Sunday, January 31, 2010

One stop grow op shopping!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dropping like taxpayer paid for flies!

Tully Vorcheux has left a new comment on your post, "Another Plaintiff withdraws!"

Another one bites the dust ..... they are dropping like flies.

Maybe they don't trust Murray (Trachtenberg) and David (Chartrand) to protect them from your cross-examination questions?
Dear Mr. Vorcheux:
As always thank you very much for writing. Can you imagine how many Plaintiffs would still be litigants in this lawsuit today if their legal fees weren't being paid out of MMF taxpayer dollars? Truth is, they can't hide behind Murray Trachtenberg and David Chartrand's coattails forever. At some point they will have to answer questions under oath.
And by the way, be sure to say "hello" to our "mutual friend" Wetaskiwin, Alberta Crown Prosecutor Lionel Chartrand.
Clare L. Pieuk

Vote for Shelly Glover?

Good Day Readers:

We've following the debate between senior federal Conservative Member of Parliament Vic Toews and Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett being covered on Truth To Power (; by The Public Eye for a couple reasons. First Shelly Glover is our MP and second we have had dealings with Mr. Lett.

As an experienced politician, Mr. Toews in committing the cardinal sin of mixing it up with a journalist rather than playing him like a violin. As for Ms Glover, as a constituent we are disappointed and embarrassed by her performance thus far. Unless there's a dramatic turnaround we cannot justify voting for her in the next election. She is given to making public statements which are heavy-handed and appears to be experiencing difficulty making a smooth transition from police officer to that of savvy politician. It seems she has already annonyed and alienated many voters.
Kevin Engstrom is a columnist for the Winnipeg Sun and blogs under The Jerk.

Clare L. Pieuk
29 January 2010
Canadian Federal Member of Parliament / Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and "my BFF"
Toews to Freep: don't attack my BFF

by Kevin Engstrom

As originally posted on: The Jerk (
January 27, 2010

It has been said that if two men are fighting, it's likely a woman isn't far away.

Pretty sure I'm butchering that line, almost certain I'm ignoring its sexist tone, and absolutely positive I'm missing the original intention of that expression. Having said that, the line works as it relates to Vic Toews' recent verbal offensive against Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett, which is apparently tied to the latter's criticism of the public safety czar's BFF Shelly Glover.

Within hours of my post documenting Toews' trash talk of Lett, Manitoba's top Tory delivered another missive that was less than complimentary to both Lett and his employer.

"Thanks for the PR advice," Toews wrote in an e-mail that found my inbox this morning. "Ordinarily I don't comment publicly on the blatherings of Dan Lett nor, generally speaking, do I even bother to respond to requests for interviews from the 'other paper'. I know that by the time they contact me the story is written and they are simply asking for a match to ignite the gasoline they have already poured all over me. You don't have to tell me that after years of handing them that match, it can be a painful experience.

"However, it does bother me to see Mr. Lett gratuitously and maliciously attack a new colleague of mine who is doing an excellent job of representing her constituents in St. Boniface. We may not all be deep thinkers like Dan Lett, but I think it is safe to say that Shelly Glover has done more good for the people of Manitoba in her one year in elected office than he has done in all his wasted years of picking lint from his belly button.
"So, if I am once again handing Dan a match, it is for a good cause. Friends are tough to find in this business and I don't mind getting burned at the stake because I am proud to be Shelly Glover's colleague."

Gee, Vic, don't hold back ... tell us what you really think of the guy.

I get that Toews is trying to protect his BFF from Lett making this whole "Who is Tom Flanagan?" thing bigger than it really is — a minor flub by Glover that 97% of the Canadian population would have probably made, too. Calling it "one of the great live-TV boners of all time" is a severe torque on Lett's part. While I'm at it, the word "boner" jumped the shark decades ago.

That said, as much as I don't want to compliment the competition, implying the newsroom over on Mountain Avenue is filled with peeps out to get Toews probably isn't fair to the vast majority of journalists who work there.

More importantly, Glover is an adult. She should be able to handle criticism without having her BFF jump to her defence, no?

Lett, it should be noted, hasn't responded to my request for comment, as he is apparently in Haiti. Should be interesting to see what his response is, if there is one at all, when he gets back.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Frank Godon is spot-on!"

The Public Eye (Truth To Power -; has left a new comment on your post, "Let the revolution begin voters!"

I believe Frank (Godon) is spot-on with his translation; at least, it accords with that provided by my own source. However, I submit - respectfully - that he is being much too literal in his interpretation of the picture's symbolism.

