Monday, October 31, 2005

The Good Terrorists

Carolyn Glick’s column on “The Good Terrorists” at the Jerusalem Post is a must read. Here's just a tip of the kassam:

First it should be recalled that in the immediate wake of last week's terror attack at the Gush Etzion junction, the Aksa Martyr Brigades - the terror group belonging to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party - issued an announcement claiming responsibility. Oddly, in the hours that followed, IDF commanders and government ministers denied Fatah's claim and insisted that Hamas, not Fatah, had carried out the attack that murdered three.

Although no evidence was ever presented to back up this claim, let's assume that it is true. Still, the question arises: What does the fact that Fatah claimed responsibility tell us about Abbas's Fatah party, on which Israel and the US are currently pinning all their hopes for peace and security?

After Wednesday's bombing, the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. As is their habit, the terrorists claimed that the massacre of Israeli civilians was their response to the IDF's killing of their terror commander Luai Sa'adi in Tulkarm earlier this week. But then something interesting occurred.
In Gaza City, masked Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists held a joint press conference where they claimed joint responsibility for the bombing. A Fatah spokesman further announced that any attack against Islamic Jihad will be viewed as an attack against Fatah as well. Disturbingly, no Israeli newspaper other than The Jerusalem Post reported on the press conference.

And that isn't all. Like the government, the Israeli media also ignored the fact - reported again exclusively by the Post's Khaled Abu Toameh - that in the same IDF raid where Sa'adi was killed, Majed al-Ashkar, a senior Fatah terror commander, was also killed. The Israeli Hebrew-speaking public has not been informed that the two had spent the past several months establishing joint Fatah-Islamic Jihad cells throughout Judea and Samaria and Gaza.

FOR HIS part, Abbas, whom the Sharon-Peres government and the Bush administration uphold as Israel's partner in peace and the fight against terrorism, has been making some interesting moves. Abbas has told the Americans and the Israelis that he is working to end Fatah terrorism by integrating the Aksa Martyrs Brigades into the Palestinian security forces.

But on Wednesday night, Channel 2's reporter in Gaza interviewed three such "former" terrorists as they stood in position outside the ruins of the community of Neveh Dekalim. The flag flying from the top of their tent was that of the Aksa Martyr Brigades. One man was in uniform and the other two were wearing civilian clothes. All were brandishing the same AK-47 rifles they received as terrorists. All claimed that they are still part of the Aksa Brigades.

As one Palestinian source noted to the Post, the fact that Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists are now operating in the same cells raises the prospect that Islamic Jihad operatives will infiltrate the Palestinian security services by claiming to be Fatah terrorists. As members of the security forces, these murderers will receive training at the hands of Russian security personnel who are now operating in Gaza.

After I read the reports from the Hadera market bombing last week I too wondered why so few journalists were noting the implications of a joint Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade/Islamic Jihad suicide bombing but I put it down to the fact that most journalists in the MSM don’t want to face up to Palestinian political realities and the obvious implications; there are no viable or creditable peace partners for Israel.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Do you remember the old Maytag commercial where this middle age Maytag repairman sits around his office growing older and more lonely day after day because Maytag washers and dryers are so well made and dependable that they never break down? I thought of that when after I read this report from the Jerusalem Post:
The IDF issued an appeal Saturday to residents of the Gaza Strip help prevent rocket fire on Israel. A flier distributed throughout Gaza featured a cellular phone number that Gaza residents can call to report Kassam rocket and mortar fire. The flier also warned Gaza residents to stay away from launching grounds, in order not to be caught in the IDF response, Army Radio reported. The flier was addressed to "the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip," and proceded to warn that "the IDF will continue operations against terror organizations until terror attacks stop definitively. In order to avoid being wounded, stay away from the rocket-launching grounds!"

It then continued with an appeal to Palestinians to protect themselves and their families: "You understand the harm caused to you by rockets fired from your home by irresponsible terrorists. Now, any resident can help protect himself and his family from the rocket launchers! Don't hesitate! To prevent rocket fire, call the telephone number [below] and report terrorist activity. Any information received will help protect you, your family, and your friends." The flier then concluded with a note of concern for potential informers: "Note: for your protection, call from a place where no one knows you." The notice was signed "Israel Defense Forces."

I understand the Israeli position and I can’t fault them for the effort but I have my doubts on how effective this is going to be. I just can’t see working. Imagine coming home from school and getting caught with the flyer in your school bag by your father or your mother cleans your room and finds it. Talk about time for Dial-an-Honour-Killing and it’s a nice touch with the warning not to call where no one knows you. Obviously, the IDF has concerns about the IQ factor of those who would make use of the line, hence the warning. Or maybe it’s just an Israeli tort thing to prevent a civil suit brought against the IDF by the informer’s family after they kill him/her.

Be Afraid, Very Afraid

Does this make the cyborg equivalent of Lara Croft?

Kinetic Artificial Technician Engineered for Logical Assassination and Nocturnal Destruction

(Tipped off by Hammer into Anvil & RootleWeb)

My Bit for the Free World

Lately, I have noticed increased visits from Iran of all places. For the life of me I could not conceive of a reason why. Today, I discovered that the Last Amazon made the gossip board at Tehran News. Needless to say, my blog tone isn't quite in sync with the other postees.

Never let it be said that I am daunted by dissenter's from my blog-ken. So here’s my message to all Iranians. Throw off the yoke of the mullah’s and take your rightful place at the table of the free world in the new millennium. Uunshackle your mind from all the anti-Zionist propaganda of the mullah’s, but above all remember this; it is never wrong to stand on the side of freedom – never.

The Bambi Cult is on the Prowl Again

I was searching for something else and I found this short news article on the campaign by Fur-Bearer Defenders at 24 Hours instead. 24 Hours is one of those small tabloid giveaways papers that have been plaguing Toronto streets and subway stations in recent years.
But the Vancouver-based Fur-Bearer Defenders want you to know that while you think you’re sporting fox or mink, there’s a chance it could actually be cat or dog.

More than two million cats and dogs are killed each year in China, the Philippines and Thailand for the fur trade, and because Canadian law doesn’t require proper labelling, buyers have no way of knowing what they’re getting, said Aimee Johnson of Fur-Bearer Defenders. And with the U.S. implementing a full ban on trading dog and cat fur and a 25- country ban under consideration in the EU, Canada is falling behind and putting millions of animals at risk.

“All these other markets are closing their doors, yet Canada does nothing, which makes it a target market,” Johnson said. “It’s been admitted by the Canadian government that cat and dog fur is perfectly legal in Canada, and there are no plans right now to stop the trade.”

I think this is hysterically funny. I realize that its’ taken as common wisdom that there is a sucker born every minute but quite honestly I cannot imagine a furrier in Canada that would be able to pull off passing a cat or a dog fur coat for sale as a mink or a fox in North America. You might - just might, be able to pull off a dog fur for a coyote but never as a mink. Maybe you could pull a switcheroo on a customer buying a fur coat in the Philippines or Thailand but why would anyone want a fur coat there in the first place? It’s seems all just too daft for me.

One of the reasons that wild fur coats are so costly to make is that you can trap 1,000 minks in the wild and never have enough pelts to make one single coat whose skins match up decently. This is the primary reason that almost all mink coats sold today come from farm bred minks.

It’s highly probably that a certain amount of fur trim and/or accessories from winter coats made in China or the Philippines are using cat or dog fur and that would explain how a $99.99 winter parka made in Philippines at Old Navy can afford to have coyote trim around the hood though I can stand behind truth in sales. If you wanted a coyote trimmed collar and bought the coat thinking it was coyote and it is actually dog fur; you have the right to have your money back but other than that - so what if it is?

Let’s not be Disneyland specists just because you live with a Whiskers or run with Rover. If animals are used for food and their skins are used to keep you warm what’s the real issue with using cats or dogs for fur or even food? It’s certainly more environmentally sound to use their skins for warmth than buying a synthetic coat that won’t keep you warm and takes darn near eternity to breakdown at the landfill. And don’t even get me started on the alleged virtues of tofu or soya as a meat substitute. I may choose not to eat dog or cat but there is no way a vegetarian diet can replace beef, venison or even fish at my table.

My take on dogs and cats is that they serve a useful purpose in my home that is worth more than the current price I could get for their skins. My dog has kept me safe and Rogue the family cat is a mouser of renowned virtue, and furthermore, his mousing in this old townhouse has put him off canned food and saved me money in bargain.

