Monday, November 30, 2009
A must read for MMF candidates!
As talk of the next Manitoba Metis Federation heats up, two candidates have declared so far. First came Frank Godon although in fairness to Mr. Godon it's simply unclear from his public comments to date whether he, in fact, will be running for the position of president or simply be part of a team supporting Darcey Jerome of http://dustmybroom.com or someone else. Recently, http://metisonline.ca came online but has yet to take on the appearance of a campaign site. Last weekend Derryl Sanderson (www.derrylsanderson.blogspot.com/) announced on his site plans to run for the Winnipeg Regional Office's Board of Directors.
Recently stumbled upon an in-depth analysis by Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta on News Blaze describing exactly how Barack Obama effectively used online social networking to get elected.We have emphasized the five reasons.
Clare L. Pieuk
How Social Media Helped Barack Obama to Become the Most Powerful Man - The Rise of Democracy 2.0: Five Reasons Why Web 2.0 Is Changing the Face of American Politics
While pundits were focused on Barack Obama's race, John McCain's age, and Sarah Palin's gender, another largely overlooked factor was taking hold in American politics. Obama was becoming the first presidential candidate with massive techno-demographic appeal. Authors Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta have published an insightful new book exploring how Web 2.0 platforms are reshaping American politics.
When Barack Obama was sworn in as the country's first African-American president, he was as different from his predecessor George W. Bush and his team of "old school" politicians as an iPhone is from a rotary dial telephone. And if you're wondering how he did it, you're not alone. Political experts around the world are asking the same question: How did a young U.S. Senator, called "inexperienced" by some and "too liberal" by others, convince so many Americans that he was the man who could lead the country through one of its most difficult times in history?
One of the keys to understanding President Obama's stunning electoral victory, say authors Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Dutta, is his savvy mastery of Web 2.0 platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
"Obama wasn't the only candidate to use Web 2.0 tools during the election campaign," says Fraser, co-author with Dutta of Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World (Wiley, 2008, ISBN: 0470740140). "But he was the only candidate to master it and use platforms like Facebook and YouTube to appeal to a new generation of Web-savvy voters. He is the first occupant of the White House to have won a presidential election on the Web."
"It is clear that Obama knew exactly what he was doing and how to be successful at it," adds Dutta. "He brought in a 24-year-old Facebook co-founder, who helped him develop his Web blitzkrieg. He left no Web 2.0 stone unturned, from social networking sites to podcasting to mobile messaging, and as a result he created an 'e-ruption' not only in American politics but throughout the world."
In their groundbreaking book, the authors explore the connected new world that helped make Obama's rise to the Oval Office possible. It is the first book written for a wide audience about the powerful trend that is reshaping our lives: the Web 2.0 social networking revolution. The authors examine the powerful forces behind the social e-revolution, detailing often absurd and powerful reactions to it as well as making predictions about its long-term consequences. (In case you're wondering, the book takes its title from a popular Facebook widget, sheep-throwing, which serves as one of many ways members playfully interact with their online friends.)
"The 2008 election campaign marks a rupture with the past not only because the Web was used by candidates to mobilize voters and raise money, but more importantly because the Web became a platform for spontaneous citizen engagement in the political process," says Fraser.
"The sites and Web communities themselves also got involved. The 'Yes We Can' video on YouTube was not made by the Obama campaign, but by hip hop star Will.i.am who produced it and uploaded it onto the Web. The video quickly went viral, and before Obama won the election, it had been viewed 20 million times. These powerful Democracy 2.0 tools are transforming politics and may soon bring profound changes to the way governments interact with citizens. A new era of e-democracy and e-government is dawning."
Reader's Digest dubbed the 2008 presidential election the "Facebook Election" due to voter mobilization by all the candidates on that social networking site. During the election, Facebook launched its own political forum to encourage online debates about voter issues. In what might be an indicator of how new and old media will work together in the future, Facebook teamed up with ABC News for election coverage and forums, and CNN teamed up with YouTube to hold presidential debates.
So, what's the reason for the Web 2.0 "e-ruption" into politics?
"In modern democracies, it's very hard for common, everyday citizens to make themselves heard, unless large groups of them take to the streets," says Dutta. "In the book we suggest what we saw with the recent election might be an indicator that the Internet, and specifically social networking sites, will make the emergence of a new citizen-empowered Democracy 2.0 possible. To be heard, all you'll need is an online presence, and today that is easier than ever to create."
If you're reluctant to believe that the times are changing all that fast, here's a look at how and why social networking will change the business of American politics.
Five Reasons Why Web 2.0 Is Changing the Face of American Politics
1. It allows candidates to skip the media. The two presidential candidates received their fair share of positive and negative coverage from the media. But when it came to getting out the exact message he wanted, Obama didn't have to rely on the mainstream media. He had 2 million supporters on Facebook to John McCain's 600,000 that he could easily reach with updates to his page, and 112,000 supporters on Twitter to McCain's 4,600, not to mention the extensive direct e-mail list of supporters who received daily updates from the big players in his campaign including his wife, Michelle Obama. Obama's YouTube channel attracted more than 18 million visits, while McCain's channel attracted barely more than 2 million.
"Sites like YouTube allowed Obama to reach people in a way that he would never have been able to achieve solely through media coverage," says Fraser.
