The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Inquiry Marches On

Thanks for the shrug-friendly emails ladies – you know who you are!!  I promise to post pics of me all dolled-up with Tender is the Night.  The trip to Houston is no longer iffy… My passport is ready for pick-up!  Hubby was starting down the road of, “Technically, you don’t need your passport to travel.”  Ever tried explaining things to a border agent?

Explaining things = smooth segue —> Day 1 of Mr. Mulroney’s cross-examination.  I was glued to the tv.  In my own defence, I am not a Court tv person.  Neither am I a public inquiry geek (ordinarily).  This inquiry has me fully engaged.  Richard Wolson who is counsel for the Inquiry, began by buttering the witness up.  It was a masterful buttering.  Mr. Wolson avers he is “no bull-dog”; asks for the witness’ understanding.  At first I thought this was the classic Put Witness at Ease before you go for the Jugular tactic.    It was more than that.  The questioning is intense.  The tension is palpable even through CBC filming.  However, Mr. Wolson simply said at one point, “You are the first Prime Minister I have ever met.”  The all-too human struggle for this fearless advocate is evident.  It is this humanity that has me rivetted.

This morning I heard a journalist from the Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntire, analyze Mr. Mulroney’s performance.  He says (paraphrasing here)  that the same flaws that dogged Mr. Mulroney as Prime Minister now dog him in the Inquiry.   To wit – he says too much; is overly sentimental; and never fully admits a mistake.

I have no clear idea of Mr. Mulroney’s trajectory through office.  I see his real weakness on the stand as sounding like a broken record.  He does wax poetic but so does every former head of government.  He is walking a narrow script that has not changed a jot.  It lines up too well – his chief mirrors the discovery answers he gave in what 1996?  Mr. Wolson, astute as a fox, highlights the pattern.  He repeats the same discovery answers, asks questions and elicits the exact same answers again & again.  He crosses to the substance but the big strokes are of an unnatural, hollow story.  And when a witness is on a sticky wicket, you need them to sound natural.

To drive that pattern home, Mr. Wolson asks the witness about his comment going into the discovery.  Which was Mr. Mulroney saying that the problem the government lawyers would face that day is that they expected him to answer their questions.  Very humerous?  No.  It conjures up the image of a spin-master delivering his message, no matter the questions bowled.  The same message echoes in the same language today.

Mr. Wolson’s cross on the discovery also eats into Mr. Mulroney’s credibility further.  He makes the case that (to use lawyerese) Mr. Mulroney was guilty of material non-disclosure of his ‘legitimate commercial relationship’ with Karlheinz Schreiber.  Mr. Mulroney demurs.  He insists (a) the precise question was not asked; (b) the Karlheinz Schriber ‘acquaintanceship’ was not part of that case & by extension, the discovery.  It does beg the question how forthright Mr. Mulroney is before the Inquiry today – are the right questions asked?  Mr. Wolson presses the point through the long day to show how very thin the excuse is.  Another image – Mr. Mulroney outsmarts 9 government lawyers by deliberately minimizing his meetings with Karlheinz Schriber as getting together for coffee.  It’s huberis & it sticks.  As does the other image – 75 $1,000 bills pocketed.

This must be the 3rd degree of hell for Mr. Mulroney.  He sees the lines of questioning.  He is a lawyer.  I can’t say what this all means in the long run.  I feel lucky to be watching this cross-examination.  Yes, I am a geek & it’s not just knitting!

I have knitting things to post about but this is super long already.


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Knitting in Interesting Times

Shrug accomplit!  For all the worries, I think this is perfectly wearable for my cousin’s wedding.  First of all it slides on easily.  No worming to get into it.  I’m many things but decidedly not a victim to fashion.  This shrug is also a perfect twin for the dress.  The yarn’s silky sheen is my favourite but the dye striping also matches the material’s subtle stripes.  Hubby’s Oohs & Aahs?  Priceless!  I’ll post pictures from the wedding but here’s a pre-coffee FO pic in the meantime:

Tender is the Night back view

Tender is the Night back view

Not showing you my smug grin…

I decided against going for an edging.  Overly girly accessorizing ain’t my thang.  Since it grew in the blocking, there’s some sag at the armhole joins.  It may be a little distracting but I am thinking it’s comfortable to move around in.

Now this is completed, I’ve also returned to the Straight-Up Socks (remember?  blue denim superwashies).  No 2nd sock syndrome here.  I am also leaning towards finishing the pink baby cardi – come what may of it.  My other girlfriend will get a yummy lime creation for her bambino/a.

We live in interesting times.  This 2nd sock came along a ways as Canada’s fromer Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney took the stand, yesterday.  I was a teenager in Jamaica when Mr. Mulroney was in office.  The Inquiry is back live on CBC television, and I am watching.  He seems to have aged rapidly between the Ethics committee hearings in November 2007 and now.  The public scandal is obviously taking its toll.  He held himself proudly but the bags under his eyes made him look alarmingly like his nemesis, Karlheinz Schreiber.

At its heart the scandal is whether Mr. Mulroney took that first wad of 75 $1,000 bills, and the rest of it as a kick-back.  Led by his lawyer, Guy J. Pratte, Mr. Mulroney spoke to and around the allegations of suspicion in his own lawyerese.  As he testified, the veil fell from the processes by which major policy decisions were made in his executive government.  I was fascinated to hear how he controled the personel of the central government, and the chanels of communication.  To be on my couch hearing the authority that kept Bearhead alive, how and why.  This is the stuff of L1 Constitutional Law.

The negative space of his testimony was even more telling.  As one example – Why was he Memoed on Bearhead at all?  He was a national leader, “tenacious of office” to use the language of Stanley de Smith & Rodney Brazier in my old “Constitutional & Administrative Law” text.  He tells the Inquiry that his public reputation would have been boosted by creating jobs in a province with up to 50% unemployment.  Bearhead’s light armoured vehicles were undoubtedly his pet project.  He exercised muscle, and the decision was in his hands outside the Cabinet.  He spoke of reassuring his Cabinet on the principles that were guiding the decision.  It is not every day that the inner workings of a Parlimentary democracy are laid bare.

There is much ‘material’ for Mr. Mulroney’s cross-examination.  His chief was depressingly thread-bare in all of the important places.  Was I dreaming when I heard of a single meeting that moved from Schriber’s threat of a law suit to a fat envelope passing hands?  There were other days when the money passed and was accepted.  As what?  From what source?  Never asked; was never told.  Mr. Schriber dances there too.  Then we hear of photos with “UN insignia” that Mr. Mulroney insists speak for themselves.  Lastly there’s the paltry excuse to keep it all hidden.  As the saying goes – we are as sick as our secrets.

As if that were not enough, we also have the spectacle of Ruby Dhalla in Nanny-Gate.  Her white suit was blinding.  Her statements were wooden, and delivered in such an imperious tone.  It came together to enhance the caregivers’ allegations that she and her family were overbearing, autocratic employers.  I cringed to hear her intone over & again, “I, Ruby Dhalla…”  Misguided in the extreme.


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Sock to trot

Managed to finish No. 1 Straight-up Sock while listening to Carlheinz Schreiber underwhelm the Oliphant Inquiry.  This is actually my best-to-date heel, gussets & toe.  I’m glad that this ended up becoming another commoner garden sock, so I could actually have a rounded toe for once.  I better cast on its mate while all of this brilliance is fresh in the brain.

Straight-up Sock on my left foot.

Straight-up Sock on my left foot.

Straight-up Sock - gusset, heel & toe, sweet!

Straight-up Sock - gusset, heel & toe, sweet!

The white flecks are from the denim yarn.  In the Spring ’09 issue of Knits the staff reviewed Rowan Denim cotton in the ‘News & Views’ article.  They gave good information on the difference between most yarns, and denim yarns.  Traditionally indigo is used to dye denim cotton.  Wikipedia’s entry on indigo dye is here, and it says:

For many years indigo was also used to produce deep navy blue colors on wool. Indigo does not bond strongly to wool fibers, and wear and repeated washing slowly removes the dye.

Hence the white flecks in mah sock.

Back to Mr. Schreiber.  It was my first day watching his testimony before the Inquiry.  This was the 3rd, and Mr. Wolson for the Inquiry was in full flight.  At some point before the morning break, Mr. Wolson led the witness through 3 pieces of paper.  Without hesitation, Carlheinz Schreiber owns that certain named words are in his handwriting.  When asked (and asked, and asked) if he wrote the words in his handwriting, Carlheinz Schreiber maintains that he did not.  Several circles in the questioning later, Mr. Schreiber gave an explanation for this answer.  How did his handwriting get there?  He allows, “It’s a miracle.”

That was the one rise out of the witness for the day it seemed.  He was later quite flip about giving Mr. Mulroney baseless yet abject apologies in a letter he knew was destined for Prime Minister Harper’s hands.   What a tangled web he wove.

Mr. Pratt also crossed the witness in the afternoon on Mr. Mulroney’s behalf.  It was a good cross but I fell asleep at a certain point.