What the media are saying about last night’s Toronto mayor debate

Olivia Chow won it.  But don’t take my word for it.  Here’s what the commentariat had to say:

“The response to the planks [Tory] rattled off Tuesday night – it is in favour of surface rail, which is basically a subway but has the disadvantage of not being called such – was curiously merely lukewarm.” – Maclean’s

“Well, there’s four things I’ll mention…” – John Tory Zzzzzzz. – Jim Coyle, Star

“[Chow had] stand-out moment at mayoral debate [when] In her opening statement at the debate, Chow zeroed in on Ford, asking voters to “fire” him in the upcoming fall election for his “embarrassing” behaviour over the last few months.” – CTV News

“[John Tory], do not recite lists at an audience. In the name of Bill Clinton, touch a chord!” – Jim Coyle, Star

“On Tory pay increase: he did support pay increase for MPPs…” – Daniel Dale, Star

“The scandals were barely mentioned during Tuesday’s debate. [Only] Ms. Chow who broke the nearly hour-and-a-half silence on the drug and alcohol issue…” – Globe and Mail

“Nearly all polls showed Olivia Chow leading, and it appears clear that she enjoys significant downtown support.” – Maclean’s

“One thing seems to resonate for Chow’s campaign: her messaging on youth unemployment… it earned her the loudest cheers of the night. – Maclean’s

“Tory, presenting himself as a crusading Obama figure to rescue a broken political system? Only, apparently, in Toronto.” – Maclean’s

“Even when you’re clean and sober you can’t stick to the truth,” Chow to RoFo. That one’s gonna leave a bruise.” – Jim Coyle, Star

“Ford lies again.” – Daniel Dale, Toronto Star

“‘Fire him for failure.’ Olivia Chow’s fired up, that’s for sure, at Ford & Tory. ‘We deserve more from Mr. Ford…and Mr. Tory.'” – Adrian Lee, Maclean’s

“Tory: ‘Who has the experience in actually delivering results?’ … TONIGHT’S LOSER: Rhetorical questions.” – Daniel Dale, Star

“As usual in these debates, Rob Ford has said by far the largest number of incorrect or misleading things.” – Daniel Dale, Star


Caption contest! Sue Anne Levy, in a private moment

Sue Anne sure likes to bash us progressives in her columns in the newspaper! Wow! She’s relentless!

But here’s a little photograph I’ll bet Sue Anne didn’t know was being taken: here she is, begging for Olivia’s autograph, when she thought nobody was looking. Do as I say not as I do, etc.

Caption contest!



We get letters: another nice person writes in

From Danny Paolini, at

How in Gods forsaken name can you comment on something you have no idea what you’re talking about??? How would you like your wife and kids ( if you’re capable of having) be terrorized, killed, maimed and have your land stolen by a bunch of converts and sub humans? Sure your paycheque is payed by jews, but you come across as being a psychopath, just like your compatriot ezra levant, lorrie goldstein et al. Get a real job, blind bat.


Sent from my iPhone

We get letters: a friend of Israel writes

From astreeter@primus.ca

8:18 AM

Are you blind as well as dumb, Kinsella? 66 years of oppression….demolitions, butchery and incarcerations; continuing settlements on stolen land. Read some history, you fucking idiot!

Pete Kirby

In Tuesday’s Sun: Fogeled

It’s all happened before.

Israel has made airstrikes against terrorists before, and it has sent troops into Gaza before, as well.

The reason it has done so, now as before, is the same: Hamas has launched hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel, using Palestinian citizens as human shields. All of it has a sameness to it. The rocket attacks, the counter-attacks, the troops massing at Gaza’s borders.

What is different this time, perhaps, is what is happening – or, to be precise, not happening – elsewhere. That is, precious few seem to be clamouring to defend Israel.

Some Jews, some Israelis, will say that is nothing new. When Israel is under attack, when its citizens are being killed, few in the outside ever rush to Israel’s side. To be sure, there are some, like Canada’s Stephen Harper, who make strong declarations of support. But beyond high-sounding words, there is little.


It is amazing, when you think about it. Imagine being in your home – in Calgary or Winnipeg or Ottawa – and your kids are playing in the backyard, and you are mowing the front lawn, and missiles suddenly start to land on your street. Imagine that. Missiles like the ones that Hamas now favours – Syrian-made M-302 Khalbars, which have a range of at least 100 kilometres.

The Khalbars have warheads which can hold nearly 200 kilograms of high explosives, and are five metres long. They’re not exceptionally accurate, but they could wipe out your house, and several of your neighbour’s houses. They’d kill everyone on your street, pretty much.

So, when hundreds of such missiles are landing in neighborhoods in Israel, no fair-minded person would deny Israel the right to respond. No reasonable person would demand that Israel do nothing, right?

So where, then, are the other voices in the West, loudly defending Israel’s right to safe and secure borders? Why have they grown more silent than in the past?

In my view – in my experience – it is not because of Israel, per se, but because of Israel’s supposed defenders in places like Canada. It is the leaders of these groups who have catastrophically mismanaged Israel’s reputation in the West. It is these highly-paid lobbyists who have actually let Israel down in times of need.

Personally, I have in the past been a member of the board to the (now defunct) Canada Israel Committee, and legal advisor to the (also defunct) Canadian Jewish Congress. I was always very proud to support Israel, and to raise my voice to defend Israel’s right to a secure homeland.

Some years ago, however, I learned of plans to send two white supremacists on an expenses-paid junket to Israel. I wrote a personal letter to the head of the CIC to object. His response? To leak the letter to the media, and to permit the junket to go ahead.

I thereafter severed all links with pro-Israel groups, and I haven’t been back. Several other progressive pro-Israel advocates – some of them with decades of tireless commitment to Israel, most of then Jewish – experienced similar shunning.

Some will say good riddance, of course. They will say Israel’s best friends are conservatives, and Conservatives are the government in Canada. Who needs progressives?

I say: Israel does. It needs everyone, Right and Left. On those days when Khalbar rockets are raining down on schoolyards in Israel – and when little, if anything, is being said in progressive circles in the West – it now doesn’t seem like it was avery good strategy, does it? It didn’t have to be this way, at all.

All that is happening in Israel and Gaza has happened before. What is new, in comparative terms, is what is happening elsewhere. Which is, mostly:


Monte Melnick, the Ramones’ legendary tour manager, writes about Tommy

Received in comments this morning. Condolences about his (and our) loss:

Tommy was my dearest and oldest friend.

We grew up together in Forest Hills Queens New York.

I went to Stephen A Halsey Jr High and Forest Hills High school with him.

He got me to pick up the bass guitar and enter into the crazy world of rock music.

We played in several bands together (Triad & Butch) here in NYC over the late 60’s and early 70’s.

We built and managed Performance Studios in NYC, a recording/rehearsal studio the Ramones started in. I worked with him when he was in the Ramones and well after he left.

He had an advanced musical foresight, well ahead of the times in forming and being part of the Ramones. He was a great musician on the guitar, then the drums, later on the mandolin, banjo, fiddle and many more instruments. His musical expanse bridged from Punk to Indie Bluegrass.

I mourn the passing of the last of the original Ramones, my friend and a true musical visionary.

Monte A. Melnick