Thursday, March 11, 2010

Battle of The Book: Amazon Takes On the Local Bookseller

I'm a big fan of the local bookstore. I used to work in one. I know that there is a decline in so-called "books and mortar" type stores, but the imminent threat of Amazon opening up a warehouse, here in Canada, has the booksellers upset. I agree with them to a certain point. Free market is the name of the game and online accessibility will hurt the booksellers here. Amazon has it's backers. the National Post Editorial you will find here explains.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Alberta: Singing True North Strong and Free to Pollute

I was just randomly searching through the news on BBC's website. I was drawn to the America's section. Maybe find out what the BBC could possibly write about the current political situation. Stephen Harper's Conservative minority government on the brink of collapse, by ne'er dowellers (sic) including a socialist government, a socialist break-away provincial party (the Bloq Quebecois,) and the Liberal Party of Canada. This is HUGE, no?

I find this, instead:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Innu Breaks A Deal With El Presidente Danny

Today, First Nations inhabitants of a couple of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador reached a deal with Premier Danny Williams regarding a hydro 'megaproject' and compensation for another. Now, for those wondering, I have 'alleged' roots with the Innu. I may be more than 1/16 the required amount of Innu bloodline to allow me any sort of status, or tax free benefits, or free education, or free meds... but a drop of oil in a bucket of water amounts to something, doesn't it? To me, it means culture.

The Innu have gone through some harsh times, as well as many other indegenous peoples all over the world, so anything amounting to a victory for the progression of culture within a First Nations or Inuit in Canada deserves my regard.



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Notes From Lebanon

From "What Is Happening In Lebanon," Laurie King-Irani writing on ZNet. "Any eruption of large-scale violence in Lebanon is cause for concern, since so many related regional crises are "hot-wired" through Lebanon, and the war that raged there during the last decades of the 20th century was in fact three wars: A local, regional, and international confrontation that intersected and metastasized in horrific ways. For those of us who have lived in, and love, Lebanon, the fear of the 1975-1991 war's return always lurks in the back of the mind."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Endless Conversation: Dion Takes on Harper Over Rights

Mike. Dion may seem to have what it takes to take on Harper, but he will have to be whip smart and out-hustle this poor excuse for a sales-rep PM. It's funny how all the parties seem to be testing the waters in terms of looking at the reaction at the mere mention of the word: Constitution. Will there be debate on Senate reform? I'm seeing various Senators on both CBC and CTV Newsnet arguing with each other (Grits, as we all know, far outnumber the Tories in terms of voices heard, as I've been seeing the same prominent and outspoken Senators in the newsmedia. One just so happens to be from the same riding as Harper, I think.)

Anyways, this is what Stephane Dion has to deal with. He's made the choice of making Ignatieff his deputy, this may help him in so many ways, if not academically. I don't know who he'll call upon to be his mover in shaker. That could be Gerard Kennedy, but who knows in what department, and where's he been, anyways? I'll have to take a look. Is that kid elected anywhere, by the way?

What will Dion give the others that ran against him in such honorable fashion. The back room deals will innevatably unfold in front of us.

Strap in! This will get interesting once the budget is presented. It's funny, but I consider that day to be kinda like the Superbowl: high stakes and surprising (sometimes angry) results. Mike, you bring the dip, i'll supply the munchies.

Watch out! Constitution talk is in the air, and I hope that the conversation goes the right way, always shining a light on the permanence that will help cement the Charter of Rights. With all levels of government being given their chance to seal the deal for generations to come, this will be an exhibitionary display for all us political observers... this should be an excellent opportunity to get close to the action.

Kinda like covering the Superbowl, man. For Canada, of course.

Talk soon,


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Make No Mistake: Natives Need Care

For the most part, Native Affairs has a sobering characteristic to it. It makes you wanna jump right in and lend a hand, when you hear of the issues facing Natives at the moment. There are some not-too-sober Natives who have, some, been driven to despair (read: suicide and alcohol adiction.)With health care costs, being at what they are, should come as a foregone conclusion... how to drive these costs? From my experience, as an analyst with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), I would first find out how to stop children being born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. So many children need proton pump inhibitors, it's ridiculous.

But where can we ALL go from here? As Canadians we certainly need to take a 2nd and 3rd and 4th and 5th look at how to solve some of their most simple of problems: Native land, for one. There is such rage amongst neighbours, THAT, I find, is unhealthy. Also, there needs basic infrastructure on their own land. So much money is lost on health care costs and welfare that there is not much left for housing and, well, not much else. We take all of this for granted, here in The South. There may seem to be widespread misunderstanding between The South and our First Nations and Inuit neighbours.

