By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 0 Comments
The good news is that President Obama has followed up on last week’s platitudes with something that resembles action:
“The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” he said. ”The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence.” The Obama administration has renewed its support for the assault weapons ban that expired under Bush in 2004, and assembled a gun-control task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden. The team has vowed to offer “concrete proposals” on gun regulation in the new year.
The bad news is that the damage is done: 28 people are dead.
And we continue to mistrust and vilify things we don’t understand, like a mother who writes a heart-breaking article about her mentally ill son, and–God forbid–makes a few jokes at his expense.
That’s what’s happened this week when “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” went viral, and its author, Idaho English teacher Liza Long was slandered by an anthropologist named Sarah Kendzior, who took it upon herself to “expose” Long as an attention-craving nutcase.
In Kendzior’s words:
“Liza Long, the woman who wrote the viral post “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” is being held up as a heroic woman warranting sympathy for bring the plight of her mentally ill son to the public.
Her blog tells a different story. Long has written a series of vindictive and cruel posts about her children in which she fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away.”
Here are some of the allegedly “cruel” and “vindictive” excerpts from Long’s blog, Anarchist Soccer Mom:
“Dear Progeny of Mine who cannot be in the car together for more than five minutes without erupting into screams that make a Japanese horror flick seem tame by comparison: No, you cannot ever have computer time again. Not ever. Your ‘I love to fart on you’ song may seem whimsical or even clever to you, my dear seven-year old. But it makes me want to throttle you.
And you, the 11-year-old in the back, if you even touch your brother again, I will call your parole officer. I quit! Let the state take care of you and your compulsive inability to stop poking people.
We are in therapy because said father decided that he would abdicate his parenting responsibilities to the juvenile correction facility (i.e., he had his 11-year-old incarcerated for not doing his chores, something I will admit I have fantasized about but never really considered as a viable parenting technique)…”
I’m no anthropologist but the highlighted segments above (Kendzior’s emphasis, not mine) don’t strike me as cruel or vindictive. “Lame” would be the right word–as in lame jokes about domestic life you’d hear on Roseanne, or Home Improvement, or Married with Children. Maybe Kendzior doesn’t have cable?
The bloggers have apparently reconciled, but the backlash against Long continues. Message boards and Facebook pages are rife with rants denouncing her as a fraud, an unfit mother who tricked us into feeling sorry for her–as if purity and earnestness are the official prerequisites to sympathy. Who knows what kind of screed we–or Sarah Kendzior for that matter–would be putting out if we were in Long’s position.
More importantly, who wants to know?
By Emma Teitel - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM - 0 Comments
Twenty-seven people shot to death–20 of them children–at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today, which means that Americans can count on one thing in the aftermath of this tragedy and it probably isn’t stricter gun laws, or in the very least, greater access to mental health care. It’s statements like these…
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert on this summer’s Aurora, Colorado shooting:
“Well it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theatre, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”
Apparently “more quickly” is the best America can hope for, nevermind altogether–which is what zero guns would accomplish. Pro-gun control blogger Baldr Odinson does an excellent job disputing the NRA’s popular vigilante argument (a survivor of a shooting himself, he knows a little more about this than, say, Ted Nugent does.)
So far, Republicans (even Nugent) have refrained from “politicizing” the Newtown tragedy, but history–very recent history–tells us that it’s only a matter of time before they do, before the if-the-victims-had-guns-they-wouldn’t-be-victims argument rears its ugly, stupid head. And that’s a good thing, because then, perhaps, president Obama will be forced to respond with more than just platitudes.
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM - 0 Comments
In order to win the stay Ford’s legal team had to prove that:
1. The case involves a serious question to be tried at appeal.
2. Refusing to grant the stay would cause Ford “irreparable harm.”
3. It is in the public’s best interest to do so.
“We have an elected official and we want to maintain the status quo so that the democratic way is maintained,” said Ford’s lawyer, Alan Lenczner, who looks and sounds a lot like Ron Paul.
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 10:31 AM - 0 Comments
The duchess of Cambridge is officially pregnant, which means that print media will stay in business for at least another nine months—thanks in large part to my grandmother. Speaking of grandmothers, this one should probably invest in a car seat. And Will and Kate should put some parental controls on their computer.
In the mean time, We, lowly plebs of the north, secondary subjects of Widdleton, should get used to it: It’s going to be Will-and-Kate time all the time, perhaps until the end of time. Canada is really into its royals, especially when they learn our customs. And when they don’t.
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 6:12 AM - 0 Comments
The Toronto Sun said it best:
“Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been punted from office, just days short of celebrating his second anniversary of being sworn in.”
