Americas

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 19:00 Yves Engler Editorial Dept - Americas
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In June, Israel began barring some North Americans with Palestinian-sounding names entry through Ben Gurion Airport. Forced to reroute through a land-border crossing that connects the West Bank with Jordan, their passports were stamped "Palestinian Authority only," which prevents them from entering Israel proper.

The Obama Administration objected to the move by Israel that discriminates against American citizens of Palestinian origin. However, there has been no protest from Ottawa even though Time magazine and the Israeli daily Haaretz ran lengthy articles focusing on Palestinian Canadian businessmen harmed by this new policy.

A few weeks ago the Globe and Mail reported that "Although some of the most high-profile cases of individuals being turned away involve Canadian citizens, the Harper government has, so far, made no protest."


This silence bolsters claims by some commentators that under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government, Canada has become (at least diplomatically) the most pro-Israel country in the world. Israeli officials concur. After meeting Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, four other Conservative ministers and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff in July 2009, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has openly called for the expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel, commented:
 

 
Sunday, 25 October 2009 19:00 Ron Marr Editorial Dept - Americas
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Is it just me, or is Nancy Pelosi starting to look more and more like Marty Feldman? Every time I hear that grating voice it seems as if she has ventured further into the world of cartoon and satire, as if someone hooked Smurfette up to a thorazine drip.

Those leviathan eyes grow in size with each passing hour, bugging out two feet in front of her body, like somebody dropped a toaster in the water while Nancy’s thyroid was taking a bath.

I could handle the appearance of this most odious of politicians with tact and grace, if such were the only thing wrong with her. We all have our physical imperfections, and far be it from me to judge another upon their looks, or lack thereof. Lord knows, coming from the Ozarks I know plenty of people whose family trees don’t fork.

I hardly bat an eye at webbed fingers, antennae, a few missing teeth, a few extra chromosomes, or hooks. On more than one occasion I’ve even had people suggest that, in reality, I might be my own grandpa. That’s just part of life.

 

 
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 19:00 Ron Marr Editorial Dept - Americas
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I'm all for doctors. To me, there is no more valuable service on this earth than the professional care administered by a qualified practitioner of the medicinal arts. I don't particularly enjoy going to the doctor (they always lecture me about smoking) however I can't think of too many things more comforting than the knowledge that an experienced doc is close at hand should I get a treble hook in my eye, shoot myself in the thigh, or get my foot stuck in mouth.

Being from the Missouri Ozarks, I grew up with a lot of "untraditional" home medical practices. We always figured that there was no need to waste the doc's time if you could fix it yourself - kinda' the same theory as changing your own oil on the family Chevy.

It’s not that tough a job and the pros have more important stuff on their minds.


Nothing is worse than a hypochondriac (unless it's a sick hypochondriac) and so, like I said, we often doctored ourselves. Bee stings were treated with a baking soda poultice. If you had a sore throat, you got a long Q-Tip and swabbed your throat with merthiolate. Chigger bites? Dry them up with toothpaste (preferably Crest). If you cut yourself, you doused the gash in hydrogen peroxide and connected the escaping folds of skin with duct tape. If you got strains or sprains or bone aches, you just sprayed some WD-40 on the afflicted area.
 

 
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 19:00 Frank Fourchalk Editorial Dept - Americas
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The dictionary describes a "predator" as one who victimizes, plunders, or destroys. "Predators" are an unfortunate part of today's society. Driven by a multitude of motives, these dangerous individuals leave a long trail of grief for their victims and their families.

These creeps often take the form of thieves, burglars, vandals and muggers. But there's a different type of predator creating havoc among the young these days. What's disturbing is the young victims often know who's behind these deplorable acts.

That's because the predator generally attends the same school as the victim. I'm talking about classmates who've acquired a cruel streak and like to exercise it by inflicting emotion pain on fellow students.These sick individuals rely on computers and cell phones to execute their cowardly actions.

With "internet interaction" at an all time high, a student's repertoire of communication tools could include e-mails, text messaging, instant messaging, chat rooms or even photos from cell phones. These are the tools modern day bullies use to prey on their victims. This crime is known as "cyber-bullying".

 

 
Sunday, 26 April 2009 19:00 Jim Camp Editorial Dept - Americas
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Amidst all the discussion about the use of torture since 9/11, it is rarely mentioned that the United States specifically forbids it. One can find the law pertaining to torture in the U.S. Code, Chapter 113, sections 2340 that defines it and 2340A that levies fines and terms of imprisonment.

Not torturing those who are taken prisoner, even in the course of war, is not only illegal, but speaks to the moral code that Americans internalize as they go to school, play sports, and for some like myself served our nation’s military. As a pilot I flew with the 531st TFS “ Call Sign Ramrod” during the Vietnam War and had the good fortune to never have to eject. Unfortunately, hundreds of others where not so fortunate.


John McCain was one who ejected from his A-4 over Hanoi. Sen. McCain opposes the use of torture and that may strike some as odd, given the fact that he endured it at the hands of his captors, but they were Vietnamese and dedicated to imposing communism on our ally in the south. One of my good friends I had the honor to fly with after Vietnam was Joseph Crecca, Jr. He was with McCain as a “guest” at the Hanoi Hilton. Joe would spend 2,280 days there.

The Air Force instructs its pilots in surviving as a POW in a program called Survival School at Fairchild AFB, Washington. You’re taught various ways to negotiate to keep yourself alive. One is to give information that is misleading and of no value. You are taught to set a strong mission and purpose as an American fighting man to keep your decisions sharp and your emotions in check.

 

 
Friday, 27 February 2009 19:00 Sukey Wolf Editorial Dept - Americas
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In the opening scenes of the movie Milk, starring Sean Penn, old black and white newsreels from the 1950s silently depict police raiding gay bars, herding men into paddy wagons.

The images of police persecution hit you in the gut. The reaction is similar to the shock and outrage aroused when viewing images of Black civil rights demonstrators being attacked by cops and dogs — and this invited link between the civil rights movement and gay liberation is not accidental. It is just one of the insights contained in this thoughtful, realistic portrayal of the life and times of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to prominent U.S. office.


Déjà vu.

With a couple of exceptions and thanks to Milk's own oral history, recorded just months before his assassination, the film is historically accurate. It covers the period from Milk's arrival in San Francisco in the mid-1970s to his election as a city supervisor and his death in office in 1978. Milk's murder is announced at the movie's outset, and the plot follows his collision course with the wrapped-too-tight Dan White, a fellow supervisor.

The backdrop for the drama is the era's gay movement.

 

 

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