Friday, September 29, 2006

Volpemania: Fine Figure

A mere $20,000 fine isn't going to slow down the Joe Volpe juggernaut as it rolls through the cemeteries and preschools of the land, fuelled with pride, resentment and the odd glass of grappa.

No sir!

Joe Volpe should be taken seriously, and not just because he provides comic relief to the Liberal leadership race.

You don't get to his position in the party in Toronto without knowing how to play machine politics and get out the vote.

Volpe's people will turn out to vote, and elect enough delegates to make him kingmaker. And just possibly, enough to vault him past Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy for third place and the chance to win it all.

Stand tall, Joe. The Liberal Party needs a man of your stature and integrity at its helm.

Ramadan Riot

The mainstream media, which covered last year's Islamic uprising in Paris with running totals of cars burned as the measure of its intensity, has given scant notice to this year's Islamic insurrection in Brussels.

Although the Brussels uprising seems to have died down fairly quickly, there is one observation about it that Paul Belien , almost alone of his Belgian brethren, has been willing to publicly make:

During the month of Ramadan Muslims are required to fast during the day and are only allowed to eat after sunset. As Esther pointed out “What should be noticed about the riots is that they start after sunset. Besides the fact that they start after dark, it also gives the rioters enough time to break their fast and enjoy the traditional family meal. Sunset is around 7:30pm.” Tuesday’s and Monday’s riots began around 8:30pm.

Can't fight jihad on an empty stomach, after all.

Of course, in the interests of balance and fairness, we should give equal coverage to the annual Lent riots that break out every year with especial violence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Oh, and the big Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur riots that we all just missed when we weren't looking.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


How many of you would subscribe to CBC if it were to become a pay TV channel?

Don't all jump up at once.

Looks like CBC has finally figured out that it can no longer shake down the taxpayers or find enough willing advertisers to make up the shortfall.

If CBC's application to the CRTC to allow it to offer pay TV services goes through, we'll finally find out if the parlour pinks in the Annex will cough up a couple bucks a month for their favourite programming:

The evolving television environment raises two fundamental challenges for the Commission in respect of conventional television.

First and foremost is the need to develop a regulatory framework that will provide a sustainable financial model for conventional television. Canada’s conventional broadcasters are the only television programming undertakings uniquely dependent on advertising revenues to sustain their operations. The current reliance on advertising will soon be under threat on numerous fronts and will in the near future not provide a viable basis for financing the cultural, technological and business goals of conventional broadcasters.

At a time when major investments must be made in new technologies and when there is a strong regulatory demand for increased Canadian content, especially more expensive drama programming, the financial realities facing conventional broadcasters are becoming extremely challenging. Content will continue to be king, and conventional broadcasters, like all content providers, will need to have a robust financial return for the content they provide to others.

But it isn't just the fear of losing money that's motivating CBC to go the pay TV route. It's also facing the prospect of people no longer being able to watch it at all, even if they want to:

Second, the major technological shift from analogue to HD digital television raises serious issues regarding both the funding of this transition and the economic efficiency of retaining over-the-air transmission in many regions of the country.

There are two over-riding factors that emerge in a review of over-the-air television and the transition to digital/HD television. First, the transition to digital/HD television will continue to be extremely costly and lack a supporting business case. Second, distribution of television signals via over-the-air technology has increasingly become a less effective means to reach large audiences.

The combination of the rapid decline in over-the-air reception levels in smaller, more rural markets, and the less rapid decline in reception levels in many major Canadian centres, has inspired CBC/Radio-Canada to develop a flexible approach to its on-going and future investments in over-the-air infrastructure. In particular, CBC/Radio-Canada is investigating a hybrid proposal – using both over-the-air infrastructure and cable/satellite delivery – that it believes provides the most appropriate and efficient means to make its services available throughout Canada as required under the Broadcasting Act.

CBC's hope is that pay TV will cover the cost of most of its over-the-air broadcasting. Assuming, of course, that they'll still be able to keep generating ad revenue and getting government grants every year.

The CBC can ride out even the most hostile of Conservative governments; it cannot ride out an industry-wide technology shift.

Perhaps now we'll get the thorough review and reorganization of CBC that it so desperately needs.

Or maybe it'll just be same garbage, different pile.

Source: CBC

You're Safe In Our Hands

The U.S. Transportation Safety Authority would like mammary-enhanced travellers to know that they may need a closer look at the airport:

Excerpts from the TSA bulletin effective Sept 26, 2006:

In addition to the above changes, the following guidance is provided to ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers the following items are permitted…

Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and…

… items exceed 3 ounces or are not contained in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag, you MUST declare to one of our Security Officers at the checkpoint for further inspection.

Do you feel safer?

Source: Travel Gear Blog

Tearing Down The Highway

There are certain plans announced every year in Toronto whose sole purpose is to be announced, never to be fulfilled.

The Leafs' plan to win the Cup is one.

The waterfront redevelopment scheme is another.

And tearing down the Gardiner Expressway is the most frequently announced of all.

So here we go again with the usual:

Toronto should raze the Gardiner Expressway and replace it with a tree-lined boulevard, according to a report withheld for the past two years.

The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) report, which was finally released yesterday, urges the city to demolish an expressway that carries 16,000 vehicles each day and replace it with a 10-lane avenue with wide sidewalks and generous medians. John Campbell, the TWRC's president and chief executive, said this new "University Avenue-type boulevard" could serve as the centrepiece for the rejuvenation of the city's central waterfront.

"This is really the time to take a bold step forward," Mr. Campbell said. "This is an unprecedented opportunity to try and create the city we want."

Construction would take five years and cost $758-million. With four years of environmental assessments and other preparations needed before demolition could begin, it would take nearly a decade to complete the project from the time it is approved by city council.

Interestingly enough, every proposal for getting rid of the Gardiner says the same thing; traffic will be slower, and likely heavier, but the supposed psychological barrier between the city and the waterfront will disappear. As though the Gardiner were responsible for keeping people and business from the waterfront.

Never mind that the Gardiner cuts down on a significant amount of traffic in the city. Our progressive urban planners must have the city beautiful, even at the expenses of the commuters ugly.

Wait for whatever plan for the Gardiner to turn into our own version of Boston's Big Dig; a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that fails to meet budget, deadlines, and expectations.

Source: National Post

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mounties Man Gotten?

A public vote of confidence is one of those things that is exactly the opposite of what it appears on the surface. If your boss has confidence in you, those who need to know will already know it, and you won't have to ask him for it.

Which is why the RCMP Commissioner should start thinking about taking his musical ride into the sunset:

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day says he has full confidence in Giuliano Zaccardelli, while the RCMP commissioner downplays an investigation criticizing how his force handled the Maher Arar case.

The Conservatives have been sidestepping the issue of the top police officer's future in the wake of Justice O'Connor's inquiry into the arrest and deportation of Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar.

But this morning, Day told Canada AM: "We have confidence in the commissioner."

"Not just the commissioner but all the men and women of the R.C.M.P., right across the country."

When asked by Canada AM co-host Seamus O'Regan whether the government will ask for Zaccardelli's resignation in the wake of O'Connor's report, Day gave a strong indication that the police chief will adopt the recommendations the judge meted out -- and that Zaccardelli's future as top police chief may be secure.

Heads must roll in the Maher Arar affair, and Zaccardelli's will be the first. His men, after all, were the ones who had Arar railroaded off to Syria on the strength of dubious information.

And considering general unhappiness with the RCMP's willingness to play political games for the Liberal masters in the previous government, if Zaccardelli has become a symbol of the police as law enforcement wing of the Liberals, he will be sacrificed.

Source: CTV

Mums The Word

All together now: legalizing same-sex unions will strengthen the family:

A woman in London, Ont., wants the Ontario Court of Appeal to recognize her as the third parent of a boy she's raising with her lesbian partner.

The application, if allowed, would be believed to mark the first time in Canada a child would legally have more than two parents, and would fundamentally change the definition of the word "family."

The biological father and mother and her female partner must remain anonymous because of a court ruling protecting their identities.

"The family has evolved over the years in a way that the law should recognize the reality of this little boy," said the father's lawyer, Alfred Mamo, "his reality being that he's got two mothers and a father with whom he thrives. They all want this for their son."


The applicant appealed, arguing that she was in a special situation because same-sex couples require assisted human reproduction.

So if the law does not allow for three parents, it is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of equality, she argued.

They may all want this narcissistic arrangement for the boy, but does anyone every stop to think about what the boy's needs? When he's old enough to figure out the facts of life, do they think that he isn't going to wonder what games they've been playing with him?

