Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The 140 character defamation - punctuation included!
Eriq Gardner, Reuters
(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)
A bong is a bong is a bong!
Handsome, dashing, movie star good looks .....
Monday, March 30, 2009
Air miles for Metis economic stimulus dollars?
We understand Denise Thomas, MMF Vice-President Southeast Regional Office took a delegation from Manitoba to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia; fellow Provincial Board Members Jack Park and Claire Riddle were left consulting with Will Goodon and Federation Senior Policy Advisor Al Benoit in Ottawa; while President Chartrand and others were off to deal with Labour Market Developments in Vancouver.
A Google blogger warning!
If you'e watched the 60 Minutes video below you'll notice there's discussion of warnings Google is now sending. Here's one we received the other day while Googling for a particular piece on Barack Obama:
http://cybersmokeblog.blogspot.com - ACTION REQUIRED
Sent: Thu 3/26/2009 1:06 PM
Your blog at http://cybersmokeblog.blogspot.com/ has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog.g?lockedBlogID=23477238.
Your blog will be deleted in 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and your readers will see a warning page during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. Once we have reviewed and determined your blog is not spam, the blog will be unlocked and the message in your Blogger dashboard will no longer be displayed. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.
We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error.
By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577
Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.
The Blogger Team
P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, your blog will be deleted in 20 days. Click this link to request the review: http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog.g?lockedBlogID=23477238
Next we noticed the Blogger Dashboard where the username and password must be entered before being able to post to your site bore the message:
This blog has been locked due to possible Terms of Service violations. You may not publish new posts until your plog is reviewed and unlocked. This Blog will be deleted within 20 days unless you request a review. Request Unlock Review
We asked for a review and within an hour our system had been restored. You are unable to reply directly to Google's original e-mail but if you carefully watch their message line you'll notice You replied on 3/26/2009 2:11 PM will appear in blue.
You can still post while Google is checking your blog except there's an added step. You'll have to type in the jumbled letters used on many sites to discourage spamming. And no we're not spammers - first time anything like this has happened.
Clare L. Pieuk
A must watch video!
Watch CBS Videos Online
Good Day Readers:
This is an outstanding report by Lesley Stahl which appeared on last night's edition of CBS's 60 Minutes. It will bring you up-to-date on the latest internet viruses, worms and malware and what computer experts are doing to combat the threat. Highly recommended!
Clare L. Pieuk
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Is "The Public Eye" watching you?
The Public Eye has rapidly become one of our favorite Bloggers. While certain lawyers may not share this view, the information provided about Law Society disciplinary hearings has been nothing short of invaluable.
Manitoba Lawyer Paul Walsh
The Law Society of Manitoba Discipline Case Digest
Member: Paul Victor Walsh, Q.C.
Jurisdiction: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Called to the Bar: June 26, 1968
Particulars of Charges: Professional Misconduct (3 counts)
- Breach of Chapter 16, Commentary 3 of the Code (breach of obligation to treat other lawyers with courtesy and good faith) [x2]
- Breach of Chapter 1 of the Code (failure to act with integrity when dealing with an unrepresented party opposite) and
Breach of Chapter 16 of the Code (failure to act with courtesy and good faith)
Date of Hearing: March 20, 2007
- Joel A. Weinstein, Q.C. (Chair)
- John E. Neufeld, Q.C.
- Lori Ferguson Sain
- 3 month Suspension (concurrent with 6 month suspension that commenced on January 1, 2007)
- Fine of $10,000.00
- Costs of $4,500.00
- Darcia A.C. Senft for The Law Society of Manitoba
- J. Richard Wolson, Q.C. for the Member
Breach of Undertaking
Mr. Walsh was retained by his client with respect to a default on a commercial lease. Mr. Walsh’s client was the landlord of commercial premises operating as a restaurant. The tenant had defaulted on the lease and had abandoned the premises. When Mr. Walsh pursued the restaurant on behalf of his client, he was advised that the lease had been assigned to another corporation and was referred to their in-house counsel. Mr. Walsh wrote to the restaurant’s representative and their counsel regarding the commercial lease matter. Various letters were exchanged between the parties in relation to attempts to sell the commercial property to a third party. While the negotiations on the deal were progressing, Mr. Walsh filed a Statement of Claim on behalf of his client against the tenant and the defendant assignee corporation with respect to the said commercial lease matter.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Walsh received correspondence from the president of a related company regarding a proposed purchase of the commercial property. In the letter, Mr. Walsh was instructed to contact the company’s counsel who was the same in-house counsel that Mr. Walsh had written to previously. That counsel subsequently advised Mr. Walsh that efforts were being made to sell the property to a third party purchaser and thereby settle the commercial lease matter. Mr. Walsh was asked to provide two weeks notice of his intention to proceed with the law suit and the obligation to file a Statement of Defence. Mr. Walsh wrote back and advised that he was not proceeding with the Statement of Claim that had been filed. As requested, he undertook to provide two weeks notice of his intention to proceed with the said claim.
