Here and Now. Mon., Mar. 7.
"When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your fucking bike lanes." —Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to Mayor Michael Bloomberg over a recent dinner.
As Maclean's headline puts it, "Canada doesn't have a constitutional monarchy. It has a "Harper government." (Reuters)
True, north, strong and Harper
Canuck no-show: Why no Canadians among the foreign ministers parading through Cairo, poised to win reconstruction projects, when Harper in opposition blasted Grits for risking Canadian irrelevance by not joining U.S.-led war on Iraq? (Paul Wells, Maclean's)
Jeffrey Simpson calls out Harper for Tory ads giving impression Iggy still holds views he long ago abandoned - akin to Harper's own many volte-faces. (Globe and Mail) Simpson: "Alas, as we've so often seen, a sense of decency can't be expected of the Conservatives' attack machine."
Looming social-economic crisis borne of demographics: In report released today, YWCA to warn that men need to pick up the slack in parenting as women become majority in workplace. (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star) "The prosperity of the nation is intimately tied to the labour force participation of an educated, skilled workforce that is becoming increasingly female..[A] major shift of men into child-rearing [is required]."
Brothers David and Charles Koch (above), who alone is worth $17 billion, have inadvertently triggered a pro-union movement aimed at protecting collective-bargaining rights under threat by Koch-funded governors in Wisconsin (above), Ohio and Indiana. (AP)
Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, breaks silence in WSJ op-ed to defend having "been outspoken in defense of economic freedom." It's the age-old quandary libertarians never acknowledge: One man's freedom - secured in the Koch brothers' case with millions of dollars spent on lobbyists - is another American's backyard polluted with carcinogens.
How Koch Industries makes billions corrupting government and polluting for free. (Lee Fang, ThinkProgress). Koch-founded front group got nine of the 12 members of the new House commerce committee to sign pledge opposing Obama's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. (Tom Hamberger, Kathleen Hennessey and Neela Banerjee, LAT.) Surprise, House GOP's $61-billion austerity package cuts EPA budget by one-third and revokes its authority, assigned by Obama, to regulate carbon emissions like any other pollutant. (Elizabeth Shogren, NPR)
Sarko in extremis
France shocked by poll showing Marine Le Pen (right), leader of far-right National Front, more popular than Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of next spring's presidential election. (John Lichfield, Independent) In another poll, for the Sarko-friendly Le Figaro, Sarkozy registers 22% approval - lowest in the 53-year-history of the Fifth Republic.
Germany's new interior minister ignites furore saying Islam "does not belong in Germany." (Tony Paterson, Independent) Germany has 4 million Muslims. Meanwhile, Sarko speech emphasizes "Christian heritage" of France. (France24)
In words sure to be parsed in Israel and D.C, Israel's former South African ambassador pointedly resigns the Israeli foreign service. (Economist) Ilan Baruch wrote his colleagues: "For 46 years the apartheid government strove by force of arms to achieve regional hegemony. ...There was denial of the moral price. ... Those who accuse Israel of South Africa-style apartheid are plain wrong. That is a vengeful and vicious calumny against Zionism. ... However, I do believe that the South African experience needs to be studied." Economist: "[Baruch] explained in his letter that he found himself no longer able to represent Israel because the government of Binyamin Netanyahu had no interest in a peace process based on land for peace and designed to end the conflict with the Palestinians."
Moral hazard: 6, Safer banking system, 0
McCain, on Sunday talking-heads show, asserts iPod, iPad, at least, are still made in America. Wrong, fellow panelist Leo Gerard, Canadian-born head of United Steelworkers, points out. They're made in Taiwan, by Foxconn, well known for working its employees so hard that several have attempted suicide. Do you not have to keep up with the news to be a U.S. senator? (Faiz Shakir, ThinkProgress)
Pax Applana: Forget Google, it's Apple that's turning into the evil empire. (John Naughton, Guardian) Well, that's a nice thing to say as line-ups form for the upgraded iPad going on sale Friday.
California coastal cities preparing for impact of global warming. (Tony Barboza, LAT)
China's pre-emptive crackdown on potential dissidents is no surprise. What's dismaying is that "the people doth not protest." (Economist)
Annie Lennox's third act: Lead singer in Eurythmics, solo singer-songwriter, now global feminism advocate. (Susie Mesure, Independent)
Profile: The weirdness of William Shatner. (John Semley, Walrus) Shatner strikes me as a lesson in how you can live long and prosper by not taking yourself too seriously. How long did Tiger Woods keep it together? Michael Jackson? Lindsay Lohan? Maybe it helps to hail from Canuckistan. Except, what's with Bieber's hair?