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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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4/03/2004

Spain Again

Tim Blair on the earlier discovery of a bomb on a high speed rail line, had the best headline, "Not Surrendering Fast Enough". Now we have three terrorists blowing themselves and a policeman up in Madrid. A suggestion to the Spanish government. Tell the terrorists that you are sending a division to Iraq and one to Afghanistan for good measure. It can't make the situation any worse and, at least, you would not be seen as caving into terror.

What's the Rush?

Andrew Coyne pretty much nails where Martin has gone wrong:
And that's the real source of Mr. Martin's grief: not the fickleness of the press gallery, but his own needless, cynical rush to call a spring election. Suppose, instead of signalling to everyone that he intended to drop the writ just as soon as partisan calculation advised, he had given himself a year to set his own stamp upon the government: time enough to devise and set a course for the next several years, to demonstrate his honesty and competence, to lay out his vision, to earn a mandate. Suppose, further, he had declared that was his timetable.
andrew coyne

Pete Townsend on Napster

Over at The Tyee, Dana pointed to this interesting 2001 diary entry from the Who's Pete Twonsen on his first use of Napster.
Ultimately, in the face of all this exploitation of my art, whether by fans, criminals or incestuous and lazy institutions like BMI, I do feel gently forced into reliance on what only I can do - that is, to perform live, and to constantly produce new work.

If everything I do is immediately used by others for their own collateral will there be an inevitable fall in quality in what I do? By turning out too much, will I fail to honour my audience? I think not. As things stand I am aware I rarely do enough. And, as so many artists have said, radio stations, newspapers and magazines have freely used and abused the reputation, work and images of pop artists for the last 50 years. Artists cannot control over-exposure of their image. They can only run with publicity and hope for the best.

What's my reality? My reality is that because of the certain knowledge (gathered in the main from the internet) that people want to hear my music, I am writing today. I run a web site. I give away some of my music. If it is packaged well I sell it. I was armed with information gathered from the internet when I approached last year's Who touring work. I was certain we would sell out wherever we played, and barring the loss of a ticket here or there, we sold out. (How nice for BMI).
Thanks Dana.

A Braver Man than I

Over at Let it Bleed Bob does his weekly dissection of Heather malice.
Mallick reveals again her pathological hatred of the US: everything is their fault. The US is the only actor, all others are simply acted upon, and murderous rage is the only justifiable and "rational" response. But Mallick manages to get basic history wrong. "Reagan's disastrous foray" into Lebanon, was done at the request of Lebanese authorities, in order to evacuate the PLO, and was part of a multinational peacekeeping force (the Italians and the French participated); quite how trying to save the PLO enraged Hezbollah sufficiently to prompt the murder of Americans is a bit unclear, but clarity has never been one of Mallick's strengths. Nor is it terribly clear how "making Saddam an ally" fueled the rise of al Qaeda. Nor how it was America's unique responsibility to "help Muslims in Bosnia" (after all, where were the French when this was happening on their front step?), but that the fact that they did help them gets no credit. But, again, whatever: Mallick is looking to make an argument, just to spew bile.
let it bleed
Personally, I am utterly unable to read Mallick. My theory is they keep her around the Globe and Mail either because she has pics of a senior editor and a goat or she makes Leah McLaren look smart by comparison. Either way, Bob has at her with great glee. Go read it.

4/02/2004

Mayday, Mayday....Oh....Jesus

Enough politics, our own airline, serving the true north strong and free is looking for another sucker investor.
Hong Kong magnate Victor Li pulled out of a C$650 million ($500 million) deal to rescue insolvent Air Canada on Friday, forcing the world's 11th largest airline to seek a new partner and casting doubts about whether it can stay aloft.
reuters
Fortunately the government thinks it's all cool and does not think it needs to step in.

Of course, when the planes stop coming to Saskatoon this view may change. Or not. But finding aprivate sector 650 million Canadian dollars is not going to be easy. Perhaps the government should look for an intermediary. Yes, that's the solution. You heard it here first.

Rock On

Our Prime Minister arrived at the Junos - a rock and roll award show named after a federal bureaucrat named Pierre Juneau - to pump up the audience with this rhetorical flourish,
"Politics have to relate to people," the prime minister said. "You have to use intermediaries," he added as he gestured to the celebrities present.
cp
The story goes on,
Kyla Pierson, 13, agreed voting is important. "Everyone should have their say in the government," she said.

But she admitted she was most interested in seeing the celebrities. "I'm here to see Nelly."

