wRanter.com

Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.

wRanter.com - Gentle and not-so-gentle thoughts and musings from a Jewish, left-leaning, Canadian, pro-Israel, inner-suburban, fortysomething, libertarian, recovering perfectionist, quasi-socialist husband, dad, basketball fan, writer and editor with a few opinions.
Featured wRants
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

Israel shouldn't be a political football or litmus test

Despite public and private appeals to call off the event, the Jewish Defence League (JDL) went ahead with its unfortunate decision to picket a Liberal fundraiser at the Toronto home of pharmaceutical magnate and Jewish ...

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Who will be the next big-name Jewish MP?

Last week, we examined four “Jewish” battleground ridings, including two – York Centre in Toronto and Mount Royal in Montreal – where, one way or another, a Jewish candidate is likely to win. This week, ...

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Thursday the rabbi walked out, or was he pushed?

Being a pulpit rabbi can be a cutthroat business

When Toronto Jews awoke last Saturday morning and collected their Globe and Mail newspapers from their doorsteps (those who still subscribe, that is), they discovered a front-page story detailing how Holy Blossom Temple, the city's ...

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Jewish issues at centre of partisan sniping

Jewish issues and candidates made headlines last week and became the subject of some distasteful political rhetoric on the campaign trail. In Alberta, a 21-year-old hijab-wearing university student resigned Aug. 18 as the Liberal candidate in ...

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He was burned by this very issue.

The Jewish community should fund its own schools

The fallout from the recent controversy over the creation of gay-straight alliance clubs (GSAs) in Ontario's publicly funded Catholic school system should give pause to those seeking funding – in the name of fairness – ...

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Being mislabelled by educators can make school a misery.

Your December-born kid may not have ADHD. He might just be immature.

A new Canadian study is bolstering an argument I've been making to my kids' teachers and principals for years: children born later in a calendar year are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit ...

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The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Here's hoping he's successful, but ...

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Generation X gets shafted – again

A recent study by PwC Canada of the Canadian banking sector found that Generation X – roughly defined as people born between 1961 and 1981, after the Baby Boom – are being squeezed in the financial industry by Boomers who aren’t retiring and by Boomers’ “Generation Y” offspring, who are entering the workforce and charging hard for promotions.

Generation X and Baby Boomers on the job at wRanter.com

Pretending to be interested, but hoping he retires.

So, having been whacked by a deep recession at the start of their careers, Gen Xers are now facing a triple whammy of a sluggish post-recessionary economy, the prospect of austerity budgets for years to come from all levels of government, and career stagnation brought on by being sandwiched between two large generational cohorts.

Talk about bad timing.

But the study’s authors believe this phenomenon isn’t confined to banking. And anecdotally, I can attest that similar patterns exist in other sectors, including the broader public service and the media. Continue reading

Why Thomas Mulcair gets it when it comes to Israel

Not surprisingly, Thomas Mulcair won the NDP leadership last month, replacing Saint Jack Layton as the man social democrats hope can rally left-of-centre voters to defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Thomas Mulcair and Catherine Pinhas at wRanter.com

The next occupants of 24 Sussex?

Here’s hoping he’s successful, but as I argued in an earlier post, it seems unlikely that he will be, because the left is as divided today as the right was in the 1990s, with a rapprochement nowhere on the horizon. Or as Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin famously told The Hill Times earlier this month,  “If we don’t unite the progressive vote, Stephen Harper will be prime minister until he gets bored.”

(Taking a different tack, the inimitable Chantal Hebert argues that Mulcair’s feistiness makes him the strongest opposition leader Harper has faced so far. She reminds readers that he arrives in time to face the PM in 2015, near Harper’s 10-year mark in power, when many prime ministers – e.g., Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney – wear out their welcome with voters and lose the fire in their belly. She also recalls that no one thought Harper would ever be prime minister, having been written off as a transitional leader of a reunited Conservative party.)

As has been widely noted, NDPers clearly chose Mulcair, a former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister, because they think he can win. They put aside what many see as his tenuous ties to the party and his previous statements against the oil sands (which, as right-wing media pundits have noted, are sure to alienate many Albertans), as well as his reputation for surliness. They hope he can consolidate the party’s massive 2011 gains in Quebec while gaining enough support elsewhere to push it over the top.

But some on the left of the NDP, such as longtime B.C. activist Murray Dobbin, are mourning how its members “could collectively have let Thomas Mulcair, the right-wing Liberal, pro-Israel, political bully become head of their party.” Continue reading

Things that make me go arghhhh! Part 1

I figure that this wouldn’t be a true blog without random kvetching about nothing in particular.

Fine whine at wRanter.com

Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch…

So in that spirit, I present semi-aimless carping about disconnected aspects of modern life, or, with apologies to Arsenio Hall, what I like to call “Things that make me go arghhhh!”:

• When a store’s website inventory checker says something is in stock and you plan a special trip to a particular outlet based on that information, only to find out that the item you want isn’t there. This happens to me so often that you’d think I’d learn not to bang my head against the wall again and again. (Here’s looking at you, Canadian Tire!) Note to self: remember to use the telephone next time. Continue reading

Even with a new leader, the NDP can’t defeat the Tories alone

I just can’t get excited about the NDP leadership race, which ends March 24 in Toronto, because irrespective of who wins, it’s hard to see it leading to a positive outcome for progressive politics in this country.

Will Thomas Mulcair, the party outsider who reportedly flirted with the Tories prior to joining the NDP, win? Or will it be NDP insider Brian Topp, with the blessing of party elders such as former leader Ed Broadbent? Or will B.C.’s Nathan Cullen or Ontario’s Peggy Nash sneak up the middle as a compromise? Will the new leader turn left or tack toward the centre in an attempt to gain power?

NDP at wRanter.comI might be in a dark mood (I’m writing this on my birthday, and I’m getting less and less fond of growing older as years pass), but will it really matter?

It seems to me that in the short term, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Tories will likely benefit from an official Opposition whose new leader will be learning the ropes while at the same time working to unify his or her party.

In the longer term, a surging NDP and a near-total collapse of the Liberal party would work to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s advantage as he seeks to move Canada’s political culture even more to the right while further polarizing federal electoral politics.

This is not good news, unless you’re a fan of the political cultures in such places as the United States and British Columbia, where electoral politics are divisive and sharply splintered along left-right lines. Continue reading

Adventures in parenting, Part 1: Care and feeding of Teen Wolf

It happens almost every time. (OK, not that often, but way too much.)

A 14-year-old boy in a foul mood does something that drives his fortysomething dad bananas, and his fortysomething dad sleepwalks into the trap of allowing himself to be driven bananas.

Before you pass judgment, let me explain.

Wolfman at wRanter.com

Het gets ornery when he's hungry

Primo is 14 and Secondo is 11, well past the stage when they need to have all of their bodily needs attended to by mom and dad. One of the advantages of having older kids is that on the weekend, if you still remember how, you can sleep in until 9, 10, 11 or even – with permission from your middle-age bladder – all the way to noon, the holy grail of loafdom.

This is only possible, however, if your kids take responsibility for feeding themselves. It doesn’t work nearly as well when they don’t, or won’t, because you’ll wake up to hungry, cranky creatures whose meal times have been thrown way off schedule, leaving you (or your payback-demanding spouse) to sort out the mess.

The problem is compounded if one or more of them turns into a complete werewolf when they don’t eat.

We’ve got one of those. Continue reading