Thursday, May 31, 2007

About 8 weeks ago Molly spied "Mr. and Mrs. Bunny" in her back yard munching on the pellets and carrots that Molly provides. Today I saw the issue of this "date" as Molly spotted the presumed mother and one of her progeny coming to the feeding station. Neat and double neat, though it doesn't beat the time that the rabbit made a nest in the middle of the back yard.
Also Molly saw an interesting example of what she presumes is agonistic behavior amongst the squirrels that frequent the two feeding stations that Molly has set up. Basically there was one squirrel in the tree that Molly could observe and another on the ground that she only caught a brief glimpse of. The squirrel in the tree showed little fear of Molly, actually responding to her pathetic attempts at squirrel imitation with interest. Both these individuals were red squirrels. There are also one or two grey squirrels who visit Molly's feeding stations. These spend much more time on the ground than the red squirrels do. Molly has yet to train any of the squirrels to come and take nuts out of her hand though she has had success it getting them to come when called over the years.
Anyways, the squirrel in the tree that I stopped to observe went through a ritual of first stamping his (or her) front feet while at the same time flashing his (or her) tail rapidly back and forth against the tree trunk like a cat may do when marking territory. The tree area is too far up for Molly to climb and see if it is wet. This was alternated with stamping of the front feet without the tail flashing. All this time there was a low level of vocalization. Eventually the squirrel on the ground "fled" to the next yard.
This behavior is quite different than that I have observed in mating times of the squirrels. Molly presumes that it is territorial display behavior, though she may be wrong on this supposition (Molly is best familiar with the behavior of gophers). This seems like something to look up. More on this later.

Molly almost forgot to mention the controversy about how this month's 'Blue Moon' will be named. The following are the English and native American names for the full Moon of May:
Milk Moon
Flower Moon
Corn Moon
Corn Planting Moon
Hare's Moon
And these are the names for the full Moon of June:
Flower Moon
Strawberry Moon
Rose Moon
Planting Moon
Take your pick, but try and see the Moon anyhow.
This night the Moon will be full at 8:04 Winnipeg time, 1:05 June 1st GMT. Molly is impatient to get back to her Moon tour from previous months, but Molly has seen the Moon only three times in the past two weeks. The Winnipeg Environment Canada people say that we have only had one clear day in that time, but a couple of other nights have been at least semi-clear, though the lunar view was quite obscured. Hopefully I'll be able to put something up here in the next few days as the weather report says clear conditions for this weekend.

The constellation Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair) is very much a minor constellation. It was originally considered to be a tuft of hair on the tail of Leo. This constellation is a little bit to the east of Denebola in Leo and is also a bit further towards the zenith from Virgo. It contains only one named star, alpha Comae Berenices, known as Diadem, representing the gem in Berenice's hair. This is a white main sequence star of apparent magnitude 4.3 and is about 43 light years distant. This is actually a binary star, and the pair are very close to each other, with an orbital period of 25.8 years.
The origins of the name of this constellation date to the time of Ptolemy III of Egypt (246-221 BCE). His wife was Berenice II, daughter of Magas, king of Cyrene. Ptolemy III continued the work of his father Ptolemy II in advancing the city of Alexandria and its famous library(later destroyed by Christian rioters). About 243 Ptolemy set out on a campaign against the Seleucids and his wife vowed to sacrifice her hair for the success of this expedition. When he returned victorious she cut off her hair and placed it in a temple of Aphrodite. The same night the hair disappeared, and through the offices of the court astrologer 'Conon' the laxity of the priests was "explained" by saying that the goddess was so pleased that she took the hair up into the heavens as a constellation. One for the clergy. Negative one for the aristocracy. Nobody ever said you had to be smart to be king.
Coma Berenices was mentioned in ancient sources, but the astronomer Ptolemy (no relation to the king) didn't refer to it as a constellation even though he called it a "lock" (of hair). The Greek Eratosthenes referred to it both as "Adriane's hair" and "Berenice's hair". The modern opinion of this as a separate constellation dates to Tycho Brahe who listed it as such in his catalogue of 1602.
While being quite dim and lacking brilliant stars this constellation is not without interest. When you look at Coma Berenices you are looking "north" across the galactic plane, perpendicular to the arms of the Milky Way. This means that you have a clear view of the regions beyond our own galaxy. On the border of Coma Berenices and Virgo their are numerous other galaxies visible in better telescopes . Some are visible to the amateur and are listed as Messier objects. There are actually eight Messier objects in this constellation, of which 7 are galaxies.
If you are a more advanced amateur astronomer than Molly is go to for a tour of the stars, galaxies, clusters and extra-solar planets so far discovered in Coma Berenices.

