Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Blanche Report: Correction, Sochi & Ford

When we err, we fess up. In our last blog we mentioned that the Bahamas does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. It was pointed out to us by a seasoned journalist that we were wrong. They do have one. It could be that the authorities were getting ready to pounce on Porter in the Bahamas when he suddenly up and went to Panama.  It appears that he will not stop the extradition as the jails in Panama are not even close to a 1 star hotel.

EBay recently shut down an auction run by one Ari Mandel, who was selling “My Portion in Olam Habah (Heaven).” Yes Blanche, you read that right – he was selling his portion in the world to come. Bidding started at 99 cents and quickly rose to $100,000. Ebay shut him down because they ruled that sale items have to be tangible. Mandel began the sale because he believed he had accumulated enough good deeds to have a good spot in heaven. Ya can’t make this stuff up.

In 2014, the winter olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. The cost of said olympics so far is $50 billion. Not because of construction costs or overruns. Rather because Russian businessmen and officials close to President Vladimir Putin have stolen up to $30 billion from funds intended for preparations for the games. The price has quadrupled initial estimates, making them the most costly Olympics ever.

Critics of the Putin government allege that the most expensive sports facilities built for the games were commissioned without competition or public tenders. Corruption is endemic in Russia’s construction industry. Sound familiar? Coupled with the fact that the infrastructure around Sochi is one of the least developed areas and almost everything had to be built from scratch  over the last six years, you have a perfect recipe for those in government to rake it in. How about calling a construction corruption committee? Ya think?

We definitely have had our share of mayor issues, but right now the spotlight is shining directly on Toronto.  Rob Ford, their illustrious mayor is simply refusing to quit or even step aside until the elusive video of him allegedly smoking crack cocaine either surfaces or he proves himself innocent.

We reported last week that both the video and the Somalis who have said video have vanished. Poof! Disappeared into thin air. In the past week, Mr. Ford’s office staff has dropped from 9 people to 5 with hints of more people leaving in the next day or so. Does the emperor have clothes or not? In Mr. Ford’s case we would hope so as we don’t think he would be the prettiest sight sans clothing, if you get the drift.

We happened to be in New York this past week and the talk in the Big Apple is Anthony Weiner. His biggest challenge will be the jokes, which seem to coming faster than people can repeat them. The best line (not joke Blanche) came from the New York Post: That Weiner was done in by his own stupidity, immaturity and personal excesses might not qualify as a dealbreaker to a new life in politics.

It seems that the run for mayor of New York is a huge yawner. As of yet, no one who has come forward to run has generated any excitement – except Weiner who is providing some comic relief. Given all of this, believe it or not, he might just win.

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: Deep Throat, The Bahamas & Roy

A few months ago we wrote about Dr. Arthur Porter, perhaps one of the most sly individuals out there who managed to weasel his way into the highest offices in Canada. He’s now wanted for a myriad of serious offenses like fraud and stealing the government blind. He jumped ship here and bolted for the Bahamas a while ago. He’s one smart dude and knew that Canada has no extradition treaty with the Bahamas.  A few months ago he claimed  he was very ill with advanced lung cancer and was unable to come to Canada to defend himself. Wouldn’t you know it?

Well, Dr. Porter seems to have made a miraculous recovery and was able to travel to Panama with his wife, where Canadian authorities do have an extradition agreement and zut alors – arrested them both. He has fifteen days to fight the extradition but we don’t think he will be successful as the ‘friends’ he made here in high places lost his number long ago. Stay tuned, this story could be very juicy.

Obama is still in some serious dog doodoo. He’s another very sly fellow and instead of staying in Washington to deal with the issues at hand, ran to ‘comfort’ the people in tornado-struck Oklahoma and then onto the Jersey shore to sing the praises of his dear Republican friend Chris Christie. They were both marveling on how the Jersey shore made a come-back after hurricane Sandy.

The advice Obama has been given is pretty straight-forward: Batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to clear.

