By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 10, 2013 - 0 Comments
The last three weeks for the Natural Resources Minister have been fun.
Vs. James Hansen, April 24.
A leading climate change activist and former NASA scientist is “crying wolf” with his “exaggerated” comments about the effects of oilsands development on the environment, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver charged Wednesday … ”It does not advance the debate when people make exaggerated comments that are not rooted in the facts. And he should know that,” Oliver said to reporters, following a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Vs. James Hansen, April 24.
I couldn’t help myself: I asked Oliver what he thought of Hansen’s willingness to chain himself to the White House fence to protest the pipeline. He couldn’t help himself either. Given the dirty oil in California, he replied, “he should be chaining himself to a mannequin in Rodeo Drive.”
Vs. Al Gore, May 6.
Oliver told CTV’s Power Play Monday that Gore’s remarks were “over the top,” but he doesn’t think the prominent Democrat’s criticism will have an impact on Keystone’s approval in the U.S … “I think that what is happening here is that, as the decision approaches, some of the more strident voices in opposition to the development of hydrocarbons are out there with their exaggerated, over the top comments,” Oliver said in a phone interview from Europe, where he’s lobbying against proposed legislation that would require a reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of vehicle fuels.
Vs. the European Union, May 9.
Canada’s Natural Resources Minister is raising the prospect of a trade fight with the European Union over its proposal to label oil-sands crude as dirty even as both sides try to seal a major deal to liberalize two-way … “This fuel-quality directive is discriminatory towards Canadian oil and not supported by scientific facts,” Mr. Oliver said.
Vs. some concerned scientists, May 9.
He also took a swipe at a group of scientists who have sent him an open letter raising concerns about the environmental impact of pushing ahead with pipelines and other oil projects. Mr. Oliver said every major resource project has been opposed by some groups. “The position of these scientists is unfortunately unrealistic in the real world because what they want to do is to see a diminution of the use of hydrocarbons and they look upon the oil sands as a symbol, as an example of that,” he said adding that the global demand for energy will increase by 33 per cent over the next 25 years. “Even under the most optimistic scenarios for renewables, hydrocarbons, fossil fuels, will represent at least 63 per cent of the source of energy by the year 2035. So we have to be realistic. The world needs energy.”
Vs. Marc Jaccard, May 10.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as desperate,” Oliver said of the recent barrage of federal emissaries travelling the globe to talk up Canada’s oilsands in the face of projects like the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Rather, he said, it’s oilsands opponents who are starting to sound panicky. “It’s pretty clear that opponents are getting desperate, hence the shrillness of their arguments, the hyperbole and the exaggeration that we’re hearing from some sources.” …
At the same time, Mark Jaccard, one of Canada’s leading energy economists, is about to take a European tour of his own — to denounce the federal government’s penchant for pipelines at a time when they have no solid plan to reduce emissions from the oilsands. Jaccard’s arguments only serve to undermine Canadian and global prosperity, Oliver said, because they would result in a shortage of affordable energy. “I think there are some people who really have a vision of the world which isn’t realistic,” he said. “They would like to see the world powered by alternative energy. I think that would be great if it could be achieved, but it can’t be entirely, or even to a majority extent.”
By The Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:18 AM - 0 Comments
SAN FRANCISCO – A television consultant claims that former Vice-President Al Gore and others…
SAN FRANCISCO – A television consultant claims that former Vice-President Al Gore and others at Current TV stole his idea to sell the struggling network to Al-Jazeera.
Los Angeles resident John Terenzio is demanding more than $5 million in a lawsuit quietly filed in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday.
Al-Jazerra announced Jan. 3 that it would pay $500 million for San Francisco-based Current TV.
Terenzio alleges he first brought the idea of the Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera’s purchase of Current TV to board member Richard Blum in July, and he expected to be paid if his plan was used. The lawsuit claims Blum was open to the plan, which Terenzio laid out with a detailed PowerPoint presentation but feared Gore would find such a deal with the oil-rich government of Qatar “politically unappealing.”
Neither Gore or Blum, nor their representatives, could be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Gore co-founded Current TV in 2005 with Joel Hyatt, with each receiving a 20 per cent stakes in Current, a politically left leaning news and talk network. Comcast Corp. had less than a 10 per cent stake. Another major investor in Current TV was supermarket magnate and entertainment industry investor Ron Burkle, according to information service Capital IQ.
