A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘rob ford

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes the likely controversies surrounding a new Chinese cartoon spotlighting an Uighur concubine of a Chinese emperor, and looks at the deeper diversity of Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Bloomberg notes the risk of Israel slumping into recession, reports on Burger King’s interest in acquiring Tim Hortons, notes that Côte d’Ivoire is still trying to sell public debt, comments on the role played by Dutch anger over the MH17 plane attacl in organizing the European Union sanctions against Russia, and describes the slim hope for upcoming Russian-Ukrainian talks.
  • CBC Prince Edward Island reports on a shocking double homicide in eastern Prince Edward Island, a shooting of a father and his son.
  • The Forward wonders who leaked an Israeli cabinet consideration of the reoccupation of Gaza.
  • An older MacLean’s report suggests that Tim Horton’s depends on low-cost imported labour to sustain an ultimately unsustainable growth strategy. A much newer one reports on the defection of another Bloc Québécois MP.
  • The Toronto Standard notes that Rob and Doug Ford were the only people on city council to vote against a new practice facility for the Toronto Raptors.
  • Universe Today notes that the ESA has selected five landing sites for the Philae comet lander, and observes that NASA’s New Horizons Pluto probe has just crossed the orbit of Neptune.
  • In the realm of photography, Wired reports on Humans of New York’s new global coverage and examines street photography in New York City.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies writes about the end of his career as a financial analyst.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper discussing the brown dwarfs of 25 Orionis.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Uranus’ moon system is still evolving, with the moon Cupid being doomed in a relatively short timescale. It also wonders if North Korea is exporting rare earths through China.
  • Far Outliers notes the Ainu legacy in placenames in Japanese-settled Hokkaido.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the complexities surrounding language and dialect and nationality in the Serbo-Croatian speech community in the former Yugoslavia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the terribly high death rate among Europeans in colonial Indonesia, and how drink was used to put things off.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines the prevalence of sex-selective abortion in Armenia.
  • Torontoist notes Rob Ford’s many lies and/or incomprehensions about Toronto’s fiscal realities.
  • Towleroad suggests that one way to regularize HIV testing would be to integrate it with dentistry appointments.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a water dispute on the Russian-Azerbaijan border and argues that the election of a pro-Russian cleric to the head of the Ukrainian section of the Russian Orthodox Church is dooming that church to decline.

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s Civic Election”

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Livejournaler jsburbidge wrote an interesting post on the prospects of the major candidates in Toronto’s mayoral election later this year. John Tory might actually get elected.

First, even with the latest Forum poll, it’s not really clear whether John Tory has a decided lead or not. Forum adjusts its polls for likely voters, and the current rolling average calculations at ThreeHundredEight.com show Chow’s “recent high” overlapping with Tory’s “recent low” (31% as opposed to 28%). In other words, they’re still in competition within the margin of error.

Still, Tory’s weighted average is 33.9% and Chow’s is 29.1%. I think it’s fair to say that if trends continue as they have been Chow will be in trouble.

You can see from a breakdown in a recent poll as to why Chow has a bit of a dilemma. She has strong support (naturally) from the NDP, but also the largest block of Liberal support. If her aim is to increase her overall share of the vote, she can do one of two things — try to peel away more Liberal – identifiers (or equivalent voters who don’t identify as Liberals but whose views are generally more middle-of-the-road), or come out swinging strongly in a bid for popular support among more disaffected voters.

In a “normal” election, the latter might make sense: there are more voters who will identify with her immigrant experience and early background than with Tory’s background as a scion of Tory, Tory, Deslauriers and Binnington (as it was when I was in Law School, now Torys LLP). Unfortunately, many of these potential voters are in the disaffected category on which Rob Ford has an even stronger lock — as a number of analyses have pointed out, Ford’s populist base isn’t necessarily all conservative, and certainly his strength among the young and in the black community points to a strength based in pure populism. (Serious conservatives of any sort have probably given up on Ford because even if he were to win, the last several years have shown that he can’t work well enough with others to make things happen; better to back a less radical conservative withe better coalition-building skills.) So Chow’s growth prospects depend on not scaring off centrist voters.

That’s why her campaign is so bland. She’s safe pointing out her own background, but she’s presenting as someone pushing minor adjustments to the system rather than major overhauls. Soknacki, who is a self-declared small-c conservative, has more radical positions than she does.

In contrast the same breakdown shows why Tory’s campaign is so much closer to the fiscal position of the city government over the past four years than his background in the CivicAction Alliance might lead one to expect: if Chow basically occupies the left and centre left of the spectrum, he has little to gain from trying to compete with her there, given his background and history. Campaigning to the right is his obvious strategy.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 19, 2014 at 2:43 am

[URBAN NOTE] “Rob Ford ‘disruptive’ in rehab, sources say”

As is its wont, the Toronto Star broke the latest story regarding Rob Ford. Kevin Donovan reports that Rob Ford, contrary to his public statements of recent days, actually wasn’t very good at all in rehab.

Mayor Rob Ford pushed and scuffled with fellow rehab residents and was so verbally abusive that he was kicked out of his group therapy program, according to people who have knowledge of his two month stay at GreeneStone.

These accounts of what one person referred to as “destructive behaviour” stands in stark contrast to Ford’s recent public statements that he had a healthy experience and takes his recovery seriously.

“Ford broke things, got into fights with other residents,” said one source with knowledge of the mayor’s time in rehab at the resort-turned-drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Muskoka.

“Ford stopped people from sharing their stories, which is key to a successful rehab experience,” said another source. “Other residents felt intimidated. They felt he was a bully. He was always saying he did not belong there.”