He’s dealing with three fronts simultaneously: Benghazi and the cover-up there, the IRS microscopic checks on Tea Party members and some Jewish groups, and the wiretapping of about 20 AP reporters. It seems that Obama did not know about the latter two problems. The Benghazi business is something entirely different and he should be raked over the coals for that one. But, being the sly dude that he is, we have a inkling that he will somehow slink his way out of all three.

One more thing about the wiretapping of reporters. People who feed reporters information, often want to remain anonymous. If the reporter’s phones etc are wiretapped guess what’s coming back? Deep throat. For those too young to remember, he was someone deep inside the Nixon administration who would meet Woodward or Bernstein in a garage somewhere in Washington and give over what the two rookie reporters should be following next. It’s coming back to theater near you again.

As we speak, Obama could have another scandal on his hands. Two US embassy officials were shot today in Venezuela while at some kind of, shall we say, place where women are not quite fully dressed. The story is still unfolding.

Senator Mike Duffy is going to get his wish of being able to testify before some committee that you and I will be paying for. The Senate committee on internal economy has voted unanimously to send the matter of Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claims to the RCMP. It has come to our attention by someone in the know that over the years in his capacity as reporter, Mr. Duffy accumulated serious amounts of, shall we say, interesting information about many politicians and high ranking officials. Could be they don’t want him to open his mouth. Oops.

Things for ex mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt are looking worse by the second. Three credible sources from three separate Quebec police forces revealed that some of the people Gilles Vaillancourt allegedly used to smuggle cash to Europe were minors. Quebec police claim Vaillancourt has hidden about $15 million that he allegedly received fraudulently through kickbacks from construction companies that won municipal contracts in Laval, which is just north of Montreal. $15 million??? This guy is no small potatoes.

In case you were wondering what’s happening with Kate and William we’ll fill you in. She’s due mid-July and once the baby is born will be spending the first six weeks in her parent’s home. Smart move. We couldn’t really see her rumbling around Buckingham palace with William’s grandparents – Queen Elizabeth and Phil, nor could we envision Chuck and Camilla taking care of her.

Patrick Roy, ex goalie of the Habs has been named coach and vice-president of hockey operations for the Colorado Avalanche.
Why does he still rub us the wrong way?

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: Weiner, Water and Double Dipping

As of 10:15 tonight, it is safe to drink the water in Montreal.

We have seen pictures of the utter and total devastation in Oklahoma. It is simply incredible how, in fifteen minutes, everything one owns is obliterated. What we also found unbelievable is that tornado shelters are not mandatory – not in homes, buildings or schools. There are also very few basements there as the soil is too soft to dig deeply. So when a tornado hits, which is does very often in that part of the country, there’s nowhere to go to escape nature’s wrath. Perhaps it’s time for the population to request of their government to start putting in those shelters – no matter what they cost. It’s got to be cheaper than rebuilding an entire community.

We pray that those affected  will be able to put their lives back together as soon as physically possible. Hashem should watch over them.

The water business in the last 36 hours has been quite the event, n’est pas? A million and a half people with no clean water is nothing to sneeze at. What we thought was really inefficient was the manner in which the alert was sent out – or not sent out. If one was not listening to  the media, well, they just didn’t know what was going on and were happily drinking the water all day.

There must be a way to alert an entire city when there is a serious emergency. How about a special siren which every municipality could have? People would know that when this special siren was sounded, they should immediately listen to the radio or turn on the local televsion station. In third world countries they have tsunami sirens that, when sounded, alert the population that they must go to high ground immediately. Last we looked, we were not yet a third world country.

Anthony Weiner is running for mayor of New York.
Really, this guy is a glutton for punishment. He had to launch his campaign via a video because a while ago when he even hinted that he might run, there was a veritable media feeding frenzy. Then tonight he admitted that more, shall we say, enlightening pictures may come to the fore. Hello Weiner? What’s the point dude? Do you really think that anyone is going to vote for you? What some people will do for attention.

Stockholm is burning for the fourth night in a row. Violence spread from the north to the south of the city on Wednesday as groups of mainly immigrant youths pushed through Stockholm’s suburbs throwing stones, breaking windows and setting cars on fire. They completely ignored the Prime Minister’s call for calm. What is causing these riots?

