Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny continues to influence American politics. However, it wasn't a founding principal or theory of the American republic. It morphed into it.

Thomas Jefferson was the first (?) to shift from being against expansionism to purchasing Louisiana - a sweet deal. In its early days of the Republic, (I suppose much like Rome under Caesar) the Americans were indeed isolationist in their posture.

And then they became the most powerful and mighty nation in history. It was bound to change its course.

Things change.

Syria's Change

This is getting interesting.

Syria's cabinet has resigned. Kuwait's too.

The Charmels

I actually never heard of The Charmels - originally The Tonettes.

The don't even have a wiki entry.

It was a teenager (my nephew) who introduced me to them.

Is Quebec Failing?

Henry Aubin discusses 'The failure of Quebec's institutions.'

Toute Est Correcte!

This guy speaks for many, many young ambitious people who want to "quitter le Quebec."

Reminds me of the hoopla surrounding the publishing of "Quebec is killing me" by Helene Jutras.

All is not "correcte."

Read, if you can in French, the comments section.


Quebec has never been comfortable with immigration. In many ways, I feel like a liberal living in the deep south listening to how some Quebecers talk. To them, it's honest talk. In reality, I don't think it registers with them they are in fact being prejudicial and even racist. Furthermore, it becomes more bizarre when they talk of American racsim when they themselves are engaged in a perpetual cultural war.

I still don't see how you can merge claiming to be an open tolerant society with all the nationalistic, tribal rhetoric backed up by repressive laws.


The Evil Sex Trade

The child sex trade is modern slavery.

Exodus Cry: The Mission Briefing from Exodus Cry on Vimeo.

The Fascinating Cagliostro

Austin Powers Man of Mystery? Pshaw.

The adventurer/Theosophist Alessandro Cagliostro. Now that's mystery!

He continues to hold quite a grip on pop culture.

Air Farce Member Dies

Roger Abbott of Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy troupe, passed away this week.

Art By Other Means

All I know is if some kid vandalized my building claiming it in the interest of art, I'd be pretty damn pissed. It's one thing to believe graffiti is art (and I don't doubt some of it is cool) and another to pass it offf as art while doing it on someone else's propert and dime. Oh. It's also against the law.

An outdoor shopping mall went up a few years back. Within a few months, someone went up and sprayed the place with "art." Lemme tell ya. It was a shame because it immediately cheapened the place up.

Child Star Bobby Driscoll

Rough, sad way to end a life of acting promise.

On This Day...

On this day in history Arnulf II, Count of Flanders died (965-988). The Low Countries have never been the same ever since.

Oh. And this guy was shot.

A Blogging Message

Blog Catalog is protesting the decision by Yahoo! to shut down MyBlogLog.com.

Admittedly, I wasn't aware of it but sounds like it provided a good service for bloggers. If you want to help out head over to bloggersunite, pick an event you'd like to support and blog about it.


Film: Bullets Over Broadway

Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway may not be among his more famous films, but it is a gem of a comedy. I watched it in 1994 when it came out and simply loved it. The other day it was on TV and caught a good chunk of it. It still maintains its charm. Great performances all around.

More On Libya

AP verifies the facts in the aftermath of Obama's Libya speech.

I still don't know what "strategic interests" means. For Europe I get. USA and even Canada?

I think Canada sent eight fighter jets and a ship.

Islamic And Christian Theocracy

Theocracy in America.


It's a wash?

It's Back: Preemptive War

Obama's preemptive war doctrine?

I wrote that the word 'altruism' had made its way back into the lexicon in debating Libya. Add 'preemptive' to the list.

Although, I don't see how this is "preemptive."


American Libyan Past

Some interesting articles regarding U.S.-Libyan relations. At least the U.S. has been consistent with its policies towards Libya under Gaddhafi.

I found this tiny part from 1999 interesting:

"Nur and Iman bin Laden, two female relatives of Osama bin Laden. Abdullah Awad bin Laden will invest some of their money in a BMI real estate project. While their bin Laden family ties are intriguing, neither have been accused of any knowing connections to terrorist financing."

Even the 'Global Pax Americana' (which can be read in the link) drawn up by neoconservatives written in 2000. It called for, among other things, the overthrow of the Iraqi government.

Yet, as those with good memories will recall, Bush called for a "humble" foreign policy.

"One month later during a presidential debate with Al Gore, Bush will assert that he wants a “humble” foreign policy in the Middle East and says he is against toppling Saddam Hussein in Iraq because it smacks of “nation building” (see October 11, 2000). Around the same time, Cheney will similarly defend Bush’s position of maintaining President Clinton’s policy not to attack Iraq, asserting that the US should not act as though “we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments.”

As I wrote years ago, prior to 9/11, Bush sounded liberal. Post 9/11, neoconservatism suddenly found itself dictating the pace of power.

Phrases I Hate

"Help navigate through the unchartered waters of life..."

It had its time. It's a cliche now. There's no excuse to use it.

America In Libya

Really, did the President have to address his country during The Office? Usually, they do these things at 9pm eastern. Tonight, 7:30pm. Sheesh.

Yeah, I watched it.

Look, he addressed a few pressing questions and I have to say this was his most believable moment as a leader. If the Arab world - Libya in particular - was listening, I'm sure it won some points.

As for the Americans dead set against interventionism, I doubt it moved them.

All this to say, I know it's often said the world doesn't revolve around the USA, but sometimes, it just does. The Americans are the epicenter of everything when it matters most.

Deal with it.


Reminds me of the time when I was sitting in an Italian bar with a buddy. One of the guys was going on about how the name "America" didn't belong to the USA. That it was somewhat self-centered of them to refer themselves as "Americans." To which another replied, the Americans can call themselves anything they want. He continued, "we're just jealous of American power. When countries are in trouble, who are the first people they call upon for help?"


Genius According To Nietzsche

Nietzsche on genius:

In relation to the genius, that is to say, a being who either ENGENDERS or PRODUCES—both words understood in their fullest sense—the man of learning, the scientific average man, has always something of the old maid about him; for, like her, he is not conversant with the two principal functions of man.

More here.

"Speak not of gifts, or innate talents! One can name all kinds of great men who were not very gifted. But they acquired greatness, became “geniuses” (as we say) through qualities about whose lack no man aware of them likes to speak; all of them had that diligent seriousness of a craftsman, learning first to form the parts perfectly before daring to make a great whole."

Condensed version of Beyond Good and Evil.

If you don't like (or read) German philosophy you have no soul.


If you read great musicians and athletes, it's one thing to possess the talent, quite another to perfect it. That takes hard work and dedication.

Good Fun Rock

From the "songs in my record collection" installment:

Peter Wolf - of J Geils Band fame.

Still a great song after all these years.

Expos Forever

It's that time of year. Baseball is around the corner.

As we do every year.

We honor the coolest ball team around.

The Montreal Expos.

The sting still hasn't sunk in. I maintain here and now, Montreal is a major league baseball city.

Les Expos sont la!

Think the Expos didn't have an impact?

The Simpsons know they did.


Neil Young Humanitarian

Neil Young was honored at the Juno Awards last night for his humanitarian work.

Hey, you want humanitarian I just offered my coordinator to bring her kid to my daycare for free so I can negociate a lower salary until we hit our numbers. Where's my fricken Juno?

Wait. I can't sing. Right.

Mind you, it's not like all musicians can sing.

Young is a master. A legend. We all know that. Nor do I question his sincerity. So it pains me a little to call him out here but in the interest of Canadian patriotism and unhypocrisy I must.