Blum, a venture capitalist and husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is also an investor in Current TV.
Terenzio claims he presented to Blum “a step-by-step approach for making the sale of the liberal media outlet to Al-Jazeera palatable to U.S. lawmakers, pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public.”
Terenzio claims he created the English version of China Central Television and reprogrammed it for American audiences. He said he planned to use the same strategies in rebranding Current TV into Al-Jazeera America.
“Blum greeted Terenzio’s proposal with enthusiasm, indicating that he and other investors were eager to salvage their multi-million investment in the floundering cable network,” Terenzio claims in his lawsuit.
Terenzio said he believes Gore did turn down the deal in July and was “adamant” in rejecting it.
Terenzio’s attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, said an “insider” told her client of Gore’s rejection but refused to identify that person in a brief email interview Wednesday night. Garofalo represented Dr. Sandeep Kapoor when a jury acquitted him of illegally funneling prescription drugs to Anna Nicole Smith.
Terenzio said Al-Jazeera’s January announcement of the sale was the first he heard of it.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
“The time seems ripe for this discussion. The president is committed both to raising tax revenue and to dealing with climate change. A carbon tax kills two birds with one stone,” said Gregory Mankiw, a Harvard economist who advised the Romney campaign and has long pushed for more efficient taxation, including a carbon tax.
“If this is going to be an issue that is part of discussions, there will have to be some interest shown by Republicans if we are going to make any progress,” Gilbert E. Metcalf, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for environment and energy, told reporters.
“The administration has not proposed a carbon tax nor is it planning to, but if there is, as part of fiscal reform discussions, there are a lot of pieces on the table, and if Republicans see this as a viable piece, then it could be part of the mix,” he said.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 7, 2011 at 9:44 AM - 3 Comments
Nate Silver measures the impact of campaign advertising.
Campaign ads matter more when a candidate can outspend the opponent. This simple fact sometimes gets lost because people fixate on the content of ads. But the volume of ads may matter more. Consider the 2000 presidential election. In the final two weeks of the campaign, residents in battleground state were twice as likely to see a Bush ad as a Gore ad. This cost Gore 4 points among uncommitted voters. The same thing happened in 2008, when Mr. Obama vastly outspent his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain.
By Alex Derry - Monday, October 3, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 1 Comment
Al Gore drops a hint about Apple’s anticipated new iPhone launch
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, the self-described inventor of the Internet and global warming prophet, has once again displayed his oracular powers. While speaking last week at an economic conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gore, an Apple board member, made specific mention of “the new iPhones coming out next month.” His statement, which he said was intended to be a “plug,” sent tech watchers into a tizzy of speculation over whether Apple would be launching not one, but two models of the iPhone—a slightly upgraded iPhone 4S and the brand new (and hotly anticipated) iPhone 5—at a rumoured launch event on Oct. 4. Neither Gore nor Apple, which is notoriously secretive about new products, has clarified the remarks. But given his inside knowledge of the company’s plans, Gore seems to have confirmed that there will be at least one new iPhone hitting the shelves in October.
By macleans.ca - Monday, July 5, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Burton Cummings finishes high school, Lady Gaga tries to liven her show with a few corpses, and a big week for—poets?
The never-ending story
It took John Isner of the U.S. from Tuesday until Thursday—a record 11 hours, five minutes—to post a first-round victory at Wimbledon over France’s Nicolas Mahut. An exhausted Isner lost in the second round Friday to Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands. “I was just low on fuel out there,” Isner said.
By Kate Fillion - Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 2 Comments
Plus, the Clintons’ survival, and the marital toll of a lost election
A professor of history at McGill and a visiting scholar affiliated with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, Gil Troy is the author of several books on the U.S. presidency, including an examination of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as first lady and Mr. and Mrs. President, a study of presidential marriages in the modern era. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 1:01 PM - 28 Comments
Anne Kingston’s context-setting piece about Al and Tipper Gore’s separation is legitimately amazing; I couldn’t, on my best day, come up with anything so well-informed and strongly written so quickly. But I find myself wondering if the Gore split is really best understood as an example of a general cultural phenomenon. Isn’t this commentary about peaceable, respectable, mutually satisfying late-life divorces going to look a little silly ten weeks from now when Al turns up at an awards show with a lingerie model and every middle-aged woman in the universe turns against him?
