Sign of the Day

by Joey deVilla on October 23, 2014

i scream you scream

Found on Imgur. Click to see the original.

I would gladly patronize an establishment with such a sense of humor.

{ 0 comments }

kevin vickers with mace 4

Are you having trouble deciding what to dress up as this Halloween? I have a suggestion: Canada’s Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers.

Until yesterday, this was the photo most associated with Kevin Vickers, decorated former member of the RCMP and Sergeant-at-Arms of the Canadian House of Commons:

kevin vickers escorts brigette depape

It’s of him escorting Canadian Senate page Brigette DePape off the floor after she abused the privilege of her position a held up a protest sign during the 2011 speech from the throne, which is part of the opening of every new session of Parliament. As Sergeant-at-Arms, it’s his job to maintain order, eject any disruptive or rowdy people, and maintain security. The position goes back to the times of King Richard I, when the position was more akin to being a royal bodyguard.

After yesterday’s event, it’s this photo that will be most associated with him:

kevin vickers with gun

This photo was taken shortly after Vickers shot the assailant identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who entered Centre Block (the big building on Parliament Hill) in the Hall of Honour with a rifle after shooting Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was standing guard at the National War Memorial. According to reports, he went to his office to retrieve a gun and shot Zehaf-Bibeau before he could get farther into the building.

kevin vickers with mace

Sergeant-at-Arm Kevin Vickers and the mace.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

Here’s an excerpt from The Globe and Mail:

Each day, for the opening and the closing of the House of Commons, Kevin Vickers travels the centre aisle, wearing the outdated black robes of the sergeant-at-arms, carrying the parliamentary mace upon his shoulder and the ceremonial sword swinging at his side – a throwback to tradition few Canadians ever see.

But Wednesday, with the whole country watching, the 58-year-old RCMP veteran became a modern-day hero. According to reports, he grabbed a gun from his office, and shot a gunman who had stormed into Centre Block. On Twitter, cabinet ministers and MPs were crediting Mr. Vickers, 58, with “saving their lives.”

kevin vickers with mace 3

“His role may look ceremonial, even something like an anachronism,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who has known Mr. Vickers for years. “[But] he is always on the lookout. He thinks about security with a 360-degree antenna. If there is anyone you want with you when there is trouble around, it would be Kevin Vickers.”

That’s his job – to safeguard the House, and oversee security on Parliament. During Question Period, he sits by the main doors, monitoring the public galleries in the balconies above with television screens on his desk. His office is just about six metres down the hall from the Parliamentary Library, near where the gunman was said to have been killed yesterday.

kevin vickers with mace 2

Mr. Vickers’ heroic actions saved lives yesterday, and it would be a nice tribute to him and to his underappreciated position if his official Sergeant-at-Arms uniform became the number one Halloween costume in Canada this year. Hence the photos strewn throughout this article — they’re there to help you fashion one.

kevin vickers with chain

Recommended Reading

{ 0 comments }

Here’s their graphic for the situation in Ottawa:

TERROR IN CANADA

Click the schlocky graphic to go to CityNews’ live site.

But can you blame them? Ever since the film Panic Room’s title sequence, floating metal letters over cityscapes have become a graphic signifier for “Bad shit’s goin’ down, yo!”

Thanks to Mike Freeman for the find!

{ 0 comments }

its going to be okay canada - just tell us who to liberate

In fact, they’re such good neighbors that I came for a permanent sleepover!

Thanks to David Janes for the find!

{ 0 comments }

tomb of the unknown soldier

The National War Memorial in Ottawa. Photo by Yours Truly, May 2011.

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that a man with a rifle shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. He then seized a car and then drove to the doors of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block — for US readers, this is the equivalent of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC — where he entered. People inside reported hearing several shots inside the building, and it’s reported that the sergeant-at-arms shot and killed a gunman.

centre block

Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Photo by Yours Truly, May 2011.

