Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Case for Sarah Palin (speaking at a Hamilton Charity fundraiser next April)

Don't know if the Spec is going to publish it, at this point. But I submitted this earlier this week. I think they may be all "Palined out".

The Case for Sarah Palin


The irony appears to be lost on most critics. They object to Sarah Palin appearing at a fundraiser for a publicly-funded hospital, because she is opposed to Canadian-style socialized medicine. Shouldn't the very idea of a $200.00 per plate dinner in support of the original beneficiaries, St. Peter's Hospital and the Juravinski Cancer Centre, suggest that Ms. Palin might have some valid criticisms of an underfunded health care system?


This might have been the most bewildering criticism of Sarah Palin's pending visit, if it weren't that other arguments against are even more bizarre. First, there is the suggestion that her Hamilton event is inappropriate because the city boasts five "social-democratic" legislators, by which I am assuming is meant the five New Democrats representing Hamilton ridings in the House of Commons and at Queen's Park. Since when does the makeup of our local parliamentary delegations dictate who is welcome and not to speak in our city? If that's the case, do David Sweet, Tim Hudak, Dean Allison, Ted McMeekin and Sophia Aggelonitis , all apparently, "non social-democrats", get to huddle to select the next charity speaker?


Secondly, there is this idea that Ms. Palin's beliefs, be it on same sex marriage, abortion, public health care do not reflect core Canadian values. Is this to suggest that we stifle all opinion, to the point of not welcoming differing point of views, if that opinion is A: foreign, and B: not consistent with what a show of hands might suggest? This type of intolerance reminds me of the dark days of political correctness in my university undergraduate days of the early nineties. It's one of the basic tenets of free speech; one needs dissenting viewpoints to challenge if one is going to make the claim about the validity of one's own.


Telling also is the tone with which critics in these pages have attacked Ms. Palin. Seemingly unable to articulate any serious objection to her speaking in Hamilton, they have denigrated her personally, likening her to Paris Hilton or suggesting that her visit is an "early April Fool's joke". This type of invective suggests to me that the writers are more concerned about fulfilling a psychological need to feel smart by joining a the tired chorus of mainstream media ridicule of a conservative politician, rather than making a serious argument against her visit.


Having made a woefully inadequate case against Sarah Palin speaking at the now Charity of Hope fundraiser, critics might do well to consider the arguments in favour of her attending. She was a moderately successful Governor of the largest American state for three years. Her book, Going Rogue, is at or near the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. And, oh yes, she ran for Vice-President of the United States just over a year ago, only the second woman in the history of the country to seek that office. Palin may also be one of the front-runners to carry the Republican banner against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.


Agree with her politics or not, but Sarah Palin is newsworthy for all the right reasons. There are no sex tapes, no allegations of infidelity and no criminal record. She is a woman who has made some noise in the arena of politics which, at the executive level in the United States, has heretofore been the almost exclusive domain of men. She has a story tell and it is one that is worth it for Hamiltonians to hear first hand on April 15th.


It will be a great evening for ticketholders to the event. Hopefully, it will be an even better evening for the Charity of Hope.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gary Bettman is a big, frigging liar

So Gary Bettman says he supports another NHL team in Canada, does he? He's not kidding anyone; he doesn't want another team north of the border any more than I want a scorching case of herpes for my 41st birthday. Bettman had the opportunity to demonstrate his "support" for another Canadian team by working with Jim Balsillie to bring the Coyotes out of the desert (both literally and figuratively) and to Hamilton. How much in legal fees did he and the other owners spend blocking that? How much more will they have to spend, in light of the fact that the Phoenix team is now giving away tickets, after having offered a top - top ticket price of 25 dollars for their home opener?

The only reason that Bettman is waxing sympathetic about another Canadian team is that, outside of southern Ontario and the money of the likes of Balsillie, it isn't going to happen. There are great hockey fans in Winnipeg. Enough to support an NHL team with its requirement for corporate subscription? How many private boxes can Great West Life buy? As for Quebec, the only person with a remote chance of bringing a team there wants the federal and provincial government to pay for half of a new arena. Half of the costs of a 400 million dollar arena coming the province and the feds? With that sense of entitlement, where does he think he think this team is going? Ottawa?

I would be sincerely tickled to see teams in Winnipeg and Quebec - especially the latter. However, this whole exercise by the NHL, Bettman in particular, is nothing more than smoke and mirrors in a pathetic attempt to placate those who were beginning to finally accept that he has an anti-Canada agenda. NHL Awards in Las Vegas? Give me a fucking break! If that isn't the precursor for League's next disastrous foray into a completely non-viable American market, then let's see where the Coyotes actually end up next year.