Approximately one month later, the other lawyer wrote to Mr. Walsh to advise that attempts to sell the property had failed. Mr. Walsh filed a second Statement of Claim of behalf of his client against the related company with respect to the same commercial lease matter. He effected service of both claims upon the defendant corporations without providing notice to or advising the other lawyer. Mr. Walsh obtained a Notice of Default in respect of the first claim and attempted to obtain default judgment with respect to the second claim without first advising or warning the other lawyer of his intentions and without making an enquiry regarding the filing of a Statement of Defence.
Subsequently, Mr. Walsh received a telephone call from a director of a defendant corporation, which defendant, at that time, was an unrepresented party opposite. During the said telephone conversation with the director, Mr. Walsh discussed whether or not the defendant corporation was the appropriate defendant in the first claim. He did not advise the director that default had been noted already against the defendant corporation in respect of the first claim. Mr. Walsh then wrote to the director and advised, inter alia, that a Statement of Claim had been filed and served upon the defendant corporation. However, in his letter, Mr. Walsh did not advise the director that default had been noted already against the defendant corporation in respect of the first claim for failing to file a Statement of Defence.
The director responded to Mr. Walsh by letter and requested that the defendant corporation be released from the action. Following his receipt of the said letter, Mr. Walsh did not inform the director that default had been noted already against the defendant corporation.
Mr. Walsh entered a plea of guilty to the charges.
Decision and Comments
The panel found Mr. Walsh guilty of professional misconduct based on his admissions to the charges.
Noting that the conduct predated the conduct for which Mr. Walsh recently began serving a period of suspension, the panel accepted a joint recommendation made by the Society and counsel for Mr. Walsh and ordered that:
(a) Mr. Walsh be suspended for a period of 3 months, which suspension will be served concurrently with a 6 month suspension that commenced on January 1, 2007;
(b) Mr. Walsh pay a fine in the amount of $10,000.00; and
(c) Mr. Walsh pay costs to the Society in the amount of $4,500.00 as a contribution towards the costs associated with the investigation, prosecution and hearing of the matter.
President WEED WHACKER!
Good Day Folks:
Clare L. Pieuk
WEED WHACKER: The President said in his town hall meeting on Thursday that legalizing marijuana would't be a 'good strategy.'
Yes We Cannabis? Joint Resolution: Taxing Pot just makes cents
It’s time to legalize marijuana, tax it to death, then let struggling Joe Citizen - instead of Joe Dope Dealer - reap the pot profits.
The most popular question at President Obama’s town hall meeting Thursday? Whether legalizing marijuana would help the economy and create jobs. You know: Pottery Barn goes Pottery Bong.
Now the pot posse may have stacked the e-mail deck. Still Obama, who once wanted to decriminalize pot, laughed off the inquiries. “I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” he quipped, then did his post-election about-face. “No, I don’t think this would be a good strategy.”
Actually, it would be a very good strategy. He’s wrong. Enough already with these ancient mariner moralizers like ex-drug czar Bill Bennett, who preached reefer madness while gambling millions in Vegas and smoking two packs a day. A different generation’s in charge now. Millions of Americans understand that you can get stoned in high school, in college, every post-collegiate Saturday night, yet remain a responsible, upstanding, taxpayer. They know because they’ve done it.
Ignoring hysterical politicians and law enforcement types around here, Massachusetts voted nearly two to one in November to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Has your neighborhood gone to pot? If we took the next step - legalize and tax it - we might not need toll hikes or 19-cent gas tax hikes and they’d surely be hiring at “Roach Brothers,” or “Best Buds,” or maybe even, I can’t resist, “Restoration Weed-Wear.”
If we legalized nationwide, we’d save billions immediately in enforcement and jailing costs. We’d reap many billions more per year in taxes. When Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron published his legalize-pot tax estimates in 2005, more than 500 professional economists, including Milton Friedman, signed on.
