January 22, 2004


Hey! Tony! Yeah, you, Tony Clement, the guy with all the Canadian big business money behind you who wants to run the country! I know someone who can get you a much better website really cheaply! Yeah, she's only six, but she gets out of school at 3:30, so that's an hour and a half she has to help you out right there, before she needs to set the table!

Should be enough.

Posted by BruceR at 05:24 PM


Okay, I have to come clean here. In addition to my already frequently commented-on oversized head, I apparently also have freakishly long arms.

This is the only conclusion I can draw after once again obtaining some new Canadian Forces uniforms, which only ever fit if I get the tops sized for the 6'4" man, and the bottoms sized for my actual 6'1". What can I say? I'm a gibbon.

The CF actually has done something really smart recently, btw, by moving most of their service dress (ie, full dress as opposed to combat fatigue clothing) business online, with civilian couriers doing the delivering. I don't know if it's saving money, but it's already improving the quality of appearance around armouries, with people finally being able to order replacement clothing that fits them, as opposed to getting the closest thing available on the local shelf at the moment (for the longest time, much of my uniform was from the apparently always available 67-inch soldier sizes, as opposed to my actual 73-with-76 arms, which is in somewhat more demand. It's hard to hide that, even with a good tailor.)

The only thing that worries me is the bizarre company name. You just wouldn't think an organization calling itself logistikunicorp.com would be a force for good in this world, but apparently it is. (What, was M&MEnterprises.com taken?)

Posted by BruceR at 11:19 AM


Same great [Canadian] Forces, half the budget.

(Thanks to JamesMS for the tip.)

Posted by BruceR at 11:03 AM


A rather histrionic column by Naomi Klein has a good point at its kernel. We're overfocussing perhaps on American maneuvering in Iraq as a minority vs. majority rights issue. There is also some considerable corporate vs. personal rights-balancing going on, too. The Americans need foreign investment in Iraq (which Klein sees, not wrongly, as foreign ownership). Foreign investors, fearing Geneva Convention-backed expropriation, have said they will not invest until the Iraqis have their own government. Hence a rapid turnover to an Iraqi government is necessary. That first government, which will rule for at least a year-and-a-half without elections, obviously has to be pro-American (or, to put it less charitably, pro-business). Therefore, it can't be elected.

It's simplistic of Klein to portray this as Sistani and the people vs. the IGC and the foreign corporations. But it's certainly a factor.

The principles behind the 1949 4th Geneva Convention that apply here are principles most of us would support: you cannot invade a country and sell off its assets to your own businessmen willy-nilly without at least some risk of them being taken back when the people who live there manage to get control again. Presumably, the Geneva signers anticipated a world, where, should something like this happen again, a UN trusteeship would allow a suitable re-investment climate without the local people feeling screwed by it. Since the UN didn't get that role in Iraq, the parties are at something of an impasse there. It also explains why the 1945 German example, of allowing local and regional democracy, while delaying national handover, is no longer a viable possibility for a would-be Western occupier... at least, not without the UN firmly on your side.

You're being non-constructive again, BruceR. How do you fix it? Well, you can't, it's a feature, not a bug. In June, the Americans will still hand over to a chosen strongman (or men), come hell or high water, which will allow a continued American military presence, and the expected influx of foreign capital. How that proxy will handle the inevitable unrest from all quarters that will result, how long it will be before an actual national election, and the degree to which actual human freedoms are ever enjoyed by the Iraqi polity, are still open questions.

The inexorable presence of the Golden Arches and the Big Red One will certainly, over time, contribute to a Westernizing of the country's population, which will likely still be a good thing. But the likelihood that in one to two years we see American soldiers helping the new Iraqi army hunt down the newly emerged Shiite and Kurdish independence fighters, a la Hussein, is still so high as to be almost certain.

Posted by BruceR at 10:43 AM


(Latest in a continuing series.)

"I FIGURED IT OUT: Dean reminds me of the Hulk in that interim stage just before Bruce Banner turns green and starts to rip his clothes." --The Corner, Monday night.

"A little over a month ago, in the Wall Street Journal, I wrote that Governor Howard Dean looked ‘like Bruce Banner just before he turns into the Incredible Hulk, as if his head’s about to explode out of his shirt collar’." --Mark Steyn, Spectator, yesterday.

Posted by BruceR at 09:51 AM


"Franklin Pierce's steam-powered orgasmatron" -- The Daily Show's Steven Colbert, listing other State of the Union promises that were never fulfilled, earlier tonight. Funniest phrase I've heard all week.

I quite like the show, btw... it's sort of like Blog TV, in a way... personal, yet eclectic, topical, but not predictably so, etc.

Posted by BruceR at 01:18 AM


I'm with Tacitus. Gen. Clark's remarks yesterday were not things that soldiers say about their juniors. At least not if they want those soldiers to show up for work on time for the next decade or so. Any soldier or veteran who votes for the general now simply isn't paying attention.

Personally, I find the three-headed Deankerryclark beast uncomfortably bizarre, and from this rarefied distance, obviously nearly as potentially disastrous to the nation as the current office-holder. Just so you understand that the above is not a vote for Clark's competitors, unless you count Edwards, who at the moment remains in my Ned Flanders' "I don't know who you are, but I'm sure you're a jerk" psychic jury pool of fuzzy recognitive awareness.

ADDENDUM: To clarify, Dean is, as should be obvious to all by now, quite unbalanced, which excludes him to my mind... btw, if anyone has his primal scream as a .wav file, I really need a new email notification sound... whereas Kerry and Clark are in their own ways, versions of the McClellanist strategy. And as in 1864, running a war hero with obvious human flaws, against a wartime president who, if not winning the current war, is not obviously losing it either, is almost certainly a losing political strategy. (I do think either of the military men would still make good VP candidates though. The thought of Cheney chewing up and spitting out some other poor hapless effete soul like he did to Lieberman in the last televised VP candidates' debate is just too painful to contemplate again.)

Posted by BruceR at 01:02 AM


Colby Cosh votes us, in his usual Coshian backhanded way, as best Canadian blog of the year. It's an honour just to be nominated, if only because if I'd bothered to offer similar awards around here, I'd probably have rated Mr. Cosh's the best. In any case, we both agree on Inkless Wells as #2.

Posted by BruceR at 12:48 AM