When he was singing protesting the Bush administration mostly for its clamp down on freedom and the Iraq war (if memory serves me correctly), I didn't care much. It's a free continent. So long as their consistent with their message I warned.

Well, it's not like President Obama has improved anything on the transparency level and has been equal to the task in restricting freedoms (although it still remains a point of contention to what degree he and his predecessor actually did) and well, doing the war thing.


Can we expect a concert anytime soon?

Yeah. Right.


The same for my personal favorite singer John Cougar Mellencamp. He will always be Cougar to me.

He was pretty vocal in his opposition to Bush. Again. It's all good. I mean, I'm Canadian right so who am I to blog against the ironic Mr. Pink Houses?

But when you go political you leave yourself open to criticism. I own everything he ever put out (except one album I still have to get to. We're talking pre-1978 here I think) including his most recent box set. In it he takes a decidedly political turn. The problem is I found it to be extremely selective, and well disappointing. I wasn't impressed because I know he knows better. There was no search for a political truth. Just partisan complaining passing off as "just" politics.

Same for Springsteen.

The aforementioned singer songwriters have earned the right to sing, write and comment about politics. Just don't be surprised part of your fan base doesn't agree. Some of us are really, really, really well-informed and read. Too much so even.

Chop, Chop Tree

Yesterday I passed by the couple who decided to keep and raise me after birth. Nice folks. On the drive there, I have to go past my neighbour's place. Inhabited by old school, old world Sicilians, they come as close to tribal self-sufficiency as they come. National Geographic would be awed.

The garden is run by the wife and I swear Sicilian separatists continue to live in it it's so big. A Sicilian jungle if you will.

And this is a well-to-do neighborhood.

It reminded me of a story. The city, I learned years ago, compels residents to plant trees on their front yards. Hence, our street is filled with a variety of beautiful trees. Most people just go along with it.

Not la Siciliana.

Some Italians prefer things concrete. Nature is to be conquered. Not co-opted and co-habited. They need to maximize every inch of space. Call it a function over form theory as espoused by Italian art-deco artists of the early 20th century - only for property.

One day, the city planted a tree on her land. Not pleased, she cut it down. Soon afterwards, the city planted it again. She chopped it off. This went on for I don't know how long.

I found it odd that the city had enough balls to tell someone what to do on their land. But hey, the state coerces people into doing all sorts of things, right? In this case, it's a tree. What can be so harmless in that? Don't you want trees to spit out fresh oxygen?

Not everyone sees life the same way.


I just realized she must have won her war because the front of her house remains tree-less.

Good for her I figured. Trees are awesome and all (I mean, didn't they help swing the war in Lord of the Rings?) but no one should demand you love them.


Musial Accused Of Racism

We know about the shortcomings about blogging. Too often a writer, for whatever reason, can mix up facts, and opinions. But the beauty is for every sloppy blogger, there are those who will refute and set records straight.

It helps to keep bloggers/writers honest and maintain some semblance of standards.

For example, the recent specious charge against Stan Musial as being a racist. 

You'd better have more proof if you're gonna accuse someone - let alone a St. Louis Cardinals legend - of racism.

Tweeting Errors

Obama's Libya tweet.

He's made quite a few slip ups. From "corps-men" to "I've been to 57 states." To name a couple.

File this under "Imagine if Bush did this."

Concussed NHL

Sure. The NHL doesn't have a problem. Sure.

Itsokay. Shhh. Sure.

55 000 hits and only 72 players out with concussions! Pretty soon the NHL will put up signs we see in company warehouses displaying the number of days without an accident. 17 days without an incident since Jimmener lost his hand!

All I know is if the opinionated Mike Milbury - quite possibly the worst GM in hockey history - agrees with you (NHL) then you most definitely have a problemo.

Bruins forward Marc Savard is suffering from memory loss now. Reminder: Savard was concussed thanks to a dirty, vicious, blindsided hit by Penguins forward Matt Cooke.

It wasn't a "hockey play." Play close attention.

That guy should not have been allowed to play another game.

That's how you stop the bull shit.

Over to you Mr. Mario Lemieux. You speak with a moral voice but do you have the courage to execute it with action by discplining your own player?

Is There Really A Difference...

(Between Chretien) And Stephen Harper in terms of exerting, squeezing and concentrating every ounce of power into the PMO's hands?

The same questions are being asked in the United States except asked is whether the President has pulled the carpet from under the Constitution.

Is There Really A Difference...

Former Liberal leader Jean Chretien.....


When Kitchener Was Berlin

Once upon a time, Kitchener, Ontario was once Berlin. The name changed in 1916 during an anti-German backlash in the middle of Word War I.

Interesting Dinosaur Fossil Found

Saber tooth...


When Power Corrupts

If there's one thing on this blog that drives me crazy is people in position of power railroading innocent people and not being prosecuted for it.

It's not just cowardly. It's pure evil to knowingly ruin people's lives.

To every single person out there who destroyed a life. A big f-you.

Boys Will Find You

It happened in the States and now here in Canada. Boy outs an office assistant in his school in Levis, Quebec for role in porn movie.

Canada And Libya

And what about Canada's role in Libya?

Well, it's part of the overall struggles of defining a Canadian identity in foreign policy. Once upon a time we were the leader among the middle-powers. Now Australia seems to have taken over.

"Portugal, of course, is the nation chosen over Canada for the rotating seat on the Security Council. It's significant that Portugal and many other Security Council members haven't sent resources to enforce the no-fly zone. Instead, it's Canada that is giving heft to the declaration, just as it is in Afghanistan, where our more than 2,500 soldiers are well respected by other members of the international coalition."

No disrespect to Portugal, and despite Canada's cynical dithering over the last 18 years or so that mocked our leadership aspirations, the appointment of the tiny, poor Iberian nation over Canada was a farce.

Daycare Update And Monopolies In Markets

I don't think much of an argument can be made on the contrary. Unless I may be missing something.

Look. It's simple.

The state skews pricing and competition. Companies don't create monopolies onto themselves because they don't have regulatory power to force anyone to play by their rules. It's why collusion may work for a time but it ultimately fails, I reckon, in the long run. It's the conflation of state-corporations that make a mess of things when in reality, there should be a strict line dividing the two. That means sometimes society will have to face some ups and downs in market cycles; sometimes violently. Best to let "natural" marker forces work it out. It can be long or short. The question is can we take it?

In my business, I quickly learned how subsidized daycare makes my position as a private operator very hard. A lot of people come on my side expecting to be paid and treated like a public servant. It's a tough bind because subsidies skew reality. I don't have the "free" cash. They come thinking they're worth $16 an hour but in reality they're worth maybe $13 or $14 - don't forget payroll taxes are heavy on the front end so I have to account for that. If I go with a public pay scale, I give up too much of my revenues.

Same with prices. My "magic" price is set and now I have to determine if the market can bear it. Again, government skews price as a subjective value. By offering $7 a day care in a society used to being coddled by the state, it conditions people to believe this is the true cost of operating a day care. Of course, it isn't. The cost of running a day care is far, far higher. About $30-$35 if you want to make some money.

What happens? People automatically assume you're out to fleece them (and pay close attention to leaders like Obama. That's the prevailing outlook) at $30 because they're measuring it against $7. It has to be explained to them. Even then, it's a tough gig. The government is aware of this little problem and it's why they offer tax credits paid out monthly up to $35. They know they need to fill the demand and that private daycares are key but wouldn't survive without the credits. At least, that's how I observe it.

Which begs the question: Why even bother getting involved? Just cut people a cheque for X amount and let them figure out how to spend it. It would save a lot more trees and headaches.

