Friday, November 30, 2012

Everybody else is out of step

An old joke goes like this. A proud mother is watching her soldier son marching past in the company of his fellow soldiers. She notices that he advancing - left-right-left-right - while his fellow soldiers are going forward right-left-right left.

She nudges the lady next to her and says, "Just look at that! Everybody is out of step except my Johnny!"

From Olivia Ward, foreign affairs reporter for the Toronto Star.

Palestinians win historic vote over Canada's objections 
On the podium of the packed, cavernous General Assembly before the vote, Baird said that Canada opposed a resolution to upgrade the Palestinians’ status “in the strongest terms,” insisting it “undermines the core foundations of a decades-long commitment by the international community and the parties themselves to a two-state solution, arrived at through direct negotiations.”
...[A]nd in a scolding apparently intended for the UN assembly, [John] Baird said that “as a result of this body’s utterly regrettable decision to abandon policy and principle, we will be considering all available next steps” — a hint that Ottawa could further reduce or halt its funding for Palestinian projects, or sever diplomatic relations.
...[O]ttawa’s vote drew mixed reviews in Canada. Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith, congratulated Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement, saying he had “once again . . . shown his government’s readiness to exercise leadership on the international stage. He has taken a principled stand and has refused to allow Arab reactionary actions and mass intimidation to move the Canadian government from its resolve.”
But Thomas Woodley, who heads Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, said the group “vehemently disagrees with the Harper government’s stance,” adding that UN backing for the Palestinians “was not a vote against Israel, nor a vote in opposition to negotiations” but in favour of an “independent, viable Palestinian state.”
And so, most of the world must be out of step except for the Harper government's "Johnny".

Humiliating and terrifying.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Jeff Huber - R.I.P.

When I read that Stanley McChrystal, former queso grande in the Afghanistan debacle, had decided that the key to solving the problems in the U.S. military was to reinstate the draft, I decided to go and look to see if Jeff Huber had anything to say about it.

Jeff Huber was a retired Commander from the U.S. Navy and spent his post-military time skewering incompetent military brass, worrying about the state of the military and his country and writing, with considerable wit and wisdom, about the current affairs in both spheres.

His blog, Pen and Sword, apart from the serious stuff, also made reference to his beloved but mischievous dogs. He had a health problem last year during which he disappeared from the blogosphere for a few months but reappeared, saying that the "reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated", or words to that effect, a la Mark Twain.

His last blog post was January 8th, 2012. According to fellow writer Kelley Vlahos, in her article for, Remembering Jeff Huber, he died from natural causes in his Virginia Beach home on January 25, a few weeks after finishing the first draft of his second book. He was 57 years old.

After all his years in the service of his country and all the years after that worrying about the direction it was taking, he doesn't have to worry any more.

And that's about the only good thing I can say about this.

Bye, Jeff.

"Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust..." 

-William Shakespeare