Monday, December 29, 2008

Refugee From The Cola Wars


HT Flea and rock on Israel.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Searching for the truth about climate change

The search auto-complete function gives a good picture of what the world is searching for. Populated by you, the people, auto-complete is the purest referendum possible on what matters to mankind.

So, what sort of information are people trying to find when they turn their minds and browsers to global warming?



Note the total absence of "humanity's greatest challenge" among the rather denialistic set of predicate nominals suggested to the seeker by Google's search auto-completion.

Maybe people still believe in Climate Change. Survey says:



Ooops! The spell is breaking!

Crossposted at Mitchieville under the London-Mitchieville Free Trade Pact of 1982

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Hippie Bullies

Levant:

I love people who are a little bit different. Or at least I love that they're allowed to be. Of course, I love my right to privacy as well -- the ability to be left alone, and to separate myself from people who are too different for my tastes. But the concept of diversity -- true diversity, diversity of views, not just a window-dressing diversity of quotas based on race and sex -- is anathema to totalitarian systems.

And while Canada's human rights commissions mouth platitudes about diversity, they're actually the enemies of diversity, hounding and grinding political and even stylistic dissidents or psychological outliers for the fake crime of not being the same, of not loving the things the CHRC says they should, and of hating the things the CHRC says they shouldn't.
Solzhenitsyn:
These people were particularly helpless in their personal lives: they could neither bend with the wind, nor pretend, nor get by; every word declared an opinion, a passion, a protest. And it was just such people the mowing machine cut down, just such people the chaff-cutter shredded.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Imaginary consequences of imaginary problems

When the Tooth Fairy was menaced in her own castle by Count Dracula, we did nothing, because our baby teeth were all already gone.

When Bride of Frankenstein and the Wolfman tracked the Easter Bunny to his lair, we did nothing, because his sweet treats made us feel ill.

Now, Santa Claus is threatened by Global Warming Demons. Will we finally act, this time?

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Friday, December 19, 2008

"If it's broke, don't fix it"

 Assessment IncreaseHousing Price Decrease
  (below Jan/08 values)
Tillsonburg22%-29.6%
Bancroft31.5%-21.2%
Welland24.5%-13.4%
Oakville23.8%-13.5%
Renfrew30.6%-11.8%
Orangeville23.9%-8.7%
Hamilton/Burlington22/24%-8.7%
St. Catherines17.5%-5.9%
Port Hope21.5%-5.7%
Kingston18.4%-3.9%
Orillia22%-3.0%
Mississauga21%-2.5%

Read more here…

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Walls of London


The Forest City. Agricultural capital of the mighty province of Ontario. London will be here after Toronto has crumbled into ruins. Ziggaruts will rise and fall in Ottawa, Shibboleths will turn to gravel in Vaughan, and the beggars of Brampton will have turned to food for the roses, but London, mighty London will still be here. I envision a thousand years of prosperity for London. And this will start with the green revolution, when Ontario is an agricultural province again, with London as the capital.

Now, any agricultural capital needs walls. Fortifications. Battlements of stone, a wide moat, and ditches filled with spikes. This is in keeping with the traditions of our non-Christian cultures. Where would Rome be without walls? And what of Athens, Carthage, or Persepolis? All had walls in the ages of agricultual surplus. Only Sparta had no walls, and that model we are not going to follow just yet. So, let us ring London, mighty London with walls.

I call upon you, the People of London, to prepare plans and sketches for walls around the Forest City. I call for three versions:

1) Medieval style walls. High parapets with moats and towers. Look to the peaceful Normans and the Crusaders for your designs.

2) Vauban style walls. Earthen ramparts with cannon, bastions, demi-lunes and redoubts. Gunpowder will still be created in our green future, and will be allowed in this scenario.

3) Liege style walls. Look to the Belgian fortress cities of the time before the First World War. Turrets in cast iron cupolas!


Hurry to your AutoCAD, take out your colored pencils, and take a transit map of London and prepare your plans! A prize of carbon credits and a free set of horseshoes for your horse will be given.

I, Fenris Badwulf, wrote this.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Business and labour leaders demanding a stimulus package from the federal government do so from positions at the head of expected receipts. In a welfare version of "trickle-down" economics, less voluble business and labour non-leaders are obliged to hope for catching a cup from the flow. But if by "stimulus" government investment and spending is indicated, haven't all levels of government been providing increasing doses of stimulus for years now? Arguably the economy is reeling from years of the over-stimulation of inflated expectations that the pseudo-guaranteed benefits and investments of program and spending extravaganzas imply. In effect, stimulus spending is an attempt to blow another bubble beneath a bursting one.

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"It's a leap of faith," said Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best



Only days after Mayor Anne-Marie Worst was heard warning Londoners about the need for fiscal prudence in the midst of an economic crisis, council once again mimics Christmas past and shoots some cash to another creative waste of taxpayer money.

(LFpress) A divided London city council threw a lifeline last night to a cultural institution on the brink of bankruptcy, guaranteeing a $500,000 loan to Orchestra London.

By a 13 to 5 vote, council made city taxpayers the backstop to an organization whose financial distress is even worse than orchestra officials had revealed last week -- a shortfall projected to grow to $900,000 by the end of June.

In providing the loan guarantee, councillors said the alternative would be a terrible blow to the city's culture.

"If we let this orchestra go, don't let us ever call ourselves a creative city again," Coun. David Winninger said.
Of course, Gord Hume, perpetual supporter of a multi-million dollar performing arts centre, echos Mr. Wingnut, though the day of reckoning is perceived as closer:
"We have to approve this or the orchestra won't be here for Christmas -- it's just that simple," Controller Gord Hume said.
As simple as global warming and just as likely to encourage other groups to line up for alms.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fennesz: Transit

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Monday, December 8, 2008

On second thought, let's not go there, it's a silly place

Doomsday prophecy inspires brainwashed cultists to break into airport, stop flights.

'It's a bit cold but everyone is in good spirits. Being arrested is a terrifying prospect, but not nearly as terrifying as the threat of climate change,' she said.

Another protester speaking from the bus after being arrested added: 'We are all now in a big shuttle bus having a bit of a party. We are all singing and dancing.

'This is the first time a major British aiport has been brought to a standstill for this reason.'
Can crowd control be outsourced to the Chinese too?

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The London Fog presents "Diversity Sundays"

As part of a new series exploring the new diversity in sexuality, the London Fog will explore some of the more unusual sexual practices which have moved from the fringes of society into the mainstream of post-internet western culture. In addition to spending the following weeks on-line and in clubs to unearth the growing diversification of sexual practices - which promise new freedoms for young, old, inhibited or otherwise in today's hyper-sexual reality - our correspondent will seek out diverse commentary on these new trends.

