Monday, December 31, 2007

Celebrity deaths of 2007

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

Although there are those who would say that being bossy is your natural forte, it is nonetheless a fact that when it comes to organizational abilities and leadership skills, not many do it better than you. So go ahead and take control today.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

If we keep looking at an issue, especially if we are perfectionists, we start to lose patience. Well, as they say, a watched pot never boils. Try not to fiddle about with a situation that is better left alone.

Ed Mirvish in front of Royal Alexandra Theatre on Aug. 23, 1977. Mirvish bought the theatre in 1963.


Rheostatics, The

1980-2007. Passed into self-imposed retirement March 30, after a farewell performance at Massey Hall. One of Canada's pioneering indie-rock acts, the teenaged Rheos emerged from a couple of basements in the lakeside hinterland of Etobicoke to play their first show at the long-gone nightspot the Edge in 1980. From those humble beginnings hatched a success story that would see the quartet – Dave Bidini, Martin Tielli, Tim Vesely, Dave Clark (and his later replacements on the drums, Don Kerr and longtime collaborator Michael Philip Wojewoda) – become synonymous with pop Canadiana through such endeavours as a mythic prog-rock cover of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," composing a soundtrack for the Group of Seven's paintings and scoring the film adaptation of Paul Quarrington's Whale Music. Alas, not even the 1994 radio hit "Claire" and an arena tour with the Tragically Hip in 1996 could attract the larger audience the Rheostatics deserved, who were consistently alienated by being just a bit too strange. Survived by 13 terrific albums from Greatest Hits to 2067, Vesely's solo project, the Violet Archers, ongoing collaborations between Bidini (now a respected author) and Tielli and many mourning past members of the Green Sprouts Music Club.

Ben Rayner

Recordman, Sam The: 1961-2007

A victim of the music industry's digital-era nosedive and growing competition from "big box" retailers, the first and most famous Sam the Record Man location quietly went dark for good on Saturday, June 30.

The chain's late founder, Sam Sniderman, had been selling records from his brother's radio shop since 1937 when he moved to Yonge St. in 1961, eventually building the business into a nationwide chain of 130 stores.

A Mecca for hometown music lovers and a required stop for any record collector passing through, the flagship Sam's and the two enormous, neon-lit LPs on its sign became defining pieces of Toronto's urban iconography – enough so that the building and the signage were granted heritage status by the city after public outcry in June over the possibility that the famous, spinning discs were going up for auction. Survived by rivals HMV, Sunrise Records and not much else now that Music World has followed A&A, Records on Wheels, Tower and numerous other chains into oblivion. Mourned by record shoppers who have nothing to do on Boxing Day.

Ben Rayner

Season, Television (the second half)

Rest in Peace, the latter half of the 2007-08 American network TV season.

Slipped away quietly Nov. 5, of unnatural causes. No memorial service planned since mourners refuse to cross the picket lines. Survived by residual cable programming, hours of news and information, game shows, "reality," reruns and American Idol. But mostly American Idol. In lieu of flowers, the most significant contribution you could possibly make is to finally give Canadian programming a chance (that is, except for Canadian Idol).

Rob Salem

Passing of Ed Mirvish, William Hutt, Richard Bradshaw, June Callwood and others leaves big void
December 31, 2007

Charmion King, 81. Stage actress and wife of actor Gordon Pinsent. Jan. 6.

Pete Kleinow, 72. Ace steel guitar player with the Flying Burrito Brothers. Jan. 6.

Yvonne De Carlo, 84. Canadian actress who played Moses' wife in The Ten Commandments but achieved her greatest popularity on TV's The Munsters. Jan. 8.

Iwao Takamoto, 81. Artist who created Scooby-Doo. Jan. 8.

Carlo Ponti, 94. Plucked Sophia Loren from obscurity, married her and made her a huge star. Jan. 9.

Alice Coltrane, 69. Jazz performer and composer and wife of the late saxophone legend John Coltrane. Jan. 12.

Michael Brecker, 57. Versatile, influential tenor saxophonist who won 11 Grammys. Jan. 13.

Percy Saltzman, 91. CBC's first meteorologist was the first face to appear on Canadian English-language TV. Jan. 15.

Ron Carey, 71. Actor best known for his work as a cocky, height-challenged policeman on the 1970s TV comedy Barney Miller. Jan. 16.

Pookie Hudson, 72. Lead singer for doo-wop group the Spaniels (``Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight.'') Jan. 16.

Denny Doherty, 66. From the folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas; known for their smash hits "California Dreamin" and "Monday, Monday." Jan. 19.