Every picture and photo I publish relates, at least on some metaphoric level, to the post alongside which it is published. Read the e-mail, think about what Clare (Pieuk) says in it, and the meaning of the picture should become clear. To readers who are interested in pursuing this further, I will drop two hints, which are not as blatantly unhelpful as they may seem at first:

(1) When viewed in the light of Clare's comments to Bob Cox about the nature of the MMF, the reader should notice the incredible ironic humour involved in my using this particular image

(2) I am emphatically NOT intending to say that the MMF leadership is analogous to the top-hatted fascist depicted in the poster; in a way, my meaning is the exact opposite.
Dear Mr. Populi:

On behalf of our readers thank you very much for contacting CyberSmokeBlog with your additional comments.

Clare L. Pieuk

What time is it in .....?

Scooter Tyme has left a new comment on your post, "Let the revolution begin voters!"

If you want to know what time it is in Montreal, or Vancouver, or St. John's, check out the following link:

I always check it before I call my aunt!
Dear Scooter Tyme:

Thank you for contacting us the link. Quickly checked it out and it looks quite useful something our readers will appreciate. How's your aunt?

Clare L. Pieuk

"The journalist always gets the last word!"

Good Day Readers:

Found this interesting article reproduced by The Public Eye on Truth To Power (; Over the years we have met Mr. Lett on a few occasions, talked with him by telephone and exchanged many e-mail. He is quite knowledgeable on the ways of the Manitoba Metis Federation and it's lawsuit against CyberSmokeSignals.Kevin Engstrom has some very sage advice for Mr. Toews about getting into it with Dan Lett - "The journalist always gets the last word."

Clare L. Pieuk
28 January 2010
Canadian Federal Member of Parliament/Public Safety Minister Vic Toews Toews rips into Free Press columnist
by Kevin Engstrom

As originally posted on: The Jerk
January 26, 2010

If there were any questions about Vic Toews' feelings towards Dan Lett, all doubt was removed last week.

Manitoba's senior MP and Canada's public safety czar took a strip out of Lett last Friday after the Winnipeg Free Press columnist criticized St. Boniface Tory MP Shelly Glover on his blog for not knowing who Tom Flanagan is (long story short: he used to be Stephen Harper's right-hand man). In an e-mail entitled "Who is Dan Lett?" that was presumably sent to many people, Toews pulled no punches as to what he thinks of the guy.

"In this column, after tripping through the cerebral jungle of trying to determine the winners and losers in the recent cabinet shuffle, and giving another colleague of mine a gratutious slap across the side of the head (in order to hopefully advance the career aspirations of a Liberal friend of his in that riding), he then turns his attention to the colleague who didn't know who Tom Flanagan is or was," Toews wrote.

"A more nonsensical analysis of that topic by Mr. Lett is hard to imagine. But I guess we should be thankful that Mr. Lett focuses his attention on matters that simply don't matter to the people in the street who do not share the concerns and indignation of the chattering classes that he identifies with. His comments are harmless and scattered, and as one prominent writer once noted, well-suited to wrap yesterday's leftovers on the way to the dump."

One word: wow.

Not since the days of Glen Murray declaring an unholy war against Tom Brodbeck and Charles Adler has a local politician taken such public umbrage with a journalist. I'm not about to join the normally affable Toews in a public lynching of the guy from the other paper (something about glass houses prevents me from doing so), although I'll agree Lett's assertion Glover committed "one of the great live-TV boners of all time" is a bit off, especially when you consider this, this, this, and this.

That said, here's some free PR advice for Toews: it's probably not to your advantage to get into an argument with a journalist who, by nature of his job, always gets the last word — even if that journalist angers you. Because when you give in and blast that person, you only validate that their opinion matters in the first place.

Mind your manners young lady!

Good Day Readers:
Found this on Truth To Power (; You've got to love Mr. Populi's sense of humour.
Clare L. Pieuk
29 January 2010
American Pop Celebrity Jessica Simpson
Exclusive: Oops! Jessica Simpson Farts During Business Meeting

As originally posted on:
January 28, 2010

Let's end this meeting on a high note!

A source tells Us Weekly that Jessica Simpson had a, ahem, windy moment during a business meeting for her denim line in late January. "While one of the executives was speaking in a room full of five people, Jessica let out a very loud fart," says the insider.

Her mother [Tina Simpson] was there, and it prompted her to turn around and yell, 'Jessica!' The tension was extreme. No one knew what to say."

It wasn't Simpson's first brush with public flatulence: She famously cut loose on an episode of Newlyweds, telling then-husband Nick Lachey, "You love my stinky ass," and professed her fondness for between-the-sheets poots (a.k.a. Dutch ovens) to a radio station in 2008.

Read more exclusive Hot Stuff - John Mayer and Taylor Swift's date, Madonna's visit with A-Rod and more - in the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now!

Get more Us! Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Facebook, Subscribe to Us Weekly

Let the revolution begin voters!

Frank Godon has left a new comment on your post, "How say you presidential candidate Frank Godon eh?"

The poster literally translated means:
Fascism comes
Crush vermin
Powerful counter-offensive
The symbolism is pretty much straight forward the average worker (red Soviet) rising up to crush the greedy elitist (Fascism)
You could say this symbolizes much like I want the Metis people of Manitoba to rise up and vote out the greed and jealousy so prominent these days in the MMF.
Dear Frank Godon:
Thank you for writing to clarify the meaning of the poster for The Public Eye (Truth To Power -; and our readers. Is that what you meant Mr. Populi? If so the next MMF election later this year could bring a revolution. But then again, one is long overdue. Voters of the proletariat arise!
Clare L. Pieuk

Vinny's going to "The Bar" everybody - no not that bar stupid!

WSJ Law Blog
Vinny from ‘Jersey Shore’ Has His Eyes on the Bar. Yes, that Bar
By Ashby Jones

We try to keep up with pop culture to the degree we can. But sometimes things fall through the cracks, like Lady Gaga and Battlestar Galactica and Harry Potter. We could tell you a total of about eight things about these three phenomena. (But if you want to talk Friday Night Lights or U2 or why the Yankees are loathsome but Derek Jeter is the greatest, we’re your guy.)

In any event, the comet that is “Jersey Shore” has pretty much passed us by. We know that law students love somebody named “Snooki” (here, here), and there’s been much made of the use of the word “Guido,” but if you ask us otherwise about the show, you’ll get the sound of crickets chirping.
But we have to weigh in on this news: Vinny Guadagnino, one of the show’s characters, has his eyes on law school, according to this US Weekly squib.

Don’t know Vinny? Let us introduce you. According to his bio on MTV’s site:

Vinny is a self-confessed mama’s boy and natural entertainer. He knows how to get a laugh from everyone he meets. Having just turned 21, Vinny has been waiting for this summer his whole life and is ready for a wild time with no boundaries.

A “wild time with no boundaries?” Better get it outta your system now, Vinnie, because law school is a very sedate and stressful time with many, many boundaries.

Vinnie’s school of choice, given his druthers? Harvard or Yale, naturally. “I took the LSAT,” Guadagnino, the 21 year-old SUNY New Paltz grad, told recently. “My score was decent. I had a plan that if my score was really well [sic], then I might of just went to Yale or Harvard . . . But it was just mediocre. I can get into law school,” he added. “I had a 3.9 GPA, Latin Honors, but I’m doing this right now. Law school is always on the back burner.”

We know what you do Oliver Boulette!

L.G. has left a new comment on your post, "Anyone know what Donald Roulette does?"

God Oliver Boulette looks so clueless..... Perfect captions for it are #1, "Duhhh, tell me about the rabbits George!" And #2, Time to make donuts.

Dear L.G.:

Thank you for writing. We agree the photograph is not particularly flattering but that's the only one we were able to find on the inernet at the time. We don't know anything about rabbits and George, however, to the best of our knowledge Mr. Boulette has never been a police officer so that rules out the donuts.

In an unconfirmed report, we were told at the time he replaced Donald Roulette as the MMF's Executive Director he had left Manitoba Aborginal Affairs and Northern Development as either an Assistant Deputy Minister or Deputy Minister. Apparently there was a disagreement between he and the Minister. Presumably he has some ability to rise to that rank.

We know Mr. Boulette as one of Federation lawyer Murray Trachtenberg's (; favourite go to guys. To date he has signed about 11 Affidavits in the Manitoba Metis Federation's taxpayer financed defamation lawsuit against CyberSmokeSignals. Last time we looked at the numbers this was surpassed only by Counsel Trachtenberg's former Legal Assistant Louise Couloumbe who came in at 12.

So we know one thing he does. A second is to either make and/or repair fiddles.

Clare L. Pieuk

How say you presidential candidate Frank Godon eh?

The Public Eye (Truth To Power -; has left a new comment on your post, "To, MMF presidential candidate Frank Godon: "Please help us!"

I, too, would be interested to hear Frank's translation and, more particularly, his interpretation of the metaphoric symbolism of the poster.
Dear TPE:

Thank you for writing. Like you we too take this request very seriously. Not only is it Mr. Godon's first real policy challenge of Election 2010 but should he reply it will reveal a lot about his position on SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) and more importantly his belief in the freedom of speech and expression.

How say you presidential candidate Godon Mr. Populi and our readers are watching!

Clare L. Pieuk

To MMF presidential candidate Frank Godon: "Please help us!"

Good Day Readers:

The following was posted by The Public Eye (Truth To Power -;
As is his custom he always includes a metaphorical picture or image. This one is easy it a Russian working rising up against the Nazis much like presidential candidate Frank Godon is calling upon Metis voters to rise up against the regime of David Chartrand in MMF Election 2010. But what is the origin of the poster and the translation for the Russian words which appear on it?