You may never view that seemingly frigid co-worker in the same light again.


The doll fetishist, James, 52, civil servant :

When she first arrived, it was a very surreal feeling having this gorgeous and life-like silicone creature sitting opposite me in the lounge.

Very gradually, however, I have got used to having her around and now I have grown to love her as I would a real woman. I know it must seem pretty sad, but for me, she's everything. I think of her primarily as a companion, although obviously she fulfills my sexual needs too – in my experience it's a lot easier and more pleasurable than the real thing! I like the fact that she's always there for me; she eats with me, sits and watches TV with me and sleeps with me. I haven't told anyone about Alice; my work colleagues would laugh at me and if my neighbours saw her they would probably freak out too. To me, however, it's the perfect partnership – and what harm am I doing to anyone else?

What does Islam have to say about such a development?
Will it be called a "bida'a" haram? To what extent is sexual intercourse with a 'replicant' without faith or feelings and moral obligations be acceptable? For sure if it is 'banned' by the ulema, which it will be for sure, nothing will be able to prevent the individual to buy a real life robot replicant and toy with it in the safety and security of their homes.

Yes it is easy to condemn and to lambast the people (of Muslim faith) who would use such methods to satisfy their sexual fantasies but in the same time such condemnations will not quench the urges and desires of these practicians, unfortunately.

Next Week: The asexual: Mark, 44, scientific glassblower

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Friday, December 5, 2008

It just gets me so worked up...

If it were the year 1890, delicate people all across the dominion would be going into "hysterics" and getting "the vapors" over the multiple comical insensitivity of Kathy Shaidle's series of posts on the fascinating phenomenon of peanut allergies.

That diseases real and imagined go in and out of fashion is a well documented phenomenon. That they also provide opportunities for "noble" moral crusades and excuses for journeys of self-discovery/sabbaticals/malingering in our sterile, secular world is also a well known fact and something I am personally well acquainted with. Munchausen by Proxy is just its most extreme manifestation...

In a (yes, I'll say it: decadent bourgeious) culture that honors weakness and victimhood more than strength and heroism, fake epidemics and hypochondria should come as no surprise. Except they do because people are just so damn dumb.
A whole new frontier of denialism is opening before my eyes... fantastic!

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vox plopuli

Time for a 24-hour all-Dion all-the-time channel!

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Alla breve

"The public will share the same lack of respect" that local politicians showed to their own work by voting to cut their salaries by five per cent, an "upset" Controller Gord Hume told the London Free Press. "If council members don't have respect for the job they are doing, then why would the community respect this council?"

Hume may or may not overestimate the amount of respect the public currently holds for councillors, but he certainly overestimates the job itself. The work demands of paid politicians in London are largely the products of their own conceits to manage almost every aspect of public and private life in the city. If civic engineering is a neverending and consuming task, a moderate portion of that time spent ensuring the quality of basic municipal services and minimal tax levies might earn politicians like Hume the respect they seem to crave.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Accommodating the Unaccommodating

The University of Western Ontario is revamping some existing single stall washrooms in the arts and social sciences areas on campus, and investing in some signage to make transgendered peoples feel more welcome.

"These bathrooms are single-stall bathrooms with a universal sign to provide safety and security for all individuals," said Cara Eng, the student council's vice-president of campus issues.

Eng spearheaded the move after going to the Canadian University Queer Service conference in Montreal.

"They're not just for people who are transgendered or who are in transition (from one gender to another). They're for anyone," Eng said.

The bathrooms can also be used for students who want to breastfeed, those who need to wash before prayer or just would like privacy.

[..] The bathrooms will be rolled out starting in January and should all be functional by April, she said. They're existing single-stall bathrooms that will get new signs.

The university will cover sign costs, said Roy Longille, associate vice-president of physical plant and capital planning service.

"They will be marked so not to be offensive to any group," Longille said.

The sign will say "Washroom" on a purple background, in Braille as well. If the washroom is handicapped accessible, there will also be a picture of a wheelchair. (LFpress)
Inevitably, some group is going to take offense.
Dwayne Mills, who sits on the Pride Festival London committee and often performs shows in drag, said going into the gender-neutral bathroom could "out" people unnecessarily.

"I would be uncomfortable in a specific washroom," he said.

When he's doing a performance in drag, the group will ask which gender's bathroom the owners of the establishment want the performers to use, Mills said.

"I think, personally, (the gender-neutral) bathrooms are centering those transgendered people out . . . (Transgendered) should be part of the community, not another level of the community," Mills said.
Of course, there are still gender specific options available to the community, but never mind, it's the fault of the heteronormatives.

cp: The Broom

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Dalai Lama says conjugal life causes "too much ups and downs"


. . . and "too much ups and downs" - or ins and outs - can lead to some sticky situations . . .


"Naturally as a human being ... some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence to make comprehension that those couples always full of trouble. And in some cases there is suicide, murder cases," the Dalai Lama said.

Murder? Suicide?



Hmmm . . . I'll take a six pack and a free download, thanks.

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The Recyclenots: The Climate Doesn’t Change

Here's the latest track from Hamilton's foremost denialcore band, THE RECYCLENOTS, with the radio mix of THE CLIMATE DOESN'T CHANGE, the first single from their second album, "THIS YEAR'S CLIMATE MODEL".



the climate doesn't change lord
it always stays the same
from the middle of the gobi desert
to the serengeti plain

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yes you can!

His confident smile and kind eyes are an inspiration to us all. Change has come. Invest your destiny. Have your credit card ready.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Reasons to ignore the media and play guitar instead

Staunch defender of plastic bags I am. I never fail to be irked by the sight of people leaving the government monopoly that is the LCBO without a bag, or with a paper bag heavily laden with precious brew. In Ontario, the plastic bag is no longer an option at these outlets.

I admit, I am similarly bothered to see customers bring their re-useable bags to the grocery store. I contribute relatively little to the landfill, certainly a tiny fraction compared to David Suzuki's and Al Gore's output, and voluntarily do my part to reuse and recycle, but the totalitarian nature of the regime of green has me longing for the days when everything went to the curb in a big black garbage bag.

Toronto, the bastion of diversity and correctness, has not yet banned the plastic bag, nor the plastic Tim Horton's lid, but if council approves, the focus will no longer be on a promised Pavlovian reward, but instead on penalties for incorrect choices:

A compromise between the city and big supermarkets will make shoppers pay a 5-cent penalty for taking a plastic bag instead of receiving a 10-cent reward for bringing a reusable bag.