2. It's cheap and cost-effective. In Democracy 2.0, political candidates can reach more people with less money. Take Obama's online advertising spending, for example. His campaign spent less than $8 million on online spending, much of which went to adwords by Google. The campaign also spent $467,000 on Facebook. What about TV advertising? Those numbers are a little bigger. It was widely reported that the half-hour TV special that aired in the final week of the election cost $4 million, but according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, the Obama campaign spent a whopping $235,974,838 on broadcasting TV ads. While both his online campaign and TV ad campaign were crucial to his getting elected, there's no denying that you can make your dollars go a little farther online, a fact that opens up the political game to many more players.
The Web is low-cost but high-reach, which makes it a great tool for campaigning. The Pew Research Center found that 46 percent of Americans used the Web, e-mail, or text messaging for news about the presidential campaign, to contribute to the debate, or to mobilize others. Some 35 percent of Americans said they'd watched online political videos--three times more than during the 2004 presidential election (before YouTube was created). And roughly 10 percent said they'd logged on to social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to engage in the election.
"Web 2.0 seems to be an attractive way for people to get involved with what's going on politically, and it's cheap enough that you don't have to have millions or billions of dollars if you want to use it to make a name for yourself in the political world," says Dutta. "Web 2.0 could very well be the platform that reinvigorates political debate, fosters civic engagement, and allows grassroots movements outside the political duopoly of Democrats and Republicans to gain in popularity."
3. It makes grassroots fundraising highly effective. In June 2008, reversing a previous stance, Obama announced that he wouldn't accept public financing and the restraints that come with it to run his campaign. The decision caused uproar from the Republicans and raised more than a few eyebrows in his own party. As a New York Times article at the time put it: "His decision to break an earlier pledge to take public money will quite likely transform the landscape of presidential campaigns, injecting hundreds of millions of additional dollars into the race and raising doubts about the future of public financing for national races."
"Obama's team speculated that he could bring in $200 to $300 million for the general election," says Fraser. "And indeed, through online donations alone, he was able to raise over $500 million. And of that $500 million more than $160 million came from supporters who gave comparatively tiny amounts of $200 or less. These numbers prove once again that without a grasp of Web 2.0 and the fundraising capabilities it offers, political candidates will not be able to compete in the future."
4. Candidates can effectively mobilize supporters. The vision of a networked, participatory, activist democracy is not a techno-utopia. It's precisely what Alexis de Tocqueville witnessed in America nearly two centuries ago--a robust civil society and egalitarian spirit that motivated citizens to engage in all manner of voluntary associations. The prospect, nearly two hundred years later, of harnessing these vigorous public-spirited energies not only in America but throughout the world, is surely a vision that should be encouraged.
"Obama harnessed the energies of his supporters in many ways," says Dutta. "He used an iPhone app that allowed supporters to feel politically engaged while spreading pro-Obama messages to their contact lists. He used Twitter and text messaging to tell supporters who his VP would be before the media even knew. And he used a direct e-mail campaign with messages that constantly encouraged supporters to volunteer and donate money to the campaign. As a result, his supporters felt like they were part of the campaign and transferred that feeling of inclusion into action. They canvassed. They made calls. They convinced their friends and family that Obama was the man for the job.
"Essentially the people Obama was reaching through social networking went out and helped him reach the people who he couldn't reach through social networking," adds Dutta. "While some of this could have happened without a Web presence, it likely wouldn't have been enough to get him elected, and it certainly wouldn't have manifested in the fervent support that he sees among his biggest supporters today."
5. It facilitates civic engagement and creates social capital. In most modern democracies, voter turnout is alarmingly low, and political life is the business of a small minority. The vast majority are passive observers of the political process, making their voice heard only in times of crisis or momentous import. However, citizens show more loyalty to a political system, and feel more compelled to engage in civic activity, when they have confidence that their voice is heard and represented.
"Obama's supporters were able to make their voices heard through their Facebook profiles, their Tweets, or by signing up to receive his e-mail updates," says Fraser. "His embrace of Web 2.0 social networking opportunities closed the sense of disconnect between him and his followers and gave them a way to be heard--which, in turn, made them more fervent in their support and more likely to go out and spread the word."
"As voters massively shift toward the Internet for social interaction, consumer purchasing, and political participation, office-seekers are wisely rushing to establish an online presence and connect with voters on the ground," says Dutta. "Given the power of Web 2.0--socially, commercially, and organizationally--there can be no doubt that it will, inevitably, produce an e-ruptive impact on our political institutions. And if the values of democracy prevail, we can be reassured that it will bring about a better world."
Visit the book's website, www.throwingsheep.com, to view a captivating and informative video about the book and also to get a sneak peak at the book's Table of Contents, Preface, and first chapter.
Matthew Fraser (left) and Soumitra Duttra
About The Authors
Matthew Fraser, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at INSEAD. He completed graduate studies at the London School of Economics, Oxford University (Nuffield College), Université de Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, where he earned a doctorate in political science. He is the author of several books, including Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire (2005). A recognized media industries expert with long experience as an academic and journalist, he was Editor-in-Chief of Canada's national daily newspaper, National Post, and co-hosted a primetime national television show, Inside Media, on Canada's public all-news network, CBC Newsworld.
