The halo over Jim Prentice is getting more and more tarnished. Prentice, who has been on a PR offensive over his upcoming budget and unnecessary and illegal election, put his foot in it on CBC Radio on Thursday. Prentice told listeners that when it comes to Alberta’s economic woes, everyone is to blame; or, as he put it, “In terms of who is responsible, we all need only look in the mirror, right?” It’s partly true, of course, but by far the biggest share of the blame belongs to the PC party. But that’s a subtlety lost on the Twitterverse, which went bonkers (no doubt assisted by organized efforts by special interests). NDP leader Rachel Notley, who is so often on her high horse she should just stay there, was so affronted she demanded an apology, the poor thing. Prentice only made matters worse with the lame defence that he was quoted out of context, which is the last refuge of a politician caught saying something stupid. With public sector unions in control of massive war chests of advertising dollars, Prentice is going to be under fire unlike anything he has experienced in his political career. With the legislature resuming next week, Prentice will have no choice but to keep talking. But outside the Leg, methinks Diamond Jim will opt to keep his mouth shut for a while.
Speaker of Twitter, TSN learned a hard lesson that letting a Twitter feed crawl along a broadcast may not be a good idea. During TSN’s marathon broadcast on NHL trade deadline day, a Tweet that appeared suggested that the wife of a Toronto Maple Leaf player has slept with a teammate. I won’t repeat the names, because I don’t like scurrilous gossip, and I don’t really care. Understandably, the slandered parties are a little PO’d, and are suing TSN and the blogger. TSN has mercifully decided to end the practice of airing Twitter blather on the screen, so some good has come from this.
Forbes magazine released its annual Filthy Rich list this week, and Bill Gates is back on top, bless ’em. Gates is worth $79 billion, the leading member of the Tech Billionaires club, which includes Larry Ellison of Oracle (whatever that is) at $54 billion, Jeff Bezos of Amazon at $35 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame at $34 billion. Forbes says the 15 richest people in tech are collectively worth $426 billion, or about six times Alberta’s expected budget deficit.
Things just keep getting worse in Ferguson, Missouri. You may remember Ferguson as the city that erupted when an unarmed black teenager was shot dead by the police, and the state declined to lay charges against the cop. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report on Ferguson that found cops there were brutally racist, routinely violated black residents’ constitutional rights, and used excessive force and unjustified traffic stops that were basically a way to scam blacks out of money. Cops made racist jokes about blacks via their official email accounts, like this knee-slapper: Obama wouldn’t be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years?” And it gets worse. Investigators reviewed 35,000 pages of police records and analyzed data on every police stop. They found blacks made up 93 percent of arrests, 88 percent of cases where force was used, 90 percent of citations, and 85 percent of traffic stops. The city’s population is about 66 per cent black.
RIP: The Grim Reaper must have been on vacation this week, because the only passing of note I could find was that of character actor Daniel von Bargen, 65. He wasn’t exactly a household name, but von Bargen did have two memorable minor roles on successful TV series. He was Commandant Spanger for 15 episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, and more famously he was George Costanza’s inept boss, Mr. Kruger, when George worked at the industrial smoothing company on Seinfeld for four episodes.