After decades of the Swedish method of generous welfare, the government realized it could not sustain the cradle to grave model. So it started to back off their support. Guess who got hurt the most? Immigrants and youth. Guess who’s rioting? Immigrants and youth. Princess Pauline should take note. She’s the one who marched with the students last spring when they wanted free tuition. She has since backtracked a bit, but certainly not enough.

What happened in London yesterday was beyond appalling. It is not enough that the imams are condemning these kinds of acts, which are becoming more and more numerous. If the imams and broader muslim communities all over the world don’t start turning in those young men when they suspect they are going off the deep end and becoming totally ‘radicalized’, they will all be painted with the same brush. Which is what is happening tonight in London. People are randomly attacking mosques and going after muslims.

Rob Ford, Toronto’s illustrious mayor, has still not commented on the allegations that he was seen on a video smoking cocaine. It seems that he’s hoping that by not speaking, people will forget what they saw and heard and that his problems will go away, vanish, poof into the night. Blanche – did you ever hear of anything so silly? People are following him around like flies to you-know-what. Tonight he fired his chief of staff. This guy Ford is beginning to make Montreal’s issue look good – and that takes some doing, if you get the drift.

Senator Mike Duffy, who if you recall owes us quite a bit of money – $90,000 at the very least, is also refusing to step aside.
“Why would I?” he asked a reporter recently. We read that he was also ‘double dipping’. Not chips into the dip Blanche, rather charging both the government and the senate for spending and trips. In other words, getting paid twice for the same thing. Nice eh?

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: Drainville, Duffy & the Jewel Heist

Princess pauline and her lovely group of ministers seem to be sitting pretty in Quebec. As we said on Sunday, Mr. Bernard Drainville will not apologize for his anti-semitic remarks and actions recently. In case you don’t think it’s such a big deal that he won’t take a step back, read this:

…Mr. Dutrizac then mocked the fact that observant Jews do not operate vehicles during their holidays (“What century do we live in?”), and asked Mr. Drainville if he knew of any other cities that tolerate such “superstition.” Again, rather than denouncing these inappropriate comments on the spot, Mr. Drainville ran with them in order to attempt to justify his proposed Charter of Secularism.

And again we say that the Jewish leadership in our city must step up to the plate in a very visible way. In a week these remarks will fade away, but the next time someone does or says something, they will do it much more boldly and with no fear of retribution.

Mike Duffy and Pamela Walin were both appointed to the senate in Ottawa. If you have been a good boy or girl in your party, you get rewarded with a senate seat. The salary is $132,000 per year for basically doing nothing. It’s called political patronage.

The two people named above owe the Canadian taxpayers $90,000 and about $300,000 respectively. Duffy’s is for living expenses, Walin’s is for traveling expenses. Although this scandal broke last week, we only heard from a tight-lipped Harper today, after his chief of staff resigned for cutting Duffy a personal check for $90,000. Now what was that all about? A personal check?

Shall we remind you of the sponsorship scandal which decimated the Liberal party? Why is it that once people get to Ottawa they feel that they can just dip into the till at will? Your tax dollars at work. Feh.

Watch for a huge Google scandal. Someone named Barney Jones, who worked for Google from 2002-2006 is spilling the beans on an elaborate structure which diverts British profits through Ireland to the Bermuda tax haven. It seems that he saved no less than 100,000 emails to prove his point. Best he watch where he’s going until he actually testifies somewhere.

If you’re over 25 you probably never heard of Tumblr. Take note. It’s a blog website that let’s you share anything from music to jobs to how to be a sherpa.  It was started by a young man named David Karp in his mother’s living room in Manhattan. Yahoo just bought him out for $1.1 billion.  Yes Blanche, that’s b as in billion. Next.

Then there’s Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto who was caught on video smoking crack cocaine with some interesting Somalis. We have lost count of his scandals, all of which he managed to weasel out of,  but this one may do him in. He’s been laying low and keeping very quiet of late. If he was innocent, he would be yelling from the top of the CN Tower.

And now for Obama. 
Right now he’s putting out fires on three fronts but, his ratings do not seem to be affected. Probably because the republican party has yet to put forth someone people could envision as president. But we digress.