Are children now mere accessories to couples, to be toyed with in the pursuit of these adult psychological games?

And if a child can have more than two parents, why can't a man have more than one wife?

Consistency, folks!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chopping Block

When you've got a little extra money in the bank you weren't expecting, it's usually better to check over your bills and expenses and see what you can get rid of instead of splurging with it. You can't rely on the surprise bonus every year and expect to stay afloat.

So it's no surprise that the Tory government is going to cut a little fat it could otherwise afford:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government tightened federal purse strings by $2-billion yesterday -- slashing spending hated by many Conservatives, such as medicinal marijuana research -- even as Ottawa disclosed that its coffers are bulging with another near-record budget surplus.

Last year's surplus was $13.2-billion, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced yesterday -- the third highest in recent years. He said it will all go to reduce the national debt, signing an oversized cheque to that end at a press conference that resembled an election campaign event.


Spending on the chopping block includes funding for the Medicinal Marijuana Research program, as well as the Court Challenges Program, which funded litigation in the name of equal rights -- an initiative that partisan Conservatives have always derided.

"I just don't think it made sense for the government to subsidize lawyers to challenge the government's own laws in court," Treasury Board president John Baird said.

The Court Challenges Program was one of the Court Party's most blatantly manipulative devices for rigging the interpretation of the Charter and getting its will made law.

On the one hand, the feds got to look like magnanimous and disinterested champions of human rights by paying for the challenge to its own laws.

On the other hand, the program was stacked to make sure that only the favoured groups got their challenges funded.

Despite claims that the program was necessary to grant the poor and disenfranchised access to justice, most of the applicants were interest groups that could afford their own lawyers, or people who had enough of a connection to one to get a lawyer through one.

One special interest group is seeing its funding cut significantly, much to SUZANNE's joy: Status of Women is losing $5 million out of its $23 million a year. Women's studies professors and lesbian performance art collectives weep hysterically for the loss of their grants.

And potheads are like, bummed, dude, that the Medical Marijuana Research Program is being snuffed out. The cannabis cult will have to keep up the fight for their holy weed in another forum.

But perhaps most notable is this announcement:

Much of the surplus was built up under the previous Liberal government, Mr. Flaherty charged, serving notice that the Tories plan to make such windfalls a thing of the past.

"We're going to budget much closer to line . . . No more so-called surprise surpluses at the end of the fiscal year," Mr. Flaherty said.

It's always a temptation for governments to overbudget and then claim a huge surplus of money that was never going to be spent. It's like taking out a loan to buy a mansion in Rosedale and then buying a shoebox condo in Mississauga, and claiming a huge savings when you had no intention of buying anything other than the shoebox condo.

Flaherty is essentially taking a powerful election-time trick out of play, all in the interests of prudent budget practice. And at the risk of being seen as a less competent manager of the fisc and treasury.

Now that, in light of usual government practice in Canada, is daring indeed.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, September 25, 2006

Volpemania: Better Living Through Scientology!

Scientology did wonders for Tom Cruise's career and public reputation, so why can't it do the same for Joe Volpe?

Volpemania: Vaffunculo, Mangiacake

You can take the measure of a man by those who stand behind him in his darkest hours. And by that standard, Joe Volpe is a man of considerable measure indeed:

Continuing to fight his life-time ban from the Liberal Party, Alfonso Gagliano said Toronto MP Joe Volpe should stay in the party's leadership race since he is the victim of the same kind of anti-Italian sentiment that brought down the former public works minister.

In a wide-ranging interview to mark the launch of his book, Gagliano said he believes Volpe will come out fighting at his scheduled press conference today to answer the latest allegations of misdeeds by his leadership campaign team.

''History repeats itself. Whenever an Italian-Canadian tries to go up and succeed in politics, somebody tries to do something to bring him down,'' said Gagliano, comparing Volpe's troubles to his own as outlined in his recently-released book.

''When I got to the top, that's when my troubles began.''

Sure enough, Joe Volpe agrees:

Volpe, an Italian-Canadian, said some in the Liberal party had warned him not to run for the leadership because he is considered an outsider. He suggested it was because of his heritage that he was thought unacceptable to the party establishment.

“Imagine, after 51 years in Canada, 25 of them as a card carrying member of the Liberal party and 18 of them as a member of parliament, I might not be Canadian enough.”

It's quite a compelling story, when you think of it. Two scrappy Italian lads fight against the stereotyping of Italians as double-dealing crooks by making names for themselves in politics as a couple of double-dealing Italian crooks. Sergio Leone could have made an epic movie about it.

At least Volpe is not without an unashamed, living, breathing support. And that should be of great comfort to him in the days ahead.

Hedy Fryed

Power Corporation is hard at work buying up the lesser competitors and merging them into its fastest-growing subsidiary, Call Me Bob (TM).

With the acquisition of True Grit, however, market analysts are burning their forecasts on their front lawns as we speak:

EKOS surveyed 1,053 Liberal party members last week, using party membership lists obtained by the Toronto Star. (EKOS president Frank) Graves said there was a "very careful screening process" to ensure each person was an active Liberal party member. Results are considered accurate to within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

A screening process that no doubt required an EKG, a CAT scan, and a boot to the head, just to make sure the members were alive as opposed to merely active.

Yet even with that advantage, Hedy Fry could not inspire living Liberals to breathe life into her campaign:

Graves noted that the bottom four candidates — Brison, Eglinton-Lawrence MP Joe Volpe, Toronto lawyer Martha Hall Findlay and Vancouver MP Hedy Fry — received only 6 per cent support as the first, second or third choice of respondents.

"(They) cannot be considered contenders," he said, adding the bottom four appeared to have little chance of having "any real impact" on the outcome of the vote.

Not a single respondent chose Fry.

"There were over 3,000 opportunities for people to pick her (as first, second or third choice)," said Graves.

"She literally got zero. I have never seen that in over 20 years of polling."

With a three percent margin of error, that means Hedy Fry could have had negative three percent of Liberals polled supporting her, perhaps from the dead who wouldn't swing at Joe Volpe's pitch.

Even Ernst Zundel hung on long enough to make a convention speech before quitting with zero votes. And he'd do infinitely better today just by touting his unquestioned anti-Israel credentials.

Poor Hedy. A failure at every turn. And not even the comic relief of the campaign.

Volpemania: The End?

The only Liberal leadership candidate who has been courageous enough to publicly champion the rights of the Necro-Canadian community may be forced out of the race for just that very reason.

Proof positive that while the Liberals talk about being the great defenders of Charter rights for all Canadians, they will gladly discriminate against people when it suits their interests:

Joe Volpe faces mounting pressure to quit the Liberal leadership race today amid allegations his campaign recruited party members who did not pay their own membership fees -- reportedly including two people who are dead.

After Mr. Volpe weathered a fundraising scandal in the spring, the new allegations had senior Liberals scurrying to cope with another black eye to a party that lost last year's election over ethics questions.

Several of Mr. Volpe's campaign insiders insisted late yesterday that they still did not know for certain whether the Toronto MP will quit the leadership race today, or fight on. They said the campaign was busy preparing two different scenarios for a press conference that Mr. Volpe has scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Mr. Volpe's spokesman, Corey Hobbs, said the campaign would issue no comment.

Say it ain't so, Joe!

The Liberal Party needs you, now more than ever.

You have inspired young children to pool their pocket money just to give the maximum allowable donation. You have inspired the dead to rise from their graves to sign membership cards.

But most of all, you have inspired your Conservative adversaries to unite in support of your ambitions.

Can any other candidate claim such a broad base of support?

Stay in the fight!

Source: Globe and Mail

Sunday, September 24, 2006


It is extremely difficult to write a post about Belinda Stronach's latest dalliance without resorting to ungentlemanly references to her loose nature and easy virtue.

I will simply express my sympathy for the wronged wife and thanks that she left the Conservative Party when she did:

Liberal MP Belinda Stronach is being named as the (e)X-factor in a divorce application filed by Leanne Domi against her former Maple Leafs player husband Tie Domi.

According to a published report, Domi believes her husband and Stronach have been involved in an "intimate sexual relationship" since he began working with her on her political campaign in January 2006.

Stronach, who has been linked to several high profile men, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, is referred to "many times" in the 20-page document filed in court last week, the report states.

Family law lawyer Andrew Feldstein said it's rare for lawyers to plead adultery in divorce applications because of the ugly fallout, opting mostly to file on the grounds of living separately and apart for one year.

