Anik Jean: Canadian
“Tendre Sorciere”; Le Trashy Saloon’ (2005)
(6pm) CBC Montreal With Michel Godbout:
1) Cop Killer Claims Self Defence: Last week Laval police officer, Det.-Sgt. Daniel Tessier, was shot in the head and killed while serving a search warrant. His partner was shot in the arm. They were part of a team of 30 officers carrying out search warrants in Brossard and the South Shore of Montreal to break up an alleged cocaine ring. A 41-year old man, Basile Parasiris, has been charged with first-degree murder. He’s also facing charges of ‘intent to wound’ and ‘intent to endanger a life’. During the raid Parasiris’ wife was also shot in the arm. There are some serious questions aboot how the police executed the warrants. It was 5am when Tessier and his partner, both in plain clothes, and their backup battered the door down. The defence is asserting that Parasiris thought it was a violent home invasion. The gun he used to shoot the plain clothed officers was legally owned and had been registered to that address, so if the police had used the Canadian Firearms Registry before entering they should have known that there were weapons in the house. Parasiris’ 15-year old son even called 911 to report the invasion as it was taking place. At the time of his death Tessier had been on the drug force for less than 10 days, he was a father of two and a 17-year veteran on the Laval force. The funeral, which will be attended by thousands of officers from around North America, will be held on Friday. Laval, Brossard and the South Shore are suburbs of Montreal.
2) Heritage Building Burns: I was kind of hoping that CBC Montreal would have some coverage of the rapidly upcoming Quebec Election, but it didn’t happen until way down in the editorial lineup and I couldn’t wait that long… Carl Johnson desperately needed my help. So there was a Five Alarm Fire in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood. A couple of heritage buildings were basically destroyed. When the damage is that extensive you might as well start over. Most of the damage was to one building which was over 100-years old — which, in Canada, is old. One eyewitness said “the building makes this area what it is, it’s a hallmark building.” There were no injuries. This isn’t the first time heritage buildings have been destroyed by fire in the area, back in 2001 aboot 120 people left homeless after a fire broke in a building which was under construction. The fire quickly spread and destroyed six buildings. There’s actually a long history of Fire in the Plateau area. In 1999 a suspicious fire destroyed an historic fire station; in 2000 a fire bomb was set off in a coffee shop, and two more were found before detonating in two other coffee shops around the district; also in 2000 a series of suspicious explosions in the area shut down the subway system for 24 hours and, in 2002; “Police have arrested a man in connection with a fire that destroyed four buildings in the Plateau Mont Royal district of Montreal. The 36-year-old man lived at 4272 St.Dominique St. — the building where the fire started. He is expected to be charged with arson on Tuesday.” Fun place to hang out if you’re into weinie roasts.
3) Transit Workers Vote To Strike: There will be a strike by Montreal’s transit mechanics unless a deal can be worked out soon. 97 per cent of the union members who showed up at a secret ballot on Sunday voted in favour of walking out. There have been 18 meetings in four months between the union and the City in an effort to replace the previous collective agreement. The last time they walked out, back in 2003, Montreal was almost paralyzed. Millions of people who live, work and play in and around Montreal rely on transit to get them to and from the strippers and alcohol. Montreal is the most transit friendly city in Canada. The next meeting is scheduled for March 16. There was another meeting yesterday. This one was a gathering of Mayors from across Canada. They’re trying to get more cash for a lot of things out of the federal government. Cities are a Provincial responsibility and the Provinces have spent a decade downloading responsibilities to the Cities in an effort to balance Province budgets, but they haven’t been giving the Cities any extra cash to pay for any of the downloads. So now the Mayors are after the Prime Minister for $2B annually to pay for a “National Transit Strategy“… which would basically be guaranteed funding for trains, subways and buses. Apparently we’re the only G8 Country not to have one. Yes, Canada is a G8 country. The federal budget will be released in two weeks. There will be mucho bucks for environmental crap like buses… there is an election coming.
