Apologize, Now!

In a piece of political theatre utterly unworthy of Toronto, Mayor Elect Rob Ford invited Don Cherry, a loudmouth sports celebrity who is paid a small fortune to pontificate about hockey, to address the inaugural meeting of Council today.  Cherry proceeded to insult over half the population of Toronto, those who didn’t vote for Ford, those “left-wing kooks” and “pinkos”.

If I or any member of the public, let alone a member of Council, had made remarks like that, they would have been summarily silenced by the chair and possibly thrown out of the room.  This bozo was there as the Mayor’s guest, telling it like it is.

Mayor Ford allowed the important ceremony of his investment in office to be cheapened into a political slam against all those folks, the downtowners, the latté-sippers, the people who like streetcars, and who knows how many other groups who have yet to learn just how small-minded our Mayor really is.

The words may have been Don Cherry’s, but they were said with Mayor Ford’s blessing.

Cherry is an asshole who has no place in Council Chamber, a clown who cannot understand the difference between the entertainment of a break in a hockey game and the serious business of Canada’s largest municipal government.  He is no doubt thrilled to death with the exposure.

The Mayor has a duty to all of the people, and to the Council itself.  He ran on a campaign of respect for taxpayers.  That doesn’t mean just the ones who voted for him, but all of us.  I shouldn’t have to produce a photocopy of my ballot to get attention at Rob Ford’s City Hall.

The institution of Council has already been sideswiped by Ford’s one-man show on municipal policy, the attitude that his “mandate”, all 47% of of it with a 53% voter turnout, gives him the right to rule by edict, not by agreement.  Now, by inviting Cherry to speak and failing to censure what was said, Ford has insulted all of Council and the voters — all of them.

Mayor Ford:  Prove to us that you’re not the boneheaded idiot 53% of Toronto thought you would be when they voted against you.  Apologize, unreservedly, now.

48 thoughts on “Apologize, Now!

  1. Unfortunately, Mayor Ford has an aversion to apologizing. He’s much more likely to present a No Frills flyer to you Steve, advertising a fire sale on pinko tea, or Kookies.

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  2. This is one of those moments where I shake my head and wonder why Rob Ford got elected. Long story short Cherry said what he said on Rob Ford’s behalf and yes an apology must be issued. In regards to city hall someone on the Sun called it, “Socialist silly hall” What we have today is a three ring circus with Doink the Clown as ringleader… and no I didn’t vote for Ford.

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  3. Steve, wouldn’t you say that this would be the perfect time to de-amalgamate the city back what it was before Harris created this mega-monstrosity of a city by force? I say let Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York be their own cities and choke on fuel exhaust while the residents in Old Toronto at least have a decent life in a livable and vibrant smaller city. Buffoon Ford belongs in his auto-addicted suburbia and has no place governing a vibrant city.

    Steve: I actually think that when the former cities all try to work together, something that was just starting to be visible on a small scale in the Miller years, rather than listening to demagogues who want to exploit their isolation just to get votes, we could have a really great megacity. Indeed, we cannot have a really great transit system in Toronto just for the old city. Amalgamation is over a decade in the past and we have to make the city we have work properly.

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  4. He’s not going to apologize, and it’s a waste of time and energy to push for it. It will just be twisted by his supporters that anyone who opposes him is effete, humorless, “can dish it out but can’t take it”, etc. Sadly Steve, we’re all going to have to get used to it the next four years or more, at all levels of government. Conservatives are great at projection, accusing the left of wanting to control all aspects of their life by putting in a bike lane or banning smoking from public places, yet talk about tax cuts and allowing deregulated industries to control more of our lives as “freedom and liberty”.

    All we can do is laugh bitterly at the two millionaires who have suckered people into thinking they give a damn about the peons who worship them.

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  5. Frankly I don’t know what to say. I’m just flabbergasted. You’re right, Steve; Cherry is an asshole and I agree that Ford should apologize. But Ford had a nice laugh after Cherry’s speech and this shows that Ford sees nothing wrong with what Cherry said. There’s no way an apology is coming.

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  6. I believe that Mr. Ford owes Don Cherry an apology. As Mr. Ford is not supposed to express disdain for any political stripe as Mayor, Mr. Ford instead turned to Don Cherry to do it for him, knowing full well that Cherry would be capable of expressing the exact same sentiments that Ford harbours for lefties. No doubt, after Cherry’s speech, many would focus their anger on him, and a little less so on Ford.

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  7. The really sad thing about this whole thing? I honestly was giving Ford a year to surprise me by being an open minded fiscal conservative like how many of his supporters portrayed him as being.

