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General

Texas Plans to Execute a Man with a 67 IQ Tonight

Posted January 29, 2015 by Anonymous

Texas Plans to Execute a Man with a 67 IQ Tonight

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General

DVD Review: Gone Girl

Posted January 29, 2015 by Anonymous

  Synopsis: With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not…

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General

Review: A Walk Among The Tombstones

Posted January 28, 2015 by The "Superior" Anthony

    Matt Scudder is a former cop now a private eye. He is asked by a drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped his wife. It seems like…

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General

Trapped by Artillery Fire: Russian Roulette

Posted January 27, 2015 by Anonymous

Trapped by Artillery Fire: Russian Roulette

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General

Review: Cake

Posted January 23, 2015 by Anonymous

  Synopsis: Claire becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group while grappling with her own, very raw personal tragedy. (c) Imdb     When…

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General

Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner A Magnificent, Yet Boring Art Film

Posted January 23, 2015 by Kenny Miles

  This film explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper…

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Books

Book Review: Everything I Never You By Celeste Ng

Posted January 22, 2015 by Anonymous

I don’t know how you feel about your high school experience, but you couldn’t pay me enough to repeat mine. Don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t horribly traumatic or anything (and it’s been a long time since I’ve had one […]

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General

Review: Little Accidents

Posted January 17, 2015 by Anonymous

        Synopsis: In a small American town still living in the shadow of a terrible coal mine accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws together a surviving…

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CBC

Can someone report news while making news?

Posted January 16, 2015 by Norm Farrell
RossK at The Gazetteer linked to this item first published about three years ago. It is worth attention now since it demonstrates the issue of conflicts in media did not begin and end with Global TV Anchor Leslie Roberts.

Listen to the audio clip that follows but remember that certain bloggers “with an axe to grind” have argued that the NW trio themselves are conflicted by receipts of cash from commercial groups affected by their coverage of issues. Additionally, be aware that government payments totalling 7-figures have been made to family members of Press Gallery colleagues, without a single mention in the corporate media. 

Sensitivity to the morass of conflicts may explain the strained efforts on the audio clip as Bill, Vaughn and Keith pretend the issue should never have been raised. Conflict of interest is Oldspeak; hoary words stripped from the language of modern journalism.

From January 23, 2012:

Response to the CBC Ombudsman faulting Stephen Smart’s position as Legislative Bureau Chief is muted in the local corporate media except for the Good, the bad and the other on Friday morning. CKNW’s triplets typically dance together in favour of the status quo and conflict of interest is a subject that makes these guys uncomfortable. For good reason, too.

Charlie Smith at the Georgia Straight discusses the wider and more important issue in B.C. legislature press gallery should come clean on all conflicts of interest:

“So why will this ruling make other members in the press gallery squirm? It’s because Smart isn’t the only one with a family member who has collected cheques from the B.C. government for providing communications advice.

“In the past, I’ve written about press-gallery members receiving speaking fees from business organizations that seek legislative changes from the B.C. government.

“There’s never any public disclosure about the amounts of money changing hands between these lobby groups and the scribes.

“I believe that the time has come for the press gallery to create a transparent ethics policy with a disciplinary process for those who violate it.”

Blogger RossK at The Gazetteer exposes part of the silliness offered by the Three Amigos. I hope they are better reporters than they seemed Friday because of the reliance on misinformation and misdirection. For example, they suggested that Stephen Smart’s wife was like any other government employee, as if being the Premier’s Deputy Press Secretary is akin to making tea or trimming lawns at the Legislature.

Of course, these guys — operating on suspect motives themselves — assume critics of a news agency that ignores its own guidelines act as partisans for the opposition. In fact, they know that most MLA’s and party activists purposely avoid raising complaints about media coverage, no matter how aggrieved the politicians feel. It is a no-win situation. So, if people denouncing the conflicted CBC situation were taking direction from party managers, the issue would not have been raised.

In early December, I wrote the article that follows. It connects to Charlie Smith’s earlier work on conflicts and I think is worth examination again.

* * * * * * * * * *

It is appropriate to ask if political writers can report objectively after they become paid participants in the public forum, earning appearance fees and other remuneration from businesses with interests in their coverage. In 2009, Charlie Smith at The Georgia Straight wrote this:

“There are members of the press gallery who’ve accepted speaking fees from business groups that lobby the provincial government regarding pieces of legislation.

