tarek loubani: "in the absence of evidence, sher is being tried in the court of public opinion"

From the London Free Press, by Tarek Loubani:
As a member of London's medical and Muslim communities, I was surprised to read the news that Dr. Khurram Sher was arrested Thursday along with two others, accused in a terrorism-related plot.

I was also surprised -- and became increasingly concerned -- as more information was published regarding the allegations. Our system of justice is built on the zealous presumption of innocence, yet this man and the Muslim community around him have already been judged. In the absence of evidence, Sher is being tried in the court of public opinion.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' spokesperson already found Sher guilty in comments to The Toronto Star. Even The London Free Press's headline of Byron terror bust left little room for the presumption of innocence. The effects are chilling for all, and leave Muslims and non-Muslims feeling tense and unsafe in the rush to accept arrests as guilty verdicts.

It is the same disturbing pattern we saw with the Toronto 18, even as the numbers dwindled and charges were stayed.

It shouldn't need saying that most Muslim Canadians are law-abiding citizens who abhor violence and terrorism, and are committed to the safety of their communities. Yet we find ourselves as one of the only communities in Canada compelled to write public statements when members of our community are alleged to have done something.

When we do speak up, we are expected only to assert our "Canadian-ness," rather than raise serious questions about due process and intelligence agencies with poor human rights records -- questions shared by many Canadians and sorely in need of addressing.

Read more here. Thanks to David H for sharing.

mom visit starts today

My mom comes in today for her annual visit, staying until Friday morning.

I would have ordered last week's weather - cool, dry and autumnal - rather than this week's heat and oppressive humidity, but no one had the courtesy to ask. I hope the heat won't be prohibitive, as we have a much better time if we are out doing things.

This year the plan is Mississauga and St. Jacobs. There are a few cultural and historical things to do in Mississauga - which proves that there's culture everywhere - and I thought we might drive around and do them all in one day, plus maybe a park or a lakeshore stroll. St. Jacobs is not for the outlet stores or the cutesy factor, but for quilts and glassware. My mom loves handwork of all kinds, especially glass, and St. Jacobs has a quilt museum and several glass studios. (Last year we went to the Textile Museum of Canada; we both loved it.) We'll probably hang out in St. Jacobs, or perhaps in nearby Elora, for dinner and miss the traffic on the 401.

Tonight I'm making a special dinner, which is very easy to do for my mother. She's the world's least critical guest. Perhaps my mom developed her attitude of absolutely loving everything! to balance out my other parent's chronic complaining and criticizing. But he's long gone, and we're left with my mom's happy, open spirit and her constant enjoyment of life. I'm very lucky that way.


islamophobia in the u.s. is an "increasingly vehement, nationwide movement"

Our comments in this post morphed - predictably, I think - into a conversation about the insanity taking place in the US against the planned Muslim cultural centre in lower Manhattan. In a recent column, Haroon Siddiqui pointed out that:
This theme has emerged in opposition to mosque projects in California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, New York state, Texas and Tennessee.
but concludes:
These groups are noisy but marginal. This is the opposite of Europe, where Islamophobia has gone mainstream. In North America, it is still held in disdain.

From what I gather, Islamophobia is much deadlier and more virulent in Europe, but I think Siddiqui is misreading the situation in the US, perhaps confusing it with the more mild forms of Islamophobia we see in Canada. (I'm using "mild" as a relative term here, not to excuse or explain away.)

Islamophobia is indeed held in disdain by many good people in the US, but in a country founded and built on racism, any bigoted movement can quickly gain traction - especially when the actions of the government do nothing but reinforce the hatred. This is, after all, a country where more than half the national budget is spent on wars against Muslim countries.

Glenn Greenwald:
One of the most under-reported political stories is the increasingly vehement, nationwide movement -- far from Ground Zero -- to oppose new mosques and Islamic community centers. These ugly campaigns are found across the country, in every region, and extend far beyond the warped extremists who are doing things such as sponsoring "Burn a Quran Day." And now, from CBS News last night, we have this:
Fire at Tenn. Mosque Building Site Ruled Arson

Federal officials are investigating a fire that started overnight at the site of a new Islamic center in a Nashville suburb.

Ben Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department confirmed to CBS Affiliate WTVF that the fire, which burned construction equipment at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is being ruled as arson. . . .

The chair of the center's planning committee, Essim Fathy, said he drove to the site at around 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning after he was contacted by the sheriff's department.

"Our people and community are so worried of what else can happen," said Fathy. "They are so scared" . . .

Opponents of a new Islamic center say they believe the mosque will be more than a place of prayer; they are afraid the 15-acre site that was once farmland will be turned into a terrorist training ground for Muslim militants bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.

"They are not a religion. They are a political, militaristic group," Bob Shelton, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in the area, told The Associated Press.

Shelton was among several hundred demonstrators who recently wore "Vote for Jesus" T-shirts and carried signs that said "No Sharia law for USA!," referring to the Islamic code of law.

Others took their opposition further, spray painting a sign announcing the "Future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro" and tearing it up.

Earlier this summer opponents criticized the planned mosque at hearings held by the Rutherford County Commission, as supporters held prayer vigils.

At one such prayer vigil, WTVF reported opponents speaking out against construction.

"No mosque in Murfreesboro. I don't want it. I don't want them here," Evy Summers said to WTVF. "Go start their own country overseas somewhere. This is a Christian country. It was based on Christianity."

The arsonists undoubtedly will be happy to tell you how much they hate Terrorism. And how there's a War on Christianity underway in the U.S. The harm from these actions are not merely the physical damage they cause, but also the well-grounded fear it imposes on a minority of the American population. If you launch a nationwide, anti-Islamic campaign in Lower Manhattan based on the toxic premise that Muslims generally are responsible for 9/11 -- and spend a decade expanding American wars on one Muslim country after the next -- this is the inevitable, and obviously dangerous, outcome.

Why should non-Muslim Americans care about this? Besides the same reasons white Americans needed to care about civil rights, non-gay Americans need to care about same-sex marriage, and men need to care about feminism, because what kind of world do we want to live in? Besides that. This growing hatred against an imagined internal enemy is one of the requirements of the fascist shift. How much clearer can the parallels be?

end canine profiling: support hershey's bill

Also five years on: Ontario's discriminatory anti-pit-bull law. Many thanks to the organizers and attendees of yesterday's rally in Toronto, and to MPP Cheri DiNovo for everything she's done.

In the Star: Dog owners want same laws for all breeds.

One law for all. Is that too much to ask?

Stop K9 Profiling

five years ago today, we move to canada

The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is also the fifth anniversary of the day we moved to Canada.

drive_north 011

It's a poignant anniversary, as two members of that family are gone now.

Cody was in a den of boxes at the far back of the World Fullest Mini Van™. She had no grey fur yet!

drive_north 007

Buster was in the front, between us, touching me in some way for the entire trip. We had a cooler full of special food and medication for him.

drive_north 001

So much has changed since then. Allan often says that his day-to-day life has changed little since moving to Canada, but I feel that mine has changed drastically. Suburban life, our friends here, the war resisters campaign, grad school - all new. I'm not writing professionally; I'm looking towards a new career.

Five years doesn't seem that long, but it's a lifetime of sorts.


the u.s. police state at home and abroad

I found three items in my inbox, seemingly unrelated, but in reality, inextricably connected. Think of their implications, on the people of the US and on the world.

First we have The Real News' Paul Jay speaking with author Eric Margolis. The former head of the MI5, the British equivalent of the FBI or the RCMP, admits that the Iraq War was based on lies and deception - but consumers of mainstream US news never hear this.

