Ringside Seat: Worthwhile Canadian Scandal

We Americans tend to think of Canadians as almost exactly like us, except less interesting. They're polite and considerate, they don't start wars, and though they can be rather brutal if you put them on ice and give them a hockey stick, on the whole, Canada is sort of the Ned Flanders of North America. There's a reason many believe that the most boring headline ever to appear in an American newspaper is "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative," which adorned a 1986 New York Times column by Flora Lewis.

But that was before we met Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto. Ford is currently embroiled in a scandal that makes our own piddling controversies look about as dull as that headline. Ford was already a somewhat volatile politician who bears a remarkable physical resemblance to the late comedian Chris Farley (or perhaps John Candy, who was himself Canadian). Then reports emerged that there was a video of Ford smoking crack, which he denied, although there are now-famous pictures of Ford posing with some shady-looking characters. One of the men in a picture with Ford was murdered, and rumors flew that he might have been rubbed out because he had the video (the Toronto Star now says the man's killing was just "street-level stuff"). Ford's siblings, it turns out, were also at one time supposedly major drug dealers, particularly his brother Doug, who is also a Toronto city councilman (and, folks say, the smart one in the family). And every day brings a new weird turn in the story; for instance, yesterday the National Post reported that some Somali gang members who support Ford considered making their own crack-smoking tape starring a Rob Ford lookalike who goes by the name "Slurpy" in an attempt to discredit the real tape, but the plan fell through. "Slurpy, who was not available to be interviewed by the Post,apparently opted out of the phony video plan, ultimately deciding he did not want to become embroiled in the simmering controversy." Good thinking, Slurpy.

Now this is what you call a scandal. Edited Benghazi talking points? Delayed approval for 501(c)(4) status? Give us a break. If there's somebody at the IRS named Slurpy making phony crack-smoking videos, then we can talk. Until that happens, the initiative coming out of Canada looks much more worthwhile.

So They Say

"As you see, he has a beard."

— Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams, explaining why Grover Norquist is a secret Muslim

Daily Meme: Androgynous Utopia

  • The Pew study reporting that 40 percent of families with children under 18 have women as the primary source of income has caused quite a stir in conservative circles. Here are the six best examples of sparkling witlessness we found.
  • W. Bradford Wilcox: "The United States is not on the verge of some androgynous utopia."
  • Marketwatch: "Bad news: Women are main breadwinners in 40 percent of households"
  • Lou Dobbs: “But our society is being torn in so many directions right now, this stuff is really at the margin when you watch the Republicans and the Democrats, this president, his scandals, and the appropriate investigation by the Republicans. When we’re watching society dissolve around us, Juan, what do you think?”
  • Juan Williams: "You're seeing the disintegration of marriage. ... You're seeing, I think, systemically ... something going terribly wrong in American society, and it's hurting our children."
  • Erick Erickson: “I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology—when you look at the natural world—the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.”
  • Breeanne Howe: "I agree with @EWErickson—the male should be the dominant one in the household. It's not only scientific, it's biblical."
  • We leave you with Megyn Kelly's comeback: “I will start with you Erick. What makes you dominant and me submissive and who makes you scientist-in-chief?" 

What We're Writing

  • The president marked a shift away from the “war on terror” in his speech last week at the National Defense University. While it remains to be seen if his words will be put into action, foreign policy analyst Matt Duss writes that right-wing hawks are already going nuts.
  • Obama’s judicial legacy has yet to be determined, but Paul Waldman writes that—contra liberal complaints—he’s doing a decent job so far. Though he’s been criticized for taking too much time to appoint some justices, the vacancies he’s filled have bolstered the diversity of the federal bench.

What We're Reading

  • Dylan Matthews talks to people who chose to go the hedge-fund route just so they could give their money away, instead of choosing the nonprofit road more often taken by do-gooders.
  • Adam Gopnik takes Rob Ford and Anthony Weiner to quarto.
  • David Dayen explains how liberals saved California.
  • Josh Green reveals the inside data that led David Axelrod to bet his mustache on a few swing states.
  • Cli-fi, or climate-change fiction, is the latest literary trend to captivate and terrify readers.
  • Jonathan Cohn fact-checks more (wrong) Obamacare fearmongering.

Poll of the Day

Despite all the attention on the stock market’s recent record highs, most people aren’t all that invested—literally. According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in March, 53 percent of Americans have no money in stocks. But, the opposite is true for those with actual wealth. Four of every five people who earn at least $75,000 a year have money in stocks, showing a sharp contrast.

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