March 4th Commentary
As heard on our breaking news an hour ago, Russian president Vladimir Putin held his first news conference since sending troops in to seize Crimea.
He says it all stemmed from the uprising that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from Ukraine...what Putin calls an "anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power" by "militants" intend on plunging Ukraine into "chaos.
Putin claims Ukrainian "nationalists" and "anti-Semites" are roaming the streets of Kiev and other cities.
Putin spoke as though Crimea were still part of Russia when in fact it was handed over to Ukraine in the 1950's. The Russian President then made a statement that carries with it a hint that this occupation may not extend beyond Crimea unless something untoward happens.
Putin saying there is no need to send Russian troops into Ukraine yet. Presumably he means eastern Ukraine.
Overnight things got a little hairy at the Belbek air base in Crimea where the Russians have ousted Ukrainian soldiers. Those soldiers returned to the base...marching toward the Russian soldiers. The Ukrainians were unarmed and the Russian's told them to stop. When they didn't the Russians fired warning shots. No one hurt.
The standoff there remains quite tense.
Ford on Kimmel
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford emerged from Customs and Immigration at Pearson International less than an hour ago ...a red-eye from LAX after the mayor appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.
Ford was dressed in black with a red tie. As soon as he sat down Kimmel was on him.
Kimmel said to Ford that while he didn't know him very well, he did seem like "a nice guy" and if Ford is an alcoholic maybe he should think about talking to someone about it.
There are reports that the Mayor felt like he was set up...but that is not what he is saying publicly. While waiting to get on the red-eye home he said "it was fine"...that "Jimmy's a comedian and he was just doing his job." Doug Ford on the other hand said his brother seemed "a little upset." Rob Ford says "it was more Doug that was upset."
I don't' have much to say about this dog and pony show except this. If the Mayor was honestly in LA to promote Toronto as Hollywood North, why was there absolutely no mention of that on Kimmel. Ford was there to promote Ford...not Toronto....and he espoused the same nonsense there as he's been trying to foist on us here.
The Wynne Government has some big announcement coming 9:30 today about auto insurance. There are no leaks about what Finance Minister Charles Sousa has to say but presumably he will reveal the government is getting closer to its budget pledge to work toward average auto insurance premium cuts of 15 percent. I'd be surprised if we're there yet. Our Queen's park bureau chief Katie Franzios will be there to bring you the breaking news.
We're also expecting to hear within the next couple of weeks about the Wynne Government plan to toughen up the laws on distracted driving. The assumption is that aside from the decision Ontario's Chief Justice to order distracted driving fines be pushed to the top of the range on March 18th to 2-hundred-80 dollars, the government may also expand the range to make it even more expensive. Transportation Minister Glen Murray has also been musing aloud about adding demerit points to that offense because distracted driving is getting worse and by that I mean deadlier.
The OPP says that last year more people were killed in distracted driving crashes than in either drunk driving or speeding crashes.
And then there is this:
Apple Inc announced yesterday that it is speeding up development of its new technology renamed "CarPlay". It enables iPhones to plug into cars so drivers can call up maps, make calls and request music with voice commands or a touch on the screen. From what I've experienced with voice commands in the car you'll end up doing more touchscreen than voice. The voice command system in my car doesn't seem to think I'm speaking English, let alone anything that resembles directions or call answer. More often than not I end up swearing at the thing in frustration and that elicits responses that are total gibberish. Maybe it's trying to tell me something?