Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Is it any wonder why even Conservative supporters are curious as to the motives and meanderings of Harpor and his balloon-headed government?
He hates the Liberals, so he twists himself to be a faux liberal, resurrecting grit programs that he himself authorized for the dustbin. His pre-election mantra was 'accountability' and 'getting things done for Canadians', but his matchstick promises turned into same old/same old, including heavy heapin's of patronage, attempts at secret agenda sliding in various committees and bureaus, and an instruction booklet for his bobbleheads at the committee table.
Now, the self-crowned 'Great Brain' is risking his rice-paper thin credibility on the environment file by pulling back from a German-backed plan on new, strict regulations on greenhouse gases, so as to be 'the bridge' between European leaders and those grimy chimney sweeps of the US and China.
Yep, the same China that Harpor has used as a prop to flex his flabby muscles when talking tough on human rights. Canada has a new gunslinger in town, is the message sent to Beijing, which summarily left Harpor at the bathroom door holding the towel.
Of course, human rights isn't something you'd bother quizzing that other 'bridge' target, the US. No, their snub of Geneva convention in the 'Hunt for Hussein' and now the 'War on Sanity', which has done more for terrorists than a hundred Richard Gere kisses, isn't worthy of commenting. Ol' Stevie is on the same wavelength with Georgie in that vein, ably depicted in the outtakes of 'Everyone Loves Karzai' last week...
No, Stevie is going to be the bridge to the US and China, saying that one can't engage a discussion on environmental issues by standing up to those who disagree. But if you're a fair-game evil empire, who can fill the role of stereotypical unsympathetic brute, Stevie won't talk. You get the ol' stink-eye from the New Captain Canada.
Of course, he isn't above using the tactics of either empire when it comes to building his legacy of 'standing up for Canada' by spending lottsa bucks on negative advertising against his chief rival. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, afterall...
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
You've heard it said and possibly laughed it off, but I'll repeat the refrain: 'They don't make movie stars like that anymore.'
Tyrone Power is one of THOSE movie stars, who whether you like his acting or not, you would have to agree that he brought a special presence to nearly every production. And from what I've read, it was true to his real life, also. Okay, I know that the publicity machines of olden days worked on a hyperbole warped factor that wouldn't pass scrutiny of today's media. Power, however, did appear to live a rich life and was one of those types who blessed those who walked with him.
A new box set of films from 20th Century Fox, released a few weeks ago, celebrates the typecasted swashbuckler/romantic swordsman.
Power's career was so much more than 'Blood and Sand', 'Captain from Castile', 'Prince of Foxes', 'Son of Fury' and 'The Black Rose.' But if they had been his only legacy put to celluloid, he still would have been a star.
The son of an accomplished actor by the same name, Power shook off a frail childhood and the tragedy of having his mid-50s father die in his arms to gain access to the 20th Century stable of wannabes and nevertobes. He was originally told that he couldn't act, that his features were unruly and there was little of real appeal. Zanuck said, after viewing his first screen test, shouted 'He looks like a monkey!' This was obviously a half-blind heterosexual guy talking. Had his wife been asked for her opinion, no doubt the young Power would have been signed, sealed and delivered to a hungry public sooner than his break-through role in 'Lloyds of London'.
This box set is a collection of his more physical roles, and there are plenty of scenes where Power emotes minus a shirt. If you've got a single gal pal or a gay guy friend who have never been exposed to Power before, rent them 'Blood and Sand'. It's intense and percolating with latin machismo, as Power plays a self-centred bullfighter who climbs to the top. He gets to choose between gorgeously sincere Linda Darnell and red-hot Rita Hayworth (who, when she first appears in the film, looked too much like a skanky Lucille Ball for my taste. I'm all about Darnell in this film). Power's performance is taut, brooding and bombastic. Look at his eyes while he tells his servant/former bullfighter J. Carrol Naish about the moments before stepping into the ring. It's a level of acting that almost seems wasted in much of this popcorn pleasing work. However, let it not be said that we all need some popcorn in our lives...
He has two tour de forces with acting giant Orson Welles here, neither of the movies is a standout. But getting to watch the two interact and play off each other, Power almost underplaying his position, while Welles turns up the volume. Fascinating stuff! The true surprise for me was how engaging 'Son of Fury: the Story of Benjamin Blake' was. I'd neither heard nor expected much from this costume drama, but the story was reasonably quick paced (admittedly, the style in the 40s and 50s likely would trip up most people under 25 these days due to the slow storytelling) and the acting terrific. George Sanders plays Power's uncle, and the despicable ol' miser as is his wont, delivers with a punch. In a tragic sense of trivia, it was Sanders who shared the 45-year-old Power's last scene when he collapsed and died in 1958 while filming 'Solomon and Sheba'...