Punted from office. What a way to go.
And what a tragedy.
I don’t really like Rob Ford. In fact I don’t like him at all. But I can’t deny that these are sad days for civic engagement. Not only is it becoming increasingly hard to identify any trace of integrity in our politicians, but–as Scott Feschuk points out– it’s nearly impossible to identity them at all. Say what you like about the guy, Rob Ford is easy to identify. And unlike this guy, everyone in Toronto, yes–even the most apathetic teenager, and the immigrant who arrived an hour ago–could pick him out of a lineup or catch him reading behind the wheel (doesn’t he get points for reading at all??)
Rob Ford is simply unforgettable.
Sure, he is mildly corrupt and mega boorish, but he made a statement. He gave us something to talk about, something to laugh about and deride together ( it’s also a sad day for civic unity). And boy could he move. Would it be better if Toronto had a mayor who wasn’t “punted” out of office? A mayor we could be proud of, someone with honour and respect and transparency and all those great things–someone who loves gays and bikes and gays on bikes, and gives heartfelt riveting speeches at City Hall? Of course.
But in the absence of charisma, I’ll take the fool.
And I doubt I’m alone. If you’re from Toronto, can you honestly say that you didn’t watch Ford’s eternal blunders and utter lack of remorse with a kind of private glee, especially when he was being challenged by the likes of Peggy Atwood and the allegedly famous ”Marge,” or hipster bureaucrats who went on and on about Toronto’s failed standing as a “world class city.” (I’m sorry but what isn’t world class about a monorail?)
The Toronto Star is also probably reeling right now from the loss of Ford, an editorial gift that keeps on giving. I know I am. He’s the reason, after all, that I have a job. This is the first column I ever wrote. It made me, much like Ford, a pariah among gay activists. But it got me noticed, and from that day forward if ever I ran out of ideas, I would fall back–as every Toronto- based columnist has for the past two years–on Rob Ford. That’s why I’m being so generous right now. You see, to you Rob Ford may be nothing more than an intellectually challenged brute with high cholesterol, but to me he is a never-ending wealth of material.
Rob Ford is my muse.
And unless he runs for mayor again, I’ll have to find another one.
Please join me in one last tribute to the “punted” Toronto mayor. May we remember him at his very best:
Raw Gatorade Shower
By Emma Teitel - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 5:36 AM - 0 Comments
Last night Justin Bieber asked a crowd of 53,000 middle-aged men to be his boyfriend (sources say he went home alone) and the Toronto Argonauts won their first Grey Cup in eight years. They won it at home too, which is pretty cool, and puts this notion to shame.
Speaking of shame…
I still don’t know all the rules of the game (I almost wished the CBC had aired another one of those sexist programs catering to sports ignorant women), but I do know the Argos killed it last night–namely Chad Kackert, Ricky Ray, and Swayze Waters, says National Post sports writer, Sean Fitz-Gerald, who was sitting beside me in the press box–and was kind enough to tell me that.
In other news, this happened during Burton Cumming’s lounge remix of the national anthem:
The Stampeders logo was decapitated shortly after fans poured out of the stadium. Of course, the grass zambonis (not sure what the proper term is) had to wipe everything away eventually, but the horse’s head went especially early.
Headless Stampeders Horse:
And on my taxi ride home I didn’t hear a single honking horn. Instead, I saw just three lonely blue-clad figures at Yonge and Dundas waving an Argos flag. Maybe I’m being unfair, or it was a Polkaroo moment, and I happened to miss the mobs of Argos fans every time I went outside, but I don’t think Toronto fully appreciates that we are at long last, victorious. Or perhaps I forgot that we do care about Toronto football.
Just maybe not so much the Argos…
By Emma Teitel - Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 8:16 PM - 0 Comments
Yesterday at noon, I walked into a Boston Pizza in downtown Toronto, in the middle of the Grey Cup street festival. Everyone was watching American college football. One guy yelled at the TV repeatedly. At Ohio state players: “that’s how we do it.” At Michigan players: “Take it b-tch.”
I sat down at the bar next to a man named Greg Weston, a Torontonian who grew up in Kingston. He was wearing a Saskatchewan Roughriders hat. When he was eleven or twelve, he says, his family had a very important house guest. “There used to be a program where families would take players in [on the road], and we hosted a player for a few days,” he says. “Walter Bender. Played for the [Hamilton] Tiger Cats, then was traded to the Rough Riders.” Weston and Bender hung out and ate dinner together every night.