    Instead, it took him a week to illustrate that he might be worse than I feared with this being the icing on the cake.

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  8. Steve:

    I previously suggested that you were too nice. I still think so after you called Don Cherry an “asshole”. That he is and more. I agree that the swearing in of our Mayor is no place for the denigration of those who think differently (such as me) and who make up a lot of Torontonians.

    The small mindedness of Rob Ford continues to show up at every available opportunity. Despite the hatred shown to David Miller by the extreme right, I do not believe I can identify any similar disrespect by Mr. Miller. I am beside myself.

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  9. I watched Don Cherry’s remarks in the foyer of City Hall today. There was a good amount of whooping and hollering from the Fordites (in amusing regalia to boot). City staff and other onlookers laughed at first, thinking the pinko thing was a joke, and then cringed throughout the rest of the “speech”. It was awkward, and sad.

    At City Hall, I had the feeling that people are getting resigned to four years of trench warfare with Ford at the helm. It’s going to be a battle to get nowhere.

    I must say, my expectations of Mayor Ford have rapidly fallen since the election. He had a message, and to some extent a mandate, that was simple and resonated with residents: to cut unnecessary spending, make the municipal government equally respect the citizens of Toronto from Dixon to Birchmount. Clearly so far, the blitzkrieg policy-making, exclusion of the old City of Toronto (never mind the left) from almost every council position possible, and consolidation of power within the Office of the Mayor has been terrifying and disappointing.

    I am however, galvanized by the the fairly substantial outpouring of support for Transit City in the media and among the public. [Even the Sun (the Sun!) has editorialized that it is worthy of saving I think] I hope that while it appears that we must give up trying to “work with” Mayor Ford, we can achieve (or save) much by working against him in numbers.

    So what’s the endgame with Mayor Ford? Will he be able to ever reach out across the aisle and get consensus on any issue? Is he capable of listening to experts and taking their advice? So far it appears that he can’t. And worst of all, he doesn’t care. I hope the Province and Metrolinx keep him in check as best they can.

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  10. wow Steve I’ve never seen you this angry …

    Like I said many times Rob is mayor that will further divide Torontonians not bring them together.

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  11. Hear, hear!

    Rob Ford chose one of the most aggressive and divisive personalities imaginable to stand up in front of council. It earned him 13 seconds of limelight, but those tricks won’t keep him popular long. Watching the Global news bit on the event, it was clear some councillors were quietly disgusted.

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  12. That ceremony was actually a rerun of All in the Family — who else but Archie Bunker uses the word “pinko” anymore. I was waiting to hear “crapola” and “meathead” come out of his mouth, but didn’t — very disappointed. Hey Edith, I mean Steve, get me a beer! … and stifle this light rail crapola.

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  13. That should read Dixon, not Dixie.

    I doubt Mississauga residents over by Dixie are respected by Ford, unless they are a municipal revenue stream I am unaware of.

    Steve: I have fixed your earlier comment.

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  14. I actually applaud cherry for what he said. He said what most of us were thinking but too afraid to say in this politically correct world. I read the star and I see the slander they put out against him and ford. To be honest the star is only good as toilet paper. As for Don Cherry.. WAY TO GO CHERRY!

    Steve: Don Cherry is entitled to his opinion about the direction the city should take, as is Mayor Ford. What Cherry is not entitled to do is to use the inaugural meeting as a chance to slag half the population of Toronto. If you don’t agree with him, you are a pinko lefty kook. The last time I checked, the idea of political debate was to talk about the merits of an issue, not to marginalize people because of their beliefs. Substitute a racial or religious group in that statement, particularly one you’re a member of, and see how comfortable it feels.

    I am not a Communist or even a sympathizer, and could probably be best described as a fiscally responsible socialist. That’s either a red Tory, or a blue-tinged NDPer, a not uncommon political type in this city, province and country, despite the best attempts of many groups to force debate out to the edges, right or left. I am definitely not a kook, and to suggest that we can dismiss our political opponents (as I might the entire Conservative party) as a bunch of right-wing kooks, maybe even “Fascists” while I’m at it, does a disservice to the vast number of reasonable, responsible people whose philosophy happens to be right-of-centre.

    My description of Cherry was based on his inappropriate, boorish behaviour showing he hasn’t learned how to behave in civilized company.

