Friday, April 29, 2005

film - The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy


Based on the 70s BBC radio play and subsequent best-selling 70s book series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy left me feeling somewhat indifferent. At times, it was amusing, but I’m sure much of the humour was lost on me, due to the British accents that at times were hard to decipher.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, you may find the film tedious. There are parts that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, but there’s humour at every turn. Our hero Arthur Dent was whisked off Earth by best friend and alien Ford Prefect, who was undercover as a human. Dent also left without finalizing any romance with the woman he was smitten with, after meeting her briefly at a party. She ended up taking up with an outlandish character dressed up like a glam rocker from the 70s. We later learn that this dude with the oilman lingo is a major character in the film. There’s so much non-stop action that we don’t really get a chance to get inside the character of Arthur.

The two-headed, three armed Zaphod Beeblebrox is the President of the galaxy and comes across almost like a cross between rocker David Lee Roth and President George W. Bush, especially with his southern drawl. Marvin the manically depressed Paranoid Android is also a riot, as voiced by Alan Rickman and he looks like something from Spaceballs. The Vogon minions look like crosses between Mr. Potato Head and pigs, dressed up in leather S&M gear. Some of the higher ranking Vogons resemble characters from the film “The Wall.”

See this film if you must but be prepared to be let down.

review - Motorhead, April 22, 2005 Winnipeg, Canada

Last Friday, I attended the Motorhead concert at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg, Canada, which was my second time seeing them in five years.

Fronted by the 59 year-old bassist/ vocalist Lemmy, Motorhead are quite possibly the world’s oldest fast and heavy band, preceding thrash and speed metal but being hugely influential to just about every fast, raw and heavy band around.

I showed up late in order to miss the opening band, Zeke. I was seated prior to the set by Three Inches of Blood. They tend to focus their lyrics on “Lord of the Rings”-type subject matter. They have two lead singers and put on an entertaining show. I have to hand it to them for having a concept and proudly sticking to it.

Corrosion of Conformity were on next. I briefly listened to their new CD, “In the Arms of God,” and I plan to review it soon. During their soundcheck, I involuntarily blinked each time the kick drum was struck. I sat in the fourth row, about seven feet from the right-side stack of speakers. Of course, I wore hearing protection. During the show, the drums in particular made my lungs vibrate. It’s actually a sensational feeling to be next to something so loud and feel the music, but at the same time, have yours hearing protected by ear plugs.

This was my first time seeing COC and I was pleasantly surprised by how professional and talented they were. Their songs move from slow and sludgy to over the top power house thrash metal, often in the same song. Close your eyes and you will think you are listening to Slayer. When I gave their new CD a listen, my initial reaction was that they are “Sabbath-tallica.” After seeing them live, I would venture to say that while some of their influences are obvious, they ultimately have their own style that some have described as being southern-rock metal. Quite honestly, the gulf between 3 Inches of Blood and COC was great. COC are a finely tuned band with deft musicians.

Motorhead took to the stage with Lemmy standing on the right side, not too far from me. He and guitarist Phil Campbell actually look short on stage. Not really showing his age, Lemmy took his stance and sang in his trademark style up into the microphone. Throughout the show, Lemmy made a point of mentioning the new album, Inferno, in almost a teasing style, as if to say, don’t just download it, buy it. True to expectations, Motorhead played several of their most notable songs, including Metropolis, Love Me Like A Reptile, Stay Clean, I’ve Got Mine, Dancing On Your Grave, Ace of Spades, Iron Fist, and Overkill. During the introduction to I’ve Got Mine, Lemmy indicated that when the album “Another Perfect Day” came out, everyone hated it, but asked us to see if we still hated it. I’ve Got Mine is probably my favorite Motorhead song. It’s decidedly melodic as opposed to being fast and raw. Unfortunately, live, it didn’t come across as well as it should. Have. The drum parts were played too fast and the guitar was too subdued to bring out the delicious, catchy riffs from the video and album.

Most of the newer tracks failed to impress and just sounded like Motorhead by-numbers, save for Whorehouse Blues. This was one of the encores and it was played with both Phil Campbell and Mickey Dee on acoustic guitars and Lemmy on harmonica.

It was a lot of fun to watch the crowd. Several people tried to walk down the ailes to the front of the stage, only to be met by a security person who made them turn around. If you were seating in that area, you weren’t rushing the stage. It was hilarious to watch some people strike out with one security person, only to trek to the other side of the theatre to try to their luck with the other person. No luck again!

Motorhead finally packed it in a 1 AM, giving us an intense 90 minute set. Clearly, they have been treading water with their career for a long time now. In this age of easy illegal music downloads, Motorhead must surely be facing declining album sales, hence the constant touring to keep their name alive. So long as Lemmy is willing to perform live, Motorhead will continue to be one of the most legendary bands in rock’n’roll and a band every metal fan should see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

film - The Interpreter

The Interpreter 2.5/5

I had high expectations for this film. It stars both Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman and is directed by Sydney Pollack, a pretty good director.

UN interpreter Sylvia Broome, specialist in African languages, overhears a possible discussion about an assasination attempt on the soon to be visiting President of Matobo. The President was a grass roots freedom fighter but after becoming President, he became a brutal dictator. Broome, as initally interviewed by weary Secret Service agent and recent widow, Tobin Keller (Sean Penn.) Keller is normally assigned to protect visiting dignitaries and tries to size up Broome and her accusations.

Soon, we learn that Broome's past in Motobo crosses with the dictatorship in way that affects her for the rest of her life. As the film drags on, we learn more and more about the past of the elusive Sylvia Broome.

The performances in the film are credible but not especially noteworthy, no doubt due to the weak script. Kidman isn't particularly appealing as the central focus of the film. Her vulnerability is diminished by her elusiveness. Her interactions with minor characters in the film, seem contrived, rather than by chance or surprise.

The film is not succint enough to make for a delicious thriller. It doesn't give you a good aha moment where it all falls into place. You don't get a chance to try to solve the mystery on your own like you do in other films. There are moments of tension, but they don't make up for the poor script.

I'll give Pollack credit, though, for not adding a fashionable, sugary romance. It appears romance was part of the shooting but all it was wisely edited out of the final cut.

The theatre was packed but it was mostly older folk, 50s and up.

I wouldn't watch it again.

Jazz Winnipeg 2005 concerts

I've been a jazz fan since my late teens. The Jazz Winnipeg Festival actually started off in 1989, right in my office.

This year, I'm going to see:

1. June 22 - Terence Blanchard, trumpeter, with local guitarist Larry Roy opening.
Blanchard is one of the brightest stars who play the trumpet. In fact, I would rank him second only to Wynton Marsalis, at the moment. If you've seen the movie 'Mo Better Blues, you heard Blanchard in the soundtrack. Show opener Larry Roy is pretty much my favorite Winnipeg guitarist. His Roy/ Lerner album with Marilyn Lerner is one of the jazz CDs that I have listened to the most.

Terence Blanchard

2. June 25 - Dave Holland, bassist extraordinaire. He's had a long career and is one of most recognizeable names in jazz, having played with a ton of great players. Opening the show is soprano saxophonist James Carter. I'm not too familar with him.

3. June 23 - Drummer Roy Haynes is another big name who has played for about 50 years. This man is jazz history in the flesh, given all the stars he's played with. And he is a star in his own right. Ed Thigpen is another well-known, veteran drummer, with an equally long career. Guys like Haynes and Thigpen won't be around forever, and this is a rare opportunity to catch them both.

Roy Haynes

Ed Thigpen

Tickets are $39 per show, a bargain compared to what I paid for Green Day tix.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Roxy Music reforms with Brian Eno; new album & tour?

This sounds like a hoax, the part about Brian Eno re-joining Brian Eno. When Roxy reformed in 2001, he slagged the reunion as a money grab, like most other reunions. Now, four years later, he rejoins them to record a new album, and tour? There is a lack of collaborating evidence on the 'Net.

The heavily influential UK pop-art rock band Roxy Music have reformed to record their first album since 1983. On Saturday morning, guitarist Phil Manzanera's web site carried the following paragraph:

"...the news that will get Roxy fans abuzzing was the official confirmation that the band are in the studio working on highly anticipated new material, their first since no. 1 album Avalon. More details are to be announced."

Later in the day, that paragraph mysteriously disappeared. Sorry Phil, but you can't put that particular cat back in the bag! The project marks the first time Brian Eno has worked with Roxy Music since 1973's For your Pleasure and will be the first album Roxy Music have recorded since Avalon twenty-two years ago.

Roxy Music have also announced that they will return to the stage for a long-awaited live performance at this year's Isle of Wight Festival on Saturday, June 11.

Phil Manzanera:

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Weekly Music Magazine CD Sampler Review

The Weekly Music Magazine CD Sampler Review, #4.

Every month, I read many music magazines. Several of them have sampler CDs that have both known and lesser-known artists. This column covers my thoughts on the only the tracks that made a strong impression on me.

