You know that it could happen in your town. You just don’t expect that it will.
I went to the Edmonton Eskimo game last night, and as I entered the stadium I was struck by how much security there is today. Bags are searched, and for some reason wands were used to check random fans for … I don’t know, weapons? Always seems excessive to me.
But later that night, right here in Edmonton, a man drove his car into a police barricade outside Commonwealth Stadium during a CFL game, striking a police officer and sending him flying through the air. He then jumped out of his car and stabbed the officer several times. Later in the evening, a U-Haul van went on a rampage in downtown Edmonton, striking pedestrians before finally landing on its side. Police are calling it an act of terrorism.
Thankfully, the cop was not gravely injured, and is in fact already at home. The pedestrians suffered a range of injuries, from broken bones to head injuries. The suspect is a Somali national who has applied for refugee status, and was on the government’s radar as being potentially radicalized. He was, however, deemed to be not a threat. Good call, guys!
What could have been a major incident with many fatalities instead becomes simply a close call. Edmonton joins the no-longer exclusive clubs of cities who have had to endure a terrorist attack. We can be thankful this was only a glancing blow, and not a direct hit. Cold comfort on a cool autumn day.
NDP cements third-place position
Remember just before the 2015 federal election, when it looked like Thomas Mulcair and the NDP had a chance, however unlikely, of forming government? Those were the days, right, Dippers?
On Sunday, the federal NDP cemented its permanent third-place position in Canadian politics by choosing Jagmeet Singh, a turbaned, bearded Sikh, as their new leader. A lot of people will see it as a sign of Canada’s “inclusiveness”, etc. etc. that a major political party in this country has elected a very visible religious minority as its leader, perhaps the first nation in the western world to do so. But that feel good stuff only goes so far. It is unpleasant to hear, but there are a lot of people in this country who would never vote for a Sikh, or any religious minority. The party is completely screwed in Quebec, once considered the party’s base during the Jack Layton years. Quebecers are solidly secularist, the only province in the country that has had angry public debates about religious symbolism in public life, and their hopes in that vote-rich province are now very, very dim.
Singh seems like a pretty decent young guy, and he will appeal to the core of hard lefties, but the chances of the NDP grabbing a large chunk of the Canadian vote just went up in smoke.
This week in Trumpism
Earlier this week, I was pondering if Donald Trump was a genius by cleverly distracting the population with trivial matters, or just an idiot with the world’s biggest megaphone. Today, I’ve voting for idiot.
Consider this past week. Last Saturday, at an Alabama rally (why does no one question his rallies, which must cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollar every time he has one?), Trump randomly went on a rant about the very tiny number of National Football League players who take a knee during the national anthem as a protest against racial inequality. (The player who came up with this protest, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, is currently unemployed despite the NFL’s dearth of quality quarterbacks.) He called any player who took a knee “a son of a bitch” and said they should be fired. Well, go figure … NFL players united in protest against Trump, with entire teams taking a knee during the anthem, or refusing to even show up. Some grandstanding NFL owners joined the team protests, some of whom donated to Trump’s campaign. (Maybe they are trying to atone for their sins?) This knee jerk reaction (get it? knee jerk?) dominated the news in the U.S. for a week, and Trump fed the flames with more incendiary tweets.
Was there other news in the U.S. last week? Sure, just a little. Trump’s son-in-law, the silent Jared Kushner, was revealed to have used a private email server after joining the White House staff. The Republican’s third attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare ended in failure. Trump’s new tax plan was immediately revealed to make the rich richer (including Trump, who it was calculated would have save a BILLION dollars in taxes under his tax plan). The government’s response to the catastrophic hurricane damage in Puerto Rico – which is without power and clean water, and is running low on food – is widely seen as badly mismanaged. When the mayor of San Juan criticized the Trump administration’s rescue efforts on Saturday, Trump responded – via tweet from his luxury golf course in New Jersey – that the mayor displayed “poor leadership”, that her comments were made on orders from the Democrats, and that she was unable to get city workers to help. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump wrote. Yep, he blasted the mayor of a hurricane devastated town because she dared to criticize his relief efforts.
And also from the golf course, Trump derided the efforts of his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to talk to North Korea, tweeting that he told the Secretary of State that he is “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man … Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done.”
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – this was Donald Trump’s worst week. Stay tuned for next week.
He comes from Alabama … I mean, where else?
The Alabama rally where Trump made his NFL remarks was in support of a Republican candidate in a senate primary with the Marvel comic-esque name of Luther Strange. Strange, however, lost the primary to a guy named Judge Roy Moore. And get a load of this guy. Moore says (brace yourselves) that homosexuality should be illegal, doesn’t believe in evolution, and was twice kicked off the Alabama supreme court. When a Muslim congressman swore his oath of office on a Koran, he compared it to taking an “oath on Mein Kampf” in 1943, and said he should not be seated in Congress. He has called Islam a “false religion.” In August, he said: “There are communities under Sharia law right now in our country. Up in Illinois. Christian communities.” He later acknowledged that he had no idea if that was true.
This guy is one vote away from becoming a United States senator.
Hugh Hefner, 91, creator and publisher of Playboy magazine. Hefner’s impact on society can scarcely be understated. He created the first widely distributed magazine to feature female nudity (my teenage self thanks you, Hef). But it wasn’t just a nudie magazine; Playboy featured writing from some of the most important and influential writers of the 20th century. You could actually say that you read Playboy for the articles, and not be laughed at. He was a champion of civil and women’t rights, ironic for a guy who dressed women up in bunny costumes … David Mainse, 81, Canadian televangelist who created and hosted the long-running 100 Huntley Street …. Charles Bradley, 68, powerhouse American soul singer … Monty Hall, 96, the Winnipeg-born host of the long running game show Let’s Make A Deal.