So. how do I attract workers? Well, it hasn't been easy and I need to show the government all my files before they give me a permit. In effect, I'm forced to overpay because most of the candidates that come in are expensive. The state doesn't permit me to use, say, an immigrant worker with qualifications earned abroad and would be less expensive. Like they do in the medical profession. We have a doctor shortage (like we do a qualified educaiton problem) because our rules, though meant to protect us, are a tad rigid and create superficial shortages.

Again, it's not complicated stuff and has nothing to do with "evil" greedy businees people - a malaise among North American these days is to demonize business.

One way is to higher a consultant to buy into their network at first. That way, I can find workers. Another is to find incentives - like Group RRSP because health plans are too expensive at first. Another is a superiour work environment - which I believe we can offer given where our place is situated and the renovations made.

It's not easy. But it could have been far easier if it were not for the heavy regulations. Alas, you work within the system you're given. Play by the rules and hopefully enjoy the rewards later.

President's War Powers

As usual, a discussion about the Constitution and war has ensued in light of events in Libya. Specifically, the role of the President as commander-in-chief in military matters versus Congress.

Excerpt from the University of Missouri-Kansas City:

"The Constitution's division of powers leaves the President with some exclusive powers as Commander-in-Chief (such as decisions on the field of battle), Congress with certain other exclusive powers (such as the ability to declare war and appropriate dollars to support the war effort), and a sort of "twilight zone" of concurrent powers. In the zone of concurrent powers, the Congress might effectively limit presidential power, but in the absence of express congressional limitations the President is free to act. Although on paper it might appear that the powers of Congress with respect to war are more dominant, the reality is that Presidential power has been more important--in part due to the modern need for quick responses to foreign threats and in part due to the many-headed nature of Congress."


Degrees Of War And War Is War

I just left a comment at Skeptical Eye's (here's your stinking link) recent post about protesters. I basically argued it's all in the degree (sometimes a matter of perception) to which America involves itself in war and how their leaders sell it.

Clinton and Obama in their wars - and let's be frank, Obama is now officially a war time president since he chose to stick around in Iraq and even escalate operations in Afghanistan and now has his own war in Libya - positioned it as wars of "limited" action. They're not invasions on an Iraq scale and are seen as less offensive.

But it's still war - by other means even.

Clinton and Obama were skillful at explaining their military interventionism is conducted within established international institutions whereas Bush and the neoconservtives did not wish to be subverted by international organisms. That rubbed some people the wrong way.

But it's still war.

The other thing is while Bush's war was seen as an illegal act of an aggression on a sovereign state - lots of grey area there - the word "altruism" has crept into Obama's actions in Libya as it was with Clinton in Kosovo.

Perhaps. Maybe there truly is a moral component to war. However, the mere fact of what we witnessed genocide and massacres in Ivory Coast, Sudan and Rwanda and other places where the West turned a blind eye, makes this assertion hypocritical and meek, if not laughable.


Boston Braindead On This One

I love Boston. What a cool city; a little dyslexic on the urban planning front but still a great town. A sister city of sorts to Montreal with all the charm and corruption.

Me and the gal-missus, try to visit Boston and Cape Cod, where we Honeymooned, as often as we could. Boston's North End and its Little Italy is truly a charming place to visit. It's also among North America's premier sports towns. The Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins is a nice quartet of teams to cheer for.

I have nothing but respect for Beantown.

I guess you can just "feel" the but coming...and here it comes in 3-2-1...

Their rationalization in the aftermath of the Pacioretty-Chara incident, has been nothing short of ridiculous - especially their idiotic sports hosts and journalists. I wasn't impressed one bit. They all failed to see the big picture. While it's true Montreal hockey fans are passionate to the point of delusion, they're also the most knowledgeable of all hockey fans without question. There's no debate about that. Like Mark Recchi says, there's no other major league sports team here. Indeed, we're a second-rate sports town.

Despite this, while Habs talk that reaches mind-numbing proportions (so much so I tune out), they're fully capable of going beyond themselves.

For example, when Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard were victims of dirty play, Montrealers DID act in outrage over it. They argued those players were lost to dirty hits that had nothing to do with hockey and demanded the NHL do something.  Naturally, it wasn't as vociferous since they're both Boston players, but for weeks Montrealers debated it. That Bostonians use the cheap "yeah, well did they care about Savard" line is beside the point. If Bostonians couldn't be bothered to work itself up over it that's their business. Just don't claim Montrealers didn't.

The bottom line is the NHL HAS A RESPECT AMONG THE PLAYERS PROBLEM and it has been painstakingly slow to address the issue. Period. All the bull I've been hearing from GM's is all poppycock dithering. They can stamp out dirty play.

Sitting Matt Cooke's sad ass the way they did was a good start. That's EXACTLY what the NHL should have done with lengthy suspension given and fine levied.

Quebec's Latest Demand

One of the major obstacles for Quebec about the recent Concon budget - if you can call it that - is the demand for compensation to the tune of $2.2 billy's for harmonizing its GST tax with Ottawa. At the time it was done in 1992 with Concon finance minister Michael Wilson, there was no deal for compensation but, as the article explains, soon afterwards when other provinces harmonized compensation was asked and given.

So Quebec, not willing to be excluded out of nothing, demanded for compensation too. They do this the best way they know how. By claiming it's an anti-Quebec thing. No it's not. It's an anti-bull shit thing.

There's a kicker and it all comes down to Quebec's little tax game.

This precisely why a few of my friends went to Ontario to open their successful businesses:

"There’s a major difference in how the tax is collected in Quebec. Under harmonization with the other five provinces, the federal government administers and collects the sales tax. Revenu Québec, however, administers and collects the GST for the Canada Revenue Agency. And that has resulted in some controversial practices.

For instance, Quebec charges its sales tax on top of the GST. The practice has become known as the “tax on the tax.” The money collected by Quebec, by adding the 8.5-per-cent PST on top of the 5-per-cent GST, has amounted to millions of dollars in additional revenue for the province over the years. The federal government has demanded Quebec put an end to this practice."

And you know what? The damn Feds are right on this one.

Run a business here and then come talk to me.

Trust me, Quebecers who own small businesses aren't stupid; except for the self-serving nationalists of course. They'd more than gladly let the Feds handle things so long as the tax load and corruption lessens. Quebec is so bloody expensive because of the taxes many of us don't even bother to shop here. I don't - even for food items. Spare me the gas thing. Out of principle, I have no problem driving one hour to Plattsburgh to bag me some goodies.

I mean, folks, they have Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. Why don't we?

Don't get me on the payroll taxes nonsense. Pure bull. Oof, and property taxes in Montreal which have become scandalous. The reason they rise is because of the waste and corruption. In the municipality where I have my daycare (population 14 000), they run a surplus. As a result, my taxes are so low they're not even a tax. It's just another average expense.


Irresponsible Clowns With Tired Ideas

I now officially detest and loathe the Liberal part of Canada and the wannabe NDP.

I used to vote for the the former and respected the latter. But their idiotic, cynical behavior is equal to the criticism hurled at Harper. I have a huge problem with parties who scheme to take down a government even before reading what's in, for example, a budget.

What the liberals and NDP are doing is not a showcase in leadership. It's blind, petty politics. Hey, when an El Salvadorian immigrant says Canada has crappy leaders as a friend told me earlier, then you know it's pretty bad.

I really don't see the purpose of an election. The liberals are NOWHERE near ready to lead this country. Not with the same old, tired crappy ideas they're pimping.

They called Harper's bluff.


Know what else? If Harper is a dictatorial right-winger, then call a spade a spade. Trudeau was a leftist ideologue who hugged communists.

True Tales

Yup. Not that far off from the truth.

