Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lynn Spears to be named mother of the year...

So, 16-year old younger sister of Britney, Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The father is her 19 year old boyfriend WHO SHE'S BEEN LIVING WITH.

You've got to give it to the Spears family. They stick together. When one implodes, they ALL implode!

There's a small part of me that feels bad about this.

Unfortunately, the rest of me is laughing too loudly to hear that part of me.

Recommend this Post

The Chalk River fiasco's REALLY starting to fall apart now for the Tories...

So, not only did they appoint a party loyalist to head up AECL, they hired him against the advice of not one, but TWO independent hiring panels!!!

Apparently, under Paul Martin, an independent panel recommended that the AECL's acting Chair (Jean-Pierre Soublière) be given the position permanently (well, not PERMANENTLY, but on a non-interim basis... you know what I mean). However, it never went through because of the 2006 election. Now, once the Tories were in power they didn't want to take the advice of Martin's independent panel (and for the sake of full disclosure Soublière does have connections to the Liberals, and worked on John Manley's leadership campaign). So, fair enough, the Tories launched a SECOND independent head-hunting process (which, again, is TOTALLY their perogative, so I don't have a big problem with that). The SECOND independent panel (set up by the Tories) recommended the position be given to... acting Chair Jean-Pierre Soublière.

So, who did the Tories give the appointment to?

Former Canadian Alliance fundraiser Michael Burns.

At this point, I choose to believe that the Tories appointed Burns to head up AECL simply because they thought it would be a hoot for AECL to be headed up by "Mr. Burns". I know by doing so I'm ignoring the blatant hypocrisy of the Tories' move (given their baseless attacks on CNSC Chair Linda Keen for no sin greater than being "Liberal-appointed", and doing her job) and I'm turning a blind eye to reality.

But frankly, reality makes me throw up in my mouth a little, so I'll stick with the Simpsons angle.

Update: Accidental Deliberations points out Tony Clement's sudden reversal in his explanation of the reasons for Burns' resignation. On Sunday, Clement claimed it was just coincidence that Burns quit right in the middle of a major scandal in which a 50 year old AECL reactor was found to be operating for 17 months without all of the safety features required by their license (and which they had told nuclear regulators that they had installed).
"Some times coincidences happen in politics," Clement said. "There was some indication that this might be coming up down the road." On Monday (a whole day later!) Clement claimed in a T.V. interview that the resignation was related to the Chalk River shutdown. “I think it's fair to say it confirmed our impression that there has to be new management, there has to be better management, at AECL.”


Day one:
"Nothing to see here, total coincidence!"
Day Two: "Look at us, fixing these terrible mistakes!" (of the guy we appointed against the advise of two independent panels).

I understand why he needed to change his tune, as the "it's totally a coincidence that he resigned in the middle of a well-publicized crisis" line was so laughable one could barely be moved to laugh! That he changed his tune so quickly though, on such an important issue, needs to get a lot more attention, imho. 'Cause to me, it's an important question. Are they incompetent, or just stupid?

Recommend this Post

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick... which is the first head to roll as a result of the Chalk River fiasco???

If you guessed "Liberal-appointed" CNSC head Linda Keen, you guessed WRONG.

Turns out, it's CONSERVATIVE-appointed (something I might not have emphasized had the PM not spent the last week trying to smear Keen with the "Liberal-appointed" tag!) AECL Chair Michael Burns.

I've got to say, more and more this looks like an AECL-orchestrated "crisis" (and dare I ask if the Tory government was in on it?) to try to tarnish the CNSC and shunt Keen to the side (given her annoying tenancy to not put nuclear safety aside to allow AECL's market value to increase so the government can get a good price when they sell large portions of AECL to GE) and it looks like it may have blown up in AECL (and possibly the Tories') face.

I think maybe there's a reason the Liberals have been relatively quiet on this issue up 'til now. Maybe they knew another shoe had yet to drop!

I have to say, I thought the idea that AECL manufactured this crisis to get rid of a pesky nuclear regulator who was finally standing up to the industry was a little sketchy at first. Now? Not so much!