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  15. The Sun may think Ford’s inauguration was no frills because it wasn’t a ridiculously large affair like the Miller 2006 one, but it cost the City of Toronto $12,550 dollars in direct costs, plus the salary costs of all the staff hanging around, to have itself turned into a laughing stock on sites like Deadspin (Gawker’s sports affiliate). At least Miller’s Arcadian Court bash didn’t make blogs like Yahoo’s Puck Daddy or news sites like MSNBC.com.

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  16. Steve wrote, “The words may have been Don Cherry’s, but they were said with Mayor Ford’s blessing.”

    True, but unfortunately much of the public won’t see it that way, and it makes Ford look constrained and sane by comparison. Sad to say, but it was brilliant politics on the part of the Ford camp, and harping on it will only play in their favour.

    Cherry was an asshole, but not for the actual words and politics of his message, notwithstanding what would have been the result had the people and politics been reversed. He made a mockery of an event by making it all about him, from his outfit to his opening remarks about how he was slammed in parts of the media. As Newstalk 1010’s John Tory commented, it was as if the principal of a high school wore a boisterous outfit to graduation, making the ceremony about him instead of the graduates.

    Steve: If we avoid criticism of Ford because this might only solidify his base, we cede the field. He needs to be called out on every occasion where his judgement exposes the city to ridicule or, even worse, to a direction that says “we’re all in it for me”, rather than “for us”.

    As for the analogy, I would say it’s more like a Valedictorian who trashes everyone’s graduation to slag off those who were not part of his circle of friends. The Principal let him rail on, ruining the tone of the entire affair, rather than giving him the hook at the first sign of intemperance.

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  17. I think the reaction to Cherry has, if anything, been understated. Yes, he was totally out of place and a apologies should be forthcoming from him, Rob Ford and the CBC. However, he is not just a clown but deeply harmful. He gives voice to xenophobic, heterosexist and racist sentiments that many Canadians feel but do not express but, by couching it in supposed entertainment, prevents people from analyzing any of these feelings.

    Steve: To be fair to the CBC, he was not appearing on their behalf, but as a private citizen. He happens to live in Mississauga, but I won’t hold that against Mayor Hazel. Every mayor has his or her share of bozos in their midst.

    The CBC should have kicked him off the air years ago, but they make a fortune off the hockey games and don’t want to mess with the formula, tasteless as it may be. If the CBC (or some other broadcaster) didn’t give him a platform, he would be a nobody.

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  18. Of course, Don Cherry pulls down hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in salary from the CBC, which is well known as a hotbed of rightwing neoconservative ideology and not left leaning at all. Right?

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  19. Richard said: “He said what most of us were thinking but too afraid to say in this politically correct world.”

    What most of us are actually thinking with regards to the next four years under Ford is how can he maintain services, cut taxes, increase spending and reduce the deficit while not being bailed out by the province every year.

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  20. I actually found this to be funny. But I have a sense of humour, and perhaps everyone should have it too. Ford too has been the subject of a lot of crass comments when he was councillor and he was man enough to brush them off, and at most, challenge those who made remarks against him. Everyone is free to offer their reaction but I would suggest that there are better things than to demand an apology from Ford. In simple words, follow what Ford did, debate the crap out of Ford and Cherry. Ford took these criticisms in stride and ended up as our mayor.

    As a follow up to my earlier comment about the 70% who did not vote for anyone but Ford, the context was that while the Anti-Ford camp may have done their best to get their vote out to defeat Ford, it ultimately was not enough. Seems to me a lot of the voters who DID NOT show up to the polls did not have anything against Ford. If Ford was such a bogeyman, voter turnout would have been much higher than what it was.

    All I can say is “Chill Out”, and please, let’s get down to business of building your city. If you have something against what he has to say, then please you need to make your voice known on this issue. Otherwise you really can’t blame Ford for anything you think is bad that is going to happen.

    Steve: You can be sure that my voice, and many others, will be out there loud and clear. Whether anyone in the Ford camp listens, or just recycles election slogans as debating points, remains to be seen. The choice of Don Cherry, and the text he was allowed to deliver, show extremely poor judgement. It was not a joke, it was an insult.

    Suppose Cherry had talked about Chinese taking over “our” city? Would it still be funny? Would it still be worth ignoring? No, it would show a profound lack of respect.

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  21. Also one other thing: if you are going to demand that Ford apologize, then we need an apology from Adam Vaughan. His conduct (turning his back on the mayor) is unacceptable.

    Steve: He could have challenged the chair on a point of privilege, but chose instead to ignore what was happening to the degree that he could. Adam Vaughan owes nobody an apology.

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  22. For all of Miller’s faults (and there are many who could point them out to you), I think it’s fair to say that he had a vision and a will to build the city, to make it a better place to work and to live and to play.