Soumitra Dutta, PhD, is Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Business and Technology at INSEAD. He obtained his doctorate in computer science and his M.Sc. in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley. At INSEAD, he is the faculty director of elab@INSEAD, a center of excellence in the digital economy. His research focus is on technology and innovation strategy at both corporate and national policy levels. His books include seven editions of The Global Information Technology Reporters (2002-2008), Innovating at the Top (2008), The Bright Stuff (2002), and Embracing the Net (2001). A popular speaker and a fellow of the World Economic Forum, he has presented numerous high level conferences around the world.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Yikes this is a 10 iron!
The tabloid, answering her denial of a romance with golfing god Tiger Woods, released photos of Uchitel partying with pal Ashley Samson - who detailed the alleged affair to the Enquirer.
The pictures show the barely dressed duo striking lascivious poses on a recent vacation they took to Spain, the Enquirer said.
On Friday, Uchitel told the Daily News she didn't know Samson - even misstating her last name.
"I'm not friends with Ashley Simpson or whatever her name is," Uchitel told The News in a Facebook message. She did not answer messages Saturday about their relationship - and hired well-known attorney Gloria Allred.
The Enquirer promised to expose "a slew of contradictions" between Uchitel's denials and their report. Allred said her client would have no comment on anything involving Woods.
The Enquirer lashed out as a club source told the Daily News Uchitel was spotted rubbing shoulders with Woods at the Griffin Club in the Meatpacking District in June.
"She was acting as a hostess, showing him to a private booth near the DJ booth," the source said, noting that the pair didn't appear to be flirting.
For Uchitel, 34, headlines and public romance are nothing new.
The buxom beauty said last year that she'd been romantically linked to a famous baseball player, a Broadway star and a musician.
Other reports recently tied the queen of the velvet ropes to married television star David Boreanaz. Uchitel, in an interview last year, wouldn't discuss her past: "I will never kiss and tell!"
And there's plenty to tell.
A grieving fiancée after 9/11, Uchitel found new love and married three years later - only to divorce after four months.
She left New York for the desert, reinventing herself as the VIP hostess at a top Las Vegas hot spot.
Her public saga began when husband-to-be James Andrew O'Grady went missing in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
The 32-year-old managing director at Sandler O'Neil was in the south tower when the second hijacked plane hit.
Her picture ran along with several news accounts, showing her at Ground Zero in the days after the attack.
Uchitel, a Bloomberg television producer at the time, was officially notified of O'Grady's death in early 2002.
"I was very strong after the night of 9/11," she told The New York Times in December 2004. But two years later, she suffered a "massive breakdown."
"I couldn't get through the day," she told The Times. Uchitel took a leave from her job in 2003 and sought therapy.
"Kobe Special - a house on a finger!"
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Sunday, November 29th 2009
"You know I would love to speak to you, but you know that I can't," Uchitel said when approached by a Daily News reporter. "I really wish that I could say something, I really wish I could."
Woods and his scorned Swedish supermodel wife, Elin Nordegren, will likely say something to the Florida Highway Patrol Sunday about Friday's car accident that put the world's greatest golfer in an Orlando area hospital.
The Highway Patrol said it would release 911 tapes Sunday, which could help explain how Woods, 33, ended up lying in the street, bleeding from his mouth and drifting in and out of consciousness about 2:30 a.m. Friday.
Woods is known for his short game, but he couldn't even get out of his driveway without smashing into a fire hydrant and a neighbor's tree.
Cops said Nordegren used a golf club to smash a window of Woods' Cadillac Escalade to help free her husband, but other reports indicate she was chasing him with the club and swinging it at the car after a domestic dispute that left the $100 million-a-year man bleeding.
The fight was reportedly over a "National Enquirer" interview with Uchitel's bombshell bar mate, Ashley Samson, who told the tabloid Woods and the nightclub hostess were hooking up.
Uchitel -- who has retained celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred -- denied the allegations and told the Daily News she's never met Samson - but the Enquirer has photos of the two girls together at a party in Spain.
TMZ.com reported Sunday that Woods wanted to give his wife a "Kobe Special" after the fight - referring to the $4 million purple diamond ring basketball star Kobe Bryant bought his wife, Vanessa, after he was acquitted of rape charges in 2003.
An unnamed source told TMZ he spoke to Tiger on Friday and that the golfer said he had to visit the jewelry store Zales to buy his wife "a house on a finger."
Thank you Mr. Populi
We wish to thank Mr. Populi (The Public Eye) for posting the following article on his site (Truth To Power - www.accesstoinfo.blogspot.com; vicpopuli1.gmail.com).
The blank lines refer to former Plaintiffs who signed Notices of Discontinuance removing themselves from the Manitoba Metis Federation's alleged defamation lawsuit against the now defunct www.CyberSmokeBlog.blogspot.com. They are:
The fifth person is VANESSA EVERTON who was dropped from the lawsuit shortly after writing a November 9, 2006 "hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil, smell no evil" type letter to Plaintiff David Chartrand to describe her knowledge of possible MMF malfeasance. Unfortunately, Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Rules prevent us from reproducing it's content verbatim.
You can read more background on the Affidavit by visiting our November 24, 2009 article, "What are you hiding David Chartrand?"
