What the Quebec Electoral Commission Is, Harper’s Elections Canada Will Be

I could go on and on about how much I detest the plans Stephen Harper has made in order to prevent people who would more likely than not vote for somebody else but him more difficult. And I could go on about how Pauline Marois’s gambit to make the PQ into a party of racists and bigots undoes all the political and cultural gains made by the peoples of Quebec since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

But nothing I can write will match the short eloquence of the Simple Massing Priest.

Read that entire blog post. Watch the video. Then get mad. Then get even — get yourself ready for a 2015 election which will decide, once and for all, whether Canadians will treat their government as a shopping mall to consume, or as a real community expressing the values and providing for the needs of all.

The Politics of Fear, Quebec Style

With Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois calling Swift Current intellectual/recent prairie dog Type-O-Wiener winner/Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (I think) either a one-pot dish common in provincial France or an animated Disney movie featuring foodie mice living in Paris, the Quebec election has degenerated into a farce more worthy of Jerry Lewis than Moliere (Brad, if you’re reading this, you’ve been called worse things by better people). If someone who usually covers Regina City Hall was on the PQ’s campaign camion, her or she would be looking to see how Chad Novak has become a senior strategist with the party.

It is a beautiful, elegant, slow-motion train wreck, this Quebec election.

After the election, the PQ shouldn’t entrust Mme. Marois with a pair of garden shears, let alone with the right to guide the destiny of nine million people, or the future of whatever is left of the badly split, badly mauled organization. It is now shattered across the political spectrum like an abandoned outhouse struck by chain lightning; its labour/activist/left retreating into Quebec Solidaire, another faction following its so-called star candidate, Pierre Karl Peladeau, the way Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi once had supporters, and the rest mutating into something closer to the Creditistes of Real Caouette, or something closer to the Petain government of Vichy France.

First of all, making the so-called values charter an integral part of the PQ platform seems to have, intellectually, converted the party into something closer into the Wild Rose Alliance’s attitudes towards social policies during the last Alberta election – one which left the WRA exposed as a bunch of white supremacist redneck mouthbreathers afraid of anyone darker-skinned, more Jewish or Hindu or gayer or whatever than they were.

And then the PQ brought in Pierre Karl Peladeau, the playboy son of the founder of the Quebecor media empire. If the PQ wanted to show Quebecers that they could attract businessmen who could mind the shop in the new nation, Peladeau — protected by not only the old man’s money, but thanks to cable TV and the CRTC, a government-protected business monopoly – would not make that short list. Peladeau’s involvement with the PQ has almost certainly alienated the labour and academic left within the PQ, since Mr. Peladeau’s attitude towards the working person is scarcely more enlightened than WalMart’s, either in his medias’ editorial policy or in the way he treats his own employees. Combine that with an unstable campaign presence and an impression he’s in it to feed his own ego, and it’s apparent that what was supposed to be the party’s star candidate has instead turned into an embarrassment machine on two legs.

Then again, compared to some of the twits running under the PQ campaign banner, Peladeau is a genius. One gives a mealy-mouthed apology after repeating anti-Semitic blood libels, another insults the religion of Mohammed, and Marios herself provokes a public fight with the provincial elections agency over the convoluted possibility of Ontario students voting in the election, and then getting into the aforementioned public urination fight with Premier Wall. And, to top it all off, former PQ leader Andre Bosclair was found to have received a government job at $170K a year, for doing absolutely nothing. I would like one of those jobs. The financial institutions to whom I owe money would like me to have one of those jobs.

So, of course, it becomes the voters’ fault. Quebec’s electoral commission is now appearing hell-bent on eliminating as many non ‘pure laine’ voters from eligibility as they can in the run-up to the election. In fact, the leader of Quebec’s Green Party is ruled eligible to be a candidate in the election … but he’s not eligible to vote.

If there’s one thing in common with the way the Parti Quebecois is running its campaign (notwithstanding PKP’s involvement), it’s paranoia. The enemy is everywhere: in the anglophone minority, long removed from the days of the dominant culture during the Duplessis era, in the faces of immigrants from around the world, in other Canadians, be they premiers or just average Joes and Janes (it’s also the way Stephen Harper’s Conservatives see the world, so this paranoia isn’t indigenous to Quebec politics).

