entertainment Politics

Jeff Milner Movie Review: Syriana

This afternoon I went out with my friend Steve and his wife Monique to see the movie Syriana. What an amazing show. So often with political thrillers they dumb the story down to nothing more than a glorified spy novel. Syriana embraces the complexity of the corporate and political world and brings it to the screen like no other movie I’ve ever seen. It’s about the USA’s over-reliance on foreign oil, and the morally corrupt situation in which the country has found itself.

Having said that, I should also say that I don’t know a lot of people that I could really give as high of a recommendation for this movie as it deserves. The characters spread out over several seemingly unconnected narrative threads in addition to numerous countries and ideologies. It can get pretty complicated pretty fast if you’re not up-to-date on the depth and scope of the topic. Frankly I’m guessing a lot of people may feel like a hopelessly lost student unable to follow the lecture of a seasoned professor who understands his topic so well, he has a hard time teaching it to beginners.

Which is exactly why I loved this movie. If you watch the Syriana movie trailer and decide you want to see it, I think it will probably surprise you; it’s not typical Hollywood fluff. My friends thought it was “okay” but I think they were both a little disappointed in it.

Roger Ebert gives a great perspective on Syriana.

humor Politics

Alberta’s Debt is Paid Off

Ralph Klein was pleased to announce yesterday that the provincial debt in Alberta has finally been paid off. When questioned about where he got the money Klein apparently responded, “I finally got around to returning my empties.”

entertainment Politics

The Film that Disney Blocked

Lion’s Gate is going to distribute Michael Moore’s controversial new film “Fahrenheit 9/11”.

The distributors plan to start showing the movie in U.S. theatres on June 25, with pay television rights to be handled by Showtime, a partner of Lion’s Gate, AFP said.

The film, which won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’Or last month, criticizes President George W. Bush’s response to terrorism and also highlights ties between the Bush family and Saudi oil families.

Update: Fahrenheit 9/11’s trailer is now online. Also check out reviews from IMDB. Apparently you don’t need to actually have seen the movie to say whether or not you liked it.


Vanunu out of Prison But Definitely Not Free

Mordechai Vanunu was released from prison earlier today, but will have to live under some very restraining rules. The leader of the Israeli Opposition Party and founder of Israel’s nuclear weapons program Shimon Peres says the heavy restrictions imposed upon Vanunu are justified.

As I mentioned in an earlier post Mordechai Vanunu betrayed his country, Israel, by telling the world about its atomic weapons program. Vanunu is not allowed to speak with the media, he is not allowed to release any information about Israel’s weapon’s programs including information that has already been leaked. He must give 24 hours notice if he wishes to sleep at a different address and he is not allowed to communicate in Internet chatrooms unless specific permission is given. He is not allowed to speak to “foreigners”, he has no Israeli passport and Israel’s intention is to keep him within their borders preventing him from speaking to anyone about their secrets. Other restrictions will be applied if the government feels he is not cooperating.

Israeli Traitor Mordechai Vanunu after being released from 18 years of prisonAfter 18 years of prison, nearly 12 of which were in solitary confinement, I hope he’s learned that the government means business. It’s in his own best interest to go along with the rules that have been setup for him, and just try to start living his life. Given the picture of him here, flashing victory signs, I think he has other plans in mind.

Supporters of Vanunu have put up a special website on his behalf. Meanwhile news organizations like The Moscow Times, Jerusalem Post, and many more are running stories about his release and speculating on what he might do next.


My Opinions on the Candidates for The University of Lethbridge’s 2004/2005 Students’ Union Elections

Today and tomorrow are the Student Union Elections. I had no idea who to vote for, so I’ve been reading up on the candidates trying to make an informed decision. Tyler Tanner, Jon Morrison, Scott McIntyre, Loralee Edwards, and Paul Daniels are running for President; Matthew Sletto, Jason Rumer, and Gorm Hansen for VP Academic. Kelly Andres and Greg Imeson are running for VP Administration while Clay Campbell, Michael Smith, and Patricia Butt are running for VP Internal Affairs. My review of their profiles (as found in the student run newspaper The Meliorist.)

Running for President:
Tyler Tanner—From Taber, Alberta. One of the infamous Tanner crew, specifically of the “Mother Tanner’s Sweet Taber Corn” line. Personally I would have left that detail out. He says some good things about the University and then toots his horn about what a great guy he is, but says little about why he would make a good president.

Jon Morrison—Management student. His reason for running is a personal interest in student issues. He fails to cite which issues he’s interested in. He has little or no experience in politics. Also he didn’t proof read his profile before submitting it, “I have developed a interest in student issues”¦” Do I really want someone so grammatically inept as my SU president?

Scott McIntyre—Unfortunately Scott has dropped out of the race. PoliSci student and likely would have been my first pick. Rumor has it he is not running for personal reasons.

Paul Daniels—The incumbent. His platform was based on what he has done and what he is going to do. So far so good, but his main points were that he has started to make the Zoo (the campus pub) a more welcoming environment, reviving Thursday night action there as well making the place non-smoking. He also added that ratified clubs need better funding and benefits. So if he’s elected I suppose I should assume that more of my SU fees will be going to University Clubs. Maybe I would care if I was in one.

Loralee Edwards—A senior student, and given the choices probably the best choice, but I still haven’t decided for sure.

Running for Vice President Academic:
Matthew Sletto—No bio submitted. I guess I know who I won’t be voting for.

