Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Carole Taylor Restless?

Vaughn Palmer's column in the Sun this morning is, as usual, right on.

When Carole Taylor spoke up recently about the plight of Cambie Street merchants, we could feel the winds of change in the air.

Watch for Ms. Taylor to make some interesting moves in the coming months.

Time for a Maritime Centre

A Maritime Centre being planned for North Vancouver is long overdue.

The Maritime Museum is a national disgrace, which is why James Delgado, the marvelous Executive Director, left not long ago for bluer waters.

The basement archives contain acres of priceless artifacts, including documents and furniture from the Titanic, none of which can be shown to the public, because there is not enough exhibition space.

Administration after administration, local, provincial and federal, have ignored our REAL water-borne history.

If this plan for a maritime centre has any teeth we will welcome it. Perhaps Vancouverites will finally notice that this town is not run on latte, that it is a port city.

Ingmar Bergman

We all grew up on Hollywood movies, and we loved them. What's not to love? MGM Musicals, Bogie and Cagnie tough guys, westerns, Gregory Peck winning the War for us, Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck re-defining women in society.

Then we found Bergman.

Fog and shadows and lust and murder and friendship and talismen set in a cold, intimidating black and white landscape.

Eleven movies with Max Van Sydow and how many with Liv Ullman?

The Washington Post has "the rest of the story."

Bill Walsh

The San Fransisco 49ers had been perennial doormats for years. Yes, they had some great players, like John Brody, who went on to become a pretty good scratch golfer. But they were rarely "contendahs."

Then, along came Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Randy Cross and Jerry Rice.

Here is a wonderful write-up on Walsh's life and career from a Bay Area source.

My son was a huge fan of Tom Snyder...Snyder was a marvelous broadcaster. There is no place in broadcast for the likes of Snyder today.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Name Names and let Shame take its Toll

A maniac is driving along Marine Drive in West Vancouver at 10:30 in the morning with his kids in the car. He has a blood alcohol level of 3.3, which is a) 4 times the legal limit, and b) enough to embalm the hardiest among us.

The police will not release the name of this fool and public menace. Why?

"We are going to great lengths to protect the identity of the children."

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The children are already deeply harmed by having a drunk for a father.

Publishing this man's name and foto might....might!...just shame him into sobriety. It is not a given, but it has worked for some others in the past.

By shielding this puke from public scrutiny, the police are ENABLING his chronic bad behaviour.

Doesn't anybody in charge know the mechanics of addiction?

Pull the covers on this guy and let him suffer. He is on the way to killing me and you and his kids and himself. By protecting him, you are NOT protecting me and his children. You are putting us all in harm's way.

Bombers Will be Protected by Charter

David Hahn, the CEO of BC Ferries, would like to see the lunatic who called in a bomb threat on Sunday caught and sent to jail for ever.

Clearly, Mr. Hahn, an American, who for all we know still carries and American passport, has much to learn about local jurisprudence.

Here is your lesson for today, Dave...if I may call you Dave.

If and when this sucker is ever found, his legal aid lawyer will have him off and out in a nonce, successfully arguing that the a-hole's Charter Rights allow him to practice his stand-up comedy routines from any pay phone in the land and using any funny accent he chooses.


This is a perfect example of how headlines can be misleading.

You thought, perhaps, that I was going to give you some juicy scandal about an elected official on drugs.


I just thought when the union is calling negotiations with the City "twilight zone," it might be a good time to remind you all what Mayor Sam Sullivan has said many times in public and private about Coca-Cola.

The Nutty Mayor reminds us whenever he can create the opportunity that in its original formulation, Coca-Cola contained cocaine in some small measure. He then goes on to suggest that the coke in coke should be returned because it would "help us all take the edge off."

This is, of course, the home-spun language of the addict.

And you wonder why the guy who starts his day with a shot of whiskey wants to give pills to teen-age addict prostitutes.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bombing the Coast - Ferries Hit by Threat

BC Ferries were held at ransom yesterday afternoon by a bomb threat.

The Globe & Mail coverage of that story can be read here.

It strikes me that nothing could be easier to attack than the wide-open, vulnerable and trusting ferries system.

The federal government has recently given the company $4 Million to beef up security, but 2) that's a minnow in an ocean, and b) the underpaid, sleepy staff I would think would be most susceptible to bribes and duplicity of one kind or another.

We have been peacefully trolling these shores for some time now and we have come to expect a certain kind of generosity and neighbourliness of behaviour. To introduce the modern realities of middle-eastern terrorism to the Gulf Waters is jarring indeed.

The End of the World As We Know It

“Who knows, in 10 years we could be looking back on this as a very significant moment,” said Rob Correa, senior vice president for programming at CBS Sports.

What is this fool talking about? Philosophical debates on the place of human beings in nature?

Here is what he is talking about:

"Video Game Matches to Be Televised on CBS"

Read the entire bewildering saga here, and then you'll understand why I don't miss the wonderful world of broadcast.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

You Can't "Dialogue" with Evil

Israr Ahmad is a fundamentalist Pakistani preacher who has been making regular appearances on Vision TV. He has now been removed.

Mr. Ahmad says that he doesn't hate Jews and he isn't an anti-Semite.

Mind you, he does believe that the Holocaust was "divine punishment," and that one day Jews will be "exterminated."

But he isn't an anti-Semite and h doesn't hate Jews.

Let me share with you my lovely correspondence with Vision TV in the past week.

First, I wrote the CEO this:

Bill Roberts,

"Finally, Sir, have you no sense of decency?"

That's the line that in time stopped Senator Joe.

What will stop you from airing a Jihadist, anti-Semitic hate-monger and then rationalizing your mistake.

If it happens on your watch, then you are the one responsible.