“I think the members of the press gallery should disclose these payments through an on-line registry, which would be available for the public to see…

“However, as long as the members of the press gallery are so busy patting each other on the back, they’re not going to bother covering something like this.

“They’ll go blue in the face telling the public how Ken Dobell or Patrick Kinsella were unregistered lobbyists, but they don’t apply the same standards to themselves when it comes to disclosing their own potential conflicts of interest.

“I’m not saying that these payments influence the way they cover stories. Not at all. I am saying, however, that these speaking fees should be disclosed so readers, viewers, and listeners will know if members of the press gallery have recently been on the payroll of an organization that they’re covering. It’s called transparency.”

A short while later, Smith touched on the subject again,

“I may have left the impression in recent blog postings that Vancouver Sun provincial-affairs columnist Vaughn Palmer only speaks to business organizations like the Council of Forest Industries, British Columbians for Private Forests, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the B.C. Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, the B.C. Human Resources Management Association, the Council of Tourism Associations of B.C., and others.

“Palmer has also spoken to government associations as well as to civic and labour groups. They include the Professional Employees Association, the Bellingham City Club, and the Canadian Association of Members of Public Utility Tribunals.

“Next month, Palmer will speak to the Lower Mainland Local Government Association.

in April last year, Smith offered a particular example. He thought Vaughn Palmer:

“…could be caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the HST.

“As I’ve reported before on this site, Palmer has a public-speaking career in addition to his work as a paid columnist.

“In the past, he has appeared at events sponsored by such groups as the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Council of Forest Industries, and the B.C. Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.

“National Speakers Bureau, which has arranged Palmer’s speaking engagements, used to advertise on its Web site that he could be booked for $3,000 to $5,000 per appearance. I don’t know how much, if anything, he charged to speak to these particular groups…”

Of course the obvious point was that Palmer was receiving fees for appearing before organizations that were fervent admirers of Gordon Campbell and the Premier’s plans for HST. During that time, Palmer was an impartial commentator, appearing in print and on radio and cable TV to report frequently on Gordon Campbell and HST.

Charlie Smith put this issue up for debate during both 2009 and 2010, about Palmer but also Palmer’s press gallery colleagues. Smith gained little traction, none in the corporate media. Yet, today the issue remains vital. Canada is trailing on a dangerous trail blazed by self-interest brigades in the USA.

With falling advertising and circulation revenues, newsrooms everywhere are cutting staff and budgets. Strict economies are eased by turning to outsiders offering free content that of course serves objectives of the providers. Star reporters supplement sagging salaries through freelancing and paid public appearances.

In the U.S., wealthy think tanks and brigades of right wing agents circulate free media-ready copy that is happily received and published uncritically. One example is the the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. According to PR Watch,

“The group has 43 state news websites, with writers in over 40 states. Its reporters have been given state house press credentials and its news articles are starting to appear in mainstream print newspapers in each state.

“Who funds Franklin and what is its agenda? The Funding Trail Leads to Bradley, Koch, and Other Right-Wing Groups.”

Canada is not immune from similar pressures and responses. As strong regional journalism disappears, space is quickly filled with syndicated copy or material from agenda driven sources such as industry groups and political think tanks.

The intermediate step for propagandists seeking to influence public opinion is to promote the loyalty of media people through direct and indirect inducements. Ethical journalists exercise caution but, unfortunately, ethical does not equate with influential.

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General

American Sniper is an Exceptional War Epic

Posted January 16, 2015 by Ryan

  Synopsis: Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four…

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General

Blackhat: Michael Mann and Chris Hemsworth’s Disappointing Generic Computer Thriller

Posted January 16, 2015 by Kenny Miles

Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary’s Blackhat follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los…

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Copyright

Videotron’s Odd Copyright Notices: No User Rights and Inaccurate Privacy Information

Posted January 14, 2015 by Michael Geist

As the misuse of the Canada’s copyright notice-and-notice system continues to attract attention, Industry Canada has taken the first step to try to alleviate public concern. The department has posted an advisory on the notice-and-notice system which seeks to assuage consumer concern, noting that U.S. copyright penalties do not apply in Canada and that the statutory damages cap for non-commercial infringement is C$5000. It also states:

  • Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean that you have in fact infringed copyright or that you will be sued for copyright infringement.
  • The Notice and Notice regime does not impose any obligations on a subscriber who receives a notice and it does not require the subscriber to contact the copyright owner or the intermediary.

