Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year:)

Get this: US cybersecurity experts say they have solid evidence that a former employee helped hack Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system — and that it was not masterminded by North Korean cyberterrorists. Doink.

One leading cybersecurity firm, Norse Corp., said Monday it has narrowed its list of suspects to a group of six people — including at least one Sony veteran with the necessary technical background to carry out the attack, according to reports.

This does not bode well for the FBI who said they quickly traced the hackers to North Korea. The key word is quickly. Seems they jumped the gun, so to speak. The cybersecurity experts say leads they did turn up that had a Korean connection turned out to be dead ends. Stay tuned to this one. It could get much bigger and uglier for Sony.

They finally found that plane. Well, not exactly. What they found were bodies floating and a door of the plane. Gruesome. The bigger issue is why all of these incidents are coming out of southeast Asia.

To start with, a lengthy delay in declaring an emergency after air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane, slowed the search and rescue efforts. It seems they waited an hour and a half to initiate the search. To put this into real time, air traffic controllers stopped receiving signals from the plane at 6:17 am. They did not report an issue until 7:55 am. That’s a very long time to sit on something that is obviously a traumatic event.

Contrast this with American or Canadian standards where within 10 minutes at the most an alert would have been issued.

In 2007, the safety standards there were so bad that the European Union prohibited all of Indonesia’s airlines from flying into any of its member countries. That ban was lifted in August 2009; however, Indonesia’s main airline — quickly growing Lion Air — is still banned by the EU. Given all of this, there are 250 million people who live in the region and this is the fastest mode of transportation. Doesn’t bode well for them.

NY’s finest – the police department has basically stopped working since two of its officers were executed about 10 days ago. Arrests were down 66% in the week following the deaths. Wait, this gets even better.

The Daily News reports that the 84th Precinct, where officers Ramos and Liu worked, and the 79th Precinct, where they were killed, issued only one summons combined last week, compared to 626 the week before. So why are they basically not working? They are mad at the mayor de Blasio. In fact, they are having a collective temper tantrum.

Seems the NYPD is very upset at one word hizzoner used: allegedly. A couple of weeks ago there was an incident on the Brooklyn bridge where protesters got out of hand and some police were injured. Here’s the quote verbatim: However, an incident today on the Brooklyn Bridge, in which a small group of protestors allegedly assaulted some members of the NYPD, marks an ugly and unacceptable departure from the demonstrations thus far.

We’re pretty sure there’s more to this than meets the eye,  including the fact that de Blasio was not that happy that a policeman was acquitted of all charges in the death of a black teen (his son is a black teen) and said so. Given all of the above, everyone here are adults. We have said this before when there was an impasse: put everyone into a room, lock the door and let them talk it out until they reach an agreement. Works every time.

Not that we want to make you nervous, but. At a cybersecurity convention last week, the “Chaos Computer Club” demonstrated how it can mimic a fingerprint just by analyzing photographs.

In the past, fingerprints have been recreated from smudges on windows and other smooth surfaces. In the past, forgers have used tape, a scanner, some plastic material and glue to build a gummy fingerprint that can fool scanners. This little club upped the ante. They were able to recreate fingerprints from photos. Gulp.

Remember Mark Trestman, our Montreal Alouettes most winning coach?
Well last year he went to be the coach for the Chicago Bears. Today he was fired. He’s a really good guy and a great coach. Ya think he’ll come back here?

Blanche is not doing the top 10 stories of the past year. It would mean dredging up very painful memories – Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, the Har Nof murders, the war in Israel, the Charter of Values, the intense Quebec election. What we will do is pray for peace in Israel and the entire world. That’s about all that’s left for us to do anyway. We wish you a happy New Year.

We’ll talk…

The US Flag Doormat

In case you didn’t notice, not much is open today nor is there very much news. Slim pickins as the saying goes. Given that Blanche has found some interesting tidbits to report on.

It seems Putin and many other Russians don’t like the United States very much.
No surprise there. What is a tad on the surprising side is the lengths to which they will go to show the world their disdain.

A shopping mall in central Moscow put down U.S. flags as doormats at its entrance for customers to wipe their feet. This they are saying, is a show of defiance against U.S. policies towards Russia. Nice, eh? This is also a direct response to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and the fact that the US didn’t think it was such a good idea.

On an American Airlines flight yesterday, the flight attendants were wishing every a merry you-know-what. One grumpy passenger, who appeared to be traveling alone, barked at the woman, “You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates ‘the’ holiday.” The flight attendant asked him (stupidly by the way), what she should say and of course he had no answer.

