Cheers: to planning and clear messages. One of the advantages of politics turning into a three-ring circus is that sometimes reporters get a tip about where things are going before an event even starts. And as soon as reporters saw the scary, lit-from-beneath podium lighting that Dean MacDonald had for his announcement last week, they knew he wasn’t running for the Liberal leadership. No self-respecting campaign organizer would have let MacDonald take the stage with such a frightening visage. Meanwhile, at a Tory fundraiser last week ($500 a plate for some 600 people, or a $300,000 event), Premier Kathy Dunderdale entered the place with her own walk-in music, like a WWE wrestler. The music, somewhat inexplicably, was Willy Moon’s “Yeah Yeah” (watch the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaWXA5e0YTQ). That may not fully be how political theatre’s meant to be done, but it’s miles better than MacDonald’s disturbing Dark Lord Sith impression.
Cheers: to the lead of the week. In the University of Illinois newspaper Inside Illinois this week there’s this chestnut: “Cellphones and driving go together like knives and juggling.” It was on a story about research into cellphone bans and accident rates. Here’s a snippet from the study’s results: “In higher driver density areas, there was a clear, statistically significant, association between the enacting of a cellphone ban and relative reduction in personal injury accidents after seven years. By contrast, such bans in very rural areas were associated with a relative increase in accident rates over the same period.” There’s no clear reason for the decrease in extremely rural areas — maybe there just isn’t a signal there. “Can you hear me now?”
Jeers: to reporting the obvious. Researchers now say that Albert Einstein’s brain was different than other people’s, based on examination of 14 photographs of his brain. It was removed from his head in 1955, was sectioned and then photographed, but many of the samples and photographs were subsequently lost. Fact is, pretty much anyone could tell you that Einstein’s brain was different. Nice to know for sure, though.
Cheers: to neologisms. Last week, provincial MHA Dan Crummell called for federal cabinet minister Peter Penashue’s resignation on province-wide radio. Shortly after leaving the CBC, however, Crummell said there were things he hadn’t known about the Labrador MP’s situation, and rescinded the resignation call. (The whole thing sounded a lot like Crummell got back to his office just in time to receive a phone call from on high setting him straight.) Right call the first time — all Penashue is doing now is further lowering the public’s respect for politicians, and that’s hard to do. Meanwhile, Cheers and Jeers nominates Crummell’s behaviour for a new political word — in fact, a verb, “to crummell.” As in: “Dan asked for the resignation, but then he crummelled.”