Nobody is going to go sneaking around to steal your little Snowy or Spot in the dead of night. Truth be told, I can think of a few husbands who would be more than thrilled to think they can sell off the wife’s cat and get a few dollars back after all the aggravation the little purr monster put them through.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Canadian Prime Minister: Mr. Dithers shows he can’t take the heat so he moves kitchen

If there is an irony involved in the Kashechewan reserve it is this; the federal government first moved the band to Kashechewan against the will of the band in 1957 and last night Minister of Indian & Northern Affairs announced that it will relocate the band to higher ground and rebuild 50 homes a year for the next ten years. Taken from a report by the Globe and Mail:
Ottawa — The federal government has offered to relocate the grim aboriginal community of Kashechewan to higher ground along James Bay. In Ottawa on Thursday night, Minister of Indian Affairs Andy Scott met with native leaders and offered to relocate the community to higher ground along James Bay — but the project will take 10 years.

Mr. Scott said Ottawa will pay for 50 new houses a year until the reserve's decrepit homes have been razed. "That is still to be worked out," he said when asked what the new measures will cost. Native leaders who flanked the minister as he spoke said 10 years is a reasonable time to wait.

"I am thankful," said Kashechewan chief Leo Friday. Band councillors will decide who gets to move into the new homes first based on need, he added. "We had to go with a figure that we felt was reasonable in negotiations with the government," said Stan Louittit, grand chief for the Crees of Ontario. "We are satisfied that the community will benefit from this new agreement."

The neglected humanitarian disaster on the Cree reserve in northern Ontario has been a political nightmare for the federal Liberals. Prime Minister Paul Martin, under intense opposition fire, vowed earlier Thursday to clean up a contaminated water crisis on the reserve. "We are very concerned about this totally unacceptable situation," Mr. Martin said above catcalls in the House of Commons.It was another day of searing question-period attacks over the government's failure to help Kashechewan before its plight made national headlines.

It’s all well and good that the federal government finally decided to acknowledge it had a responsibility to act and if the people of Kashechewan are happy with this solution it should all be good. But I am still uneasy with the whole sordid mess. Relocating the community over 10 year period just doesn’t cut it with me. The disaster at Kashechewan was allowed to happen and was an entirely federal man-made disaster.

There was nothing announced by the Minister Andy Scott that showed me that the Ministry of Indian & Northern Affairs has seen the error of its ways. There was absolutely nothing announced that suggested that pattern of negligence and indifference as practiced by the Ministry of Indian & Northern Affairs or that the reign of genocide by sewage has ended. There are over 100 native communities today that are under a boil water advisory and no plan was put forward or action was announced to address that.

Are Americans becoming Canadians or are we just having a bad influence on them?

I found this post entitled "US taxpayers help to fund Iran" at Sigmund, Carl and Alfred:
Radio Free Europe helped to promote the 'World Without Zionism" and "World Without America" Conference. They posted the info on their web site:

THEMATIC ART CONTEST TO TAKE PLACE IN IRAN Iran's House of Cartoons and the Union of Islamic Students Associations are sponsoring an "A World Without Zionism" art competition in Tehran, IRNA reported on 19 October. The main themes of the competition are: "A World Without America," "A Mirage Named Zionism," "The Wishes Of A Palestinian Student," and "The Intifada." The contest is open to students aged seven-18, and they have until 21 November to send their submissions to BS

And I thought Canadians were becoming a self destructive lot. American beats us again. But for the love of that is good and holy don’t tell Jack Layton or the NDP.

On another note, “Canada Chides Iran” screams the headline above this story at the Globe and Mail:
Ottawa — Prime Minister Paul Martin is condemning an anti-Israeli diatribe from Iran's President as a racist relic from a past age. The federal government also called in Iran's top diplomat in Canada for a formal reprimand. The Prime Minister was asked about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel should be wiped off the earth.

“It's beyond the pale. It's absolutely incredible,” Mr. Martin said Thursday. “That kind of lack of respect, intolerance, anti-Semitism — this is the 21st century and that statement is just out of an era that is long past and never should have occurred.”

I really think Paul Martin needs to go out more or at least read blogs if he really thinks the Iranian President’s remarks are out of a by-gone era of long, long ago. I just bet that the Iranians are shaking in their boots now that Mr. Dithers raked their ambassador over the coals - just like they did when the Canadian government called the Iranian government to account for the beating death of Canadian journalist Kamezi. By the way, just how strong are the wheat sales with Iran going?


If you are not keeping an eye on the Tipper, you'll miss out because she keeps her eye on all the important polls like Dilbert’s the 4th Annual Weasel Poll.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Third Solitude

I swear the moon must be blue or pigs are now flying because for once the only fault I can find with the Toronto Star editorial is that the language isn’t strong enough.
Although the federal government knew at least two years ago that Kashechewan was another Walkerton water tragedy just waiting to happen, it did nothing to stop it.

Despite a warning from the Ontario Clean Water Agency in 2003 that the intake pipe for the reserve's water treatment plant was just downstream from the lagoon where the community's raw sewage goes, Ottawa failed to remove the threat.

Now Kashechewan's water is contaminated with the same deadly E. coli bacteria that devastated Walkerton. But unlike Walkerton, Ottawa — not Queen's Park — bears responsibility for the conditions because it is responsible for First Nations natives living on reserves.

Yet even as McGuinty took the initiative to evacuate the residents of Kashechewan, federal Indian Affairs Minister Andy Scott made excuses for his appalling neglect. Claiming Ottawa was "working on a response to deal with what is a long-standing, serious problem," Scott said, "unfortunately, the events of last weekend simply overtook that work."

Balderdash. Ottawa had two years to fix the problem and failed to do so. Having shown himself to be incompetent or, even worse, indifferent to the plight of native Canadians, Scott should resign. If he refuses, then Paul Martin should dump him.

Kashechewan is not the only native community with unsafe water. There are 150 native communities in Canada where the water must be boiled before it is safe to drink.

It is said in Canada that there are two solitudes, one English and one French but I would add a third and call it Native. Our current governor-general tells us the time of solitudes has passed but I would suggest that until the third solitude has ended the silence is positively deafening.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thought for the Day

"The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Ronald Reagan

About Fricking Time: Genocide by Sewage Update

Taken from the Globe and Mail:
The Ontario government declared a state of emergency last night at a remote native reserve plagued with contaminated drinking water, paving the way for the removal of as many as 1,100 residents.

The government will charter planes to airlift residents of the Kashechewan Reserve in need of medical attention to Timmins, Cochrane and other neighbouring communities. Kashechewan is a fly-in community about 450 kilometres north of Timmins, on the coast of James Bay.

The evacuation will begin "as soon as we can physically do it" and could start as early as today, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay told reporters. As many as 60 per cent of the reserve's 1,900 Cree residents require medical attention, he added.

The evacuation order, which followed a meeting between Mr. Ramsay, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and native leaders, marked a dramatic about-face from the government's earlier position.
And to think it took only 8 years……..

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I just had one of those personal Damascus moments: I am a raving idiot.

I read this article from the Globe and Mail:
Prime Minister Paul Martin called on the United States to shoulder responsibility for cross-border gun smuggling that leads to crime in Canada.

Mr. Martin's insistence that the United States must take responsibility for guns flowing across the border comes as the government prepares a gun-crime package including stiffer sentences, a better witness-protection program and money for community crime-prevention programs to confront an issue that has become politically hot, especially in the Liberals' Toronto stronghold.

And my first thought is what an asshat our Prime Minister is to even suggest such a thing. My next thought after gasping was to contemplate the breadth of Mr. Dithers’ chutzpah in suggesting that the United States should “shoulder responsibility for cross-border gun smuggling that leads to crime in Canada.” If illegal hand guns are being smuggled into Canada the blame needs to be firmly laid at the door of the Canadian agencies responsible for securing our borders, and not a foreign government.

That’s when I realized I was a flaming idiot for thinking this. This is the new Canada where no one is ever responsible for anything and everyone is a victim. How positively unpatriotic of me not to instinctively advance the Canadian Blame America First Platform at every opportunity.

No doubt next week there will be some study published in Canada that will attempt to prove that those who commit gun crimes in Canada do so because they were unduly influenced by watching far too much American television or movies - instead of the CBC.

Is Genocide by Sewage Acceptable Policy in Canada?

