29 March 2008

Wake me up, please!

This can't be happening. Four games left to the season and the Vancouver Canucks are currently 9th in the Western Conference, behind the Nashville Predators for a playoff spot. This is not supposed to be happening - Luongo was supposed to backstop up into the playoffs. Wangos. But as always the Canucks can't put pucks into the other team's net. Frustrating.

22 March 2008

People actually do this?!

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Earlier today at a Chevron there was a woman with a Mercedes SUV filling up next to me -- with the engine running!? How many kinds of gross stupidity was that?

19 March 2008

Australian magazine apologizes for leaking Prince Harry story

This is old news, now, but it's my blog and I'll post if I want to. :o)

Britain's Prince Harry was serving in Afghanistan, the British Defense Ministry and major news organizations having come to an embargo agreement not to reveal this information until after the Prince's tour was finished.

The Australian magazine, New Idea, broke the story in January.
"The Australian magazine that revealed Britain's Prince Harry was serving in Afghanistan apologized on Monday for the news leak.

New Idea, a lifestyle magazine, said it wasn't aware of an embargo agreement between the British Defence Ministry and major news organizations not to reveal the information.

The story, published by the magazine in January, was later picked up by a German publication before U.S. website Drudge Report posted the information in February.

Within a day, the 23-year-old prince was sent home from Afghanistan, cutting short his four-month deployment to 10 weeks. British officials said the leak jeopardized the safety of the prince and his unit.

In an unsigned item in its latest edition issued Monday, New Idea did not explain the source of its January story on Harry.

"We did not knowingly breach any embargo and were not party to any agreement for a media blackout on the story," the magazine said. "However, and more importantly, we do acknowledge that our actions in publishing the story can be reasonably viewed as insensitive and irresponsible."

The magazine apologized to its readers and to troops and their families who serve abroad.

New Idea has a monthly circulation of about 390,000 readers." --cbc.ca
Anywhoo, it was kind of New Idea to apologize and all, but I wonder if they even bothered to first contact the British Defense Ministry to confirm the Prince's deployment in Afghanistan. If they had, they probably would have learned of the embargo agreement. Getting confirmation of a story from the source seems like a basic journalistic thing to do, though perhaps moot if New Idea is an Australian gossip rag.

Do as I say, not as I do

Just a hop, skip and a jump from my place. It also looks like Maryland will soon pass a bill allowing all counties, not just Montgomery, to set up speed cameras, too.

Caught speeding on camera, police officers refuse to pay tickets
"ROCKVILLE, Md. - No matter what the cameras say, some drivers are refusing to pay dozens of $40 speeding fines.

Who? Police officers.

In the last eight months of 2007, Montgomery County's new speed cameras recorded 224 cases in which police vehicles were recorded travelling more than 15 kilometres an hour over the speed limit, according to department records.

Supervisors dismissed 76 of those citations after determining the officers were responding to calls or had valid reasons to break the speed limit.

But that left 148 who didn't have that excuse, and about two-thirds of those citations haven't been paid, said police Lt. Paul Starks.

The police union says officers shouldn't pay because the citations are issued to the owner of a vehicle, in this case the county, and not to the driver.

Police Chief Thomas Manger doesn't buy that argument.

"We are not above the law," Manger said. "It is imperative that the police department hold itself to the same standards that we're holding the public to."

Manger said officers who continue to ignore citations might be disciplined." --cbc.ca

07 March 2008

Canada rejects CIA evidence

Tainted Evidence: Canada tosses CIA terror testimony obtained through waterboarding (Newsweek):
"The Canadian government is no longer using evidence gained from CIA interrogations of a top Al Qaeda detainee who was waterboarded.

According to documents obtained by NEWSWEEK, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the country's national-security agency, last month quietly withdrew statements by alleged Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah from public papers outlining the case against two alleged terror "sleeper" operatives in Ottawa and Montreal.

The move, which so far has received no public attention, is the latest sign of potential international fallout from the CIA's recent confirmation that it waterboarded a handful of high-profile Al Qaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003. The use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques were approved by the Bush White House and Justice Department. Waterboarding, which critics charge is a form of torture, involves strapping a suspect to an inclined board and forcing water into his lungs, typically by pouring water through a cloth placed over his nose and mouth.


Bernard Beckhoff, a spokesman for Canada's public safety ministry, which oversees CSIS, said he could not comment on developments in either case because they are both still before the courts. But he then added, pointedly: "The CSIS director has stated publicly that torture is morally repugnant and not particularly reliable. CSIS does not knowingly use information which has been obtained through torture."


the development was immediately seized on by human-rights advocates as proof that the Bush administration's use of interrogation techniques rejected by the rest of the world will undermine counterterrorism cases in foreign courts. "This shows how the United States is shooting itself in the foot in terrorism cases," said John Sifton, the director of One World Research, a public-interest group that investigates human-rights abuses internationally."
Bold is mine.

05 March 2008

Gary Gygax dies at 69

Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away yesterday at 69.

I think D&D must have been one of the earliest and most successful introductions of role playing games. At least, it was my first introduction, and contributed to the spawning of the RPG industry, whether the traditional pen & paper or computer software.

In high school my friends and I used to play D&D every day after school. Fun memories, but now a little bittersweet with this sad news.

Ah, well. C'est la vie.

03 March 2008

British Columbia, Nigeria and Royal Dutch Shell

I've never had a positive impression of the oil industry - what with their kajillion dollar annual profits and other reasons - and I've always thought gasoline companies like Exxon, Shell, Chevron, etc. to be necessary evils. After watching this video, however, which comments on Shell International's deplorable business practices in the Nigeria delta and how Shell is now exploiting natural resources in British Columbia, I've decided that Shell is no longer deserving of my R32.

British Columbia: Nigeria North?

Let's see, I've been boycotting Exxon since 1989, and now Shell has joined it. I wonder how long it will be before I learn something about Chevron that causes me to add it to my list, as well.

01 March 2008

Site visitors in February 2008

The top 5 visitors, listed by countries, in February were:

1) United States,
2) Canada,
3) an European country,
4) Great Britain,
5) Australia.

Full list of visitors in February 2008.

Visitors in previous months.