Ink & Paper

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Make your voice heard, click the link below.

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If you can spare a minute, send a letter to the leaders of nuclear states, letting them know that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is not what the majority of humanity wants. Thanks.

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I honestly can't believe I'm reading this.

Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is. Also exempted now are Alabama's public and college libraries.

But in book after book, Allen reads what he calls the "homosexual agenda," and he's alarmed. "It's not healthy for America, it doesn't fit what we stand for," says Allen. "And they will do whatever it takes to reach their goal."

Editor's Note: When the time for the vote in the legislature came there were not enough state legislators present for the vote, so the measure died automatically.

What does America stand for? Is it repression of individual rights? Or is it a suggested tolerance for some rights as long as they follow a narrow religious doctrine? Or is it like the ads say, where everyone is free no matter what? Can you even make a blanket statement about a country like America standing for one thing, whatever it might be? Hell, my friends and I argue about this issue, we have different views, and I don't have that many friends. So to imply that the entire country is 'against' this or 'for' that seems like more than a bit of stretch.

I have said all along, I don't care what gender you prefer. I'm not perfect, so far be it from me to cast the first stone. As long as you aren't hurting anyone, then you're all right by me. The statement "...they will do whatever it takes to reach their goal" strikes me as nothing more than a boogeyman approach of addressing this issue. Let's remember at one time that the "they" was (were? ah hell) black people.

Why do we, and I mean humanity, need to always have a boogeyman enemy that is threatening to chase away the good and infect us with evil? Why? Are we still so juvenile that we need to break the world into an elementary school "us versus them" battle? Have we not gotten past that mentality with higher education and literacy rates? Are we still unable to shake off the prejudices of our ancestors?

I know the world will always have the ignorant, the one who claims Shakespeare was part of a "homosexual agenda", but what worries me is that they have become dangerously powerful in the past few years and that with a few missteps we could all find ourselves at the mercy of one person's or party's religious interpretation of any number of issues. Thankfully this bill died, but that doesn't mean it won't come around again, perhaps less overt and tucked on in the back pages of another bill.

I want to end this blog off with something meaningful, something, anything, but I can't. I just don't know what to say that will convince my cynical inner voice that says "this will never end, this ignorance, this hate." I don't know, I just don't know. Go hug someone. Maybe that will make it better.

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Megan says she doesn't want this kind of publicity for our wedding. She can be such a party killer. Just kidding Megs, TAKE ME BACK!

I am very glad that tomorrow is May 1st. The kids seem to be getter wackier by the day. I bet the end of May will just be one big rock and roll show. Right when all the teachers are totally burned out, if they aren't there already. Wheeee.

I've been surfing around some blogs that I read on a regular basis, and a lot of people have been mentioning how they are getting out and about, enjoying the spring weather, having drinks on patios, etc etc. I really miss that, the looking forward to spring. And the drinking obviously. I'm usually a pretty low key guy when it comes to parties and whatnot, but after 10 nearly-dry months, I'm looking forward to sitting in the shade, beer in hand, shooting the breeze. Or getting all out hammered, yelling at random people and telling them that "my name is Al and I live at 17 Jaycourt in Sherwood Park, bring it on ya sissy." Ah, the memories.

Anyway, so yeah, May 1st is a good day. Right now the "plumber", and I use the term loosely, is fixing Marc's toilet. Marc broke the handle off, on account that while not dodging cockroaches, you have to flush the toilets in this country at least three times to actually flush anything. So I'm getting a little tired of the dump ass apartment that I live in, where it seems that every day brings a new plumbing 'scenario' for us to deal with. I was seriously happy when I was in Airdrie and Dace's toilets flushed the first time. It was a whole new world for me. I can't believe how pathetic my life is.

I'll be around, if I'm not here just leave a message.

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Ha ha.

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As of this moment I have a shade over 1160 hours remaining in Kuwait. And that loser is riding his bike in circles again.

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Not a bad day today. Went out last night with Neil and George for dinner, ended up talking about hockey and basketball for 4 hours. No beer, but we managed. Got in at midnight, up at 9, went to the Hilton at 10am.

While I was at the Hilton, I went to the gym to ride the bike, part of my desire not be a fat ass again. I lost a fair bit of weight when I was walking Monday, but now that she's gone, I figured I'd get to the gym, at least for the rest of the school year.

I hate the gym. I absolutely hate it with a passion. I feel like a goof, plus there are all these superstud military guys are checking themselves out in the mirrors. Plus it is boring as all hell, sitting there riding the bike for 30 minutes. And it hurts, which isn't a lot of fun when you get to be a bitter old man like me. So screw it, my bread and water diet will be good enough until I get back in June and can walk the pooch 3 times a day. I ended up reading on the beach for about 3 hours. It is about 25 degrees here with a breeze, so the weather is perfect. I was still hiding my paper-white skin under the giant umbrellas that they have, but it was nice.