[..] Mayor David Miller announced the deal he brokered with the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors at a waste transfer station near the port decked out with the colourful vinyl, cloth and canvas reusable bags, bins and carry alls that big supermarkets like Loblaws, Metro and Sobey's currently sell to shoppers at the cash.
Mr. Miller promised to introduce an amendment at city council to replace the rebate with the fee. He called it the "right thing to do" both for the environment and for business.

"The highest level of environmental responsibility is reducing," he said. "It makes absolutely no sense to use oil, scarce oil, for something and then throw it away. Yes, we will be able to recycle these bags, and people will still be able to use them in the green bins... Other kinds of bags that are not recyclable will be banned. (The National Post)
The threat of plastic bag bans are increasingly a chilling possibility. And the dissenters are not helping the cause with their collectivist bleatings:
Not everyone is on side however. The CCGD (Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors) represents about 60% of supermarkets. No one from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, representing retailers as well as convenience stores and small markets attended the announcement.

Nor did the Retail Council of Canada.

Diane Brisebois, president and CEO, said the retailers her group represents would rather see a provincially harmonized policy on reducing reliance on plastic bags than a city bylaw.

"Otherwise this will become a patchwork of bylaws," she said. "We need a level playing field."
And nor are Industry studies saving the plastic bag by sampling a single re-useable bag from some random shopper of unknown hygienic habits:
Reusing bags might be good for the environment but an industry lobby group has released a preliminary study that suggests such reused bags are dangerous to our health.

A news release issued Thursday by Food Fight Toronto said an independent study out of Guelph found high levels of bacteria and mould in the one sample bag it tested.

From Nov. 1-18, Guelph Chemical Laboratories took a sample swab from a reusable plastic shopping bag and found an elevated bacteria count of 1,800. A level of 500 is considered safe for water.

[..] Pandey said the levels are high likely because people don't wash the bags as carefully or as often as they should. He said the bags must be washed in 140 C water to be free of any germs -- a temperature higher than most dishwashers reach (water boils at 100 C).

The bag was taken at random from a shopper leaving a grocery store. It had been in use for one year to transport groceries, said the news release.

"We know that a sample size of one is not enough, but one canary in the tunnel is enough to serve as a warning," said Joe Schwarcz, scientist and Director of the University of McGill Office of Science and Society. (CTV)
cp: The Broom

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

January 20, 2009 can't come fast enough

Wretchard:

Now maybe if Israel just withdrew from Gaza, the West Bank or simply vanished from the face of the earth, none of this would happen. Or maybe if the West apologized for something, anything, name it … then none of this would happen. Try anything, because the alternative is to resist. And that will never do.
Especially if Guantanamo stays open!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Satire is to blame



I knew it was coming. I cast the plastic bags I have been hoarding, and understood before the smoldering ashes were extinguished. The blame for the persecution of red heads is to be leveled on the heads of the makers of South Park. White privilege once again rears its ugly head.

A B.C. student will reluctantly head back to school today after his classmates kicked him dozens of times last week during a daylong prank called "National Kick a Ginger Day."

The event, which has become an international phenomenon as word spread on the social networking site Facebook, asked kids across the country to kick schoolmates with red hair. The idea spread quickly from the virtual community into classrooms not just here in Canada but also into schools as far away as the U.K.

[..] Aaron Mishkin, a 13-year-old high school victim of the prank from Nanaimo, B.C., said he didn't know last Thursday was "kick a ginger day," but he quickly found out.

[..] Mishkin said punishing kids who participated in the violence may not be the best solution, but he said some of the kids should get counselling.

"Because really, it's like a hate crime directed against a group of people," he said.(CTV)
And if it's a hate crime, that means someone is going to attempt to gain some compensation for hurt feelings and bruised shins:
And one Calgary parent, who says his 12-year-old son was repeatedly kicked Thursday because of his red hair, says he may launch a lawsuit against South Park, the satirical television show that inspired the notion.

"It's worse than bullying," said Gorman, whose last name is being withheld to protect his son's identity.

"It's prejudice . . . it's not just 'Kick a red head today.' It's 'Kick them tomorrow,' 'Kick them at a party.'

"It goes on and on."
Related:

Kick A Ginger Day Gets Predictable Results

National Kick A Ginger Day

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Awaaarrr…zzzzzz

Taking aim at an apparently underdeveloped "awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke" at bus stops, fourth-year University of Western Ontario nursing student Sarah Fox and colleagues are "fighting back" with a new sign and flyer campaign. "It's gross, and we shouldn't be put at risk," Fox told the London Free Press, providing future patients with the comfort that nursing students are able to grasp and communicate complex medical concepts.

"People need to be aware of it," she continued, without the slightest awareness of anyone else's awareness. On the other hand, hectoring is a far more economical use of education time and resources than acquiring and applying ability. "Even a small exposure can have long-term effects." As opposed to far greater exposure to vehicle exhaust while standing at a bus stop?

On the subject of raising redundant information to the elevated status of awareness and research grants, a recent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that poor people are as likely to "end up in hospital" as poor people in other studies. This result should prompt swift action to raise health premiums for poor people who have so far been ailing at the expense of healthier and more heavily taxed rich people.

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Refuse

Undeterred by losing transactions with taxpayers marking the losses, City Hall will likely soon pass increasing debits from its recycling account to Londoners as retail prices for recyclables plummet by as much as three-quarters since the beginning of the year. In support of the ordinary civic practise of providing equal value for more money, Jay Stanford, Director of Environmental Programs & Solid Waste, emphasized that no blue box materials "end up in a landfill" … an odd disclaimer to make unless there were some reason to suspect otherwise, such as if it became more profitable for the recycling contractor to dispose of the lowest-priced materials than to sort and sell. In the event that the demand for feeling good about garbage exceeds the demand for the garbage itself, Londoners might well be receiving even less value for more money.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's World Toilet Day

You've made the one ply sacrifice, you have scaled down to one square per session, but it's not enough. Now you must resist the urge to flush. Think of the endangered polar bears and bureaucrats who will gain from your sacrifice of a clean toilet. Think Brown Bin.

AS the world celebrates World Toilet Day today, sanitation experts have called for the end of the flushing dunny to save water and provide fertilizer for crops.

Leading health advocates have called for the use of "dry" toilets which separate urine from faeces and remove the need to flush.

Speaking at the recent World Toilet Summit in Macau, World Toilet Organisation founder Jack Sims said the concept of the flushing toilet was unsustainable.

Mr Sims said a culture where people flushed their loos but disregarded the thousands of litres of wasted drinking water each year was one of sanitation's greatest challenges.