He’s been a Roughriders fan ever since.
And he thinks there’s a specific reason–besides the fact that there were no CFL games on TV that day– why the Canadians in Boston Pizza were a lot more excited about an American college football game on TV than the big-league Canadian one coming up.
“Toronto, we’re a bunch of wannabees,” he says. “We like American football better. I have to say I am not the biggest CFL fan. I’m a die hard NFL fan. We go for what’s bigger and better and when the [Buffalo] Bills come to town we get excited about that. Let’s face it. A lot of people here for the Grey Cup are Stampeders fans.”
He has a point. If you’re in Toronto and you’re not within a three block radius of the Roger’s Centre and you’re not a CFL fan, you might not even know what the Grey Cup is, let alone that it’s taking place in your city. Hockey fan or not, it’s impossible to avoid the Leafs (no matter how much they stink.) Avoiding the Argos is almost effortless.
Steve Sommerfeld is probably as big a Calgary Stampeders fan as they come. He was also in Boston Pizza that day, in full Stamps regalia (jersey and cowboy hat) drinking a pint; though he wasn’t paying much attention to the college game on TV. ”I went to the mall yesterday dressed like this,” says Sommerfeld, “and the guy [at the store counter] says ‘what are you in town for?’ And I say ‘a football game’ and he didn’t know.”
Sommerfeld and his friends say they love Toronto, but acknowledge that other, smaller, cities are probably better suited to host the Grey Cup. And they’d know, as they’ve upheld the same tradition for the past seven years: going to the Cup together and always taking with them, a “lucky football” signed by the entire 2004/05 Stampeders roster. I followed the group of guys–three out of four of whom were in full Stamps gear–out of Boston pizza, where they passed their lucky football back and forth all the way down Front Street, into another bar (also showing American college football.) I don’t really remember what happened next…
This was one of the only quotes I could make out my tape recorder the next morning:
“Nobody worries about pipelines from B.C. We just party.”
On my way here (I am currently at the Grey Cup, in the Roger’s Centre Press box) a lone TTC employee kept yelling “Argos” on my subway car. The refrain? “Shut up.”
Things are different here. We (the Argos) are winning, everybody’s happy (save my Stampeders friends) and if the next two quarters are anything like the first ones, this city will know victory for the first time in forever.
If they’re paying attention that is…
By Emma Teitel - Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM - 0 Comments
Maurice Price took advantage of me…
My ignorance of CFL football, that is.
My Maclean’s editor asked me to cover the Grey Cup and the million of events that surrounded it because she said it’s “funny” when people who don’t know about sports are forced to report on them.
So I went to the Rogers Centre and waited outside the Calgary Stampeders dressing room, roster in hand, hoping to interview somebody–anybody– about anything other than football. I would ask about post-season plans, I thought. My dad was a sports writer (he wrote a book about the Argos in the ’80s) and he said a lot of the players work other jobs in the off-season. He once wrote a piece about CFL players who work as repo men in the summertime. Maybe I’d find some repo men.
I flagged down the first muscular guy who walked out of the dressing room. He told me he was in a hurry.
“Just a few questions?” I asked .
He smiled and said ok. And then he asked the first question: “Do you know who I am?”
(If you are ever forced to cover a sport you know nothing about, bring a photo roster)
“No, I’m sorry,” I answered. His friend, another burley black guy, laughed.
“I’m the team trainer,” he said. “They come to me to get in shape for the season.”
Oh cool, I thought, I’ll ask him about their pre-game meals.
“I make them eat chicken nuggets and hamburgers and pizza,” he said. “It’s good for your nutrients. That’s how we get so big and strong and fast.” The trainer told me chicken nuggets were actually the standard in football nutrition. He said they eat nuggets in the NFL, too: “overpriced nuggets, from McDonald’s.”
Something wasn’t right. “Come on man, just tell her who you are,” his friend said.
“All right,” said the trainer. “I’m Arjei Franklin.”
I googled Maurice Price. He was standing in front of me.
“I tried to tell you,” he said.
Maurice is from Orlando. He says the biggest difference between Americans and Canadians is that Canadians have “bigger heads.”
“Like physically, or mentally?” I asked him.
If we do have bigger heads that’s about all some of us have in common. Stampeders fans-easily distinguishable from Torontonians by their smiles (and of course the occasional cowboy hat) aren’t afraid to brave the elemtents. I’ve seen 15–and counting–in shorts. And one guy in a tank top. They must eat their chicken nuggets.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, November 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM - 0 Comments
The Beth Tzedec Congregation’s 12th Annual Jewish Film Festival in Calgary aired an Israeli documentary yesterday about Holocaust survivors who were branded with number tattoos in the Nazi concentration camps. It’s called Numbered. (trailer below).
