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Showing posts from June, 2006

What Krista is doing on her summer vacation

Ongratulationscay , Krista. Okay, our Gaelic is a little rusty, but the news won't wait. When CBC television host Krista Erickson told viewers on Friday she was going on summer vacation - oops, "annual Summer leave", she forgot to add she had something more than barbecues and beaches on her to-do list. Like getting hitched. A little birdie tells us that Krista's plans include jetting off to Scotland to tie the knot with swain Bob Morrison. Krista was still a bouncy baby reporter when she met veteran Crown attorney Morrison in Brandon at the the 2003 murder trial of two men who shot RCMP officer Dennis Strongquill. She was just at the start of her meteoric rise from researcher to host when the still-married Morrison caught her eye and fell under her spell. Fittingly enough for Winnipeg T.V. royalty, the nuptials will be at swanky Skibo Castle, where Madonna wed her beau, Guy Ritchie. We can hardly wait to see the pictures of long and lean Bob in his wedding kilt. Built

Rather leaves, Cox says sorry, Taz fogs and more

He was the man who launched a thousand blogs. Nay. Ten thousand. Dan Rather got the formal boot out the door at CBS yesterday. Nothing personal. Best of luck on your future endeavours. Now, scram. Since his foiled attempt to cause the defeat of George W. Bush in the presidential election of 2004 by using forged documents in a smear story, Rather has been persona non grata where he was once worshipped as a superstar. We wondered how the mainstream media would treat the scandal, that will forever be known as Rathergate, in their career post mortems. Gingerly, it turned out --- except for one news outlet. Washington Post/Reuters ...And it was Rather's small but visible role in the reporting of the now-discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service that put a cloud over the latter stages of his career . It was also his large role in attacking the critics of the story who were proved right. New York Times Representatives for Mr. Rather and CBS had been talking since at

We're Spirited with Energy to spare, we just don't get it

Spirited Energy is a versatile descriptive term. Michigan State University expects its cheerleaders to have spirited energy during games, along with skills like the standing tuck, tumbling pass, the high torch and the arabesque. Fans say a song by Hugh Masakela and Mbongeni Ngema has spirited energy. Actors say playright Harold Pinter has a high-octane, spirited energy that guides them to their best performances. Knoxville, Tennessee (pop. 173,890) boasts on its website that it "combines the spirited energy of a big, bustling city with the charm and hospitality of a much smaller town." As a branding slogan, though, "Spirited Energy" is a dud. It's not exciting, informative or inspiring. It's hard to say. And without context, it's actually puzzling, and not in a good way. To have achieved its purpose, a significant proportion of Manitoban's had to respond to it with "Hey, that's not bad." Instead, the vast majority went "Is that it?

Winnipeg Bandidos: Book 'em, Danno. Murder One.

Two months after The Black Rod first revealed a connection between Winnipeg Bandidos and the murder of 8 gang members in Ontario, police have swooped in to make arrests. The local Bandidos were on a run to Toronto the week before the slayings. Police still want to question one member who returned to Winnipeg before the massacre. Three Winnipeg Bandidos including former East St. Paul cop Michael Sandham are charged with first degree murder, while two persons (believed to be wives or girlfriends) are charged with being accessories after the fact. Sandham has long been rumoured to be the leader of the Manitoba chapter. The names of the accused are not as well known as rival Hell's Angels who have often been in the press but are not unknown to the local scene. Dwight Mushey, 36, and Marcelo Aravena, 30, are both well known in the Winnipeg martial arts communities, which may be a clue why the police called the investigation Project Octagon. The tall and dapper Mushey was a Kang's T

