Thursday, December 22, 2005

Telus indicted over cell phone records

"It took nearly five months and two legal orders for Telus Corp. to start handing over cellphone records to the RCMP to help track a possible serial killer stalking Edmonton-area prostitutes."

Read the whole atricle in the Globe and Mail:
Telus indicted over cell phone records

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Why Bertuzzi and Heatley should stay home

It's sad when "incidents" like this happen. But it's even worse when a punch from behind is OK for the olympic team.

Personally I believe Mr. Bertuzzi should never have been allowed back on the ice. Nevertheless he's playing again and, as the New York Times announces today, Canada Selects Bertuzzi [for the Olympic Games in Torino]. The Times also comments on the picking of Dany Heatley. Although there is something to be said that his "incident" happened outside the rink, anyone with a second-degree vehicular homicide criminal record should not represent Canada at the Olympic Games.

And I thought that Wayne Gretzky was a man of decent principles...

See also a few other blogs:

Leave Bertuzzi at home

Bertuzzi VS Heatley

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Most Israelis Oppose Strike Against Iran

A survey in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth showed that most people Israelis believe the dispute over Iran's atomic program should be handled diplomatically.

Read the full article here:
Most Israelis Oppose Strike Against Iran

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bush is not the disease; only the symptom

An interesting view on American Democracy by Frances Moore Lappe can be found on the Huffington Post today.

In short Moore Lappe explains that Bush is not the problem; the American version of democracy is. With wise words she concludes that everyone needs to create a living democracy:

As the deadly consequences of thin democracy –- a disastrous war, torture in our name, the post-Katrina debacle, and daily disclosures of cronyism and corruption fill us with shame, let’s dig to the root of our pain. Exposing Bush’s ineptitude and deception isn’t enough. It’s time to reframe the very meaning of democracy and get on with creating a real one.
Read the complete post: Bush Isn'’t the Problem: The Weakness of our Thin Democracy

See also Ira Chernus' article (July 2003) on Bush's Lies being the symptom

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Lawsuit Charges CIA with Kidnapping and Torture of German Citizen

Canada is not alone when it comes to citizens that appear to have been tortured after being kidnapped by the CIA. A federal lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a German citizen. Khaled El-Masri was detained while on vacation in Macedonia. Once in CIA custody he claims to have been tortured.

Read the whole story at Democracy Now!: Lawsuit Charges CIA with Kidnapping and Torture of German Citizen

Common Dreams: German Citizen Held in Secret Prison Sues Ex-CIA Director

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Interview with Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas, Veteran White House correspondent still hopes to see peace:

You always feel and hope that whoever lives in the White House is a man of peace and will work in every possible way to the last resort for peace. Because war is horrible. There are no winners, really, in the end. So much pain and so forth. And so unnecessary. There are peaceful solutions to most problems.
Read Mitch Jeserich's complete interwiew with Helen Thomas (scroll down)

Friday, December 02, 2005

First RIAA "illegal downloading" trial

It's going to happen; a New York mother of five children is not going to pay the 3,000 - 4,000 dollars to settle with the RIAA (a.k.a. Big Music: Sony BMG, Vivendi Universal, Warner Music and EMI) over some songs that she's accused of having downloaded.

Here's the list of songs:

* Lit "Happy"
* Incubus "Nowhere fast"
* Third Eye Blind "Semi-Charmed Life"
* UB40 "Can't Help Falling in Love"
* Godsmack "Whatever"
* Foo Fighters "Breakout"

Value? Probably about $6 dollars (Apple's iTunes sells songs online for 99¢ each).

"We haven't seen a trial on this issue yet because the RIAA has generously offered to settle the suits for amounts in the US$3000-4000 range, rather than the tens of thousands they would demand if they prevailed in court. To date, more than three thousand people have coughed up. Santangelo vows to fight on, though, claiming that the likely culprit is not her but a friend's child who used her computer."

"I'm willing to take it as far as I have to prevent other innocent people being dragged into frivolous lawsuits," she told "It's wrong."

See the full posting here: First RIAA p2p file share trial

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Neocons floated idea of bombing AlJazeera before

Eric Schmeltzer's googling resulted in an interesting discovery that the neocons floated the idea of bombing AlJazeera before. Although this probably doesn't surprise anybody, it's good to get these facts in black and white. Frank Gaffney Jr, wrote for Fox News:

Under present wartime circumstances, though, the United States has the ability -- and, indeed, an urgent responsibility -- to take more comprehensive action against Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Unless the two networks adjust their behavior so as no longer to act as the propaganda arm of our enemies, they should be taken off the air, one way or another.
Indeed, for the US Pentagon it's fine to spout US propaganda towards Iraqis, but if other engage in this game, Neocons want them to be taken out, "one way or another".

Neocons hate AlJazeera (and therefore free speech; nothing new, really) and the use of force (read power) to shut it down comes easily to their minds.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

President Bush "jokes" about bombing AlJazeera

According to the Washington Post, one senior diplomat is blaming the messenger: "It was foolish for someone to write [president Bush's "joke"] down, and now it will be a story for days".

A joke or not, here we go:
- Washington Post
- New York Times
- The Guardian

Who's looking foolish now?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Shame on Bush and Cheney?

Good analyses about how the neo-conservatives did mislead the American people (and the rest of us).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sony sold 120,000 faulty CDs in Canada

Sony BMG said Friday that about 120,000 of the 4.7 million faulty CDs were sold in Canada.

Source: National Post

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sony sued over DRM

It didn't take long: Sony has been sued for it's malicious DRM software (rootkit) that automatically installs (without telling you!) on your computer raising privacy concerns and inviting virus attacks.

Fortunately there is a list of Sony Cds to boycott: CD List with Sony DRM. Another list can be found here: US List of Sony DRM CDs.

You still want to listen to these CDs? Well, most people I know will forget about buying these new Sony CDs all together and download them for free online since most songs can still be found that way.

It's probably the best lesson we can teach Big Music: more restrictions on CDs will slow down sales even further; exactly the opposite effect they were hoping for.

Obviously Sony has not been thinking this through at all which defines the current attitudes of the struggling industry that does not know how to innovate on terms of the 21st century.

See also wiki for more information on Sony DRM and how to see if it is (already) installed on your computer.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

US caught using chemical weapons

Rai, Italian state TV, broadcasted a documentary with evidence that US forces used chemical weapons against Iraqi civilians.

The new evidence shows the dropping of massive quantities of white phosphor on Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004.

See also Democracy Now!
US uses chemical weapons in Iraq

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Taser defends giving stock options to police

Taser defends giving stock options to police

Robert Anglen
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 24, 2005 12:00 AM
Taser International gave potentially lucrative stock options to six police officers from 2001 to 2003, most of whom promoted Taser's stun guns and, in some cases, urged their cities to buy them.

Court documents released this week show that officers in Arizona, California, Washington, Texas, and Canada received thousands of company stock options, some only weeks after urging police commanders or city officials to purchase Tasers.

Four of the six officers are now employed by Scottsdale-based Taser International, which is facing state and federal inquiries over the safety of its stun gun and the weapon's involvement in deaths across the country.

The stock options, as well as payments to other officers for Taser training, have sparked concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Critics say Taser paid officers to influence cities to get them to purchase the stun guns.

"We've raised concerns about Taser's options-granting practices since this past January," stock analyst John Gavin of SEC Insight wrote in a report to investors this week.

Other critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, say payments to police officers have created a conflict of interest, with officers promoting the stun gun and repeating Taser's assurances of safety while minimizing risks.

Taser officials issued a news release Thursday defending the police officers and denying any conflict.

"The officers on our (training) board were involved in training operations at their respective departments - not the purchasing departments," Taser Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith said in the news release. "They followed all relevant conflict-of-interest regulations at their departments, and the grant of stock options did not violate Taser's code of ethics nor industry norms."