Personally, each film in this collection ranks as a pleasure; 'Blood and Sand' ranks up with 'The Mark of Zorro' and 'Nightmare Alley' among Power's best performances. The direction by Rouben Mamoulain, who helmed the ahead-of-its time Fredric March version of 'Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde', keeps this predictable but spellbinding story flowing to its tragic end. Prince of Foxes is entertaining, though should have been filmed in colour, and Captain from Castile is lively. I've already given my thumbs up to Son of Fury.
For those not into adventure and costume dramas, I'd recommend checking out Power in 'Nightmare Alley', a fetchingly dark noir that Power fought to make; Billy Wilder's engrossing 'Witness for the Prosecution', and 'The Razor's Edge', where he brings Larry Darnell to life in the adaption of Maugham's great novel.
Many saw Power as a mere pretty boy. He certainly had his share of typecasting battles, but managed to rise above it with an pristine charm that made all right again. A star by 1938, Power stepped away from his lucrative career and contract to join the Marines and fly 1100 hours between the mainland and the fighting forces in the Pacific theatre. In those days, some of the cinema heroes lived up to the legend (John Wayne excluded)...
Rent it! Buy it! You'll enjoy it!
Monday, May 21, 2007
It's either incredibly laughable or unwholly tear-inducing. As impartial that I'm not, I am amazed at the gall and temerity of Stephen Harpor and his hambones as they weave to defend the 'Conservative Party Committee Playbook.'
As a piece of work, it essentially blows holes through the constant lies trolled out like "The opposition is stalling the wheels of government" and "We can't function when the Opposition and stacked senate are holding our agenda hostage."
Had they read their history, or maybe recalled Martin's one term as PM in a minority, they'd have noticed that Parliament is a greater power than goverment in a minority situation. That is how our system evolved and that is how it works. Without a majority, the balance of power is always in the hands of the collective greater force; Harpor used that to his advantage, working with the other minority party leaders, in late 2005.
But now, the shoe isn't comfortable. So the Blue Men Group, who decided to operate with the bare minimum of ideas lest they get sidetracked from concocting election conditions for their majority, are void of direction. They seem to dread to reveal their true cards; more than half of their 'programs and ideas' to date are replicas or reinventions of Liberal programs they abhorred in their past life.
So, when the cupboard is bare and a timeout is needed, I guess you do what most hockey coaches would do and rag the puck. You ice it, stand up at the blueline and swing wildly. You fall down and look askew at the referee, hoping for that call. Then you flee to Afghanistan, where politicians can make journalists disappear.
But you never, ever let them see your strategy in writing. You've shown up the official and he may be inclined to give you the penalty.
And that's what should happen after the leaked 200 page book got into the hands of columnist Don Martin, he of fairly conservative leanings.
It shows the Cons for being obstructionists, of avoiding accountability and accessibility, of maintaining an 'Opposition mentality' while supposedly expected to lead. The Cons' lies are also being exposed by this leak, since half their mantra has been 'It's the Liberals fault!' Now, here in black and white, is proof that in fact some of that delay and stalling is the act of a impotent, top-light and oxygen deprived government.
Over at the Globe and Mail the comments after Jay Hill's appearance on Question Period weigh heavily against the Cons' tactic. Certainly, there are some repeat stooges playing 'dogpile' and there is no denying that some of the tactics described and recommended in the Tory handbook are being utilized by the opposition parties. But they are the opposition. It is their one power, in a minority gov't, to protest and actually steer the dial of parliament. Good leaders, like Lester Pearson, struggle on and make it workable. Harpor, however, in his heavyhandedness, is demonstrating his contempt for the Canadian system and Parliament, by not only enacting 'defence-first' manoevers, but then crying foul at the opposition for doing just what he's preaching in the back room.
The Globe isn't the right-wing pillar that it once was. It has tilted centre-ward ever since Black brought out his National COMpost wrap. However, I've read a lot of letters in its paper and find that the readership leans fairly heavily to centre-right. Its no Toronto Star, that's for sure. And going through this list of emails related to the following story http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070521.wcommittees21/BN
I've noticed that those who lambast the CON game to those who defend it were 9-1 before the comments were closed. Here's a sampling of the outrage, along with a piece from one of the defenders.
There is some solace that CON supporters can take from this: On TV, I've seen very little about this story since the original leak. I'd figure this would have had legs like Heidi Klum, that keep on going. It seems some members of the media are outraged, while others are non-plused. And while Harpor is looking more and more like Canada's Richard Nixon, us progressives have to remember that Tricky Dicky won two elections before he was kicked to the curb. Here's hoping Canadians are wiser, and more assertive.
