Archive for the ‘writers’ Category

Peter Worthington (1927-2013)

May 13th, 2013

Back in 1964 my mother-in-law and father-in-law where young reporters at the Sherbrooke Record. When they got married, their wedding was given a front page picture, with a small special interest style piece on the inside. Sharing the front page was an article on the American involvement in Viet Nam. It predicted, with uncanny accuracy, the American presence growing exponentially in the region, and the difficulty the Americans would have winning Viet Nam.

worthingtonPeter Worthington understood the problem of Viet Nam right 3-4 years before those problems became obvious  to the rest of the western world. I never underestimated Peter Worthington’s ability and prescience after that. It was Worthington who was the first person I read who said Bill Clinton could be impeached over his testimony in the Paula Jones lawsuit.

Peter Worthington’s greatest claim to fame was standing in a basement parking lot in Dallas in November 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby feet from Worthington, the only reporter on the scene. If that was all he would be remembered for, it would be a life well lived. But Worthington fought in World War II and Korea, was charged by the Trudeau government under the official secrets act (charges later dropped), and, when stationed in Moscow in the heart of the cold war, he played hockey for the Canadian Embassy hockey team, wearing the number 007 and making himself a target of the opposition Russian players.

Remarkably, he never received an order of Canada, an oversight that can’t possibly be because of his conservative beliefs.

Worthington died last night, age 86, in hospital in Toronto.

More on Peter Worthington at The Sun.

writers ,

Ethernet, Wifi and The Electric Car

November 22nd, 2010
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The Chrysler Envi

The Chrysler Envi

Sometimes I’m reading a piece and the writer says something I just can’t get past. It can be so profound, so profoundly stupid, or just something that jumps out at me as somehow wrong. The latter happened this morning when reading a Washington Examiner piece entitled: Subsidies for plug-in cars: A scam for big business.

Writer Timothy B. Carney makes the case that electric cars are sink holes for tax dollars.Then he says this:

The project reminds me of my college days, when the school spent thousands of dollars running Ethernet cords into every library study carrel and the dorm rooms. By the time they finished, every freshman had his own laptop with built-in wireless.

Ask yourself, how long ago did freshman show up at university with their own laptop with built in wireless? Five years ago? Seven? Sure as hell wasn’t ten when most people were using dial up.

To Timothy Carney, “back in my college days,” was just a few years ago. Shouldn’t you have to be out of college at least ten years, if not fifteen, before you can say “back in my college days?”

A good article, I must say, and worth reading. Just don’t spend too long on that one paragraph.

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In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…

August 31st, 2010

Joe Warmington Gets it (emphasis mine):


Like a giant boa constrictor, they are slowly sucking the breath out of the lives of Ontarians and the lifestyles they’ve come to know

The public is too busy paying taxes to keep track of how this land is becoming is [sic] a giant tax, fee and regulation society that builds very little, except massive debt to pay for bureaucratic insanity.

It seems the whole game is more about saving their false economy…

They are rapidly eroding the life we understand and replacing it with a collection business, which seems to be the only industry thriving on Ontario.

Dalton, Premier Dad, writers ,

Wellington or Macdonald? Gardiner on Gardner!

August 1st, 2010

Occasionally you just stumble upon something that is so well written, an argument so clearly laid out, that you have to acknowledge it. So it is with Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner’s column yesterday on renaming Wellington Street in Ottawa to Macdonald Street.

I have no dog in the fight, didn’t even know the controversy existed until I read this. But of course, the controversy always exists, in every town and city. There’s always some street or park that somebody wants changed, and this is the clearest argument against the practice in principle I have seen:

A city is a monument

A river delta is a monument to its own history. Every moment, every day, silt tumbling along in the river comes to the slow, sluggish waters of the delta and it settles on what was there before. The next moment, the next day, new silt settles. And so it goes for years, decades, centuries, and millennia. A delta, no matter how great and grand, is nothing more than an accumulation of passing moments. Generations, we might call them. And they’re all there, faithfully recorded, in the layers below.

A city is like that. A generation learns, builds, plays, lives. They add to the city. Another generation does the same. And another. Slowly, the city grows and changes but always, beneath the bustle of the present, lies the past that is its foundation. A city is a monument to its own history.

Prior to the 18th century, this is all there was to the development of cities. People came, they worked, they built homes and streets. There was seldom a central plan and regulation was haphazard, at best. There weren’t even official names for streets.

