100,000 unique visitors here to kick off 2008

Wow. The latest numbers are in from the On-The-Hill server and they indicate that, for the month of January, there were more than 101,000 unique visitors here. You count as one “unique visitor”, in Web-ese, if you visited here once in January or 50 times in January. I don't think we've ever clocked a 100,000 unique visits here in the five-plus years we've been on this publishing platform and certainly not in my early blogging days in 2000/2001 on Blogger.

So thanks for dropping by — and don't be shy about dropping a line and making a comment.

Here, for your review, are the 20 most popular posts around here during the month of January. I'm too pooped to add the hyperlinks but you can use the search tool in the column on the left to find these things. I've listed the post and the date, in brackets, when it first appeared here:

  1. Mercedes' SmartCar (Thu 20 Jan 2005 01:03 PM EST)
  2. The TSX media centre (Thu 01 Apr 2004 10:38 AM EST)
  3. “Who is Gordon Brown?” (Sat 13 Oct 2007 05:33 PM EDT)
  4. F-35 – Test Flight (Wed 10 Jan 2007 03:07 PM EST)
  5. Do not include the word “excrement” … (Fri 07 Sep 2007 03:26 PM EDT)
  6. How much does the middle class make? (Mon 05 Dec 2005 07:58 PM EST)
  7. The New Air Canada uniforms (Mon 01 Nov 2004 10:47 PM EST)
  8. Nuclear regulator fires back at Lunn (Tue 08 Jan 2008 01:40 PM EST)
  9. For the record, the Conservatives are not media-friendly … (Wed 16 Jan 2008 02:10 PM EST)
  10. More on car rebates (Mon 26 Mar 2007 08:34 PM EDT)
  11. Am I sending you the Ping of Death? How would I know? (Thu 15 Jul 2004 01:49 PM EDT)
  12. Hydrogen highway support (Sun 06 Jan 2008 03:22 PM EST)
  13. Is Obama blowing smoke on climate change? (Sun 06 Jan 2008 01:31 PM EST)
  14. Harper on Bhutto's killing (Thu 27 Dec 2007 03:38 PM EST)
  15. Piling on Dion or changing the channel? (Fri 18 Jan 2008 04:22 PM EST)
  16. Hey buddy, wanna buy a tank? (Wed 01 Nov 2006 06:51 AM EST)
  17. Lunn knew in September about AECL deficiencies (Thu 10 Jan 2008 12:21 AM EST)
  18. Lunn misled Parliament, says NDP (Thu 10 Jan 2008 11:43 AM EST)
  19. Hillier and other top generals restricted on lobbying (Fri 04 Jan 2008 07:26 PM EST)
  20. What Lunn said to Keen (Tue 08 Jan 2008 02:02 PM EST)

Hillier unplugged

General Rick Hillier (left), Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff, was in Ottawa today and met with reporters for the first time since — well — since a whole lot of news has broken. Since he last met with reporters, the following has happened:

Hillier figured prominently on today’s edition of Mike Duffy Live and is a leading player in some stories we have planned for tonight’s CTV National News. Here’s some of what he had to say today:

  • On torture allegations
    • “Allegations are just that – allegations. The governor has been doing some phenomenal work in Kandahar province. We have worked with him because he is the governor there and we have seen some incredible changes in the province and if there’s an issue of any kind of impropriety whatsoever, that’s an issue for the afghanistan government.
    • You know that we had a temporary stopping of transfer of detainees and we continue to conduct our operations. We want to get back to a resumption of those transfers as soon as possible.
  • On NATO
    • “All of the chiefs of the defence staff that I deal with at NATO are almost all deeply frustrated. They recognize the mission requires the right number of soldiers to be able to do it.”
    • “It’s the political masters, the political leaders in those countries who are gonna have to set NATO up for success for this mission… and Canada is simply the leading edge of the spear.”
  • The Liberal position is that Canada’s combat mission must end in 2009, but a training mission might be OK. Hillier’s reaction?
    • “If you’re in Kandahar, you’re going to be in combat operation. The Afghan army is not yet capable enough to handle security by itself. If it was, we would already have completed our job. If you’re there, you’re going to be in the middle of a firefight, one way or another.”
    • “President karzai has said Kandahar is his centre of gravity and as Kandahar goes the rest of the country goes and that’s where the need is right now. The need is not in the north or the west or the north east. The need is in the south or the east.”
  • On the Manley Report
    • “At the end of this, whatever we do in the end of Feb. 2009, we gotta be able to look in the eyes of those families whose soldiers have been lost here and so they understand from our point of view that their sacrifice, that the loss of their loved one … has not been in vain. and I think that whatever solution canada comes up with, that will be the measure that I’ll use.”
  • On his relationship with Harper and the PMO
    • “Very good. Had a discussion with him about the Manley panel. Relationship is solid and good, as it has been since he became PM.”
  • On Buckler’s comments
    • “I was on that beach. No one did anything on my behalf. I would not phone the PM’s office. I am the Chief of Defence Staff of Canada. If I had a significant issue, I would phone the PM.”
    • “I was on the beach in the Dominican Republic and I had a little break and I heard about that and —- can I say without everyone beating up on me across canada — I was on my third rum-and-coke and I really didn’t give a damn.
  • On the Leafs
    • “I want to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Canadian Forces appreciation night to beat the Ottawa Senators.”


Dimitri sues Dion?

In the midst of a busy day here on some other stories I’m working on, I just noticed that Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor is reporting that Harper communications aide Dimitri Soudas is threatening to sue Liberal Leader Stephane Dion for defamation.

Soudas is the central character in the current flap over alleged influence peddling. My colleague Roger Smith reported on this last night and my friend Daniel Leblanc has been writing in The Globe and Mail leading the print folks on this file.