    But to build a city, you do need to pay. While we may moan and become bitter about paying more taxes, I think if we truly realized the vision and results, we’d begrudgingly accept them.

    But, people being people, can only see as far as their wallets. So, they vote in a man who is single-minded about tearing things down. To Ford, there is only his kind of people – people who can afford things and are not willing to share with those who cannot, people who are too important and who cannot wait for others.

    In four years’ time, we’ll be a sorry and much meaner city. Penny wise and pound foolish.

    Steve: One of the things we have to pay for is regional transit improvements, and that will come via a provincially mandated gas tax, tolls, regional sales tax, or some combination of these. Then everyone can blame Queen’s Park rather than David Miller.

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  23. Stephen Cheung said: “All I can say is “Chill Out”, and please, let’s get down to business of building your city.”

    Hilarious. I make a comment a few months ago about Ford turning the city into New Detroit and your support of it, and you came crying here about how very offensive it was. What Cherry said in a public forum was infinitely more insulting to large swaths of the city and you tell people to chill out. Again, conservatives show their mastery of projecting their beliefs onto others.

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  24. Steve, Mayor Ford brings us the Don Cherry rant…….Almost reminds me of Mel greeting and thanking the “Hell’s Angels” because they came to Toronto for their convention!!Ugh!!!

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  25. Ford too has been the subject of a lot of crass comments when he was councillor and he was man enough to brush them off, and at most, challenge those who made remarks against him.

    If by “challenge those who made remarks against him” you mean “throw screaming tantrums in council” and “chase John Barber down a hallway to forcibly prevent him from leaving the building”, you’re absolutely right.

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  26. Good grief — I can’t believe a few people here are actually defending Cherry’s Archie Bunkerism. After that gaudy spectacle, I’m embarrassed to say I’m a Torontonian. It was so embarrassing I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. The left is probably getting what it deserves, but Cherry should have been pelted with a cocktail of rotten eggs, tomatoes and watermelon rinds.

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  27. Where was this indignation when Paula Fletcher was berating a taxpayer at council? Or “Sandra from Toronto” was calling the John Tory show? Or Mark Ferguson was getting high fives from his brothers because “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? The left gets the barest taste of what the right has had to endure for the last six years and they are apoplectic. Pathetic.

    Steve: Paula Fletcher and Sandra Bussin were both called out for what they did, and neither of them insulted the city as a whole by generic slurs. There is a question of scale here. Also, neither of their actions justifies the poor judgment of Mayor Ford in inviting and condoning Cherry’s statement. Do you on the right plan to justify whatever crap you might visit on the city by holding up the worst behaviour of the old Council?

    You guys on the right are supposed to be the new torchbearers for the best Council could be.

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  28. To be fair, Mel didn’t know what the Hell’s Angels were all about.

    Steve: One can be called out of touch, or simply incompetent. Either way, it’s no recommendation for high office.

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  29. Someone will have to point me to all the online message boards and comments on newspaper articles after the McGuinty and Miller elections where left-leaning people told the right to “suck it up”, “payback is a b—-“, “shut up, we won, get over it” and all the other witty remarks seen over the last few weeks. It certainly didn’t stop them from hurling epithets, slurs, and slanders over the last eight years. After every swing in the political pendulum, the victorious right proclaim the start of a glorious permanent majority in their favour, and tell the losers not to oppose them as “the people have spoken”. It’s too much to ask them to live up to their own words.

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  30. What I wrote on Don Cherry’s (commercial) Facebook page:

    Dear Mr. Cherry,

    Your speech to Toronto city council today was one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent address were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who was in that room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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  31. Cherry’s comments? OMG — talk about living down to expectations. Comments were probably offensive to those who didn’t vote for Ford as well as those who did. I’m not a Ford supporter … but I do think (in agreement with Cherry to some extent) that the bulk of the election coverage of Ford was, at best, shrill. That said, Cherry’s tirade was a jaw-dropper. This might sound picky, but just because people didn’t vote for Ford doesn’t mean they are “leftist”, as some above are suggesting. Smitherman’s platform was a lot closer to Ford’s than most people care to acknowledge.

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  32. So much for Rob Ford’s promise to bring “transparency” to City Hall. He also vowed to end “backroom deals and secret meetings”. His first order of business to “KILL TRANSIT CITY” by Mayoral decree without going to council?

    Bring in the clown in the pink jacket (someone is missing their curtains!) to declare that bicycle riding pinko left wing kooks can stick this in their pipe and smoke it is a sad reflection on what the next four years will bring to this city.

