Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Contrast in Individual Rights . . . .

Compare this story in Canada, and in particular British Columbia,

Court limits police wiretaps
B.C. ruling makes emergency surveillance illegal without judge's approval

Neal Hall - Vancouver Sun - Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In a ruling that has national ramifications, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has struck down a section of the Criminal Code that allowed police to intercept private conversations without a judge's authorization.

The section applied to emergency situations when a person's life is in danger.

Justice Barry Davies ruled last Friday that Section 184.4 of the code is unconstitutional because it violates the "Section 8" rights of six people accused of kidnapping.

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms covers the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Since the ruling was made by a justice of a superior court, it applies across Canada. But it will not take effect immediately

with this story in the US:

House Defeats FISA Extension
Feb 13, 2008(The Politico)

House Democrats were unable to hold together their caucus on a key intelligence vote on Wednesday, as a coalition of Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and liberals helped defeat a measure to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as the deadline approaches.

The measure, which failed 191 to 229, would have extended the bill an additional three weeks to work out differences with the Senate on the issue of granting immunity to telecom companies which aided the federal government in wiretapping.

The Democratic bill was undone by strong opposition from Republicans and 34 Democrats, including both members of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition who want to see a bill passed, and liberal members who oppose many other aspects of the wiretapping program.

Looks like our decision to move North of the 49th is looking better and better . . . .

Monday, February 25, 2008

Turkey See, Turkey Doo Doo . . . .

No offense, but what a bunch of Turkeys:
(Courtesy of McClatchy, Washington Bureau)

U.S. voices support as Turkey seeks to 'eliminate' Kurdish rebels
Nancy A. Youssef and Steve Lannen | McClatchy Newspapers - Posted on Mon, Feb. 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — As the Iraqi government watched in anguish Monday, Turkey's ambassador to the United States set an ambitious goal for his country's incursion into the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq: "to eliminate" a Kurdish rebel force of at least 4,000 fighters.

In Washington, the Bush administration left no doubt of its overall support for the Turkish operation to deal with the Kurdistan Worker's Party, commonly known as the PKK, which both the Bush administration and Europe consider to be a terrorist organization.

The Turkish incursion, which began last Thursday, involves a U.S.-equipped army invading a U.S. ally in the most stable and most pro-American region in Iraq.

"It's obviously not an ideal situation," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "We hope that this is a short-term incursion so that they (Turkey) can help deal with the threat." (Emphasis mine.)

Well, no shit, Sherlock, re: "Not an ideal situation."

This whole this whole clusterf_ck sounds like an Abbott and Costello "Who's on First" sketch.

Will someone please take charge of the asylum ? ? ? ?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

FoxNoise & Captain Kirk . . . .

It appears to be time to beam the FoxNoise crowd up, Scotty . . . .

Two Things . . . .

Item #1: We are honoured to be recognized as "Excellent" by His Excellency Dave over at The Galloping Beaver. Don't know if we qualify, but pats on the back are always appreciated, especially from someone we respect as much as Dave.

Our blogroll is much more limited than that at TGB, but here - in no particular order - are our picks as "Excellent":

The Galloping Beaver (For obvious reasons)
The Gazetteer
Idealistic Pragmatist
Liberal Catnip


Canadian Hope
Two Moms to Canada
Our Journey toward Canadian Immigration
We Move to Canada
Life Without Borders

There are more that qualify as "Excellent" to be sure, but these are the faves.

Item #2
: This post is the first using my new blog "handle" of West End Bob rather than West End Bound.
The change still allows those of you that refer to me as "WEB" to knock yourselves out. As we get nearer to the actual move, and now that I have PR papers in hand, I'm not "bound" anymore. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) With the June drive across the continent getting nearer with each passing day, it feels more and more like reality.

Pretty good feeling it is, too . . . .

Thursday, February 21, 2008

We're Back . . . .

Yes, we're back in Florida for the next few months. Ten days in Vancouver and we had about a day and a half of rainy/wet weather. Get back to "Sunny Florida" and promptly have a day with 4 inches of rain.


There was one high-spot, though.

"Taa Daa!!!!" :

Repeat after me:

"First week of June. First week of June. First week of June." . . . .

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blogger Family Mini-Reunion . . . .

This weekend was a special one for "drf" and I. We did a completely public transit trip from Vancouver to Victoria/Vancouver Island. An adventure in our new home - Yay!

Hopped on a Translink bus and transferred a couple of times to get to a BC
Ferries terminal at Tsawwassen . Boarded the "Queen of Vancouver" - avoid the obvious comments regarding queens and "fairies", please - for a less than two hour trip through the Strait of Georgia and the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. From there we hopped on a BC Transit bus, transferred once and called our friends of Our journey toward Canadian Immigration to retrieve us from the local mall. All this for the paltry amount of $17.25 CA! 'Ya gotta love public transportation!

(An added benefit on the "fairy" ride was the real queen that accompanied us.)

This was "drf's" first time meeting Mary and
Diane of OjtCI, so it was a real treat for him. It was a treat for both of us to meet the four-legged children of the girls. What a barrel of fun and energy they are! I would post more pics of them, but this crappy temporary internet connection we have takes forever to upload. I promise to do it when we have a real connection!

Mary and Diane's hospitality and accomodations were superb - We highly recommend staying at their home whenever you're on Vancouver Island. Go ahead, I think they're accepting reservations now for spring and summer visits. :-)
They may even greet you with a fabulous dessert and champagne as they did for us:

Saturday evening we all climbed into Diane's big macho-truck to meet Doug and Dixon of Newly Canadian. Another treat for both "drf" and I! Our blogger "family" just keeps getting bigger and better, eh? (We feel like we can use the "eh" officially now.) We had a great meal and "getting to know you" conversation at a waterfront restaurant about half-way between houses. Doug has had promising job interviews, and we've got our positive vibes going out to the Universe that it works out for him.
Another welcome gift from "the boys" was a real treat - a framed photo of the British Columbia flag to welcome us home.

After dinner a trip back to "Chez Mary/Diane" for some of the chocolate/chocolate/chocolate dessert
and lots of fine BC and "U-Brew" wine from our hostess' 600+ bottle collection. Like I said, make your reservations soon. They're filling up fast!

Back to the city reversing our public transit route and all is well. Speaking of which, update on the girls' mama-dog medical issue: All appears well, and she returned to the menagerie under heavy sedation last evening. Now if we can just get some of the four-legged family issues resolved. Perhaps that's a job for "drf" to conquer upon his many future child-sitting assignments . . . .

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sexual Orientation Refugee . . . .

The struggle for equality continues.

From CBC News today:

Jamaican gay activist seeks refugee status in Canada
February 14, 2008 - CBC News

Gareth Henry, a leading Jamaican gay activist, has come to Canada claiming refugee status.

Henry says 13 of his friends have been killed in Jamaica since 2004.

One 22-year-old friend who was suspected of being gay was chased by a mob, Henry told CBC News. The only place he could run to was the harbour. He couldn't swim.

"Everyone," said Henry, "stood and watched him drown."

Henry, who was vocal activist with the country's pioneering gay-rights organization J-FLAG, Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, has had his own troubling experiences.

On Valentine's Day last year, he was caught in a pharmacy and surrounded by an angry mob, he said. There was no protection from the police or state.

"When you find police officers who are leading mob attacks, turning up at people's home like myself, pointing guns at my window, with civilians with them, and saying that I need to leave or they're going to kill me, it reinforces homophobia."

Henry said he wants to stay in Canada and is claiming refugee status.

He says Canada understands and protects human rights and that Jamaica is not a place he can return to.

This situation sounds like a no-brainer for CIC.

I hope my new homeland allows him to stay . . . .

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hell No . . . .

Well isn't this the pits?

Just as I receive Canadian PR status the ultimate US political creep makes his first Canadian appearance. And right here in Vancouver, no less!

This looks like a job for Alison - or anyone - to organize a protest at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Monday . . . .

(Cross-posted from The Galloping Beaver)

Monday, February 11, 2008

We're In . . . .

Well, the landing process went so smoothly yesterday it is almost unbelievable. The whole process took 20 minutes, which included having new photos taken. Apparently our "home-made" photos were not up to CBSA's standards as there was a shadow on each of them.

Our painstakingly-prepared B4 and B4A forms denoting
goods we were taking into the country upon landing and goods that were following later were not even looked at. Since we landed without any goods to speak of and would be towing a U-Haul trailer in late spring, the friendly agent advised to just wait until that time to do the inventory process. We are crossing our fingers that the trip through the Peace Arch crossing will be just as uneventful as the YVR airport experience was.

Today we went to a Service Canada Centre in downtown to apply for and receive our SIN (Social Insurance Number, not a reflection of morality!) numbers. The cards themselves should arrive before we head back to Florida next week.

So, the only bureaucratic items we have remaining are to get our BC driver's license and MSP (Medical Services Plan) cards. Both of these items we have been advised to apply for when we are actually residing here later in the year. Just another incentive to get back up here ASAP!

Tonight we are meeting another couple that have contacted us via this blog. We've been emailing back and forth for a couple of months now, and tonight we're all going to dinner in the West End. One of the guys is a USian recently landed here and his partner is Canadian. The blog family keeps expanding - Gotta love it!

There have been suggestions from Bloggerpalooza friends here in BC that we will need to change both our blog name and my posting ID due to our change in status. I have been thinking about that, and would appreciate any and all suggestions.

I have a couple in mind. Let's see how ya'll do . . . .

Saturday, February 09, 2008

February 10: Landing Day ! ! ! !

By this time tomorrow, "drf" and I should officially be landed Canadian Permanent Residents - a mere 2 years, 4 months and 14 days after our application was submitted to CIC.

Damn, that will feel good!

Our next post will be as Canadian PR's.

As they say in the South: "Yee Haw!!"

Now, if you will do us a favour and put us at the top of your "Prayer List." :-) Since we will be landing at Vancouver's YVR airport, we would really rather not be Tasered(tm) by CBSA.

Cheers ! ! ! !

(Flying flamingos photo credit: Tom & Emilio of Canadian Hope)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The More Things "Change" . . . .

From AlterNet yesterday:

Will Clinton and Obama Continue Bush's High-Priced Militarism?
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig - Posted on February 6, 2008

Will your favorite Dem challenge the bloated military budget Bush proposed for 2009?

Curb your enthusiasm. Even if your favored candidate did well on Super Tuesday, ask yourself if he or she will seriously challenge the bloated military budget that President Bush has proposed for 2009. If not, military spending will rise to a level exceeding any other year since the end of World War II, and there will be precious little left over to improve education and medical research, fight poverty, protect the environment or do anything else a decent person might care about.

You cannot spend well over $700 billion on "national security," running what the White House predicts will be more than $400 billion in annual deficits for the next two years, and yet find the money to improve the quality of life on the home front.


Which one of the likely winners from either party would lead the battle to cut the military budget, and where would the winner find support in Congress? Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have treated the military budget as sacrosanct with their Senate votes and their campaign rhetoric. Clinton is particularly clear on the record as favoring spending more, not less, on the military.

John McCain, who previously distinguished himself as a deficit hawk and was almost in a class by himself in taking on the rapacious defense contractors, has thrown in the towel with his inane support for staying in Iraq till "victory," even if it should take a century. It is simply illogical to call for fiscal restraint while committing to an open-ended war in Iraq that has already cost upward of $700 billion.


The U.S. already spends more than the rest of the world combined on its military, without a sophisticated enemy in sight. The Bush budget cuts not a single weapons system, including the most expensive ones, those designed to combat a Soviet military that no longer exists. Those sophisticated weapons have nothing to do with combating terrorism and everything to do with jobs and profits that motivate both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

It is not known whether Osama bin Laden even possesses a rowboat in his naval arsenal, but that won't stop Joe Lieberman from pushing, as is his habit, for an increase in the defense budget to double the funding for the $3.4-billion submarines built in his home state of Connecticut. Nor does the collapse of the old Soviet Union -- and with it the need for enormously expensive stealth aircraft to evade radar systems the Soviets never built -- dissuade congressional supporters of those planes from pushing for more, not less, than Bush is requesting. Nor does wasting an additional $8.9 billion on ICBM missile defense have anything to do with stopping terrorists from smuggling a suitcase nuke into this country.

The centerpiece of the Bush legacy is a "war on terror" based on a vast disconnect between military expenditures and actual national security requirements that the presidential candidates all fully understand. The question is whether the voters and media will force them to face that contradiction or whether we're in for more of the same -- no matter how much the candidates go on about change.

No matter who occupies the White House on January 20, 2009, chances of a reduction in military spending are slim and none.

"The more things change", and all that . . . .

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gee, What a Surprise . . . .

Now here's a shocker from Reuters today:

CIA says used waterboarding three times
Tue Feb 5, 2008 -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA on three occasions shortly after the September 11 attacks used a widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday.

"Waterboarding has been used on only three detainees,"* Hayden told the Senate Intelligence Committee, publicly specifying the number of subjects and naming them for the first time, as Congress considers banning the technique.

Those subjected to waterboarding were al Qaeda suspects Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Hayden said.

* If you believe that line, I've got some swampland in Florida I'd love to sell you.

Seriously . . . .

Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Funny . . . .


I bought a new Lexus 330 but returned to the dealer the next day because I couldn't get the radio to work.

The salesman explained that the radio was voice activated. "Nelson," the salesman said to the radio.

The Radio replied, "Ricky or Willie?"

"Willie!" he continued and "On The Road Again" came from the speakers.

Then he said, "Ray Charles!", and in an instant "Georgia On My Mind" replaced Willie Nelson.

I drove away happy, and for the next few days, every time I'd say, "Beethoven," I'd get beautiful classical music. If I said, "Beatles," I'd get one of their awesome songs. Yesterday, a driver ran a red light and nearly creamed my new Lexus, but I swerved in time to avoid him.? I yelled, "Ass Hole!"

Immediately Hail-to-the-Chief began playing.

I LOVE this car!

Pumping Profits . . . .

In light of my ZENN car post below, this bit of good (?) news from Reuters today:

Exxon, Chevron earnings soar on record oil prices
Fri Feb 1, 2008
By Michael Erman

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest non-government-controlled oil company, on Friday posted the highest-ever quarterly and yearly profits by a U.S. company, propelled by record oil prices.


Exxon's net income in the quarter rose nearly 14 percent to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 a share, from $10.25 billion, or $1.76 a share, in 2006. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $1.98 per share.


The company's quarterly result as well as its full-year earnings of $40.61 billion set new records for U.S. profits, beating out previous marks also set by Exxon.

Now ya' wanna put your order in for that ZENN car ? ? ? ?