The information concerning the stock options was released this week after Taser lost a legal challenge to seal documents from a lawsuit against Taser filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Taser asked the court to keep confidential the deposition of company President Tom Smith, arguing that his answers about who received stock options was proprietary. The Arizona Republic and SEC Insight both filed motions to keep the records open, arguing that information about Taser is vital to the public's interest.

The court agreed, and Taser did not appeal.

According to Republic research, medical examiners in 18 cases have said Tasers were a cause, a contributing factor or could not be ruled out in someone's death.

The newly released documents for the first time reveal who outside the company received stock options.

The six active-duty officers who received options were from police departments in Chandler and Glendale, Seattle, Sacramento, Austin and Victoria, British Columbia. Records show all but the Austin officer promoted the effectiveness of the weapons and some urged their cities to purchase them.

Five other individuals also were issued stock options: a retired New York police officer; a former United Airlines employee; Taser's current medical director; a lawyer who did patent work for Taser, and his assistant. New York, Austin and United Airlines purchased Tasers, but it's unclear if the employees played a role in the decision.

The options could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on when they were exercised and sold.

The 11 individuals received a total of 27,671 options. It is not known when each person exercised and sold his options.

In its news release, Taser defends giving options to officers. Rick Smith says the officers were not being rewarded but being compensated for serving on Taser's Master Instructor Training Board, which advises Taser on law enforcement training programs.

"It should be noted that none of the board members were in a position to approve product purchases," Smith said. "Every one of their agencies had already purchased and deployed Taser devices prior to their joining our advisory training board."

Public records show that one of the officers, former Chandler police Officer Jim Halsted, received 500 stock options a year before he urged the City Council to spend $193,000 on Tasers. Halsted, now a regional sales manager for Taser, was later investigated by the city for conflict-of-interest violations and cleared of any wrongdoing.

On March 27, 2003, Halsted made a presentation to the Chandler City Council in which he stressed the importance of buying Tasers and encouraged officials to act that night. Contacted at his office Friday, Halsted declined to comment.

Former Seattle police Officer Steve Ward, who now works for Taser, was issued stock options on Jan. 1, 2001, almost a year before Taser created its training board. In September 2000, Ward co-authored a report that advocated arming officers with Tasers.

Another officer who received Taser stock options is Darren Laur of the Victoria, British Columbia, Police Department. Laur has been a staunch advocate for Taser for years and helped write a report in 1999 that helped usher Tasers into Canada.

According to court documents, Laur was given 750 stock options in 2001 for helping to design a holster for the Taser. Taser said he sold the options in 2003.

"In my view there is an appearance of a conflict of interest, or at least the perception of a conflict," Canadian lawyer Cameron Ward said. Ward represents the family of Robert Bagnell, who died in June 2004 after officers shocked him with a Taser.

In his deposition, Taser President Tom Smith said he did not believe any of the options granted to police officers represented a conflict.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Police Chief Sues Taser Over Injuries Suffered During Training

Even with the Canadian Police Research Centre reporting that there is no "causal" link between taser and death, the fight over the use of the Taser is far from over:

"Stun gun manufacturer Taser is facing another lawsuit over the safety of its product. This time the lawsuit has been filed by a police chief in Hallsville, Missouri. Jacob Herring has sued the company claiming that he was severely injured after being shocked with a Taser weapon during training. Herring says he suffered at least two strokes, loss and impairment of his vision and hearing, neurological damage, a head injury and "significant cardiac damage" after being shocked by a Taser M26 during a class last year. Taser has now been sued 14 times since 2003 by officers who say they were injured in training." (Democracy Now)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Why Canadian Conservatives loose.

So why are the Canadian Conservatives in so much trouble?

Not too hard to figure out for a Dutchman. Just look at some of the issues of the last few months and how Conservatives have handled them.

