have run for council. The idea of doing a little door-knocking and arguing a few times with Harry the Hippy and Bobo the Dancing Clown for a guaranteed return of $440,000 over four years, with severance if it doesn’t work out, now seems workable.
Get re-elected, and it’s $880,000 over eight years, plus whatever raises council slips through in 2010, just before the next election.
The previous council accepted the recommendations of a task force that looked at the salaries of councilors in other cities and at the wages of senior staff. Remarkably, the study found Ottawa councilors should be paid better than many of the country’s best academics, people who put their lives on the line to run into burning buildings, and entry-level hockey referees.
Gone are the days when tweedy Uncle Fred was on council because he was a pesky codger with some wild ideas about snow removal. Ottawa city council may not be run like a business, but sure pays like one. And the chances of getting fired? Well, ask Shawn Little.
Some would, at this point, mention the fact that this is not permanent work. I doubt, however, that there are many businesses in town with a turnover as low as Ottawa council. And I doubt there are any that would hire its entire workforce back every four years if there was a hassle-free chance to cull the herd.
So, very quietly, council has improved its pay package, to take effect when the new council is sworn in. You may have trouble telling the old council from the new council. The new blood is measurable in pints. The new councilors can fit into a Volvo, and, with that car allowance, they can each afford to lease one.
The full remuneration package has $10,000-$12,000 in benefits plus that $6,000 annual car allowance. The full pay, cash and goodies, is about $110,000 a year. I’m waiting to hear back from City Hall to find out if an OC Transpo pass is one of those
Munter may want to put the bite on Larry O'Brien. His salary stands to jump 23% from $140,000 to $172,000, and about $21,000 in benefits, but he'd decided not to take it.
Funny thing. A lot of people I know who’ve changed jobs recently have been called into the office of the new boss to be told: “There’s been a change in your salary. We were off by about $30,000 when we told you the starting salary. And, yes, our earlier estimate was low.”
Our incumbent councilors were terribly modest, some would say also ungrateful, during the election campaign. I don’t remember them saying they were the only person in the race who was worth the salary, nor did any of them thank the rest of us for putting them into the earning leagues of corporate lawyers. Mayor O’Brien didn’t say he was in it for the money. In fact, a lot of people spent a lot of time during the campaign telling us how much dough Larry has.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is making hay on this, as are the spittle-flecked codgers at CFRA, the hungry young editors at the Ottawa Sun, and the rest of the usual suspects. I mean, perhaps you can lump me in with them. I’m old, I’ve got a potato head, I don’t make $193,000 a year in cash and benefits, and I am jealous.
But I do believe city councilors and mayors should be paid fairly.
This, however, isn’t fair.
23 Charges laid during Two-Day Prostitution Sweep:
Disturbing Trend Noted
The Ottawa Police Central East District officers conducted
a two-day Prostitution sweep. Police focused on the
community of Vanier and on Gladstone Ave (District 23).
The Central East Officers conduct these sweeps
periodically, responding to community complaints and when
they observe any increase in prostitution related
The investigation revealed that all the prostitutes
arrested, negotiated separate rates for unprotected sex,
which is a very disturbing trend.
Police charged nine women with prostitution related charges
(two of which were under 18 yrs of age). Two women were
also charged for breaching previous bail conditions. Two
women were charged with possession of crack cocaine under
the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
In total, 23 charges were laid.
Three men were issued pre-charge diversion (john school).
John School is a project, which utilizes a restorative
justice approach to the effects of prostitution within our
communities and focuses on educating “johns” on the effects
The Ottawa Police Service has conducted several
prostitution sweeps in 2006 and will continue to make this
a priority when developing enforcement strategies.
Police continue to urge the public to report to Police when
they observe prostitution operating in their area.
McGuinty likes prospects of working with Dion
Dec. 4, 2006. 02:20 PM
Ontario's claim of unfair treatment by Ottawa regarding cash transfers to the provinces will get a more sympathetic ear from new federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday.
