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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Sunday, June 25




  Rick Salutin
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Rob Ford and the loss of hope space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 24, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comIn his awesome book, India After Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha says, ''The world over, modern democratic politics has been marked by two rather opposed rhetorical styles. The first appeals to hope, to popular aspirations for economic prosperity and social peace. The second appeals to fear ... about being worsted or swamped by one's historic enemies.'' That's about as good as generalizations get, except to add that the phases tend to succeed each other. They don't just coexist. It's the failure or shortfall of hope that leads to fear.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stephen Harper: the last Straussian? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 17, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comI'm talking political philosophy here, not Viennese waltzes. People keep asking why Stephen Harper acts as he does, it looks so buttheaded. He seems to muck up his own prospects: firing decent people, lashing out, raising the partisan rhetoric, proroguing Parliament haughtily, binging on military toys, mauling the census - he's a bright boy, it's hard to figure.  FULL STORY arrow
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The next economics idol space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 10, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comSo there's really no new model for how to run this economy, and nobody's even, I think, thinking about that question, much less an answer.  FULL STORY arrow
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At 7, he's a terror suspect space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 3, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com I met Abdullah, the seven-year-old terror suspect, at a dinner near Toronto on Canada Day. He came last year from Gaza with his dad, Izzeldin Abuelaish, who's here teaching global health at the med school, and five surviving siblings. His three oldest sisters were killed in their home in Gaza by Israeli shelling during the 2008 invasion. His mother died shortly before, of cancer. You can read about it in Dr. Abuelaish's remarkable book, I Shall Not Hate. Abdullah has a sweet, mischievous look. Fireworks went off nearby and he asked his dad, Is it the Israelis? His dad reassured him.  FULL STORY arrow
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What occurred at Jailapalooza space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 27, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comThis week's mass processing inside (and outside) a Toronto courthouse helped clarify June's Jailapalooza festival during the G20, the largest mass arrest in our history. Of 1,100 detained, all but 227 had the charges dropped or were never charged. Most had no links to burning police cars or battered bank machines. They were picked up while protesting peacefully or looking on.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rob Ford and the ding of truth space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 20, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Americans gripped by immigration and ethnicity issues should glance for perspective at the large print on the base of the Statue of Liberty: Give me your tired, your poor ... Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me ... Canadians with similar anxieties about immigrants and refugees - categories that were often historically identical - should think about Samuel de Champlain, who founded our country in the early 1600s.  FULL STORY arrow
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Voters won't take the bait space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 13, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comMario Lague, who was Michael Ignatieff's communications director, died Thursday in a motorcycle accident on his way to work. I hadn't heard of him till this week, when a memo he wrote to MPs made its way into the press. I found it prescient on our current politics and especially this summer's surprising focus on the census. It was about ''not taking the bait.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Conrad's eternal boyishness space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 6, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comBlack's Bad Boy: My stab at what got Conrad Black through a prison stretch isn't his arrogance or sense of rectitude. It's his not-so-inner child, an eternal boyishness. You hear it in the piece he wrote last weekend for the National Post. It has a sense of adventure with an improbably happy ending; it could have come out of the Boy's Own Annual, which I can picture him reading, absorbing the Dickensian stylistics. (He's always been a Victorian figure, which helps explain his choice of British lordship over Canadian citizenship.)  FULL STORY arrow
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Maury's irreplaceable madness space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 30, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com  FULL STORY arrow
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The fear factor in economics space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 23, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comSince the Second World War, the U.S. economy has been built around what you might call the fear sector: its military-industrial complex, its crime-prison complex and its homeland-terror complex. We're now seeing the first attempt by a Canadian government to follow this model.  FULL STORY arrow
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The humbling of Ignatieff space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 16, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comPolitical reality has been giving Michael Ignatieff a lesson in humility, and he needed it.This is a guy who's spent much time, since moving back from the U.S., telling us what kind of guy he is, as if we need to know. (''I made a very calculated decision that I am the guy I am.'') He spent the 1990s with his career on a steep rise. He acquired a heady podium in The New York Times, became chair of Harvard's human-rights school and regularly explained reality to Michael Enright on CBC Radio.  FULL STORY arrow
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Hire him and thank the others space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 9, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comDavid Johnston's selection as Governor-General may be the first time the post went to someone after what can be seen as an audition. I mean his role in setting the terms of a public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.  FULL STORY arrow
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Cosmogony of the Gulf spill space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 2, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comWriting in The Guardian on the Gulf spill as a ''hole in the world,'' Naomi Klein says: ''Virtually all indigenous cultures have myths about gods and spirits living in the natural world. ... Calling the Earth ''sacred' is another way of expressing humility in the face of forces we do not fully comprehend. When something is sacred, it demands that we proceed with caution.'' I'd like to extend this intriguing thought beyond smallish surviving cultures to most of the history of thought about the nature of the world and our place in it.  FULL STORY arrow