Who better to help us than Frank Godon who is currently in St. Petersberg, Russia teaching at the university there surrounded by students. How say you Mr. Godon?
Bob Cox is the founder of the Media Bloggers Association based in New Rochelle, New York. We have talked with him by phone on one occasion and exchanged numerous e-mail. Suffice it to say he's very well versed on the MMF's lawsuit against CyberSmokeSignals.
Clare L. Pieuk
29 January 2010
"The MMF President, His Board of Directors and their Pitbull Lawyer"
At the request of Mr. Pieuk, the following email has been edited in terms of its content (in all cases, to remove potentially defamatory material).

Subject: Re. Legal Defence Funds?
Date: Thursday, May 8, 2008 9:12 am
To: Robert Cox <>

Hi Bob,

Hope you're keeping well.

If you read carefully between the lines you've already received an answer to your remaining question. Why do you think we just raised the issue of Legal Defence Funds?

A few years ago a very wise person mentioned (Damn, can't remember their name!) if an individual keeps giving up ground, soon they will find themselves boxed into a corner standing on a postage stamp sized piece of land. Hope this further clarifies our position.

Please don't view this as a perjorative, Bob, but you have no apprecation whatsoever of the calibre of people with whom we're dealing. [. . . .]

Further, this by far is not the first time the Federation has used public resources to bring frivilous, vexatious and malicious litigation against private citizens. It's all about trying to misuse the legal system to threaten, intimidate and bully critics - period, full stop! When you have a chance you might wish to ask Jeff Niederhoffer about the Yvon Dumont case which he and his partner won once again involving the Manitoba Metis Federation.

Finally, our experience with these people has been show any sign of weakness and it's immediately exploited. Perhaps you may find this difficult to appreciate but those individuals involved have a hell of a lot more to lose than us[.]

Hope that answers your remaining question if not please let us know what you still don't understand and we'll try again. We view this correspondence as confidential.

Best Wishes,

Red's back!

Red Baron has left a new comment on your post, "Another Plaintiff withdraws!"

There will be more to drop out and probably right before the trial. Almost none of the plaintiffs now want a DAMN thing to do with this lawsuit. The only people who still support this damfool thing to go ahead are Murray (Trachtenberg) and the Chartrands.
Dear Red Baron:
Like Madam O we always appreciate hearing from you. The lawsuit was ill-advised and conceived from the start. It has become a public relations nightmare for the MMF. Imagine the impact on a judge and jury if the original 21 Board of Director Plaintiffs is down to two at trial - David and Elbert Chartrand.

Would you want to be a candidate in MMF election 2010 with the albatross of being a Plaintiff hanging around your neck? Besides, how can some of the Board of Directors allegedly be defamed but not all?
To the remaining Plaintiffs we say to remove youself from this lawsuit all you need do is contact Murray Trachtenberg (; to request he send the Defendants a Notice of Discontinuance. He has no right to refuse your request. If he did he knows he'd be severely disciplined by the Law Society of Manitoba possibly losing his license to practice. You are the clients even though your legal bills are being paid by Canadian taxpayers.
What do Plaintiffs Rita Cullen, Darryl Montgomery and Joyce Langan have to gain given they haven't been Board of Directors since June 29, 2006 the date of the last MMF election.
Clare L. Pieuk

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Right Honourable Lord Black of Crossharbour!

Good Day Readers:

This picture is dedicated to The Public Eye (Truth To Power -; who wrote to comment on a posting earlier today about Conrad Black addressing McGill university students from a jail in Florida. Looks good on him don't you think?

Clare L. Pieuk

The three missing words!

MetisOnline is back up 100% - if you can - take a look at this poem by one of our supporters:

It deserves to be read everywhere.

Darcey (Jerome)
Dear Mr. Jerome:
Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. We encourage readers to visit Metisonline to read the poem.
We noticed Team Godon is conducting another a poll which will be a source of invaluable information in shaping presidential candidate Frank Godon's election platform.
However, we would like to suggest a slight but very important change to the wording:
Do you think it undemocratic for the current leader of the MMF to be involved in suing websites that speak out against him?
The three important missing words, in our opinion, are using taxpayer dollars. How many remaining Plaintiffs do you think would still be litigants if they were responsible for their own legal bills in a case that's been dragging on for years? We'd dare say they probably have no idea how much it has cost so far because the money is not coming out of their pockets rather the public's.
Clare L. Pieuk

Madam O's number 1!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "Another Plaintiff withdraws!"

Whaa Wha ..... should all go down like dominOs' now. Wonderful, thank you Mr. Flett for coming to your senses ..... better late than before the you know what hits the fan.

OOhhh I'm so happy, happy, happy.....

Dear O.
Thank you for wirting it's always nice to hear from you. We've always liked your use of the leter "o."
Clare L. Pieuk

Another Plaintiff withdraws!

Good Day Readers:

We just received the paperwork from MMF lawyer Murray Trachtenberg (; so can now discuss with you the latest Plaintiff to abandon his taxpayer financed claim against CyberSmokeSignals in the Federation's defamation lawsuit. It's former Interlake Regional Vice-President William Flett.