Danny Finegood, 52. Prankster known for creative alterations of the Hollywood sign (Hollyweed, Ollywood, etc.). Jan. 22.

John Majhor, 53. Broadcaster, a staple of Toronto radio and TV during the 1970s and '80s. Jan. 23.

Tige Andrews, 86. Emmy-nominated actor; the captain in charge of ``The Mod Squad." Jan. 27.

Sidney Sheldon, 89. Best-selling American author, playwright and producer. Jan. 30

Molly Ivins, 62. Best-selling author, columnist and sharp-witted liberal. Jan. 31.


Joe Hunter, 79. Motown's first bandleader; Grammy winner with the Funk Brothers. Feb. 2.

Barbara McNair, 72. Pioneering black singer-actress; had her own TV variety show. Feb. 4.

Frankie Laine, 93. Many hits included the theme from the TV show Rawhide. Feb. 6.

Anna Nicole Smith, 39. Model and Playboy Playmate. Feb. 8.

Jim Paulson, 67. Oakville broadcaster, voice of the Molson Indy and Mosport racetrack. Feb. 13.

Ryan Larkin, 63. National Film Board animator, subject of Oscar-winning short Ryan. Feb. 14.

Robert Adler, 93. Co-inventor of the TV remote, the 1956 Zenith Space Command. Feb. 15.

Celia Franca, 85. Founder of the National Ballet of Canada. Feb. 19

Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, 89. German author; wrote autobiographical novel Das Boot. Feb. 22.


Doris Anderson, 85. Editor of Chatelaine magazine, Toronto Star journalist and women's rights advocate. March 2.

Brad Delp, 55. Lead singer for the band Boston. March 9.

Betty Hutton, 86. Best known for the title role in the movie musical Annie Get Your Gun. March 11.

Charles Harrelson, 69. Actor Woody Harrelson's father, sentenced to life for killing a federal judge. March 15.

Barbara Ann Tyler, 69. Former executive director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. March 19.

Calvert DeForest, 85. Gained cult status as the oddball Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's late-night television shows. March 19.

Rita Joe, 75. Known as the poet laureate of the Mi'kmaq nation. Mar. 19.


Bob Clark, 67. Film director best known for A Christmas Story and teen sex farce Porky's. April 4.

Stan Daniels, 72. Toronto-born producer and writer who worked on Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. April 6.

Kristine Bogyo, 60. Toronto cellist and founder of Mooredale Concerts. April 6.

Johnny Hart, 76. Cartoonist whose B.C. showed the humorous side of the Stone Age. April 7.

Harry Rasky, 78. Prominent Canadian filmmaker who co-founded the news documentary department at the CBC. April 10.

Kurt Vonnegut, 84. Satirical novelist who wrote works such as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle. April 11.

Roscoe Lee Browne, 81. Emmy-winning actor. April 11.

June Callwood, 82. Writer and social activist for children and women's issues. April 14.

Don Ho, 76. Entertainer who defined popular perceptions of Hawaiian music. April 14.

David Halberstam, 73. Journalist whose acclaimed books included towering study of Vietnam War, poignant portrait of aging baseball stars. April 23.

Bobby ``Boris'' Pickett, 69. One-hit wonder whose ``Monster Mash'' topped the charts in 1962. April 25.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96. American singer and actor whose credits stretched from Broadway musicals to a Marx Brothers movie and stints on TV game shows. April 25.

Jack Valenti, 85. White House aide went from politics to show business as head of the powerful Motion Picture Association of America. April 26.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80. Cellist, conductor and outspoken champion of artistic freedom in Russia. April 28.

Zola Taylor, 69. Singer with the Platters (``The Great Pretender''). April 30.

Tom Poston, 85. Comic who played clueless everyman on such U.S. TV shows as Newhart and Mork and Mindy. April 31.


Isabella Blow, 48. Editor whose outrageous outfits made her a beloved character in the British fashion industry. May 7.

Bobby Ash, a.k.a. Uncle Bobby, 82. Canadian children's television performer. May 20.

Charles Nelson Reilly, 76. Tony Award winner who later became known for his ribald appearances on The Tonight Show and various game shows. May 25.

Mark Harris, 84. Wrote four well-received baseball novels, including Bang the Drum Slowly, which became the basis of a 1973 movie. May 30.


Peter Simpson, 64. Stalwart of the Canadian film industry who produced 35 feature films, including Prom Night. June 5.