Israeli Director Dana Doron, who is also a doctor, (she co-directed Numbered with her friend, a well-known Israeli photojournalist named Uriel Sinai), says she was inspired to make the film while working at a hospital in Northern Israel, when an elderly woman came into the ER one day complaining of chest pains. The chest pains turned out to be a ruse; the woman just wanted someone to talk to–someone to tell her story to. Doron noticed the numbers tattooed onto the woman’s arm. She was a Holocaust survivor.
The filmmakers interviewed about 50 survivors for their documentary about what their numbers mean to them: one man played his in the lottery, others chose to have theirs removed. But it’s the children and grandchildren of some of those survivors who have generated the most publicity for the film, because of their controversial decision to brand themselves with the same numbers gouged into the skin of their parents/grandparents. They’ve done so, they say, in remembrance of the tragedy their family members endured, and they believe that getting the tattoos themselves will in some way, honour that tragedy. And ensure that the next generation of Jews “never forgets.” Imitation, however, isn’t always a form of flattery…
In an interview on CBC’s The Current on Tuesday, Doron said that some of the film’s footage that didn’t make the final cut, captures a group of survivors’ horrified reactions when they see one of the tattoos etched fresh into the skin of a young man. It’s easy to see why they were horrified. The numbers were used to dehumanize the Jewish people, and their return, no matter how well-intentioned–is probably offensive to the majority of Holocaust survivors.
Tattoos are also strictly forbidden in Judaism. From the bible:
“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”
Baruch S. Davidson, writing for chabad.org, argues that God forbids tattoos for three reasons:
1. It was common for pagan worshippers to tattoo themselves in honour of whatever particular deity they worshipped, and Jews weren’t and aren’t supposed to do anything that pagans do. “On many occasions the Torah forbids practices that emulate pagan customs,” he writes, “considering that following their traditions is the first step towards ascribing to their idolatrous beliefs.”
2. Circumcision is apparently the only body modification a man needs. “The covenant of circumcision is unique in its being a sign in our bodies of our relationship with G‑d,” Davidson writes. (some relationship). “Making other signs in one’s body would weaken and cheapen this special sign.”
3. ”The human body is G‑d’s creation, and it is therefore unbefitting to mutilate G‑d’s handiwork,” he writes. “It is especially unbefitting for members of G‑d’s chosen nation to mutilate their bodies.”
It’s number 3 that solidifies for me, what is so fundamentally weird, and wrong about getting your own Auschwitz ink. God’s “chosen” people (my people too) may have been forbidden to mutilate their bodies, but history shows that the only thing they’ve been chosen for is exactly that: the systematic mutilation of their bodies, at the hands of the Egyptians, the Spanish, the Nazis, etc. Holocaust tattoos are scars of that mutilation, and there’s something bizarre and frankly, disgusting, about reapproprating another person’s scar. Especially when it’s linked to an experience that is–fortunately–worlds away from your own.
Or as Jonathan S. Tobin writes on the subject in Commentary Magazine:
“Drawing a number on your skin may have meaning to individuals (or, as in one case, serve as a reminder to a young man to call his grandfather) but Jewish identity can’t be rooted in a vain attempt to relive a tragic past. Judaism is an affirmation of life not death. Seen in that light, the attempt by some secular Jews to grab onto a symbol of the slaughter as a way to connect with the past seems more like a futile provocation than a method of perpetuating the memory of this great tragedy.”
Tobin is right. It is a provocation. Worse: it’s a talking piece. Imagine the exchange between a survivor’s freshly tattooed grandson and a girl at a party. Girl: “Cool tattoo. What is it?” Guy: “Oh it’s my bubie’s numbers from Auschwitz. I thought it would be a good way to remember what she went through.” Girl: “Cool. Can I touch it?”
I understand and know the impulse to remember, but I think we can come up with something better–and already have– than the cheap and provocative re-imagining of an atrocity we’ll never understand.
By Emma Teitel - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
Sometimes we get leaders whose ascent to power is hard to understand: i.e. how did we end up with this jerk? And other times, we get leaders who make us question whether or not they ever wanted to be leaders in the first place. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, ever absent, and always cranky, is one of those people.
