TORONTO - Been away in N’Awlins, where the ex-mayor faces 20 years for bribery, fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.
What a joy to be home, where the mayor has done nothing wrong.
In fact, I’m so relieved, I brought back John Tory and Karen Stintz voodoo dolls for Robbie to play with, complete with pins.
Remember Ray Nagin? The heroic mayor of New Orleans? In the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, he pleaded for George W. Bush and the feds to “get off your asses and let’s do something.”
Ol’ Ray got off his ass, alright. He took $200,000 in cash from companies eager for reconstruction contracts, plus free holidays and even granite — four truckloads — for his family countertop firm, Stone Age.
Nagin also billed taxpayers for birthday dinners and such and generally sucked every teat he could find in a city where teats are a tradition, where the former congressman “Dollar” Bill Jefferson is serving 13 years for bribery.
On Feb. 12, a federal jury found Nagin guilty, and he now awaits sentencing. Nagin, 57, a Democrat, could get two decades in prison.
Who’d you rather have as mayor? Ray Nagin or Rob Ford?
Odd that Jimmy Kimmel hasn’t invited Nagin on his show.
But a float in one of the Mardi Gras parades featured a giant, crack-puffing Ford, plus Justin Bieber and Pamela Anderson.
“An absolute masterpiece,” Times-Picayune writer Doug MacCash called the all-Canadian float, part of the Krewe d’Etate parade on Friday. Sadly, I was already homeward bound to the real thing, though I watched the earlier Krewe Barkus parade in the French Quarter, which featured a chihuahua with uncanny resemblance to Councillor Adam Vaughan.
You know you have made it as a country when Mardi Gras gives your national stars their very own float.
Funniest thing I heard down there was not about any float or the pile of beads I collected without once flashing my bosoms. No, it was word from the mayors’ meeting in Ottawa that Montreal’s boss refused even to shake Ford’s hand.
To borrow from the New Orleans phrasebook: What you say!!??
That’s the pot in the glass house throwing stones at the kettle. Corruption wise, Montreal is New Orleans North.
I’ve taken shots at Ford for months — especially for blowing a chance to prick City Hall’s overinflated balloon.
But visiting Ray Nagin’s town puts it in perspective: Ford has done nothing wrong. Seriously. He has been charged with no crime. Corruption is a crime. There is no such thing as first-degree conniption. No one ever gets busted for saying they tried crack during a drunken stupor or have plenty of home-cooking.
Ford has fudged facts — though never under oath, like Bill Clinton, for instance — but who the hell hasn’t? Most of the folks braying at him are the usual suspects on the left who love spending other people’s money — the very folks Ford vowed to curb when we made him mayor.
Equally hilarious is the indignation online and at our City Hall over Ford’s pilgrimage to Hollywood. Embarrassing, they say.
Oh, pull the stake out of your hiney. He’s on his own dime. So Kimmel is poking fun at him. Big whoop. You and our city aren’t big enough to take a little razzing?
I bet it’s even great for the tourist trade. “Stella! Hey, Stella! Hell with N’Awlins, let’s party up in Toronto this summer!”
Ford is running for re-election and he’s going to turn down a shot at Jimmy Kimmel Live? Foes like Tory, Stintz and Denzil Minnan-Wong can only drool over five minutes on Kimmel.
Which brings me back to those voodoo dolls. I got them at a shop founded by the late, great Voodoo Charlie, with instructions to attach a bit of hair or clothing belonging to whomever it is you wish to stick with a pin.
I will lend them to Ford when he gets back from Kimmel. I’ll suggest he skip trying to collect hair or clothing. I don’t know about Tory, but I hear Stintz has a hard right hook. Luckily, Voodoo Charlie’s people say a small photo stuck on the doll will suffice.
About time Ford tried to pin something on somebody else for a change.
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