David Berner

A few days later, they responded thus:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the issues raised in the recent issues of the National Post. The Post articles were misleading in suggesting that offensive comments were broadcast on VisionTV. At no time were derogatory remarks about people of the Jewish community, or any other group, broadcast on our network.As Canada's multi-faith network, VisionTV celebrates the freedom of religious expression and spiritual diversity that is uniquely Canadian. It is part of our mandate to make airtime available to a broad range of faith communities and ministries. However, we also understand that fundamental freedoms must be balanced against each individual's right not to be subjected to fraudulent claims and misrepresentations with respect to matters of faith. We therefore review each program on VisionTV prior to broadcast to ensure that the content complies with our Code of Ethics, Standards and Practices. It is not always easy to achieve an appropriate balance between these competing priorities. Decisions on what content to broadcast are not taken lightly but are part of our ongoing effort to provide both a wide range of faith perspectives and the highest quality programming possible. Israr Ahmad did appear on the program Dil Dil Pakistan, as reported in the Post. But his comments in that program were limited to readings from the Quran and interpretations of scripture from that holy text. The offensive comments quoted in the Post were apparently made by Mr. Ahmad in other writings. Again, those comments were not broadcast on VisionTV.Having reviewed this matter with the producer of the program, and having learned of Mr. Ahmad's comments outside of the Dil Dil Pakistan program, the producer voluntarily agreed not to have Mr. Ahmad appear again on Dil Dil Pakistan. We will also be broadcasting an on-air apology for any offence caused Mr. Ahmad's previous appearance on the show. VisionTV and Dil Dil Pakistan have a long history of promoting positive dialogue and the peaceful teachings of the Quran. We will strive to ensure in future that we maintain the highest standards of broadcasting to achieve those goals.As a broadcaster, VisionTV takes its responsibilities for content on our network very seriously. In response to your feedback and comments from other viewers, we have undertaken to review our Code of Ethics with stakeholders including the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith, and leaders of other Canadian faith institutions. It is often through viewer feedback that we are able to improve our broadcast standards, and we appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any additional information.

In response, I wrote:

I'm afraid that's not good enough.It couldn't have taken much in the age of the Internet to learn the values for which Mr. Ahmad clearly stands and regularly expresses.For the producer to not have taken that step in advance shows a laziness beyond employment. He/she should be fired.Maybe Goebbels or Hitler restrained themselves in some fora, but who didn't know what they meant at all times?This kind of pretense at "open dialogue" is a sham and an offence.You are in Canada, Sir. We do not welcome or encourage people who preach the violent elimination of others because of race or religion or colour or sexual orientation.The only additional information that I need from you is that you are now dedicated to a new kind of vigilance in your own standards.Are you?David Berner

There, for the moment, the trail ends....
The photo, by the way, is from "the selection" ramp at Birkenau/Auschwitz. People sent to the right went to labor camps. People sent to the left to gas chambers.

Howard Keel:

Friday, July 27, 2007

The City Streets are Too Tolerant

Can someone be arrested on style points alone?

Last week I was driving east along 12th Avenue. A black Hummer pulled alongside. The Hummer was even bigger than usual. It had an open cab at the back in addition to its two rows of closed in seats and its four doors.

The driver was smoking and flicking, smoking and flicking.

The noise emanating was a hip-hop CD on repeat, reshuffle. The boom level was maxed out.

The "lyrics" to the "song" went something like this:

"Up yo' ass, fuck yo' ass, punch yo' ass, kick yo ass..." Gershwin, it ain't.

The blond haired, spike-haired junior criminal posing as a legitimate "driver" wove, over the next many blocks in and out of lanes, switching and twitching and flicking.

Gee, I wondered, could this little puke possibly be a coke dealer? I mean, that's a pricey ride, and how does this unemployable shit get the lucre to pony up for this hulking monstrosity? It can't be from his paper route?

So, in another kind of Perfect World, the one we might called The World According to Dave, I might be permitted to arrest this a-hole just on style points alone, or maybe even shoot him dead.

Walter Mitty is alive and well and driving his '93 Mazda 323 in straight lines through the streets of Margaritaville.

US Sells Nukes to India...Nice...

Let this be his epitaph. This may be the most famous, last idiotic statement by the Worst President in American History ever:

In February 2004, President Bush, in a major speech outlining new nuclear policies to prevent proliferation, declared that “enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

This reminder comes to light in yesterday's astonishing and terrifying announcement that the U.S. will now sell both nuclear technology and nuclear fuel the extremely stable and reliable government of India.

Read the story and then ask yourself, "Who's cousin has the nuke deal?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Charter Rights are my Shield

Rupidaman Malik was acquitted of involvement in the Air India mass murders.

When he applied for bail in 2000, he listed his net worth at $10 Million.

Three years later, he claimed he was broke and applied for legal aid, which he received.

To this day, he owes you and me and the Province of B.C. $6.4 Million for his defense.

Now, his son, a lawyer, Jaspreet Singh Malik has been cited by the Law Society of B.C. for his (mis)conduct during this entire charade.. The Society claims Malik, Jr. aided his father in hiding Malik Sr."s true wealth, so he could claim relief from Legal Aid.

The best part of this hideous tale is that Malik Jr is now calling on his Charter Rights in his argument that he doesn't have to testify to the Law Society!

This story is sickening.

Oscar Peterson Trio Live at Newport

Justice Blinded Again.

The cop in charge of the police department's school liason program is busted for child pornography.

He gets a 12-month conditional sentence.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mayor Entirely To Blame for Strike

Richmond and Surrey have settled, or are about to settle, their labour disputes, while the Vancouver strike continues.

You know why?

For the same reason it began.

Sam Sullivan.

The City offered the union a 39-month deal to take them clear through the famous Olympics. The union countered with 48 months, wanting a good round 4-year number.

Mayor Sam said, "No."

You know why?

Because that would take the issue into the next civic election.

Like he's going to be re-elected. Talk about delusional.

Already, the Ideal candidate is poised and when, announced, will walk into the job.

Getting frustrated already with no pools, no libraries, no garbage pickup?

Call Sam.

He's The Man.

Curb Drug Costs - oh Yeah...