Clare L. Pieuk
28 November 2009
Miscellaneous "Plaintiffs" THE QUEEN’S BENCH
MANITOBA METIS FEDERATION INC., ANITA CAMPBELL, DAVID CHARTRAND, ELBERT CHARTRAND, RITA CULLEN, _________________, __________________, JEAN DESROSIERS, WILLIAM FLETT, JOHN FLEURY, LAURA HYRICH, JULYDA LAGIMODIERE, JOYCE LANGAN, LEAH LAPLANTE, JUDY MAYER, _______________, ___________________, DARRYL MONTGOMERY, MARILEE NAULT, JACK PARK, CLAIRE RIDDLE, and DENISE THOMAS,
- and -
TERRY BELHUMEUR, CLARE L. PIEUK and _______________
AFFIDAVIT OF CLARE L. PIEUK
I, Clare L. Pieuk of the City of Winnipeg, in the province of Manitoba MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:
1. As a Defendant in this action I have personal knowledge of the matters hereinafter deposed to by me save and except where same are stated to be based upon information and belief in which case I do verily believe same to be true.
2. During 2003 Bernie Shore, Head Accountant for the Manitoba Metis Federation, sent approximately 60 form letters to MMF staff and officials requesting it be signed and returned if they agreed with the amount shown as owing in travel advance monies. The total was over $111,000. Plaintiff John Fleury had the largest outstanding sum at over $19,000. Plaintiffs David Chartrand and Elbert Chartrand were cited for in excess of $13,000 and $8,000 respectively. I do verily believe Plaintiff Riddle was also on the list as may have been other Plaintiffs.
3. The documents surrendered by me to MMF Counsel were received from various anonymous sources beginning in approximately 2002. I was aware of the existence of most and perhaps all when Lionel Chartrand prepared the allegedly defamatory petition posted on cybersmokesignals.
SWORN BEFORE ME at the City of Winnipeg in the Province of Manitoba, this 19th day of November, 2009.
A Notary Public in and for the
Province of Manitoba.
CLARE L. PIEUK
Au contraire call us stupid but .....
Looks like Darcey has answered some of the questions.
And he's got one hell of an opinion!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear Frank Godon:
Thank you for writing. After reading the comments contained in these links we were left with more questions than answers. At times the rambling dialogue appeared to be spoken in coy riddles. What we have to this point is a shadow campaign. If the candidate running against David Chartrand in the 2010 election is to have credibility, here's a sampling of the clear, unequivocal information the blogs will need for their readerships':
Saturday, November 28, 2009
And the candidate is .....?
..... and the plot thickens!
Tiger Woods said Elin Nordegren, not car crash, scratched face & chased him with golf club: report
By ROSE DAVIS in Windemere, Florida and TINA MOORE and LARRY McSHANE in New York
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Saturday, November 28, 2009Tiger Woods (shown in file photo with wife Elin Nordegren) was injured early Friday morning outside his Flordia home when his car struck a fire hydrant, then crashed into a tree (Heckel/AP) Tiger Woods' house in Windermere, Florida (Green/AP)
The world's No. 1 golfer was pulling out of his driveway at 2:25 a.m. when he double-bogeyed the getaway in his 2009 Cadillac Escalade, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Wife Elin Nordegren heard the crash from inside the couple's $2.4 million home and went to her spouse's aid, police said.
The one-time Swedish model grabbed a golf club, smashed out a rear window in the SUV and helped Woods out of the wreck, said Windermere Police Chief Daniel Saylor.
But TMZ.com reported that a source said Nordegren scratched Woods' face after she went berserk over reports he was seeing another woman and chased him with a golf club, striking his vehicle as he ran from the home.
The Web site said the source talked to Woods after the smashup.
The crash came on the heels of reports in the National Enquirer and Star Magazine that Woods had an affair with a New York nightclub hostess - who denied it last night to the Daily News.
Nordegren told cops she ran outside and discovered her husband bleeding from the mouth, with cuts on his lips, police said. She said she bashed out the rear window with the club and helped the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Woods out of the car.
Police arrived to find Woods, drifting in and out of consciousness, lying in the street with his wife watching over him, Saylor said. He was taken to a nearby hospital about 10 minutes later.
Cops said alcohol was not involved, but offered no explanation for where the world's richest athlete was headed alone in the middle of the night.
Woods and Nordegren live in the Isleworth neighborhood with their two children, 2-year-old Sam and 9-month-old Charlie.
The accident was part of a rough week for Woods, who is on the front page of this week's Enquirer under the headline "Tiger Woods Cheating Scandal."
The tabloid claimed Woods was having an affair with Rachel Uchitel - a sexy Manhattan hostess who lost a fiancé in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and was previously linked to married television star David Boreanaz.
Uchitel, a former party planner who has worked as a VIP hostess at swanky nightspots, denied it in a message sent to The News from her Facebook account.
"There is NO relationship with Tiger these girls quoted in the story are not being truthful," she wrote.
"I resent my name being slung thru the mud."
The Enquirer story - and a similar story in Star - quoted a woman named Ashley Samson and said she was friends with Uchitel and passed a polygraph.
"Remember you read it first in the National Enquirer!"
Friday, November 27, 2009
Get better Tiger!
Professional golfer Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a car accident outside his Isleworth home early this morning.
Professional golfer Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a car accident early this morning, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
Woods, 33, pulled out of his driveway in the Isleworth community about 2:25 a.m. when he struck a fire hydrant, and then drove into a tree at his neighbor's property, FHP reported.
Alcohol is not related to the accident, FHP said.
Woods was transported to Health Central Hospital in Ocoee in serious condition, FHP said. No other information about his condition has been released.
