Archive

Archive for January, 2008

Picture of the Day: Le Tour Eiffel

January 28th, 2008
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Saturday Fluffernutter: Amy in video/investigation/rehab; Britney’s paparazzi pal; The Razzies; RIP Suzanne Pleshette and Heath Ledger.

January 26th, 2008
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The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

The new James Bond movie has a title: Quantum of Solace. Formerly called Bond 22, filming is moving along well. This week it was reported that filming will move to Bregenz in western Austria, on the edge of Lake Constance in April. Quantum of Solace is currently filming in London with Daniel Craig back as James Bond, Bond girls Gemma Arterton and Olga Kurylenko and villain Mathieu Amalric.

Trouble Child Amy Winehouse was seen smoking what appears to be crack in a video obtained by Britain’s The Sun newspaper this week (the offending puff is at about the 2:00 mark). Coming in the same week as Heath Ledger’s death, the video is disturbing, to say the least. Police have obtained a copy of the video and are investigating. Winehouse meanwhile has apparently gone, gone gone into rehab, hopefully for real.

It’s Razzie time again, when the folks at the Golden Raspberry Awards give out their hardware for worst movies and performances of the past year. I Know Who Killed Me, the Lindsay Lohan vehicle topped the list with nine nominations, however, Eddie Murphy set a record with five personal nominations – and one wasn’t his wedding video.

Oliver Stone has announced he is making a movie about President George W. Bush starring Josh Brolin as the President. Stone promises it won’t be “a hatchet job.”

Of course it won’t, Hollywood loves and respects it’s president.

This week’s Led Zeppelin rumour, courtesy of Ramble On: Jimmy Page will hold a press conference in Tokyo Monday, presumably to announce new Led Zeppelin shows: don’t be holding your breath, however. It seems unlikely the press shy Page would make such an announcement independently.

Britney dates paparazzi; Britney dumps paparazzi; paparazzi sells intimate pictures of their relationship. Hey, it’s what paparazzi do, did nobody tell Britney this? But really, they were only together two weeks, how intimate can the pictures be?

Through all this, his wife has filed for divorce. Didn’t Britney steal K-Daddy from some other woman too? And what, prey tell, will the presiding judge on the divorce make of intimate pictures he took of Britney Spears while still married?

Saddened to hear the news of Suzanne Pleshette‘s death at age 70. She always seemed a classy lady in an industry routinely short of class of any kind. Bob was right, however: she should have worn sweaters more often.

It’s hard to come up with something to say about Heath Ledger’s sudden death at age 28 this week. In an age when much of the world is expecting a Britney/Lindsay/Amy death notice at any time, did anyone pick Heath Ledger to die of, what appears to be at this stage, a drug overdose. He seemed one of the more down to earth young stars and his passing can only be seen as a shock and a tragedy – especially so for his young daughter, two year old Matilda.

What is strangest in all this though is why anybody, upon finding somebody lifeless in bed, would call Mary-Kate Olsen. Ashley, sure, but dear God! call 911, then Mary-Kate Olsen.

Britney, Fluffernutter

Inflexible Unionism: Update

January 25th, 2008

Things are now getting ugly at Ledco as the company filed for bankruptcy last night causing workers blocade the plant, both last night and this morning. The CAW is announcing they have now occupied the plant:

CAW members at Ledco Limited tool and die facility in Kitchener have taken over their plant this morning after the company filed bankruptcy last night.
The CAW has been told the workers will not get their much deserved severance pay for their service. The union will continue to occupy the plant until the company agrees to pay the severance.

It’s hard to blame the poor guys who just lost their job, but you have to wonder if the CAW has no shame: this closing is directly attributable to their refusal to negotiate, and now they are occupying the plant demanding the company do just that.

CAW, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

Inflexible Unionism

January 25th, 2008

With news that Kitchener’s Ledco suddenly closed the doors Wednesday after the CAW refused to negotiate wage and benefit cuts, you have to wonder what is up and coming in this falls Big Three contract negotiations.