Agathocles ofSyracuse from Canada writes: I'd like to see 'this so-called
book of dirty tricks' for myself to decide if there is anything 'sinister at
play here'. And I'd like to see Canada's New Government man up and stop
blaming everybody else for their problems. Let's see that accountability we
Unshaven One from Moncton, Canada writes: What a disgusting way to run a
'transparent' government. Harper is nothing more than what he was before the
Conservatives got sucked in and backstabbed by Peter McKay, he is still a
far right mini dictator, a la George Bush wannabe. I was ashamed of the
arrogant way that the Cretien cretens handled the country, but now I am more
ashamed and completely gobsmacked at the lying and low down trickery this
bunch of baffoons have shown to be.
Vickky Angstrom from Calgary, Canada writes: Jay Hill is living proof that
the Conservative government is morally bankrupt if he thinks wasting
millions of taxpayer's dollars on slowing down or stopping committee work is
no big deal. His logic seems to be, 'we don't agree with them, so anything
gaetan diotte from ottawa, Canada writes: Are these not the same bunch that
whined, moaned and cried when in opposition that in a minority parliament,
the Gov't of the day MUST listen to the opposition and make adjustments to
legislation based on the input of the opposition?
Vern McPherson from Toronto, Canada writes: What of the rest of the COns
dirty tricks stragety ? What else are they subverting and what else are they
doing to fasly influence public opinion, unduely influencing Canadians with
outright lies, discrediting of any and all opposition, issuing untendered
purchasing of government services and assets, hiding true expenses of
Ministers and the nlying about them, not reporting, lack of transparency,
subverting any modicum of accountibility citizens demand, - you name it.
Gerry Pankhurst from westport ontario, Canada writes: I love it. The
opposition has clearly decided the only way they can slow down the sucesses
of the minority government is to obstruct parliamentry procedure with mostly
stupid and/or meaningless subjects for debate. The goverment has seen
through that strategy and decided to play the same game by way of
obstructing the obstructionists, using what will be seen to be perfectly
Brian Dondo from Winnipeg, Canada writes: There's nothing sinister about
constipation either, or even ethical for that matter but I don't expect a
book on how to do it deliberately is the sort of thing that would turn out
to be a bestseller
dallas mcquarrie from Regina, Canada writes: Mr. Hill is defending a manual
on poor citizenship. Our MPs already have behavioural problems and anger
management issues, as evidenced by their behaviour in Parliament, and to
produce a manual on how to make Parliament even less effective than it
already is shows a delinquent attitude more befitting a petty criminal than
Zando Lee from Vancouver, Canada writes: .... you could spin it any way you
want Stevie, but the bottom line is the advocacy of disruptive and deceptive
perversions of the democratic process...you promised to do government
differently...you are now in the not to believed category...
Hugh Malafry from Victoria, Canada writes: More deceit. Predator pretending
that it's prey...
Cryin Outloud from Canada writes: ...I want my minority government to have
the intellect, the vision, respect and the altruism to work for Canada and
those that elected them. I think he and the rest of the dictators in the
Conservative party must never ever hold a seat in parliament again.
Harold Uhlman from Lunenburg, NS, writes: ... If Liberal policies,
procedures, issues, etc. were bad, how does it make similar CPC policies,
procedures, issues OK because the Liberals did it? I just don't get that.
What's wrong is wrong and what's right is right regardless of political
stripe. The CPC posters use sponsorship as a big eraser to erase or attempt
to erase all the governments present issues with lack of accountibility,
fudging the truth, etc. I think the big eraser is almost worn out. Time to
fly on your own guys. Stop practicing to be the opposition again.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
What a difference a day makes.
One day after Gilles Duceppe made Stephen Harpor's day by declaring himself the rightful ruler of Quebec, ol' GD has turned tail and run back to Ottawa.
Seems Pauline Marois casts one powerful shadow, despite being a twice-loser for the Parti Quebecois leadership.
Realistically, Marois is the candidate, if I was a Quebecer who wanted to ruin my nation's future by breaking away from Canada, that I would support. Her pedigree is impressive -- she lost to Pierre-Marc Johnson, lost her seat in the ensuing election (in '85), but resurfaced to eventually become minister of finance.
She has demonstrated perhaps a single-mindedness when it comes to presenting a possible governmental option. Duceppe? Well, let's say that he has the Layton complex, where wheezing, bitching and complaining remain the party line, because there will never be a day when they will have to pay the piper.
Abandoning his campaign before his supporters had the chance to paint their signs seems a tad goofy, but perhaps it clears the way for a federal election sooner than later, thank the Lord!
Duceppe isn't one who worries about optics anyways.
Months away from qualifying for an incredibly lucrative pension, he will pick up the fight against ol' mean Canada and its undermining of Quebec's rightful place among Latvia, Haiti and Andorra.
The only disappointing thing is that Gilles had a special hat for his coronation!