Magnet is a US bi-monthly magazine that goes out of its way to cover up and coming alt bands that are percolating below the mainstream. It has a lot of credibility with me. Now in its 65th issue and 37th sampler CD, Magnet's CDs cover fewer known artists than CMJ New Music Monthly, save for regional success stories.

Magnet’s New Music sampler CDs have a mixture of laid-back alt-pop to more thrashy music, but no one particular sound overwhelms the CD. This issue has the smiling Sleater-Kinney trio on the cover.
You’ll find the lack of coverage given to mainstream artists either refreshing or disturbing. I only wish this were a monthly.

01 Pohgoh “All Along” (All Along) New Granada,
02 Boyskout “Jesse James Remix” (School of Etiquette) Alive,
03 Silent Tongue “Everybody’s Scared of Being Vulnerable” (Everybody's Scared of Being Vulnerable) Silent Tongue,
04 Channing Cope “Blackbody Curves” (Sugar In Our Blood) North Park,
05 The Perishers “Sway” (Let There Be Morning) Nettwerk America,
06 Full Scale “Party Political” (Full Scale) Columbia,
07 Beneath Augusta “Get Yours” (You Gotta Come Down Sometime) Aporia,
08 The Beatings “Feel Good Ending” (My Space) Midriff,
09 Inara George “Fools Work” Everloving,
10 Street Dogs “In Defense Of Dorchester” (Back To The World) Brass Tacks/DRT,
11 Single Frame “Exact Copy Of This In The Basement” (Body/End\Basement) Volcom Entertainment,
12 Costy L. “War” (Pagan Tales) Factor 13,
13 Bourbon Princess “Minor Key” (Dark of Days) Accurate/Hi-N-Dry,
14 Greenlight Promise “A Song Is Worth A Thousand Pictures” (n A Mirror That Lied The Truth) Greenlight Promise,
15 Man Of The Year “Thank Your Stars” (A New And Greater Tokyo) Tiny Beat,
16 Suit Of Lights “Goodbye Silk City” (Suit of Lights) Visiting Hours,
17 Mando Saenz “Watertown” (Watertown) Carnival Recording Company,
18 Lismore “Come Undone” (We Could Connect Or We Could Not) Cult Hero,
19 Death From Above 1979 “Blood On Our Hands” (Your’e A Woman, I’m A Machine) Vice

Magnet's New Music Sampler # 37 is particularly strong. Most of the tracks are actually quite something, although I’m only going to focus on the few that left an immediate impression with me. Still, with even more repeated listens, I'm sure I would have latched onto more of the songs.

Boyskout’s School of Etiquette album came out in January, 2004, an eternity, by pop music standards. The remix of Jesse James has a dark, 80s feel to it. It’s a dance tune, rather than a bonafide song but its catchy.

Sway by The Perishers is mellow, piano driven indie-pop that begs more listens. Signed to Vancouver’s Nettwerk Productions, The Perishers are a four-piece from Umeå, Sweden and have been compared to other pop bands from the UK like Keane, Travis and Coldplay.

Full Scale’s “Party Political” is a throat-grabber exercise in aggression and this Australian band has been compared to the defunct Rage Against The Machine. Slashing thrash metal guillotine guitars combined with rhythmic raps. Korn would be proud of their sound. They are touted as being a killer live band and I think I would be inclined to check them out based on this one song.

“In Defense of Dorchester” by Street Dogs is a brief but rousing punk track, complete with incredible “who oh oh oh’ backing vocals. Sleek, raw but accessible punk.

Greenlight Promise remind me somewhat of Low with their quiet, atmospheric sound. This song drifts in and out of your consciousness and is one of those pieces of music that you can hear over and over again and not feel like you’ve had enough.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

some Trinidad photos

Welcome to the mother, father and rocking grandmama of all carnivals. If you are feeling low, if you are feeling bored or harbouring misanthropic tendencies then be off with you to Port Of Spain. Here, every year, in the five days before Ash Wednesday the island explodes into a seething mass of partying humanity.

A ritual over 150 years old begins with the King and Queen contest on the Friday and finishes with the Parade of the Bands and its eye-popping costumes on the Tuesday. In between, under the bleaching sun and shining moon, slap on the body paint and the coloured hair spray, throw those spike heels away, don your most outrageous clothing and join the throng in dancing, singing and drinking to calypso, soca and steel band. You are part of the most heaving, partying family in the world.

A fairly steep rainforest hike leads to the Tamana Caves at a 750-foot elevation.

Two adults are dwarfed by the root of a Strangling Fig tree in Nariva Swam

The mouth of the Marianne River is accessible for magical kayak exploration into wildlife-rich bamboo forests.

Tiger Woods wins 4th Masters!

You just know I was glued to the tube this past Sunday, watching Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco battling it out for the first major PGA tournament of the year, the 2005 Masters, from Augusta, Georgia.

Here's how they matched up

Thursday April 7, 2005
DiMarco 67
Woods 74





Saturday ended up being a huge day for Tiger, as he bested DiMarco by three strokes after trailing the previous day by six!

Chris DiMarco is quite simply, a golfer to watch. He outplayed Tiger on Sunday, during regulation play. Time after time, he would drop the ball on the green and have it show up closer to the hole than Tiger.

But, Tiger Woods, under danger of losing the tournament on the 16th hole, ended up giving us one of the most memorable shots in televised golf history. He initially looked like he hit the ball too hard as it quikly flew onto the green, surely to go skidding past the point of a necessary right-hand turn to be gravity fed into the hole. But, the green magically grabbed the ball, slowing it down just enough to bring it to that special spot that every golfer knows about. It almost came to a stop and then turned right, and headed straight for the hole. But, as in any good golf movie, it stopped right at the lip of the hole, with no one knowing but everyone hoping, that it would just fall in. Two second later, it fell in. Woods had already begun his celebratory walk, sneaking up on the ball, when it was just a foot away from the hole. The end result is an astonishing marketing moment for Nike, of course, capped off by the fact that when the ball sat on the lip, the Nike swoosh logo was prominently displayed.

How Tiger chipped in at the 16th

Tiger was off the green, 40ft from the hole, tight up against a nasty fringe and facing a wicked left-to-right slope. Showing supreme touch, he aimed 15 foot to the left of the pin, and watched as the slope gently brought the ball back to teeter on the edge of the cup before finally dropping.

In mid-May, Nike Golf will introduce the Nike One Platinum, the first ball designed to maximize play with today's larger head drivers by promoting a higher trajectory and a lower spin rate.

Woods has quietly been playing a prototype One Platinum since the debut of the 2005 PGA Tour at the Mercedes Championships. He continued his winning ways from the November switch to the 460cc Nike Ignite driver, but since January the One Platinum has helped him elevate his game even higher. In his six events this year he is averaging 305 yards off the tee, which ranks him 3rd, and his 407-yard bomb at the Mercedes ranks as the 2nd longest on Tour.

Woods produces the shot of the day with a scintillating chip on the 16th that just sneaks in.

For Woods though, the One Platinum's responsiveness around the green is just as critical. A couple of the other reasons he green-lighted the One Platinum project to go to production are his 74.1 percent average in Greens in Regulation, which ranks 3rd, and his 69.16 scoring, ranked 2nd this year.

Nike first paired itself with Woods back in 1996. He signed a five-year endorsement deal with the company in 2000 for a reported $100million, and has become such a major part of the company’s endorsement stable - one stocked with superstars - that he has a building named after him at Nike’s headquarters campus in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland.

But it is Nike that has arguably received the most marketing mileage out of the tournament. It is estimated that the company already had received more than $1million in free advertising after the shot was shown the 60th time somewhere on a TV news broadcast.

Tiger with wife Elin Nordegren.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

dramatic rise in housing prices

Winnipeg used to be one of the best kept secrets for house prices. Prices have increased quite a bit, though, over the past few years.

Whyte Ridge.

Ave. List
2003 219,475
2004 244,788
2005 270,856

Ave. Sale
2003 219,452
2004 243,298
2005 274,537

Whyte Ridge
Ave. List
2003 203,318
2004 242,744
2005 257,725

Ave. Sale
2003 199,906
2004 243,868
2005 252,797

Property prices increased by 23.2% between 1999 and 2003 in Winnipeg as a whole. The average sale price of a Lindenwoods area home in 1999 was $178,000. It increased by %23.2 to $219,452. Then, the average sale price increased by 25% to $274,537 between 2003 and 2005. Between 1999 and 2005, the average house price increased from $178,000 to $274,537, an increase of almost 55%.

There's a house across the street that is selling for $190,000. The 1999 City assessment values it at $149,200. The 2003 proposed assessed value is $173,100. It's selling for $17,000 more than its value two years ago.

Whyte Ridge and the industrial park. Kenaston curving from left to right and intersecting with Waverley. Whyte Ridge appears almost triangular in shape.

