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36 posts categorized "Canadian Content"

March 31, 2007

FOX grooms Rachel Marsden as next Ann Coulter

Fox News loves immigrants, as long as they are right wing Canadian pundits. According to this Salon article by Rebecca Traister, FOX is grooming Rachel Marsden to be the next Ann Coulter. This should be interesting... I was at Simon Fraser during the great Marsden/Donnelly stalking controversy.

Marsden pursued swim coach Liam Donnelly for years and later accused him of sexual harassment when he rebuffed her advances. The feminist community at SFU rallied behind her. Donnelly was fired, only to have his name cleared.

I know several of the SFU people Traister interviews for the article. Patricia O'Hagan, the sexual harrassment coordinator who resigned over the scandal, was my demography professor. Neil Boyd, the criminology professor who was harrassed by Marsden and later wrote a book about sexual harassment on campus, is a close colleague of my dad's an a longtime family friend.

While I was at SFU, I worked at Starbucks. One morning a woman came in and handed me a sheet of paper as I was working the till. It took me a second to figure out what it was, partly because I'd gotten up at 3:45 to work the opening shift, but mostly because it was such a bizarre-looking document with red hearts and garlands and several different fonts. It was a resume, Rachel Marsden's resume. I dutifully handed it off to my assistant manager, relishing the look of confusion and revulsion on my supervisor's face. She didn't get the job.

After leaving SFU, Marsden was charged with stalking former radio personality Michael Morgan between Oct. 1 and Nov. 14, 2002. In October, 2004Marsden plead guilty to criminal harassment and was sentenced to one year's probation.

Forget Coulter. I think FOX is grooming Marsden to be the next Bill O'Reilly.

March 09, 2007

Pharma spam

My_canadian_pharm_1 I love the heroic pose of these "Canadian pharmacists." According to the unsolicited bulk email I received this morning, these selfless professionals will supply me with high quality prescription drugs "instantly."

"Order anytime, even if is 3am. Buy and cure yourself!"

February 11, 2007

Adrienne Clarkson to speak in Vancouver

My friend Stefan in Vancouver emailed me to let me know that former Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson will deliver the ticketed LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture in Vancouver on March 2, and a free public symposium on the same topic the next day:

Adrienne Clarkson will deliver the LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver on Friday March 2 (900 West Georgia Street, 7pm-9pm), where she will present a vital discussion on citizenship and democracy entitled The Society of Difference. The next morning, Saturday March 3, Symposium Chair John Ralston Saul will lead a free Public Town Hall discussion at the Vancouver Public Library (Alice McKay Room, 350 West Georgia Street, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM). Limited seating is available. ticket information available through lafontaine-baldwin.com, please register in advance for the town hall.

Ms. Clarkson will discuss the meaning of citizenship and democracy in Canada's multi-cultural society. Ms. Clarkson is soliciting questions and comments from the general public in advance so that she can address them during these upcoming appearances.

January 24, 2007

Bear-suit inventor makes bullet-proof body armor exoskeleton

Halosuit

The dude who designed the bear-attack prevention suit is applying his inventing talents to protect troops in the field.

Geekologie explains:

The suit is called Trojan and the inventer describes it as the "first ballistic, full exoskeleton body suit of armour" and he hopes to get it deployed for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and US soldiers in Iraq. The suit has stood up to an elephant gun, and is made from high-impact plastic lined with ceramic bullet protection over ballistic foam. Included in the suit are compartments for emergency morphine and salt, a knife and emergency light. Built into the forearms are a small recording device, a pepper-spray gun and a detachable transponder that can be swallowed in case of trouble. The whole suit comes in at 18 kilograms and covers everything but the fingertips and the major joints, and could allegedly be mass-produced for about $2,000. Plus, if you saw an army of these things coming at you you wouldn't even fight. You'd just give up and pray the space robots haven't come to anally probe you.

All that for a mere two grand? If I ever report from a combat zone, I want one of these. It would be hard to be unobtrusive, but being bullet-proof is probably better than being inconspicuous. Although, 18 kilograms is almost half my body weight, so it might not be very practical for getting those action shots.

January 21, 2007

If Dale Chihuly smoked up with Paul Krugman

If Dale Chihuly and Paul Krugman got high together, the creative fallout might look something like this:

Image001

My brother Loren explains: "I thought that you would get a kick out of this camera phone picture. I was downtown the other day, and I saw this hand blown glass item. It's called "George Fucks the World" and will set you back $600. It features a Republican elephant humping a globe with a cruise missile. You pack a bowl into the Middle East, and use the hole in the ozone layer as the shotgun."

Click on the picture to view the full-sized image. It's quite something.

November 17, 2006

Borough President Markowitz cracks down on parrot poaching in Brooklyn


brooklyn parrots, originally uploaded by anniebee.