Oskar Morawetz, 90. Czech-born musician, one of Canada's most successful contemporary/classical composers. June 13.

Richard Bell, 61. Toronto pianist, composer and producer played with Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and The Band. June 15.

Thomas Iain Smith, 27. Edmonton-born singer for London indie band Chow Chow. June 24.

Joel Siegel, 63. Movie critic for Good Morning America. June 29.


Beverly Sills, 78. Opera diva with a dazzling voice, bubbly personality. July 2.

Boots Randolph, 80. His spirited saxophone made "Yakety Sax" a hit. July 3.

Signe McMichael, 86. Co-founder of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. July 4.

Ed Mirvish, 92. Toronto showman who created the most successful theatrical empire in Canadian history and Honest Ed's discount department store. July 11.

Bluma Appel, 87. Toronto philanthropist and advocate of the arts. July 15.

Tammy Faye Messner, 65. Helped then-husband Jim Bakker build an evangelism empire. July 20.

Ingmar Bergman, 89. Swedish director renowned as one of the greatest artists in cinema. July 30.

Tom Snyder, 71. Talk-show host whose smoke-filled interviews were a staple of late-night television. July 30.

Michelangelo Antonioni, 94. Italian director and symbol of art-house cinema with movies such as Blow-Up and L'Avventura. July 31.


Jacob Adams, 40. Mississauga-raised actor and screenwriter found dead in the Los Angeles home of actor Ving Rhames. Aug. 3.

Lee Hazlewood, 78. Singer, songwriter; produced Nancy Sinatra's ``These Boots are Made for Walkin'." Aug. 4.

Merv Griffin, 82. Big band-era crooner turned impresario who parlayed his Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune game shows into a multimillion-dollar empire. Aug. 12.

Richard Bradshaw, 63. General director for the Canadian Opera Company who presided over the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Aug. 15.

Max Roach, 83. Jazz drummer whose rhythmic innovations defined bebop. Aug. 16.

Keith Knight, 51. Canadian actor best known for his role as counsellor-in-training Larry Finkelstein in Meatballs. Aug. 22.

Doug Riley, 62. Composer, arranger and pianist often referred to as "Doctor Music" served as the musical director of the Famous People Players. Aug. 27.

Hilly Kristal, 75. His Manhattan club CBGB was birthplace of punk rock. Aug. 28.


Bruce Swerdfager, 79. Actor and theatrical manager was a Stratford Festival original. Sept. 4.

Madeleine L'Engle, 88. Author of children's classic A Wrinkle in Time. Sept. 6.

Luciano Pavarotti, 71. Vibrant high C's and ebullient showmanship made him one of the world's most-beloved tenors. Sept. 9.

Jane Wyman, 90. Actor who won an Oscar for Johnny Belinda in 1948, starred on the 1980s television series Falcon Crest and was the first wife of U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Sept. 10.

Joe Zawinul, 75. Austrian jazz keyboardist; one of the creators of jazz-rock fusion with Weather Report (``Birdland''). Sept 11.

Brett Somers, 83. Gravel-voiced wiseacre to naughty Charles Nelson Reilly on TV's Match Game. Sept. 15.

Robert Jordan, 58. Author of Wheel of Time novels. Sept. 16.

Marcel Marceau, 84. Revived the art of mime. Sept. 22.

Ken Danby, 67. Ontario painter known for his iconic hockey painting At The Crease. Sept 23.

Curtis Bailey, 64. Toronto community radio host known for his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz. Sept. 26.

Lois Maxwell, 80. Canadian-born actor best known for her role as the lovelorn secretary Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond films. Sept. 29.


Richard O'Brien, 59. Co-founder of Toronto's BamBoo nightclub. Oct. 14.

Teresa Brewer, 76. Singer who topped the charts in the 1950s with such hits as "Till I Waltz Again with You." Oct. 16.

Deborah Kerr, 86. Scottish-born actor best known for the 1953 film From Here to Eternity. Oct. 17.

Joey Bishop, 89. Stone-faced comic who found success in nightclubs, television and movies and Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack. Oct. 17

Milton Blake, 63. Host of Music Triangle on Toronto radio station CKLN. Oct. 18.

Peg Bracken, 89. Wrote hugely popular I Hate to Cook Book. Oct. 20.

David Adams, 79. Ballet dancer and founding member of the National Ballet of Canada. Oct. 24.

Patricia Crane, 72. Actor who played Col. Klink's sexy blonde secretary Hilda on Hogan's Heroes and married the show's star, Bob Crane. Oct. 14.