Remember the confidence vote? Conservatives were willing to align with the Bloc Quebecois to beat the governing parties. Yes, align themselves with "the Bloc".

And then there was Belinda. Now I have to agree with the Conservatives when they disapprove of her actions: changing parties right before an important vote (the confidence vote, can it be more important?) is immoral. Actually I believe it should be illegal. The fact that it is not, is just as astonishing as the fact that BC parties are still allowed to spend huge amounts of money on advertising (to sway political opinion); both actions are part of the Canadian democratic deficit and all Canadians should be ashamed that the buying of votes is still legal. But Conservatives gave Belinda's latest "moves" names that where unfamiliar political terms to me. I suppose that's what Conservatives "express" when "power hungry hypocrites" loose. Just another reason to find Conservatives scary.

Today more reasonto distrust Tories. Here are Harper's "wise" comments when discussing Bloc Quebecois' position on same sex marriage: "Because it's being passed with the support of the Bloc, I think it will lack legitimacy with most Canadians". So what does this say about the Conservatives? Indeed: power hungry hypocrites! Conservatives align with the Bloc when they feel they have a chance of beating the Liberals (regardless that it might "lack legitimacy with most Canadians") but, when on a different issue the Bloc aligns with the Liberals, the Bloc is suddenly considered illegitimate.

So what have we learned?
1. Conservatives think Quebec voters are not legitimate Canadian voters
2. Conservatives do not know how to make or keep friends; therefore a future minority government with Conservatives seems unlikely.
3. Conservatives use polarization to clarify their position, even if it will work against them.

Personally I can't wait to see what will happen with "Defend Marriage Canada", "a citizen based effort" that considers the same-sex legislation "a costly social experiment on the backs of our children". What's there to defend when gays have the same rights under the law?

Conservatives, with their self-destructive actions, get better and better at loosing. Reason enough for some to call this party the "Canada Stupid Party". Congrats.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Downing Street Memo (3) - Thanks to Wolfowitz and Friends

The NPR on the Downing Street Memo.

And Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq war during his service as Deputy Defense Secretary, has heard about the downing street memos, but is not going to read them (excuse: he doesn't want to be distracted by history from his new job as head of the world's leading development bank).

For Wolfowitz the War seems to have lost it's "glance" and is now just another "issue" that he chooses not to focus on;
"There will be a time and place to talk about history". It's frightening to read how Wolfowitz tries to escape history by not to talking about it while so many innocent Iraqis (and U.S. soldiers) have no other choice than live trough it. Thanks to Wolfowitz and friends.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Downing street memo(2)

A growing number of media outlets (including some in the U.S.) are picking up on the "downing street memo". Bloggers throw in their own two cents.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Downing Street memo is gaining momentum

Don't miss the latest developments in the downing street memo.

The minutes [or memo], which were published May 1 by the Sunday Times of London, paint a picture of an administration that had already committed to attacking Iraq, was manipulating intelligence and had already begun intense bombing of Iraq to prepare for the ground invasion. This was almost a year before the actual invasion officially began. The minutes are from a July 23, 2002 briefing of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security advisers by British intelligence chief Richard Dearlove. The minutes contain an account of Dearlove's report that President George W. Bush had decided to bring about "regime change" in Iraq by military action; that the attack would be "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD" (weapons of mass destruction); and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Listen to the interview by Democracy Now by clicking here.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bill Graham: "Ich habe es nicht gewusst"

Minister Bill Graham's excuse in the Arar case:

"What surprises me is that this was not conveyed to me," Mr. Graham said. "I was not told."
What bothers me most is that, at the same time, he keeps defending his former officials:
"In the light of what we knew at the time, and the practices, the nature of what we were trying to achieve . . . I honestly believe that we did the best we could and for the best motives."
Of course, nobody wants to look bad when things turn ugly. But a "mistake" has been made which resulted in the deportation and torture of a Canadian citizen. Graham's "I was not told" cannot simply be excused, especially given the seriousness of the "incident". Graham was in charge and failed to help a Canadian citizen (yes, just someone like you and me). His reaction is of course not new:
When things go wrong, personal irresponsibility will eventually result in a complete denial of the impact of one's actions, and in holding others responsible. Denial was the predominant response for instance of the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials after World War II (Peter Steeghs-Center Point, TX).
Let's consider that Bill Graham is telling the truth and that he really didn't know this. A few follow-up questions immediately come to mind: "Being the minister of foreign affairs, shouldn't you have known about this?". "Did you ever ask your officials about this?"