Lindenwoods appears on the right. You can see Canadian Tire on the left, Wal-Mart in the middle and Safeway on the right, near the top.

Kenaston at the top, McGillivray heading south. You can see Canadian Tire on the left side of McGillivray and Wal-Mart and Safeway on the right side. Almost parallel to the bottom of the photo is Waverely.

Here's a closer view of Kenaston and Lindenwood Drive W. You can easily see Safeway on the left, Wal-Mart in the middle and Canadian Tire on the right.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The next James Bond - Daniel Craig?

Speculation is forming that Brit Daniel Craig, 37, is the new James Bond, having beat out Clive Owen.

Apparently, Pierce Brosnan was dumped after demanding US $42 million for the next Bond flick. If this salary demand was true, then one suspects Brosnan really didn’t have his heart in it and knew they would turn him down or make him even wealthier with the outrageous payday.

Word is that Eon Productions has offered Craig a three-film contract.

Craig’s best known films are Lara Craft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Road To Perdition (2002.)

If indeed he is the next Bond, he follows David Niven, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

Word is that Owen, nominated for an Oscar in 2004's Closer, didn't really want the role. During the recent "next Bond sweepstakes", I have maintained that Owen is too good to play Bond, as he carries greater depth than any of the Bond actors, save Sean Connery.

While largely unknown outside the UK, he has received much praise for being a very solid actor and possibly the best actor of his age in the UK.

Other news stories are speculating that Pierce Brosnan is returning to play Bond in one or two more films. The tight-fisted studio paid Brosnan about 11 million pounds for the last film, Die Another Day, but it doesn't give out percentages of box-office receipts. Brosnan's take from his four Bond films (which earned US $1.49 billion) has been far less than Tom Cruise's take from the two Mission: Impossible films. Apparently, the studios are reluctant to risk the francise on an unknown but are interested in grooming a younger actor to take over the role.

Every Word is True (2006) .... Richard Hickock
Vengeance (2005)
The Jacket (2005) .... MacKenzie
Fateless (2005) .... US Army Sergeant
Enduring Love (2004) .... Joe Rose
Layer Cake (2004) .... XXXX
*Sylvia (2003) .... Ted Hughes
*The Mother (2003) .... Darren
Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002) .... Cecil
*Road to Perdition (2002) .... Connor Rooney
*Tomb Raider (2001) .... Alex West
*Hotel Splendide (2000) .... Ronald
*Some Voices (2000) .... Ray
*I Dreamed of Africa (2000) .... Declan Fielding
*The Trench (1999) .... Sergeant Telford Winter
*Elizabeth (1998) .... John Ballard
*Love and Rage (1998) .... James Lynchehaun
*Love Is the Devil (1998) .... George Dyer
*Obsession (1997) .... John MacHale
*Saint-Ex (1997) .... Guillaumet
*A Kid in King Arthur's Court (1995) .... Master Kane
Genghis Cohn (1993) .... Lieutenant Guth
*The Power of One (1992) .... Sergeant Botha
* available on home video/DVD

The Weekly Music Magazine CD Sampler Review

The Weekly Music Magazine CD Sampler Review, # 3.

Every month, I read many music magazines. Several of them have sampler CDs that have both known and lesser-known artists. This column covers my thoughts on the only the tracks that made a strong impression on me.

Paste is a fairly new US bi-monthly magazine that also covers music, concerts, film, DVDs, and books of new releases. They tend to focus on current pop and roots artists, both major artists and indie. of the past rather than the hot new artists of today. This issue has Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberest on the cover. The sampler CDs tend to have a laid-back feel to them. You will not hear nu-metal, rock, punk or hip-hop to any great degree, but singer-songwriters abound.

01 Bright Eyes “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)” (Digital Ash in a Digital Urn)
02 Low – “California” (The Great Destroyer)
03 Aqualung – “Left Behind” (Still Life)
04 Kathleen Edwards – “Back To Me” (Back To Me)
05 Ben Lee – “Catch My Disease” (Awake Is The New Sleep (Dig))
06 Sputnik – “Hello” (I, Cosmonaut)
07 Lou Barlow – “Home” (EMOH)
08 Diego Sandrin – “Dog” (Ten Songs In The Key of Madness)
09 Eisley - “Marvelous Things” (Room Noises)
10 Reckless Kelly – “Broken Heart” (Broken Heart)
11 Mary Gauthier – “Mercy Now” (Mercy Now)
12 Amos Lee - "Keep It Lose, Keep It Tight" (Amos Lee)
13 Al Green – “Be My Baby” (Everything's Ok)
14 Christopher Williams – Did Not Draw” (When I Was Everything)
15 The Duhks – “Mist Of Down Below” (The Duhks)
16 Mando Saenz – “Julia” (Watertown)
17 Reid Jamieson – “Last Day Of The Year” (The Unavoidable Truth)
18 Ivy – “Thinking About You” (In The Clear)
19 Slow Motion Reign – “Isn’t It Time (Rats) (Slow Motion Reign)
20 Suit Of Lights – Goodbye Sick City (Suit of Lights)
21 Aqueduct – “Five Star Day”(Aqueduct)
22 Bright Eyes – “We Are Nowhere And It’s Now” (I'm Wide Awake It's Morning)

There’s a lot of good music on this particular CD. But few tracks make me want to jump up and head over to the record store. Or to the artists’ web site. And this is after several listenings, just to be sure.

Bright Eyes' “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)” is my first exposure to Conor Oberst, since he flew beneath my radar until now. This is an addictive, sparkling, pop gem. It’s bound to open a lot of doors for folks who like electronic-flavoured pop.

Lou Barlow “Home” starts off with an acoustic guitar and some very catchy foot stomping rhythms. You’d also expect this to turn into a hoedown! Without these extra sounds, the song is like many others on the disc – a good listen, but not something truly exceptional. Read Aaman Lamba’s Blogcritics review of Barlow’s “Emoh”

Mary Gauthier’s “Mercy Now” is a spare acoustic ballad, but your attention is focused by her vocal delivery - there’s beauty, soul and harshness and it just grabs you. Less is more with this song. She also out thought into her lyrics, and you may want to compare notes with other listeners. Is this song country or folk? It doesn’t matter, but I want to hear it again and again.

Ivy’s “Thinking About You” is an upbeat pop tune with breathy vocals and an instant appeal. It’s basically pretty pop music with a female singer, Dominique Durand, from Paris. James Iha from the Smashing Pumkins contributes guitars and one of the guys from The Fountains of Wayne is one of the songwriters.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Best 150 Songs of 2004 by Tony J. Neal

The Best Songs of 2004
1. The Rat- The Walkmen- 'Bows + Arrows' Track #2
2. Goodnight Believer- Bluebottle Kiss- 'Come Across' #12
3. Wake Up- The Arcade Fire- 'Funeral' #7
4. Satin In a Coffin- Modest Mouse 'Good News For People Who Love Bad News' #11
5. Bona Fide Treasure- The Charlatans- 'Up at the Lake' #5
6. From Now To Never- Sparta- 'Porcelain' #13
7. Stay Where You Are- Ambulance LTD- 'Ambulance LTD' #5
8. Return To Oz- Scissor Sisters- 'Scissor Sisters' #11
9. King's Crossing- Elliott Smith- 'from a basement on the hill' #7
10. 7 September 2003- The Elected- 'Me First' #1
11. She Said We Could Make It- Offcutts- Thrift Store Boutique #9
12. Strange Ways- Madvillain- 'Madvillainy' #16
13. If You're Ready- Future Pilot AKA- Salute Your Soul #4
14. The Nowhere Man- The Veils-'The Runaway Found' #10
15. That Man Will Not Hang- Mclusky- 'The Difference Between Me & You Is That I'm Not on Fire' #2
16. Indictment- Antibalas- 'Who Is This America?' #3
17. Everybody's On a Ride- David Kilgour- 'Frozen Orange' #10
18. Glitterball- Seachange- Lay of the Land- 'Lay of the Land' #3
19. Could Well Be In- The Streets- 'A Grand Don't Come for Free' #2
20. Why- The Roots- 'The Tipping Point' #10 (Bonus Track)
21. Fool- Sophia- 'People Are Like Seasons' #3
22. Enter Laughing- Electrelane- 'The Power Out' #7
23. Hell Is Chrome- Wilco- 'A Ghost Is Born' #2
24. Moment In Time- Weird War- 'If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em' #5
25. Take Me Out- Franz Ferdinand- 'Franz Ferdinand' #4