Furtado came to the stage to perform her current single Try, but before she started to sing the 25-year-old, who became a mother last year, made an admission of her own.

"I've never voted in my life," she said, but added she agreed to take part in the forum as a way of participating in the political process.

"I'm just getting started, like everyone else."
Delighted as I am that Nelly is both a mum and a potential voter I am not at all sure that the rallying cry "You have to use intermediaries." hits the right youth buttons.

I imagine that there will be very few Liberal - or any other party canidates who will be running on the slogan "Vote for me, intermediary. I stand between you and your government."

Two things

First, appeasement really works. Yes. Throw out the evil US supporting, Iraq policing government and replace it with anti-war Socialists and....you get another bomb.
El Pais said the fact the same kind of explosives and a similar detonator was found in Friday's bomb and the March 11 Madrid bombs "suggests that in both cases it is the same terrorist organization, supposedly the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group."
reuters

But that's not all folks....No, for you lucky people living in Rome. Nothing better than to destroy the cradle of the Crusaders during Holy Week.

the threat against Rome could just be smoke, the bomb on the high speed rail lines was very real.

Bone Headed

There are times when you have to wonder at the Bush administration's intelligence. Why hand the New York Times this sort of hammer?
Explaining the latest act of obstruction, Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, said on Thursday that some documents were duplicative, unrelated or "highly sensitive." The White House, he said, had given the commission "all the information they need." Mr. Bush's staff should not be making that judgment. The commission's 10 members can be trusted with sensitive material.
nyt
If the Bushies had particular national security reasons for withholding some of the documents, fine. But this is just dumb. The 9/11 Commission is important. Not because it is going to shnge anything and not because it will expose errors. It is important because people need to know that the Clinton administration and the Bush administration were able to do only so much pre 9/11.

There is simply no upside to Bush stonewalling the Commission. None.

Skip the Website, Go Directly to the Blog

The Western Standard has figured out what the major media in Canada haven't, websites are so 1999. It has a new group blog, Shotgun, featuring Daiman Penny, Nick Packwood, Colby Cosh and, no doubt, others. Ezra Levant is on the curve.

In fact virtually every media outlet is likely to have a blog somewhere on its website by this time next year. It is just so much easier and fresher to blog than to put up HTML pages.

I know its early days at Shotgun; but one suggestion, put up comments. So far as I can see Andrew Coyne, aka the one man newspaper, has half his material coming from comments.

And, yes, I am available and remarkably inexpensive.

4/01/2004

Mario Vargas Llosa on 3/11

he killers were not mistaken in their target: today's Madrid represents precisely the negation of the radical inhumanity of the obtuse, exclusive tribal spirit of fundamentalism, religious or political, which hates mixture, diversity and tolerance and, above all, liberty. This is the first European battle in a savage war that began exactly two years ago with the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, and whose inroads will probably fill with blood and horror a good part of this new century. It is a war to the death, of course, and owing to the present fantastic development of the technology of destruction and the fanatic, suicidal zeal that inspires the international movement of terror, it is perhaps a trial even more difficult than those represented by fascism and communism for the culture of liberty.
the guardian
via Andrew Sullivan

Welcome Tech Central and Tyee Readers!

It is sort of fun to think that readers from the right of center TechCentralStation and the left of center Tyee are landing smack dab in the middle of my blog. Sorry about the mess, I just switched back to blogspot and I have a fair bit of clean up to do. The @@#$%@ archives are not working,,,

Enjoy! And, on your way out TCSers go to Tyee, and big fish go to Tech Central: eyes will be opened! Blood pressure will rise. File sharing will seem much less significant.

What Europe (and parts of Canada) doesn't get about America

It's because too many of Europe's opinion makers are living in a delusional world anyway. They believe that raising taxes and increasing social spending doesn't stifle economic growth, and that labor laws which prevent layoffs increase employment. They think they can catch up to the US economically by 2010. They think all disagreements can be settled through negotiations and that no one needs or should have a military any longer. They think all citizens should rely on the state to protect them from criminals, and any who try to protect themselves should be punished.

They think they're still important, and they think that the world views them that way. Amidst that great sea of delusion, it's hardly surprising that they also think America is becoming more and more European as it finally grows up, and that deep down we admire them and want to be more like them.
steve den beste
Watching the French march out and vote socialist, communist and green to promote a "more humane" social policy underscores the level of delusion which infects the chattering classes in Europe. Watching the anti-warriors in England, Spain, France and Canada systematically ignore the viciousness of Saddam in order to pilory Bush and America suggests a nasty streak of malice.