Next we have Glenn Greenwald musing on the The Washington Post's revelations of a secret US government, spying on nearly everyone - certainly including its own citizens. Jeremy Scahill, writing in The Nation, points out that this has all been known and reported on before, but a major corporate media report should at least raise an eyebrow. But no one makes a peep. Greenwald:
This all "amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight." We chirp endlessly about the Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, the Democrats and Republicans, but this is the Real U.S. Government: functioning in total darkness, beyond elections and parties, so secret, vast and powerful that it evades the control or knowledge of any one person or even any organization.

Anyone who thinks that's hyperbole should just read some of what Priest and Arkin chronicle. Consider this: "Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications." To call that an out-of-control, privacy-destroying Surveillance State is to understate the case. Equally understated is the observation that we have become a militarized nation living under an omnipotent, self-perpetuating, bankrupting National Security State.

I find reading Greenwald on the WaPo expose more edifying than the Top Secret America project itself, for the context and commentary he brings.

And then one more piece, this by Ed Brayton, who tirelessly chronicles (among other things) the epidemic of police abuse of power in North America. This one is particularly brutal. Brayton quotes Alison Kilkenny, who some of you know as the partner of comic Jamie Kilstein.
Late one night in October, a 17-year-old on a bike was chased by a police officer in a cruiser. When the boy refused to stop, the officer aimed his Taser out the driver's window and fired. The boy fell off the bike and the cruiser ran over him, killing him.

Another report on the same incident:

At about 12:45 a.m., said Moultrie, Victor left on a borrowed bike. From there to where the chase started was about four and a half miles. But it was about 1:45 a.m. that Officer Jerald Ard spotted Victor. Where Victor went after leaving Moultrie's house is unclear.

Ard would later say that he tried to stop Victor because he had seen him at a construction site and thought he may have stolen something. But witness Victor Stallworth said he saw Victor ride his bicycle past the construction site without stopping. Months later, Ard gave investigators a different reason for stopping Victor: He didn't have a light on his bike -- only two reflectors.

A video camera on the dashboard of Ard's squad car recorded the brief chase:

Ard spotted Victor and did a fast U-turn to stop him. When Victor didn't stop, Ard veered to the wrong side of the street and up on the sidewalk behind the teenager.

The officer revved the motor, his tires screeching, as he followed Victor into the side yard of an apartment building. With his flashers and PA system on, Ard yelled at Victor to "stop the bike."

It is unclear why Victor disobeyed the order to stop, but the teenager continued pedaling, trying to escape. Ard followed his every move, driving in and out of the wrong lane of traffic and up onto the sidewalk again. One minute and seven seconds into the chase Ard fired his Taser at Victor, who turned into a parking lot. About two seconds later, Victor fell to the ground and Ard ran over him.

And if that isn't enough to make your blood boil, this certainly should:

A video, taken from the dashboard of another officer's car, recorded what happened in the minutes before the discovery:

Three officers squatted next to Ard's car, looking under it at Victor. Ard unlocked the passenger side of his car and got something out. The object is light-colored and floppy, but isn't clearly visible. Ard, holding the object, crawled under the car next to Victor's body and stayed there for 40 seconds. Two minutes later, paramedics found a 9mm silver and black semi-automatic in Victor's pocket.

Lab tests showed the gun had been wiped clean. No fingerprints were on it -- not Victor's, not anyone's. Victor's family, as well as his pastors and friends, were aghast. Victor was scared of guns, they said. He would not have carried a gun around.

None of this is particularly unusual. The officers in the Atlanta PD drug squad who turned state's evidence against their colleagues testified that virtually every officer in the department kept bags full of drugs in the trunks of their squad cars to plant on people.

And guess what? A judge decided that the officer had not done anything wrong by firing a taser at a kid on a bike on the false basis that he might have stolen something that had never been reported stolen.

If this incident shocks you, consider that Brayton blogs about this kind of thing all the time.

So we see a police state on the macro level, as the US attempts to monitor and control nearly the entire world, and a police state on the local level, as police officers operate as uniformed organized crime units. And we see a public largely ignorant of either condition.

To the usual protestations that the US is not a police state, because the person speaking is free to come and go as she chooses, I retort that in every police state, some people remain free and some live under siege. Historically, in any former or current authoritarian society - be it East Germany, Argentina, South Africa or elsewhere - some portion of the population lived well and undisturbed, and some lived in fear and degradation.

Apartheid-era South Africa was a lovely, comfortable society for well-off white people. So can it be said that South Africa was a free society? Whether the distinction is based on class, colour, ethnic origin, or anything else, how can we say a society is free, if a large percentage of its population is harassed, spied on, preyed on, even murdered, with no access to justice and zero consequences to the perpetrators? I explored this theme in this previous post, which documents the millions of law-abiding New Yorkers who live in a police state today.

And if we must look at everything from a purely selfish level, does this map include you? If Winston Smith believed himself to be free, did that make him free?

Around the globe, the US makes war against anyone who challenges its global empire, or happens to live in the way of resources it claims as its own. At home, it makes war against the poor, the ranks of which are growing exponentially.

And the vast majority of its citizens continues to believe they live in a democracy and a free society, because no one tells them otherwise. If anyone does try to raise an alarm, most people have no context in which to place the information; it sounds completely bizarre, and they automatically reject it. Or, increasingly, the bell is a false alarm, ringing backwards, sounded by the people who foment and profit from fascism.


view from my kitchen

This was hanging in the kitchen when I came home from work. It wasn't there when I left this morning!


a few notes on how crazy my country of origin has become

My classes don't start until September 13, but next week my mother is here, so my time is suddenly very limited. As my last days of relative freedom tick away, I'm combing through some very old email in my inbox, to see what I can read, post and/or dispose of. I found a neat juxtaposition between two links sent by two of my main link-senders.

First, Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones, makes a dead-on assessment of the Obama administration. Thanks to James.
Here's the good news: this record of progressive accomplishment officially makes Obama the most successful domestic Democratic president of the last 40 years. And here's the bad news: this shoddy collection of centrist, watered down, corporatist sellout legislation was all it took to make Obama the most successful domestic Democratic president of the last 40 years. Take your pick.

Widening the lens, Glenn Greenwald dissects the greatest hoax perpetrated in my lifetime: "The Liberal Media". This one is longer, but like all of Greenwald's columns, very much worth your time. Sent by my Greenwald correspondent, redsock.
First, consider which viewpoints cause someone to be fired from The Liberal Media. Last month, Helen Thomas' 60-year career as a journalist ended when she expressed the exact view about Jews which numerous public figures have expressed (with no consequence or even controversy) about Palestinians. Just weeks ago, The Washington Post accepted the "resignation" of Dave Weigel because of scorn he heaped on right-wing figures such as Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh. CNN's Chief News Executive, Eason Jordan, was previously forced to resign after he provoked a right-wing fit of fury over comments he made about the numerous -- and obviously disturbing -- incidents where the U.S. military had injured or killed journalists in war zones. NBC fired Peter Arnett for criticizing the U.S. war plan on Iraqi television, which prompted accusations of Treason from the Right. MSNBC demoted and then fired its rising star Ashleigh Banfield after she criticized American media war coverage for adhering to the Fox model of glorifying U.S. wars; the same network fired its top-rated host, Phil Donahue, due to its fear of being perceived as anti-war; and its former reporter, Jessica Yellin, confessed that journalists were "under enormous pressure from corporate executives" to present the news in a pro-war and pro-Bush manner.

What each of these firing offenses have in common is that they angered and offended the neocon Right. Isn't that a strange dynamic for the supposedly Liberal Media: the only viewpoint-based firings of journalists are ones where the journalist breaches neoconservative orthodoxy? Have there ever been any viewpoint-based firings of establishment journalists by The Liberal Media because of comments which offended liberals? None that I can recall. I foolishly thought that when George Bush's own Press Secretary mocked the American media for being "too deferential" to the Bush administration, that would at least put a dent in that most fictitious American myth: The Liberal Media. But it didn't; nothing does, not even the endless spate of journalist firings for deviating from right-wing dogma.