26. Blood Bleeds- The Helio Sequence- 'Love and Distance' #7
27. Endless Factories- Division of Laura Lee- 'Das Not Compute' #3
28. Nowhere Again- Secret Machines- 'Now Here Is Nowhere' #4
29. Sparta 2XX- The Fall- 'The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click)' #3
30. Long Time Coming- Delays- 'Faded Seaside Glamour' #3
31. What Katie Did- The Libertines- 'The Libertines' #10
32. New Hampshire- Sonic Youth- 'Sonic Nurse' #7
33. Fever- Pink Grease- 'This Is For Real' #2
34. Methamphetamine Blues- Mark Lanegan- 'Bubblegum' #4
35. Catch Me Up- Gomez- 'Split the Difference' #7
36. Layin' A Strip For The Higher-Self State Line- The Bad Plus- 'Give' #7
37. Heroes and Villains- Brian Wilson- 'SMiLE' #2
38. So Weit Wie Noch Nie- Erlend Oye- 'DJ Kicks' #1
39. Flames Go Higher- Eagles of Death Metal- 'Peace Love Death Metal' #4
40. Fix Up Look Sharp- Dizzee Rascal- 'Boy in da Corner' #6
41. The Body Breaks- Devendra Banhart- 'Rejoicing in the Hands' #3
42. Chief Inspector Blancheflower- Fiery Furnaces- 'Blueberry Boat' #8
43. Van Lear Rose- Loretta Lynn- 'Van Lear Rose' #1
44. Byss and Abyss- Espers- 'Espers' #6
45. Apples and Oranges- Dogs Die In Hot Cars- 'Please Describe Yourself' #5
46. Gusher- Lambchop- 'No, You C'mon' #10
47. We Are the Wreckage- Castanets- 'Cathedral' #10
48. Hello? Is this Thing On?- !!!-'Louden Up Now' #5
49. Black Stars- Jolie Holland- 'Escondida' #2
50. Turn It Out- Death From Above 1979- 'You're a Woman, I'm a Machine' #1

51. Translucent Sparrow- The Sadies 'Favourite Colours' #2
52. Meantime- The Futureheads- 'The Futureheads' #5
53. Bringing Us Down- Les Favy Fav- Inches- #15
54. Walk the Moon- Belasco- Knowing Everyone's OK #7
55. Weave Your Hair- Brando- 943 Recluse- #3
56. I Don't Love You- Tangiers- Never Bring You Pleasure #2
57. Comm Jet- Single Frame- 10- Wetheads Come Running
58. Trial of the Century- The French Kicks- #3
59. The Winter Shaker- Oneida- Secret Wars- #7
60. Caviar- Icarus Line- #4
61. The Angel's Share- Ted Leo & Pharmacists #2
62. Chico- The Concretes- #3
63. Whiskey River- Comets On Fire- #3
64. Hey Little- Pluto- Red Light #5
65. I'll Make You A Star- The Ponys- Laced #9
66. Paint Your Name- Special Patrol- The Golden Mean- #2
67. Age Of Miracles- Chuck Prophet- Age of Miracles- #2
68. The Rules- Ben Kweller- #5
69. Tow Truck- Karate- Pockets #6
70. Born Too Slow- The Crystal Method- Legion of Boom #2
71. Cyclone Graves- Ken Stringfellow- Soft Commands #11
72. Fake Blood- Mission OfBurma- OnoffOn #7
73. Cars and Guns- Digger & The Pussycats- S/T #7
74. Starlite- Young Heart Attack- Mouthful #2
75. Drums- Black Eyes- Cough #4

76. Turn, Turn, Turn- Papa M- Hole of Burning Alms- Track #11
77. Come Back To Camden- Morrissey- #4
78. Here, In This Place- Gotye- Boardface- #7
79. Modern Phobias- Read Yellow- #7
80. The Brouhaha- Beastie Boys- #14
81. Huddle Formation- The Go! Team- #10
82. Traps- Future Kings Of Spain- #10
83. Astronaut- David Byrne- Grown Backwards #12
84. There Will Be A Light- Ben Harper- #10
85. Mosh- Eminem- #6
86. Wear You Out- TV On the Radio- #9
87. Milkman's Daughter- Ann McCue- #8
88. Xian Undertaker- Silkworm- #5
89. Shadows- Wagon Christ- Sorry I Make #4
90. Trampin'- Patti Smith- #11
91. Uninvited Guest- Trans Am- Liberation #2
92. Sometimes- Lazy Susan- #1
93. Strayed Out- Fancey- #4
94. My French Brother- Thievery Corporation- #18
95. The Lengths- The Black Keys- #7
96. Spanish Song Bird- Keren Ann- #9
97. Freedom Park- Marah- 20,000 Streets #2
98. Wagon Wheel- Old Crow Medicine Show- #11
99. Pure For- The Beta Band- #12
100. Dead Quote Olympics- The Hives- #11

101.Stockport- Badly Drawn Boy- #11
102.Lysergic Bliss- Of Montreal- #2
103.Kids On Holiday- Animal Collective- #5
104.Birds/Unrecorded- M83- #1, 2
105.To All Of You- RJD2- #7
106.Her Estuary Twang- Preston School of Industry- Track #7
107.Notorious Lightning- Destroyer- #1
108.Life and Death of Mr. Badmouth- PJ Harvey- #1
109.Backyards- Broken Social Scene- #6
110.Flowers- The Casual Dots- S/T #3
111.Freedom Road- Divine Comedy- #9
112.This Mystic Decade- Hot Snakes- #8
113.Kingfish Pies- Midlake- #3
114.Run- Air- #3
115.Teeth- The Mekons- #1
116.We Fenced Other Houses- Liars- #5
117.Shake It- Tom Waits- #4
118.Sunset Soon Forgotten- Iron and Wine- #4
119.End of the World- The Cure- #4
120.Violent Letter- Guitar Wolf- #4
121.Sálvese Quién Pueda- Juana Molina- #3
122.Sister- Sufjan Stevens- #6
123.B1- Part Chimp- #1
124.Trash Flavored Trash- Blood Brothers #2
125.Mother Nature's Son- Joel Frahm & Brad Mehldau- #5

126.Random Thoughts- Koolism- #12
127.80's Dance Parties- Joan Of Arc- #8
128.Clear Channel (Fvck Off)- Leftover Crack- #1
129.Everybody Thinks I'm a Raincloud- Guided By Voices- #1
130.Syracuse- Pinback- #3
131.Come Back Again- Sleep Station- #6
132.I Knew Her She New Me- Coachwhips- #3
133.Blink- Gingersol- #2
134.High Come Down- Junior Boys- #3
135.My Tortured Soul- Probot- #10
136.One Night On Tulane- Blue States #4
137.Watching Cars Go By- Felix Da Housecat- #10
138.Baby Boy- The Owls- #5
139.Carpe Et Dieme- Royalchord- #1
140.Goodbye Girl- Epicure- #1
141.The Lurch- Two Lone Swordsmen #3
142.Biscuits- Ghostface- #2
143.No Atmosphere- The Bees- #3
144.Forwards and Backwards- The Cinch- #2
145.Blanket- Autolux- #5
146.Sewn Up- Rogue Wave- #7
147.Left Handed- Lali Puna- #9
148.Speak Low- Andy Bey- #2
149.The Man With 100 Cells- Stereolab- #7
150.Public Pervert- Interpol- #7

All of these are great songs and fit on 1 CD (MP3). E-Mail me if you can't find some of them.

film review - Sahara

Sahara 1.5/5

Marine diver and treasure hunt dreamer, Dirk Pitt, finds himself saving the life of a beautiful Dr. on a beach. She recuperates on board a large salvage vessel of an organization that partners with foreign governments to recover ship wrecks and their musem artificats.

The Dr. was investigating a mysterious possible plague on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) while Pitt comes across a very rare gold coin from a Civil War ironclad battleship. The ship was rumoured to have crossed the Atlantic and ended up in a river in Africa. The ship also may contain a lot of gold.

Matthew McConaughey is still lacking in screen prescence here and Penelope Cruz, is hopelessly dull. The good guys get shot at a lot but never really get hurt even when they take on lots of bad guys. During the fun, harmless scenes, we get a soundtack of US classic rock, while during the more serious chase scenes, we hear James Bond-like themes.

Unfortunately, almost every scene is totally farfetched. When they stumble across something important, it's way too convenient to hold your imagination. Travel across the vast Sahara takes place in no time at all. There's almost no intrigue or suspense.

Not something I would buy on DVD or see again. Based on the novel of the same name by Clive Cussler. Sahara is not in the same league as the Indiana Jones movies but if you are looking for an easy to digest Hollywood adventure movie, this is the mush they're serving up this week.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 6

April 07, 2005

Publication Ban Lifted
Justice John Gomery has lifted the publication ban on Jean Brault's testimony, allowing the Canadian media to finally report the testimony to the Canadian public. As CTV demonstrates in its data-dump format, the facts as presented by CQ's source stand up very well against the revelations possible now that the media has been unleashed:

Brault claims in his testimony that he systematically kicked back huge amounts of taxpayer money to the federal Liberal party, a deception he claims involved senior Liberal organizers and people close to former prime minister Jean Chretien.
His testimony detailed secret meetings, phoney paper trails, envelopes stuffed with cash and bogus billings.