His life looks a lot like a bad movie, the kind in which a salt-of-the-earth football coach wakes up one morning and realizes that, by some magic, he is the mayor of a metropolis that doesn’t take kindly to salt-of-the-earth football coaches. Suddenly he’s snubbing gay people, tackling reporters, flipping off constituents and before he knows it, he’s embroiled in a series of scandals involving tax payer money and his own high school football team — two things that don’t belong in the same sentence, but so often are these days.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, November 2, 2012 at 6:04 PM - 0 Comments
It was hard to imagine at the height of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin’s mass pillorying, that the Missouri congressman would survive his senate race. The Republican establishment all but abandoned him, Romney asked him to step down, and even Ann Coulter called him a “selfish swine” for his annoyingly strong convictions. What his decision to remain in the race will do for Romney’s chances is unclear, though his name–and now, Richard Mourdock’s– is pretty much synonymous with the dreaded “War on Women.” Akin’s own chances at victory, however, aren’t as damaged by his bogus science as everybody thought they’d be.
According to a post on The Hill today,
“Akin went from a low of 38 per cent support in one poll, conducted in the days after his comments drew national scrutiny, to just a 2-percentage-point deficit in one independent poll released last weekend. One Republican internal poll has Akin and McCaskill tied.”
It’s also rumoured that a number of his old friends (the National Republican Senatorial Committee perhaps?) are slithering back just in time for the election, with some last minute millions. And the Missouri Republican Party recently helped him out with a $300,000+ ad buy:
See below, one of the weirdest campaign ads ever made (though not as weird as this one) in which a multicultural/multi-generational group of women gush about how much they love Todd Akin, and one of them, about how much grocery shopping sucks in communist Russia…
The United Colors of Todd Akin
If Akin does manage to win the race, the joke is on the Democrats: In August, the Washington Post argued that the Democratic party was instrumental in Akin’s Senate GOP Primary victory. The Dems assumed his opinions were so out there, that were he to win the primary, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill would be a practical shoe-in for the Senate. So according to the Post, the Dems “spent $1.5 million trying to help Akin win his 3-way primary.” In other words, they created their own political version of the Producers. Apparently, they ran anti-Akin ads like the one described below, that deliberately made the candidate more appealing to conservative voters, and more likely to win the GOP primary in Missouri. From the Post:
“‘Todd Akin calls himself the true conservative, but is he too conservative?’ asks the narrator of the ad, which is approved by McCaskill’s campaign and paid for by the DSCC. The narrator goes on to note the negative posture Akin has taken toward President Obama, before concluding, ‘it’s no surprise Todd has been endorsed by the most conservative leaders in our country – Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee.’”
That’s not a mild attack ad. That’s a full on endorsement for Akin, which means that if he does in fact beat McCaskill next week, he’ll have some thanking to do across the aisle. And Planned Parenthood will at least in part have its own party to thank for the impending “War on Women”
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM - 0 Comments
The Etch A Sketch is back in full force, only this time the interval between Mitt Romney’s abortion flip-flops is getting smaller and smaller–to the point at which it no longer exists at all. Romney’s official campaign website, for example, touts pro-life Mitt Romney, the kind of Romney who would like the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. All the while, moderate Mitt Romney gave this comment to the Des Moines Register yesterday: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”
Except, of course, this one…
(from the Values page on his campaign site)
“Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade – a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.
Mitt supports the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. As president, he will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood. He will protect the right of health care workers to follow their conscience in their work. And he will nominate judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the law.”
What this means then is that not only was Mitt pro-choice before he was pro-life, he is both pro-choice and pro-life at exactly the same time. Far out, man.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, September 14, 2012 at 5:33 PM - 0 Comments
Remember when I wrote about Ron Banerjee, the proud and out bigot heading the Canadian Hindu Advocacy? Well, he’s back in the news again, not for protesting middle schools, or walking his dog around a Mosque in the name of freedom, but for declaring that he is going to screen that awful movie (not awfully offensive, just plain awful) right here at home. Why? “To promote tolerance of different ideas and different viewpoints within Canada”.
Here are some of Banerjee’s own “viewpoints”, in case you’ve forgotten.
“In its entire history, Islam, the Islamic civilization, has invented and has contributed less to human advancement than a pack of donkeys. That’s the truth.”
(No it’s not.)
By Emma Teitel - Friday, September 7, 2012 at 6:09 AM - 0 Comments
Bill Clinton is a tough act to follow. Not only because he can talk policy without putting people to sleep, but because he’s the only Democrat with a sense of irony.
Just once, I wanted to hear someone at the convention last night get up and ditch the my-mama-was-a-one-legged-steel-worker routine. How great would it be had Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin or Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, or token hot person Eva Longoria, greeted the crowd with a proud, “Hello my fellow Americans. My grandfather was a tax attorney,” or “Good evening friends. I come from a long line of Boca Raton oncologists.”
