About Stephen WhitworthStephen Whitworth is a life-long fan of newspapers and alternative media who got his start in the student press a hundred years ago. He moved to Regina in the fall of 1998 and Prairie Dog recklessly hired him nine months later. It was a terrible mistake and the publication deeply regrets its inability to get rid of him. When Whitworth’s not adding typos to the hard work of Prairie Dog’s many terrific writers, writing hilarious (to him) headlines and finding inventive new ways to make the paper late for its bi-weekly press deadline, he enjoys reading magazines, newspapers and alternative comics, listening to music, playing board games, and drinking and eating. He has a cat and
Author Archive | Stephen Whitworth
Naughty, hungry snake!
1 ROB FORD: THE SAGA CONTINUES Toronto’s executive committee drafts an unprecedented letter asking Ford to substantively address the “crack smoking mayor” allegations and they’re doing it publicly, with the deputy mayor saying “I would like the mayor to speak up”. Meanwhile, Ford’s chief of staff remains fired. CBC has a timeline of the runaway Rob Ford train. There’s no new word on the drug dealers with the video–they’ve been out of communication for some time–but the Rob Ford Crackstarter is nevertheless closing in on its target ($163,542 as I publish this), which could be good news for some Canadian addiction non-profits, who will get the cash if the video stays vanished. Also, Now has a good column about why this whole raise-money-to-but-a-video-from-drug-dealers thing is just horrible. And by the way, all this stuff about “faking videos” is nonsense. Although the Sherlock Holmeses at Small Dead
Brains Animals think they’ve got proof that the video is a fake, so you can go look at that if you like malarkey (H/T John Gormley, who retweeted that one).
2 ROBOCALLS WERE ORGANIZED FRAUD: JUDGE Greg blogged it last night and I’m mentioning it again because I’m annoyed that bye-elections weren’t ordered. Supposedly the scale of the fraud wasn’t significant enough. Here’s the story and here’s the actual ruling. In other robocall news, the CRTC has fined Alberta’s Wildrose Party $90,000 for breaking the robo-rules.
3 MEANWHILE IN SASKATCHEWAN We, along with three other lower population provinces, got a “D” in health care; Regina wants federal money to clean up the dead lots once used by gas stations (context here); The police union is worried about our new labour laws and the lack of an arbitration mechanism for when contract talks break down; a police officer’s assault trial continues; and the Saskatoon Blades have been eliminated in the Memorial Cup and Saskatoon is so sad they’re banning dogs from riding in the backs of trucks.
5 SYRIA AGREES TO ATTEND HYPOTHETICAL PEACE TALKS IN GENEVA Read all about it.
6 THIS IS WHAT AN “INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT” LOOKS LIKE A bridge in Washington State collapsed, dropping cars and people into the water. Fortunately no one was killed. The collapse appears to have been triggered by a Canadian trucker whose truck might have been over the weight limit but having said that, the bridge had received low scores on inspections and was rated “functionally obsolete” in 2010. Remember those infrastructure conferences in Regina? This kind of thing is why it’s important to fund infrastructure. Also, don’t drive overloaded trucks on bridges.
7 THIS SIX HAS SEVEN Hey, the Boy Scouts of America will now accept gay scouts who must GET OUT, GET, OUT, GET OUUUUUT when they become adults and would like to be scout leaders, but minimal progress is still progress.
PURR Word on the street is that today’s Friday Afternoon Kitty isn’t a cat at all. But what’s a Friday without a cat? So here you go. More here. Meow!
Well, not surprising at this point, I guess:
Mark Towhey was fired as Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff because he told Ford in no uncertain terms to “go away and get help,” a source close to the mayor’s office has told CBC News. Towhey was unceremoniously dumped from his job Thursday in the midst of a scandal that has ripped apart Toronto municipal politics — with the city’s colourful mayor caught in the midst of allegations that he was recorded smoking crack cocaine. The story broke last week and shortly after Towhey faced down the mayor telling him he needed help. ”There’s nothing more I can do for you,” the source quoted Towhey as telling Ford. The chief of staff then told Ford to “go away and get help.”
Story here. I hope Ford resigns soon. This is painful.
Oh, and the Rob Ford Crackstarter is at $160, 397.
