There was a terrorist attack in New York this week. A self-professed ISIS disciple used a rented truck to run down pedestrians and cyclists on a busy New York street, killing eight. Using rented vehicles to mow down pedestrians is the favoured tactic of these would-be terrorists; here in Edmonton just a few weeks back we thankfully avoided mass casualties when a terrorist-in-training tried the same thing, succeeding only in injuring a number of people and destroying a rental truck. There is nothing more to say about these outrages, except that they are becoming increasingly less outrageous. If the death toll doesn’t hit double digits, the event becomes barely a blip on the outrage radar. This is the new normal.
President Donald Trump reacted immediately, demanding the cancellation of a program (called, remarkably, a visa lottery) that allowed the suspected terrorist into the country. When the Las Vegas gunman killed 49 people last month, Trump said not a word. Guess his reaction depends on who is doing the killing, and with what.
Let’s play politics!
The Alberta Legislature session began this week, and the NDP government immediately resumed playing the media like the cheap fiddle it has become.
On the first day of the session, the NDP staged a brazenly phoney “caucus meeting”, resulting in a huge front page picture in the sad Edmonton Journal of a beaming Rachael Notley surrounded by her adoring apostles. The Journal wrote dutifully that reporters were “invited” to hear her speak, and just as dutifully reported her carefully scripted anti-Jason Kenney screed.
The NDP hit new lows for themselves in the legislature. Backbench government members are allowed to ask questions of the government, which are almost always ‘puffball’ questions that any grown adult should be ashamed to ask. But backbench government MLAs are nobodies, and any time in the spotlight is seen as something you can’t pass up. But they abused the privilege by asking questions related to the new United Conservative Party policies and Kenney, when the rules of the legislature explicitly state that questions are only about government policy. Using precious question period time for brazen political attacks is shameful.
There was more shame to come. The next day, the privacy commissioner revealed that the government and political staffers had deleted 800,000 emails – yes, that’s eight hundred thousand – in direct violation of rules about preservation of public records. Hillary Clinton’s entire presidential campaign was scuttled by 33,000 deleted emails. But the government of Alberta deleting 800,000 emails? Oops, said the government, we didn’t know. Oh well, we’ll try to do better.
And finally, the government introduced a bill regarding the establishment of “gay-straight alliances” in public schools, explicitly banning schools from outing gay students. The government is clearly hoping the new UCP will tie itself in knots over this relatively inconsequential issue, but so far Kenney and his party have refused to take the bait. The Journal, again following the government like an eager puppy, ran a huge front page picture of a Education Minister Dave Eggen, smiling ear-to-ear with a transgender student as they pointed to a copy of the act. Two glorious photo ops on the front page of a daily newspaper in four days. The NDP communication people must be having a good laugh at how easy their job has become.
And finally, two examples of people with too much time and too much money
First, a Rolex watch owned by Paul Newman sold for $17.8 million at auction recently. One watch, $17.8 million. It tells the same time as a cheap Casio, but it wasn’t on Paul Newman’s wrist, which apparently added seventeen million, seven-hundred ninety-nine thousand and fifty dollars to its value. On a smaller scale, thousands of people lined up for hours – and in some cases, days – to be the first to buy the new Apple iPhone. The cost? Here in Canada, a mere $1,300. Yes, lined up overnight to spend $1,300 on a phone you could buy the next day, or the next day, or anytime after that, for the same $1,300. I wonder, do the people who were first in line to buy the new iPhone brag to their friends that they waited for hours to buy a phone?
With all due respect to the people who died this week, I’ve never heard of any of them, so no RIP this week.