It is kinda weird though. Come the weekends, the Hilton is packed with ex-pats and if it were to be picked up and moved to Hawaii or something, it wouldn't look much different. It becomes even more weird when you are going home past all the dirt and garbage that makes up 99.9% of Kuwait. A bit of a trip, to say the least.

Anyway, only 48 more sleeps.

bush made his first primetime appearance in over a year last night, praising his administrations energy policy and social security changes. The energy policy is basically bush sweet-talking Saudi Arabia, asking them to jack up production to lower oil costs. Not especially far sighted, but if it happens the gasoline prices will drop and 52% of the voters will go back to breathing through their mouths and watching American Idol or some other dog crap show. The social security argument is rife with distortions, so much so that a large portion of the Republican party isn't buying bush's claims. So that ought to tell you something.

But further to my rant against the mainstream media, I found this article, which further goes to show why America's media is more than partially responsible for the ignorance of it's populace. Keep in mind it is written by Matt Drudge, who is pro-Republican.

THU APRIL 28, 2003 21:02:33 ET

The White House learned a painful media lesson Thursday: Do not launch a press conference on the first night of May Sweeps! CBS, NBC and FOX cut off President Bush, mid-sentence, in several time zones, after sacrificing one hour of prime. The president was left standing on the stage as NBC rushed to Donald Trump, FOX to Paris Hilton and CBS to SURVIVOR: PALAU.

ABC and PBS stayed with talkative Bush until he left reporters in the East Room of the White House. Sensing he was running into trouble, Bush joked, "We better finish this up, there are TV programs to show. For the sake of the economy." But it was too late. They had already pulled away.

Honestly, Paris Hilton? This surgically enhanced bimbo who is most famous because she had her sex life videotaped and distributed on the net, she is more important than listening to what the government is planning on doing with your old age pension? What a joke. If no one complains about this then when people are destitute and elderly in 2041, I will not feel sorry for them or for their claims that the government screwed them without them having any idea whatsoever.

I watched a half an episode of Survivor when I was in Airdrie. It sucked. It was tired, boring, predictable, and lame. Yet it somehow manages to "trump" (pun intended) the goings-on of the government. This government needs to be watched more than any other since Nixon, yet people are compliant.

So go ahead, America, watch your Hollywood, your soma, as it no doubt takes you away from the humdrum life of consuming everything in sight. But when it comes time to pay the piper, and that time is coming sooner than you think, do not throw up the defense that you didn't know, that no one told you. They cut off the President and you said nothing. And perhaps when the history books write you up perhaps your silence will be the most incriminating evidence of all.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

From Media Matters...

A member of the delegation of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, who met with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, on April 25, was denied entry to the United States after the delegation member's name appeared on a national watch list for alleged terrorists, according to reports by The Dallas Morning News and the Agence France-Presse (AFP) wire service. But the issue has received virtually no attention in print and television news coverage since AFP first reported it, and no reporters asked about it during Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's press briefing in Crawford or White House press secretary Scott McClellan's press gaggle on Air Force One following the meeting.

I'm not mad at bush and his cronies about this. Really, I'm not. I expect as much, after so many years of such antics. What disappoints me is the lack of hard questions posed by the media. This is the same media that runs about promoting bush's terrorism color scheme chart, yet when this denial of entry happens, no one mutters a word.

It might just be me, but don't you find it a little odd that a potential terrorist was going to be in very close proximity to the President, was turned away, and no one in the mainstream news bothers to ask the White House about it? This story didn't (to my knowledge) make the NY Times or the BBC, two of the western worlds major news sources. If the media isn't going to ask the questions that need to get asked, even if it means they run the risk of being blackballed by the administration, then what the hell purpose do they serve? Mouthpiece for the government? Conspirator in the crime of silence? It would sure as hell seem like that is the path they are choosing to walk down.

In America one constantly hears about the vaunted "freedom of the press." Censorship is abhorred, officially, and the idea of the government or any other force shutting down the free press is associated more with 3rd world governments than with the USA. But is this not a similar outcome, this glossing over of a major news story, this self-censorship? Whether I am told not to write a story or I choose not to write the story based on my own self interest, the result is the same.

I really wonder what this world is coming to when the supposed voice of society, the journalists, are content to allow the public to remain shrouded in ignorance. And speaking of public ignorance, many in the US are starting to worry about their economy, a direct result of high gasoline prices and the message (finally) getting through that having record deficits doesn't mean your government is running a really tight economic ship. bush's approval ratings are the lowest they have ever been, somewhere in the 42-45% range, depending on who you listen to. So I just have one question....

