Friday, October 31, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi: A Brief Note


Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Long Municipal Nightmare Is Over

Of course one's first response must be an overwhelming sense of relief.  The Ford's are gone from power in this town, even though Rob reclaimed his council seat out in Etobicoke.  That's a sideshow. Peak Ford has passed.  Ford Nation is dead.  Even though they turned out in full force for this the Ford's have no true successors in T.O. politics.  Mammoleti is asshole enough, but he's got 0 charisma.  And you can literally smell the crazy on him.  So Ford Nation will  go back to drinking beer and watching football.

But its worth saying something about the campaigns, as they struck me, through this long dismal affair of an election.

I won't spend too much time on DOFO. Probably my biggest impression of him was derived from a couple of days ago,  They were showing one of his events on the tube and I was watching, with sound off, as this woman stood next to a life-side cardboard cutout of Doug Ford while she praised the man himself.  She talked for a good 30 seconds while the cutout smiled menacingly, as the real Doug Ford is wont to do.  And then cardboard cutout blinked, and I realized the it was actually DOFO! That was weird.  People shouldn't be physically  able to stand still for that long at one time, with their teeth fully on display.

As for Olivia.  Poor Olivia.  But wait, you might say, she doesn't need my sympathy!  And you're probably right.  She's loaded, after all.  They even did a movie about her dead hubby. But then why was she playing on my sympathies for the last month of the campaign?  Let's get something clear.  She was the subject of racial attacks throughout this thing and they stunk; they made the whole city look bad.  BUT THEY WERE NOT A REASON TO VOTE FOR HER!  She handled all of this stuff personally with great aplomb, but her campaign seemed to work it into their messaging, and her supporters have been hosting an endless pity party.  But: "Vote For Me I'm A Victim", as a slogan, don't attract flies in this town.  Oh, and along the same lines, why bring up her support for an inquiry for murdered aboriginal women as a reason to support  her as T.O. mayor?  It's a good cause, but I GOT STUCK ON A TTC BUS FOR AN HOUR TODAY, AND SPENT ANOTHER HOUR GROWING OLD IN MY CAR ON DON MILLS ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON!  A DUDE GOT KNIFED UP THE ROAD LAST MONTH IN A FIGHT OVER A LADDER!  AND UPPITY DOWNTOWN RICHY RICH ASSHOLES ARE SCREWING SCARBOROUGH OUTTA ITS RIGHTFUL PARKS & REC MONEY.  AND I'M SUPPOSED TO VOTE OUTTA SOLIDARITY WITH DEAD PEOPLE IN SOME OTHER FUCKING PROVINCE???????  WHAT KIND OF STONED-OUT HIPPYS Chillen'IN THEIR HAMMOCK AND SMOKIN' SPLIFF ON PLANET MORON THOUGHT UP THAT IDEA?  

And there was also the issue of Olivia's inability to communicate.  This charge was usually brought out in reference to her sometimes clunky  English, but I will just note  that her brush will Ramsey Hunt syndrome came at an unfortunate juncture.  She had gotten alot better towards the end of the campaign, but I still think this medical issue might have degraded the quality of some of her off the cuff responses.

As for mayor elect John Tory, the best thing you can say about him is that he is relatively harmless. He will attend gay pride events, as he should.  He won't publicly berate city staff, and when negotiations come up in a year he will probably be looking to extract fewer concessions from his muni workers than a second Ford administration would have.  The thing against QAIA will fade when he realizes that the city's human rights laws depend on the province and he can't do squat unless the province does. Mind you the city might get stuck with another subway that nobody rides, at the cost of billions.  But it can survive that.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Something Ugly This Way Comes

Media preview

I really don't know what this is about, and frankly I'm not sure I want to.  But you wanna talk about the nation losing its innocence?  The career of the nicest guy on Canadian radio ends in a grease fire?  Bad for Jian; bad for CBC.  Bad for Canada.