According to a report in USA Today today the Chinese government has "mounted a spirited defense of the country's food and drug safety system". The government spokesman, Li Yuanping, shifted the blame to US officials for "lax procedures" that allow them to accept imports that are not officially approved by the Chinese government. Partly true I guess, but a typical blame shifting tactic. The spokesman also "claimed" that 99% of Chinese food exports to the USA "met quality standards", a figure that was slightly higher than the rate of US exports to China. This is actually quite bizarre, as the first statement admits that the Chinese government has no handle on what is actually exported (enough to give an old style Stalinist diarrhea). The spokesman is also quite aware of how little of the Chinese exports are actually "inspected" on arrival in the USA. Sounds to Molly like the invention of utterly fantastic "statistics" with no factual basis. Even more incredibly Li tried to shift blame for the recent deaths in Panama from cough syrup tainted with antifreeze to the Panamanians who supposedly "falsified the scope of use and shelf life of the product". Cough, cough,cough, cough. NOW this ignorant ex-chemist Molly knows that antifreeze goes "outdated" and only becomes poisonous then. As to the "scope" of the product maybe this refers to some sort of thing like "not meant as a sole source of fluids". Who the hell knows. Great as a comedy routine I guess, though the American FDA has been unintentionally funny at times during the pet food recall crisis.
Anyways, as a public service, here is a list of some brands of toothpaste manufactured in China that "responsible authorities" (cough) might want to check for diethylene glycol contamination. These are from the Global Source listing, and they don't pretend to be a complete list. According to one Chinese report as far back as 2005 China was the world's leading producer of toothpaste, exporting to over 80 countries. In 2005 China produced 5.2 billion tubes of toothpaste. Not that the Chinese are entirely at fault because foreign firms have set up production in the Peoples' Republic since the 1990s.
So, here's the preliminary list. In the following the abbreviation "GLEG" refers to the Guangzhou Liby Enterprise Group:
Brand Supplier
Herbal Essense Toothpaste GLEG
2-Fluoride and calcium Toothpaste GLEG
Blue Sky Toothpaste GLEG
Bamboo Toothpaste GLEG
Crystal Toothpaste GLEG
Superclear Crystal White Toothpaste GLEG
Crystal Herbal Toothpaste GLEG
Pear-Light Toothpaste GLEG
Liby 2-Fluoride and Calcium Toothpaste GLEG
Pearl Toothpaste GLEG
As the reader can see this represents only the brands distributed by one supplier. Some of these may only be available in China, but the reader should take note of the name "Herbal Essence" in the above list. More on this later as Molly searches it down and expands it.

While prowling the internet on matters Chinese in relation to the pet food crisis Molly came upon this very interesting Chinese website; Danwei. This site has a recent comment on the matter of poisoned pet food and how it relates to the continued problem of food safety in China by the Chinese blogger Lian Yue. The site also contains independent comment on many other matters pertaining to the Middle Kingdom. Not a flaming radical site by any measure but simply evidence that independent thought in China is not dead. News about internet censorship in China is routinely featured.
Speaking of which, Molly continues to receive regular hits from China(and Hong Kong and Macao). Whatever the "result" kicked out by the Great Firewall of China site that I commented on earlier it appears that Molly's Blog at least is not censored in China. One hit even came through via a Google search for "anarchist news". When I open a Chinese version of this blog the name will probably be 'Mol Yee'. Bad joke I'm sure.


On Aoril 30th a majority of workers at National Logistics Services in Mississauga, Ontario applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to join the union UNITE HERE. They had not received pay raises in two or three years and lacked any fair process to move from casual to permanent employment. There were many other grievances as well. The response of the company was to hire an US based union buster firm. The employees were subjected to an intensive propaganda and intimidation campaign that resulted in a failed vote for the union one week after the original petition for certification. Daily "struggle sessions" of anti-union lectures would last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours-compulsory of course.

National Logistics Services is an "expediter" and distributor for the garment industry, arranging packaging and deliveries. The people at Union Voice have initiated a campaign to pressure one of their major customers, American Eagle Outfitters, to express their displeasure with the tactics used by NLS. American Eagle Outfitters is NLS's major customer, and they pride themselves on their "ethical business standards". To read more or to join this campaign go to


More news on the melamine front yesterday. In a news release the FDA announced that there has been a voluntary recall of livestock, fish and shrimp feeds produced by two companies, Tembec BTLSR of Toledo, Ohio and Uniscope of Johnstown, Colorado. In these cases the melamine was presumably used as a binding agent to make the pellets hold together (though it would, as an aside, increase the "apparent" protein content of the feeds). These two companies are American, and this recall involves no Chinese ingredients. It should also be noted that the addition of melamine to these products is a long standing practice, and one wonders why it took almost three months for this to become public since the beginning of the pet food crisis. Melamine is not approved as a feed additive. Tembec is a subsidiary of the Montreal based forestry company of the same name. The FDA also reports that the feed products of these two companies also contain urea-formaldehyde resin, most commonly used in insulation. No notice of these recalls appears on the webpages of the companies mentioned as of this morning.

On another front there is an article today on the Reuters News Agency that reports on the cost of the scandal to Menu Foods. The direct costs, excluding lost sales and possible legal costs are so far about $45 million. As for more serious penalties the China Daily reported yesterday that an article in the Peoples' Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, called the death sentence of former Chinese drug czar Zheng Xiaoyu a "warning to other officials". This is further evidence of the determination of the Chinese government to try and at least "be seen" as addressing problems, even if the solution of terror rather than addressing systematic problems is inadequate.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Here's another clatch of items from the anarcho-world that have gained Molly's notice in the last little while. In no particular order:

A: The Anarkismo site has an interesting new article by Wayne Price entitled 'Decentralism, Centralism, Marxism and Anarchism:The problem of Marxist Centralism'. The article goes into details of the history of Marxist attitudes towards both democracy and centralism, finding the Marxists most at fault for being "procentralist" whatever its attitude towards democracy.

