Tim Thomas sits out team visit to White House

Boston Bruins visit President ObamaI like Tim Thomas. He’s a passionate hockey player and has proven that he can lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship. I also like that we North Americans live in a society where we can (generally) have control of our own life and have the opportunity to choose whether we want to participate in an event or not.

When I read the article on Thomas choosing to not attend the photo op with the President due to his personal “opinions and political beliefs” according to team president Cam Neely, I first thought he was being petty. Why wouldn’t he show up to a non-partisan photo op? Each winning team in the major sports leagues does it, and on a smaller scale he’s creating a distraction that I’m sure his team could do without.

Looking online, fans on Thomas’s and the Boston Bruins‘ Facebook pages passionately share congrats with him or anger at his actions. Based on those updates, the boycott has polarized his fan base to the extreme. One such fan, an American living in Finland, wrote an open letter to Thomas about his actions. Here’s a paragraph that stood out:

“Today, i lost respect for you as a person. It’s not because we have different political views, because you have a right to your opinion, but because you couldn’t find it in yourself to be the bigger man and say “thank you” to someone you disagree with when all theyw ere tyring to do was a nice thing. It makes me question how you’d treat a fan, like me, if I wanted you’re autograph and I was wearing an Obama t-shirt.” [SIC]

As people formed their opinions about him, Thomas remained mum on the reason why he declined the offer. That is until about 6pm when he chose to explain himself via his Facebook page, well after the word started spreading. Here’s what he had to say:

Tim Thomas Facebook

As you can see, Thomas noted the boycott wasn’t based on politics or party, but as a criticism of the way government operates and treats Americans, as a whole. I have to admit I didn’t expect that, and was conflicted.

The vibe I get from his update is reminiscent of the ‘Occupy movement’, which I fully stand behind. Like many others, I was going on the angle that he was opposed to Obama’s administration, which he’s entitled to, but it also seemed like a petty reason to not attend the simple event. Even though I now understand why, I still feel he could have made the effort to show up for his team. There’s more he could do to protest government, with the platform he has.

One of the reasons I waited to post this is that I wanted to see what he had to say. I think he should have come out with his reasoning immediately because the speculative comments have tarnished the day for his teammates and himself. There were many terrible comments directed his way, but TSN’s Dave Hodge tweeted this libelous gem stood out the most because he basically calls Thomas a racist:

Twitter Dave HodgeIt’s a clear example of why you should hold off on your commentary until you have the facts, and in this case, Hodge should know better and not have tweeted that garbage at any time. A search for @TSNDaveHodge name on Twitter at least shows many are giving it to him good; let’s hope he apologizes to Thomas and his family.

As for Thomas, since it wasn’t a mandatory team event, he likely won’t be suspended for his actions, but I wonder if this will impact the way his teammates think of him? How did you feel about Tim Thomas’s decision to not show up at the White House, and once you knew why, did your opinion change?

Get out and vote, Canada

Voting is something many of us take for granted because it has always been an option for us, so we don’t understand the importance of it. If you watch the news, they show new Canadians voting for the first time and they are nothing if not ecstatic at the chance and understand what it means to have a say in the country’s democracy. They know it’s a duty, and not a chore of waiting in line one day every few years.

If you’re on the fence about voting, I hope you’ll decide to do it. Here are a few more reasons why you should (there are many more of course):

  • Your vote counts: With first-past-the-poll voting, many may not see their vote being worth much, but if every eligible young person voted, the government would speak to your needs more often because they know you care and will want to work toward your needs.
  • People are dying for the right: The recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria show how much people care for the right to vote. If you didn’t have the right you wouldn’t be able to do anything about your situation, so get out there and do something about it.
  • It’s not THAT hard: Bring your voter card and a piece of valid photo ID with you, wait in a line for a few minutes, register, vote, leave. Is the future of your country not worth a few minutes of your time?

One more thing – vote for who speaks to your needs the most, not for the party you think will get the most votes in your riding anyway. If your riding is Liberal by a landslide, but you are pro-NDP or Conservative, then vote for them. It will show there is a need to increase presence in your area for that party if enough people care to vote for them, and down the road, you may see a change in your riding’s poll results.

The news that was 2010

After watching a few programs highlighting the top news according to Canadians in 2010, I thought I’d give my own 5, because we all know how much I love doing top 5 lists by now. What are your Canadian news highlights (or low-lights) of the year?

5. HST

As if our economic struggles weren’t bad enough, the Ontario and British Columbia governments had to slap the harmonized sales tax (HST) onto the majority of our bills. I wish Ontarians had a stronger backbone and stood up to the tax like those in BC.

4. Rob Ford

..err I mean..

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford <- Not something I enjoy seeing. I was so shocked to hear he was elected mayor of my city. Unfortunately this is probably the first domino to fall for a larger conservative political movement in the province. So help us all.

3. Russell Williams

Sick and Twisted – the only way to describe this guy. Good things don’t always grow in Ontario, it seems; let this one rot in Kingston Penitentiary.

2. G20

Ahh, the G20.. so much debate was seen on this event across many news networks and of course on Twitter. It brought out so many opinions on the matter of over-spending, police brutality, rights to protest, etc. Check out the blog post I wrote on the topic.

1. Vancouver Olympics

Yes, my top choice was also Canada’s top choice, but I couldn’t help it, no matter how hard I tried. For a couple weeks my tweets were probably 90% about the Olympics. Is there any one highlight? Yes of course. The Gold medal winning hockey game was my favourite, as I was downtown celebrating in the streets with the rest of Canada. GO CANADA GO!

Conflicted over the G20 conflicts

This weekend’s G20 in Toronto saw some of the most astonishing acts I’ve ever seen in my city. My feelings on what happened are quite conflicted and I’m sure many Torontonians are feeling the same.

I’m all for people peacefully protesting for causes they believe in; this is a right we all have, living in a democratic country. At the beginning, many of the protesters were in fact being peaceful from what I could see on TV. If this continued, I’m sure the police wouldn’t have acted as much as they eventually did. It was only when the infamous Black Bloc decided to join in, that everything decided to hit the fan.

It’s now common knowledge that these thugs aren’t there to protest for any cause, but to cause damage and incite rioting. After all of this happened, the police were taking no chances with protesters, blocking them off at all points and trying to disperse them wherever they could. At this point, I fully supported the actions taken by the police and G20 security forces, however it would’ve been much more advantageous to all if they’d stopped them before causing the damage . It’s very easy to judge forces on their actions, but I’m sure it’s much more difficult for them to plan on where/when they’ll specifically attack.

They did step up their take down of others, after the fact, who had changed out of their black garb and into regular civilian clothing. With all the surveillance downtown, many were probably caught and in other seemingly non-violent protests, the police took out individuals they deemed suspicious.

Many say they were attacking innocent people but if they have intelligence that rioters are texting to mobilize troops then it makes sense to take out people texting. I wasn’t there and I’m sure there are those who will disagree with me, but if police are also telling people to repeatedly to back away and they don’t? Well that that also gives them reasonable cause to take action, in my opinion.

On Sunday night there were many people who were held up at Spadina Avenue & Queen Street West for about four hours. Quite a few, even members of the media, were detained or arrested. The thing is, most of these people weren’t protesting anything, but say they were just in the area. The question that I asked all weekend was, if you’re not protesting anything, why are you putting yourself in such close vicinity of the officers who you know are arresting people who get too close? Many people would’ve solved much strife by listening, or just staying home. That being said, many of these people were held in the pouring rain for much of the time and not provided with any kind of shelter – that’s not acceptable. What’s even less acceptable was the fact that after holding people for so long, they eventually let many go since they had no space for them in the chartered TTC buses. It just goes to show they had no legitimate reason to hold them to begin with.

It’s been said many times, but these meetings, where nothing new is apparently done, should be taking place at the UN or on secure military bases, if they insist on having it in a different country each time. The over $1 billion cost to tax payers is ridiculous coming from a summit that is supposed to discuss creating a more fiscally sound world economy. That money, as we all know, could go to countless different causes and make many peoples’ lives better. And what about the cost of repairs to many businesses who have had their facades destroyed and others who have had to close for security reasons? I didn’t have feelings either way toward this summit until it came to my city, but now I wish it never did.

Please check out the Toronto Star’s photo blog on the G20 protests.

iPhone 4 is here!

Since Gizmodo posted the original shots of that “lost” iPhone 4 prototype I’ve been waiting extremely patiently for Steve Jobs to do his thing at the official launch. Today was that day.

As some of you may know I’m one of those unfortunate folks who, while a fan of technology and one who takes part on many different platforms, has gone without mobile access to those platforms. I do have an iPod Touch, which when there’s WiFi is awesome, but there are so many more times when WiFi isn’t around, and I’m jonesin’ to be connected.

So since I’ve held out for so long, I figured it’d be worth it to invest in the upcoming iPhone 4. With today’s launch there are a few things that tell me this is going to be a great investment, including (in no particular order):

  • Multitasking – finally the ability to do more than one task on the device!
  • Flash – should’ve had this from the start, and is one of the biggest complaints I hear from iPhone users
  • Front-facing Camera (though a camera period is great since I’m a Touch user.)
  • 960 x 640 @ 326 ppi – great resolution and something I wasn’t expecting
  • Sleek design – it’s exactly the kind of style I like; very modern.

More specs can be found on Apple’s website.

Rogers says it’ll be carrying the device, and you can sign up to receive word on any upcoming info regarding the release. We do know it’ll be released in Canada sometime in July, and in the States pre-ordering starts on the 15th. I can’t wait.

Will you be upgrading to the next version of the iPhone? What features stand out for you the most?

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