Let’s be honest here: Gore’s Oscar-Nobel double play catapulted him into a stratosphere of alpha-male erotic leverage far beyond the realms one can reach by being vice-president—a constitutional office that, for 230 years, has been synonymous with emasculation. It doesn’t really matter that, personality-wise, the man happens to be a lobotomized prep-school headmaster. Gore is an elite player now, a man who can smuggle you onto any yacht, into any chalet, behind the scenes at any conference. He’s one of a couple dozen people on the planet who could get almost literally anybody on the phone within 15 minutes, though he’d probably need more like six hours for the Pope or the Queen. If he felt like it, he could probably arrange to test-drive a Formula One car or clear out Matsuhisa Beverly Hills for a private tête-à-tête. Factor in the gauzy halation that descends upon one when one is the face of a beleaguered environmental cause (oui, Laetitia, sometimes the criticism wears me down, but I have to stay strong) and you’re talking about the sexual market-power equivalent of a nuclear carrier group.
It seems impossibly naïve to imagine that Tipper suddenly woke up last week and made the Claude Rains-esque discovery that Al is a bit of a bore and that he’s probably only getting in the way of her brilliant career as a photographer. Which career, to Colleague Kingston’s credit, comes as news to me and no doubt most everybody else. (If you’re a bored celebrity wife who wants to claim a vocation that doesn’t require a lot of difficult instruction or practice, I guess you couldn’t find a better spirit guide than Linda McCartney.) One wonders: couldn’t Tipper, that artiste manqué, have found time to perfect this craft during that decade or so she spent waging war on the popular music of various American underclasses?
Nobody wants to state the unkind “assumption” that the militantly anti-fun Mrs. Gore has been chased to the curb because Al finally came to the belated realization that his last years will be spent as a shaman of the Bono-Mandela-Dalai Lama class, rather than as a politician, and that such men are licensed to void their holy essence upon suitably nubile representatives of womanhood. But certainly no one can be foolish enough to believe that the vice-president’s next publicly visible gal pal will be within two decades of his own age. Any good feminist would be expected to say that mutuality and consent were beside the point if they saw a business executive winking at a cute junior associate; but, mysteriously, the difference in advantages accruing to the parties in the Gore separation doesn’t seem to bother anybody, any more than Bill Clinton’s creative use of the White House payroll did. All I ask is that we have no sham outrage, hear no wounded shrieks of psychologically projected betrayal, when Al is eventually photographed with Ginger Spice’s décolletage mashed affectionately against his tuxedo jacket.
By Anne Kingston - Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 9:18 PM - 14 Comments
How the sixty-somethings are just acting their age
Looking back, there were signs that Al and Tipper Gores’ marriage wasn’t as picture perfect as it seemed. Exhibit A, of course, that cringe-making slurpy public kiss at the 2000 Democratic Convention, an act of passionate spontaneity so staged, so lacking in chemistry, it appeared an ill-advised gambit to try to remind the audience: “We’re not the Clintons, folks.” Then there was Tipper’s admission that her earnest husband gave her a Weedeater for her birthday. And the capper: the couple’s sly intimation that they were the inspiration for the two lead characters in Erich Segal’s Love Story, a rumour the author, who knew Al Gore at Harvard, shot down.
Still, the news that the former U.S. vice-president and his wife are separating after 40 years of marriage was met with surprise, even among the cynics in the media. An email from the couple circulated to the Gores’ friends announced the separation was “a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration.”
Not since last year’s revelation that Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins relationship of 23 years ended quietly has there been such shock over the marital problems of famous strangers. On the surface anyway, the Gores seemed as solid and fixed as figurines on a wedding cake. Spike Jonze’s “Unseen Al Gore campaign video” filmed during Gore’s 2000 failed presidential campaign captured a tight, affectionate, happy family unit. Al and Tipper are seen frolicking in the waves and recalling meeting at a prom after-party in 1965; she was 16, he 17. “It was love at first sight,” he said fondly. “He was handsome, considerate,” she recalled. The only acknowledgment of tension was Gore joking: “one of my strains with my relationship is that she insists on going barefoot.”