B: The memoirs of Chaim Leib Weinberg 'Forty Years in the Struggle:The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist' are now online at . This is a joint project of Wooden Shoe Books and the Dead Anarchists project.

C: There is an online version of Cause Commune, the French language journal of NEFAC in Quebec. The Quebec comrades distribute 3,000 copies of this paper free in their province. To read online(a lire en ligne) go to

D: The Libertarian Book Club of New York City is now planning an observance for this August 23rd, the eightieth anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, to be held in Union Square where people gathered these 80 years ago to protest this judicial assassination.

E: Anarchists in Victoria BC are planning their annual Anarchist Book Fair. It will be held on September 7th to 9th at 749 Pandora Ave. in Victoria. Like the Montreal anarchists they are also planning for a Festival of Anarchy in the week following. To see more about this event go to its website at .

F: The University of Buenas Aires, Facultad de Filosophia y Letras, the Center for Global Justice and the Argentina Autonomista Project are organizing a conference on July 19th to 21st entitled 'The Workers' Economy:Self Management and the Distribution of Wealth' at the University of Buenas Aires, Argentina. Queries in Spanish to and in English to . Further information in

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Reuters news alert dated earlier today reports that a Costa Rican retailer has handed over about three metric tonnes of the Chinese made toothpastes Excel and Mr. Cool to authorities following earlier raids in several Central American countries. Molly estimates that this represents about 23,000 tubes. Whether other brands of toothpaste are manufactured in China is still an open question.
Speaking of China the English language China Daily reports today that the former director of China's Food and Drug Administration has been sentenced to death today for taking bribes and dereliction of duty. The death penalty was imposed on the graft charge, and the dereliction of duty charge resulted in a sentence of 7 years. (One wonders if this is to be served before or after execution or whether his body parts will be held in detention after execution) The bribes taken by Zheng Xiaoyu were worth more than $850,000 US. They were paid either directly or through his wife and son who are also facing separate charges.
Zheng was head of the State Pharmaceutical Administration from 1994 to 1998 and head of the State Drug Administration from 1998 to 2003. He was appointed head of the State Food and Drug Administration in 2003 and retired in 2005 at the age of 59. Some of Zheng's former subordinates presented evidence against him. One, Hao Heping, has already been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and others are still under investigation.
China has experienced immense difficulties with corruption since its turn towards a market economy, and the ruling Communist Party routinely sanctions anti-corruption drives. Few top officials, however, are caught up in the net and fewer still are executed. Those sentenced to the maximum penalties are usually people far below the rank of somebody like Zheng. Molly has to say here that however deficient the Chinese ruling class may be in efficiency they more than make it up in severity. The problem is that the rot that they are trying to purge is so all pervasive that simple terror does little to stop it.

The latest issue of Anarcho-Syndicalist Review (Spring, 2007, #46) has just coming hopping like the spring bunny into Molly's mailbox. The mag is up to its usual high standards and is chock full of news, analysis and history. Major articles include 'Being Wrong is No Hindrance When You Empower the Rich', a debunking of the economics of Milton Friedman and how it was applied under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. A book review of 'Debunking Economics:The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences' by Steve Keen expands this discussion into other aspects of economics other than those of Friedman. There's also 'Anarchists in the Italian Factory Occupations', about Italy in the early part of the 20th century. There are two articles on Africa. One is 'Systems Crashing, People Pushing Back: A Survey of Struggles and Issues in Four African States'. Another is 'Travels Through Africa' , centred around Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.
There's also reportage from the recent World Social Forum in Nairobi, 'Clouds of Complicity &Compromise or Swords of Justice & Solidarity' and, stemming from this, a call for a new international "Chartism" in the article titled 'Towards a Global Labor Charter Movement-Starting With the World Social Forum 2007.
Short news items, book reviews, an obituary of Murray Bookchin and numerous announcements of events round out this fine issue.
The website of Anarcho-Syndicalist Review is . Subscriptions are $15 US for four issues, $2 extra fro subs outside of the USA. Cheques payable to Anarcho-Syndicalist Review. Mailing address is Box 42531, Philadelphia PA 19101, USA. Back issues and bundle orders are available.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A report in the May 26th edition of USA Today says that the reason why Menu Foods was barred from communicating with people who had lawyers to handle their case against the company was that US District Judge Noel Hillman ruled that the calls were "aggressive" and "harassing". Menu had automated dialing systems set up to phone plaintiffs not just through the week but also on weekends. Menu hired an Atlanta Georgia insurance adjuster, Crawford, to put pressure on the owners of dead pets. They attempted to get owners to sign waiver releases to waive their right to be represented by a lawyer. The Itchmo Blog recently posted a letter from the law firm of Blim and Edelson who represent many of the people suing Menu Foods giving further details of how Menu was harassing plaintiffs.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world today's issue of the China Daily reports on 'A System to Be Set Up' for regulating food recalls in that country. The final draft of this regulation is expected to be ready by the end of this year. The article presents what is, in fact, a fairly weak response on the part of Chinese authorities, but they are at least trying to improve. It will be interesting to see if they beat the USA to the post in terms of improved regulations, or, as reported previously on this blog, they simply do "something" while the USA "does nothing" and allows its House and Senate bills to die a quiet death.

