The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Full House: two Danny's, one Cox, one Krista, and a pair of Lazarenkos


The Driskell Inquiry has decided it doesn't need to hear from Ray Zanidean, the key witness whose testimony convicted Jim Driskell of murder.

Harumph, he has nothing to add, declared Commission attorney Michael Code.

Lawyers at the Inquiry freely called Zanidean a liar and a perjurer for weeks, and Code doesn't think he should get a chance to respond?

Are they afraid he might contradict the carefully orchestrated "evidence"? Or that he might repeat the evidence he gave the jury, and nobody, but nobody, may suggest that the jury delivered a proper verdict.

It's interesting to see that mainstream journalists like Winnipeg Free Press reporter Dan Lett have abandoned any pretence of impartiality towards the Inquiry. He's taken to calling anyone who challenges the evidence or the fairness of the Inquiry pawns of the police force.

Of course he doesn't bother to refute any of the criticism. He's not into anything like a point-by-point analysis of the issues raised. That's beneath his lofty perch as an "award-winning journalist."

And yet, there's one---and only one---point, he must respond to.

On Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006, the Winnipeg Free Press carried on its front page a direct quote from the Driskell Inquiry.

The direct quote purported to be an exchange between Commission counsel Michael Code and George Dangerfield, the crown attorney at James Drisell's 1991 murder trial.

Dangerfield is one of the targets of the Inquiry, and the Free Press blazoned the headline across the top of the page: Crown knew key witness lied.

The exchange the Free Press relies on as the basis of this story is extremely short:

Code: "You must have known this evidence was false?"

Dangerfield: "Yes."

The question Lett must answer is equally simple.

Is this quote accurate?

Is this exactly what was said at the Inquiry---as the quotation marks say it was?

Or is this quote a fabrication?

The answer will tell readers everything they need to know about the Free Press, the reporters covering the inquiry and the credibility of the Inquiry.

One point. One question. We await one answer.


Anyone watching television news has seen the weekly auditions for CBC's own Idol competition---who will replace Krista Erickson.

Krista, meanwhile, has made an impression on Ottawa viewers.

One new fan posted this comment on Frank Magazine's message board:

bingocallerPosts: 4017

She's been reporting from Ottawa on The National lately and yesterday, she was doing the lame phone interview visual, maybe just to display one of the giantest engagement rings I have ever seen.Who has that kind of money in Winnipeg?

The response left us humbled.

tutitam Posts: 98Erickson

Bob Morrison is the rock donor. So who/what is blackrod?

This seems a popular question lately. One poster recently offered a $100 bounty on The Black Rod.

We were suitably insulted as our Blogshare value has gone up 50 percent in just the last month.


The recent amusing clarification by Winnipeg Free Press editor Bob Cox ( brought an equally amusing e-mail from a loyal reader.

He wrote to us:

"on the same day Cox writes this....

FINALLY, Trudy Turner, a candidate in Daniel McIntyre ward, is running as an independent and she is not presenting herself as having a close association with Sam Katz. The mayor has not campaigned for Turner, as he has for some candidates.

Mary Agnes writes on Page 8 in the same paper...

Turner, the head of the West End BIZ, enjoys the backing of many area businesses and the quiet support of Mayor Sam Katz, while Smith has the backing of the area's NDP machine.

Does anyone actually read this paper before it goes to print?"

We've asked that question ourselves, over and over and over again.


And, speaking of elections, we're pretty sure Harry Lazarenko, the incumbent running for another term in Mynarski ward, isn't looking to his kinfolk in the Old Country for pointers.

His distant cousin Pavlo Lazarenko was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 1996 to 1997. He's now serving a nine-year prison sentence in the U.S. for extortion, money-laundering and fraud. He's also facing a $10 million fine.US authorities charged him with laundering $114m through American banks, money he allegedly stole while in office in Ukraine.

In June 2000, a court in Geneva found him guilty in absentia of laundering $6.6m U.S. through Swiss banks. And in Ukraine he's facing charges of ordering the 1996 killing of a prominent politician, and two failed assassination attempts on high-ranking officials.


And finally, bravo to Danny Schur, musician, composer, historian and now theatre empresario,whose slimmed-down, revised musical Strike got a rave review from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix,

Persephone Theatre Offers Polished Musical [ 4 Stars }

Cam Fuller Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Choosing to book-end its season with musicals, Persephone Theatre has exceeded expectations with an unlikely underdog. One can't help wonder if Evita will impress as much come April as Strike! The Musical did at Saturday's opening.

The show, by Danny Schur and Rick Chafe and directed by Ann Hodges, gives you everything you want: a love story, a suspenseful plot, a collection of good songs and a history lesson that teaches you something about yourself.

Read the rest at:

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