Miron was on CNN this week discussing the horrific drug war on the Mexico/U.S. border. He’s long argued that violence is the inevitable norm in illegal, not legal, markets, whether in drugs, gambling, prostitution, or alcohol. We just never learn.
But legalizing pot isn’t only about money. It’s about our ridiculous citizen passivity. Why do we let congressional liars and thieves dictate what we can do, responsibly, in our living rooms? Who are they to take away our children’s student loans over a joint?
NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) typically gets about $900 a day in online donations. Thursday and Friday, they got $3,500 each day.
“By every possible metric I can employ,” said NORML’s executive director, Allen St. Pierre, “these last 24 hours have been the busiest I’ve seen.”
Though St. Pierre was disappointed with Obama’s flip-flop Thursday, he also knows the president could be his best advertisement. You may not like Obama’s politics, but nobody would argue that pot-smoking and cocaine-snorting scrambled Obama’s brain.
Should marijuana be legalized and taxed?
Please stay tuned!
I find your blog very interesting. It was worth a read. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for writing and the kind words. We hope you'll stay tuned. In the immortal words of American comedian legend Jimmy Durante:
"You ain't seen nothin' yet Folks!"
Shortly we'll begin the first in our series, "The Hacker!" which will take readers behind the scenes for a firsthand look deep into an ongoing investigation of a Canadian Blog compromised by an American source. We've already contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Computer Crimes Unit (Winnipeg) requesting information about the law and penalties here. Should be truly fascinating!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Public Eye's back!
The Public Eye has left a new commeon on your post, "Why not help us write your great Canadian novel!"
"Free speech doesn't mean careless talk" - sort of a nice, unofficial motto for the MMF, wouldn't you say?
Blog: Truth to Power
Post: The Federation of Malaysia
The Federation of Malaysia
Two Newspapers Shut Down Ahead of Elections As originally posted on: Human Rights Watch March 25, 2009
(New York) - Malaysia's Home Ministry should immediately rescind its order suspending publication of two opposition party newspapers, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also called for repeal of the 1984 Printing Presses and Publications Act.
On March 23, the Home Ministry notified the opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and its coalition partner Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) that they were prohibited from publishing their respective party newspapers, Suara Keadilan and Harakah, for three months. With three key by-elections scheduled for April 7, 2009, the ban will harm the parties' ability to inform and rally voters. Both parties plan to go ahead with distribution of this week's publications, which are already in print.
No official reason accompanied the ministry's action, although in later reports Home Ministry officials said the papers were banned for publishing reports that contravened the ministry's guidelines and permit conditions. Home Minister Datuk Sri Syed Hamid Albar said that the newspapers "were still publishing untrue stories after they were given warnings." He also said that the stories aimed to "instill hatred for the government and leaders."
"The government may argue it is banning party papers over concern for citizens' welfare, but this is unfair political warfare in disguise," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Malaysia's citizens deserve better from their elected leaders."
Despite constitutional guarantees to freedom of expression, the draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act effectively silences criticism of the Malaysian government by requiring newspapers to renew publishing licenses annually. According to the law, the minister's discretion to grant, revoke, or suspend licenses is "absolute" and not subject to judicial review.
Suara Keadilan has faced government interference since it received its first printing permit less than a year ago, eight years after its initial application. In September 2008, the Home Ministry instructed PKR to "show cause" why its publication license should not be suspended after it reported incorrectly that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan became paralyzed after heart surgery. In February 2009, the government attempted to limit circulation by confiscating thousands of copies from distributors and warning them against selling the newspaper. It is unclear if Suara Keadilan circulation is limited to PKR party members.
On February 11, the authorities seized copies of Harakah, in print for 22 years without suspension. On February 26, PAS received a letter from the Home Ministry that it was in violation of its permit in part because Harakah reported on non-party matters.
A third member of the opposition coalition, Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP), has been trying unsuccessfully to renew the license of Rocket, the party paper, since December 2008."
Much of Malaysia's mainstream media, with ties to Malaysia's ruling coalition, rarely run into trouble," said Pearson. "But online journals and other ‘new media' that are critical of the government are easy targets for censorship."
Human Rights Watch also expressed concern with the refusal of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the ruling coalition, to grant six members of the "new media," including Malaysiakini and the Malaysian Insider, access to its annual meeting on March 24-28, 2009.
An UMNO official cited their "unfriendly" reporting as the reason. The meeting is of particular importance this year as UMNO will be choosing a new leader. With the current leader, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, stepping down, the new UMNO leader will fulfill his unexpired term, which has another four years to run.