Man. The stories I have from my days in financial services.

Daycare Update


It only took a full day without food driving through three jurisdictions to three different government departments as well as spending 45 minutes on the phone with another, but we lucked out today.

It was gratifying to see three of the four different government departments were willing to let common sense triumph after much insistance. Long story short. Each agreed I was in an unfair situation.

One thing I learned: Think civil servants are happy with execessive red tape? Think again. They get yelled at too. 

The real culprit are the ministers who come up with new ideas even though the previous ones didn't work while piling on others without proper resources. Every time a new minister comes in, they have to imprint their own "ideas" to justify their portfolio. What that means is a new set of rules and standards while civil servants are stuck in the middle facing a sometimes frustrated public.
Looks like we're back on track.

Daycare Update

Just when we thought we were out of the woods.

Now we're seeing in the flesh just how messed up the government is from the outside looking in. It's a disorganized anarchy fully removed from the realities of business. In failed states, this manifests itself in the streets, here, within the halls of government. In their minds it all makes sense.

Not saying that some of what they ask for are not valid. Just saying it's a massively slow process. Their objectives and demands far exceeds the resources they have at their disposal.

I have to spend the day going to two different departments.
The other is to head to the minister's office to politely explain our case that further delays for this permit may sink the project. The reason being because the person who took over from the person who had been in charge with my file since the beginning not only is slow but turns out went on vacation until the end of the month.

Apparently we're being told to wait some more. Apparently, waiting one year is not enough for the state.

And none of this is to ensure the quality of the service. This is nothing but pure, senseless red tape. The government has nothing to do with the service being offered. All the government does is set rules they feel are necessary. Sometimes I wonder...

They make it hard for me not to use the C-word, but when you have to go around pleading to people who hold you destiny in their hands, what else can it be?

We'll see. I won't say more for it can still work out.

Wish us luck.

We're going to need it.

Conservative Budget Tabled

The theme of the criticism of the government's recent budget is A) it's not a conservative one and B) it was designed to be political.

Sounds about right.

How conservative can the Tories be with a minority anyway?

Real fiscal conservatism only exists at the personal level in North America. Canadian political conservatism faces the same challenges our cousins do down south. How to act with restraint in a welfare-oriented culture.

Voters want their cake and eat it too.

As for Quebec, the standard "you owe us" continues.


More On Libya

Maybe some good can come out of the revolts in North Africa. With the world as interconnected as it is through the internet, is it unreasonable to think national governments will finally be forced to become more transparent and accountable to its citizens?

Sites like Wikileaks and citizen-journalists make this scenario more real everyday.


With information instantly reminding us of our not only Western hypocrisy but Arab one as well, is this a moment where the people finally force their politicians from dealing with murderous tyrants?

Or perhaps this is just how it is.


Countries like France and Italy do indeed have a cozy relationship with Libya.

It's all so complex and sordid.

Don't forget that the Quackaddafi's own something like 10% of Juventus - Italy's most storied and successful soccer club. Well, AC Milan is the most trophied club in the world, but Juve is in the mix and have dominated the domestic league (Serie A and the Scudetto) historically.

Plenty Of Hypocrisy To Go Around

I find it hilarious the world turning on Libya when it was the bozos at the UN who praised the clowns in Libya for their human rights record and rewarded them with a human rights seat.

Degenerate buffoons.


Beware of those who claim Libya is a "humanitarian" effort. I'm no cynic but, really, given what has gone on in the world and in Africa in particular while the entire world turned a blind eye, it's hard to buy into that line.

That being said, each case should be considered on its own merits. Just because nations messed up elsewhere doesn't mean they don't want to do good given an opportunity.


President Obama is confirming he's long on oratorical skills but short on strategic acumen on foreign policy. That he's been cautious (there's a fine line between cautiousness and dithering. Sometimes the cost of waiting can be as expensive and grave as acting rash) doesn't mean he's forming any tactics or strategies.

Smooths words are not tactics and tactics are not strategy.

This is Obama's moment.

Let's see how this plays out.

Two Journalists Of Interest

Two writers in Canada commenting on social and political affairs worth reading in my opinion are Paul Wells - who blogs at Inkless Wells - and Robert Fulford.

Altruism In Military Action

A couple of posts from Volokh Conspiracy that discuss what I brought up earlier about interventionism and how Congress didn't authorize American involvement.

First let's address the latter about 'Why Congress played no role',

Congress’ reaction to President Obama’s decision to launch a military intervention in Libya has been supine even by Congress’ usual standards. Congress vigorously debated and refused to authorize President Clinton’s military intervention in Kosovo in 1999 (Clinton intervened anyway). Congress debated and authorized the attacks on Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Yet Congress has been mostly silent about the intervention in Libya. Why?

President Obama is following a long line of precedents in which the executive lanched a foreign war without congressional authorization. The president disavowed these precedents during his campaign; he may or may not attempt to distinguish his campaign statement by invoking the UN security council resolution authorizing the attack, as Truman did for Korea. But this legal wrangling is all superstructure. Congress is disabled in numerous ways from making practical contributions to a war effort. It cannot prevent the president from starting a war, and it is nearly impossible to halt an ongoing war. Wars, then, simply become an opportunity for members of Congress to stake their reputations as hawks or doves for the sake of future elections.

The Libya intervention provides an instructive example of the disabilities hampering Congress. Events in Libya unfolded with extraordinary rapidity, while the proper American stance depended on numerous constantly changing factors—the security situation in Libya, the attitudes of neighboring states and their populations, and the positions of foreign powers such as the UK, France, China, and Russia. A major source of complexity is that these various attitudes and positions depended in part on what other people thought the United States would do. The rebels might hold out if they believed that the United States would intervene, and by holding out possibly prevail without American intervention. The UK and France might sound the tocsins of war only as long as they believed that the United States would support them if they obtained the acquiescence of other countries, which in turn would care about American attitudes as well. As these various actors calculated their moves, they sent out feelers to the U.S. executive and received responses—promises, hints, suggestions. Eventually, international opinion coalesced and military intervention followed.

Still. Sounds dangerously like the Commander-in-Chief can over ride Congress in times of war - which I think is lawful. However, is Libya a direct threat to the United States? Europe may have more of an argument. Again, what makes this tricky is the oil and business interests in the region. Nonetheless, there's still a part of me that wonders if oil is, though a serious one, but one mere consideration among several.


As for the former, years ago I remember The Economist describing Clinton's intervention in Bosnia-Kosovo as an interventionism that came as close to "altruism" as one can get in military matters.

We're seeing this line of logic being used in Libya. Humanitarian interventionism as it were.

Discussed here.



A collective sanpping.


It's irrelevant, largely I reckon, who is to blame whenever citizens revolt. It just needs to be done. When people at the bottom are squeezed they will take to the streets as we're seeing in North Africa. A purge ensues and what happens after that just happens.

We're seeing glimpses of it in the U.S. and I can almost be sure it will come to Canada. You can just feel people are increasingly frustrated.

As for small businesses, I have no clue how they survive with all the incredibly expensive social costs and taxes weighing down on them.

Now I know why, on my daycare adventure, we don't have a vibrant and creative entrepreneurial class. People make the calculation and realize it's tough enough to launch a business - given the current saturated corporate set up and competition - with the state and its numerous departments each with its hands in your pocket. It's not worth the head ache to a potential entrepreneur.

Or you have to be pragmatic and learn to play along. Just smile and say, "Oui, Mr. Ministere, or "Mrs. CSST."

Just be nice, get a subsidy if you can and play within the rules they've created.