A Health Central hospital employee said at 2:30 p.m. that Woods was not a patient. A hospital operator would not say if Woods had been treated and released.
FHP said the airbags in Woods' Cadillac Escalade did not deploy, which means the vehicle was traveling under 33 mph.
Orange County Fire Rescue received the call for aid at 2:28 a.m. Woods was transported from his Windermere-area neighborhood by the hospital's own ambulance.
An Orange County Sheriff's Office official said his agency received it's call for assistance at 2:27 a.m. An operator was told the driver was injured and still inside the vehicle.
FHP did not report the accident until just after 2 p.m. today. The agency said the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
According to his official website, TigerWoods.com, he is in the middle of a two-week break in tournament play. Woods next tournament is Dec. 3-6 at the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Sentinel staff writer Rene Stutzman contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel
"Elementary my dear Watson!"
What exactly is the point of this blog? Copy/paste a new article?
We'd like to order a 24 please!
Tactical Nuclear Penguin has been unveiled by BrewDog of Fraserburgh.
BrewDog was previously branded irresponsible for an 18.2% beer called Tokyo, which it then followed with a low alcohol beer called Nanny State.
Managing director James Watt said a limited supply of Tactical Nuclear Penguin would be sold for £30 each.
"This is an extremely strong beer; it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance" ..... Tactical Nuclear Penguin label warning
He said: "This beer is about pushing the boundaries, it is about taking innovation in beer to a whole new level."
Mr. Watt added that a beer such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin should be drunk in "spirit sized measures."
A warning on the label states: "This is an extremely strong beer; it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost."
However Jack Law, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, described it as a "cynical marketing ploy" and said: "We want to know why a brewer would produce a beer almost as strong as whisky."
The beer has been launched on the day alcohol was at the top of the political agenda with the unveiling of the Scottish government's Alcohol Bill including proposals for minimum pricing on drink.
Meanwhile, BrewDog's plans for a new headquarters to produce millions of bottles of beer a year have been approved by Aberdeenshire Council.
The decision was taken at a full council meeting despite having been recommended for refusal by officers because the site at Potterton, near Aberdeen, is in the green belt.
Sono numbero uno!
Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi has been named "rock star of the year" by his country's Rolling Stone magazine.
The music magazine pays tribute to the 73-year-old media mogul's "lifestyle worthy of the greatest rock star."
Its December issue's front cover carries an illustration of him smiling in front of the Italian tricolore.
The magazine's editor, Carlo Antonelli, said: "Rod Stewart, Brian Jones, Keith Richards in their prime were schoolboys compared to him."
Mr Berlusconi had been the unanimous winner in a poll of the magazine's editorial staff, said Mr Antonelli.
"This year the choice was unanimous, for his obvious merits due to a lifestyle for which the words 'rock and roll' fall short," said Mr Antonelli in a statement.
The plaudit caps a tumultuous year for Mr Berlusconi's personal life.
A wave of allegations followed claims he had attended model Noemi Letizia's 18th birthday, reportedly buying her a golden necklace studded with diamonds as a present.
Allegations of parties at his residences attended by escort girls centred on Patrizia D'Addario, who claimed she had slept with him. Mr Berlusconi denied paying for sex, saying it "takes away the thrill of the conquest".
In early May, his wife, Veronica Lario, announced she was divorcing him, saying she could not remain with a man "who consorts with minors". Mr Berlusconi responded by demanding an apology from her.
The ascent of the blue jean!
I agree with your post. I like the look of jeans and a formal shirt. It shows class and power!
Canada Safeway has put a rush order on 3,000 watermelons to be shipped to Calgary stores. The move is meant to satisfy the appetite of thousands of Saskatchewan Roughriders fans in town for the Grey Cup, who want to wear traditional carved melon helmets during Sunday's Grey Cup game against the Montreal Alouettes.
"Everything in our warehouse system is being shipped out to Safeway stores in Calgary," Safeway spokesman John Graham said Thursday.
The melons from California are expected to arrive in stores on Friday.
"We normally wouldn't anticipate such a spike of demand in watermelons," Graham told The Canadian Press, dismissing any talk of emergency melon distribution centres.
Calgary has already turned Roughrider green due to the influx of Saskatchewan fans who arrived ahead of the big game.
"Probably the biggest city in Saskatchewan now is going to be Calgary," Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco told Canada AM on Friday from Calgary.
"There's melonheads everywhere," Fiacco said while wearing a Roughriders jersey and scarf.
"It's kind of neat to see and it speaks volumes to what the Saskatchewan Roughriders means to our province."
Graham from Safeway said the skyrocketing demand for watermelons in Calgary is similar to the increase that is seen during regular Roughrider home games in Regina, about an eight-hour drive away.
American football fans in Wisconsin have a similar food-on-their-head tradition with the "cheesehead" fans of the Green Bay Packers wearing foam hats shaped like Swiss cheese.
But Roughriders fans accept no imitations, and scoop out the flesh of real melons and place the shell on their noggins during the game.
Saskatchewan and Montreal will face off against each other for the cup for the first time on Sunday.
Fiacco and his Grey Cup rival, Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay, have entered into a traditional wager over the outcome of the game. The loser in these type of friendly bets typically wears the jersey of the winning team. But Tremblay and Fiacco have put a charitable twist on it this year.
The mayor of the losing team will buy season tickets to the winning team's games, and the winning mayor will donate them to a charity of their choice.