Yet, really, any surprise over the split is misplaced. The Gores are merely another example of a social trend Maclean’s explored in “The 27-Year Itch,” a 2007 report of the upsurge in divorce among people 50-plus who’d been married decades. Among those over 65 the divorce rate has doubled since 1980, led by many high-profile examples, among them Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone who divorced at age 79 after 55 years of marriage and Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch who ended his 32-year marriage at age 68, only to remarry weeks later. One New York City lawyer joked to me that his waiting room often looks like a “geriatrics unit.”
The rise in later-in-life divorce, a trend that’s been deemed an “epidemic” in the UK, runs counter to a long-standing tautological marital verity: that the longer a couple is married, the longer they’ll stay married. But there’s modern logic to it. For the first time in history, the 50s and 60s are not seen as a time to wind down but another life stage, one the British novelist Margaret Drabble has dubbed the “Third Age.” With children grown and work responsibilities shifting, it’s a time of reappraisal. And with average life expectancy hovering around 80, a couple (or more often one member of a couple) is often not willing to spend what could be decades in a conflict-ridden marriage or co-existing in mutual domestic torpor. There’s still time for yet another act, even for a more satisfying relationship.
The Gores, he 61, she 60, are ripe grey divorce candidates. Their four children are adults raising their own families. Over the past decade they’ve carved out separate carbon footprints—that “we grew apart” referred to in their announcement. Al Gore’s work as a climate change educator has transformed him into a solo act with celebrity accoutrements—a Nobel Prize, an Academy Award, a billion-dollar eco-business dynasty and a grueling private-jet travel schedule. Meanwhile Tipper has focused on her own life-long work as a photographer, a career she put on hold to support her husband’s political ambitions. No longer does the couple have to worry about political optics, though an unnamed friend coming forward to announce there was no affair involved in the break-up suggests some exists.
The fact the Gores announced their split weeks after celebrating their ruby anniversary might seem strange. But not within the new grey divorce landscape, one in which martial success is not measured by longevity but quality. And the new inconvenient truth is that sometimes the only way to preserve that is to leave.
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 11:00 AM - 9 Comments
Scott Feschuk gives the obvious answer to all problems
Sometimes you’ve got to feel for Stephen Harper. Consider his changing-the-national-anthem ﬁasco: the guy finally takes a shot at appealing to women and what does he get? Glares, insults and mockery. It’s his high school Sadie Hawkins dance all over again.
But Harper brought it on himself. The Prime Minister set aside two long months to “recalibrate” his agenda and still he failed to embrace the word that would ignite his electoral prospects—the one word that would rally the people of Canada to his cause and assure him of the majority he so desperately seeks.
Do the math, people. For years now, the PM has been mired in the mid-30s in polls. But political scientists unanimously agree that pledging to commit our nation’s resources to the development of a National Jetpack Program would win the votes of 100 per cent of Canadian men who are me.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 26, 2010 at 4:42 PM - 3 Comments
Katie Stevens seems like an unrivalled front-runner, but she’s not particularly “relevant”
Could Hillary Clinton win American Idol? This is not an entirely facetious question.
As Idol debuted its Top 24 this week, the women’s half of the competition breaks down like a Democratic presidential primary: one obvious and seemingly inevitable front-runner (think Hillary), several intriguing prospects who could be brilliant or disastrous (Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton, Bill Bradley, Paul Tsongas or Barack Obama) and a few unremarkable candidates who will soon be forgotten (Dick Gephardt).
The last group is not particularly worth dwelling upon. Two—Janell and Ashley—were eliminated in the competition’s first viewer vote. The rest (Lacey, Michelle Paige and Didi) will probably be gone in short order.
The middle group is both the most interesting, albeit least likely to succeed. Of this year’s 12 final girls, at least five qualify here. Lilly is a punky former busker with platinum blond bangs who sang a relatively obscure Beatles song (Fixing a Hole) this week. Katelyn is this season’s temptress, all big eyes and curly hair, who performed the Beatles’ Oh! Darling this week, while wearing a black leather skirt and bright red lipstick. Siobhan is a glass-blowing apprentice from Cape Cod who sang Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game in an surprisingly deep voice. Crystal is a dreadlocked mum with one of those chin piercings who sang an Alanis Morrisette song while playing guitar and harmonica.
