Friday, September 30, 2011

John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister -- You're fired

From The Globe & Mail:
The Conservative Foreign Affairs Minister demanded – and got – gold embossing on his business cards shortly after being shuffled into the portfolio last May, contrary to government rules.

Mr. Baird then ordered the word “Canada” dropped from the standard design, also against federal policy.

And he insisted that “Lester B. Pearson Building” be removed from the standard street address for Foreign Affairs’ headquarters in Ottawa, thereby erasing the name of a former Liberal prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
. . .

Dear John,

Question for you: If you don't represent Canada, who do you represent as Foreign Affairs Minister?

What would prompt me to ask such a question? Look at your business card. There's no mention of "Canada" on it, as there has always been before on Foreign Affairs ministers' business cards.

What is your rationale for asking that "Canada" be dropped from your business card? Some strange, indirect surge of asymmetrical patriotism? Trying to blaze your own trail in business card design?

The Globe & Mail points out that you demanded -- and got -- gold embossed business cards, as well. No doubt, to demonstrate that you're a modest guy.

And I see you're breaking new ground, scoring partisan points with your government issued business card, by having "Lester B. Pearson Building" stricken from it, too.

I think Fox News has a place for you on its team.

Question: Do you accept money from the country of Canada, say, in the form of a salary and perks for the position of "Foreign Affairs minister"?

Hate to tell you, but that money comes from the citizens of the country you won't list on your business card.

Or, maybe I have it all wrong, and you're not accepting money from Canadian tax payers, you know, as a matter of principle. Because it would be enormously -- cosmically -- hypocritical to remove Canada from your government issued business cards and still accept a salary from Canadians. You're an educated person. You see this, right?

It's interesting to me how counter-intuitive, how utterly contrary and disconnected the Conservative Party of Canada is.

Here we have a country that, year after year, rates in the Top 5 Most Livable Countries in the World, is voted as having the best national "brand" in the world; American tourists in droves go overseas with Canadian flag pins on their chests, hats and backpacks because Canada and Canadians are beloved everywhere.

And yet, you remove the name of that beloved country -- my country, by the way -- from your business cards.

I hate to do this by email, John -- you're fired.

Clearly you don't understand your job, your position and the decisions you're making are ridiculous and counter productive.

Even if you are not accepting money from Canadian tax payers on principle, you're fired.

This is about more than money and business cards. It's about a country that is respected around the globe, a country filled with quirky, polite-to-a-fault patriotic folks who wouldn't hesitate to have the word "Canada" appear on their business cards. You've offended these people.

Surely you understand that you're a bad fit.

So, please clean out your desk and please be civil and orderly as security escorts you to the perimeter of the property.

Just to show there are no hard feelings, go ahead and take your beloved business cards, with your gold-embossed name and no mention of the country you were supposed to serve.

Take the business cards -- we have to print up a proper batch, anyhow.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Recession Grinds On . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Flashback: Interview with Steve Shell from the 2009 Conspiracy Con

Radio personality Steve Shell has not been heard from since walking away from his top-rated show in February. A fire in May destroyed the archive of his show, I Don't Believe You, and a series of server outages -- including here at Inside the Hotdog Factory -- have wiped out many of the articles that first brought Shell to fame in conspiracy circles.

The good guys at Through the Keyhole won one today when they managed to retrieve this 2009 interview with Steve Shell.

TTKH is still offline, so they passed a portion of the interview to us here, and the full interview can be found on the Limited Hangout website.

* * *

(Originally appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Through the Keyhole)

Through the Keyhole: Steve, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I'd like to jump right in and ask you about the controversy surrounding a comment you recently made, comparing the annual 9/11 commemorations to the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

Steve Shell: (groans).

TTKH: Is this something you honesty believe or was it just a moment of -- ?

SS: It wasn't one of my more thoughtful statements, that's for sure. It came from a frustration with the failure of the 9/11 Commission Report, which even the 9/11 Commissioners admit was inadequate. Rather than a proper investigation, we get sanctimonious politicians making speeches at memorial ceremonies. We get all the pseudo-patriot flag wavers who believe love of country is best expressed by not holding our leaders accountable for their actions. And the same way the Jerry Lewis Telethon is an annual event to make everybody feel guilty on Labor Day and to get Lewis' craven mug on our TV screens, the 9/11 commemorations revel in the fear, misery and bureaucratic gluttony that's robbed us of our freedoms, but hasn't made us one bit safer.

TTKH: That's not exactly a retraction.

SS: (laughs). No, I guess it's not.

TTKH: Before those statements about 9/11, though, you were no stranger to controversy. I'm thinking of your efforts to revive interest in the Gary Webb book Dark Alliance, about CIA drug smuggling into the US, particularly under the supervision of Oliver North during the late 1980s.

SS: No one's ever refuted Gary Webb's assertions --

TTKH: Oliver North has.

SS: OK, that's true, but what's his alternative? North's a proven liar . . . he's admitted under oath that he would do anything legal or illegal to protect his superiors.

TTKH: But Gary Webb's suicide didn't cause you to rethink the veracity of his book?

SS: Not at all. Gary was run right into the ground. His newspaper at the time -- the San Joses Mercury -- backed him at first, posting all his supporting evidence on their website. But pretty soon, Webb's editors caved to outside pressure and hung him out to dry. Web should've won a Pulitzer Prize for his book. Instead, he became unemployed and unemployable. Nobody would touch him. But no one refuted his accusations. They destroyed the man, but nobody has proven him wrong.

TTKH: Mythical, omnipresent "They"?

SS: I'm sure the people who fired Gary have names, as did the people who directed them to fire Gary had names. You're a reporter, you could look up those names.

TTKH: But you're not among the people who believe Webb was murdered, even though he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head twice.

SS: I'm not so sure about that.

Read the rest of the interview at Limited Hangout.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bono Shades for Africa

Since there's no hope of getting rid of the warlords who intercept nearly all international aid to Africa;

And since there is no hope that western nations might one day stop meddling in African affairs in order to rob the continent of its natural resources;

And since nearly all monies donated to African relief efforts have been the very definition of "throwing good money after bad";

Inside the Hotdog Factory has decided to jump into the game and get into the philanthropy business (and a good business it is!), not only raising money for Africa, but finally seeking to outfit the continent with what it truly needs: Bono shades.

Sure, food, shelter, clean water, mosquito nets, schools, infrastructure, stability, and a little rain are all things Africa needs, but nobody can provide them.

"Bono Shades for Africa" is an initiative with tangible, realistic, achievable goals -- that every man, woman and child in Africa have a pair of Bono shades by the year 2022.

It won't make the people of Africa less hungry, less susceptible to disease, make them safer, happier or one nickel richer. But neither has any other initiative in Africa.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is a missing radio show host being digitally disappeared?

"Beware what you post online," goes current conventional wisdom, "because it'll be on the Internet forever."

Old convictions, embarrassing photographs, blog posts and social networking pages -- we hear stories everyday of people being haunted by their digital pasts; losing jobs, relationships and respect because of what they have posted online.

Which makes it all the more curious why a Google search of once-renowned radio personality Steve Shell yields no results.

Gone are Shell's Facebook page, his radio show's Web site, his LinkedIn, Twitter and Flickr accounts.

It's one thing for a person to decide he's done sharing his life online and closing his accounts, but no private citizen has the power to wipe out the cached versions of his online life.

Which begs the questions: Who is digitally disappearing Steve Shell. MORE.