Management was concerned Ford continued to use drugs or alcohol during his time in rehab. The Star was unable to determine if Ford abused any substances during his two month stint.

GreeneStone’s wooded property has a well known “nature walk” and a concern of staff is that some residents meet their drug dealers or people providing alcohol at the far end of the walk.

Police were called at least once to deal with an incident at GreeneStone during Ford’s time. It’s not known if the police visit was related to Ford. The OPP, which patrols the area, said that any information about police calls to GreeneStone could only be obtained by making a freedom of information request, a process that takes months.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On #shirtlessjogger, Toronto, and Rob Ford

blogTO’s Chris Bateman wrote the first overview I came across of the #shirtlessjogger incident on Canada Day.

Things were already going badly for Rob Ford when the shirtless jogger arrived at the East York Canada Day parade. Booed and heckled as he and a small group of sign-carrying supporters brought up the rear of the walk, the scene was turning more embarrassing by the second.

“You disgusting man,” shouted one person. “Shame on you!” “He’s scaring kids!” “Get out of my neighbourhood!”

And then a topless Joe Killoran, a local teacher who has previously expressed his opinion on education in the pages of the Toronto Star, arrived on the scene.

I daresay a large part of the reason Killoran’s frustrated outburst went viral was his lack of a shirt, but his anger was articulate and, best of all, drenched in the frustration of a Rob Ford-weary Toronto. “Answer one of the million questions people have for you” he said. “People have a million questions about your lying and your corruption.”

The television clip went viral, first across Toronto and then worldwide. Among the blogs I read, Joe. My. God. and Towleroad picked this up internationally, noting–quite appropriately–that Killoran was cute. (It was a humid dog so shirtlessness would make sense for jogging.) Doug Ford’s statement that Killoran’s comment was motivated by a ridiculously redefined “racism” fanned the flames.

In subsequent interviews and articles, with The Globe and Mail and the National Post, Killoran explained coherently that he was frustrated with Ford’s many and continuing incompetencies and errors. Indeed, Ford still refuses to talk to police about his various problematic issues, and he and appears to have lied even in his post-rehab interviews.

Am I alone in finding it amusing that the man who has so visibly challenged Ford, the man who has helped reveal the falsity of Ford’s claims to have reformed–the man who has confirmed that the Emperor has no clothes–is known as the shirtless jogger.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 5, 2014 at 3:59 am

[URBAN NOTE] On the attempted return of Rob Ford to Toronto

Rob Ford is back, fresh from rehab and ready to continue his campaign to be re-elected mayor.

What Torontoist’s Hamutal Dotan said.

Rehabilitation is supposed to be about resetting the trajectory of your life. For politicians, representatives with a sworn duty to protect the interests of those who elected them, rehabilitation must to some extent happen in public. While rehab often causes people to make professional changes (moving work environments or avoiding certain colleagues, for instance), in the particular case of politicians—because of their ongoing relationship with the electorate and the expectation of transparency in a democracy—those professional changes take place out in the open. Or at least they should, if leaders are to regain the public’s trust.

The mayor held an event today, his first day back at the office. It was meant to inform us of his current state and future plans—to serve as his reintroduction to the people of Toronto after rehab. It was meant to demonstrate that he had faced his issues head-on, and was ready to return to work.

There was nothing—in his demeanour, in the content of his remarks, or in the nature of the event itself—to indicate that Rob Ford is a changed man.

The mayor spoke for 18 minutes, and his statement was roughly divided into two halves: an apology and a political call to arms. The first was vague, abstract, and generic. The second, sloganeering we have heard for years. The combination of the two was both odd and odious.

Apologies need, above all, to be specific. For an apology to constitute a genuine gesture toward making amends, you must specify what it is that you have done wrong. You must show some understanding of the toll it has taken on others, and you must indicate in concrete, specific ways the measures you are taking to ensure your behaviour will be different in the future. Ford’s speech contained almost none of these things.

The only specific act the mayor apologized for was making “hurtful and degrading remarks” about Karen Stintz. Entirely absent from his speech were the years of lying; his countless homophobic and racist remarks; the many misogynist remarks he has made independently of the ones about Stintz; the alleged mistreatment of his staff; his relationship to one Toronto’s major gangs; or acts of violence allegedly done in his name, or for the sake of his protection.

Me, all that I’ll add as someone who has had a couple of drunken stupors (graduate school and drinks that taste like candy are key elements, here), I’ve never been hanging around people who’ve a connection that I know of to crack cocaine.

Torontoist’s Desmond Cole has a transcript of the speech, delivered to a personally-selected media crowd.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 1, 2014 at 3:38 am

[PHOTO] The Cut The Waist Challenge Scale of Rob Ford, Toronto City Hall

The Cut The Waist Challenge Scale of Rob Ford, Toronto City Hall

Visiting Toronto City Hall during the during the most recent Doors Open Toronto event, my friend and I joined the long line to see the office of the mayor. In a corner in the front of his office stood his Cut the Waist Challenge scale.

In January 2012, Ford responded to the news that he weighed 330 pounds by making a public commitment to lose 50 pounds in six months and encouraging others to join. (The name of the challenge was a play on his campaign promises to cut bureaucratic waste in the city government.) That didn’t happen. By June 2012, Ford was down only 17 pounds, having abandoned dieting some months before. The scale has later appeared in reports of his misbehaviour, most famously being jumped upon on the night of St. Patrick’s Day 2012.

Here the scale remains. I’ve been told that apparently acting mayor Norm Kelly wanted to remove the scale while Ford is off in rehab, but Ford’s brother and fellow councillor Doug Ford blocked this. So here it stays.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm


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