As seen on tv

Nobody makes the news like newspeople. ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos gave $75,000 over a three-year period to the Clinton Foundation and we are supposed to care because he used to work for Bill in the 1990s. Is his credibility suspect all this time later when he reports on Clinton matters? NBC bingo caller Brian Williams lied about his participation in a war-zone event and is off the air for six months. Vanity Fair hired ace writer Bryan Burrough to dig into the matter in the current issue. Most of those quoted in the article are not named, a possibility not...

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Flatlining on Front Street

If Justin Trudeau’s speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto today was any indication of his oratorical capacity, he’s going to flounder and fail in the fall election. Usually politicians are pumped, even passionate, on such important occasions. He was deadly; the speech was a dud. Trudeau was purportedly there to elaborate on his fairness for the middle class message that he launched last week. If there was any fresh meat, it must have been lost in the morass. The words were workmanlike. There were no applause lines. I’d hate to be a television producer looking for a news clip. The closest he...

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Good play, sweet prince

Jonathan Goad plays Hamlet at the Stratford Festival with the full range of emotions that the role demands. At various times he is confused and bemused, antic and pedantic, foul and befouled, vital and vengeful. The stage is spare, the costuming portrays a relatively drab 1914 era, and the special effects almost nil. None is required. In this Shakespearian play, more than most, the words are all. And delightful words they be. I have to admit that I sometimes get lost and frustrated by the romantic comedies where there are three couples, some in disguise, and the dialogue becomes little more...

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Catch this, Bucko

The baseball season’s only a month old and already I’m sick of Sportsnet announcers Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler. All Martinez does is read potted bios and say “And you can forget about this one” when there’s a home run. Tabler musters little more than repeating what Martinez said earlier in the broadcast or reads stats about pitchers that appear on the screen so hardly need to be read. Where are the anecdotes, the insights, the sense of the locker room? I know, I know, ball players notoriously have little to say, a fact made hilarious in Bull Durham when Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) teaches...

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A flawed and dangerous foreign policy

I’m certainly no expert on the Middle East but it doesn’t appear as if anyone else in the West is either, given the chaos in that region. I join many others in saying that George W. Bush started all this by attacking Iraq and throwing Saddam Hussein out of power. Now the Shias and the Sunnis, sworn enemies for 2,000 years, are destroying what little is left of the country. At one point, under Hussein, Iraq had the best education system in the Middle East. There are times when a dictator is the only solution and we should leave well enough alone. Canada wasn’t...

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Join the rat race

The Ontario Securities Commission is circulating for discussion a proposal that would pay up to $1.5 million to a whistleblower who feeds the regulator information about a serious misconduct of securities law. Comments are accepted up to May 4. Here’s my view right now: stuff and nonsense. Is the OSC so desperate that they will entice stoolies with cash? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned investigative work? I guess the OSC is so unhappy with its track record that it’s considering this wrong-headed course of action that involves providing confidentiality and protection. I envision a whistleblower given a new name then...

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Speech impediments

When my wife Sandy died almost four years ago, I received numerous emails and letters of condolence from friends. Others, who were not as close, tended to use a particular phrase when they saw me. “Sorry for your loss,” they would say, without the slightest flicker of emotion. Initially, the words were consoling, but after a while I gritted my teeth every time I heard what came to sound like nothing more than an empty banality. Members of the armed forces in the U.S., and increasingly in Canada, must feel the same short shrift after they’ve been told, for the...

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The Hilary candidacy

Now that Hilary Clinton has announced she’ll run for president, what kind of candidate will she be? At first blush, she appears cautious and not at all the confident public person you’d think would be the result of being First Lady, an elected Senator, and Secretary of State. Why, for example, would she use a videotaped message for her launch and then follow a schedule of low-profile events?  Maybe she doesn’t want to peak too soon or maybe she’s worried about having to face some things in her past such as her email habits at State, the lies about the...

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