For a good article: "Where Tragedy Falls off Canada's Map," by Marie Wadden, Atkinson Fellow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Supporting the Independents: Breaking Some Backs for Democratic Gain

Here I am sitting in front of my computer on a Friday night reciting a much needed condemnation, from me, on party politics, and an endorsement for a certain former Conservative MP from Halton, ON. I find it great that Garth Turner has taken ahold of the reins on the Independent MP position. Although he may seem like the lone wolf in the Commons, he is not. Andre Arthur is the other, but we don't hear too much from him. Those two seem so very dissimilar... or really are they? Now, if I think about this... aww... they're as dissimilar as the language they speak publicly. They are both supported by their base, and will hopefully continue to do well as they have in their ridings, representing their constituents.

Well, Arthur, I don't know what to say about that Anti-Statist Libertarian. He's in a league of his own, which is very interesting, to say the least. But he has largely been unheard from. At least he has emphasized the legacy and the Independent status of one Chuck Cadman from Surrey North.

I hope this bill that Turner puts forward makes some headway into public debate on the role of an independent and the benefits to our labour-of-love of a democracy, here, in our beloved Mother Land. And I would urge Turner to pay tribute, maybe help pay for Cadman's website. It's for sale!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Recalling A Hero: Mutombo on the CBC

Call it my love of sport, wrapping it with an African humanitarian effort, and honouring a monster of a defensive talent . I have to write about a story based on what I saw on the CBC Newsworld tonight, about one of my favorite basketball heroes from when I was a kid. I still have Dikembe Mutombo's rookie card: a 1991 Upperdeck basketball card. A smiling 7'2" Dikembe posing amidst a skyline of some sort. Could be New York, during the draft, or it could be Denver, where he got drafted to play. He was chosen in the 1st round, 4th overall by the Denver Nuggets. On the card, he looks upstart in his dark blue blazer with colourful blue tie. He would go on to be become one of the most vicious of shot blockers in the NBA, snatching up rebounds like a Stephen Harper who fumbles with balls.

I remember the Nuggets would go on to upset the top ranked team in the NBA, at the time, the awesome Shawn Kemp and the Seattle Supersonics. It was called the greatest upset in NBA playoff history. Mutombo was younger and more cocky back in 94. Over a decade later, he's pretty much washed up in terms of his play, and it's probably due to being 40 years old now. At 7'2" weighing 245 lbs., how much longer can you go? Now with 6, dependents, 4 of whom are his adopted nieces and nephews, after going hard for over 15 years at 30 some odd minutes on the hardwood slamming your body into much younger and much stronger kids, it's time to start looking after his own.

He's back on solid ground, though still living in the US, but this former pre-med major has dished out over $15 million dollars to charitable ventures back in his homeland of Zaire, which is now called the Democratic Rebublic of Congo. Because of his story, and knowing what I know of what kind of catastrophe that has blasted through his country (amongst other neigbouring countries) having gone into wicked upheaval.... More recently, after going through all the rigours that befalls a retiring athlete you begin to realize that you cannot play so well anymore, or not at all... (sigh... my gut.) Dikembe Mutombo has built something that became the nation's first fully equipped medical facility in over 30 years.

Good story when I consider all that is going on around me, especially in Toronto. We, at Guilty Parties Inc. should try to acknowledge the GOOD Guilty Parties, just to stay balanced, I guess. If I get a little oversensitive or nostalgic at these times, I should apologize, but seeing these things tend to bring me back to other things that I almost forget about, like this mint condition Dikembe Mutombo rookie card. But don't forget to listen a moment to old heroes and hope they have an encouraging story to tell.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Israel Bombs UN Post in Lebanon: Are They Guilty?

In this current middle-eastern maelstrom, a UN post comes under fire from Israeli forces. Despite repeated warnings that bombs were getting too close. In the ensuing aftermath 4 UN observers were killed: 1 Canadian, 1 Chinese, 1 Australian, and 1 Finnish. Israeli Prime Minister has expressed "deep regret" over the incident, and has promised a full investigation, but one has to wonder at the relentless, anything goes strategy. According to sources, the UN outpost called Israeli forces to let them know, at least 6 times, that their bombs were closing in on their clearly marked and long established post. If indeed this was a targeted strike, what are the implications?

Due to strategic reasons, there is no chance of a US and Israeli sanctioned ceasefire due to the possibilty of Hezbollah rearming in the interim. Hezbollah says they will not cease fighting under any "humiliating" conditions. So the bloodshed will continue.

