“Montreal -40C”; ‘Trompe l’oeil ‘ (2006)
1) The First Three News Stories On ABC: World News Tonight, 6.30pm 02/05/07:
A) Bitter Cold Snap: Fifty-eight straight hours of sub-zero weather across the American mid-West, including a wind chilled -32 in Minnesota. Two feet of snow fell in the same period in Buffalo, New York. Emergency workers were finding people “at risk” (which is a nice euphemism for “not quite poor enough to qualify as homeless”) whose heat had been turned off for delinquent payments, or whose pipes had burst from the cold and flooded their homes. The only ones they were able to find, surprise, were black families and the elderly. In Ontario (Canada) it is illegal to shut the heat off, for any reason, as long as the landlord is responsible for the heat payments. I’m reasonably certain that it’s just plain illegal to turn the heat off during the winter period, it’s considered “an essential service“.
B) President Bush Requests $2.9 Trillion In New Spending: Defense spending would increase by 16%, he’s asking for $163 Billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, and another $142 Billion next year. To date the two wars have cost, in dollars, $532 Billion. A US Congressmen used a chart to emphasize former Sec.Def. Rumsfelds promise the Iraq expedition would never cost more than $50 Billion. The spending announcement also came with a cutback announcement…Medicare and Medicaid will both be cutback this year and next. There were also some not-so-vague hints that more and larger cuts to social programs are coming. President Bush was then quoted as saying “there will be no tax increases and the budget will be balanced over the next five years.” In a weird side note that was left as either a note of irony by the reporter, or just dropped and forgotten, apparently the budget can only be balanced if “war spending” is decreased to $50 Billion by 2009. So either the Americans finally have an exit strategy or Rumsfeld’s running the budget office.
C) Senate Resolution On Iraq Filibustered: The Democrats want the Republicans to look like fascist assholes, the Republicans want the Democrats to look like commie fuckups. It’s a non-binding resolution that means nothing today, but later on someone can fill four-seconds of a thirty-second campaign ad that 20% of Americans will watch, but will not sway one voter to change sides.
2) The First Three News Stories On PBS: The News Hour With Jim Lehrer, 7pm 02/05/07:
A) Baghdad Security Clampdown: 90,000 American and Iraqi troops started to move into Baghdad in an effort to finally stabilize the city. An American general said “this will be [the largest operation] this city has ever seen.” The report went on to say it’s estimated more than 1000 Iraqi civilians were killed in “sectarian violence” last week, including 132 in a suicide truck-bomb on the weekend. President Bush was then quoted as saying “it’s a good thing that there’s a desire on the Iraqi government’s part to fix this.”
B) Soldiers Killed: Two American soldiers were reported to have been killed on Sunday, a British soldier was also killed.
C) Resolution Again: More aboot that non-binding thing.
3) The First Three News Stories On CBC: The National, 10pm 02/05/07:
A) Two Firemen Killed In Winnipeg Fire: Two firefighters were killed when a house fire flared out of control. Six firemen were trapped in the blaze, three escaped relatively unharmed with another receiving “life threatening” injuries. The two firemen who died were both thirty-year veterans. There was something called a “flashover event” where the intense heat, over 1000C, ignited the ambient gases and caused a super-intense and prolonged ball of flames. The firemen were in the home searching for residents.
B) Man Who Planned Canadian Diplomats Death Detained: Last year a suicide bomber in Khandahar, Afghanistan, killed Glynn Berry, a Canadian diplomat and critically wounded four of the Canadian soldiers detailed to protect him. The car was owned by a man named ‘Pir Mohammed‘, who was later found with a stash of heavy weapons and Taliban paraphernalia in his home. Soon after his arrest he was released due to pressure from “tribal elders”. This time he was arrested and brought to Kabul. In an interview with a CBC reporter Pir said that he had sold the car, but had no papers to prove it. An “elder” was also quoted as saying Pir bought and sold cars as a living. Pir also said he expects renewed pressure from “elders” will have him back out on the streets soon.
C) More Canadians Caught Up In Mexican Violence:Two Canadians were shot over the weekend while on vacation in Mexico. Neither were seriously wounded. Last year two Canadians were murdered in their hotel room, and just a few weeks ago a young man was “run over” outside a night club. There have been just enough screw-ups and shit work by the coroners in Mexico to leave a lot of questions in both of the later cases. Mexico is currently the number one “sun and fun” destination for Canadians.
4) The First Three News Stories On CTV: The National, 10pm 02/05/07:
A) Two Firemen Killed In Winnipeg Fire: Just tragic.
B) It Was Cold: CTV used exactly the same footage of American rescue people looking for shut-ins and poor people, but they spent more time on the Canadian part of the story… according to the CTV weather dude it was -49C in Winnipeg today, which is not a record.
C) Dude Steals Van With Kid Still Inside: I think this happened down around Toronto… guy steals minivan (which are really popular in Canada), then crashes it into a post, then steals another nearby car. Kid’s safe, thief got away.
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I’m Canadian, it’s what we do. Off the ice.