Mr. Flett ceased being a Provincial Board of Director June 26, 2006 so presumably his legal fees since then were paid using public money. This is significant because our information is he was the Director who either tabled a motion to sue CSS or seconded it - we believe the latter. We thank the gentleman for making a very prudent decision.

Three Plaintiffs remain who since June 29, 2006 continue to have their legal fees paid by taxpayers. They are (left to right) Rita Cullen, Darryl Montgomery and Joyce Langan. Anyone know if they'll be running in this year's election?

This bring the number to 5 who have signed Notices of Discontinuance the others being Richard DeLaRonde, Bonnie McIntyre, Darrel Desdlauriers and Rosemarie McPherson. Ron Chartrand Vice-President, Winnipeg Region was never part of the lawsuit.

Clare L. Pieuk






- and -



Notice of Discontinuance

1. A statement of claim in this action has been served

2. The plaintiff William Flett wholly discontinus his claim against the defendants, without costs to any of the parties. The within Notice of Discontinuance shall constitute a defence to any subsequent action as contemplated by Queen's Bench Rule 23.02(1).

January 17, 2010


Per: Murray N. Trachtenberg/Counsel for the plaintiffs


Per: Clare L. Pieuk Terry Belhumeur

Who's next?

The Public Eye (Turth To Power -; has left a new comment on your post, "Distance education 101!"

As fascinating as I find the views of a convicted felon on a pardoned felon, I think this class should make some time for the opinions of other guests of the American penal system. Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynski - both of whom have experienced American politics at the business end - may have some equally compelling thoughts to offer for consideration by the best and the brigtest at McGill.

. . . and , of course, for extra credit, the lads could go on to study the political views of such underrated luminaries as Charles Manson and John Wayne Gacy. . . .

Dear Public Eye:

Thank you for writing. Makes one wonder who will show up next and from where in a Canadian university classroom this time on a high density wide angled screen.

Clare L. Pieuk

Distance education 101!

Conrad Black addresses McGill students via prison phone
Graeme Hamilton, National Post
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Former U.S. president Richard Nixon and Conrad Black in an undated photo
MONTREAL • Conrad Black has published a thousand-page biography of Richard Nixon, but as he spoke to students at McGill University on Wednesday, he had all of 15 minutes to convey his thoughts on the former U.S. president. Anything longer, and the warden would have cut the call.

The rapid-fire lecture, delivered over the phone from within the walls of a Florida prison, touched on the late Mr. Nixon's Quaker upbringing, his views on race, the Vietnam War, the Watergate break-in and his years out of office. Through it all, the 20 undergraduates sat rapt, leaning forward to hear their guest lecturer's voice coming through a BlackBerry speaker phone.

McGill lecturer Adam Daifallah, who helped research Lord Black's Nixon book, arranged the call as a surprise to students in his political science course on the Conservative Movement in North America. They submitted questions without knowing who would be answering. "You are the first people to hear his voice in more than two years, because he's in prison," Mr. Daifallah said after the call.

Lord Black, who founded the National Post and was chairman and chief executive office of Hollinger International, is serving 6½ years for fraud and obstruction of justice. The U.S. Supreme Court heard an appeal of his fraud convictions last month.

Lord Black never referred to his own incarceration, but twice during the call, he had to pause as a recorded woman's voice announced: "This call is from a federal prison."

His sole topic was Mr. Nixon, another man who rose to great heights but was felled by scandal.

"I put it to all of you that he had the most successful four-year term as president of anyone in the history of the country, except Lincoln and Roosevelt's first and third terms," he said. "You have to know just what condition the country was in when he came into office. [President Lyndon Johnson] couldn't go anywhere without demonstrations. There were assassinations, skyjackings, riots everywhere - antiwar riots, race riots - and Nixon got them out of Vietnam, opened relations with China, signed the greatest arms-control agreement in history, improved relations with Russia, started the peace process in the Middle East, ended the draft, reduced the crime rate, founded the Environmental Protection Agency, founded hundreds of national parks ...
"It was a tremendously effective administration, and it is an extreme irony that it came to such an unhappy end on such a silly basis."

The "silly basis" was the 1972 Watergate burglary, in which operatives linked to Mr. Nixon's re-election campaign broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

"When examined, Watergate is not a serious scandal," Lord Black told the students. "Now, there are all sorts of distasteful things that went on, but the only allegation against Nixon that holds any water at all is this question of whether he directed Republican Party funds to, in effect, alter testimony by the people who broke into the Watergate. There is some evidence that that may have happened, but it's not all that clear that he was doing that." At best, he said, it was "a terribly thin thread on which to remove a president from office," but that is what would have happened had Mr. Nixon not resigned in 1974.

"And really, the rest of it is rubbish," he continued. "The conduct of other presidents is not incomparably better than Nixon's conduct."