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The men who came to dinner space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 25, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comSheridan Whiteside is The Man Who Came to Dinner, in an old Broadway play (and movie) of that name. He's a celebrity asked to a relatively normal family's home for dinner, due to his renown. But he slips on the ice outside, breaks a leg, and moves in to recover, for endless weeks, during which he commandeers the services of the entire household, utterly disrupts their normal routines and, above all, is totally oblivious to his impact.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada's phantom left space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 18, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comA spectre is haunting Canada, as Marx and Engels said in a different era (and not about Canada): the spectre of the Canadian left. But I think phantom would be a better term. As in phantom limb. Take two examples.  FULL STORY arrow
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Turning a vibrant town into a desert space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 11, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comI'd calmly planned to write on the Toronto G20 summit in two weeks, when it unfolds. But it's making me crazy now. It's like the second coming of SARS, the last time Toronto took a turn on the world stage: a lesson in ways to turn a fairly vibrant town into a desert.  FULL STORY arrow
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Who are the friends of Israel? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 4, 2010 – Page A23
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-- Israel's claim this week that its soldiers killed nine civilians in self-defence on an aid-to-Gaza flotilla it had boarded is at best tone deaf. It strains credibility. You attack unarmed ships at sea and when people resist, shoot them and then blame them. It's beyond Orwellian. The analogies occur to anyone: Home invaders kill residents who try to stop an assault, etc. At least there, no one would assert self-defence. I know elaborate arguments have been unfurled to justify the claim but that's not my point. Whether the claim is right or wrong isn't even the point. It just won't fly with most people. To them, it's implausible on its face. That's where tone deafness comes in.  FULL STORY arrow
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Redemption and the courier's dad space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 28, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comLast fall, after the catastrophic Toronto encounter between Michael Bryant and bicycle courier Darcy Allan Sheppard, I wrote a column lamenting the swift intervention by the PR firm Navigator on Mr. Bryant's behalf. I also said we'd started to learn about Mr. Sheppard, and that he was the product of a ''failed adoption,'' plus much foster care.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's to government by amateurs space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 21, 2010 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comI went to an all-candidates meeting recently in the race to replace our Toronto city councillor, Joe Pantalone, who's running for mayor. The candidates were mostly lawyer or city-planner types. But one differed: Derek Chadbourne, a bike courier for 16 years who runs The Bike Joint, a local repair shop. A neighbour, who works on Bay Street, said he knows Derek, he's a great guy, too bad he can't win. I asked why. He seemed to think it was obvious. He doesn't have credentials or expertise, like the rest. But, but - I sputtered -Democracy is government by amateurs. I must have read it somewhere.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ships in the ideological night space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 14, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comPoint 1 about David Frum, who was set adrift this spring by much of the U.S. right, for mildly criticizing them: He acknowledges he has changed. As he told The Globe's John Ibbitson, ''On some of the issues, I have different answers than I would have had a decade ago.'' That's impressive in someone who is primarily an ideologue, and has been his entire adult life.  FULL STORY arrow
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The people as moral economists space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 7, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comResponse to this week's protests by workers and pensioners in Greece was disdainful. CNN logged it under anger and violence. ''Tantrums,'' said the National Post, thrown by ''coddled, bloated and overprotected people.'' The Globe and Mail sermonized, ''Greeks have been living beyond their means for years, with extravagant social benefits and fudged public accounting,'' although you could easily switch ''bankers and speculators'' for ''Greeks.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Security can make you insecure space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 30, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comToronto is getting its first taste (or tase) of post-9/11 security, for this June's G20 summit. There will be a large downtown security zone with a three-metre fence, a system of passes and gates, a distant protest park, a holding pen for arrests, more police and private security than the Olympics had, and other details we aren't allowed to know for - of course - security reasons. Canadians initially encountered this stuff at the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit in Quebec City in 2001, featuring water cannon and tear gas. The technologies have since proliferated.  FULL STORY arrow
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An edifying amateur hour space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 23, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comWednesday's parliamentary hearing with Rahim Jaffer and his partner was inept and embarrassing compared to a Canadian royal commission or a U.S. congressional committee. That's what made it edifying. You could see things happen precisely because the players were so unpractised.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Afghan mission: Who are the heroes here? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 16, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsaultin@globeandmail.com''I mean we can sort of quasi-invade it but we can't walk into one of their prisons. I mean, give me a break.'' (Former Canadian embassy in Kabul official Eileen Olexiuk, on being told by superiors that she couldn't investigate prisoner transfers despite serious concerns over torture.)  FULL STORY arrow
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Good for Nike's dead dad ad space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 9, 2010 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comGood for Nike. I mean its new dead dad ad, on Tiger Woods. It manages to strike a different note in the moralistic hysteria-fest around his return to this weekend's Masters. Not just what it says but its tone. ''I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. ... Did you learn anything?'' says the voiceover from beyond the grave, as Tiger looks directly into the camera. Check the diction: More prone ... inquisitive. ''More'' is relative, ''prone'' is detached, ''inquisitive'' weighs things, instead of denouncing them. Promote discussion ... learn. As if the case isn't transparent, there are things here to unearth and explore. What is the note struck? In a word: Buddhist, Tiger's own religious background and his mom's.  FULL STORY arrow