Reports this week said GM “had scrapped plans to build some rear-wheel-drive sedans in Oshawa, which could reduce planned output at Canada’s largest auto manufacturing complex by 250,000 units per year.” However, GM employees can relax, as Buzz Hargrove has assured them GM is committed to Oshawa:

I’m confident that they not only want to build there, they’re obligated to: Mr. McGuinty’s government put $235 million into the Beacon, Paul Martin’s government put $200 million in, and our local union bargained a new agreement

And if they don’t commit to Oshawa, will taxpayers get their $½ Billion back? Remember last fall, GM committed to 16 new vehicle programs at their US plants, the same plants that gave wage and benefit concessions in a new contract signed in September.

Which takes us back to Ledco:

Elgin Dezell, a 30-year veteran of the plant, said he was in favour of accepting a wage cut to save his job, but his position was at odds with his union.

“The company gave (the union) until 3 o’clock in the afternoon to change their stand,” he said. “We were willing to give the company something, but the union would not allow that. That puts us out on the streets.”

Dezell organized an employee vote in the hopes of persuading his co-workers to accept a 25 per cent wage cut and 20 per cent benefits cut…

Dezell said 29 of his unionized co-workers showed up for the vote, with 23 voting in favour of the pay cut.

Tim Mitchell, president of Local 1524 [Canadian Auto Workers], said the vote was not authorized by the union and did not reflect the wishes of the majority of the workers…

The CAW has a policy of not negotiating wage and benefit cuts.

Mitchell said he was prepared to discuss a number of cost-cutting alternatives with company managers but they refused to budge from their position.

“They took the position that nothing short of the specific demands they made would be acceptable in that facility,” he said. “Then they walked away from negotiations.”

Mitchell said he had not had any meaningful discussions with Ledco management since December…

Kim Austin, human resources manager at Ledco, said that when the decision was made to close the plant in the late afternoon, there wasn’t even enough time to write individual letters to employees.

So the question for Buzz is, does the CAW, today, still refuse to negotiate wage and benefit cuts? And if so, what car will GM put in Oshawa when they are done putting 16 cars in US plants?

CAW

Are Judges Getting The Message?

January 24th, 2008
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Maybe it’s two isolated cases, but when was the last time two stories in a week featured get tough judgements?

This was a particularly heinous crime. It has shocked the conscience of right-thinking people across the country,” a solemn Ontario Superior Court Justice David McCombs ruled yesterday in denying her bail.

“I have concluded that this is one of those rare cases where detention is justified … in order to maintain confidence in the administration of justice.”

Don’t judges usually say “this was a particularly heinous crime…” just before they respond as if it isn’t? Perhaps if she been caught with a gun when they arrested her, bail would have been easier to give:

The main principle is general deterrence,” said Justice Alexander Sosna. “These offences have been and continue to be a serious problem in our community.”…

“As unfortunate as these circumstances may be, they do not determine the ultimate sentence,” said Judge Sosna. “It is my responsibility to impose a sentence on an exemplary citizen who has committed a serious crime.”

Deterrence? Responsibility to impose sentence? What about your responsibility to the criminal?

Just two cases, but perhaps it’s the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps we are seeing the start of tougher justice from judges who are getting the message – Canadians want crime to pay.

crime and justice

What are the betting odds…

January 24th, 2008
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…that it’s stress related?

Me, I love the idea that Toronto catholic school taxpayers pay her “expensive restaurant bills… on weekend nights where the bill is delivered around midnight”, Then they get to pay for her “plus sized clothing and lingerie.”

pimply minions of bureaucracy, taxpayers

Maple Leafs: Back to the 90’s

January 22nd, 2008
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Last April I posted about the Maple Leafs returning to the glory years of the 1980’s. As I noted, the only thing worse than the music back in 1987 was the Leafs. And since I posted that article less than a year ago, things have gotten so much worse; so much so that a few weeks ago the Sun had a full page picture of Harold Ballard on the cover of the sports section.

Things, however, are looking up Leaf fans, as the team today fired John Ferguson and announced it is bringing back Cliff Fletcher as the teams interim GM. It’s like 1991 all over again, optimistically leaving those dreadful 80’s behind, a brighter future, the pride returns &tc. Oh glory days!

Far be it for me to pooh-pooh this idea too much. Frankly, Fletcher is tailor made for the kind of tearing apart and trading away the Leafs need right now. But feel free to wake me when the Leafs enter the 21st century. Then, and only then, may I maybe care again.

Hockey, Leafs

Michael Coren on Ezra Levant… and Me

January 19th, 2008

The real issue here is not about a weak or fearful press becoming “more responsive to Muslim sensitivities than to truth or the concerns of any other group,” … or about pandering to any segment of society.

Rather, it is about cultural sensitivity, social responsibility and common sense. Freedom of speech is not and never has been an absolute. “The most stringent protection of free speech would not,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, “protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre.” This right carries with it a need to be responsible for one’s actions.

Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and creator of Doonesbury, sums it up best: “Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn’t mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world.” Exactly…

Let’s change the visual for a moment. One of the cartoons basically portrayed the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.

So, how would a Catholic react to a cartoon of Christ sexually abusing a child, published at the height of the controversy about Catholic priests sexually abusing boys?…

Newspapers have an obligation to their communities to inform, entertain, educate and explain, to place events in context, in such a way as to make them not only understandable, but useful. Newspapers also have a duty to provoke and challenge — to act as a conduit for discussion and debate.

But there is a world of difference between discussion and debate and engaging in sweeping generalizations and racist stereotyping…

Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do it.

The above was written by Jim Jennings at the Toronto Sun in Feb 2006, explaining why they did not publish the now infamous “Muhammad cartoons”. I called it cowardice at the time, and it’s still cowardice. So it’s interesting that today Michael Coren writes in the same newspaper about Ezra Levant, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, and “the real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences.”:

Actually the real disgrace here is that the Western Standard was the only Canadian publication to print the cartoons. They should have been featured in every media outlet in the country, in that they made international news. The ostensible reason that they weren’t published was that they were, yet again, offensive.

So bloody what? Canadian newspapers publish cartoons that are offensive to Christians, for example, dozens of times a year. Tolerating that which offends is part of being an adult, being sensible and being part of an adult, sensible county with an adult, sensible culture. Or at least it was.

The real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences. In some cases editors had private security companies give them estimates of how much it would cost to protect their buildings. Which is not only cowardly, but deeply insulting to Canadian Muslims, who are some of the most moderate in the Islamic diaspora.

The editors at the good old New York Times pretentiously explained why they wouldn’t publish pictures of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. They could, they said, adequately explain the cartoons in words. Odd, then, that in the same week they printed a photograph of an alleged artwork depicting the Virgin Mary covered in excrement. Suddenly their ability to describe had abandoned them.

The stench of double standard and fearfulness is as heady as the perfume from an Arabic harem.

We know they’re lying and they know they’re lying.

“We know they’re lying and they know they’re lying.” Exactly! It was so then, it is so now. Yet Michael Coren takes the New York Times to task for it’s pretentious explanation, is the Toronto Sun’s any less so? And as Coren very accuatly points out, that quote about “Catholic react to a cartoon of Christ sexually abusing a child” is nonsense. They sure wouldn’t kill the cartoonist, and if they did the Toronto Sun would be the first ones to publish the cartoon to give the story it’s proper context.

The media’s cowardice on this issue is a major reason Ezra Levant is in front of the Human Rights Commission: if Western Standard wasn’t the only publication printing them, they likely wouldn’t have had a complaint. Yet the news media, outside of a few editorials, has been silent on this issue. (MPs staffers didn’t even know it was an issue.) Once again those who have the most to lose by the crushing of free speech in this country seem to be uninterested in it’s demise.

Of course, if it was the Sun’s right to publish pictures of Karla Holmolka that was at issue, they would be all over it. What shouldn’t need explaining to them, but clearly does, is next time it may Karla taking them to the human rights commissions, claiming her rights are violated by surreptitious pictures printed in the Sun, and they will have already forfeited the argument:

Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn’t mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world.

Words to lose by.

Go Ezra Go, human rights

Saturday Fluffernutter: Sunny has a Baby;

January 19th, 2008
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The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

It was baby weekend last weekend in the fluffernutty world of Hollywood. Christina Aguiera, Toni Collette and Nicole Ritchie all gave birth last weekend. Also on the list is Christine Kim, wife of comedian David Alan Grier. Congratulations to all.

On other baby news, gorgeous Courtney Thorne-Smith, star of Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerd in Paradise, has had a boy, her first. It is Smith’s and media consultant husband Roger Fishman’s first child.

Courtney Love is hoping to get Scarlett Johansson to play her in a biopic based on her last husband Kurt Cobain.

Well, I suppose if Charlize Theron can play Aileen Wournos, then Scarlett Johansson can play Courtney Love but what’s the point? The life of Courtney Love is hardly Oscar winning material and hell, being Courtney Love isn’t exactly career enhancing so how much lift can you hope to get playing her?

It’s over. Finished. Finito. We may now never find out how Dr. House’s fellowship games play out. The 2007 – 08 TV season is done. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that four studios have cancelled “dozens of writers contracts, effectively conceding that the current television season cannot be salvaged.”

Time to set those TiVo’s you got for Christmas to “next year.”

The scandal in the music world this week is that a number of singers have been implicated in using steroids to enhance their performance. Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Timbaland and Wyclef Jean may have, it is reported, received or used steroids or human growth hormone. The drugs may apparently help the vocal chords from becoming strained. If you consider that an asthmatics puffer is steroids this makes some sense. Why you should care if they are taking them, I still haven’t been able to figure out: will they be putting an asterisk beside their Grammy wins now?

A good news Britney Spears story: Four paparazzi were arrested late Wednesday night on misdemeanor reckless driving charges after chasing Spears in the San Fernando Valley. Good work by the officers involved who while on routine patrol “observed the four drivers speeding and making unsafe lane changes in the San Fernando Valley near Plummer Street and Woodman Avenue shortly before 11:30 p.m.”

Farewell to Bobby Fischer who died yesterday at age 64. An undisputed chess genius, Fisher, who beat Boris Spasky in 1972 to become the world champion, Fischer became an extreme eccentric who all but disappeared from public life in his later years. Cause of death is unknown at this time.

Britney, Fluffernutter

In Through The Out Box

January 17th, 2008
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My desk is piling up with a weeks worth of newspapers and articles that I meant to get to. Instead, I’m going to do a one off post on the stuff that caught my eye the past week or so:

Tuesday a week ago, I commented on an excerpt from David Frum’s book in which he called for a Pigovian carbon tax. I cited Terence Corcoran, specifically his No Pigou Club in the post.

Not surprisingly, Corcoran also replied to Frum’s assertion that a carbon tax is good conservative policy in an article last Friday, All Things To All People, which now appears on the No Pigou Club web site. Corcoran does a really nice job of pointing out the flaws in Frum’s argument:

That’s the miracle plan: Break the enemy’s back by taxing your own citizens. As for the details, well, like all miracles, it’s hard to figure them out.

Ouch.

Speaking of the No Pigou Club, it has moved. Financial Post has put their comment section online, at http://www.financialpost.com/fpcomment. It features regular editorials and columns by the FP writers, Terence Corcoran, William Watson, Peter Foster and Lawrence Solomon. As well it is home to some feature items, such as the No Pigou Club, The Deniers and Junk Science. Links will be put on my sidebar in the very near future.

Best line I read in the last week comes from an FP article by Robert Sopuck, In Defence of a Big Juicy Steak. In it, “Sopuck argues that avoiding meat in favour of plant products will not ensure more efficient use of the Earth’s resources, as cattle critics contend.”