Once on the plane, he was warmly greeted by another flight attendant who also wished him the “merry business.” That was the last straw. He flipped his lid and was booted off the plane to the cheers and hoots of the rest of the passengers.

In the here-we-go again category, a Missouri police officer shot and killed a teenager Tuesday night in Berkeley, Missouri, just 2 miles from the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, where Michael Brown was killed by police.

Surveillance video appears to show a person pointing a gun at an officer in a gas station parking lot in Berkeley right before the officer fatally shot the teen. Certainly not the same as the Ferguson business, nonetheless there was some rioting. One thing we can say for certain, the situation is still extremely volatile down south between the police and many segments of their population.

Guess which is one of the world’s worst-performing currencies this year? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist for this one. It’s the ruble in Russia. So how bad is it? So bad that Putin scrapped this year’s holidays for government ministers because of the unfolding economic crisis.

Russian company employees throughout the country are entitled to holiday from Jan. 1 to Jan. 12 when Russians celebrate the New Year, the main holiday in Russia. In a televised government session, Putin told the Cabinet ministers that this was not the time to take a vacation. Battered by low oil prices and Western sanctions, Russia is set to enter a recession next year for the first time in six years, while the ruble is now worth less than half of its value. Watch this story carefully. Putin’s job is on the line and he knows it.

Hillary Clinton is quietly shoring up support in case she decides to take a run at the presidential nomination. Of course she’s not tipping her hat one way or the other to say if she’s actually in the run, but if she’s not then why work during the holidays?

While you may be basking on a sun chair somewhere south, she’s busy running around trying to dig up like-minded liberals in hopes of tamping down a serious challenge from the left in the battle for the 2016 nomination. At 67 years old, she doesn’t have too many years left to run from one end of the country to the other – five times in a month. Remember what she looked like after her stint at Secretary of State? Awful. Planes wreak havoc on one’s body and skin.

In case you’re looking for a job, we may have something for you. Driving in the president’s motorcade. Yes, Blanche,  you too can be a part of that special group of people who tie up traffic for hours on end.

Volunteers with no special training are a link in the middle of the fastest, and most high-profile, chain of vehicles in the country. And they are cheaper than the Secret Service or local police officers . So who are they driving? Lowly staff members and reporters.

Of course you want to know what the qualifications for this job are. Here ya go: A driver’s license, a clean criminal record and knowing someone at the White House. Don’t say we didn’t tip you off.

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

Time for Wikileaks to take a Powder

Looks like Sony called Kim Jung Un’s bluff. The little emperor lost this one. Sony plans to release The Interview simultaneously in participating theaters and via video on demand on December 25 .  Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when Kim Jung finds out?

Second to Thanksgiving, this is the busiest travel time of the year. And wouldn’t ya know, a nasty storm is wreaking havoc in many airports.  Heavy rain, fog, thunderstorms and a swath of snow will converge on the Northeast, Midwest and South. The storm will impact the major airport hubs of New York City, Chicago and Atlanta, as well as the major cross-country routes. What a downer, eh?

Kudos to the jury who rendered a verdict of guilty of murder on all five charges in the gruesome trial going on here in Montreal. It’s over. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail with no chance of parole.

It isn’t only the car companies that do recalls. Today, Keurig recalled about seven million of its Mini Plus Brewing Systems because of concerns they can overheat and spray water during brewing. The company has received about 200 reports of hot liquid escaping from the single-serve coffee brewing machines and 90 of reported burns. The recalled model number K-10 brewers were sold between 2009 and this year and have an identification number starting with 31 printed on the bottom.

Wikileaks is back. Remember Julian Assange? He’s still releasing stuff. The latest business released really and truly should have been kept quiet. Here it is:

The Central Intelligence Agency offers guidelines for its operatives using false identities to get through a “secondary screening” at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. The document, which is titled “CIA Assessment on Surviving Secondary Screening at Airports While Maintaining Cover” and dated September 2011, was uploaded to WikiLeaks on Sunday night.

The biggest issue with this release is that the report reveals several details about the security procedures at the airport: “Security personnel at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, commonly refer military-aged males traveling alone with backpacks to secondary screening, regardless of their nationality or skin color,” the document reads. It continues: “At Ben Gurion airport in Israel, the secondary screening room contains trace-detection equipment for explosive residue; tools for dismantling passengers’ personal items for inspection, particularly items unfamiliar to security officers; and a disrobing area, divided by privacy curtains, to conduct strip searches of individuals, if necessary.”

The document also singles out Ben Gurion Airport for its particularly stringent background checks. Exactly what good does releasing this information do except give fodder for those who seek to cause chaos, pain and terror. Assange is a real jerk and deserves to stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London forever.

