Hillary Clinton crushes an ‚??awkward‚?? Donald Trump at Al Smith charity dinner
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:44:59 EDT
Hillary Clinton‚??s aesthetic at Thursday night‚??s Al Smith charity dinner was ‚??sass and class,‚?Ě said a Twitter user; meanwhile, the social media consensus regarding Donald Trump‚??s performance was that the presidential hopeful was ‚??unfunny‚?Ě and awkward.
The dinner is an annual Catholic white-tie fundraiser event held at New York‚??s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and has been a traditional presidential campaign stop for over 50 years. Candidates are expected to give a humorous, self-deprecating speech.
Clinton seemed the clear ‚??winner‚?Ě of the event ‚?? several tweets about the dinner endearingly referred to her jokes as ‚??savage,‚?Ě while others expressed confusion or disgust at Trump‚??s lackluster barbs.
RELATED:Clinton, Trump meet to trade jokes at Al Smith Dinner
Clinton took swings at several of Trump‚??s now-notorious public gaffes, sparking special attention with her Statue of Liberty themed dig at Trump‚??s attitude towards women.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had one of the best, cold reactions of the night, after Clinton jabbed him for supporting Trump.
After being booed for suggesting that Clinton ‚??hates Catholics,‚?Ě he fumbled the rest of his speech. Viewers were divided on his degree of malice, however, they agreed that his turn at the podium was less than entertaining.
One man‚??s shocked reaction went viral in gif-form, after Trump joked that Clinton was so corrupt that she was ‚??kicked off the Watergate Commision.‚?Ě
The atmosphere between the two candidates was cold, as usual, though they did close out the dinner with a handshake, which was poignant, given they‚??d forgone the nicety at the last two presidential debates.
Twitter was less riotously active than the typical Clinton-Trump showdown, but perhaps that‚??s because the dinner wasn‚??t as well-publicized, highly anticipated, or as politically relevant as the debates. Or perhaps everyone just needed a little break from these two.
Canada walks out on European trade talks after impasse reached
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:19:00 EDT
OTTAWA—Canada’s ambitious trade deal with the European Union is in doubt after International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday walked out of discussions aimed at resolving a dispute that was blocking ratification of the pact.
Freeland had been in talks with the regional government of Wallonia in Belgium, which had raised deal-breaking objections.
But those talks failed Friday and a frustrated Freeland suggested the entire deal was dead for now.
“Canada has worked, and I personally have worked very hard, but it is now evident to me, evident to Canada, that the European Union is incapable of reaching an agreement, even with a country with European values such as Canada, even with a country as nice and as patient as Canada,” Freeland said in a statement.
“Canada is disappointed and I personally am disappointed, but I think it’s impossible.
“We are returning home.”
The trade deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is sweeping, meant to provide broad access for Canadian goods and services to a European market of 500 million people.
But the deal requires the unanimous blessing of the European Union’s 28 member states and the regional government of Wallonia, a Francophone region in Belgium of 3.5 million people, has veto power.
Canadian officials have been trying for weeks to resolve the complaints raised by the regional government.
Pierre Pettigrew, a trade and foreign affairs minister in a previous Liberal government who now serves as a special envoy, was sent to resolve the impasse.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasn’t commenting Friday on the latest developments. But several weeks ago, he, too, expressed frustration at the opposition that could sink the trade pact, which was seven years in the making.
Trudeau said that, if Europe was unable to sign what he called a “progressive” trade agreement with a country such as Canada, “it will be a very clear message not just to Europeans, but (to) the whole world that Europe is about to choose a way perhaps not very productive either for (its) citizens or for the world.”
Ontario signs deal for electricity from Quebec in bid to defuse anger over hydro bills
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:00:00 EDT
In a bid to defuse anger over skyrocketing bills, Ontario will announce a new deal Friday to buy more hydroelectric power from Quebec.
The seven-year pact — saving the province $70 million — will have only a “small” impact on household electricity prices but will trim 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, a senior Ontario official said Thursday.
That’s because Ontario won’t need to rely as much on natural gas-fired power plants while the Darlington nuclear power station is refurbished.
The agreement comes as Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government holds a joint cabinet meeting with her Quebec counterpart, Philippe Couillard, following months of behind-the-scenes negotiations.
“These are great ways of making use of our two electricity systems,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the talks in which Quebec also agreed to “store” hydroelectric power until Ontario needs it.