The line in question is in the second last paragraph:

As for the red-meat-is-bad-for-you argument, I take the view that if you give up fat (and sugar and alcohol, too, for that matter) you may not live longer; it will just seem that way.

I can’t wait to get on the summer BBQ circuit to use that line.

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to say this for a long time, but I really like Christopher Hitchens. That may be a bit heretical for a Tory and God knows I find his obsessive atheism a bit tiring, but the guy can flat out write. Whether I agree or disagree with him, and it’s usually a 50-50 thing, I always find his writing compelling. This week I happened to agree with him on an article called The Case Against Hillary Clinton: Why on earth would we choose to put the Clinton family drama at the center of our politics again?

Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don’t show her enough appreciation, and after all she’s done for us, she may cry.

And that’s just a portion the last paragraph. Hitchens rarely if ever pulls his punches, and it makes him a must read wherever he turns up.

Blog Administration, housecleaning, The Media Following My Lead.

The Problem With Banning Handguns.

January 16th, 2008

After yet another shooting kills yet another innocent bystander in Toronto the not in a death spiral, Mayor David Miller and Premier Dalton McGuinty have, yet again called for a handgun ban. This time, their pleas seem to have some validity as the handgun in question appears to have been legally owned by a registered handgun owner.

The problem with the above is simple: while the shooter may have had a permit to own the gun, it was still an illegal gun at the time of the shooting. How’s that? you say. In order to own a handgun, you must agree it will be in one of two places: at home, locked in a safe; at your gun club, locked in a safe. There are two exceptions to this rule: You may take it out at the gun club for target shooting; you may travel between the club and your home with the gun. In order to do the latter, you must go to the police, notify them of your intent to travel with the gun, and get a temporary travel permit, that allows you to drive with the gun in your vehicle between the two locations. That’s it. Take the car, with the gun, to a strip club at 1:00 on a Saturday morning, and the gun is illegal. It is in a non-approved location. David Miller has said one of the reasons he wants a ban is if someone has a gun on them in the streets of Toronto, they can be arrested, no questions asked. That is true either way, if someone has a gun, then they are violating any permit they have, and can be arrested. No questions asked.

Proponents of a handgun ban use such baseless arguments all the time, and they do so for a reason. There is no evidence to suggest banning handguns will have any effect on violent crime. Some States have found letting more people carry guns around results in less violent crime. Britain has found banning the handgun went along with an increase in handgun use. Neither of which proves a pro handgun causation, but they do make a mockery of anti-handgun arguments. There is no reason to ban handguns.

But, some would argue, it can’t hurt. There’s no legitimate reason to own a handgun, so what have we got to lose? To which I would ask, when the handgun ban fails to decrease violence, which item will be next on the banned list? Which hobby next to be declared pointless? Which freedoms taken away for David Miller’s political expediency? What possession of yours will the state confiscate because they have no interest in solving the problem?

Because that’s what this is about, finding red herrings to yell about, finding bucks to pass instead of facing up the the real challenges of solving the problem. And when you ask what have we got to lose, the answer is, freedom.

freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, Toronto

Fun With Ezra Levant

January 16th, 2008

Some funny stuff from The Nose on Your Face:

Top 9 Little Known Facts About Ezra Levant

9. Global warming began when Ezra Levant willed the temperature in Canada up a few degrees–you know, just to take the chill out of the air.

8. 95% of all monsters surveyed reported that they are either “absolutely terrified” or “hysterically afraid” of Ezra Levant. Levant already ate the remaining 5%.

7. Ezra Levant once looked Helen Thomas directly in the face and lived to tell about it.

6. (tie) Ezra Levant can grow a thicker mustache than both Tom Selleck and Rosie O’Donnell.

6. (tie) Ezra Levant is actually registered twice as a lethal weapon: once for himself and once for his aura.

5. Ezra Levant eats live cougars sprinkled with Jack Bauer, washes it down with a sandpaper and Chuck Liddell milkshake, and then wipes himself with Chuck Norris.