This is important information that provides much needed context for the notices. As I noted last week, some Internet providers are forwarding similar information to their subscribers.

The post Videotron’s Odd Copyright Notices: No User Rights and Inaccurate Privacy Information appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Canada

CBC’s Schitt’s Creek premieres – ALL OF THE LEVYS

Posted January 14, 2015 by Jes

My Canadian television dreams have come true. As we all know, I am obsessed with the Levys – OBSESSED. When Dan and Eugene are photographed together I die. When you put the two of them and Catherine O’Hara in a TV show I basically…just…how am I bre…

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Copyright

Canadian ISPs Responding to Copyright Notices By Adding Information on Notice System, Privacy Concerns

Posted January 9, 2015 by Michael Geist

The revelations that Rightscorp has been using the new copyright notice-and-notice system to force Internet providers to forward notifications with false copyright law information and demands for payment sparked considerable concern among many Canadian Internet users. In my post on the issue, I suggested two responses.  First, the introduction of government regulations prohibiting the inclusion of settlement demands within the notices and creating penalties for those companies that send notices with false or misleading information.  Second, Internet service providers adding their own information to the notices, advising their subscribers on the true state of Canadian law and reassuring them that they have not disclosed their personal information to the notice sender.

While there has been no response from the government, some Canadian ISPs are providing their subscribers with much-needed context. For example, TechAeris has posted the message provided by Shaw Cablesystems, which states:

The post Canadian ISPs Responding to Copyright Notices By Adding Information on Notice System, Privacy Concerns appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Copyright

Rightscorp and BMG Exploiting Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal Information in Payment Demands

Posted January 8, 2015 by Michael Geist

Canada’s new copyright notice-and-notice system has been in place for less than a week, but rights holders are already exploiting a loophole to send demands for payment citing false legal information. Earlier this week, a Canadian ISP forwarded to me a sample notice it received from Rightscorp on behalf of BMG Rights Management. The notice, which is posted below with identifying information removed, must be forwarded to the subscriber or the ISP faces the possibility of statutory damages of between $5 – 10,000. Rightscorp announced that it was entering the Canadian market last year, so its participation in the notice-and-notice system is not a surprise. What is surprising is that the company has brought its model of issuing demands for payments to Canada by warning of U.S. damage awards and Internet termination in order to stoke fear among Canadians that they could face massive liability if they refuse to pay.

The notice falsely warns that the recipient could be liable for up to $150,000 per infringement when the reality is that Canadian law caps liability for non-commercial infringement at $5,000 for all infringements. The notice also warns that the user’s Internet service could be suspended, yet there is no such provision under Canadian law. Moreover, given the existence of the private copying system (which features levies on blank media such as CDs), personal music downloads may qualify as private copying and therefore be legal in Canada.

In addition to misstating Canadian law, the notice is instructive for what it does not say. While a recipient might fear a lawsuit with huge liability, there is very little likelihood of a lawsuit given that Rightscorp and BMG do not have the personal information of the subscriber. To obtain that information, they would need a court order, which can be a very expensive proposition. Moreover, this is merely an allegation that would need to be proven in court (assuming the rights holder is able to obtain a court order for the subscriber information).

The post Rightscorp and BMG Exploiting Copyright Notice-and-Notice System: Citing False Legal Information in Payment Demands appeared first on Michael Geist.

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General

Two Suspects in ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Massacre ‘Rob Gas Station’ in Northern France

Posted January 8, 2015 by Anonymous

Two Suspects in ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Massacre ‘Rob Gas Station’ in Northern France

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General

Tested: RealFoodToronto.com Delivers Real Food, Fast

Posted January 8, 2015 by Sonya

There’s a real food movement that’s taken hold and I’m okay with it.  What does that mean? Well, we all lead busy lives and we’re constantly searching for ways to feed our families the best we can. We’re hearing much […]

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General

Islamic State and al Qaeda Supporters Cheer ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Attackers on Social Media

Posted January 7, 2015 by Anonymous

Islamic State and al Qaeda Supporters Cheer ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Attackers on Social Media

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General

Two New York Police Officers Shot, Rushed to Hospital

Posted January 6, 2015 by Anonymous

Two New York Police Officers Shot, Rushed to Hospital

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Copyright

Glass Houses and Throwing Stones: Why a Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm May Need to Send Itself Copyright Infringement Notices

Posted January 6, 2015 by Michael Geist

Canipre, a Montreal-based intellectual property enforcement firm, yesterday issued a press release announcing an infringement monitoring program designed to take advantage of the new copyright notice-and-notice system. The release notes that the service detects online infringement and sends notifications alleging infringement to Canadian Internet providers, who must forward the notifications to their subscribers. The company has been involved in the Voltage Pictures – TekSavvy lawsuit and it cites that case as evidence of the effectiveness of its services.

