Barry Ellsworth

Toronto 545
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Joined May 2013

I'm a career journalist who took a buyout package from Sun Media, Canada's largest newspaper chain, in 2010. I have been a managing editor, city editor, editorial page editor/writer, sports editor and reporter. Along the way I picked up a few trinkets for excellence, including the Canadian Press Wire Service Editorial of the Year, a CP award for humour column writing and an Ontario Newspaper Association award for reporting on a listeria outbreak.

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Recalling the worst school massacre in US history

Before Newtown, before Columbine, there was the heinous murder of 38 children at the Bath Consolidated School in Michigan. It is the deadliest school-related massacre in American history, perpetrated by a madman who hated paying school taxes. Crazy? You bet. On a fateful day in May 1927, Andrew Kehoe set off dynamite he had placed at the school, killing 45 people including 38 elementary school kids, 7 to 14 years of age. Kehoe was the school board treasurer and some media reports said he was also the school’s caretaker. But there is no dispute over what he did to the school children of the little farming town of 300 residents and those drawn from nearby communities to the consolidated school. According to reports written at the time, Kehoe, 55, spent months placing explosives in the school, as well as detonating his own home and truck. He began at home, murdering his wife, just like Sand...
By on Jan 29, 2015

Bank that saved Sinatra Jr. falls into Canadian clutches

The bank that lent Frank Sinatra $100,000 to pay his kidnapped son’s ransom and also financed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first California gubernatorial run in 2003 has been acquired by a Canadian bank. The Royal Bank of Canada will buy Los Angeles-based City National, renowned as the banker to the stars, in a $5.4 billion deal announced Thursday. It is the biggest takeover since the 2008 recession and fulfills a promise by RBC’s Chief Executive Officer Dave McKay to expand its services in the wealth management area. The Royal will pay about $93.80 dollars per share, about 26 percent more than the closing price last Wednesday. Of the $5.4 billion, $2.7 billion will be paid in cash and the balance in shares. RBC is Canada’s second largest bank when measured by assets, while City National, which serves so-called high net worth clients in New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, h...
By on Jan 28, 2015

Palin hurts presidential hopes by blurting babble in Iowa

“The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was the night Alaska’s Sarah Palin Cremated her chances for 2016.” – With apologies to ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’ by Robert Service. Granted, Sarah Palin can be incoherent at the best of times, but she set the bar even higher with her screed delivered Saturday at the conservative Iowa Freedom Summit. Exhibit one: “The man can only ride you when your back is bent,” Palin said. “So strengthen it! Then the man can’t ride you, America won’t get taken for a ride, because so much is at stake.” Huh? But let’s be fair to the former Alaskan governor and 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate. Her teleprompter froze during the speech, so she was forced to concoct ad-libbed remarks, the New York Daily News reported. The machine problem is why reporters take notes even though they tape record interviews – tapes can malfu...
By on Jan 28, 2015

GOP votes climate change not a 'hoax' but...

There is a sign that change is in the wind for climate deniers such as the infamous Koch brothers after the Senate voted 98-1 that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” It is stating a fact that the rest of the civilized world accepted long ago. And only one Republican was dumb enough to vote that climate change was a hoax - Roger Wicker (R) of Mississippi. But just when you thought Republicans had finally become enlightened, some GOP senators like James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who voted for the “not a hoax” measure, made clear he did not think humans were responsible for climate change. That is an asinine stance when you consider that 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists “agree that climate warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position,” ...
By on Jan 27, 2015

FBI investigation made ‘Louie Louie’ most notorious rock song ever

Fifty years ago, the rumors began that the Kingsmen’s song “Louie Louie” contained obscene lyrics and that led the FBI to take a long hard look, a look that lasted more than two years (about 1964-65) and ended with a 119-page report of failure (click here to read the FBI files on “Louie Louie.”) The investigation was fueled by the undecipherable lyrics, leading to the suspicion of dirty words. In fact, the Kingsmen had put on a marathon concert the night before recording the song and lead singer Jack Ely’s voice was hoarse. As well, the recording mike was too high and he had to stand on his tiptoes to reach it and the already pidgin character of the lyrics was heightened by Ely wearing braces on his teeth. The investigation involved FBI agents from five or six bureaus. They played the song at every conceivable speed trying to decipher the supposedly sexually explicit words and that futil...
By on Jan 25, 2015