4. Ezra Levant got the gang from Scooby Doo to stop meddling. Singlehandedly.

3. Ezra Levant forced the band “Better Than Ezra” to change their name to “Alberta Human Rights Commission”: because no one is better than Ezra.

2. New studies show that Muslim suicide bombers aren’t sacrificing themselves for Allah, they’re just trying to escape the wrath of Ezra Levant.

1. If you ever find yourself being persecuted for your views by one of those politically correct government types, simply say “Ezra Levant” three times really fast. He will appear out of thin air and reduce the offender to a whimpering kitten in no time flat with his irresistible onslaught of crane-style verbal kung fu.

And the video version:

h/t Wendy

Go Ezra Go, human rights

I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me.

January 15th, 2008

I wish I had half the guts Ezra Levant has. Here is his opening statement to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, or as Ezra put it that ” low-level, quasi-judicial body.”

Go Ezra Go!

Alberta Human Rights Commission Interrogation
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary

My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.
When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website, ezralevant.com.

I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.

I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.

I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the Alberta equivalent of a U.S. television pseudo-court like Judge Judy – except that Judge Judy actually was a judge, whereas none of the commission’s panellists are judges, and some aren’t even lawyers. And, unlike the commission, Judge Judy believes in freedom of speech.

It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.

The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.

But even if the commissions had some statutory fig leaf for their attempts at political and religious censorship, it would still be unlawful and unconstitutional.

We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada.

That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War.

In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Canada is a party, declared that, quote:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote

1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

(c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press.

In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance.

For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values.

It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, and who has called for sharia law to govern Canada – doesn’t have to pay a penny; Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution of the complaint against me. The victims of the complaints, like the Western Standard, have to pay for their own lawyers from their own pockets. Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment. (At this point, I’d like to thank the magazine’s many donors who have given their own money to help us fight against the Saudi imam and his enablers in the Alberta government.)

It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors.

I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.

You may start your interrogation.

This ones for you Ezra:

Go Ezra Go, human rights

I’m So (sob) Proud

January 15th, 2008
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I can’t find the first instance, but this is the second time I have had to make such a post since I started blogging.

I beam with alma matic pride to report that Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton, where yours truly spent four years in absolute avoidance of toil, was locked down today due to a stabbing:

Peel Regional Police say a 16-year-old boy has been arrested after another boy was stabbed today inside a high school in Brampton, Ont.

Const. J.P. Valade says the 16-year-old victim, who is not a student at Chinguacousy Secondary School, was stabbed four times in the neck and side at about 9:45 a.m.

The victim was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening but serious injuries.

Const. Jodi Dawson says the suspect, who was arrested inside the school, is a Chinguacousy student.

The school was locked down as police searched the area. Police say there may be more suspects.

How times have changed: when I went there they never locked the school down after a knife fight.

my alma mater

This Week On My i-pod: Kid Rock and Roll Jesus

January 13th, 2008
Comments Off on This Week On My i-pod: Kid Rock and Roll Jesus

It’s not supposed to be this way, I’m not supposed to like Kid Rock. He’s a jerk, in the news for fights at awards shows and pancake houses. His trailer mansion is in the same park as Britney’s, he married that perennial tramp Pam Anderson. I’m not supposed to like him. I recall the first time I watched the movie Snatch, Guy Ritchie’s movie about Irish gypsies. The only thing anyone told me about it was it was Guy Ritchie, and it was good. I was determined not to like any movie by the guy who married Madonna. Nuh-huh wasn’t going to happen. So what happened? I loved it, it’s now one of my favourite movies. And so it is with Kid Rock: not going to like him, no way, no how, nuh-huh girlfriend. I was even told by reliable sources that I wouldn’t like Kid Rock. So how come I like Rock and Roll Jesus so much? How come it is one the best albums I’ve heard in a long time?