But Leanne Domi likely wants to leverage the news in her favour, Feldstein said.

The sexual revolution, like all revolutions, turns on its own. Hope being a liberated woman is worth being despised, Belinda.

Source: London Free Press

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Volpemania: Eh Paisano!

While political pundits have been focussing on the talents and abilities of the supposed top four contenders for Stornoway, they have been remiss in pointing out that Joe Volpe's charisma and energy have so captivated the Italian community that they're signing up in a trance to vote for him without even knowing it.

The dead are even rising from their graves just to support him:

Dozens of people in Montreal, including the dead, have been improperly signed up as federal Liberal party members.

A Toronto Star investigation has found unsuspecting Quebecers — some surprised to find out they were instant Liberals — were sent membership cards and letters urging them to vote next weekend at all-important meetings to elect delegates to the Liberal convention to choose a new leader.

Using membership lists from the Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party, the Star talked to more than 70 families who reported significant problems in their own case, or in that of other family members. Most often, they hadn't paid the membership fee which party rules stipulate must be paid by the actual member.

Toronto MP Joe Volpe's campaign was named as having paid for the memberships for nine people, according to Star interviews. Scores of others don't know who called them. A Volpe campaign insider said last night the instructions were that the Volpe name wasn't generally to be cited in telephone recruitment.


Interviewing mostly in Italian, the Star uncovered 75 cases of problems with the Montreal-area lists. Only a couple of dozen people who were called said they were paid-up members without apparent problems. Some people listed as members didn't even remember being called or having received anything in the mail. Some weren't Liberals, most hadn't paid or signed, two men were deceased (one of them in 1989) and a woman received a membership card with a maiden name she hadn't used in 27 years.

She said she didn't know which camp arranged for the card, but she complained to her Westmount-Ville Marie riding association.

Joe Volpe may be too busy confirming every worst stereotype about politicians of Italian descent, but do not underestimate him. As detested as he may be by the brahmins who want Ignatieff, Rae, Dion or Kennedy to lead the party, he is the undisputed master of machine politics.

He will get out his vote, and he will be in a position to be the unavoidable kingmaker. And though it may be too much to hope for, he may just have enough votes to join the front-runners.


Source: Toronto Star

Friday, September 22, 2006

Indians To Islam?

The enemies of freedom walk boldly throughout freedom's camp these days unmolested.

While Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez hits the streets of Harlem to stir up the locals with class war rhetoric and promises of free heating oil, and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad gets feted at the Hilton Hotel in New York, the hordes of Islam are reaching out to the Indians hoping to cause trouble:

Now will you believe me when I say the kissy-kissy relationship between Indians and radical Islam is more than an hallucination?

Long Plain First Nation has attracted international attention over the last few days.

A team from Al-Jazeera’s soon-to-be launched English television network has been filming a documentary about the experiences of aboriginals in Canadian residential schools. They have chosen Long Plain as a representative example of that experience and spent the last two days visiting with many elders and survivors of the residential school system at the First Nation.

My fave part:

“(Al-Jazeera) wants to shed some light on it, in respect to their own people,” noted the chief, who said not all community members were familiar with the TV network before it expressed interest in visiting the First Nation.

I wonder if they’d change their mind if they discovered Al-Jazeera is a mouthpiece for terrorists and antisemities who like to claim Jews are descended from pigs and apes?

Naw, probably not.

Islamic radicals have been recruiting among black, Hispanic and even white prisoners in the United States through chaplaincy front groups, playing off on their outrage against The Man for keeping them poor and in prison.

Whenever groups such as OCAP or the International Socialists march in Toronto, they usually have Palestinian activists along for the ride, even if the cause they're marching for isn't even tangentially related to the Middle East problem.

If any group in Canada has grievances to turn violent over, it is the Indians. Today the chiefs may just be letting Al-Jazeera cameramen on the reserve; tomorrow, will it be Al-Qaeda?

Hat tip: Dust My Broom

Lord Over

Bernard Lord has just received the dreaded vote of confidence from his Tory caucus colleagues, following the party's recent defeat in the New Brunswick election:

Premier Bernard Lord has received the overwhelming support of his Progressive Conservative caucus, despite losing the New Brunswick election earlier this week.

Conservatives met in Fredericton on Thursday for the first time since the general election Monday, which they lost to the Liberals in a tight race.

Not all of the Tories were gracious in defeat.

Several of them suggested the new Liberal government, which will be sworn in Oct. 3, will quickly lose the confidence of the public.

"It might be a short-term government, very short-term," said Tory Finance Minister Jeannot Volpe. "We'll see by this fall what kind of job they do. I think when people realize what they voted in, they might change their minds."


"I stand for the premier staying here, the premier doing his job and the premier is going to come back," predicted Percy Mockler, Lord's wellness minister.

"People will compare. This present government, its honeymoon will be over quite fast."

Lord did not make any public statements Thursday. He has said that he will take some time to decide his next step.

Earlier this week, Lord said that switching to federal politics was an unlikely option, despite growing speculation in Ottawa that he will be courted to become a Conservative candidate in the next federal election.

"Everyone in the caucus is with him to stay on as leader," Deputy Premier Dale Graham said after the caucus meeting. "He was thrilled that the caucus supported him all the way. But he needs time to assess his options."

In other words, he'll be shown the door as soon as the party rights itself behind an interim leader.

All this bravado about a quick return to government is just that. Sure, the Liberals might be two by-election losses away from opposition, but so were the Tories, and they held on for just over three years and if not for one MLA's early retirement, could have made it to four.

There will be no quick return to office under Lord's leadership; once a leader talks about his options in public, he's already on his way out.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Running Up The Score

If we apply the same logic about "disproportionate response" that was used to condemn the casualty rate in the recent Israel-Hezbollah conflict to the Afghanistan mission, at roughly a 10 to 1 ratio in favour of Israel, what would that make Canada's response in Afghanistan?

More than 1,000 Taliban fighters were killed in the Canadian-led attacks west of Kandahar, NATO supreme allied commander General James Jones said Wednesday.

That body count far exceeds previous estimates for Operation Medusa, the massive military assault launched in early September to drive Taliban fighters from a stronghold in Panjwai district in the province of Kandahar.

Gen. Jones said North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces inflicted a “tactical defeat” on the Taliban, eliminating between one-quarter and one-half of the movement's overall fighting strength.

However, “I don't think they've been totally defeated,” he acknowledged, predicting that the Taliban would return to guerrilla hit-and-run tactics rather than the stand-and-fight battle that resulted in their defeat. Those tactics will “include horrendous attacks on the civilian population, on children,” Gen. Jones said, an apparent reference to the suicide bombing that killed four Canadians and injured a number of children the day after Operation Medusa ended.


But Gen. Jones said even 1,000 Taliban dead may be too low. “It's probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of around 1,000,” he said. “But you can go up 200 or 300. If you said 1,500, it wouldn't surprise me.”

Today, the left obsesses about the deaths of Canadians in Afghanistan, although 36 over four years out of a force of 2,000 (and not the same 2,000 men) would have been considered a merciful visitation even during Korea, to say nothing of the two World Wars.

Tomorrow, they will finally figure out the Taliban-to-Canadian death toll, and start damning our soldiers as bloodthirsty babykillers slaughtering innocents with the reckless abandon of an SS death squad, and demanding that they be turned over to the UN to be tried for war crimes.

Either way, they'll take the Taliban side.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bombs Not Boobs

An Indonesian Muslim cleric briefly imprisoned for his role in the 2002 Bali resort bombings demonstrates just why there can be no rational dialogue with Islam, even on the supposedly common ground of moral philosophy:

INDONESIAN TV shows that feature scantily dressed women are more dangerous than bombs, a militant Muslim cleric who served a jail term for links to the Bali bombings was quoted as saying today.

Abu Bakar Bashir said local television stations should offer more religious programs instead of showing half-naked women.

"If you ask which are more dangerous, half-naked women or the Bali bombs? The answer is of course women who bare their bodies," Bashir was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

He said such shows could shake the faith of men and invite God's curse.

Bashir can't tell the difference between something good being used for evil, and an act that is intrinsically evil. And neither can a good many other Islamic clerics and thinkers.

But then, if good and evil are determined entirely by the capricious will of Allah and not in accordance with natural law discoverable and knowable by reason, there is simply no place to begin to debate.

More evidence that Islam is little different from post-modernism: for both, truth is what the powerful decide it is.

(An attitude shared with our liberal judiciary, but that is a topic for another day.)