The story is being covered by a number of outlets, and Scott Bixby noted the difference between US cable news and Canadian public news on Twitter. Here’s the comparison he posted:

cnn vs cbc on ottawa shootings

Screenshots from CNN’s and CBC’s front pages. Click to see at full size.

It should be noted that in these current times, with tensions already running high with stories about ISIS and ebola, and with situations like this where reports come in at great speed with little chance to verify or review, it’s all too easy and tempting to treat speculation and rumor as fact. With the power to publish on our desktops and in our pockets, it’s also all too easy to fan flames that we don’t need. This is a fluid situation, and what we know as the facts are likely to change as information trickles in. Keep the following points in mind as you watch the news over the next few hours:

breaking news handbook

This is On The Media’s Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook. Click the image to see the source.

The Breaking News Handbook

  1. In the immediate aftermath, news outlets will get it wrong.
  2. Don’t trust anonymous sources.
  3. Don’t trust stories that cite another news outlet as the source of the information.
  4. There’s almost never a second shooter. (In this particular case, there might be, but remember point 1. — Joey)
  5. Pay attention to the language the media uses:
    • “We are getting reports…” could mean anything.
    • “We are seeking confirmation…” means they don’t have it.
    • [News outlet] has learned…” means it has a scoop or is going out on a limb.
  6. Look for news outlets close to the incident.
  7. Compare multiple sources.
  8. Big news brings out the fakers. And photoshoppers.
  9. Beware reflexive tweeting. Some of this is on you.

{ 0 comments }

…after all, you never know who’ll be dropping by:

holy shit full size snickers

Found via Jim Benton’s Facebook page. Click to see the source.

{ 0 comments }

Update, October 20, 2014 at 3:07 p.m.: A couple of commenters have pointed me to the text of the deleted Post article, along with the Facebook promo they forgot to delete. It’s at the end of this post.

national post suggests rob ford was set up

Click the image to see this page on the Wayback Machine.

While cleaning out my bookmarks, I stumbled across a link to a National Post article titled Is the alleged Rob Ford crack video evidence of a set up? It’s from May 23, 2013, back when Gawker had broken the story and it was revealed that the Toronto Star had been conducting a long investigation into the same issue. well before Toronto’s Peter Griffin-esque mayor fessed up on TV. The teaser for the article still appears on the Wayback Machine’s archive of the National Post’s front page for that date, but when you try to read the article in question, you get this:

national post 404

Click the image to see the actual web page.

The article was written by staunch Ford supporter and Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran, who remained a true believer even after all hell broke loose in November. Written in question form, the headline allows the Post and Corcoran to back their boy and seed some doubt while giving them the cover of saying “Hey, we’re just asking a question!

The story’s since been yanked, probably in the hopes that you don’t remember it was ever written. However, there are some “We love Rob Ford!” pieces that the Post can’t remove without bringing unwanted attention, including this classic:

national post endorses rob ford

Click the image to read the original article.

Update 1: The text of the deleted article

A couple of readers have pointed out to me that thanks to a “splog” — that’s a spam blog, which automatically swipes other blogs’ content and republishes it in order to get advertising bucks — the Post’s article lives on, although without permission or attribution. The splog in question is AR24News, and I’ve posted a screenshot of the article below:

ar24 news

Click the image to read the article on its source page.

Here’s the text of the article, which I’m preserving for the historical record:

Is The Alleged Rob Ford Crack Video Evidence Of A Set Up?

The swarming of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is entirely understandable; the mayor, caught on video allegedly smoking crack, has a lot to clear up. But there are as many unanswered questions on the other side of this bizarre international confluence of drug dealers, politics, comedy shows, news media and blogging low-lifes such as gawker.com. Questions about the video, the role of newspapers, organized crime, crowdsourcing social media, and the implausibility of a shock-blog like gawker raising $200,000 in ransom money that will have to be run through a money laundering operation to reach the drug dealers.