U.S. demand was unacceptable

Indeed, the U.S. offer to "send Arar back to Canada in October 2002, but only if Canada promised to charge and imprison him" was unethical and (therefore) unacceptable. Nevertheless every possible action should have been undertaken to have the Canadian Arar returned to Canada safely. "Simply" rejecting the offer because "We have a Charter of Rights ... we don't have cause to arrest and press charges and put him in jail" is just another excuse for non-action when it was needed most. Really, why did Canadian officials not "tell" the U.S. officials that they were going to imprison him and later "simply" let him go because of the Charter of Rights? When there was a chance to get Arar back Canadian officials chose to stand up for the principle "we have a charter of rights" with the known outcome. Poor timing resulting in torture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

BC Rail sold to liberal-friendly CN rail

"Not only did they sell it, but they sold it to a Liberal-friendly company. CN chairman David McLean was involved in Campbell’s 1993 Liberal leadership bid, as reported by Richard Warnica in The Tyee on Monday, and signed Liberal donation cheques totaling over $36,000 under the CN banner in 2002 alone."

Read the full story here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Ready for change? I am! Change the Liberals, the NDP and the Green Party with one vote.

There are two main groups voting for the Liberal:
- people voting for self interest (the 10% upper echelon)
- people who think there is no better option.

I'm afraid the first group can't be helped. They are in power and whatever I might have against them: too bad. The second group is a lot more interesting: why do they think there are no options, and how can this be changed?

First of all, this group feels that the NDP isn't a real option. I can somewhat sympathize with these people although it must be said that the current BC NDP does consist of many new members as well. But there are other viable options out there, one of them being the Green Party. Unfortunately the Green Party is harmed the most by the greatest deficit of the First Past The Post system: strategic voting. Considering the terrible track record of both the Liberals and the NDP I'm convinced the Green Party would have a major chance to win this election, if it wasn't for strategic voting.

But we have the opportunity to beat the system tomorrow. No liberal or NDP'er or Big Business Media wants you to think about this: all parties mentioned rather cling to their undeserved power, given to them by "the advantages" of the FPTP system. But there is a new way and it is called STV.

Are you tired of this terrible monster called FPTP, only creating a polarized division between "the lefties" and "right wing", between Big Business and Big Unions? Are you ready for real positive change?

Vote STV!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

US Army and Navy Recruiting

Do you remember the saying what if they gave a war and nobody came? Well, this saying from the 60s is becoming a current reality again.

The US Army and Navy has a hard time recruiting.

“In April, the Army missed its recruiting goal for the third month in a row, short by nearly 2,800 recruits, or 42 percent off its target. And for the first time in 10 years, the Marine Corps missed its recruiting goal for the last four months.”

Therefore these recruiters started some new “marketing techniques”: threatening potential recruits.

The Army has ordered a one-day suspension this month of its recruiting efforts, already made difficult by the Iraq war, to confront incidents of misconduct by its recruiters.
The incidents included a Texas recruiter (Sgt. Thomas Kelt) threatening a man with arrest if he did not show up at a recruiting station for an interview and Colorado recruiters telling a high school student how to get a phony diploma from a nonexistent school, Army officials said.

Read this story here

Or here the actual voice message here (from Democracy Now!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Paul Willcocks' YES for BC-STV

Read his full story here .