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Feel-good aid ops everywhere space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 2, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Another week, another foreign aid donors conference. This one was Haiti. These are moments of myopia and amnesia: feel-good ops.The donor countries declared big donations - a record, I think. No one has to write a cheque on the spot and, based on the record, lots will never be paid. Canada's minister in charge, Bev Oda, said ''Canadians have been overwhelmingly generous.'' The media ran happy stories on ''schools in a box'' sent from Windsor; those boxes haven't arrived and, when they do, may not get unloaded since, as The Globe's Jessica Leeder reported, much heavy equipment has already gone elsewhere.  FULL STORY arrow
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Racist? We've seen woise space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 26, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Ann Coulter cancelled her own speech in Ottawa this week. No one did it to her. Police said there were so many protesters that they couldn't guarantee her security, but that's not the protesters' fault. Their job is to protest. They have the same right to expression that she does. A university official had sent a supercilious letter, warning her to talk nice, like a Canadian (in his view) does, but even he has a right to speak. Still, once administrators begin effectively recruiting protesters, they should make sure security is in place. They're the only ones I can see to blame.  FULL STORY arrow
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A whole lotta ventin' goin' on space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 19, 2010 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com There's a whole lot of hand-wringing - or, to use a technical poli-sci term, kvetching - going on about the ''broken'' state of democracy, as CNN calls it. You see it in the United States, where health-care reform is mired in bipartisan name-calling, and in Canada, where Stephen Harper now prorogues Parliament whenever he doesn't want to deal with something. People howl but to no effect; that's why they say it's broken.  FULL STORY arrow
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Avatar and the politics of our time space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 12, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com ***It is striking and, to use a religious term, a bit awe-inspiring to see how central that religion has become to politics in the post-Cold War era. For more than 200 years, the defining split was left versus right. Now religion is in the equation in a big way.  FULL STORY arrow
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Freedom fighters, killer whales space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 5, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com ***The Spartacus of SeaWorld: Who knows, of course, if Tilikum the SeaWorld orca had a motive in killing his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, and withholding her from rescuers. But an impulse to attribute humanish motives to animals is ancient and irresistible. I don't think we do it from egocentrism, but rather from fellow feeling and analogy. We are, after all, animals, too. We have an inner life, for which there's no external proof. Why shouldn't they?  FULL STORY arrow
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His secret? Respect for listeners space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 26, 2010 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Yesterday was Andy Barrie's last as host of CBC Radio's Toronto morning show. It's a shame. The shame isn't that he's going after 15 years. He has good reasons. It's that he wasn't there for 15 years before that.  FULL STORY arrow
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And this is our foreign policy ... space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 19, 2010 – Page A23
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com There's something enigmatic in Stephen Harper's foreign policy. Since he decided to cut and run from Afghanistan, it seems to have only one pillar: total support for whatever Israel's government does.  FULL STORY arrow
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Making do with tarnished spectacles - so enjoy space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 12, 2010 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com ***B.C. has always been a centre of excellence for the Olympians of citizen protest. Vancouver is its Athens; they could send out the torch from Whistler. In fact, maybe they did, to Athens, in view of this week's demonstrations there by taxi drivers and others over being told to pay for the crimes of bankers and financiers. In B.C., the team is ready for the other side to use rough tactics such as pepper spray and tasers.  FULL STORY arrow
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Deficit hysteria bogeyman space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 5, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com ***The H1N1 of the economy: It's baaack, the bogeyman of the 1990s and, before that, the 1980s: deficit hysteria. Get out the old Halloween masks. What's remarkable is how common sense - i.e., the wisdom of most people - resists panic even as politicians and opinion makers ladle it on. A recent Ipsos Reid poll found that 53 per cent of Canadians calmly feel that the federal government should run deficits of $30-billion to $40-billion to ''stimulate the economy and get us out of this recession.'' But a Globe and Mail story that included that poll was headlined, ''Liberals would boost child care despite deficit.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Is it already over for Obama? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 29, 2010 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com The saddest event in politics is the death of the hope that things can basically change. This genre of loss involves a setback not just to an individual but to a population, or a large part of it, which placed its hope in a candidate or party. We last saw it here in the early 1990s, when Jean Chretien's Liberals forsook the hope and change of their red book, on which they were elected, and chose instead the insipid task of balancing the budget by further shredding social programs. Now it's happening in the United States.  FULL STORY arrow
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We all fail the failed state test space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 22, 2010 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Outside responses to the Haiti earthquake have come with smug side helpings of superiority and self-congratulation. The New York Times's David Brooks described Haitian culture as ''progress-resistant'' and prescribed ''intrusive paternalism,'' as if Haiti hasn't had 200 years of that. The Toronto Star's Jim Travers called it a failed state. A Globe and Mail editorial upped that to ''perennial failed state''; another one said our people there ''should be heralded, as exporters of Canadian values.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Grit plan: Let Harper be Harper space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 15, 2010 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com First, all the experts said no Canadian would vote based on the issue of delivering Afghan prisoners for torture. But Stephen Harper killed Parliament anyway, to squelch that debate. Why? What did he know? Perhaps what anyone studying PR at a community college learns: that impressions are cumulative and, as a series moves along, each new one weighs heavier. Firing nuclear watchdog + global black eye re tar sands + ending KAIROS funding + torture scandal = bad election news.  FULL STORY arrow
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Evasion of the body scanners space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 8, 2010 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com There's an earnest, high-school debating tone to the ubiquitous discussions of airport security. It has many worthy subjects like, Full body scanners: Will they work? High moral concerns such as The invasion of privacy. There's Human rights versus racial profiling, which would be a better topic if it hadn't already been a reality for males of a certain age and hue since 9/11. There's room for witty replies, like Billy Connolly's, who'd like to say, when asked if he packed his own bags: ''No, no, a big Arab guy in a hotel - a nice big man, named Mohammed, who had a flying licence - packed it for me.''  FULL STORY arrow
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In praise of words, not books space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Speaking writer to readers, I want to register some year-end thoughts on climate change in the realm of reading.Begin with technology. Canadians can finally buy Kindle e-readers. I know there are people who'd rather these had never got here. They say they'll miss the tactility of print on paper, the rustle of turning pages, etc. Yet this may pass. When computers first appeared, I constructed a complex argument against writing with them - something about it being anti-creative. Then, one day, the prices dropped and suddenly I couldn't recall my objections.  FULL STORY arrow
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Thomas the Tank Engine goes to Copenhagen space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, December 18, 2009 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com I'd like to join the debate over Thomas the Tank Engine - the books, TV shows and toys based on him - in the gift-giving spirit of the season.  FULL STORY arrow
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Climategate's not evil, it's just unhinged space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, December 11, 2009 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com What does Climategate prove - those e-mails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit at a British university that show a will to manipulate data to confirm the case for warming? I don't think it proves climate change is just a ''global warming scare'' (National Post). The Arctic ice is still melting, the polar bears are retreating inland, the Northwest Passage is opening wider. Nor does it simply establish that scientists are human (Paul Krugman), although I wouldn't dispute the point. I think it shows that politics makes people crazy.  FULL STORY arrow
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Or you can play the Jewish card space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, December 4, 2009 – Page A23
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Stephen Harper's China trip, like last month's India visit, is largely about fishing for ethnic votes back home. That's foreign policy for you.If you doubt it, consider a piece in The Times of India while he was there. Ashoke Chatterjee, a leader of India's crafts council (a huge economic sector), wittily recounted his efforts to get a visa for a Vancouver meeting: a year-long process of sending exhaustive ''bio data,'' copies of his visas for Britain, the U.S. and the European Union, non-refundable costs, references - and, finally, an ''illegibly signed'' letter from a Canadian official: ''I do not consider you to be a genuine temporary resident who would leave Canada. This application is closed and the decision is FINAL. ... It will NOT be reconsidered.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Long live the leakers space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 27, 2009 – Page A25
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com This week's Afghan detainee hearings in Ottawa have been a lesson in how useful some actual information can be. Here's what I mean:Wednesday afternoon, the Three Generals (it sounds better in Spanish) testified to a Commons committee about Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin's assertions that he warned them and others, in memos, about the torture of Afghan prisoners handed over by Canadian forces. Los generales were dismissive. They said that the claim they'd known about it was ''ludicrous'' and that any memos they got from him contained ''nothing about abuse, nothing about torture.'' What was a poor citizen-viewer to think? The government says it won't release the memos. Surely, generals wouldn't lie blatantly about the memos' contents. But would a diplomat, still in service, do so?  FULL STORY arrow
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Our own little Abu Ghraib? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 20, 2009 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com The nauseating component in current claims and reactions about Canada's role in turning Afghan detainees over for torture does not lie in the betrayal of some mythic Canadian role as an idealistic actor on the world stage - as opposition questions implied in the House of Commons yesterday. We have always played an ambiguous, often duplicitous, role in international conflict. It began with our original peacekeeping foray at Suez in Lester Pearson's days, and continued in Vietnam, Haiti and now Afghanistan. Foreign policy equals deceit.  FULL STORY arrow
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Think 11/11, then think rebranding space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 13, 2009 – Page A25
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comRemembrance Day this week looked a lot like an exercise in rebranding - by the Canadian military, for its purposes, and the Harper government for its own. The motives of each are different but they jibe.  FULL STORY arrow
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In the next election, it's flu v. crime space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 6, 2009 – Page A25
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com By rights, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff should own the H1N1 issue and the botch that the authorities have made of it, just as he should own the health-care issue overall. His party built and sustained our health-care system, which has re-emerged as the main concern of voters. A new poll this week finds a 90 per cent majority approve that ''universal'' system - crossing all regions and demographics. Most support is ''unqualified,'' and is highest - this surprised me - among the youngest group, the 18- to 29-year-olds. They haven't, on this, been swayed by the individualistic rightward shifts of recent decades, although none of them were around during the original war over medicare.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's new news is scaaary space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 30, 2009 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com I abandoned all hope for CBC's news makeover Tuesday morning when host Anne-Marie Mediwake was on the phone with the dad who'd just lost his 13-year-old son to H1N1. He was losing control and sobbing but she wouldn't leave him any dignity or privacy. ''I'm going to give you a chance to tell us how you want him remembered,'' she said, or something close. He dissolved further. Then a swift shift to cheery chat with a reporter about coffee.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you're feeling hot, get a shot space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 23, 2009 – Page A23
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com DRUMROLL, please. We have rolled out the H1N1 vaccine. It's in the warehouses - hold on, I'm being told it's now been approved by our tests, though our tests aren't complete and most of them aren't ours and we already knew most of what we now know before this. Never mind. You can get the vaccine, but not yet. And maybe not when you go for it since there's not enough for everyone so we're asking people who aren't at risk not to get it though if they go they can get it. Except in some places. Anyway, it's a Go! ...  FULL STORY arrow
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Everyone's own private Obama space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 16, 2009 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com I was sitting on the dock at Thanksgiving with a friend, an investment banker. He was perplexed. ''I get creepy e-mails on Obama,'' he said. ''A real barrage. Stressing his middle name. His provenance. Equating him to Hitler. My question is, When did it start? Or were people always this crazy?''  FULL STORY arrow
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The Scarlet Letterman's revenge space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 9, 2009 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com The Scarlet Letterman? David Letterman has struck the latest blow in his country's 400-year-old battle with sexual puritanism.Bill Clinton landed the previous punch, by not quitting as president over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. But he also conceded the larger point by publicly declaring, ''I have sinned.'' That larger point isn't about whether sex involves morality; it often does since it involves human interaction. The issue is whether that morality will be rigidly puritan, cloaked in feverish public judgments, denunciations and mortifications. In my view, the real pollution of U.S. public life was never the particular acts, nor the attempted cover-ups that followed, but all the phony, staged remorse. Feh.  FULL STORY arrow
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Laugh a little, Toronto space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 2, 2009 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Wednesday night, I attended a joyless meeting in a windowless room in North Toronto. It was about granting a liquor licence to an ebullient French chef named J. P. Challet and his two partners, who want to open a charmant 22-seat restaurant called Ici in a downtown neighbourhood (mine) that could use and clearly wants it. The sort of boite you find all over Paris, not just on the entertainment strips, but rarely here: modest, with excellent food and no tablecloths. To perform this public service they must fight City Hall, literally.  FULL STORY arrow
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Narcissieff in the mirror of politics space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 25, 2009 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Perhaps Michael Ignatieff's views weren't as sinister as they once seemed. When, for instance, he wrote in favour of what's been called torture lite, which means torture that doesn't leave marks; or supported the war on Iraq, which he halfheartedly recanted; or the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, which really only applies to the right of powerful nations to attack weak ones; or selective bombing of the Balkans in the 1990s. Maybe he just had a twerpy impulse to follow where those in power - the Clintons, Bushes or Blairs - led.  FULL STORY arrow
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When will we ever learn? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 18, 2009 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com ''Where have all the flowers gone?'' sang Mary Travers of Peter Paul and Mary, who died this week at 72. The song has been widely covered (Dolly Parton, Marlene Dietrich ...) Pete Seeger wrote it during the Vietnam War but it has applied before and since. It didn't call for an end to that war; every war ends. It asked instead why new wars always arise: When will they ever learn?  FULL STORY arrow
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In praise of 'another' election space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 11, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Suck it up, Canada: What are we - shoppers or citizens? A portion of each, I suppose. But it's fatal to confuse the roles, as seems to be happening with all the whinging and whining over ''another'' election that ''nobody'' wants.  FULL STORY arrow
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The problem with PR: Let's speak for ourselves space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, September 4, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com  FULL STORY arrow
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Down with so-called core values space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 28, 2009 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com  FULL STORY arrow
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Harper has his Reagan moments space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 21, 2009 – Page A11
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com There's been much recent criticism of the Harper government's foreign policy. This week in The Globe and Mail, Jeffrey Simpson rained on its shifting China stance and former official Gar Pardy blamed it for failing citizens in trouble abroad. Yesterday came news of another Canadian left to languish in Kenya. I don't mean to pile on but rather to explore the cause.  FULL STORY arrow
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Obamacare and limits in politics space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 14, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com It is awfully tempting - painfully so - to feel superior to the U.S. over its national debate, and I use the term irresponsibly, on health-care reform. Angry men bring handguns to meetings that drop from holsters to floor. Sarah Palin says the Obama plan would let a ''death panel'' decide if she could keep her child with Down syndrome - and the Republican senator who inserted the clause in question says her version is ''nuts''; an aged citizen warns, ''Keep your government hands off my [government-run] Medicare!'' This has become urban legend: It's been reported at many meetings.  FULL STORY arrow
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Being 'new' gets old really fast space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, August 7, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com The current issue of Literary Review of Canada has a piece by uber-critic Linda Hutcheon on book reviewing itself. That sounds like good prep for your summer reading. ''We certainly do need some guidance,'' she says, ''given the fact that we live in a world that offers us so many choices of goods and services that we can never know enough about - and therefore select from - in any intelligent manner.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Mind traps of Toronto's late strike space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 31, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com  FULL STORY arrow
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Mr. Cohen doesn't do Ramallah space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 24, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com Leonard Cohen's Ramallah concert in Palestine got cancelled last week. He had added it to a September concert in Israel. But a Palestinian group heading a broad campaign against Israel - BDS, for boycott, divestment and sanctions - demanded he not get away with ''whitewashing Israel's colonial apartheid regime'' by a ''token'' show of ''balance.'' A Palestinian prisoners' club had sponsored the concert. It was unhappy but agreed to the decision.  FULL STORY arrow
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There's a lot of 'splainin' to do space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 17, 2009 – Page A11
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com It's a shame that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the Obama nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, chose not to defend her statement ''I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life'' at her nomination hearings this week.  FULL STORY arrow
