From the moment he stepped off his jet in Cairo Tuesday night to find thousands of Egyptian fans shouting “God is great,” this was far more than a routine visit by a foreign leader.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, toured the newly liberated capitals of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya this week with the sort of popularity usually reserved for pop stars. He is polling as the most popular politician, by far, in virtually every country of the Middle East, and for the revolutionary generation who turned to the Middle East’s only Muslim democracy for inspiration, he is a conquering hero.
Not since the Kurdish sultan Saladin recaptured Egypt, Syria and Jerusalem from the Europeans in the 1100s, some commentators remarked as Mr. Erdogan filled TV screens across the region, has a non-Arab held such widespread popularity and uncontested influence in the Arab world.
The first time a cabinet minister confided that he found the media to be an essential go-to source to keep abreast of what was going on inside his government, l figured he was pulling my leg.
The year was 1989.
I’d been working as a parliamentary correspondent for only a few years.
Based on that limited experience, I very much imagined the flow of government information on Parliament Hill to be a one-way process — from those who were in the know because they were in power to those in the media whose job it was to pry knowledge out of politicians.
But when Lucien Bouchard’s office called Le Devoir’s bureau a few weeks later to get a better handle on how Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was spearheading the Meech Lake file, l realized the process probably bore little resemblance to my initial impressions.
Bouchard was Mulroney’s lead Quebec minister. The notion that he would not be fully in the constitutional loop was mind-boggling.
Dalton McGuinty is working the crowd like an old pro, but there is unexpected competition on the factory floor from another seasoned politician.
Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza darts in and out of the production line at the sprawling Bombardier plant — not to undermine McGuinty but underscore his support for him. Lewenza hails workers on the line and hauls the Liberal leader over to meet them.
The two old pols form an unlikely tag team: the mild-mannered McGuinty and the brash union veteran, alternately tugging at each other’s sleeves with almost giddy enthusiasm to sew up support for each other.
The CAW chief publicly credits McGuinty for bringing the plant back to life during his time as premier. Now his union is backing the Liberals in most ridings.
A New York state worker has accused government officials of violating the state constitution after they installed a GPS tracker on his private car and recorded its whereabouts for a month.
The state Department of Labor placed the device secretly on the worker’s car without a warrant and tracked the vehicle 24 hours a day, including on weekends and during a weeklong family vacation, in order to find evidence of time-sheet violations.
But Michael Cunningham, in a petition filed last year that was heard this week in court, said officials went too far in their surveillance of him and his family and violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Cunningham learned of the surveillance only a year after it was conducted when the state charged him with misconduct, citing evidence from the GPS tracking to show that he had claimed pay for hours he hadn’t worked. He was fired from his management job last year.
In late October 2008, just days before the U.S. presidential election, George Monbiot of London’s The Guardian, caught perhaps in a mood of deepening anxiety and dread over the impending outcome, leveled an indictment against the American government and at least half of the electorate in the form of a question: “How did politics in the U.S. come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance?” In a rather unkind primatological allusion, he invoked as evidence the eight-year reign of George W. Bush, the recent vogue of Sarah Palin—and before her, Dan Quayle, apparently to round out the VP wing of “gibbering numbskulls” past and present—as well as the “screaming ignoramuses” in attendance at Republican rallies who insisted that Barack Obama was both a Muslim and a terrorist. “Like most people on my side of the Atlantic,” he ventured, “I have for many years been mystified by American politics. The U.S. has the world’s best universities and attracts the world’s finest minds. It dominates in discoveries in science and medicine. Its wealth and power depend on the application of knowledge. Yet, uniquely among the developed nations . . . learning is a grave political disadvantage.”
Paul Wells on the fierce resistance to Andrew Leslie’s plan to shift resources from Ottawa to the front lines
Why was a Canadian military with 65,000 men and women on active duty and 25,000 reservists sorely tested by the task of keeping 1,500 soldiers in the field in Afghanistan? Why are Arctic sovereignty patrols a strain on the same military? The way Andrew Leslie sees it, it’s because the Canadian Forces’ tail has grown bigger than its teeth.
“We have the same number, or slightly more people, in Ottawa that we have in the Royal Canadian Navy—20,000,” Leslie was saying the other day. By “Ottawa,” he meant the personnel working in command and support functions at National Defence headquarters, not far from Parliament Hill.
So that’s about as many people riding desks as the Canadian Forces has riding boats. “And we have a lot of coastline,” said Leslie, who until the first week of September was a lieutenant-general in the Canadian Forces. “And we have really busy ships’ crews.”
Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk has spent more than $1 million since 2008 flying on government VIP aircraft as an expensive alternative to regular commercial flights — travelling to sporting events and fundraising dinners, as well as a trip to join his family on a cruise vacation in the Caribbean.
Passenger logs obtained by CTV News under the Access to Information Act show that in January 2010, Natynczyk used a CC-144 Challenger to fly to St. Maarten Island in the Caribbean to begin a vacation. He attended a repatriation ceremony a day earlier in Trenton, Ont., and missed his flight for a cruise holiday with his family.
The VIP aircraft flew Natynczyk to St. Maarten on January 4, the log showed. After dropping the defence chief off for his vacation, the jet left the island 75 minutes later — empty — to return to its base in Ottawa.
The Challenger cost $10,104 per flying hour to operate in 2009/2010, National Defence figures show. At 9.2 hours, the return trip between the St. Maarten Island and Canada cost $92,956.80.
When the Constitution’s framers wrote the Bill of Rights, they had a profound purpose for the first amendment’s prohibition on religion in government. Whether or not the framers knew that in the 21st Century the Religious Right would emerge as a real and present danger to America is unknown, but the threat is real and the government is complicit in aiding Dominionists in their takeover attempts. Republicans have assailed women since the start of the 112th Congress at the behest of religious groups, and in states and at the Federal level homophobes are pursuing legislation to deny gays equal rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Beyond supporting legislation to impose Christianity’s beliefs on the entire country, churches receive unconstitutional non-profit tax-exempt status and the clergy receive special tax cuts and privileges working Americans are forbidden from taking. For churches to keep their tax-exempt status they are forbidden from campaigning from the pulpit; however, a religious group is pushing the IRS to remove the prohibition on actively campaigning for legislation or candidates while still maintaining their non-profit status.
We’re all familiar with the idea of metallic life forms like sentient robots, but somewhere out there, metallic life may have actually evolved just like organic life has here on Earth. A Scottish research group is out to prove this is possible by creating reproducing and evolving synthetic cells made entirely out of metal.
There’s really no reason why metallic life forms can’t exist, it’s just that we haven’t met any and nobody’s sure how it would work. To prove that it’s at least physically possible, a team from the University of Glasgow has created some cell-like bubbles call iCHELLs out of metallic elements like tungsten bonded with oxygen and phosphorus. These bubbles can self-assemble, and they exhibit many of the same properties that allow biological cells to do what they do, including an internal structure and a selectively porous outer membrane that can let other molecules pass through. It may even be possible to set the metallic cells up to perform photosynthesis.