On September 12, 2008, in still another attack on a free press, police arrested Raja Petra Kamarudin, founder and editor of Malaysia Today, under the Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite preventive detention without charge or trial.
He was accused of demeaning Islam. Although released on technical grounds, the government is appealing the decision. In a separate case, Raja Petra is on trial for sedition on the politically motivated charge of defaming a government leader.
"The Malaysian government needs to allow all voices to be heard," said Pearson. "Freedom of speech is a touchstone of a true democracy."
Friday, March 27, 2009
Your great Canadian e-Book Novel!
"King David and Indian Agent Murray and the Things they Didn't Inspire" should be the name of your new book.
Thank you for writing. What a great title! If it's selected perhaps you could write the introduction or maybe we could dedicate it to you.
Clare L. Pieuk
Which News Review?
Hope that this case would be resolved soon... Everyone is already screaming for justice as soon as possible...
"Foxy Knoxy" guilty or not readers - how say you?
For anyone who is interested in the facts behind the media spin, and who cares to learn more about the victim of this terrible murder - Meredith Kercher - there is an excellent Discussion Board http://perugiamurderfile.freeforums.org/index.php as well as an interesting Blog http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php.
These online resources are not for profit. Anyone can read and/or participate and people from around the world do. They have followed this case since November 2007, and are in no way related to Amanda Knox. Nor are they her friends
Dear Mr. Rag:
We're such polite types here. Interesting name you've got. Thank you for your second e-mail. We're assuming the Discussion Board and Blog referenced are based in the United States.
The case has not received much if any national coverage in Canada. There was a piece a few months ago about an arrest but that's been about it. Therefore, we were only vaguely aware it was generating so much attention elsewhere. It's surprising a shows like CNN's Nancy Grace and Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees haven't picked it up. Those Italians sure seem to like their trials!
Than you for sending our readers the links.
Clare L. Pieuk
We'll trade you 10 Bernie Madoffs for a Larry Bird?
By Yuval Rosenberg
March 27, 2009
"Foxy Knoxy" guilty?
Murder Case Brings 'Foxy Knoxy' Infamy In Italy
ROME, Italy (CNN) -- The Italian media call her "Foxy Knoxy" and portray her as a "devil with an angel's face," and there are 11 Facebook pages dedicated to her, all in Italian.
Amanda Knox, 21, is an American college student from Seattle, Washington, who is on trial for murder in Perugia, Italy. The case has given Knox almost pop star status there.
She was voted the top woman in an online "person of the year" poll by an Italian TV channel in December, beating out Carla Bruni, the Italian-born French first lady.
Seven of the 11 Facebook pages champion her innocence; four seem convinced that Knox is pure evil. A sampling of comments: "No to Amanda. No to her superstardom" ... "She's a sociopath" ..."Everyone is not sure if she is guilty or not and that she will lead us to a new existential awareness. Please shout with me your anger. ... Let's say no. Let's say Knox."
Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, are charged with murdering and sexually assaulting one of Knox's roommates, British exchange student Meredith Kercher, on November 1, 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.
Knox and Sollecito are due back in court today. The last time Knox appeared before the panel of eight judges, she wore a T-shirt quoting The Beatles: "All you need is love."
Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini alleges that Kercher, 21, was killed because she refused to participate in a drug-fueled sex game played by Knox, Sollecito, and a third man, Ivory Coast native Rudy Hermann Guede. In court papers, prosecutors stated that Sollecito held Kercher by her wrists while Knox poked at her with a knife and Guede sexually assaulted her.
The case is being tried in Perugia, a university town about 115 miles north of Rome that is better known for its chocolate than for its scandalous murder trials.
Courtroom packed as trial starts
According to the prosecutor's office, Kercher had been in Italy for two months as part of a year-long course with Leeds University, where she was working toward a degree in European Studies. She shared a house with Knox, a University of Washington student in the same exchange program, and two Italian housemates.
The crime scene, which has become a tourist attraction, has been broken into twice, police say.
Knox and Sollecito were arrested November 6, 2007, and were kept in prison while an investigation continued. The judge overseeing the investigation found both were capable of committing the crime again, fleeing the country or tampering with the evidence.
Police sought charges in July 2008, and they were ordered to trial in October. The trial began January 16 and has been held mostly on weekends.
Italian newspapers assigned their top crime reporters, and the case has received unprecedented international coverage. Knox has appeared on the cover of People magazine, which shares a corporate parent with CNN.
