Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina leaves me with a loss for words

There are many questions I have right now, how such a humanitarian disaster can seemingly go on and on without end, with no clear indication that the powers that be have any idea what to do.

Why the world's richest, most advanced and most militarily equipped nation in the world somehow doesn't have the proper resources at hand to deal with a human tragedy is puzzling. Knowing how ferocious this storm was going to be, one wonders why military and social services weren't pre positioned closer to the impact zone before the storm came ashore. But that's for another day.

I wonder how the best of some people can be so overshadowed by the worst of others. Again one day perhaps we'll understand how instead of pulling together things degenerate into every person for themselves.

And of course there is the always at the top of my mind question. Why a God would allow such things to happen over and over again? The horror of the gulf coast must surely test the faith of the strongest of believers!

Many questions, no easy answers. But probably right now isn't the time for questions and finger pointing anyways. Instead we offer up our prayers, thoughts and hopes for a return to normalcy one day for all those so horribly affected by the events in the Southern USA this past weekend.

The visual evidence provided night and day tells us more than we can possibly process. May those suffering today be delivered from their tribulations very soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Two bananas short of a Republic?

The uneasy tidings regarding Canada's newest Governor General nominee continue to leak out from Quebec. And for those that actually still feel any attachment to the Vice Regal position it's a rather worrisome time to be a monarchist.

Michaelle Jean, the Quebecois film maker and broadcaster tapped by Prime Minister Paul Martin to replace Adrienne Clarkson, continues to find herself in the high heat spotlight. Interestingly enough, it's separatists that are suggesting that the Governor General designee may not be one to take an oath to the Queen all that seriously.

Quebec media and bloggers alike are abuzz with all sorts of contradictory information about Madam Jean and her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond's political leanings and past expressions of sovereignty passion.

The Prime Minister for his part is sticking to his guns, stating that the government did a thorough job of vetting her application, investigated all paths and are firmly convinced of her dedication to a united Canada.

Personally the GG's position is not one that I give a great deal of thought towards, there are far more important things in the country to be concerned about. However, one must admit a bit of envy towards our American neighbors. I don't normally find many things about their system of governance that I like, but the nomination process for high profile government positions is one we could certainly take a look at. Compare the process for selecting a new US Supreme Court Judge and our little hand picked lottery winning for GG and well, I think we would be well served to set up some committees for closer looks on all government positions.

For many Canadians our days as a Constitutional Monarchy are pretty well numbered anyways, a growing number of Canadians seem to think that once Queen Elizabeth leaves the throne we as a nation should set aside our Monarchist ways and evolve into a more Republican form of governance. A position I tend to agree with these days, however, I certainly don't think we should speed the process up by placing anyone in the Queens employ who might not actually be inclined to respect the boss.

A more thorough investigation of the Jean appointment is certainly called for. The announcement a few weeks ago was more in line with a patronage appointment, rather than a solemn appointment of the nation's touchstone with the throne.

Then again if the nominee is truly a sovereigntist it might possibly all be a misinterpretation of terminology. Perhaps the PM only asked Madam Jean and her husband Mr. Lafond if they wish to represent the Sovereign in Canada. It quite possibly may have been something they wished to associate themselves with eh, a little Sovereignty Association for two, it's not all that an uncommon idea in Quebec!

1, 2, 3, 4 we declare a thumb war!

And now a pause in the hostilities over Hans Island, as the Danish government has said that they will refrain from planting a Danish flag on the contentious island.

The Danes had tasked a navy ship off to the far side of Greenland to offer rebuttal to Canada's latest visit to the island, when defense Minister Bill Graham stepped upon it's rocky shores and made one small step for Canada, one large step for Danish anxiety.

The Danes and Canadians intend to discuss the issue later next month when the respective Foreign Ministers meet at the UN, while the Hans Island debate won't be the material of Security Council deliberations, the two ministers hope to find some common ground when they meet outside of the regular meetings on major UN issues.

So for now, the Canadian flag is flying on Hans as the Danish flag has suffered severe weathering over the last year, with the Danish flag squad put on hold Hans will remain uninhabited for the foreseeable future.

The Mice that roar will go back to their respective corners and try to find a way out of the world's loopiest territorial dispute in a long time.

A few acres of rocks
A few acres of snow
The two sides will talk
Perhaps now common sense will come to this show!

Monday, August 08, 2005

A trusted voice and a master of his craft

Canadians will be mourning the passing of one of their own this morning, even if he took out US citizenship a few years ago. Peter Jennings passed away on Sunday night at the age of 67, the long time anchor of ABC news had been suffering from lung cancer.

Jennings had that style and credibility that is oh so hard to acquire and may very well have been the last of a breed that put the story over the business of News. His career started on Canadian Television in the sixties but he will be forever remembered as the guardian of the news in the great heyday of network news in the USA.

His dedication to his craft seems to be a trait that has been dumbed down over the years as local, cable news and network news television battle over the same piece of pie. Jennings urbane ways were an island in an increasingly depressing media scene.

With the cable news empires emerging in the last twenty years it seemed impossible that a network news program would be able to hold back the tide of news, but night in and night out Jennings and his crew at ABC put out a professional and balanced view of the days events. (Long before Fox coined the term fair and balanced for Bill O'Reilly, Jennings was practicing the art each night at 6pm!)

Jennings was the comforting and informative face on a world gone amok, able to transcribe for us the developments from far away that seemed unfathomable at times.

I particularly remember his work with the various disasters that would befall the US space program in the last few years and of course his non stop work on 9/11, a time of great anxiety in the States (and Canada as well). His professionalism and dedication to getting the story right placed him far ahead of many in the media herd who prefer to go for the quick fix.

Of the big US networks Peter Jennings was my personal favorite for finding out what really was going on. Perhaps it was his experiences with Canadian TV and his ability to look at the world without that American pre-occupation, for whatever reason a newscast from ABC seemed to at least provide the news of the day without a jingoistic tinge to it, most times.

Eventually Jennings would take out his American citizenship, as he should have one guesses as he quickly had become America's anchor. Yet it wasn't until the passing of his mother two years ago that Jennings made the change, a promise to his mother that he would not relinquish his Canadian status held until after her death.

Even then, most Canadians probably never really accepted the paperwork, he may have been an American in bureaucratic terms, but he'll forever be considered a Canadian.

The tributes have been pouring in through the evening as the giants of news and the journalists on their way up the food chain pay their respects. ABC News put out a press release that sums up quite nicely the tenure of Jennings at ABC, "a colleague, a friend and a leader.", which makes a rather nice and accurate epitaph.

I wonder what Jennings would think of all the attention coming his way, no doubt he would think that's all very nice, but there's some news happening out there, lets go get a story and get it right.

He not only reported on the story, Jennings lived the story. And now he's out on yet another assignment, the foreign correspondent in him will probably welcome the challenge that is now ahead!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Divine Intervention and a pretty good bull pen!

Interesting note from the world of baseball, a sport which lives and dies on its statistics.

From the San Jose Mercury News comes a great little tidbit about the current success of the Oakland Athletics. Seems that the A's have had quite a good little run since their flagship broadcasting station changed it's format.

The A's have gone 17 games over .500 since KFRC went to an all relgious change of format, and all this time one just assumed that the Great Ball fan in the sky was an Angels fan..

Friday, August 05, 2005

Senator Da Vinci

One of the latest additions to Canada's upper chamber provides at least some new material for the Chamber of government most wish would go away.

Prime Minister Martin named five new members to the Senate, Martin tossed a few seats of inclusion to the Progressive Conservatives with two selections, including long time Brian Mulroney loyalist Hugh Seal. Martin also sent in someone to take the pulse of his fellow senators in the new sober second thought club, as Mayor Larry Campbell of Vancouver prepares to join the old gang on the Hill . Campbell apparently weary of the rough and tumble of civic politics in Vancouver is ready for the more sedate surroundings of the Senate.

Credit to Vaughn Palmer on CKNW today, for this wonderful observation about Larry Campbell's potential in unelected politics in the Upper Chamber, "He was a coroner, so he knows his way around a morgue".

Man does that hit the nail on that head!

If you're feeling left out on the political gravy train, there's good news for you. There are still five spots to fill in the Senate, so the chance to get that dream job and dream your day away is still out there if you belong to the right party!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All About Us

By the time a clock will tick off sixty seconds, somewhere in the blogosphere sixty new blogs will have been launched upon the world. The BBC website has an interesting article about the Blogging thing and it seems it shows no sign of tailing off anytime soon.

Fifty five percent of Bloggers have kept their Blogs alive after three months (which makes Podunk a major success I guess since I've more than matched that goalpost thus far). Mind you the mind does wander for some of our fellow Bloggers who abandon the project or neglect to update their blogs every week. (Guilty as charged from time to time I must admit)

Technorati claims that they have tracked over 14.2 million blogs thus far and it seems that Blogs double every five months. And Blogging continues to be a phenomenon that attracts new ideas and concepts.

So for the sixty new Bloggers out there in this sixty seconds welcome, hey would you mind linking my Blog to yours, wouldn't mind a share of that 14.2 million!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Pearson miracle

Not sure what form of divine intervention took place in Toronto today, but when I first saw the television coverage of the Air France crash I just assumed there would be a horrendous casualty amount.

It's truly remarkable that not one person perished in that horrible crash, and so we offer up a prayer of thanks to whatever hand of fate was working over Toronto today. It's a relief to once and a while see something originally perceived as tragedy turn into a moment of great happiness and celebration.

Over 300 passengers and 12 crew must surely feel as though they've been given a second chance a life today, for them we wish nothing but safe journeys in their future.