Evacuees Stiff Canadian Taxpayers

Getting 15,000 people out of Lebanon, many of whom had no stronger tie to Canada than a passport tucked away in the sock drawer for just such an emergency, was not quite the miracle of Dunkirk, but it did take significant effort with few resources in very little time.

Already about half of them have gone back to Lebanon, and we're going to be stuck with the bill:

The tab for the large-scale evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon during Hezbollah's conflict with Israel cost taxpayers $85-million, CTV News reports.

The government won't officially divulge what the running total is, nor will it reveal how many people returned to Lebanon after the fighting stopped in mid-August.

Canada hired several ships and chartered aircraft to ferry about 15,000 of the estimated 50,000 Canadians living in Lebanon to safety between July 19 and mid-August.

But sources told CTV that about 7,000 evacuees have returned to Lebanon since hostilities ended last month.

As a rule, Canada asks citizens to reimburse the government for their evacuation from foreign lands, but decided in this case that taxpayers would foot the bill.

What a cowardly and cynical lot most of the evacuees were, when you think about it.

A good many of them only stayed in Canada long enough to get their bolthole citizenship, and probably considered themselves Lebanese first and foremost. Yet when it came time to come to the defence of their motherland, to stand by her in her hour of tribulation, they ran for the docks and airports.

Loyalty wasn't even worth a scrap of paper to them.

A man cannot serve two masters. Indeed, given the choice, he will serve neither.

Both countries can never be sure of a dual citizen's ultimate loyalty.

For that reason alone, the practice should be scrapped.

Source: Globe and Mail

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Chair Pulled

If you notice an elderly friend or loved one suddenly acting inappropriately in public, making rude and obscene comments unprovoked or otherwise demonstrating a marked loss of inhibitions, you could be seeing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Or you could just be seeing the chairman of the CBC:

Guy Fournier has resigned as chairman of the CBC after controversial comments made last week in a newspaper column.

Guy Fournier sparked a public furor over a column he wrote in gossip magazine 7 Jours mocking the sexual habits of Lebanese. (Tom Hanson/ Canadian Press) Fournier "has increasingly lost the confidence of Canada's new government," Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda said in announcing the resignation in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

A public furor arose last week over a column he wrote in gossip magazine 7 Jours mocking the sexual habits of Lebanese.

The column read, in part: "In Lebanon, the law makes it possible for men to have sexual intercourse with animals as long as they are females. To do the same thing with male animals could lead to the death penalty."


Last May, he was accused of offending standards of decency after telling a Toronto French-language community radio station CHOQ-FM that at his age it gave him more pleasure to defecate than to make love.

I don't know what the situation is in Lebanon, but apparently at least one infamous Islamic authority had some perverse ideas about bestiality.

We might also Ask the Imam to clarify matters, though even he might pass on this subject.

But what motivated Fournier to share his nuggets of wisdom, whether general stupidity, drunkenness, or senile dementia, I do not desire to speculate.

Day Of Rage

To demonstrate that Pope Benedict XVI's offhand quote of Byzantine Emperor Manuel Paleologus deliberately misconstrued Islam as a religion of violence and anger, Muslim leaders throughout the Middle East are calling for a special Yaum al Ghadab, or "Day of Rage" on Friday after mosque.

Well, what isn't a day of rage over there?

But don't get the wrong idea; apparently they won't be doing the usual rioting and rampaging:

We must not try to interpret Islamic terms and cultural signals by using our Western ideas," said Fawaz Gerges, a professor in the department of international affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and an ABC News consultant. Gerges pointed out that in Islamic culture "ghadab" means anger or frustration. A day of rage does not mean a day of jihad (war), added Gerges.

Mimi Daher, a Muslim woman working in the ABC Jerusalem bureau, explained that the Grand Multi in Jerusalem reflected this cultural mindset today when he said, "Muslims have to express their anger. Was the pope expecting Muslims to clap their hands to him while hurting their faith and prophet? Of course not. We call on Muslims throughout the world to react in a disciplined manner, according to our Islamic faith."

"Disciplined manner" is a repeated theme among Islamic moderate leaders who encourage people to protest. As Gerges reminded me, when the cleric al-Qaradawi called for a day of rage, he stressed repeatedly that it should be civilized, urging Muslims to behave with civility and dignity. "We must show the world that we are still civilized even when we are aggrieved," he said.

You might equate civilized and dignified protest with orderly street marches, speeches, and letter writing campaigns, but that would be interpreting Islamic terms and cultural signals by using our Western ideas.

It takes a certain disciplined manner to properly burn a flag, bomb a church or torch a car, after all.

Source: ABC

Monday, September 18, 2006

Liberals Win New Brunswick

CBC has just declared a Liberal majority government led by premier-designate Shawn Graham.

Bernard Lord goes from the media's great white hope to yesterday's news.

PPG will have to find another emerging invincible challenger to Stephen Harper's leadership.

Lord's Day Passing?

Remember when Bernard Lord was supposed to be the saviour of the Conservative Party?

You'll remember how the media gushed at the possibilities his leadership might bring:

Young, telegenic, not Stephen Harper, bilingual, culturally ambiguous name, not Stephen Harper, supposed record for moderation in government, energetic, ambitious, not Stephen Harper, etc, etc.

Those days seem far gone now. And they may be even further gone, if New Brunswick voters decide it's time for a change:

New Brunswick voters will begin casting ballots Monday morning, as they decide whether to give Bernard Lord's Progressive Conservatives a third term after a campaign fought neck-in-neck with the Liberals.

Lord called the election in mid-August when it appeared his fragile majority government could collapse into a minority before the fall session.

Liberal Leader Shawn Graham's team has spent the past four weeks snapping at Lord's heels in a two-way race that several opinion polls throughout the campaign have suggested is a statistical dead heat.


The election has focused mostly on the leadership abilities of Graham and Lord, with no single issue catching fire with the electorate.

Graham was elected leader in 2002, and brought his party from 10 to 26 seats in the 2003 election, mostly due to voter anger over high car insurance rates.

The parties have similar platforms, although Lord pledged to cut personal income tax and Graham promised to create a public auto insurance system if the industry failed to bring rates down within 60 days of a Liberal government winning the election.

If Bernard Lord loses tonight, a lot of pundits will be eating crow tonight, and wondering just why they were trying to excite Lordmania in the first place.

Of course, a decade out of politics can rehabilitate the image of even the most despised premier, as Bob Rae is discovering to his benefit.

So there may be hope yet for a second round of touting for Bernard Lord.

Source: CBC

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Remember Lepanto!

With courage uncommon even for brave jihadi, two faithful soldiers of Islam valiantly shot an Italian nun in the back.

Guess that'll teach Pope Benedict to defame Muhammad, eh?

At this time, I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.

These in fact were a quotation from a Medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.

Yesterday, the Cardinal Secretary of State published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of my words. I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.

And here's Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone's statement, for the record:

“The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful, and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions,”

In short: I'm sorry that you're reacting like a bunch of lunatics.

That's not the grovelling apology we all feared he would make, and by making it, only further underscores the point he was trying to make in his speech at the University of Regensburg about the irrationality lying at the heart of Islam.

SIDE NOTE: This morning I saw a poster advertising a Mass for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, to be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Peter Hundt of Toronto at Holy Family Parish in Parkdale, on Saturday, October 7, at 10:30 a.m.

This famous portrait of the Battle of Lepanto appeared on it with the superscription, "Remember Lepanto."

This poster would not have appeared 10 years ago in a Catholic parish almost anywhere, for fear of upsetting ecumenical dialogue and causing division.

Pastors used to skim over the reason for the creation of the feast by Pope St. Pius V: the intercession of Our Lady and the deliverance of the Christian fleet from near-certain defeat to victory over the Turks in 1571.

Scales are falling from a lot of people's eyes.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Death Wish

Artsy-fartsy secular liberals line up around the block to watch a movie portraying the assassination of President George W. Bush.

Art-hating religious Muslims line up around the block to buy a novel depicting the assassination of Pope Benedict XVI.

Can you tell the difference in their motivations and desires?

(Pay close attention to the novel's subtitle:Who Will Kill The Pope In Istanbul? It sounds just like a challenge to its readers.)

Hat tip: Kathy Shaidle

The Mulroney Merger

The rehabilitation of Brian Mulroney's public image is continuing apace, with the revelation that he put far more effort behind the scenes to join together what he had split asunder:

Brian Mulroney played a crucial role in reuniting Canada's political right and positioning the new Conservative party for power, says a new book by Ottawa Tory insider Bob Plamondon.