David Adams, 79. National Ballet of Canada's first male lead. Oct. 24.

Porter Wagoner, 80. Singer known for a string of country hits in the '60s, appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and for launching the career of Dolly Parton. Oct. 28.

Robert Goulet, 73. Canadian-raised baritone whose Broadway debut in Camelot launched an award-winning stage and recording career. Oct. 30.


John Francis Oscar Arpin, 70. Recording artist, composer and music director for TVO's Polka Dot Door. Nov.8.

Norman Mailer, 84. Prolific and controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning American author. Nov. 10.

Donda West, 58. Mother of singer Kanye West, after undergoing cosmetic surgery. Nov. 11.

James Barber, 84. Author and TV chef who appeared on CBC-TV for 10 years as The Urban Peasant. Nov. 11.

Ira Levin, 78. Best-selling novelist (Rosemary's Baby, The Boys From Brazil) Nov. 12.

Dick Wilson, 91. Canadian-raised actor and pitchman Mr. Whipple who begged customers, "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin." Nov. 19.

Paul Brodie, 73. Classical saxophonist was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1994. Nov. 19.

Kevin DuBrow, 52. Singer for Quiet Riot. Nov. 25.

Norm Hacking, 57. Toronto roots singer/songwriter and author. Nov. 25.

Jane Rule, 76. B.C.-based writer best known for her Desert of the Heart. Nov. 27.

Evel Knievel, 69. American motorcycle daredevil who became an international icon in the 1970s. Nov. 30.


Norval Morrisseau, 75. Anishnaabe artist, who often signed his canvases Miskwaabik Animiki or Copper Thunderbird. Dec. 4.

Pimp C, 33. Played key role in the rise of Southern hip hop. Dec. 4.

Ike Turner, 76. Rock innovator who teamed with wife Tina Turner (and denied abusing her). Dec. 12.

Dan Fogelberg, 56. Singer/songwriter helped define soft-rock. Dec. 16.

Don Chevrier, 69. Longtime, versatile sports broadcaster; Toronto Blue Jays first play-by-play announcer. Dec. 17.

John Harkness, 53. Now magazine's senior film writer. Dec. 19.

Helen McNamara, 88. Longtime jazz writer for the Toronto Telegram. Dec. 23.

Oscar Peterson, 82. World-renowned Montreal-born piano great, who lived in Mississauga for the latter part of his 50-year career. Dec. 23.

Two names that have caused me confusion in the past Sydney Sheldon versus Sheldon Leonard.

from the trailer for the film Another Thin Man (1939)

Sheldon Leonard as Nick the Bartender in Its A Wonderful Life

Sheldon Leonard (February 22, 1907January 10, 1997), born Sheldon Leonard Bershad in New York City, was a pioneering American film and television producer, director, writer, and actor.
As an actor, Leonard specialized in playing supporting characters, especially gangsters or "heavies", in films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Have You Set Your Goals In 2008?

"Hope Is Not A Strategy" D. Trump

There are 5 steps to achieving your goals

#1 set a goal

your ultimate projection of the Self Fulfilling Prophecy
#2 Crystallize Your Thoughts
In Writing Your Goals
#3 Develop a plan of action for each goal on a step by step basis.
#4 Develop the desire for the goals-get into motion=emotion
#5 Have the determination to stay with the plan, regardless of OPO
Other peoples opinion

Or any circumstances you find yourself in,
Its a mindset and you are stuck in it.

If you are not now making the progressing
that you expected in life
then you must change something.

Insanity is doing the same things over and over again a "loop" yet expecting different results?
Definition Of InSanity( paraphrased)

Be careful what you wish and hope for, You Will surely Achieve It, with positive self projection as
Paul J Meyer teaches

You can reverse the tide that has engulfed you and left you with only fragmented and frustrated dreams. For some, it may require only an adjustment or two that starts the ball rolling their way. For others, there could be a number of areas that need revamping.

The dangerous belief system that is keeping you stuck

Many people are unconsciously walking around with a belief system that is literally making it impossible for them to succeed! They’ve absorbed these beliefs without even realizing it and they’ve based all their decisions on them. As a result, these hidden, below the surface beliefs have taken a negative control over their destiny!

I know most people are really trying hard. They’re not lazy or without talent, nor do they lack the desire to get ahead. But no matter how much they try, they keep coming up short.

The fact is, you cannot get different results by doing the same things over and over again. Expecting different results from what didn’t work the first time … will not work this time!
Paul J Meyer

Change Is

Huge changes await me
my vision
involves huge changes

You could say that these were the visions of my wildest imagination for the coming year 2008.

And it starts here as I formalize my plans for the next year of my life.

Lets call it my Mexican adventure. After assessing all my options in life, I determined that my cousins family are the best family that I have had through-out the years.

Especially Junebug, and Cousin Melody. And my cousin (bigbrother) Frank who shared with me his vision of Paradise. PV Mexico! Same latitude as Hawaii. Mexico awaits me...

And if that is the best I can do in my life over the next 50 years, then I will die a contented happy man.

and my justification? Because so far all I have had is disappointment from my Son and my daughter. They don't fit my namesake family's view of how to treat one another. They are nothing like me and my family. So I took them out of "My Will" December 2007
Simply stated the way they have treated me over the years.
The disrespect and lack of love shown me during my years leading up to this Dec 30 2007,
They have been nothing less then shameful, I'm ashamed of both of them.

But let me tell you this its up to them if they get back into my Italian family.

Just shameful

An obvious defect from the 23 chromosomes offered up by their evil Irish mother.

I'm ashamed of both of You :-(


Its Up To You To Earn your way back into MY LIFE AND MY WILL LOL

So I'm off to a new life and whomever wants to be a part of my future,the line starts here

who is correct?

Marijuana smokers experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma.




but most the pot smokers I know are in a lot better lung condition than the ... THC is a bronchial dilator, which means it works like a cough drop

Or Here?

Or Here

Marijuana has the capability to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract due to containing irritants and carcinogens. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. It also produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their carcinogenic form, levels that may accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells. Marijuana users typically inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do; this increases the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. These facts suggest that, puff for puff, smoking marijuana may enhance the risk of cancer more than smoking tobacco does.

The Recovery Ranch

Smoking and Discomfort
09/14/99 by Philip1815

I have been a heavy pot smoker(every day, all day)for at least four years up until last january when my frequency dropped to occationally. Ive noticed lately that my lungs hurt from time to time. The pain can be described as a piercing one that usually occurs when I inhale. It is never a constant, it comes and goes and occurs in both lungs in different areas. I do have a history of bronchial conditions as well as distant family members who have had lung cancer. Ive since quit smoking completely, but it has only been a month. I am 25 years old and generally in good health. I take multivitamins everyday and run three times a week. Once my medical insurance takes effect at work I intend to see a doctor, but thats not for another two months.I am very concerned about this and would love to hear if youve heard about this before. My one comfort is that Ive got several friends some of whom are heavy ciggarette smokers who complain of the same symptoms, one of them even suggesting that its just tissue irritation that will go away if the smoking stops.

Have you heard of any such thing?

such as having more mucus, chronic cough.

Such conditions can roll out the welcome mat for microbes to actively "set up housekeeping" in your bronchial tube linings

Such bronchial infections are generally caused by the normal bacteria in your nose and throat which take advantage of your body’s lowered immunity. Your resistance to infection can be compromised by factors such as insufficient rest, smoke-filled rooms, emotional stress, unfamiliar foods, time zone changes, airline air, and many other assaults on our immune systems presented by modern life and travel. Such conditions can roll out the welcome mat for microbes to actively "set up housekeeping" in your bronchial tube linings, and - voila! Ð soon you are feverish, achy, and coughing up colored phlegm. Bronchitis!

(In the absence of inhaling hot smoke), your body will eventually clear itself of this bronchial infection; however, you have a great opportunity to speed up your own healing with the following strategies:

. (a) Get enough sleep. Our bodies heal when we sleep. (Children grow while they sleep.) If your body tells you to lie down and take a nap, listen to it. Napping even for ten minutes can boost your immune response.

(b) Consider taking a (high potency) multivitamin once daily, and vitamin C, 250-500 mg., twice daily. Utilize any antibiotic prescribed by the physician in the manner stated on the label, or via the physician’s verbal orders.

(c) Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and minimize your intake of refined sugars, hydrogenated oils and processed foods (foods out of packages and "fast foods").

2. A key to clearing the infection out of your lungs is to eliminate the mucus accumulations which make your cough and provide a good culture medium for bacterial growth. You and your physician will decide whether you should take an antibiotic for this case of bronchitis. However, whether or not you employ an antibiotic, you must take an active role in clearing this bronchial infection from your lungs. Antibiotics alone will not clear the mucus from your chest and one of the most self-defeating things a person with a lung infection can do is to breathe quietly all day and allow the infected secretions to remain within the bronchial tubes.

Speed up your healing by intentionally eliminating the secretions from your bronchial tubes with the following strategies:

(a) Thick secretions must be thinned. Make your lung secretions thinner by:

(i) making yourself well-hydrated by drinking plenty of clear liquids, such as water, tea, or fresh vegetable juices Ð no dairy products! So, drink a six-ounce glass of something clear and wet every one to two hours.

(ii) inhaling some steam twice daily for 15 minutes, such as deep breathing in a steamy shower, inhaling steam off a pot of boiled water, use of a vaporizer, etc. If you want to use menthol ("Vicks Vaporub," etc.) or eucalyptus oil, use only the tiniest amount.

(b) Once the bronchial secretions are thinner, they must be moved out of the lungs. You can accomplish this by taking advantage of the fact that when you take a deep breathe in your bronchial tubes open up (expand their diameter) and when you breathe out, your bronchial tubes close back down (resume normal diameter), thus, deep breathing provides a "milking" action that gets the mucus secretions moving upward to the throat where they may be coughed out, spit out, or swallowed.

(c) At a minimum, every hour, sit up straight and take five deep breaths. If it is comfortable, after the fifth breath, give a deep cough and eliminate as much bronchial secretion as possible.



This is our public service.

The Scope of Things Today

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

Disruptive planetary alignments have created fertile ground for discord. When the storm passes, the ensuing peace will be sweet.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Unless you enjoy stress, stop working yourself up over a matter beyond your control. Relax. It's all going to be just fine.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20) You are upset about a surprise sprung on you. A helpful Saturn alignment will restore stability to an area of your life.

What do you get when...

A sister and brother in law screw a sister and brother in law out of 1.2 Million Euros

My 2nd wifes story.

Her Italian Aunt Rose sells family farm and keeps all the money for her family.

Now that s a story for another day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Scope Of Things Today + For 2008


LEO (July 23–Aug. 22)

Something about the situation you face does not appeal but it is a trivial matter. It cannot outweigh your current overall advantage. Nothing will prevent you from climbing the ladder of success.

PISCES (Feb. 20–March 20)

You've been wrestling with a conundrum for many weeks. Solving this problem will make everything else in your life fall naturally into place. A free-flowing alignment between the sun and Saturn is clearing a direct path to success.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24–Nov. 22)

Your acquired wisdom, combined with a lovely alignment from Venus, will attract admirers. It will do wonders for your confidence.

As the Toronto Star astrologer, I anticipate 2008 won't be chalked up as just another year. The speed of change is accelerating and, as the changes continue, you will see you were born with a distinct and unique purpose. The awakening process has begun. You are getting tantalizingly close to finding true happiness. Miracles can happen. Miracles will happen.
The Stars Phil Booth

The Coming Year

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22)

Experiences that seem almost too good to be true will be yours to enjoy. You deserve them, so don't ever doubt it. There's a delightful development in your love life coming up. And there's also a chance to apply yourself to a task that fires your imagination, unleashes your creativity and makes you feel much more confident about what you have to offer the world.

PISCES (Feb. 20–March 20)

Saturn indicates you will become engaged in a test of strength, a tug-of-war or a power struggle. This will put you through some emotional and physical trials, but never for long and never with any serious implications. The sky is clear on one key point: You are destined to emerge as the undisputed victor!

SCORPIO (Oct. 24–Nov. 22)

Your biggest challenge will prove to be your greatest opportunity. An unwelcome development will end up giving your self-confidence a massive, well-earned boost and cause others to treat you with new respect. As a result, a project you have been plugging away at, more out of habit than hope, will gain a momentum of its own.

From hyperpower to new world disorder

From hyperpower to new world disorder

Chinese President Hu Jintao, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For the first time since the end of the Cold War, America isn’t alone on top. What’s replacing the unipolar world of the 1990s? A gang of five superpowers: China, Russia, India, the Eurozone and the U.S.
December 29, 2007

Feature Writer

"We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of our way."

Kevin Conrad, delegate from Papua New Guinea, at the Bali summit on climate change earlier this month, to a U.S. delegation that tried to thwart reforms agreed to by the other 185 nations present.

It became more apparent than ever this year that the U.S. is no longer the world's lone superpower. Instead, there are five superpowers that will define the world for at least the next half-century: the U.S., Chinam, India, Russia and a united Europe.

The news came home to Americans on Main St. from tainted Chinese products to the fact that practically every toy sold in America comes from Red China. Boston seniors on group tours of the great capitals of Europe were humbled to discover that their greenbacks had shrivelled in value to 60 per cent of the local currency. And New Yorkers were taken aback that the credit crisis arising from cascading defaults on U.S. subprime mortgages had so weakened the balance sheets of leading financial institutions in the Big Apple that the likes of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch had sought bailouts from state-owned investment funds in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Canadians felt it, too, in a 15 per cent gain against the greenback.

That America was not in charge in Iraq was widely known for some time. That American global hegemony had severely dissipated was news. Nor was it of the passing variety, like the 1970s U.S. economic "stagflation" that inflated the German and Swiss currencies; or the Japanese boom a decade later in which Tokyo parking spots fetched $90,000.

This was different. Mandarins in Brussels now passed judgment on merger proposals between American companies, not hesitating to block them on antitrust grounds. Chinese oil interests in Sudan made Beijing intransigent about Western meddling in Darfur. Russia wouldn't abide Washington's sanctions on Iran. India insisted upon, and received, U.S. support of its nuclear arms program despite predictable outrage from Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the pursuit of Al Qaeda. It was either that or have New Dehli turn to the Russians. To an unprecedented degree, decisions affecting America were being made elsewhere. A mere 16 years after attaining its lone-superpower status, the crown had slipped, and America's destiny is now shaped by a new world disorder of five superpowers.

All five members of this new quintet are nuclear powers. All but one, India, have veto power at the United Nations. Collectively, the four non-U.S. superpowers have 10 times the population of the U.S. The European economy has eclipsed that of the U.S., and those of China and India will do so by mid-century. The imperial legacy of many EU members and of Russia provide them a lingering influence from Indonesia to Zaire to Brazil that the U.S., whose experiences with colonizing have been reluctant and short-lived, cannot match.

The resentment of what the French labelled "the U.S. hyper-power" in the 1960s subsided in the 1990s. The Europeans were preoccupied with their unification project. China and India were experimenting with a free-market model to replace sclerotic command economies. And by the early years of this decade, Russian recovery from the upheaval of the Soviet breakup was manifesting itself in a new national pride and respect for a decisive Vladimir Putin.

The aim of the four new superpowers has been the same: to unleash, under the banner of patriotism, the potential economic prowess of a nation or region, and in doing so to claim a role on the world stage equal to that of the U.S. Here's Tony Blair, who revered Britain's "special relationship" with the U.S. more than most of his predecessors. "A single-power world is inherently unstable," Blair said back in 2005. "That's the rationale for Europe to unite.

"We are building a new superpower. The European Union is about the projection of collective power, wealth and influence. When we work together, the European Union can stand on par as a superpower and a partner with the U.S."

The euro has been the world's strongest currency since 2005. But not until this year did everyone from OPEC to the People's Bank of China to rock stars flirt with abandoning the U.S dollar – the world's undisputed reserve currency since the end of World War II – in favour of a euro that has soared to a current $1.48 (U.S.)

It was a year of new boondoggles coming to light in the U.S. occupation of Iraq; and of U.S. diplomatic setbacks in Pakistan, China, Turkey, Burma, the Middle East – almost everywhere the U.S. has tried to exert influence. But then, America's deficient military and intelligence capabilities have removed the big stick behind diplomatic threats.

America now is the world's largest borrower, and China the biggest creditor nation.

As everyone but the White House acknowledges, it's difficult to have much impact in pressuring China on its under-valued currency, its military buildup and its human-rights record when that country is also your biggest banker.

World leaders have been putting distance between themselves and Washington ever since the U.S. occupation of Iraq, embarked upon with a theological righteousness that alienated the secular Europeans, and based on assumptions seemingly designed to salvage the reputations of Barbara Tuchman's cast of feckless leaders in The March of Folly.

But this year, world leaders lost their reticence and subjected Washington to a parade of embarrassments. Kevin Rudd, the new Australian PM, isolated the U.S. on global warming by embracing a Kyoto Protocol that incoming U.S. president George W. Bush trashed in 2001. Gordon Brown, the new British PM, used the occasion of his first state visit to Washington to state that Afghanistan, not Iraq, is the central front in the battle against Islamic extremists. Bush watched in stony silence as America's staunchest ally in the Iraq invasion bluntly repudiated an assertion the U.S. president has been making for five years.

As Russia has slipped into autocracy, and shipped uranium to Iran this fall over U.S. objections, Bush has been reduced to tacitly endorsing Russian actions the U.S. is powerless to control. After his first encounter with the Russian president, Bush famously said he had looked into Putin's heart and found a man he could work with. In an angry Munich speech earlier this year, Bush's soulmate excoriated the U.S. for "an almost uncontained hyper-use of force . . . that is plunging the world into an abyss of conflicts."

America's foreign policy impotence hit a nadir in Pakistan, where Washington's full-court-press diplomacy failed to prevent the leader of an unreliable but nonetheless vital ally in the struggle against Al Qaeda from imposing martial law and imprisoning his country's supreme court justices. In one go, with its continued support of Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf, America has turned its back on supposed goals of promoting democracy, punishing nuclear proliferators, and taking a hard line against nations harbouring large populations of Al Qaeda operatives.

"No [U.S.] president will ever have handed over a worse international situation than George W. Bush," says Richard Holbrooke, the former U.N. ambassador in the Clinton administration and adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Which is to suggest that America can reclaim its lone superpower status by simply installing a new president in 2009 who will extricate the U.S. from Iraq and sign Kyoto 2.0, to be negotiated over the next two years.

America lost its chance at enduring supremacy in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, which coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then-U.S. president George H.W. Bush spoke at the time of creating a "New World Order" of universal peace and mutual prosperity.

Had it only chosen then to redeploy its massive defence and foreign aid budgets to humanitarian causes, rather than propping up its military allies, America could have secured its new found global supremacy by simply setting a good example.

Instead, the lone-superpower era began with a unilateral, botched invasion of Somalia and ended with the Project For The New American Century, a late-1990s doctrine of preserving U.S. hegemony by overthrowing unfriendly regimes – a moronic vision that nonetheless manifested itself in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, with Iran as the regime-changers' next target.

In the Middle East, which has some of the youngest populations in the world, the past two generations have come of age with the belief that America is antagonistic to Muslims, a proposition reinforced by America`s invasion of two Muslin nations in the space of three years. And a new generation of Europeans – the "E generation," as author T.R. Reid labels it in his bestselling United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy (2005) – has grown up with the isolationism of the 1990s U.S. Republican Congress and the calamitous unilateralism of George W. Bush.

Plainly, the U.S. has failed to lead on climate change; genocide; nuclear proliferation; human rights; and the other most pressing global concerns for so long it has effectively ceded its claim to the "benign hegemony" that still shapes America's regard of its impact on the world.

And Americans know it, at least in Bill Clinton's view. In the 1990s, then-president Clinton declared that "America is the indispensable nation." In a Charlie Rose interview earlier this month, a Clinton who has grown more internationalist in retirement from the White House, said, "The American people now know something they've never known before. In their bones they know that there's almost no problem we can solve all by ourselves – terror, war and peace, nuclear proliferation, climate change, you name it. They know we have to do this in a co-operative way."

Gwynne Dyer, heralding the end of America's lone-superpower status, has warned that "Seeing the United States reduced to only one great power among others cannot be a prospect that appeals to American strategic thinkers of a traditional bent – so what is their grand strategy for averting it?

"They must have one," the London-based global military analyst wrote. "Paramount powers facing relegation always have one, although it rarely stays the same for long and it never, ever works. There is no way of stopping China and India from catching up with the current Lone Superpower without nuking their entire economies."

Without exception, the emerging superpowers have achieved that status by tending to the home front, where much work remains to be done. China is the world's second-largest CO2 emitter, trailing only the U.S. India has the world's largest population of poor people. Europe has national licence plates, birth certificates and a lottery played from Krakow to Liverpool, but lacks a foreign policy and has a nascent army of just 60,000 troops. Russia's regard for investors, whose property it expropriates on a whim, will have to change for the country's entrepreneurial forces to be fully unleashed.

The same focus on domestic shortcomings would serve America well. The factors undermining its prosperity and global influence are almost all self-inflicted. There is more at stake here than even the current crop of presidential candidates seem to realize. They all talk of restoring America's respect in the world, with no apparent sense that a big part of the problem is that the world is increasingly less inclined to regard America as "the shining city on the hill" that Ronald Reagan invoked.

With strikingly little notice, David Walker, head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, spoke in August about disturbing parallels between today's America and the decline of the Roman Empire. Among the similarities Walker cited were "declining values and political civility at home, an overconfident and overextended military in foreign lands, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government."

Even in a world without budding rivals, the American superpower would still be jeopardized by its "unsustainable" disregard for tackling rundown schools and inner-city neighbourhoods, a yawning gap between rich and poor, and a route to citizenship for the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

Even superpowers are fragile once the rot of complacency sets in. "It's time to learn from history," Walker said, "and take steps to ensure that the American republic is the first to stand the test of time."

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