Darcey at Dust my Broom highlights the issue of the sewer water in Kashechewan in the House of Commons:

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the people of Kashechewan First Nation have been under a boil water advisory for eight years. This past weekend an E. coli outbreak hit the community. The school is closed, the health centre is closed and a Health Canada official told the people that it was perfectly safe to bathe their children in E. coli contaminated bathwater. That is like telling those Cree people to bathe their children in toilet water.

Would the health minister or any of his staff be willing to come up to Kashechewan and bathe their children in this kind of water?

Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously that is a very serious issue. I will look into it and I would be happy to provide an answer to the hon. member.

For 8 years this situation has been allowed to fester and when the matter was brought up recently in Parliament last week the only answer the Honourable Minister of Health gives is that he will be happy to look into it and provide an answer. My question is; how long does it take to have this issue addressed and, more importantly, how long before action it taken to resolve it?

Darcey has more details and I believe that he is correct in asserting that this is an issue that has gone under reported in Canadian msm. The Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs has an operating budget of $6.2 billion and funds allocated represent 3.8% of the total budget for 2005-2006 which makes it a larger expense than the allotment for Heathcare (2.7%), Foreign Affairs & International Trade (2.7%), Industry (2.9%) etc., according to sources used by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

I am not going to argue whether the funds allocated were justified or not. I have absolutely no idea how the budget breaks down or what is owed under the various treaty obligations and/or otherwise. I am not going to argue whether the situation in Kashechewan First Nation is the result of a corrupt chief or band mismanagement.

What I do believe is when the Ministry of Indian & Northern Affairs pays for a water treatment plant; then the Ministry has a responsibility and duty to ensure that the water treatment plant does not poison anyone, and they do so in a timely fashion. Eight years is not timely under any measure of law, furthermore, I think one would be hard-pressed to find a justice in this country who would accept that 8 years was an inadequate time frame to resolve this issue.

Maybe I didn’t get the memo and genocide by sewage is now the official Liberal Indian & Northern Affairs policy. I doubt that it is, but it’s sure starting to appear that genocide by negligence and omission is acceptable under the current federal administration in Canada.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Canada Rocks, Again

Some are born great Canadians, and others have greatness thrust upon them. For the second year in a row, a Canadian has dared to become Rock, Paper Scissors Champion of the World.
Andrew Berger, 29, a Toronto lawyer, thrilled the hometown crowd with a winning throw of paper to take the gold medal and the $7,000 first prize. Berger defeated California student Stan Long, who received $1,500 for his second-place finish.

The Toronto Star (registration required) quotes Tournament Director Graham Walker:
Past champions have appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Ellen Degeneres Show. "Now he is going to be a serious C-level celebrity," Walker said. "It's going to change his life, if not for the next 15 minutes, then for the next year."

The competition can get intense, with participants hurling around as much trash-talking as hands, Walker said. But no actual rocks or scissors are brandished. The losers get over their crushing defeats with a good sense of humour and a beer, he said. While Walker believes the sport is both entertaining and practical, he said it wouldn't work to settle such disputes as softwood or the Iraq war.

"We're trying to keep the game far away from politicians," he said. "We don't think they're ready for it because it's a gentlemen's game and you have to abide by the outcome."

Thank heavens for small mercies.

Red Ensign Standard XXX

Nicholas at Quotulatiousness has produced the 30th edition of the Red Ensign Standard.
The Canada of the Red Ensign was far from perfect: plenty of social and economic injustices existed, but generally the situation was good for most Canadians. The economy was relatively unencumbered with government controls, the judicial system was widely believed to be working well, and the country was a magnet for immigration. I take the liberty of quoting our founder:

“I am proud to say this is one of a handful of countries in the whole world where you can arrive, work hard and send your kids to school in the hope of a better life. No matter your accent or appearance you will be Canadian.”

Somewhere along the way, Canada has lost some of the attributes that helped to make it a great country. Red Ensign bloggers hope we can get back that essence. Sometimes the past is worth fighting for, too.

Go Read the Rest.

Are Dentists vulnerable for terror recruitment?

I read this at the Jerusalem Post:

Two Israeli Arab dentists from the Galilee were arrested on suspicion of helping Hamas plan bombings in Israel, security sources revealed Sunday. The two were identified as Nazmi Hassin, 35, and A'salam Zeidan. They were arrested in September, but news of the arrest was under a gag order until last night. According to security sources, the pair had studied dentistry in Romania in the 1990s. After being recruited into Hamas they even underwent espionage training in Turkey, linked up with a handler and carried out missions for Hamas once they returned home.

Hassin, 35, from Nazareth, told interrogators that he was trained in surveillance, intelligence collecting, encryption and clandestine activity. The training was held during a five-day period in Istanbul. Plans to send him to Iran for military training fell through because he only had an Israeli passport. Once back in his Galilee village, Hassin helped recruit Zeidan, his partner at their dentistry office in Kfar Manda. He also passed on the names of at least three other Israeli Arabs to his Hamas contact for potential recruitment.

Zeidan, 36, told his interrogators he agreed to find safe houses for Hamas members transporting "the goods." In 1999, Zeidan traveled to Turkey for training with Hamas, that included learning how to obtain fertilizer used for making explosives, bomb assembly and transmitting orders via e-mail accounts. He also served as a courier for Hamas and delivered money to a Hamas member in Nazareth. In 2002, Zeidan met with a Hamas agent in Saudi Arabia and agreed to scout out potential crowded bombing sites in Tel Aviv. Hassin aided Zeidan in maintaining contact with their Hamas handler.

Somehow it seems perfectly feasible and logical to me that a terrorist organization would actively seek to recruit dentists to their cause. In my mind, it’s the most natural fit but maybe my judgment in this is clouded in this respect as I have been referring to my dentist as the Butcher of Prague for sometime now.

But what is noteworthy is the suggestion from Israeli authorities that only an Israeli passport saved Hassin from traveling to Iran to undergo further “military” training for Hamas.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ontario does it for the children

The Globe and Mail carries the story that the provincial government of Ontario will be extending daylight savings time to be in sync with the US change. Personally, I really don’t care as to whether the sun is shinning or not as I still have to be at work on time.
“Now I want to make it clear,” Mr. Bryant said in a prepared statement. “Ontario does not automatically move in lock step with the U.S. on this or any issue.” He said the decision to harmonize the province's daylight time with the United States followed a review by a government committee into the potential impact such a move could have on Ontario. The committee found that any misalignment with the province's biggest trading partner could have a very real and negative impact, including trade disruption as well as creating border pressures.

The extra hour of daylight in the afternoon will also provide a much needed chance to encourage children to play sports outside, rather than watch television, after school, Mr. Bryant said. It could also reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities, he added.

Anti-Americanism can now be considered to be firmly entrenched in the Ontario psyche when the provincial government feels compelled to point out that just because we are following the US lead it should not be misconstrued as the government is in lock step on this or any other issue. No, Canadians are nobler than that because we are doing it for trade and our children.

Actually, the Tribe and I did discuss this issue around the dinner table a while ago. Their only objection to Ontario not following suit is how it would muck up their television schedule. I did try to point out that they could always watch the CBC and I got nothing but abuse for my humble attempts at promoting nationalism at the dinner table.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

No longer are humans at the top of the food chain

And even the deer know it. Taken from a report from SF Gate:
A man died after being attacked by a 6-foot-tall deer that he encountered in his back yard, officials said. Ron Dudek stumbled onto the deer Sept. 25 when he went outside to pick tomatoes. The buck struck him in the face, ripping a hole in his cheek and ramming an antler into his mouth.
Some neighbors said the buck that gored Dudek had become increasingly bold in recent weeks. While other deer run when people approach, this one stood his ground, they said. Dudek's widow, Joanne, said she and her husband of 54 years never feed the deer that came into their yard, which offers a panoramic view of a river canyon about 17 miles northwest of San Diego.
The attack on Dudek was the third violent deer encounter reported in California during the last four weeks, Martarano said.On Sept. 29, a deer pinned a man against his house and bit a chunk out of his wife's arm in Mendocino County in Northern California.On Oct. 11, a deer killed one dog and attacked three others in Orinda, near Oakland.

This is what you get when the metro/uber sexual motif comes in through the looking glass and hijacks the primal male archetype; the Bambi's fight back and win.

