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Showing posts from 2008

2008 Year-end Wrap-up

As Day 366 of the year ticks down (what? you forgot it was Leap Year?), there's just time for our annual announcement of The Black Rod's Newsmaker of the Year. The title for 2008 goes to----- Derek Harvey-Zenk. Or Morden-Zenk. Or Harvey-Morden-Zenk. Or whatever the hell his actual name is. It hardly mattered. He was better known as Public Enemy No. 1 for much of the year. No man has been so demonized in as long as we can remember. Jon Waluk, a Hells Angels-connected drug addict who was convicted of killing a young mother and her two little children--her daughter, 5, and her 19-month-old son--- ON CHRISTMAS EVE in 1987, is walking the streets of Winnipeg on parole with less negative attention from the press. What did Zenk do to enrage so many people? He was a police officer. A police officer who made a deadly mistake. In 2005 he went to a bar with fellow police to unwind after their shifts. When the bar closed he went to a house party at one of the officer's homes. Then, ins

BR: The Crime Story as told by Crimestat Winnipeg

Hold the marble. It's too early to be erecting a statue of Mayor Sam Katz---but a small bust might be considered. Exactly two years ago we chose Sam Katz as The Black Rod's Newsmaker of the Year. He had just won election, crushing his opponents, and he was promoting the crime reduction initiatives he planned to introduce the following year. We wrote at the time: "Where "the visionary" Glen Murray ignored the crime problem, Katz has promised it will be a priority in his next term of office. He said he will introduce Crimestat, a computer-aided dispatch system for police, of the kind that helped turn the tide against crime in New York City in the Nineties. If he manages to get the same results as New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, they'll be erecting statues of Sam at City Hall." The end of 2008 lets us compare two years of Crimestat. It consists of two components. The public half is a website which posts incidents of crime on a map of the city divided into dis

Anti-Zionist 911 truther = 'expert advisor' to Gail Asper's Human Rights Museum

One of Canada's most active 911 Truthers is advising Gail Asper on "guiding principles" for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Yup. You read that right. Anthony Hall has been sitting on the museum's advisory committee since 2007. "This group establishes general guiding principles and offers their expert opinions to Ralph Appelbaum Associates to enable the development of a proposed master plan." according to the CMHR's website. Hall is formally described as Professor of History and Coordinator of Globalisation Studies University of Lethbridge. He's better known as the biggest defender of Lesley Hughes , the Liberal Party's crash-and-burn candidate who was dumped for writing that Jewish businesses moved out of the World Trade Centre after getting advance warnings about the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. Hall has started to use his connections to the CMHR to give credibility to his 911 Truther views. "I have worked

Porkgate suspects hear the hounds on their trail

Shhhh. Do you hear that? That's the baying of The Black Rod bloodhounds. They've picked up the scent of government-funded minced pork. And you'll be interested at where the trail has led them. On October 16th, a mystery man drove a pick up truck up to the picket line of strikers walking around the Winnipeg Free Press on Mountain Avenue. In the back of his truck he was carrying a hefty load of pork, the packages neatly labelled 'Winnipeg Harvest.' Here, he told the strikers, it's for you. The strikers eagerly helped unload the boxes of meat and carry it to union headquarters nearby. They said so themselves on their union website the next day. The pork was doled out--- but not all of it. One FP reporter, miffed at the criticism the strikers were getting for taking the meat, later posted on an internet message board that some of the meat had spoiled and had to be thrown out. The FP union gloated at the pork delivery in a post by an anonymous writer on their strike

Not the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. An out-of-this-world class tourist attraction.