It is a rare enough thing for me to praise the B.C. Medical Association, but today must be the day.

Congratulations to Dr. Geoff Appleton, the BCMA President, and his team for presenting to BC Health Minister, Geoff Plant, the position paper called "A Prescription for Quality: Improving Prescription Drug Policy for BC."

For the full story, read the Vancouver Sun coverage here.

Prescription drugs are now the biggest expenditure of our Health Dollar, after hospitals. Our costs have risen from $259 Million in 1985 to $2 Billion today.

One of the biggest reasons is the outrageously aggressive sales tactics of Big Pharma, who visit your family doctor several times a week.

But the other reason these costs have so drastically escalated - and, as I don't have the full report in front of me, I don't know if this is covered therein - is the enormous jump in psychotropic/psychiatric medications. It is my firm belief that at least 90% of these prescriptions are inappropriate, dangerous and unnecessary.

But, remember that next to armaments and illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals are the biggest industry in the world. So good luck to all of us on cutting down.

At least we can thank the BCMA for hollering a bit of a wake-up call.

Guest Blogger on Langara Station Name

The comment on our "What's in a Name? Only Blackmail," post of yesterday was so good, we had to give it guest blogger status:

"There continues to be a tremendous amount of lobbying and possibly, political interference to switch the name to the Punjabi Market - Langara Station.

I have lived in the community for over 40 years, the corner of 49th and Cambie has always been known as Langara. This area includes the Langara Estates, Langara Golf Course, Langara College and it's even in the Electoral district of Vancouver Langara. The corner of Main and 49th is where the Punjabi Market is located. If the Canada line was going down Main Street, then name the station after the Punjabi Market. Main street is a full 1,000 meters away and has no connection to Cambie and 49th. I live near the Punjabi Market and the majority of it's patrons drive to the market, they don't use transit. However, each week there are 9,000 students and staff trips using transit from Langara. 61% of the residents in the Cambie + 49th area are Chinese, and the Indian population is less than 2%.

I'm shocked that this name issue has once again come up. What ever you think about Translink, they shouldn't be pressured into changing the name. A name change will be very unpopular with the community living on or near Cambie. Guess what they are calling the station at 41st & Cambie? Oakridge! Guess what they are calling the station at Marine Drive and Cambie? Marine Drive! And finally what are they calling the station at King Edward and Cambie? King Edward!

Do you see the pattern? Duh, what else would be call it Kerrisdale or the Jewish Community Centre station? Politics makes me crazy!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's in a Name? Only Blackmail.

The NDP can't lose in proposing that the new Canada Line stop at 49th and Cambie be named after the Punjabi market at 49th and Main St.

Even when Translink says, "No," the NDP has gone on record and thus secured their votes for the next election.

But this is a classic case of multi-cultural ethnic blackmail. Vote against our wants and you're a racist. Ha!

The new stop will be called Langara. You know why?

Because it should be.

The stop is immediately adjacent to Langara Estates. Langara Gold Course and Langara College.

Langara College will provide the largest and most consistent daily ridership on the Canada Line to that stop.

The Punjabi Market is not on the line. It is about 6 blocks away.

There is nothing to stop Transclunk from providing the obvious, practical solution of signage around the station pointing to the market.

But the attempt to rename the Langara stop for the market is a classic case of political correctness gone mad.

Strike Points

A few small points about the civic strike.

There are many among us who believe that private sector workers should have the right to strike, but public sector workers should not.

I don't agree with that position.

Strikes are never fun, often disruptive and potentially dangerous and violent. Who ever wants them?

But governments in Canada are now, regrettably, our biggest employers. Are we to deprive more than half of the work force the bargaining tool that others enjoy? What other means are available when management simply says, "No?" When you agree to work for a municipal, provincial or federal jurisdiction, must you be signing a deal with the devil? You can work here, but, above all, keep your nose clean and above all, shut up.

In spite of the fact that many believe we are sprinkled latte culture, we are not that far removed from the dark days of the 1930's. Unions and strike rights are still an important part of the working fabric.

Secondly...I add my voice to the chorus who have been appalled by the idiot mayor using words like "never" and "last offer." If the mayor could get his Olympic medal out of his ass long enough to do some serious thinking, he might realize that he is not a monarch, but an elected official and his responsibilities go somewhat beyond posturing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More Garbage Talk- Guest Blogger Elizabeth James

As other writers are beginning to say, there has to be a better way to settle labour disputes than to hold taxpayers hostage to political posturing.
For the time being, the scales seem to be tipped in favour of the strikers who not only said they would attend negotiating meetings, they actually rented a room for the purpose - to no avail. News reports indicate that City of Vancouver negotiators refused to meet over the weekend. So, here's a message for the Mayor:
You, Mr. Mayor, are not the employer; taxpayers are. Moreover, those same taxpayers hired you to do a job on their behalf - and part of that job is to negotiate in good faith when union contracts come up for renewal. 'Good faith' is not political posturing in front of TV cameras to state that you will "never" agree to a contract that will allow a strike during the 2010 Olympics. No-one to my knowledge ever said that was their intention.
You may think it's a good idea to take a page out of the Gordon Campbell Book of Political Behaviour, but I can tell you it doesn't wash with most taxpayers - no matter how they voted. Recent reports have shown that many are spending close to 70% of their income just to keep a roof over their heads and feed themselves. Yet you feel you can sit back and do nothing to avert a City-wide strike? Who do you think you are?
Citizens are royally fed up with paying multi-billions in taxes and still having little to no say as to how that money is to be spent, and on what. Recent news reports have been full of the Canada Line story, telling how that project alone is destroying business after business along Cambie Street - and now you want to drive away more tourist business with stinking piles of garbage and the rats that follow it?
It's high time taxpayers banded together and refused to put up with this kind of arrogant free-wheeling on the part of politicians...especially when it's accompanied by gold-plated pay increases.
What is needed is a system that requires both parties to strike a panel of three arbitrators - one for each side and one agreed upon by both sides. Those three, plus two or three people from each side of the dispute get thrown into a room, where they stay until an agreement is reached.
Until then - a caution to union negotiators: It will not take much for the tide of public opinion to turn far enough for taxpayers to call for a pox on both your houses.

Slow is Slow

It is a slow news day.

A very slow news day.

Shall we let the world sort itself out today?


Stand By Me Ben E King 1961

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Debate

The argument about private vs. public sector continues in the comments section under "In Response to Michael."

Tammy Faye: Larry's King's Loss

Why did Larry King waste so much time with this foolish corrupt woman?

I know the answer, of course.

The only judgement King makes about people is their TVQ, and Tammy Faye had millions of sorry, lost followers.


Please read the argument by my dear friend, "Michael" first...and then read my Response...

Some good, healthy agreement to disagree about public policy...

Please join the discussion.

In Response To Michael

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your comment.

I think it is an enormous stretch of the imagination to fear that a city garbage strike will lead to your home invasion by a totalitarian police force.

More importantly, at the heart of your argument is the admirable American love of liberty and the individual. So many Presidents, including the present dissembler, have made fools of the electorate by imposing bigger and more extensive government on them, while preaching Ermersonian ideals.

While I am largely sympathetic to those views, and in many an instant will still side with them, there is no question in my mind that government has an important role to play.Yes, it more often than not plays badly and makes us yearn again for the dictum "that government which governs least, governs best."

However, cities and sovereign states and provinces and countries do need policy and management.In the course of caring for the sewers and the fires and the public order, governments will employ workers. Yes, it is a sign of our unwillingness to care for ourselves that government is now the biggest employer in Canada, and no doubt the least effecient.

But, here we are. Postal workers, garbage collectors, park rangers and so on.

Now, all of these people deserve some reasonable kick at the cat. That is, within the range of their abilities and opportunities, they aught to be able to afgord some of the many extraordinary comforts of the current age.

The politicians and their managers can. Vancouver City Hall, for example is overrun with people we've never heard of who have been earning in a excess of $100,000 a year for many years.

(My own personal belief is that, if many of those were fired, the garbage men would do just fine, thank you, and so would you and I.)

So...strike on, I say. I will not be voting for ANY of the current City Council come next election. I may fear stinky garbage, but I don't expect the Boys in Blue to drop by, arms drawn, for breakfast.

Michael Looks at the Strike from Another Angle

Michael said...

Hi David-- I would like to disagree with you on your stance regarding the City workers strike. I am opposed to the very idea of "public sector unions' and I would like to tell you why.

If the workers in a company in the private sector elect to go on strike (say, Air Canada) the situation is quite different. If they reach a settlement that either raises the cost of travel on AC or results in a lower level of service, I can choose not to fly with them. If enough people make a similar decision, the company will fail and then both Robert Milton and his employees will be looking for work. In other words 1/ I, as an individual, can reject any settlement and 2/ any agreement must ultimately fly in the marketplace.

In the case of the public sector there are no similar checks and balances. If the city workers and the politicians reach a settlement I, as a homeowner, have no choice but to go along with it.

But let's assume I choose not to. Suppose I refuse to pay the additional taxes that the settlement requires. I will receive a series of polite (then increasingly threatening) letters from first the City--and subsequently from the legal system--telling me that I MUST pay these new taxes. If I continue to refuse then men with guns on their hips (policemen) will come to my home and tell me that I must either pay up or leave my home. If I protest and say "This is my home and I want you to get out of here" they will tell me that I must leave and will attempt to physically remove me. But suppose I am foolish enough to continue to resist them? At some point, these nice men with guns on their hips will draw their guns. If I should continue to resist even then, they may well use these guns (effectively bringing the matter--and perhaps my life--to a close.)

So, unlike the Air Canada example, the contract that public sector unions negotiate with the City is, in the last instance, extracted by the use of deadly force. I offer this for your consideration.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Onwards Strikers

Like you, I am dreading a summer of rotting garbage.

But let me say this before it all starts to get to me:

I am in total sympathy with the workers. Even more so with the forestry workers.

Life is simple.

The CEO's and mandarins live in Shaughnessy (Artist friends excepted.) The workers don't.

Strike till the bastards give you more of what they've got.

Billy Joel - Leningrad

My, my...the Piano Man is really so much more...

Clinton is Not a Black Boy

What the President became famous for a young man will be forever branded "a dangerous sex offender."

Such is the twisted, blind road of criminal justice in America.

And face this fact. Oral sex has been around for a few hundred thousand years. A few million people have endulged. Someone is indulging as we speak. Lucky them.

There is an enormous difference between rape or coercion and consensual activity.
The only difference between this kid and the President is that the kid didn't have the big desk in the oval office to protect him.

Let's hope that this Georgia case clears this young man. If it doesn't serve Clinton with the papers now.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lack of Vision TV

There is freedom of the press and freedom and speech and then there's are common sense and common decency.

Vision TV's airing of a Jihadists monologue is beyond the pale. Their license should be yanked, or at the least put into serious jeapardy until they can stop rationalizing the lazy airing of hate.

You can read the entire story here.

But here are some of the (low) highlights:

In the hour-long talk, Israr Ahmad said, "Jihad in the way of Allah, for the cause of Allah, can be pursued either with your financial resources or your bodily strength when you go to fight the enemy in the battlefield."

"So jihad, the highest form, is fighting in the cause of Allah."

Mr. Ahmad runs a seminary and bookstore in Lahore, Pakistan, and his writings foresee the "global domination of Islam," compare Jews to "parasites," describe the Holocaust as "divine punishment" and predict the "total extermination" of Jews.

His followers in Canada include terror suspect Qayyum Abdul Jamal, who was arrested last summer for his alleged role in a plot to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.

According to Mr. Jamal's wife, Mr. Ahmad was her husband's teacher and mentor.