. . . .

Then there's the Nasr case itself. Look at how our discourse is completely distorted and dumbed-down by the same stunted, cartoonish neocon orthodoxies that have also destroyed our foreign policy. In our standard political discussions, the simplistic and false notion -- obviously accepted by CNN -- drives the discussion: Fadlallah is an Evil Hezbollah Terrorist!!, and Nasr probably is as well given the "respect" she expressed for him during his death. Thus: CNN got caught employing an Israel-hating Terrorist-lover, and once she revealed herself, she had to be fired immediately!!!! That really is the primitive level of agitprop churned out by neocon polemicists and then dutifully ingested and embraced by CNN.

The reality, though, is completely different. [More here, with copious links.]

I tune out a good deal of US news and distraction, but inevitably, someone solicits my opinion. When people ask me what I think about the "mosque at ground zero" controversy, and I can't even begin to stutter an answer. You mean, the Muslim cultural centre in lower Manhattan? Why are we allowing bigots and jingoists to define our speech? It's not ground zero, some mythical mirage of the worst thing that's ever happened in the history of ever. It's a real place with a real name: lower Manhattan. It's not a mosque, and if it were? Why should Muslim prayer be prohibited there? Imagine if churches couldn't be built near the former sites of any US-led or -funded terrorism exploits. Christians would have to colonize the Moon.

chelsea baker, little league superstar

If Eri Yoshida doesn't break baseball's gender barrier, maybe Chelsea Baker will.

This is the kind of story I used to go after when I wrote for kids' magazines. So if you know any kids, send them this link. The original on ESPN.com has video, plus a sidebar about women in profressional baseball.
In a league of her own
By Ben Houser

PLANT CITY, Fla. -- She registered another perfect pitching record this year, 12-0, for her Little League team.

She threw her second perfect game -- and predicted this one just hours before she did it.

Her fastball hits the mid-60s, and she can send opponents to the bench in tears, embarrassing them with a knuckleball she learned from former major league knuckleball legend Joe Niekro.

Meet Chelsea Baker, a girl pitcher in a boys' league.

Heads are turning in Plant City, where Chelsea hasn't lost a sanctioned Little League game in four seasons.

Although it is a little early to call the 13-year-old the next big thing in baseball, she's a sought-after pitcher who has the attention of respected talent evaluators, including former Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette. They see grand possibilities in her developing knuckleball, already-hopping fastball and strong hitting skills that sparked a .604 batting average this past season.

"She is definitely one-of-a-kind," said Keith Maxwell, one of her coaches and a former minor leaguer who coaches Little Leaguers across several states. "I've had an opportunity to play with some girls coming up in Little League, and they were actually pretty good ballplayers. Some of them actually made all-star teams and that kind of stuff. Chelsea is on a whole different planet compared to them.

"Chelsea Baker is by far the best female 13-year-old girl [baseball player] in the United States. She is the best I've ever seen in my life hands down. The sky is the limit."

Baseball until she no longer wins

It's baseball, and it will be that way so long as Chelsea has a say.

"I don't like to play softball," she said.

Opponents' parents often remark about Chelsea -- not always quietly or kindly.

The most common: "'Go play softball with the girls' -- we get that a lot, and we have gotten that a lot over the last three years," her mother, Missy Mason Baker, said. "'When is she going to move to softball?' At some point, maybe she might have to go play softball, but right now as good as she is doing and she is able to keep up … and that is her goal, I am going to stand behind her and let her continue playing baseball as long as possible."

"She tried softball," said Rod Mason, her stepfather and coach. "She doesn't like it, so baseball is her deal."

His thoughts about when softball may enter the picture: "When she can't strike out little Johnny no more."

Such talk does not affect her, Chelsea said; it just motivates her.

"I think they say stuff like that because they are jealous," she said.

Chelsea's Little League teams are 95-8-2 the past four years with three city championships, one city championship runner-up, two tournament of champions titles and two District IV championships. She struck out 127 batters in 60 innings this year.

"After I usually strike somebody out with a knuckleball, they sometimes start crying back to the dugout, and a lot of them just like open their mouth like they can't believe it," she said.

"There's no crying in baseball, right?" said Duquette, the former Red Sox executive. "It's embarrassing to strike out anytime, but I'm sure for young boys it's probably more embarrassing to be struck out by a girl."

Corey Blanchette, a player on a team of all-stars from Pittsfield, Mass., laughed after recently becoming a victim.

"She got me on the two fastballs, and I didn't know she had a knuckle curve, and then the knuckle came in and it was just so dirty [good] I didn't know what to say," he said.

. . . .

Chelsea learned the knuckleball from one of the best: former major leaguer Joe Niekro, who died shortly after he taught her how to throw it. She met him in 2005 when she was a player on a baseball team he coached.

"I'm so happy that Joe's memory is living on; his legacy is continuing through Chelsea Baker learning how to throw the knuckleball," Duquette said. "The key for her will be commanding her knuckleball pitch and getting it in the strike zone consistently."

Breaking down barriers

All agree that consistency will be key for Chelsea.

But maybe just as important will be how she handles navigating the traditional boys' game as she moves forward and how the traditional boys' game treats her.

"It's unfortunate that boys feel so much pressure to perform well against the girls," Siegal said. "I know that Chelsea would like to be seen as a player, not just a girl playing baseball. And in our society, we have this myth that girls are weak and boys are strong. Chelsea's debunking that myth. And as soon as girls and boys realize that they can play the game together -- the whole game -- baseball, the greatest game on Earth, will become a better game for everyone."

Lance Niekro, Joe's son, played in the major leagues with the San Francisco Giants for four seasons. He watched Chelsea pitch in her regular-season finale in a pitching duel against his younger brother, J.J. Niekro.

"Who are we to say that she can't play baseball?" Lance Niekro said. "There's no rule that states that. So as long as she's doing well and people want her on their team, I don't see why she shouldn't be allowed to play. If parents have something to say [about a girl playing baseball], then maybe that's the parent whose kid is striking out against Chelsea.

"With the success that Chelsea has had now, throwing a couple of perfect games … boys will learn not to make fun of her."

Siegal said that negative remarks are only now beginning for Chelsea and her family.

"Once you start playing in high school, the sexual jeers get more intense," said Siegal, who pitched and played shortstop on a high school boys' baseball team in the 1990s. "As a pitcher, I had a lot of sexual comments directed towards me that are not PG for ESPN. But as a pitcher, a female, who wants to succeed at the game, you have to be able to hear those words and then ignore them and continue your game.

"Chelsea's doing a great job with the taunts as a 13-year-old, and she'll have to do even better and continue to focus as she gets older with the high school level as the taunts get more intense."

Duquette seems to think that being a female won't be a factor in how far Chelsea is able to go in her baseball career.

"People will recognize Chelsea Baker, and they'll promote her based on her skill," he said. "Her gender won't really matter to anybody if she develops the skills. She'll find the opportunity.

"I know that there are some physical limitations that will not allow the girls to compete with the boys on higher levels, but if Chelsea Baker can perfect her knuckleball, she has a chance. The knuckleball is a great equalizer, and that would give her an out pitch, where she could get hitters out, irrespective of their sex and irrespective of their level."

As Chelsea heads into eighth grade next year, she is already thinking about high school. She plans to try out for the high school boys' baseball team.

Plant City high school baseball coach Mark Persails, who played for 12 years with Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros, is looking forward to her coming of age. . . .

seth klein: what has happened to canada's compassion?