Most intriguing is Haeley Vaughn, a 16-year-old, black, female country singer and guitarist with a way of singing that can only be described as odd-sounding. She turned I Want To Hold Your Hand into something almost reggae. Kara said she was “very pure,” Ellen said she shone, Simon said she was “a complete and utter mess.” Ellen countered that if she was a mess, she was a “hot mess.” It is difficult to express just how wildly divergent the possibilities are here. Haeley could be one of the most intriguing and unique performers in Idol history. She could end up being responsible for one of most excruciating performances in the history of American television. She could be Bill Clinton, she might be Howard Dean.
The clear and unquestionable favourite is Katie Stevens, a savvy 17-year-old who swaggered her way through a Michael Buble song this week. She is pretty and cute and blessed of a big voice. She has an endearing story: her quest for stardom set up as a race against the time and memory of her ailing grandmother. She seems somehow descended from the most successful Idols: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks, pleasingly and unostentatiously talented and attractive.
If a woman is to win this year’s Idol—Simon Cowell is on record as saying this year’s winner is most likely to be female—it should be Katie Stevens. And maybe that’s a problem.
It is, for one thing, harder to impress when you’re expected to be great. Katie was more or less fine this week, but she was scolded for seeming too contrived and not acting her age. For another, it is harder to be motivated if unchallenged. The unrivalled front-runner tempts doom (see Al Gore or John Kerry).
Cowell has said he wants to find the next Taylor Swift, someone “relevant.” That, right now, isn’t Katie Stevens. And that’s why Idol might need Haeley Vaughn.
By macleans.ca - Friday, November 27, 2009 at 10:45 AM - 3 Comments
A week in the life of twilight
A week in the life of twilight
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new box-office champion. The Twilight Saga: New Moon grossed $72.7 million on its first day in theatres last Friday—the previous best was The Dark Knight’s $67.2 million. Screaming teenagers lined up for midnight screenings to find out what would happen to vampire Edward and vampire-lover Bella (though most already knew the outcome from reading and rereading the novel). Said teens then proceeded to scream throughout the movie.
Tough on child porn
The Harper government introduced a smart new bill aimed at curtailing child pornography on the Internet. Under the tough legislation, Web-hosting companies and Internet service providers that fail to report pornographic content on their servers would be punished. This is the most logical way to get to those vile people who post child porn online: service providers are the closest link to unmasking this underground scourge, because they, in effect, carry the content (even if they don’t know it). If ISPs are scared into cracking down on what appears on their servers, the battle against child porn will be half-won already.
Israel and Hamas appear to be closing in on a deal that would see the Palestinian terrorist group release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Palestinians in June 2006. Israel would offer 1,000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli jails in return, including alleged murderer Marwan Barghouti, currently serving five life terms in an Israeli prison. The swap, should it happen, would be bittersweet for Israel: while Shalit’s return would be cause for celebration, Barghouti would likely assume a top leadership role in Fatah, and perhaps replace the moderate Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian leader, a move that could bring Fatah and Hamas together. In the long run, then, this deal could actually hamper Middle East peace.
Does America need a GST? Some economists are now arguing that instituting a federal value-added tax could be the answer to bringing down America’s huge deficit. This won’t sound like good news to consumers—Americans will certainly find a VAT-style tax just as annoying as Canadians find the GST—but it makes good economic sense, and deserves to be given due consideration. Let’s hope that aggressive provincial politicians from our side of the border don’t turn Washington off the idea.
Jon & Kate abate
The saga of Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight young children is, thankfully, over—their TV show, Jon & Kate Plus 8, aired for the last time on Tuesday night after three seasons. We were never fans of the older Gosselins—though the kids are inarguably cute to watch—but the public squabbling after their marriage ended earlier this year was too much to take. The parents ended up looking like selfish brats—their kids were the real heroes. Jon and Kate’s messy divorce will surely continue, but at least not in prime time. We expect Oprah Winfrey will find a much classier way to sign off when her show ends in 2011.