Tom Velk, a professor of economics and head of McGill's North American Studies program, nodded his head as he listened to the defence of Mr. Nixon. Afterwards, he drew a parallel between the former media baron and the disgraced president.

"I think it's perfectly balanced, in some sense, that here's Conrad Black, who was put in jail by his enemies, and he doesn't really belong there," Mr. Velk said. "He didn't behave completely properly, but on the other hand he certainly doesn't deserve what has happened to him. And I think it's similar for Nixon."

He acknowledged that it is unusual for a university to invite a prisoner to lecture. "I'm sure we'll get attacked for it, and to hell with them," he said. "Freedom of speech is something I understand we still enjoy in this country. Conrad Black is a very serious mind. He wrote a very serious book about Nixon, and I see no harm in asking him the rather scholarly, academic questions that these students posed to him."

Lord Black ended his address with reflections on the Nixon he got to know toward the end of his life: A courteous man with a good sense of humour who "got up every day to confound his enemies."

Time was up, and Lord Black, who is teaching fellow inmates American history and English, said he had to get to his next group of students. "They are, from all I can see, in much more need of it than you people there," he said. "Thank you all for attending."

The McGill students applauded.

The ultimate multi-media device?

No shopping in your pyjamas!

Tesco ban on shoppers in pyjamas
A Tesco store has asked customers not to shop in their pyjamas or barefoot.

Notices have been put up in the chain's supermarket in St Mellons in Cardiff saying: "Footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted."

A spokesman said Tesco did not have a strict dress code but it does not want people shopping in their nightwear in case it offends other customers.

He said he was not aware of any other Tesco stores having to put up similar signs.

The signs, placed at the entrance to the store, read: "To avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted)."

The spokesman said: "We're not a nightclub with a strict dress code, and jeans and trainers are of course more than welcome.

"We do, however, request that customers do not shop in their PJs or nightgowns.

"This is to avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hey that's our MP you're talking about!

Good Day Readers:

Found this posted by The public Eye (Truth To Power -; It's from Winnipeg Free Press reporter Dan Lett's Blog The Sausage Factory and offers an excellent analysis of Manitoba's federal Conservative Members of Parliament. What caught our attention were Mr. Lett's fascinating comments about MP Shelly Glover who represents the St. Boniface Riding where we live. Well worth the read.
Clare L. Pieuk
"Winners, Losers and the Victim of short-term memory"
Winners, losers and the victim of short-term memory

by Dan Lett

As originally posted on: The Sausage Factory
January 20, 2010

We, the chattering media classes, love to pick winners and losers in cabinet shuffles. But when Manitoba's regional minister and senior government MP, Vic Toews, was shuffled from Treasury Board to Public Safety, it was hard to figure out exactly what happened. In a rare moment of sober reflection, Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to have tried to move people into jobs where he thinks they will do the best job and not a place where they will inflict the greatest harm.

Moving from TB to PS is a lateral move to be sure; it's not a demotion and it's hard to see where it's a promotion. Both are A-list cabinet jobs and given the trouble Toews has been through in the past couple of years, it's a testament to his internal political acumen that he's been able to keep a good job in cabinet. This is a prime minister who's not afraid to knee-cap underperforming or incompetent ministers. You'll find the latest evidence of this on Ontario MP and former Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt's haunches.

Interestingly, national news organizations saw Toews' move to Public Safety, and the insertion of Stockwell Day as the new Treasury Board president as a sign that Harper wanted a stronger, steadier, more fiscally conservative hand on TB as the government heads into what is expected to be a vicious cost-cutting exercise, designed to reduce the burgeoning federal deficit. The Globe and Mail's Jane Taber certainly saw it this way:

"Moving fiscal Conservative and former Alberta finance minister Stockwell Day into the key role of Treasury Board president signals the Prime Minister needs a disciplinarian in that post to tell his colleagues "no" when they come begging for more money."

I'm not entirely sure if Day is any more fiscally Conservative, or conservative for that matter, than Toews. As for saying 'no' to colleagues, best to ask Manitoba's other Tory MPs about how good Toews is at dismissing their needs and wants. But Day is closer to the prime minister and probably a bit more respected within the Tory caucus. And he wears splendid suits.

You do have to give Toews some credit for landing on his feet. Although the suggestion he isn't conservative enough, or tough enough, to oversee budget cutting is unflattering, he no doubt is loving his new assignment as the country's top spy/border guard/anti-terrorism guru. And perhaps not being the guy with his hand on the budget-slashing knife is a blessing, not a curse.

With Toews' stock rising, who in Manitoba's Tory caucus is sliding out of favor? Winnipeg South Rod Bruinooge has been lurking near the bottom of the caucus stock market for some time after his incomprehensible decision to reveal himself as the chair of a parliamentary pro-life caucus. But he may have been replaced at the bottom of the heap by St. Boniface MP Shelly Glover who pulled off one of the great live-TV boners of all time recently.