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Tory Hate Speech Laws? Richard Warman On Government's New Anti-Terror Initiatives

So I read this this morning:

OTTAWA — The Conservatives are understood to be considering new legislation that would make it an offence to condone terrorist acts online.

There is frustration in government, and among law enforcement agencies, that the authorities can’t detain or arrest people who express sympathy for atrocities committed overseas and who may pose a threat to public safety, one Conservative MP said. “Do we need new offences? If so which?”

Sources suggest the government is likely to bring in new hate speech legislation that would make it illegal to claim terrorist acts are justified online.

I emailed Richard Warman, an expert the legal status of on-line hate-speech, and he was kind enough to offer these brief comments:

Extreme online hate posts that target groups or justify violence based on their religion, race, or nationality were illegal under s. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Conservative Party MPs voted unanimously to repeal s. 13 in June of 2012.  The Conservatives destroyed the only effective legal protection against online hate speech.  Conservative MP Brian Storseth described himself as "ecstatic".  Jonathan Kay of the National Post said "good riddance".

It was the Conservatives who dismantled the law that protected Canadians from online terror.

It would be beyond ironic if the Tories were to resurrect, or create something indistinguishable from, the law they spent so many years trying to get rid of.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Toronto Mayoral Election: A Brief Note

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Voted Out Of Fear Last Night

But I'm OK with it.  And I followed my usual tradition of supporting the person whose name most reminded me of a terrorist for Councillor.  So in that at least I remained true to my progressive roots.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

But Wait! Some Pundit Said Something About Gaffes!!!

Exclusive - While a general election must be held within a year, the Liberals Justin Trudeau continue to lead in voting intentions of Canadians. According to an EKOS survey CBC /, support for the Liberal Party of Canada are at 38.5%, more than 12 points ahead of the Conservatives, who collect only 26.4% of the vote. Nationally, the NDP at 25%.

You know, these days when a pundit criticizes you...what with the news industry in a tailspin down the toilet bowl of failure, and most pundits looking at career changes that likely involve spatula training and properly enunciating the words "would you like fries with that sir?"'s a little bit like getting yelled at by some homeless guy.  The nerve of these people! you think.

PS.  Also lots of talk re Tom Mulcair getting his chance!  Is it too soon to say he's already blown it?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Iraq Debate: The Center Of Gravitas Shifts Jean Chretien.  Mind you, I'm not particularly set in my opinions re Canada's contribution to the fight against ISIS.  These thoughts still apply, more so, perhaps, now that the tide seems to have turned in Kobani.  But JC's main point, that there are more roles to be played in this situation beyond bomb-lobbing, and that being among the bomb-lobbers now may preclude taking up certain other roles later, is a sound one.  It's is certainly nice to hear an adult voice in this debate, rather than kooks like Terry Glavin, who seems to be dabbling a bit heavy in some kind testosterone replacement therapy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Randy Hillier Turns On His Own

Three would-be leaders of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives made obeisance to the Ontario Landowners Association last weekend, horrifying their caucusmate who helped found the group.

Christine Elliott, Vic Fedeli and Lisa MacLeod, all senior Tory MPPs, went to an “international property rights conference” the association held in Kanata Saturday. Speakers included former Australian politician Len Harris (the only senator ever elected by the nationalist One Nation party, who served one term), Oregon mining-rights activist Ron Gibson (who advocates for private claimants’ right to prospect and mine on federal property) and U.S. environmental thinker Michael Coffman (who promotes a “Judeo-Christian” idea of stewardship that’s opposed to the “pantheistic” religion of modern environmentalism).

On Twitter, Elliott called it a “very informative day.” “Interesting speeches!” Fedeli gushed. MacLeod posted a grinning selfie there.

They must have all made some sort of mistake, says Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington MPP Randy Hillier.

“I would be devastated if any of them knew just what (the landowners’ groups) are promoting these days,” he says.