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Welcome home, Mr. Abdelrazik space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 10, 2009 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com As Abousfian Abdelrazik awoke one morning in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, he found himself transformed into a rodent in a maze ...  FULL STORY arrow
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Repression in Tehran's a sign of hope space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, July 3, 2009 – Page A13
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comIn the gathering global gloom - economic, political, climatic - try seizing as a sign of hope the gory brutal aftermath to Iran's election. Seriously.I take my cue on this from young Canadian academics of Middle Eastern background who see themselves as Muslims with a secular and liberal democratic bent. They include Nader Hashemi - quoted in Time this week calling it a ''turning point'' for ''popular mobilization and discontent'' - and the irrepressible Jehad Aliweiwi. You may recall him for his battle with the Ontario government. They wanted to revoke his vanity licence plate - JEHAD - after 9/11, on security grounds. He fought back, refusing to let Osama bin Laden define that venerable Muslim term. He won.  FULL STORY arrow
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Swallow self-respect? Er, no thanks space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 26, 2009 – Page A17
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-- There's an excuse-me quality to the Toronto civic employees' strike. ''We knew it was not going to be a popular strike,'' said union leader Ann Dembinski. She didn't request support, just ''for the public to be understanding.'' Further down the (picket) line, it's the same. ''We're not asking for anything. We just want to keep what we've got,'' said a district captain.  FULL STORY arrow
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Coalitions and other lost causes space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 19, 2009 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comHow did coalition become a dirty word in Canadian politics? Since last winter's failed attempt, Tory ministers have used it as their default term of derision in Question Period. Er, no deficit, um, sound fundamentals, ah, lost files, sexy something ... Aha - COALITION! This week, the Bloc Quebecois and New Democrats adopted the usage, mocking the Liberal-Conservative, yuck, coalition.  FULL STORY arrow
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Cito and the Great Recession space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 12, 2009 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comSports teams play a special role in people's lives during hard economic times, like the Depression of the 1930s. Fans fasten on their teams, which seem less dependent on harsh, uncontrollable forces and more in the hands of the players.  FULL STORY arrow
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Where's the halal, Obama? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, June 5, 2009 – Page A19
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comBarack Obama's speech in Cairo yesterday made me nostalgic. The feeling came on as he foresaw a time ''when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be.'' In my undergrad years, I studied at Brandeis University, near Boston, a secular school but built by American Jews as their contribution to U.S. higher education. Its architectural centrepiece was a set of three chapels around a pool where, as the school catalogue said, ''three faiths go their separate ways ... together.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Just answer the question, Iggy space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 29, 2009 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comPersonally, I find nothing that's basically more vile in ''attack'' ads or negative campaign ads than in any type of political ad. Voters have a right to know the down side of their candidates and leaders should expect to be attacked. The only issue is whether ads are informative or deceptive, and that holds equally for a smarmy pitch about how warm and sweatery the candidate is and how his or her policies will rescue the economy.  FULL STORY arrow
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BILL FEATHERSTON space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 29, 2009 – Page S8
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-- Rick Salutin writes about Bill Featherston, whose obituary appeared on May 15.He was my Grade 8 art and homeroom teacher. He stood out as a rebel in the mid-1950s in Forest Hill Village in Toronto. He refused to stand for God Save the Queen or say The Lord's Prayer.  FULL STORY arrow
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Has Brian stopped talking yet? space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 22, 2009 – Page A21
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comSchadenfreude gets a bad rap. The feeling of ''pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others,'' especially from the fall of the high and mighty, was mentioned often during the trial (and trials) of Conrad Black, but was oddly absent during those of Brian Mulroney. I don't think schadenfreude is just about nastiness or pettiness; it's about recognizing a shared, flawed humanity. It's built on a desire to know that the powerful are more like the rest of us than a race apart. That's what's satisfying in it, not mere spite.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ten touchy minutes on Gaza space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 15, 2009 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmailcomBritish playwright Caryl Churchill's 10-minute play on Gaza is in Toronto this weekend. It played in Montreal two weeks ago. The Quebec Jewish Congress called it ''anti-Semitic and full of hatred.'' B'nai Brith says it is ''clearly aimed at maligning Jews'' and asked Toronto's mayor to cancel the show. If someone says ''clearly'' about a thing, it's usually a sign that it's wide open to interpretation. It's the equivalent of ''frankly.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Sid, Alex and Michael: the Canada-Russia nexus space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 8, 2009 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmailcomThere's more to those Crosby-Ovechkin, Sid the Kid vs. Alex the Great duels in the Pittsburgh-Washington playoff series than hockey.The Russia-Canada nexus has a long backstory. We tend to focus on our imperial-colonial history, our relations with France, Britain and the U.S. But Russia has a formidable place too, because it's a northern country, like us. Though we're keenly aware of the U.S. border, Russia is our other neighbour and rival. It is our obverse. Flip us over at the top and there's Russia. It has always given Canadians palpitations. Those hockey cataclysms in 1956 and 1972 weren't the first times we were shaken by comparing ourselves with Russia.  FULL STORY arrow
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The real pandemic is economic, with no vaccine space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, May 1, 2009 – Page A17
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comI got a chuckle from Margaret Wente's saying yesterday that the pandemic story exploded in the mass (or mass hysteria) media because it was time to change the subject from the economy. Then I gasped: OMG - what if it shifted not from tedium but paralysis? Right now, there's far more reason to panic about the economy than over a new flu. This recession emerged from a recent strain that's mutating, contagious and has no known cure. What if EGD (economic globalization disease) is the real pandemic?  FULL STORY arrow