    In my opinion the electorate of the entire city voted for a Mayor AND A COUNCIL to represent them. What we are seeing is a dictator who rules by decree without going to council. ALL of the committees are stacked with Ford’s YES MEN. I can hardly wait for the wheels to fall off of the ANTI-GRAVY TRAIN! Who will Dictator Ford blame when his right-wing stacked committees fail? The left-wing who were shut out of significant appointments?

    I live in the inner suburbs (or more accurately – the “Outer City”) – Scarborough and I saw through Ford’s anger and rhetoric and realized that he aims to destroy the amalgamated city. The politics of US vs THEM is by it’s very nature destructive. I guess that, by Ford’s definition, I am an “ELITE” because I am fiscally conservative BUT socially progressive (a red Tory or blue Grit).

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  33. Apologize for what? The type of “left-wink pinko kooks” that sit on city council, or support them, just don’t “get it” when it comes to what citizens of the city want. It’s about time someone told them, rude or not; if anything it is the “kooks” who need to apologize, along with anyone else who thinks the city’s northern limit is St.Clair.

    Steve: Sorry, but the left doesn’t have horns, it was not brought the city to ruin, no matter how much you, the Post or the Sun may like to pretend otherwise. Also, the citizens voted for “cleaning up city hall”, a mantra that got David Miller elected seven years ago when there was genuine corruption. Some of the same faces have reappeared trying to be “helpful”. Many people, including a lot who live outside the old City, care about the whole of Toronto, not just their back yard, or just the taxes on their back yard. All of them were insulted by a broad-brush comment from Cherry, a man who talks a good line for “the little guy”, but is paid a small fortune by a public agency. Clearly gravy is now coloured pink.

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  34. Steve: This comment has been edited.

    I don’t think that Mr. Cherry should be forgiven for anything he said. He doesn’t even live in Toronto! Does no one see the problem of having someone who has no association with the City of Toronto.

    Stephen Cheung, maybe you should focus on how corrupt your town is. The “City Above Toronto” needs more help than the city itself. Maybe you should remember that the blathering idiot at city hall once referred to Orientals as “working like dogs” and that he would like to stop the flow of immigrants into our city. If we had had idiots like this since Confederation, neither you nor I would be in this country now.

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  35. Hi Steve:-

    I’ve said before that Rob Ford is an immature suburban teenager in his transit vision thought patterns. Since transit is one of the few things in City politics I truly understand, after reading his pre-election transit plan, I immediately had reservations about this guy and that his other platforms, that I’m not so sure about, were not so similarly childishly slanted. Well, Don Cherry’s starring appearance on the Rob Show says to me that in all likelihood I am sadly correct. All of Rob’s thought processes must be those of an adolescent boor to have left that grapes guy uncensored. The RF credo appears to be:- “Me, me, me; there ain’t no you unless you adore me or I can bully ya!”

    Oh, and by the way, there won’t be any apology from RF; for his mind is made up and he doesn’t want to be confused by the facts! Our City will soon be the laughing stock of most others in North America. Thanx for puttin’ us on that map yeronour!

    Dennis Rankin

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  36. If Ford had indeed endured offsensive generic slurs against him in City Council from other elected officials, I challenge Ford supporters to provide some examples.

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  37. I’m seriously considering have a small placard (bright pink) made to hang from the back of the saddle on my commuter bike: “A Pinko from Scarborough”. I had thought of “that rides a bike” but then realised that was redundant.

    Phil

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  38. Too many people in Canada associate public transit with “right” or “left”. There is no free ride and the distinction between the two should be only in terms of taxation/costing and not in terms of completing a project.

    I have found on the WEB in past two days this map. It is not necessary to get into legalase, whether the rails are owned by DB or BEG or operated by contracted operators. The map is quite impressive. An observer can find Nurnberg, Munich and borders with Czech republic. Please – do not call State of Bavaria some sort of “socialist” hell. Anyway – enjoy.

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  39. In simple words, follow what Ford did, debate the crap out of Ford and Cherry. Ford took these criticisms in stride and ended up as our mayor.

    Debate? What is there to even debate here? Cherry’s rant was completely absurd, about as substantive as a nine-year-old’s playground taunting.

    I mean seriously – pinkos? Kooks? “Put that in your pipe and smoke it”? Bicycles? What the hell does that even mean? Are bicycles now communist all of a sudden? Are little children now communist sympathizers? Is this what Ford supporters consider to be respectful dialogue?

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