A sham groundbreaking ceremony using dirt imported specially for the occasion to simulate the native earth that's frozen harder than tempered steel. The symbolism couldn't be more appropriate. If that doesn't sum up the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, then nothing will. Nationwide focus groups have shown that pretty much nobody in the country intends to come to Winnipeg to see Izzy Asper's vanity project. And people who might come here anyway as tourists don't see wallowing in historical misery as a fun time. Short of chloroform and duct tape, the museum's only hope for visitors is trucking in tens of thousands of luckless students and arm-twisting governments to force civil servants to attend. That's what's known as a Manitoba success story. For reasons unknown, Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to Winnipeg to participate in the phoney-baloney groundbreaking and, so, officially to turn on the money taps. There's obviously a reason for the pretenc

U of M Prof has a secret agenda for her cop-bashing research

What's that saying? You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Somebody tell that to University of Manitoba professor Elizabeth Comack, who demonstrated Wednesday that being a tenured academic means you can live in your own little fantasy world and still collect a big fat paycheque from the taxpayer. Comack was disturbed by the facts of the Matthew Dumas Inquest. It turns out the facts don't fit into Comackland. So she simply invented new facts. And the Winnipeg Free Press gave her an op-ed slot to spew her divisive theories under the headline "Racialized Policing." Judge Mary Curtis heard the evidence and ruled that Matthew Dumas bore all the responsibility for his own death. He was on the run from a warrant for his arrest. He suckerpunched a police officer. He approached another policeman with a screwdriver in his raised hand and refused to drop it despite repeated warnings. He threatened to stab one witness, then lunged at the officer to stab

The Winnipeg Foundation: Attacking the root causes of poverty with low-flush toilets

You've spent $3 million on an innovative project that lasted five years from start to finish. You've achieved next to nothing. But now the funder wants to know what you've accomplished with the time and money. So what do you do? That's right. You BLUFF. Anyone reading about the Centennial Neighbourhood Project in the newspaper ( Neighbourhood investment pays dividends , Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 17, 2008) was left thinking " That's nice ." Anyone who knew anything about the Centennial Neighbourhood Project was left sputtering " What the hell ?" It was obvious from the get-go that the reporter knew nothing about the project. (Note to newspaper reporters: Google is your friend.) He regurgitated what he was fed without realizing what a sorry pack of excuses he was handed. The Winnipeg Foundation announced the Centennial Neighbourhood Project (CNP from now on) in 2003. The Foundation said it, in concert with the Moffat Family Fund (a donor-advised fu

Matthew Dumas Inquest sinks hopes of the victim industry

You know the economy is in trouble when even the Native Grievance Industry is in recession. Projects being cancelled, lawyers laid off. .. Oh, the misery. Just look at the Matthew Dumas Inquest. It had such promise once. The Inquest would be followed by a lawsuit. Ka-ching . The lawsuit would be followed by a public inquiry. Ka-ching. Ka-ching . The Inquiry would be followed by mandatory "sensitivity" and "cultural" training for the police for as long as the rivers flow and the grass grows. Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Ka-ching . Oh, the per diems to be filed. The hotel rooms to be booked. The travel time to be paid, the studies to be made, the elders to be consulted, committees to be formed and funded. It was such a growth industry. And now, all lost. Oh, woe. Where did it go wrong? Matthew Dumas was a petty criminal with great potential---to enter federal prison. Arrested in October, 2004 for possession of a weapon, he was back on the streets three months later, eighteen y

CBC Ombudsman: Krista was just a babe-in-the-woods and ya can't blame 'er

We've got to say this about Krista Erickson---she's not afraid to take her lumps. Either that or she thinks we're as big pushovers as Winnipeg's daily newspapers. Shame on you, Krista, if that's the case. We often get email tips from readers, but the one from embattled CBC reporter Krista Erickson was still a surprise. Read the CBC Ombudsman's report clearing me, she said. So we did. We read it from the beginning. "The CBC’s Office of the Ombudsman received 66 complaints about a reporter supposedly feeding questions to a member or members of the Liberal Party during a committee hearing featuring testimony by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney." Then we read it again. And again, and again. We took notes. We parsed the sentences. We took a break and re-read it with fresh eyes. We have never seen such a carefully crafted attempt to confuse, bewilder, and befuddle the reader. The CBC Ombudsman apparently succeeded with the Winnipeg press. Here's what