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How Roger Stone can weasel his way out of his current legal predicament

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There must be no more disdainful jokes about “teenage” girls. Not after this week, not after a 66-year-old man, who has “a look,” and who possesses what can most charitably be called “very poor tattoo-related decision-making skills” and most accurately called “a tattoo of a smirking Richard Nixon emblazoned across his back” was forced to appear before a judge to explain an incredibly ill-advised Instagram post.

That is exactly what happened to grown man Roger Stone in a court for the District of Columbia in Washington on Thursday. The dressing down of a man with a pocket square is a rare and beautiful sight to see, and there is no question a dressing down is what Mr. Stone got. Judge Amy Berman Jackson was having none of it, and then going back for a second helping of none of it, ultimately delivered a blistering decision. “Mr. Stone could not even keep his story straight on the stand,” she said, before imposing a full gag order on her legendarily loquacious defendant.

The order forbids the longtime political operative, lobbyist and Trump campaign insider from making any statements about the charges he’s facing, including press conferences, press releases and social media posts—and even on Snapchat. No Snapchat. Judge Berman Jackson is not messing around, and this is a ruling that may have left some people shaken, and by “some people” I mean you, Roger, who I know is reading this. You just seem like a self-Googler. It’s OK, I’m here to advise you and everyone faced with the same dilemma.

READ MORE: Roger Stone, a man of many bad names

So, it turns out the federal judge overseeing your trial on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering doesn’t have to put up with your trolling. Time to ask, what’s the next step? For most people (well, for most of the vanishingly small minority of people who’d manage to put themselves in this situation in the first place), the answer would be to stop talking, put the social media shovel down and try to quietly climb out of the hole they’ve been digging.

Roger Stone, however, is not most people. Roger Stone isn’t even most people who get dragged back before the judge presiding over their trial to try to explain why they posted images of said judge with crosshairs close to her head on their Instagram feed. And so, because I believe everyone deserves a 32nd chance, I’ve put together a list of 12 Roger Stone Friendly Tips for Weaselling Your Way Out of the Really Stupid Legal Jeopardy You’ve Put Yourself In.

I don’t promise any of these tips will actually work, of course, because “Roger Stone Friendly” and “Not A Terrible Idea” are largely mutually exclusive, but they’ll keep you busy and that can be important at a time like this.

1. Consider filing a “Notice of ‘Actually it was My Evil Twin’” explaining to the court that the key to telling the two of you apart is the fact that Your Evil Twin also has a back tattoo, but instead of Nixon marked into his flesh, he has a group portrait of everyone indicted in Iran Contra.

2. Insist to the judge that it’s not a crosshair, “it’s a Celtic occult symbol,” and then, when pressed on the meaning of this “occult symbol,” explain you have no idea because “I’m not into the occult.” OK, here I must confess, I’ve pulled a bit of a Roger Stone-ian “dirty trick” myself. This isn’t a comedically bad suggestion—this is what Roger Stone, Actual Human Being, literally, and with no exaggeration, tried to pull while on the stand being questioned by a woman with the power to throw him in jail. She showed enormous restraint.

RELATED: Ex-Trump aide communicated with DNC hacker

3. Fail to clear your social media history of easily searchable evidence that indicates you know exactly what crosshairs look like, what they mean, and that it’s not a happy thing to be in them. Everyone loves a rogue! And with any luck, this display of total incompetence will help the court forget that understanding messaging is literally your job. That’s when you bust out your “I didn’t even notice it until it was brought to my attention by a reporter” act. Wait, checking my notes, I see this bit of absurdism was, once again, something Actually Facing Jail Time Roger Stone seriously tried to claim.

4. Use all your resources. You still have a perfectly good un-beNixoned chest. See if the judge and/or lead prosecutor appreciate you getting their faces tattooed on your body. Don’t ask. Just surprise them, unbutton. Do something fun with the nipples. After all, it’s unlikely that anything you do could make the situation you’ve put yourself in worse.