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 6:46 AM - 0 Comments
Until Bill Clinton spoke last night, the Democratic National Convention was like a bar mitzvah where all the speakers have dementia and sing identical praises of the bar mitzvah boy over and over again: Barack Obama is a gift to God who will push you “forward, not back!” and Mitt Romney is the guy on Mad Men who slaps your ass and fires you. Forward, back, forward, back …
It was nauseating.
Then came Clinton, who drew an applause bigger than any other speaker at both conventions combined, and gave a speech as rich in actual policy as it was rousing. (He is probably the first person in history to say the word “arithmetic” and get a standing ovation.)
His alluson to humble beginnings was, thank God, mostly a joke.
“Bob Strauss used to say that every politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. But, as Strauss then admitted, it ain’t so.”
He laced rhetoric with actual experience.
“I had the same thing happen in 1994 and early ‘95. We could see that the policies were working, that the economy was growing. But most people didn’t feel it yet. Thankfully, by 1996 the economy was roaring, everybody felt it, and we were halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in the history of the United States. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it.”
He turned assumed foes into good friends.
“When I was a governor, I worked with President Reagan and his White House on the first round of welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I’m actually very grateful to — if you saw from the film what I do today, I have to be grateful, and you should be, too — that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved the lives of millions of people in poor countries.”
But most of all he did what no one on either side of the political fence has been able to do to this election campaign: he injected it with some positivity. The reason his speech was so well received is because he rose above the divisive culture wars that have overshadowed the campaign. Why? Because he spoke to an entirely bi-partisan theme: co-operation.
“When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is co-operation.”
When he went after Romney and Ryan it wasn’t, for the most part, to accuse them of being heartless ideologues, but to admonish their party’s unwillingness to co-operate with the other side. His remedy for American success wasn’t a Democratic government, but a Democratic government that worked in conjunction with a Republican one. “Just ask the mayors,” he said.
It takes a special kind of speaker to be able to patiently explain policy decisions to a televisized audience and bring the one before him to its feet.
I would go the other way for Bill Clinton. And I’m sure after last night, Barack Obama would too.
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 8:23 PM - 0 Comments
These conventions are so scripted that a large part of the audience can actually read what the speakers are going to say on the teleprompter before they say it. But something unscripted happened tonight at the DNC, something as spontaneous as it was awkward.
When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened the floor to a vote on an amended party platform that would include the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and a shout out to God, here’s what happened …
Some say the chorus of boos had less to do with anti-Zionist/religious sentiment than with how the vote was handled, but I find that a little bit hard to believe. It’ll be interesting to see how Natalie Portman responds. She’s up soon.
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM - 0 Comments
Two days and no chair. At least there’s Kim Kardashian. Rumours abound that in addition to Eva Longoria (famous for her role as domestic tempress Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives) reality television starlet Kim Kardashian (famous for being famous) will also be making an appearance at the Democratic National Convention this week. That’s what Twitter says anyway…
I’ll be at the Official DNC after party this Thurs, September 6 at Club Hush in Charlotte, NC! Excited to see everyone there!! #spon
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) September 5, 2012
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 6:33 AM - 0 Comments
The Democrats for Life of America are as fiercely Democrat as they are in favour of overturning Roe vs. Wade, one of the Republican Party’s most ambitious goals, and one of the party’s worst nightmares.
Eva Ritchie, the president of North Carolina Pro-Life Democrats, tells me the group is opposed to abortion in cases of rape and incest. (It’s the same position held by Missouri Republican Todd Akin.) Eva Ritchey was one of a small crowd at the Democratic National Convention’s only pro-life event, a panel discussion called “Can you be pro-life in a pro-choice party?” The answer was, of course, yes. Not only is it possible, the group argued, it is commonsense.
By Emma Teitel - Monday, September 3, 2012 at 5:11 PM - 0 Comments
In case you thought the RNC would take credit for all the weird out there, think again.
I would like to introduce you to Bob Kunst, gay Zionist Obama hater, registered Democrat, reluctant Romney supporter, and president of pro-Israel organization, Shalom International.
Kunst cares about one thing and one thing only: the state and fate of Israel.
I caught up with him outside of the Charlotte Convention Centre this afternoon, where he added some much-needed weirdness to an otherwise pretty conventional convention.
This is what he told me:
- “I don’t care if he [Barack Obama] is a Muslim or a Christian, all I care is that he’s a Jihadist.”