(Tipped off by Neale News)

No, I don't have a penis

But, I have been known to breathe through my mouth when the occasion warrants it, and being the angry white male mouth-breather type that I am (according to one political bully and perpetual Canadian adolescent) I could not resist reading a National Post article that was profiling Mark Steyn for their upcoming November "Beautiful Minds" contest; even if it didn’t cause an erection.

The profile is adequate as far as it goes, but I really did take exception to this:
Steyn is the Lancelot of the West's virtual Round Table in the battle against political correctness.

Lancelot? For all those with an inadequate Canadian public education, Lancelot was the greatest warrior and most trusted of all the Knights of the Round Table by King Arthur. He acted as the King’s Champion and rewarded the King’s trust and favour by conducting an adulterous affair with Arthur’s much beloved Queen. Hence, Lancelot’s betrayal rendered the first irreparable tear in the fabric of life that was Camelot.

Doesn’t sound like Steyn; I’d peg him as a Galahad or even a Gawaine but never a Lancelot.

Getting a life can be an incredibly overrated experience

As a result of all the fearmongering and nagging from certain quarters of my non-blog life to establish a life outside the family circle, I would like to report that my recent modest efforts have been rewarded.

I was out late last night at a function and couldn’t get up in enough time to blog this morning. I would also like to report that the children are not happy and I am exhausted with a full day a head of me and no release in sight. Finally, I would like to thank my mother for all her support in this area. No doubt she is awake and fresh, and only has to deal with one sulking cranky offspring who is very, very far away.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oh Limeys, its not the Joooos!

This is a story that one does not see everyday courtesy of Al-Reuters:
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Tuesday it had arrested more than 20 people in connection with deadly weekend bombings in southern Iran which the government has blamed on Britain. Saturday's blasts outside a shopping mall in the city of Ahvaz killed six people and wounded 100 and have prompted calls from Iran's hardline press for Tehran to sever ties with London.

The incident has led to a new nadir in relations between Britain and Iran, already strained by London's criticism of Tehran's atomic programme and British accusations that Iran has helped Iraqi insurgents carry out bomb attacks against British troops. Britain denies any links to the bombings as well as a series of other attacks and unrest earlier this year in the ethnic-Arab dominated Khuzestan province which borders southern Iraq and contains the bulk of Iran's oil reserves.

"More than 20 people who were involved in Saturday's bombings have been identified and arrested," Khuzestan Governor Amir Hayat Moqaddam told the official IRNA news agency. "Based on our investigations they have links to foreigners," he said.

Lost in the Supermarket

I had a feeling that it was long past the time to take the little Bambis out before they did any more damage. It may already be too late. Newsday is reporting this:
READING, Pa. -- A 130-pound deer crashed through the front window of a supermarket and ran amok for more than an hour before it was tranquilized by state game officials and removed. No one was hurt. The eight-point buck emerged from a wooded area, struck a parked tow truck and then jumped through the window of a Weis supermarket in Exeter Township, Berks County, around 5:15 p.m. Monday.

I am looking for recipes for new or interesting ways to cook venison. Anyone have any favourites, send them to me.

(Tipped off by Neale News)

All I want is a report on how gun registration is working out for the Palestinian Authority

I have been reading too many Canadian papers and I needed a tonic so I turned to the Jerusalem Post:
On the eve of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's visit to Washington, the PA announced that it has no intention of disarming Hamas or other armed groups.

Abbas is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Thursday for talks with US President George W. Bush on the latest developments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the Israeli disengagement. Sources close to Abbas said earlier this week that he would brief Bush on the PA's plan to confiscate "illegal" weapons that are in the hands of various factions and militias, including Hamas.

However, Abbas's national security advisor, Jibril Rajoub, denied on Tuesday that the PA was planning to disarm Hamas or any other armed group. "We haven't called for disarming anyone," Rajoub said. "There is no decision to collect [illegal] weapons and we haven't taken any steps in this direction."

Gee, that is a real surprise. I would never have guessed.

T-shirt Che-troversy: Hungarian Chapter

Around the World in 80 Days brings attention to a post on Pestiside, a Hungarian blog over the latest T-shirt Che-troversy.

What’s next, T-shirts that say “Bring Back the Gulag”?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It is well past the time for a change in Scamada

Just who exactly is running the Ministry of Northern and Indian Affairs anyhow - Robert Mugabe? But more importantly, why was this situation allowed to develop and fester in the first place (taken from the Toronto Star – registration required):
The government was called to account today as residents long exposed to dirty-water were urged to evacuate a remote Ontario First Nation. About 1,900 people on the Kashechewan reserve have for years battled skin infections and chronic illness blamed on poor water quality. Conditions range from scabies to gastrointestinal disorders, headaches and fevers. Deaths believed linked to contaminated water are more difficult to prove.

"It's not tolerable," said Deputy Chief Rebecca Friday, just after declaring the emergency evacuation. "It's not acceptable." Kashechewan is a fly-in community about 450 kilometres north of Timmins on the coast of James Bay. The name is Cree for ``flowing water" or "swift current."

The reserve has been under a Health Canada boil-water advisory for more than two years. An already bad situation turned into a full-blown crisis last week when federal officials warned that high levels of E. coli had been detected in the drinking water. The bacteria can be especially dangerous for children, the elderly and the already sick.

A water treatment plant funded by Indian Affairs was built 10 years ago — just downstream from an existing sewage lagoon. Contaminants flow past the intake pipe that feeds water into the plant to be treated for drinking. "It's crazy," says Nabil Batrouny, financial adviser for Kashechewan. "If they had chosen to move the intake 200 yards upstream, none of this problem would be there." Indian Affairs hired consultants to design and build the plant — some of whom must never have visited the site, Batrouny said.

Band leaders say they have never received proper training or enough funding to run a complex system that requires 24-hour maintenance. Batrouny says a more automated plant was needed but was likely nixed because of higher costs. "It's a bad idea, to say the least, to design a system that would require somebody with an engineering degree . . . to be able to operate it."

Neither Indian Affairs Minister Andy Scott nor Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh were immediately available for comment today. Water specialists hired by Indian Affairs are now in the community assessing the situation. Indian Affairs has spent more than $250,000 since last April flying bottled water into Kashechewan. It also spent $500,000 last year to upgrade the plant but didn't move the intake pipe.

Spending $500,000 on upgrading a plant in the last year but no one thought to move a problematic intake pipe? Flying in bottles of water into a community to the tune of $250,000 for the last six months and water specialists are just now on the scene?

I could make a cheap shot blaming Liberal malfeasance, but frankly, I am stunned speechless by the breadth of it. The Koebel brother’s faced criminal charges for their part in the Walkerton Water Crisis. Canadians should expect no less for Kashechewan.

Fairy Tales in Crack Houses

I never read Cinderella or the Little Match Girl to my daughter or my sons. I instinctively steered away from fairy tales where the main character through no fault of their own gets dealt a raw deal by life but not to fret because at the 11th hour someone will intervene and they all will live happily ever after. Life is just not like that. As it is written, the rain falls on the just and the unjust and that about sums it up. No one gets a free pass for a trouble free life.

More importantly, I didn’t want my children to live out their lives as a victim; wallowing in defeat and distress while waiting patiently for a knight in shining armor to show up to save them from misfortune or folly. I wanted them to grow up to be the heroes of their own lives.

All of which means that I am seriously out of sync with the times I live in. Today, every one is a victim in constant need of being saved from misfortune, discrimination or the outright folly of our own devising. This is not the Age of Chivalry and there are no knights in shining armor riding to the rescue but the call goes out regularly for the government to fund some program or designate some group “victims” in order to spare them the logical consequences of their own choices.

Case in point; read Rosie Dimanno’s recent column in the Toronto Star (registration required) on the current report issued by Toronto Drug Strategy Advisory Committee:
So let me get this straight: I can't smoke cigarettes in Toronto but I can smoke crack? The former is a public health risk, nipped in the butt at nearly every indoor venue, with bossy and vilifying interdiction campaigns that have transformed smokers into social pariahs. But the latter is a personal choice that ought not to be stigmatized by a judgmental society.

I am not making this up. I am merely taking to their presumptive conclusions some of the recommendations advanced in a drug strategy scheme unveiled at city hall on Friday. So very non-condemnatory of drug use is the report by the Toronto Drug Strategy Advisory Committee that its members have quite deliberately eschewed even the term "drug abuse'' as inherently pejorative. The word "abuse,'' the report states upfront, "perpetuates social stigma and judgment which can marginalize and alienate people from the very supports they need."