The execution of two police officers in Brooklyn last weekend did not bring Obama out of his holiday mode. (In case you were wondering, he arrived in Hawaii on Friday.)
He issued a statement, but did not make any appearances. Of course he feels terrible, but…uh, let’s see, the two policemen were white, neither of them could have been his son, ergo a touchy-feely memo and bob’s your uncle, he’s back on the golf course.

It is under the encouragement of New York’s mayor di Blasio who said pretty bluntly that ‘peaceful’ demonstrations against police are fine that people took to the streets. Now that two policemen were shot in cold blood, he’s singing another tune. Obama also said that those demonstrations were ok as long as they didn’t get violent.

So how about the mob scene that was screaming – What do we want? Dead cops. Why didn’t Obama or di Blasio say something about that? Why didn’t they jump forward and say that without the police and respect for them, democracy as know it would completely break down. Because they are, ready? l.i.b.e.r.a.l.s. There, we said it.

They may have notions of saving the world and bending over backwards to help minorities, which is very noble,  but in this case they failed. Miserably.

We’ll talk…

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About The Drop in the Price of Oil Story

The unfolding story in Russia and the worldwide low oil prices are something to keep your eye on.

First the oil business. It is Saudi Arabia who essentially controls the world’s oil price due to their huge amount of oil reserves. And it is the Saudi’s who have decided not to intervene while oil prices have been plummeting in recent weeks to less than $60 a barrel. Enter Russia.

Close to 50% of Russia’s economy now relies on revenue from oil exports. Ergo, with the drop in the prices coupled with the sanctions put on them after Putin went into the Ukraine, the ruble is falling like a stone.

The question is why Saudi Arabia decided now was the time to play with the oil prices. The answer is to punish Russia.

The greatest threat to Saudi power in the Middle East is Iran. The prospect of a nuclear Iran is a nightmare to Saudi Arabia. (In case you have not noticed, the West has still not managed to cut a deal with Iran to stop their nuclear program.)

It gets a tad complicated here, but read it carefully. This is one of the keys to the puzzle:

Russia has not been helpful in reigning in Iran and continually aggravates the Saudi’s with their support of the Syrian regime (who is supported by Iran). In other words, Russia is actively undermining Saudi power in the Middle East. The Sheik is not all amused with this and is now punishing Putin.

Russia has basically no infrastructure. Most of their food and other staples are imported. Imagine now the ruble is worth half of what it was last year and they still have to import those staples. Prices are going to rise for basics like milk and bread. If and when the people in Russia decide that Putin is to blame for their hardship, he will be facing street riots, much like Mubarak faced in Egypt. And look where he is.

Now here’s the scary part: If and when Putin decides he’s had enough of the Saudi’s game, what is going to stop him from sending some of his goons to, shall we say, change the minds of the Sheik and his family. We’ll tell you. Nothing is going to stop him. If ya think the world is upside down now, just wait.

Updates to this story: Apple has halted all online sales in Russia.IKEA warned Russian consumers that its prices will rise Thursday, which resulted in weekend-like crowds at a Moscow store on a Wednesday afternoon.

Russia and Saudi Arabia spoke today. Maybe this will deflate the upcoming crash.

What happened in Australia is not an isolated incident in the world. Each of the most current incidents, like the ones here where two soldiers were killed in separate attacks, have their own scenario but share a common link – radical muslim websites.

It appears that people living on the edge of society are drawn to radicalism. It makes them feel like they belong, like they are part of a community and as humans we need that to survive. Unfortunately what they are told to do in those videos is not part of society.

How to put an end to the lone wolf attacker? Perhaps it’s time to call on Israel who, out of the need to survive have mastered the art of security. Unless someone else has a better idea.

Hackers have brought Sony to their knees with chilling messages. They have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that preview the North Korean comedy spoof ‘The Interview’, making fun of Kim Jong Un.

“Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

The US’s five top cinema chains and some here in Canada have chosen to heed these threats –  “individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie…” The hackers win.

Today Obama brought into place normal diplomatic relations with Cuba, a mere 90 miles from Florida’s shores. They (Cuba) must feel like they just hit the biggest jackpot known to man. Now that the doors have been flung open, you can bet your bippy that Americans will be flocking there in droves.

Aside from the fact that it’s so close to the US, and the prices will be dirt cheap, the mystery of the country has intrigued people for over 50 years. We don’t think Cuba has the infrastructure to deal with what is coming so you may to postpone your trip for a while. At least until they can clean the sheets between hotel guests. Fech.