"This 'flush and forget' attitude creates a new problem which we have to revisit," he said.
Have you burned your plastic bags yet in protest?

cp: The Broom

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Loonar landing

"In years to come," tells Coun. Harold Usher who wants "all television sets to be tuned to Obama," "people will be asking, 'Where were you when Obama was inaugurated the 44th president of the United States?'"

Ummm… working, as in all probability during any previous inauguration ceremony? Which, incidentally, would be the most useful thing anyone can do to make any presidential administration a success unless its success is to be measured more by facile personality- or race-driven sentimentality than by results.

Postscript: again with the racist advertising at the London Free Press!

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Choo talking to me?

Contrary to the opinion of London Free Press reader John V. Day of London, the "lack of consultants" in any political decision is almost never a "cause for concern" … unless one happens to be a consultant or desperately trying to become one, of course.

As exhibit of the latter, the very top story in the broadsheet edition of today's Free Press is Urban League of London chairman Stephen Turner's criticism of Council's decision Monday to postpone making a decision on implementation of a green bin program until a new study has been contrived. The Urban League of London is entitled as anyone to hold a recklessly wrong opinion, but Mr. Turner ought to consider the benefits of being repeatedly recruited as an arbitrary and un-credentialed consultant by both the City and the Free Press for at least a few more months.

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Community Voices: We Are All Somali Pirates Now

We are all Somali pirates now

Everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about Somali pirates. Day in and day out, this prejudice-fostering phrase is used by journalists, NGO representatives, government officials, and even by some of my friends in the arts community. It's as if we've collectively forgotten, or are supposed to forget, or choose to ignore, that not all Somalis are pirates, and not all pirates are Somali. Never do the neoliberal media display any curiosity about the root causes of "piracy", of the real motives and views of these men and women, or the loving families they leave behind on their dangerous journeys out of poverty.

Leaving aside the old adage that "one man's pirate is another man's shipmate", have we so quickly forgotten about Sir Henry Morgan? Blackbeard? Calico Jack? Captain Kidd? Entire towns such as Granada and Panama were sacked by these pirates -- and yes, they were pirates, and to a man, none ever even set foot in Somalia. Who are we to label Somalis as bloodthirsty pirates when we romanticize our own civilisation's sordid history of piracy with Disney rides and films?

When you participated in Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19, did you speak in English, or in Somali? Who exactly is trying to shift the narrative, and why? Why are we discouraged from asking these questions, and why does it require so much bravery to do so? Ignoring the complexities may make simplistic minds feel good,but it doesn't help solve the situation. Nor does the unreflecting application of the kinds of labels that got us into this situation in the first place.

The coverage is having an effect and it isn't a pretty one. I doubt that most of the armchair pirate hunters so eager to "crack down hard" on this complicated phenomenon would even be able to locate Somalia on a map. Maybe their idol Sarah Palin could help them -- if she knew that there is more than one country on that continent.

We need to demand that our news media get a lesson in sensitivity, and put a stop to their unfair and ahistorical association of piracy with the Somali community, with whom we all stand in solidarity in the last days of this, the most corrupt White House in my lifetime.

Aloysius Krane is a visual artist specializing in transgressive pottery.

A moment for reflection
I tremble for everyone affected by the recent outbreak of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and pray for the safety of all who have found themselves involved.

It is at moments such as these that we all are thankful for the small mercies the Lord of this World has shown us in our lives, and the good fortune each of us has in not being involved directly in such terrible situations. Although none of us is an island and all are diminished by this crisis, we cannot help but be touched by the situation. The fear and terror of every person on the unlucky oil tanker must be tremendous.It calls out to every person of faith like a sea-borne beacon.

Imagine being on that ship, miles from shore, waiting for the reaction of the world community; a community whose usual American-styled response to such events is to meet violence with more pointless violence.

I myself was once prone to that way of thinking, until I realized in my heart that it is only by God's lenience that I myself was not drawn in by the lure of plunder and murder. Granted, I could never have become a Somali pirate, but that is no reason to deny that any one of us might one day find ourselves launching grappling hooks onto a boat, or firing warning shots from a perilously unsteady dinghy to warn a tanker's crew of the danger that awaits them, or anxiously patrolling our assigned portion of the ship, trembling at the sound of every approaching helicopter.

If we are to be fishers of men, and to fulfil our sacred mission to turn the stones to bread and feed the impoverished, we need to think of how difficult and confusing it must be for the people on that ship even to sleep -- crew and visitors alike -- fearing that at any moment foreign troops might storm aboard and end the dream forever.

The legacy of poverty and racism has left us all washed up on strange shores indeed.

Hilda Reich is pastor of Supine Road United Church.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

W-w-w-w … Wacism!

Random advertisement for Porky's BBQ & Leisure accompanying the London Free Press on-line edition report of Coun. Harold Usher's letter to Board of Control urging it to urge schools and businesses in return to "make it easy" to watch Barack Obama's inauguration in January.

WHEN WILL THE RACISM END?

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The Sound of Settled Dogma

Obama is vowing to control the thermostat to stop climate change. Denial is no longer an option. Money does grow on trees.

"Few challenges facing America -- and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change," he says in the video. "The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. We’ve seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season. Climate change and our dependence on foreign oil, if left unaddressed, will continue to weaken our economy and threaten our national security.

Obama continues that "too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office. My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process.
cp: The Broom

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Waste diversion program tosses financial prospects down the pit

Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell's recent warning that local taxes might increase 20% or more next year appears less of an exaggerated caution to a spendthrift City Council than a genuine possibility after London's Environment and Transportation Committee recommended an aggressive launch of a green bin program and expanded recycling at an estimated $8.5 million in capital start-up costs and $6.5 million in annual operating costs.

Despite a 35 per cent increase in property tax rates and an 86 per cent hike in water and sewer charges since 2000, the effects of spending growth on taxpayers have been mitigated until now through expansion of the City's assessment base. But after the lowest rate of property assessment growth since 2004 last year, an already weak development prospect as identified earlier this year by the Real Estate Investment Network appears headed for further decline as regional economic outlooks continue to deteriorate; property valuations may even decrease in London. In the absence of assessment growth, taxpayers will begin to face the full brunt of annual spending increases well above the rate of inflation at a time when many can least afford it. Even as Council frets over spiraling expenditures beyond its direct control, it is not difficult to assess the impact of still further hikes in discretionary spending on an already fragile base in current economic and fiscal conditions.

Concerns expressed for the longevity of existing landfill space are misconceived at best and contrived at worst; benefits of postponing expansion by two years have neither been properly costed nor are supported by any data made available to the public, and in any event rely on optimistic assumptions such as full compliance with a new recycling regime which would inevitably entail further regulatory and policing costs. Given that the landfill will need to be expanded at the current or near-current schedule at any rate of diversion, the speculative benefits are bound to be negligible in contrast to more immediate and material tolls on the local economy. The weak credibility of these concerns and speculations suggest that they are being peddled in support of programs whose appeal to Committee members rests less on financial prospects than on prospects for behaviour modification. Unfortunately for Londoners, nothing in this Council's experience is compelling enough to counter this suggestion.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Scrapping Common Sense

It's a time of economic decline, there is yet another tax hike on the horizon, and so London bureaucrats and politicians logically start talking about recycling kitchen scraps. The city's environment and transportation committee is recommending regular garbage collection be reduced to once every two weeks, along with the implementation of a green bin program, that is estimated to cost $8.5 million to start with and another $6.5 million annually to operate. Apparently shifting scraps of biodegradable food bits is going to save the landfill that is projected to be full in 15 years.

Londoners could be using a green bin to recycle kitchen scraps faster than city hall bureaucrats are calling for.

And, in an unexpected twist, city politicians yesterday urged staff to consider reducing garbage pickup to once every two weeks year-round.

Both measures, suggested by city council's environment and transportation committee, go beyond what city hall staff had proposed.

The more aggressive options pleased Coun. Joni Baechler, a member of the committee.

"I'm concerned the longer we delay, the more space we're taking up in the landfill," she said. (LFpress)
And while I long for the days when everything just went into a big black garbage bag before being hauled out to the curb, it could be worse. We could be living in Toronto where you need a manual to figure out which receptacle to put your waste in.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en Excerpts From A Chilling Tale

Sorting through late Great-Uncle Edward's effects, the belongings and memoirs of a man who had spent many years living in and reflecting on London, we found several fragments of what appears to be a tale of terror, affordable housing, and arts funding, set in a Forest City of times past. We haven't been able to find many pages from this story among the voluminous records of one of London's little-remembered chroniclers, but we pass it on to you this Hallowe'en as a fragmentary, ghostly reminder of London's past.

"A friend of mine, who is a man of letters and a philosopher, said to me one day, as if between jest and earnest, 'Fancy; since we last met I have discovered affordable housing in the midst of London."
First page, apparently:



Near the beginning:



This seems also to be a part of the narrative.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sub-urb

Making sure "the streets drain and the toilets flush" in new subdivisions is "not enough" for city planner John Fleming. Urging the City's Planning Committee to adopt new planning guidelines for residential development, Fleming told members that "really what we're talking about is the soul of the community."

Assuming a ministerial mission to London's flocks is bound to appeal to the conceits of politicians. But the rest of us must wonder whether an honest belief by bureaucrats in a vocation of salvation would be preferable to dishonest claims that serve the soul of a bureaucrat's department instead. Fleming's office would certainly stand to gain an expanded mandate over new development under the proposed new guidelines (below), but if anyone expects widespread delivery through the powers of bureaucracy one should examine how the soul of downtown has fared after years of growing regulation and hundreds of millions of tax dollars.

But if faith costs money at City Hall, flimsy faith will have to cost more. When asked by the London Development Institute to postpone a decision on the guidelines until the City "spells out how new designs will be engineered and at what cost," planners objected that the request "would further delay implementation." After years of trying to change "the culture of development," such a delay should appear modest unless disclosing costs would suffer the less dependable faith of ordinary citizens. Much better that such costs are built into the price of new homes without notice or suspicion, even if planners do cite a survey finding that Londoners are willing to pay a "slight premium" for the new guidelines. But how many of those surveyed, like guideline proponent Coun. Nancy Branscombe's "biggest partners," already own their own homes?

New subdivision guideline features, as reported by the London Free Press:

  • Integrate natural features such as hills and trees rather than bulldoze them.
  • Design streets to promote walking and cycling rather than the use of automobiles.
  • Reject cookie-cutter housing and instead use a mix of styles, sizes and building densities to attract a broader range of dwellers.
  • Create public spaces that are easily accessed and enjoyed.
  • Consider the pros and cons of grid-like streets, overnight parking and rear laneways that clear streets of garages and driveways

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Thanks and where is my handout?

Never underestimate the power of groups to effect change:

A group representing Canada's struggling manufacturing industry says auto-parts makers could disappear unless the government gives an emergency short-term loan of $1 billion.

Manufacturers, particularly those exporting auto parts to the United States, are struggling because of the worldwide credit freeze.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters president Jayson Myers said Tuesday that the problems could move beyond auto parts companies, noting that many firms dependent on exports to the U.S. are in trouble.

"Until now we've been talking about what the government has needed to do to promote investment and ensure the long-term competitiveness of the sector," he told The Canadian Press. "Right now, though, we've got a short-term priority and that's just the survival of companies.

"Frankly, if we do not see government helping to provide credit to companies ... we are going to see an awful lot of very, very good and very important companies go out of business in Canada."
The London Fog has important short-term priorities too, so we encourage you to send us well-deserved funds. Mike has fled to a far part of the globe, Basil is busy, Mapmaster is studying maps, Lisa is sleeping, and those other minions are busy preparing for their own retirement. Help us to help you. Please give, and generously at that, as the evil Harper government threatens to cut arts funding.

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Ontario Considers Sources of Revenue to Bail out the Auto Makers

Ontario, the province that would run a deficit before cutting back on wasteful expenditures, is once again focusing on road safety. A bill is on the table that would ban drivers from talking on hand-held cellphones, operating GPS devices and BlackBerrys. If caught, motorists could be fined as much as $500 or more and also lose demerit points. No word if drinking coffee, talking to your passengers, fiddling with your radio and cd player and smoking a cigarette, while wolfing down a bagel, is on the radar next.

Transportation Minister Jim Bradley told reporters Tuesday that Premier Dalton McGuinty asked him to make the roads safer, and that's what he intends to do.

"The premier (asked) me to look at that look at what's been done in other jurisdictions ... to see what our safety partners have to say,"

The Liberal government consulted police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada before drafting the legislation, Bradley said.

If caught by police, drivers will face fines of at least $500 and demerit points. (CTV)
cp: The Broom

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Some might think

Failure to possess a library card in London is a "disservice" to the community, according to London Free Press Editor-In-Chief Paul Berton who himself has at least made splendid use of the libary's marketing materials (pdf) and wasted no commas or conjunctions in his effort to reproduce them in short form.