But this is a telling tale for the endgame of the Politics of Fear: it’s easy to get so paranoid that no one with half a mind wants to live in the fantasy world you have created. Mme. Marois can’t run a campaign, so there’s little reason she would be able to run a province or a nation any better.

Why, In The Long Run, The Regina Pats Are Hooped

Both Leader-Post sports editor Rob Vanstone and CKRM sports director Rob Pedersen have their views on why Reginans have lost faith with the Pats. Getting blown out at home twice in the first two games of their first playoff round since Ron Lancaster was knee-high to a grasshopper would do that. And as both mentioned, the Pats’ marketing and promotions department seems to have operated at a level of competence of a Stephen Harper appointee.

But there’s a larger force at play. Granted, the Parkers’ operation of the Pats hasn’t always been the best. They’ve picked a lot of fights with the Exhibition Association (now the Evraz Place board) over parking fees, and Brent Parker’s ego got in the way many times in his dealing with the team, the city and the Western Hockey League. The Pats, in previous years, should have traded Jordan Weal and Jordan Eberle while they had the chance, to build for the future through the drafts and younger prospects.

But the Regina Pats aren’t entirely the author of their own misfortunes. Nineteen years ago, when the Pats were last sold to the Parkers, nobody, at least in Regina, wanted or could afford them. The local owners had run out of money, ideas and respect. Maybe it’s because after 19 years the Parkers seemed to have brought the Pats down so low that any direction looks like up, but general manager Chad Lang and head coach Malcolm Cameron have produced a team that is capable of playing exciting and fluid hockey, as opposed to the type of hockey littering most arenas in North America (swear to God, if a team coached by a Sutter was awarded a penalty shot, the coach would tell the player to dump and chase or face sitting on the bench until his ass got slivers.)

But Regina is a very strange place to do business. The city’s business community is as insular and incestuous as a mountain society deep in West Virginia’s hollers. Business is done in Saskatchewan in general, and in Regina in particular, on a basis of who you know, not what you know or what businesses can do for each other.

And the fact that the Parkers are from Calgary sticks in the craw of Regina’s business community. Coming from outside of Regina is an unforgivable sin in Regina’s business community, and that’s why the Pats will always be the on the outside of Regina’s business community as long as its owned by Calgarians or Edmontonians, or people with more money and/or hockey sense than Reginans apparently possess.

What The Bills-In-Toronto Fiasco Says About The True Nature Of Canadian ‘Capitalism’

With Toronto abandoning a 2024 Summer Olympics bid and the news that the Buffalo Bills and Rogers were scuttling the Bills-in-Toronto series (supposedly for one year, but if you believe that I have ocean-front property in Saskatoon), it’s clear that the people pining for the imminent arrival of the Greatest Sports League In The World are the jockdom equivalent of Ford Nation: a dwindling group of pining for something that doesn’t exist. (Doug Ford said his mission was still to get an NFL team in Toronto. No word whether or not it was the Grey Goose talking). I blame Matt Mays.

An hour before game time during the last Bills match in Toronto, Mays, a Canadian alt-retro-rocker, bought a ticket, only to discover that man-child, oral sex enthusiast/juggalooo-in-training/Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was sitting in his seat (Unconfirmed reports said the mayor denied the accusation, saying that he has more than enough seat at home).

While sites such as Deadspin had another field day over the mayor’s continued screwups, everybody else ignored a story that won’t be overlooked by anyone in the National Football League looking at expansion. An hour before game time involving two teams from North America’s most successful sports league, anyone could have bought a ticket in the 100 level section of the Rogers Centre – the prime seating area for football. The game’s total attendance was about the same as the Canadian Football League’s Eastern Final between the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. And a massive chunk of the fans at Sunday’s game – supposedly a home game for the Bills – were cheering for the Falcons, for reasons best known to them (the Falcons were pretty much unwatchably bad in 2013).

Two generations after cable television and the NFL destroyed the Canadian Football League’s television market, and seven years after Rogers assured the world that they would be in the money with the Bills playing a home game In Toronto, paving the way for the NFL to come to Canada … and The Big Smoke is as ‘meh’ to four-down football as they apparently are to three-down football.