These supports could, come the day, include "supervised injection sites or inhalation rooms'' in Toronto — inhalation rooms because crack cocaine is the most frequently used street drug in this city — as posited by Recommendation No. 55. That recommendation does not overtly call for the establishment of such 100 per cent toleration zones. It merely asks the city, in partnership with the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health and community groups, to further study that option in developing strategies to address the "stigma and discrimination toward people who use substances.''

The report's authors do acknowledge that supervised consumption sites — a 50-cent euphemism for what most of us would call a crack house — would provoke tremendous controversy, as indeed the matter did, does, within the committee's own membership. Clearly, there was not enough agreement from within its ranks to make a bold, unambiguous proposal. But it's just as clear, from reading this section, that the committee wants to venture further in the direction of what I can only describe as legal crack arcades, which can only be created, in this country, after obtaining formal exclusion under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. It's been done already in some 50 jurisdictions around the world, and, as of this past July, in Vancouver, where the issue is heroin rather than crack.

Read the whole thing. I’ll wait. Now who do you think will fund and pay the salaries of those who supervise the consumption sites? Once the sites are up and running how long before the calls goes out for these establishments to provide quality controlled crack? How many more social workers, nurses and community aid workers will be needed to man these sites? Think of the workers compensation claims. If that isn’t bad enough, imagine the consumption sites are located next door to your home because dollars to donuts some poor sods will have the misfortune to be living right beside where city hall will mandate there be a safe consumption house. And it won't cause drug addiction levels to decline even one small whit.


We are even further down the road to perdition than I originally thought. Taken from the Toronto Star (registration required).
Crack cocaine is the most frequently used street drug, he said, and "we're not doing enough" about it, McKeown said. "Crack kits — which are being distributed in Toronto now — are seen as a way to reach out and pull in a very marginalized group of drug users," McKeown said. The kits contain clean mouthpieces, pipe stems and screens. "You can't get people into treatment, you can't reach people with prevention messages and harm reduction interventions if you can't talk to them directly. So the crack kits are seen as a good way to do that." The kits might also limit the spread of disease from one user to another, he said, but there's not enough evidence yet to draw conclusions.

Crack kits, what can I say? Now we know what our property taxes are purchasing. If I remember the jargon correctly from my college classes in the psychology of addiction - wouldn’t this render us as “enablers”?

What are the odds that this is a first offense?

A 19 year old man has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder and other offenses reports the Toronto Star. How much to you want to bet that he does not have a serious young offender record? Though the most pressing societal question is now how soon before he makes bail and runs a muck again.

The unintended consequences of the Bambi cult

One of my daily stops is Dust My Broom and this raised my ire for the morn. (tipped off by Will Goodon)

Given a choice between a moose or a deer; Bullwinkle wins every time over Bambi but I recognize that’s just me. Who knows, maybe it is because so few Canadians have ever seen a moose except on television and the deer are literally everywhere from the backyards to the highways to the zoos.

One of my beloved grandfathers was a fur trapper and wood’s guide. He was also a life long conservationist long before the sixties made environmental issues fashionable. It’s natural today to presume that being a fur trapper and hunter is incompatible with being a conservationist though it has been my experience that those who live closest to the land and rely on the bounty of the land are the most concerned with the health of the land.

Now Darcey’s piece focuses on the misconception that Metis hunting moose have lead to a direct decline of the moose population in Manitoba. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the explosion in the deer population in Manitoba was one of those annoying unintended consequences of a too heavily regulated deer hunting. Think I am out on left field? Think bear.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Comic Book Terror Fighters

It’s from the Jerusalem Post that I learned that the Palestinian Authority is suggesting that they are making in roads in stopping terror against Israeli citizens:
The Palestinian Authority capped a largely disastrous first month of rule in the Gaza Strip with an announcement late Saturday night that it prevented 17 terrorist attacks and confiscated a significant amount of weapons.
The PA Interior Ministry, which controls the various Palestinian security branches, issued the security report, highlighting the confiscation of 75 mines and 15 Kassam rockets, which it said were to be used against Israel. PA security forces around the border town of Rafah also blocked up two smuggling tunnels and prevented seven smuggling attempts from the Egyptian side.
The PA, said a source close to Interior Minister Nasser Yousef, was experimenting with a new policy."We are striking at the armed groups and then pulling back to examine the results," he said. The source said decisions were being made on a daily basis, and that "this is not a continuing action." Both Yousef and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have demanded that gunmen cease carrying their weapons in public, but have not asked the groups to disarm.

Of course, 24 hours after this report was released, Ha’aretz was reporting that this had come to pass:
The Israel Defense Forces are to clamp down tightly in the West Bank after three Israelis were killed and three others were wounded Sunday afternoon, one seriously, when Palestinians opened fire on a hitchhiking station at the Gush Etzion junction, south of Jerusalem.

Shortly after the Gush Etzion attack, Palestinians opened fire again near the settlement of Eli, also in the West Bank, seriously wounding a 14-year-old Israeli boy.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz convened a meeting of high-level security officials on Sunday evening following the attacks. It was decided that IDF troops will redeploy around West Bank cities and limit Palestinian movement on main roads via checkpoints and other means. Exits from Bethlehem and Hebron will be blocked, Palestinian cars will be banned from main West Bank roads and arrests raids will be stepped up, officials said on condition of anonymity.
But who knows, maybe it’s because these people are now assisting in training Palestinian Security Forces though it makes me believe there just might be more to this story than one might reasonably suspect on first reading.

Note to self; the children need to get their own life

There are days when I wonder who is the “real parent” in the house and Saturday night was one of them. I don’t venture out much socially. I became a single parent while the children were so young that I have never really had the means nor opportunity to do much socializing outside the home. Between raising my children and working, I have had very little time or inclination to go out and do a lot of the things that grown-ups do when left to their own devices unsupervised by children.

My mother keeps warning me that I need to get a life independent of the children now that they are all in their teenage years and suggests that I join some kind of a widow/widowers support group and widen my circle of acquaintances. My father has on occasion suggested that I am doing everything all wrong (usually after one of the children has uttered something he thinks is particularly republican in nature and therefore offensive) and I should learn how to do it the right way by joining a single parent support group. Of course, what else would one expect from a “new age” psychologist?

It’s not that I don’t have friends who are past the age of majority, I do, but being a friend to me has meant that you keep up with my schedule and most entertaining has been done in my home or having the tribe descend en mass at yours. Almost all of my friends have been so for twenty years or more and I think the children think of them more as family rather than Momma’s friends.

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to a movie event minus the children and decided I would accept it and venture out. Saturday evening was m-night and before I ventured out the Last Amazon insisted I sit down while she lectured me on what was appropriate social behaviour. I was not to discuss politics or religion and I was not to challenge anyone’s views no matter how outrageous or reprehensible I found them to be. As she said, one does not make friends by telling someone they are nitwit. Furthermore, I was not to be annoying by talking all through the movie like I do when we watch television or go to the movies. No one likes that she tells me. And I really should reconsider changing out of my “Spirit of America” t-shirt as so many Canadians would find it offensive, but I couldn’t see the harm as I was going to see Red Dawn. She totally missed the irony being born a decade too late.

After the Last Amazon was finished with me, the youngest felt the need to add his two cents. No more than 3 drinks maximum as he didn’t want a lush for a mother, and if anyone was rude to me, I was not to hesitate but leave immediately. Most importantly of all, I was not to fight. No hitting, no biting, or slapping and remember my manners at all times. But I wasn’t out of clear yet. I still had to get by the Man. He insisted on having the address and checked that my cell phone was on and fully charged. He tried to make a case for coming with me just in case he had to tell the police how to get there and I was not to stay out past 1 am. Furthermore, on my way home I should call him when I got to the subway as it wasn’t safe for a woman to be out by herself at night.

I finally got out the door and I found it ironic that not even as a teenager did I have to run such a gauntlet or received so much advice. All of which makes me speculate what the children would think if they ever learned that I use to go out to clubs and dance literally all night before they were born. Good thing, they missed the stories about the leg thingy. I had a great time. I didn’t finish my second drink, nor did I get into a slugging match with anyone even though religion and politics were mentioned and I managed to walk through the door at home without the need of a 13 year old male escort. But the night was not officially over until I got lectured by the Man for not calling him, and I had to pass the youngest’s breath test, and the Last Amazon had to have a blow-by-blow account of the evening. I really appreciate being loved and valued by the tribe but it does make me think that I am not going to enjoy my Depends Age all that much if they remain as pushy as they are now. Note to daughter: I am not the only one who talks all through the movies.