Mr. Ahmad is not just a religious scholar. He heads a self-described "revolutionary" organization called Tanzeem-e Islami, which wants to turn Pakistan into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

In his book Lessons From History, he writes that the revival of Islam will begin in Pakistan, because it is the only country that "has the potential for standing up against the nefarious designs of the global power-brokers and to resist the rising tides of the Jewish/Zionist hegemony."

Islam will come to rule in four stages, he claims: the Ultimate World War in the Middle East, the appearance of the anti-Christ, the extermination of the Jews and the "domination of Islam, over the entire globe."

Another Mistaken Judge

What is "family?"

It has been argued successfully in a number of court rooms over the years that a "family" is not necessarily consanguineous - blood related.

A family might be an assembly of like-minded idealists, people dedicated to some common vision or goal.

Why then do we have this social mantra that above all and at all other costs, "the family must be kept together."

I cannot tell you how many sensible, if heart-broken, children I know have prayed for their fractious, dysfunctional "families" to call it a day. The shrinks go on about the destructive force of divorce. But not often enough do they talk about the positive and healthy values of dissolving toxic and dangerous relationships.

All of which is to say how appalling it is to see yet another wrong-headed judge make another horrifying judgment in a local court.

A man beats up his wife and is given a conditional discharge.

The judge, quoting the accepted - and ignorant and blind - common wisdom, says, "Canadian society has an interest in promoting and keeping the family unit together."

Question for the good judge:

Does Canadian society have an interest in keeping family units together in which the father is an out-of-control brutalizing pig?

Next question:

Does the good judge read the papers? Does she have any idea about the rash of domestic violence against women in local "Indo-Canadian" families?

Has she heard of Paul Cheema?

The judge said that the man to whom she gave a conditional discharge after he attacked his wife has "suffered the embarrassment of having to discuss this matter..." in public.

Poor baby.

Last question (same question I asked last week in a similar circumstance):

How can we remove judges from their duties when they demonstrate with chilling clarity their inability to perform those duties responsibly?

What is Essential?


Life - and acting - are always about choices.

So, explain if you can to this bewildered Alex in Wonderland the list of "essential services" the mayor assures us will continue through the stinky strike that looms ahead.

Along with police and fire, water and sewers are enshrined The Carnegie Centre, the Pride Parade and the Fireworks.

The Carnegie Centre is a daily gathering place for Honduran Dope Dealers, Hookers and $100,000/year Poverty Pimps.
Less than one tenth of one per cent could care less what happens to the Carnegie Centre.

Sting - My One and Only Love

Now, here's a pretty good singer, his own true self, with the same song...

Bail Boy Black

Connie the Crook is not a flight risk.


And cows can fly.

Light Up the Skies - One Bic at a Time

From the category of "Never underestimate the immaturity of the North American person, or the sneakiness of the human being, or the obsession of the addict" comes this classic from a New York Times piece about now allowing lighters on airplanes:

"Security officers have been collecting some 22,000 lighters a day nationwide, slowing down lines at check points. Even so, many smokers had found ways to sneak lighters through checkpoints, often by placing more than one in a carry-on bag."

For the whole bizarre story, try this.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Michael Vick - Another Wizard of Oz

We know nothing about people in public life.

We may know that they smile or have breasts or can hit a golf ball or throw a 50-yard spiralling football like a laser beam. We may know that they can sing or play the bass or win elections.

We may see every one of their marvelous movies.

The last thing we know or have a chance of ever knowing is their true natures.

After all, most of these famous people are masters of deception to begin with. And their entire enterprise - the Corporation of ME - is structured around the Illusion in which we, the desperate, gullible public, believe.


If it is true that Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons gifted and very rich quarterback is guilty of running a pit bull farm and pit bull fighting games, why should we be surprised.?

Disappointed, yes. Horrified, absolutely. ("According to documents, losing dogs were sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gunshot, electrocution, or body slamming them to the ground.")

But we have no right to be surprised.

Michael Vick, like Julia Roberts and Phil Mickleson, is a streaking phantom.

We pay him immense amounts of money to do supra-human things that we cannot do. We pay him so we can lie on the couch and dream.

Read it, but don't say you're surprised. Confess only that you must now find a new hero.

The First Victim of Treaty Settlements is The Truth

Last night was the second evening of THE LANGARA DIALOGUES.

This is a monthly series held on Wednesday evenings in the Alice MacKay Room at the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

The event is a debate, followed by an audience Q&A, on a matter of urgent public policy.

Last night's resolution was: Resolved - The UBC Golf Course Property Should be Returned to the First Nation's Musqueam Band.

Arguing the Affirmative was former Musqueam Band Chief, Gail Sparrow.

Arguing the Negative was Marty Zlotnick, a petitioner with the Save the Course Group.

It was an amazing evening.

Both speakers were dynamic and well-informed.

But what made the evening so unusual and fascinating was a) that the debaters were largely in agreement that this is a stupid deal, and b) that Ms. Sparrow is the only Native Leader I have ever heard who denounced Treaty Settlements.

Referring again and again to her grandfather and her parents and the way she was taught to be self-reliant and conciliatory, Sparrow harshly labelled Treaties as Prisons that further enslave people in dependencies.

Without using the word "corrupt," she decried the back room deal between Premier Gordon Campbell and current Musqueam Chief Ernie Campbell as one shrouded in secrecy and motivated by the optics of 2010!

She said repeatedly that while the Musqueam urgently need more land for housing and economic development, there were other lands nearer that would be more appropriate. Zlotnick agreed, suggesting that a parcel from Pacific Spirit Park would be suitable.

The evening was really a revelation, largely because of Chief Sparrow's wonderful and thoughtful, and in many ways, radical presentation.

We are Robots

Welcome to the New World.

Here is raw footage of the gas main blast in NYC.

What is amazing is that someone bothered to take this instead of running the hell out of there, and that everyone else is taking pictures with their cell phones!

Natural instincts (survival, fear...) have been replaced by the Cyber People for the Cyber People of the Cyber People.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Let us All Pray

The only thing we need add to the Tim Stephenson drunk driving revelation is...why now?