Cheating Pats kicked out, Colts go to Super Bowl

That’s a headline that will never become reality because the NFL doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing. Being thrown out of the Super Bowl for cheating and being replaced by the Colts is the price the Patriots should pay but won’t. The NFL investigated and found that, yes, the New England Patriots used under-inflated balls in the first half of last Sunday’s AFL championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. “While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were underinflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game,” the NFL said in a statement carried by ABC News, Friday. However, the league said it is still investigating and set no timetable to field its conclusions. It is probably a safe bet that the findings would be released after the Super Bowl. T...
By on Jan 24, 2015

Young Americans back Palestine, not Israel, poll finds

The Jewish state has staunch supporters on both sides of the 49th parallel. But among young Americans aged 18-29, 51 percent support Palestine, while 25 percent do not and 24 percent have no opinion. That indicates, at least with young Americans, the tide of support is shifting in the Middle East conflict. However, most Americans are still implacably behind the Israelis. Nevertheless, US President Barack Obama has a strained relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. North of the border, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper cannot contain his enthusiastic support for Israel. He reaffirmed his support during a speech to the Israeli parliament a year ago and Thursday, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told the first ever UN General Assembly meeting on anti-Semitism that “hatred of Jews is in resurgence.” Making his country’s position crystal clear, he said Canada wou...
By on Jan 23, 2015

Can Pope Francis rescue the American dream?

One thing you can be sure of: if anyone points out some problems with the capitalist system, he or she will raise the hackles of rich American conservatives. And they, in turn will bleat their misguided message of to Americans that, if you work hard, you will automatically be successful just like those wealthy conservatives. It just ain’t so anymore, folks. You can work your butt off at many jobs and barely keep your head above water. As wealth flows to the one percent, more and more people are realizing that the American dream is not attainable for many and American exceptionalism is just a myth. Now, there is at long last an influential advocate preaching that income inequity and the focus on every man for himself is wrong — Pope Francis. Those rich conservatives like Rush Limbaugh are fighting a formidable foe. The name-calling began in December 2013 when Limbaugh and others pegged th...
By on Jan 21, 2015

Pig routs ham-fisted burglars

A pig has become a superstar in Europe after he saved his owners’ bacon by chasing off a gang of home invaders. Ludwig, a 240-pound pot-bellied pig, was on guard New Year’s Even when burglars entered the British Midlands rowhouse of Mike Maughan and Liane Scholz in the wee hours of the morning. His owners were asleep upstairs, but Ludwig was on guard downstairs. Ludwig makes a noise “like a low rumble that sounds like the biggest Rottweiler you can imagine,” says Maughan. That and the pig’s imposing presence apparently sent the burglars fleeing. When the couple got up on the morning, the front door was wide open but the inside was still warm. “I left the door unlocked and I think someone came in, tried to grab my wife’s purse and I think he (Ludwig) made a growl because he noticed someone in the room,” Maughan said in a Toronto Star report, Sunday. “That’s, as far as I can tell, what hap...
By on Jan 20, 2015

MLK, Liam Neeson have something in common

What do Martin Luther King Jr. and actor Liam Neeson have in common? King was killed by a gun and Neeson makes a killing with a gun. Neeson’s bank account grows ever fatter as his Taken franchise reaps money by the bucketful, with the three films in the series grossing more than $750 million worldwide – Taken 3 is in theaters now. In the films, Neeson plays a retired CIA agent and you know that means lots of gunplay. But the actor criticized US gun policy during a press tour for the latest installment of Taken. “There’s too many f---ing guns out there,” he told Dubai’s Gulf News in a story reported by CNN. “I think the [US] population is like 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns, privately owned in America. I think it’s an [expletive] disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.'” There is no denying his point ...
By on Jan 19, 2015