Why the hell wasn't the American voter concerned about this 6 months ago? It ain't like these domestic problems snuck up overnight. The word on the web is that bush is dangerously close to being labeled a 'lame duck' second term president. I would prefer the term "Oil-driven-corporate-whore-war-starter-assmunch", but no one listens to me anyway. But lost in all the media blitz of the "War on Terror" that led up to the election, over half the population was seemingly willing to forget their jobs had been outsourced to India and Grandma's Medicare was cut yet again.

Here is the real news: Almost everyone gets old and almost everyone has a job. Almost no one gets killed by terrorists. The chance of you dying from a terrorist attack is about as much as the Pope naming me his 2nd in command. So why then does terrorism rule the day? A quote I found on the BBC....

In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares.

I really wonder what state the US, and by association, Canada's economies are going to be in come 2008. And I really wonder if the media will misinform the public yet again about the true threats they are facing. And I have no doubt that a few flashy Fox-news graphics and some superhero music will convince the NASCAR dads and the soccer moms that the threat lies far overseas and that holding down three part time jobs is truly the pinnacle of the American dream.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Is there a War Amps for dogs?

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You aren't going to put this on the internet, are you?

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As most of you know, my beloved dog Monday made the journey home to Canada over the April break. She has been residing with Megan at her parent's place in Beaumont and will be there until Megan moves to Red Deer this Sunday. As some of you know, the Kobly family also has the beloved (by everyone except me) dog known as Kiley.

Now these two dogs were getting along quite well together until Kiley (presumably) got a valuable treat from a garbage bin, which she has learned how to open. What is this valuable treat, you ask? Why a paper towel of course. Kiley is very intent on this paper towel and Monday, in her small school bus way, wanders over to check it out. Kiley doesn't take to kindly to this, remember after all that it is a paper towel, and a little tussle breaks out.

Now I thought my dog, having come from an inhospitable country like Kuwait, having toughed out a long international flight, had a streak of toughness in her. It may not be evident from the 24/7 tail wagging and pat-mooching, but I though that she could draw upon her inner strength when needed. Not so, as she got her ass handed to her by Kiley, who managed to take a good nip out of Monday's ear before Megan broke up the fight. So thus I have determined that my dog has no street cred whatsoever.

Anyway, in the end, all is fine. Monday has to wear that dumbass cone for a few days to prevent her from scratching at the ear, but she'll be fine. Consequently, I now owe Megan some gifts for being such a patient fiance. But I don't mind. And that is why my life continues to mess with other peoples even when I am half a globe away. What a dog.

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I like bicycles. They are fun. I feel sorry for bicycles that get hijacked by losers who ride them in small circles around and around my parking lot. For the last 20 minutes. What the hell?? Is that really a meaningful use of your life, riding in circles? I mean, hell, I've turned into the biggest computer nerd around, but do you see me hopping on some shit-ass bike and riding in circles like some drunk circus performer? Dammit, where the hell is my throwing brick?

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Way to go Liberals....

Support for sovereignty in Quebec has broken through the 50-per-cent barrier to its highest level since 1998 amid growing controversy over the sponsorship scandal. A new poll shows 54 per cent of decided voters would support sovereignty in a referendum that offered an economic and political partnership with the rest of Canada -- the same question asked in the Oct. 30, 1995, referendum.

The last time support for sovereignty was this high was in October, 1998, the pollsters say. Quebec was then weeks away from a provincial election, which was won by Lucien Bouchard of the Parti Quebecois.

This survey, conducted April 21 to 24, shows 76 per cent of voters felt betrayed by the actions of the former prime minister and the Liberal Party of Canada after the 1995 referendum on sovereignty.

"The sponsorship program, which contributed to undermining support for sovereignty between 1997 and 2002, is now having the opposite effect," said pollster Jean-Marc Leger.

"In fact it is helping rebuild the sovereignty movement." Globe and Mail

It is rather sadly ironic that the sponsorship program, the very purpose of which was that of the promotion of Canada within Quebec following the referendum, should be the fuel that is firing talk of a seperate Quebec. I hope that this poll reflects a knee-jerk reaction to the current political situation more than it reflects a long term Quebec view on Canada, but one can never be sure.

Quebeckers are feeling that they are being partially blamed for the whole gong show that is the sponsorship scandal. They aren't to blame, of course, but still the feeling remains and with a strong Bloc Quebecois showing in the next election, something that is surely to happen, we may just find ourselves sitting on the edge of our seats, watching history repeat itself.

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More evidence that bush is evil.