I hope you will read this excellent Op-Ed by Seth Klein, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' BC office, writing in The Province:
What's happened to Canada's compassion?

If the 492 Tamil asylum-seekers who recently arrived by boat on B.C.'s shores are "queue-jumpers," then I guess my parents were too.

They came as Vietnam War draft dodgers from the U.S. in 1967. Like a couple of the Tamil women who just arrived, my mom was pregnant with me. My parents did not seek advance permission from Ottawa to immigrate. They did not fill out any paperwork before arriving. And they could no more seek permission to leave from their home government than these Tamils could, for what they were doing, as far as the U.S. was concerned, was illegal and would result in my father's arrest.

Of course that's the thing about being an asylum-seeker — you don't get into a queue. When you've got to go, you've got to go.

My folks didn't even know Montreal, where they landed, was a predominantly French-speaking city. They just showed up. A key difference, however, was that in those days, they got landed-immigrant status in 20 minutes at the airport. While estimates vary, over the course of the Vietnam War, as many as 100,000 American war resisters came to Canada. Yet here we are setting our hair on fire about 492 people.

But those aren't the only numeric comparisons I find curious.

Among the common reactions to the arrival of the MV Sun Sea is the proposition that Canada's alleged lax immigration laws make us a global sucker — a target for many of the world's migrants. This is absurd.

World conflicts, environmental disasters and a global economic system that keeps billions impoverished has resulted in millions upon millions of refugees and displaced people. In Pakistan alone, the current flooding has produced as many as 14 million internally displaced people. Globally, the United Nations says, there are more than 43 million "forcibly displaced people," of which some 15 million are refugees.

The vast majority of these globally displaced people are not being absorbed by wealthy countries, but rather internally or by neighbouring poor countries — the places least able to afford the costs and with the bleakest economic prospects. The number of refugees accepted by Canada has declined in recent years, and last year we accepted fewer than 20,000 — just over 0.1 per cent of global refugees. Surely, when a few hundred people arrive on our shores, we can afford to treat them with respect and grant them due process.

Here's another curious comparison: The real and much more significant Canadian immigration story of recent years, at least measured numerically, isn't about refugees or people arriving by boats. It's about the explosion in the number of temporary foreign workers. The number of those workers entering Canada each year now exceeds 200,000 and surpasses immigrants.

But the Harper government hasn't been sounding the alarm about this. On the contrary, the federal government has been promoting and facilitating the massive growth in this category of migrants. Why? Because unlike regular immigrants and refugees, these workers are being specifically requested by employers, their indentured status makes them unable to exercise key employment rights and leaves them highly vulnerable to exploitation and unsafe conditions, and they are unable to make the same claims to the social and economic rights that Canadians take for granted.

Immigration is central to the story of Canada. Waves of people came, mostly to meet a domestic need for labour, but sometimes fleeing harm and conflict. But historically, once people arrived, either as immigrants or refugees, they were upon landing met with a social contract: They could avail themselves of the social and economic rights Canadians enjoyed, and in a few years could be granted citizenship.

With the explosion of temporary workers and tightening of regular immigration, the government is effectively saying, "that deal is off — we're happy to have temporary indentured labour, but don't think you can be a Canadian."

When my parents arrived, some Canadians slapped unwelcome labels on the war resisters, but the government itself refrained from such labelling. By and large, the draft dodgers were welcomed, and went on to make valuable contributions to Canada. Much the same can be said of the Vietnamese boat people who arrived in the late 1970s. Why can't better receptions be the norm?

A key difference today is that the government itself immediately labelled the Tamil asylum-seekers as terrorists, criminals and queue-jumpers, before any due process. In doing so, they set the tone of the debate, and gave licence to a particularly nasty wave of xenophobia.

Here's what troubles me most. In a world still coming to terms with the reality of climate change, the truth is that the number of global climate migrants and displaced people will soon dwarf the UN numbers cited above. Will the recent ugliness mark each new unexpected arrival, or can we have a rational conversation about what our moral obligations and humanitarian response should be to the global realities ahead?

Supportive letters can be sent to provletters@theprovince.com. Wouldn't hurt to mention our current crop of war resisters, either.

i have something in common with keith richards

Keith Richards - rock icon, guitar legend, wizened senior spirit of rock, soul survivor, hero to millions and the first interest Allan and I discovered we had in common - wanted to be a librarian.
It’s only books ’n’ shelves but I like it

SHHH! Keith Richards, the grizzled veteran of rock’n’roll excess, has confessed to a secret longing: to be a librarian. After decades spent partying in a haze of alcohol and drugs, Richards will tell in his forthcoming autobiography that he has been quietly nurturing his inner bookworm.

He has even considered “professional training” to manage thousands of books at his homes in Sussex and Connecticut, according to publishing sources familiar with the outline of Richards’s autobiography, which is due out this autumn. He has received a reported advance of $7.3m (£4.8m) for it.

The guitarist started to arrange the volumes, including rare histories of early American rock music and the second world war, by the librarian’s standard Dewey Decimal classification system but gave up on that as “too much hassle.” He has opted instead for keeping favoured volumes close to hand and the rest languishing on dusty shelves.

. . .

In his autobiography, Life, due to be published in October, Richards will reveal how, as a child growing up in the post-war-austerity of 1950s London, he found refuge in books before he discovered the blues.

He has declared: “When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser.”

I didn't think it was possible to revere Keith Richards any more than I already did. I was wrong!

And now I learn that Keith will be appearing at the New York Public Library, speaking in the Celeste Bartos auditorium on Fifth Avenue, as part of the promotion for his memoir Life. Remind me why I left New York again? While you think of an answer, I'll check my October calendar.

naomi klein to appear at howard zinn movie in support of u.s. war resisters in canada

How's that for a headline?


Please join us on Wednesday, September 8, at Toronto's Bloor Cinema, for a screening of "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Memoir of Howard Zinn".

Naomi Klein will introduce the movie, and filmmakers Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller will be on hand to take questions. War resister Jeremy Hinzman will speak, and war resister Chuck Wiley will emcee the evening.

Tickets are only $10 and all proceeds support the War Resisters Support Campaign and our fight to pass Bill C-440, the private member's bill that would Let Them Stay.

WHEN: September 8, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Box Office opens 6:30.

WHERE: Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON


Event on Facebook

save ontario's dogs! anti-bsl rally next weekend in coronation park

On Sunday, August 29, join people who love dogs and hate bigotry for Ontario's largest anti-breed-specific-legislation (BSL) rally ever.

August 29 is the five-year anniversary of the day Ontario's unjust, ignorant BSL law went into effect. It is also the day before the five-year anniversary of our move to Canada. Because of that timing, our Buster was a criminal before his paws ever touched Ontario land, simply because of who his parents were and what he looked like. See this old post: "why bigoted breed-specific laws must be repealed, or how ontario laws almost ruined my life".

If you are in the area and love dogs, come to Toronto's Coronation Park and hear how you can help repeal this awful law.

WHEN: Sunday, August 29, 12:00 noon

WHERE: Coronation Park, Lakeshore Boulevard west of Bathurst, Toronto

WHAT: SAVE ONTARIO'S DOGS! A day of entertainment, information and education in support of Hershey's Law.

Come learn more about what Hershey's Law means for Dogs in Ontario and how Calgary has become the most successful city for bite reduction with NO BSL!

Featuring: Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo, Bill Bruce of Calgary Animal Services, music, Canine Good Neighbour Testing, Agility Course, and more.

In the evening, there will be a candlelight vigil at Queen’s Park.

The event is sponsored by Stop Canine Profiling and The Dog Legislation Council of Canada.


pupdate and us-update

First and last, thank you to everyone who posted here and/or on Facebook, or sent supportive emails, texts and anything else. Your support and understanding really means a lot to us.

Many people have been asking about us and about Tala, so I thought I should post an update.

We are sad, but fine. This was what professionals call "a good death," meaning the person or creature died with dignity, not in pain, surrounded by love, and at peace. For a dog, I think it also means that the people were comfortable and at peace with the decision to let the dog go.

Allan and I have lost animals suddenly, and young. We were knocked out by grief: inconsolable. We have friends who went through that recently, and it's a nightmare. Losing Cody was nothing like that.

I miss Cody, and my heart aches for her. But I am comforted knowing that she lived her full lifespan. It's never long enough, but for a larger dog and a rescue, 13 years old is a good showing. I mean that most sincerely and profoundly. Think of it as the difference between losing an elderly grandparent to old age and losing a young friend in a traumatic accident. One is far worse.

Tala seems to be doing well. The day of Cody's death and the following day, she seemed confused and a bit down. Last night Allan found her curled up in Cody's ditch, something Tala had never done. That worried me. But this morning Tala and I went on a long walk and she seemed like herself.

I'm concerned about this weekend. We work long hours, and dogwalkers come in to feed and exercise them. Her. Tala has never been alone all weekend. Cody would lie on the bed (as if we didn't know!) and Tala would be in her crate, and they would be together the whole time. Now Tala will be all by herself. There's nothing I can do about that right now. One day she'll have another sister, but not yet.

Other than that, I think she'll adjust pretty quickly.

We've put away Cody's bowl and leash sooner than I normally would, to help Tala into a new routine. I'm sure for her the house smells of Cody and maybe it always will - their sense of smell is so acute - but at least we can start building the new Tala-only universe.

So thanks again, and wmtc will resume regular programming soon.



Cody Brown
April 19, 1999 (adopted) - August 24, 2010

Goodbye, sweet girl. We love you.

cody upstate

clyde & cody 01



cody on the landing 001

pups at play 002

cody backyard snow 007

cody on the landing2 002

canadian cody 002

fork of the credit 03

fork of the credit 09

cody raking leaves 008

cody raking leaves 006

cody raking leaves 021

tala cody backyard snow2 018

tala cody backyard snow2 007

dogs in the sun 08

tala cody backyard 03 121

cottage sept 07 036

neighbourhood snow march 08 019

backyard snow feb 07 08 033

neighbourhood snow march 08 029

cody dirt 002

cody dirt 004

cody dirt 007

cottage sept 07 026

the duty of disobedience on display at fort hood

Q: If the war is over, why are soldiers still deploying to Iraq?

A: Because the war is not over.

The following is from Matthis Chiroux, a war resister activist in the US.

* * * *

War Veterans/Military Family Members Successfully Blockade Fort Hood Deployment to Iraq.

by Matthis Chiroux on Monday, August 23, 2010 at 9:54am

Aug. 23, 2010 (KILLEEN, TX) - Five peace activists successfully blockaded six buses carrying Fort Hood Soldiers deploying to Iraq outside Fort Hood's Clarke gate this morning at around 4 a.m. While the activists took the width of Clarke Rd. and slowed the buses to a halt, police made no arrests, but instead beat the activists out of the streets using automatic weapons and police dogs so the deploying Soldiers could proceed.

Among those blockading were three veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and one military spouse. (See attached bios) The action, organized by a group calling themselves "Fort Hood Disobeys," was aimed at preventing the deployment of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Soldiers to what the veterans termed an illegal and immoral occupation.

While standing in the street, the activists held banners reading "Occupation is a Crime" and "Please Don't Make the Same Mistake We Did. RESIST NOW." From the TX HW-190 overpass, additional supporters attempted to hang larger banners that read, "Tell the Brass: 'KISS MY ASS' Your family needs you more" "Sick of Fighting Your Wars" and "Col. Allen [3 ACR Commander]: Do not deploy wounded Soldiers."

This latest deployment comes less than two weeks after President Obama announced the second end to combat operations in Iraq. FHD organizers denounced this as a lie, and pointed to the deployment of the 3rd ACR, a combat regiment, to Iraq as clear proof. They have stated they will continue to organize direct action in the Fort Hood community to oppose the wars as long as troops continue to deploy.

The action organizers have established a website at Fort Hood Disobeys where they will be posting statements, photographs and video from the actions as they become available during the next 48 hours. As well, for the length of the day, FHD ran live webcasts updating their supporters and depicting portions of the direct action. All live broadcasts from the day are archived at here.

For more information or to arrange coverage of today's events, call 347-613-8964 or write to forthooddisobeys@hushmail.com. See attached bios for more information on those who participated in today's action.

------------------Participant Bios:------------------------

I am Bobby Whittenberg-James, a Marine veteran of the war against the people of Iraq, a Purple Heart recipient and a third generation military service member. I joined the Marines in June of 2003, believing the lies about weapons of mass destruction and an imminent threat to our safety. I have since come to learn that these wars and occupations do not keep the people of the United States or the Middle East safe, but instead serve the interests of politicians, capitalists and corporations; the ruling elite.

These unjust wars and occupations rob the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen of their dignity and their right to self-determination and serve to make the people of both the Middle East and the United States less safe. They also serve to further destabilize a region that has suffered under the boot-heel of western colonialism for over a century. The US Empire also supports both financially and militarily the brutal apartheid regime that occupies Palestine. All of this is done in our name with our money, and I am here to say "Not in my name!"

The recent information leaks about the US Empire's wars lay bare their war crimes and crimes against humanity. We must face the truth, even if it makes us uncomfortable or shows us something about ourselves that we don't want to see. When we find the truth, we must respond accordingly. I will not be complicit in the killing of people. Since I do not believe that the government or the capitalists will end these wars, I will vote with my body.

Bobby Whittenberg-James


I am Crystal Colon. I was a sergeant in the Army for five years, stationed at Fort Hood the entire time, save two deployments to Iraq totaling 26 months. I was a Signal Support Systems Noncommissioned Officer, coordinating communications for various commands. I was honorably discharged in Jan., 2010, and have been organizing in the veterans peace movement ever since.

I first began to question the war in Iraq during my first deployment in '05-'06. After my friend Robbie was killed, I was very deeply affected. I started questioning why we were in Iraq. It felt like he had died for nothing. After returning from Iraq, I planned to leave the military. I was stop-lossed and forced to return to Iraq for 15 months, in total held beyond the length of my enlistment more than 450 days. Since leaving the military, I have been active with the veterans peace movement, speaking out about my experiences and supporting troops who refuse to fight.

I am doing this today because I can't allow this war in which I have fought to continue. I can't allow other Soldiers to make the same mistake I did, deploying in support of a war crime. As a veteran of Iraq, how could I not do this today? For the people I helped occupy, for the friends I lost and stilI have over there, for the Soldiers on those buses. How could I not do this today? I should have disobeyed. I should have never boarded those buses to Iraq. I wish someone had tried to stop me.

Crystal Colon


I am Matthis Chiroux, former Army sergeant and War Resister. I was press-ganged into the Army by the Alabama Juvenile "Justice" System in 2002. While in the military, I occupied the nations of Japan and Germany for more than four years, with shorter tours in the Philippines and Afghanistan. I was a Public Affairs Noncommissioned Officer specializing in strategic communications. In reality, I was a propaganda artist. I was discharged honorably to the Individual Ready Reserve in 2007.

While I have always been against the war in Iraq, I began resisting it actively in 2008, after I received mobilization orders for a year-long deployment to Iraq. I refused those orders in Congress in May of 2008, calling my orders illegal and unconstitutional. I believed appealing to Congress would end the war. When 13 Members signed a letter of support for my decision and sent it to Bush, I thought we had won a victory for peace. This was more than two years ago. The president has changed, and the wars and destruction drag on.

Today, I am blocking the deployment of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment with my fellow vets and military family members because the wars will continue to victimize our communities until we halt this bloody machine from within. I am putting my body on the line in solidarity with the people of the Middle East, whose bodies have been shot, burned, tortured, raped and violated by our men and women in and out of uniform. I cannot willfully allow Americans in uniform to put their lives and the lives of Iraqis in jeopardy for a crime. We are here because we have a responsibility to ourselves as veterans and as humans of the world. I will not rest until my people, ALL PEOPLE, are free.

In Struggle and Solidarity,

Matthis Chiroux


I am Cynthia Thomas, and I have been an Army Wife for 18 years. My husband has been deployed three times since the wars began. During his second deployment, he was severely wounded and medevaced to Walter Reed Army Hospital on Life Support. Even though he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, suffered three fractures in his back, three fractures on his pelvis and countless other injuries, the Army deployed him a third time. This was devastating to our two daughters, our step-son and to me.

Three months after my husband deployed for the third time, our step-son called to inform me he was joining the Marines. That was the exact moment I realized that our children would be fighting these endless wars. I decided that I needed to start resisting.

The reason I am doing this today is because for the past 3 years that I have been speaking out and advocating for Soldiers, things have only gotten worse. I have heard countless stories from Vets and Active Duty Soldiers that give people nightmares. I have heard stories from family members that would shock people awake if they would just listen! Our military community is being destroyed!

If these wars are destroying our Soldiers and military families with 12 to 15-month, often repeat deployments, how do you think the Iraqi and Afghan people doing? They have been living these wars 24/7, 365 days a year for nearly a decade! My youngest daughter is an Operation Iraqi Freedom baby. She was less than one-year-old when her father left to invade Iraq. I look at her, and I see an Iraqi or Afghan child having to live in constant fear with no end in sight! I am doing this for our community, for my girls, for my husband and our Marine. I am doing this for the Iraqi and Afghan People. Enough is enough. If Soldiers really want to go fight, they'll have to go through me.

Cynthia Thomas


once upon a baseball game: the corporate takeover of our brains continues

As wmtc readers know, I have a problem with advertising. My problem stems more from quantity - from volume - than anything else. Our visual and aural landscape has been taken over by corporate advertising. Trying to escape from constant exhortations to buy, buy, buy informs much of what I do.

Nowhere does advertising saturation bother me more than when I watch baseball. It makes sense: baseball is my greatest escape and relaxation, and it is more heavily polluted by corporate advertising than any other venue I see.

Fenway Park, Boston, 1942

Ads have always been a part of baseball - in old photographs of ballparks, there are always ads on the outfield wall - but in the last couple of decades, following the trends in the larger culture, baseball has become thoroughly permeated with advertising. I explored this in one of my better posts, "invasion of the brain snatchers", and again in a brief follow-up, "i tried to watch some advertising and a baseball game broke out". For some context for this post, I recommend reading those older posts.

Fenway Park, 1941

Fans often note that the amount of advertising in baseball isn't as bad as in, say, auto racing, where the cars are plastered with ads. I disagree; in terms of what a viewer actually sees, baseball is every bit as bad. Just because - so far - Major League Baseball uniforms and helmets are free from advertising doesn't mean we aren't subjected to just as much advertising during games, maybe more.

During one Red Sox game this summer, I documented just how pervasive this trend has become, by writing down every instance of corporate advertising that I saw or heard. Each time I saw an ad onscreen, I recorded the name of the company and how the ad was seen (that is, where in the ballpark or broadcast).

The ads fall under a few different categories, and I made up codes for each:
OF: outfield wall or on walls along the foul lines
DO: dugout - the dugout walls are papered with ads and there is an ad on the railing that prevents players from tumbling into the dugout while making a play
BP: the dreaded behind-the-plate advertising that began in the 1990s
ODB: an ad you see when the camera shows the on-deck batter, i.e., who is batting next
B2B: This pitching change/linescore/player's stats brought to you by... or an inning or an entire game brought to you by...
DTN: ads that are disguised as donations to Red Sox charities
BPN: bullpen - when you see relief pitchers warming up, there are ads on the bullpen walls
IG: the worst of all, the in-game ad, when some action of the game is linked to a particular ad. There are two such in-game ads during this Red Sox season, one whenever a batter reaches second base on a double, and another for the entire fifth inning.
And some miscellaneous ads that didn't get categorized.

Note that I did not include regular commercial breaks - these are only ads that viewers see during games. Also, photographs are for illustrative purposes only, so you can see what behind-the-plate or outfield ads look like. The photos don't correspond to the list of ads for each inning.

In addition, many of these ads are seen repeatedly. For example, the behind-the-plate advertising is seen during every single pitch, plus replays; I only noted each ad once per inning. Similarly, while there have always been ads on the outfield walls, the televised game now includes many more replays of at-bats and plays than it did 40 or even 20 years ago - which means that the ads are shown many more times, too.

* * * *

Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays, June 29, 2010

T1 [top of first inning]

pitching stats B2B Mercedes Benz dealership
BP Lumber Liquidators [twice]
BP Soccer at Fenway
BP Best Buy

OF Redsox.com
OF Ninety Nine
ODB Volvo
ODB Safe and Secure [insurance company tagline]
DO St. Pete Clearwater
OF Soccer at Fenway on sale now
BP Giant Glass [twice]
BP JetBlue.com
BP Soccer at Fenway
B2B [list read by announcer] Southwest, Subaru dealership, Dunkin' Donuts, Ford dealership, AT&T, Kia dealership, Kayem franks

DO Xfinity
DO BankofAmerica.com
OF CVS Pharmacy
OF Waste Management
"The Amica [insurance] Pitch Zone"
OF MasterCard
Linescore B2B Southwest

[This was a 21-pitch inning, so the behind-the-plate ads were seen a minimum of 21 times, plus replays.]

B1 [bottom of first inning]

Inning B2B Southwest.com
Starting lineup B2B local Chevrolet dealership
BP BankOfAmerica.com/redsox [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway on sale now
ODB Safe and Secure
OD Xfinity
DO BankOfAmerica.com/redsox
OF Covidien [health insurance]
B2B Eastern Bank
ODB Ninety-Nine [restaurant]
OF Safe and Secure
OF Waste Management
OF Poland Springs
OF Coca Cola
OF Granite City Electric
Pitch count B2B Southwest
B2B Southwest


B2B Southwest
BP Wise [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
IG Bruins
OF Stop & Shop
OF Solar Blue
OF JetBlue.com
OF Wise
B2B Covidien, F W Webb, Southwest.com

[There were 10 pitches thrown in this half-inning, so the behind-the-plate ads were seen a minimum of 10 times, plus replays.]


B2B Foxwoods [casino], Southwest.com
BP Dunkin' Donuts [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
"Key matchup" B2B Acura dealership
OF Waste Management
OF Ninety Nine
food delivery to broadcast booth: D’Angelo Pizza
wallpaper in booth: Dunkin' Donuts
OF Foxwoods
OF Freecreditscore.com
"Amica pitch zone"
IG: "New York Life Safe and Secure" [batter reaches second base]
OF CVS pharmacy
DO Xfinity
DO Ford
OF Waste Management
OF Amtrack
OF Boston Globe
OF 99
OF W B Mason
OF Giant Glass
DTN CVS donation for every extra-inning game
DO Xfinity
DO BankOfAmerica.com/redsox
"Amica pitch zone"
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
B2B Southwest
BP Hess Express and Hess [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
"Amica pitch zone"
OF Giant Glass
OF Jordan's Furniture
OF Stop & Shop
OF Waste Management
OF 99
OF Poland Springs
OF Volvo
OF Safe and Secure
DO Xfinity
DO StPeteClearwater.com
DO Ford
DO BankOfAmerica.com/redsox
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Cumberland Farms
BP Giant glass [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
Waste Management
Wallpaper behind player interview: Dunkin' Donuts
Injury report B2B FCHP [health insurance]
DO Xfinity
"Amica pitch zone"
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Coca Cola, Southwest.com
BP Foxwoods [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
IG Lumber Liquidators - onscreen and audio
OF Covidien
OF F W Webb

"Amica Pitcher of the Week," vote at NESN.com or at the Yawkey Way team store
OF Granite City Electric
OF Solarblue.com
OF Giant Glass
OF Amtrak
IG General Motors - on screen during at-bat
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Football at Fenway
BP 99 Kids Eat Free When Red Sox Win [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
OF Foxwoods
OF Budweiser
"AT&T trivia question"
OF Masslottery.com
OF MasterCard
OF Gulf
DO Xfinity
DO Dubble Bubble bucket
OF Waste Management
IG Boston Globe - between batters
OF Stanley
OF Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
OF F W Webb
OF Granite City Electric
OF Gulf
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Southwest.com
BP Hood [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
IG "The 5th inning is the Eastern Bank inning"
IG Eastern Bank on player stats for each batter - repeated several times
IG Eastern Bank between replays - repeated several times
OF Foxwoods
OF Budweiser
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Eastern Bank
B2B linescore B2B Southwest.com
BP Gulf [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
"The 5th inning is the Eastern Bank 5th inning"
Pitching line B2B Lexus dealership
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
IG Home Depot - onscreen and audio
IG Uno [restaurant] – onscreen and audio
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
[announcers chat about going to Uno on their way home]
OF Solarblue.com
OF Soccer at Fenway
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
OF Covidien
OF W B Mason
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
IG DTN Eastern Bank donation to Boys and Girls Club of Lowell, Massachusetts
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
AT&T trivia answer
Player stats B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
Replays B2B Eastern Bank
B2B Southwest.com


DTN Hess donation for home runs
BP Verizon Wireless [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
Pitching line B2B Ace Tickets
IG All-Star voting at redsox.com
OF Waste Management, 99, Safe and Secure, Volvo, Poland Springs
OF JetBlue.com
OF MasterCard
OF Mass Lottery
B2B Southwest.com


OF F W Webb - After coming back from F W Webb commercial between innings, camera holds on F W Webb OF ad
B2B Southwest.com
BP Benjamin Moore Paints [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Minolta
"Amica pitch zone"
"Game break B2B Toyota"
[Showing highlights of another game, different ads in the other ballpark...]
OF Solarblue.com
OF MasterCard
League leaders B2B Olympia Sports
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
IG Twisted Tea - onscreen and audio
Call to the bullpen B2B Ford dealership
BPN Minolta
IG Benjamin Moore - onscreen and audio
OF Budweiser
OF CVS - seen several times on replay
OF W B Mason - seen several times on replay
"Amica pitch zone"
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
B2B Southwest.com

[This was a 28-pitch inning, so the behind-the-plate ads were seen a minimum of 28 times, plus replays.]


"Red Sox Gameday Live" B2B Olympia
BP Bigelow Tea [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Minolta
"Amica pitch zone"
DTN Dunkin Donuts
OF Stop & Shop
OF Covidien
B2B Southwest.com


"Extra Innings Live" B2B W B Mason
Linescore B2B Southwest.com
BP Giant Glass [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Konica Minolta
DO Xfinity
DO Ford
DO Dubble Bubble
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Eastern Bank, Sports Authority
BP Under Armor [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
Linescore B2B Southwest.com
OF F W Webb
OF Granite City
"Red Sox Final" B2B Granite City Electric
OF Giant Glass
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
"Amica pitch zone"
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Giant Glass
BPN Konica Minolta
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
OF Amtrak
OF Boston Globe
OF 99
Linescore B2B Southwest.com
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Southwest.com
"The road ahead" [schedule preview] B2B Safeco Insurance
BP BankOfAmerica.com [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Giant Glass
Post-game show B2B W B Mason, Granite City Electric
"Catch of the Day" B2B D’Angelo
IG D'Angelo "the official lobster roll of the Boston Red Sox" - onscreen and audio
"Aspen Dental play of the game"
Post-game show B2B W B Mason, Granite City Electric
"Futures at Fenway" B2B Xfinity
B2B Southwest.com


B2B Bermuda Tourism, New England Toyota dealers, Olympia Sports, Sullivan Tire, Southwest
BP Ace Tickets [twice]
BP Best Buy
BP Soccer at Fenway
BPN Konica Minolta
BPN Stop & Shop
BPN Giant Glass
Post-game show B2B Granite City Electric
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
Game summary B2B W B Mason, Xfinity
B2B Southwest.com
pitching change
B2B Southwest.com
"Amica pitch zone"
DTN IG "Save of the Game" B2B Bob's Furniture
B2B Southwest.com

[Red Sox won at home; no bottom of the ninth]

let the tamils stay: "don’t listen to mr harper and his baying dogs"

I loved this letter in yesterday's Toronto Star.
Lots of room for everybody

I have again realized Canada is a great big place with nobody in it, having just returned from a “skate” through Atlantic Canada and a visit to the Pacific coast. We need to foster immigration to fill in the gaps, not inhibit it!

Immigrants, rather than being a drain, very quickly create greater wealth for everyone. Witness the English, the Irish, the Ukrainians, following the French. Witness the Italians, East and South Asians — thriving, all. Witness the culture added by the Haitians in Montreal and the Islanders everywhere. Witness more recently the entrepreneurship of the Persians, Russians, Bosnians and Afghanis (do, please, fly your kites). Welcome all. Our economy grows after every wave.

Canada, don't be worried and don’t listen to Mr. Harper and his baying dogs, evidently taking their script from the fear-mongering, talking-T-bags. We have nothing to lose but a few, mostly empty acres and everything to gain by opening our doors to the world. It surely needs the safety valve.

We have the room, the resources and the ability. I believe we have the goodwill, too — it’s part of us, ever since the Underground Railroad.

If only our leaders could muster the vision to fulfill this multicultural dream, instead of appealing to base fears, pandering to ignorance in search of quick votes.

Chris Way, Mississauga

Chris Way, I couldn't agree more. I'll add one more wave of immigrants that has contributed to Canada: Vietnam War resisters, so woven into the culture of the country that few people seem to remember they were immigrants at all. Iraq War resisters can be the same way. Let Them Stay!


good news and bad news of the personal variety

Wmtc5 was a great success, despite the rain. Or perhaps partly because of it. J&L came with a pop-up canopy, and M&C came with a beach umbrella and a tent tarp, and people set about rigging up shelter. Folks huddled their chairs under the makeshift tent, and crowded into the kitchen, and I managed to convince a few people to make use of the nice dry living room.

There were about 30 people, seven dogs, one sleeping baby and an abundance of good food. And a lot of water.

That's the good news.

The bad news, which I was waiting until after the party to announce, is that Cody is not doing well. We don't know if it's a recurrence of the cancer, or something new, but her quality of life has taken a downturn. She is clearly unhappy.

The details are new in my experience with dogs. She has developed a condition that is affecting the skin wherever there is no fur - her nose, around her eyes, and on her paw pads. The skin is cracked and crusts form from fluids that ooze out. At first we though it was dry skin, but it didn't respond to anything, only worsened, then spread to other areas.