Yet few outsiders knew anything about the former prime minister's deep involvement, largely because his lingering radioactivity with voters made it perilous to acknowledge his backroom influence, Mr. Plamondon writes in Full Circle, the first full account of events that led to the 2003 merger of the Progressive Conservative and Alliance parties.

The book will be in stores Wednesday.


When Mr. MacKay took flak from Red Tories for talking merger, Mr. Mulroney advised him to overlook the criticism and "bring the family back together," writes Mr. Plamondon.

"Whenever MacKay felt hesitant about moving forward with the negotiations, Mulroney was there with encouragement and support," he writes adding that he even reviewed some of the draft documents under discussion and offered his comments.

At the same time, he was advising Mr. Harper, making it clear that he wanted a speedy merger to happen. Their conversations began after Mr. Harper became Alliance leader in 2002, and intensified around the time of the merger.

Conspiracy theorists will have a field day with book. The Red Tory fringe that formed Joe Hueglin's band of old believers in the eternal "Progressive Conservative" myth will be screaming that Mulroney was on Stephen Harper's side all along; the hard-core Western populists will complain that Mulroney manipulated Peter MacKay to deliver them back into the hands of the old guard Red Tories.

But it may help explain a sense that many of us had in the predecessor parties in those whirlwind weeks before the merger: we were being pushed, but we still wanted to be pushed.

Now that his work has been vindicated--however tentatively--by the electorate, Brian Mulroney can come out and take credit for it.

Time and events have a way of healing old political wounds.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Friday, September 15, 2006

Islam Outraged: Chapter Infinity Plus One

Islam seems to be a religion of perpetual outrage at the rest of the world. Cartoons of Mohammed, piggy banks, Burger King ice cream, and beauty queens are but the smallest of samples of persons, places and things that send its adherents into public paroxysms.

And now it's His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, who has sent them into screaming rage not for what he said himself, but for whom he quoted in a speech before a group of university professors in Germany:

Pakistan's parliament on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Pope Benedict XVI for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and seeking an apology from him for hurting Muslims' feelings.

The resolution, moved by hard-line legislator Fazal Karim, was supported by both government and opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

Chaudhry Ameer Hussain, speaker of the National Assembly, allowed Mr. Karim to move the resolution after Mr. Karim said the Pope had insulted Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, and hurt the feelings of the entire Muslim world by making "derogatory remarks."

The measure was adopted a day after the Vatican sought to defuse criticism of the pontiff's remarks, when he quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor ... said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,'" he quoted the emperor as saying.

But a careful reading of the Pope's speech at the University of Regensburg, titled Three Stages in the Program of De-Hellenization", shows that this quote was far from a gratuitous swipe at Islam, and actually quite an intelligent exposition at how differences in the theological understanding of the nature of God have led Islam to consider jihad and forced conversion to be morally right and holy:

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by professor Theodore Khoury (Muenster) of part of the dialogue carried on -- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara -- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.

It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned Persian. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Koran, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the "three Laws": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran.

In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point -- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself -- which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason," I found interesting and which can serve as the starting point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 2:256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion." It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under [threat]. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Koran, concerning holy war.

Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels," he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably ("syn logo") is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...."

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

Most journalists, having little education or interest in history, theology or philosophy, would have missed the entire point of the Pope's speech and rushed, as they did, to write stories with headlines such as "Pope condemns science" and "Pope attacks Islam."

And most journalists, having been educated to believe, and still fervently believing, that all religions are the same, just as no culture is superior to another, demonstrate just how intellectually incurious they are.

They do themselves a disservice, because uninformed journalist can't help their readers make sense of the news if they don't have the education to make sense of it themselves.

But then, reading a speech by one former German academic to other German academics can be an exercise in tedium (though this particular one isn't, even if it's got some technical language.)

Source: Globe and Mail

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Choked Up

There's a reason why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins:

A 32-year-old woman was taken to a London, Ont., hospital after choking during a marshmallow-eating contest at a local fair, the CBC reported on its Web site yesterday.

The woman, whose identity is not known, is in critical condition after collapsing on Tuesday as she walked away from the Chubby Bunny contest -- a competition to see which contestants could stuff the most marshmallows in their mouths.

EMS duty manager Al Hunt told the CBC the woman had no vital signs when paramedics arrived at the fairgrounds. She was revived at the hospital, he said.

Fair manager Dave Taylor said the future of the contest is in question. "It was just an unfortunate incident that happened,"he said. "That contest had been on a few times, but I think we will probably pull the plug on that contest and it won't be continuing on."

What was first prize in the marshmallow eating contest? All the marshmallows you can eat?

Source: National Post

Lone Gunman Shot Down

Another loser punk tried to make a name for himself by shooting at unarmed bystanders in Montreal yesterday:

A rifle-toting gunman, clad in black from head to toe, walked into a downtown Montreal college at lunchtime Wednesday, where he methodically shot at least a dozen people, killing at least one and critically wounding five others, before being shot dead in a firefight with police.

The 25-year-old man used legally registered guns for the rampage at Dawson College.

As horrific as it was, the attack could have been much worse. Police arrived on site within three minutes of the gunman opening fire and, in their words, “neutralized” the shooter a short time later.

Two very different methods of gun control were at work in this terrible incident.

The bureaucratic method did nothing at all to stop it.

The police method shows how proper use of well-controlled guns can stop a shootout from turning into a complete bloodbath.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Foreign Affairs

Giggling schoolgirl reportertte Jane Taber may the undisputed queen of irrelevant political gossip writing, but Bruce Campion-Smith of the Toronto Star is giving her a run for her money with this silly article about Peter MacKay and Condi Rice's trip to Pictou County:

The world's most influential diplomat and Ottawa's most eligible bachelor seem to be hitting it off.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay enjoyed a chummy — and unusual — visit to MacKay's Nova Scotia riding yesterday.

In stark contrast to the usual government visits where diplomats do business on the fly, Rice spent 23 hours in Canada, many of them in MacKay's riding of Central Nova, a languid locale that couldn't be further from the diplomatic hell holes to which she's usually dispatched.


During a spring visit with Rice in Washington, MacKay, who turns 41 two weeks from today, had gushed that the two shared a "chemistry" and conceded he had always been a "fan."

MacKay steered clear of any such fawning talk yesterday. But it was obvious he was smitten with one of the world's most powerful women as they exchanged a handshake and double-cheek kiss. The feeling appeared mutual. Rice, who has never married, repeatedly called MacKay by his first name and seemed in no rush to finish up her morning agenda.

"This has been a lovely trip, Peter," she told him.

U.S. State Department officials played up the amount of time MacKay spent with Rice, saying few get so much attention.

"You don't get four hours of the secretary of state's time even if you're the Queen of England," said one American official.

"It's quite a strong signal."

Signal of what?

Hopefully only of improving relations with our southern neighbour.

The other possibility that the Star's gossip column hints at is too terrifying to contemplate.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Army Wives Hit Jackpot

Two of our men in Afghanistan are going to have some very good news to come home to, and ain't no Taliban terrorist bastard gonna come between them and that:

Eight delighted women from CFB Petawawa, two with husbands serving in Afghanistan, picked up a lottery cheque for $5 million Tuesday in a rare bit of good news for a base hit by tragedy this month.

Over the Labour Day long weekend, five soldiers from the base in eastern Ontario were killed in Afghanistan but the big win Tuesday made for a day of celebration.

“It's been a hard, hard time, you know, when the lads left and then to hear what had happened and that,” said Cheryl Coates, whose husband is serving in the war on the Taliban.

“There were sad faces walking around, especially as the military community, but we helped put a smile on their faces for a bit and forget about what's going on.”


Fellow winner Janice Larade, also a mother of three, has a husband on active duty in Afghanistan.

“My husband never swears and he did,” a laughing Ms. Larade said.

“He's excited, he's thrilled.”

Ms. Larade said she planned to keep on working on the base.

“It doesn't change our situation as a family,” she said.

Ms. Coates and Ms. Larade — along with Karen Chaput, Bobbi-Ann Davis, Rachel Desroche, Marilyn Cheeseman, Jennifer Rhoads and Claudette Robinson — arrived in Toronto in a limo to pick up their ceremonial cheque — worth $625,000 to each of them — in front of the cameras.

Their greatest prize, however, will be when their husbands come home safe and sound, having done their duty.

Source: Globe and Mail

Figures In Speech

It is fitting that Stephen Harper addressed the nation on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

Thinking back to 9/11 itself, however, I recall that the prime minister of the day waited three days to give a short speech full of pious platitudes and then, with his usual insouciance, claimed that there were no terrorists operating in Canada.

