Ongoing History Daily: Modest backstage needs

Back in the imperial period of David Bowie’s career in the 1970s, he ingested a lot of drugs and alcohol at all times of the day and night. By the time he got to the late 90s, he’d long since cleaned up and wasn’t much into the excesses of the old days. For example, when he was preparing for an appearance at the BRIT Awards, all he wanted was a few slices of ham on a baguette.

Billy Idol loves a specific brand of chocolate chip cookies. Marilyn Manson’s big request was gummy bears—although he often asked for a bald toothless hooker just to see if the promoter could do it.

And Nine Inch Nails was known for asking for two boxes of cornstarch for the dressing rooms. Your guess is as good as mine, although it may have something to do with keeping leather pants from sticking and chafing.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

No butts about it: Why one Quebec police force wants pocket dialing to stop

Quebec City police receive so many accidental calls to 911 that it is reaching out to the public for assistance.

The police department, known as the SPVQ, made a plea to residents on social media Thursday to stop pocket or “butt-dialing” them.

Authorities say recent software updates for cellular phones may make it easier to make emergency calls and that the 911 service has been inundated with unintended calls as a result.

“Lately, these accidental calls represent about 39 per cent of total calls, or about 750 per day,” police said on social media.

Police ask residents to consider de-activating the Emergency SOS functions on their devices so as not to unintentionally bog down dispatchers.

“The consequences of these calls are numerous and have a real impact on the call response time for real emergencies,” the department said.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pat Robertson, noted televangelist and creator of '700 Club,' dies at 93

Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster who turned a tiny Virginia station into the global Christian Broadcasting Network, tried a run for president and helped make religion central to Republican Party politics in America through his Christian Coalition, has died. He was 93.

Robertson’s death Thursday was announced by his broadcasting network. No cause was given.

Robertson’s enterprises also included Regent University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia Beach; the American Center for Law and Justice, which defends the First Amendment rights of religious people; and Operation Blessing, an international humanitarian organization.

For more than a half-century, Robertson was a familiar presence in American living rooms, known for his 700 Club television show, and in later years, his televised pronouncements of God’s judgement, blaming natural disasters on everything from homosexuality to the teaching of evolution.

The money poured in as he solicited donations, his influence soared, and he brought a huge following with him when he moved directly into politics by seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 1988.

Robertson pioneered the now-common strategy of courting Iowa’s network of evangelical Christian churches, and finished in second place in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush.

His masterstroke was insisting that three million followers across the U.S. sign petitions before he would decide to run, Robertson biographer Jeffrey K. Hadden said. The tactic gave him an army.

″He asked people to pledge that they’d work for him, pray for him and give him money,” Hadden, a University of Virginia sociologist, told The Associated Press in 1988. ″Political historians may view it as one of the most ingenious things a candidate ever did.″

Robertson later endorsed Bush, who won the presidency. Pursuit of Iowa’s evangelicals is now a ritual for Republican hopefuls, including those currently seeking the White House in 2024.

Robertson started the Christian Coalition in Chesapeake in 1989, saying it would further his campaign’s ideals. The coalition became a major political force in the 1990s, mobilizing conservative voters through grass-roots activities.

By the time of his resignation as the coalition’s president in 2001 — Robertson said he wanted to concentrate on ministerial work — his impact on both religion and politics in the U.S. was “enormous,” according to John C. Green, an emeritus political science professor at The University of Akron.

Many followed the path Robertson cut in religious broadcasting, Green told the AP in 2021. In American politics, Robertson helped “cement the alliance between conservative Christians and the Republican Party.”

Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson was born March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, to Absalom Willis Robertson and Gladys Churchill Robertson. His father served for 36 years as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Virginia.

After graduating from Washington and Lee University, he served as assistant adjutant of the 1st Marine Division in Korea.

He received a law degree from Yale University Law School, but failed the bar exam and chose not to pursue a law career.