I was talking to a friend the other night. I've known her since I'm five years old. She was telling me how she's entering a nostalgic phase in her life.

As she spoke, I thought of this song for some reason.

Thinking back and wondering about the years in music.

Funny. Used to look at the "17 has turned 35" line in 'Cherry Bomb' and figured I had all the time in the world. Tick, tick, tick.

She found it strange to be going through a moment of backward thought. If we knew then what we knew now...

And the she reminded me of how many girls (herself included) liked me growing up. I left a few on the table for sure. Man. That got me thinking.

About a couple of them anyway.


I know the some of the above weren't exclusively about nostalgia. But...

What is nostalgia anyway?

Different theories abound.

Not really. It doesn't like it's been explored enough among philosophers.


What are some music you know of using nostalgia as its main theme?

Winning In A Two Legged World

Anthony Robles is not just your typical NCAA wrestling champion.

Guy has one leg.

One leg.

Wrong Side Of History?

So here I am watching liberal pundits (conservatives of the neo kind never met an attack they didn't like) defend the U.S decision to take part in intervening in Libya with the Arab League and Security Council. An important country also decided to go along with the plan. Libya is a former colony of Italy who is backing the alliance.

Two reasons they use for the attack. To protect civilians from a "monster" and that Khaddafi is on the "wrong side of history."

Interesting. The first part I get, the second one is a little messier.

Bush II used similar rhetoric in selling his invasion of Iraq (leaving aside the WMD thing which was a little overblown in my view). After all, Hussein was far more psychotic and murderous and it was time to change the tides of history in the Middle-East.

Do you remember the reaction especially from liberals and progressives?

Granted, America is not leading the alliance (to th extent they don't want to appear they are anyway) and are not invading Libya but it is an interventionist decision with no Congressional authority.

Why Libya and not Iran? Why pick and choose which countries to "help?" The "just cause" war theory is a little confusing these days.

The other delicate issue that often gets overlooked is the hypocrisy of the world towards the United States. We're familiar with American indiscretions and transgressions because it's the most scrutinized political and cultural entity on the planet. But what about other nations? What about the fact they always look to America to lead even in places America wishes not to intervene? Americans are asked to partake sometimes (as is the case with the Arab league in Libya) and often take critcism for the way they handle things.

Is there such a thing as "global responsibilities" for the United States? Will a different form of American "exceptionalism" take root? In my view, despite the oil dependency and globalized trade, if there's one nation that can play on its "exceptional" position free of global restrictions and acting, it's the Americans. To me, the coming Chinese "great" power is somewhat overplayed. Not because the U.S. is so perfect, but because the imperfections and problems in the nations expected to challenge the U.S. are too great to ignore thus concluding they're ready to mount any true substantial challenge.

I digress.

There's is no side of history here. Just geo-political calculations.

What surprises me is people still buy into Obama.

What also intrigues me is during the Bush II administration, Nader video's criticizing him were linked and posted among liberal sites. Now, you can  hear the crickets chirping as he takes Obama to task.

Attribution to SE.


Exploring Spain's Culture

As I watch my NCAA bracket get obliterated - seriously, I can't recall losing picks on the account of so many plays gone awry due to brain cramps and bizarre calls. Goes to show it's a fool man's game to put up cash on things so thoroughly out of your control - I swtiched, to keep sanity, to a show called Spain...on the road again.

Basically, a show exploring Spain's culture and food in particular.

They were in the lovely town of Mallorca in the episode I watched.

Saving Japan

Not to sound callous but am I the only who finds it strange we're being asked to send money to Japan?

I mean, it's not like Japan is a poor, backward, corrupt country like, say, I don't know, Haiti.

Japan is the world's second largest economy. Once thought to take over America back in the 1980s and 90s. It's a technologically advanced society with an economy far more powerful than our own here in Canada.

The Japanese, as is the usual case throughout the course of human history, are resilient and will overcome this tragedy.

Just saying.

Out Of Body Experiences Of Two Different Kinds

I decided to blog under the influence. Under the influence of love of writing - and gin.

Over the Christmas Holidays, and damn yes Jesus my man was born in December if anything to keep things simple and in line with seasonal shopping, me mama told me a story of a family friend's encounter with an obscure being.

No. It was not me. Although, I do possess some charisma on a small scale. Once the Nebbiolo kicks in. What scale? Who cares. I have a story of creepy grand proportions to tell.

Her tale, to be recounted later down the post, reminded me, for some reason, of a soccer game I played in.

It was 1986. Or thereabouts. Yours truly was on top of the soccer world. I was gonna fetch me a soccer tournament title in a town called Cap de la Madeleine since been annexed by the town of Trois Riviere (Three Rives).

It was a serious tournament of decent repute. Enough to have the captain of Team Canada Bruce Wilson hand out MVP's at the end of matches. Of which, I bagged myself one. A gift certificate to a local restaurant. I kept it for years even when the blue print had turned to a yellowish hue. Not that I'm a hoarder, I just figured at some point I was going to go back there. It never happened of course.

I had a love there. Or was it Calgary? Calgry, Cap dela je m'en fous; all these C's who remembers?

Point being I didn't want a good certificate I worked for go to waste. What would people think?

So. Tournament organizers insanely set up the schedule so that we played three games in a row. One the night before, one in the morning and one in the afternoon two hours after the semi-finals. We won the first two and found ourselves in the final.

They say kids are endowed with boundless energy.

Not in Cap de la Madeleine they fucking were.

The final remains stuck in my memory because it was a game where my mind couldn't connect to my legs. It was a game where we clearly were the better team but simply couldn't overcome a well-rested pedestrian opponent. I remember distinctly our talk at half time which basically amounted to "come on guys, even tired we should be able to take these douches."

We lost 2-1.

The fire I set for myself earlier in the tournament had been quelled by fatigue. I just couldn't get it going. Neither could my team mates. It was an out of body experience of sorts. It felt like I was a ghost. And Casper at that. I had no bite.

Moral of the story?

Not sure.

But I do have another one.


Terry is a friend of the family. Terry, well, to put it succinctly (I can't believe I pulled that spelling off under the influence of the great Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo! I pray to ye gods of some hill! Shushinkly is how I'm pronouncing it), sees auras. As in, humans carry an aura and she sees them. She also possesses other talents.

Simple as that.

Chick attracts dead people too.

One day, it was during the Holy Days, Terry's door bell rang. She wondered who it was for it was too early for pizza delivery. She asked her son in law to answer the door. There before him stood a tiny, frail, pale looking lady speaking in what was described as old Spanish tongue.

Terry came to the door, looked her over and touched her ice cold hands. They invited her in to warm up. The old lady said she lived across the street and didn't have the key to the house. After a brief talk, she again spoke in a strange language and left. Disappeared. Just like that.

Terry was overcome with the bizarre encounter and decided to walk across the street to the house (it's a duplex) where the lady said she lived. A man answered and Terry asked to see the old lady. The French-Canadian gentleman replied she must have been mistaken as no woman with the description provided lived in his unit. Nor in the other houses near him.

It dawned on her as she turned and walked away that she had met a spirit.

What made the story interesting is an eye witness with no "out of world abilities" was there to see the old lady.

The end.


Cool Ice Canada

I'm not much of a nationalist. You'll never see me brag about, say, Canada's peacekeeping role or universal health care because we didn't invent those nor do we excel at them contrary to poppycock smug beliefs. Keeping it real folks. But you'll totally get me on Canada's alternative sub-culture. On that front, Canada is so cool.

Not that I'm the best skater, but I'd try this - Red Bull Crashed Ice; especially if I had solid knees:

Behold why Canadians are nuts and we're not a bad bunch to have next to you if you're fighting aliens:

Civility On Certain Terms

Hey, a piece at Huffington worth reading and digesting.