Could be Obama got caught favoring people who donate money to him. We hope you are not surprised. We’re also pretty sure this is done all the time, but unfortunately for the prez, he got caught. Oops. Someone in the White House is not the smartest chip in the box. So what happened?

The president’s cabinet including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, suspended travel bans placed on certain Ecuadorian nationals who committed fraud (and worse) after those nationals’ family members pledged five- and six-figures sums to Democratic organizations. Uh oh.

In a suspicious donation, a $40,000 check was written to the Obama Victory Fund in May 2012, just one day before the Obama administration lifted the ban against some dude by the name of Estefanía Isaías. Politics is not the cleanest business to be in.

Thanks to one of our loyal readers, we are able to give you a better breakdown of the transfer payments made from Canada to Quebec. Ready?

Next year, Québec will receive 9.52 billion dollars in equalization payments. This is an increase of 235 million dollars over the current level of funding.
Since our Conservative government took office, equalization payments to Québec have increased by over 98%.
The Canada Health Transfer will increase by 432 million dollars, reaching a level of just over 7,85 billion dollars.
Since 2006, federal transfers to Québec have increase by 8.4 billion dollars, which is to say by just under 70%.

Could someone please send this memo to Pierre Karl Peladeau who thinks Quebec’s economy is strong enough to go it alone as a country. PKP must be living in a chip box or he has the biggest blinders known to man. Or he wants to be KING, which is the most likely scenario. That’s why he’s marrying Julie Synder. He needs a queen on the throne next to him. Oh thrones – hehehehehe. Maybe his throne will be in the terlit. hehehehehehe.

Happy Chanukah and Good Shabbos,
We’ll talk…

Raw Evil countered by Raw Kindness

For this week only, we will be sending out the Blanche Report on Monday and Wednesday.

One cannot imagine the gripping fear those people in Sydney experienced. Trapped for over sixteen hours in a cafe with someone holding them hostage, brandishing a gun and most likely other weapons, must have felt like a lifetime. The simple task of buying a cup of coffee turned out profoundly sadly for two of the hostages, the last place they went in their lives.

While the hostage taking was unfolding yesterday, ordinary muslims in Sydney feared retribution. To counter that, people in Sydney started a twitter #ridewithyou. In other words, non-muslims were seeking out muslims who were afraid to travel in the city, especially on public transport, for fear of retaliation. Raw evil countered by raw kindness.

What was particularly unsettling about yesterday’s events in Sydney was the place chosen. It was done with cunning calculation to elicit the greatest fear, get the most publicity as it was in the downtown core. As well, the hostage-taker used social media to get his garbled messages out to the world . Coupled with the lone wolf scenario which is almost impossible to stop, the recipe was perfect for a surprise attack.

What can we do? Pray for peace. Pray to G-d to save us from ourselves, bent on trying to unhinge at best, or destroy at worst, the beautiful world we all share.

This Sony hacker business is really out of control and rather scary, to say the least. Not only are they revealing everything from embarrassing email threads to salary details, they are promising a ‘christmas gift’ that will render Sony impotent.

What is even more frightening is that if these people, supposedly holed up somewhere in North Korea, most likely in King Jung Un’s basement, could hack so deeply into a place like Sony, what’s next? The White House? A control tower at an airport? A water filtration plant in a large American city?

We are a radio person, listening all night (off and on when we’re not sleeping). One of the commercials that is played very often is the ‘be prepared’ one. Prepare two weeks of filtered water, tins of food, a flashlight, cash etc. They are not wrong.

Thank goodness the sickening trial in Montreal is almost over. We hope they find him guilty and put him away forever including losing the word parole.

The city of Montreal instituted a new radio system for emergency responders.
Guess how much they paid? Wait. Guess how much you paid? $42 million. Now guess what happened when they flicked the on switch. Exactly. It didn’t work. Fire fighters noticed messages from dispatch were not coming through.

The contract was awarded to Airbus DS Communications, whose technicians are currently working around the clock to resolve the issue. We sincerely hope they are not getting paid another cent for trying to make this system work. Where do the geniuses who run our province find these places? Same thing happened to the obama health care system website. Remember how it kept crashing? No knew how many people would be logging in?

Same here. It came as a surprise that emergency responders would have to be talking to each other? How easy it is to use other people’s money, eh?

This dude PKP – Peladeau wants his own country. Has he seen the record amount of transfer payments given to Quebec from Ottawa today? If not maybe someone could get in touch with him. You know that ‘some’ people think that if and when Quebec separates they won’t have to pay Federal tax. Well, here’s a bulletin: quebec won’t get any more transfer payments.

This year’s payment was a record: $9.2 billion. That does not include the money Quebec already receives in support payments for health and social programs.