Jason Rumer—Jason has a lot of experience in the SU and other political organizations. His bio focused on past experience rather than plans for the future but his list of past experience was impressive.

Gorm Hansen—Gorm also has had a lot of previous experience. His bio was unfortunately quite short. He does, however, have something going for him (at least as far as my vote goes) in that someone I recently met from the SU, whom is graduating, said that if he were to pick, either Jason or Gorm would be good choices but that personally he would vote for Gorm.

Running for Vice President Administration:
Kelly Andres—Long bio and considering the opposition, she’s my pick.

Greg Imeson—Why the hell would you run in a student union election and not submit a bio to the University’s student newspaper? I guess we could ask Greg that question.

Running for Vice President Internal Affairs:

Clay Campbell—Currently Clay is the Vice President of University Hall, for the Organization of Residence Students. He is also the founder and two-year president of GALSO (more commonly known as GALIA). He goes on to say that University Clubs are very important [yadda yadda] and that if elected he will divert more funds to clubs. Seeing as he’s the president of one of the clubs I’d have to say his bias on this topic shows through pretty clearly.

Michael Smith—I don’t want to seem judgmental here, but when he listed one of his hobbies as pilates, I had to wonder exactly what type of guy mentions his hobby of a specific kind of exercise when campaigning in Student Union elections. I guess we could ask Mike that. Anyway he’s currently the Vice President of GALIA and a treasurer of the board of directors at CKUL (the University’s radio station). His platform revolves around his desire to encourage diversity. Hmmm.

Patricia Butt—Ok, my last hope Patricia Butt (also known as Tricia). I was actually put off of the idea of voting for Patricia due to the over usage of bad puns in her political advertisements around the school. Puns aside, reading her bio seemed like what I imagine the cover letter of an application to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader would be like. Don’t get me wrong it was actually a pretty well written piece, but it didn’t seem to fit with someone concerned about Internal Affairs. I couldn’t help but think that if she were handwriting this, she would have dotted her lower case “i’s” and “j’s” with little smiley faces. She sounds pretty sporty and had a nice picture to boot, but her platform revolved around what a fun person she is and her love of all things sporty and cute. In the end though, I’ll probably end up voting for her.

The other positions didn’t have enough interest so all running for those positions will be awarded victory by acclamation.


The Man Who Knew (and then told) Too Much

Mordechai Vanunu is a political prisoner in Israel. He went to prison in 1986 for revealing to the world the existence and extent of Israel’s nuclear program. After spending almost two decades in high security lockup, Vanunu is slated to be released next month. He is already talking about the details of his alleged abduction by Mossad while in Europe — and Israeli authorities are not pleased.

I must admit I really have mixed feelings about this. The thing is, a lot of things have changed since 1986 — it doesn’t seem like knowledge of Israel’s Weapons of Mass Destruction are anything to worry about these days. But at the same time Vanunu breached their national security when he “spilled the beans” about the atomic weapons, and it sounds like he is a continual thorn in the governments side. Hard to prove that the Israeli government is fully justified though. He does paint them in a pretty bleak picture, even if he has a lot of reasons to vilify them.

crime Politics

They’re Calling It, "The Mother of All Canadian Political Scandals"

Yesterday’s Auditor Generals report revealed a situation in Ottawa so serious and shocking as to be without precedence in our country’s history. All other previous scandals (yes, we’ve had lots of them) pale by comparison.

“This is just such a blatant misuse of public funds. It is shocking… Words escape me,” Auditor General Sheila Fraser told a news conference Tuesday.

“This wasn’t just a matter of missing documentation or bending the rules. These methods were apparently designed to pay commissions to communications agencies while hiding the source of the funds.”

law Politics

Another Stupid Anti-Terrorism Law

Brazillians are now finger printed, photographed, and are required to have travel visas to enter the United States. In a move to try and show the US how obtuse they have become Brazil is reciprocating.


A Poem By [George W. Bush]

In October of last year first lady of the United States of America, Laura Bush, related at a national book Festival Gala that her husband “Miserable Failure” George W. had written her the following poem.

Dear Laura,

Roses are red,
violets are blue
oh my lump in the bed,
how I’ve missed you.

Roses are redder,
bluer am I
seeing you kissed
by that charming French guy.

The dogs and the cat
they miss you too,
Barney’s still mad you dropped him,
he ate your shoe.

The distance my dear
has been such a barrier,
next time you want an adventure,
just land on a carrier.

Despite the fact that this poem seems like something of caliber that George W. Bush might actually be capable of, it turns out that in fact — he did not write it. The following is an excerpt from NBC NEWS’ MEET THE PRESS’s interview of Laura Bush by journalist Tim Russert.

MR. RUSSERT: Now, who could have written that poem, huh? I mean, what…

MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, he didn’t really write the poem. But a lot of people really believed that he did. That evening at the dinner, what some woman from across the table said: “You just don’t know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you.”

MR. RUSSERT: Lump in the bed? What…

MRS. BUSH: Well, he did really call me that, of course, but…

MR. RUSSERT: Land on a carrier and you paid him back a little bit, huh?

MRS. BUSH: Yeah.

It’s not exactly like lying to congress and / or starting a war, and this is the first lady we are talking about here, not the President, but it stills makes me ponder — why the lie?


‘No President has lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably’

“The presumption now has to be that he’s lying any time that he’s saying anything.” So says Ray McGovern, who worked as a CIA analyst for 27 years.

When are the people of the United States going to seriously start talking about impeachment? At least an election is just around the corner.