A random sampling of women on the streets of Rome showed that all of them had heard of the case and most believed Knox and Sollecito were at the very least implicated in the slaying.
The superheated publicity surrounding the case helped make Knox a household name in Italy. She is usually portrayed as a femme fatale. Consider these headlines:
• "Sex, lies and stabbings"
• "Lovers without any inhibitions"
• "And in prison, she even tries to sun tan"
Italian journalists also have plastered their newspapers with photos they found of Knox on the Internet, especially images that showed her as a "wild girl." They pounced on the "Foxy Knoxy" they found on her MySpace page, even though her parents later explained the high school moniker came from the way Knox played soccer, quick like a fox.
Although Italian law limits the publication of court and police records, the media ban is less strict than in many European countries. While it is not exactly legal to publish police investigative reports, no journalist has gone to jail in Italy for doing it.
Among the items leaked: Knox's diary, various police interrogations, photos of Kercher's body, video of Kercher's body (which wound up on YouTube but has been pulled), and video of the Italian forensic police carrying out their investigation. Eventually, even the leaks made headlines, leading to more speculation.
Knox can do no right in the Italian media. If she appears reserved and timid in court, she is portrayed as someone with plenty to hide. If she smiles or laughs in court, she's called disrespectful. As far as the Italian media is concerned, Knox is the mastermind who manipulated those around her and seduced her Italian boyfriend and led him astray.
While Knox and Sollecito's preliminary hearings were being held in October, Guede was convicted of murder after a fast-track trial. His lawyers had hoped that the speedy resolution of the case would give him a break at sentencing. He got 30 years in prison.
According to testimony at Guede's trial, his fingerprints were found in the house, and his DNA was linked to Kercher's body. He has never denied being in the house the night of the slaying but insists he didn't kill her. He says he had an "appointment" with her that night and was in the bathroom when she was killed.
Sollecito and Knox say they weren't at the house the night of the slaying. They say they both were at Sollecito's house. But the alibi has been contradicted by witnesses at the trial.
Eighty-six media outlets sent 140 journalists to cover the opening of the trial in January, but publicity has waned since then. The Italian 24-hour news channel TG24 no longer breaks into its programming with multiple updates. Knox, for now, has been relegated to the pages preceding the sports or weather report.
But Italians love their murder cases, and attention has shifted to other crime news. A mother is accused of killing her toddler son, a husband and wife are accused of multiple killings. Their courtrooms are now filled with spectators who wait in line an hour or more.
The Perugia courtroom still is packed, but the long line is gone. That is likely to change, however, as testimony draws to a close next month.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury ....."
We've often wondered what it would be like being a juror? Talked with a gentleman recently who had drawn a murder trial and wasn't looking forward to the experience - had too many other projects on the go. However, unless you can come up with an ironclad excuse it's pretty hard to avoid doing your civic duty. Besides, the daily remuneration is not very good. At the last moment the Defendant pled guilty problem solved.
With our luck we'd be selected for a lengthy multiple homicide trial where the jury was sequestered. From the article below the experience doesn't sound all that great
Clare L. Pieuk
Jurors Risk Post-Trial Trauma, Study Finds
Globe and Mail
March 27, 2009
Plucked from their day-to-day, they face distressed victims, review grisly evidence and are then tasked with agreeing on a defendant's fate. Later, thanks to contempt laws, they are barred from speaking to family, friends or even therapists about their disturbing experiences.
Jurors are primed for trauma and need more social and psychological support, says a new report from psychologists at the University of Leicester.
"We simply don't know enough about what goes on within the jury room," said Noelle Robertson, a senior lecturer in clinical psychology who co-authored the study, which was published in The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice last month.
The study revealed that for the more vulnerable candidates, jury duty can lead to severe stress or post-traumatic stress disorder - or what the researchers refer to as "vicarious traumatisation."
Most recently in the high-profile case of Josef Fritzl, jurors were shown Elisabeth Fritzl's graphic video testimony in short segments. In the Paul Bernardo case, Justice Patrick LeSage spoke openly about waking up at night in the months and years afterward - Canadian law prohibited Mr. Bernardo's jurors from sharing their experiences.
The study, which also references earlier studies from Canada, the United States and New Zealand, was conducted in 2007 on 68 British jurors.
The respondents filled out an online survey that included questions about their own personal histories of trials and trauma. It offered a "trauma symptoms checklist" about headaches, insomnia or weight loss experienced during and after the trial. Another scale asked jurors to rate 44 different aspects of jury service, including disturbing evidence and jury deliberation and decision time.