Now let’s see. Whadda think the other provinces will say if quebec wants to leave Canada and they can save all this money? We’ll tell you. They’ll say go and don’t let the door hit your a.. on the way out.

We have not commented on anything to do with Bill Cosby. It’s just too gross. Today however, we read something that was literally beyond belief. He hopes that the ‘black media’ will keep its neutral silence. Can we talk? He would be best to keep his mouth shut tightly and say nothing. If he’s lucky all he will have to do is pay compensation. What a lowlife.

The quebec unions are asking for a 13.5% pay increase.
The government is proposing a two-year wage freeze followed by 1-per-cent per-year for the remaining three years. Now the unions are angry. Ever hear the saying ya can’t take blood from a stone? Same here. Ya can’t give out money that’s not there.

Happy Chanukah (begins tomorrow night)

We’ll talk…

Fat, Bored Dogs

We are sure you are aware that oil prices have gone from $115 a barrel in June to below $70 this week. Of course you also know that you are still paying a serious fuel surcharge for your airline ticket. If you travel long distances, those charges can be pretty hefty, like $500. But wait. If the price of oil jumps, the airline jumps even faster to up the surcharge. Why can’t they lower the price now that a barrel of oil is half the price it was in June?

Here’s the party line: Fuel accounts for nearly half an airline’s costs. But airline executives are unsure where oil prices will settle or how sustained the downturn in the oil market will be. So ladies and gents, ya ain’t gettin a break on those extra charges. Blanche, pass the barf bag.

Here in Quebec the National Assembly shut down last week until the end of January. Not a bad vacation, eh? The politicians say they are going back to their ridings to visit their ‘constituents’. That may last two days and then they can officially say they are on vacation.

Just to put things into perspective, the US Senate resumes sitting on January 6. Why our politicians need almost a two month break is mind-boggling. We would say your tax dollars at work, but in fact it’s your tax dollars as a present.

You are going to love this: Although these stats are from England, we would venture a guess that the same, if not more applies to North America: A quarter of a million dogs are experiencing ‘behavioral meltdown’ because their owners never take them for a walk. In other words, the dogs are bored and to find some excitement, are attacking people. It gets better. Dog obesity is also becoming a huge issue as their owners are feeding them way more than their doggy food.

Can we talk? It’s the owners who have the behavior and obesity problem. We’ll bet that fat dogs belong to, shall we say, pudgy owners. Hehehehehe. And dogs who don’t get enough exercise belong to couch potatoes. No shortage on brainwaves who buy dogs.

London is heading for a city they may not recognize soon. It seems that Qatar is buying up the best of the best in the city. They just added a 200 million pound (over $3 million US) place called Regent’s Palace to the rest of their acquisitions, the list of which is getting lengthy.

Along the way they have acquired a 20% slice of Camden market; posh department store Harrods; 95% of the Shard (87-storey skyscraper in London that forms part of the London Bridge Quarter development the EU’s tallest building); the Olympic village; half of the world’s most expensive apartment block at One Hyde Park; the Chelsea Barracks site, and the US embassy building in Grosvenor Square. Guess England is desperate for money.

Michelle and Barack are not happy campers these days. Their chef, close friend and as it turns out, political adviser is leaving them and moving to New York. Here’s what the prez had to say about Sam Kass’s imminent departure: “Over the years, Sam has grown from a close friend to a critical member of my team”. Now how scary is that and what’s wrong with this picture? Only in America.

Canadian police can now conduct a limited search of a suspect’s mobile phone when they are arrested without getting a search warrant, but they must follow strict rules. The search must be directly related to the circumstances of a person’s arrest and police must keep detailed records of the search.

We can see where this might be an issue for bleeding heart liberals. However, the key word here is arrested. Getting a ticket does not give the police a warrant to check your phone. Robbing a bank does. Dealing drugs also does. Turning left at 8:30 when you could only turn left from 9 won’t get your phone searched. Move on.

Amendment To Last Night’s Posting

We were remiss in not commenting on what transpired last night in 770, Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn New York. Nothing is by accident, so perhaps this posting was meant to go out alone.

Early last evening, a deranged individual,  a black man in his fifties, entered 770. It soon became apparent that he was mentally not well and was escorted out. He returned very late last night and before anyone had a chance to stop him, stabbed a 22 year-old Yeshiva student in the head. The young man was at first thought to be not that badly injured, but late this afternoon a call went out to Jewry worldwide to say tehillim for Levi Yitzchak ben Raizel. It seems that he has bleeding in his brain.