The root of Obama’s problem is the Benghazi terrorist attack. He, Hilary and everyone else around them tried to tell the public that even though the attack took place on 9/11 (2012), it was not a terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three militia men. They tried to sell the story that a movie made by a third-rate hacker caused the people in Libya to attack the embassy there. No one believed them but no one did anything about it because the presidential election was taking place two months later.

Fast forward to now:
…On May 13, 2013 it was learned that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press.
…Then we learned of the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party and Tea Party-like groups. This has led investigators to information pointing to an August 2011 meeting in which the office of the chief counsel for the IRS was made aware of the issue.

All of these heavy-duty issues have one common thread: What did Obama know and when did he know it? Although right now Obama’s ratings are not affected, if it turns out that he either knew of or quietly sanctioned things by turning his head away – he could be in trouble. Could being the operative word here. Remember tricky dicky (Richard Nixon). We have Obama the operator.

Last week was the Cannes film festival. It was also a festival for some jewel thieves.
It seems that the company Chopard brought some serious gems to the tune of over $1 million to the film festival, probably to lend out to the little starlets. Whoever was in charge deposited said jewels in the safety deposit box in his hotel room.

Unbeknownst to him, someone who was obviously in the know about said jewelery, rented the room right next door. Sometime when his neighbor was out, the guy next door cut a hole in the adjoining wall and simply pulled the safe out with all the jewels inside. Doink – by now they are cut up and probably sold all over the world. May we suggest that if one is bringing millions of dollars of jewelry and leaving it in a safety deposit box in their room, they book adjoining rooms on both sides. Who needs Agatha Christie!

We’ll talk…

 

The Blanche Report – Special Sunday Edition

It is very evident that Bernard Drainville, Parti Québécois Minister of Democratic Institutions, is not going to issue any kind of apology for either his actions or remarks last week. We are referring to his inappropriate reaction and subsequent interviews both in print and on the radio on finding out that parking restrictions have been suspended for Jewish holidays (for the past 30 years or so)  in parts of Montreal with a large Jewish population. It is interesting to note that many other municipalities have suspended parking for other holidays, as well as street closures for parades.

As well, we noted that the Gazette did not deem it important enough to print even one word of what transpired.

So what to do now? Take to the streets? It’s not our way, although we must say that it worked last year for the students. Eventually they brought down the government. One thing is for sure, no public figure or party likes to be criticized publicly for any length of time. It just doesn’t look good.  Princess Pauline may think she can deflect attention away from the real issues like the economy, insane taxes and crumbling infrastructure, but eventually things come back to bite her.

After much reflection we found something that could perhaps lead us to some kind of answer and it comes, very appropriately, from the Torah.

There were three brothers who fathered the Levite families – Kehas which means harmony, Gershon which means expulsion and Merari which means frustration.
We focused on the latter, Merari – frustration –  as this is where we find ourselves right now. Frustrated that we cannot seem to penetrate the wall of a government intent on destroying one of the few places on earth that has an unbelievable quality of life.

The Merari family carried the pillars and planks of the Tabernacle – the foundation. Even though their position was directly connected to holiness, they had a hard time dislodging some negative patterns in their lives. This family represents our condition today.

We live in a wonderful place plagued with negativity and are not apathetic to our condition, we are frustrated and disturbed by it. And now we must take this frustration turn it into something positive.

We must be unrelenting in our communication with those in our community who have the ear of those in power.

We must continue to send emails to Drainville and Marois telling them that we do not accept intolerant behavior from elected officials who, in a democratic society, represent everyone who lives here.

We must use social media to get the word out to the world. Use your connections and send the links below to everyone that you know.  As well, send them the link to Drainville and Marois and tell them to use it. We are attaching a link of this story that was sent and printed in the Wall Street Journal.

Jews have always stood together and today is no different.  To use the slogan of Federation CJA – I’m in it for one another.
Now is the time for everyone speak with one voice, loudly and clearly.