Libraries help us learn, engage, discover, connect. Libraries and librarians teach us about proper and effective research, about critical thinking, about the possibilities of resources available to all of us, much of which is not readily available (as some might think) in a bookstore or on the Internet or on television.
On the shortcomings of popular thinking, Berton continues:
Libraries make us literate. And illiteracy in London, as a recent Free Press report showed, is far more prevalent than too many of us think.
It would strike us as odd that illiteracy should be so prevalent given the prevalence of libraries in London these days, but scrutinizing literacy-making claims for a system that has received an average annual budget increase of 4.9 per cent over the past six years is obviously not the kind of exercise in critical thinking that the library board would have in mind for us. Not when a crescendo of commas can make the literate and critical thinking Londoner:
Less illiteracy and more information for everyone makes a community prosperous, progressive, innovative, successful, resourceful, flexible, understanding, caring, co-operative …
For anyone currently doing a disservice to the comma community, however, Berton includes the helpful advice that libraries are "not as mysterious or as intimidating as" … you guessed it … "some might think."

See also:

London Public Library: out of control

The spoiled child

Oh, to be a Library administrator in London in the springtime

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Tyranny of Nice

Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere, authors of the new expose of Canada's "Human Rights" Commissions, on the Michael Coren Show last night.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Curtailing Rights Because They Care

The CRTC has launched "a proceeding", with a corresponding commission, effectively multiplying the bureaucrat count, to consider the problem of the internet. What a fine way to secure existing positions in a time of economic collapse. Check the CRTC course guide for opportunities in your community.

The government agency says the proceeding will include a public hearing starting on February 17, 2009, in Gatineau, Que where the federal government is inviting comments on "the significance of broadcasting in new media and its impact on the traditional broadcasting system"

In simple terms, the agency is trying to establish a role for itself in the regulation of what Canadians can and should be able to see over the internet similar to the way the commission regulates what Canadians can see over Canadian radio and television.

The result of these hearings could result in in the overturning of a 1999 decision that exempted from regulation broadcasters that distribute their video content over the Internet. The hearings will also examine a 2007 decision that took a hands off approach to broadcasters and wireless companies who were sending video through cellphones and other mobile devices.

In a written statement this week, the federal bureaucrats said the review was required now because Canadians are now spending more time watching video over the internet and mobile devices. The Commission, therefore, wishes to consult on the "the appropriateness of the Commission's exemption orders for new media and mobile broadcasting services." (Digital Home)
CP: The Broom

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Et community organizers

Students of social science, must fear popular approval: Evil is with them when all men speak well of them.

~ Alfred Marshall, quoted in Friedrich A. Hayek's speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1974.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cartoons and porn!

And we're not talking about that silly anime stuff!

"Did you say 20 per cent?" Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best asked incredulously.




And if you don't find that amusing . . .

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Stun

Canadian author Joseph Boyden may be "stunned when anyone — including the prime minister — labels the arts 'elitist'." But it is altogether less surprising to find a Canadian literary talent — interviewed from New York, incidentally — entirely misattributing recent cuts to arts funding as a product of coarse sentiments by wildly misreading a comment by Stephen Harper criticizing publicly subsidized artists.

What Canadian artists apparently lack in honesty or reading comprehension might be slightly compensated by their creative redefinition of themselves as "the arts" were it not for the fact that such self-serving interpretation is elitist itself. Fantastic re-enactment of Harper's comment in pursuit of a minor constituent election issue only exhibits the narrow, trivial, boorish and — frankly — elitist nature of much publicly funded art that disinterests ordinary Canadians in the first place.

Authors may "challenge the way we think," according to Carolyn Young, communications manager for the University of Western Ontario Book Store. But if Boynton is an example, they're not nearly as keen to challenge each others conventions when cold hard cash is on the line.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sing for Obama Reposted



The original poster deleted this totalitilarious video before I was able to see it, but the internet didn't let me down.

I still think that "O BA MA" thing by the rap singer is a tiny bit creepier though.

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If you don't eat yer tofu, you can't have any meat! How can you have any meat if you dint eat yer tofu?


Global Warming needs a new kind of leadership because "study upon study has shown that awareness-raising campaigns alone are unlikely to work, particularly when it comes to more difficult changes."

People will have to be rationed to four modest portions of meat and one litre of milk a week if the world is to avoid run-away climate change, a major new report warns.

The report, by the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Surrey, also says total food consumption should be reduced, especially "low nutritional value" treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolates.
Vice Shift?

Will exceptions be made for jackboots and athletes?
The Michael Phelps Diet:

Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.

Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.

Dinner: One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Mountain View


View of Evans Bay, Rongotai, and Lyall Bay from atop Mount Victoria, Wellington

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The future of London's downtown etched in stone

I've never understood why anyone other than its most recent tenants (squatters) gave a damn about the future of the Capital cinema. Of what use is an old cinema (with no cup holders in the seats) in a downtown people rarely visit?



I recently noticed (like most Londoners, I rarely have any reason to go downtown so I can't say how long it's been visible) that there is an antique looking facade which had been hidden for years behind some unimpressive siding (siding which dated back to the days when people actually used the cinema as a cinema and removed in the process of demolition). At first, I really couldn't understand why anyone would want to put boring old siding over top of some sweet old architecture that I hear is worth saving at a cost of millions. So why wasn't this architectural feature visible before?

Given the controversy surrounding this place, I was moved to investigate this recently revealed and rather disturbing facade more closely. I was so fortunate on this particular day as to have within my entourage, that seer of all things esoteric, Sargon the Magnificent. Having guessed the source of my distraction as we moved through the dust bowl of London, Sargon drew my attention to the iconography of the building. It seems the designer of this facade was, himself, either a seer of the highest caliber who saw what must have seemed unthinkable in the roaring 20s - within 100 years London's downtown would become a financial/cultural sinkhole - or he had a twisted sense of humour and an axe to grind with his patrons.

For those of you who care enough about these sorts of things, go downtown and look carefully at the cornucopias which decorate this pollution-stained facade. I will not reproduce a detail of this image here; Sargon insists that everyone must see this for him/herself, and that reproducing the image here, in detail, is counter-intuitive. Typically speaking, a cornucopia is a representation of a goat's horn overflowing with fruits, flowers, and vegetables, used to symbolize plenty or prosperity. On this facade take note of what emerges - a snake! One need not have a postdoctoral in post-feminist transgressive literature to understand that you don't want a snake in your cornucopia.

Now, having read of the sweet little deal the owner of this ominous little facade has in the works with city council, I asked of Sargon that age old question: "Does art imitate life? Or does life imitate art?" Sargon merely laughed that strange disembodied laugh of his and vanished into the dust bowl.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Third eye on the Fog

For all its obvious politically partisan slant, this portrait of the people and personalities behind The London Fog gives insight into the mysterious and controversial figures here at southwestern Ontario's favourite URL.