The police were there very quickly and in the end, the black man who threatened the police with his knife, was shot and died later.

As nothing happens without someone taking a video, one can watch almost the entire episode play out. We did not watch it. It was enough that we saw the bloody knife.

When we heard this news our first thought was of what happened in Israel, in Har Nof. Where are we safe if not in our shuls? Then we thought of the unimaginable events last week during a home invasion in Paris. Where are we not safe if not in our homes?

We must do what we can do to protect ourselves and our children. If that means hiring armed guards, then hire armed guards. If it means installing cameras and other protection in our schools and synagogues, then do that. But in the end, after all is said and done, we must have faith that G-d will watch over His children. We turn to the Rebbe for advice in these inexplicable times.

Not all suffering can be explained. There is pain, sometimes, that is not punishment and not repair.

True, we were given Torah, a G-dly wisdom containing the secrets of all things. But concerning these things even Moses asked and was told to be quiet, to cease to ask. Because there are some things that even G-dly wisdom does not explain. Because they cannot be explained.

We can only know that whatever happens is from G-d, that G-d is just, and that He does not desire suffering.

But until the end of days, we will have to suffer the ‘why.’

A Good Old Fashioned Nor’Easter…YES!!!

Kate and William aka the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William is next in line to be king after his father Chuck) are in New York on their very first visit to the Big Apple. Too bad for them they chose to go in December as the weather is g.r.o.s.s. Raining, wet, cold and windy. Not conducive for a walkabout. But we digress. Last night the Clinton’s co-hosted them at a shmancy event  where of course there were pictures taken. Can we talk?

Someone is out to get Hillary Clinton. There’s a picture of her shaking hands with Kate, who looks dignified and is smiling sweetly. Hillary? Oy vey. Her mouth is wide open, her eyes popping out and she’s wearing some kind of shawl that looks like a hooked rug. She could be one of the least photogenic people we have ever seen. Either that or, as we said, someone out there doesn’t want her elected to anything.

This next piece is not going to make you feel good. Today it was revealed that the most traveled bridge in all of Canada, our very own Champlain bridge, is deteriorating faster than ever. The ‘experts’ are saying that they don’t know if the reinforcement work on the beams would last past 2018, if the new bridge is delivered late. Late? Have you seen anyone working in the water lately? All we heard about the new bridge was a fight about the name. We saved the best – or worst – for last:

They are introducing new signage on the bridge for trucks in the spring to keep them in center lanes during rush hour. Why?  To keep excess weight off the beams which are under the side lanes. Oy vey.

We read an interesting little ditty: therapists now encourage cooking and baking as cures for depression. Wait, we have more revelations. They also found that healthy cooking and eating in groups is a good thing because being around others “can boost social skills and confidence’. Someone actually got paid to do research about this? Come on.

Like no one knows eating toast alone in a depressingly quiet kitchen is going to keep them, if not make them, depressed. Honestly, this is common sense. How about paying us for telling them other stuff like eating a piece of chocolate will make you feel good. As opposed to eating grass and tree-bark which keeps you hungry and crabby, albeit skinny.

Guess how many people can fit on the biggest cruise ship in the world? Take a wild guess. 5,400 people. This mother-of-all-ships has 21 swimming pools and its own replica of Central Park. This isn’t a ship, it’s a floating town. Unless one likes crowds, may we suggest a smaller ship? Say 2,000 people? We won’t even imagine the scenario if something happens to the bathrooms. Ugh.

There’s a new Sony movie coming out…maybe, about North Korea called Guardians of the Peace.
The movie is about entertainment journalists who get recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Guess what? Kim Jung Un doesn’t like the movie or its plot.

As we reported last week, Sony was hacked big time. Well, it seems they didn’t really know how badly they were invaded. Aside from exposing some of the studio’s internal operations to public view and compromising the studio’s inner business workings, one new leak may put Hollywood celebrities on high alert: a cache of documents that reveal the secret aliases used by actors and actresses to check into hotels and book car services.

Phone numbers and e-mail addresses for directors, producers, publicists, cast members, and crew were made public. One star had his social security number made public. Of course North Korea is denying it’s them that did this. We can’t say for sure because we’re not Agatha Christie, but we think they are not telling the truth.

As we are weather aficionados, we saved our favorite piece for the end. At last a Nor’easter is coming our way. In case you’re new to Blanche, we’ll tell you what a Nor’easter is: a storm or wind blowing from the northeast, usually large in nature. Before you shoot the computer read on.

