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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Things that make me go arghhh! Part 2

For your reading and pleasure, or perhaps frustration, I present the second installment of a semi-regular series dedicated to kvetching and carping about annoying stuff that’s been on my mind or in the news.

Police culture in the city of Toronto.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair at wRanter.com

He needs to get his rank and file in order.

Shortly after a report by Ontario’s police watchdog accused frontline officers and their superiors of unlawful conduct during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, and with charges pending against a number of officers and investigations ongoing against others, comes the story of a rookie Toronto cop who was harassed by fellow officers for charging an off-duty Halton police constable with drunk driving in 2009.

The revelations of harassment came out at the trial of the officer who was accused of driving drunk. They included allegations that Const. Andrew Vanderburgh was followed home from a police station (where he had taken the allegedly drunk cop for a breathalyzer test) by a third officer who charged Vanderburgh with running a red light. The charge was eventually dismissed and the ticketing officer was disciplined, as were two other cops who didn’t intervene (all three had their pay docked).

In addition, Vanderburgh’s own partner refused to take part in charging the allegedly drunk officer, and Vanderburgh was said to have been called a “rat” by other fellow cops.

In response to the report about Vanderburgh’s treatment, the militant head of Toronto’s police union, Mike McCormack, said that while the union doesn’t condone this kind of behaviour, it’s not a systemic issue. He said a culture of police officers protecting their own may have existed at one time in Toronto, but doesn’t today.

Sorry, but I’m not buying that. It lacks credibility. Continue reading

Canada needs Conrad Black

Conrad Black at wRanter.com

“Thanks for the softball questions, Peter…”

In honour of Victoria Day, one presumes, Conrad Black, the former industrialist and onetime newspaper baron, he of the British peerage – his lordship, if you will – took part in what reportedly will be his one and only sit-down media interview, chatting with the CBC’s chief news anchor Peter Mansbridge at his palatial Bridle Path home in Toronto after his release from a Florida jail earlier this month.

Sitting in what appeared to be a study, with multitudinous volumes of books in the background, the 67-year-old Black was at his feisty best as he excoriated NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for using his parliamentary immunity to call Black a “British criminal” in the House of Commons. Black also took Mulcair to task for none-too-subtly insinuating that he had used his Tory contacts to gain a one-year temporary residency permit in Canada.

And like he always has, Black maintained his innocence in the most vociferous and florid of terms, as is his wont and tradition.

But aside from minor bouts of irritation with Mansbridge’s chummy, softball questions, it was a rather subdued performance from a man who was clearly looking to rehabilitate his tattered public image and burnish his quest to regain his Canadian citizenship. Continue reading

Does Facebook’s face-plant mean we’ve learned something?

Mark Zuckerberg at wRanter.com

He's worth a lot of money, for now.

The relatively poor showing of Facebook’s initial public offering of its shares on the NASDAQ exchange shows that, perhaps, finally, the hype around the social networking site may finally be abating.

As I post this, Facebook shares have closed around $31 after their third day of trading, down from their opening price of $38. And they didn’t do much better on their first two days, having closed on Day 1 at around where they opened.

Does this mean the business world and average folk may finally have acquired a sense of proportion about services like Facebook, or for that matter, companies such as Apple?

Let’s hope so. Continue reading

Netanyahu has unprecedented power. Now what?

Benjamin Netanyahu at wRanter.com

I outsmarted you and you and you and you...

On May 7, Israelis went to sleep thinking they were heading for an election in September, 18 months before it was required by law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently decided to call an early vote in order to capitalize on his high poll numbers and strengthen his hand with smaller parties in the Knesset.

When they awoke on May 8, Israelis learned that Netanyahu had struck a deal with Shaul Mofaz, the new leader of the centrist Kadima party, giving the Likud prime minister a strong national unity coalition by adding Kadima’s 28 seats. (I guess the PM went for the sure thing.)

Netanyahu now has a 94-seat super majority in the 120-seat Knesset, meaning he can govern with a relatively free hand until 2013.

But what does he intend to do with his new power?

Continue reading

Obama uses gay marriage to play electoral hardball

Barack Obama at wRanter.com

Tougher than he looks

U.S. President Barack Obama is playing hardball in his effort to get re-elected later this year. And if last week is any indication, a second term will be even more of a slam dunk than I thought it would be.

In a move that led some to dub him “the first gay president,” Obama endorsed gay marriage – without actually promising to do anything about it, since he says the issue is one for states to decide for themselves – just a day before it was revealed that presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had bullied gay students at the posh Michigan prep school he attended as a teen in the 1960s.

I’m not buying the story that Obama’s hand was forced after his vice-president, Joe Biden, said recently on NBC’s Meet the Press that he was  “totally comfortable” with same-sex marriage.

This allegedly led Obama to come out, so to speak, with his own statement to ABC News that gays and lesbians ought to be allowed to marry, after previously stating that he opposed gay marriage, then later saying that his position on the issue was evolving.

Obama had reportedly intended to endorse gay marriage just before the Democratic convention in September. Biden’s “slip” supposedly moved up the timeline.

But it’s hard to believe that the vice-president’s statement was accidental. The whole sequence of events looked like it was carefully orchestrated to Obama’s political advantage. Continue reading