Some 23 per cent of the jurors reported dealing with traumatic events in the course of their trial; 5 per cent reported that they had responded with "intense fear, helplessness or horror." One juror was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jury duty proved especially damaging for women, who were also more adversely affected by dissension and questioning in the jury room. Most respondents found deliberation more stressful than visually gruesome evidence, especially when jurors felt pressure from others to change their verdict.
That finding doesn't surprise James Morton, a Toronto lawyer who teaches classes about evidence at Osgoode Hall.
"One hears rumours of nasty arguments, occasionally even leading to physical confrontations in the jury room. People take very different positions and they are mandated to come to a unanimous decision in the criminal cases. ... You can imagine there'd be intimidation, pressure and 'gosh, we all want to go home Friday and be done with it.' "
Unlike American jurors, Canadian and British jurors are sworn to secrecy both during and after the trial. And unlike jurors in the U.S., they are often not sequestered, which means they must travel home nightly with their experiences.
Although Mr. Morton believes the Canadian system works, he admits that Canadian jurors "are not treated perhaps as well as they should be."
"You're taken out of your ordinary life and put into a highly stressful difficult situation .... They get a trivial amount of money on a daily basis and they're herded into rather uncomfortable, beat-up waiting rooms. It's not a pleasant process."
The British study recommends more preparation for jurors and suggests making supporters - similar to the ones available for vulnerable witnesses - available to jurors to lessen the isolation they may experience.
"If we think about models of trauma, then the fact that you can't disclose material to [someone] who may be sympathetic and is able to engage in something that might [provide] catharsis, is difficult," Dr. Robertson said.
The study also calls for a questionnaire that would save jurors the trauma of cases that might resonate with their own past experiences.
In Canada, jurors get very little probing on their background. Mr. Morton pointed out that a juror who can't bring himself or herself themselves to look at the evidence and derails the trial is far costlier than a questionnaire.
Dr. Robertson, the study's co-author, said jury selection is "an evolving domain," but added: "There's a great deal of inertia in the system, and a resistance to change: 'Well it's worked for hundreds of years? Why should we alter it?'
"But of course we've become increasingly aware of sensitivities and we know a hell of a lot of more about human processes and behaviours."
Why not help us write your great Canadian online novel?
The article below has finally driven us to go public with an idea we've been noodling for some time - laugh as you will, write a book online with your help. Why not? The idea would be to share our experience as a Blogger being sued for alleged defamation by a multi-million dollar taxpayer financed corporation, the Manitoba Metis Federation, by one of its pit bull lawyers. Of course, we'd need an attorney to review the final transcript.
We'd begin by suggesting possible topics for the chapters then ask for your feedback. The process of cobbling together your suggestions, while keeping you regularly apprised as the project took shape, would fall upon us. In effect, each of you would become mini co-authors.
Who needs a major publishing house? Once completed anyone could pay a nominal, fee (say $5), to see the completed transcript. Part of the money raised could be donated to Metis charities throughout Manitobe of your choosing. Some to upgrading this site so we're able to keep you better informed. Regardless, there'd be a complete public accounting of all funds raised so you'd know exactly how every penny was being spent.
Of course, we'd need your help in coming up with a title for the book. Surely you could suggest a better title than Sheila Jones Morrison's 1995, Rotten to the core: the politics of the Manitoba Metis Federation.
How say you readers?
Clare L. Pieuk
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Content You Pay For – What A Concept
Globe and Mail
March 26, 2009
While the rest of the world consummates its hysteria over Twitter, the smart people at Google are working on the next big Web trend. That's right: Books!
Books, which are substantially longer than 140 characters and yet inexplicably continue to appeal to people, are starting to take off in digital form. Electronic book readers are shifting from novelty item to household item; touch-screen smartphones have already gone from trendy to ubiquitous.
And Google is placing itself squarely in the middle of the fray – not so much as a nebulous information provider, but as a reseller of literary products. Faddish free sites such as Twitter might still be hopping, but this could represent a sea change online.
Right now, Google is on the cusp of a mind-blowing fait accompli. Several years ago, it started digitizing books – millions and millions of them. Using special scanners, it started dumping the contents of entire libraries into digital databases that could be searched and sorted on the Web.
