By Brian D. Johnson - Friday, January 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
He’s back. Now that his marriage and political fortunes have gone up in smoke, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a game attempt to re-ignite his career as a Hollywood action hero with his first lead role in a decade. In The Last Stand, The Governator re-enters the fray as a kind of unplugged Terminator, an old-school sheriff in a sleepy Arizona border town who ends up battling a fugitive Mexican drug lord in an armed stand-off that unleashes more firepower than the Alamo. Landing in the thick of the current debate on gun control, the timing couldn’t be worse, especially with Arnie using a school bus as a lethal weapon, along with a vintage arsenal of big, bad-ass guns that turn the sheriff’s one-horse town into an NRA fantasy camp.
The Last Stand‘s formulaic scenario, of a crusty lawman hauling himself out of semi-retirement, could be seen as Arnie’s Unforgiven, but with way more cheese and no gravitas. At best, it’s a guilty pleasure. Continue…
By Joanne Latimer - Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
By the age of 10, Schwarzenegger was convinced he was special and meant for bigger things than postwar Austria had to offer. He landed in America in 1968 with a Mr. Austria title in bodybuilding and very little English. How he parlayed his immigrant status into a Hollywood career, marriage to a Kennedy and two terms as the Republican governor of California is the story that fills these pages. Like everything about Arnie, the book is outsized, and there is enough content to justify the 624 pages. But is there enough charm?
The broad strokes of his astonishing life story are well-known, so the surprises are fun. Lucille Ball followed his career like a mother, sending him notes after every film. He kept his mail-order business for bodybuilding accessories going for years after his acting career took off. He ran his own construction business while taking acting lessons, and he built a real estate empire to allow him the financial freedom to turn down lousy acting roles. Milton Berle was his comedy coach and mentor. His famous Democratic in-laws were unlikely allies, encouraging his political career. Seemingly unspoiled by stardom, Arnie appreciated the value of marketing and never resented the tedious promotion needed to sell a movie, a book or a political proposition. As governor, he allocated billions for stem cell research and pushed through historic legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
So, where’s the charm? This reader didn’t detect any on the page. Neither is the book funny, despite Schwarzenegger’s assertions that others find him humorous. What he does best is itemize his fortune and critique movie marketing. As for the scandal about his illegitimate son with the housekeeper, Arnie dismisses it in a few pages, writing, “My whole life I never had anything going with anyone who worked for me.” (Maria must have taken cold comfort in that qualification.) There isn’t enough charm in the world to undo that sentence.
Visit the Maclean’s Bookmarked blog for news and reviews on all things literary
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, June 1, 2012 at 2:26 PM - 0 Comments
Tory attacks and cake…
For weeks the Conservatives have been attacking the NDP online
Tory attacks and cake
For weeks the Conservatives have been attacking the NDP online and with press releases entitled, “Get to know Mr. Mulcair’s NDP shadow cabinet.” In one release, ethics critic Charlie Angus, who went after the government for $16 orange juice, was attacked for changing his vote on scrapping the long-gun registry. Another highlights Treasury Board critic Mathieu Ravignat as someone who ran for the Communist Party of Canada in 1997. The features appear on mulcairsndp.ca alongside pictures of NDP MPs from the parliamentary website. “It’s like a comedy,” says NDP House leader Nathan Cullen. But he also flagged it to Speaker Andrew Scheer in an informal conversation. Cullen says those are taxpayer-funded pictures being used for partisan attacks—a misuse of government services. “If you have the courage of your convictions, then pull out your Visa.” So far the Conservatives have not launched attacks directly against Thomas Mulcair himself. Cullen says his plan is to continue to be upbeat and put out positive messages in the spirit of Jack Layton. When Cullen first became House leader he got a cake from Government House leader Peter Van Loan at their first meeting. Talk about a mixed message, jokes Cullen: “If you are going to be mean, then be consistently mean.”
The Punjabi Peter Mansbridge
Last week when the House was not sitting, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney did the rounds of ethnic media. One stop was the Gaunda Punjab Radio and TV program hosted by Joginder Bassi, who Kenney calls the “Peter Mansbridge of the Punjabi community but with hair.” When Kenney arrived at the station, he was greeted outside by Bassi’s people. Once inside, he was presented with blue flowers, which he gave to one of his staffers, Marlee Mozeson. Bassi has been doing his show for 30 years. He’s watched as the Punjabi community has shifted more to supporting Conservatives than Liberals over the years. Bassi says Kenney’s introduction last year of the “Parent and Grandparent Super Visa,” which allows qualified family members to make multiple visits over 10 years, has been well received by the Punjabi community. After the interview, Bassi asked Kenney to attend a special Punjabi day at Canada’s Wonderland. “Do I have to go on the roller coasters?” Kenney asked.
By Brian D. Johnson - Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
The actor on feuding with Arnold Schwarzenegger and what’s wrong with today’s action heroes
Thirty-five years ago at the Oscars, Rocky won Best Picture, beating All the President’s Men, Network and Taxi Driver. The movie scored 10 nominations, including Best Actor and Original Screenplay for its creator and star, Sylvester Stallone. He’s never been nominated since, but has racked up a record number of Razzies for “worst actor.” Now 65, Stallone is still scrapping for comeback, with two movies coming out this year, Bullet to the Head and Expendables 2.
Q: When you were broke, you turned down $250,000 from a studio that wanted to make Rocky without you. Did you have any idea at the time that it would take off the way it did?
A: Not at all. I thought I was making a film for drive-in theatres. I approached it as a coming-of-age story about the frustration I felt. I thought a regular character wouldn’t work, so I put it in the body of a boxer.
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, June 10, 2011 at 9:55 AM - 21 Comments
If you’re caught, don’t lie. It’s the worst thing you can do, other than that first thing you did.
A timely word of advice to American politicians: don’t. Whatever you’re thinking of doing tonight, just don’t.
Don’t take a photograph of yourself—bare-chested and flexing the guns—and email it to a woman you just met through Craigslist.1 Don’t make use of high-priced hookers.2 Don’t make use of low-priced hookers.3 Don’t try to score in the stall of an airport men’s room because, wow, that is not very sanitary, sir.4
Don’t exchange 14,000 sexually explicit messages with your chief of staff.5 Don’t divorce your first wife while she’s in hospital recovering from surgery to remove a tumour.6 And don’t cheat on your second wife with your future third wife. One can support family values without having the most families.
By Anne Kingston - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 10:45 AM - 5 Comments
Women all over the world are fighting back against sleazy men, no matter how powerful they are
On May 17, the same day the Los Angeles Times broke the story that Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a long-time employee, his estranged wife Maria Shriver was in Chicago, taping the penultimate episode of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. As the audience cheered, she took the stage to thank Winfrey for her friendship while making a not-so-subtle dig at her husband’s stunning duplicity: “You’ve given me love, support, wisdom, and most of all…the truth.” Winfrey clasped Shriver’s hand, thrust it in the air and cried, “Here’s to the truth!”
It was a classic Oprah moment, perfectly calibrated to the trend of rich and powerful philanderers getting their comeuppance. If Shriver had plotted to orchestrate a public up-yours toward her husband of 25 years, she couldn’t have chosen a more ideal platform. Days later the allegation arrived that she had done just that: TMZ.com reported Shriver herself had leaked the Schwarzenegger story to the Times—a historic moment for a woman born into the Kennedy family, a political dynasty where wives appear hard-wired to ignore infidelities.
For years, Shriver followed that script as rumours swirled about Schwarzenegger’s cheating and sexual assaults. A 2001 Premiere magazine exposé, “Arnold the Barbarian,” claimed the action hero routinely grabbed women’s breasts in some sort of Neanderthal greeting, and repeatedly forced unwanted physical contact. In 2003, on the eve of the California gubernatorial election, six women came forward in the L.A. Times alleging that Schwarzenegger had engaged in sexual bullying and assault dating back decades. Shriver rose to his defence publicly, discrediting his accusers and calling her husband an “A-plus human being,” a validation credited with securing his first landslide victory.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 2:58 PM - 0 Comments
California attorney general to investigate misuse of taxpayer funds
California’s attorney general will launch an inquiry into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure as governor, specifically into the alleged misuse of public funds to cover up his extramarital liaisons, reports RadarOnline.com. The Office of the Attorney General will conduct a “preliminary evaluation into the scope of Schwarzenegger’s double life,” including using his security detail to facilitate sexual encounters. A security officer at the Sacramento Hyatt Regency said he saw California Highway Patrol officers and vehicles escort women to and from the Governator’s hotel room. “On three differed occasions after the governor arrived alone at the Hyatt Regency, CHP Dignitary Protection Services arrived in their official vehicles, black Ford Crown Victoria sedans – about one to two hours later with one or two young females,” William Taylor, the head of hotel security, told the National Inquirer after passing a polygraph test. Schwarzenegger’s public relations firm issued a press release denying the allegations, which included statements from CHP and hotel officials.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 12:27 PM - 5 Comments
Former Governor of California kept child a secret for “more than a decade”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Terminator and Governor of California, split with his wife Maria Shriver earlier this month, and today he revealed why: Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child with one of their household workers. The staffer, who had worked for the Schwarzeneggers for the last 20 years, had the actor and bodybuilder’s baby “more than a decade ago,” before he ran for office. He provided financial support for the woman and her child, but kept the paternity a secret, managing to conceal the story throughout his entire gubernatorial campaign and two terms in office. Schwarzenegger’s campaign was plagued with many stories about women he had allegedly groped, allegations he at first denied and then apologized for. But somehow the biggest scandal of all managed to remain a secret until now.
By Nancy Macdonald - Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
Donald Trump gets sued, Rita Chretien is found alive, and Don Cherry is angry about something again
Compassion for bin Laden
Angela Merkel’s remark that she was “glad” Osama bin Laden had been killed sparked a firestorm of controversy in Germany. Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann even filed a criminal complaint, alleging the German chancellor broke a law barring the “rewarding and approving of crimes”—in this case, bin Laden’s “homicide.” Politicians denounced her, and 64 per cent of Germans agreed: bin Laden’s death was “no reason to rejoice.” In L.A., however, even the Dalai Lama—compassion incarnate—said he had it coming. “If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Mother’s day miracle
After 49 days alone in a Chevy Astro van on a logging road in remote Nevada, Rita Chretien was found barely conscious, but clinging to life. The 56-year-old Penticton, B.C., native and her husband, Albert, were stranded en route to Las Vegas on March 19; Albert, who left two days later to ﬁnd help, hasn’t been seen since. Rita’s faith, and a bit of trail mix, was all that kept her going until finally she was spotted by hunters on ATVs. “We were praying for a miracle and, boy, did we get one,” her son Raymond told reporters Sunday.
By macleans.ca - Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 0 Comments
The RCMP officers involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death face perjury charges, while scientists prove Einstein was right
Some justice at last
It’s been over three years since Robert Dziekanski died at the Vancouver airport after RCMP used Tasers to subdue him. Now B.C.’s attorney general has laid perjury charges against the four officers involved for allegedly giving misleading testimony during the exhaustive Braidwood inquiry. While some, including Dziekanski’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, are disappointed the charges don’t relate to the tasering itself, Cisowski still applauded the move. The wheels of the law may be slow, but they do keep moving, and in this sad case the charges offer at least some measure of justice.
Harnessing hot air
Energy sources such as wind and solar could provide 80 per cent of the world’s power supply within four decades if governments provide the cash and policies to make it happen. That is the landmark conclusion of a UN panel that says it’s not too late to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a “safe” level. In the meantime, farmers are enjoying the heat. According to separate research, Canadian crops have been largely spared from the scourge of climate change—and our historically hard-luck farmers are profiting from increased demand.
When the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, it was a blow to China’s human rights record. But the big winner may be Scottish fish farmers. In a fit of pique, China has stopped buying salmon from Norway—its biggest supplier—and signed a deal with Scotland. Perhaps that contributed to the unprecedented majority won by Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party in the May 5 elections. Good news for nationalist politicians, not so much for fish.
It’s all relative
A NASA study has confirmed two of the “most profound predictions” about Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity: that space and time are both warped and pulled by Earth’s gravity. Astrophysicists say the results, based on data measured by an orbiting space probe, will have implications “beyond our planet.” In other physics news: engineers have developed a golf ball that won’t slice. Now there’s a breakthrough we can relate to.
In the post-Mubarak era, Egypt is transitioning, but to what? Christians and Muslims clashed in Cairo, leaving 12 dead and two churches in smoldering ruins, amid signs Islamist hard-liners are asserting their power. At the same time, Syria continued its crackdown against anti-government protesters, killing scores of people and injuring hundreds, while in Libya, forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi hammered rebels. Clearly the fight is far from over for the pro-democracy movement across the Middle East.
Tens of thousands more baby boomers will face retirement without a company pension plan, Statistics Canada reported this week. Since the recession, membership in private sector plans has fallen below that of the public sector for the first time ever. Which is why Canadians should be cheering the Canada Pension Plan’s tripling of its 2009 investment in Internet-calling-company Skype, recently purchased by Microsoft for US$8.5 billion. Unless you work for the civil service or at a university, the CPP may be all the help you will get.
Lord Triesman, the chair of England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup of soccer, is alleging at least four FIFA members demanded bribes for their votes, including a knighthood for Paraguay’s representative. Trinidad’s football head wanted $2.5 million cash for an “educational centre.” London’s Sunday Times reports two West African delegates were paid $1.5 million to support Qatar’s winning bid. And in France, the national team is embroiled in scandal after it emerged officials considered quotas to limit the number of African and Arab-born players on their development squads. The ugly side to the beautiful game.
A good marriage isn’t necessarily built on love or even physical attraction, suggests new research in the Journal of Politics. Among the strongest shared traits between U.S. spouses is their political attitudes, the study found. The political bond forms early in marriages, but it’s not always enough to keep them together. Just ask political power-couple Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, who separated this week.
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 11:51 AM - 8 Comments
Movie star-politician to split from Maria Shriver
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star and former governor of California, is separating from his wife, TV correspondent Maria Shriver, a member of the Kennedy clan. The couple issued a joint statement about their 25-year marriage, saying that they are “living apart while we work on the future of our relationship.” Shriver, 55, has moved out of their Brentwood mansion, although they continue to raise their four kids together (ages 21, 20, 18 and 14). The couple got together after meeting at a celebrity tennis tournament 34 years ago, and had some rough patches, including allegations during Schwarzenegger’s 2003 campaign for governor that he’d groped several women. He apologized for his inappropriate behaviour and Shriver defended him.
By Jane Switzer - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 12:22 PM - 0 Comments
He’s no longer California governor, but Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be everywhere these days
When Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped down as governor of California in January after nearly eight years in office, he made Hollywood a promise: he’ll be back. Now, the actor-turned-politician is teaming up with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee to create The Governator, a children’s comic book and television series featuring Schwarzenegger’s crime-fighting alter ego. The Governator will battle the evil G.I.R.L.I.E. Men (Gangsters, Imposters, Racketeers, Liars and Irredeemable Ex-cons) with the help of a uniquely talented teenage quartet, including Zeke Muckerberg, a 13-year-old computer genius inspired by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Political pundits first nicknamed Schwarzenegger “the Governator”—a play on his popular Terminator movies—when he ran for office in 2003. Though sometimes used negatively by critics, Schwarzenegger told Entertainment Weekly he’s fond of the moniker: “When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about ‘the Governator,’ I thought the word was so cool,” he says. “The word ‘Governator’ combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [the comic] brings everything together.”
Since leaving the governor’s Sacramento mansion, Schwarzenegger has maintained a presence on the international political scene. While en route to Cannes last week, the long-time Republican met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and addressed Conservative MPs before attending former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s star-studded 80th birthday party at Royal Albert Hall.
By Nancy Macdonald - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 10:29 AM - 11 Comments
The B.C. premier on right and wrong politics, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his worst day in office
Later this month, three-term B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell—a three-term Vancouver mayor before that—will retire from public life. In 2010, he introduced the widely despised Harmonized Sales Tax. In November, after months of vicious public debate over the new tax, Canada’s longest-serving premier announced that he was stepping down.
Q: When you were first elected premier back in 2001, your peers included Mike Harris in Ontario and Bernard Landry in Quebec. Those seem like names from a bygone era. Does it feel like a long time to you?
A: Things change a lot less in 10 years than you’d think. It seems like a long time ago when I think about the things that were taking place. We came in with a major personal income tax cut, then we were confronted with a tech meltdown; 9/11; Afghanistan in October; SARS in November; there was a war in Iraq the next year; floods. All that stuff really grabs you right at the time you’re trying to work through a whole bunch of other things—we’d said we were going to balance our budget by 2003. So, it’s a very intense experience. But does it seem like a long time ago? Not really.
By macleans.ca - Friday, February 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM - 5 Comments
Arnold Schwarzenegger announces return to the silver screen
Former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is planning a comeback—in Hollywood, that is. “Exciting news,” the 63-year-old wrote on Twitter. “My friends at CAA (Creative Artists Agency, his talent firm) have been asking me for 7 years when they can take offers seriously. Gave them the green light today.” The actor-turned-politician finished his second term as governor last month, leading to speculation as to whether he’d continue in politics or resume his acting career in Hollywood.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM - 35 Comments
As per Scott’s appeal,
here isthere was video of Defence Minister Peter MacKay denying the existence of the great states of Washington and Oregon. (The video seems, suddenly, to have been disappeared from the Internet. Here is the Star’s account of the flub.)
And here is the inevitable Liberal mockery.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Martha Stewart gets a fat lip, Stieg Larsson’s successor, and a Seattle superhero discovers he’s human
A sad goodbye
Thousands of mourners, including a sea of uniformed officers from across North America, paid their final respects to Sgt. Ryan Russell, a Toronto cop killed in the line of duty. Packed into a downtown convention centre, the huge crowd stood in silence as the sergeant’s widow, Christine, and their two-year-old son, Nolan, were escorted into the funeral. David Onley, Ontario’s lieutenant-governor, echoed Barack Obama’s words after the Tucson massacre: “There is evil in the world and terrible things happen that defy human understanding.” In a nearby jail cell, Richard Kachkar—a homeless man who allegedly ran Russell over with a stolen snowplow—is charged with first-degree murder.
There goes the neighbour
At what point do cultural “beliefs” cross the line into superstition? Or worse, plain old bigotry? Janet Fan and about 60 of her mostly Asian neighbours in a condo building may be about to find out, as they are loudly opposing the construction of a 15-bed hospice next door to their posh, 18-floor highrise at the University of British Columbia. Their grounds? “It’s a cultural taboo to us and we cannot be close to so many dying people,” says Fan, who organized a rally against the facility this week. “It’s like you open your door and step into a graveyard.” Fan went on to voice concern about the other key issue: the $1 million or so each owner had sunk into his unit, telling the Province newspaper: “We put our life savings into this.” And really, what’s the importance of a life next to that?
A real bitch, that
A French bulldog named Francesca fulﬁlled a secret fantasy of the design-challenged last week by giving her mistress, Martha Stewart, a fat lip. But all credit to the lifestyle queen for wryly documenting the experience on her blog with words and photos. She said she’d bent down to whisper goodbye to her prize pooch when the animal jumped in fright, smacking Stewart in the mug with the force of a “boxing glove.” The 69-year-old Stewart needed stitches, but was lucid enough to slag the decor at the Westchester, N.Y., hospital where she went for treatment. “The ceiling border in the little patient room could use some updating,” she blogged.
By macleans.ca - Friday, October 15, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Arnold Schwarzenegger has advice for Russia, Naomi Campbell’s unwitting good deed, and Kim Jong Il’s other son
The prince gets down
Prince Charles, donning a red bindi, charmed locals with a charmingly poor dancing form while visiting the northern Indian city of Jodhpur during India’s Commonwealth Games. After some cajoling, he began to follow the movements of the elderly farmers, and began to smile as he twirled about.
And long may you run
Omemee, Ont., a wide spot on the highway between Lindsay and Peterborough, is the early childhood home of rock icon Neil Young. It’s also the site of Youngtown, a museum packed to the rafters with rock memorabilia of every sort, and a tribute to the Young family, including Neil’s late father, storied sportswriter and author Scott Young. Last week Neil and his older brother, Bob, visited the museum for the first time since it opened in 2008. “The hour-long visit was simply an awesome experience for this writer,” museum founder and collector in chief, Trevor Hosier, wrote on Youngtown’s Facebook page, “and I’m glad to report that we passed the audition.”
By Colby Cosh - Friday, August 13, 2010 at 4:23 AM - 0 Comments
Don’t look now, but a twist has materialized in the legal epic of same-sex marriage in California. When U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the statute implementing the anti-SSM Proposition 8, even sophisticated observers began imagining the familiar capillary process whereby a quarrel migrates upward through increasingly mighty appellate courts.
But wait! Remember what the style of cause was in this lawsuit? That’s right: Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
The plaintiffs were two gays and two lesbians seeking California marriage licenses. The defendants were state officials obeying the dictates of Prop 8, as unwilling legislative automata, from the Governator on down. Those officials have no intention of appealing Walker’s ruling. Indeed, they barely presented a defence of “themselves” in the first place. The advocates of Proposition 8, whose clumsy evidence Judge Walker treated like a speed-bag in his decision, weren’t parties to the suit and didn’t ask to be. They were mere intervenors. So how can they obtain standing to appeal?
This wrinkle didn’t come to the attention of the general-interest press (or to me) until yesterday, when Walker addressed it in his handling of a request for a stay of his decision. The rule is that federal appeal courts, under Article III of the Constitution, can only hear legitimate, non-hypothetical “cases” and “controversies”. This means that intervenors and other observers have to meet a high standard in order to take a decision to U.S. Circuit Court without the aid of one of the original parties—aid that will certainly not be forthcoming in this instance.
Traditionally, in order to gain standing, non-parties have to show that they have suffered a concrete, specific injury as a result of the decision being appealed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out in 1997 that “An intervenor cannot step into the shoes of the original party unless the intervenor independently fulfills the requirements of Article III.” In no case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court has this happened.
The strangest quirk of all is this: the issue that will decide the feasibility of an appeal by private citizens advocating Prop 8 seems like the same one that came before Judge Walker in the first place. Namely, does the existence of same-sex marriage cause meaningful harm to anybody? Judge Walker, having found that it does not, is naturally skeptical of the intervenors’ ability to proceed. But what’s going to happen if the 9th Circuit turns those intervenors away? Is it quite fair for the judiciary as a class, having thwarted California’s voters, to say “Judge Walker’s ruling that gay marriage doesn’t hurt anybody is impervious to appeal on technical grounds, because gay marriage doesn’t hurt anybody”?
Me, I’m no bleeding-heart small-D democrat. But to the opponents of gay marriage, and perhaps even to unpersuaded moderates, this might seem like sharp dealing. It is one thing for the judiciary to block the will of the majority: hey, welcome to the U.S.A., tenderfoot. This, however, is a case where the judiciary may not only end up obstructing the volonté générale, but elbowing it good and hard in the vitals. Somehow, in California, a majority vote against same-sex marriage will have led directly to the near-permanent entrenchment of same-sex marriage.
This sort of counterintuitive outcome could surely lead to a backlash outside California. Who knows?—it might even create the impetus for an anti-SSM affort at constitutional amendment. The Democratic character of the Congress is a poor assurance of safety for the five (shortly to be six) states which have full, legal gay marriage. That institution still has never won a referendum in the U.S.; its win-loss record stands at 0-31. And the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies nationwide constitutional “full faith and credit” to same-sex marriages, was opposed by just 14 Senators and 67 Representatives not so long ago (1996).
Time and history are on the side of gay marriage. (This is especially true if it represents some sort of fatal Spenglerian decadence.) But it is unclear just how much of each will be needed.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 7 Comments
And the medal for best staffer goes to…
A wet PM Stephen Harper waited for almost an hour in the cold rain—without an umbrella—to congratulate moguls skier Jennifer Heil, who won Canada’s ﬁrst Olympic medal at the Vancouver 2010 games. The PM could have waited inside, but chose to remain outdoors. He was with his daughter, Rachel Harper, and in a tender moment explained to her that Heil had done the best she could and won silver. When Heil won a gold medal in Turin in 2006, she came to Ottawa and got to meet Harper in his office. On Saturday night, the PM hugged Heil and said, “I got to see where you work today.” Watching the skiing events for eight hours in the rain was Minister of Public Works Rona Ambrose, who brought her mother, Colleen Chapchuk, as her Olympic date.
Chapchuk bought them both matching official Olympic mitts, scarves, and toques. Heil is from Spruce Grove, Alta., which is in Ambrose’s riding. Ambrose is also taking her mother to other events. “She loves figure skating. This is her birthday and Christmas present.” Ambrose scored best-daughter-ever points when she brought her mom to Michaëlle Jean’s reception for heads of state; among the guests were U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and Princess Anne. But the guest everyone wanted photos with was California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he arrived, there was an empty seat next to Ambrose’s mom and he plunked himself down beside her.
And the medal for best staffer goes to…
Heritage Minister James Moore accompanied the Olympic torch in B.C. as it went through his riding of Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam. Accompanying the minister was his director of communications, Deirdra McCracken. But there was no room in the official torch vehicle (especially with the sponsorship Coca-Cola girls), so she had to run seven kilometres to keep up. “It was a good thing I chose to wear running shoes and not heels that day,” quipped McCracken. At the opening ceremonies, Moore, whose portfolio includes the Olympics, heard a man behind him shout, “Good job!” He turned around and saw that the fellow, who was holding a beer, was Jean Chrétien.
NEW ARRIVAL AT 24 Sussex
Laureen Harper finally got the igloo she’s been wanting at 24 Sussex with the help of David Serkoak, who teaches Inuit culture at the Nunavut Sivuniksavut training program in Ottawa. He was recommended to her by Inuit leader Mary Simon. Mrs. Harper and a few of her friends were the igloo-building assistants; it took the team about four hours to complete the project. The snow was icy and difficult to carve: “We were going to do something bigger but the snow wasn’t right,” said Mrs. Harper. They used a saw and a knife that Serkoak made himself to carve out the blocks. “David was amazing with his knife, and once he was finished he was entombed in his creation and he dug from the inside and we dug from the outside and we created a door at the bottom,” noted Mrs. Harper. The plan now is to furnish the igloo with seal and caribou skins along with a dog sleigh. While building the igloo, Serkoak told the team stories about surviving in the North. His family spent their winters in an igloo until 1961. Farley Mowat wrote about the area he is from, which is west of Hudson Bay, in his book People of the Deer.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 11, 2009 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
This week’s Newsmakers
It’s coal in your stocking, bucko
Santa shook like a bowl full of Jell-O at the Southlake Mall in suburban Atlanta, but not in a good way. Police in Morrow, Ga., say 45-year-old William C. Caldwell III dressed as an elf and waited an hour in line to have his picture taken with St. Nick. When he reached the man in red, Caldwell, looking very elfin at five feet tall and 108 lb., said he was packing dynamite in his bags. Santa called security. The mall was evacuated but no explosives were found. The naughty elf faces a variety of charges and the prospect of Christmas behind bars.
The other shoe drops
Two Iraqi journalists are now one shoe short of a pair. Muntazer al-Zaidi, who famously chucked a shoe at former U.S. president George W. Bush, has himself become a target of flying footwear. Zaidi was speaking at a news conference in Paris when an exiled Iraqi journalist, arguing in favour of U.S. policy, hurled a shoe at Zaidi. Zaidi’s outraged brother attempted to rough up the fleeing journalist, who wasn’t immediately identified. And Zaidi later complained, “He stole my technique.”
Son of a Terminator
If the rumours are true, Tallulah Willis, 15, is dating Patrick Schwarzenegger, 16. Doesn’t that have the makings of the ultimate teen-romance action flick? Willis shares her time with daddy Bruce Willis, and with mom Demi Moore and her hubby Ashton Kutcher. And Schwarzenegger’s dad, Arnold, is the governator of California. The New York Post says the pair started dating at Halloween. A rep for Bruce Willis denies it, but dads are always the last to know. Continue…
By Lianne George - Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 9:30 AM - 1 Comment
Perez Hilton gets punched, Carla Bruni’s biggest fan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s interesting statue
Arnold’s extra pair
In the spirit of partisan pranks-manship, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently sent a metal sculpture in the shape of bull testicles to California Senate President Darrell Steinberg—a metaphorical reminder of the bold budgetary decisions required by the state’s lawmakers in the face of a US$24.3-billion budget shortfall. Unfortunately, the joke fell flat. Steinberg, who is a Democrat, returned the sculpture to its sender, along with a note stressing the seriousness of the situation. In fairness to the governor, sources told MSNBC.com that the testicles were sent in response to a gag gift Steinberg sent to him—a package of mushrooms—after Schwarzenegger called the Democrat’s budget proposals “hallucinatory.” But the sculpture was apparently too much coming from a man who once called Democrats “girlie men.” When asked why so serious, Steinberg’s spokesperson told reporters, “We’ve got more important things on our plate right now than to waste any more time on such trivial matters.”
Too much information
On Monday, Canada’s Information Commissioner Robert Marleau resigned unexpectedly, only two years into an ostensible seven-year tenure. He was in the process of reforming the country’s access to information laws, which have come to be routinely subverted by secretive government officials. Only one day earlier, Marleau was quoted in a Toronto Star article decrying the whole system. When the Access to Information Act was introduced in 1983, he told the reporter, “we were amongst the leaders in the world.” Since then, he said, “It’s been the same song and dance, no effort by any government to have this legislation or these processes keep pace with time, change and technology.” The reasons for his hasty departure only 24 hours later, he told media, are “entirely personal and private.” Continue…