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Gallup: 50% of Americans Now Say Bush Deliberately Misled Them on WMDs
By E&P Staff Published: April 26, 2005 11:45 AM ET

Half of all Americans, exactly 50%, now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Gallup Organization reported this morning.

"This is the highest percentage that Gallup has found on this measure since the question was first asked in late May 2003," the pollsters observed. "At that time, 31% said the administration deliberately misled Americans. This sentiment has gradually increased over time, to 39% in July 2003, 43% in January/February 2004, and 47% in October 2004."

Also, according to the latest poll, more than half of Americans, 54%, disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while 43% approve. In early February, Americans were more evenly divided on the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq, with 50% approving and 48% disapproving. Last week Gallup reported that 53% now believe that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was "not worth it."

But Frank Newport, editor in chief at Gallup, recalled today that although a majority of the public began to think the Vietnam war was a mistake in the summer of 1968, the United States did not pull out of Vietnam for more than five years, after thousands of more American lives were lost.

Editor and Publisher

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Man, work today was a total goat rodeo. It was a good rodeo though, as I only ended up having to teach 1 class the whole day. But still, typical mismanagement and lack of communication ruling the day. Oh well, I got a wee bit of bloggin done, so that was a plus. I suspect that the last two weeks of May will see me writing a lot, as I lose my G12 class, thus reducing me to a joke-like 3 classes every two days. I don't mind this at all, save for one thing: I think it is going to make May a looooong month, if today was any indication. Bonus for all my loyal readers though, so run around the office doing the bull dance in celebration. Do it.

More to come, a dogless weekend staring me in the face.....

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My local news: An update on the incident of rioting at the Bangladeshi embassy here in Kuwait.

And now, your local (kinda) news...

It looks like Martin has bought himself some time with regards to the potential impending collapse of Parliament by joining forces with the NDP. This cooperation is not one borne of mutual love, instead it is more of a politically smart marriage for both parties.

From the Liberals perspective, it allows them a better chance to keep their minority government afloat, at least for the time being. In essence, it buys them some more damage-control time that is needed to win back Liberal voters who are tired of always being on the defensive.

The NDP have the most to gain here, as the perennial also-ran party is now holding a lot of cards. They are basically getting their cake and eating it too, as they now have opportunity to push their socially conscious agenda through on the back of the modified Liberal budget. As well, disenchanted lefty Liberal voters are sure to be giving the NDP more consideration in the upcoming election, whenever that may be.

I think the NDP are the clear winners, as are the lower level income earners in Canada, if this partnership comes to full fruition. The Liberals are desperate to hold on to power and this is the only lifeline they have to grasp on to. But the devil is always in the details, and the details 9as follows, indicate the Liberals are far from being on solid ground.

A Liberal/NDP alliance would give them a combined total of 151 members of Parliament. A possible alignment of 99 Conservative MPs and 54 Bloc Québécois MPs would add up to a total of 153 votes. In that scenario, three MPs sitting as Independents could decide the fate of Martin's government in the 308-seat Parliament. CBC

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US: 726 people per 100,000
UK: 142
China: 118
France: 91
Japan: 58
Nigeria: 31
Source: Justice Policy Institute
The US prison population has risen further, with one in 138 people now in jail, new official figures reveal.
There are more than 2.1 million US citizens in jail - more than in any other country, the Bureau of Justice Statistics says....
The Justice Policy Institute, which advocates alternatives to prison, says it is the highest rate in the world - more than five times that in Britain, and 12 times that in Japan....The figures showed that 12.6% of black males in their late 20s are in prison, compared to 3.6% of Hispanics and about 1.7% of whites.
What a motley crew of kept company.

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New links at left, including Landmine Action, Merle the Pearl, Drudge Retort, and Canadians for Equal Marriage. Check 'em out. Or I'll start to cry.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But of course only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things."
-T.S. Eliot

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Courtesy of the future mother in law....

April 18, 2005
A Math Lesson: The Killing of Nicola Calipari
It was reported a few days ago:
"U.S. soldiers reportedly have been cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting of an Italian journalist and an intelligence agent last month in Baghdad.

"The car was about 130 yards from a checkpoint when the soldiers flashed their lights to get it to stop. They fired warning shots when the car was within 90 yards of the checkpoint, but at 65 yards, they used deadly force. Calipari was killed and Sgrena wounded."

Sgrena has told CBS that the car she was in was going 30 mph. At 30 mph, a car is going 15 yards per second. So, according to the U.S. military, they fired warning shots within 2.7 seconds of flashing a warning light, and used "deadly force" 2.3 seconds after that. And actually, if the U.S. military story were true and the car were really travelling at "high speed", let's be generous and call that only 45 mph, that's 22 yards per second, meaning 1.8 seconds between warning lights and warning shots, and 1.6 seconds between warning shots and deadly shots.