The copyright-holders were nonplussed by these developments. They sued. The case dragged on for three years, until, earlier this year, they settled for $125-million (U.S.). Critically, though, the settlement didn't force Google to stop doing what it was doing. Quite the opposite: Not only does the settlement let Google keep on scanning books, it allows the company (with conditions) to sell access to all manner of books – in-copyright, out-of-copyright, in-print, out-of-print, dead author, drunk author, you name it.
Different types of books will be handled differently. Non-copyrighted books will be freely available – as, indeed, they already are. For books that are still copyrighted, readers – and only American readers, at first – will be shown previews and given the option of purchasing access to the entire electronic edition, which they can read online or download to mobile devices such as iPhones. (If the books are still in print in the United States, authors need to opt into the program; otherwise, books are fair game.)
American universities and libraries, meanwhile, will be able to buy full access to the Google Books cache; as with all revenues, Google will split the income with publishers and authors.
What a change from the Web we know. Google's rise came with what we once called “Web 2.0,” a business model that was always more ideology than dollars and cents. Web 2.0 was about acquiring a great gob of startup money, giving away the service and content for free, and then making money by selling ads. To prop up this model, thinkers pushed compatible ideas like the promise of voluntarily created content and the inerrant wisdom of the masses.
But Web 2.0 and books never really got along. They're hard to crowdsource (and yes, people have tried), and they take time (and thus money) to produce. While it's true that this settlement does allow Google to run ads on top of its pages, what we're looking at here isn't, at the heart of things, yet another online effort to post free content and pay for it with ads. No, Google is using a somewhat older business model: offering a product, and asking people to pay for it. That marks one sensible retreat from the free-for-all world of tomorrow we've been promised all these years.
Even more interesting will be to see whether the second tenet of 21st-century groupthink will hold up – the Long Tail, which postulates that companies can make piles of money by selling a few copies of many back-catalogue products, rather then a whole lot of one blockbuster product.
It will be a fascinating test case: On one hand, Google is assembling a mightily long tail's worth of materials. And Google is perfectly positioned to sell them. On the other hand, the book industry is as blockbuster-driven as any other. A handful of heavily promoted books make up the bulk of book sales. It's all well and good to become attached to your favourite 19th-century American poet, but tell that to Harry Potter.
If I'm skeptical about the extent to which consumers will embrace this embarrassment of riches, it's because while Google Book Search is about to reinvent itself, it isn't actually new at all. For years, the service has been lurking, just off the Google home page. In fact, millions of out-of-copyright books are already online. (Indeed, Google's hardly the first to arrive. An organization called Project Gutenberg has put 28,000 text-only editions of old books online since 1971.). Yet what seems like a fantastic resource has so far been a somewhat marginal presence on the Web.
The relaunched Google Book Search will make a splash, one way or the other. But while the Google folks are sounding the same utopian notes about access to information, we're not in the land of Web 2.0 any more. With books, Google seems to have abandoned its quest to digitize reality and sell ads on it, in favour of a business plan that makes much more sense: Digitize reality, and sell it back to us. Now, that's progress.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The master communicator!
We believe more than ever before the next Manitoba Metis Federation election, which must be held no later than September 2010, will be fought on the internet. Candidates will need to be online savvy especially if they hope to attract the younger vote. Blogs such as
Metis Bare Facts (http://www.metisbarefacts.blogspot.com)
Truth To Power (http://www.accesstoinfo.blogspot.com)
Metis News And Stuff (http://www.derrylsanderson.blogspot.com)
and this site will play an increasing prominent role in determining the outcome.
Why do you think the MMF requested a publication ban on the Pre-Trial Conference stage in its alleged defamation lawsuit against the now defunct www.CyberSmokeSignals and can reasonably be expected to look for every opportunity to expand it?
Clare L. Pieuk
Obama Live: White House Hosts Online Town Hall
Posted: March 26, 2009, 11:03 AM by Shane Dingman
In an unusual experiment, U.S. President Barack Obama is about to throw open the doors to the Oval Office in a video conference with the citizens of the United States of America (and anyone else with web access).
On Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. EST to 12:52 p.m., Mr. Obama answered a series of questions the White House solicited from the public in an online town hall. The event is now over.
We kept a rough text transcript of the highlights (in case you couldn't, or didn't feel like, watching the video yourself):
11:39 a.m.: Obama takes the stage. He is in a room at the White House that is filled with people, so at least he's not sitting in a small web studio. Says he's just doing what he said he'd do in the campaign: Opening up the White House to the American people.
11:44 a.m.: He's still delivering parts of his new stump budget speech, education, health care, energy all must be addressed now, rather than later.