Link to the article in the National Post:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/05/15/pq-minister-takes-aim-at-jewish-parking-exemption-in-apparent-attempt-to-inflame-voters/

Link to Bernard Drainville

institutions.democratiques@mce.gouv.qc.ca

Link to FederationCJA:

fcja@federationcja.org

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report

We were not planning to send out a Blanche report tonight as Yom Tov ended late. However, after reading the front page of today’s National Post, we thought that if you don’t know about this, you should.

The headline of the article in question was “Tolerance Expires in Montreal”. The meat of the article was centered around Mr. Bernard Drainville and his meltdown over the parking accommodation for observant Jews.

First of all, who is Drainville? Not a plumber, which his name implies. He is the point man in the PQ government for the secularism charter. What’s that you ask? This charter would ban public servants from wearing ‘conspicuous’ religious symbols such as yarmulkas or hijabs. The crucifix however is passable. The government here wants a secular society, devoid of any religion at all.

When Mr. Drainville found out that parking signs are covered for the duration of Jewish holidays, one or two days (since 1984 mind you), he went, as the article stated ‘balisitic’. The whole deal is for one hour a day on two days. On one side of the street you can’t park on Wednesday from 12:30 – 1:30 and the same thing on the other side from Thursday from 12:30 – 1:30. That’s it.

It gets better. On Wednesday, Drainville found 15 minutes in his unbelievably busy schedule to go on a radio show with the host named Benoit Dutrizac. Last year this announcer called Jewish people ‘mentally ill retards’. He was duly punished but is back on the air. Yesterday he told Drainville to be careful what he says about the Jewish community or they will “send you emails to intimidate you”.  The announcer went on to mock the belief that cars cannot be driven on holidays – “What century are we living in?” he asked.

The question is what does the Jewish community do about blatant, outright antisemitism that is emanating directly from the government in power?  We have come up with a few suggestions:

1. First and foremost be a proud visible Jew.

2. Go to your synagogue on Shabbat. Make sure it is filled to capacity.

3. Call B’Nai Brith Canada who deals with human rights issues. Here’s the link: http://www.bnaibrith.ca/league/

4. Although the mandate of Federation CJA is not human rights, they now have no choice but to take a stand and make a statement about what has transpired. On their website it states the following: We aim to be the driving force in a vibrant and caring Montreal Jewish Community. Time to step up to the plate.

David J. Cape is the current president. Debora Corber is the CEO.  Here are the general coordinates: 514-735-3541   fcja@federationcja.org.
Call and ask them not what they are doing, but when are they speaking out.

5. Google Parti Quebecois. Under Deputies scroll down to Marie Victorin. There you will find Bernard Drainville. Send him an email. His inbox should be flooded to capacity.

6. Google Marvin Rotrand Ville de Montreal. He’s the municipal Snowdon councillor. Send him an email as well.

Good Shabbos…

We’ll talk

The Blanche Report: Gangsterism, Flash ATM Mobs, Les Habs

Montreal has certainly made the news today beginning with what appears to be the meltdown of Les Habs. Everybody’s ailing, including the goalie.  Time to put them out of their misery and let everyone get on with their lives – without the false hope of a winning team. But fear not – everyone on the team will still collect their bloated salaries.

The ex-mayor of Laval, Gilles Vaillancourt was arrested today on what is being termed ‘breathtaking’ charges including gangsterism, fraud, corruption, money laundering and giving orders as part of a criminal organization. In other words, along with being mayor of the second largest city in Quebec, it appears that he was the well-dressed leader of a gang. He was released on $150,00 bail. No less than 37 other people were also arrested today including other politicians, political aides, lawyers and people with ties to the construction industry, including construction magnate Tony Accurso who is already facing charges of fraud, conspiracy and corruption.

The charge of gangsterism comes with a very long jail sentence, something we are certain Mr. Vaillaincourt will try to avoid.

And finally, the Union Montreal party, of which our ex-mayor Gerald Tremblay was the founder is 2001, closed up shop today.
Kaput, cuiso, ferme. The have ceased to exist. Those who still belong to the party will now sit as independents in city hall. The best part of this story is that they say that after all their debts are paid they will give whatever monies are in their coffers to the city of Montreal. Right… tell it to the marines. Whatever monies they have left should go to the citizens of Montreal to start paying them back for all the payoffs etc that went on all those years.