5. If your “One of my several volunteers who I cannot possibly identify sent me the picture and all I did was add the fun ‘Obama-appointed judge who dismissed the Benghazi charges against Hillary Clinton’ bit” gambit fails, and boy, Roger, did it ever fail, “my dog hacked my Instagram account” is a novel take on an old classic.

6. Explain that there must be some mistake, and if the prosecution just checks their notes, you’re certain they’ll find they never actually caught you out after all. Remind the court that you are an evil genius, the consummate dirty trickster who flaunts what lesser political operatives call “morality” or “good judgment” without a care in the world. It’s practically in your bio! There was a documentary. Try shouting “Don’t you have Netflix?” at the Judge. Be sure to demonstrate just what a rascally rule-breaker you are, talk over the judge to the point where she has to say, “Let me finish my question!” Oh, I see you did that part.

READ MORE: Will America recover from Donald Trump and the Reign of Lies?

7. Pay no attention to the creeping realization that while, yes, you’ve managed to avoid the consequences of your obvious crookedness for many years, it may not be because you’re just that good, but because you’re just that white, well-off and politically connected.

8. Remember to plan for your future; even if you do weasel your way out of this, your problems won’t be over. Thanks to your friend Donald Trump, you are now operating in a world where audacity has been largely devalued. The “That guy! I can’t believe he did that!” index is way off and your carefully banked reputation for outrageousness may not buy you what it once did. In a market where Donald Trump manages to exhaust most people’s capacity for “He said what?” in 240 characters or less, before breakfast, you’re going to need to step up your game. The next time you send donations to your favoured candidate’s rival falsely claiming to represent the “Young Socialist Alliance” and then immediately leak the receipts, you do it Through A Ring of Fire!

9. Deny making the post. Deny understanding the post. Admit to making the post, but, whatever you do, do not say that you only made a post carrying what Judge Berman Jackson reasonably concluded was a “sinister message” that might incite your followers to violence because your life is just so stressful right now because she might send you to jail. Oh, you did that. Take it all back. Set off across the country to find the One-Armed Poster!

10. Next time you explain with what you take to be winning sheepishness that you’re “kicking myself for my own stupidity, but not more than my wife is kicking me,” try demonstrating by leaping into the air attempting to kick your own buttocks. Eventually you’ll fall, earning yourself a small delay of the inevitable as the court is forced to stop the proceedings and pick you up off the ground.

11. Stick to what you know. Claim the post was born in Kenya. You never know where it will take you.

12. Trust that Donald Trump will always take care of his contractors and will be there with a pardon for you when you need…no I can’t do it.

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Ottawa one of the most expensive cities in the country to ride public transit

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With a long anticipated fare hike set to kick in on Tuesday, Ottawa remains one of the most expensive cities in the country for public transit.

On October 1st, the price for a monthly transit pass will rise another 2.5%, from $116 per month, to $119.

A survey of monthly transit fare passes across the country, confirms that riding the bus or the rails in Ottawa is more expensive than similar sized cities with much larger transit systems.

An east-bound OTrain pulls in to Rideau Station on the Confederation Line of the Light Rail Transit system in Ottawa, ON.

A 2.5% fare increase that was set to come into effect in January officially kicks in October 1, 2019. The fare was frozen until after the LRT launched.

Edmonton LRT system includes 18 stations on two different lines for a total of 24 kilometres of track, more than double Ottawa’s current distance

For instance, Edmonton’s monthly transit pass currently costs riders just $97 a month.

And Edmonton’s LRT system is much larger than Ottawa’s new Confederation Line.  Edmonton includes 18 stations on two different lines for a total of 24 kilometres of track, more than double Ottawa’s current distance.  

Edmonton’s population is roughly the same as Ottawa’s, about one million people.

Calgary, is slightly more expensive at $106 per month.  

But Calgary’s system is much larger and more spread out, reaching all four quadrants of the city including over 45 stations, and 60 kilometres.  

