Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Two treats for Carroll

Between salary and pension, Barrie cabmin to collect over $200K per annum -- more than the premier

Premier Pinocchio has appointed newly-elected Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll as minister of culture and seniors’ minister. A former MP and Paul Martin minister, Carroll was defeated in the 2006 federal election. Accordingly, she is entitled to the following payments:

MPP plus cabinet salary: $161,000
MP pension: $49,573

Total: $210,573

This is more than the premier's salary of $196,620.

This issue did come up in the local campaign, at one of the all-candidates’ meetings. I could not find a local news article, but here is an account from an October 2nd letter to the Barrie Examiner:

At last week’s candidate debate at Barrie City Hall, Ms. Carroll, with a face as red as her party’s colours, defended her federal pension by saying she gets a “small” amount.
--Marv Breault, Barrie

Another letter was published on October 9th:

Aileen is collecting a pension from the federal government, reportedly in the range of $49,000.

She apparently considers that that is only a “small” pension, although I would doubt many of the pensioners in this riding would agree.
--Ian J. Rowe, Barrie

A photo caption in the October 9th edition read “Some Barrie residents question why Carroll, a former Liberal MP in the area, is running for a seat in Queen’s Park when she already has a “small” pension from her years of service in the federal ranks.”

But the editors of the Examiner did not agree with their correspondents (who may, in fairness, have been PC partisans). In an October 5th editorial, they implied that Carroll’s pension was not a major issue:

The same goes for the city hall meeting, where Liberal candidate Aileen Carroll had to answer questions about her federal pension - which she is entitled to because she served as this area’s MP.

It resulted in shouting and accusations involving most of the candidates at the debate. What it didn’t result in was non-partisan, undecided voters finding out anything they needed to know about the candidates that might help them decide how to cast their ballot on Oct. 10.
--“Focus on the real issues,” editorial, Barrie Examiner, October 5, 2007

No doubt comparisons will be made to the Harris-era MPPs currently sitting in the Harper cabinet. All three of them were first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1995. The following year, Mike Harris kept his promise to abolish MPPs’ indexed pensions for those first elected in 1995 and replace them with RRSP contributions equivalent to 5% of MPPs’ salaries, locked in until age 55. Further to the pay increase introduced by the McGuinty regime last year, this has now been doubled to 10%.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On account of a boil, 85 million were lost

“The bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day,” Marx wrote to Engels

In case there were any who still doubt that the compassion purported to be at the base of communism is a flaming lie, here’s a dermatologist to present Karl Marx’s flaming boils:

Karl Marx, who complained of excruciating boils, actually suffered from a chronic skin disease with known psychological effects that may well have influenced his writings, a British expert said on Tuesday.

Sam Shuster, professor of dermatology at the University of East Anglia, believes the revolutionary thinker had hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in which the apocrine sweat glands – found mainly in the armpits and groin – become blocked and inflamed.

“In addition to reducing his ability to work, which contributed to his depressing poverty, hidradenitis greatly reduced his self-esteem,” said Dr. Shuster, who published his findings in the British Journal of Dermatology.

“This explains his self-loathing and alienation, a response reflected by the alienation Marx developed in his writing.”

Dr. Shuster based his diagnosis on an analysis of Marx’s extensive correspondence, in which he wrote to friends about his health and described his skin lesions as “curs” and “swine.”

“The bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day,” Marx told Friedrich Engels in a letter from 1867.

Now, normally I would not endorse a dermatologist extrapolating the diagnosis of a skin condition to a psychological condition, but that last quote would seem to confirm that Marx was gonna make somebody pay for his pain. According to the Black Book of Communism, between 85 and 100 million paid with their lives.

Luca Manfredi has also blogged on this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jimmy Kimmel banned from “Monday Night Football”

Jokes about Theismann’s departure and sports betting not appreciated by ESPN suits, but Theismann seems unfazed

This is a story from last week, but I didn’t twig to it until Terry Bradshaw showed up on Kimmel last Friday (I should really start reading the sports section and not just, you know, watch the actual games).

Unfortunately I didn’t see the original incident because when “Monday Night Football” moved from ABC to ESPN (TSN in Canada), I got out of the habit of watching it, and now I’m down to basic cable so I don’t even get it. The story broke in the New York Times, of all places (free registration required):

Jimmy Kimmel’s appearance on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” was his last.

Kimmel, the host of ABC’s late-night talk show, was put on early in the third quarter with the Giants leading the Atlanta Falcons, 21-10, ostensibly to enliven a rout.

He joked about where Joe Theismann was (fired and replaced by Ron Jaworski); cracked that it was Tony Kornheiser who got Theismann axed; asked Kornheiser and Jaworski if they bet on games (they played along); and said, “I’d also like to welcome Joe Theismann, watching from his living room with steam coming from his ears.”

The last remark was ignored by Kornheiser, Jaworski and Mike Tirico.

Jay Rothman, ESPN’s “Monday Night” producer, called Kimmel’s comments “classless and disappointing. It was cheap. The more he went on, the worse he got.”

Kimmel will not be invited back, Rothman said.

Coincidentally, yesterday’s Times carried a profile piece about Kimmel’s show. There was also a good piece about the “Monday Night Football” incident on, featuring comments from Kimmel:

For a man banned from the most famous sports television property in history, Jimmy Kimmel seemed to be holding up fine Wednesday afternoon. “Technically, couldn’t you say Joe Theismann has also been banned from Monday Night Football?” Kimmel told in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “If he showed up, they probably would not let him in. I was hoping to get banned from a casino first, but I suppose it’s satisfying in a way to be banned from any television show. I don’t know what I did exactly but apparently it was horrific.”