The ethics of it all are murky enough. Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon called it “a lynching” and former Toronto Star editor and journalism chair John Miller pretty much accused his former employer of breach of ethical and journalistic conduct. But media ethics are the least of the problems looming over this phantasmagoria of improbable events.

Some of the questions are kind of obvious. Here are a few, in no significant order:

Who are these men?

Let’s start with the still photo that we’ve all seen of Mr. Ford in grey sweater allegedly taken—according to gawker—“while Ford was going to the [Toronto] neighbourhood to purchase and smoke crack cocaine.” Far too little has been made of the fact one of the men in the picture is Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old who was murdered outside a Toronto night club last March. Who killed Mr. Smith? Might the other two gentlemen in the photo, their faces judiciously blurred as if protecting the innocent children of a family crime, have any link to or knowledge of the murder? Or what about the third person involved here, the taker of the picture?

Who is the “organizer in the Somali community” that the Toronto Star reporters say orchestrated their meeting with the drug dealer who says he took the video?

The Toronto Star reporters said last Saturday they continued to have contact with the Somali community organizer. They must know his name. They sat in his car (did they get the plate number?) while he drove them to the meeting with the drug dealer outside a high-rise complex where drugs are trafficked near Dixon Rd. and Kipling Ave.

The dealer is said to be the cinematographer who shot the video of the mayor smoking crack. This man should now be traceable through the Star’s community organizer contact. Are the Star’s reporters co-operating with police to track down a known criminal? Shouldn’t they be?
Related

Is this whole exercise in media extortion possibly a crime in itself?

There are indications this is a set-up from the get-go. The video is said to show Mr. Ford sitting alone in a white shirt, smoking a crack pipe. Both the Star and gawker versions are stunning similar, almost as if one had copied parts of the other’s reports. An off-camera voice is said to be “goading” the mayor into unseemly political banter. Who’s in the background, baiting Mr. Ford to say outrageous things about Justin and/or Pierre Trudeau?

Anyways, if it is a set up, who set it up? Who directed the cinematographer-drug dealer, who by description in the Star is a nervous street guy rather than a drug boss? Someone with media savvy, it seems, although not savvy enough to know that Canadian media do not pay big bucks, British style, for incriminating videos of celebrities and politicians. Still, it looks very much like a form of extortion and/or blackmail, the video held for ransom to the highest bidder, with the media acting as go-between.Where’s the video now?

I would speculate that the odds are high that it will cease to exist, if it has not already been destroyed. The owners/dealers obviously wanted a secret cash payment that would allow them to disappear while the video was released by the media. With the gawker leak (possibly much to the shock of the drug dealers), the video is now a hot property, possibly too hot to trade without getting caught up in a legal and possibly criminal process.

A major risk comes in getting the cash. Most unreal here is the gawker.com’s so-called crowdsourcing of $200,000. It’s a great publicity stunt, but how would the money ever be assembled and then transferred to a criminal organization such as the Somali drug dealers? Moving that kind of cash from an identifiable source (gawker or anyone else) to a crime group would be impossible without triggering a money-laundering trail. An above board transfer would require HST tracking, among other things, and would be open to banking and police pursuit.

The video peddlers may find this too much heat to bear. The original plan has backfired. Gawker also claimed that the dealer said he supplies “a lot of prominent people in Toronto [who] purchase and enjoy crack and powder cocaine.” If I were this dealer, I would leave town fast. Let’s get out of here, kill the video, and move on before the police and others move in on us.

That’s where I think this story is going next. Rob Ford may be doomed as a result of the video. But so should the media and drug dealers who perpetrated the events of the last week.

Update 2: The Facebook post the Post forgot to delete

national post facebook promo

Click the image to read the Facebook post.

That’s right, in their efforts to put this piece into the Memory Hole, the history editors at the Post forgot remove the Facebook post promoting the article. A reader found it for me, and I’m sharing it with you.

{ 3 comments }