I first met Lisa and her Gang on a dark and stormy night. There was thunder and lightning, and as what's his name, 'The Mayor', had bullied me against my will to go to London (where Lisa and her gang hang out), I was filled with anxiety and felt uncomfortable.
Read the whole thing.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Tarts funding

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's admission that "political direction" was involved in recent cuts to arts funding may be taken as a bit of a "gotcha" moment by an arts community eager to force an election issue.

But public arts funding has always been the result of political direction in the first place, from the usual optimistic practise of trading actual wealth for contingent electoral constituencies. Neither as an election issue nor on its own does arts funding exist for the benefit or interest of ordinary Canadians who have learned to pass by crap every day of the week with immunity.

If the arts community can actually compose an election issue to which ordinary Canadians will respond, it will have finally succeeded where its art has failed … a belated sign of genuine creativity, as it were, but hardly surprising from anyone when cold hard subsidies are on the line.

See also Edward Michael George and G.K. Chesterton, Further to "Artists":

No man ever wrote any good poetry to show that childhood was shocking, or that twilight was gay and farcical, or that a man was contemptible because he had crossed his single sword with three. The people who maintain this are the Professors, or Prigs.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bidding for municipal endorsements starts now

In a letter introducing a questionnaire to local candidates in the upcoming federal election (PDF), Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best admits that accomplishing the "health" of at least this one Canadian city is beyond her administration's abilities and requires "collaboration between all three orders of government."

This is a bold demand of federal politicians from an administration that has already presided over municipal budget increases of more than 40 per cent since 2000 and that receives 121 per cent more in grants from other levels of government than the average for Canadian municipalities. After effectively vetoing a sale of London Hydro that could significantly reduce the City's enormous debt financing obligations, it appears that the health for which London's administration is really concerned is the health of its own assets … and that other levels of government should be obliged to tend to any other kind of "health" in order not to jeopardize those assets.

The short version of the City's questionnaire to local candidates reads:

  1. Will your Party give us more money?
  2. Will your Party give us a share in the exercise of federal power without having to take any responsibilities for it?
  3. Will your Party give us more money?
  4. Will your Party pay for leftist schemes for which we'd like to take credit but can't afford ourselves? and
  5. Will your Party give us more money?
Despite the simpering promises that will inevitably be made in response to the questionnaire, the federal government under any Party will always be just as interested in the health of its own assets as well, so it's difficult to foresee how the ordinary health of cities themselves will ever be improved by higher federal taxes.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Interesthesia

As a resident of the episodic Ward 6, it comes as a relief to find that the white trash criminal population of Ward 4 and the unemployed hippies of Ward 13 will remain segregated after recent efforts to refine the science of defining electoral boundaries by "communities of interest." Now if they could just redistrict that schoolteacher down the street who drives a Prius, the retired alcoholic two doors down, and the man on the corner who never cuts his grass…

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday Afternoon Spring Peeking Through


Botanical Gardens, Christchurch

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Think Green - money does grow on trees


While Elizabeth may not want to apologize for calling me stupid, she is sorry she hasn't smoked pot.

"I've never used marijuana. I apologize."
I'm really not sure why she's sorry for that - it's never too late to start. I'm sure there's got to be a couple of hippie holdovers left in the Green party who can set her up with some chronic (the sort of penitent who whipped him/herself with the seemingly helpless cause back in the golden age of fringe - before the party was hijacked by trendy and/or disgruntled ex-PCs and Liberal opportunists). But I some how imagine her to be one of those people who, when she takes a toke, gets right in your face when you're trying to chill, and just won't shut up. She devotes too much energy to altering the ways of others, and any experienced toker will intuitively sense this potential buzz kill is a no spark zone.

Whatever the case, dope is green and that fits in pretty well with the party colour scheme. Just how green?
The party would like to see "small, independent growers" thrive, and the government taxing the weed at the same rate as tobacco, generating an estimated one billion dollars Canadian (931 million US) annually.
Given the carbon tax she'll hit the growers with for their lights and the GST she'll reinstate on the sales, that's pretty damn green. Throw in some income tax breaks for people who don't really earn any income (collecting what they do earn through the GST and carbon tax), and you've got an especially green budget.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Small Town League of London

"No to selling and no to …"

… this, that, or anything other change to London Hydro as it now stands, the graven parochial image of its interlocutors Stephen Turner and the Urban League of London.

While the costs of doing nothing are admittedly unclear and probably minor, Turner entirely misrepresents the costs of selling the utility:

"Selling would be short-term gain for long-term pain. … Londoners get a 1.5 per cent reduction on their … taxes because of the $6.2 million the utility pays to the city in interest and dividends. If we sold, we'd lose that ongoing source of revenue."
At the risk of repeating myself, the utility pays $2 million annually in dividends — a very modest return on recently valued at $246 million. The rest is interest paid to the City on a loan, an obligation that will either continue to be paid or be discharged to the City in any event of a sale. On the other hand, a $2 million annual dividend would be far exceeded by the annual $35-40 million savings on municipal debt-servicing obligations — $59.8 million in 2008 — if proceeds of a sale were applied to the City's $350 million debt.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Great Gig in the Sky

BBC reports:

Pink Floyd keyboard player and founder member Richard Wright has died, aged 65, from cancer.


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Balance as bias

I've been trying to follow the election here in my home and native land. Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical, ok, so I am old and cynical. Where is the balance that our national broadcaster is supposed to be providing? It used to be the Liberals who got all the wet kiss coverage. Now it seems that the Green Party is their new love.

The media, and by this I mean all of it, have forgotten that their role in society is to report on the events in a fair and balanced manner. Their job is not to make the news, but to report the news. It is not their job to convince me to choose one way or another. It is not their job to tell me what I think, mostly because they neither know what I think, nor do they seem to really care. I'm growing more annoyed (or is it amused) by their habit of interviewing themselves so they can reinforce their smarter than us attitude. What we are fed, on a regular basis, is more like warm distilled water than a good cold beer.

Are we really so stupid as to need journalists who opine on what is right and good for us?

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Closed for business

A public meeting this Thursday at the Convention Centre is a rare instance of Londoners being afforded an opportunity to contribute suggestions on the future of London Hydro, a city-owned power utility whose primary practises are governed almost exclusively elsewhere by provincial agencies. But the exercise in public participation is likely to end up as purely symbolic as the public's actual stake in the utility's management, as Councillors have already invested themselves heavily in the demagogic appeal of local ownership and placement, effectively deciding to veto any sale or any relocation of the utility's head office through merger (PDF). From the London Free Press:

Whatever happens, local politicians say, head office must be in London, jobs must stay here and the city must retain control.
Unfortunately for Londoners, preemptive rejection of a full sale on the grounds of such feeble sentimental clichés dismisses opportunities both for taxpayers as well as for Council to take a responsible approach to its debt and infrastructure problems by raising revenues and discharging liabilities from its own bloated assets.