“As far as sports journalism on television goes, there are so many parties attached to so many other parties that everything you say has major ramifications. When I was at Fox it was the same way. You can’t make fun of Jerry Jones because he’s the head of the committee that decides which network gets the NFL. There are sacred cows and that’s just not honest broadcasting. There really isn’t a place for honesty. That’s why everyone goes so crazy when somebody like Mike Vick does something that is universally reviled. That’s when everyone gets up on their high horse and lambastes him because they know that they can. Everybody is so careful the rest of the time. God forbid, you say something that is not part of the script. It might be the most politically correct of all arenas.”

Opinion on Kimmel’s appearance seemed to split along old and new media lines. Mainstream outlets from Newsday (“a tad obnoxious and overbearing, tossing out cringe-inducing cracks about Joe Theismann and Mormons, among other targets”) and the Orlando Sentinel (“cheap shots were not funny but were cowardly”) took the comic to task. The sports blogsphere seemed unfazed. If anything, Kimmel is guilty of doing what he has always done: cracking jokes and causing trouble.

Speaking of causing trouble, when Terry Bradshaw came out on Kimmel’s couch Friday (that doesn’t sound right, but never mind), he immediately began needling Kimmel about the ban, then presented him with a framed photo of Joe Theismann, inscribed by Theismann with: “Thanks for having my back – love your show.”

This morning, Kimmel made the first stop in his week-long suicide mission of co-hosting “Regis & Kelly” in New York, then flying to Los Angeles the same day to tape his late night show.

I guess that Kimmel is not to everyone’s taste, but I am a huge fan, especially of his monologue and comedy bits.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Maybe this is why "Monday Night Football" avoided Buffalo for 13 years . . .

From a fascinating piece at, about drunkenness and other bad behaviour at NFL games, and how teams are addressing it:

Walking through the parking lot before the game, I witnessed a scene all too common at NFL tailgates: home fans taunting the visitors with four-letter expletives. What made the scene here particularly appalling was the target--a family of Cowboys fans with two small children. And the taunt, repeated throughout the stadium by Bills fans, questioned Dallas quarterback Tony Romo’s sexual orientation (think of what rhymes with “Romo”). I wonder how the parents explained that one.

So what was the tally at the end of the first “Monday Night Football” game in Buffalo in 13 years? There were 58 arrests, 111 ejections and 46 turnarounds at the gate. The charges included three for assault, six for obstructing governmental administration, 17 for resisting arrest, two for criminal mischief, 31 for disorderly conduct, two for exposure, 14 for harassment, 19 for criminal trespass, one for criminal possession of marijuana, and one for unlawful possession of alcohol (underage drinking).

I saw no evidence of this on the game's broadcast, which I watched in its entirety. But reading about this behaviour makes me feel a little less guilty about the Bills' last-minute loss to my favourite team. I attended a Bills game last fall, at which I did not witness any rowdy or illegal behaviour. But then I wasn’t wearing any gear of the opposing team.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dang, Dang and Double Dang

Western Standard to cease publishing print magazine

From publisher Ezra Levant at the Shotgun (h/t: SDA):

To my deep regret, the Western Standard has decided to stop publishing our print edition.

It's a purely financial decision. Even though our advertising revenues were stronger than ever, with marquee brands like GM, Mazda, BMW and Air Canada filling our pages, and even though we had the most loyal subscribers in the business, with an unheard-of 80% renewal rate, we just weren't close enough to profit.

Over the course of those 82 issues we printed 150 million pages of great conservative news and views, plus 40 million page views on our website, plus hundreds of hours on our various radio shows. We were also truly national -- with 20% of our readers in Ontario, and 19% in B.C. Those are impressive numbers, but it was the independent, tell-it-like-it-is quality that I'll remember.

Thank you to our entire extended family -- staff, subscribers and investors for an amazing project, the effects of which will continue to echo for years to come.

Another classic SNL digital short

Samberg has Ahmadinijad’s number. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

This was the highlight of Saturday Night Live’s season premiere.

Friday Night Lights

Powerful NBC series debuts its second season tonight

Tonight at 9:00 p.m., season two of this beautifully written and acted series, about high school football in Texas, premieres on NBC and Global. Its themes and values run counter to what usually prevails on commercial television, and they are woven into the scripts in ways that are subtle yet genuine.

If you missed the first season, the DVD was released in August and should be available in rental and retail outlets, and online.

Update: Rebecca Cusey has a piece about the show on National Review Online today. An excerpt:

And this respectful treatment of Christianity is intentionally done. Executive Producer and Director Jeffrey Reiner, a self proclaimed New Yorker, announced that the producers went to Texas and met many people as research for the show, saying:

One of the characters is going to find God. And I think a lot of shows would use that to kind of poke fun at it, but I find that I meet the preachers, and I meet people somebody might call kind of weird or zealous. But they're not, you know, and we just end up meeting them as people.

Maybe it’s a revelation into the mind of many people in Hollywood that Mr. Reiner was surprised to find Texas Evangelicals normal, but hats off to him. He was willing to go, to explore, and to create an excellent show that addresses and respects Christianity. Moreover, he created a show that realistically depicts the struggle and the beauty of family life, as well as the toil of high school years lived without parental love and support. In doing so he glorifies what others shows scoff at, and in doing so he offers something remarkably fresh and original. Hollywood would be a better and more interesting place if others followed his example.