Robertson met his wife, Adelia “Dede” Elmer, at Yale in 1952. He was a Southern Baptist, she was a Catholic, earning a master’s in nursing. Eighteen months later, they ran off to be married by a justice of the peace, knowing neither family would approve.

Robertson was interested in politics until he found religion, Dede Robertson told the AP in 1987. He stunned her by pouring out their liquor, tearing a nude print off the wall and declaring he had found the Lord.

They moved into a commune in New York City’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood because Robertson said God told him to sell all his possessions and minister to the poor. She was tempted to return home to Ohio, “but I realized that was not what the Lord would have me do … I had promised to stay, so I did,” she told the AP.

Robertson received a master’s in divinity from New York Theological Seminary in 1959, then drove south with his family to buy a bankrupt UHF television station in Portsmouth, Va. He said he had just $70 in his pocket, but soon found investors, and CBN went on the air on Oct. 1, 1961. Established as a tax-exempt religious nonprofit, CBN brought in hundreds of millions, disclosing $321 million in “ministry support” in 2022 alone.

One of Robertson’s innovations was to use the secular talk-show format on the network’s flagship show, the 700 Club, which grew out of a telethon when Robertson asked 700 viewers for monthly $10 contributions. It was more suited to television than traditional revival meetings or church services, and gained a huge audience.

“Here’s a well-educated person having sophisticated conversations with a wide variety of guests on a wide variety of topics,” said Green, the University of Akron political science professor. “It was with a religious inflection to be sure. But it was an approach that took up everyday concerns.”

His guests eventually included several U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.

At times, his on-air pronouncements drew criticism.

He claimed that the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001 were caused by God, angered by the federal courts, pornography, abortion rights and church-state separation. Talking again about 9-11 on his TV show a year later, Robertson described Islam as a violent religion that wants to “dominate” and “destroy,” prompting President George W. Bush to distance himself and say Islam is a peaceful and respectful religion.

He called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2005. Later that year, he warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town not to be surprised if disaster struck them because they voted out school board members who favoured teaching “intelligent design” over evolution. And in 1998, he said Orlando, Florida, should beware of hurricanes after allowing the annual Gay Days event.

In 2014, he angered Kenyans when he warned that towels in Kenya could transmit AIDS. CBN issued a correction, saying Robertson “misspoke about the possibility of getting AIDS through towels.”

Robertson also could be unpredictable: In 2010, he called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions. Two years later, he said on the 700 Club that marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government’s war on drugs had failed.

Robertson condemned Democrats caught up in sex scandals, saying for example that President Bill Clinton turned the White House into a playpen for sexual freedom. But he helped solidify evangelical support for Donald Trump, dismissing the candidate’s sexually predatory comments about women as an attempt “to look like he’s macho.”

After Trump took office, Robertson interviewed the president at the White House. And CBN welcomed Trump advisers, such as Kellyanne Conway, as guests.

But after President Trump lost to Joe Biden in 2020, Robertson said Trump was living in an “alternate reality” and should “move on,” news outlets reported.

Robertson’s son, Gordon, succeeded him in December 2007 as chief executive of CBN, which is now based in Virginia Beach. Robertson remained chairman of the network and continued to appear on the 700 Club.

Robertson stepped down as host of the show after half a century in 2021, with his son Gordon taking over the weekday show.

Robertson also was founder and chairman of International Family Entertainment Inc., parent of The Family Channel basic cable TV network. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought IFE in 1997.

Regent University, where classes began in Virginia Beach in 1978, now has more than 30,000 alumni, CBN said in a statement.

Robertson wrote 15 books, including The Turning Tide and The New World Order.

His wife Dede, who was a founding board member of CBN, died last year at the age of 94. The couple had four children, 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, CBN said in a statement.


Former Associated Press reporters Don Schanche and Pam Ramsey contributed to this story.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Trans, non binary students under 16 to need parental consent for pronoun changes in N.B.

New Brunswick students under the age of 16 who identify as trans and non-binary won’t be able to officially change their names or pronouns in school without parental consent.

