Politics of Hockey

June 23, 2007 · By

Heh.  This is a bit of a stretch.

But hey – I am sure some people who come here have an interest in Hockey.

So, this whole Balsillie thing – with the co-CEO of Research in Motion (the producers of the Blackberry) are trying to buy the Nashville Predators and move them to Hamilton.

Now, granted, Copps Coliseum is old.  It needs at the least, refurbishment, at the most, to be replaced.  Balsillie could always make that problem go away by throwing money at it.

The real objection is, and has always been, the Toronto Maple Leafs (though to be fair, Buffalo is almost equidistant).  They don’t want another team horning in on “their” market.

But I don’t get that, at all.  I mean, the Golden Horseshoe (including Buffalo) is home to 7 million people.  7 Million people!  6.7 million of them are Canadian, which means at least half rabid hockey fans.   By comparison, there are 3 teams in the New York-New Jersey triangle, home to a population of 18 million.  2.5 times larger, yes.  But what percentage hockey fans, as compared to the golden horseshoe?

The thing that Bettman and company need to be asking themselves is, “where are our fans?”  They need to put teams where their fans are – places like Hamilton or Winnipeg, or yes, even Quebec City again.  In Canada, people get HNIC even if they don’t have cable (and who really doesn’t have cable anymore?).  They get tons of hockey exposure, top of the sports news in every paper, every radio station, every TV news broadcast.  They DON’T get that ANYWHERE in the USA.  They can build popularity in Canada – right now, they can’t in the USA.

At the height of popularity of hockey in the USA, (probably coinciding with the Rangers winning the Cup in ’94), there was momentum.  There was the jealousy factor – there were good clubs in major northern USA cities – New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Detroit, Boston.  Other cities in the USA wanted into that club, because it was fun.  Now, it ain’t fun.  The big cities’s teams all suck (with the possible exceptions of NY/NJ where one team has sucked for years until this year and the other has played the most boring style of hockey humanly possible for 10 years or more) .  Those markets need re-strengthening, and people in the USA need to see people LOVING hockey before that jealousy will return.  They won’t see it when the odd game that makes it to television features a 3/4 empty coliseum in Tampa or Nashville or Atlanta. They will see it when they see a Canadian dome, packed to the rafters every night, screaming their fool heads off.

But back to Toronto.  Does Maple Leaf Sports And Entertainment not see that competition incites rivalry, excitement, and drives ticket sales?  If they are the only game in town, who cares… but if there is a team down the road that are “evil” – that are the hated “other”… how much more money would you make?  How popular would Edmonton or Calgary be in Alberta if they weren’t BOTH there to fight with?

Just my thoughts.

Does my but look big?

June 22, 2007 · By

Do you believe in moral absolutes? Are you a fan of the categorical imperative? Ya know:


I realize that our commenters seem to have different moral absolutes from our posters, so I’m not asking you to support traditional marriage, capital punishment, the Dewey Decimal System, or driver’s side airbags. I’m simply asking if you are a complete moral relativist in all aspects of your personal, social and civic life and, if so, whether you think this is odd. So, to give an example:

Suppose you believe in gay marriage, Kyoto, the Green Party and Fair Trade coffee from Starbucks. I assume that although you get a mite twitchy at the Ten Commandments you would draw the line at people who discriminate against others based upon race, creed or color:

Thou shalt not discriminate against people because of….

Feel free to load up the comments and view it as a bit of a straw poll. The question is:

“Do you believe in the existence of moral absolutes? Moral absolutes that are always everywhere true without exception, no ifs, ands, or buts.”

Have fun.


M. Facino

(rhymes with Cappucino)

Kieran King, Pt. 2

June 22, 2007 · By

Don’t you hate when Colby Cosh comments on a subject about which you’ve already said something? He always makes it look so easy:

What fascinates me about the case of Kieran King, the Saskatchewan high school student who was threatened, punished and slandered by various officials over the past three weeks for talking with some pals about the health effects of marijuana, is that it explodes almost every single utopian cliche about public schools that has been ever propounded by their employees and admirers. It’s almost glorious, in a way. Ever heard an educator say “We’re not here to teach students what to think — we’re here to teach them how to think”? BLAMMO! “We encourage children to make learning a lifelong process.” KAPOW! Poor Kieran didn’t even make it to age 16 before someone called the cops.

Kieran King Update

June 21, 2007 · By

According to today’s Globe and Mail, legal action may now be taken on behalf of Kieran King, the fifteen year old student who was suspended by his principal Susan Wilson — an ill-informed, bullying autocrat — for asking questions and offering information about the effects of marijuana relative to tobacco and alcohol:

A video recording of a free-speech protest at a Saskatchewan high school shows a school superintendent saying publicly that 15-year-old Kieran King had been accused of selling drugs at his school, even though his mother says he had never been investigated or charged, or even spoken to by the school principal.

Kieran’s mother, Jo Anne Euler, says the drug-selling accusation is false, but hasn’t yet decided whether to pursue legal action. Her first priority is to appeal the school’s decision to prevent Kieran from writing his final exams, which means his grades will fall from the high 80s to the mid-50s.

I hope she does sue, because I would like Susan Wilson — a narrow-minded, cold-hearted power-junkie — to think twice before slapping down the next inquisitive student that crosses her path. I’m just not really sure how good her chances would be.

In the U.S., under the Tinker standard, I think Kieran would have a strong case. Anyone know what the state of educational free speech case law is in Canada?

CTV.ca – Bias Much?

June 21, 2007 · By

What the heck is this? (hat tip to Kerplonka)

Harper, helped in no small part by the overwhelming support of Conservative-leaning respondents, was the preferred choice in four of five activities.

So, what are you suggesting – that somehow Conservative supporters got wind of this poll and somehow finagled their way into the survey to make Harper look good?

The survey of more than 1,000 respondents was conducted May 31 to June 4 and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

Sounds to me like your average, ordinary phone survey. There is only one defence I can think of for this statement – that it is literally true, and by implication, suggests that Conservative supporters ALWAYS chose Harper because they like him, whilst Liberal supporters were more fair and balanced and considered each on merits.

Alternatively, they could have just meant that”Conservative-leaning respondents” are by definition, not ordinary Canadians, like the rest of the survey respondents were.

Stop Complimenting Your Kids

June 21, 2007 · By

If you’re a parent, read this. Right now.

Michael Moore: Sicko Reviewed

June 21, 2007 · By

Kyle Smith:

The silliness of Moore’s oeuvre is so self-evident that being able to spot it is not liberal or conservative, either; it’s a basic intelligence test, like the ability to match square peg with square hole.

Smith gets at the fundamental dishonesty of Moore’s approach. Moore knows he’s a polarizing figure. By tackling the American health insurance nightmare, he is doing nothing more than ensuring that the 50% of Americans who hate  his guts will harden their resolve against public health care.

MICHAEL Moore’s latest documentary, “Sicko,” is an urgent bipartisan plea. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, Yankees and Red Sox can surely all agree, says Moore, that our health-care system ought to be run by Fidel Castro.

Hillary Can Keep Her…

June 20, 2007 · By

A quick note tonight that Hillary Clinton has selected a song from Celine Dion to use as her campaign’s theme. The cosmic harmony in this decision is unbound…

The Prius: The Destroyer of the Environment?

June 20, 2007 · By

A neato study was done comparing the total environmental impact of a Toyota Prius hybrid over its expected lifespan (100 000 miles) as compared to its arch-nemesis, the Hummer over its expected lifespan (300 000 miles).   Guess which one came out on top?

Hat tip via.

Personal Freedom Trumps Well-Being Now… Get Used To It.

June 19, 2007 · By

My friend, Mark faithfully points out that what was only a scant two years ago clearly unthinkable, is now steadily nearing reality in Canadian law. (Hat tip to Canadian Blue Lemons.) Polygamy is on its way, the door flung open by the gay marriage debates, no matter how hard gay marriage supporters argue otherwise.

At some point, back in antiquity, these laws were passed for a reason. That reason was the belief that it is wrong and discriminatory to allow a man to have more than one wife, and a woman to have more than one husband. It was commonly known that it affected women and children negatively to be in that situation. This was once a point faithfully argued and fought for by the feminists of the day – feminists who are deafeningly silent on the issue today.

This is still known. What has changed is the belief that personal freedom trumps all other considerations. Now, even though we know something to be hurtful and to have victims, we are supposed to just let them do what they want. We do this despite the pain they cause themselves. We do this because they are already so hurt that they believe that their pain is right. It matters not if they are scarred emotionally, psychologically, physically, or if they were born with a disorder of mind or hormone that causes them to desire that which hurts.

We are told that it is “their choice” to hurt themselves, or put themselves in positions to be hurt or taken advantage of. “Who are we to judge?” is the clarion call of our nonintrusive, nonjudgemental society. It can’t help but remind me of what seems to me to be the origin of this whole mess – those crazy teenagers in love, back in the 50s, whose square parents “just didn’t understand” that the teens were truly in love, and that was all that mattered. It mattered not that the parents could see that both of them would struggle financially being unprepared to support each other. It did not matter that they hadn’t finished high school and were not prepared to get good jobs. It did not matter that while their bodies may have matured, their minds would take another few years to mature into responsible, thoughtful, wise contributors to society. It did not matter that their choice to marry (or in the 60s and 70s, simply have sex) may result in children who would pay an emotional price for the instability of their home or the transience of their “parents”. It did not matter that their parents had every reason to believe that they would fail and hurt each other, or their offspring, or both. No, it was the teens’ own feelings that trumped all concerns.

This disconnect from the lessons of the past it seems to me began then. It continued with endorsement of abortion (which we know has significant physical and psychological effects on women, to say nothing of the dead children). It continued with homosexual behaviour (which we know to have physical effects on men and women, as well as arguably psychological effects, to say nothing of the dangerous and unhealthy “trends” in the homosexual community), and now in most recent days it plays out in debates over group marriage, and even pedophilia (denying that what they do harms children), bestiality (denying what they do harms animals or themselves), euthanasia, and suicide.

We are now in a place where we are being told to not care for our fellow human beings. To care would be to judge. To care would be to view another’s choices in terms of their well-being. To care would be to intervene to preserve another’s innocence, another’s health, another’s emotional wholeness, another’s life.
But we are told that this care is in fact unloving. That to cheer them on in their own descent into personal sickness and death is the right thing to do – to support their “choice”. To celebrate their “diversity”. To accept and live peaceably with cultures that practice what would be in any other way abhorrent… but because they are “cultural” or “religious” in nature, they are then considered values-neutral and example of our utopia of tolerance and multiculturalism.

Oh… the world is a backwards place now. Love is hate. Concern is bigotry. Help is fascism.

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