Rock and Roll Jesus starts off with 4 of the best songs in a row that I’ve heard on a CD in years. Like last years surprise gem, Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway, the cross between rock and roll and country works very well. Title track Rock and Roll Jesus is a straight up rocker, with an intro drum pull that is a lift of Bob Seger’s Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man. I’ve listened to this album enough to know it’s not accidental, and it’s not a steal, more homage being paid. We then move into Amen, a pretty little piece that again, lifts Bob Seger in the opening bars, this time the acoustic guitar track from Against the Wind.

From there we get into All Summer Long, a direct tribute, both lyrically and musically to Sweet Home Alabama. While using the basic song structure of SHA, All Summer Long, uses a piano up front, making it exactly Werewolves of London. The congruity between that and Sweet home Alabama is dynamic, and makes a really good third song. Lynyrd Skynyrd pianist Billy Powell even shows up to reprise his Sweet Home Alabama piano solo. Lyrically, Kid again pays a little homage de Seger, referencing a “Northern Michigan Summertime.”

The fourth song of the album Roll On is a mid tempo feel good song about growing older, even while having the privilege of not having to act it. It has a great sing a long melody and hooks you in, much like Shawn Mullin’s Shimmer or James Blunt’s Billy:

Money and success
I don’t complain about the stress
I wanted this and now it’s here
So I don’t bitch
And I swear that time’s a trick
It disappears in oh so quick
Man I was just sixteen
And now I’m starin’ at thirty-six
But I’m still havin’ a good time

Roll on Roll on Roller Coaster
We’re one day older and one step closer
Roll on there’s mountains to climb
Roll on we’re on borrowed time
Roll on Roller coaster
Roll on tonight

Special Mention must be given to Blue Jeans and a Rosary, a beautiful piece written from, presumably, Kid Rocks past:

All my life I’ve been searchin’
All my life I’ve been uncertain
I been abandoned and left alone
At fifteen I had to leave home
The black sheep, the bad seed

At a roadside bar in Tennessee
I met an angel to rescue me
She rescued me
She wore blue jeans and a rosary
Believed in God and believed in me
All her friends think she’s a little crazy
She wears a smile, heart on her sleeve
Don’t give a damn what the world thinks of me
She tells me it’s all good
She’s happy with a bad seed
Happy to be misunderstood

Two packs and a pint a day
To hide the shame
And wash away the pain
Aww the pain
Every road was a dead-end street
Runnin’ from the law
And runnin’ on empty
You couldn’t shake the marks that were left on me

At a roadside bar in Tennessee
I met an angel to rescue me
She rescued me

She wore blue jeans and a rosary
Believed in God and believed in me
All her friends think she’s a little crazy
She wears a smile, heart on her sleeve
Don’t give a damn what the world thinks of me
She tells me it’s all good
She’s happy with a bad seed
Happy to be misunderstood

Nicely written, nicely performed and worth the price of the CD.

Also worth mentioning is Kid Rocks piece for ex-wife Pam Anderson, Half Your Age. I love when rock and roll gets nasty (Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road or Rod Stewart’s You Got a Nerve come to mind), and this is some of the nastiest, especially considering it’s no secret who it was written about:

I found someone new who treats me better
She don’t bitch about things we ain’t got
When I sing this tune it don’t upset her
She’s half your age and twice as hot

Oh she wakes up every morning and she folds my clothes
Doesn’t care about the strippers dancing at my shows
She knows that I love her so I just wanted you to know

I found someone new who treats me better
She don’t bitch about things we ain’t got
When I sing this tune it don’t upset her
She’s half your age and twice as hot

Oh she don’t start trouble cuz she dont need drama
She likes it in the mornin’ and she loves my momma
I’m her big poppa an she’s my little rock n roll…

Nasty, funny, and great rock and roll.

This CD is full of interesting, introspective songs that pay homage to those who came before. While it has a couple of pieces I don’t like, and don’t like them a lot, they are two or three songs out of twelve. They keep this CD from being a great one, but none the less, boy it’s pretty good. And that’s more than I ever expected from Kid Rock.

This Week on my I-Pod