- “Unfortunately Arab oil is more important than Jewish blood.”
- “Obama has betrayed the Jewish community. When he wants to divide our holy land and give it to the people who stand with Hitler and danced in the streets after 9/11, I’m not going to support him.”
- “I’m not here to empower all these weirdos to endorse my love making.The issue is not gay marriage. The issue is taxation without representation.”
- [Imitates Hilary Clinton] “Those settlements! That’s captured land! You can’t do that!”
- [As himself] “Hillary, you bitch, how could you.“
Meanwhile, another Zionist, Chicago mayor and former Obama staffer Rahm Emanuel, is having his own troubles at the convention; mainly stemming from the fact he is going in the first place. The big speakers are set to take the stage Tuesday night, and Emanuel is supposed to be among them (other keynote speakers include 37-year-old San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and First Lady Michelle Obama. But Chicago’s GOP is urging the mayor to stay home instead, citing a number of urgent crises, like gang violence and union negotiations. Emanuel has just announced he will limit his time at the convention.
In other news, things on the floor here couldn’t look anymore different from last week’s Republican
Snow BirdNational Convention. The DNC looks like a Toronto subway platform: lots of diversity and lots of young people. The one resounding similarity between the two events? Lots of fat people. United we sit…
Join me Tuesday when I’ll be covering what I’m pretty sure is the only Pro Life event at the DNC, followed by a Planned Parenthood rally, and — eventually — Michelle Obama’s big speech.
By Emma Teitel - Monday, September 3, 2012 at 12:59 PM - 0 Comments
By Emma Teitel - Monday, September 3, 2012 at 7:43 AM - 0 Comments
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni lamented the lack of gayness at the Republican National Convention, especially in light of how keen the GOP was to court other minority voters — women and Latinos, in particular. “You certainly didn’t see anyone openly gay on the stage in Tampa,” Bruni wrote on Sunday. (Apparently Marcus Bachmann had a prior engagement). “More to the point,” he wrote, “you didn’t hear mention of gays and lesbians.”
What the RNC lacked in gay voices, however, and more importantly, gay rights, the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, is making up for in—well—a hell of a lot of gay people. A total of 534 openly LGBT Democrats—the most in convention history—will take part in the DNC this week (the RNC had roughly two dozen). Charlotte will play host to gay and lesbian caucuses and parties all convention long, and openly gay Wisconsin rep. Tammy Baldwin (vying to become the first openly lesbian senator) is set to speak. In many ways, this convention is shaping up to be a kind of miniature political pride parade.
In fact, so great is the number of gays descending upon Charlotte that popular Conservative radio host and professional bigot Bryan Fischer, (the man who shamed Romney’s only openly gay staffer, Richard Grenell, into resigning) has cancelled his DNC appearance, literally fearing for his life. “I’ll miss the fun, and potentially vigorous interviews with folks on the other side of the aisle,” he said, “but I might live longer this way.”
Let’s hope he’s wrong.
The Democrats are expected to officially write marriage equality into their platform on Tuesday, which could give new life to a viciously negative campaign that desperately needs it. After all, as the Republicans rightly pointed out in Tampa last week, Obama’s lofty oratory doesn’t quite resonate in trying times. The best line in Paul Ryan’s convention speech (and possibly the only one based in reality) was his proclamation that “college graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”
The only problem is that for many Americans—and the LGBT community, in particular — it isn’t Barack Obama who’s preventing them from “getting going” in life, but the GOP.
I spoke with a number of gay and lesbian delegates last night at Unity Charlotte, what is likely to be the convention’s largest and most stereotypically gay event (Beyonce techno remixes were at full blast all night long), and it became clear to me that while the rest of America is increasingly aloof when it comes to Barack Obama’s last four years, the gay community (Log Cabin Republicans excluded) is decidedly not. What was a dissapointment for many Americans, was overall, a victory for the gays:
“With the president coming out for marriage equality,” says 42-year-old Texan Democrat Jeff Strater, “we’ve seen other elected officials come out in support.” In other words, another term of Barack Obama may mean another term of gay-friendly legislation averse to the kind preventing 30-year-old Erin Goldstein from getting married.
Goldstein, a third-generation North Carolinian and lesbian social worker (“I’m Rush Limbaugh’s worst nightmare,” she says) would like to start a family with her partner, but they want to get married first; something they can’t do in North Carolina, where a recently approved constitutional amendment—amendment 1—prohibits same-sex marriage. And they don’t want to move either. “I shouldn’t have to move to Canada to be treated equally,” says Goldstein.
This is a common sentiment among proud gay southerners. LGBT activist Omar Narvaez, from Dallas, Texas, would also like to marry his partner of 16 years, but he can’t because his state outlaws same sex marriage. “I shouldn’t have to move,” he says, echoing Goldstein. Narvaez believes that Barack Obama can and will (if he is elected) repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act). “That’s not going to fix everything,” he says, “but once we get that fixed we will be a little closer.” Elect Romney, he argues, and the goal for equal rights will slip farther and farther away.
This is why the 2008 campaign spirit remains very much alive for this year’s LGBT delegates at the DNC. There is only one party, one leader who recognizes their civil rights. The Romney/Ryan “Comeback Team” is not “coming back” for gay people. And until it does, gays in America have only one viable political option: to look up at their fading Obama posters and hope for change.
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM - 0 Comments
The Republican National Convention is an opportunity for the GOP to close the gender gap, and convince women it cares more about restoring the economy than controlling their vaginas. Too bad it has already failed. Miserably. Not only because of its recent platform pledge to ban abortions, but because the party’s new matriarch—Ann Romney—gave a speech so old fashioned my grandmother would have gagged. To sum it up, Mitt is master of the universe. Ann would be dead without him. And her fragile teenaged body is a metaphor for the fragile state of the nation:
“He [Mitt] will take us to a better place just as he took me home safely from that dance.” (four score and seven years ago?)
By the end of it I felt less like she wanted us to elect her husband president, and more like she wanted us to marry him.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, August 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM - 0 Comments
Remember when Michele Bachmann said this….
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’”
And a crazy rabbi said this…
“Yes, there is a direct connection between earthquakes and homosexuality. There was in Haiti, and it is here in New York, in Washington D.C…”
It seems the GOP has lost touch with its roots and gone logical, issuing warnings, devising contingency plans, and attributing the imminent hurricane to something called “science”.
So please allow me to evoke the almighty in its place:
Let’s just pray he does so before this unholy union takes the stage.
In other news, please join me next weekend where I will be blogging from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Clear skies ahead.
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM - 0 Comments
Are you a 14-year-old boy seeking a mickey of Sambuca but you’re four foot three, absent fake ID, and your older brother refuses to break the law on your behalf? Don’t worry about it. Sun News has got your back.
Thanks to this awesome
Just for Laughs Gags segmentexposé on the evil scourge of political correctness, you will never have to go thirsty again. Just pick up a burka at the local Islamic fashion outlet, walk over to the LCBO and voila: Sambuca’s in the bag (don’t forget the chase!)
And don’t forget to tell your friends.
Not only will you be able to break the law and avoid detection, but you’ll be doing our country a great service by exposing the profound hypocrisy of institutionalized cultural sensitivity.
It doesn’t matter, of course, that no one would have conceived of LCBO burka fraud until the Toronto Sun invented it. All that matters is that Canadians know the truth:
Burkas = underage drinking. They are weird and dangerous. And it is our duty to try one on every once in a while and conduct a freak experiment in the name of freedom.
Thank you Sun News.
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM - 0 Comments
Remember Sarah Silverman’s Great Schlep? It was the year 2008 and the Jewish comedian implored her people—the American ones, anyway—to prove that Jews are in fact, the “scrappy, civil-rightsy” types they claim to be, by making the schlep to Florida (where old Jewish people are known to hibernate) and convincing their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama.
Apparently it worked. In 2008, Obama won Florida 51-48 per cent against Republican hopeful John McCain.
But things are different this time around. Obama is currently trailing competitor Mitt Romney by three per cent in the Sunshine State. And there’s a substantial amount of Republican politicking going in Florida Senior —Israel—a country with an American expat community roughly the size of Fort Lauderdale. The Republican Jewish Coalition has been very busy in the Holy Land, most likely trying to convince its brethren that the man who orchestrated the murder of Osama Bin Laden is soft on foreign policy, especially when it comes to Israel. No doubt Zionist casino magnate and Republican Daddy Warbucks, Sheldon Adelson feels this way: the eighth richest man in America has pledged to shell out $100 million to the Romney campaign.
Which means his grandchildren must have already made the Great Schlep and failed, because Silverman has ditched the schlep strategy in favour of another one: offering Mr. Adelson her body (though not all of it, she’s a “good girl”) in exchange for a $100-million donation to Obama instead of Romney…
So what’ll it be, Sheldon? Protect the Jewish state from neighbouring terrorists and a socialist president, or be the only major Republican donor to get scissored by a bikini-clad Jewess with big naturals?
It turns out not even billionaires can have it all.