* He said there were phoney employees on the payroll at the ad firm Groupaction.* Brault said there was $1 million in kickbacks to the Liberal Party of Canada.* His reward, he claims, was $172 million in government business for his firm.

It was always the same story, he told the commission. The Liberal Party needs money. If you want the business, you have to pay.

Brault says most of the kickbacks were cash; that's the way his Liberal handlers wanted it. Simply, he said, so it couldn't be traced.

On one occasion, Brault says he handed $25,000 in cash to Joseph Morselli, a top organizer for former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano.

Brault wanted the bidding for some ad contracts with the justice department delayed. He says Morselli told him the delay would cost $100,000.

The first payment was $25,000, dropped off at a fundraiser for Gagliano, at a restaurant in Montreal's east end.

Brault claims he also put at least five Liberal party workers on Groupaction's payroll. They were paid with sponsorship money to do work for the party.

Other Liberals allegedly got cheques too, disguised as consulting fees, for doing nothing. One of them was Jean Chretien's brother, Gaby.

Brault claims Chretien handed $4,000 to a Liberal candidate.

Brault says Liberal fundraiser Alain Renaud got $63,000, also for doing nothing.

It was clearly, Brault says, a donation to the Liberal Party.

And then, there's Jacques Corriveau, a confidant of former prime minister Jean Chretien.

Brault paid Corriveau's firm nearly $500,000, for no work at all.

He says Corriveau wanted the money for the Liberal party.

Under cross examination, a lawyer for the Liberals suggested Brault didn't really know if some of his payments ended up in Liberal coffers. Brault agreed with that, saying 'You're right."
Well, perhaps the attorney representing the Liberals on the cross-examination felt he scored a point. However, when political appointees demand cash from a government contractor, either the money is for themselves or their party -- and either way, it's corruption.

Justice Gomery only partially lifted the ban, leaving some question whether the ban would continue for Chuck Guité and Paul Coffin. If it does and my source can still produce information on the ongoing testimony, I will continue to publish it here. My hope will be that Justice Gomery realizes that publication bans do nothing but damage public confidence in the government's ability to police itself and hold itself accountable to the electorate. We'll see soon enough if that lesson has sunk in with Justice Gomery.
Posted by Captain Ed at 12:57 PM Comments (19) TrackBack

Adscam Updates And Notes
A couple of updates on Adscam for Canadian readers this morning:

First, after I posted about the Toronto Sun's allegations yesterday about Parti Quebecois receiving Sponsorship Program monies through Groupaction, several people e-mailed and commented that PQ vigorously denied the allegations and that the Sun had reported factually incorrect data. Specifically, the contract to which the Sun tied the illegal payments expired in 1998. However, Greg Weston's column in today's Sun makes the chronology clear :

As we reported yesterday, Alain Renaud, a senior executive who worked for the ad firm Groupaction during the Adscam years, claims that while the company was getting $43 million in sponsorship funds, it was slipping thousands of dollars to the PQ.

In one deal, Renaud says, Groupaction paid about $90,000 to the PQ in return for a $4.5-million advertising contract with the Quebec liquor board, the SAQ.

The PQ, of course, went berserk over the story, denying it with separatist vigour. Groupaction had actually lost the bid for the liquor board contract in late 1998, the party insisted. Too bad Renaud was talking about Groupaction's contract from 1996-97.

It does indeed appear that money spent on convincing the Quebecois not to secede from Canada went into the pockets of the very separatists it was meant to oppose. This led to a particularly uncomfortable exchange between Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Liberal PM Paul Martin during yesterday's Question Period:

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper made the perfectly sensible point that since "hundreds of thousands of tax dollars may have been funnelled through the Liberal sponsorship program to the Parti Quebecois, I guess the Keystone Crooks stole the money and gave it to the wrong people."

Harper asked, could the PM "guarantee Canadian taxpayers that not one red cent of their money went to the separatist cause in Quebec in the name of national unity?"

Martin, of course, could give no such guarantee.

In another update, CTV confirms that Justice Gomery will decide this morning whether to continue the publication ban now that Jean Brault's testimony has been completed, and of course reported through this site and others. As I mentioned before, an end to the ban would be the best possible result, as Canadians would get first-hand reporting on the courtroom testimony and all the information they want on the scandal.

However, if Justice Gomery does not lift the ban, my source has prepared an update which will be sent later today to me. I assume that will cover the testimony from Monday and Tuesday, and possibly the cross-examination yesterday. If it comes through -- which is completely at the discretion of my source -- I will post it as soon as I'm able.

UPDATE: Justice Gomery will announce the decision on the ban at 2 pm EDT, according to a separate source.
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:48 AM Comments (39) TrackBack

American Media Catches Up To Adscam
One complaint that Americans receive from Canadians, and deservedly so, is how little our media covers Canadian issues, leaving Americans poorly informed of the affairs of our northern neighbors. I don't believe it to be deliberate, but in an effort to cover global hot spots, our media gives Canada short shrift. I wondered when I started writing about Adscam when the American media would pick up on the story, if at all, since it held the real possibility of toppling the government.

Ironically, the tremendous interest from Canada in this blog has caught the notice of American media and put Adscam in our newspapers. Yesterday and this morning, several articles appeared around the country, including an interview I did with the New York Times which went out on their wire service to newspapers all over. Clifford Krauss spoke with me yesterday and explained Adscam to Americans:

Edward Morrissey, a 42-year-old Minneapolis area call-center manager who runs a Web log, or blog, called Captain's Quarters as a hobby, last Saturday began posting allegations of corruption that reached the highest levels of the Canadian Liberal Party. The postings violate a publication ban instituted a few days earlier by a federal judge, Justice John Gomery, who is leading an investigation into accusations of money laundering and kickbacks in a government program from the 1990's that was aimed at undermining Quebec separatists.

The scandal, which involves government payments of up to $85 million to a handful of Montreal advertising firms for little or no work, has dominated national politics for a year and led to the Liberals losing their majority in the House of Commons last June.

But Justice Gomery moved to limit dissemination of information from the otherwise public hearing in Montreal so as not to influence potential jurors for coming trials in which a government bureaucrat and two advertising executives face criminal charges.
Krauss writes more about the ban, which is the same angle that interested John Tabin at The American Spectator. Tabin opines about the ban after explaining the scandal and CQ's role in exposing some of the testimony -- and doing so in a critical but accurate manner. Tabin explains his purpose to TAS' readers:

Why is Morrissey reporting all this? Why am I repeating it? Quite simply, the publication ban is an abomination. The condescending notion that the jury in Brault's criminal trial might be irretrievably biased by media reports hardly justifies keeping ordinary Canadians in the dark about things that Ottawa's cognoscenti can't stop talking about. Canadian television reporters show images of Brault weeping on the stand, but then say, farcically, they can't reveal what made him break down. (He'd just recounted how he was told to hire a Liberal crony or lose a contract with Via Rail, Canada's state-run passenger train service.) Canada's attorney general has already talked about pursuing Canadian bloggers merely for linking to Captain's Quarters, possibly charging them with contempt of court. What makes the ban especially disturbing is the rumor that the Liberals could call a snap election before the testimony becomes public to avoid accountability at the polls.

As Canadian blogger and sometime TAS contributor Colby Cosh notes, free expression is a fundamental right under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Judges are advised to use publication bans sparingly and with grave concern for Charter principles, and -- unlike many Canadian judges -- Gomery actually did so, in such a way that suggests he might be amenable to lifting the ban. The efficacy of the ban is a factor in the decision to lift it or continue it; the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that an infringement on Charter liberties must have a "rational connection" to the intended benefit. If Americans are reporting what Canadians cannot, the argument for the ban weakens. And so, writes Cosh, "it would actively help free the hands of Canadian webloggers and reporters if our foreign cousins were to be aggressive about
"publishing" the substance of the Brault testimony outside the reach of Canadian law" (emphasis his).

Happy to oblige.

And in yesterday's Dallas Morning News, Adscam and the publication ban was the topic of their lead editorial. The editors at DMN don't share my optimism about avoiding any complications at breaking the ban, however:

The lesson would seem to be that in this Internet era, it is futile for governments to try to keep information out of the hands of the people. Not so fast: There is a reasonable chance that the Canadian government will prosecute Mr. Morrissey under Canadian law and request that American courts enforce their ruling.

Before "Captain Ed" ends up in the dock, we hope U.S. courts realize that technology has created a new worldwide information environment where old laws simply no longer fit reality. The poor Canadian judge looks like King Canute – or should we say King Canuck – vainly ordering the tide to reverse course.

They could try, I suppose, but I think they'd be unlikely to succeed in even receiving a hearing -- and I believe I'd find excellent representation to ensure it didn't go any farther than that if I needed it.