(6.30pm) NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams
1) Iraqi Car Bomb: Initial reporting claimed 20 people were killed and 65 injured in a suicide attack. Despite this, NBC reported, relative peace seems to be breaking out in strange parts of Iraq. The cities of Hut and Ramadi are being pacified through a combination of large groups of US Marines and Iraqi soldiers with guns manning community outposts on almost every block, and cash handouts to community leaders and elders. A Colonel was quoted “the locals do not want us to leave. They’re not sure if we’re staying, but they want us to stay here and beat back the insurgents.”
2) Sadr City Pacification Program: Then there’s this wierdness. A large group consisting of the 82nd Airborne and Iraqi soldiers, walked into “Sadr City” — commonly referred to as “a Baghdad slum” — expecting to meet at least some resistance but found, instead, people outside enjoying their community as if it were Preston Street in downtown Toronto. Sadr City has aboot 2million residents, and until now they’ve all been in hiding. But Sadr has gone and taken his army and propaganda posters with him. There was even traffic. Cars on the street as people went to markets that hadn’t been open in months. A man, holding his three-year old daughter, even said he was happy to see the American troops because — in his words — it made him feel safer. What The Fuck Alternate Universe Is This?!? In December 254 murders were reported in Sadr City. In February it was 19. An Iraqi lieutenent said “they’re [Sadr’s Army] still here. They’re watching us.” An American soldier was then quoted saying something aboot if we can give these people some peace, maybe they’ll get used to it and want more. Which sounds pretty fucking logical to me.
3) Walter Reed Hospital: NBC chose this week to go back and report from Iraq. The problem with sending your A-Team off on assignment is that if something happens back home, you’re fucked. You lose. No one wants to watch someone else’s misery when their own is on TV. Plus, when you’re out in the field you don’t have the access to your editorial team you normally would and, basically, you become the distraction. So, to prove that it hadn’t gotten caught with no pants on at a pants on convention, NBC relegated the top story to third place. A little more than a month ago the Washington Post published some stories written by Dana Priest detailing some truly horrific conditions at America’s top military hospital, Walter Reed. At least one barracks housing soldiers recovering from wounds they received in Iraq and Afghanistan was infested with cockroaches, rats and mould. The story broke wide open when the television cameras got their own tour of the facility. Now generals have been fired, rehired, fired again.
If you’ve seen or read “All The President’s Men”, this could have been a replay. But only if the other side (re: politicians) hadn’t also seen or read “All The President’s Men” and learned the most important lesson the book / movie had to offer: blame the other guy, do it quickly, do it with authority, and do it as often as possible. Right now, and for the next few months, this scandal will have nothing to do with the soldiers. It has everything to do with deflection. Walter Reed Hospital didn’t fall apart last week, last month, last year or even ten years ago. Every single one of those fuckers elected to State or Federal Government is ultimately responsible for what’s going on at Walter Reed. The support network of the American Military has been — just like the Canadian, French, British and Australian militaries — neglected and falling apart since 1975. Which also happens to be the end of the Vietnam War. Ten years ago several hundred Canadian soldiers qualified for, and were receiving, welfare in order to support themselves and their families. While on active duty. The Americans, British and French have wonderful shiny weapons capable of doing awesome things but no western country has the ability, anymore, to care for thousands of returning injured and disabled veterans beyond the short term.
It will, and has already, come out that there has been a lot of incompetence bred into the health care support system in the American Military over the past two generations, simply because no one thought it would be needed over the long term on this scale. After Vietnam the system was proven to be broken, and there were cosmetic changes. For short term and even medium term use the system works and has worked. Soldiers get limbs replaced. They get their PTSD sorted out. But now, especially with long term head injuries, the system is being used the way it was intended to be used, as an actual War Time health care and rehabilitation treatment centre, and all of those years of neglect and misuse and abuse and… fuck. Fuck fuck fuckitty fuck fuck. Man, they really fucked up on this one. But the thing is, so has Canada, so has Australia, so has the UK, so has France, so have the Israeli’s, so have all the other Western nations who have let their militaries slide into complacency. It’s just that the rest of us haven’t had to deal with this shit on the scale of the Americans. Or we’ve been better at not letting reporters into sensitive areas… which seems more likely.
