EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, January 31, 2009

CINDY writes to Bruno Serato 'on high and mighty in castle in the sky'

A note from Michael: As Cindy notes, she is a former student of mine from my days at Chapleau High School more than 20 years ago. Thank you Cindy for your kind words about me. I have invited my students to contribute to the blog, and when I received a copy of her letter to Bruno Serato, I immediately asked her if we could post it here. Thanks Cindy!

By Cindy Mahon-Pilon
Dear Bruno:
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Cindy Mahon-Pilon and I am an old friend of Michael J. Morris. MJ was my all time most favorite teacher. He taught me more of life and people than any before or after him have managed to do, as a matter of fact he is still teaching me daily as I read his blog faithfully.

I read the article which he wrote about you with great interest (the first article). I went to the web link which brought me to your wonderful web page. http://anaheimwhitehouse.com/

It is quite wonderful to learn of an individual who is as kind and generous as yourself. I presently have 5 teenagers aged 14 - 19 living with me, so I gathered them all around the computer and we surfed through your website together. We were all touched by your acts of kindness. The 6 of us spent some time after that sitting around the kitchen table discussing how your contributions make a difference within society and how important it is to give back to society when the opportunity presents itself. You Sir are an amazing man for all that you do for the children and others.

I was appalled when I read MJ's blog article regarding the negative feedback that you have received regarding the naming of a room at your restaurant The Barack Obama Room. I have to stop and wonder if even one of those people writing the negative feedback even have a clue what you do for the underprivileged. It seems as if people just always want to complain and judge others while they sit high and mighty in their castle in the sky.

I know that I am way up in Northern Ontario, Canada, but I just wanted to let you know that I applaud you for your actions. You are an amazing human being and way too many people out there are extremely narrow minded and negative thinkers. Do not let them get you down.
Well that is about all for now.
Best regards;
Cindy Mahon-Pilon

Please feel free to comment!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Bruno Serato gets backlash over Barack Obama room at Anaheim White House restaurant

Bruno Serato, the owner of the award winning Anaheim White House restaurant in southern California has received a shocking response to his decision to name one of the rooms after Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States.

Bruno, who provides free meals daily to at least 100 underprivileged children and raises millions for charitable causes, has been receiving emails attacking him for creating the Barack Obama room. Bruno has named rooms after several U.S. presidents, Republican and Democrat, and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon have eaten there.

Full disclosure: Bruno has been my very good friend for many years and I have visited him in California, and am well aware of his work with underprivileged children. In fact, I recall at one point in the afternoon, the truck was loaded and off Bruno and my friend American model Leighton Stultz went to deliver the meals.

One email attacking Bruno's decision said in part: "I am not an Obama supporter. I could never be, and as much as having an African American in the White House could be a good thing, having one with Marxist ideals is certainly not a good thing..."

And another: "You must be kidding. he didn't do anything yet other than weaken our internal security..."

One more: "Do not insult us with a Barack Obama room. You have no idea whether he will be a great leader or a hopeless socialist..."

Bruno, who is an immigrant to the United States from Italy, is the epitome of fulfilling the American Dream. In reponse to the attacks, he says, "I'm not a politician. I'm a restaurateur. But because I do a lot of things with a presidential theme, I put name on the room because of its history. If an African American can come from a history of slavery and go forward to be president, that shows we are moving forward."

For more information on Bruno's restaurant go to http://www.anaheimwhitehouse.com/

Here is link to Orange County Register story on this matter: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/room-obama-house-2294553-restaurant-one

Since receiving a message from Bruno last night about the attacks, the good news is that I am receiving emails from Bruno supporters and I will post some in comments. You are invited to comment too or send me an email at mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Harper 'on probation' as Barack Obama plans trip to Canada

Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal leader, ensured the survival of the minority Harper government by agreeing to vote for its budget as long as it agreed to provide regular reports to the House of Commons. The government agreed and Ignatieff says, Harper and company are "on probation."

Reaction: Jack Layton, the NDP leader was not at all pleased with Ignatieff's decision, and says there is now a Liberal-Tory coalition. The one his party entered into with former Liberal leader Stephane Dion, propped up by Gilles Duceppe, and the separatist Bloc Quebecois died. Duceppe more or less shrugged at Ignatieff`s knowing that in politics you do what you gotta do!

Layton is obviously very angry that his bid to become a cabinet minister through the back door failed with the collapse of the coalition. The NDP would have had six seats in a 24 member cabinet. The NDP has launched radio ads attacking Ignatieff. Nasty, nasty Jack!

Politics makes strange bedfellows: Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, a Liberal is gushing with praise for the Harper government's budget, while Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams, a Conservative, and Quebec Premier Jean Charest, now a Liberal but former leader of the national Conservative party (then called Progressive Conservatives) are unhappy. Only in Canada!

But the REALLY BIG news is that US President Barack Obama is coming to Canada on February 19, his first official visit to another country since becoming president. He will meet with the prime minister and other important people. All want to at least have a photo op with Obama. He has an 80% approval rating among Canadians, much more popular than any Canadian politician. President Obama will not be staying overnight -- he arrives in the morning of the 19th, and will likely be back in the White House before his children go to bed.