11:46 a.m.: First question comes from the online side, from Boston: How do you plan to fix education? A softball. Reform a system designed for a 19th century agricultural economy. Early childhood education, reward merit,
11:50 a.m.: Second question on mortgages: Obama says we're fixing the mortgage rates, keeping people in homes. 40% of people watching this now, could refinance their mortgage to take advantage of the new low rates.
11:55 a.m.: Job losses: It's bad, says Obama, as bad as the 1930s. “We’re going to have to be patient and persistent about job creation because I don’t think that we’ve lost all the jobs that we’re going to lose in this recession,” he said.
12:05 a.m.: How much will healthcare cost? Obama repeats his oft-stated line that the investments made in the budget will grow to cover the new costs of things like healthcare:
"I actually want a universal healthcare system, that's what we're trying to do."
"Canada is the classic example, everybody pays a lot of taxes into the healthcare system, but everybody can get covered [emphasis ours] ... what we have here in America is a legacy set of systems" that are not easy to absorb into that single-payer model.
Doesn't think they should scrap the employer-pay model that we have, but maybe to modify and make better that system over time.
12:09 a.m.: Acknowledges that the legalized marijuana question (Will that grow the economy?).
Reuters caught this one:
Activists for legalizing marijuana managed to flood the financial stability category with queries such as: “Has the administration given any thought to legalizing marijuana, as a cash crop to fuel the economy?”
"I don't know what that says about the online audience," Obama joked. "The answer is no, I don't think that's a good strategy to grow our economy."
12:11 a.m.: How are you improving conditions for reintegrating Iraq war veterans into the general society?
Starts a yarn about WWII and the sacrifices of earlier veterans, and segues into Iraq and Afghanistan vets, they have earned these benefits. In his budget, increasing VA funding more than anyone in the last 30 years. Example? "Homeless rate for veterans is multiple times higher for non-vets, that's inexcusable."
12:14 p.m.: Kent State Univeristy students in a cutesy video, hey man what about higher education?
Obama talks about giving student loans directly to students, instead of letting banks and other middlemen make cash off the administration of same.
Manages to segue that into the debate about the recession, don't shortchange investments in the future for deficit belt-tightening today. Says it's like telling your kids not to go to school, but to go to work (almost referred to Mickey D's, but caught himself) in fast food now to bring some money into the house. Not a good plan.
12:22 p.m.: Takes the first question from the audience with him, stopping the 'online' portion of the questions. Auto companies: Will they get bailed out, how do you respond to the health of the auto industry. (NEWS CONTENT AHEAD) Obama previews that he will be doing some announcements in the next few days on specific fixes for the U.S. auto industry, but says he won't give away all the scoops today.
12:28 p.m.: Procurement process for small business going after federal government contracts, how will you fix it?
Obama explains that the massive size of the government, it favours massive $20-billion general contracts that cover lots of different services needed. "We're looking at it ... we're not going to be able to do that on everything" but more competition is needed.
12:30 p.m.: Some love for nurses from Obama, and they are necessary to help improve health outcomes.
12:34 p.m.: Small business tax breaks?
Obama's on it, budget eliminates capital gains tax (starting to pay dividends five years from now).
12:37 p.m.: High school teacher: How about definitions of charter schools and definitions of effective teachers (as mentioned in the budget), and will you get the teachers to help you develop those reforms?
Obama: Yes, of course. "If we don't have teacher buy in, if they aren't enthusiastic then [our reforms] aren't going anywhere."Charter schools: They are public schools that are not affiliated with the local education board, but they still get public money and curriculum. "Laboratories of education."
Critiques "No Child Left Behind" for the focus on a single all-important test.
Gets a good laugh for asking the teacher "you know teachers that you wouldn't put your child in, right?" Much laughter. "She's takin' the fifth."
12:45 p.m.: Last question — Healthcare, in principle and if not in practice is right? Pre-existing conditions and preventative care? Are these a symptom and what is the problem? (Kind of incoherent).
Obama has anecdote for this, his mother died of ovarian cancer after almost losing her insurance because it was a "pre-existing condition". Pushes his principle goals: Everyone getting insurance, in some way (public, private, whatever).
12:50 p.m.: "We're out of time, thanks for paying attention and we need you guys to pay attention in the months and years to come." Then he bolts out of there, before he's mobbed for autographs and pictures "My schedule is really tight, I love ya, but I've gotta get outta here."
And its over. 12:52 p.m.
Mr. Obama explained the idea behind the virtual town hall in the video embedded below.