Ottawa’s new price for a monthly pass will be slightly less than Vancouver’s. Riders there pay $131 a month for “two zone” access, which covers all trains and buses in Vancouver proper and the major suburbs.

The most expensive transit pass in Canada is the TTC in Toronto. Riders there pay $151.15 a month.

The public transit bargain in Canada remains Montreal.  Regular riders there pay just $86.50 a month for a pass.

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Ottawa woman creates Facebook group to connect new moms online and in person

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An Ottawa mom who started a social media group to connect with other new parents after having her first child now has a growing group of new friends.

Brianna Chapman says she decided to found the Facebook group Dope Moms of Ottawa to combat the isolation she felt even before her baby was born.

“When I found out I was pregnant, it kind of really started to hit home for me that I was gonna be alone on maternity leave,” Chapman said.

Becoming a new parent can bring about feelings of loneliness, she explains, as your daily routines suddenly revolve around feedings, naps and diaper changes rather than business meetings or social gatherings.

Whether you’re the first of your friends to have a child or a veteran parent, Chapman says some moms find it tough to make time for friends when there is a little one to care for. Story continues below advertisement

With their partners away for the majority of the day in some cases, it can be tough for parents to find someone with whom to share ideas or concerns, Chapman says.

While there are dozens of Ottawa groups for new parents to join when looking for advice, Chapman says she noticed there were very few that actually looked to get people out of the house to meet up.

“It was more of a forum for Q&A, specific training questions, developmental questions, that kind of thing,” Chapman says. “But there wasn’t really anyone that was spearheading women to actually get out and meet in person.”

WATCH (Aug. 1, 2017): New app aiming to create social network for moms 3:24 New app aiming to create social network for moms New app aiming to create social network for moms

While there is little research about new parents and isolation, a recent survey of 2,000 moms by the website ChannelMom.com found that more than 90 per cent of moms in the U.K. admitted to feeling lonely, with 54 per cent of them feeling “friendless.”

When it comes to moms and their mental health, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says a social media group might just be the thing that helps.

“Some of these social media platforms can be used to tap into the wisdom of others with similar experiences — a type of crowdsourcing of knowledge,” said Nikki Hudson, program and project management officer at OPH. Story continues below advertisement

“Social support is a key coping strategy during difficult transitions. Talking about problems or worries in a safe and moderated environment may help parents and caretakers feel better and someone may be able to assist — knowingly or unknowingly — by sharing experiences and offering suggestions.”

Chapman says one of the other aspects of these groups, especially online forums, is the tendency for members to get “cliquey.” Chapman says she has a zero-tolerance policy for judgmental moms and strives to make the group inclusive.

She also believes the main goal of getting these moms to meet in person really takes away the disconnect people tend to have on the internet, which can lead some to make comments they wouldn’t necessarily make in person.

“I think that’s really understood when you join,” said Chapman about her policy. “You can read through the posts and see that it’s just a super encouraging and really supportive environment.”

While meeting in person is the point of Chapman’s group, Hudson says that even if some moms aren’t comfortable with the public meetups, the online forums are still helpful, especially if some moms have difficulty accessing other forms of support.

“People with similar experiences can better relate, offer more authentic empathy and validation,” said Hudson.

“Sometimes, this support isn’t always easily accessible or for some. It may be difficult to share in person, hence social media is a nice alternative and fairly accessible channel for most parents and caregivers to stay informed, engaged and connected with their peers and health professionals.” Story continues below advertisement

The group will celebrate its three-month anniversary on Oct. 6 and has grown to more than 1,100 members — way more than the initial 50 who came to the first meetup.

“I literally started it because I just wanted to make a couple of friends that were close to me that I could go for coffee with,” Chapman says.

“It never occurred to me that it would get so popular.” Tweet This

Chapman encourages any moms who may feel shy about meeting with a group of people to come out anyway. She says she strives to make the group a safe place for moms to come with their babies, meet other moms, share some advice or even spend some time venting about their partners.

