Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday Post

A few ramblings....

Saskatchewan will review its First Nations funding:

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says his government has serious concerns about recent events surrounding the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, culminating with Guy Lonechild stepping down as the organization's chief.

Mr. Lonechild resigned Thursday after accepting a severance package of approximately $250,000, according to several chiefs with knowledge of the negotiations. Mr. Wall, speaking to reporters Friday in Saskatoon, said the provincial funding provided to the FSIN was never intended to pay out severance packages. Rather, provincial funding should go to education initiatives or other programs to help First Nations people.

Mr. Wall said the government is reviewing its funding of the FSIN and wants a further explanation from the organization.

Let's put this in perspective. The annual salary of a physician in Ontario is anywhere from $100, 000 to $260,000. Mr. Lonechild accepted a severance package of $250,000. Physicians save lives. Mr. Lonechild accepts huge amounts of money.

Yes, I think a review is in order.

This smug SOB wouldn't be so smug if McGuinty had a heart, brain or guts, if the OPP were allowed to do their jobs and if we stopped viewing certain segments of society as so alien or disparate that they cannot labour under the same rule of law everyone else must:

Moments after a judge declared him guilty of assault dating back to the fiery native occupation and land dispute in Caledonia a young Six Nations man removed a gold chain from around his neck and passed it to his lawyer, waved to three supporters in the public gallery and followed police out of the majestic old courtroom.

The passive end of the case is a long way from its raucous beginning, amid angry clashes and vitriolic protests that saw native demonstrators, non-native residents and the Ontario Provincial Police turn portions of the area southwest of Toronto into a "lawless oasis."

Richard Smoke, 22, was found guilty of aggravated assault and break and enter in an attack on Sam Gualtieri, 56, described by Judge Alan Whitten as "just a notch below culpable homicide."

He was ordered into custody immediately, pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for next month.

As court was adjourned, applause erupted from Mr. Gualtieri's supporters.

"It's been a long time," Mr. Gualtieri said outside court, speaking softly and slowly, his body swaying back and forth as he worked to maintain his balance, the legacy of injuries that left him brain damaged and fragile.

On Sept. 13, 2007, after native demonstrators seized a large housing development and a standoff developed with police, a spillover demonstration engulfed the nearby Stirling Wood development, where Mr. Gualtieri was helping to build a home for his daughter, Michelle, who was getting married.

Mr. Gualtieri arrived with three other men, friends and relatives who were part of his work crew, to check on the house as news spread of renewed trouble.

They saw shadows of people inside the house and Mr. Gualtieri went in to confront the intruders, telling them to get out. The confrontation became heated, court heard.

Two members of his crew wrestled on the porch with aboriginal youths who had emerged.

From outside they heard a clamour in the house and then screaming.

By the time the crew got inside, Smoke was standing over Mr. Gualtieri, striking him as he lay on the floor with a piece of lumber held in both hands. One of the men, Dwayne Davies, in earlier testimony described hearing the sound of wood hitting flesh.

A neighbour who is a nurse rushed in and found Mr. Gualtieri bleeding on the floor of the dining room, struggling to get up and saying, "help me, help me."

Mr. Gualtieri was left with broken bones in his left and right cheeks, his nose and shoulder.

They have since mended, but all is not right.

Mr. Gualtieri's memory is shaky, his balance unsteady. His speech is slow and his reading ability impaired. His ears constantly ring and noise bothers him intensely, even the sound of his family opening Christmas presents drives him from the room. He has been unable to work as a building framer since.

"He's a changed man," said Sandra Gualtieri, his wife of 34 years, her eyes tearing outside court.

"He tries to be tough, he tries to pretend it is not affecting him, but it has changed our life, it really has. His wounds have all healed now, and it is just the brain injury, but that is an invisible injury," she said.

The guilty verdict offered the family a measure of relief and joy in the unfolding drama. The family said they would return next month to hear Smoke's sentence.

"I'm elated. I'm still having problems, and he shouldn't be free because I'll never be free," Mr. Gualtieri said.

If this really occurs, I will be somewhat surprised:

The New Democratic Party is poised to make a historic and likely divisive move next week to terminate the labour movement's special voting rights at party leadership conventions.

The possible move is the result, in part, of 2004 federal legislation that stripped the right of corporations and unions to fund political parties, ending labour's longstanding financial support for the NDP since the party's creation in 1961. One MP said Friday that the removal of union special status will blunt allegations that the party is dominated by "Big Labour." But the prospect is already causing division among senior party members, including the perceived top two contenders to replace the late Jack Layton as official Opposition leader.

I don't think this will happen as socialists and shiftless union leaders scratch each other's backs.

This is a losing battle. Even when I lived in South Korea, no one bothered changing the names of places like McDonald's. What's the point? Quebeckers will have to live in an anglophone world.

In other news, North Korea accepts food aid from places that aren't China amid an allegedly bumper crop:

Impoverished North Korea appears to have emerged from the depths of a bad winter and late spring in reasonable shape, at least in the far north and south, where a variety of crops are nearly ready for harvest.

The North has pleaded for food aid this year due to bad weather and the impact of international sanctions imposed for its nuclear program, winning donations in recent months from Russia, the European Union and U.N. organisations after sending in their own assessment teams.

But South Korea and the United States have so far refused food aid, granting only emergency aid to help the impoverished state deal with flood damage from a series of bad storms in the middle of the year.

Washington says it is still assessing the North's requests, while Seoul says it doubts Pyongyang's pleas are genuine. Until the imposition of sanctions, the two had been the biggest aid donors to the North, which has suffered chronic food shortages for years.

During a five-day trip which started near the China-Russia border and ended at the South Korean border, foreign journalists saw that fields in the respective Rason and Kumgang zones were lush with crops, sometimes stretching over many acres.

"We had bad winter, and late spring, but the crops look good now," said a North Korean guide who escorted a group of foreign journalists on a rare trip through the areas this week. The harvest is due in October.

From the North Korean border post of Wonjong to the port of Sonbong, about 70 km (43 miles) away, the area had many fields of corn and rice. Maize was growing over a meter high in small plots around many of the small bungalow style houses in village compounds while communal rice fields sometimes stretched for acres.

Soybeans and potatoes are also grown in the area, the North Korean guide said. There was little livestock, but some healthy-looking cows were seen grazing. Three people were seen riding horses.

Western journalists have not been taken to the area before, at least in recent memory. Pyongyang, with China's backing, has this year broken ground on new infrastructure projects in the zone as it attempts to woo foreign investors to generate hard currency for the state's flailing economy.

It wouldn't be the first time North Korea has created a Potemkin Village to fool the gullible West.  As reported, the most serious flooding occurred in Kaesong (near the North-South Korea border and site of the collaborative industrial complex) and Hamgyeongnam-do (to the northeast). And yet Sunbong (to the north, close to Russia) reports fields of corn and rice after severe flooding in North and South Hwanghae as well as Hamgyeongnam-do. It must be all those university students sent to help in the fields. It certainly can't be China's closed border policy that pales Arizona's attempts. At any rate, if they have food, they don't need to mooch off of the US or their cousins to the south whom they are trying to kill.

And now, fat to help you fight fat and Sarah Palin was completely right about that grizzly thing:

A 22-year-old Alaska woman said on Wednesday she punched a black bear in the face to save her small dog from being carried off and possibly eaten.

Juneau resident Brooke Collins said she hit the bear Sunday night to save the life of her dachshund, Fudge. She said she discovered the bear crouched down, clutching Fudge in its paws and biting the back of the dog's neck.

"It had her kind of like when they eat salmon," Collins said Wednesday. "I was freaking out. I was screaming at it. My dog was screaming. I ran up to it ... I just punched it right in the snout and it let go."

Collins said her boyfriend then scared the bear away. "I think it was more startled than anything," she said.

Collins, a hairdresser who has lived in Juneau most of her life, said she is accustomed to bears and knows how to take precautions around them.


If that bear comes back down, that cat will mess him up.

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