It's very duh but goodie nonetheless pondering the hypocrisy of "nice rhetoric."


My buddy once worked as a teacher's assistance at a big university here in Montreal. He was called "le riche" (the rich) because he rarely, if ever, voted to go on strike for anything. He felt a lot of their complaints were churlish and childish so he couldn't vote in good conscience in their favor. They spent more time, according to him, bitching than preparing for their classes.



Should a salary of a public servant ever exceed that of one in the private sector? I ask because public sector salaries are paid directly from taxes.


Canada's Soccer Mecca

Someone asked me which Canadian city/franchise I thought had the best professional soccer pedigree.
It came down to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. When you look at the whole picture, it's hard to go against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Toronto (who won an NASL title with the Blizzards) and Montreal have strong fan bases but it's the Whitecaps who have been a consistently winning organization since entering the NASL in 1974 and taking part in other leagues after that.

In any event, choosing which of the three wins out is a little like choosing between AC Milan, Internazionale, Juventus or Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal. All great teams.

Not the best video but it shows how big the NASL once was. Vancouver has never seen a sports celebration following its first NASL title in 1979 this big.

In fact, I have never been excited about soccer on the continent since the NASL went under. With Montreal and Vancouver joining MLS, this may change.

Daycare Update: On True Costs

One thing I've discovered on my journey is how government programs shelter people from the true costs to keep them operational.

People generally have no clue what the net cost of higher education, providing quality health care, education and daycare services is.

It's why they act shock whenever they find out. It was assumed the government "will take care of it."

Only when they exit this sheltered world and into the market economy (for example, private daycare) do they get hit in the face with reality.

I charge $50 a day. The costs are fixed but substantial - especially salaries and food where I refuse to cut.

And let me tell you, that's on the low end of what I should be charging considering the food and staff of quality I'm working to bring in. I figure I should be at $60. But in Quebec, even if I'm in a high net worth, educated area, I have to tread carefully (its like watching people come out weary-eyed out of a dark forest) despite the generous monthly tax credit parents are privy to and the fact that daycare expenses can be deducted off your yearly income.

I spoke to a government architect and she confirmed, once she examined the place, my prices are more than acceptable considering that she has seen daycares in lower income areas with smaller installations and questionable operations charge $40.

Ideological Shift

There have been a couple of these I've read. Although they include disaffected conservatives converting to whatever ideology that best suits them, most are about disillusioned liberals (some of whom became neo-conservatives) seeking candid thoughts and different ideas elsewhere.

Playwright David Mamet disucsses his ideological evolution.


St. Patrick's Day

"Top of the morning to ye on this gray, grizzly afternoon. Kent O'Brockman live on Main Street, where today everyone is a little bit Irish, except, of course, for the gays and the Italians."

- Kent Brockman

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Daycare Update

Our daycare past government inspection with flying colours.

The architect was thoroughly impressed. She actually stuck around, had a coffee and talked with us. She offered her own toys from her two boys.

We truly are building something different.

Hopefully, the permit will come as soon as next week.

I need to move onto something else soon.

Honor Killings Lexicon

"Trudeau blasted the Conservatives for using the term "barbaric," even though it's been in the guide since 2009. Forced marriages are the only new item on the list.

"There's nothing that the word 'barbaric' achieves that the words 'absolutely unacceptable' would not have achieved," Trudeau, the Liberal immigration critic, said.

Being a critic just to be a critic?


"...Opposition parties lauded the (Conservative) government for including gay marriage in the document. Critics blasted feds last year for omitting gay rights from the first version of the guide, which was introduced in 2009."

"Yeah, but mom. It's nice to have veal but did you have to make it with fennel?"

How about the word "primitive" as an alternative to "barbaric?"

'Absolutely uncceptable' is wishy-washy-mishy-mushy nonsensical gibberish.

Shaping America In Europe's Image

Piece in the WSJ by British politician and member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan. Some excerpts:

"I don't think anyone doubts North American liberals view Europe favorably; sometimes more so than North America itself. Here in Quebec, as I often point out, our aim is to copy Scandinavia. It's a natural human thing to think the grass is greener somewhere else.

My guess is that, if anything, Obama would verbalize his ideology using the same vocabulary that Eurocrats do. He would say he wants a fairer America, a more tolerant America, a less arrogant America, a more engaged America. When you prize away the cliché, what these phrases amount to are higher taxes, less patriotism, a bigger role for state bureaucracies, and a transfer of sovereignty to global institutions.

He is not pursuing a set of random initiatives but a program of comprehensive Europeanization: European health care, European welfare, European carbon taxes, European day care, European college education, even a European foreign policy, based on engagement with supranational technocracies, nuclear disarmament and a reluctance to deploy forces overseas.

No previous president has offered such uncritical support for European integration. On his very first trip to Europe as president, Mr. Obama declared, "In my view, there is no Old Europe or New Europe. There is a united Europe."

I think the above passage speaks for itself. Notice how he asserts "uncritical support for European intergration." It's so, I think, because the ends justify the means. Why should we be critical if our hearts are in the right place?

Canada finds itself in the same spot. Those who critically question the universal welfare system are deemed to be "right-wingers" and not in line with Canadian "values."

It's nonsense of course. Who gets the monopoly on 'values?'

It's always good to assess incessantly about things. Especially when the state is telling people how society should be. President Obama is at a point where he feels compelled to tell businesses what their obligations ought to be.

"The critical difference between the American and European unions has to do with the location of power. The U.S. was founded on what we might loosely call the Jeffersonian ideal: the notion that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect. The European Union was based on precisely the opposite ideal. Article One of its foundational treaty commits its nations to establish "an ever-closer union."

It's the first thing you learn in a European Union political science class. They do this by channeling sovereign power through to Brussels.

It's on the Jefforsonian model (who believe in a society ruled by yeoman), ironically, where socialists would probably have a fighting chance. Socialism can work; on a small scale.
However, for a population sample of hundreds of thousands - never mind millions - it's unworkable. It has no choice but to coerce people to fit into its model and in some cases, as we've seen in the 20th century, to the point of murder.

Now, I recognize an argument can be made that those who committed massacres and atrocities merely coopted the term socialism and held no real intention to implement it.

"Why is a European politician urging America to avoid Europeanization? As a Briton, I see the American republic as a repository of our traditional freedoms. The doctrines rooted in the common law, in the Magna Carta, and in the Bill of Rights found their fullest and most sublime expression in the old courthouse of Philadelphia. Britain, as a result of its unhappy membership in the European Union, has now surrendered a large part of its birthright. But our freedoms live on in America."

First off, my cousins in Europe have complained about the ceding of local culture to Brussels. In their view, it will be the undoing of the EU. In fact, neo-nationalism in Europe, if anyone cares to observe carefully, has an ugly side to it and remains a disturbing under current in cultural and political affairs. Every once in a while it surfaces but one can wonder, can it lead, ironically, to war sometime in the future?

Every now and then, I'm asked or even chastised for talking too much about America. Greek historians wrote about Rome, no? They were cataloging, commenting and observing Rome - the great power of the time. And so it is with Washington. America to me is exactly how this gentleman puts it. I really don't care if some Americans have jumped off this notion. In the bigger scheme of things, its the American ideal (up until 1776 man wasn't free) that carries Western civilization at this point as Athens, Rome, Florence, Paris, Berlin and London once did.

Americans seem to lapse into violent peaks and valleys making their existence complicated. It's part of the process I gather of perfecting their union. Right now, a cloud of cynicism, disappointment and divisiveness prevails over them. Does it mean it points to a permanent downward spiral?