An one more thing: If Princess Pauline thinks these investigations are not coming to a theater near her, she’s in for a big surprise.

For this next story you will have to pay close attention, but it’s worth the read. A worldwide gang of criminals stole a total of $45 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards and then draining cash machines around the globe. Outmoded U.S. card technology may be partly to blame. It is believed that thousands of thefts were made from ATMs using bogus magnetic swipe cards carrying information from Middle Eastern banks. The fraudsters moved with astounding speed to loot financial institutions around the world, working in cells including one in New York.

Now here’s the part that you will have to read slowly. Here’s how it worked: Hackers got into bank databases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and created access codes. Others loaded that data onto any plastic card with a magnetic stripe — an old hotel key card or an expired credit card worked fine as long as it carried the account data and correct access codes. A network of operatives then fanned out to rapidly withdraw money in multiple cities.

It appears no individuals lost money. The thieves plundered funds held by the banks that back up prepaid credit cards, not individual or business accounts. So far 7 people have been arrested.  It has been dubbed the virtual criminal flash mob and is the biggest ATM fraud to date.

Rich or poor it’s good to have money and Bill Gates has lots of it. Today he bought a 500-year-old manuscript penned by Leonardo da Vinci. At $30.8 million, it was probably a bargain to the Microsoft founder, who considers it a priceless symbol of knowledge. Yup. Not much more to say here.

Well, it appears that everyone has forgotten Prince Harry’s fun time in Las Vegas last year and he’s back on the circuit. Where was he today? You’ll never guess. At the White House having tea with Michelle. We kid you not. Mrs. Obama was hosting a pre-mother’s day tea and we are guessing that Prince Harry was the drawing card. What exactly he has to do with mother’s day is another story. We read that he saluted all the mothers present. It’s pretty sad as he doesn’t have a mother any longer…

If you don’t like losing your cookies or, shall we delicately say, upchucking, these rides are not for you. It seems that there are many, many people who love roller coasters. Frankly, we can’t even look at them, but we may be in the minority. In Cedar Point Park in Ohio there’s a roller coaster that will suspend riders 170 feet then send them hurtling through six inversions and stomach-dropping falls at close to 70 mph. In Marietta, Georgia there’s a ride called the Typhoon Twister which drops riders five stories into a wide bowl and then spits them into a corkscrew chute.  Blanche – get the barf bag for real. Ya know Blanche, maybe we’re also gonna need an umbrella. If we stand under dose dem rides, ya never know what can come flyin out. Feh.

Good Shabbos and Good Yom Tov. As Shavuot begins this Tuesday night at sundown, there will not be a Blanche report.

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: Orange Cones, Les Habs, Bugs

Guess what? The orange cone festival is coming back with a vengeance. No less than 81 sites are to undergo repairs in the next two years from Decarie to Turcot to the autoroute. Guess how much money we’re getting to do this from the princess no less? $1.3 billion.

We have three questions: First who exactly is going to do this work? Any of the companies under the microscope at the Charbonneau commission? Second and more importantly, who’s going to oversee this and make sure that of that $1.3 billion, a couple of million isn’t going to get siphoned off to fix someone’s kitchen send someone else on a nice European vacation in exchange for getting the contracts. And finally, who is going to make sure that the elements used in the roadwork like cement, asphalt and other things are of superior quality and not diluted in any way? Blanche, we gotta say that someone better start watchin the store – and quick.

Remember a couple of weeks ago we told you about an invasion of cicadas that happens once every 17 years? You won’t believe how many are about to envelop the east coast. Take a wild guess. 30 billion and that is a conservative number. The timing of when they first come out depends purely on ground temperature. That means early May for southern areas and late May or even June for northern areas. Here’s what people are being advised to do: Remember everybody: keep your mouths closed in the days ahead.