Remember the days when the best you could hope from the prime minister was that he would keep his mouth shut and not embarrass us before the world?

Embassy Rowdy

Some jerks in Syria thought that yesterday was reason for celebration, and tried to party like it's 999.

Instead, they're now off to hell without even their virgins to console them:

Armed Islamic militants attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy in a bold attack Tuesday using automatic rifles, hand grenades and at least one van rigged with explosives, the government said. Syrian security forces killed three of the attackers and no Americans were hurt.

The attackers apparently did not breach the high walls surrounding the white embassy compound in a diplomatic neighbourhood of Damascus. But a Chinese diplomat was slightly injured by a stray bullet during the attack, China's government news agency said.

A witness said one Syrian guard outside the embassy also was killed, but the government did not immediately confirm that. At the embassy in Damascus, as at most American embassies worldwide, a local guard force patrols outside the compound's walls while U.S. marine guards are mostly responsible for guarding classified documents and fighting off attackers inside the compound.


After the attack, pools of blood lay splattered on the sidewalk outside the embassy, along with a burned car apparently used by the attackers. A sports utility vehicle with U.S. diplomatic tags had a bullet hole through its front window, and the glass windows of nearby guard houses also were shattered.

This doesn't sound like they were up against the A-team, folks, but be glad that the Syrians made short work of them. An actual invasion of the embassy compound, besides making matters worse, would have elevated popular and media superstitions about the anniversaries of events such as 9/11.

Fortunately, a Canadian embassy has not been attacked in the same fashion.


But we will not have Marine guards inside to kick the invaders' ass, but diplomats full of windy Pearsonian rhetoric.

Perhaps our security strategy will be simply to bore the attackers to death.

Source: CTV

Monday, September 11, 2006

Condi And Peter

Loyal party man that I am, looking at this picture, it's quite clear which one has been promoted to the level of their incompetence.

CLARIFICATION: I will explain this Delphic utterance in more detail, in a future post. Suffice it to say that Secretary Rice is not the one whose competence I question.

Amazing Stories Of Social Science

More groundbreaking study results from the Institute for the Bloody Obvious:

September 10 is suicide prevention day. A study from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) says there is a connection between alcohol and suicide. High levels of alcohol intake are associated to increased rates of suicide. This explains the cause-and-effect relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the rate of suicides in the population.

Robert Mann, senior scientist at CAMH led the study, which looked at "alcohol-related factors" affecting suicide mortality figures in Ontario.

Mann and his researchers found that as the rate of intake of alcohol levels increase, so do the number of suicide deaths. They also found that suicide mortality increased along with a rise in unemployment as well. However, an increase of AA membership was found to decrease suicide rates.

Being an out of work drunk makes you more likely to off yourself? Never would have guessed.

Source: All Headline News

9-11 In Memoriam: Orasri Liangthanasarn

There were 2,996 known and identified people killed in the September 11, 2001 Islamic terror attacks on New York and Washington.

The number has become fraught with meaning. For many, it is a statistic against which to measure a people's grief, a nation's response, a government's objectives.

Yet we dishonour the memory of the victims, and fail those left behind, if we reduce their lives to a number, a mere variable in political calculations.

We must name them all, to remind ourselves of the personal price paid by so many that day, and in the days afterward.

For as many as grieved their loss collectively, so many grieved personally for the loved ones and friends taken from them.

Orasri Liangthanasarn was one of those taken.

She had been working for two months at the famous Windows on the World restaurant on the 107th floor of WTC 1 as a banquet coordinator.

Orasri and her sister Passara had only been in America from Thailand for about three years; Orasri had just graduated from New York University's food and nutrition management master's program, and her sister was attending medical school.

Orasri was one of so many in New York who had come from overseas to achieve her part of the American dream.

We'll never know how much more of it she could have achieved.

For those who ask, "Why do we fight?", in her name, and the names of all those who perished that day, lies the answer.

Inspiration: Project 2,996

Sunday, September 10, 2006

NDP Raises White Flag

Some people appear to be going around surprised that the NDP has just officially called for an immediate withdrawal of all Canadian forces from Afghanistan at its policy convention in Quebec City.

The greater surprise is that there are actually senior NDP members who dissent:

Manitoba's NDP Premier Gary Doer, who addressed delegates on Friday, told CTV Newsnet he supported the mission in Afghanistan five years ago and remains committed to it today.

"This is a UN exercise. The Taliban that we're fighting basically protected the terrorists that were involved five years ago in the 9-11 attack -- which included the killing of innocent victims from Manitoba -- and so I don't like any anti-military talk," he said.

Doer's comments come just two days after soldiers at Canadian Forces Base Shilo, Man., paid tribute to Cpl. David Braun, who was killed Aug. 22 by a suicide bomber outside Kandahar.

Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer, whose riding holds a large military constituency, also spoke out against the proposal. He called it "premature."

"What (the troops) are doing is right," he said. "We need to send the message that we love them, we care about them, and that we hope for their speedy return.

Further, he said the position fails to address what happens to Afghanistan on March 1, when there would be no Canadian troops left under an NDP plan.

Let this NDP policy convention delegate address the matter for you, Mr. Stoffer:

"We don't need more consultation. We need to curtail expenditures which are aiding the war contractors and which are supporting a government of warlords and drug lords in Afghanistan, a government orchestrated and hand-picked by the U.S. empire ..."

Shorter form: we don't care.

Despite all the pious platitudes about achieving a peaceful solution to the Afghanistan crisis, Iraq, and all the other fronts of the war against Islamic terror, the NDP wants to pretend that Canada doesn't have to worry about the rest of the world.

Something more malign than naivety or timdity underlies the NDP's isolationism.

You'll know what that is, by the company they keep at anti-war protest rallies.

Source: CTV

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Anglican Ashram

Twenty million Muslims in Britain will be standing over the grave of the last Anglican in England. Here's why:

A PRIEST with the Church of England who converted to Hinduism has been allowed to continue to officiate as a cleric.
The Rev David Hart’s diocese renewed his licence this summer even though he had moved to India, changed his name to Ananda and daily blesses a congregation of Hindus with fire previously offered up to Nagar, the snake god. He also “recites Gayatri Mantram with the same devotion with which he celebrates the Eucharist”, according to The Hindu, India’s national newspaper.

The Hindu this week pictures him offering prayers to an idol of the elephant god Ganesh in front of his house. However, he still believes he is fit to celebrate as an Anglican priest and plans to do so when he returns to Britain.


In an interview with today’s edition of Church Times, Mr Hart admits that he had not told Dr Russell that he had converted, but said that he would be amazed if his conversion were treated with any suspicion.

“I have neither explicitly nor implicitly renounced my Christian faith or priesthood,” he said. The renewal of his licence was sponsored by the Rural Dean of Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Mr Hart believes that his change to Hinduism would be “read in the spirit of open exploration and dialogue, which is an essential feature of our shared modern spirituality”.

This is the real reason why the establishment of a state church is a bad idea: not because the church ends up dominating the state, but because the state ends up dominating the church.

Or, in another sense, the church ends up conflating the Gospel with the national interest and popular culture, and tailors the former to conform to and advance the latter.

The Church of England has spent so long being of England, following with every cultural and ideological shift in the English mindset, that it has forgotten that its mission to be the church in England.

Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley would not have gone to the stake for today's Church of England, but gone running back to Rome.

Source: Times Online

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh Say Can You C

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission is now OLG.

I don't know what the trend to dropping names in favour of initials (KFC, RBC, TD) is supposed to reflect, other than some strange marketing notion that people can't remember names or won't buy products and services because the old name isn't "edgy" enough.

But for $6 million, I'm sure that there's some sort of value for money somewhere, if not just for the marketing gurus who dreamt up the idea:

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is spending as much as $6 million on a rebranding exercise that drops the letter C from the OLGC logo.

In response to questioning from Conservative MPPs at a government committee yesterday, OLG chief executive Duncan Brown revealed the expected cost of the initiative as $4 million to $6 million.

Conservative MPP Laurie Scott said she finds it "suspicious" so much money is being spent on what she views as a largely cosmetic change.

"When it's a $6-million C, a $6-million waste of taxpayer money, we do have some questions," she said.

Brown said the logo is only part of the rebranding exercise that seeks to "harness the capabilities, the skills and the intelligence of the thousands of employees" under a common theme.

"So this is not about dropping a C," Brown said. "This is about creating a brand that will represent trust, integrity and effective gaming operations."