"The Montreal Alouettes are on a mission, they're ready and the fans are ready to celebrate on December 2," Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said on Canada AM.
"Bimbo eruptions" - quick add that to the Oxford English Dictionary!
The price of Silvio Berlusconi's bimbo eruptions: $68-million a year
Veronica Lario, who is seeking legal separation from Mr. Berlusconi, is demanding €43-million a year in maintenance payments, the equivalent of $68-million (Canadian), or $5.6-million a month, the Italian media reported yesterday. If the amount is granted, it would rank as one of the biggest divorce settlements in history.
The national newspaper Il Corriere della Sera said the billionaire, centre-right politician considers the demand "exorbitant" and has offered Ms. Lario a settlement between €200,000 and €300,000 a month to keep her swanky lifestyle intact. Lawyers for Ms. Lario and Mr. Berlusconi, 73, neither confirmed nor denied the amounts.
Ms. Lario, a 53-year-old former actress, is Mr. Berlusconi's second wife. He became infatuated with her 30 years ago, when he saw her perform topless in a play in Milan called The Magnificent Cuckold. They have three children; he has two others from his first marriage.
To the delight of newspaper editors from London to Rome, their marriage blew up in May, when Ms. Lario said she could no longer stick with a man "who frequents minors." Her outburst came shortly after Mr. Berlusconi's friendship with aspiring Neapolitan actress Noemi Letizia broke in the press.
The Prime Minister had attended her 18th birthday party and gave her a diamond and gold necklace. While he has never denied his friendship with Ms. Letizia, he has never explained how he met her.
Ms. Lario went on to accuse her husband of "shamelessly trashy" behaviour for his penchant for choosing gorgeous showgirls as Italy's candidates for the European Parliament elections. One of his favourite beauties, Mara Carfagna, once a topless model, was appointed Minister for Equal Opportunities in the Berlusconi government.
The birthday party scandal proved to be the start of a volcanic series of bimbo eruptions that have yet to end. The latest came this week, when Patrizia D'Addario, the former call girl and model who claims she had sex with the Prime Minister last year in his Rome palace, published her memoir of the relationship (Mr. Berlusconi says he can't remember meeting her and has never paid for sex).
The book is called Prime Minister, Take Your Pleasure, a title inspired by the famous line spoken by a prostitute to an aristocrat in the Fellini film Amarcord. At one point, she says she and other showgirls were taken to a salon in the palace. "I was watching the whole thing with curiosity and my first thought was that I'd found myself in a harem," she wrote. "He was on the couch and all of us, 20 girls, were at his disposition ... Having been an escort I thought I'd seen a few things, but this I'd never seen, 20 women for one man."
Impressed by his flamboyant lifestyle and lavish parties, the Italian edition of Rolling Stone magazine this week named Mr. Berlusconi "rock star of the year."
Even though Mr. Berlusconi is a billionaire - Forbes magazine ranks him Italy's second-richest man and 70th in the world - payments as big as the ones demanded by Ms. Lario could damage his empire. His holdings include Mediaset, Italy's main commercial broadcaster, the AC Milan football team, Modadori, Italy's biggest publishing house, and a variety of property, insurance and film distribution businesses.
The divorce is bound to increase the odds that the carve-up of his empire among his five children becomes messy. Ms. Lario has no stake in Mr. Berlusconi's main holding company, Fininvest, but her three children are all members of the board and each owns a 7 per cent stake.
The most expensive divorce settlement is thought to be $1.7-billion (U.S.), the amount in assets reportedly paid by media mogul Rupert Murdoch to his former wife, Anna, in 1999. At the rate she's requesting, Ms. Lario would have to receive 26 years of alimony to reach that sum.
BY THE NUMBERS
It's $7,762 for every hour of every day.
It's 0.1 per cent of Silvio Berlusconi's estimated net worth of $6.8-billion
If stacked as dollar bills one atop the other, it would form a tower 125 times as high as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
What Tiger Woods paid for an estate in the Hamptons.
The price of an eight passenger Gulfstream G550 private jet.
It's enough money to vaccinate the entire population of Switzerland against the H1N1 influenza.
Every notice in this age of instantaneous electronic communication how people sometimes slam together their messages without regard to spelling. "But I used a spell check." Maybe so but you must still know the difference between: their and there; two, to and too; or effect versus affect. What is often forgotten is the impact a poorly spelled gramatically sloppy e-mail has on the recipient.
Clare L. Pieuk
November 25, 2009
By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
But one person the White House apparently neglected to hire was a spell checker.
The special dinner menu — a lavish mélange of Indian and American favorites as well as several excellent wines — was rife with typos.
The second course of the evening was paired, for example, with a delicious 2006 Brooks Riesling, which, the menu noted, was bottled in “Wilamette Valley, Oregon.”
A diligent copy editor would have changed that to the proper spelling, “Willamette Valley.”
For their third course, the 320 guests were offered a dish that, according to the menu, included potato dumplings with tomato chutney and “chick peas,” which should in fact have been “chickpeas.” That course, the menu noted, was paired with an excellent red wine, a “2007 Granache” from Beckmen Vineyards. The correct spelling of the popular varietal, one of the most widely planted types of red grape in the world, is actually “Grenache” with only one “a,” not two.