In an economic sense, professional sports are about the corporate world selling itself to the corporate world involving people who sweat a lot. And the NFL does this the best in North America, mostly because they don’t make as many stupid decisions as, say, the CFL (still recovering from its disastrous policy of blacking out home games for the better part of two generations, making the games unavailable on television at a time when if it isn’t on TV, it didn’t happen) or the National Hockey League (expanding into markets where there’s no real desire for the sport, such as Phoenix, Miami, Tampa and Nashville).

There’s no real reason to for the NFL to put a team in Toronto. The Canadian television market is too diffuse. Toronto isn’t the key to the Canadian television market in this era. The Toronto Blue Jays may have drawn well on Canadian television – for a while – thanks to a freakish number of free agent signings and trades which were supposed bolster the team into a pennant race. But seven years after Toronto FC came on to the Canadian sports scene, they’re in trouble at the gate (Bringing in a few ringers from Brazil and England might help Toronto FC for the first half of the upcoming season, but if they don’t win big, they’re back to square one, again). Nearly two decades after the Toronto Raptors joined the NBA, they’re kept alive thanks only to the largess of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. And in both cases their television ratings, especially outside Toronto, are about the same as those for tractor pulls and ‘strongman’ competitions. The week of the CFL’s division finals, the Raptors played the Chicago Bulls for a television audience of less than 80,000 viewers. The CFL games drew 1.9 million.

Canadian four-down football fans won’t watch a Toronto NFL team just because they’re from Toronto for the same reason they’re not watching the Raptors just because they’re from Toronto. Crap is crap, wrapping it in the flag is the last refuge of a business run by scoundrels.

So, in addition to contributing nothing to the American television contract, a Toronto-based NFL team would contribute nothing to a Canadian television contract. So why would the NFL have any interest in Toronto if it’s not going to generate any more interest or revenue that the league currently does now? One could say that it’s the headquarters for most of Canadian business, which would support such an enterprise. The NHL thought the same way about expanding to Atlanta (headquarters for many of the big businesses in the southern United States, such as Coca-Cola and The Home Depot). Look how that turned out.

A $3 billion investment in a team – whether purchasing the Bills or getting an expansion franchise, plus building a stadium (or gutting the Rogers Centre and building a new baseball-only park for the Blue Jays) – would be a waste of money in terms of a Canadian television contract. Sportsnet/Rogers and Bell/CTV/TSN probably make more money from broadcasting the NFL than what Bell/TSN makes from broadcasting the CFL, since in the NFL’s case the Canadian networks spend money on the rights, but not on the cost of production.

There’s a few NFL-in-Toronto types, mostly fanboys with no economic sense whatsoever, who blame the failure of the Bills series in TO to take off on the fact that the ‘glory teams’ – the Patriots, the Seahawks, for example – aren’t playing the Bills. But for every ‘glory team’ in the NFL, there are two that aren’t worth watching because of their poor play (last year, Atlanta was one of the better teams in the NFL, so the scheduling looked good for Toronto when this was planned). In the fanboys’ defense, it makes no sense for the Bills, a cold-weather team needing every advantage it has, to schedule a game against a team that plays in a dome to play an away game in a dome if you don’t have to.

Rogers’ Bills-in-TO fiasco (only God knows how much money Rogers lost on the exercise: since they’re a private company, they don’t have to tell anyone) cuts to the heart of the way Canadian big business operate. For all the bluster they make about ‘free enterprise,’ Big Business in Canada exists not in terms of capitalism but of corporatism, where the state is just powerful enough to tilt the rules of the economic game in their favour. Rogers made its money as a monopoly provider of cable TV in southern Ontario at a time when technology (no satellite dishes) and the Canadian Radio and Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) made them the only game in town and if you wanted cable but didn’t want Rogers, the CRTC made sure you were out of luck. And Rogers’ service was legendary crappy (remember the furor over ènegative option billing a generation ago?)

Under corporatism, customers are mere cattle. The companies harvest the revenue, but otherwise don’t care (that corporatist attitude is in full view today as Canada’s two railway companies ignore farmers’ needs and Stephen Harper’s government, with near-total representation from rural western Canada, is as impotent as a corpse). Canadian business history is littered with the wreckage of companies that were protected in the hothouse climate of Sir John A. Macdonald’s National Policy and didn’t know the first thing about true capitalism, from Massey-Ferguson to Eaton’s to the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool).

Right now, it appears as though the NFL-to-Toronto-deal-is-imminent story is like that of a Sasquatch sighting. There’s no evidence, nobody has actually seen it, but people believe in it. I’m thinking the only way the NFL will expand into Canada would be a merging of the CFL and the NFL (given how in the salary cap CFL the Saskatchewan Roughriders can sing Green Is The Colour all the way to the bank, I’m pretty sure Roger Goodell has noticed).

In the meantime, I double-dog dare – nay TRIPLE DOG DARE – Matt Mays to go to Mosaic Stadium in Regina in the 2014 season, and, one hour before the game time of the Roughriders playing a team as equally crappy as the Falcons were this season (say, the Edmonton Eskimos), try to buy a comparable ticket, on the east side or on the lower section of the west side stands. The women working at the Taylor Field ticket office will be laughing themselves silly until the Christmas party.

John Lynch Retires

The written transcript of John Lynch’s retirement notice which he delivered on CKRM yesterday can be found here, along with the only view a non-feminist old guy would want to see of Calgary.

Anyone who has listened to Rider broadcasts for the past 40 or so years know Lynch’s booming voice, and we’re going to miss his near-encyclopedic knowledge of all things Green and White. Best of luck in your retirement, Lynch, and a little bit more of our youth is gone.

The Method In Rob Ford’s Madness Is So Gay

There’s a certain method to Rod Ford’s latest homophobic madness, whether or not the rest of Canada’s political chattering classes choose to recognize it.

In North America and western Europe, accepting gays and lesbians as part of society is pretty much a given. When the rainbow flag flies at the Legislature, it’s at the behest of a premier whose party 10 years ago railed against Crown corporation sponsorship of a gay/lesbian film festival. We’ve come a long way – or so we’d like to think. Except that when the Regina Leader-Post did an on-line poll asking people what they thought of this, the comments ran about 80-20 against, with most of the opposition wanting the pink triangle brigade stoned in the streets (In yesterday’s editorial, the L-P offered The Wag Of The Finger).

Rob Ford’s district – the base of Ford Nation – is, however, comprised of immigrants from areas of the world – mostly Africa and some from eastern Europe – where homosexuality is still seen as a threat (to whom? Whatever. It’s still a threat to them). So it doesn’t matter whether Rob Ford’s homophobia is part of his neurotic personality, a carefully contrived political agenda, or both. If it gets him votes, he’ll take it. It doesn’t matter that he’ll be bringing embarrassment to a city that’s hosting the World Pride Festival (and, we may add, all the business opportunities and tourist dollars such events bring in).

And one of those who will be watching what effect this will have in next October’s mayoralty election? Stephen Harper, who knows that his party’s re-election will be won or lost in the 905 region – that area that rings Toronto like a ring around a bathtub.

When Ottawa city council voted to fly the rainbow flag last week, one person blasted the mayor for the decision on his Twitter account. Mayor Jim Watson replied that if he feels that way, Watson didn’t want his vote. Rob Ford has no such scruples, and Stephen Harper will be watching from the sidelines, using Toronto’s civic vote next October to decide whether or not to unleash the Reform-A-Tories’ dogs of homophobic war in 2015.

You Serve Your Master Well, Julian Fantino

It takes a special kind of political buffoon to earn the wrath of Rick Mercer, a Prairie Dog writer (guilty as charged) and Christie ‘Krusty The Clown’ Blatchford. Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino has achieved that political trifecta. But Fearless Leader (a.k.a. Stephen Harper) looks on and approves. Mr. Fantino serves his master well.

While the latest crisis started over the closure of several Veterans Affairs offices (including one in Saskatoon), the situation escalated when, on Tuesday night, The Hon. Fantino (Conservative-Vaughn) showed up 90 minutes late for a meeting with several veterans and proceeded to blow off their concerns. By doing so, Mr. Fantino has taken one for the team. A team of one, Stephen Harper.