Den Beste is perfectly aware of the issues which confront America; but he is also something which Europe is trying to erradicate are rather unevolved - a patriot. The thrust of his article is that, Democrat or Republican, the people Americans are going to elect to office in November are also patriots.

They are not in the least bit concerned with world opinion, the Arab Street or the anti-American Left. Regardless of party, Americans try to do what is best for America. They often get it wrong. But that's what the critical Europeans need to understand about the States.

It will make no difference at all whether Bush or Kerry is sitting in the Oval Office in January. Either man will do what he sees as best for the nation he has sworn to preserve and protect.

Arctic Front

In the United States a couple of genius level Senators have proposed the PIRATE Act. Up to ten years in jail for those file sharers. For naught in light of Justice von Finckenstein's decision.

The most interesting element of yesterday's decision is that it fundamentally destroys any long range hope the RIAA might have of ending file sharing.

The decision lets Canadians leave their shared folders open. Americans using P2P can close their shared folders and simply download from Canada. If the shared folder is closed there is virtually no chance that the RIAA's sleuths will be able to detect the downloading.

We are rapidly becoming a full service country - cheap prescription drugs, quasi legal pot, legal gay marriage and downloads to go.

Fallujah

the temptation to "go Roman" and teach the Sunnis a rather stiff lesson will, of course, be resisted. The Marines will not be sent to level and then salt Fallujah. Nor will the American troops and contractors pull out of the Sunni triangle. The mangled corpses will be recovered and the Americans will move on.

But will they forget? At this point the most effective answer to the outrage at Fallujah would be to, in a few months, pull out and leave Fallujah to the Shi'ite majority. They have far more scores to settle than eight or nine.

The objective in Iraq is not, however, revenge or the creation of fear; rather it is to restore civil society in a nation which has largely forgotten what that means. No small task and not one made easier by the vile excuses for men we saw cavorting in the streets of Fallujah.

3/31/2004

A couple of pieces

Tech Central Station has run a couple of my pieces while my blog was down: for a cheerful look at total war and why killing Yassin was a very good thing indeed there is Stateless Heads. And for something a bit lighter, Yahoo! vs Google. Enjoy!

A Pro!

There is a reason why Colby Cosh was indespensible at Report Magazine - He could come up with Pride of Finckenstein as a head for today's Federal Court file sharing decision. (Of course that may also be why Reports is no more.)

How good is Google?

Pretty damn good. I set this site back up at 11:00 this morning and the whole of the current site has been spidered and indexed. Now I just have to shift the archives back over. Amazing.

Fire up KaZaA

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled Wednesday that the Canadian Recording Industry Association did not prove there was copyright infringement by 29 so-called music uploaders.

Without the names, CRIA can't begin filing lawsuits against the alleged high-volume music traders, identified only as John and Jane Does.

It also reaffirms what the Copyright Board of Canada has already ruled -- downloading music in this country is not illegal.

Von Finckenstein said that downloading a song or making files available in shared directories, like those on Kazaa, does not constitute copyright infringement under the current Canadian law.

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings," he wrote in his 28-page ruling. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."
canoe.ca
This is huge! With all of the usual cavets about appeals, this decision makes it practically impossible to prosecute file sharers in Canada.

I have not yet located the decision, but von Finckenstein has gone well beyond the idea that downloading is legal in Canada. By expressly mentioning "merely placing personal copies into their shared directories" does not constitute distribution he has blown a huge hole in the arguments which swirled around the whole question of the legality of uploading in Canada.

More later.

Update: You can read the PDF of the the decision here.

Update II If you are interested here is my Tech Central Station piece on file sharing in Canada: Blame Canada and the follow-up, cleverly called, Blame Canada II.

Gluttons for punishment and legal types may want to read the discussion of the original piece at grep.law

Democracy takes sooooo much time

Martin will be in Vancouver on Thursday where he will announce the political appointments, said the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday. The Liberal candidates are: business leader David Emerson, forest union president David Haggard, B.C. Liberal Party president Bill Cunningham and Dosanjh.
canadian press
Each of these British Columbians would make an excellent MP and could walk into Cabinet untouched by scandal. They will also be entirely untouched by the legitimacy that winning a nomination in a given constituency confers. They will be Martin's people. Period.

I know it is remarkably naive to think personal power bases worthwhile; but at some point an MP or a Cabinet Minister may have to tell the Prime Minister to drop dead. If that person has no independent constituency base their capacity to confront the PM or the PMO is radically circumscribed. Another bit of independence gone. Pity.