Why, 16 months after the fact, has Stephenson chosen this moment to reveal that a middle-aged man in a committed partnership spends his spare time in Davie Street bars, drives home drunk, loses his license for a year, continues to sit on City Council, making, among other decisions, those that affect the police, and decides that, although he is still drinking "socially," (one of the first covers of all alcoholics) and that he has no intention of stepping down from office, he wants us to know about his crime?

The reason for the timing of this revelation is the heart and nugget of the story. What is it?

Big Bill Withers

How rich!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad Judges Deserve The Boot

The Vancouver Sun has done us all an immense favor. They have researched and printed the dreadful track record of Justice Ellen Gordon. (The foto, right, is of June Matheson, the crazy tree poisoner.)

This is the local judge who allowed a coke smuggler to walk the other day because she felt the border guards had violated the creep's Charter Rights.

Here are some of her other brilliant conclusions:

A pot grower acquitted because the cops didn't appear in person to get a search warrant from a judge.

She gave a 2 year sentence to a woman so drunk she entered an exit ramp and killed another driver. The appeals court doubled the sentence.

She gave a teen who attacked a man with a knife one year probation and some "community service."

She gave a absolute discharge to June Matheson, the selfish pig who killed trees in Stanley Park so she could have a better view from her condo.

How do we rid ourselves of bad judges?

At present there seems to be no such process available.

Shouldn't this be built into our laws? Shouldn't we protect ourselves from bad judges as much as bad criminals?

This judge has violated all our Charter Rights with her utterly inappropriate decisions. Her decisions are a clear and present danger to the common weal.

Cheema Has Played Immigration, Parole & the Police Masterfully

Paul Cheema pointed a gun at the head of his potential mother-in-law and pulled the trigger "three or more times."

The gun jammed.

The nut cases who run the nut house gave Cheema a parole saying that "he had taken all the recommended course."

The parole board said that Cheema had made progress on his behaviour while on day parole. "You continue to demonstrate progress and have been able to deal with the additional pressure in a positive manner," said these geniuses in 1997.


Now that he's probably killed his latest bride, will the Parole Board be held responsible for their outrageously bad read?

Cheema was also ordered deported to the United Kingdom because of his convictions in Canada.

Of course, that never happened.

Now that he's probably killed his latest bride, will Citizenship and Immigration be held responsible for not carrying our their own mandate?

Now he has invoked "his Charter rights not to talk to investigators." Thus he walks free.

We cannot legislate lunacy out of our systems. But we can certainly behave with common sense in response to it. Isn't that what responsibility means? The ability to respond?

Not in Canada.

Drunk Driving Councillor Won't Quit

Tim Stephenson is a Vancouver City Councillor. He was a Liberal cabinet Minister in the Provicnial government. His biography confirms that he is also an ordained Minister of the Church.

He has now admitted to a drunk driving charge dating back to last May, for which he was fined $690 and had his driver's license suspended for a year.

He has called this "a huge wake up call."

Not huge enough, apparently.

Stephenson adds that this was a "judgement call," not a drinking problem and that he continues to drink socially.

Anyone who knows the first thing about drunks and drinking knows the infinite ability of the addicted to rationalize.

Stephenson says he will also not step down from his elected seat in city government.

Now, this is a man of the cloth, a man of deep conviction.

I am sorry to tell you, Tim, that 18-year olds can be forgiven this dangerous idiocy once.

But grown-ups???

Please do the honorable thing. Resign. And head straight to a 12-step program. You and those around you are in mortal danger.
We have been saying for some time now that this is the worst City Council in living memory.
More proof.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Guest Blogger Victor Writes a New Canadian Oath of Allegiance

Hi Mensch:
When I read your blog last week in which you speculated on the possibility that the school teacher's husband was the killer, I really hoped you were wrong. I knew that you, of all people, would never make a narrow-minded judgement based on culture. At the same time, I feared you were right. It appears my fears and yours were justified.
You know David, this country has been dithering with changing the oath of allegiance. How Canadian is that? That the fundamental statement of what it means to enjoy this citizenship should be stalled in the bureaucracy. Thomas Jefferson must smile.
Let me propose that everybody who becomes a Canadian citizen be required to affirm the following, in their language, out loud, with their hand on their heart ( forehead, rib cage, rectum, armpit, balls) whatever is sacred in their culture. If they refuse to do this out loud, taped, played back in their language, then their application should be delayed. Here goes:
I hereby ask to be a Canadian. I make this request in my language. I am asking because it is an honour.
I agree that there is no religion that deserves to rule the world. I will respect all religions as a Canadian.
I agree that every adult should be able to take a life partner of their choice without interference by family, religion or culture.
I agree that all men and women are equal .
I agree that children should not be exploited or abused for political or religious purposes.
I agree that I will not use political connections in my former country to influence Canadian politics.
I agree that I should cherish and protect the land, air and waters of Canada so that future generations will inherit the beautiful country that accepts me today.
Well David, we would never ask that. Why? Because dickwad journalists would say " Ah, but every Canadian doesn't subscribe to these notions. Who fucking cares? Let's start.? I, for one, would stand on any corner in Canada ,in a cruel winter storm, and swear my convictions to these truths. And I have cancer. So would you. Let's start a movement.
How much better is that compared to affirming my citizenship before an ex CBC hack Governor General who represents an incoming King with less common sense than my toilet plunger?
So Mensch,
Let's try this?
Let's put the oath out there.
Geez, we sure can do better than rooms full of Somalians (fill in the culture of your choice), lip-synching a meaningless pledge to the dronings of an old, flatulent, snoring, politically appointed immigration judge.
Before I leave this room called Canada, before I die, is it to much to ask that the next guest respects the furniture I collected over these past 300 years? There was once a 200 year waiting list for my room. But in the last 25 years, I let him jump the line . Now he can take my room with false ID and laugh at my 300 year old chairs.
About my Canadian furniture, my history. I realize that perhaps it does not fit his living space. But I hope that maybe before he dumps it, he will savour it and learn something about it before he tosses it in the dump.
Le Boulivardier