We’re ‘winter’ folks and as such we need winter – snow, cold and wind. Aside from the frost getting rid of all the pollen, isn’t it nice to sit in your house and watch the snow fall? Try it. Close all the lights and look out the window. It’s beautiful. We’re getting about 8-10 inches of snow so either call your gardener or buy a shovel, only if you’re in good shape. Otherwise call a kid to shovel you out.

We’ll talk…

Hot Pink Jungle Pants

As we wrote on last night’s Daily Musings (joannietansky.com), Jean Beliveau, who passed away late Tuesday night, was much more than one of the best hockey players in the world. He was, in the true sense of the word, a mensch.

Beliveau was also human and there is no doubt that he didn’t always feel like smiling or being nice to the constant barrage of people who wanted his autograph or just to shake his hand. And yet, over and over again we hear how kind he was. It didn’t matter if you were the president of a company or the janitor of a building. He showed goodness and kindness to everyone. We can’t take any hockey lessons from him but we can sure learn from the way he conducted himself. Always be kinder than you feel.

In the past two weeks, we have heard about two young black men killed by the police. Most likely there were also white men killed by police, but we haven’t heard about it.

In Ferguson, Michael Brown was shot. In New York, Eric Garner suffocated while in a choke hold. We are not by any stretch of the imagination liberal, democratic, tree-hugging or save-the-world kinda of people. However, this last death was gruesome and caught on camera. Garner kept yelling I can’t breath yet no one lessened the grip of the choke hold and he died.

Last night the policeman involved was told he would not be prosecuted. Of course there was the usual taking to the streets. And in two weeks it seems that there will be a march in Washington, modeled after the Million Man March headed by Martin Luther King in October 1995.

As we are not in the law enforcement business, we cannot possibly know what to do with all of these happenings. But as a regular person we can say one thing: The police could use some  retraining. Yes, their lives are on the line the second they take to their patrol cars. Last week someone was shot while giving a ticket. But unless someone takes the bull by the horns, and at least pretends to be trying to change the perception of the police,  the escalation between the two factions is going to get a lot uglier and more violent – on both sides.

Talk about fear-mongering.
What exactly is the point of telling the public that the flu vaccine may not be strong enough for this year’s flu strain? Two things will come from this: Older people will get nervous and next year less people will take the flu shot because they’ll say what’s the point, we’re not really covered anyway.

Why not wait until the flu season begins, see where the chips fall, and then say that the strain was different or mutated or whatever. Whoever said this is not the brightest chip in the box.

Guess who’s back? Mitt Romney, the Republican who ran for President in 2012. He recently held meetings with donors in New York this week that left people convinced he is running for president again in 2016. He certainly has a lot of money, so the fact that he’s looking for more is a harbinger of a trial balloon – should he run or not.

The other possible candidates so far: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Rick Perry.

Here’s something really nasty. A golfer in South Africa was retrieving his golf balls from a place called Lake Panic (no Blanche, we didn’t make this up) and he was eaten by a gigantic alligator. Ich.

Here’s a cheery headline: Big chain stores on death watch. That’ll boost the economy, eh? Not really. Sears, Radio Shack, Aeropostale and J.C. Penney are all on the verge of catastrophe. If this news goes viral, who exactly is going to shop in those places? Images of people unable to return gifts because the stores are closed or closing is not a pretty sight.

Pundits are sighting the high cost of food, medical care and savvy online shopping for the potential demise of these massive stores.

Let’s bet: Will the police come to Jean Beliveau’s funeral wearing hot pink jungle pants?
Or will they suck it up, take a lesson from him and act like they want people to treat them – with respect and put on their uniforms?

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

 

 

 

 

It’s the Old Pardon the Turkey Trick. Not.

First a commercial from the Blanche network:
At long last, http://joannietansky.com/ has launched.

The site has been months in the making as we wanted it to be something a bit different from everything else out there. We hope you like it. Our deepest gratitude goes out to Matthew Eramian, our unbelievable and beyond patient webmaster.

Our goal is to create an intelligent, upbeat and humorous site where Jewish women (and men:) ) can dialogue about life’s daily challenges and successes. The emphasis will be the gift and beauty of being Jews in our generation. We invite you to peruse the site and share it with your friends, family, co-workers etc. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The Jian Ghomeshi story is getting more complicated by the day.
It seems that the CBC’s own Fifth Estate program did exhaustive research into the entire Ghomeshi affair. What they came up with is pretty shocking. Despite claiming to have undertaken a serious internal investigation of the Jian Ghomeshi affair, CBC executives did not ask a single Q employee (Q was  Ghomeshi’s highly successful radio show) a single question. That’s pretty damning, to say the least.

What it points to is something that ails society as a whole: That ratings, money and being on at the top of the heap are more important than anything else, including having their ‘star’ get away with some pretty gross stuff. Shame on the CBC.