I'm not convinced.

"You deserve better, cousins. And we expect better."
Americans aren't European. They aren't Swedish or Austrian.

That's fine by me.

Writers In Canada

Is Canada good to its writers?

Man. How to determine that?

If you go by the list put togethere here, apparently Canada is good to its writers because:

1) We're free. (Like any country in the fricken West)
2) Subsidized
3) We're not American (standard stuff).

I don't feel I got concrete answers here. Stating the obvious that Canada is a great place is not enough. It doesn't mean we produce great (whatever constitutes 'great') writers. Just like there are American writers enjoying their time up here, I know a few Canadians who live in the States whom you couldn't pay to come back. It's all relative and specific to each person.

Nor do I pretend to think to know what's going on (I only contribute to a magazine, write a shitty blog, and currently exploring TV/film) but a lot of the comments in here left me rolling my eyes. All I know is it cost more to buy CD's and books by Canadians here in Canada. Weird pricing.

Anyway, the comments felt too much like, "Canada is cool because there are a lotta different people with different names from different places who eat different food and none of them are Republicans who would cut my subsidy cheque to pay the bills. And with it Canadian culture..."

That being said, Stephen Brown made some interesting observations about non-fiction. I remember having this discussion in University which made unfortuante sense to me. It's a tight spot to be in if you're Canadian. We're proud of Vimy Ridge but would that translate into sales in Britain or the U.S.?

Is our plight similar or different from Australia's? Just asking.

Other than that, who cares where you write these days? Just write. Don't get into writing (and this is the pragmatist in me talking) thinking you're going to contribute to art and depend on a government cheque. Don't quit your day job until you succeed - or at least do it as a complement. It's tough to eke out a living begging for government grants and then pulling a tantrum when you don't get it.

Take me. I'm writing scripts. I'm Canadian living in Canada. Do I deserve a grant or subsidy for merely writing it?

I suppose I get their angle. It's not about selling books but keeping Canadian writing alive. It's a kind of a trade off between citizens and artists. But here's one way to really find out if Canadians really do care about writers and reading our literature. Rather than claim we care because we give subsidies, just ask Canadians directly for money. See how we respond.

Like a PBS drive.

If we give, I'm impressed. If not...write and sell better.


The economics of the arts is such that there is no way to earn a 40k job out of it like you do, say, in a bank. There is no Royal Bank of Writing. It's an all or nothing sort of thing. Either you're starving or asking for grants to survive or you make Oprah's list and live lavishly.

By the way, I just got paid $100 by Google for my adsense. Took three years though.


Not Open To Quebec

If you're a Quebec resident, you know how frustrating it is to join and participate in contests. This past week, we tried to join a couple for my daughter (and a College basketaball NCAA March Madness tourney), and discovered we were not eligible.

Very annoying.

So. Why is this so? Why is Quebec the only jurisdiction on the continent to have people go through this?
Why, what else is new here? It's a complicated process for sponsors to even bother:

"The reason why residents of Quebec are not eligible to enter many Canada sweepstakes is not because the sponsors don't want to advertise in Quebec, and it's nothing personal against any of the residents of that fine province. Rather, many sweepstakes are void in Quebec because the sponsors must follow a stringent set of rules set out by the Quebec government."
More in detail here.

Of course, it's always under the guise of "protecting citizens."

Yet, no one still knows what happens to all the money in Loto Quebec's coffers.


Myth Of Plato's Atlantis Becoming Real?

The search for Atlantis continues - and Canadians are involved as part of a U.S.-led team of researchers in Southern Spain.

Manning Being Tortured

The war against Wikileaks is absurd. A war in which governments won't win so long as free-thinking people exist. It's as simle as that.

SE beat me to it, but this piece by Greenwald (who by now is standard reading for me whenever I get a free moment) shows the direct disconnect between what Obama says (as most leaders) and what he does. That Bradley Manning is being tortured is depraved and falls on Obama's head. He who laughably holds a Nobel Peace prize. He who by so many articles and assumptions had the power to galvanize the world.

So much for that.


Ringo Starr's Beatles

The oft forgotten of the famous quartet from Liverpool, Ringo Starr's contributions to The Beatles are ridiculously overlooked.

I chose videos without images to enhance the dramatic reality of the greatness of their music. It should galvanize your brain into creatin its own imagination.

Overreaction To Wikileaks Ultimately Self-Defeating

Thomas Blanton has his head screwed on with the right nuts and bolts. His thoughts about Wikileaks at a Congressional hearing:

Efforts to tighten the secrecy system and crackdown on leakers and the media will be "fundamentally self-defeating," according to Thomas Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive, who testified today before the House Committee on the Judiciary. During the first Congressional hearing in the aftermath of "Cablegate" and the Wikileaks release of State Department documents, Blanton urged that lawmakers take a reasoned view of the issues raised by the leaks and not to "overreact."

"There is more heat than light," Blanton stated, citing calls for broadening the Espionage Act and assassinating Wikileaks leader, Julian Assange. Hasty punitive reactions, he predicted, "will actually produce more leaks, more crackdowns, less accountable government, and diminished security."

"History shows we end up doing more damage from the overreaction than from the original leak," according to Blanton.

Blanton reminded lawmakers that the Nixon administration had once considered firebombing the Brookings Institution building to destroy a copy of the Pentagon Papers, and that President Gerald Ford had vetoed the Freedom of Information Act in reaction to government leaks--only to be overruled by the U.S. Congress.

"The real danger of 'Wikimania' is that that we could revert to Cold War notions of secrecy, to the kind of stovepipes and compartments that left us blind before 9/11," Blanton said. He called on lawmakers to protect the First Amendment, rather than adopt a "Chinese model of state control" of information.

"Those voices who argue for a crackdown on leakers and publishers need to face the reality that their approach is fundamentally self-defeating because it will increase government secrecy, reduce our security, and actually encourage more leaks from the continued legitmacy crisis of the classification system," Blanton concluded.

The Unknown Documented On Canadian Government Site

On this lazy Sunday afternoon, I've been lumbering and bumbering around the world vicariously through the internet.

Nothing like ending up back in Canada on the government website on a "The search for the unkown" collections page. Basically about Canada and UFO's.

1952 Project Second Story

"In connection with the establishment of Project Magnet by Wilbert Smith at the Department of Transport, a committee was formed by members of other government agencies that was dedicated solely to dealing with "flying saucer" reports. This committee was sponsored by the Defence Research Board and called "Project Second Story." Its main purpose was to collect, catalogue and correlate data from UFO sighting reports."

And this:
Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia
On the night of October 4, 1967, officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and six civilians witnessed an incredible, yet unexplainable, sight. Earlier in the evening, the RCMP had received many phone calls from residents reporting that an airplane had crashed into Shag Harbour. Both the RCMP and locals had rushed to the shore of the harbour, but what they encountered there was far from a conventional aircraft.

Witnesses reported seeing an object 60 feet in length moving in an easterly direction before it descended rapidly into the water, making a bright splash on impact. A single white light appeared on the surface of the water for a short period of time. The RCMP, with help from local fishermen and their boats, endeavoured to reach the object before it sank completely.

Local fishermen remember travelling through thick, glittery, yellow foam to get to where they saw the object. Bubbles from underneath the surface of the water appeared around the boats. The crews attempted to search the area for evidence of survivors, but found no one.

The Department of National Defence (DND) conducted an underwater search of the area, but failed to locate any evidence of an object.