Thanks to Steve Pitt For this Latest Tribute to the Canadian Injustice Non-System

They paid the price for stepping up
Two men lost faith in justice system after beatings by rowdies
Matthew Little, The Province

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2007

Eugene Evers and Pawan Singla have more than their 16 stitches in common.
They're also both family men who stepped forward to ask troublemakers in their neighbourhood to be quiet, were attacked for their trouble -- and left with so little respect for the justice system that they say they'll never stick their necks out again.
Evers says his experience was so horrific that he now suggests jokingly that people don blinders and earmuffs when things go bad around them. "Observe and report. That's really all you can do," he says.
But that's not what Pawan Singla did in Chilliwack in late June. After enduring months of what he describes as profanity and fighting at a flophouse next door, he asked visitors to the house not to swear in front of his kids -- and was viciously beaten in response.
Evers's own attack, a year ago next month, was less bloody, but left him with permanent brain damage. He is only now returning to work after nearly a year of recovery.
On his street, he says, youths would keep neighbours up at night with their drag racing. The parking lot across the street was also a hangout for rowdy youth: a place to fight, do drugs and have sex, he says.
In August 2006, Evers decided to do something about it. With a cordless phone in hand and a 911 operator on the line, he stepped outside. This is how the conversation was recorded:
911: "Vancouver police emergency."
Evers: "I have these two young people in cars and they are threatening me . . ."
911: "Where are you, sir?"
Evers: "They are racing around my neighbourhood. Partial plate is three, seven . . ."
The recording then catches an unidentified voice in the background cursing, and a scream from Evers's wife. He'd been struck in the head with a golf club and lay bleeding on the ground.
The man on trial for that assault has a lengthy criminal record that includes convictions for multiple assaults and a break-and-enter -- and a long list of acquittals or stays of charges where no guilty verdict could be achieved.
Sitting in his mother's home for an interview, Evers looks to be doing well, but his measured words are an indication of the lasting effects of his brain injury. "Words still come slower," he explains.
He says he's not counting on the courts for justice -- which he says he has faith will come in the long run from God.
The system, he says, "is not about justice. It's about the law, and the law is tilted so radically in favour of the criminals. What else can innocent people do?
"They call it the justice system, but where is the justice?"
Similar cases in which citizens intervened have ended in tragedy.
Squamish lawyer Bob McIntosh was kicked to death in 1997 when he checked in on a noisy New Year's Eve house party. It took five years for his attacker to be sentenced.
In 2004, Richmond gas station employee Kevin Venn was beaten beyond recognition after he intervened to help a woman being assaulted by her then-boyfriend. His attacker got just 18 months.
Evers figures it's time to build a couple of big jails and start putting criminals away instead of leaving them out on the street.
Singla agrees.
He lives next door to a home police describe as a flophouse. Neighbours say it's a drug house and have assembled a petition asking city council to deal with it.
In late June, Singla says, he stepped outside to ask some of the flophouse visitors not to swear when his children were outside. Soon afterwards, he was dragged across the street and beaten till he couldn't stand. His undershirt was drenched in blood after rocks were thrown at his head.
He says there were witnesses to his attack and that he provided police with pictures of his assailants, but officers told him there wasn't much to go on, he says.
"I guess the Canadian criminal system is meant more for criminals than to protect the general public," says Singla, who thinks police seemed more sympathetic to his assailants than to his plight.
"They [police] were talking more about fairness for the attackers . . . Not a single time was he talking about fairness to me," he says.
Chilliwack RCMP say they are doing what they can, trying to build a case that will stick.
Singla still sees his attackers next door regularly. He says his whole family lives in fear and life will never be the same. His son and niece worry about going outside where "bad guys" will hurt them, he says.
"Everything is changed," he told The Province. "It's crazy. It's sick."
Everything is different for Evers as well, he says. Throughout an interview, he speaks slowly, often mixing up his sentences a bit or pausing to look for words.
He says he paid a high price for trying to bring some peace to the neighbourhood -- and advises others against stepping forward.
His advice to those running the justice system are direct: "Time to treat criminals like criminals."
Vancouver police Const. Howard Chow has some advice of his own.
"You have to use your common sense when you approach any situation," he says, adding it may be appropriate at times to approach people you're having trouble with, but not if they may be mentally ill, violent or using drugs or alcohol.
"Those are times when you should call the police," Chow says.

Connie Canuck

Conrad Black, who not long ago happily renounced his Canadian citizenship so he could be a British Lord, now that he is a convicted felon, wants his citizenship back.

Poor baby. A new definition of chutzpah.

Of course, we are Canadians, and there is no limit to our self-injurious stupidity.

No doubt the papers are being drawn as we speak.

Get Out of Jail Free


If Paul Cheema, the man who probably had his wife killed and himself mildly roughed up, was about to leave the country...why was he released after being arrested?

Can you say, "Flight risk," boys & girls?

Mr. Cheema is now the primary and only suspect. Duh...

Saving Pot Heads - One Editorial at a Time

Mildew, one of the great unflinching pot heads of our time, goes on and on in his column today about how a wonderful father and citizen has been sentenced to jail for growing pot.

Good grief.

Why is this fool given this platform?

Shirley Bassey - TIME AFTER TIME

My all time favorite version of this great Sammy Cahn tune is, of course, by Tony Bennett. But who's complaining with Shirley bassey at the microphone?

Charter Helps Dope Dealers - Again

Another idiot Judge has struck another blow (so to speak) against common sense ever showing its face in the criminal justice system.

Justice Ellen Gordon has ruled that border guards who detained a truck driver and found 50 kilo of cocaine stashed away violated the poor baby's Charter Rights.

Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

Here's my idea.

Border guards should have memo pads of search warrants at the ready.