Dion had been critical of the Ontario Liberals for raising the so-called fiscal imbalance issue during the 2004 federal election campaign, when McGuinty blasted the Liberal government in Ottawa for short-changing the province.
But McGuinty said Monday that he expects Dion to have a better understanding of Ontario's fiscal position now that he's the leader of the official Opposition.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The Next Great Prime Minister indeed. In 140 years, we've only had, at most, three that weren't insane, corrupt or bone stupid, and usually with at least two out of three of those failings.
(But for you provincialists, the list of truly capable premiers is pretty short, too.)
Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has received last rites but is still clinging to life, after suffering an acute heart attack.
Pinochet, 91, is being treated at the Santiago Military Hospital.
"We are now in the hands of God and of the doctors. My father is in very bad condition," Pinochet's younger son, Marco Antonio Pinochet.
Doctors have described his condition as life threatening, a hospital spokesman told The Associated Press.
Doctors performed an angioplasty to restore the blood flow to Pinochet's heart, but said any further surgery would be too risky.
According to a statement, Pinochet was rushed to hospital early Sunday with a build up of fluid in his lungs after suffering an "acute" heart attack.
Marco Antonio said doctors "virtually rescued him from death" by using a catheter to clear his arteries.
So, what does Ottawa do? Well, it deploys a few thousand soldiers. It sends money to basket-case countries. It sends money to the provinces, which spend it on things that count: education, health, services for the poor. It makes criminal law, but I can't think of anything that's now legal that needs to be made illegal. It sets immigration quotas, but smart immigrants are always welcome and the rest know the magic word "refugee". It sets rules for banks. I just got a statement from the Canadian Tire Bank. It owns a TV network that no one watches, except for hockey, and that network soon won't even have shinny. It meddles in environment, mostly by adding to global warming with hot air. It gives money to some farmers. It pesters the Indians, who retaliate by suing. It delivers the mail, almost all of which I don't need or want.
Now the drama is gone. Even the next election will be dull.
Time to write a book or something.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I see that Bob could not endorse Count Ignatieff, whose great-grandfather organized the Czars' pogroms. I must give him credit for that. Nor could he endorse Stephane Dion, perhaps because Dion looks too much like Rocky the Flying Squirrel but is far more difficult to understand. Dion would be the third straight Montreal Franco leader. How 'bout that Liberal diversity?
I severely doubt Stephen Harper will lose sleep over Dion or Ignatieff. If this convention shows anything, it's how weak -- how terribly shallow -- the pool of candidates was. Ignatieff: an obviously-scarred charter member of the Lucky Sperm Club; Bob Rae, a similarly damaged man from the same Rockcliffe Liberal elite; Stephane Dion, son of the guy who developed the "knife to the throat" Quebec "negotiation" strategy, a man who can barely speak English and is pedantic in both official languages; Ken Dryden, the best mind of the lot, whose inability to project to televison doomed him from the start; and Gerrard Kennedy, a skilled organizer whose reach has always exceeded his grasp, and who is now left with hands full of ashes. As for the rest, they're all punchlines at best.
So, in a country of 30 million people, these are the hairballs coughed up by the Natural Governing Party, its 300,000 paid-up members, and the elites that support it.
Welcome to the Tory Century, whether you like it or not.
Joe Volpe (insert rat and endangered ship analogy here), went to Rae last night, taking his handful of Italo-Canadian ethnic vote dealers with him. Dion and Kennedy have neither enough support to break out and win, nor enough to be, on their own, kingmaker. Every slimeball Liberal hack is running for his wild strawberry extract and tapered plugs. It's going to take some fine footwork for the various lobbyists, backroomers, ratfuc*ers, and the like to do enough, on their own, to win a spot in Rae's inner circle.
Rae will make a fine Leader of the Opposition. He will never be Prime Minister.
I suspect Harper rolled over and slept soundly when he heard those numbers.
I didn't think we'd have a spring election. Now I know we will.