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Those torture memos space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 24, 2009 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.com***There is something precious and virginal about the torture debate in the United States. As if that nation never knew torture before the shock of 9/11, and had to play catch-up, stumbling understandably as it felt its way.  FULL STORY arrow
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The best of times, worst of times space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 17, 2009 – Page A15
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-- rsalutin@globeandmail.comAt newspapers, it is the best of times - journalistically. For instance: During the G20 economic summit in London, I noticed a piece on protests on The Guardian's website by senior correspondent Duncan Campbell. I knew he'd covered the police/crime beat, so I read his critique - with due respect for police viewpoints - of their ''kettling'' strategy, i.e. bottling up protesters, most of them peaceful. Then came word that a London news vendor, Ian Tomlinson, had died of a heart attack during a protest. Police said protesters hindered their efforts to help him. But news followed that he'd only been passing, and police assaulted him from behind, unprovoked. He fell and demonstrators came to his aid.  FULL STORY arrow
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Attention, education shoppers space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 10, 2009 – Page A13
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-- Capitalism's last stand? Ontario's Education Ministry put up a website for parents this week comparing schools based on standardized test results, socio-economic status etc. It included a shopping cart. The ministry removed the cart in response to some fury but maintained the site.  FULL STORY arrow
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The guys in the towers space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, April 3, 2009 – Page A13
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-- It would've been satisfying to be among the G20 protesters led by a guy crying: ''When I say bankers, you say -'' And we shout, ''Wankers!'' Better still, to be the guy. Even so, the pleasure would be limited.  FULL STORY arrow
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Her honour as theatre critic space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 27, 2009 – Page A21
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-- The judge in the case, Mary Lou Benotto, said the defendants' ''creative success'' was ''spectacular'' in plays produced by their company, Livent. It ''reflected favourably on all of us in Canada.'' But into each life some rain must fall. So she found them guilty of fraud and forgery. Er, with respect, your honour, beg to differ. If there were a law against debasing theatre culture, I'd convict 'em on that and let the rest go.  FULL STORY arrow
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The linguistic deficit of this recession space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 20, 2009 – Page A17
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-- Alongside the economic equality gap, which embodies the current crisis, there's an opinion acceptability gap, which bedevils it. Here's what I mean.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada's madwoman in the attic space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 13, 2009 – Page A17
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-- Don Cherry is our madwoman in the attic. The attic is hockey. The Victorian novelists put the madwoman in the attic because she was still theirs, a family member, scary but undeniable. I used to think of violence as our Canadian secret, and we kept Don on to honestly own up to it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Israel, apartheid, anti-Semites space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, March 6, 2009 – Page A19
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-- What is the sound of one side condemning? It's the media rendering of Israel Apartheid Week, now under way. B'nai Brith ran full-page newspaper ads asking universities to ''prevent'' it and the attendant ''anti-Semitism on campus.'' There were no ads from organizers, so we didn't hear them being anti-Semitic in their own words - or denying the charge.  FULL STORY arrow
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Only in Kazakhstan, alas: the maximum wage fight space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 27, 2009 – Page A15
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-- A friend on the left says it may be time to stop fighting for a higher minimum wage and start fighting for a maximum, like those mild compensation limits in the Obama bank bailout bills. But it's Kazakhstan's Prime Minister, Karim Masimov, who's shown the way on this. He says ''executives at state-run firms and banks'' should make no more than he does, in order to ''prevent social unrest.'' He makes a modest $4,700 a month - he wrote on his blog - but it's nearly 12 times the average. Mining and oil execs get way more. His proposal is ''likely to be implemented immediately,'' though only in Kazakhstan, alas.  FULL STORY arrow
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Obama edginess in Ottawa space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 20, 2009 – Page A15
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-- Stephen Harper, along with the security legions, got a discomfited look on his face when Barack Obama asked if they could step outside to wave to the crowd yesterday after arriving on Parliament Hill. Oh no, he seemed to fret. I don't want it to end this way: taking a bullet for the big-spending liberal. On the other hand, it's his normal expression.  FULL STORY arrow
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A valentine for Mr. Darwin space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 13, 2009 – Page A17
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-- Yesterday was Charles Darwin's 200th birthday (or would have been had we evolved for greater longevity). And tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Hence this token of affection.  FULL STORY arrow
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'Buy American' mayhem space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, February 6, 2009 – Page A15
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-- So was that just a dream we dreamed after all - that we had a free-trade deal with the U.S. giving us secure access to their markets and their public procurement? Because we learned this week that their Congress added a Buy American clause to its huge stimulus package excluding us, causing people both here and there to panic. Or maybe what we got was free trade with a different United States, not the one just south of here?  FULL STORY arrow
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The falling stock of workers space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 30, 2009 – Page A13
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-- Blinding moments of insight often come in asides, parentheses or (among academics) footnotes; what seems overbold gets slipped past fast. This happened in a recent Globe and Mail column by Murray Campbell on the decline of Ontario's economy: ''The long-term trend toward globalization'' (here it comes, pay attention) ''- seeking out lower-cost jurisdictions -''. And it's gone. But he said it. All the glam theory and rhetoric on globalization and free trade came down to one thing: businesses taking work from here and shipping it to where people will do it more cheaply.  FULL STORY arrow
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Economic denial and Santa Claus space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 23, 2009 – Page A15
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-- In economic denial: This past Christmas, I watched some kids, circa 10 years old, face the test of the collapsing Santa myth. Many parents feel anxious over this. They fear it will blight their kids' mental health, or already has, but are unsure what to say. My own sense is that kids, if encouraged to deal with the issue themselves, handle it well. It becomes a kind of lab on how to deal with doubts and myths to come, without falling into cynicism or rage. They can calmly move on or, perhaps, retain Santa as a sort of metaphor. So it helps confirm their ability to manage life's inevitable review processes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here's the real Obama question space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 16, 2009 – Page A15
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-- When Ken Dryden was named MVP after his first Stanley Cup in 1971, at age 23, even before his rookie season, he said he knew that, whatever he did for the rest of his life, he'd already done what he'd be remembered for. The question about Barack Obama is: Does that hold for him, too? It wouldn't be negligible.  FULL STORY arrow
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Olive oil, opposition and Gaza space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 9, 2009 – Page A13
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-- On Tuesday, I wrote my friend and sometime doctor, Miriam Garfinkle, to say I'd run low on the olive oil, from Palestine, that she sells. She is normally diligent, even fanatical, about it. It soothes her, she says, as she has grown ever more distressed by Israel's occupation there, and more involved in dissident Jewish actions. I didn't hear back from her.  FULL STORY arrow
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They hate us for our bombs space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, January 2, 2009 – Page A11
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-- A letter I received last year rebuked me for calling George Bush's explanation of 9/11 - They hate us for our freedoms - ''doltish.'' Its writer said leaders must speak concisely and simply. ''What would you say?'' he challenged. I've chewed on this and chosen: ''They hate us for our bombs.'' It came to me during the bombing of Gaza this week. I use ''hate'' to parallel the Bush usage. ''Consider us their enemies,'' would be better.  FULL STORY arrow
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Peace on Earth, good shoes toward men space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, December 19, 2008 – Page A19
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-- Journalist Muntader al-Zaidi, the shoe thrower of Baghdad, has given us all a Christmas present - like the gift of the Musli - in the form of a new way to react to rage and conflict, one that's symbolic and non-violent. It evokes respect, even from its target, rather than further rage and violence.  FULL STORY arrow
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Batman and Robin, Iggy and Bob space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, December 12, 2008 – Page A19
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-- Prince Iggy had an oddly unconfident way of trying to look confident Wednesday at his first press conference as Liberal Leader. (''Prince'' refers to his family background as Russian nobility.) He glanced anxiously sidewards at advisers and pushed overly jovially for questions in French. But I've often found this about him. He has the look and sound of a guy trying to figure out how he'd look and sound if he was the guy he's trying to be.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's just Harper's nature space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, December 5, 2008 – Page A21
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-- Yesterday morning, a nation stared in the face of political chaos for two hours and saw - a double glass door in Ottawa. No terrorists, no anthrax. But would we be saved from the dreaded coalition?  FULL STORY arrow
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It's the uneconomy, stupid! space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 28, 2008 – Page A23
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-- I felt compassion watching U.S. auto CEOs beg for bailouts last week.So they're incompetent, shortsighted and venal - nobody's perfect. And at least they produce items you can use to get to the mall or the cottage, if a more suitable foreign car is unavailable. You can't say that for the titans of banking and finance, proud devisers of credit instruments, collateralized debt obligations, swaps, etc., literally ad nauseam. (I mean ''literally'' literally.) They are the villains here. They gave us the uneconomy.  FULL STORY arrow
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Peter Kastner, Canadian artist space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 21, 2008 – Page A23
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-- I'm sitting here with Peter Kastner's last five-string banjo. I was also heir to his first. He died of heart failure in his car in Toronto this fall, at 64.  FULL STORY arrow
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The dearth of security space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 14, 2008 – Page A23
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Barack Obama and Elijah of Buxton space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, November 7, 2008 – Page A21
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-- Last week I read Elijah of Buxton, a novel for kids, or anyone, by African-American writer Paul Christopher Curtis. It's set in 1860, in the small Southern Ontario town of Buxton, a terminus of the underground railroad, built by escaped slaves. Elijah, 11, is its first freeborn person. He narrates. It conveys the atrocity of slavery simply by not assuming that a lifelong status as chattel results in diminished emotional capacity. Slaves grieve as any parents would, over the hell awaiting their kids. I thought of it, watching Barack Obama and his family walk to the front of the stage Tuesday.  FULL STORY arrow
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An election on socialism, without a socialist in sight space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 31, 2008 – Page A19
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-- How did this U.S. election come to be about socialism? I thought it was going to be about racism. Or war. But then the economic crisis erupted and ...Let's start with this. Socialism is not defined by state intervention in an economy. All states intervene in the economy, the United States more than most. It busts open foreign markets, fights for global resources (such as oil), controls labour militancy, develops new products (such as the Internet), which it then hands off to business. Above all, its military spending fuels its economy, and has for generations. Bank bailouts fit like a hand in a glove.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dion and the cult of the leader space
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By RICK SALUTIN
Friday, October 24, 2008 – Page A19
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-- I was on a treadmill as I watched Stephane Dion resign. (Block that metaphor!) Nothing so ill became his era as its ending. Let me count the ways: It was unpolitical. As former colleague Liza Frulla said: ''He has no instinct.'' He doesn't play the game, or seem to know one is on, or that it's in a category that includes: win, lose, ends, means, strategy, tactics. The Tories were better equipped, he said, meaning they had more money that they spent even before the election, misrepresenting him and his green plan. As if he'd stood by on the sidelines, not even trying to get in and play.  FULL STORY arrow
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