Continue reading “You Serve Your Master Well, Julian Fantino”

Working On The Railroad

For the past 40 years, western Canadian farmers, first reluctantly but now with great enthusiasm, have accepted the ‘fact’ that if they want to get their grain transported to market, they have to do what Canadian Pacific and Canadian National want. Over the years, the two national railways have said they wanted rail line abandonment, grain shipping point consolidation (abandoning the old wooden grain elevators every 15 or so kilometers apart for a handful of concrete terminals), abandoning the Crowsnest freight rate structure and the Canadian Wheat Board in order to provide a grain shipping Nirvana.

And yet …

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on Wednesday called on all those involved in shipping grain to do everything they can to move more of it.

Wall called a media scrum in Regina to “urge anything that can possibly be done” given the backlog in the system.

“I think it’s very important for Western Canadians to be taking every chance we can to raise the issue of grain transportation right now,” the premier told reporters. “The situation is increasingly serious.”

 

Western Canadian farmers have traded any bargaining chip they had in the grain transportation system for … what? Nothing, because the same grain shipping problem exists today that existed when the Hall Commission started its hearings, or, going back even further, when W.R. Motherwell helped organize the first farmers’ grain handling co-operative. As long as the railways can make more money hauling something else, hauling grain will go to the back of the line. Or as my father, a decade retired from farming, told me, “The wolves have convinced the sheep they don’t need a shepherd.’

After The Gold Rush

What the Athabasca Tar Sands are to Fort McMurray, gold was to Yellowknife (Disclaimer: I was a reporter for Northern News Service Ltd. in Yellowknife from 1988 to 1989[i]). From the late 1940s to 2004, Giant Mine in Yellowknife was one of the city’s major employers, and the mine’s owners made millions, if not billions, of dollars from the gold they dug out. One could argue that the mine was even more profitable after that bitter labour dispute in 1992. After all, they did cut their labour costs.

But gold mining requires a lot of chemicals to leach the gold ore from the rock. Chemicals such as arsenic. There’s a lot of arsenic that was left over when the mine closed in 2004. So, who’s on the hook to pay for that clean up, estimated to cost between $400 million and $950 million?

You guessed it. The Canadian taxpayer.

And guess who will be left with the bill when Suncor and Shell and everybody else get what they want out of the tar sands?


[i] One of the people I met and reported on when I worked for NNSL was Scott Young, the journalist, author and father of Neil Young. He was in Yellowknife on a book promotion tour. I told him that when I was a boy, I devoured one of his young adult books, Scrubs On Skates, and turned up the radio to window-rattling levels whenever ‘Cinnamon Girl’ came on the radio, not realizing until later the connection between the two. He smiled and repeated a story he said in the book Neil and Me: one day, the younger ones in the Globe and Mail newsroom stopped saying ‘that’s Scott Young, the sports writer,’ and began saying, ‘that’s Scott Young – you know, Neil’s father.’ Scott was as proud of what Neil accomplished as he was of anything he himself did.

Mother Nature On The Run

Questioning the oil industry in Canada today is like questioning apartheid in South Africa in the early 1950s[i]: few are willing to rock the boat. The rules have changed so much, and voices that we used to hear in the media and in public are no longer welcome. There’s an incredible amount of self-censorship, and few are willing to question the people who are now making the rules, even when they change those rules for the benefit of themselves and their small circle of friends.

Friday’s Leader-Post is indicative of that feeling. Neil Young has become Emmanuel Goldstein in western Canada’s government- and corporate-sponsored three-minute hate. There’s a really dumb editorial by an Edmonton Journal cartoonist. Murray Mandryk’s editorial page column – by a long shot, the dumbest thing he’s ever written – is a character smear against Young for his four city tour bringing attention to the plight of aboriginal people affected by tar sands development.

And John Gormley … well, I don’t think there’s hope for him.

As well, in the business section, there’s a page-two story about how the oil industry must mount an ‘information’ campaign to counter those greedy environmentalists. I mean, who cares about the air we breathe and the water we drink? We’ve got a quarterly share dividend to meet!

The last time I saw such unbalanced journalism in the Leader-Post, the Roughriders had just won the Grey Cup.

Continue reading “Mother Nature On The Run”

What’s In A Name?

