Monday, July 30, 2007

Where To Begin ? ? ? ?

There are so many obvious questions raised by this story it's impossible to know where to begin . . . .

Rice: Iran now the biggest U.S. strategic challenge in Mideast

Take a breath . . . .

I know you're probably pulling your hair out . . . .

Relax, take a chill pill . . . .

Now, . . . .

All together, . . . .


BTW, the photo is crying for a caption. Feel free . . . .

Teddy Trouble . . . .

Rut-Row, Ted. From this evening's Anchorage Daily News:

FBI, IRS searching Stevens' Girdwood house

Anchorage Daily News
- (Published: July 30, 2007)

Federal law enforcement agents are currently searching the Girdwood home of Alaska U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

"All I can say is that agents from the FBI and IRS are currently conducting a search at that residence," said Dave Heller, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Anchorage office. The search began earlier this afternoon, he said. It's the only such search warrant currently being served, he said.

Federal investigators and a grand jury looking into public corruption in Alaska have been asking questions about a 2000 remodeling project that more than doubled the size of Stevens' home -- particularly the involvment of the oil field services firm Veco. Three contractors who worked on the project told the Daily News that their records had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, and others connected with the work and with Stevens had been interviewed.

Maybe he's got a system of tubes to squirrel away any incriminating evidence . . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Beating the Rush, or Beating the bush ? ? ? ?

H/T to our friend and fellow US-to-Canada immigrant David Drucker over at Loud Murmurs for this one:

Brain drain a thing of the past as Americans flood in

By Norma Greenaway - CanWest News Service
Sunday, July 29, 2007

OTTAWA - The number of Americans admitted to Canada last year hit a 30-year high, fueling a pattern that suggests the drain of Canadian brains south of the border may be a shrinking phenomenon.

The number of Americans accepted in Canada reached 10,942 in 2006, almost double the number admitted in 2000. By contrast, the number of Canadians admitted to the United States in 2006 dropped sharply from the previous year, falling to 23,913 from 29,930.

"Friends (back home) are asking a lot of questions," said American Pamela Chaloult. "I keep encouraging people to come."

The couple now is ready to buy a house in their adopted city of Vancouver, and they are thinking about taking out Canadian citizenship.

Chaloult says she doesn't miss the political and economic stresses that have accompanied the presidency of George W. Bush.

"We really appreciate the community we're in here," she said. "It doesn't hurt to be in a more sane environment."

Our thoughts, exactly. So, are we beating the rush or beating a trail from bush?

Probably both . . . .

Butt Out . . . .

After last night's fireworks display, what to do today??

Hmmmm . . . . There's "Yoga in the Park" or

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

Vancouver's version of the World Naked Bike Ride to point out the folly of relying on oil for transportation.

Which do you think I chose ? ? ?

You got it, not yoga.

(My favourite !) >

Quelle Surprise, eh ? ? ? ?

Canada In The House . . . .

Last night's fireworks entertainment was produced by Canada.

Today's article title in The Province says it all:

Canada Puts On a Strong Show

We have been viewing
this spectacle since 2005. Canada's show last night was second only to Sweden's 2005 winning performance which was incredible.
(The liberal use of Abba music may have influenced my opinion, however!)

The first-time team out of
Manitoba made more use of blue displays than anyone I have seen in previous years. Apparently, blues are the most difficult to produce. This team excelled at it.

China's up Wednesday and then on Saturday the winner will be announced.

My bet's on Canada at this point . . . . .

Saturday, July 28, 2007

News To Me . . . .

Per Reuters:

Cheney's heart device replaced
Sat Jul 28, 2007 1:15PM EDT

Who knew he had one?

A heart, that is . . . .

Candidate's Challenge . . . .

Michael Moore has issued a challenge to the Democratic presidential candidates.

With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, what are the chances that any of them will accept it?

"Slim and None" come to mind . . . .

Yeah, That'll Work . . . .


This should really make things better. (From Reuters)

U.S. plans big arms sale to Saudi Arabia
Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:30PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve arms sales totaling $20 billion over the next decade for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, The New York Times reported in Saturday editions.

Coming as some U.S. officials contend that the Saudi government is not helping the situation in Iraq, the proposal for advanced weapons for Saudi Arabia has stoked concern in Israel and among its U.S. backers, the Times said.

