Obama speaks at Wesleyan as Belichick joins Hall of Fame – Sports and Politics, part 3

Posted May 25, 2008 on 2:32 am | In the category Election 2008, Politics, U.S. Domestic Policy, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

Just when it seemed that the US Democratic primary campaign was going to sink into the quicksand of complete disinterest, Barack Obama has made a deft move that is sure to focus attention on more interesting topics than the exact delegate vote not including Michigan, American Samoa, the Virgins Islands and Florida. My brother and I, lost in the snows of the tundra, haven’t been able to grasp the nuances of that mathematical formula. What we have figured out is that Middletown, Connecticut will be the centre of world attention this afternoon as Obama steps in in relief of his stricken brother-in-arms Ted Kennedy, who will be sitting in the first row as his stepdaughter graduates from one of the premier US East coast elite liberal Arts universities and his son celebrates the 15th anniversary of his graduation. But Wesleyan is also probably the premier elite small university in another area: sports, and my brother Doug thinks that Obama is hoping to gain stature by being in the presence of some of the heroic figures who are already in the Wesleyan Hall of Fame as Bill Belichick joins it along with legendary marathon runner Bill Rodgers.

But it is not only Rogers and Belichick, the winner of four Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and the most successful football coach in recent NFL history, who will be present, but also former Wesleyan student and current arch Belichick nemesis Coach Eric Mangini of NFL’s New York Jets, who will be there for his fifteenth reunion. For Wesleyan is the only university to have produced two current NFL coaches, and Doug and many scouts feel that Wesleyan’s combination of intellectual depth and athletic grace has led to the development of a number of quarterbacks wearing the red and black, who would surely have dominated the football fields of America if they hadn’t gone into more scholarly pursuits.

So give credit where it is due. Obama has made a very smart political move by moving into this territory. He will surely deliver an excellent commencement address, and do his friend Ted a favour while doing it, even if his own elite university background is limited to mainstream Harvard. But with any luck, the sports journalists will also be there to keep watch over Belichick and Mangini, and to see how Rodgers is running along these days. Obama can relax in the afterglow of some heavy hitters from the world of sports, whose chumminess would be most helpful to his popularity among the blue collar working folk.


Michaelle Jean makes a visit to France

Posted May 8, 2008 on 9:02 pm | In the category Canada, Europe, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

My brother and I are afraid that our headline may not mean much to our wide readership outside of Canada and Bavaria. Therefore some background information. Michaelle Jean is the splendidly photogenic Governor-General of Canada, whom the separatist Parti Quebecois likes to identify as “the Queen of England’s representative in Canada”. But Michaelle Jean is no easy target for that once revolutionary party that is beginning to look more than a little frumpy and is losing support because of it. She is currently representing Canada in Paris at celebrations jointly celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, the end of the Second World War and France’s national Day on Saturday marking the end of slavery in 1848. Michaelle Jean causes the separatistes great problems. She is an immigrant from Haiti, speaks French natively and English with Gaulic charm, and she is a very articulate and intelligent commentator in both national languages on cultural matters. In a luncheon speech before the French Senate, given of course in French, she identified herself in a way that few (no?) other western leaders could do: “The great-great-granddaughter of slaves, I cannot remain indifferent to the legacy of racism and intolerance left behind by decades of slavery and that continues to be felt in our communities, at times openly, at times more insidiously.” Eat your heart out, Senator Obama.

She also happens to be the best-looking First Lady in the world, a fair distance ahead of the second-place French First Lady, something that seems to have stunned the French so deeply that photos prove that Nicolas Sarkozy could not have bent over more deeply while kissing her hand. Le Monde wrote that Canada’s titular head of state was “La presque reine du Canada” – “the enlightened face of humanity, intelligence and beauty’. Holy moley! Michaelle Jean has done more to foster French/Canada relations in one week of public appearances than decades of those boring old kind of Canuck politicians, including the endlessly whining separatisten that France used to love to coddle. As for M. Sarkozy, he not only accompanied Mme Jean to the Normandy D-Day landing sites, but also asked if he could join her at the Canadian military cemetery at Beny-Riviers near Juno Beach where 2000 Canadians died in the D-Day invasion. When was the last time that a French prime Minister knew it was good politics to be seen with the Governor-General of Canada? A word of advice to M. Obama. As far as Canadians can tell, he has only made one reference to Canada in his career as a politician, saying that he would love to meet the (non-existent) President of Canada when he becomes President of the US. This was taken as a bad omen for the future of US foreign policy given the last 8 years, but perhaps Obama can do a little research about his neighbours in the next months. If he doesn’t he is in for a monumental surprise when he meets the Governor-General of stodgy old Canada.


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