It's official, I'm a Dinosaur

Saturday afternoon I was out with the youngest looking for a Halloween costume to wear for his last Halloween. Next July he will turn the magic age of 12 which means in my household that your days collecting candy end and your turn at the door giving it out begins.

Lunch time came and went and the child was famished so I did what I rarely do and ventured into McDonald's. Things were going well. The line-up and wait was not overtly arduous and we found a seat at a table easily enough. The Dread proceeded to eat his meal and we were chatting when a group of unremarkable and average teenage girls took the table beside us. The conversation between us stopped once they opened their mouths. Their entire conversation was one loud long string of profanity. Eventually, I remarked to son when I was a young using profanity in any kind of restaurant was enough to get turfed from your meal by the manager and it’s a pity that times have changed so radically.

It’s not that I cannot see the point of a few cuss words when used judiciously - when the occasion warrants it. I have made use of a cuss word or two but I do not incorporate cussing as part of my ordinary conversational vocabulary, but why do our young do so? Being the dinosaur that I am; I just don’t get it.

The Invisible Man Wears Glasses

I took my son to buy a new pair of glasses Friday night. His prescription had changed and his frames were hanging on his nose and ears at odd angles. I had only days to go before he turned 13 and lost the 12 and under discount so we did what the son hates most after art classes; we went shopping. There is a subtle and insidious form of racism that well intentioned people practice without meaning too. All in the guise of relating to young blacks and it transcends age, gender and class.

Now my son was dressed in a jacket, jeans, sneakers and a simple white shirt tucked into his jeans. He stands 5’8” with a close cropped hair with no cornrows or designs etched in- just high and tight. Overall he was dressed in pretty much the standard teenage fair minus the crotch of his pants hanging down to his knees. No rags on his head, no bandannas, hats or jewelery.

The first salesperson available was a relatively young white male. Once it was determined that son was the customer he greeted son with a few yo’s and a set of bizarre hand signals. It quickly went south from there. I know the young man meant well and so did Montana, but the salesperson could have saved himself from much embarrassment and a mountain of a tongue lashing if he had just approached my son with common courtesy and civility instead of the rap and gang references. I learned Friday night that Montana has learned to stand up for his innate dignity and personhood with a well reasoned mind and an articulate tongue instead of his devastating right, left, right combination. And I take comfort in that fact but it’s just that I wish that in 2005 he didn’t have too.

Montana has never read Ralph Ellison’s 50's classic, The Invisible Man, but he has incorporated the moral of the book in his being. He has never allowed others to define him. He sets his own standards and boundaries but that is a testament to his innate character. All of which makes me speculate how many of our young black people just give in to this insidious form of racism early in life? When the bigotry of low expectations falls under the guise of innate "coolness" what hope is there for those who are less of a hardy character or weary of the fight early in life? What can I say? 20 years of funding racial sensitivity and bias free education is a complete bust in light of the MTV/Much Music generation.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Gaza: where chaos and mayhem rule

Since the Israeli disengagement from Gaza the news of Hamas gunmen going round for round with Palestinian Authority forces in Gaza are now so utterly common place that few stories are making the international newswire services and all acts of violence are now viewed primarily as a power struggle between the forces of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

The real tragedy of Gaza is that the struggle for power is not confined between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority but with every tin-pot Arafat wannabe with a rifle, a couple of henchmen and a rocket launcher - regardless of ideology. This story from the Jerusalem Post illustrates the total breakdown of civil authority:
Al-Azhar University in Gaza City has been shut down after gunmen belonging to the ruling Fatah party beat the institution's president and some of his aides. The attack took place on Wednesday when some 20 gunmen stormed the offices of university president Dr. Adnan al-Khaldi and forced him to flee after assaulting him. Eyewitnesses said the attackers also dragged an employee from the university's public relations department and dumped him outside the campus.

The attack was not the first of its kind on the university. Earlier this year another Fatah group stormed the campus and threatened to lynch the university president, who managed to escape unharmed. The attack coincided with a report published by the PA Interior Ministry showing that Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, was largely responsible for the continued state of lawlessness and anarchy. Figures released by the ministry showed that Fatah gunmen were involved last August in 20 incidents of lawlessness, while Hamas came in second with only 18 violations. The number of Palestinians killed in domestic violence since the beginning of the year was higher than those killed by the IDF, the figures showed.

Denouncing that attack on al-Azhar University as a “crime against education,” the university administration decided to suspend studies until the PA security forces put an end to the anarchy. The university also appealed to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to interfere to halt the recurring attacks on its staff by members of his Fatah party. Sources in Gaza City said the latest attack was apparently in response to the university's decision to expel six Fatah-affiliated students for their involvement in previous cases of violence on campus.

The reality is that Abbas is a weak leader who never garnered more than a nominal base of support within the West Bank and Gaza; despite winning an interim election and in spite of the support Abbas has received by western leaders. His days as leader of the Palestinian Authority are as surely numbered as the hairs of my head. The real question we should be asking is who comes after Abbas, and will Palestinian Statehood become more hood than state.

Pimping – Palestinian Style

Haaretz is reporting that a 14 year old Palestinian Arab boy was apprehended before he could become a suicide bomber:
The Shin Bet security service said Wednesday morning that it had arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian boy from the West Bank town of Nablus on suspicion of planning to carry out a suicide bombing. The boy was arrested Tuesday.

During questioning, the boy said he had an argument with his father and that militants from the Fatah movement in the Balata refugee camp who knew of this attempted to convince him to become a suicide bomber.

According to the boy, the wanted men took him for a motivation talk in an apartment in the refugee camp and even filmed his "video testimony," in which the boy is seen holding a rifle and announcing his intent to carry out a suicide attack.

The Shin Bet said that the militants who took the boy to the apartment included Jamal Tirawi, a member of the Tanzim and the Palestinian Authority intelligence service in Nablus.

Tirawi has been involved in previous terror attacks and this incident is new evidence that a PA official has been involved in terrorist activity during the period of Tahadiya, or temporary cease-fire, agreed between the different Palestinian factions.

One of the fastest growing areas of growth in the West Bank and Gaza is the exploitation and use of children as weapon guidance systems. In this case, it is alleged that a Palestinian Authority Intelligence Agent had vetting power and saw nothing wrong with utilizing a young teenage male whose only radicalization was having the misfortune to have had a relatively public argument with his father – an all too typical teenage phenomena. But where is the international outrage and condemnation that the Palestinian Authority “militants” are exploiting other people’s children to carry out their reign of terror? The silence is positively deafening.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I know, I know, colour me cynical

It’s from the front page of the Globe and Mail that I learned that Greg Sorbara, Finance Minister for the province of Ontario resigned last night after it was learned that he was one of many targeted in a long running criminal investigation by the RCMP.

I doubt there is a citizen in this country that could eek out the tiniest exclamation of surprise that a Liberal MPP or MP would be under investigation by the RCMP for financial crimes unless it was another liberal.

I am content (for now) to let the RCMP and the courts decide if the Honourable Member is guilty or not, but the burning question in my mind is how much severance will it cost the taxpayer’s of Ontario for his voluntary resignation from cabinet a la Dingwall?

Some things are just wrong

Last summer the son and I were traveling on the streetcar and I saw a billboard advertising Lord of the Rings – The Musical. I turned to son and asked him what he thought. He looked me in the eye and said, “Some things are just wrong.” And that was before we learned that the government of Ontario had turned theater promoter and floated a loan for $2.5 million to help stage the musical.

I utterly fail to comprehend why the McGirlieman government thought that loaning taxpayer dollars to a speculative artistic venture was prudent use of the public purse. If the musical bombs will the government legislate mandatory attendance? Now that the provincial government has gone down this path with the public purse where does the largess end? All those waiting for an MRI or hip replacement would love to know. Really this makes me speculate that a change of the provincial motto is now in order. From now on McGirlieman’s Ontario is no longer yours to discover but yours to plunder.