Finally, the local Minneapolis Star-Tribune called last night for an interview and ran it in today's edition, which must have just barely made it in before deadline. Chao Xiong wrote a good piece on the controversy and my role in it, along with some quotes from the Canadian media, an angle that appears unique amoung American coverage so far:

"Within hours of [the blog] being posted people found it and were passing it around," said Bob Cox, night editor of the Toronto newspaper, The Globe and Mail. "There was a great desire amongst Canadians for the information."

Before the blog was discovered, a number of news media outlets had hired a lawyer in anticipation of challenging the publication ban, Cox said. That effort could be bolstered now that the blog has turned water cooler talk into easily accessible, widespread information, he said.
Morrissey has received news media attention in Canada, where because of the ban the news media cannot explicitly discuss information on his blog.

"As a Canadian journalist, I can tell you it's frustrating," Cox said. "Every Canadian with a computer can sit down and read it, but we can't publish it. We're kind of envious that he [Morrissey] can do this."

At least for the moment, Americans have an opportunity to catch up with Canada and learn more about our friends to the north. It may not be the most pleasant of topics, but the analysis provided by the articles gives better insight into the issues that drive Canadian politics and hopefully will stir further interest south of the 49th Parallel.
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:43 AM Comments (19) TrackBack

Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 5

April 06, 2005

Publication Ban Decision Tomorrow
Justice Gomery has put off a decision on lifting the publication ban on Adscam testimony until tomorrow, in part because Liberal cross-examination of Jean Brault took longer than expected:
Mr. Justice John Gomery decided late in the day Wednesday that he needed more time to consider whether to allow the testimony of Mr. Brault to be reported in the media after Mr. Brault completed his time on the stand.

Judge Gomery is to make a decision Thursday morning.
If he lifts the ban, it may start the ball rolling for opposition parties to pose a non-confidence motion in the Liberals and potentially bring the government down. Opposition parties believe that Mr. Brault's testimony is extremely damaging to the Liberal Party.

If the ban gets lifted, expect the media to explode with information. Based on a few conversations I've had with some Canadian journalists, they cannot wait to tell you this story.
Posted by Captain Ed at 08:59 PM Comments (18) TrackBack

Adscam: It's Not Just For Liberals Any More
The Toronto Sun has developed its own independent sources into the Sponsorship Program scandal, uncovering more corruption at Groupaction while Jean Brault testifies under a publication ban at the Gomery Inquiry. The Canadian website Angry in the Great White North points out the article by Greg Weston, who reveals that the Liberals were not the only beneficiaries of the political shenanigans at Groupaction:
A MONTREAL advertising firm that received more than $40 million in AdScam sponsorship contracts paid huge kickbacks to both the federal Liberal party and the Quebec separatists, senior executives of the company have told Sun Media. "I remember seeing the cheques," one former Groupaction executive said of payments to the federal Liberal party in Quebec.
The man spoke on condition that he not be identified until he testifies at the Gomery inquiry sometime over the coming weeks.

The exec said the president of Groupaction, Jean Brault, made no secret around the company about where the kickback cash was going and for what.
"He spoke to me about it ... having to pay money back to the Liberal Party" in return for contracts.
But the source makes clear that the separatist Parti Quebecois duplicated the Liberal efforts to launder political contributions through Groupaction and its employees. This may come as a shock to Canadians, as the Sponsorship Program was specifically designed to help the Quebecois feel more comfortable as part of the Canadian nation:
The $250 million in sponsorships that the previous Liberal government pumped into Quebec was supposed to help fight the separatists after the near-miss referendum in 1995.

But another former Groupaction executive, Alain Renaud, said that while the firm was getting millions of dollars in federal sponsorship money, it was secretly cutting cheques to the separatist Parti Quebecois.

Renaud said that in one transaction, a total of about $90,000 was given to the PQ as part of Groupaction's getting a $4.5-million advertising contract for the Quebec liquor board, called the SAQ.
Groupaction apparently won the contract in a competition when a bagman for the Parti Quebecois had a meeting with the firm's top executives.
One of those executives told Sun Media: "The bagman came by and said: 'Well, you won the bid, and all that's needed now is a signature, and the documents are on the minister's desk to be signed, and it's going to cost you fifty grand.' "

Renaud recalled about $45,000 a year in donations were to be paid to the PQ for two years.
In other words, a good part of the $250 million that Canadians spent out of their tax money to hold onto Quebec went not only to the Liberal Party for their re-election efforts and personal gain -- it also went to the separatists that the government wanted to rebut.
How's that for irony?

If this comes out in the Gomery Inquiry, expect PQ to demand standing as the Liberals have received to cross-examine witnesses. That legal standing may wind up being the Scarlet Letter of Adscam.
Posted by Captain Ed at 01:56 PM Comments (12) TrackBack

Adscam Trials Delayed Until June
Justice Lise Côté postponed the trials of Jean Brault and Chuck Guité until June 2nd, far shorter than the September date the two men requested to prepare their defense. The shorter date calls into question whether Justice Gomery will lift the publication ban as had been anticipated in the event of a postponement:

A Montreal judge has postponed the criminal fraud trials of ad executive Jean Brault and former bureaucrat Chuck Guité until June 6, putting into question whether a ban on explosive testimony Mr. Brault provided at the sponsorship inquiry will be lifted.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Côté decided Wednesday to put the two men's criminal trials over until June 6. They were supposed to have begun on May 2, but Mr. Brault and Mr. Guité argued that they did not have enough time to prepare for that date. They had asked that their trials be delayed until September. ... The ban was instated to ensure that the jury at Mr. Brault's trial not be tainted by information out of the Gomery inquiry.

It difficult to say what move Judge Gomery will make now that Mr. Brault's criminal trial has been delayed only one month.

I don't think that the extra four weeks will make much difference to Justice Gomery on lifting the publication ban. What will impact the decision is how much of Brault's testimony has already escaped the ban through CQ and other websites, and the tremendous public interest the information generated in Canada. If Gomery thinks that more compelling information may come out, he may decide that a full disclosure to the public, including cross-examination by Liberal lawyers, will serve Brault better than a selective release through a single source. That decision would be the correct one, of course, and the decision he should have made in the first place.
Interestingly, Gomery had given Liberals standing in the inquiry, which allows them to cross-examine witnesses such as Brault. Today he denied standing to Conservatives and BQ, stating that their parties have not been directly affected by the testimony. In a subtle way, Canadians should understand from that decision that the witnesses have testified to significant wrongdoing by Liberal politicians and bureaucrats, but have not implicated anyone else.
If I hear more from my source, I will post it as soon as I'm able.
Posted by Captain Ed at 12:55 PM Comments (13) TrackBack

Scandale Des Commandites
The following is a translation of the two installments of Jean Brault's testimony at the Gomery Inquiry into French, for the benefit of readers in Quebec. The translation was kindly provided to me by CQ reader P.E. from Montréal. The bulk of the post will be in the extended comments; just click on the link below to read the entire post.
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:37 AM Comments (30) TrackBack

Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 4

April 05, 2005

Adscam And Media Updates
My source for the testimony for the Gomery Inquiry has told me not to expect an update today on yesterday's or today's hearings tonight. The actions of the Attorney General have spooked some people in the courtroom, and apparently Justice Gomery has threatened to clear out the spectators and the TV feeds if the leaks continue. Things may change tomorrow, or even later on tonight. If I get an update, I will post it as soon as I'm able.

Just as yesterday, I did a number of interviews with Canadian media today. Most of the questions were the same, but the people with whom I spoke were uniformly friendly, courteous, and gracious. This has been true across Canada, as I believe I have spoken with media in almost every province now. It's been quite impressive. The last Canadian interview I did was for a magazine in Montreal, and they asked me what kind of impression I have of Canadians after this, and I told him that after doing a number of interviews and reading the thoughtful comments and e-mails from my site, I have a new appreciation for Canada.

The last interview of the day was with's Declan McCullagh, who interviewed FEC commissioner Bradley Smith and touched off the blog reaction to the new Internet regulation that the FEC proposed. The interview became more of a chat, and Declan has already posted his take on our talk:

Morrissey now has laryngitis as a result of a rapid-fire series of interviews from Canadian news organizations. He's found them a bit bizarre. "They can't ask me about the case itself because they can't reproduce anything that has to do with the testimony," Morrissey said in an interview. "They can't ask me about my blog because they can't reproduce the URL."

Canadian publications and bloggers have been left in the difficult position of attempting to describe the violation of a judicial order without revealing which Web site did it. The National Post claimed it could not mention Morrissey by name, and one blogger in Toronto wrote that "I have avoided linking to the U.S. blogger in question. I also deleted a comment someone posted" with alleged Adscam testimony.

Canada's attorney general is investigating the legality of the U.S. blog posting. Government lawyers may charge Canadian Web publishers with contempt of court if they reproduce some of the Adscam testimony or perhaps even link to Morrissey's blog, the Toronto Sun reported.
That announcement is prompting Morrissey to worry about two possibilities: his confidential source being scared away, and a vacation that his family has planned in nearby Canada. "They can find me in contempt of court," he said. "That's fine. I just won't travel to Canada until it expires."

