I go to the Newsana debate in Toronto. Headline for the gathering: "Toronto's Watergate? The inside scoop on how the media exposed Rob Ford." Up there on the platform is a fine balance of newspapers leftish, centreish and rightish. Here are some highlights, condensed and edited.
There's something about Justin Trudeau with his sideways smiles, V-necks and ladies' night that reminds me of smarmy men from my past. That connection is hard to break, even though as a friend recently pointed out, he's probably the politician who best reflects my views. As with our personal relationships, we are often blind to our favourite politicians' faults. We defend them when others bring up their shortcomings -- "You don't know the real Barack!" -- rather than accept the facts. That's why it stung so much when I recently read a piece in the Globe and Mail titled "From messiah to lame duck: How Barack Obama fell to earth."
Rob Ford, should you be legally allowed to run for mayor again, though I may not have the courage of many of my neighbours to cast a vote in your direction, I most certainly will watch delightedly as you sweat your way through a seemingly endless string of awkward hallway press scrums and barely-veiled bigotry. You have taught me to accept what I do not understand.
Though this pageant of greed and gluttony lasts four whole days, when all is said and done, even amidst the drunken family brawling, sometimes moments for reflection can still be found. And you can bet that this round-headed political comic has much to be thankful for.
Dressing appropriately for your job can be painfully obvious, but not everyone gets it. Our appearance should be appropriate to where and who we're with, and it should also reflect the occasion. Why? Because people act in accordance to what they see and hear -- it could cost you performance evaluations, tips, or votes!
In the Village of Monticello, it just seems to get worse and worse, stupider and stupider. Every week, the absurd gets more absurd. Residents ther...
Ron Reagan and David Frum debate whether ending filibusters over presidential appointments was a "power grab" or a pro-democracy move to reduce dysfunction? And is the Obamacare fight about health care or "the promise of liberalism"? Then: the Kennedys, the Reagans & assassination.
It appears as if there is a brand of politicians that has forded the line from charisma to outright marketing. This kind is overdramatic, scandalous, ruthless, and will admit to have engaged in dishonest or illicit activities, perhaps for popularity.
Former alcoholics and drug addicts -- hats off to them -- are phoning in to CBC radio, remembering the same rage and powerlessness that Ford is denying. They slowly describe their impossible recoveries that came only after incalculable losses. And they help us understand what might be going on.
The pictures over the past two weeks are shocking. In one, the man's face appears concave instead of convex; the eyebrows are discernible, as is the bottom lip, but everything in between that should be there isn't.
These stories are rich with drug war ironies: political figures who have supported criminalizing drug users but who also like using drugs themselves; white men with stature suffering only minor punishment when compared to the poor and people of color.
Depending on with whom you speak, the truth is a) Rob Ford is the victim of a media attack the likes of which has never been witnessed in Toronto, including unjustified intrusion on his private property, or b) Rob Ford is the author of all of his problems. I would say both of the above contain truth and that all of the following are true, in my opinion.
As we all watch in awe as the human train wreck that is Toronto mayor Rob Ford continues to unfold, let us take a moment to reflect on the very ugly role that racism is playing in the Ford saga. I think that many of the people who claim to be disturbed by the fact that Rob Ford does drugs are, on some level, actually disturbed by the fact that Rob Ford (allegedly) smokes crack with Somalians in Little Mogadishu.
Rob, meet Kelvin. He can be a tremendous role model for you (and for all other politicians who have lost their way). Kelvin reminds us just how amazing human potential is, even coming out of a thoroughly corrupted environment. Kelvin is not paid a salary by his community, but maybe we should start demanding more out of our own (paid) community representatives.
What would Abraham Lincoln or Vaclav Havel think of Rob Ford, or the growing list of other politicians fallen into an unethical swamp? Two leaders who fought against the tyranny of slavery or of communism would surely shake their heads at our sliding scale of accountability.
Nigel Wright's problems, which we now know include RCMP allegations that he has committed bribery, fraud and breaches of trust, are entirely separate from Rob Ford's issues. But with every unnecessary television appearance Rob Ford makes -- with every fight he picks and every aspersion he casts on others to deflect blame from himself -- the Toronto mayor highlights just how much more dignity Nigel Wright has shown in the face of serious allegations of wrongdoing. The two are a study in opposites. Here's what I wish Rob Ford had learned from Nigel Wright.