You remember the Rob Ford Crackstarter, Gawker’s effort to raise $200,000 to buy a video of (allegedly) the Toronto mayor smoking crack? Yeah. It’s going to work. I’ve checked in on it a few times in the last day. As of right now, this second, it’s [checks] $140,832. Last night it was $118-something thousand.
I think it’s time to ask if Ford will make it to the weekend without resigning? If that video shows what two reporters and Gawker’s editor say it does, I can’t see a way out of this for Ford.
On the bright side, even people who’ve despised him are probably starting to feel bad for the guy. I know I do.
UPDATE: In the time it took to write this post (about five minutes), the crackster has increased to $141,003.
UPDATE-2:22 p.m.: $141,943
UPDATE-2:37 p.m.: $143,158
UPDATE-3:23 p.m.: $144,690
UPDATE-4:01 p.m.: holy shit, $155,240. Also, Ford has fired his chief of staff. Bad week for Conservative politicians’ chiefs of staff in this country today.
UPDATE-7:55 p.m.: $159,382. Earlier today someone donated $10,000. Alas, Gawker’s contact can’t contact the guy with the phone, so this my all be for naught. More here.
Toronto’s Catholic school board has banned Toronto mayor and alleged crack-smoker Rob Ford from coaching football. Meanwhile, his brother, Doug Ford, who also sits on Toronto’s city council, says Ford is under no obligation to speak to media: “If the mayor stopped and held a press conference every time the media made up a story about him, we would never have accomplished what we have,” he said. You can read more on CBC Toronto. Oh, and Toronto police say that if “any evidence of a criminal act arises”, they’ll “deal with that”.
Two men apparently spouting Islamic rhetoric killed another man in London in broad daylight. The Daily Beast says the victim was beheaded. The Guardian is somewhat reserved while I’m typing this, I assume pending confirmation of details, but does have video of one of the, um, well, is he still an “alleged” killer when he’s filmed covered in blood, holding a cleaver and talking about the murder?
What a world.
I don’t think we passed on Friday’s news that the Tories have restored some funding to the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL).
PEARL, which has been tracking ozone depletion, air quality and climate change in the High Arctic since 2005, and contributes data to several international environmental monitoring projects, is run by an informal network of university researchers called the Canadian Network for Detection of Atmospheric Change. The network announced early in 2012 that the station would be forced to cease year-round operations at the end of April that year after being unable to secure the $1.5-million annual funding it needed to stay open all year. The station had been funded primarily by the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, a granting agent funded by the federal government from 2000 to 2010. In the 2011 budget, no money was allocated to CFCAS. Instead, $35 million over five years was budgeted for the CCAR program, but it had not yet started accepting applications for funding. The network had applied for other grants, but had been turned down for all of them.
Let’s forget about Canada’s terrible government for a second and look across the Atlantic to Great Britain, where teacher unions are casting unprecedented non-confidence votes at* the Tory government’s education secretary, Michael Grove. Grove is the the architect of unpopular education reforms that have provoked substantial backlash. The whole thing reminds me of the conversations about school design and standardized testing we’re having in Saskatchewan.
But the reason I’m mentioning this is that The Guardian has a great column by English author and education expert Sir Kenneth Robinson column on how creativity actually works. The headline: “To Encourage Creativity, Mr Gove, You Must First Understand What It Is”. Here’s an excerpt:
First, creativity, like learning in general, is a highly personal process. We all have different talents and aptitudes and different ways of getting to understand things. Raising achievement in schools means leaving room for these differences and not prescribing a standard steeplechase for everyone to complete at the same time and in the same way.
Second, creativity is not a linear process, in which you have to learn all the necessary skills before you get started. It is true that creative work in any field involves a growing mastery of skills and concepts. It is not true that they have to be mastered before the creative work can begin. Focusing on skills in isolation can kill interest in any discipline. Many people have been put off mathematics for life by endless rote tasks that did nothing to inspire them with the beauty of numbers. Many have spent years grudgingly practicing scales for music examinations only to abandon the instrument altogether once they’ve made the grade.
The real driver of creativity is an appetite for discovery and a passion for the work itself. When students are motivated to learn, they naturally acquire the skills they need to get the work done. Their mastery of them grows as their creative ambitions expand. You’ll find evidence of this process in great teaching in every discipline from football to chemistry.