Actually, I was kidding about the vacation in Canada, although I'd certainly love to visit there again sometime soon without getting pinched at the border. I do have to keep in mind, though, that Justice Gomery can issue a contempt citation against me. It would have little weight here in Minnesota, but if I crossed the border, it would become a bit more of a problem.

Finally, let me again apologize for the difficulties in connecting to the website. Hosting Matters found a problem in my logfile this evening and corrected it, so you should see a marked improvement in access this evening.

UPDATE: Please note that I am not reluctant to post material from my source or another one that I can reasonably verify. The source from which my material has come wants to ensure his/her own safety at the moment from exposure and legal action, which I find reasonable. Hopefully, more material will come soon.

In the meantime, Aaron at Free Will got notes from a Quebec reader regarding Brault's testimony from last Thursday. It's more detailed but a bit more difficult to follow, but our two accounts appear to match up pretty well.
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:51 PM Comments (30) TrackBack

Canada's AG To Take On Bloggers
In an odd display of twisted priorities, Canada's Attorney General may start investigating the Canadian blogosphere to find bloggers who have linked back to CQ and broken the publication ban:

CANADA'S attorney general is probing possible breaches of a publication ban set up to protect explosive testimony at the AdScam inquiry. Justice spokesman Patrick Charette said federal lawyers are looking into the Internet sites reproducing excerpts of Montreal ad exec Jean Brault's testimony and providing a link to a U.S. blog featuring more extensive coverage of the hearing.

"We have to decide what the best course of action is," Charette said, adding federal lawyers could charge Canadian bloggers and website owners with contempt of court or suggest AdScam Justice John Gomery issue warning letters.

So instead of chasing down felons or prosecuting violent criminals, or perhaps investigating government corruption, the AG intends to start delivering contempt citations ... or even sillier, warning letters. For what? Writing about testimony to which their politicians have complete access and the media can watch but not report.

Don't get me wrong; American AGs often have their own screwed-up priorities, too. It just seems to me that prosecuting Canadian bloggers for creating a hyperlink to my site realistically ranks rather low on the threat level for most Canadians. However, perhaps the chilling effect on Canadian bloggers from this government intimidation should be taken as an ominous sign about the future of free speech in Canada by all of its citizens.

UPDATE: People keep asking me if I worry about the Canadian government cracking down on my blog. Not with these guys on my side, I don't...
Posted by Captain Ed at 02:06 PM Comments (8) TrackBack

G&M Shows Why Publication Ban Is A Farce
Jane Taber reports in this morning's edition of the Globe and Mail on a second interview I gave her yesterday, when I had a moment and my voice could handle it. It's meant to give Canadian readers some background on me personally, and Taber does a fine job of presenting that information. However, more importantly -- perhaps for American readers -- it explains one of the reasons I found the publication ban so ridiculous.

One of my commenters last night asked why Americans should be so offended by a publication ban, considering that grand jury testimony is often kept secret here. However, grand jury testimony is truly held in camera, meaning closed off to the public. As Taber reports, that's hardly the case with the Gomery Inquiry:

His contact could be anyone as the commission hearings are open to the public. Indeed, the Brault testimony is an open secret in political Ottawa. Ask any political staffer or MP and they seem to know some, if not all, of the details of the testimony. The television feed from the commission can be picked up in some Ottawa newsrooms, and other information is being passed through e-mails, transcripts and phone calls.

Political leaders are being kept abreast of the story, with the exception of Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe who asked his staff not to tell him anything for fear he will divulge information and run afoul of the ban.

Last week, the NDP dispatched their man, Pierre Ducasse, to the hearings when the publication ban was imposed. He reports the testimony back to the senior staff. Party leader Jack Layton, however, is briefed only on the "gist" of the information, his spokesman, Karl Bélanger, says. Again, it is to ensure that he doesn't let details slip.

In other words, every politician has access to the testimony, and even most reporters can get the transcript or at least hear it as the witnesses reveal their secrets. The only people whom the publication ban affects are the Canadian voters who elected these people and whose money got siphoned off. It has no analogy to grand juries whatsoever.

Others have pointed out that Justice Gomery wanted to keep the information private to keep the testimony from souring a jury pool for Jean Brault, Chuck Guité, and Paul Coffin. This sells Canadian citizens short, ethically and intellectually, and unfortunately this attitude exists in courtrooms south of the border as well. Jury selection these days apparently means finding twelve people who never read newspapers, books, or watch the news on television, and then putting someone's life into their hands. It's rubbish. Jurors take the job seriously enough that they can determine the validity of the evidence presented in court -- as opposed to the often-inaccurate information presented in the media -- and render a decision based on meeting a threshold based on reasonable doubt. When lawyers empanel the twelve most ignorant people they can find, we wind up with juries like the OJ Simpson jury: people who get manipulated by lawyers with sing-song slogans ... which is probably exactly what the lawyers on both sides wanted in the first place.

In order for a citizenry to remain at liberty, they have to know what their government is doing, and the press needs to report it without fear of government reprisal. The notion that Brault's rights had to be protected over the rights of all Canadian citizens is not only ludicrous but a false choice at its heart.

UPDATE and BUMP: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for all his links and supportive commentary at Instapundit. I just want to remind everyone to be a bit patient with load times today, due to the heavy interest in this material. If you want to read through all of my Adscam posts, click on this category link.
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:38 AM Comments (8) TrackBack

Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 3

April 04, 2005

Adscam: Brault Testimony Continues
This installment of the testimony of Jean Brault at the Gomery Commission comes from Friday and follows the first installment. Today;s testimony is still being rebuilt from notes and may not be ready until tomorrow. Again, I want to caution people that this is a single source of information, although I did receive independent confirmation about the first installment from two separate sources. Bear in mind that the witness has not yet been cross-examined as well.

The Martin Connections
So far, Jean Brault has testified that in addition to the roughly $250,000 (US) his company legitimately gave to the Liberal Party, they made almost $250,000 in under the table contributions (cash donations, or donations funneled through employees or other companies), and put party workers on the payroll for an in-kind contribution value of about $200,000. Most of Brault’s testimony seems to implicate the circles around Jean Chrétien and Alfonso Gagliano – who are all persona non grata in the “new” Liberal administration of Paul Martin - but there seem to be few direct links to the new regime.

However, Brault's testimony does appear to indicate that those links do exist.
Brault was invited to join a consultative committee for Rogers Cantel – a Canadian mobile phone company, chaired by former Liberal cabinet minister and key Martin ally Francis Fox. (Fox later served as Martin’s Principal Secretary when Martin became Prime Minister). At one of the Cantel lunches, another former Liberal minister and Martin organizer Jacques Olivier told Brault that he should “Stick to Corriveau. He will open doors for you.” (Olivier was referring to key Chrétien ally Jacques Corriveau, who Brault brought in as a subcontractor on advertising contracts.) This shows that two of Martin’s key Quebec organizers knew what was happening with government contracting and sponsorships.

Another connection is through Liberal organizer – and former assistant to Fox – Yvon Desrochers. When Brault was asked about direct political interference in the awarding of sponsorships, he mentioned that Desrochers and Corriveau pushed hard for approval of federal money for the renovation of the Corona Theatre in the riding of Liberal cabinet minister Lucienne Robillard (who still sits in Paul Martin’s cabinet as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs), even though there were indications of construction problems. The person responsible for transferring the funds was told to “cut the check and don’t ask questions.”

Close ties link Fox, Olivier, Desrochers, Martin fundraiser and former hockey star Serge Savard, and another one of the Adscam firms – Claude Boulay’s Groupe Everest – and all are connected with the Martin, not Chrétien, wing of the Liberal Party in Quebec. (Desrochers later committed suicide after the collapse of the Montreal International Aquatic Games, in which millions of dollars went missing.)

Brault testified to other links to people identified with the Martin regime. Among the people Brault put on his payroll (while in fact working for the Liberals) were Georges Farrah – who later served as a Parliamentary Secretary under Paul Martin – and John Welch – who is now Chief of Staff to Martin’s current Heritage Minister, Liza Frulla. (He was urged to hire Welch by Denis Paradis, a Liberal MP who also served as one of Martin’s Parliamentary Secretary.)
Brault said that Gagliano crony Joe Morselli told him he could “solve potential problems” and “talk to Denis” – meaning Liberal cabinet minister Denis Coderre, who also served under Martin.

So links have emerged in Brault’s testimony to many of the people that Martin kept on as ministers or Parliamentary secretaries – even though Martin assured Canadians that he had thoroughly questioned all of his ministers and ensured that none of them had any involvement in the Adscam controversy.