Kudos to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for taking a hard line on parrot poachers:

The poaching of Brooklyn’s wild monk parrots from their perches on neighborhood streets has been ruffling the feathers of bird-lovers for months, and now, the borough’s parrot-owner-in-chief is taking matters into his own … er … talons.

“It’s just reprehensible to me that anyone would try to poach the parrots,” Borough President Markowitz told The Brooklyn Papers. “They’re abusing these beautiful little creatures.”

His sympathy for the green-feathered birds is not surprising — he’s the proud owner of a talking five-year-old African gray parrot named Beep, whose vocabulary includes “words” like “fughedaboutit.”

“I have some feelings about parrots,” acknowledged Markowitz.

[Brooklyn Papers]

I'm so glad Brooklyn's First Parrot knows the word "fughedaboutit."

Here's a site where you can learn more about the wild parrots of Brooklyn.

I'm now disconcerted because on the other day on the subway, I met a fellow downtown A-train rider with a charming baby monk parrot perched on his shoulder. I hope it wasn't a poached parrot. The guy bought his little friend from a pet store, but you never know where those outlets get their specimens. I hope that cute little bird wasn't kidnapped from the Green-Wood Cemetery.

October 30, 2006

Sy Hersh interview

Matthew Hays of the Montreal Mirror interviewed investigative journalist Sy Hersh, excerpt follows:

M: Why does so much of the American public often seem wilfully ignorant? Much of the populace seems intent on not knowing what is going on in terms of political and foreign affairs.

SH: This is the strangest interview I’ve ever had.

M: Why?

SH: Because you’re so fucking opinionated. I don’t disagree with you, but we’re just rolling through your thoughts on things. It is sort of silly. No, it’s not silly, but we’re just rolling from whatever obsession you have to the next. You’re pretty obsessional.

HT: Pacific Views.

September 19, 2006

Canadian wrongfully kidnapped, tortured, panel finds

An official review panel completely vindicated a Canadian citizen who was kidnapped and tortured on wrongful suspicion of terrorist ties:

The report, released in Ottawa, was the result of a 2 1/2-year inquiry that represented one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States' "extraordinary rendition" program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.

The inquiry, which focused on the Canadian intelligence services, found that agents who were under pressure to find terrorists after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, falsely labeled an Ottawa computer consultant, Maher Arar, as a dangerous radical. They asked U.S. authorities to put him and his wife, a university economist, on the al-Qaeda "watchlist," without justification, the report said.

Arar was also listed as "an Islamic extremist individual" who was in the Washington area on Sept. 11. The report concluded that he had no involvement in Islamic extremism and was on business in San Diego that day, said the head of the inquiry commission, Ontario Justice Dennis O'Connor.

Arar, now 36, was detained by U.S. authorities as he changed planes in New York on Sept. 26, 2002. He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he never has been -- and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found.

O'Connor concluded that "categorically there is no evidence" that Arar did anything wrong or was a security threat. [WaPo]

The case of Maher Arar illustrates many of the potential pitfalls of the US approach to counter-terrorism.

First off, when you dispense with all legal safeguards, you increase the chance of kidnapping and torturing innocents.

Furthermore, Canadian authorities are now acutely aware that a bad tip could result in one of their own citizens being kidnapped and tortured. Agents may be less than eager to share tips and hunches with their American colleagues, even if the routine exchange of information would be valuable.

The American policy of extraordinary rendition poses an ethical dilemma for Canadian officials. Is it ethical to pass along inconclusive or fragmentary evidence about innocent people, knowing that these tips might get one of your citizens kidnapped and tortured?

I predict that extraordinary rendition will have a chilling effect on Canadian officials--to the detriment of the US and counter-terrorism generally.

May 28, 2006

Canadian Conservatives deny Zinni honorary degree

Dana of The Galloping Beaver remarks on the latest embarrassing stunt by the ruling Conservative government: Canceling General Zinni's honorary degree from the Royal Military College.

Gen. Zinni was one of the six retired generals who publicly criticized Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the invasion and occupation of Iraq:

Gen. Zinni was particularly critical of Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, saying of his handling of Operation of Iraqi Freedom: "Ten years' worth of planning were thrown away; troop levels dismissed out of hand. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy." [National Post]

The Royal Military College had decided to award Zinni an honorary doctorate on May 19, but the Conservative defense Minister personally intervened at the last minute to quash the award.

This editorial in the Montreal Gazette neatly sums up the terrible optics of the sudden "no confer" order from Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor:

It also looks like blatant political interference, and the best evidence yet that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is keen to to curry favour with Bush. Whatever harm this degree might have done to relations between Ottawa and Washington - we suspect not very much - it has been superseded many times over by the bad domestic optics of a kowtow to a president who is viewed by most Canadians. liberal or conservative, as a failure.

Zinni is supposed to have called the invasion of Iraq a "brain fart of an idea." O'Connor's decision could be described with the same phrase.

May 26, 2006

"Here in the North there is no such thing as monkeys."

Ah, Canadian creationists.