If butchers set up at a certain spot, and a track developed alongside, and the track became a lane, people may have called it “the lane with the butchers,” or “the butchers lane.” Or later, “Butcher Lane.” As the surroundings developed, the butchers may have gone elsewhere. In time, they may have been forgotten. But still, people would call it “Butcher Lane.” And they would shrug if asked why.

London’s famous Pall Mall got its name from the French game of “Paille-maille,” a precursor to croquet, which was first played there in the early 17th century. I’m sure few of those who throng Pall Mall every day know that. London is stuffed with such relics. Many are even more obscure. A “pickadill” is a sort of stiff collar, but accounts vary as to why that word became attached to the place known as Piccadilly.

Layer upon layer, generation upon generation, the city grows. London is the Thames’s true delta.

The 18th century brought Enlightenment, so the textbooks tell us, and Enlightenment brought planning. There were official maps and official street names. Buildings were numbered…

Lafayette Park, directly opposite the White House, may be one of the most evocative locations in the United States, but it is named for a man of little relevance to today’s Americans and we can be sure that if the park were constructed today there would be a thousand suggestions for what it should be named and none would be the name of that Revolutionary War hero…

The debate about renaming Wellington Street in honour of Sir John A. Macdonald has been muddled from the start. Supporters such as Bob Plamondon and Andrew Cohen emphasize the prominence of the street and the importance of Macdonald to today’s Canada. The Duke of Wellington — who never set foot in Canada, they always add — simply isn’t relevant to Canadians today.

Oh, but Wellington is relevant, the critics respond. He was responsible for funding the Rideau Canal and without the canal Ottawa as we know it would not exist.

Supporters answer that Wellington was a nasty aristocrat who opposed responsible government. Critics shoot back that Macdonald was a drunk who put his hand in the till…

The assumption underlying this debate is what is relevant to us — what we want to honour, what serves our purposes — is all that matters. The city is merely raw material. We may dredge the delta, and excavate it, and pave it over, as and when we wish.

As G.K. Chesterton is reputed to have written, but probably didn’t, this is “the tyranny of the living.” Past generations do not exist. Ignore them. What they built and dreamed, what they honoured, is of no concern. We are all that matters…

Ah hell, just read it all yourself.

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But What Does Linda Leatherdale Think?

January 28th, 2009
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For years whenever a fiscal event occurred in Canada, one of the pundits I would read the next day was Linda Leatherdale at the Toronto Sun. Linda was let go by the Sun in their mid-December bloodletting, but has not been waiting around for opportunity to knock in the interim.

Linda now has her own blog, and if your Jonesing for her budget commentary this morning, she has it:



Cash-strapped Canadian families, who are losing jobs and struggling to put food on the table, are getting a tax break in the Stephen Harper Conservatives’ “Make it or Break It” budget.

But will they ever pay for it.

After a decade of sweet surpluses in Ottawa – which made Canada the envy of the world particularly now in this biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression – we’re heading back into the red “big-time.”

Well, you didn’t think she was going to like it, did you?  Be sure to read the whole thing.

Economic Fundamentalism, writers

Rondi on Bernie

May 27th, 2008
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I have become a fan of Rondi Adamson the last year. Unfortunately, she is usually turning up at The Star or The Globe and Mail, the two dailies I don’t regularly read. Today however, she turned up at The Sun, which I managed to catch without having to resort to those internets.

A different slant on the various Maxime Bernier “scandals,” noting that what his “spouse” was wearing at his swearing in is minor compared to the fact he is allowed to declare her a “spouse for travelling purposes,” and fly her around at taxpayer expense, after dating her only a few months:

For Bernier to designate Couillard — a woman he had apparently only dated briefly — a “spouse” is setting the limbo bar so low for what constitutes a “spouse” that a wee beastie could dance its little way under it. It is also inconsistent with the outrage at Couillard’s decolletage last summer. Why the priggishness there, but not in her “spouse” status? Surely social conservatives should be offended.

Fiscal conservatives should be troubled, as well…

Prior to running for election in Beauce, Bernier had served as vice-president of Quebec’s leading free market think-tank, the Montreal Economic Institute. In his previous incarnation, he would have been unimpressed with someone’s girlfriend — flat or big-chested — tagging along on the company dime.

I submit that this piece was probably written before Bernier’s resignation (although not before the news of the envelope-gate). However, I would suggest that Adamson makes a good case for his resignation even before the top secret envelope under the pillow routine, and would guess that PM Harper had pencilled Bernier for a shuffle during the summer when nobody was paying attention.

envelope-gate, pimply minions of bureaucracy, Silly Politicians, writers