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I’m watching the federal leaders debate. I don’t know who is winning, but I know who is losing. All of us. We don’t have leaders; we have managers. And pretty lousy ones. These people depress me.
And Canadians depress me. I’ve been reading lots of political commentary, party platforms, message boards and blogs, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Canada is completely screwed. We have been handed a vast, beautiful, diverse, wealthy land, and all we can do is bicker. That’s what I’m seeing in the country at large, and that’s what I’m seeing in this debate – no debate at all, just squabbling. The leaders we deserve, I suppose.
I’m tuning out. I can’t watch this anymore. I’ll mark my ballot for the NDP, but until I see some sign that a Canadian in one province might actually give a shit about a Canadian in another, some sign that I live in a country and not a huge kindergarten classroom, I’m tuning out.
I think a lot of people are feeling this way right now. It’s too bad, but I don’t totally disagree.
Michael Geist notes, “The Sam Bulte fundraiser story has gone mainstream”, in his lengthy response to comments Bulte recently made about him. He has also written a summary of the whole affair, taking note of blog involvement (here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here)
Bulte and Henderson appear to think that they can ride this storm out by arguing that the technical legality of the fundraiser should end the discussion or by attacking the messenger. I suspect that they are wrong. The issue was apparently discussed at this week’s all-candidates meeting, it continues to generate enormous discussion among the bloggers, receive profile from political sites such as Bourque (“Bulte Buntoss Blows Up”), and even the blog on Quill and Quire has described it as “problematic”. The time has come for Ms. Bulte to cancel the fundraiser and take the Copyright Pledge.
CopyrightWatch.ca is also taking a deeper look at Bulte’s past.
In the November, 2000, election, Ms. Bulte had managed to scoop up over $81,000 in campaign financing. And now some of the big copyright names are there: SOCAN, the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association, Alliance Communications Corporation, Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., Epitome Pictures, Chapters, CanWest Global, CTV, Rogers Communications, Baton Broadcasting, Good Earth Ventures and the Astral Television Network. Interestingly, there are a number of other IP intensive industries represented: beer (Molsons), wine (Pilliteri Estates Winery) and pharmaceuticals (Pfizer and Apotex – makes you wonder what she said to these two!). And when the 37th Parliament began on January 29, 2001, voila, Ms. Bulte began publicly uttering pro-copyright platitudes.
Bulte’s opponent, Peggy Nash is also weighing in on the issue.
Again, via Boing Boing.
The amazing thing about blogs is how immediate they report the stories. The English debate for the Canadian election just finished half an hour ago, and everyone is already ringing in their two cents. Read the rest of this entry »
Ask The Pilot is a regular column on Salon featuring Patrick Smith, explaining the workings of planes, airlines, a pilot’s job, and the flight industry. In this instalment, Smith addresses the experience that Jeremy Hermanns had aboard an Alaska Airlines flight in recent news (and reported on many many many blogs).
I found Hermanns’ account of the incident, which he describes as “horrific,” and “the unthinkable,” to be luridly overblown. He confuses the smell of activated oxygen canisters as that of commercial jet fuel, which he wrongly identifies as “AV-gas” or “JP4” (it is neither). Hermanns said repeatedly that he believed the fuselage hole was located at the back of the aircraft. Some news stations actually showed an MD-80 with graphics inexplicably pointing to the jet’s rear pressurization outflow valve as the purported hole — well aft, and on the opposite side, of the damage. “Ask the Pilot” obtained this photograph from an Alaska Airlines employee (who asks to remain anonymous) showing the actual puncture. As you can see, it is well forward of the wing.
Blois Olson, Democratic PR executive, has filed a libel suit against Michael Brodkorb for comments made on his blog. Patrick Sweeney writes about the case for Pioneer Press:
Olson’s lawsuit, which was served to Brodkorb on Tuesday but has not yet been filed in court, seeks damages of more than $50,000 and a court order forcing Brodkorb to remove from the blog a Dec. 28 posting about Olson and his St. Paul-based public relations company.