One of the saddest and most telling things that’s not mentioned in this Leader-Post story is that the reporter, editor, and/or publisher won’t report on something as obvious and invisible as the air we breathe. The incestuous group of property developers and real estate agents know that they can’t sell a house in suburban Regina to white residents if the street or subdivision has an aboriginal name. And they regard the city as their private plaything, which means that they can give strange names to their subdivisions, often as not with no connection to the community or one of their buddies in the property development business (I can only assume that Jim Carins Avenue in the Grasslands development is named after somebody that had something to do with Carins Homes, for example).

But when you go through the list on the street name catalogue, there are some howlers. What we should do is ask everybody to take a letter on the list. I’ll start with A.

* A street named after David Ahenakew?  Really?

* Roger Aldag was a pretty good offensive lineman for the Roughriders. But has he done enough for Regina outside of football to warrant having a street named after him? Probably not. Then again there’s also a street named after one of his predecessors on the offensive line, Ron Atchison.

*  A street named after Dr. J.T.M. Anderson? A first-class bigot? Who hated the idea of ethnic minorities (Ukrainians, Poles, etc.) living in Saskatchewan? Good gravy …

*  Argyle Street is a typo, since it was named for the ninth Duke of Argyll, Canada’s Governor General in the late 1870s. I now feel better about my additions to the Prairie Dog Type-O-Wiener Contest.

*  The only connection to Regina for whatever they named Arlington Street after was a hotel that ran in the city in the 1950s. The property developers pulled the name right out of thin air. I look forward to someday driving on Jolly Roger Boulevard.

*  Ascot Road is (probably) named after the British community famous for the Ascot Derby. This is what happens when you don’t have horse racing in your own community.

*  Asgar Walk. I think Thor used to live there, but he moved.

You’re Doin’ Fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma O.K.!

The problem for Bible-thumpers is that freedom of religion in a society means they have to accept religions they don’t like. Just ask the American state of Oklahoma.

A few years ago, religious zealots convinced the Oklahoma state legislature to erect a statue of the Ten Commandments on the legislature grounds. Not to be outdone, the Satanic Temple, a religious group in New York who worships Lucifer, wants to erect its own statue on the legislative grounds. Judging from the design of the statue, I guess they’re not going to go full tilt and have Satan’s erect penis double as a sundial.

What? No goat leggings? Dan Aykroyd will be angry.

Me? I’m waiting for the Church of the Sub-Genius to come up with its own proposal.

What’s The Difference Between The Conservative Party of Canada And The Afghani Taliban?

What’s the difference between destroying Buddhist statues and destroying science libraries? It’s going to take a lot longer to repair the damage done to the vandalization of libraries.

I can’t understand why Stephen Harper was so gung ho about sending the army into Afghanistan. Like the Taliban, Harper wants to destroy things that don’t fit comfortably into his worldview. His government is operating more along the Taliban’s principles every day.

Why We Listen To The American Right On Foreign Policy Is Beyond Me

Just over 10 years ago, George Bush sent the American military in to invade Iraq, saying that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was linked to Al Qaida. The Americans were wrong on both counts.

After 134,000 civilians were killed in the invasion, after the United States treasury is on the hook for up to $4 trillion in war related costs, after untold misery, graft, corruption and stupidity … Al-Qaeda has taken control of Fallujah, a major city in Iraq.

The Republican Party of the United States is Al Qaida’s biggest indirect recruiter.

Oh yeah, you know who thought invading Iraq was a great idea? You’d never guess… 

Rich People To Pope: Nice Church You’ve Got. Be A Shame If Anything Happened to It.

Frankly, there’s little social justice work anyone can do without angering wealthy and economically and politically powerful people. When you have rich people and poor people, and an economic and political system that’s designed to entrench the wealthy’s position, anybody questioning that system looks like a threat.

Just ask Ken Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot, a major financial donor to the Republican Party, a billionaire, and who is currently leading a campaign to restore St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. I don’t know how this guy survived in business while being so thin-skinned unless he also had the power to call down a million pound s**thammmer of vengance on anyone who crossed him … but Pope Francis’ most recent statements about runaway capitalism have got his dander up.

He’s apparently brought the issue up more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York: “I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,’” Langone said, adding that “you get more with honey than with vinegar.”

Let me get this straight. Langone is arguing that Pope Francis is wrong to criticize the rich and powerful for using their money and influence to control the policial and economic messages of society … and if and other rich people don’t like what the Pope continues to say, they will use their money and iunfluence to either silence him or the Church.