I'm sure the Tories are going to try to still blame this all on Keen, but I have a feeling passing that buck just got a LOT harder!

Recommend this Post

The credibility gap...

OK, so right now the Globe and Mail's online poll is "Whose testimony to the Commons ethics committee do you find more credible? Karlheinz Schreiber's or Brian Mulroney's.

At the moment, 81% find Schreiber to be more credible, and 19% find our former Prime Minister to be more credible.

Why such a huge gap (given that Schreiber is OBVIOUSLY so credibility challenged)?

I think it's this.

Schreiber's testimony is basically:

"I'm a slimy rich guy who spreads around money (other people's and my own) in order to maintain influence with my many "friends" in positions of power and influence around the world. I take pains not to create paper trails of these payments (which could be "misinterpreted") and, frankly, I give out so much money to so many influential politicians without ever keeping good track of it (deliberately) that my stories sometime fluctuate a bit.

Mulroney's testimony is basically:

"Scehreiber is a slimy rich guy who spreads around money (other people's and his own) in order to maintain influence with his many 'friends'. He's a well-established briber of public officials who is under indictment for influence peddling, and he's a shady character with no real credibility at all who's stories are constantly shifting...

...Oh, and that $225,000 he gave to me, in cash, and which I hid away in private safes and safety deposit boxes (studiously avoiding creating my OWN paper trail) and which I didn't disclose to anyone until right after Schreiber was arrested? That was, like, TOTALLY for legitimate work."

Yeah. OK.

Recommend this Post


As an addition to the Galloping Beaver's great post on Chalk River and the isotope fiasco, check out this article from the Toronto Star from yesterday!!!

What surprised me was the end of the article, which points out that the safety deficiency at Chalk River wasn't found by the nuclear watch dog group CNSC, but by AECL themselves!

"This supply was cut off when AECL shut down Chalk River three weeks ago, after suddenly "discovering" during a four-day maintenance shutdown it had been running the reactor for almost two years without safety upgrades required under the operating licence issued by the nuclear safety commission.

At a hearing last week before the nuclear safety commission, AECL vice-president Brian McGee said the company had voluntarily shut down the reactor because safety was the highest priority, despite disruption to world isotope supply."

I have to admit, the idea of this being a manufactured crisis designed to make life hard on CNSC (who have been holding up plans by AECL to open two NEW reators - which don't meet safety regulations yet - and therefore jeopardizing the sale of major parts of AECL to GE) did seem too horrible to believe.

Until, that is, I realized that AECL shut down the reactor THEMSELVES, and then blamed CNSC for not letting them restart it without actually doing any of the safety upgrades (one week, "safety was the highest priority" the next, CNSC was endangering the world's isotope supply, and THAT was the highest priority).


The Prime Minister's right, someone DOES need to be held accountable for this mess. But I don't think it's CNSC that should be worried!!!

Recommend this Post

Wow! So, the Tories want to sell off AECL after shutting down Chalk River, and CNSC is making that harder?!?!?

Well, good thing the nuclear safety regulator is under fire day after day! How fortuitous for the government that this crisis has arisen! Things couldn't have worked out better if they'd have PLANNED this!

Galloping Beaver has a great story on the Chalk River/Isotope fiasco which detalis information, and raises questions that I haven't heard about before!

Here are the top three paragraphs, imho (though, by all means go read the whole post!!!):

The Chalk River reactor and AECL have been getting a long, hard look from the Harper regime. Natural Resources minister, Gary Lunn has been in negotiations with General Electric in an effort to sell off a large chunk of AECL. The sudden and unexpected shut-down of Chalk River, not to mention the fact that two MAPLE reactors, (owned by medical isotope supplier MDS Nordion), are not yet commissioned, would give GE a moment of pause when considering a purchase.

Until AECL can get the MAPLE reactors running safely (they appear to have a problem with that), the only medical radioisotope supplier is the NRU facility at Chalk River. Once (if?) the MAPLE reactors are commissioned, AECL has every intention of shutting down the NRU Chalk River reactor permanently. When the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission demanded a safety upgrade it probably ran afoul of AECL's plans - and the plans of the Harper government to sell off AECL. The CNSC was calling for a fairly expensive upgrade to a reactor AECL would rather not be operating. The same regulator will not issue licenses for the MAPLE reactors until safety concerns with them are rectified.

How do you reassure a prospective buyer that the regulator will not be a problem? Push the regulator out of the way.

There is every possibility this is a manufactured crisis. If it isn't the Harperites don't have their eye on the ball and have tried to cover their own incompetence at not knowing what's going on in their own departments.

(emphasis added)

Recommend this Post

Andrew Coyne asks...

Does Mulroney take us for fools???

Excellent question. As far as I can tell, it's either that, or the former PM himself is a fool.

Neither is a particularly savoury option.

Recommend this Post

Mulroney's Testimony...

Either Mulroney is the dumbest and most naive former Prime Minister in the history of history, or we still need to keep digging...

You decide.

Recommend this Post

Polls, polls and more polls...

I wonder how many polls the Tories will commission to find out if this will hurt them.



As Impolitical ponders just how bad are things for the CPC when they can't even count on a hand-picked former separatist to help them smear the Liberals!!! (Also, H/T to Impolitical for providing H/T's to all the other bloggers blogging about this. Check them out too!)

Man. People in glass houses should really buy curtains, eh?

Recommend this Post

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monstrous Canadian Copyright Bill not dead yet....

Apparently, the American-entertainment-industry-driven / Canadian-citizen-blasting Canadian DMCA is about to rear it's ugly head again after it wasn't tabled in the House on Tuesday!!!

Online Rights Canada has a SUPER SIMPLE tool for you to write to your MP, and the Ministers of Industry and Heritage to express your displeasure! Use their suggested text or, better yet, personalize it and then send it off!

Also, consider printing out the email, and sending it via snail mail (you can write to your MP or any Ministers for free if you write to their Ottawa parliamentary office).

Furthermore, if you're on Facebook, join the over 21,000 of us in Professor Michael Geist's "Fair Copyright for Canada" Facebook Group. Also, consider adding the Fair Copyright for Canada Newsfeed application and display up-to-date recent news on the fight to stop the Canadian DMCA prominantly on your Facebook Profile.

You CAN make a difference. Speak up, and voice your opposition to a copyright law that favours industries over educators and lobbyists over librarians. Make sure the Tories are standing ALONE (and try to get sane Tory MPs to abandon ship!) if they try to pass this potentially damaging legislation through a minority parliament.

Recommend this Post

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crazy Canadian Copyright Bill stopped, for now....

Apparently, the Tories won't table their industry-loving / citizen-attacking Copyright Bill today after all. The fight's probably not nearly over (and it's still at least possible the bill will be tabled later in the week) but I don't think that's likely!

Hat tips all around to:

Canadian Cynic

TheVanity Press.

Also, keep informed about efforts to infringe on your rights to use content you've legally paid for. Cliff at Rusty Idols points out that the Recording Industry Association of America (or, "NAMBLA") is arguing that "it is illegal for someone to copy CDs they've paid for to their computers or mp3 players".

Also, a once-removed H/T to "Recording Industry vs. the People" from whom Cliff gets the RIAA story.

Recommend this Post

Monday, December 03, 2007

Well... what a SHOCKER!

News story #1: Quebec to stand up for Kyoto even if Ottawa won't.

News story #2: Tories turn to ex-PQ Premier for Bali talks.

Gee, there couldn't be a connection there, could there?

Quebec's legislature promises (unanimously no less) to stand up to the Tories at the Bali Conference, and suddenly the Tories announce they're sending an ex Parti Quebecois Premier to Bali as their mouthpiece!

I hope Pierre-Marc Johnson is up to the humiliation of being reminded, AGAIN AND AGAIN, that he does NOT represent the wishes of Quebecers at Bali, and that he's basically abandoned the province in favour of the feds by agreeing to speak for a position opposed by the vast majority of Quebecers, and all parties in the Quebec legislature.

Recommend this Post