Sullivan wobbles some more

The strongest argument for Kerry is that we have already gained as much as we can for the time being with hard power and war; he won't pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan; he won't be able to duck a serious response to another terror attack; but he might help ease some of the hatred of the United States that this president has - undeservedly, in my view, but still undeniably - ratcheted to unseen levels.
andrew sullivan
To be fair Andrew does point out that Kerry does not take the war against terrorism seriously enough; but I wonder if he's right about having reached the limits of hard power.

When Bush rattles his saber people listen up. They know he is prefectly willing to use the unstoppable military might of the United States to counter terrorism and to effect regime change in states which harbour terror. At the moment both Syria and Iran support and harbour terrorists. Left alone they are going to continue to do so as a matter of state policy. Which will make terrorism against America and the rest of the West a foregone conclusion. Not if but when. Were Kerry elected Assad and the assorted Ayatollahs will get a clear signal that the sword is back in the cupboard. Which will almost certainly mean they will continue to harbour terrorists.

Sullivan suggests that Kerry might help ease some of the hatred of the United States. I am not sure that this is a good thing at the moment. Hatred is a manifestation of fear and, for a few years, I think it is important for the United States to be feared. Ghadafi strongly suggests that fear is a powerful motivator.

Throughout the Islamic world the radicals are going to preach hatred of the United States and the West generally no matter who occupies the White House. The question is whether those radical sermons will translate to action.

Defeating Bush, a man who I have no time for except as a warrior President, would send exactly the wrong signal to the Islamic fundamentalists. It would suggest that with enough pressure America might go Spanish. Which would dramatically increase the attractiveness of attacking American targets.

From a Canadian perspective American Presidential elections are really only about the foreign affairs perspective of the candidates. And in this years election, the only foreign affairs question which matters is the ongoing, effective, conduct of the war on terror and the causes and cradles of terror. Much as I despise much of what Bush does domestically I cannot imagine that the world would be any safer if he was replaced in office.

Now he can irritate the French

Chirac, reeling from the setbacks in the French regional elections - where the socialists, communists and greens rose as one to oppose any sort of economic or social realism - has moved his incredibly irritating Foreign Minister, de Villepin.
Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin will move to the post of interior minister with EU commissioner Michel Barnier to replace him, Chirac's office announced Wednesday.
cnn
While this is good news for the world at large, the bad news is that his new job puts Villepin in charge of anti-terrorism in France. Were I French this would not fill me with confidence.

Update: Charles over at Little Green Footballs writes:
Sarkozy was responsible for what little backbone the French had in their dealings with the radical unassimilated elements of their Muslim immigrants. De Villepin is very unlikely to show the same spine; the appeasement is going to get worse. The French ban on Islamic headscarves in school will be the first to fall.
lgf

Teething

There will be a few days of teething pains associated with the move back to Blogspot. Broken links and the like. I forget who said this but someone described fixing HTML as rather like gardening - never finished but always necessary. I will try to make it all as seamless as possible.

3/30/2004

A little secret

It looks like if you have adse*se on your blog at blogspot the top ad disappears....Hmmmm. Or maybe it is just Firebird.

3/29/2004

lurch...

About the last thing the battered French need is a lurch to the left; but the results from the regional elections held today look as if the Socialist/Communist/Green parties are all doing well by running against the extremely limited reforms of the French social welfare system Chirac's conservative government has been implementing. As these reforms were designed to bring France back into complaince with the deficit rules set by the EU it is not clear what the Socialists would do instead. It has been difficult to take France seriously as a nation for several years, a lurch to the left will move it into position to join the third World in a matter of a couple of decades. A failed Western European state. Sad.

don't tell the children

Beyond the usual humbug of diplomatic discourse, there seems to be an anxiety to pretend to Arabs and Muslims that all is well when evidently it is not. It is as if Arabs and Muslims were children who mustn't hear the truth; that assorted Islamists are destabilizing Islamic countries and dragging them by the scruff of the neck into suicidal wars with the neighbors.
jerusalem post
David Pryce-Jones touches on the implicit racism which the leaders of the Middle East practice with respect to their own people. By pretending that the "Arab Street" cannot be told the truth else it seethes and, perish the thought, explodes virtually no Middle Eastern leader has been willing to actually admit that the Palestinians are doing themselves more harm than good and that the Islamic terrorists are a greater threat to Islamic nations than they will ever be to the West.

Reality may bite but it is deeply insulting to the people of Islamic nations that their own leaders are unable to tell the truth about Yassin or the Troll of Ramallah or OBL.