In a CBC Newsworld panel discussion on the recent prorogation of parliament, Glover was asked by host Evan Solomon to comment on the tirade delivered by Calgary political scientist and former Harper chief of staff Tom Flanagan, who accused his former boss of "childish" attempts at justifying the prorogation. Flanagan's comments were widely reported. Glover, however, had apparently not heard of them.

When Solomon asked Glover to respond to Flanagan's comments, she laid a huge egg when she admitted she had never heard of Flanagan, Harper's mentor and the ideological godfather of the Reform Party movement:

"I've hard some of the allegations made by someone named Tom Flanagan - I don't know who he is. I have never seen him on Parliament Hill. He is a Canadian I understand and he's entitled to his opinion."

Glover admitted before the egg appeared that she was having trouble with her ear piece and so did not hear Solomon's intro, in which he identified Flanagan as a former chief of staff and actually played a clip of Flanagan's rant. Fair enough. But in his question to Glover, he again identifies Flanagan as someone who was "very close to the prime minister" and "a former chief of staff." That was not apparently enough to twig Glover to what was going on.

Tory bloggers have attempted to spin this as a deliberate attempt to disown Flanagan for criticizing Harper. Sort of a "he's dead to me now" kind of approach. Watch the video. That doesn't fly.

Glover's victory in St. Boniface was a great get for the Tories. Her background as a police spokeswoman makes her telegenic, confident under the television lights, and more than a little articulate. However, running the morning copper news conference and hand-to-hand combat on a Newsworld panel are two entirely different challenges.

I know the Conservatives eschew academics and intellectuals as elites who are not in touch with the common people of this great country. But having to admit on national television that you don't know a man who was probably as influential as anyone in this country in rebuilding the right wing of Canadian politics in the post-Mulroney era is a strange way of ensuring people don't confuse you with an academic or an intellectual.

The real question is, will Ms. Short-Term Memory be punished, or rewarded, for inadvertently disowning Flanagan?

Heeer's Murray!;

January 27, 2010

Posner & Trachtneberg
710-491 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 2E4

File No. 2003-20
Via Fax

January 27, 2010

Court of Queen's Bench
Law Courts Building
Room 226 - 408 York Avenut
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0P9

Attention: Honourable Madam Justice K.I. Simonsen

Dear Justice Simonsen:

Re: Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. et al vs. Terry Belhumeur et al
Queen's Bench File No. Ci 05-01-41955

This is further to your direction contained in (Next 7 words deleted because of a Publicantion Ban granted Mr. Trachtenberg).

I have not received a copy of any notice of motion or affidavit from Mr. Pieuk. I am therefore unable to advise as to when I will file responding materials or whether I would like to have the motion heard prior to February 4, 2010.

Yours truly,

cc: Clare L. Pieuk (via email)
cc: Terry Belhumeur (via email)

The Model Senator: "Excellent hands and a little full of himself?"

Photogs recall Scott Brown’s ease in front of camera
‘He was drop-dead gorgeous’
By Jill Radsken
Boston Herald Fashion Reporter
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The regular-guy image that helped propel Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate was cultivated from his roots as a ruggedly handsome male model years ago.

The buff, 50-year-old GOP rising star spent more than a decade in front of the cameras for Boston’s top fashion and commercial photographers.

“He was drop-dead gorgeous,” said Maggie Trichon, owner of Maggie Inc., which represented Brown during the 1980s. “A lot of people can be great-looking and freeze. Scott just came to life in front of the camera.”

“I definitely booked him,” added photographer Carolyn Ross. “He had a good look for a lot we were doing. He wasn’t too pretty-boy and wasn’t too gruff.”

At her Newbury Street office, Trichon pulled out old portfolio photos of Brown.

Along with test shots - Brown posing with a wrench in front of an industrial wheel, or flashing a come-hither stare - are clothing measurements for the 6-foot-1-inch high school hoops star. Suit: 40 R/L. Waist: 32. Inseam: 34.

Also noted: “Excellent hands.”

“He did a lot of hand work,” said Trichon, praising his “straight fingers, perfect nails” and ability to “hold things correctly.”

Ross photographed Brown for Jordan Marsh and Work Guard, a workwear company. “He had a good look - dark hair and handsome,” she said.

Ross lost track of Brown, but re-enountered him last year at a charity event. She had won a Boston-themed basket in a silent auction that included a lunch date with then-state Senator Brown. But when her husband called to arrange the get-together, his assistant seemed reluctant to acknowledge Brown’s pin-up past.

“The assistant told me, ‘Scott Brown doesn’t know your wife and never modeled,’ ” Ross’ husband said.

“I was floored. His assistant said, ‘You must be mistaking him for someone else.’ ” But after the 1982 nude Cosmopolitan centerfold resurfaced during the Senate race, there was no denying the modeling career that helped him pay for law school and introduced him to his wife, WCVB-TV news reporter Gail Huff, who also modeled for Maggie Inc.