Education Minister Bill Hogan made the announcement today as he unveiled his government’s highly anticipated reform to the province’s policy on sexual orientation in schools, known as Policy 713.

Policy 713, which was introduced in 2020, establishes minimum standards for schools to ensure a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.

The new policy says the preferred first names and pronouns of students aged 16 and older will be used consistently in ways that the students request.

Hogan says the policy will also ensure that private, universal changing rooms and bathrooms will be available in all schools.

He says the changes, which come into effect July 1, were the product of consultations with hundreds of parents, families, students and advocacy groups.

The province’s decision to review Policy 713 has faced intense scrutiny, with former education minister Dominic Cardy accusing Premier Blaine Higgs of wanting to gut sex education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Property damaged, trees 'eviscerated' in powerful western Manitoba storm, farmer says

Eric McLean’s social media post says it all.

“God tried to clear Oak River off the map,” the western Manitoba farmer tweeted Wednesday night, “but it’s still there.”

McLean, who farms nearby, had a front-row seat to a devastating storm that ripped through the area, costing him 2,000 acres of crops, thanks to strong winds and hail.

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“We have a seed business and a large farm east of Oak River,” McLean told 680 CJOB’s The Start.

“When we looked at the radar pattern on Environment Canada radar, it showed a big purple blob that was moving southeasterly on the direction from the Hamiota line through to us.

“Sometimes these things dissipate and they’re done, but not this one. It came through.”

McLean said his property was hit by quarter-sized hail, causing “big time devastation” to crops, but it may have been spared the full brunt of the storm which appears to have hit an area to the west the hardest.

“As you go west of Oak River, there’s a storm path that clearly indicates something bad happened there.

“We have a landlord on the west side of town. … His yard site, his trees were completely eviscerated, and all the windows were knocked out on his house.

“There’s lots of damage to everybody’s house in town, … windows and whatnot.”

For McLean, the timing couldn’t be much worse. He had recently checked on his crops and they were doing well before getting obliterated by the storm.

“It’s like as if I got picked on,” he said.

“I try not to be too down in the dumps, … but that hail and that wind action is effectively just like sandblasting, so it takes off all the top growth.

“Then when you throw the rain on top of it as it pounds, the loose soil gets perforated and popped up, just like percolating coffee, and so it covers over any vegetative mass.”

To add insult to injury, he said, another thunderstorm moved into the area early Thursday, hammering the region with even more rain.

“We (had been) joking around because we were parched and looking for rain,” he said.

“We will definitely control our enthusiasm next time to want to wish for this kind of thing.”

The good news: the damage throughout the area, from what McLean has been able to tell, appears to be limited to property and vehicles.

“As far as we know, there was no loss of life and nobody injured, and that’s the important thing.”


© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Canadian Jamal Murray records triple double in Denver Nuggets Game 3 win over Miami Heat

After building their largest lead of the night to that point midway through the third quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Denver Nuggets put on a rebounding clinic.

Aaron Gordon grabbed one on the defensive end after Miami’s Max Strus missed, then Michael Porter Jr. came down with the ball off Jamal Murray’s failed 3-point attempt. Porter got his own rebound off a block — and when he missed, Gordon put it back up and in, and the score wasn’t close the rest of the way.

It was their own personal game of shoot until you make it — and it spoke to the Nuggets being too big, too strong and too tough inside for the Heat in their 109-94 victory Wednesday night that put them up 2-1 in the series and one step closer to the first championship in franchise history.

“It’s a collective effort,” said Kitchener native Murray, who had 10 rebounds as part of his triple-double. “Sometimes it’s just an effort play. Sometimes the ball just comes to you. Sometimes somebody else does the dirty work and boxes the big guy out. I think it’s everybody chipping in to get those rebounds.”

Denver outrebounded Miami 65-41, and points in the paint were a lopsided 60-34. Nikola Jokic had 18 rebounds on the defensive end alone and 21 total as part of his triple-double.

“When we rebound like that, there’s usually a direct correlation to a `W,”’ said Gordon, who had 10 rebounds. “We’ve got to keep eating the glass, continue to rebound on both sides of the floor.”