Now, there are variables, but typical perception plus reaction times are of the order of 1.5 seconds, that is, the time it takes to perceive a problem (such as a warning signal) and move your foot to the brake. That means that, according to the military's story, shots were fired at the vehicle less than 0.3 seconds after the vehicle could possibly have begun to slow down, even if they were paying close attention and they had immediately perceived that the alleged flashing light was meant as a signal to stop.

However that 0.3 second is actually overstated, because the gunman (or gunmen), attempting to perceive if the car was responding to their warning signal to slow down, have perception and reaction times of their own, so in fact, they were pulling the trigger before they could possibly have perceived if the car were slowing down.

And likewise, if the so-called warning shots were supposed to have served any purpose whatsoever, once again the "deadly force" shots were being squeezed off well before the warning shots could possibly have had any effect.

And on that basis, the military has "exonerated itself" from any wrongdoing.
Eli Stephens writes the Left I on the News

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From the BBC

The US chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has said inquiries into weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have "gone as far as feasible".

Mr Duelfer also said an official transfer of WMDs to Syria ahead of the Iraq war was not likely.
The CIA adviser reported last year that neither expected stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons, nor evidence of recent production had been found. However, he did say Saddam Hussein had wanted to restart WMD programmes.

That's funny, I could have sworn that I was told that WMD was the only reason that we needed to start this war in the first place. In fact, I am almost sure that I remember "proof" being shown to me by the media. I remember Colin Powell at the UN, showing me pictures of mobile germ warfare trucks. I remember being told that Saddam could launch WMD at the US in a matter of less than an hour. Don't I remember these things?

Funny how the memory plays tricks on you like that. Surely, I must have forgotten or misheard, otherwise it would mean that I had been, well, not lied to, that would be absurd. Misinformed perhaps? But no, not by the leaders of the USA, the country that has truth entrenched throughout its history.

I especially like the last line where it is stated that although Saddam had no WMDs, he surely wanted to start acquiring them. Oh, ok then, bomb the hell out of the civilians. I am also worried about Venezuela, because even though they don't have WMD, they do have a lot of oil, and it is entirely possible that sometime before the year 2376 they may think to themselves "You know, maybe we should get a bomb or two." Assholes. Let's bomb 'em now, just to be safe.

And despite all of this, the mention of impeaching this president is unheard of. Well obviously. It's not like he had some sort of extra-marital affair or something. That would be impeachment-quality information. The deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, lying to the public, awarded contracts to buddy-buddy oil friends, a jacked up deficit that will never be paid off, and alienated allies, shit son, that's just business as usual for the world's most beloved superpower.

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Monday, April 25, 2005

American values are finally being accepted by the Iraqi civilians. Let freedom reign....

Hussein Mohammed never dreamt that roadside bombs and suicide attacks in Baghdad would make him a fortune.

"With every victim that falls to an explosion and suicide attack, the demand for coffins increases and my work flourishes," said the coffin-maker in his tiny shop in the heart of the war-torn capital.

"During the days of Saddam (Hussein), I used to make one coffin a day. Now, I make scores of them and the demand increases with every suicide car bomb that explodes," said the 67-year-old Baghdadi.
Yahoo News

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CBC reporting...

A U.S. military investigation into the death of an Italian intelligence officer at a Baghdad checkpoint is expected to find that American soldiers followed procedure when they shot him, according to reports.

News reports in Italy said the Italian officials who participated in the investigation disagreed with the findings.

The report is not yet finished.

Nicola Calipari was killed March 4 by gunfire coming from U.S. forces as they tried to stop a car carrying him, two other agents and a freed hostage, Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.
Calipari died as he shielded Sgrena from the gunfire.

I am totally shocked and awed at this outcome. Wait a second, no I'm not. Par for the course.

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As if my English degree wasn't useless enough, I find this on the internet....

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I'd really like to see some of my friends and/or family get their own blog going. I understand that you may scared because your potential blog couldn't possibly be as cool as my blog, but I promise not to make fun of you unless you deserve it. I also promise to use the Power of Greyskull to provide a link to your blog from mine, thus allowing me to rule your blog like a puppet government. This is what I desire. Any takers?

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Bono, Nelly and Tim McGraw are zits on society's ass. Tom Waits continues to rule. All in this edition of Jay's Brain....

Guess what? Bono still won't shut his Irish pie hole. Bono is right about Martin being a 'big talker', but I still think Bono is a sanctimonious prick. I just get tired of him and his preaching. I get more tired of the fact that society listens to a rock star more than they listen to aid organizations and academics who actually engage in long-term studies of the problems that Bono 'drops in on' whenever he isn't spending his millions of dollars. I don't care what you think about Bono, unless you agree with me.