The last bottle of the night was equally impressive, a sparkling chardonnay from Virginia. It was listed as a “Thibaut Janisson Brut,” missing a hyphen between the first two words. And last but not least, the dessert may have been free of error in taste, but not so in spelling. It included, according to the menu, passion fruit and vanilla “Gelees,” the French word for “gelled,” which, when written correctly, includes an acute accent on the second “e.”
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The power of the internet in the next MMF election!
Don Martin, National Post
Published: Thursday, November 26, 2009
Photo by Wayne Cuddington, Canwest News Service
My friend's email arrived with an unmistakable sense of urgency, including one of those red exclamation marks in the margin. "Have you seen the pictures of you on Facebook? You'd better get on it. Quickly."
Turns out pictures had been posted by several Facebook "friends" showing me dressed up for Halloween as a flasher -- a provocative costume that seemed to hold a particular fascination for camera-snapping women.
But such is the power of Facebook that, despite my instantly requesting that my "friends" remove the photos, the images somehow live on in downloaded circulation with comments arriving regularly from complete strangers, including one politician. Mortifying.
That's probably how former Liberal leader Stephane Dion's spouse, Janine Krieber, felt after her musings on the sorry state of the Liberal party and its new leader went from semi-private correspondence to national media material and hand-rubbing ammunition for the Conservatives. Her Facebook post was deleted as soon as it started circulating in public, but even a rapid response isn't fast enough when copies are but a keyboard click away.
That this very intelligent and charismatic woman didn't grasp the implications of her posting is just as curious as a national journalist not understanding that a dumb party photo taken on Halloween could be on display for the world to see the next day. Silly us.
What Krieber posted for friendly consumption has now embarrassed her husband and triggered an onslaught of speculation about which party she'll join now that the Liberals are unworthy of her membership.
It's an instructive lesson about the power of Facebook, which won't be a news flash to Ray Lam, whose NDP candidacy in the last British Columbia election was terminated after Facebook-posted photos showed two people grabbing at his underwear at a party when he was 17 years old.
But it's not just Facebook that will eventually put a communications chill on politicians and, ahem, journalists. Even Twitter, a service limiting insight to a cryptic sentence or two, has the potential to cause political headaches. Dozens of MPs regularly tweet from the floor of the House of Commons or in committees, sometimes without their political correctness filters turned on.
Liberal MP Michelle Simson last week tweeted an observation that Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro should "grow up (not out)." It was a reference to the burly MP's girth, which has been shrinking lately, so perhaps that's why the usually unflappable MP was offended enough to demand an apology. That incident prompted New Democrat MP Charlie Angus to complain Twitter is turning MPs into Grade 9 kids, which gives some of them more credit than their regular kindergarten behaviour in Question Period deserves.
The chief of staff to new Wild Rose Alliance leader Danielle Smith lost his top status last week when he fired off a tweet mocking an accent of Premier Ed Stelmach that I've never noticed actually exists. Earlier this year, Alberta MLA Doug Elniski made some slightly off-colour comments on Twitter -- and was ordered to cease and desist by Mr. Stelmach.
Then there's John Baird's infamous 'Thatcher has died' text message, which went viral worldwide within minutes, creating a misconception that former U.K. prime minister Lady Margaret Thatcher has passed away when it was actually Baird's 16-year-old cat named Thatcher.
Be it text, Twitter, Facebook or You-Tube, the ability for people to constantly tell all in a format that can be forwarded, copied or posted means the embarrassment can be distributed at the same speed as proud insight.
Facebook and Twitter are not just for "friends" and "followers." Next time you smile for the camera in a silly costume, remember that how you look and what you say can and will be used against you by foes.
The truly amazing honeybee!
Caught a fascinating discussion yesterday about honeybees on CBC Radio's weekly morning show The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti.
Her guest was noted American award-winning conservation scientist, best selling author and television nature documentary host Dr. Reese Halter.
Its been estimated about 30% of the food we eat results from the pollination of honeybees yet in the past 3-years over 50 billion have perished yet no one knows why. Pesticides, mites, serious disease, cellular microwave transmission lines, drought have been some of the theories put forward. The devastation has been so acute world-wide it has given rise to the term "colony collapse disorder."
Honeybees are truly amazing creatures right up there with the monarch butterfly. But one small example - it takes 12 forager bees each flying about 12 hours a combined total of 60,000 miles to produce 1 teaspoon of honey containing 60 calories and which Dr. Halter describes as rocket fuel. Its properties are legendary everything from a shelf life of approximately 100 years to a sugar substitute for diabetics to taking a small quantity before going to bed at night to help you sleep better.
The lifespan of a honeybee is about 6-weeks.
Clare L. Pieuk
The Incomparable Honeybee & the Economics of Pollination
By Reese Halter
From Dr. Reese Halter comes a remarkable, concise account of the honeybees that have profoundly shaped our planet for the past 110 million years. They are the most important group of flower-visiting animals, pollinating more multi-billion-dollar crops and plants than any other living group. Since prehistoric times humans and honeybees have been inextricably linked. This book is rich with interesting and humbling facts: bees can count, they can vote, and honey has potent medicinal properties, able to work as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, even an antiseptic. The fate of the bees, whose numbers have been beleaguered most recently by colony collapse disorder, lies firmly in the hands of humankind. As such, it is our job to ensure their health, protect the habitats within which they live and communicate to others the vital link that human society shares with the remarkable honeybee.