(7pm) PBS: The News Hour With Jim Lehrer:
1) Walter Reed Officials Apologize: American VP Dick Cheney says it’ll all get fixed. Who am I to argue? Saying things like “American soldiers get the best care anywhere, period” is like saying “the average salary in the Canadian banking industry is $100,000 bucks.” Yeah, sure. Maybe. Probably. Okay. But my bank teller is not getting paid $100,000 so someone, somewhere is getting an awful lot more, and some American troops are getting the very best medical attention this planet has to offer. And some are living in roach infested shithole government barracks with no electricity. No one’s lying, and no one’s responsible. That’s how politics works. But there will be reforms. I’m sure some of this “broken medical infrastructure” bruhaha will get fixed in time for the invasion of Iran. Basically these are long term treatment centres that have had to be brought into the system in a hurry (the Army is either buying shitholes to make up for a lack of facilities, or they’re opening up previously condemned properties to handle the number of cases). There are a lot of people coming back walking and / or breathing from this war who, just five years ago, would have been dead under the worlds best private medical care.
2) Iraqi Violence Worsens: Just as the idea of Sadr City and Anbar Province being pacified was sinking into my skull… I was just aboot to smile when Jim stared at me and said the Iraqi car bomb reported in the NBC story as “hey, shit happens” was actually “the most violent attack in several days and followed the deployment of 1200 troops into Sadr City”. See, NBC reported the bomb as a “but”… as in “there was an explosion, BUT better things are happening”. PBS reported the bomb as an “AND”, as in cause and effect. The troops went into Sadr City AND as a result a suicide bomb went off. There was also a British led raid into a cop-shop in Basra where 30 Iraqi’s had been detained and tortured by Iraqi police.
3) Iraqi Cabinet Shakeup: Five of six supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr will be replaced as Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki shuffles his cabinet. It’s part of a larger plan, which has always been the missing component to this FUBAR-ed mission. Fuck it. I’m falling to sleep.
(11pm) NBC: Local 4 Detroit News
1) Husband Confesses To Murder / Dismemberment: Some nut sack strangled his wife, took her body to the Tool & Die shop where he worked, sawed her into little bits, put the bits into Ziploc sandwich bags and dumped her all over a city park. Local 4 News spent twenty minutes on this story. They tracked down nannies, they filmed the children being moved from one family member to another, they spoke to some dude about how long it would take to strangle someone… apparently if you haven’t had a lot of practice it can take “several minutes”. Nut Sack, previously sane according to his neighbours, spent time getting evaluated in a mental facility. Now he’s in hospital being treated for hypothermia and frostbite from his, soon to be legendary, flight from the cops which involved a jogging-speed chase through the snow in a park. Nut Sack had been charged with 2nd Degree Murder but Nut Sack confessed today to two Detroit detectives in his hospital room and the charge was upgraded to 1st Degree Murder.
2) Night Cam Report — Fatal Shooting: NBC Detroit’s Local 4 News is a half hour broadcast. After 20 minutes on Nut Sack they only had ten left for the rest of Monday’s news, plus sports and weather. This was a, literally, 15 second bit on a “mentally challenged” guy getting smoked by a random dude with a shotgun blast to the chest while walking home from the corner store. The “reporter” sounded like an auctioneer at the apex of an eight-ball meth high.
3) Fire At A Restaurant: Some restaurant burned to the ground. That’s aboot as much time they gave it. The anchors at Local 4 are actually very professional and decent people who do a lot of community events. Thirty minutes is just not enough time to report on the insanity that is Detroit. It’s a million people living in a city with a burnt out core. There are parts of Detroit that resemble Bosnia pre-NATO. There is no centre to this city. It’s dying, dying, dying and almost dead. And thirty minutes a day of news — and even then it’s news aboot fucking crazy people doing fucking crazy things — is not enough to deal with the problems this city has. The CBS Detroit affiliate actually runs promo’s saying “No News Is Good News” because they’ve given up on having any newscast other than the national one at 6.30 with Katie Couric. Katie Couric is the only news many people get in Detroit. Katie. Couric. W. T. F.?!?