In the Dec. 28 item, Brodkorb suggested that Olson had publicly criticized former FBI agent Coleen Rowley’s campaign for Congress because Rowley’s campaign staff last summer refused to hire Olson’s firm, New School Communications.
Olson insists the item was a fabrication; Brodkorb says he’s confident it was true.
“Here’s an anonymous blogger that wasn’t willing to retract something that could damage my reputation and my business — and that’s false,” Olson said Wednesday.
Brodkorb said, “It’s as simple as a Democratic operative trying to silence a Republican operative’s blog. He’s going to proceed with this through the courts, and I will, too.”
Jane Kirtley, a lawyer and journalism professor at the University of Minnesota, predicted that the lawsuit — if it goes to trial and eventually is appealed — could help determine whether courts will hold blogs to the same standards that newspapers and broadcasters face.
In a follow-up to the previous post, it seems that there is more another Liberal MP finding himself the target of inpection over at popular blog Boing Boing. The controvercy is about the funding that Sam Bulte is receiving from the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association. Michael Geist writes:
As with the January fundraiser, it is becoming increasingly clear that the pro-stronger copyright lobby is a major Bulte backer. From what I can find on the Elections Canada site, consider that Bulte’s riding association received contributions during this period from the following groups:
- Access Copyright
- Association Of Canadian Publishers
- Canadian Film & television Production Association
- Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency
- Canadian Publisher’s Council
- Canadian Non-Theatrical Film & Video Corp.
- Professional Association of Canadian Theatres
- Professional Photographers of Canada
What makes the thousands of dollars raised from these groups particularly noteworthy is that Bulte’s riding association was the only one to receive such contributions. In other words, at a time when the publishing, music, movie, and photographer industries and collectives were concerned with copyright reform, they chose to provide campaign contributions to just one Member of Parliament – Sam Bulte (or at least only one chose to accept such contributions).
Update: Sam Bulte’s entry in the Wikipedia now mentions the blogging:
During the 2006 federal election, Bulte was criticized by blogger Cory Doctorow and professor Michael Geist for her stances in favour of strict copyright laws and substantial campaign contributions from Canadian and American entertainment industries. They speculate she is a likely candidate for Heritage Minister in the next Parliament. 
For some reason it seems that the Liberals are getting more attention– bad attention– this year on blogs than any other party.
First there was Mike Klander who posted a very low brow attack against NDP candidate Olivia Chow (click to see image), and wife of NDP leader Jack Layton comparing her to a chow chow dog. He has since resigned (a nice word for quit) due to the outrage his comments produced. Was he just naive to think that people would actually read his blog, or did he not realize what he was writing was offensive?
The citizens of Trinity-Spadina have a right to know the answers to the following questions:
1) Who donated to Tony Ianno’s trust fund?
2) Does Tony Ianno still maintain a trust fund?
3) How has Tony Ianno spent the money in his trust fund?
Have any of Ianno’s donors received any favours in exchange for passing him money in secrecy? Ianno has an obligation to tell voters the whole truth in plain English. Ianno and the Liberals stonewalled attempts by Canada’s chief electoral officer to get to the bottom of the trust fund issue.
Are the Liberals ever going to realize the power of the internet, or do they just not think it matters in the long run? And why do bloggers continue to pick on the Liberals leaving the NDP and Conservatives unscathed.
Link to the well researched post on Mondragon’s blog via The Torontoist
Rebecca MacKinnon writes:
Microsoft’s MSN Spaces continues to censor its Chinese language blogs, and has become more aggressive and thorough at censorship since I first checked out MSN’s censorship system last summer. On New Years Eve, MSN Spaces took down the popular blog written by Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti. Now all you get when you attempt to visit his blog at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/mranti/ is the error message pictured above. (You can see the Google cache of his blog up until Dec.22nd here.)
Note, his blog was TAKEN DOWN by MSN people. Not blocked by the Chinese government.
La Shawn Barber also got this story in his corner.
Update: Boing Boing has picked up this story aswell.