Outspoken Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie is not exactly a small fellow. Recently he underwent surgery to help him lose weight. Somehow the press got hold of this fact, much to Christie’s chagrin. He claims he did the surgery to lose weight for his family. While this is probably very true, we have an inkling that he is also getting himself ready for a run at the White in four years. Aside from the fact that being so overweight is just not healthy, he would never have the stamina with withstand the rigorous campaigning at his current weight. Check him out in about six months.

Princess Pauline cannot be happy with this next bit of information. It seems that the BBC over in England has done an in depth piece about the language problems in La Belle Province. Some of what was mentioned go from Pastagate – from this past winter which became a worldwide embarrassment for language hardliners, and the story of Harry Shick’s pastry shop and his ongoing battles with the missives of the office de la langue francais. Stay tuned. The BBC’s story could get picked up by other news and social media outlets.

Les Habs need some luck tonight – big time. They are going to be playing without their captain who has some sort of upper body injury. We don’t want to remind anyone of the crushing loss on Sunday night to Ottawa (6-1). It was painful to watch. If they lose tonight we suggest that you dust off your golf clubs cause Ottawa will be up 3 games to 1. Either way, there’s another game on Thursday night, guaranteed to be a nail-biter. Let’s hope they can get their act together.

Breaking news tonight: Syria has disappeared from the internet. It seems the internet went down 2:45 pm our time and no one knows what’s going on there.

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: Qatar, The Princess & Israel

Did anyone notice the insane traffic these days? You can’t drive anywhere without encountering a massive traffic jam. Never mind that the roads are still full of potholes. Never mind that the Champlain bridge is closed over the weekend. Today one more bit of misery was added to the woes of the city.

After years and years of construction, ripping up the road, paving it, ripping it again, paving it – you get the picture – they have again closed parts of St. Catherine and St. Dominique because – get this – there is a huge hole under the road. Did someone forget to fill it in? We are assuming that such a cavity can cause a sinkhole, which we had last year on Sherbrooke and McGill College. Blanche – ya wouldn’t want da Corvair ta fall inta dat dere hole.

One thing is certain in this city – we will be paying for years and years and years, not only in money but in wasted time – for the incompetence, shoddy work and inferior materials used to ‘fix’ the infrastructure in this city.  And from the looks of things, no one is going to pay for what they did except us in taxes. ‘They’ will keep the money and laugh all the way to the bank.

Last Wednesday an 8 story building (which was supposed to have been a 5 story building) collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh killing at the very least 500 people, but probably twice that many.
At that time we said that the fix for the problem of high fashion, throw-away clothing was not an easy one.

Executive Chairman Galen Weston of Loblaws, under who’s umbrella Joe Fresh clothing falls, finally spoke up today. He said that they will continue manufacturing in Bangladesh, but will now not only source garment makers, but the places where they work, making sure they meet some kind of safety standard. According to Weston, as many as thirty international apparel brands had goods manufactured in the building and, as he noted, the silence is deafening. No one said a word or owned up to anything.

If everyone stopped manufacturing there, the workers would have no income at all, so that won’t work. To say that manufacturers will check the safety of the workplaces will definitely incur expense, as they are not engineers. That expense will undoubtedly be passed on too…either the consumer or the factory worker and his wage will drop. One thing we can say for certain – they aren’t coming back here to manufacture anything as the government destroyed our industry.

Ever hear of Stephen Poloz? Get used to his name. He’s the new Governor of the Bank of Canada replacing Mark Carney who’s off to England to be the Governor of the Bank of England. It appears that Poloz was a surprise choice as there was someone who was groomed for this job, was waiting in the wings and got bumped. Oops…

The ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization – has been headquartered in Montreal since 1947. In the past month, the country of Qatar, located in the Middle East, has been petitioning the United Nations to have the headquarters moved from here to there. Why? It seems that Canada’s strong stance with Israel is not to the liking of either Qatar or the United Nations and this is one way of ‘punishing’ us.
Qatar is reportedly offering to construct a brand new building and cover all the expenses for the move. There will be a vote in the fall. Guess we’ll have to wait it out.

Three more students were arrested in Boston in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. From start to finish, everyone involved in those bombings has, what is quite obviously a low level of intelligence.