*Against? Nah, I like “at”.
2 WHAT A WEEKEND As of this morning, two Conservative senators and the PMO’S former chief of staff are holidaying in scenic and sunny resignationland. The Senators, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, have both been subject to probes into shenaniganical expense claims while Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s top man has stepped down because he wrote a $90,000 cheque to Mike Duffy to bail him out of trouble. Turns out a former legal adviser to the PM brokered the deal between Wright and Duffy. CTV reports that in exchange for the $90K and, apparently, a promise that a Senate investigation would go easy on him, Duffy would promise to repay the expenses. CTV also reports that Harper is “very upset” about this mushrooming scandal. I guess that’s why he’s fled the country.
3 AND THEN THERE’S THIS “Dozens of people appointed to plum patronage jobs have been donating to the Conservative party, despite government rules that forbid it.” Yikes.
4 AND THEN THERE’S ROB FORD The Toronto Mayor, who may have been filmed smoking crack cocaine, made his first public appearance since Friday when he dismissed the accusations without denying them. New York magazine has a list of Rob Ford controversies–which includes DUIs, driving while reading, accusations of unwanted touching, belligerent public drunkenness and offering to get oxycontin for constituents, and other nonsense The Star has its own list. This whole story is incredible. Ford seems completely out of control. Forget about staying on as mayor–I can’t see how this guy’s going to still be alive in two years.
6 SO WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT BC ELECTION, ANYWAY? Ill-timed boners for policy, possibly.
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS? I HADN’T. IT’S FUNNY! WATCH IT! Patton Oswalt as the Penguin verses a somewhat, erm, dim Batman.
This crazy thing keeps getting crazier. From Gawker:
As you may have heard, Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, smokes crack cocaine. We’ve seen a video of him smoking crack cocaine, and the people who have the video would like to sell it. Through the miracle of crowdfunding, you can help. Please consider donating to the Rob Ford Crackstarter.
How Much Do We Need? $200,000. That’s what the owners of the video want. That sounds like a lot of money. The good people at Indiegogo believe that, with the appropriate amount ofvirality, that goal is achievable.
Christ, That’s a Lot of Money. Yes, it is. But they’ve got the video! And it’s not all about greed, though of course most of it is. The owners of this video fear for their safety, and want enough money to pay for a chance to get out of Toronto and set up in a new town. Their fear is not entirely unwarranted. Rob Ford is a powerful if buffoonish man, and he was wrapped up in a drug scene that purportedly involved many other prominent Toronto figures.
What Will We Get? A crystal clear, well-lit video of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine, published on Gawker for the world to see. We will also be throwing in some perks, for specific donation amounts. But the main thing is the video of the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine.
This is going to end with Ford fighting biplanes at the top of the CN tower, isn’t it? Oh Gawker. Oh Internet. Oh Rob Ford.
1 MEDIA PEOPLES SAY THEY SAW A CELL PHONE VIDEO OF TORONTO MAYOR ROB FORD SMOKING CRACK IN A ROOM WITH A GUY WHO’S NOW DEAD The story broke on Gawker, the Toronto Star followed immediately and now it’s everywhere. Ford denies, denies, denies.
2 EARTHQUAKE IN EASTERN CANADA! And it isn’t even the top news story thanks to Hurricane Ford.
3 R.I.P. ELIJAH HARPER The Manitoba politician and First Nations leader passes away at the too-young age of 64.
4 MIKE DUFFY QUITS CONSERVATIVES The Canadian senator who accepted a $90,000 loan/gift/whatever from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff has resigned from his caucus and will sit as an independent. There’s also a chance his controversial travel expenses could get a second audit.
6 THE POTHOLE TOUR 2013 Regina Mayor Michael Fougere inspects road holes.
MANDATORY NEW STAR TREK MOVIE DAY VIDEO Ding!
- Foliage Report: Friday, May 24 May 24, 2013
- Friday Afternoon, Uh, Cobra Named Elvis May 24, 2013
- Six In The Morning: Rob Ford Round-Up May 24, 2013
- Pick Of The Day: Cannibal Corpse May 24, 2013
- “Go Away And Get Help”: Ford’s Advisor May 23, 2013
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