If Brault’s testimony holds up, the reputations of Chrétien, Gagliano, and their teams will be shredded. But it looks like the reputations of Paul Martin’s Ministers, MPs, and organizers are going to be pretty tattered by the end of this as well.
Posted by Captain Ed at 08:04 PM Comments (35) TrackBack

CQ Media Notes (Updated!)
Despite having a ruined voice thanks to a lingering bout of laryngitis, I spent most of my work breaks juggling telephone interviews with Canadian media outlets. For the most part, they wanted to know why I broke the publication ban. I told them I don't believe in restricting free speech, either in Canada or in the US or anywhere else, and if a government has corruption problems, making them a secret hardly helps clean it up.

For CQ readers in Vancouver, I will appear on CBC's television news program this evening, in my very first TV appearance. Bear in mind that I look like hell today and sound worse, so be kind in your judgment. I do not know whether CBC will post the video to their website, but hopefully at some point we'll get a look at it.

Lastly, I understand that comments have stopped functioning, which may either be a hosting problem or a Typekey problem. My service is checking their side to see if the problem is on the server. I'll lok forward to getting comments back on line shortly, and of course, I apologize for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: Comments should be fixed now! However, due to the extremely high traffic coming through the server, the comments program has to be "killed" if you take longer than 20 seconds or so to type it in. One way of getting around this is to type your comments in Notepad first, then simply cut and paste them into the Comments box. HM is trying their best to keep all services running while the load is so high...
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:25 PM Comments (16) TrackBack

Adscam Information Grows
I expect to have more information today on the Adscam testimony, as well as more background information on why this matters to both Canadians and Americans. That may come later in the day, probably in the early evening. In the meantime, if you have found this site and are looking for the original post, you can find it here. Also, I've created a new subcategory for Canada, which will have all of the updates on this story. Bookmark it and check back often.
Winds of Change has a great post on the scandal. Be sure to read it. Don't forget Small Dead Animals, which has a lot of background on Adscam.

My web hosting service, Hosting Matters, has done an excellent job handling the huge boost in traffic coming from CQ's new Canadian readers. I hope if you experience any slow loading or error messages that you remain patient. They know that traffic will go up even farther today and are doing their best to "clear the decks" for you. If you are looking for a hosting service that gives great support and proactively watches your back -- and charges very reasonable fees -- then definitely check out Hosting Matters. Thank you for your patience!
Posted by Captain Ed at 07:49 AM Comments (6) TrackBack

Canadians: Linking To CQ May Be Bad For Your Freedom
After CTV named Captain's Quarters on their news program last night, the site got swarmed with tens of thousands of visitors, leading to some slower response times (sorry!) and a "magnitude" increase of traffic for blogs who I've linked, especially on this story. However, if you've linked your blog to CQ and you live six or seven hours north of me, you may receive a summons from your government, according to this report from the London Free Press this morning:

A U.S. website has breached the publication ban protecting a Montreal ad executive's explosive and damning testimony at the federal sponsorship inquiry. The U.S. blogger riled the Gomery commission during the weekend by posting extracts of testimony given in secret Thursday by Jean Brault.

The American blog, being promoted by an all-news Canadian website, boasts "Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open" and promises more to come. The owner of the Canadian website refused to comment yesterday.

Inquiry official Francois Perreault voiced shock at the publication ban breach, and said the commission co-counsel Bernard Roy and Justice John Gomery will decide today whether to charge the Canadian website owner with contempt of court.
"We never thought someone would violate the publication ban," Perreault said. "Maybe we were more confident than we should have been."

The Canadian website in question is, which linked to my post on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. It only provided a link back to my site; it carried none of the testimony itself. In fact, it's still headlining a link to CQ despite the threat of legal action.
In an age of instant communications and greater freedom of the press, one would think that this kind of publication ban would obviously prove futile, especially when dealing with the kind of corruption that the Gomery Commission is investigating. However, if Perreault is to be believed, no one even considered the notion that someone might talk. Either M. Perreault is hopelessly naive, or he gets the Captain Louis Renault award for being shocked, shocked that free speech goes on in a democracy.

However, despite the publication of the material in an American blog and its review by thousands of Canadians, the Gomery Commission insists that the information is not public. Perreault warns Canadians that any link to CQ or even a mention of the blog name in any Canadian publication could lead to prosecution:

Perreault warned that even if Brault's testimony has been outed by a U.S. website, it doesn't mean it's now public information.
"Anyone who takes that information and diffuses it is liable to be charged with contempt of court," Perreault said.

"Anybody who reproduces it is at risk."
Well, you've been warned, my Canadian neighbors.

UPDATE: The Globe and Mail interviewed me yesterday, and published this Jane Taber article:
The explosive testimony given out of the public eye last week at the Gomery commission began appearing on websites yesterday, capping a weekend of frenzied rumours about snap elections and covert political meetings in Ottawa.

Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay even suggested yesterday that the testimony, which is under a publication ban, could lead to criminal charges against senior Liberals. ...
The publication ban does not restrict Americans from publishing or broadcasting the details of the in camera hearings. Still, the blogger joked that he isn't planning any vacations soon to Canada.

"It's an interesting story. It's fascinating," he said. "First off, I think it's a terrible thing that you guys can't publish this. This is the type of thing that a free press exists for is to hold their government accountable. ..... It should be you guys reporting this."

The fact that the testimony is now circulating on the Internet and by word of mouth calls into question the effectiveness of the publication ban, Mr. MacKay said. ... Mr. MacKay said his party is considering whether it should appear before the inquiry to fight the ban.

Mr. Duceppe [Bloc Quebecois] wouldn't say whether the Bloc will seek the lifting of the publication ban.
"I want to talk to our lawyers first, to see the implications of what's happening in the United States," he said, referring to the Internet blog.

Said Mr. MacKay: "There is no question that if it is in fact now being circulated and is out publicly in the States or elsewhere, that this sole purpose of having the ban in place has just evaporated. There is no point. So once somebody has violated the ban there is no purpose in having it there."

Taber reports that McKay plans on challenging Prime Minister Paul Martin in Parliament today to answer for the information that has already arisen from the Brault testimony. It could be an interesting day in Ottawa.
Posted by Captain Ed at 05:09 AM Comments (19) TrackBack

Captain's Quarters Blog - Adscam Gomery Commission day 2

April 03, 2005

Liberals To Request Standing At Gomery Commission For Cross-Examination
In a late update to the Adscam story, the Canadian Liberal Party will request standing at the Gomery Commission tomorrow in order to cross-examine Jean Brault. This news has not yet been published in any Canadian newspaper, but I understand that it has been broadcast on CTV. This may be a result of the Brault testimony being made public here at CQ, but as soon as I get some better detail on the request and what it might mean for the investigation, I'll update this post.

UPDATE: Here's a CTV report on the release. It came out prior to their lawyers approving the mention of CQ in relation to the story. Believe it or not, Canadian news sources could wind up committing a crime just by linking to my blog now:

Some of the so-called explosive testimony from the Gomery Inquiry that Canadians aren't supposed to see has found its way onto U.S. political weblogs.
On a U.S. weblog, the anonymous author said this about his source: "For obvious reasons, I cannot reveal this person's name or position, but this person is in a position to have the information. Bear in mind that this comes from a single source, so while I have confidence in the information, you should consider the sourcing carefully."
The testimony of some witnesses has been blocked from publication by Justice John Gomery in an attempt to protect their rights to a fair trial. ...

Even with the ban, as more and more opposition MPs are becoming aware of the testimony, what they are hearing has some thinking it could be enough to bring down the Liberal government.

"Members of Parliament say this dramatic testimony goes to the heart of the way the Liberal Party machine operated in Quebec under Jean Chretien and his Quebec lieutenant, Alfonso Gagliano," Fife said.

On CTV's Question Period, NDP Leader Jack Layton said Sunday the revelations are damning.
"There certainly seems to be an atmosphere of real disturbance because we've been waiting for Liberal corruption to be exposed, and perhaps we're on the threshold of seeing the dimensions of it."

Perhaps the MPs are on the verge of seeing the dimensions, but Justice Gomery apparently doesn't trust the Canadian voters to see it for themselves.
Posted by Captain Ed at 09:52 PM Comments (10) TrackBack

Canadian Visitors Find CQ
I spent most of the day offline, as today was my birthday and I'm still trying to shake off the effects of the flu or a nasty cold (not sure which). I spoke with a couple of Canadian reporters regarding the Brault testimony, and I also worked on another source which confirmed the overall accuracy of my original source for the material.

I also got a note from CTV News that their lawyers cleared them to mention Captain's Quarters on their evening news, which started at 10 pm ET. Since then, traffic has tripled this evening, so if you're dropping by the blog for the first time, welcome aboard.

More information should be forthcoming regarding the embargoed testimony either tomorrow night or Tuesday. I plan on staying with the story regardless of whether the ban stays in place. Hopefully, the publication here will convince Judge Gomery to do what should have been done in the first place: allow for Canadian reporters to keep Canadians informed of what their government officials have done with their money.
Posted by Captain Ed at 09:39 PM Comments (9) TrackBack

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