Do you feel any more secure about dropping the rent money in the slots because of this rebranding? Didn't think so. Typical marketing rubbish.

Source: London Free Press

Iggy's Master Plan

The Liberal Party's would-be next great philosopher king has finally unveiled his policy platform. And he's just lost Quebec and the isolationalist left in his party with it, and added another level of confusion to the constitutional debate:

Quebec does not need any more powers and Ottawa should not damage its capacity to bind the nation together by handing over tax powers to the provinces, Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff said yesterday.

Although his new platform states that Quebec should be recognized as a "nation," as should aboriginal nations, in a Canada that is a "multinational state," Mr. Ignatieff made it clear that he believes Ottawa's power cannot be eroded.

"What you see is that Quebec has all the powers necessary to make its society flourish and grow," he said after a Toronto rally to mark the release of his platform, titled Agenda for Nation Building.


Mr. Ignatieff also defended his staunch support of Canada's mission in Afghanistan, an issue that has divided the party and leadership candidates. But he called for Canada to press for more reconstruction efforts and said the "tipping point" that would force Canada to withdraw is if its troops there lost the "hearts and minds" of Afghans.

"You have to get the security situation under control, so at any one given moment you may be investing more in the military than in reconstruction. But I've made it clear that this has to be a balanced mission.

"I think it is generally admitted that the international community has not invested enough in the reconstruction and humanitarian components. There's no question this is a weakness of the mission that has to be addressed. And Canada has to step up and say let's get this done."

Calling Canada a multinational state raises connotations of other failed multinational states, such as the Russian Empire (a reach back into the old family history, Mike?), the Soviet Union, Austria-Hungary, and Yugoslavia. As a definition of Canada, it's even more divisive than multicultural, because nation suggests a people with a right to self-determination and dismemberment of Confederation.

Yet at the same time, he intends to maintain a strong central government through continued meddling in provincial jurisdiction through the federal spending power. Effectively, his constitutional master plan would create the worst of both worlds.

And while he talks common sense about Afghanistan, he's trying to lead a party where a good many members are no less naive, and sometimes malicious, than the mainstream of the NDP.

Does Ignatieff have the chops to become the next Pierre Trudeau, God forbid?

The early betting says no.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Slander The Soldier

NDP rank and file should be grateful for the fact that most resolutions at policy conventions are either defeated, downplayed, or ignored afterwards.

Because if this one isn't unconditionally repudiated, the NDP is going to have a hell of a time outside the big three explaining to Joe Sixpack that his brother in the Army or neighbour in the Navy is just another terrorist:

Canada's troops in Afghanistan have been "acting like terrorists, destroying communities, killing and maiming innocent people", according to a resolution that will be voted on by New Democrats at the party's convention in Quebec City this weekend.

The resolution is one of 104 proposals on international affairs from local riding associations that will be presented at the convention. Others suggest Canada withdraw from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, while one riding association proposes a freeze on trade with Israel until the "occupation of Palestinian lands" is ended.


The resolution comparing Canadian troops to terrorists, put forward by the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding association in British Columbia, says Canada's goals "cannot be achieved by violence when the 'enemy' cannot be distinguished from ordinary citizens" and calls for Canadian troops to be withdrawn from that country.

Its release comes as the bodies of five Canadian soldiers were returned home after being killed in the Kandahar region on the weekend.

A spokesman for Jack Layton said the NDP leader would not comment on the language used in the resolution or indicate whether he intended to vote for it.

"These resolutions have not been debated yet and have absolutely no status at this time," Karl Belanger said.

Jean Crowder, the NDP MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, also refused to comment on the resolution before it has been debated at the convention.

On second thought, let the NDP adopt this resolution and put it out front at the next election, when the Afghanistan mission is likely to be a major campaign issue.

Let Jack Layton explain to the families and friends of our servicemen why his party holds them in the same contempt as most people hold the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Let the NDP candidates try to explain as they go door-to-door in Halifax, Trenton or Esquimalt.

Let the party spokesmen tell us whether this is what the real meaning of the cant "support the troops, oppose the mission" is.

This resolution demonstrates just how deeply in thrall the NDP has become to some of its more radical elements. We can ignore the old-style Marxist policy resolutions calling for the nationalization of everything under the sun, because even the NDP knows it's all for show.

But this direct insult at our men in uniform cannot go unanswered.

Source: National Post

Volpemania: Good Press

Finally, a positive article about Joe Volpe, and in one of the most unlikely places to find it.

Report From Panjwai

Men will know what I mean when I say that on reading this story, for all the risk and danger--indeed, because of it--I wish I was there:

Canadian troops pushed deep into the warren of fields in Panjwai district Wednesday morning, hunting Taliban under bright moonlight after enduring hours of co-ordinated attacks by the insurgents.

The soldiers crept forward on foot, into terrain so difficult that armoured vehicles could not advance for fear of getting stuck in the rutted fields, irrigation trenches and dry canals.

It was the first major incursion by either side in the past 24 hours, in the continuing struggle for control of Panjwai district. Operation Medusa, launched four days ago to control the volatile region southwest of Kandahar city, has settled into a siege, with hundreds of Canadian troops and their allies encircling about 700 insurgents who fiercely defend their foothold near Afghanistan's second-largest city.

U.S. forces taking part in the battle said Tuesday they had killed between 50 and 60 suspected Taliban militants. NATO and Afghan officials have said about 200 insurgents have so far died in the operation.


The stillness broke around 1 p.m., when a white sedan carrying three men in traditional Afghan dress appeared on Highway 1, driving west, deep inside the Canadians' security cordon. The sedan was stopped by Canadian soldiers, who questioned the occupants about how they ended up driving along a road already blocked by other checkpoints.

“Our guys became suspicious right off the bat,” said Major Geoff Abthorpe, commander of Bravo Company. “Then we found the gunpowder residue on their hands.”

One of the men had fired a gun recently, according to a field test, while another had faint traces of gunpowder. The third was clean, but none of them could explain how they got inside the Canadian cordon. Soldiers have been hearing reports about Taliban trying to escape Panjwai district, and the three were taken for questioning at Patrol Base Wilson.

A mobile phone belonging to one of the detainees started ringing during the initial questioning, Major Abthorpe said. A military interpreter answered the call, and discovered that he was talking with a senior Taliban commander.

On such small events do great battles turn. We might get to take out one of the big turbans because one of his minions didn't set his cellphone to vibrate. And perhaps shorten the war a little, and leave a few more men alive and unharmed.

We get 'em by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow.

This is not the demoralized force going through the motions on a failing mission that our native fifth column would like you to believe.

The Maple Leaf Forever!

Source: Globe and Mail

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Terror In The Iranian Ivory Tower

First I read the headline and thought, maybe Ahmedinejad isn't entirely bad, after all!

Then I read the article and realized that, of course, his idea of "liberal" and mine are as opposite as night and day.

But we can work with him on this issue.

Let's trade our liberal professors for theirs. That way, both sides will get to work under the system of civil government and academic governance they prefer.

We get their learned and capable professors of science, medicine, engineering and liberal arts, and they get our useless and incompetent professors of sociology, women's studies, GLBTQ culture and postmodern literary theory.

How about it, folks? This is a win-win proposition!

The First Casualty Of War

Since Canada first sent forces to Afghanistan in 2002, 32 soldiers have been killed, and not all of them in combat at enemy hands. But to hear the media go on about their deaths, one would think we've lost 32,000.

The media's obsessive focus on our casualty numbers, with little regard to be much higher number casualty numbers we've inflicted on the enemy and the objectives Allied forces have achieved as a result, is giving the Taliban and their sympathizers an incredible propaganda victory that they could not otherwise hope to achieve.

These military experts and historians put the numbers in perspective:

Analysts say two generations of peace have left many Canadians with no yardstick to measure combat deaths, which means each casualty in Afghanistan hits hard.

"What you have here is a population that has been so long distanced from war that it has really no internal frame of reference on how you go about dealing with the fact that in war people get killed," said Brian MacDonald, a retired artillery colonel.

"As a consequence, there is then a very powerful reaction on each individual death.

"The actual casualty rates that we have been suffering by historic perspectives are quite light, but people don't know that because they have no personal yardstick against which to measure it."


Losing five soldiers in less than 48 hours stands out for Canadians today, but even the Korean War, a small conflict by world standards, provided worse days.

In the battle of Kapyong on the night of April 24-25, 1951, 10 Canadians were killed and 23 injured.