To do that, Hydro Quebec will pump enough water behind its dams to produce 500 gigawatt hours of hydroelectricity on demand — enough to power North Bay for a year.
“We can call it back when we need it most,” said the official, who declined to reveal what prices Ontario will pay for the power.
“That allows us to achieve savings and get better use of our renewable fleet,” he added, noting this province has 40 per cent of the wind turbines operating in Canada.
In effect until 2023, the agreement allows Ontario to import up to two terawatt hours of clean hydroelectric power a year — enough to serve a city the size of Kitchener.
Those imports will not require new transmission lines, officials said.
Wynne’s government, which is trailing the Progressive Conservatives in recent polls with a provincial election looming in June 2018, has been under daily attack from critics over hydro prices and has been taking steps to give consumers a break.
On Wednesday, the legislature unanimously passed legislation waiving the 8 per cent provincial tax on electricity starting in January. As well, about 330,000 households in remote parts of rural Ontario will get up to 20 per cent off their bills.
Under an expanded conservation measure, another 1,000 companies will be given cheaper electricity rates in exchange for reducing their use during periods of peak demand.
The government has also cancelled plans for another $3.8 billion in renewable energy like wind and solar.
“We have an adequate supply of power,” Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said Thursday.
Ontario and Quebec have also agreed to join forces on improvements for electric vehicles in hopes more motorists will buy them, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a cap-and-trade program comes into effect.
Ontario has pledged to cut emissions to 37 per cent below 1990 levels within the next 14 years.
There will be an expansion of charging stations and better signs making drivers aware of them as they travel major routes between the two provinces, another senior Ontario government official said.
“We want to create a more seamless experience for people.”
There will be no new incentives for the purchasing of electric vehicles, however.
Ontario announced an increase in subsidies earlier this year, with a maximum of $14,000 per vehicle if it has an extra-large battery, but most electric cars qualify for an incentive of between $6,000 and $10,000. Vehicles over $75,000 qualify for only a $3,000 subsidy.
Transportation emissions account for about 35 per cent of all greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
Shock decision to quash recall sparks fears Venezuela is sliding into dictatorship
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:15:26 EDT
CARACAS—The Venezuelan opposition’s campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro has been thrown into disarray with elections officials’ decision to suspend a recall drive against the socialist leader a week before it was to start.
In a related move, a court appeared to issue a ruling Friday blocking key opposition leaders from leaving the country.
With the latest actions, the government has effectively halted the effort to stage a recall effort that polls suggest Maduro would have lost by a wide margin. The ruling comes just days before critics of the socialist administration were to start gathering the one-fifth of voters’ signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot.
“This is a big deal and reveals that the government was fearful of what could happen in the three-day signature collection period. They have effectively postponed the recall referendum indefinitely. This measure makes it difficult to think of Venezuela as a democracy,” said David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at the Washington Office on Latin America.
Officials cited alleged fraud in a preliminary effort to get 1 per cent of voters’ signatures as justification for blocking the opposition from proceeding to the next stage of the referendum on Maduro’s removal. His critics blame the late President Hugo Chavez’s heir for Venezuela’s economic collapse, bare store shelves and the jailing of opposition leaders.
The opposition immediately blasted the decision as unconstitutional.
“The government is pushing toward a very dangerous scenario,” former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said on Twitter.
Capriles and opposition spokesman Jesus Torrealba on Friday posted a document online that appeared to be from a local court, and barred eight leaders from leaving the embattled South American country without giving a reason.
The suspension of the recall came as a shock to many Venezuelans, who were gearing up for the chance to sign petitions next week seeking the embattled leader’s removal. To trigger a stay-or-go referendum, the opposition needed to collect and validate some four million signatures from 20 per cent of the electorate in 24 states over three days next week.
Critics of Venezuela’s 17-year left-wing administration have made the recall their central political issue after being sidelined in Congress and in virtually all other public institutions this year. But the campaign had already become mostly symbolic after elections officials in September said no vote would take place this year.
That timing is crucial. A successful vote to oust Maduro this year would have triggered a presidential election and given the opposition a good shot at winning power. If Maduro is voted out in 2017, though, his vice-president will finish the presidential term, leaving the socialists in charge.
The electoral council’s decision Thursday was in response to rulings earlier in the day by courts in four Venezuelan states that found there was fraud in the initial stage of the petition drive. During that stage the opposition had collected signatures from 1 per cent of electorate.