I'm not sure I buy Randy's claim that he tried to discourage nutbars when he ran the OLA.  However, his break with them took place several years ago and if you read this you'll see his concerns (the landowners focus on the mysterious powers of Crown Land Patents) have remained the same during the intervening period.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life In Scarborough: Got Me Some Ford Nation Hoodys!!!

My bus crapped out  around Lawrence & Warden.  The bus-driver kicked us all off due to mechanical difficulties, and told everyone the next 54 was coming along any minute.  After 15 minutes waiting, I noticed that our stop was right out front of the Ford Campaign's Scarborough office.   It was quite bustling (they're canvassing out here today) and, more important, was selling those gray hoodys I've noticed around the East End lately.  I bought two for $30 apiece as possible Xmas gifts.  I've got a brother-in-law who worships ROFO, who knows all his secret Etobicoke drinking spots, and my dad on Vancouver Island wants either Ford to win because he loathes Toronto and thinks we deserve it.  I may gift them to them, or I may keep one for myself. Wearing a Ford Nation hoody out in The Scar, as we call it, or The Bro, as we also call it, makes the locals think I'm one of them.  Wearing one amongst downtowner types  makes them think I'm some crazy mofo from The Bro who might knife them for looking at me funny.  So it works either way.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

What Post Media Bought, When They Bought Sun Media

Part of any sale or purchase it that of good will. They buy the title with the assumption that they are buying, in this case a newspaper (s) that are beloved by their customers. We all know that as stated earlier, "when they see the circulation, they'll throw up" I was embarrassed to tell people our paid circulation numbers, they are pitiful. We try to not mention paid versus free, it just complicates things.

Just a rumor; one I'm trying to spread, not start.

Bernie Farber On Ezra Levant And The Jewish Tradition

My favorite bit:

All too often Levant cloaks himself in his Jewish heritage as a true defender of Jewish values, in contrast to those he refers to as the “official Jews,” or Jewish leadership.

Make no mistake, Levant’s antics and intimidation tactics have nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism. Both Jewish law and tradition speak powerfully about “loshon hora,” derogatory speech against a fellow human being, which is absolutely forbidden.

Indeed, in the Jewish tradition, we believe that the tongue has such awesome power that it requires two gatekeepers, the teeth and the lips. It is recognized that words have meaning and that malicious words can have foul consequences. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

Wind Farms Popular In Ontario

Only Forum, but:

More than one half of Ontario voters approve of wind farms in rural areas (56%), while 3-in-10 disapprove (31%) and one tenth don’t have an opinion (13%). This represents an increase in approval from the last time we polled this question (December, 2013 - approve 50%, disapprove 38%). Windfarms are equally popular in all regions of the province, but somewhat more so among New Democrats (66%) and Liberals (65%) than among PC voters (44%). Slightly more than this approve of windfarms offshore in the Great Lakes (60%), one quarter disapprove (24%) and one sixth do not have an opinion (16%). Offshore windfarms are especially popular in Northern Ontario (69%) and among New Democrats (68%).

The "equally popular in all parts of the province" bit is interesting.  One would think this would not be the case South-Western Ontario, where resistance to new wind farms has been strongest.

Why Not Bomb ISIS?

Nine planes for six months; no ground fighting.  Why not?  As a matter of history, many things went wrong with the Arab Spring, but the nature of The West's commitment: providing air-support for indigenous resistance movements (I'm thinking of Libya specifically) was not one of those things. So it might work again, as in Libya.  ISIS's pattern has been to press forward until resisted, and then pull back and try elsewhere when  U.S. bombs start falling.  Like water sloshing in a bucket, back and forth between Iraq and Syria, but in smaller and smaller sloshes as their movements have been gradually constrained.  Six months from now a few of their leaders will have been killed, and their successes will have become less and less. Hopefully the movement will therefore have lost some of its savage allure, and recruiting and fund-raising abilities will be negatively effected.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

News You Can Luze