 

A lot of people (especially those on the political right) approach the teachings of Jesus the same way they approach the licensing agreement when they put new software on their computer, tablet, or smartphone. They don’t read the whole thing: they just go to the end and click, ‘I accept.’ God is merely a smokescreen: they worship Reganomics and its golden calf. That’s why Langone can be pious with his Catholicism and not think of Matthew 19:24.

Or They Could Have Called Whitworth …

Someone in the Defense ministry has got a make work project.

OTTAWA – Defence researchers spent almost $14,000 on a survey that asked whether superheroes can leap over skyscrapers.

The study for the research arm of National Defence also asked 150 people online whether superheroes can fly through the air; see through walls; hear whispers from miles away; become invisible; and walk through walls.

The oddball questions were part of a short study completed in October to help the Canadian Forces “win the hearts and minds” of the local populations it faces when deployed overseas, such as recently in Afghanistan.

I think I’m going to lie down for a while.

Nothing Else To Say But Say It Anyway

In Rider Pride’s bipolar universe, today is a manic phase. The Roughriders are playing for the Grey Cup and the game is in Regina. Kind of hard to imagine anything that will top this for a Green and White fan.
First of all, there was a time when Regina hosting the Grey Cup was considered a pipe dream. The CFL championships, for the most part, were always on a circuit between Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. If it moved to another city (Ottawa 1967, Hamilton 1972, Calgary 1975) it was a one-shot deal. The major cities had all the hotel rooms, the media attention, and the experience. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver all had domed stadiums, which, Those In The Know agreed, was the only place to hold such a great event.

Two related things happened to that idea. The CFL was plagued with poor attendance, for regular season, playoff, and Grey Cup games in the big three cities. Throughout the 1980s the CFL, perversely, ran in a way that maximized its gate revenue (blackouts, game scheduling), leaving millions of dollars of television revenue on the table. (In the mid-1980s, for example, the CFL on CTV had a popular program, called Friday Night Football. But the CFL, under pressure from the Eskimos and Riders, demanded that the league’s next television contract forbid Friday night games, as it cut into gate revenue. Half a generation later, with the league on the verge of bankruptcy, TSN came up with this wondrous idea. It was called Friday Night Football.)

So the CFL, reluctantly, decided to go where the audience was. The last real barrier to Regina’s hosting was the 1991 Grey Cup in Winnipeg – though the game itself was played at a temperature colder than Stephen Harper’s conscience, the event was a roaring success. There wasn’t any excuse not to hold it in the smallest market, and yet in the place where the CFL really mattered.

As for the game itself … I’m not sure if anyone should listen to my prognostications. I predicted the Riders would finish with an 8-10 record and get knocked out in the Western Semi-Final. Not that I’m complaining. With a weather forecast calling for a lick and windy day, I’d say the Riders would have the advantage because they can defend the run better than the Tiger Cats (as Calgary’s Jon Cornish could attest to) and they have, arguably, the league’s best runner in Kory Sheets. As we saw in the Western Final, the Riders’ offensive line also did a good job in opening holes for Sheets as well as Jock Sanders.

As well, the TiCats should never be sure which Henry Burris is going to show up. He could throw for five touchdowns: he could throw five interceptions. The man is a high-functioning head case. And one interception or even a two-and-out will have 45,000 people roaring ‘HENNNNNN…..RRRRRYYYYYY’ for the next five minutes.
On paper, the Riders are the better team in almost every phase except coaching (nothing against Corey Chamblin, but no one has out-coached a Kent Austin team.) . That’s why I think it’s going to be a Rider victory – not a total blowout, but something like 30-23 Saskatchewan.

What will Rider Nation do for an encore?

If Rob Ford Was Your Brother, You’d Drink, Too

Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford, the brother of cat eating cunning linguist crack smoking drunken Stuporman Mayor Rob Ford, was interviewed just now on CNN. You can see what appears to be a bottle of Grey Goose vodka under his desk.

For reasons best explained by the idiots at WordPress, I can’t directly post the photo the way I could on Facebook. Here’s the link.

In the interest of public security, for the love of God, everyone, we want a safe Regina during the Grey Cup, so cheer your hardest for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday.