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Warren Kinsella - DO PUBLIC INQUIRIES CORRODE DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS?
 

"...[Kinsella is] a modern-day Machiavelli, the mastermind who ran war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty... He's the ultimate political insider... [The War Room] has plenty of fascinating insights and is a must-read for political junkies."

- The Toronto Sun


"The top Canadian spin doctor...tells all!"

- The National Post


"Warren Kinsella’s new book is a must-read for anyone interested in political campaigning in Canada. And not just political campaigning.…I wish I’d had the chance to read The War Room before I became Stephen Harper’s campaign manager; it might have saved me from many mistakes and months of painful learning on the job."

- Tom Flanagan, The Literary Review of Canada


"The War Room is a rich, detailed, and substantive primer on how to run a winning war room - warts, pizza boxes, smelly couches and all - from a master war roomer."

- The Hill Times


"Kinsella has crafted a handy little guide for politicos and non-politicos alike. Just keep it away from the kids."

- The Winnipeg Free Press


"... a great read ... full of fascinating stories..."

- John Moore, CFRB


"...I don't want to say [he's a] genius...but there's valuable insights here..."

- John Oakley, AM640


"I just got one copy, but I plan to get more!"

- John Wright, Ipsos, CFRB


"I do recommend [The War Room] to everyone."

- Charles Adler, Adler Online


"He's Canada's James Carville...a must-read...If you really want to win, you need this book!"

- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD


"A fascinating book...full of great stories."

- Ken Rockburn, CPAC

DO PUBLIC INQUIRIES CORRODE DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS? 

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SICKO SANTA: XXXMAS 

Our lead guitarist, Ritalin Boy, is in Portland. I'm not sure why. I suspect we do not have an extradition treaty with that State.

However, at this time, Ritalin Boy is dressed as Santa, besotten, and at the club where Courtney Love used to strip. He is with about two hundred drunken Santas for something called "Santacon."

I am not making this up, as much as I wish that I was.



Proof positive that the End Times are at hand.



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CANADA AM THIS MORNING 

...clearly put together by someone who doesn't buy the Reform-Conservatives' faux outrage:




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CBC POLITICS DEC. 15: THINK BEFORE HITTING SEND 

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POLITICAL STUPIDITY: ONE MORE THING  

I just got back from doing Evan Solomon’s show on this photoshop thing. I’m doing Canada AM on it tomorrow, too.

Below, you will see an image I held up on Evan’s show. It is a graphic of Stéphane Dion and other Liberals being targeted by bullets.

Here are the key differences between today’s controversy, and the Dion picture.

Us:

• We didn’t create the image. Someone else did, and sent it in.
• We have disciplined the staffer who allowed it to go up on the Liberal web site.
• We apologized.

The Reform-Conservatives:

• Created the image of Dion being shot at, and gleefully posted it on the main page of their web site.
• Refused to discipline the morons who created and posted the gunshot shot.
• Refused to apologize.

I thought what my side did was stupid, and I said so. So did other Liberals. So, before the Con piety parade gets too self-involved, they should remember the old adage. You know: people in glass houses, etc.


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IT WAS DUMB 

...full stop. An apology was deserved, and an apology was made.

Moral of the story? It's the reverse-Vegas principle: what happens online doesn't ever stay online.

It seeps out, like water.


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DAVID PECAUT 



A huge loss for the city; wonderful obit here.

My sincerest condolences to Helen and family.


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RECORD YOUR OWN SGT. PEPPER RIGHT NOW! 



There are now thousands of apps for the iPhone. Some of the ones that I have used, and which are highly impressive, include Facebook (which has an easier and more intuitive interface than Facebook on your PC or Mac); Voice Memos (which comes loaded on the new generation of Jesus Phones, and which is easily the only smartphone recording application you’ll ever need); the CBC Radio app (which is free, and lets you listen to CBC 1, 2 or 3 – and TV audio – emanating out of any location in Canada); the New York Times app (which is beautiful to look at and easy to use, and which puts any other MSM portal to shame); QuickVoice (which provides fast and letter-perfect text versions of spoken emails, so you can email folks even when your hands are full – with a steering wheel, for instance); and Tuner (which allows me to listen to dozens of punk, reggae and whacked-out alternative Internet radio stations from anywhere on the planet, with crystal-clear stereo sound).

For musicians, the iPhone is a treasure trove of possibility. Personally, I’ve downloaded a couple of polyphonic pianos and synthesizers, a bass guitar app, a couple guitar tuners and a bunch of other cool stuff.

The mother of all iPhone musical apps, however, is this – Sonoma Wire Work’s amazing, incredible FourTrack. It is amazing.

A four track tape machine, as many of us oldsters will know, was the backbone of modern pop music – and other music – for a long, long time. Among other things, the Fabs recorded an album with which you may be familiar on a four track process. The Beach Men used four track to lay down their own contributions to one of the greatest pieces of art ever produced, Pet Sounds.

One of the bands I was in, the Hot Nasties, also used a four track to record everything we did. We weren’t any good at all, of course, but we found the four track process closely related to basic rock’n’roll: one track for drums, one for bass, one for guitar, one for vocals. Mix. Worked for us.

Sonoma’s app will cost a few bucks, but it's worth every penny; it's making serious waves everywhere. Death Cab’s Jason McGerr has used it extensively, as has Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee. Ga-ga reviews here and here. Personally, I’m using it to make demos all the time for our band (if you’re nice to me, I may share one with you here; if you're mean, I'll share two). FourTrack is so simple to use, and produces recordings of such brilliant quality, I predict it will ultimately result in an explosion of new bands and new sounds.