The Harper Index has an interesting new article on how Conservative policy towards health and technology issues is driven by ideology rather than science. From the closing down of the Vancouver safe injection site, through the cancellation of the federal prison safe-tattoo program to politically stacking appointments to Canada's reproduction technology board there is a clear trend to putting ideological issues as a priority over those of health. To read more go to the article at


An article in today's Chicago Tribune discusses how pet food buyers are switching from the big labels to premium foods made locally by small players in the industry. Many manufacturers of "organic", locally sourced or human food grade pet foods are capturing an increasing share of the market in the wake of the contaminated pet food scare. Sales of "natural or organic" pet foods have climbed 20 to 25% since March according to the American Pet products Manufacturers Association cited in the article. Some producers such as those interviewed by the Tribune have seen much higher spikes in sales. Before the recall began speciality producers held only 2 to 3% of the market, but this is rapidly changing. Go to the article to read more.
Meanwhile the recalls of diethylene glycol contaminated toothpaste keep popping up in mare countries. An article from yesterday's Associated Press reports that Nicaragua has seized toothpaste smuggled in from Panama. This toothpaste was previously intercepted in Costa Rica, and the article says that there is a possibility that it entered Honduras and Columbia as well.

Sunday, May 27, 2007



Pickings seem rather slim at this weekend,s Carnival of Anarchy blog carnival. So far only three submissions. Hey you, yung' feller, why don't you step right up here and try your hand at the carnival game. Look here, I give you a free throw... what do you have to lose ?


It's been a little while since Molly has cruised over to Scary Squirrel World, the ultimate source for the only conspiracy theory that makes any sense. To make up for this here is the latest on the Skwrerll conspiracy to take over the world:



Monday, may 14th, 2007, 11:20:08 PM

It was a crazy scene in Port Saint John, Brevard County, Florida after a squirrel went on the attack. Folks at a Port St. John pharmacy say the squirrel was on a woman's leg and would not let go. It stayed on her as she walked into the store and a man inside tried to swat it off her. That is when the squirrel attacked him. Then another woman tried to help but was attacked so severely by the animal that she had to go to the hospital.

Carroll Williams witnessed the attack, she said,"It was on her leg. Bit her leg. it was on her back, scratched her back. Scratched her on one of her arms. I was scared, glad it didn't jump on me. I've never seen one act like that before."

Store employees were able to corral the squirrel into a basket and built a barricade out of soda boxes until animal control officers were able to take it away. Animal control officers on the scene say they are not sure why the squirrel attacked."

Scary Squirrel World goes on to comment,

"Patriots, it's hardly a surprise that the animal control officers at the scene claimed they didn't know why the shwerl attacked. But could it be that their ignorance was feigned ? After all, aren't they supposed to be experts in animal control and behavior ? Might it not be that these "officials" are really minions of squirrel world domination who spirited the slavering nutzy bravo away before it could be interrogated ?

And what secret(s) are they keeping in the cage they hauled off to who knows where ? Well, we say it's no coincidence that the Kennedy Space Center is just a few short minutes away..."

The anarchists, busy little beavers that they are, continue to produce news and events in rapid fire. Here are some of the latest:
In Montreal, according to an article in a-Infos, the Workers' Solidarity Network(WSN), is planning an "effective and disruptive picket line" on the occasion of the Bell shareholders' meeting on Wed., June 6th, at the Mount Royal Centre. This will be a protest against the layoffs, pension reductions, and reduction of hours imposed by Bell Canada Enterprises and its affiliates such as Aliant and Connexion. The company actually sees the elimination of pension benefits coming about by 2016. The WSN organized a previous protest on May 18th.
Also in Montreal there will be an 'Anti-Imperialist Consulta' on June 3rd at the UQAM, Room R-R110, to coordinate actions over the summer of 2007. For more information see the Block the Empire Site at (French version at ). Events already planned include a mobilization against 'Atlantica' (a project to create a free trade zone in the northeast of North America. This will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from June 14th to June 16th. On June 22nd there will be a day of action in Quebec City to protest the deployment of 2,000 soldiers from the Royal 22nd regiment of Valcartier to Afghanistan. For more information on this action go to . There are also plans for a day of solidarity on June 29th across Canada to show support for native land claims and sovereignty. Finally, on August 21st and 22nd there will be a demonstration in Montebello, Quebec against the meeting of the Security and Prosperity Partnership and the state visits of George Bush, Stephan Harper and Felipe Calderon to Quebec.
More anarcho-news later.



A recent article in the Baltimore Sun reports on how the tainted pet food crisis made some internet sites that were previously obscure into valuable resources for the public, more valuable in Molly's opinion than the official sites that produced endless streams of reassurances that turned out to be wrong. As the news story developed and grew it was the blogosphere that became the most reliable source of up to date and reliable news. Such blogs as Pet Connection, Itchmo Blog, Howl911, The Pet Food List and Pet Food Tracker became a much more immediate and reliable source of information than official sites such as the FDA. These sites also had a political effect as they mobilized public opinion in support of Senator Richard Durbin's and Representative Rosa DeLauro's bills on tightening regulatory control of the pet food industry.

The article relates how the Itchmo Blog, named after the owner's (Ben Huh) dog's desire to be constantly scratched, went from a monthly number of hits of 350 in February to over 1.5 million hits in two weeks when the pet food recall began. The sites dug out and highlighted matters that were embarrassing to corporations and government agencies alike. Seems like the internet has become a very much real tool in politics, at least around this matter.

Then there are things about this recall and other exports from China that are "fishy" as well. The Los Angeles Times reports last Friday that there is yet another problem in fish that come from China. Hong Chang of Santa Fe initiated a voluntary recall of its frozen fish imported from China after two Chicago area residents became ill after consuming soup that contained the fish. The fish were sent to wholesalers in California, Illinois and Hawaii beginning last September and were presumably 'Monk Fish'. The problem is that they were contaminated with tetrodotoxin, an extremely toxic substance produced by another species, the Puffer Fish. These are considered an extremely desirable (and expensive) delicacy in Japan where they have to be carefully and specially prepared in order to avoid toxicity. Despite the experience of Japanese chefs there are continued reports of deaths from consuming these fish, even in Japan. Chefs preparing Puffers, also known as 'fugu' or 'blowfish' in Japan have to have at least two years training in preparation of this fish. The toxin's effects begins as a numbness in the mouth and progresses to total paralysis, leading to death by respiratory failure. The victims may remain totally conscious up until the end.
Tetrodotoxin featured prominently in a book that Molly once read 'Murder, Magic and Medicine'. It occurs in species other than the Puffer Fish, but these are not usually consumed as human food. The toxin binds to voltage-gated sodium channels on cell membranes, especially muscle cells, thereby inhibiting their contraction. Death may mercifully result from cardiac failure before respiratory failure ensues. In minuscule doses tetrodotoxin has medical uses in cases of cardiac arrthymias and in pain relief. Death from acute intoxication usually occurs within 4 to 6 hours, with a known range of 20 minutes to eight hours. The published reports of toxicity from Japan say that 646 cases were reported from 1974 to 1983 with 179 fatalities. Some estimates place the worldwide incidence as 200 cases per year with a 50% mortality rate. In Haiti the use of tetrodotoxin is traditional in so-called "zombie magic". The actual fatality rate in Haiti has always been a great unknown. Not every Hoodan succeeds all the time.
No other importer other than Hong Chang has yet instituted a recall of this fish product
Meanwhile up here in Canada the Toronto Globe and Mail published an update yesterday on how melamine contaminated fish food entered Canada and then the USA. The actual original importer was American, a company in St. Louis, and the original source was Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Co. Ltd, one of the Chinese companies implicated in the pet food scandal. The feed was imported from the USA last August. The name of the St. Louis company is being protected by the CFIA, and they say that the contaminated feed "has gone to less than 60 fish farms and hatcheries in Canada". How reassuring !!!


A brief item on last Wednesday's A-Infos perked Molly's interest. It was a report that Jan Bucquoy, an artist from Flanders in northern Belgium, had failed in his "third attempt at a coup d'etat" after he planted a red and black flag with the image of a banana in the gardens of the Belian Royal Place. His last "coup d'etat" attempt was in 2005 according to the report. He apparently had founded a "Banana Party" as a spoof on political parties and proposed that top government jobs be awarded by lottery. The report says that he is "famous for his cult comedy films and decapitating a statue of a former king in Brussel's renowned Grand-Palace". Still this whole thing is rather sketchy so, as a 'Molly service', here's "the rest of the story"....

Bucquoy was born on November 16th, 1945 in Harelbeke, Belgium. He later studied film and other arts in Strassburg and Brussels and on graduation he became a comic book artist, producing about 50 comics, including Jaunes, Bal du Rat Mort, Frenchy, Stone, Tintin-Pastiches, Parodies &Pirates, Retour au Pays Noirs, Alain Moreau and many others. The classic amongst these may be his detournement of Tintin. The prurient amongst my readers may be interested in the cover of same, not reproduced here but findable at the following list. For a further list of his comics see .

Bucquoy later turned to film, and his credits include 10 movies and documentaries. He has taken many roles in these, as actor, director, producer, writer and cameraman, and has achieved a sort of cult following in Europe. Incomplete filmographies can be found at and . He has been influenced by French avant-garde cinema, Italian neo-realism and the German humanism of Fassbinder. His major influence, however, is situationalism, and his actions often shade into the sort of performance art meant as a detournement. Hence his repeated "coup d'etats" against the Belgian monarchy. He has been an accomplice of famous/infamous entarteur (pie thrower) Noel Godin whose "hits" have included Bill Gates, Bernard-Henri Levy and the new president of France Nicolas Sarkozy. Another influence is the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. One of his films takes the title of one of Lacan's books 'La jouissance des hysteriques' .

Many of his films are set in a continuation of a project that he began in 1994 with 'La Vie Sexuelle des Belges:1950-1978' (the sexual life of the Belgians) which explores the wanderings of people in his country in a quest for "affection", taking "sexual" in a much larger sense. To learn more about Bucquoy go to at the Internet Movie Database, a Reuters' article on him at and, of course, the Wikipedia article at .

So, as the radio says...that's the rest of the story.


Over 14 months, on March 7th, 2006, ago the workers at Artesia Dairy voted to certify the United Farm Workers as their union representative, but the Agricultural Labor Relations Board delayed more than a year in having the vote counted because the company illegally had ineligible people vote in the election to stack the vote against the union. The company had 4 supervisors, the owner's three minor children, his gardener and even his babysitter voting.

The actions of the company have been found to be illegal, but the process is far from over. The ALRB still has to certify this election, and this can take anywhere from a few days to in indefinite time. The United Farm Workers are asking people to email the ALRB demanding that the delay of over a year is enough and that the election be certified immediately. To read more or to join this campaign go to

The Harper Conservatives rode to power, at least in part, by harping on the corruption of the previous Liberal government with its numerous slush funds. Have the Tories been any better in power, particularly with Stevie's well established preference for secrecy in all things ?
Apparently not, as a recent article in the Harper Index points out. Last week the Conservative government mysteriously found a "second round" of funding dollars for the Canada summer jobs program after they began to take public heat over the fact that many of last years applicants were refused this year. The student summer jobs program is a long standing source of pork and control as applications have to be approved by local MPs. True to its usual tactics the federal government refused to disclose both the grant amounts or the number of successful and unsuccessful applications.
This culture of secrecy is widespread as the announcement of a leaked April memo from Heritage Minister Bev Oda to Conservative MPs made plain. The memo says that there is an undisclosed $30 million fund and that the MPs are to make recommendations as to organizations they think "worthy" of receiving said monies.
Go on over to the Harper Index via the above link to read more about this little glimpse into Conservative hypocrisy.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

According to a press release from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) a recent shipment of corn gluten containing melamine and cyanuric acid was intercepted on its entry to Canada. Corn gluten containing these chemicals has only so far been found in South Africa so this is a first for North America. The contaminated shipment will not be allowed to enter Canada. What Molly notices is that this shipment is not only of a different product but also occurs some time after the two factories implicated previously in China have been shut down. It is possible that the corn gluten has been rattling around from port to port for all this time, but it is more likely that this says that there are other, as yet unidentified, Chinese protein concentrate producers who continue with the practice of falsifying the protein level of their product by spiking it with melamine.
The CBC has reported on this news item, and their story also contains further material about the Chinese produced toothpastes Excel and Mr. Cool that contain diethylene glycol- antifreeze. These products have shown up in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Australia -so far. The English language China Daily has an article on the toothpaste contamination, showing that the officials who oversee the Chinese press are beginning to take these matters more seriously and allow reporting. What the article shows is that there is a widespread belief amongst both Chinese corporate officials and even amongst some Chinese health workers that "a little diethylene glycol is not harmful". The practice of adding this chemical began, according to one source interviewed by the China Daily, back in the 1990s because diethylene glycol is cheaper than glycerin. This unnamed manager of a toothpaste manufacturing firm claimed that "research conducted at the time said the replacement was quite safe if its percentage was not too high". The mind boggles !!!!!! What sort of "research" could this be ???

This May is rather unique in that, at least in North America, it will have both a "red Moon" and a "blue Moon". Now these terms are rather deceptive, especially the latter. The Moon may indeed turn a reddish hue when its light is considerably dimmed say during an eclipse or when it is quite low on the horizon. The latter is the case for this year as the Moon is approaching its most southerly point in an 18.6 year long wobble above and below the plane of the ecliptic. The furthest south point of this periodicity will occur along with the full Moon of June 29/30 in North America. At that point the Moon will be a full 5 degrees below the ecliptic and will not even rise at all for points north of 61 degrees latitude. When the Moon is closest to the horizon it may take on a more orange or reddish hue, and the Moon is never closer to the horizon than when it is at the most southerly point of its cycle. The point where the Moon reverses its journey is called a "major lunar standstill", in analogy to the solar solstices. A more lengthy description of the Moon's cycles is provided at .
Then there is the "blue Moon". This is a term that is actually quite modern in origin. The original use of the term was coined by the Old Farmers' Almanac in 1932. The OFA suggested that when any of the four seasons contained 4 full moons instead of 3 that the 3rd should be referred to as a "blue Moon". This became misinterpreted, and the present definition is that when any month has two full moons then the second one is referred to as a "blue Moon". The blue Moon will occur on the full Moon of May 31st in North and South America, but in Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe this moon will actually occur on June 1st. This means that the old world blue moon will be on June 30th this year. Blue moons occur on the average every 32 months, but they can be more or less frequent. In 1999, for instance, there were two blue moons in the course of only three months.
This expression "once in a blue Moon" is meant to convey the idea of "rarity", even though blue moons are not that uncommon at all. The Moon can also appear to take on a blueish tinge if its light is extremely dim. This happened to the unilluminated part of the waxing crescent Moon during the recent conjunction of Venus and the Moon earlier this month, and Molly has certainly observed it at other times during crescent moons. Large amounts of soot and ash in the atmosphere can also make the Moon appear to be blue. The most recent event that led to widespread reports of "blue moons" (and even "blue suns") was the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Molly wants to call attention to a recent comment posted on the Itchmo Blog about the Durbin (senate) and DeLauro (house) bills that purport to address the deficiencies in US food safety that the pet food crisis has exposed. Each house of the US Congress has referred their separate bills to the other for consideration. Neither house has taken up the other's bill for consideration, even though both passed by unanimous consent. There they have sat for weeks without any action. They appear on no calenders for debate. Is this a sneaky legislative way to kill bills while still giving an illusion of action ? Go to the comment on the Itchmo Blog, to read more and to see suggestions as to what you can do if you are an American (us Canucks will wait and see).
Molly is presently reading 'The Politics of Jesus' by Obery M. Hendricks. This book is a "left Christian" piece of apologetics for considering the message of the Bible as one of social justice rather than individual morality. Reverend Hendricks is a professor of Biblical studies at the New York Theological Seminary and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The argument of the book is extensive, and Molly hardly has the space to present all of it here- besides, I'm not finished reading it. Some parts of it are convincing. Others are less so.
What Molly wants to bring to light here is the use that Obery makes of the heresy of 'Docetism'. This was a heresy held by most gnostics and later the Manicheans that the actual physical body of Christ was an 'illusion', that Jesus only "seemed" human, and that, especially, his crucifixion and death were an illusion. At its extreme end this shades into the Platonic "cave metaphor" that all of existence is illusion. A western version of Maya if you will. (Molly aside; almost all the philosophical thoughts that can be thought occur in all traditions. Those that claim some "uniqueness" for a given philosophical or religious tradition reveal far more about their own desires for prestige than they do about the reality of such traditions) The gnostics were particularly elitist about this whole matter, following in the footsteps of Plato's elitism. The parting of the veil of the illusion was to be accomplished via the "hidden knowledge" that the gnostics were presumably privy to. This whole scam is more than slightly familiar as it echoes in endless variations down through human history. For those who are interested see the Wikipedia article on Docetism and also the more extensive Catholic Encyclopedia article on same. Molly has little stomach for the controversies of Christology here and now. The sword of Constantine decided these long ago, and medieval crusades against Albigensians and Burgomars merely wrote finis to the epilogue. Modern disputes about these matters are merely dim echoes of what could have been. As an aside the Qur'an teaches the same dogma, that the crucifixion of Jesus was an illusion.
The important part here is that Hendricks makes the point that right wing interpretations of the New Testament assume a sort of "political Docetism" that even if the interpreters hold orthodox Christian views they still try and make an unrealistic separation between the Christ of their choosing, concerned only with personal morality, and the real Jesus as a human being embodied in a real social, political and economic context as a 1st century Jew in a country colonized by the Roman Empire and viciously exploited by both the conquerors and their quislings ie the priestly aristocracy of Judea. Hendricks takes off from this in situating Jesus and his works and sayings in a much more radical interpretation that brings out the egalitarian and "justice seeking" aspect of the Christian message. As I said I am more convinced by some of Hendricks' arguments than I am by others, and I am particularly disappointed by the book's ignoring of its predecessors in both the Catholic left and the Protestant Social Gospel.
Still I find the use that Hendricks makes of the term 'Docetism' to be very much a good tool for looking at a lot of political thought. On the right the neo-cons and the shrinking Christian right hold to Docetist heresies. They believe that the real national and corporate interests that lead to wars and conflicts within societies are merely "illusion" and that it is some metaphorical "clash of civilizations" or "good versus evil" that drives history. They refuse to look at reality. They ignore real economic threats to families in favour of an illusionary ideological spook of some left wing conspiracy against "family values". Their politics is a politics of illusion.
Not that the "left" cannot be equally deluded. Through most of the 19th and 20th century the radical left was defined by Marxist illusions of great dialectical forces struggling for some "synthesis" that was presumed to be inevitable even if it was falsified by Marx's literary executor, Bernstein, over 100 years ago. The pseudo-scientific pretensions of Marxism, the bastard child of the Hegelian academy, were exposed long ago, but the lure of ignoring reality for a world of comforting abstractions was far too great. According to Marx and orthodox Marxism real history was an "illusion" that was exposed by the "hidden knowledge of dialectics" to be merely form in the working out of world history ala a scheme more desired than proved.
The spectre of Docetism infects the anarchist opposition as well. One merely has to consult the convoluted oracles of "primitivism" and "post leftism" to see it at work. Real struggles of real people are read, often via a very obvious covering of half digested convoluted rhetoric and pseudo-intellectual "analysis" that attempts to give an illusion of profundity to what is very crude in its reality, as "signs" of some great and overwhelming "collapse of civilization" or whatever. Contrary "signs" ie the full spectrum of reality are more than conveniently ignored. To each their own narrow, claustrophobic, world.
The ultimate, of course, is the academic fad of "post-modernism", a meme that infects fascists, Marxists, liberals and anarchists alike without apparent predilection for any ideological body. Only the American style of conservative seems to be immune, protected by an exoskeleton of ignorance, as intellectual conservatives who are aware of their roots,especially the fascist roots, are just as susceptible to this fad as the most naive 3rd year Marxist poly-sci student. This is the ultimate in Docetism as it not only says that "reality" is illusion, but that all talk about reality is similarly illusionary and that one can read in whatever meaning one wants to into the "discourse" of a "text". At its basis this depends on a Stalinist interpretation of "correctness" ie whatever one can force by political intrigue (or in Uncle Joe's interpretation by having more tanks).
Of course "movements" built on the illusion that all is illusion don't last very long for obvious reasons unless they tie themselves to a class system that grants the possessors of the "hidden knowledge" real and actual power to kill in reality(Tibetan Buddhism ?). Should the traditional left, Marxist or otherwise, continue to wallow in nonsense it will be replaced by a new left, perhaps based on the realism of Evangelical leftists such as Hendricks who are much closer to reality. To put it bluntly, the whole idea of traditional Christian theology with its trinitarianism and other contradictory beliefs is less of an assault on reason than many things held "sacred" by the left. There are indeed many 'Protestants' on the left who try and drag it back to reality. Molly is one of them. May we escape the inquisition of a traditional left in power.

It's not even summer and a worker has already died of heat stoke in California. On May 9th 54 year old Eladio Hernandez was working for the farm labour contractor YNT Harvesting at Hillside Orchards in the San Joaquin Valley of California. at about 1pm he complained of being sick, but the foreman ignored him. He tried to climb up a ladder to continue picking peaches, but he fell off the ladder. He was then told to go sit under a tree. The foreman then went over to him and yelled, "Get it up. Don't be lazy you son of a bitch." He didn't because he couldn't. Around 3pm several workers told the foreman that something had to be done about Eladio as he wasn't getting any better. At about 3:30pm the foreman picked up Eladio and dropped him off at the sorting facility. He then went back to his crew, totally ignoring the ill man. Eladio walked over to the sorters, and they noticed his lips were white. They attempted to fan him and give him some water, but he soon lost consciousness and fell into convulsions. Finally somebody called 911. While waiting for the ambulance other workers gave him CPR twice as he stopped breathing. When the ambulance finally arrived at 4:20 it was too late. The paramedics attempted to revive him once more but failed.
The United Farm Workers is calling for online support in terms of emails sent to the responsible agency, Cal-OSHA, demanding that this death be thoroughly investigated and that those responsible for ignoring this worker's plight be prosecuted. To read more and to join this campaign go to

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Molly recently blogged on the initiation of the new 'Harper Index' site where you can keep a wary eye on the antics of our Beloved Comrade Leader Stevie and his Central Committee (associates). The Index has been busy, busy these last few days. On May 22nd they reported on 'Stevie Goes to War' (something like 'Gidgit in Kabul' from the photo-ops of Stevie in his favourite flac jacket which doubles as a fishing outfit) ie Harper's recent trip to Afghanistan, the whys and wherefores. On the 23rd they presented an overview of Gordon O'Conner, Harper's Minister of Defense. Both are interesting reading. Well worth the look.

There's an interesting article in today's on cat and dog food by Kirsten Weir. The article not only gives a run down on the present melamine/cyanuric acid problem but also goes into another recent (Dec., 2005) recall of dog food contaminated by aflatoxin, a well known toxin that should have been screened for but was not. The author goes into the weaknesses of the US regulatory system for pet food, something that has been extensively discussed in such places as the Pet Connection site and the Itchmo Blog but bears repeating nonetheless.
As Kirsten points out there are further problems with pet food, such as the substitution of vegetable protein for meat protein and the dubious quality of some of the animal protein added (good ol' spleens, bones, chicken feet, brains, spinal cords ad nauseum-yum, yum!). He does, however, scotch some of the rumours that horsemeat and euthanized dogs and cats are used in pet food. If you know anything about the cost of horsemeat you'll understand why the first is unlikely, and the second would be unlikely for different financial reasons- even if it weren't against the rules of the industry group- the Pet Food Institute.
The article proceeds to say that the various pet food manufacturers have taken a "don't talk" attitude as a response to the way that the story has grown. As an aside, the Itchmo Blog reports today that Menu Foods has had a "gag order" placed on it by a court that "prevents it communicating with individual pet owners in regards to compensation". Given that the companies seem to be gravitating towards an 'omerta' position on this scandal this order may be more than convenient for Menu.
Hop on over to this article to see more on the above and many other subjects that the author discusses.

Government is, of course, a never ending source of silliness, just as it is a never ending source of wonder at its ability to spend money uselessly. The City of Winnipeg, however, seems to have set some sort of benchmark for others to strive towards. Way back in 2003 the city council under then mayor Glen Murray approved $250,000 for a series of "directional signs" ie the usual "tourist helpers". Such things in Winnipeg's case would be like signs with arrows pointing to 'The Forks', 'The MTS Centre', or perhaps 'The Car Theft Capital Museum'. Well first of all the City couldn't seem to find anybody from Winnipeg with the artistic ability to design a sign with words and arrows so they hired Pittsburgh designer Bob Firth. Whoo, there goes some of the money. Then, of course, the City had to consult the hell out of the project. Whooo, there goes more money. Finally, maybe, possibly, God willing some signs are to be erected. The final cost- $943,000 for 101 signs. This comes out to a cost of $9,336.63 per aluminum sign, perhaps some sort of world's record. The story was carried in the local Winnipeg Free Press earlier this week.
Last April Molly featured an article on a performance artist in Toronto who designed several official looking aluminum signs to highlight the plight of the homeless in that City. The story's source is at . Molly bets that he didn't spend $9,336.63 for each of his signs. She bets he didn't spend $1,000 each or even $100 each. Ten bucks per pop may be an overestimate. Too bad the City of Winnipeg didn't hire this guy. It would have saved a lot of money. Almost $10,000 for each aluminum sign. Come on now !
This little item wins the 500 gallon toilet flush award for sheer waste.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chiquita, the international fruit company, likes to brag about its high social and environmental standards, yet in Costa Rica the banana workers union coordinating body, COSIBA-CR, has repeatedly complained of violations of workers' rights. The latest is the case of two workers, Alexander Reyes and Marcos Borge, who were fired for reporting that spaying with a toxic nematodicide (for killing worms in the bananas) was going on in the same area and at the same time as they were harvesting bananas. Both workers became ill because of the spray. Instead of expressing concern for this safety violation the Chiquita company accused them of entering the spray area against orders and fired them without the statutory three warnings. Their union is protesting this action and has called for an international campaign of protest. To learn more and to join go to