Contrary to the lucrative suggestion by the London Free Press that the utility "pumps $6.2 million a year into city coffers," London Hydro yields the City only $2 million in annual dividends — a strictly modest return on assets recently valued at $246 million. The remainder is interest paid to the City on a loan, an obligation that will either remain or be discharged in any event of a sale. More importantly to taxpayers, much of the $30 million that the City claims is needed annually for maintenance and building of basic infrastructure can be obtained from spending on debt-servicing obligations that reached $59.8 million in 2008 alone. The savings from these costs would likely approach the $30 million annual figure alone by applying the proceeds of a sale of London Hydro to the City's $350 million debt, and would certainly far exceed the annual dividend. Council's principle consideration if it wishes to be seen as a responsible steward of London's finances should only be obtaining the best price for London Hydro's assets — other options under discussion, including mergers with or acquisition of smaller utilities, will net no real difference to taxpayers.

Neither local control nor ownership suggest themselves as inherent benefits to a public that is generally disinterested in a utility's operations except to quietly receive service without intrusion or undue notice. Council in any case directs itself and staff to act almost strictly as a disinterested stakeholder to an independent London Hydro executive in day-to-day operations, a hands-off approach that minimizes politicization of the utility's operations. So why now? Would Londoners even notice a difference in service or value from another publicly-owned utility whose head office is elsewhere, or from a privately-owned one for that matter?

Not likely, and no suggestions to the contrary have ever been made even by politicians. The value to the public of public ownership is always only symbolic, and in the case of a utility on whose operations the public has no ordinary influence or impact except as a customer, it is strictly so. And when the representation of the symbol is London's own Council, it's a very weak symbol to begin with.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

" …it makes sense to tax our laziness and stupidity…"

…writes a commenter who still presumably wants to be able to vote, in response to the Toronto Star's report on proposals to ban, tax or impose deposits on coffee cups, takeout food containers and plastic bags in Toronto (link via Jay Jardine). Other Toronto Star commenters are much more enthusiastic about outright bans ("…we should be encouraging people to cut down on their coffee consumption…").

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario worries that post-consumer packaging costs Canadian municipalities about $234 million annually, but how much more does municipal packaging cost the rest of us?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Mars wants Obama!

From a journalistic perspective, entirely superfluous and predictable information has at least the advantage of demanding very little effort to report … so there's no surprise to see numerous articles flooding newspapers noting that Canada and the world* all "want" Obama … a bold claim for Canadians who don't even know what they want from their own election. But why wouldn't non-Americans want an American President who appears to be more pliant or even submissive to extraterritorial doctrine … besides which it is always easier to wish socialism on someone else.

If McCain is elected in November instead, however, Canada and the world can at least take satisfaction in the knowledge that they are able to choose when there are no responsibilities or consequences attached to their choice. Well done … and now we can move on to the next poll. Perhaps the U.S. and the world can tell

* If 46 per cent of respondents worldwide say that "the election of a black man as president would 'fundamentally change' their perception of the U.S.," wouldn't that indicate that at least 46 per cent of the world is racist?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's the stupid environment

The shame of the upcoming federal election, according to London Free Press Editor-in-Chief Paul Berton, is that it isn't going to be "about the environment or the Liberal plan for a carbon tax." Unfortunately for Berton, such vague and insubstantial objects suffer from association with a vague and insubstantial preposition, and vice versa.

Still, feeble language has never deterred campaign themes in the past, and there should be no doubt that equally weak alternatives can always be found during this one. In any event it's difficult to locate Berton's concern since, as he informs us, "a carbon tax is inevitable." And like the Turk who repeats his wish 40 times to make it come true, he continues:

We may not get a carbon tax this year or next or even the year after. But a carbon tax, or something very much like it, is coming whether we wish to admit it or not.
A carbon tax by this description as an irresistible force of nature — like global warming? — would hardly then be worth a debate in the first place. But Berton does not entirely believe his own scoldings, or his rebuke that "common sense tells us, even if some refuse to admit it, that a carbon tax … can create as many jobs as it might cost" would be unnecessary. Common sense has apparently retired from public life and become Berton's own personal therapist.

The abstract of Berton's dissertation is that a carbon tax is good for the environment because the environment is good for a carbon tax because a carbon tax is good for … etc. With as little effort, readers can conclude that a means to an end may just as well be an end to our means.

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Hey, Stooopids!

"Canadians are stupid . . . and I fundamentally agree with that assessment." -Elizabeth May

So be sure to vote for the Green Party, you nation of morons!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The road to ruin in 24 Sussex steps…

…or, the election that matter forgot. Incremental resignation from Gods of the Copybook Headings:

“Canadians … will always have a thought in the back of their mind, which is, ‘Imagine if this were a majority Conservative government,” said Montreal Liberal MP Denis Coderre.

Yes, heavens, imagine a conservative government being slightly less incrementalist. Perhaps factions would develop within the Conservative party. The neo-incrementalists versus the paleo-incrementalists. How many industrial subsidies can be fitted upon the heads of pin manufacturers? A nightmare for all Canadians. If the federal government ever does fall into the hands of full blown conservatives I doubt Denis Coderre, or any other Liberal, could tell…
…either for the prospects of Canadians or of Liberals as it turns out. Read the rest here.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cocktails

Board of Control might ordinarily be apprehensive of any organizational initiative to investigate "where our tax dollars are being spent." But in the case that the CAW is doing the investigating, "areas [that] need attention in this regard" are only those in which more tax dollars can be spent in their own direction.

Lest anyone ever confuse the CAW with an advocate for fiscal discipline by government, Board of Control can be expected to dispatch Item 34 (PDF) at the end of next week's meeting (PDF) with the speed and summary gestures that befit a semi-literate submission.

Good day,

My name is Colleen Wake and I am a London resident and a CAW member. One of our campaigns and goal's is to find who has developed policies to
buy Canadian products and how they work. Is there a policy in my community and if so could you give me information on the policy?
We are now going to all municipalities and investigating where our tax dollars are being spent and what areas need attention in this regard.

Thank you in advance for your speedy response

Regards
Colleen Wake
Board of Control might at least be expected to appease one token gesture between dependents with another of its own by directing staff to make a report. It may not result in more subsidized employment for the CAW, but it will keep the make-work projects going for Ms. Wake's CUPE brethren at least.

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