Rip one of the top, sign it and hand it to the sucker. "Here's your effing search warrant, you low-life scum. Now, let's get busy tearing your vehicle apart so we can find all the contraband. Especially the contraband that, being of an illegal and addictive nature, leads to waves of home and business invasions."

The driver in this particular case is apparently a Canadian "citizen." This, of course, beggars the definition of citizenship.

The Justice should be ridden out of town on a rail as absolutely soon as possible. Clearly, she is living in a little Legal Cesspool, unexposed the the sunlight and the realities of her times.

Following, for the stout of heart, is the full story:

"Border search violated accused smuggler's rights, judge rules
Catherine Rolfsen, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, July 16, 2007
In a ruling that cuts to the heart of how Canadian border guards do their jobs, a Provincial Court judge has ruled that the rights of a man charged with smuggling 50 kilograms of cocaine into the country were violated when he was searched at the border. Justice Ellen Gordon ruled Friday that border officers - who routinely question travellers and search their vehicles - violated three sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when they interrogated Ajitpal Singh Sekhon and dismantled the truck he was driving without a search warrant.The ruling means the drugs seized must be excluded from the evidence against Sekhon.Federal prosecutors have already filed an appeal.According to Gordon's reasons for judgment, Sekhon, a Canadian citizen, tried to enter Canada via the Aldergrove border crossing on Jan. 25, 2005. The border guard decided Sekhon was suspiciously tense and sent him to be questioned in the customs office, where he was locked inside while another inspector searched the truck. With the help of a drug-sniffing dog, the ruling says, guards found a false compartment below the truck bed, at which point Sekhon was informed that he would be detained and that he had the right to legal counsel. However, Gordon concluded that Sekhon had been detained from the moment he was locked inside the office, violating sections 9 and 10 of the Charter, which prohibit arbitrary detention and guarantee the right to a lawyer. Gordon's judgment says inspectors eventually dismantled the vehicle to find 50 bricks of cocaine. But the most important part of the ruling is Gordon's conclusion that guards violated section 8 of the Charter - freedom from unreasonable search or seizure - since they never applied for a search warrant.The Crown lawyer pointed out that the Customs Act routinely allows such searches without a warrant based on reasonable grounds for suspicion.The two border inspectors involved said they had never applied for - or even conceived of applying for - a search warrant in their careers. But the judge wrote that officers followed a "lucky hunch," not reasonable suspicions, in launching their search. But she said the key to the ruling was that the customs act includes provisions for a search warrant, and there was no reason they couldn't have applied for one. "In such circumstances it was incumbent upon the investigators to seek the judicial authorization of a search warrant. They did not," Gordon wrote.Sekhar's lawyer Lawrence Myers said the ruling is ground-breaking. "It's the first decision that I'm aware of that defines individual rights in conjunction with the Customs Act since 9/11," Myers said.If Gordon's decision is upheld by a senior court, it could serve as a precedent for how border searches are carried out. Myers said he doesn't think it's an unreasonable impediment to require border guards to obtain a search warrant before searching a vehicle."

Wes Montgomery Quartet - Here's That Rainy Day

That's Harold mabern on piano, who only 2 weeks ago was here at the Cellar Jazz Club on West Broadway...This is one of those timeless Jimmy van Heusen numbers.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Conrad, One More Time

By now, you may feel that you've read everthing necessary and everything you can stand about the melodrama called Conrad Black.

But read one more here. It's a good one.

Iraq - Drowning in Good Intentions

A small but telling recent piece in The New Yorker revealed the depth of the American Mistake in Iraq.

We learn that there are over 1,000 America civilians employed at a compound in central Baghdad. Over 500 of those people had never before this assignment had a passport! Just like their President, these bumpkins had never before shown enough interest in the world to visit China, Japan, South Africa, Rio, Dublin, Paris or Perth. But now they have been assigned jobs in Iraq. think about that.

Then, we learn that there is a cafeteria in the compound. The room operates night and day. Fully 99 % of the employees, servers, cooks, cleaners et al are Muslim. Nevertheless, the American run cafeteria in all its cultural sensitivity serves pork.

And you wonder why the campaign is a total mess.

Hank Jones - Jazz Piano

Turn up the volume to appreciate the subtlety and beauty of this classic American standard by a great musician.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Strike vs. 2010??? The Mayor is Nuts

Nobody wants a City strike.

Nobody wants garbage piling up on hot summer nights.

But for the Nutty Mayor to complain publicly that the potential strike of City workers next week will harm Olympic plans shows how many skills he lacks.

Like reason and sensibility, for example.

The strike issues are about working men and women and their livelihoods. We may or may not agree with them, but perhaps we could respect their real concerns.

To balance the real and immediate concerns of our neighbours and fellow citizens against the possible problems of The Big Party 3 years from now is idiotic.

Here's what you've got to do, Sam.

Along with the shot of whiskey and the anti-depressants that you take every morning, start taking a common sense pill or a MUTE pill.

Up Your Column

Ian Mildew must have fotos of his bosses with barnyard animals. How else to explain his constant presence.

He almost always gets everything wrong, and today he does it again.

He writes a Johnny Be Good tale of rehab amongst The Killers, and his concluding line is "this proves that people can change."

No, Mildew, it possiby indicates that SOME people might change.


The entire Conrad Black story emerges in this little historical nugget:

"He was expelled from 2 schools - once for selling exam papers to fellow students..."

Well, now Canada has some real bragging rights - home of the most arrogant felon on earth.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Peggy Lee


Bye, Bye...

Friday, July 13, 2007


Conrad Black has been found guilty of enough charges (4) to land him in prison for a very long time.

Read the entire story here.

How Many Wives is 2 Many?

And congratulations to Sun editorial writer Daphne Bramham, who has continued her coverage of the polygamists in Bountiful, BC.

As Bramham writes today, the case has much wider ramifications in terms of the entire scope of religious freedoms vs. existing laws.

Polygamy has been illegal in Canada almost as long as there has been a Canada. let us hope that some appeal to the Charter of Rights & Freedoms does not overturn that.