Swine flu confusion continues. While some experts have opined that the worst of the H1N1 pandemic is now behind us, others are warning against over-prescribing the vaccine. The World Health Organization also seems utterly confused: it’s recommending that doctors give out the vaccine to anyone showing symptoms of swine flu, and at the same time recommends that healthy people with mild symptoms not be given the vaccine. As if that weren’t enough, the WHO also announced on Tuesday that it has seen an unusually high number of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine in Canada.
Iraqis were preparing to go to the polls in January, but now it looks like they will have to wait to cast their votes. Parliament has been unable to pass an election law, because of objections from Sunnis that they will be under-represented—and Sunni Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi has threatened to veto the law. (Iraq’s Kurds have also protested the election on the same basis, though a recent amendment to the election law seems to have satisfied them.) With the United States set to begin withdrawing troops next year, a constitutional crisis is the last thing that the war-torn country can handle. If there is to be success in Iraq, this election must occur on time, and it must be free of corruption. There is no alternative.
Gore vs. Alberta
Al Gore is at it again, and this time he’s inconveniencing Albertans. In a speech on Tuesday, the former vice-president (and almost-president) opined that oil extraction from Alberta’s tar sands presents a serious environmental problem. This after he pasted the sands project in Rolling Stone magazine in 2006, saying, “They have to tear up four tons of landscape, all for one barrel of oil. It is truly nuts. But, you know, junkies find veins in their toes.” We don’t buy Gore’s doom-and-gloom scenario (odd, isn’t it, that his latest funereal pronouncements come right after he released a new climate book), and we hope Alberta’s hard-working population won’t suffer because of his reckless speechifying.
Idol no more
Former American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert embarrassed himself—and offended a whole lot of others—on Sunday night at the American Music Awards.His raunchy performance included pantomimed fellatio and a make-out session with a keyboard player. If you weren’t already convinced that pop music has become more about selling sex and less about actual talent, we now rest our case.
FACE OF THE WEEK
By Ken MacQueen - Friday, October 9, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Newsmakers of the week
Just add water
His Cirque du Soleil shows are a staple in Las Vegas, one of the planet’s most profligate users of water, but space tourist and Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberté is on a self-described “poetic social mission” to raise awareness of the need for access to clean drinking water. The Montreal-based Laliberté, who spent more than US$35 million for a 12-day visit to the International Space Station, donned a red foam clown’s nose as he arrived at the station last Friday, but his trip isn’t all fun and games. On Oct. 9, the Cirque founder hosts an all-star webcast at onedrop.org as the station orbits the planet. The two-hour “poetic tale,” written by novelist Yann Martel, brings together personalities from 14 world cities. Among them: former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, U2, Peter Gabriel, Shakira, Canadian astronaut Julie Payette, environmentalist David Suzuki and Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R. Rahman. Laliberté says he hopes the event will raise awareness for One Drop’s aim of “water for all, all for water.”
Paradise doesn’t come easy
Kurtis Coombs, a 19-year-old political science major at Memorial University, had a first-hand lesson last week in the dark art of politics. For almost two days, he was the elected mayor of Paradise, Nfld., where he lives with his parents while commuting to school in St. John’s. But Canada’s youngest mayor found his victory short-lived. A recount shaved his razor-thin three-vote victory into a tie with incumbent Ralph Wiseman. The draw was settled by putting both names in a recycling bin and picking the winner. With that, Wiseman returned to ofﬁce and Coombs is back in class. A Facebook page has been set up to assist Coombs “in keeping the job that was stolen from him.” On Tuesday, a judge ordered a second recount. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 9:20 AM - 6 Comments
The toil of rebuilding civilization will expose me for what I am: a completely useless man
Given the choice, I’d prefer we don’t have an apocalypse. Sure, on some level it would be cool to live in a dystopian hellscape in which man is pitted against beast and one’s very survival depends on staying a step ahead of the ruthless hordes of flesh-ravaging mutants, but then again I already spent two years working in politics.
Despite being a human male with my very own testosterone, I am afflicted by a number of great fears: heights, tight spaces, unicorns (that pointy horn isn’t for show, little girls—what do you think caused Care Bears to go extinct?). But my greatest great fear is the unfolding of a scenario under which the vast majority of humanity is wiped out in an unspeakable cataclysm . . . and somehow I remain alive.