Breaking News: The FBI warned U.S. businesses that hackers have used malicious software to launch destructive attacks in the United States, following a devastating cyber attack last week at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The five-page, confidential “flash” warning issued to businesses late on Monday provided some technical details about the malicious software that was used in the attack. Seems this was not perpetrated from a basement in India. Rather from a basement in China where it appears the government pays people to do this. Nice, eh?

He just couldn’t resist getting further and further involved. We’re talking about Obama and the fallout of Ferguson Missouri. On Monday he proposed new funding meant to help improve relations between police departments and minority communities, saying there is a “simmering distrust” between the two groups that extends well beyond the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The White House has asked for $263 million in funding for police body cameras and training in the wake of the shooting death of unarmed black teenager. The government would offer a total of $75 million over three years to match state funding for the cameras by 50 percent, helping to pay for more than 50,000 of the devices.

We’re wondering why he isn’t mixing in and telling arabs living in gaza to wear these little devices. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Then again, he doesn’t want to hear nor see anything good that Israel does. Blinders anyone?

Security forces in Europe are very, very jittery these days. They seem to have uncovered a nasty plot to blow up five European passenger jets in a Christmas “spectacular”. The threat has been taken so seriously those in charge came close to leading to an outright ban on all hand luggage.

Mobile phones and electronic devices could still be banned from plane cabins, with the threat of a 9/11-style coordinated attack on London and other major cities feared imminent. Why now?

British authorities fear that British jihadis returning from fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are plotting something massive. An airport security source said, “We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high profile hit before Christmas. They’ve been waiting for the big one.”

Not much more to say except that should you decide to travel in the next month, maybe stay on this side of the ocean. Miami has better weather anyway.

What exactly is this young woman, Gili Rosenberg thinking? Or rather not thinking.
She is the young Israeli/American woman that people feared was captured by isis.  To say that she lives on the edge is to put it mildly. In 2009 she was extradited to the U.S. for participating in a lottery scam that targeted the elderly and spent three years in prison. Then she fought with the IDF (Israel Defence Force). Then she decided that the Kurds needed her help and joined the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – a Syrian Kurdish militia.

In the past two days it has been reported that she was captured by isis. Today she seems to have found some kind of internet connection and said the whole thing is not true. She ended her post with Yalla Acharai which is a phrase combining Arabic and Hebrew that means come on, follow me! She is obviously seeking attention. Just not the right kind. Sounds like she could use some, uh, therapy.

Last week just before Thanksgiving, Obama did what all presidents do and ‘pardon a turkey’.
It’s obviously tongue-in-cheek. Standing behind him while he spoke were his two daughters who looked like it was the last place on earth they wanted to be. Their body language was disgraceful as was the way they were dressed. After all Blanche, they are the ‘first children’, right after the ‘first lady’.

Well, it seems that someone on staff also thought their behavior was unbecoming and stupidly posted as such on facebook. Here’s what she wrote:”…At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you.” Guess what? She lost her job. Doink. No comment on whether or not she was telling the truth. We leave that to you to decide.

Those of us living in Quebec had about ten minutes of peace since the last election. Here we go again. Honestly, this issue is like a bad smell that won’t go away. We are referring of course to the parti quebecois and its never-ending, endless and incessant desire to be the master of its own country. Pierre Karl Peladeau (PKP) announced that he’s running for the leadership of the party with his sole mandate of separating quebec from the rest of Canada.

Can we talk? We cannot figure this out. They lost the last election when that beauty, their previous leader Marois started talking about quebec currency, passport, borders etc. All because PKP opened his mouth about having a country for his children. And now he’s running for leadership of his party on this exact platform and thinks he’s winning an election? It’s a good thing his father was born before him. If he didn’t have money he would be a nobody. And, it seems he hasn’t done to well with the business his father handed over to him. And he’s going to run a province?

In the only in America department: The  World Trade center will soon be inaugurating a transportation hub. Its centerpiece, called the Oculus, would be larger than Grand Central’s main concourse, with a roof of two movable wings that could open to the sky. It was likened it to a bird taking flight. Now that’s very important. If those ‘wings’ are anything like the roof of the big Owe here, New Yorkers are never going to see those wings do anything but lie there, motionless at best, leak into the hub, or worse, drop little feathers onto the people below taking the train. That would certainly be a sight.

So guess how much this costs? Take a wild guess. So far, $4 billion with administrative costs alone — construction management, supervision, inspection, monitoring and documentation, among other items — exceeding $655 million. Like we said, only in America.

We’ll talk…