While Jokic became the first player with 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game in the finals, he had plenty of help on the glass. The Heat had few answers inside for Gordon, Murray and Porter, who with his seven.

“They just pummeled us in the paint,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said, lamenting his team losing too many 50-50 plays. “They didn’t really have to shoot 3s. They had, whatever, 60 in the paint. They probably shot over 65% in the paint at the rim there. Wasn’t a need to space the floor.”

With Denver looking for complementary help for Jokic and Murray — who had 14 points midway through the second quarter and finished with a game-high 34 that were the most by a Canada-born player in a finals game — Gordon stepped to the forefront. The 27-year-old forward had 11 points in 34 minutes on the court.

Rookie Christian Braun also came up big with 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench. His was just one of several crucial secondary performances.

“This is by far our best game of the series, the most compete game of the series, and it’s not because of the triple-doubles or all the individual stats,” coach Michael Malone said, citing the 60 points in the paint and outrebounding Miami by a significant amount in a game in the finals. “That really helped us out tonight: the defending and rebounding at a high level.”

Malone saw it as the Nuggets responding teamwide to their Game 2 performance, when they blew a 15-point lead and lost. Now he hopes it carries into Game 4.

“I loved our energy, our effort, our urgency, our discipline,” Malone said. “I felt we were where we needed to be tonight, and we’ll have to be even better come Friday evening.”


© 2023 The Canadian Press

Upper Grand District School Board is tracking poor air quality for local schools

The Upper Grand District School Board said schools can continue outdoor activities for now under local conditions.

Wellington and Dufferin Counties are among the areas under a special air quality statement from Environment Canada

The smoke from local forest fires in Ontario, as well as Quebec, has resulted in poor air quality that is expected to last through the week.

In a statement on Wednesday, the board said it is monitoring the situation closely and providing guidance from the national weather agency to all schools.

The UGDSB went on to say it’ll continue to monitor the weather and provide guidance from Environment Canada.

The Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board cancelled both regional track meets on Wednesday, along with other outdoor activities.

The WCDSB said time is being limited outside but recess is not cancelled.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pedestrian taken to hospital after being struck at Peterborough intersection

A pedestrian suffered minor injuries after being struck by a vehicle in the north end of Peterborough on Wednesday evening.

According to the Peterborough Police Service, the incident occurred around 7 p.m. at the intersection of University Heights and Water Street.

Police say the pedestrian was taken to Peterborough Regional Health Centre for treatment of minor injuries.

The driver was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian, a Highway Traffic Act infraction.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Man charged after knife-point robbery at downtown business: London, Ont. police

A London, Ont., man is facing charges in connection with a downtown robbery earlier this week.

On Tuesday at 7:55 a.m., police say a man entered a business in the 600-block of Dundas Street and attempted to steal property while threatening employees with a knife.

The man was arrested in front of the business. Police say they seized a knife.

No injuries were reported.

A 47-year-old London man has been charged with armed robbery.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Throwback Thursday: The Alarm and Rain in the Summertime (1987)

The Alarm came roaring out of Wales in the early 80s and peaked with their third album (well, that’s my opinion), Eye of the Hurricane. When it appeared in October 1987, this single led the way. As seems to happen a lot with so many bands, the biggest song on the record was the last one written for the album. It didn’t, however, come easily.

Up until this point, lead singer Mike Peters and bassist Eddie MacDonald wrote pretty much all of the songs, which meant that guitarist Dave Sharp and drummer didn’t get any songwriting royalties, something that annoyed them greatly. Rain in the Summertime was a rare collaborative effort but not without plenty of fighting.

Producer John Porter needs a lot of credit. He took a loose 20-minute demo jam, cut it up, into something a little more concise, and then got the band to work with his edit.

It was worth it in the end. The record revitalized the band enough for them to make it through two more albums before they broke up in 1991.

In another universe, this song was written and recorded by U2. You’ll hear it.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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