You’d think the prospect of improbable survival against absurd odds would bring relief, even joy. Perhaps for you and the resulting zombie king. But the toil of rebuilding civilization will inevitably expose me for what I am: useless. Completely useless. Skill-lacking, mistake-making, job-avoiding, thumb-hammering, handyman-calling useless. This is no false modesty: 40-plus years into my existence, I cannot be relied upon to construct anything more complex than an enchilada.
By John Geddes - Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 4:54 PM - 38 Comments
How disappointing to read that Michael Ignatieff entered the hall at his fund raiser in Toronto yesterday to the stammering vocals and familiar chunky guitar riffs of “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Friday, October 24, 2008 at 12:00 AM - 0 Comments
Technical glitches and partisanship may complicate U.S. results
The “butterfly” ballots of Florida’s Palm Beach County that snarled up the 2000 presidential election with their hanging, pregnant, and otherwise perplexing “chads” have since been replaced by optical scan cards—but a recent test during a local judicial election found that new machines that count them couldn’t come up with the same result twice. As early voting gets underway across the sprawling, decentralized American election system, technical glitches and pre-emptive partisan lawsuits are putting nerves on edge in anticipation of the record throngs expected on Nov. 4. In North Carolina, voters wanting to pick a “straight Democratic ticket” have to remember that they need to vote for Barack Obama on a separate presidential ballot. In West Virginia, some Democratic voters said touch-screen voting machines literally changed their votes from Obama to John McCain before their very eyes. The state’s deputy secretary of state Sarah Bailey told the Charleston Gazette on Friday, “Sometimes machines can become miscalibrated when they are moved from storage facilities to early voting areas.” She ordered a recalibration.
And the election lawyers have been mustering. A Democratic attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Charles Lichtman, has boasted that he will effectively lead the largest law firm in America on Nov. 4 when he commands close to 5,000 lawyers who will show up at the polls to assist voters, resolve conflicts, and if necessary, sue. Republican lawyers have sprung into action in Ohio, where they sued the secretary of state, Democrat Jennifer Brunner, to provide lists of voters whose registration information does not match information in other state databases. Brunner says most differences are due to clerical errors. (Even Joe Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” the now famous critic of Obama’s tax plan, has his name misspelled on Ohio voter rolls as Worzelbacher.) The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found last Friday that the state party did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. No matter, others are in the works.
Distrust permeates the system. Part of the Obama campaign’s strategy is to register legions of new voters—especially among young people and African-Americans, who tend to vote Democrat. Republicans are suspicious of the groups doing the registering. One such group, ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, handed in registration forms with some false names such as Mickey Mouse and addresses that turned out to be empty lots. The group, which is obligated by law to turn in all the forms, blamed low-wage workers trying to make more money by padding their numbers. But the FBI is investigating, and during the last debate McCain accused ACORN of “maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” He could be right—if Mickey actually gets to cast a ballot.
It was all supposed to be better this time. After the debacle of 2000, Congress passed a federal law, the Help America Vote Act, to avoid similar mishaps. It included money for new machines to replace problematic systems such as Palm Beach County’s punch-card butterfly ballots, and a system that would allow voters who believe they are wrongly deemed ineligible to cast a provisional ballot and have their cases resolved after the election. But as it turns out, since 2000 things have gotten messier. Before George W. Bush vs. Al Gore, an average of 96 lawsuits involving election law were filed each year; since 2000, the annual average has more than doubled to 231, according to Richard Hasen, an election law expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “The system wasn’t good before 2000, but in some ways it’s gotten worse,” he says. “Part of the problem is more people are looking for problems. Litigation has become an important piece of campaign strategy for both campaigns.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 13, 2008 at 9:01 AM - 0 Comments
“The nature of Canada will be decided tomorrow,” said Andy Scott, the retiring Liberal incumbent, introducing his would-be successor, who in turn introduced Stephane Dion.
Mr. Dion arrived in grey suit and striped shirt, no tie, waving that floppy, full-arm wave of his. What followed, in a slightly modified stump speech and a scrum afterwards, essentially came down to this: “If we pull our votes together, we will win this election.”
Also, some math, which Mr. Dion has been repeating for days.