There are ongoing discussions in Rome as to what to do next. As for peacekeeping forces, there are reservations by some, including France who think that a peacekeeping mission may be premature. The US and Britain are definitely not in due to their continuing presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Canada is in a similar situation whereby our miniscule army is bogged down in Afghanistan in it's reconstruction efforts.

Turkey has been fingered as an appropriate country the UN would like to see lead the a new, larger-scaled mission with an estimated need for 10,000 troops.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, has called accountability for any breaches of international law. There is no sign of discontinuing the assault.

Lebanon is being seen by some as the location of a proxy war that may serve to identify allies in the region and to gauge responses from the area governments. In a feature on the Al-Jazeera website, the publication asks if social affairs minister, Rene Moawad, agrees with the Hezbollah claim that it's actions aim to defend the interests of the Lebanese people. She responds that only the government can decide for peace or war. Meanwhile, she says, there is an impending humanitarian "disaster."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What's Up With The Presses?

This is our leader. Do what he says, and no one gets hurt. Harper will now take it to rural Canada. Maybe a good place to cook up some cow patties. While Harper does it on the BBQ circuit, once again, (read: local news coverage only) time for the Big Boys in the news media in Ottawa to sharpen it's claws.

Have fun in Quebec with the Pacific thing.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hidey ho, true believers

me again. I often wonder why Jimmy the 'Greek' was fired from NBC Sports in the mid-eighties. I mean I know why... I'm not stupid. He said that the reason 'African' Americans were so good at track was because they were genetically predisposed. Well d'uh!

I mean come on! Look at any major sport! Heck ya they're genetically predisposed! They were BRED that way! I mean, if you listen to any account of slavery, from people who have kept the stories alive, you realise that anyone who wasn't physically built; who couldn't survive the veritable onslaught, was put to death. Subsequently, the ones who exhibited the attributes the slave masters were looking for, namely musculature, were forced to propgagate to ensure the strentgh of the workforce. I simply put 2 and 2 together! Sure, I got 7 but whatever!

My point is, Black America has been bred for physical fortitude! Anyone denying that hasn't looked at the facts. Now don't get me wrong; superior physicality does not negate mental acuity, not in the slightest, so all o y'all about to jump down my throat can just chill. I'm just sayin'... wonder why the WNBA is full o fine sistas? That's why.

Hockey's next!

Ya heard.

Riot out!


4:21 PM

Monday, March 27, 2006

Belarus Protest Crushed by OMON

A little muscle, courtesy of a Russian military force, OMON (Special Purpose Detachment of Militsiya,) was used to destroy the protest against possible vote fraud in that occured Minsk, Belarus on March 24. The methods used, according to indymedia, were indeed heavy-handed.

There does seem to be a surging resistance to the West from the East, politically speaking, and it seems to me that the lines are being drawn in the sand, idealogically speaking, as well, and the question we should be asking is what kind of messages are being sent our way?

Reasons for this might be because of the renewed presence of military forces. Russia seems to be very politically tight, and nothing seems to faze Russian President Valdimir Putin as he continues to keep his friend and strategic ally, "President" Alexander Lukashenko around for another dozen years, or so. Putin seems to go about his own business, entrenched in some sort of a political maze that is only in his own mind, or maybe OMON's. Who know's?

Not anything like the continuing saga that is the incumbent American administration.

And while I'm blogging on the subject of current events on another continent, I somehow seamlessly string myself along to the American side of things... here is a look at how indymedia in New Orleans operates post Katrina. Look for Bush Bashing elsewhere's. It's pretty easy, and I hope he gets impreached.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

View to a (second) gaffe

Peter MacKay, Canada's newly-minted Minister of Foreign Affairs, is busy pulling his left foot out of his mouth today -- a process that involves his having to assert (as indicated in an article from today's Globe and Mail) that "Canadian aid to the Palestinian Authority is still under review and is subject to conditions set by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month." MacKay's (written) assertion comes one day after the enfant terrible of the Harper cabinet said that "'some Canadian aid will continue' to the Palestinian Authority on the basis of third-party assurances from Russia that the money would not be diverted for military purposes or to finance terrorism by Hamas."

It was only a couple of weeks ago that MacKay found himself choking on his right foot, after he claimed (as reported in a piece in the Feb. 21 edition of the Globe) that fresh intelligence information showed that "Canadian aid workers held hostage in Iraq" were safe and faced "imminent release" -- only for it to be subsequently revealed that "the intelligence in question was a month-old videotape aired on the Arab network Al-Jazeera."

Which begs the question: how many feet does Mr. MacKay have?

-- MH

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Canada's Reconstruction Effort in Afghanistan: Snowbunnies in the Desert

To some of us who know anything at all, what with our special truth-seeing goggles, we were quite prepared for the onslaught of the propaghanda and the revoking of some of the journalistic freedoms coming out of America. It was innevitable, because the questioning of authority during times of war is a serious case of insubordination that will not be tolerated due to the simple fact that WE ARE AT WAR. End of paragraph.

As Canadians it was simple to understand the detrimental and antagonizing effects those events had suffered south of the border. It was a wake-up call for everyone. Was it also innevitable that the type of foreign ownership that was being used in economic undertakings overseas would unleash such a beast? There was almost no humanity in it at all, and now WE ARE AT WAR.

Regarding the situation Americans faced as a whole after the attrocities on September 11, 2001 was a relapse in quality that some of the most trusted newsmedia has given us in quite a while and it began to take a stagnant effect much throughout the whole landscape: Big Media ran the airwaves and had to secure it's information from outside sources trying to gather as much information as at all possible. It was horrible for people for like myself who, used to getting all of the good stuff, now had to scramble to get at it. Intelligence was brought to a standstill, but also, somehow awful truths and scandalous lies made it out into the public domain. All with incredible results.

In Canada, our free press continues to flourish (albeit with those ridiculously wealthy media barons, the Asper family threating with CanWest's National Editorial Initiative which was considered a tipping point for some of us.)

Now Canada is leading a large contigency on the ground in Southern Afghanistan. This is serious stuff. We are at war. And as witnesses to the attrocities that befell Bali, Spain and Britain, have felt it through the lens of t.v. and in pictures in the newsmedia, something became totally amiss. Having witnessed all of this and they all having their own version of attrocities resulting in the deaths of many innocent people, we have have, as a nation, had to face this spectacle from the outside.

It's getting much too close to home, now.

When we do look at the spectacle closer to home, having been in Afghanistan since September 12, 2001, and knowing that the terrorists who blew up the Twin Towers, held residence in the Taliban-held country and terrorized the citizenry. It was almost natural for us to go. We are now reasonably well-established on the ground, to conduct missions with (some) public and (most) government support (and with new and proper funding, so long neglected) we should be able to further enhance the region.

With the Main Theatre not so far away now, we can also provide security to the southern lands, allowing the citizenry to feel safe and secure. Hopefully advancing and stablilizing the government, the economy, and the infrastructure. If things get out of hand, hopefully we won't have to deal with stories of the common horrors of war: the raping, the killing, and the torturing of innocent lives.

Just watch for the sandstorms with all that bustle from the hired killers doing lots of moving and shaking and the shooting and the killing of enemy combatants.

No one really noticed, 'til now, that we were there 'cause we weren't leading the effort in anyway shape or form. Now that we are doing just that in the South, we may be able to reasonably feel like we're fighting a good fight... thus, arguably, freeing up Americans soldiers to fight it out in the illegal war in Iraq.

We as Canadians seem to have our own unique brand of pumping up Canadians for the Theatre of War. Gen. Hillier is good at what he does, making it pure %100 Pure Canadian Beef, and he's all about propagating the nobility of this simple act by way the plunging our military operation, known as 3-D: defence, development and diplomacy. It is somewhat in full effect, now that we're working on defence first... this should take a few years. At what cost?

Do we need a debate in Parliament?

The Prime Ministers office, including Peter MacKay, is backing up the cause, using phasers on all dissenters. And trying out rhetoric to douse any argument against the effort (ie. none in Parliament.) There have, however, been some statements by officials as saying they would tip us off of if any large and visible quotients need to be looked at by the Canadian people.

This blogger thinks so. There should be some public consultation made publicly in the house, for the record.

Though, naturally, I am a against random acts of violence on innocent people, the act of reconstruction rings soundly to me. I love hockey and played football for many years, they are both a lot like war, in a way, but my idea of fun is not indescriminate killing, and would rather play it out on the gridiron and on the ice... as long as it's safe for that to happen. There may not be any ice in Afghanistan (yet,) but there is a teeming pool of trouble makers out there who have had a hand in killing innocent people, and we should be able to protect the innocent and the vulnerable.

In one stroke, we helped the American's get the fuck out of the region... hopefully they are now aware of their mistakes (let the Gods help us, all,) and we can go back to playing football and a little hockey.

-- JD