I have no idea how one takes a complex story like Lord of the Rings and effectively stage the play in the small confines of one stage or abridge the story down to fit in a 2-3 hour time slot suitable for a theatre but apparently the McGirlieman government thinks it can be done effectively. The idea of singing Orcs or Gollum does not particularly appeal to me – but each to his own. The advantage of living two score plus 3 is that one has a personal history to draw on. I first read Lord of the Rings in the seventies and I have seen at least 2 movie versions of the books that failed beyond miserably. If musical bombs McGirlieman can always make up the revenue by increasing the health care tax – oops my bad, the health care premium.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Red Ensign Standard XXlX

Robot Guy surives the hazing ritual for the second time and raises the Red Ensign Standard XXIX for the second time in a year. Go read.

There can be no free market with those who are not free

When the Chinese government “liberalized” their economy it became so easy for those in the West to only perceive the potential market value that China represented and in our rush to turn a dollar we deliberately ignored the totalitarian grip of steel that suppresses individual liberty that lies at the heart of the sleeping giant.

From the Lost Budgie comes the tale of Mr. Hua. Mr. Hua is a Christian who the Beijing Municipal Security Bureau claims “aided” a Christian activist who traveled to Beijing in order to make an appeal directly to the Chinese government to stop persecuting her church. Mr. Hua has gone into hiding in Beijing and he has made one last appeal and that is for those in the West to speak out against the persecution of Christians by the Chinese government. Lost Budgie has the details of where and how you can add your voice to the protest.

Ironically, The Toronto Star (registration required)carries this opinion piece today:
Make that "an easy walk" to Protestant places of worship. And to mosques and synagogues, although they're a little more remote. So are Hindu and Buddhist temples. And every other kind you can think of, except Roman Catholic.

There may not be any Roman Catholic churches within striking distance. There may not be any left in Canada. Devout Catholics could possibly travel (Cathedral Place will also be in walking distance of the bus terminal) to the Martyr's Shrine at Midland, but it may have become a subdivision. Surely there will be a brass plaque by the side of the highway. It's hard to say where Catholics will worship. But that's their problem. If they don't like it they should get on the phone to the Vatican. The number to call: 011 39 06 698 83511. So the Pope is thinking about excommunicating our Prime Minister, is he?

It isn’t immediately evident why this tirade against the Catholic Church until you read the last line. Apparently, the writer believes that the Catholic Church should not be allowed to conduct her affairs according to church doctrine if that doctrine results in our head of government being denied communion. Sounds like the call for religious persecution to me. If Slinger ever loses his job at the Toronto Star, I bet he would fit right in at the Beijing Municipal Security Bureau; he’s already got the temperament for it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Is Al-Qaeda’s Final Plan War with Israel?

YnetOnline is reporting this:
The U.S. has obtained a letter sent by Osama Bin Laden's deputy Ayman Zawahiri to the leader of Iraq's insurgency Abu Musab al-Zarqawi outlining its future strategies, the Washington Post reported Friday. According to the letter, intercepted during an operation in Iraq, al-Qaeda plans to broaden its activities from Iraq to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

The 13 page document provides a thorough outline of al-Qaeda's strategies in Iraq and beyond. The document's content was authenticated by numerous sources. Al-Qaeda's four-stage plan is clearly detailed: expelling the U.S. forces from Iraq, creating a caliphate over as much of Iraq as possible, expanding jihad to neighboring countries, specifically Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and war against Israel.

"I want to be the first to bless you on what God has blessed you with - fighting in the heart of the Muslim world that was a battleground for large historic Islamic wars and what is now the place of Islam's greatest war in the present era," Zawahiri said in the letter. "The 'Mujaheddin' or warriors must not be allowed to end their mission with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons," he said. "Then we will return to having the secularists and traitors govern us."

It is far too easy to take these kinds of declarations from Al-Qaeda and dismiss them as mere anti-semitic hyperbole but when taken in context reports like this one from last December 2004 or this one in July 2005. Debkafile is reporting that an Al-Qaeda presence is within striking distance of Israel, Jordan and Egypt and today we have a report from the Jerusalem Post that a leaflet is being distributed in the Gaza Strip by Al Qaeda’s “Palestine Branch”.

Friday, October 07, 2005

But what does it all mean?

The Toronto Star reports on homicide statistics released by Statistics Canada:
A 12 per cent spike in the national homicide rate last year was paired with a jump in the rate of nationwide gun killings, which rose for the third year in a row, according to a new Statistics Canada report.

In all, there were 622 homicides in Canada in 2004, including 172 firearms-related killings, 11 more gun slayings than in 2003 and 20 more than in 2002. The rise in the homicide rate comes a year after the rate had reached its lowest point in more than three decades.

But even after a violent summer in Toronto — during which the number of gun killings reached 41, surpassing the previous high of 35 set in 1991 — crime statistics experts say that when put into context, the numbers are not as dire as they seem.

The 2004 increases in death by guns still ranked below the national average of 176 over the past decade, said Mia Dauvergne, a Statistics Canada homicide survey manager and author of the report. She also said that over the last 30 years, firearms-related deaths have actually been declining.

In 2004, shootings decreased as an overall percentage of total homicides while stabbing ranked as the number one method of killing. In Toronto, the number of gun-related homicides dropped slightly to 27 out of a total of 64 in 2004. The city's overall homicide rate held relatively steady at about 1.8 per 100,000 people.

The problem with statistics is that really tell you very little. For example the homicide rate has apparently risen by 12% over last year but according to Mia Dauvergne of Statistics Canada death by guns have actually been declining overall in the last 30 years which is I am sure a cold comfort for all those who succumbed by bullet. As a country, are we really more peaceful than we were 30 years ago?

At first blush one could draw the obvious conclusion that over a 30 year period Canadians are no longer using guns to murder overall but would that be the correct conclusion? One should not discount the fact that great strides have been made in trauma medicine over the last 30 years which makes it just as likely that an emergency medical team saves more lives today than it could 30 years ago. It could also have to do with how this statistics are collected and collated.

Presumably the homicide statistics are based on actually deaths by murder but if trauma teams are saving more people than they were 30 years ago does that mean that the murder rate has actually declined? What about the attempted murder rates, have they declined or increased in the last 30 years? A charge of attempted murder only means that the alleged attacker was unable to accomplish his goal whether by incompetence, medical intervention or circumstances. But even taking into account these two statistics to judge crime rates one needs to examine how these statistics are collected and are they based on convictions or charges laid?

For example, I knew a man who was shot five times in a downtown Yorkville nightclub. He took five bullets and not only lived but after being shot proceeded to beat the shooter senseless before finally succumbing to his injuries. The newspapers were calling him the bionic victim. The shooter was charged and tried with attempted murder and convicted in the end of aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm.

I knew another man who was shot outside a daycare playground by a shooter who stood merely 10 feet away from the victim. The shooter emptied his gun of bullets but only managed to hit the victim once in the stomach. The victim lived and the shooter in the end was tried for attempted murder but convicted of aggravated assault and illegal possession of a firearm.

These are just two examples and one cannot discount the fact that if the Crown does not have enough evidence to prove a case of attempted murder in court it does not necessary follow that the attack was not a bona fide attempt to murder to the victim. A lack of evidence is not conclusive proof of innocence.

Are we a more peaceful and law abiding society than we were 30 years ago? To answer that question we would need to examine the rate of conviction for all violent crimes (assault, robbery, rape, attempted murder and murder) but for an even fuller picture one should also take into account the number of charges laid for all violent crimes as well.

And for the record, I will not support a national knife registration program for my kitchen utensils just in case any of our political social Einstein’s has a brain wave after reading this article.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Further evidence that God is either a libertarian leaning conservative or a comedian.

One of the joys of the internet blogging is that it allows you to peer through a glass dimly into the lives of others from countries not your own. I was led to Swimming Against the Red Tide, a Brazilian LIBERTARIAN CONSERVATIVE blogger no less! Who would have thought? I, in my ignorance, had written off Brazilians as doomed to their socialist co-dependency forever even though Brazil is home to the some of the finest emerald mines in the world. (Do I know what’s important or what? Freedom, liberty and fine emeralds.)

In Luis Afonso Assumpcao’s latest posts, he brings attention to an upcoming national referendum on disarming the law abiding citizenry, points to another Libertarian blogger originally from Chile but now living in Brazil ( who actually references Hayek!) and alludes to two interesting books that have just been published. One traces the money trail from the KGB to national socialist movements in Central and South America and the other asserts that it was Cuba who arranged for the assassination of Chile’s Salvador Allendes, and not Pinochet and/or Richard Nixon. Now if I could just find conservative/libertarian leaning bloggers who write in English from Argentina my optimism would know no bounds. Go show your support.

