Cheers & Jeers

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Cheers: to new beginnings. As Telegram sports editor Robin Short first reported Thursday, Corner Brook native Jason King is giving up his career as a hockey player after two seasons with the St. John’s IceCaps. King, who’s been plagued with head injuries over the past decade, will instead take a post as assistant coach with the team. King was drafted in the seventh round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks, following a three-year career with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads. He played in 59 NHL games with the Canucks and Anaheim Ducks. King garnered high words of praise last week for his time on the ice, including this tribute from IceCaps president Danny Williams: “Jason is a proud Newfoundlander and was a great player and leader for the IceCaps. But he’s also a great family man and has represented the organization with class in the community. We are very pleased to be able to keep Jason in the fold and we wish him the best.”

Jeers: to the curse of pedophilia. A former city councillor in Saint John, N.B., is facing sentencing after pleading guilty to nearly four dozen child pornography and sexual assault charges. Now, Donnie Snook is facing four charges stemming from incidents that happened in Newfoundland in the 1990s. After police arrested him in January, they seized his computers and found 14,457 photos and another 620 videos of child pornography. They included images of various child sex acts. Snook had plenty of access to children through his longtime involvement with youth groups — which only goes to demonstrate one thing: you can never be too vigilant in screening and monitoring volunteers, no matter how genuine they may seem.

Jeers: to another “coalition of the willing.” Within months of invading Iraq in 2003, then U.S. president George W. Bush stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier and declared the mission accomplished. Little did he realize the unending quagmire he had dragged his country into — along with Britain and a rag-tag coalition of smaller nations. President Barack Obama now faces a similar choice. There are so many parallels between Iraq and the current situation in Syria, right down to the use of chemical weapons as a motivator for intervention. There are no plans to put boots on the ground this time, but these things have a way of escalating.  On Thursday, the British Parliament voted by a slim margin to reject participating in air strikes, but France is ready and willing to join the fray. It’s hard to imagine how any such actions now will not augment the grief in the long run. Is there no other way?

Cheers: to September. Cool weather is creeping in. Students are heading back to school. Workers are back on the job. Political games begin again in earnest. In Newfoundland, we have municipal elections coming up in a couple of weeks. In November, the Liberals elect a new (or old) leader. It’s funny. Every August, many of us wail as summer slowly fades into fall. And every September, we rediscover that this is truly the most active, vibrant, life-affirming time of the year. Embrace it!

Organizations: British Parliament

Geographic location: France, Newfoundland

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