The Donald Trump presidency has stumbled from one self-created crisis to another in the six months (is THAT ALL??) since he was inaugurated. Somehow, he has managed to brush them all away, predominantly because a new crisis/scandal/shocker has overwhelmed the previous crisis/scandal/shocker. But this past week there was a new development, involving Donald Trump Jr., that may in time mark the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency.
The New York Times (sorry, that should be the “failing New York Times”) revealed that Trump Jr., who looks like every greasy-haired villain from every 1980s teen movie, met with a Russian attorney who promised to dish the dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trumps senior and junior, and everybody associated with the Trump presidency, have all repeatedly denied any sort of connection with the Russians during the campaign, but the Times uncovered emails that were so explicit, that even Trump couldn’t lie his way out of it.
A British music publicist, who looks like every fat, creepy music publicist from every 1980s teen movie, connected with Donnie Jr. with news that a lawyer with Kremlin connections wanted to give him some classified dirt on Clinton. “I love it”, Junior exulted in an email. Trump summoned his silent and creepy brother-in-law and White House jackass-of-all-trades Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to attend the meeting with the Ruskie. When the Times told Trump they knew about the meeting, he came up with some story that the meeting was about Russian adoption. When the Times told him they were going to release his emails, disproving his poorly crafted lie, Trump Jr. released the emails himself in an effort to look “transparent”. True enough. The guy is transparently a liar.
Trump apologists are saying that digging up dirt on an opponent is business as usual in politics, and that is correct. But accepting dirt from a foreign national — particularly from a country that is an enemy of the country — is certainly NOT business as usual (imagine if Trump has met with an Iranian, or a Iraqi). Trump says nothing came of it, so what’s the big deal? Well, it’s a very big deal. Collusion, lying, possible criminal activity. Yes, very big deals.
No matter how many times Trump tries to put a finger in the dike, a new leak pops up. The Trump While House will soon be underwater.
In sports news …
I don’t normally write about sports, but there was an event in the Canadian Football League this week that bears mentioning.
The league runs a contest with the Safeway grocery chain called Touchdown to Win, which awards a $25,000 home theatre package to a contest entrant if one kickoff is returned for touchdown, and a million dollars if a second kickoff is returned for a touchdown in the same game.
Well, it happened … and then it didn’t.
A Winnipeg woman named Karen Kuldys had already won the home theatre package after the Toronto Argonauts returned a kickoff for a touchdown during their game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. An Argo returned a second kickoff for a touchdown, making Karen Kuldys a very happy and much richer woman – for about 10 seconds.
There was a penalty on the play, and the TD was called back. Fair enough, right? Rules are rules. But the penalty call was egregiously terrible in every way. By the rule book, the penalty call itself was wrong. Worse yet, the incorrect penalty was called a good 10 yards behind the player (who was just a few yards away from the end zone), and had no impact on the play. The erroneous call costs the Argos the game, and Karen a cool million dollars.
The CFL has reached out to poor (or at least, poorer) Karen, providing her with a VIP trip to the Grey Cup and other trinkets. If this had happened to me, I would swear off the CFL forever. The little league that wouldn’t die continues to ignore its biggest problem, the shocking incompetence of its officials. A referee should never be the focus of attention after a game, but in the CFL it’s a weekly occurrence.
CFL, I love ya … but you’re killing me.
I was assaulted at Commonwealth Stadium
OK, not in the strictly legal sense. But in another way, attending the Eskimo game on Friday was an assault on the senses.
The Eskimos have made a play for younger fans and their short attention spans and need to be distracted at all times. It’s almost as if the game is secondary (and with the frenzy over the ludicrously huge 50/50 jackpot – which topped out at $438,000 for the winner – plenty of spectators missed out on large parts of the game waiting in line for a ticket). At every break in the action, a DJ blasts rap or hip hop (I don’t know the difference; it’s all bad) at such volume that speaking to the person right next to you is a chore. (When did rap become the standard background music for sporting events? It has become the Muzak of sports.) During TV commercial breaks, there’s some sort of contest with a fan, also at max volume. Fans are endlessly ordered to scream and yell for the home squad. Every Eskimo first down is treated by the PA announcer like a game winning touchdown in the Grey Cup. (“That’s another Eskimo FIRST DOWWWWNNNNN!!!” Hey, I know. I’m right there watching.) There is, quite literally, not a moment of anything resembling silence. It’s exhausting. By the time I got home, I just wanted to sit in a quiet room to decompress.
Eskimo crowds have been getting smaller over the last few years. The Eskimos have made a very loud play for younger fans, but in doing so they may be alienating their older fans. Maybe they’re the ones staying away.
George A. Romero, 77, who changed the horror genre with his groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead cult classic in 1968. … Liu Xiaobo, 61, Chinese writer and human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He died of multiple organ failure in prison, where he has been languishing for years for daring to challenge the Communist regime. This is the country that we’re so eager to do business with.