Senior officials, including State Department and Pentagon officials who outlined the deals' terms, told the Times they thought the Bush administration had resolved those concerns, partly by offering Israel more than $30 billion in military aid over the next 10 years, which would be a significant increase over recent levels.

The sad thing is, the US congress will probably approve both sales in the interest of the US economy or "security".

Crapola . . . .

Friday, July 27, 2007

Breaking News . . . .

Here's a heads up on a one of man's hardest questions. Finally, the throbbing question has been fully extended and erected into a seminal conclusion:

Circumcised men are just as sensitive Last Updated: Friday, July 27, 2007 | 12:20 PM ET - CBC News

The details are here.

For safety's sake, please remember that should your arousal
after digesting this news last more than 12 hours, you should seek medical attention . . . .

Check It Out . . . .

Our fellow same-sex US-to-Canada friends Two Moms to Canada have posted a great video today.

You've got to check it out for your daily humour . . . .

Good Find, mseh!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Gift From Above . . . .

CQ TODAY MIDDAY UPDATE July 26, 2007 – 1:45 p.m.
Senate Democrats Request Special Prosecutor to Investigate Gonzales

Four Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats on Thursday asked the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales lied under oath to Congress.

Meanwhile, Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., subpoenaed White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings, a White House political aide, for testimony and documents, setting an Aug. 2 deadline that the White House is likely to ignore.

“If there are any cooler heads at the White House, I urge them to reconsider the course that they have taken because there is a cloud over the White House and a gathering storm,” Leahy said on the Senate floor.

The quartet of senators — Charles E. Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island — convinced that Gonzales has repeatedly committed perjury in congressional testimony, most recently during a July 24 appearance before the Judiciary panel — asked Solicitor General Paul D. Clement to name a special counsel from outside the department to investigate.

“His instinct is not to tell the truth, but to dissemble and deceive,” Schumer said.

Source: CQ Today Midday Update

Heh, heh, heh . . . .

HSBC's Celebration of Light - 2007 . . . .

This is the best time of the year to visit or live in Vancouver.

Last night was the first in a four night series of fantastic fireworks displays over English Bay. This is the third year I have been fortunate enough to be able to see them as they are held just a couple of blocks from our tiny place here.

This year there was added apprehension about the amount of trash generated on the beach because we are currently living with a strike by city workers with no trash pick-up. Amazingly, the beach is cleaner this morning than in previous years as attendees took most of their trash home with them to show support for continuing the shows. Good job, gang!

The opening evening was
produced by Spain:

Canada is up Saturday, China next Wednesday and the grand finale will include all of the competing countries on Saturday, August 4th.

The following day is Vancouver's Gay Pride parade, but that's a whole 'nuther story . . . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Integrating Pollution . . . . .

How's that Kinder-Morgan Deep Integration thing workin' out for 'ya, Canada?

Kinder Morgan to acquire Terasen
Aug 2, 2005 7:05 AM

Kinder Morgan Inc, Houston TX, is acquiring Terasen Inc, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for $5.6 billion.

Yesterday we get this result :

Huge Burnaby oil spill
12-metre geyser from broken pipeline empties homes
Derrick Penner and Kelly Sinoski, With Files From Catherine, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A 12-metre geyser of crude oil spewed from a broken pipeline in a Burnaby neighbourhood Tuesday, forcing people from their homes, contaminating the area and sending a thick, smelly torrent down storm sewers and into Burrard Inlet.

Aerial view of the area of Inlet Drive and Ridge Drive where a Kinder Morgan crude oil pipeline was ruptured Tuesday afternoon. The geyser of oil coated roads, vehicles and homes.
Aerial view of the area of Inlet Drive and Ridge Drive where a Kinder Morgan
crude oil pipeline was ruptured Tuesday afternoon. The geyser of oil coated
roads, vehicles and homes.
Photograph by : Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

Back in the spring of '05 we had our first Letter to the Editor published in the Vancouver Sun. In it we suggested that selling Canadian assets to outfits like Kinder-Morgan was ill advised.

We rest our case . . . .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

al . . . . Again . . . .

'Ya know, the last time I was here in Vancouver, al gonzales was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. There seems to be a pattern here. As I am posting this, he is being "queeried" by Ted Kennedy.

While I tuned in to CSPAN 3 late into the proceedings, it was a joy to see Chuck Schumer and Russ Feingold both "rip him a new one" on a variety of topics. Schumer appears to be heading for a perjury charge against 'ole al due to his past testimonies.

Chairman Pat Leahy questioned him about Monica Goodling's testimony in which she said al talked to her about the Justice Department and upcoming appearances before Congress . al's defense was that yes, he had spoken to her - in contrast to his earlier sworn statements - but only "to console an emotionally distraught woman." Good grief.

Go Get Him, Guys ! ! ! !

Friday, July 20, 2007

Looking For Weapons of Mass Obstruction . . . .

This from Reuters today:

Bush to undergo colon exam on Saturday
Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:54PM EDT

- President George W. Bush

will undergo what aides described as a routine colonoscopy on Saturday at the Camp David presidential retreat.

During the time Bush, 61, is under anesthesia, he would delegate power to Vice President Dick Cheney, White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

I am rather surprised that dickhead cheney will have Presidential powers delegated to him. Surely they will discover cheney's "undisclosed location" shortly into the exam.

Our friend Patrick had what I find to be the most appropriate response:

The only question I have is WHERE will they insert the probe?

I mean, he’s totally an asshole – will they go into the throat, the ear or nose, or urethra?

It would be silly to limit the search for colon polyps to simply the rectum when he is unquestionably the world’s biggest asshole overall."

Well said . . . .

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Draft College repuglicans . . . .

Excellent video by Max Blumenthal:

I can not make any commentary to enhance the video. It definitely speaks for itself.

Thanks, Max . . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

South of the 49th? See This Film . . . .

For most of the year we don't live in what would be called a "cultural mecca". Needless to say, Michael Moore's SiCKO is not showing as of yet in our area of Florida. One of the many perks of being in Vancouver is the ability to see current films, and today I did get to see the film at Vancouver's Fifth Avenue Theatres.

If you've already seen it, you can appreciate how good it is. If you haven't yet had the opportunity, make sure you do soon. After you do, a check of MM's SiCKO news site will keep you up do date on what's going on.

One of the many things I learned: Do you know who is referred to as the "Father of Canadian Health Care"? We should all thank him posthumously.

The film should be required viewing for all elected officials in the US.

Alas, this will not be the case . . . . .

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Possible "Brand": 660 Million $ettlement . . . .

From Reuters today:

Catholic Church avoids abuse trial with LA deal

By Adam Tanner Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:45PM EDT

- The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said on Sunday it would pay people who were sexually abused by priests as children a record $660 million, although some victims regretted it meant church leaders would not face questioning in court.

Facing trial on Monday over abuse allegations dating as far back as the 1940s, the Archdiocese agreed to pay 508 victims the largest-ever group settlement.

And later in the article:

"What we would have seen is the horrors with the reality that hundreds of children were sexually assaulted, raped, sodomized by priests when the leadership of the church knew."

J. Michael Hennigan, attorney for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said the church would fund about $250 million of the $660 million settlement. The rest will come from insurers including Chubb, AIG, Allianz and Fireman's Fund with whom the church holds general liability policies as well as several Catholic religious orders.

Hennigan expects payments by the end of the year, with the church selling nonessential real estate assets, including the Los Angeles Archdiocese headquarters, to raise the funds.

If the Archdiocese meets that schedule, the payments will come ahead of a 2008 trip by Pope Benedict to the United States announced on Sunday.

Yes, that would be the same dude formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (how appropriate) referred to below: (From The Guardian)

Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry

Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered bishops to keep allegations secret

Jamie Doward, religious affairs correspondent Sunday April 24, 2005 The Observer

Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.

The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor.

Yeah, let's make sure the Archdiocese pays that $ettlement off before Her Highness arrives. For goodness' sake, we wouldn't want her to have to face something she thought was "behind closed doors" all these years.

bennie, you've got a lot to answer for.

But we can wait 'til after you pay up . . . .

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Branding catholocism - What Will They Think of Next ? ? ? ?

From today's Toronto Star:

Benedict the Brander muscles his message
The Pope's focus on Catholic fundamentals scares reformers but works miracles, marketers say

Catherine Mulroney Special to the Star July 14, 2007

Call him the Bill Gates of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI, leader of more than 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide, is no stranger to controversy. Last Tuesday, he reasserted the primacy of the Catholic Church, stating it is the one true church. This following his approval of the broader use of the Latin Mass, has set critics' tongues wagging and refocused attention on church politics and practise.

Benedict's edicts, issued just before his summer vacation, have naysayers expressing concerns about everything from the political correctness of claiming church supremacy to fears it will soon become impossible to attend mass in the vernacular.

But numbers tell a different tale regarding his appeal to a core population of Catholics. The Vatican's financial statements for 2006, Benedict's first full year as pope, show a huge leap in donations to the papal charity known as Peter's Pence, ($101 million U.S. in 2006 versus $64.4 million the year before) in 2006, and the numbers of faithful flocking to St. Peter's Square in Rome are soaring. While marketing is likely the last thing on the Pope's mind, experts in that worldly field say Benedict's actions serve very powerfully to brand the Catholic Church in the eyes of the world, bringing a muscular "take-it-or-leave-it" approach to church positioning.

"Benedict is very progressive about his brand," says Patrick McGovern, vice-president of Blade Creative Branding, a Toronto-based marketing agency, who gives the Pope credit for clearly expressing the values a core constituency holds dear. "If everybody is wishy-washy, (the institution) will wash away."

For many people, belonging to a church with a unique chain of command leading up to the papacy has great appeal and reassurance, McGovern argues. Windows has Bill Gates. The Catholic Church has Benedict."

I'm putting my money on Bill Gates.

At least he has better fashion sense . . . .

36 Hours in Vancouver . . . .

Thanks to the heads-up from David @ Loud Murmurs:

Tomorrow's travel section of the New York Times is featuring Vancouver in their "36 Hours" segment.

36 Hours in Vancouver

For those of you who have not been here, this should give you an indication of why we chose Vancouver as our future home.

Make sure you check out the slide show.

Enjoy . . . .

Righteous repugs Strike Again . . . .

This little tidbit from Crooks and Liars seems to have slipped under the MSM radar:

McCain’s Florida Campaign Co-Chair Arrested For Solicitation

Let's see now . . . .

We've got this guy,

this guy,

this guy,

and now this guy.

All within the last year or so.

'Ya gotta love the hypocrisy of this crowd . . . .

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bunnies and Bras . . . .

It seems that Energizer, the people that make batteries is buying Playtex, the bra people.

Surely there's a joke in there somewhere . . . .

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Vancouver Redeux . . . .

Sorry 'bout being quiet the past few days. I'm here in Vancouver and have been enjoying the city life. I will get to enjoy the HSBC Celebration of Light fireworks later this month, and the annual Vancouver Gay Pride festivities in August. "drf" joins me the first week of August. All in all, a great time of the year to be here.

More soon . . . .

Monday, July 09, 2007

"We're Number One . . . ."

in the industrialized world, anyway. (Maybe not "we" yet, but soon in our case . . . . )

From the CBC today:

Canada tokes at 4 times world average: UN
CBC News

Canadians use marijuana at four times the world average, making Canada the leader of the industrialized world in cannabis consumption, a recent United Nations report found.

The 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says that 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used another cannabis product in 2006. The world average is 3.8 per cent.

Just one more reason to love Canada, eh ? ? ? ?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

There She Goes Again, Part Deux . . . .

Again, per Reuters:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A decree by Pope Benedict allowing priests to say the old Latin Mass more frequently has sparked criticism within both Catholic and Jewish ranks, with one Italian bishop saying he was "in mourning".

The decree, possibly the most important of Benedict's papacy so far, was issued on a summer weekend without the publicity that normally accompanies key documents.

(Sounds like she's taking lessons from the bush White House: Release bad news on Friday when no one is paying attention . . . . )

The Pope did not mention the Latin Mass decree in his weekly Angelus blessing on Sunday and will retreat to a small town in the Dolomites mountains on Monday to start his summer holidays.

The Vatican will issue another text on Tuesday which Italian media say will declare Roman Catholicism the only true church of Jesus Christ, a statement that could anger Protestants. (Emphasis mine.)

You gotta give the girl credit:

She really knows how to win friends and influence people. Makes one glad to be a non-believer . . . .

Saturday, July 07, 2007

There She Goes Again . . . .

By way of Reuters:

Pope revives old Latin Mass, sparks Jewish concern
By Phil Stewart
- Sat Jul 7, 2007 9:46AM EDT VATICAN CITY

- Pope Benedict, in a decree issued on Saturday, authorized wider use of the old Latin Mass and told the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics that his nod to Church traditionalists was nothing to be afraid of.

Jewish groups expressed concern because the decree revived prayers that say Jews are blind to the Christian truth and urge Catholics to pray for their conversion.

One senior figure of a U.S.-based Jewish rights group called the language "insensitive ... insulting" and expressed fears the decree could harm historic reconciliation.

Just great. More religious clap-trap to incite the masses. (Pardon the expression.)

Somehow, Bennie's "nothing to be afraid of" assurances would not give me much confidence. That is, if I gave a rat's ass what "she of the expensive gowns" had to say on any subject . . . .

Friday, July 06, 2007

Rats . . . .

From Congressional Quarterly today:
Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge to NSA Surveillance Program

A federal appeals court has vacated a lower court ruling against President Bush’s warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled 2-1 Friday that the plaintiffs in the case, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, lacked standing to bring the case.

“Because the plaintiffs cannot show that they have been or will be subjected to surveillance personally, they clearly cannot establish standing under the Fourth Amendment or FISA,” referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (PL 95-511), Judge Alice M. Batchelder wrote in the court’s opinion in the case American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency.

A Michigan federal judge ruled in August 2006 that the program was unconstitutional, a decision the government appealed. The 6th Circuit had stayed the district court’s injunction while the appeal was pending.

“We are deeply disappointed by today’s decision that insulates the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance activities from judicial review and deprives Americans of any ability to challenge the illegal surveillance of their telephone calls and e-mails,” said ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro. He said an appeal to the Supreme Court was possible.

Now let's see. If it gets to the Supreme Court, just how do we think the Roberts Court will come down on this issue ? ? ? ?

Friday Humour . . . .

(Compliments of The Horny Rabbit blog)

Can't say that I'm a big Hillary fan, but these may help:

The 2008 Presidential race is on and former First Lady and New York Senator Hilllary Clinton is “in to win”. Most Americans think it’s about time we had a female president, but is Hillary Rodham Clinton that woman? For as many Hillraisers there are scouring the country for campaign funds, there are just as many Anti-Hillites who get sick to their stomach at the very thought of Hillary becoming the next Commander-in-Chief. For those liberal Democrats experiencing Hillarrhea and/or other Hillary related ailments, a quick trip to Wal-Mart is the first step to controlling those pesky Hillary maladies.

That’s right, a new line of gentle yet effective over-the-counter remedies can provide relief that can help you survive Election 2008, should Hillary win the Democratic nomination. So you can rest assured knowing there is a cure. She may not be perfect, but she’s not Republican…and isn’t that all that really matters?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Review This Movie . . . .

Thumbs Up?

Thumbs Down?

Three Stars?

Four Stars?

Must See?

Don't See?

You decide . . . .

Not About the Oil After All . . . .

Boy, that's a relief!!

Who woulda' thunk that the "Wawah On Terur" in Iraq wasn't all about the oil?

This move by the Iraqi government puts that theory to rest once and for all.

Feel better now?

Sure 'ya do . . . .

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Six Degrees of Commutation" . . . .

Thanks to McClatchy News once again. (One of the few US news organizations that regularly reports accurately.)

Libby's reprieve ties him to Giuliani and both Clintons, sort of
William Douglas | McClatchy Newspapers - July 03, 2007 04:36:07 PM

WASHINGTON — Call it "Six Degrees of Political Separation" or "the Kevin Bacon Game Goes to Washington."

President Bush's commutation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence highlights some interesting connections between Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, a former fugitive from justice, an ex-president and two leading 2008 White House hopefuls.

Read this and then you may agree with me that it's probably time to chuck out all the "regular" pols and give an independent third party a shot . . . .