Even peacekeeping produced high death tolls from time to time, but people discounted that because of the mystique of peacekeeping, said Jack Granatstein, a historian and author.

In August 1974, the Syrians shot down a Canadian plane near the Golan Heights, killing nine Canadian peacekeepers.

"There wasn't a peep in Canada,' said Granatstein. "We have persuaded ourselves that we're peacekeepers only and the idea that we're actually fighting in a war is almost alien to us."

Imagine if the media had gone on the same way about Hong Kong and Dieppe the same way they go on about successful Canadian missions.

And imagine how weak and cowardly Canada looks in the eyes of an enemy that sacrifices thousands of its own without the least regret.

People who say they don't understand the mission and why our men are fighting and dying in it do have a point, however: if they rely on our media to explain it, they'll never know of its successes.

Source: Edmonton Sun

When Smart Women Make Stupid Choices

Phil G from Ottawa makes the point more succinctly and effectively than I could: good girls go ga-ga for bad boys:

She started out looking for a husband. Instead, the young Carleton University student became a key conduit for thousands of dollars that, police say, was financing terrorism.

Zenab Armend Pisheh, an Ottawa-area chemistry student in her early 20s, says she was used by young, aspiring jihadists in Britain and Canada and that she was handpicked because "sisters don't get caught -- brothers get caught if they send money."

For the first time yesterday, Ms. Armend Pisheh emerged as a key, co-operating witness for British and Canadian prosecutors, who are trying to prove that seven young British men and an Ottawa man, Momin Khawaja, conspired to blow up a British landmark in 2004.


through an Internet chat room, she got to know a man who identified himself as Abdul Rahman Adam. It was a whirlwind romance, and soon he was phoning her from Britain and discussing marriage. He also told her that he and some other brothers were interested in unspecified "training" in a place she presumed to be Pakistan, she said.

The man she met, prosecutors say, was actually one of the seven accused British men, Anthony Garcia, 24.

The wedding never happened; her suitor insisted that she move to Britain and live with him and his parents, and she wanted him to come to Canada, she said in her statement.

I'm only surprised that the terrorists aren't also targeting the dim white Western women on university campuses who flock to the progressive political organizations thriving there. The campus chapter of the International Socialists, Public Interest Research Group or Middle Eastern Friendship Society would be prime ground for finding the naive sort who would run guns or money for the chance to play the great heroine.

But they probably already are, along with embittered divorcees looking for someone exotic and dangerous, ready to be wooed with a few dollars and gifts, to make themselves feel better.

If your daughter starts talking about some guy from Iran or Pakistan she just met at the Justice for Palestine rally who's always travelling back and forth to the Middle East and flashing around lots of money without any visible legitimate means of earning it, be concerned. Be very concerned.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Basic Black

Thank God and the Canadian electorate that this woman is merely a third party defence critic and not the defence minister:

Troops are currently engaged in Operation Medusa -- a major offensive in the violent Panjwaii district, to combat insurgents in Taliban strongholds.

NDP Defence Critic Dawn Black argued that focusing on wiping out the Taliban is not helping the Afghanistan people.

"The extension of the mission for another two years in this kind of warfare is not achieving the kind of results that we want to see for the people of Afghanistan," Black told CTV Newsnet.

"It's no a balanced mission. There's nothing happening there in terms of development or diplomacy at this point. And we don't believe that you can make a positive change in the lives of the people in southern Afghanistan by simply bombing and killing (insurgents).

"We understand you need a defensive role to bring peace and increased security, but you must also be doing the development and diplomatic work that leads to an enduring security."

This is a favourite straw man argument of opponents of the Afghanistan mission: that the Allied forces are simply going to kill everyone in sight and leave the survivors to fend for themselves in the rubble. No one has ever claimed that as the sole objective. If it were, it would be highly irresponsible, given the nature of the area and its politics.

Sure, killing the Taliban creates a vacuum, but the point is to fill it before another gang of Islamic terrorists do.

You can't start the Marshall Plan while the Nazis are running Germany.

Source: CTV


A man can defy death in a thousand ways, land, air, and sea, yet be struck down where ordinary man would go untouched.

So it is for Steve Irwin killed by an animal that, despite its fierce name, almost never kills:

Steve Irwin, the popular Australian television personality known as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed Monday after being stung by a stingray on a diving expedition off the Great Barrier Reef.

Irwin, 44, was filming an underwater sequence for a television series on remote Batt Reef off the far northeast coast of Australia when he encountered the stingray and was stung in the chest about 11 a.m.

Irwin was shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the stingrays, his friend and colleague John Stainton told The Associated Press.

"He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat at the time.

Whether one takes great risks or clings to safety, one eventually dies.

Would that we all had a little bit more of Steve Irwin's spirit of adventure; we would all die with fewer regrets.

Source: CTV

Sunday, September 03, 2006

From Philosopher King To Nutty Professor

Michael Ignatieff thinks he can do the job of prime minister standing on his head. Literally:

Michael Ignatieff's habit of doing daily headstands may improve his balance, stress levels and perhaps even stem some hair loss, but it is unlikely to help him stave off Alzheimer's disease, experts say.

The former Harvard professor and contender for the leadership of the Liberal party said in a newspaper profile last week that he stands on his head so that blood will rush to his brain.

Mr. Ignatieff has a family history of the degenerative neurological disease. His mother and maternal grandmother both suffered from Alzheimer's, and his odd exercise regimen is apparently an effort to ward off the disease.

But Cheryl Grady, a senior scientist with Toronto's Baycrest Centre, laughed when she heard of the technique.

"That's a strange thing. I've never heard of anyone doing that," she said. "I'm not even sure that standing on your head really affects blood flow to your brain. It might drain away from your feet a little."

First it's his comments about skipping the country again if he loses, then it's pimping out Ruby Dhalla to raise money, then it's musing about civil war in Quebec, now it's daily headstands to ward off senility.

Michael Ignatieff may be having done to him what was done to Paul Martin--before winning the leadership, no less. The hero on the white horse may yet again be turned into a fool riding a jackass.

But for the Bolsheviks, he might have grown up to be another vacuous Russian nobleman, instead of the Liberal Party's great white hope.

At least he's got Ashley MacIsaac in his corner, though.

Source: National Post

American Traitor

This traitor had better pray to Allah that he never falls into his countrymen's hands, because many of them will not be inclined to be the least bit merciful towards him:

Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri issued a new videotape Saturday along with a man identified as an American member of the terror network, inviting Americans to convert to Islam.

The 41-minute video, posted on an Islamic militant Web site nine days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, had footage of Mr. al-Zawahri and a man the video identified as Adam Yehiye Gadahn, an American who the FBI believes attended al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and served as an al-Qaeda translator.

Mr. Gadahn and Mr. al-Zawahri did not appear together in the footage but were each featured on a split screen. Both wore white turbans and robes.

It was the second time Mr. Gadahn has appeared in the same video with Mr. al-Zawahri. In a July 7 video marking the one-year anniversary of bombings against the London transit system, Mr. Gadahn said no Muslim should "shed tears" for Westerners killed by al-Qaeda attacks.


Mr. Gadahn spoke with his face uncovered, resembling FBI photos, with his name and nom de guerre — "Azzam the American" — written in titles in Arabic and English next to him.

"We invite all Americans and unbelievers to Islam," Mr. Gadahn said, sporting a long, thick black beard with a computer terminal in the background.

Mr. Gadahn, a 28-year-old from California who converted to Islam, is wanted by the FBI in connection with possible terrorist threats against the United States, though the agency says it has no information linking him to any specific terrorist activities.

Mr. Gadahn spoke for much of the video, saying he wanted to correct the image Americans have of Islam.

He described the West as "the civilization which enslaved Africa, slaughtered native Americans, fired bombs at ... Tokyo and [the Iraqi city of] Fallujah and nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Gadahn probably came to his hatred for his own country through years of schooling by progressive teachers, first in public school, then in post-secondary.

He would have been taught that America's self-proclaimed ideals were frauds, that it was the greatest imperial aggressor in history, that its wealth and power were built on the blood, toil and bodies of millions of slaves at home and in the developing world.

Most students so taught ignore most of this, because the disconnect between reality and propaganda is too great for even the unlearned to ignore.

But a good many believe it as gospel, and go looking for some other political or religious creed to give their lives meaning.

Adam Gadahn and his ilk would have embraced Communism or National Socialism just as eagerly decades ago as they embrace Islam today.

The wonder is not that there are so many Adam Gadahns produced by our self-hating educators, but that there are not more.

Source: Globe and Mail