“She was always very talented,” said Trichon, who also still has Huff’s old composites. But, Trichon added, “she was more of a commercial model than fashion model.”

Huff’s stints included lingerie shoots for the old Jordan Marsh; she was also in the 1984 MTV hit video for Boston rocker Digney Fignus’ “The Girl With the Curious Hands.”

Most photographers who worked with him recalled Brown as “ordinary” and “nondescript,” but fellow model Jake Tedaldi remembers him as a “a little full of himself.”

“Some people are genuine and others are not,” said Tedaldi, now a veterinarian. “He was not the kind of person who I would want to have my back.”

Tedaldi recalled several catalog shoots he did with Brown in Boston’s Leather District. He also remembers getting a lift from Brown, who in those days was driving a beat-up white Mercedes sedan, not a macho pickup truck.

Modeling, it seems, runs in the Brown family. Trichon now represents Brown’s younger daughter, Ariana, who works when she’s home from college.

Facebook under investigation in Canada - again!

Privacy: Facebook under investigation in Canada
Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Getty Images Facebook log-in screen (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)
OTTAWA -- Canada's private watchdog announced Wednesday a new investigation into Facebook after fielding a fresh complaint about a new tool launched at the popular social networking site.

The probe comes on the heels of a sweeping investigation last year, in which Canada's privacy commissioner ordered Facebook to change a number of privacy policies and practices to comply with Canada's private-sector privacy law.

The new complaint focuses on a tool introduced last month, requiring users to review their privacy settings. Facebook made the change in response to the commissioner's first investigation.

The complainant alleges that the new default settings would have made his information more readily available than the settings he had previously put in place.

"The individual's complaint mirrors some of the concerns that our Office has heard and expressed to Facebook in recent months," said Elizabeth Denham, the Assistant Privacy Commissioner who spearheaded the original investigation and follow-up.

"Some Facebook users are disappointed by certain changes being made to the site -- changes that were supposed to strengthen their privacy and the protection of their personal information."

Last July, Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart released findings of an indepth examination of the privacy issues raised by the California-based site, which now claims 350 million users worldwide.

Key concerns related to Facebook's transparency and clarity, including the need to better explain how it handles the personal information and how it shares personal information with third-parties.

The report also recommended that Facebook provide users with increased control over their personal information. In August, Facebook agreed to modify its site in ways that would address the Commissioner's concerns.

Since then, however, "changes to the site's privacy information, settings and tools have sparked criticism from users who feel that personal information posted to the site is, in some instances, even more exposed now than before," according to the commissioner.

"Na zdrowie Canadians jestes wspanialy!"

Pope used belt to whip himself
John Paul II practised self-mortification, often slept on bare floor to feel closer to Jesus, author says
Nicole Winfield
Wednesday, January 27 2010
Pope John Paul II listens to Prime Minister Jean Chretien greet him in a special ceremony in a hanger after arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto to kick of events leading into World Youth Day, July 23, 2002. (STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)
VATICAN CITY (Associated Press) –Pope John Paul II whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case.

The book Why He's a Saint also includes previously unpublished speeches and documents written by John Paul, including one 1989 memo in which he said he would resign if he became incapacitated.

The book also reported for the first time that John Paul forgave his would-be assassin in the ambulance on the way to the hospital moments after he was shot on May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square. And it reported that he initially thought his attacker was a member of the Italian terrorist organization the Red Brigades.

The book, written by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the main promoter for John Paul's canonization cause, was released Tuesday. It was based on the testimony of 114 witnesses and boxes of documentation Oder gathered on John Paul's life to support the case.

At a news conference Tuesday, Oder defended John Paul's practice of self-mortification, which some faithful use to remind them of the suffering of Jesus on the cross.

"It's an instrument of Christian perfection," Oder said, responding to questions about how such a practice could be condoned considering Catholic teaching holds that the human body is a gift from God.

In the book, Oder wrote that John Paul frequently denied himself food – especially during the holy season of Lent – and "frequently spent the night on the bare floor," messing up his bed in the morning so he wouldn't draw attention to his act of penitence.

"But it wasn't limited to this. As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears, John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo," the papal retreat where John Paul vacationed.

While there had long been rumours that John Paul practised self-mortification, the book provides the first confirmation and concludes he did so as an example of his faith.

Many saints, including St. Francis of Assisi, St Catherine of Siena and St. Ignatius of Loyola, practised flagellation and asceticism as part of their spiritual life.

John Paul, who died in 2005, moved closer to sainthood last month when Pope Benedict approved a decree recognizing that his predecessor had lived the Christian faith heroically.

The Vatican must now confirm that a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession occurred in order for him to be beatified – a step many Vatican watchers suggested may come as early as October. Oder declined to speculate on a date.

With files from Reuters