It could be skin cancer or it could be some new disease. Our vet wants us to do a biopsy, in case it's something simple and treatable. I'm not expecting that, but it might be best to do a biopsy, just to know.

Allan and I have lost three dogs together. Each we loved well beyond my ability to describe; each death was a mountain of grief. I will say this: it never gets any easier.

Cody has lived the longest of any of our dogs so far. She's had a good, happy, long life full of love, joy and adventure. Right now that knowledge doesn't ease the thought of letting her go, but eventually it will.


toronto star: daring to object

There's an long article in the Toronto Star today about US Iraq War resisters in Canada, and the differences between their experience and that of Vietnam War resisters. Many thanks to immigration writer Nicholas Keung for taking the time to interview, investigate and write such an in-depth and thoughtful piece.
Daring to object: Iraq war resisters, though often veterans themselves, have been met with a cool reception, much different from the draft dodgers of the 1960s

by Nicholas Keung

It was the dead of winter when a buddy from Cornell University drove war deserter Dick Cotterill through the Maine-New Brunswick border for a new life of freedom and peace in Canada.

At the border station near St. Stephen, N.B., a Canadian official hassled the young Marine officer but within minutes let him in as a permanent resident, with the papers of a job offer from a beef farm.

That was March 1972, on the eve of Cotterill’s deployment to the Vietnam War.

“The Canadian government and people welcomed us in those days,” recalled Cotterill, 60, who now runs his own yard and garden equipment business in Truro, N.S.

A very different welcome has greeted Iraq war resisters, who have been coming to Canada since the war began in 2003.

These U.S. service men and women have met with roadblocks in seeking status in Canada, for fleeing from a war they consider illegal and immoral.

Their asylum claims, and immigration applications made on humanitarian grounds have been rejected, under review or challenged in court; some of the applicants have been deported and jailed in the U.S. including Robin Long, 26, sentenced to 15 months in 2008, and Clifford Cornell, 29, to 12 months last year.

“What bothers me is this is going against the strong Canadian tradition as a haven from militarism,” Cotterill lamented.

What a difference in the years between the Vietnam and Iraq wars, neither of which Canada had participated in, due to public, and finally, very official opposition.

“We have always made clear that Canada will require the approval of the U.N. Security Council if we were to participate in a military campaign,” Prime Minister Jean Chretien then said of Canada’s decision not to support the Iraq invasion.

History suggests that by refusing to join the Iraq war, Canada implicitly opened the door to others who felt likewise. At the Nuremberg trials of Nazi members following the WWII, the United Nations recognized that foot soldiers cannot justify their participation in war crimes on the excuse of following their superiors’ order.

The U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that conscientious objectors (those who refuse to perform military service on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience and religion) can apply for asylum in another country if they face persecution in their own country for refusing to participate in an illegal war.

Thus, critics of the Harper government’s current harsh policy argue, U.S. court marshal and jail sentences for desertion constitute persecution, and are grounds for asylum.

On Sept. 27, Parliament will debate and vote on Bill C-440, a private member’s bill that would cease deportation of these war resisters and create a program to give them landed status if they get medical and criminal clearances – their last hope to remain in Canada.

Two non-biding motions seeking the same thing were adopted by the House of Commons in 2008 and 2009, but have been ignored by Harper’s minority government, forcing the opposition parties to go through the tedious – and binding – route by submitting a formal bill.

If it passes second reading in the House, it will then go to the immigration standing committee for reviews and return for a final vote in the parliament.

All three opposition parties have expressed support for the bill, and chances appear better-than-average that it can actually pass into law.

That is, provided there is no fall election to push the bill to start from zero again under a new government.

The story includes thumbnail profiles of six men "who said no to war": Canadians (and former Vietnam War deserters) Michael Klein, Andy Barrie, Michael Wolfson, and Iraq War resisters Chuck Wiley, Phil McDowell and Robin Long.

More here.


the knuckle princess and her canadian sisters

I have blogged about Eri Yoshida a few times, a young pitcher making a bid to be the first female to play Major League Baseball. And guess what? There's a Canadian connection! (There always is.) Here's a terrific story about women in professional baseball in BC, by Tom Hawthorn in The Tyee. Thanks to JoS.

when is the end of a war not the end of a war, part two: "toxic legacy of fallujah worse than hiroshima"

Further to my thoughts on the not-over war in Iraq, in the car yesterday, I happened to catch the news on Jazz FM. The reporter said that the last 50,000 "combat troops" had been moved from Iraq to Kuwait, thereby ending the war (and inspiring last night's post). After the report, the host said, "It's been a long haul for the US in Iraq, and a dangerous one. I can't imagine how those guys and gals must be feeling to be going home."

You might have thought he was talking about World War II. And I thought, this is it, then. This is the spin - the rebranding - the load of crap - that the mainstream is buying. The guys and gays are going home.

Except 50,000 of those "guys and gals" - properly called men and women - and another 75,000 or more private mercenaries aren't. And another few-hundred-thousand are in Afghanistan. And tens of thousands are still being stop-lossed, forced to serve their second, third or fourth tour.

The occupation of Iraq has been "a long haul" for the US, has it? For most people in the US, it's been nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. As two simultaneous occupations drain most of the US treasury, increasing numbers of Americans are feeling the costs of war - although they may not make the connection between their dilapidated country and the destroyed countries so far away. But in general, unless they are military families, most people in the US are not affected by the war in any direct way.

When the radio host said, "it's been a long haul for the US," my stomach turned over. What's it been for the Iraqis, whose country was invaded, destroyed and remains occupied?

Here's another way the war on and occupation of Iraq does not end. From The Independent (UK):
Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah 'worse than Hiroshima'

The shocking rates of infant mortality and cancer in Iraqi city raise new questions about battle

By Patrick Cockburn

Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.

Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.

Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster and one of the authors of the survey of 4,800 individuals in Fallujah, said it is difficult to pin down the exact cause of the cancers and birth defects. He added that "to produce an effect like this, some very major mutagenic exposure must have occurred in 2004 when the attacks happened".

US Marines first besieged and bombarded Fallujah, 30 miles west of Baghdad, in April 2004 after four employees of the American security company Blackwater were killed and their bodies burned. After an eight-month stand-off, the Marines stormed the city in November using artillery and aerial bombing against rebel positions. US forces later admitted that they had employed white phosphorus as well as other munitions.

In the assault US commanders largely treated Fallujah as a free-fire zone to try to reduce casualties among their own troops. British officers were appalled by the lack of concern for civilian casualties. "During preparatory operations in the November 2004 Fallujah clearance operation, on one night over 40 155mm artillery rounds were fired into a small sector of the city," recalled Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, a British commander serving with the American forces in Baghdad.

He added that the US commander who ordered this devastating use of firepower did not consider it significant enough to mention it in his daily report to the US general in command. Dr Busby says that while he cannot identify the type of armaments used by the Marines, the extent of genetic damage suffered by inhabitants suggests the use of uranium in some form. He said: "My guess is that they used a new weapon against buildings to break through walls and kill those inside."


question: when is the end of a war not the end of a war?

Answer: When it is not the end of the war.

I am absolutely, utterly, totally and completely floored to learn that otherwise intelligent people actually believe that the US occupation of Iraq is over.

The US has been lying about this war since a year before the invasion. They have been lying, deceiving, bullshitting, spinning, inventing, embellishing, covering-up - what else you got? go get a thesaurus - from day one. Why would they suddenly start telling the truth now?

After this so-called withdrawal, more than 50,000 US troops will remain in Iraq, and that number again in private mercenaries, funded by US taxpayers, will be there, too.

People, you can't seriously believe this constitutes the end of the war, can you?

And why would the US pull out? Has an unlimited cache of oil just been found on the moon?

"We have always been at war with Eastasia."