Stuff Still Happens, week 17: The impossible is now probable

Thought Batman vs. Superman was unwatchable? Just wait until Trump vs. Clinton.

With the prospects of stopping crazed billionaire Donald Trump looking more remote with each passing primary (the Trumpster went five-for-five on Tuesday) Ted Cruz and John Kasich joined forces in an attempt to derail the Trump express.

The vile Cruz and professional nice guy Kasich agreed not to run against each other in a number of upcoming primaries, in the hopes that the anti-Trump vote will coalesce around either one of them. Not a bad idea — or at least it was about three months ago, when it might have made a difference. Now, the ploy just plays into Trump’s narrative that everyone is against him, encouraging his already rabid fan base. As The Donald Tweeted on Monday: “Lyin’ Ted Cruz and 1 for 38 Kasich are unable to beat me on their own so they have to team up (collusion) in a two on one. Shows weakness!” Possibly the truest thing Trump has said this year.

Still with the endlessly fascinating freak show that is the American presidential election, Cruz chose his running mate, the laughably inept Carly Fiorina, who promptly embarrassed everyone by singing during her first speech. Things just got worse for Cruz as the week wore on. Former house speaker John Boehner, once one of the most powerful Republicans in the land, called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh”, and said “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life”. Cruz responded by saying he hardly ever met Boehner, saying that they might have exchanged 50 words, ever. Cruz, clearly, makes a hell of an impression.

On Tuesday, while Trump cleaned up in five primaries, Hillary Clinton won four of five on the Democrat size, with only puny Rhode Island going for Bernie Sanders. Old Man Bernie just won’t give up, but he did lay off hundreds of staff members. Bernie was always the longest of long shots, but he’ll probably hang in there until the convention so he can get one last chance to get his message across. Hang in there, old man.

What’s the beef with Earls?

Earls, the Edmonton-born, Vancouver-based (isn’t that always the way?) restaurant chain raised hackles this week when it announced that it would only buy beef that was raised according to the standards of a U.S.-based organization called Humane Farm Animal Care. The organization gives out its Certified Humane certificates to beef producers who don’t feed their cattle steroids or antibiotics, and lets them run wild and free (within reason, of course). There are only two Humane Farm Animal Care ‘Certified Humane’ processing plants in Canada and the U.S., one in Alberta and the other in Kansas. Since the Alberta plant can’t produce enough beef for Earls, they’ve gone all in with the Kansas facility, vowing to buy all 900,000 kg of beef from Kansas. This, of course, did not go over well here in cattle country, home of some of the best beef in the world (or so we’re told).  The public will decide if this is a good move by Earls, but I think the downside is much bigger than the upside. On the one hand, there will be those who feel strongly enough about animal welfare (and concerns about antibiotics and steroids, which are strictly regulated in Canada) who will support the move. Others (and I suspect a lot of others) will be royally pissed that a Canadian company is sending Canadian dollars to the U.S.

I think, at least here in Alberta, this will backfire hugely on Earls. In this depressed economy, anything that takes money out of Alberta — insulting a major industry in the province at the same time — will not be greeted warmly. There are calls to boycott Earls, and I will join that movement. I hereby announce that I am personally boycotting Earls, which will rob them of the one meal I eat there every five or six years. That’s teach ’em.

Canadian hostage executed

A Canadian held hostage by a Philippines Islamic extremist group named Anu Sayyaf was executed this week in typical terrorist fashion. The head of John Ridsdel, a Calgarian held hostage since September, was discovered on Monday. The Canadian government refused to pay the ransom demanded, which is in keeping with both Conservative and Liberal governments’ policy. However, in the past, Canadians have been held captive and were freed through back-door channels that almost certainly involved the exchange of money. Whether the government did enough to try to free Ridsel remains to be seen — or more likely, never revealed.

Vaping gets medical seal of approval

The Royal College of Physicians in Britain has endorsed e-cigarettes, saying they are “beneficial to public health”, at least in comparison to cigarette smoking. The college calculates that e-cigarettes are about 95 per cent safer than cigarettes. The college does not address the nearly 100 per cent rise in douchbag activity associated with vaping.


Billy Paul, 81, singer best know for his soulful ode to infidelity, Me and Mrs. Jones … Tom Muecke, 52, former Edmonton Eskimo quarterback … Philip Kives, 87, the Canadian founder of the K-Tel empire, whose commercials for gadgets like the Veg-O-Matic (“Dial from slice to dice!”) and compilation LPs (“24 original hits! 24 original stars”) were ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s … Ron Wicks, 75, the longest serving referee in NHL history, officiating in 1,067 regular season games, 175 playoff games and five Stanley Cup finals.



By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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