Yet what Canipre does not say is that a blog associated with the company may have been engaged in copyright infringement for many months. The blog – copyrightenforcement.ca – is run by Barry Logan, the company’s Managing Director, Operations (I received an email from Mr. Logan last year that listed the site as his blog address). In addition to posting releases from Canipre and information about the TekSavvy case, the site has posted dozens of full-text articles from media organizations around the world.

The post Glass Houses and Throwing Stones: Why a Canadian Anti-Piracy Firm May Need to Send Itself Copyright Infringement Notices appeared first on Michael Geist.

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General

Kim Jong-un Extends New Year’s Olive Branch, Offers to Hold Summit with South

Posted January 2, 2015 by Anonymous

Kim Jong-un Extends New Year’s Olive Branch, Offers to Hold Summit with South

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Books

Book Review: Big Little Lies By Liane Moriarty

Posted January 2, 2015 by Anonymous

I’m not much of a Hollywood Star gazer, but I have to say that I kind of love Jennifer Garner. My admiration of her has nothing to do with her acting ability (although I hear that she’s quite talented), and […]

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General

How To Make The Most Of A Luxurious Staycation

Posted January 1, 2015 by Sonya

For years we’ve struggled with the idea of travelling over the holiday season. We’ve had great experiences travelling to tropical paradises, ski getaways and everything in between during this time of year. It was always great to escape with the […]

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General

Scores of People Were Trampled to Death During Shanghai’s New Year’s Eve Celebration

Posted January 1, 2015 by Anonymous

Scores of People Were Trampled to Death During Shanghai’s New Year’s Eve Celebration

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General

UN Security Council Rejects Palestinian Resolution to End Israel’s Occupation

Posted December 31, 2014 by Anonymous

UN Security Council Rejects Palestinian Resolution to End Israel’s Occupation

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Books

Book Review: “Dear Daughter” By Elizabeth Little

Posted December 23, 2014 by Anonymous

Something weird used to happen to me every time I visited my parents. I should probably start off by saying that visiting them wasn’t easy: it took at least a full day of plane travel to get to their house […]

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General

North Korea Now Claims the US Government Made ‘The Interview’

Posted December 22, 2014 by Anonymous

North Korea Now Claims the US Government Made ‘The Interview’

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General

Two NYPD Officers Shot in Brooklyn ‘Ambush’ Attack

Posted December 22, 2014 by VICE Staff

Two NYPD Officers Shot in Brooklyn ‘Ambush’ Attack

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General

The Family of the CIA Operative Released in US-Cuba Prisoner Swap Has No Idea Where He Is

Posted December 20, 2014 by Anonymous

The Family of the CIA Operative Released in US-Cuba Prisoner Swap Has No Idea Where He Is

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CBC

Michael Harris REALLY Doesn’t Like Peter Mansbridge

Posted December 19, 2014 by Simon

As I said in my last post, I wasn’t impressed with the way Peter Mansbridge handled his year end interview with Stephen Harper.

I thought he stroked Great Crazy Leader with a feather, and failed to challenge his many lies, or ask the follow up questions that needed to be asked.

So the whole thing looked more like a cozy chat than an interview.

But I see that Michael Harris was even less impressed.
Read more »

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CBC

Stephen Harper’s Scary Year End Horror Show

Posted December 18, 2014 by Simon

I tried to put it off as long as I could, I was having too much of a good time to spoil it. 

Humming Christmas tunes, fixing one of my little robots, and playing with my neighbour’s puppy.

But eventually I figured I better check out Peter Mansbridge’s interview with Stephen Harper. And oh boy did that ruin my evening.

Because it was an absolute HORROR show.
Read more »

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Allan's Perspective

Get out of town!

Posted December 2, 2014 by Allan W Janssen

Now, over the past few days we have looked at an American Democrat with Republican leanings, and an American Republican who likes the Democrats. How about somebody who doesn’t like either? By Lance Freeman Americans, I have some bad news for you: You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by […]

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