Keystone Cops brought to you by Kaddoumi?

If the stakes weren’t so high and the consequences so dire, this situation would be hysterically funny - taken from the Israel Insider:
More than three dozen Palestinian police officers broke into the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza City on Monday, firing in the air to protest a lack of bullets and equipment in what they said was a humiliating confrontation with Hamas.

The protest came a day after the worst internal fighting in Gaza in nearly a decade and underscored Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' difficulties in taking control of the unruly coastal strip.

In clashes between police and Hamas on Sunday, Hamas gunmen attacked a local police station with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. The deputy police chief of the Shati refugee camp was killed in the fighting, along with two civilians, and at least 50 people were wounded.

This has to be the only police force in the world that protests a lack of bullets by firing off what ammunitions they do possess at their employers. This also has to be one of the few police forces in the world that think that rocket propelled grenades should be regularly stocked inventory.

But deliverance is at hand and the saviour is alleged to be Kaddoumi according to this report carried by the Jerusalem Post:
After aggravated infighting in the Gaza Strip, leaders of the Palestinian factions including rivals Fatah and Hamas pledged on Tuesday to refrain from violence in settling Palestinian problems during a meeting in Damascus. Fatah leader Farouk Kaddoumi said the exiled leaders of Palestinian groups agreed that dialogue should be the only way to solve their disputes, Reuters reported. According to Kaddoumi, the battling factions' leaders concurred to "call all Palestinian powers and factions to ban the use of weapons to solve internal differences".

The leaders also agreed to "refrain from all forms political and media provocations that can harm the interests of our people and their national unity," Kaddoumi said. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, implicitly accused the United States and Israel of responsibility for last week's clashes between Hamas activists and Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip and stoutly rejected demands that the organization disarm.

I written about Kaddoumi and the threat he poses to Abbas and the old guard of the Palestinian Authority in the past. What is more disturbing is the possibility that Kaddoumi has forged a working alliance with Hamas and the other various and sundry terror organizations and the recent clashes between the PA and other groups (including Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – the terrorist wing of Fatah) are being orchestrated by Kaddoumi.

Kaddoumi controlling the Palestinian Authority would be ever bit as ruthless as Hamas and even more uncompromising. Furthermore, Kaddoumi has never shown any affinity for the idea of personal liberty or for a constitutional democracy for the Palestinian people. Economic prosperity would be written off the agenda indefinitely for generations as Kaddoumi pursued a low level intensity war with Israel in the hopes of finally wiping the Zionists off the map.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"I owe nothing to women’s lib." – Margaret Thatcher

Sometime ago a blog acquaintance labeled me with mantle of being a Thatcherite Canadian. I have more than a passing admiration for the Iron Lady of Britain, and I do own the handbag, as well as knowing how to wield one effectively when the occasion warrants it.

The Baroness will be celebrating her 80th birthday on October 13, 2005 and I wish to bring to your attention a website devoted solely to sending good wishes to the Baroness on the occassion of her 80th birthday.

My Inner Pig is Roasting

The automatic timers on the heating system kicked in after midnight on October 1, 2005 and its been running full blast ever since which wouldn’t be a big deal except that I have no way of turning off the heat in the living room and two bedrooms when the heat outside goes to 26C/80F and above.

My brain is frying and I can’t wait to get to work to escape the inferno that my home has become. I’ve tried complaining to the landlord but all I ever get is voicemail. I seem to remember being in this same position last spring and fall which represents why I really should give homeownership a try.

So on that note, I direct your attention to the Lost Budgie and tales of piggical correctness run a muck and the Free the Piglet movement.

Monday, October 03, 2005

God help us all

The Globe and Mail is reporting this:
CBC management and the Canadian Media Guild struck an agreement early Monday morning which is expected to end the lockout of 5,500 staff in the coming days.

With CBC staff and particularly the community of lockout-related Internet blogs on edge last night, the guild announced that the two sides had signed a memorandum of agreement which means that the actual language of the deal has not been finalized.

However, the guild reported that the tentative deal holds management to a cap on the number of fixed-term contract workers it can hire to no more than 9.5 per cent of the number of permanent workers.

Please say it isn’t so.

Back from the Black

We are now, back from the black. For those not in the verse that translates into the Tribe and I went to the movies and saw Serenity. It is rare for me to venture into the theatres and the children go more than I. The last movie I saw this year was The Merchant of Venice with the Last Amazon last winter. I went along as emotional support as friends and both brothers bailed.

There are valid reasons why I don’t go to movie theatres. I can’t stand the places and I hate the crowds. Sitting in a cold dark theatre with my knees cramped up for two hours surrounded by munching strangers with no control over the remote just doesn’t hold the appeal that my own over stuffed sofa does. Besides when I inevitably fall asleep, I don’t wake up with a cramp in my neck from the sofa. And, I like my popcorn fresh.

We were originally going to go on Friday night. I came home, made dinner and then sat on the sofa to watch the news and promptly feel asleep. CNN does that to me every single time. Apparently, the tribe took a vote and decided not to wake me as they thought the odds were that if they woke me up and we went to the theatre no matter how good the movie was I’d sleep through half of it. The last movies I didn’t fall asleep watching in the theatre were Master & Commander and the Pokemon movie – the noise from Pokemon audience was simply jarring, and M&C held the ‘nerd in me’ captive by the screen in an alternative time zone. No doubt it didn’t hurt that we saw it in the day though if I recall correctly two of the tribe did nap.

I loved Firefly. I think the decision to axe this series has to rank as the all time most stupid decision ever taken by network television executives and if there is justice in the world; they are now cleaning toilets at the Hollywood Bowl. I have been waiting months for this movie. Did I love it? Absolutely, but I left the theatre completely unsatisfied.

I had seen three different versions of the trailers prior to seeing the movie and I thought I knew every direction the plot would play out and I had read some spoilers per say but guess what? I was constantly surprised. The plot carries well and the characters are strong and appealing, the dialogue fresh and snappy. No low points. The movie answers what the television series never resolved. Serenity transferred to the big screen definitely works but I left the theatre feeling I had just watched the season premiere and the dissatisfaction came from the fact that there would be no week night slot to watch what happened next. Firefly/Serenity is a journey and the fact that I can’t go along to see what happens next week irks.

Oh yeah, I hate the sound track. Where’s the Firefly theme song? I felt so cheated that when we got home I made Montana play it. For once - he’s got the voice for it.


Playing the blame the victim card. Abbas gives a speech in Gaza and the Jerusalem Wire Service carries the message:
PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas doesn't understand why Israel continues to pursue, arrest and otherwise eliminate “Palestinian” terrorists who are planning and training to murder the nation's Jews. In a speech delivered in Gaza City Friday, Abbas said Israel's anti-terror actions over the past week were unjustifiably escalating tensions. He ignored the massive terrorist rocket barrage that led to the current IDF offensive.

Official “Palestinian” forces singularly failed to prevent the bombardment of the Negev town of Sderot last weekend, despite the fact numerous Hamas and Islamic Jihad cells participated in the firing of nearly 50 Kassams. Nevertheless, Abbas accused Israel of purposely trying to undermine “efforts by the [Palestinian] Authority to keep the peace.”

“I don’t know what lies behind this policy of the Israeli government,” he said. Striking a magnanimous note, Abbas said that in spite of the Israeli aggression, he was still urging his terrorist “ show restraint.”

Once again, Abbas proves de-nial is not just a river in Egypt.

But if that isn't odd enough, it looks like US Secretary of State got the Abbas memo if this Jerusalem Wire Service report is accurate:

Israel needs to lighten up on its (already limited) war on terror, and allow the Palestinian Authority to deal with the killers of Jewish men, women and children in its own way and time, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Friday. And Israel Radio reported Sunday that the Sharon government had acquiesced, agreeing to relieve military pressure on “Palestinian” terror groups to give PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas another chance to act against them prior to his visit to Washington on October 20.

Addressing a gathering at Princeton University, Rice reiterated the Bush Administration's firm position that Hamas is a terrorist organization that will “eventually have to be disarmed.” But at a time when the “Palestinians” are going through “ has to give some space to the participants.”

Of course, she does not have to worry about ducking Kassam rockets while shopping, eating or even sleeping.