As you will see in the YouTube vid below, The 88 recorded an entire poppy tune on FourTrack, and the results are just wow. If you write music, and you have succumbed to iPhone like me, this thing is a game-changer. Get it.





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IT'S A HARSH REALM 

...don't abandon me.




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POWER PLAY LAST NIGHT: SECRET AFGHAN DETAINEE DOCS RELEASED 

Click on the image to see the segment.




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THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT (AGAIN) 

I'm back at CTV for Power Play, and ready to try again on the Big Announcement.

It's a good one, and it's timely.

Tune in if you can!

UPDATE: Back from the Raptors-Atlanta game, which was ugly. The CTV clip is supposed to be here, but I can't get it to work. Maybe you'll have more luck.


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THE CULT(URE) OF APOLOGY 

This is fascinating:

According to this model, developed by the great Scottish anthropologist Victor Turner, every society undergoes crises that unfold in a culturally ritualized form. Dr. Turner premised four stages to the most common chain of events: breech, crisis, redressive action and reintegration.

Although he based his scheme on traditional African tribes, it applies surprisingly well to our own wired world, including celebrity scandal. In the most recent case, Mr. Woods's alleged affairs breached our culture's conventions. Crisis followed – the superstar's headline-grabbing crash followed by allegations of his involvement with a cocktail waitress and other women, and another late-night ambulance visit to his home. Both the real life of Tiger Woods the man and the vanilla corporate profile of Tiger Woods the brand seemed to crumble almost overnight.

The third stage, an attempt at redressive action, began with a statement on the golfer's website apologizing for “transgressions” and harm to his family.

We now approach the fourth stage in this anthropological drama, namely reintegration and repairing the gap that has opened between Mr. Woods and his fans. It's a sequence we've seen before with other sinning superstars, such as with Alex Rodriguez's steroid use. In that case, the baseball player's public confession and later strong postseason performance seemed to lead many fans to embrace him with real affection for the first time.


That intrigued me, although I don't agree with all of it. I'm no cultural anthropologist, but I'll suggest the third and fourth stages are really just one stage: from what I've observed (mainly in politics) over the years, "reintegration" tends to commence almost concurrently with a "redressive" statement or action. In public life, as in libel actions, the redress usually takes the form of an apology.

Some apologies - like with pious and hypocritical Televangelists or their semi-secular arm, pious and hypocritical conservative politicians - don't work. People are less forgiving when someone does the very thing they have sermonized against. (And I've learned that lesson, and deservedly so, in respect of women and Chinese Canadians.)

In a couple of my books, I've recounted the sad tale of Stockwell Day's Fall 2000 journey to the pictuesque backdrop of Niagara Falls for a campaign announcement. It fascinated me, because I did not - then or now - regard his mistake as in any way significant. Standing at the falls’ edge, Day attempted to draw an analogy between the flow of Lake Erie from “north to south” and the “brain drain” from Canada to the United States. A reporter from the area pointed out to Day that, in fact, the relevant body of water drained from “south to north.”

Missing a golden opportunity to poke fun at himself, and thereby seem as human as the rest of us, Day darkly warned that he would “check the record, and if someone has wrongly informed me about the flow of this particular water, I’ll be having a pretty interesting discussion with them.” Not only did Day succeed in making himself look uninformed, he also came across sounding like an uninformed person who couldn’t take responsibility for his own mistakes.

The lesson, then as now, is that candidates should, if the circumstances warrant, ’fess up, laugh at themselves, then move on. Periodically falling on one’s sword is good politics - and, as Hugh Grant demonstrated, it can actually serve to boost sales, too. In 2010, I'll wager Peter MacKay is going to learn that lesson the hard way.

I've written about how wildly narcissistic the political species can be, and how - as a consequence of our narcissism - we are loathe to make apologies. The media's insistence on them increases in direct proportion to that. The apology gets made, it gets scrutinized for the requisite elements (sincerity, comprehensiveness, timeliness), notepads get closed up and put away. The mob moves on until the next transgression.

I come from a religion where moral and ethical lapses are talked about every ten seconds or so. We do it a lot; in fact, we positively revel in our fallibility. In my faith - and, particularly, as a charter member of the Irish faction within Catholicism - we regard such lapses as normal as taking a breath. Catholicism's genius is that it affords us a regular opportunity (every Saturday afternoon at Corpus Christi) to confess and atone. I freely acknowledge that it may all be unadulterated bullshit, of course, but it also can't be denied that it makes the breathing part a bit easier. I recommend it (breathing and atoning).

Anyway, I'm rambling, per usual. I just found the Globe thing to be a very thought-provoking bit of columnizing.

And, naturally, if I've offended you, I apologize.


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SEEKING EMAIL CLUES 

I have received a threatening email through Hotmail. I intend to go after this person, or persons, with the police. Can anyone advise how to obtain header information, etc. on emails - sent on "mail.com" - sent to my Hotmail account? Thanks, Team Propellerhead.


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FOUR MORE YEARS 

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ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THAT ANNOUNCEMENT 

For the myriad number of folks who have called/emailed:

I'm in the Green Room at CTV, and a producer has just told me that Power Play is on hold for a while - apparently there is some drama happening at a Parliamentary committee. We may not even get on air.

As a consequence, I may not be able to make my little announcement. I will try again on Friday's show, if so.

Boy, people in Ottawa sure are jumpy!




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