Dr. Reese Halter is an award-winning conservation biologist, syndicated science writer, TV host and father. He is a sought-after public speaker and founder of the international conservation institute Global Forest Science, through which he regularly visits schools and encourages children worldwide to embrace conservation, science exploration and learning. Dr. Reese lives in Los Angeles, California, and can be contacted through www.DrReese.com. (Published by Calgary-based Rocky Mountain Books)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Presidente Stupido: "Grazie Signora!"
'I gave him my body, he (gave me) nothing,' prostitute writes in tell-all memoir
Associated Press/Reuters News Agency
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Patrizia D'Addario's book, "At Your Pleasure, Prime Minister," details her night alone with Silvio Berlusconi, right. (REMY DE LA MAUVINIERE/AP FILE PHOTO)
Patrizia D'Addario, in a memoir titled Gradisca, Presidente (At Your Pleasure, Prime Minister), describes a party held at Berlusconi's Rome residence, and gives intimate details of her night alone with the 73-year-old premier, in a bed given to him by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The 42-year-old beauty writes she slept with Berlusconi on the understanding he would help her set up a countryside inn, but she got "nothing" in return.
She describes how Berlusconi surrounded himself at the party with a "harem" of young women, whom he cuddled and kissed.
"Being an escort, I thought I'd seen lots of things, but not this: 20 girls for just one man," she writes. "Here, the other men had no say. There was just one man with the right to copulate: the prime minister."
During their night together, D'Addario says she was taken aback by Berlusconi's stamina, especially given his history of prostate cancer. "He didn't appear a bit tired, he kissed me again and again and again," she claims.
The prime minister's office said it had no comment to make on the publication of the book.
Berlusconi has said he has never paid for sex and is the victim of someone seeking to create a scandal, while acknowledging he is "no saint."
D'Addario says she had sex with Berlusconi hoping he would use his considerable influence to help her open an inn in her home region in southern Italy, a longtime ambition of hers that had been stymied by Italy's bureaucracy.
Instead "I gave him my body, he (gave me) nothing."
In the memoir, D'Addario says that since the existence of the tape recording became known, she has been the subject of threats, aggression and other "strange episodes," including the looting of her home.
"They take away everything, from panties to dresses, from stockings to bras, from jewellery to shoes, from CDs to my diaries, my address book, the computer," she writes of that episode. "They only leave me a very expensive TV. Now I am really frightened."
D'Addario says she reported the break-in to local police.
We're number 4!
Canada 4th in survey of global fraud
Karen Mazurkewich, Financial Post
Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This has been the year of white-collar scandals and schemes in Canada, ranging from disgraced Montreal financial advisor Earl Jones, charged with having spent at least $12-million of his clients' money, to Ponzi schemes run by Toronto fund manager Weizhen Tang, who allegedly ran a $60-million fraud, and the duo from Alberta -- Milowe Allen Brost and accomplice Gary Allen Sorenson -- who have been charged with embezelling roughly $100-million from unwitting investors.
Now a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests Canadian companies make great targets for fraud. In their latest global economic crime survey, Canada was the fourth most fraudulent nation in the world -- behind Russia, South Africa and Kenya. (emphasis ours)
In its survey of more than 3,000 companies in 54 countries, 56% Canadian companies reported economic crimes over the past year. That's a 10% increase since 2003, the highest level in six years.
So does Canada have more thieves in our midst, or are we just better at ferreting out perpetrators?
The study suggests there is a bit of both. Tipoffs from internal or external sources are higher in Canada than in other countries, as is our ability to detect fraud through electronic means. Automated systems used to detect inconsistencies or suspicious transactions accounted for more than 10% of frauds detected by companies in Canada. Thanks to rats and routers, more crimes are being reported in Canada then elsewhere.
By contrast, the PwC report argues that the overall decrease since 2003 in reported crimes elsewhere in the world does not necessarily speak to their better anti-crime fighting abilities, but rather to an "overall breakdown in anti-fraud regime controls which would usually assist in the detection of economic crime."
"In Canada and around the world, respondents to the survey have indicated that the extreme conditions of the past year have contributed to an increase in both the motivation and the opportunity to commit fraud," said Pierre Taillefer of PwC in Montreal, one of the authors of the report.
"Certainly, when the liquidity of the market dried up, the Ponzi schemes got found out," said James Grout, partner at the Toronto-based Thornton Grout Finnigan. He has worked on a number of large white-collar crimes, including representing the receiver on the $800-million Portus Alternative Asset Management scandal.
Broadly defined, economic crime can encompass everything from bribery, embezzlement and manipulating financial statements to the theft of pencils from the office storeroom.
The most common type of fraud encountered in Canada is asset misappropriation, although accounting fraud and money laundering are also prevalent. Canada has a better track record when it comes to other types of economic crime. Whereas 27% of global respondents reported be a victim of bribery and corruption, only 7% of Canadian respondents experienced such crimes. In addition, while intellectual property infringement made up 15% of global complaints, only 7% of Canadian firms claimed such incidents.
"We're not as bad as many [developing] countries, but if you look around the OECD, the really developed economies with strong democratic governments, I think we are pretty high on the list for having a high incidence of commercial fraud," says Mr. Grout. He says the reason for that is the lack of deterrents. "We don't put anyone in jail," he said.
But that is starting to change. "In the last four years, I've noticed that the commissions are moving faster," he added.