Find out more about BC-STV

Iraq moving towards open civil war

Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh delivered an address at an event entitled "Can Freedom of the Press Survive Media Consolidation?"

Read more at Democracy Now!
Hear it here (audio) | See it here (video)

People avoid paying fees for B.C. parks

B.C. Government documents show that fewer people are visiting provincial parks since parking meters were installed. According to Eva Riccius (spokesperson for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) only a quarter of visiting drivers put money in the meters which also contributed to low revenues of about $800,000. That's less then 20% of the projected revenues of $4 million to $6 million.

"The money raised from the meters was supposed to be put back into parks, for picnic tables and hiking trails, but with the revenue shortfall where does that leave our parks today?” said Gwen Barlee, WCWC policy director. “We’re calling today on the BC government to rectify the mistake that was made and immediately remove the parking meters from our provincial parks."
Read the full story here

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

BC Green Party and the US war on Iraq

Adriane Carr, leader of the B.C. Green Party responds to a letter by Will Offley.

"We find it utterly reprehensible that public service pension funds would be invested in corporations that contribute to the devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people. We fully support divesting public pension funds from any companies that are so involved. Thank you for bringing this important issue to our attention."

Read the full letter here.

Prime minister, it's time to go.

"Canada's Liberal minority government says it will not resign despite losing a key censure vote in parliament." Read the full story here. (BBC)

Even when Prime Minister Paul Martin loses a moral authority to govern he wont have any of it. Somehow I'm not all that surprised; in B.C. we've heard it before. Gordon Campbell did not resign after being caught drunk driving on Hawaii either.

In this light it is not surprising that many people have lost respect for politicians when drunk driving and being voted out by the majority of the House of commons are no reasons to step down.

B.C. Pension Funds investing in US War on Iraq

Did you know that $4.6 billion in (British Columbia) pension funds have been invested in corporations producing, among other things, the munitions, missiles, landmines, cluster bombers, attack choppers, tanks, fighters and depleted uranium weapons for use by U.S. armed forces in their occupation of Iraq?

Some people are fully aware of this, including Carole James and Adriane Carr, but are unwilling to raise the issue: "There has been no formal response from James or Carr yet, but the position of both is increasingly clear from their echoing silence."

Read the full story at

Canada's right to choose

"While media attention in Canada focused on the U.S. concerns over the availability of counterfeit or pirated products at home, the coverage missed the real story. Just weeks after the Canadian government announced its plans for copyright reform, the U.S. has injected itself in our policy debate by criticizing our future laws as well."

Read Michael Geist's full story here (

Monday, May 09, 2005

Why Victoria B.C. Police should stop using the taser gun

"MONCTON, N.B. - RCMP in New Brunswick are investigating the death of a psychiatric patient whom police shot with a Taser outside a Moncton bar"

Read the full article here.

"Authorities are investigating the death of a 44-year-old man who died in a jail cell hours after he was shocked with a Taser stun gun early Friday morning".

Read the full article here.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Norman Spector calls STV "a dumb idea"

According to his column of Friday May 6th he is a proud British Columbian. Why? Because of the May 5th debate; judging from the debate "it would be unfortunate if we gave up our system now (first past the post in comparison with STV) when it is working properly. This is like saying that you're proud of the latest commercials from Honda, General Motors and Toyota, and therefore it would be unfortunate to look for green alternatives.

What's really unfortunate is that many journalists (including Norman Spector) consider a TV debate in the presented format will give the reader a good view on their political agendas. Observing all the half truths (and many times plain lies) presented at recent debates, how could a journalist be proud of this? Shouldn't it make any self respected journalist "mad like hell" that politicians get away with their own propaganda talk without being countered by real journalism?

Of course, Norman is right, the FPTP system is "working properly". The question is: for who? Read Norman's own analyses why STV is "such a dumb idea".


