Stuff Happens, week 5: Death and the supreme court; the comeback of measles.

The big story of the week was a Supreme Court decision allowing physician-assisted deaths in certain cases. Polls have shown Canadians solidly in favour of allowing Canadians to die with dignity when all hope is lost, but politicians have treated the issue the same way they’ve treated the abortion issue — by simply ignoring it. Well, not anymore. In my view, it’s about time we allowed human beings to be given the same consideration we give to a sick dog or a horse with a broken leg.

The week began with one of those indelible sports moments. With something called the ‘Super’ Bowl on the line with an estimated 11 trillion people watching. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made one of those decisions that only one-in-11 trillion people thought was a good idea. Sometimes, even the smartest people outthink themselves, and this was just such an example.

The major development in Ottawa this week was the unexpected resignation of John Baird, Stephen Harper’s beloved attack dog and foreign affairs minister. One of the strongest ministers in Harper’s weak lineup, Baird will be missed for his political skills. No word yet on where’s he’s going next, but a good bet would be some kind of official spokesman for the government of Israel. He already has loads of experience in that role.

Just when you thought the Islamic State couldn’t go any lower — or, for that matter, humanity in general — comes the latest atrocity. A captured Jordanian pilot was (and this is so sickening, I can hardly write it) put in a cage and burned alive! I don’t believe we’re even dealing with human beings anymore. The Islamic State fiends may have finally gone too far. Jordan is righteously enraged over the brutality, and it has begun serious retaliation. Jordan, with an army of 110,000 and 650 aircraft, can do serious damage.

The Ukrainian crisis is heating up again, with the fighting intensifying and NATO bolstering its positions in eastern Europe. Canada’s minister of defence warned Russia to “back off” on Ukraine. Russia responded with an official statement that said: “Ooooo, we are SO scared.”

Two signs of the times: Yellow Pages is reducing the number of houses to which it delivers the directory, and Telus is dropping the paging service, as only 160,000 Canadians now use a pager. And Radio Shack in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy. Apparently, years of being the butt of late night comedy jokes was too much for the company. Next up, Arby’s.

Target stores in Canada began to liquidate its stock beginning Thursday. No doubt Canadians will still complain that the shelves are empty.

Measles — yes, measles — is making a comeback in the U.S., the result of years of anti-vaccine propaganda from ill-informed ‘celebrities’ who blame vaccines for everything from autism to the cancellation of their sitcom. Talk about a first world problem: science has wiped out a potentially deadly disease, but it makes a comeback thanks to bogus studies and ill-informed B-level celebrities spouting their own pet theories. Here at home, a survey of Albertans found 21 per cent completely or somewhat agreed that some vaccines can cause autism, despite there being not one shred of evidence to prove it. The solution: sure, don’t vaccinate your kids if you don’t want to … but don’t expect them to be allowed to attend public schools.

I made the mistake of watching Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner on Saturday. I hadn’t watched this tired old act in ages, and I saw that it hadn’t changed. He railed loudly about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and actually said (when referring to the Leafs) “when we beat the Senators”. How this guy still has a national platform is beyond me.

The groundhog … seriously, who give a shit about this?

RIP: Golf legend Billy Casper at 83.

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