Toronto Star prods military brass on Niaz treatment

Score one for the Blogosphere (we hope.) It's still too early to say for sure, but we're hoping we can soon report some good news as a result of a story on The Black Rod two weeks ago. On May 24, five Canadian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter were wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade went through their G-wagon during a battle in Panjwai province in Afghanistan. Canada was relieved to learn the injuries to the Canucks were not severe, and most of the men returned to action the next day. But the interpreter was forgotten by the press. We went searching for him and eventually we identified him and learned where he was. Muhammed Niaz was his name and he was in the main hospital at the coalition airbase outside Kandahar. He had lost both legs in the RPG attack. And he felt Canada had deserted him. We told his story . We then sent The Black Rod to Rosie DiManno, of the Toronto Star, and Christie Blatchford, of the Globe and Mail, both of whom had been embedded with Canadian troo

Sluggin' Sammy vs. Canstar

Maybe it's all that roadwork, but Mayor Sam Katz is in fighting form and he's ready to go a round or two with the Press. Last winter, when the Winnipeg Free Press tried to land a couple of cheap shots with their smear stories on the mayor(exposed and dissected in The Black Rod here and here ), he just leaned against the ropes and played the rope-a-dope. Ask a Free Press city hall reporter about those stories today and he'll feign ignorance and plead "I don't know nothin'." It's Katz-- win by newspaper disqualification. But the trained and trim Mayor isn't putting up with such nonsense any more. When the Canstar weeklies, the Free Press sister publications, went to print this week with a blatantly false story, Katz came out swinging. "(The) Mayor's Office staff will be asking Canstar for a retraction in the form of an accurate story of similar placement and length, explaining and correcting the error in detail," said the post on his

We welcome our blogging paisanos

Bwahahahaha... They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So imagine our surprise when the Winnipeg Free Press honoured us by announcing the newspaper was going to start blogging. It's been a rocky road to the blogosphere. First they just stole our stories. "Crocus redemptions need probing: critics" Paul Egan, A5, April 15/05 Then they asked for our help. (Ephedrine arrests/ Bandidos in Winnipeg) Then they ignored us. (The real story behind the shooting of Matthew Dumas/ Seven Oaks School Division land development scam known as O'Learygate/ Winnipeg Bandidos connection to the mass murder of Ontario Bandidos gang members) Then they attacked us. "Rogue journalists- Bloggers take on the world in cyberspace" George Stephenson, op-ed, Jan. 26/ 06 And now -- they want to be colleagues. Paisanos. Birds of a feather. Well, not everyone. Apparently it was a hard sell in the newsroom. The newspaper had to---how shall we say it----"encourage" peop

Today's topic: "Help me, Canada."

"Help me," said the forgotten man. Six days ago Mohammed Niaz was helping Canadian troops in Afghanistan. He was an interpreter travelling with Charlie Company west of Kandahar when they came under attack by Taliban insurgents who had been surprised in the act of setting up an ambush. Today he's pleading with Canada to help him. He lost both his legs in the battle and he's asking us to help him recover from his wounds. Niaz worked as an interpreter for Canadians for a year and a half. As Canadian troops went on patrol in Panjwai district, he went along -- and found himself in his first battle. The initial reports from Afghanistan said five Canadian soldiers had been wounded when their G-wagon was hit by a roadside bomb. Four of them had only minor injuries. The fifth was being flown to a military hospital in Germany, but his injuries were not life-threatening. There was no mention of Mohammed Niaz. The second day's stories said "an interpreter" had al

Canucks in Afghanistan: Tested as Warriors. Passed with Honours.

My, my, how time flies. It seems like it was only yesterday that the Taliban launched their feared spring offensive in Afghanistan. "With the arrival of the warm weather, we will make the ground so hot for the invaders it will be unimaginable for them." Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban told Al Jazeera through an intermediary in mid-March. The mainstream press told us that the Taliban was flush with new recruits, more money, better arms, and leaders trained in the terror tactics of Iraq, including suicide bombings. It looked grim. The Taliban made no secret of what they planned --- to kill as many NATO troops as possible to put pressure on European and Canadian political leaders to pull their countries out of Afghanistan and stop supporting the U.S. Dead in their sights were the Canadian forces who were moving into Kandahar province in the south. A Canadian general will command NATO forces when they officially take over the protection of Afghanistan's southern pro