Enjoy your day

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coming Soon.. "Professor" Michael Ignatieff

The Harper government had its chance yesterday and seems to have brought down its version of an everything for everybody budget for Canadians -- by one count, 109 different goodies!

Today Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, the former Harvard University professor and writer has his turn at centre stage as he lets us know the intentions of his party. Will it bring down the Harper government by joining the NDP and Bloc Quebecois who have already said they were voting against it. Or will he present amendments to the Conservative plans -- the good old Canadian compromise trick in return for letting them stay in power.

If the government falls, Governor General Michaelle Jean will make what will likely be the biggest decision of her lifetime: call upon Ignatieff to form a government or call an election!!

Stay and please feel free to comment!

BULLETIN: CTV News Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife, (a Chapleau boy, folks!) is reporting now that Ignatieff will support the budget with conditions. http://watch.ctv.ca/news/latest/the-day-after/#clip134181

p.s. If any wish to contribute a piece on this issue, just let me know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God, the king, the country and ME!

As I wait for the Harper government to present its budget in the House of Commons today, my mind wanders back to a much simpler time in my life. At least as I look back 60 years or so, it sure seems that way. Notwithstanding the reality that my father was killed while on active service with the Royal Canadian Airforce in World War II, life was pretty good for me growing up in Chapleau, a small community in Northern Ontario.

I had a wonderful Mom, and grandparents. along with my aunt and uncle on Mom's side and cousins who constantly bugged me, and my other aunt, my Dad's sister who fascinated me because she had moved from home and lived in such exotic places as Calgary and Toronto.

I had my friends with whom I spent countless hours playing children's games often centred near the huge rock on the "back river" across from our house on Grey Street adjacent to the Roman Catholic Cemetery. I also had my tricycle which enabled me to patrol the streets of Chapleau, and head off to visit Maw and Grandpa, my Dad's parents who lived on the "other side of town."

Enough already, you say. What does all this have to do with the Harper budget, and God, the king, the country and me. In a way everything, because back then despite great differences on political and religious issues, we knew where we stood. I don't recall ever hearing that Canadians did not trust the prime minister, to me a very serious allegation indeed.

For example, family came first of course, and by extension that included all members of the community when any were in need. I think it was Cervantes who first noted about the small community that people cared about each other! And they did. And I am sure they still do.

In my home, after I was all growed up so to speak I could look back and say unequivocally that God, duty to serve country and community, love of family and friends were the guiding principles in my early life. This also meant support of the Anglican church, the Progressive Conservative party, and loyalty to the king (George VI at the time.)

All these years later I am a lapsed Anglican, (although God certainly remains), no longer a Conservative and after Stephen Harper, in my view abused power by going to the Governor General to have parliament prorogued rather than face a vote of non confidence in the House of Commons, a convert to the abolition of the monarchy in Canada. I still love my friends and family.

I think of the poem 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats as I sort out where I stand today

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!

Link to the poem: http://classiclit.about.com/library/weekly/aa031701a.htm

Please feel free to post your comments or email me at mj.morris@live.ca

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stephen Harper: "a victim of his dark side"

The Toronto Star quotes Tom Flanagan, a long time Conservative party strategist as saying that Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have become "a victim of his dark side" as he attempts to survive politically.

The article by Richard J Brennan and Bruce Campion-Smith lays out several ways that Harper seems to have betrayed his "conservative" principles in a bid to stay in power.

They quote Flanagan, a former Harper campaign organizer and strategist, as saying that Harper has been "transformed from a conservative ideologue to a political survivor, but remains a victim of his own dark side.

'Both sides are real ... but what you see more and more is the political Harper,' said Flanagan, author of the acclaimed Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power, " according to The Star story.

Full story: http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/577188

One expects that the Toronto Star would be critical of Harper, but it surprised me greatly that Flanagan. who I have watched defend the Conservatives many times would say the prime minister has become a victim of his dark side, where political survival is more important than his principles.

As Canada`s parliament resumes today with a speech from the throne and a budget tomorrow, this is no time for survival games by the prime minister or for that matter the leaders of the opposition parties. Their responsibility to all Canadians must go beyond their own lust for power, and for once in their lives, let them put the country first.

I have been following Canadian politics since Louis St Laurent was prime minister, and I have seen a lot of things happen, but this is the first time I think we should be concerned about the truth of Lord Acton`s famous dictum that `power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absol├╣tely.

Therefore. let the House of Commons resume. Let there be a healthy responsible debate on the budget presented by the Harper government, and then let there be a vote on it. No games!

If the government is defeated in the House of Commons, the prime minister goes to the Governor General and gives advice. The Governor General has two options: call upon the leader of one of the opposition parties to see if his party can get the confidence of the house and form a government or dissolve parliament and call an election.

However, before we get to an election, or another party leader being called upon to form a government, throughout our history we have perfected the art of compromise to keep the country together. Given the economic climate today let each and every member of parliament say: CANADA FIRST!

Please feel free to comment here or email me

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE