By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 0 Comments
Kady O’Malley tries to track down an explanation for the missing Martin Luther King reference. Whatever the reason for it not appearing in Hansard, John Williamson is apparently going to make sure it is restored.
As it turns out, he had nothing to do with the mysterious redaction, as a helpful staffer was only to happy to explain. In fact, the original omission first appeared (or, in this case, failed to appear) in the Blues — the uncorrected and unofficial transcript, which is sent out within the parliamentary precinct before the final version is printed in order to give MPs the chance to review and, if necessary, request minor edits.
Which, the same helpful staffer told me, is exactly what Williamson intends to do this week, which means that, provided no one objects, his full statement will be restored, and appear in future editions of Hansard as it was delivered on the floor of the House — Martin Luther King homage and all.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM - 0 Comments
Charlie Angus, last month, announcing his departure from Twitter. “Free at last. Free at last. Great God almighty free at last.”
John Williamson, last week, celebrating the end of the long-gun registry. “Free at last. Free at last. Law-abiding Canadians are finally free at last.”
That the latter doesn’t appear verbatim in Hansard is odd.
By Ken MacQueen, Michael Friscolanti and Richard Warnica - Friday, September 9, 2011 at 10:45 AM - 0 Comments
Bieber goes Hollywood, Big Buff goes off his diet, and Bibi’s wife faces new staff abuse allegations
Scales of justice
The Winnipeg Jets haven’t iced a team yet, but star D-man Dustin Byfuglien has been hit with a major penalty. The former Chicago Blackhawk, who helped propel the team to the 2009-10 Stanley Cup, was arrested Wednesday night near the lakeside community of Excelsior in his home state of Minnesota on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. “Big Buff” spent three hours in the penalty box of the Hennepin County Sherrif’s Office after refusing to submit to a blood or urine test. Possible charges are pending. The Jets have two causes for alarm: the police weigh-in showed Byfuglien has ballooned to 286 lb., about 40 lb. above his usual playing weight. As well, a criminal conviction would complicate crossing the border to Winnipeg. “He’s got to grow up,” his stepfather Dale Smedsmo told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, presumably a reference to attitude, not poundage.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not known for his love of journalists, so it came as a surprise that his new communications director is a member of the pencil press. Angelo Persichilli, 63, a political editor of the Italian-language newspaper Corriere Canadese and an occasional columnist for the Toronto Star, replaces former mouthpiece Dmitri Soudas. The hire may score points in the ethnic community, a target of Tory affections. Persichilli faces the daunting task of selling federal spending reductions. Meanwhile, budget cuts south of the border factored into outspoken Gen. David Petraeus’s last act after a 37-year military career. He warned reductions may hurt the army’s ability to fight insurgencies. Expect him to guard the CIA’s budget like a hawk when he takes over as America’s spy chief this week.
By Elio Iannacci - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM - 1 Comment
A conversation with the queen of soul
While Billie Holiday is often associated with the sound of suffering and Nina Simone, rage, Aretha Franklin’s music is almost always linked to the nourishing of hope and freedom. In fact, her powerful voice—which has officially been declared a natural resource by the state of Michigan—is forever tied to the U.S. civil rights movement.
Which is probably why major labels continue to make money by reissuing her classic tracks. Columbia Records has invested in two big projects this year. The Great American Songbook is an 18-track CD of covers written by legends such as Cole Porter and Billy Straythorn; the Take a Look box set, a 12-disc package of ’60s cuts, celebrates the 50th anniversary of her first album.
On a tour bus en route to rehearse for her much-lauded appearance at the Toronto Jazz Festival on June 24, Franklin talked about her performances during that era of social change. “In those early days, myself, Mr. Harry Belafonte and a young gospel singer with a terrific voice by the name of Queen Esther Marrow, did concerts with Dr. Martin Luther King,” she said. “I was a teenage girl then, so naturally I was in awe of Dr. King and listened carefully to every word that he said. At that time, Respect became a civil rights anthem.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 2:24 PM - 7 Comments
How American Idol has turned hollow celebrity into a worthwhile achievement
Behold the power of living without embarrassment.
Some months ago, a 63-year-old civil rights activist named Larry Platt went to an American Idol open call in Atlanta. Aside from not possessing the necessary vocal talent, he far exceeded the show’s age limit. Still, he was allowed to audition for the show’s judges and proceeded to sing a self-penned song entitled Pants On The Ground, an infectious jingle meant to warn against the peril of wearing ill-fitting jeans.
Last Wednesday, that audition aired on Fox. By Thursday night, Late Night host Jimmy Fallon, impersonating Neil Young, was signing his own rendition of Pants On The Ground. Saturday afternoon, after leading his team to victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre sang the chorus during the team’s locker room celebration. On Monday, Platt, who marched in Selma alongside Martin Luther King Jr., was a guest on The View. A small record label is offering him a chance to record Pants On The Ground. In the meantime, he has achieved the triple crown of Internet fame: YouTube tributes, a million-member Facebook group and homemade t-shirts for sale on eBay.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 11:39 AM - 22 Comments
Paris’s speech caps a heartbreaking tribute: “Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.”
Welcome to live coverage of Michael Jackson’s memorial. I’m going to spend the next few hours watching CNN, writing about it and linking to whatever I find interesting. Should be a wholly uncomfortable afternoon. (See the photo gallery from the memorial here)
11:30pm. First up, live coverage of the private memorial at Forest Lawn cemetery as seen from a helicopter circling overhead. Very, very classy. Let’s distract ourselves. Maybe go buy a copy—or 12!—of our commemorative issue. Or go read Sasha Frere-Jones at the New Yorker. Or Tom Junod’s obit. Or ?uestlove’s twitter feed. Whatever you do just don’t watch television, ok? I’ll tell you when it’s mildly safe to look.
11:42pm. CNN’s Don Lemon is reviewing the program for the memorial ceremony. It’s like storytime in kindergarten. Only way sadder. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 4:00 PM - 909 Comments
What will change for Americans now that their President has more melanin in his skin?
It could have been mistaken for a religious pilgrimage. The spirit of the crowds that gathered was not loudly partisan. There was giddiness to be sure, but the overriding feeling was solemn. The sense of History Being Made was on every corner, from the Sunday-best hats and cashmere coats in the crowd to the inescapable commemorative Obamabilia being hawked everywhere. A desire among the crowds who braved the cold to be merely present, to bear witness, to breathe the same air, to be part of this national ceremony that promised a renewal, a national resurrection of sorts. In an America beaten down by recession and wars, they had come to see with their own eyes the making of the First Black President.
As many as two million people were present for President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Two days before, some 400,000 had come together for a concert at the Doric temple columns of the Lincoln Memorial. It was here that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed in 1963 that he had a dream, and now the son of a white mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya was in the process of fulfilling it. Obama’s face was everywhere—on the massive banners draping the neoclassical columns of the white monumental buildings in the city, on buttons, T-shirts, a sea of magazine covers, his smile emblazoned on everything from tote bags to earrings.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 1:40 AM - 840 Comments
Back, for a moment, to David Foster Wallace’s take on John McCain.
Near the end of that little book Foster Wallace arrives at his definitive division of political leadership—laying out a distinction between “leaders” and “salesmen.”
“A real leader,” he writes, “isn’t just somebody who has ideas you agree with, nor is it just somebody you happen to believe is a good guy. A real leader is somebody who, because of his own particular power and charisma and example, is able to inspire people, with ‘inspire’ being used here in a serious and non-cliche way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think we are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own … In other words, a real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own…
“There is a difference,” he continues later, “between a great leader and a great salesman. There are similarities, of course. A great salesman is usually charismatic and likable, and he can often get us to do things (buy things, agree to things that we might not go for on our own, and to feel good about it. Plus a lot of salesmen are basically decent people with plenty about them to admire. But even a truly great salesman isn’t a leader. This is because a salesman’s ultimate, overriding motivation is self-interest—if you buy what he’s selling, the salesman profits. So even though the salesman may have a very powerful, charismatic, admirable personality, and might even persuade you that buying is in your interests (and it really might be)—still, a little part of you always knows that what the salesman’s ultimately after is something for himself.”
This leads to a consideration of whether John McCain (circa 2000) could quite literally sell himself as a real leader, without, in the process, becoming a salesman. (see also, Barack Obama circa 2008).
But, for the moment, let’s consider something else. Namely, when was the last time Canada had a real leader? Continue…