Bettman's chief henchman, Bill Daly, suggested that the City of Hamilton needs to "get its ducks in line" if wants to be considered for a future NHL franchise. With all due respect, you filthy little fart-catcher to Gary Bettman, the city has spent the last 25 years lining up its ducks, from building an arena, to bidding for two expansion franchises, to being there every time an existing league owner wanted to extort a better arena deal from its home city, to patiently working with people like Jim Balsillie who have a legitimate and realistic desire to see professional hockey fluorish where it is able; in Canada.

Hopefully, the likes of Bettman and Daly will cease being the "toast" of the League - particularly when the bills for Coyote sustaining come due - and we may be in the final months of his reign over the NHL. The sooner he is gone, the more likely places like Hamilton, Winnipeg and Quebec will actually be able to realistically envision NHL hockey in their cities.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Biggest Loser and other Idiotic Reality Television

I recently took part in a Facebook back-and-forth on something someone posted regarding "TheBiggest Loser" television program. Someone suggested, in a somewhat school-marmish tone that one can actually enjoy the show while availing oneself of the valuable health and fitness information contained therein. Here was my response:

Enjoy it....sure. Just like I enjoy watching those "Funniest Home Videos" where (usually) children get into those "cute" little mishaps/accidents, a majority of which likely result in considerable pain and injury. Family entertainment, indeed.

There is an unfortunate trend in mainstream media for the providers to offer up humiliation as source of entertainment. Look at the collective orgasm we're having over the whole Jon and Kate thing. Biggest Loser apologists may have their spin doctors lauding the "educational" benefit vis-a-vis health, fitness and diet, but let us not delude ourselves into believing that a vast majority of viewers are watching this tripe for any other reason than the opportunity to point and laugh at those whose lives may be only slightly less pathetic than their own.

You remember that, Ms. Abbott Smith.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Jim Balsillie is my hero, no matter what happens

The NHL can say whatever it wants about Mr. Balsillie's "character and integrity". The reality is, though, that he has been up front about his intentions to own an NHL team and move it to souther Ontario (I won't use the dreaded "H" word, out of sensitivity to the squeamishness of the NHL regarding Hamilton...oops...I used the "H" word). He also has his own money, which he did not need to raise under false pretenses. He also has, at the very least, the "shell" of an arena to move the team into.

Would that other NHL owners be able to say the same thing - even those not currently doing time in prison. The fact is, NHL owners have made for a reliable and consistent parade of rogues, criminals, crooks (from Harold Ballard, to Peter Pocklington, to Bruce McNall, to Boots Del Baggio to Eugene Melnyk). The biggest knock against Balsillie? He's "arrogant"....arrogant. Like owning one of the most successful high-tech businesses in North America somehow renders his "character and integrity" unfit for NHL ownership. Well, if the aforementioned are the standard-bearers, then Gary Bettman is probably right; Balsillie has no place alongside them.

The NHL has tipped its hand by entering its own pathetic bid for the Phoenix Coyotes. They have this pathological obsession with keeping the game out of Hamilton (eeek! I said it again), that's going to cost the existing NHL owners, even the law-abiding ones, a boatload of money in the short and long term. Maybe if the current NHL Board of Governors weren't so beholden to Bettman for his handling of the 2004-2005 lockout, they would actually welcome the infusion of cash into the League that comes with Balsillie's bid and likely compensation fee to Buffalo and Tornoto (as if the latter really needed it!). Even if it means a team in stinky-smelly-non-deep-south-American Hamilton.

In the mean time, I am on the verge of telling the NHL to go to hell, Leafs and all. There are marriages that have ended after a longer period than I have been betrothed to the Toronto Maple Leafs. I may have to find something else to do on Saturday nights this winter. Like read. Like books like Leafs Abomination by Dave Feschuk and Michael Grange.

The Michael Bryant incident

I find the on-street demonstrations by Toronto's "bicycle courier community" somewhat disconcerting. The attempt to portray Monday's tragedy on Bloor Street as a bicycle vs. automobile issue is disingenuous, at best. This is road rage, pure and simple, and the fault may lie a good deal more with the victim than it does with the accused. I am still waiting for any evidence suggesting that the accident was a case of a driver not respecting the rights of a cyclist on the road. I suspect I may be waiting a long time.