Earth-shaking news

Welcome back!!
Having just survived the 5.0 magnitude earthquake here in Ottawa....it gives new meaning to the phrase 'earth-shaking news'.

First some random thoughts.....

Spitzer lands on CNN

1. CNN's announcement that disgraced New York Governor Eliott Spitzer will be co-anchoring the 8 pm Campbell Brown slot with the Pulitzer prize-winning conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, reinforces the downward spiral that these cable talk programs have been on for many years. The other disgraced Governor, Rod Blagojevich, at least had the dignity (if I can use that word with a straight face) to end up on an entertainment show - Celebrity Apprentice. Although Fox News' hiring of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin might be a more apt comparison to the Spitzer gig, in the end it's all about ratings. Campbell Brown had the good grace to admit that she just couldn't deliver the ratings required for such a prime-time slot.

Supreme Court throws out charges against Conrad Black 

2. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Conrad Black's favor, ruling that the appeals court had treated him unfairly. Watch for the ultimate dropping by the District Court of the three mail fraud charges (the 'honest services' charges, and for him to be released, as he has already served 27 months - longer than the obstruction of justice charges would have warranted. Regardless of the vituperative anger that has been aimed at Mr. Black by the usual suspects, in my view he has served his sentence with dignity and forbearance, making constructive use of his time and maintaining a stoic view that ultimately justice would prevail.

The BP saga goes on...and on....and on 

3. As BP and their beleaguered CEO Tony Hayward continue to squirm under the media spotlight, it looks like the PR debacle continues unabated (never mind the oil in the Gulf). When word came out that BP was about to announce a shuffle involving Mr. Hayward, I immediately thought, "okay BP gets it and is going to remove Mr. Hayward as his brand has been completely destroyed." But no.......instead they named Bob Dudley will be taking over day-to-day operations of the spill management. That's a partial solution at best. As we then saw, Mr. Hayward's weekend participation in a yacht race drew another round of grief that BP could have done without. Even Rahm Emanuel got into the act saying, "Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting, after a long line of PR gaffes..."
Gotta love the under-statement!

Generals behaving badly....
Perhaps it's the craziness of Afghanistan that led to this but, Canadians and Americans have witnessed some disasters which have befallen their respective military commanders in Afghanistan - off the field of battle, but just as lethal to their careers.
The Canadian General is Gen. Dan Menard, who was unceremoniously relieved of command for allegedly inappropriate relations with someone who reports to him in Kandahar. Even without a charge being laid or a chance to defend himself, he was out of there so fast it was shocking to behold.

With news that ISAF Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been relieved of command, you gotta wonder what's in the water over there in Afghanistan?! [Actually about a trillion dollars worth of minerals, as it turns out....but besides that!] Take a look at the Rolling Stone article that was Gen. McChrystal's undoing: Rolling Stone Article on Gen. McChrystal

Anyway President Obama moved quickly to change the channel and installed General Patraeus immediately. In the end, it was the only decision he could have made, as the issue had quickly become the principle of civilian command. Why did Gen. McChrystal and his aides say these things in the presence of a reporter? In a word, hubris. Surrounding himself with acolytes and developing a world view that he knew what needed to be done, and that he knew better than his civilian masters, this was inevitable.

Lessons for all in that one!

As the world leaders - and protestors - descend on Toronto for the G8 and G20, there's never a dull moment!

Until next time....

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