1. Al Gore-Ralph Nader=George W. Bush
2. Elizabeth May=Ralph Nader
3. Stephen Harper=George W. Bush
4. Jack Layton=Stephen Harper
Therefore, if you want a Liberal government, vote for Al Gore. Or something.
Now, breakfast. Next, Quebec.
By John Parisella - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 3:06 PM - 0 Comments
No surprise. It was expected. Why did he not do it earlier? Many Obama…
No surprise. It was expected. Why did he not do it earlier? Many Obama supporters were hoping Al Gore’s endorsement would come during the race with Hillary Clinton. Some were privately hopeful, others were disappointed when it did not come. While some may consider yesterday’s announcement anti-climactic, make no mistake about it, Al Gore’s support for Barack Obama is huge. Not only do many Democrats feel that Gore was robbed of the presidency in 2000, it is generally assumed that a Gore presidency would have made America much different than it is today.
Al Gore would have reacted with force and vigor to the events of 9-11, but he never would have engaged in the invasion of Iraq. President Bush failed to support Kyoto, but Al Gore would have been a world leader in pushing for action on climate change. On government debt, health care, and the fight against special interests, there is no doubt Al Gore would have directed his energies to change and reform in those areas of public policy. So when Al Gore says that he knows what it means to lose an election, his voice resonates with more than the Democratic base.
Since leaving active politics, Al Gore has won an Emmy, an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize in his fight for a better environment. He is a champion and a leader in progressive politics, and has inspired many people to get involved in public policy both in and beyond his country. If the Clintons’ represent the 1990′s, Gore represents the 21st century. Rarely do we see a politician after so many years in active “establishment” politics be able to recycle himself into a world statesman. There may not have been a big surprise in his endorsement of Obama, but it goes a long way in advancing the momentum around the Democratic nominee. Al Gore is one big catch.
By Paul Wells - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
There’s something particularly fascinating about politicians who aren’t actually that good at it. It would have been hard for a Democrat to lose the presidential election in 2000, but Al Gore almost managed it. And yet here he is, endorsing Barack Obama — very, very late, so as not to jinx him the way Gore jinxed Howard Dean in 2004 — and doing a pretty good job of it.
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 6:10 AM - 0 Comments
Apologies for the prolonged absence – I’ve been out in L.A. auditioning to play the heavy in Spider-Man 4. Way I figure it, the third movie cost something like $300-million, yet it wasn’t nearly as financially successful or critically praised. By the time they’ve signed the stars and director for the next installment, the budget is going to be under big-time pressure. Bottom line: they’re going to need to scrimp on the villain.
So: why not me? I can be the villain! Take Spidey back to his street-level roots. I’ll play a disaffected scientist who wears a lab coat and maybe grows some pincers or something. Or a terrifying mullet. Spiderman will need part his guile and 3% of his physical powers to stop me! Cheaper. Smarter. Excellenter. Everybody wins! I can even reduce costs further by bringing my own hubris and bicycle.
Bottom line: I think it went OK. In fact, I was pretty confident I was going to get the role until Screech from Saved By the Bell strolled into the audition room wearing four mechanical arms, a gladiator shield and a Darth Vader mask. Checkmate.
Anyhoo, I came back to the news that with sales down at Victoria’s Secret, the company is trying to boost business by emphasizing the environmentally responsible aspects of its operations – how it now uses FSC-certified paper for its catalogs, for instance, and recycled fabric for some of its garments.
Other ways the lingerie maker is going green:
- Edible underpants now 100% organic.
- All thongs henceforth to be made from old tires.
- Models encouraged to go step beyond hugging a tree to kinda making out with one.
- “Pushup” effect in bras now supplied not by costly proprietary technology but by a jobless hippie who follows you around in a Prius and occasionally yanks on your bra strap.
- Crotches from crotchless underwear sewn together to shield entire continent from harmful UV-B rays.
- All fur-lined panties to double as breeding habitat for the male bee hummingbird.
- Photographs of attractive models in state of advanced undress and exaggerated erotic pleasure replaced with page after page of pictures of the endangered short-tail chinchilla.
- Every single tanga, hiphugger and V-string to be personally tried on and approved by Al Gore.
- New hemp-based demi cup brassieres guaranteed to fully biodegrade by 3 p.m.
- Once a model turns 30, she’s instantly replaced by an adorable baby seal.