Meanwhile Tom Waits, who by the way could kick Bono's ass 28 times over, is pissed...

"Commercials are an unnatural use of my work," he said. "It's like having a cow's udder sewn to the side of my face. Painful and humiliating."

Now thats a quote.

You know what pissed me off the week that I was back in Canada? No it wasn't Cross, although I did beat him like a rented mule for that kiss he planted on Megan a few months ago. No, what really pissed me off was when I was channel surfing and came across a "duet", and I use the term very loosely as duet would imply a pair of people that could actually sing, between Tim McGraw the country "singer" and Nelly, that band-aid wearing loser of a "rapper."

Whose terrible, soul destroying idea was it to put these two hacks in the same video? It was awful. Nelly was 'rapping' poorly as usual, grunting and moaning like a stuck pig, walking around like he had one leg shorter than the other. McGraw was doing some kinda of hick hopping that was basically him just speaking the words to the "song." God, my ears actually started to burn, this combination was so toxic.

They had this split video thing going, where neither of them actually appeared in the same shot together. They basically just seemed to be walking around an airport tarmac waiting for their million dollar Learjets to be gassed up. Yeah, real down home McGraw. You both could have at least had the balls to appear in the same shot together, a race relations kinda moment, but noooo, you gotta be apart. "Ya gotta keep 'em segregated" according to the Offspring, another bitch ass sell out band. (Note: I know the Offspring lyric is different, I'm not a moron, don't email me)

Look country and rap do not mix. Six shooters and 9 mm. Crystal and moonshine. Wyclef, who is usually kick ass awesome at everything, tried during the Johnny Cash tribute and almost pulled it off, but that was only because he is kinda like the Jesus of rap. Any other hacks (read: Nelly) ought to just stick to their 'game' of bland rap, instead of trying to do anything else. Except dying, I'm ok if Nelly wants to die. But other than dying, just stick to your shit-rap, so I can know how to avoid it.

McGraw told MTV, "I love Nelly. The first time I met him was when we played in a basketball game together in Atlanta a couple of years ago — when I smoked him pretty good. We always enjoyed each other and talked about working together. So he'd written this song and the first thing Nelly did was tell his manager to call me. If you know Nelly, he's such a great guy, I couldn't wait to work with him."

I hate you Tim McGraw. You with your painted goatee and big black cowboy hat. I'm sure you and Nelly are tight, brothers just dying to work together. If you were so close then why did Nelly get his manager to call you? Seems to me the friendly thing Nelly could have done was to stop re-adjusting his band-aid and picked up his cell himself.

And the idea of you "smoking" Nelly at basketball is laughable. You are white and Nelly is black and it has been proven that white guys are no good at basketball, unless you are Steve Nash. (PS- Politically correct readers of this blog- I'm JOKING. Plus haven't you seen that movie White Men Can't Jump with Snipes and Harrelson? Didn't you all feel the basketball power of the white man when Woody throws down a dunk at the end of the movie? Over two black guys no less, thus reassuring fat white couch potatoes everywhere that white men can jump). Wow, off topic. Anyway, this quote makes me want to barf, it feels like Tim McGraw actually thinks he is adding something to society, as if he was the Mozart of his time. What a hollow jackass.

Oh yea McGraw, you're 'from the country' all right, with your mansions and fleet of cars. And your super hot wife. If you were real country you would be driving an ass ugly pickup and be married to your hill-billy cousin Luann. Who would probably look like Britney Spears. But no, you are 'hanging' with Nelly in a weak ass attempt to do some Shania Twain (I hate her too) cross over success. Yeah, like some guy from Nelly's "hood" is going to start buying your shit-ass country records. Only if some thug wants to get gunned down by a 9 mil will he buy your CD.

"Yo, word up homies. I jist be jacking dis blang blanging Tee Mc-Gee disc, word, wit Nelly all up on it, yo."

(Massive sound of gunfire and blunts being lit up)

Anyway, Megan said this 'song' had been out for a while and I was out of touch. I looked at her sideways and said that I was glad to be out of touch, if this was the kinda garbage that was passing for music nowadays. If anyone I know owns this song, either on a Nelly disc or a McGraw disc, please commence kicking your own ass right now. Garbage, just garbage. I feel dirty.

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bangladeshis storm Kuwait embassy

More than 700 Bangladeshi workers have stormed their country's embassy in Kuwait, causing damage inside. The rioters also slightly injured two Bangladeshi civilians who were visiting the embassy, Ambassador Nazrul Islam Khan told the BBC. The embassy called the police, who managed to restore order and arrested some of the workers. The others fled. Mr Islam told the BBC Bengali service that the motive for the attack was linked to wages not being paid.

The workers were employed by a Kuwaiti cleaning company and destroyed furniture, windows and documents, a security officer at the scene told the AFP news agency. A spokesman for the protesters is reported to have complained that they had not been paid for the last five months.
Diplomats and staff at the embassy, located in Surrah, 10km (six miles) south of Kuwait City, were not hurt but several fled towards a nearby police station.

The BBC's Gulf correspondent Julia Wheeler says that the workers were able to get inside the building and damage property. Estimates put the number of Bangladeshis working in the Gulf state at more than 150,000. Most work in menial jobs, many as cleaners. They have few rights, but provide much needed foreign income to their families at home.
Bangladesh is a country where the United Nations estimates around half the 130 million population earns about a dollar a day.

Throughout the Gulf, so-called guest workers often make complaints to their own embassies about not being paid. Our correspondent says that they are fearful of losing their jobs if they complain directly to their employers.

From the BBC

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New *regular read* website that you must check out. Courtesy of my brother, check out

A sample....

Sean Penn is an idiot
Wednesday - April 06, 2005
"Oscar winner Sean Penn's latest movie has left him with such severe exhaustion, he's retiring from the movie industry for several years to recover. He explains, 'The first week back, you want to make up for all the time you spent away from the kids - mistake. You have to pretend you're still away except you're not, so you just sleep and they come to see you, otherwise you're ill. This one has been extremely rough. I'm pretty burnt out and I'm going to have a couple of years off at least now."

Sean Penn is the most hateable person on the planet, and it's really not even close. You ever notice coal miners and fisherman never seem to get "exhaustion". They don't pull that crap because they know they're buddies would just smack them in the head, call them lazy and tell them to get back to work. Sean Penn mumbles for a living. And he doesn't even make up the stuff he mumbles. Someone else does that for him.
Anyone who saw him at the Oscars knows what a joyless, spoiled prick he is. He's a NRA opponent who keeps
loaded handguns in his car. He's an environmentalist who drives a 260hp muscle car. He's an anti war activist who spends three days on a guided tour in Iraq and then lectures America like he's an expert. I've spent more time than that at Magic Mountain, it doesn't make me a fuckin engineer.


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Well, my opinion of the BBC just took a nosedive....

The BBC was last night plunged into a damaging general election row after it admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader....More....

And in news that should surprise no one....

The US army investigation into the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib has cleared four out of five top officers of any responsibility for the scandal that shocked America and the world.

The probe has effectively exonerated Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, the US senior commander in Iraq at the time of the abuse. It also cleared three of Sanchez's deputies.

That has led to accusations that the investigation, carried out by the army's inspector-general, is a whitewash that has let ordinary soldiers carry the blame while letting off their commanding officers. The only officer recommended for punishment is Brigadier-General Janis Karpinksi, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib at the time. She is expected to receive a reprimand for dereliction of duty.

So this will be the end of the self-analysis about the atrocities that the US is responsible for in the Iraqi prisons. A couple of generals sweat it out a bit, one gets a meaningless 'dereliction of duty' stamp on their file, and dozens of Iraqi prisoners are scarred, mentally if not also physically, for life. Yep, seems like a fair outcome. Where is the international community on this one? What, we got all up in arms about the pictures, but now that they are getting whitewashed, we just let it slide? Is no one in the world ready to make a stand against this? Perhaps the scariest thing isn't the fact that the Geneva Conventions have been dragged through the mud and prisoners have been abused. Perhaps the scariest thing is the silence that is echoing around the world as we allow these acts to go unpunished, thus setting a precedent to allow them to happen again.

Ok, book review time....

I have been reading a lot over the past month or so. I went through a period where it was mostly brain-candy kinda books. You know, mass produced good guy vs. bad guy police books that are all so predictable I could typecast them all.


Good Cop, usually named Dirk, Kirk, Stone, or Yousif. Well, maybe not Yousif. Very good looking, ethical guy who always ends up in three or four life threatening situations per chapter. Always smells good, no matter what. Usually ex-military who fought in Nam or Iraq #1. Possible drinking problem.
Victim, usually a pretty, well educated woman with a name like Danya or Shoshanna. Gets 'wacked' for numerous reasons and usually has some crazy secret sex life. Like Jeff.
Bad Guys, usually either drug runners, faceless oil corporation bent on profits, dirty government officials, or bad cops. Vicious and never get caught until the GC gets on their ass.
Violent Shoot Out- Big finale after a few minor shoot outs. GC vs. BG in a warehouse, factory, shipyard, or stadium. Many innocent people die, GC gets shot in the arm or shoulder, yet ends up killing the BG in some interesting fashion, like using a meat grinder or giant blender.
Car/Boat/Airplane- Usually all three means of transport make an appearance, with the GC knowing how to operate each one and possibly owning all three on a cop's salary.

Anyway, brain candy. Easy reads that take you away for awhile but ultimately make you feel dirty and used afterwards. So I have lately gotten back on the brain food bandwagon....

Stalingrad by Anthony "The Beav" Beevor.
A historical account of the bloodiest battle in WW2, this book is a good read, very informative and full of many disturbing accounts of how the Soviets sacrificed 10 million soldiers and civilians in order to beat the Nazis back. A good idea ofhow much Hitler and Stalin's egos played into the deaths of millions of their people. Grade: B+

Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser.
A series of long essays by the author of Fast Food Nation exploring the impact of marijuana, cheap Mexican labour, and the porn industry on the American psyche. Fascinating is the only word I can use to describe this easy read book. He debunks a lot of preconceptions and tackles issues that need addressing. Written in a very matter of fact way, this book is nothing less than an expose of the dirty underbelly of the world's superpower. Grade: A+

Navigating a New World: Canada's Global Future by Lloyd Axworthy.
Former Canadian MP, whose most recent posting before retirement was foreign Affairs, Axworthy tackles many issues that face Canada's role in the world today. I am only about 150 pages into this book, and so far it seems pretty good, although it is a little anecdotal sometimes. But we'll see where it goes, so far I have been relatively impressed. Grade: Pending.

Anyway, that is enough blogging for today. Bye for now.

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Just a reminder that the week of April 25- May 1 is TV Turnoff Week, brought to you by those delinquent chaps at Adbusters. Turn off your TV for a week. Not to get preachy, but I have lived largely without TV for most of the past 8 months and haven't missed it very much. Just try it, see what happens to you. Maybe you'll go crazy and who doesn't want to do that at least once in their lives?

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I wrote this as I was waiting in limbo on my flight from Kuwait to Calgary, one too quick week ago....

I am in the Frankfurt airport. A major hub, people going to places like Mumbai and Philadelphia, Zurich and Budapest. In Europe people are impeccably well dressed and there is a guy riding a bicycle through the airport, why I don't know. He is digging through the garbage bins, presumably looking for bottles, his long hair falling about his face.

I am listening to music, the latest Next Big Thing, who I think may just live up to that tired old billing. I am writing this with a red pen. There are people of all shapes and sizes, the beautiful girls with the too-old men. The old men with their disappearing hairlines. There is an old man with a shock of white hair sleeping across from me, his feet crossed left over right. His faced is lined and weathered and he looks Polish, as if I know enough to predict his ancestry.

I have been awake for some 31 hours now, fuelled by Red Bull, concern for Monday, and the euphoric stress of going home for the first time in 8 months. My head hurts, I am hungry, and I have no euros to spend. I was feeling like shit as a group of of kids with Down's Syndrome sat down near me. This stopped my self-loathing, my excuses for my bad mood seemingly weak and meaningless.

I didn't move away from the kids, as most people would have. Jonathan, he told me his name later, is watching me write and bopping my head to the music on my CD player. He is smiling, rocking back and forth, his finger in his mouth, and I can see he has a mild case of Down's Syndrome. He starts bopping his head, mimicking me, with a smile on his face. His supervisor tries to intervene, but I say it's ok, I don't mind. She gave me a tired smile, closed her eyes for a long blink.

Jonathan, and now the other four kids in his group, are all bopping their heads, looking at me. The CD player and headphones get passed around, everyone is getting a chance to listen. They are surrounding me, each one looking at the CD player and at each other, smiling as they know their turn is to come. One kid, a sloppy grin on his face, gives me the thumbs down when he is listening to the music. I can't help but laugh as he keeps on listening, thumbs still pointing down.

Suddenly the extra money I had to spend to get Monday out of Kuwait doesn't matter at all. I only wish she was here, she would love the attention. I'm 13 hours from home, an ocean away, and surrounded by mentally disable German kids. And the sun is streaming through the large window we are sitting near.

Too soon they have to go. They aren't flying anywhere, coming to the airport is a social exercise, I'm told. I am also told that this is something the supervisors had never seen happen before, this sharing of music and smiles. I have to give out many handshakes and lots of high fives. I can stop smiling. One kid is playing air guitar, my CD player hanging dangerously loose in his hands. This makes me smile even more.

Alone in a crowd again, the old-fashioned destination board is flipping over, updating softly, scheduling the lives of thousands. People swarm around, past me, the gauntlet of airport emotions giving me too much to reflect upon. I have another three hours before my flight takes off, and I sit rather bewildered that I am here, now.

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