(11pm) CTV National News With Lloyd Robertson:
1) Chaotic Winter Accident: There was a 75-car accident on Highway 400 near Bradford, Ontario on Monday just north of Toronto. The 400 is one of the busiest highways in the world. Visibility in the area had been reduced to less than two feet due to a winter storm. People had to escape from a burning bus, a car had been crushed between two semi-trucks and a woman went into labour after crashing her car. The story quoted an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer “visibility was poor to none. I’ve had twenty years on and I’ve never seen one this bad.” One person had undefined “life threatening” injuries, but that was it for serious injuries.
2) Sheets Of Ice Fall On Toronto: We’ve had two major storms in Ontario — basically the East Coast of North America was hit twice in a week by some harsh winter weather — the one late last week left the CN Tower covered in sheets of ice. Until yesterday, when they started to fall off. So giant ice cubes started falling on downtown Toronto from 3000 feet in the air. Exciting day in The Big Smoke. Police closed off the major thouroughfare through the downtown, the Gardiner Expressway, and the financial district around Bay and King Streets. Some of the Ice Bombs were the size of cars. There was one panel still stuck up there during the broadcast that was estimated to be 200 feet high and forty to sixty feet wide. The CN Tower, by the way, remains the worlds tallest freestanding structure, and there’s a glass floor at the very tippy-top. And a rotating restaurant. Very nice menu. And the restaurant rotates.
3) Canadian ATM Fees: Canadians pay some of the highest banking fees in the world. There’s an election coming up, probably this year — we don’t have set dates or term limits yet, we will by 2009 though. Last year the five major Canadian banks had a combined profit of $19B, that’s the gross. The five CEO’s made a combined $56M. They also raked in $420M in bank machine profits. My accounts are with Scotiabank. If I only use Scotia bank machines to do my banking I only get charged my monthly fee. I think I get 50 free transactions per month. If I use a Royal Bank bank machine I’m charged a $1.50 service fee. There are also “White Boxes”, these are bank machines owned and operated by independents. They look like the real banks, but they’re just regular folks. If I use their machine they get to charge me $1.50 per transaction, but my bank also gets another $1.50. The thing is, the five major Canadian banks can be independent operators. So the incentive for them is to put an “independently owned” White Box into every 7-11 and Mac’s Milk in Canada and charge us $3 for every transaction, which, really, they also bill us for at the end of the month. So our Finance Minister, Joe Flaherty, is having a series of chats with the banks. No one really expects anything to change. If you’re an American none of this will make sense because you hardly pay any banking fees at all. Same if you’re European or British, but we pay aboot a buck for a litre of gas and you’re paying around $6/litre and you have to pay to drive downtown so fuck you, you smug Limey Frog bastards.
Bonus Track — Obesity Causing Premature Puberty In Girls: Great. Now I’ve got a cough. Fuck. People have been wondering for a while now what’s with girls hitting puberty at nine-years old? I think the first time it was written aboot in the mainstream press was a Time Magazine cover story back in… 1999? I know I still have it somewhere. I collect news magazines. Anyway. A study has come out linking early puberty to having a high Body Mass Index. Basically if a girl is heavier than she’s “supposed” to be she’ll get The Boobies real early. The reporter went on to hammer someone’s point home by saying “girls would develop their period, breast growth, increase their chances for breast cancer later on, as well as an increased chance for alcohol and drug abuse”. I can remember the Time article being really delicate aboot talking aboot young children becoming physically sexualized. Things haven’t changed. Anyway… it was a preliminary study. They still haven’t really looked into the actual food or chemical issues yet. Surely it can’t be the oceans of synthetic estrogen we’re swimming in… did you know that when plastics break down the chemicals can fool male frogs into developing ovaries? The frogs do.
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I’m Canadian, it’s what we do. Off the ice.