The crashing of the unidentified flying object into Shag Harbour is still discussed today, with many articles appearing on the Internet. There is no trace of the RCMP reports of this sighting in the files. The Department of National Defence has identified this sighting as unsolved, and the only documentation that exists in the files is a DND memo.

Related documents:

Department of National Defence Memo
No wonder so many b-flick sci-fi movies were made in the 1950s and 60s.

Two Sites And Links Of Interest

Sites of interest.


And National Security Archive.

From same site:

-Man involved in Dos Erres Massacre in Guatemela arrested in Alberta on U.S. naturalization fraud.

-How the U.S. moved forward with the Iraq war without concrete proof.

-Sometimes I wonder if we under rate Poland's role in the fall of communism. Specifically with Lech Walesa. It's one thing to claim the U.S. "won" the war (by the late 1980s the Soviet Union was basically dazed and confused), quite another to make it happen like Poland did.

"Record of conversation between West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the leader of Polish Solidarity Lech Walesa, Warsaw, November 9, 1989. In this extraordinary conversation (available previously only in German), Solidarity’s leader fears the collapse of the Wall would distract West Germany’s attention - and money - to the GDR, at the time when Poland, the trail-blazer to the post-communist era in Eastern Europe, desperately needed both. "Events are moving too fast," Walesa said, and only hours later, the Wall fell, and Kohl had to cut his Poland visit short to scramble back to Berlin, thus proving Walesa’s fear correct."

Japan In Pictures

A nuclear explosion and a natural disaster at the same time?


Dryden Brings Sense To The Table

Nothing like an NHL legend like Ken Dryden to weigh in with some god dang reason and intelligence.

This article exposes once and for all the NHL is run by "brain dead" drones.

In one part of it, Dryden talks about the "nature of the game." My cousin and I talked about this very subject only last night and how using this argument is a myth. Games evolve and the "meant to be played" line is hollow bs. I hear that in soccer over and over. That this team and that team play it like it was "meant to be played."

Hogwash. From the onset, the game was blessed with great tacticians and countries who instilled their own interpretations of the game. We confuse and believe what it "aesthetically" pleasing with a "true" interpretation of the game. It's a fallacy.

From the 1920s on, England, Scotland, Austria, Hungary, Uruguay, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and Holland all offered their brand of soccer reflecting the specific realities of their players and national thinking. None is more true than the other. Still more nations are represented when great managers left an imprint on the game.

To me open, fluid soccer is equal to a counter-attacking style to a "total football" one. Each demands talent be used and deployed in different ways. Brazil mastered the art of the fluid, Italy counter-attack and Holland 'total.' FYI.

I digress.

Dryden says:

Hockey began in Montreal in 1875 because some rugby players wanted a game for the wintertime, and they wanted to hit each other. But the rugby players couldn't skate very fast, their bodies were smaller than ours are today, and they were playing on a smaller ice surface where they had little room to pick up momentum. With no substitutions allowed, the game moved at coasting speed.

Bigger ice surfaces changed the nature of the game; so did the forward pass; so did boards and glass; so did substitutions, shorter shifts and bigger bodies. Helmeted players in today's game are far more vulnerable to serious head injury than helmet-less players were in generations ago.

We choose to ignore the fact that the “nature” of any game is always changing. Today's hockey – in terms of speed, skill, style of play and force of impact – is almost unrecognizable from hockey 50 years ago, let alone 100. Likewise, helmets, facemasks, 300-plus-pound players and off-field, year-round training have transformed football."

I'm not a fan of the "wrong side of history" assertion (Obama recently used it in regards to Libya), but in some cases I'm willing to make an exception.

The NHL is on the wrong side of history. Worse, its logic and excuses for defending what is no longer defensible, it only cements the view the NHL needs to put more "progressive" minds in their ranks.


About the pic. Dryden's iconic stance between whistles. Dude was thinking all along.

Don Cherry On Chara Hit

I enjoy Cherry but I kinda felt he'd go this way. And I gotta say I don't entirely agree this time around. I was also surprised Ron Maclean didn't challenge him more as is sometimes the case with such issues.

I thought by showing past hits was a good thing - some were truly accidental and some not. I remember many of those. In the clip they mention the Al Iafrate one that wasn't shown. It was brutal. However, I think he failed to convey the overall point: Respect and tolerance of such hits. People are fed up with it. The more the NHL establishment defends it, the more fans will get upset.

Cherry also offered a solution - which is more than most in the media did in blind defense of the league. It goes to show how terribly run the NHL is. It has no overall safety standards.

It's an unacceptable situation and I refuse to agree the NHL "got it right." No they didn't.

Alas, I know many fans do agree with Cherry and the league.

American Policy With Libya

Obama is proceeding, properly I think, cautiously with Libya. This talk of intervening militarily there is foolish. Let it play out. Then determine national security interests. The U.S. is already spending over $1 trillion in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Non-interventionists can rest easy for now.


Italian DNA And Anti-Italianism

No clue about the legitimacy of these videos. Large parts of the historical text seems right to me. Just don't know the impact it had on DNA. Again, it seems plausible.

Help Man of Roma!

Joe Piscopo was hilarious on SNL.

Anyway, Italians were interned and lynched on the continent once upon a time. Interesting video.

At about the 2:44 mark the gentleman speaks about being called a "wop" for the first time. I clearly remember the first time it happened to me. It was on Halloween, we couldn't have been older than 10, and I was trick or treating with my cousin and his friends in the East end of the city. At one house a man with a tatoo smoking asked, "Est-ce que vous etes des wops?" We all looked at each other clueless. We wondered what a 'wop' was. Finally he said, "Je donne pas a les wops" and slammed the door. He didn't "give candy to wops."

I've been fighting Halloween prejudice ever since. No kid should have to go home with one less Coffee Crisp. Damn that's good chocolate.

Anti-Semitic Losers

Assholes of the week.

John Galliano and Charlie Sheen.

Couldn't care less about these two but what I find interesting is their seeming, rabid, racist hatred of Jews.

Consider jack off Galliano:

"People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f—– gassed."

He said this at a table at some party. If I were there, I would smack him with a baguette. Some people deserve a beating. Sorry folks. I can just imagine the stupid things that come out of celebrity mouths sometimes.

Sheen, for his part, went off on Chuck Lorre calling him 'Levine' and we all know wannabe pseudo-intellectual movie maker Oliver Stone thinks of Jews. Charlie's father is Martin. Look up some of his own gems.

Mel Gibson is another.

Ans so on.

I've always remained shocked at Desmond Tutu too - Obama's hero.

Why don't we just call these people for what they are?

A bunch of prejudicial jerks who think a little too highly of their own intelligence.

Wha Happened?

Fred Willard on 'A Mighty Wind'.

If you're wondering who I model my management style after.

When Cliff Was On Jeopardy!

A lesson in how dangerous too much cockiness can be.



Study on concussions in hockey by the Mayo Clinic.

It's Just An Illusion


Man, I learned this a loooong time ago. It's how I came to decide to take on a project under capitalized in an industry I knew nothing about. Better than sitting through a lameass interview given by a turn sandwich. No?

"After I have been downsized, I realize every significant professional advancement in my life has been totally random, a result of dumb luck, and had little to do with whether or not I could do actually the job. In fact, at most jobs that I have held, whether or not one can do the job seems to have little bearing on whether or not one has the job. I think maybe this is because the interview process is deeply flawed. That it focuses on abstractions and a piece of paper. That it has nothing to do with who you really are."

Green Jobs Revolution: Real Or Myth?

Good question. If it failed (so it's been reported) in Europe what makes President Obama think it can work in the United States?

Ask the Spanish what they think.

As usual, there are counter views defending Europe's record.