But in standing by those low-court rulings it appeared to be ignoring its own decision in August validating the signatures and allowing the process to move forward. It gave no indication if and when the process would be resumed.
“In adherence with the constitution, the National Electoral Council abides by the decisions ordered by the tribunals and has sent instructions to postpone the process of signature gathering until new judicial instructions are known,” it said in a statement.
Although the government-stacked electoral board had already thrown a number of obstacles in the way of Maduro’s opponents, many had hoped that the next stage of the complex process would have drawn onto the streets millions of Venezuelans who polls show overwhelmingly favour firing Maduro, who they blame for triple-digit inflation and long food lines.
The ruling comes on the heels of another decision by the electoral council this week to suspend by about six months gubernatorial elections that were slated for year-end which the opposition was heavily favoured to win.
Polls say a majority of Venezuelans want Maduro gone. The opposition charges that in the face of overwhelming voter discontent, the socialist party has simply decided to put off elections indefinitely.
The opposition staged its largest street demonstration in years on Sept. 1, with a rally in Caracas demanding a referendum against Maduro be held in 2016. But apart from that protest, most anti-government rallies this year have been relatively small and quick to disperse.
Hard line leaders immediately started calling for more massive street protests in the face of election authority’s ruling.
“This is the time for national unity,” wrote former congresswoman Maria Corina Machado on her Twitter account. “Every single person must take to the streets, with strength and without fear, to make the transition a reality.”
10 pedestrians struck Thursday morning in Toronto. By evening, 8 more were hit
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:11:40 EDT
Hours after 10 pedestrians were struck on Toronto’s streets on Thursday morning, the pedestrian accident rate had soared as eight more were struck by the evening.
Const. Clint Stibbe, spokesperson for Traffic Services of the Toronto Police Service, was unable to say whether 18 is the number for the most pedestrians struck in a day, but it was well above expectations.
“Almost three times higher,” said Stibbe.
One of the pedestrians was a 63-year-old woman, who died in hospital after she was struck in Leaside.
Another, a 15-year-old boy, remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Stibbe does not have a definitive statistic about how many of the pedestrians were seriously hurt, but confirms that “all of them were injured.”
Collisions involving pedestrians spike between mid-September and mid-December, Stibbe said. The incidence dies down when the holidays start and people go on vacation.
“November will be the worst month,” says Stibbe.
Kim McKinnon, a spokesperson for the city’s paramedics, said they tend to see an increase in pedestrians being struck in the fall, when days start to get shorter.
“Obviously, there is something about (the day), the weather and the status of the roads and people rushing that is causing these accidents,” she said.
In September, Toronto police said that 542 pedestrians and 541 cyclists had been hit by cars since June 1. The total of 1,083 collisions means about 9.5 crashes occur every day, or one every 2.5 hours. This has increased since last year, when 999 pedestrians and cyclists were hit during the same period.
Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 34 per cent since 2005, according to the City of Toronto. One pedestrian is killed or seriously injured in Toronto every two days. Pedestrian fatalities account for about 50 per cent of total yearly traffic fatalities in the city, and 35 pedestrians have been killed in 2016 so far, Toronto Police said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Road deaths in Toronto are increasing in general, peaking at 65 in 2015, which is an 11-year high. Stibbe says that if two more people are killed in traffic accidents this year, the number will be the most traffic-related fatalities since 2004.
In an effort to bring the incidents down, City Hall is starting up a Road Safety Plan, which will begin in January and will run until 2021.
The plan will involve creating pedestrian safety corridors in places where serious collisions frequently occur. It also proposes lowering speed limits in 54 locations, many of them on downtown arteries such as Yonge St., Bay St., Bathurst St., Queen St., Dundas St. and Bloor St.
In 28 locations, the speeds will be reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, and in 24 others the limit will go from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. In two locations outside of the downtown core, limits will fall from 70 km/h to 60 km/h in an effort to increase the likelihood of pedestrians surviving a collision, the rate of survival decreasing as speed limits increase.
The Road Safety Plan aims to lower pedestrian deaths by 20 per cent over 10 years, but many are arguing that this goal is not good enough.
According to Dylan Reid, the co-founder of Walk Toronto, a 20-per-cent decrease in pedestrian deaths from 2015 would leave the number at 31, which is still higher than the 18 pedestrian deaths in 2011.
Other countries have had success with road safety crackdowns; Sweden created a road safety plan in 1997 and reduced traffic fatalities by 66 per cent between 1990 and 2011. The plan, called Vision Zero, has become national law there.
With files from Megan Dolski, Ben Spurr
Almost half of Ontarians do not believe Wynne will lead Liberals into 2018 vote: poll
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:00:00 EDT
About half of Ontarians do not believe Premier Kathleen Wynne will stick around to lead the Liberals into the 2018 election, a new poll suggests.
The Forum Research survey, which found Wynne’s Grits continuing to lag well behind Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives, revealed 49 per cent think “someone else will lead the Liberals” by the next campaign.
About a quarter — 27 per cent — feel the 63-year-old premier will remain at the helm with a similar number, 25 per cent, unsure.
“I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking or just realistic thinking,” Forum president Lorne Bozinoff said Thursday.
“They’ve really turned on her, that’s for sure.”
Using interactive voice-response telephone calls, Forum surveyed 1,124 Ontarians on Monday and Tuesday with results considered accurate, plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The survey, which asked about a “fall 2018” campaign, was conducted before the government’s announcement Wednesdaythat the next election would in fact be held June 7, 2018.
But Bozinoff said that change in timing is unlikely to affect the results.
Wynne, who has been premier since February 2013, has always maintained she has no plans to step down before the election.
In its monthly tracking poll, Forum found the Progressive Conservatives still boast a massive lead over the governing Liberals — 43 per cent to 24 per cent, with Andrea Horwath’s NDP at 23 per cent and Mike Schreiner’s Green Party at 8 per cent.
The premier’s personal popularity rating was far lower than her rivals; Wynne was at 14 per cent approval, 77 per cent disapproval, with 9 per cent having no opinion.
Brown was at 27 per cent approval, 24 per cent disapproval, and 49 per cent didn’t know.
Horwath remains the best-liked of the major party leaders with 36 per cent approval, 24 per cent disapproval, and 39 per cent unsure.
“The problem here is that none of the three parties has an especially popular leader,” noted Bozinoff.
“Kathleen Wynne has her own troubles, but neither Patrick Brown nor Andrea Horwath can get their approvals higher than about a third,” said Bozinoff, pointing out none of the three is as popular as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Asked which leader would make the best premier, just 11 per cent of those polled said Wynne.
That’s behind Horwath’s 19 per cent, Brown’s 29 per cent, the 25 per cent who replied “none of these,” and the 16 per cent who weren’t sure.
Wynne will face a different kind of poll Nov. 17 with key byelections in the Liberal stronghold of Ottawa-Vanier and the Conservative seat of Niagara West-Glanbrook.
If the Grits fail to hold the Ottawa seat, the premier could face internal pressure to consider her political future.
Where appropriate, results of the survey have been statistically weighted by age, region and other variables to ensure the sample reflects the actual population according to the latest census data.
Forum houses its complete results in the data library of the University of Toronto’s political science department.
Terminally ill Manitoba man will tattoo his body with your secrets
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 06:00:00 EDT
Andrew Henderson is taking 100 secrets to the grave.
The 28-year-old stage manager and performer who is terminally ill is holding a living funeral/performance art piece called Taking It To The Grave in Winnipeg, not far from where he grew up.
Over the course of two, two-hour performances, he’ll invite 100 strangers to whisper their secrets to him, help him choose a symbol to represent each secret and then watch as it is tattooed on Henderson’s body.
The former Torontonian was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma two years ago, after doctors found a football-sized tumour in his chest. It became incurable one year ago.
Having come to terms with his terminal diagnosis, Henderson, an ebullient performance art lover with a flare for the dramatic, hopes to give these strangers the same release he now feels by letting them confide in him.
“Death has been the greatest gift of my life because it allowed me to fully embrace my true and honest self,” said Henderson, a gay man who, after the diagnosis, was drawn into deep introspection and now identifies as genderqueer, meaning he feels both male and female.
“Everything comes into perspective pretty quickly (when you’re dying). All you can be is your best self.”
When Henderson was given his terminal diagnosis in August 2015, his immediate reaction was shock and sadness, but within 15 minutes, he was cracking jokes.
“I was like ‘What’s the age all the rock stars die at?’” he recalled referring to Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and other celebrities who died at age 27. He was 26 at the time. “It was like aiming to get into the 27 Club. I was already making light of it.”
At the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon performances, up to 50 family, friends and strangers will enter the softly lit Aceart inc. gallery to find Henderson perched in his seat of honour — a giant champagne bottle that he and his team crafted from white tulle and chicken wire — in the centre of the room, surrounded by trinkets and pictures in gold frames.
Champagne is his favourite drink, he says, and the universal symbol for celebration.
There will be a manicure bar, cushions and cuddle spaces to “rest in peace,” — a nod to his dark sense of humour — and plenty of glitter and shimmery gauze. Hundreds of finger-sized gold foil rectangles will carpet the floor and Eroca Nicols, a choreographer and a collaborator on his project, will sweep the squares throughout the performance. She’ll also dance.
One by one, guests meandering around the room can approach Henderson to whisper their secrets, then watch as Toronto tattoo artist Carly Boyce inks the secret symbols on his skin. At the finale, family and friends will cleanse Henderson with small cupfuls of champagne as he sits in a kiddie pool. Audience members can cleanse him too, with water.
Nicols, Henderson’s friend of five years, finds some relief in knowing she’s helping her friend ease into his death through the performance art, which she calls a death ritual. She recently spent years travelling the world studying death, talking to witch practitioners and others who work with the occult.
“I’m here performing a sacred task,” said Nicols, whose research influenced her own performance, called Truthteller, running Saturday. “I feel in a lot of ways very honoured to be able to do this.”
The two have been researching death rituals, meeting Winnipeg psychics, witch practitioners and alternative medicine practitioners. Their research was supported by a grant from the Young Lungs Dance Exchange, an organization for interdisciplinary artists, but the performance is an independent project.
Henderson hired Sandy Klowak as production manager for Taking It To The Grave. She calls Henderson’s work “groundbreaking.”
“I’ve never personally seen someone engage with their own mortality in this way,” said Klowak. “Death is something that, even though we all obviously are headed towards it, it’s not something we want to engage with as part of our Western culture.”
On Henderson’s part, he’s excited to get the tattoos inked “anywhere there’s real estate” on his body. He already has 16, including “drop dead gorgeous” inked on his fingers, the Birth of Venus on his chest and an image of the Titanic across his back, which he says represents his life post-diagnosis: hitting an obstruction, facing certain death and going down with grace.
He hopes the performances get people comfortable talking about death.
At his proper funeral in his tiny hometown of Clandeboye, Man., he wants to be wrapped in gold fabric and buried in a gold-leaf coffin. He’ll also request a tombstone that celebrates queerness. He wants to address the existing bigotry he feels is prevalent in rural Manitoba — from the grave.
That bigotry and the lure of the big city are what brought Henderson to Toronto. He lived here on and off for 10 years, attending York University to study theatre production and design and working as a stage manager for fashion, art and theatre productions until his failing health forced him to go home in March.
Henderson doesn’t know how long he has left. Maintenance chemotherapy is keeping him alive — without it, doctor’s give him three to six months — but his body’s getting weaker.
He’ll know when he’s ready to halt treatment, he said, and he’s not afraid of what’s next.
“I’m OK if there’s nothing, I’m OK if there’s heaven,” Henderson said. “Whatever it is, I’m OK with it.”
Smart business for Blue Jays to reload, not rebuild: Griffin
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:38:55 EDT
The Blue Jays are approaching a fork in the road as GM Ross Atkins meets with media Monday for a playoff post-mortem, then quickly must turn his attention ahead to 2017. There is not much off-season for MLB front offices.
One prong in this bureaucratic fork leads to an attempt to quickly reload, going after another October with a naturally increased payroll from this year’s $137 million (all figures in U.S.).
The other choice is a rebuild, bidding adieu to Jays’ long-time stalwarts Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Brett Cecil, plus Michael Saunders — who won’t be made a qualifying offer, but may re-sign — without putting up a fight, settling for whatever compensation comes from qualifying offers for the former two stars.
There are eight Jays free agents declaring their intentions immediately within two days after the end of the World Series. Aside from the four players mentioned above, the list includes right-handers R.A. Dickey, Joaquin Benoit, Scott Feldman and long-ago injured Gavin Floyd. The total payroll for those eight players in 2017 was $59.7 million.
Dickey, Feldman and Floyd are definitely not returning. That means, of course, with Dickey and his knuckleball out the door, that you can add catcher Josh Thole and his $800,000 to the list of the soon-to-be dearly departed.
Monday’s availability with Atkins will provide clues as to the club’s intentions, but already there is one positive signal as to where they are heading, that being the re-upping of manager John Gibbons for 2017. He already had a contract for next season, but as we’ve often seen in pro sports, so what?
If the Jays had fired Gibbons, it would have been a bad sign for the immediate future of the franchise as a contender. Gibbons’s strength as a major-league manager is in handling a roster of veterans, like the current Blue Jays, with a number of clubhouse leaders who can control teammates and hold them accountable. After working with him for a full season, president Mark Shapiro and Atkins are aware of this. Let him run the game, handle the pitching and deal with the media.
If the Jays’ immediate intention was to rebuild from within the not-ready-for-prime-time farm system, or to load up on middle-tier free agents to fill the holes created by the departing stars, then they might have let Gibbons go. They’d bring in a younger, more analytics-oriented gung-ho, corporate, yes-man type to maximize the inferior talent that would be sprinkling his build-for-the-future roster. But it’s Gibbons, so unless they plan to use his as an early-season scapegoat, then fans should look for another run at the post-season.
What do they need for that third post-season scenario to occur?
What the Jays surely don’t need is to spend big money on the rotation. The Jays have their Top 5 starters back, with Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano. The total for the five men, with 2017 salaries for Stroman and Sanchez yet to be determined, is around $44 million.
And yes, it always does turn out that MLB teams will need more than five starters, but there are youngsters on the rise like Sean Reid-Foley and Conner Greene, plus potential one-year contracts, temporary help, on other teams’ minor-league and non-tendered free agents, so don’t worry about starting pitchers.
What the Jays do need is more balance in the batting order. Have a look at Cleveland, with five switch-hitters and four left-handed hitters. Opposing managers can’t control a game in late innings vs. the Indians by managing a bullpen against that lineup. Meanwhile, against the ’16 Blue Jays, the only left-handed hitters were Saunders and Ezequiel Carrera and they played the same position. The big boys on the Jays were all right-handed. That has to change.
The Jays need a true leadoff hitter and two left-handed bats, one at the top of the order and one who can be an RBI producer in the middle of the lineup. If Bautista leaves and if they can’t re-sign Encarnacion, then someone like (yeah I know you’ve heard this before) first-baseman Joey Votto of the Reds. The money that Votto is guaranteed through 2023 ($25 million a season) is similar to the annual value of Encarnacion, but that’s the price of doing business in modern baseball.
The Tigers signed DH Victor Martinez for four years, $68 million at age 36. He has two years remaining. The accepted minimum for doing business with the soon-to-be-34-year-old Encarnacion is four years, $80 million. The Jays were getting away with highway robbery by only paying him $10 million in 2016. With no salary cap in MLB, they are the one team that should be able to go higher than that projection.
One small change that will make a huge difference in the playoffs is the Jays need a solid, game-calling backup catcher with some offensive skills so that Russell Martin can be rested a couple of times per week. If Martin was asked to start just 115 to 120 games behind the plate, he wouldn’t be running on fumes in the playoffs. That’s a simple solution, with even a full year of Dioner Navarro a possibility.
If Rogers ownership suggests, “Why should we?” all Shapiro needs to do is show the photo of Encarnacion with his hands above his head, bat dropping to the ground as he smote the game-winning walk-off in the wild-card game vs. the O’s.
All Shapiro needs to do is point to the 3-million-plus in attendance that will drop off by a million if the Jays don’t show the will to compete in 2017. It’s a smart business decision. But there’s new leadership at Rogers, so it’s anyone’s guess.
Internet disrupted in eastern Canada, U.S. as key firm gets hit by cyberattack
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:45:09 EDT
Reports of online disruption cropped up across the East Coast of the United States and Canada, including in Toronto, after a key Internet firm was hit by a cyberattack Friday.
Manchester, New Hampshire-based Dyn, Inc. said its server infrastructure was being hit by a distributed denial-of-service attacks, which work by overwhelming targeted machines with junk traffic. Analysts said the attack was having knock-on effects for American users trying to access popular websites across the East Coast, several of whom reported problems.
The level of disruption was difficult to gauge globally, but Dyn provides internet traffic management and optimization services to some of the biggest names on the web, including Twitter, Netflix and Visa. Jason Read, the founder of Gartner Inc.-owned internet performance monitoring firm CloudHarmony, said his company tracked a half-hour-long disruption early Friday in which roughly one in two end users would have found it impossible to access various websites from the East Coast.
Read said that Dyn provides services to some 6 per cent of America’s Fortune 500 companies, meaning a big potential for disruption.
“Because they host some major properties it impacted quite a few users,” he said.
A full list of affected companies wasn’t immediately available, but major sites including social media Twitter and coder hangout Github said they briefly experienced problems earlier Friday.
Dyn said in a series of statements that it first became aware of the attack around 7 a.m. local time and that services were restored about two hours later. But around two hours after that, the company said it was working to mitigate another attack. Read, of CloudHarmony, confirmed that he was seeing renewed disruption.
A Dyn spokesman didn’t respond to questions seeking further information about the onslaught.
Security experts have recently expressed concern over increasing power of denial-of-service attacks following high-profile electronic assaults against investigative journalist Brian Krebs and French internet service provider OVH.
In a widely shared essay titled “Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet,” respected security expert Bruce Schneier said last month that major internet infrastructure companies were seeing a series of worrying denial-of-service attacks.
“Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical internet services,” he said.
Republicans call Trump‚??s refusal to endorse election outcome ‚??stupid,‚?? ‚??frightening‚??
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 20:09:00 EDT
WASHINGTON—Jim Moseley is buying extra ammunition and stocking up on canned goods.
He is a Donald Trump supporter in South Carolina, and he is preparing for “war.” The civil war he thinks will start if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
“Once the trucks stop rolling, the grocery shelves will go empty and gasoline rationing will go into effect,” Moseley, who calls himself a “Christian soldier,” wrote in a Facebook message early this week.
“Liberals will have targets on their backs, as their behaviors are pretty much evident ... race wars will begin as well, as your skin color will be your uniform!”
The Star first met Moseley, a 59-year-old retired salesman, outside a Christian bookstore during the South Carolina primary in February. He was shopping for an anniversary card featuring Bible verses. He was friendly and polite.
It is the existence of people like him that has contributed to the widespread alarm over Trump’s unprecedented remarks Wednesday about the legitimacy of the election.
At best, politicians and academic experts said Thursday, Trump’s comments will reduce public faith in America’s democratic institutions. At worst, they could contribute to some form of unrest or violence on election day, or soon after, inciting aggrieved supporters into action.
“I think it’s frightening beyond my ability to describe,” Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who is on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court picks, told the student newspaper at Brigham Young University. “It’s almost an anticipated repudiation of the outcome of the election ... It delegitimizes the entire process in a way that is really dangerous.”
Trump’s remarks were perhaps the most astonishing of his entire campaign, stunning even from a Republican candidate who has made a political brand of bigotry, sexism and conspiracy theories. Rejecting a foundational element of democratic governance, Trump refused at the final presidential debate to say he would accept the outcome of the vote if he loses.
“I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time,” he said. When pressed by moderator Chris Wallace, he added, “I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”
Trump has always been untethered to the norms that underpin the country’s politics. As his chances of winning have plummeted, he has lengthened his own thin leash.
For much of October, which has seen him fall to a daunting six-point deficit in the polls, Trump has been insisting with no evidence that the election will be “rigged,” corrupted by the “voter fraud” that is actually exceedingly rare. Cries of protest from Democrats and from scholars of elections, who warned that he sounded like a foreign authoritarian, produced only a muted response from most Republicans.
The dam burst on Thursday. Trump’s latest remarks were a bridge too far even for right-wing radio personality Laura Ingraham, who spoke at his convention, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Trump endorser known for his own ill-considered outbursts.
“Not accepting the results, I think, is just a stupid comment,” LePage told a Maine radio station. “I mean, c’mon. Get over yourself.”
Some Republican allies, like party chair Reince Priebus, insisted Trump was simply saying he was not willing to abandon his right to request a recount in a tight race.
But Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican who lost to Barack Obama in 2008, said a concession is a “duty” and “an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader’s first responsibility.” And experts said Trump had sunken to previously unseen depths.
“His decision to keep us ‘in suspense’ about whether he would recognize a victory by Clinton really takes us to a new low in this presidential campaign. It’s effectively calling into question the sanctity and legitimacy of the United States electoral process,” said Mark P. Jones, a fellow at the Baker Institute at Texas’s Rice University who is involved in the White House Transition Project.
“Even if Trump ends up recognizing her, some segment of his supporters will remember his initial reticence, and continue to foster the belief, in their minds at least, that the electoral process is rigged. And that’s just as pernicious for the entire democratic system, because the voting process is the bedrock of our democracy.”
The controversy over what Trump will do if he loses makes it more likely he will lose. Even if it does not turn off many voters, it is eating scarce time. There are only 18 days until Nov. 8, and no candidate has come back from a deficit this big with this little time remaining.
Pippa Norris, a Harvard University lecturer and director of the Electoral Integrity Project, warned earlier in the week that Trump’s remarks about the “rigged” election could lead to protests or violence. She said his “anti-democratic” debate remarks could add more fuel to the fire.
“Nobody in established democracies says that they don’t accept the rules of the game such that if they don’t win that they’re not going to respect the result,” Norris said. “I saw that he’s just now said that of course if he wins, he will accept. That’s not the point.”
Trump’s walk-back Thursday was typically defiant, but it did at least open the door to a concession.
First, Trump said, at a rally in Ohio, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win.” He added, though, “Of course I would accept a clear election result. But I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”
Trump’s past suggests he would have difficulty accepting a loss. As Clinton noted at the debate, he reacted with accusatory dismay when his reality television show, The Apprentice, did not win an Emmy. The night Obama was re-elected, he called the election a “total sham and a travesty” and called on people to “fight like hell” and “march on Washington.”
The potential bad news for America’s democratic health: Trump now has more influence over more people. The semi-good news: absent violence or disruptive protests, the short-term significance of a refusal to concede could well be nil. As a non-incumbent, Trump would have almost no ability to impede a Clinton transition.
“There’ll be no consequence for Hillary Clinton,” said Jones, “other than a lower level of legitimacy among some voters. Who, especially if Trump refuses to recognize the result, will for the next four years refer to Hillary Clinton as the candidate who stole the election.”
Windstream pushes to finish stalled wind farm in Ontario
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:37:56 EDT
The U.S. firm awarded $25 million in damages after the province stalled its Lake Ontario wind farm says it’s hoping for an “amicable” solution allowing the $5.2 billion project to go ahead.
“We’ve never found ourselves in a situation like this,” David Mars of Windstream Energy said Thursday of the Liberal government’s 2011 moratorium that halted development of offshore wind projects.
“We’re willing to reach out to them and find an amicable solution,” he added. “We never thought the Ontario government would be so difficult to deal with.”
Windstream filed a $568 million complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) over the moratorium and was awarded $25 million in damages, as the Star first reported last week.
Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault was non-committal on Windstream’s project Thursday, saying the moratorium remains in place while the government studies research into the environmental impact of offshore wind turbines.
“I want to make sure this gets done right,” he told reporters after Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown raised Windstream in the Legislature’s daily question period.
“The Liberals have two choices — build the project and pay out $5.2 billion or enter into settlement negotiations to try to convince Windstream to take less. Either way, Ontario is on the hook for billions,” Brown charged.
While the NAFTA arbitration panel ruled the Windstream contract remains in force, Mars downplayed the possibility of further legal action for the project off Wolfe Island, near Kingston.
The electricity was to be worth $5.2 billion over a 20-year contract in 2012 terms, but the value would now be $5.5 billion adjusted for inflation, Mars said.
The moratorium came just six months after Windstream was awarded a contract to build the 300 megawatt wind turbine installation.
The halt came amid community opposition to the project just seven months before the 2011 election that saw then-premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal administration reduced to a minority.
His government also cancelled natural gas-fired power plants in Oakville and Mississauga, prompting charges from opposition parties that the measures were to save Liberal MPPs from defeat.
“What we have now is basically the same thing that happened with the gas plants,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Thursday.
“For the purposes of saving a couple of seats, the Liberals put the brakes on this potential operation and who knows what the people are going to be on the hook for?”
Progressive Conservative MPP John Yakabuski, his party’s energy critic, said the PCs oppose offshore wind power. The New Democrats have no objections to it, but Horwath said “at this point I don’t know that it’s necessary.”
Last month, the Liberal government cancelled plans for another $3.8 billion in renewable energy projects, saying the province has a surplus of electricity and doesn’t need them as it tries to reduce skyrocketing electricity costs.
The government has been under fire for rising hydro costs and passed a law Wednesday that will waive the 8 per cent provincial tax on electricity bills starting in January.