Read also Owleye's blog "Single Transferable Everything - A Response to Norman Spector"

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Luminara reveals true corporate nature of Victoria's Times Colonist

The Luminara has been part of much local debate lately. Especially the unsigned editorial of January 21 has fanned the flames. Let's have a look how the editors of the Times Colonist skew the facts to make all of us think that commercialism is the way to go for the Beacon Hill Park.

The TC begins their bullying right from the start: the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park are the "most unfriendly folks imaginable". According to the article, "all the rules and regulations" make "the the park no fun to go to anymore". No fun anymore? The rules haven't changed, but the opinions of our favourite (and only) Island newspaper clearly have.

The article continues with an abundance of complaints, you wonder what their coffee breaks are like. I will address a few of them.

1. We (most probably meaning: the editors of the Times Colonist - the TC is definitely not talking for all of us) are denied a Great Canadian Family Picnic. Well excuse me, what's wrong with bringing your own lunch?

2. The editors of the Times Colonist "can't buy an ice cream cone there on a hot day": can someone send a free city map to the editors of the TC and mark where the Beacon Drive Inn is located? It seems the "journalists" are not only bored to death, they're also either lazy or stupid.

3. "There's no place to sit down for a cup of tea." Where does this nonsense come from? There is plenty of space, just bring your own tea. Can someone else sponsor these editors with a thermos? (Don't forget to include the instructions :).

4."God forbid a beer or glass of wine". Hey, I have to agree with the TC on this one. When will it be possible to have a drink in public? Coming from the Netherlands (yes, pot country, gay marriages and what not), drinking a beer in the open is one of the things I miss. Symphony Splash with a beer? I'm for it! But don't blame the Friends for it, they do not make the rules.

The Friends are also blamed for the rules and regulations, set by the city counsel, that wouldn't let the sponsors of the event show their names inside the park. Rules that do not allow commercial activity to take place in Beacon Hill Park. Are the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park wrong by abiding the law?

Finally we get to the heart of the matter: According to the editors of the Times Colonist it is also "naturally" that sponsors, who would like "a little credit for their generosity", are giving up on the Luminara and therefore there will be no "lanterns or children's faces shining in the park".

Is it so usual that sponsors give up funding when they can't even show their names in small print inside the park? I don't think so. I am sure there are lots of people in Victoria who regularly donate (yes, donating is also sponsoring) activities and good causes, without needing much in return: a tax receipt does it for most of us. The tsunami donations, were a perfect example of real generosity. Unfortunately another breed of sponsors used to fund the Luminara. And this breed is used to getting what they want, or else.

Who are they? And what do they want? Maybe someone can fill me in on the first WHO question?


There are many ways of letting people know who is sponsoring the Luminara. Sponsors can inform their own clientèle through newsletters, they can buy some advertising space on one of the local radio stations "claiming their generosity", they can even buy advertising space in the TC.

But, the Times Colonist thinks that this is "naturally" not enough. Sponsors want a "little credit for their generosity". Their imposed advertising practices should also be allowed inside the park. And that's what the Friends are against, and so am I.

Commercialism without restrictions is a dangerous thing. It has ruined the objectivity of most North American TV stations and newspapers, and quite obvious that of the Times Colonist.

I like the Luminara. I like the Beacon Hill Park. I'm starting to adore the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park for taking a firm stand to sticking to their principles. I am disappointed about the stand of the TC. Not only are they (and their corporate friends) imposing their advertising on us whenever and wherever they think they can, they also bully well meaning volunteers with their false and inciting statements.

The Beacon Hill Park is a peoples park, not a corporate park. Let's keep it that way.

Friends of Beacon Hill Park, keep up the good work!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Recording Industry Australia in court

Malik in Sydney Australia is wondering why the Australian Recording Association is in court, and not Britney herself.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Terminator at work

Gov. Swarzenegger's executes in real life. Visit his first execution.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

CanWest, Big Music and File Sharing

Today in the Times Colonist's Arts section an article about file sharing. The title caught my eye: "File sharing costs artists millions, law still vague."

Having followed this story closely, I was surprised to see that these ridiculous statements are still being printed. Do CanWest's articles not have to pass some kind of "smell test?" Obviously this must be an opinion piece, since their claims are far from today's reality.

According to CanWest the legal debate is murky. Being a Dutchman, not totally sure what murky means, I looked it up in Merriam Webster:
murky: 1. Characterized by a heavy dimness or obscurity caused by or like that caused by overhanging fog or smoke.

So why murky? Because "in the U.S. lawmakers have cracked the whip on file-sharing" but in Canada "no definite rulings on the [file-sharing] have been made". "Therefore it is currently not illegal". Don't you like it how these CanWest people try to make you believe there is something wrong with the Canadian law? The Canadian ruling is different from the U.S. position, but is different murky?

Like with many things, it all depends on who you ask. To CNET the last rulings on file-sharing in Canada is clear: file sharing in Canada is legal. Nothing about murky or any other related words (yes, this Dutchman checked Thesaurus). CanWest also states that "U.S. lawmakers have cracked the whip on filesharing" but "Canadian courts nor elected lawmakers have made definite rulings on the matter". Therefore, according to the article, it is not illegal.

First of all, not American lawmakers cracked the whip, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) did, by suing whoever they could (including 12 year old Brianna LaHara). And, why WOULD Canadian lawmakers crack the whip on filesharing when they already decided that it is totally legal?

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is appealing rulings that make these downloads (and uploads) legal. Now why would they do that if the law is so clear? Fortunately no phone calls have to be made; they have their own answer.

If Canadians are comfortable file-sharing, they should be able to make an easy switch to a legitimate online music marketplace, once the proper conditions are in place.
The CRIA hopes to see everybody paying for "legitimate" downloads (read: paid downloads), but why would anyone in Canada pay for something that is already available for free? Exactly, that's what they try to change. Not for themselves of course, but for the artists. And CanWest is with them, with their article "File-sharing costs artists millions, law still vague".

After reading this article I started to wonder what the news worthiness was: nothing. No news in this article, only old facts, mostly directly from the CanWest's "friends" at the CRIA. I tried to look up the article online: for subscribers only. Good. People crazy enough "to pay" for old news, should.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Huckleberry Mine: read Paul Willcocks blog

Any idea what's being done about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Read Paul Willcocks blog about the Huckleberry Mine and see what the BC Government is doing with your tax dollars.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Norman Spector: editorial

In Norman Spector's blog today (January 7th, 2004):

The Globe and Mail editorial board also weighs in against Alberto Gonzales; frankly, I don’t understand why they bother.

Who really cares what editorial writers in Toronto think of the next Attorney-General of the United States?
So I check and type editorial:
1. An article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers.

An editorial is about opinion, and in this case the Globe and Mail seems to have one. Who cares? Norman Spector doesn't, but lets just be glad many other Candadians (or permanent residents like me) do.

But who cares about Norman Spector's opinion? Anyone?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

CBC: Promos

Don't get me wrong: CBC is probably the best general broadcaster available to Canadians. But there is lots that bothers me.

Promos for example. Right at the end of an advertising block I get quickly ready to continue to watch my favourite program... wait, first another promo. And then, oh, wait a bit more, a few more commercials first.

When the commercials are totally over; another promo. This time a promo for a "rerun" I already watched earlier this week: what an excellent way of spending time in front of the TV. Thank you, Robert Rabinovitch - good show!

And why do these promos look like commercials? Over the years I've learned not to trust commercials: companies will tell you whatever "you want to hear", as long as you buy their products. With these promos looking so similar, I start to question the intentions of the CBC: are they trying to sell us something?

Just get rid of these silly promos and use that extra time to make better programs: considering all the time that is waisted on commercials and promos there is hardly any time left for making a good TV program. After the budget cuts of the mid-nineties, to some the CBC might seem to have stabilized, but when is improvement going to be the new standard?

Quality, quality, quality - please stay at it.