The three students arrested are friends of the brother who currently in jail. When they saw that it was their friend who was wanted for the bombings, they texted him. He told them they were welcome to take whatever they wanted out of his dorm room. So they took his backpack which was loaded with firecrackers – the powder was used in the bomb – and threw it into a dumpster.

Yesterday, officials went to a huge landfill and guess what – found the backpack! There was also a computer taken but it seems they gave that over to the FBI. The best part of this story is all of these boys are here on student visas – two are Chechins. Looks like they will be spending more time in the United States that they had originally anticipated. We have a feeling that the FBI will not be looking favorably on what they did.

Princess Pauline has waded into the Charbonneau commission with yet another one of her ‘threats’. Someone should tell her the story of the boy who cried wolf so many times that in the end, no one believed him.  Marois said the judicial inquiry should show some “prudence,” and her deputy premier Francois Gendron urged it to “be careful.” If those aren’t threats, we don’t know what is.

Testimony coming from the inquiry this week has branched out way beyond the Charest liberals and is heading in her direction. What do you think – will she shut down the inquiry once it gets to close to her party? Does she really think that the Parti Quebecois is lily white and none of her friends ever took a bribe? That ‘party faithful’ didn’t get handouts from ‘friends’ who wanted things done for them? How much do you want to bet that the little missives of the language police are taking money under the table to stay quiet about some things? Dream along with me, I’m on the way to the stars…

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: New King, Weather and Cicadas

Although spring is slow in coming, it’s never to early to plan your summer vacation. In case you don’t want to go to the same old, same old places, we have a few other ideas for you. Ready? You know how Montreal has the Jazz festival, the comedy festival and sometimes the protest festival? Well here are a few other festivals for you to consider:

The Turpentine Festival in Portal, Georgia—about an hour outside of Savannah—where you’ll find one of the last remaining turpentine stills in the country. You can see a firsthand demonstration of how turpentine is made,then you can check out booths selling locally made turpentine and other handcrafted items.

Humungus Fungus Fest in Marquette Michigan. You can see the world’s largest mushroom and biggest mushroom pizza. After that you can mosey on over and take part in the mushroom parade and witness the strong man competition.

And finally you can try the Underwater Music Festival in the Florida Keys. In addition to underwater tunes, you will get to see a brilliant display of marine life in North America’s only remaining coral barrier reef. Boats will be positioned around the reef broadcasting the music via Lubell Laboratory speakers.

The Queen of the Netherlands abdicated her throne today in favor of her son, the first king in over 120 years. King Wilhem Alexander and Queen Maxima appeared on the balcony of the Amsterdam Royal Place with their three young daughters, waving to their adoring crowd. It seems that in the Netherlands, abdicating is the norm. In England, this just ain’t done. Liz will stay Queen until the cows come home.

You know those slippery polymer twenty dollar bills? Well, they are now coming to a theater near you in $5’s and $10’s. The $5 bill features images of the Canadarm and Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic handyman, while the $10  has a picture of a train on it. The new notes will go into circulation in November and last two-and-a-half times longer than the old, cotton-paper bills. Make sure those bills stay out of the dryer. Seems they melt in the heat.

The weather has been front and center of late. Climate warming bit the dust long ago in favor of climate change.
In the midwest United States, the temperatures are going to drop a staggering 60 degrees in the next couple of days, from 80 degrees down to around 20 or 30. A foot of snow is expected in Denver. Where’s Al Gore when you need him?

This next piece is a tad on the gross side, so if you’re eating, perhaps wait till you take your next bite.
This May, billions of cicadas will wake from a seventeen-year subterranean slumber. The biggest outbreak will be in Kansas, a smaller one in New York City. In case you don’t know what a cicada is, they are the bugs that make that high decibel noise from somewhere in your grass. 

To avoid them, we suggest you do not mow your lawn during the day as the little pests think the lawn mower is a mating sound. If you nap outside during the afternoon, wear earplugs. That’s when they’re at their loudest. The only redeeming feature about these bugs is that after they hatch their eggs, they burrow into the ground till the next cicadapocalypse. Feh.

We’ll talk…