“I’ve been in that situation where it’s really hard to get out and meet new people,” said Chapman.

“And if a mom’s not comfortable coming in because she feels like she’s not going to talk to anyone, I will personally go up and talk her. The sense of community really matriculates from the group in these meetups.”

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Education workers begin work-to-rule in Ottawa area

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Hundreds of Ottawa-area school support workers are set to stop participating in extracurricular activities Monday morning as part of a work-to-rule campaign after weekend contract talks failed to reach a deal.

Bargaining between unions representing Ontario’s education workers, the government of Premier Doug Ford and school boards had been taking place throughout the weekend.

The province said late Sunday afternoon, however, that talks with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) had broken down.

CUPE had said that while its workers were hoping to strike a deal, if the contract talks didn’t pan out, a work-to-rule campaign would begin Monday. The union says job security and wages are key issues in the negotiations.

Work-to-rule means staff will only do tasks they’re explicitly required to do. Office staff won’t supervise students, and education assistants will refuse to be left in classrooms without a teacher present.

There are about 55,000 school support staff in Ontario. They include clerical staff, school custodians and educational assistants. 

Student safety won’t be compromised, says union

“It’s become harder and harder to do more with less,” said Sherry Wallace, a former educational assistant and the president of CUPE Local 2357.

The local represents about 2,500 permanent and casual education workers in the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

“It used to be one educational assistant [for] sometimes to two three students, max. We’re now looking at, sometimes, it’s one educational assistant [for] five to seven,” Wallace said.

Even if its members begin work-to-rule Monday, they won’t compromise the safety of any students, Wallace pledged.

Sherry Wallace is a former educational assistant and the president of CUPE Local 2357, which represents about 2,500 permanent and casual education workers in the Ottawa Catholic School Board. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

‘This is very challenging’

Under work-to-rule, staff won’t take on extra activities for students — like leading choir practices, for example, or organizing sports — on their breaks or after school, Wallace said.

“We wouldn’t be staying later, volunteering and doing the extra things that we have been doing and essentially [have been] taken for granted, unfortunately,” she said.

For the Catholic board, all school support workers aside from custodial staff could begin reducing their workload Monday. That includes educational assistants, early childhood educators, sign language interpreters, developmental education staff, clerical staff, library technicians and some technical and central administrative staff.

“They are scared, and for so many reasons. Mostly because they don’t want this to look badly on them. So that’s the biggest fear,” Wallace said.

“They love, they’re very passionate about what they do. This is very challenging for them.”  

Government focused on reaching deal 

The Ford government has said it’s focused on reaching a deal that keeps kids in the classroom. 

“It is deeply disappointing that CUPE has decided to end talks this weekend, and proceed with a partial withdrawal of services, despite a limited number of outstanding items at the table,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce in a statement Sunday.

Lecce said the province offered proposals to address compensation, job security and funding for additional staffing.

“We remain fully committed to resuming discussions with CUPE to reach an agreement quickly to provide predictability to parents and students. On my direction, through our mediator, we have asked for additional bargaining dates to bring everyone back to the table so that we can ensure our kids remain in class,” said Lecce. 

In a statement Sunday evening, Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said the “other side pushed matters to the brink” despite having it within their power to reach “a fair deal” for students.

“Parents, teachers and communities can be assured that no CUPE member will ever do anything to make a school unsafe or put any student at any risk,” Walton said. “As always, CUPE members will exercise their professional judgment when it comes to the health and safety of students.”

French boards, English Catholic board affected

For the French public school board in Ottawa, the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, custodial and clerical staff, library technicians and IT employees would be working to rule. The support staff for students and teachers inside the classroom are under a different union and wouldn’t be working to rule.

For the French Catholic school board, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, only custodial staff would be working to rule.

The Catholic board’s other high schools, administrative offices, Académie catholique Notre-Dame, Éducation Permanente, and the Centre professionnel et technique Minto will not be affected by a work-to-rule campaign.

No support workers with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board are unionized under CUPE.

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