Tuesday, November 30, 2004

This is how we protest in London

Could someone explain what the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has to do with deer? Maybe the activist would prefer to see deer starve to death - that sounds humane.

The battle over the deer has turned Grinchy green and Rudolph red. A three-metre-high, lime green deer, complete with a Rudolph-red nose, sprang up yesterday on activist Lynda Smithers's lawn.

As unusual as that is, the deer is wearing red boxing gloves, holding a Save Our Deer sign and has the Charter of Rights attached to its sides.

"It is turning into a Christmas story," Smithers said with a laugh.

Smithers's front lawn on Riverside Drive has become a battleground over the deer cull in the Sifton Bog. As many as 65 deer have made their home there, prompting the city to support a cull for next fall.

About seven weeks ago, Smithers posted several signs on the front lawn of her Riverside residence protesting the cull.

Acting on a complaint, the city set a deadline of last week for Smithers to remove the signs, arguing the protest breaks a bylaw prohibiting signs in residential areas.

Smithers countered it was her right to protest, but agreed to take down all but one sign.

That's the way things stood until yesterday, when the deer turned up.

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Better not get sick in Ontario - It might not be in the best interests of the public

This is a great way to encourage doctors to practice in Ontario!
Force is the word of the day. Slitherman, Romanow and The Gimp, all in the same article - whose payroll is Romanow on by the way? Who appointed Romanow as the Health care guru of Canada?

The Ontario government must implement its planned health-care reforms, even if that means "taking action" with doctors who have already rejected a contract offer from the province, the former chairman of a royal commission on health said Sunday.

"It's either (compromise), or it's the end of our health-care system," Roy Romanow said in an interview from Saskatoon.

The former Saskatchewan premier, who tabled a 2002 report on the future of health care in Canada, says Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Health Minister George Smitherman may have no choice but to implement reforms if the province's doctors refuse to compromise in pay negotiations.
Did anyone say Tommy Douglas?
The Liberals are locked in a battle Romanow says is similar to those once faced by two of Canada's biggest health-care defenders: the program's founder, Tommy Douglas, and former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

Both Douglas and Trudeau faced a divided public when they pushed through changes that would form the basis of Canada's current health-care program, he said.

Thanks for the shameless promotion of another NDP Saskatchewan Premier.
OMA president John Rapin said Sunday he's stunned Romanow would "interfere" in the issue.

"I'm somewhat surprised that Mr. Romanow, a man of his stature, would support an arbitrary process, frankly - an offer written on the fly, on the back of a napkin," he said in an interview from a Kingston, Ont., hospital emergency room where he works.
[. . . . .]
Romanow said he agrees with some concerns doctors may have with the agreement, such as a much-publicized proposal asking doctors to cut public drug program costs in return for increased physician service fees, which caused an uproar among some doctors in the province who likened it to a bribe.

But at the same time, doctors must also come to grips with what's best for patients, Romanow added, and realize there is a higher purpose at stake.

"While the doctors' imperative may be 'do no harm' - and that is an imperative, to do the greatest good for your patient - the public's responsibility through government is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people," he said.

"Now, there's got to be a way, when those two principles clash, to compromise."
The highest purpose of a doctor is to treat the patient - not the 'public good'. How can the greatest common good come about by depriving people of care? Is anyone else alarmed by this statement?

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Small town corruption

London is so fucked up, even a news story about a road closure can be amusing! A block of a major roadway in London will completely close today until at least Thursday, but it is causing more of a ruckus than the upcoming tax hikes!

And on the topic of roads, it would appear that the idiotic suggestion to rename Airport road is gaining momentum. Thanks to Roger Caranci, along with Controller Bud Polhill and councillors Bernie MacDonald, Fred Tranquilli and Cheryl Miller, maps of London may soon have to be redrawn - but then, who wants to come to London anyway?

"I was very encouraged by the response from the committee and other council members who spoke to me," Caranci said.

"Obviously, there are still a lot of questions yet to be answered, but it appears there aren't any Airport Road addresses to worry about."

Caranci was referring to concerns the name could cause a headache for people and businesses with Airport Road addresses.

In fact, he said, city staff confirmed there are no homes or businesses with Airport Road addresses.

That was one of Walsh's key initial concerns.

"Now I think it's a marvellous idea," Walsh said.

In a letter to the committee, Walsh threw the backing of local Royal Canadian Legion branches behind the idea, noting the federal government has declared 2005 Year of the Veterans in Canada.

"I'm certainly in support of this," said Coun. Susan Eagle, who also asked that the name follow the city's formal process for public input and approval.

"It's a tribute to our veterans," Eagle said
[. . . .]
Polhill noted that renaming the roadway will give veterans a high profile within and outside London because of the traffic and the fact millions of travellers would see signage on Highway 401..

Well, a name change might confuse quite a few folks coming in from the 401 - Airport Road? Hmmm, that is what it says on the map...Don't forget about the cost of replacing road signs, and also that Airport Road is one of the least attractive roads in London. And, don't forget about this:
And the name "veterans" is also in the mix of four new names on the list of candidate names for the new Oxford Street West bridge.
[ . . . .]
Board of control will receive a staff report tomorrow that includes four new suggestions from councillors for naming the bridge.

Other suggestions include naming it after Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin, or David Suzuki, environmentalist, or recognizing the city's 150th anniversary, calling it Celebration Bridge.

The fifth name on the list is Sifton Bridge, named after one of the city's most prominent developers, the late Harry Sifton, who founded a company in 1923 that continues to play a significant role in the city's development.

Contemptible - sounds like the name of the bridge is reserved for someone other than the veterans perhaps...the veterans are being thrown a bone? I am all for recognizing the contributions of the veterans, but this is just shameless politicking for votes. Interesting choice of candidates for the bridge name......

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Some words of caution from Paul McKeever

- MEDIA RELEASE -

Do the Right Thing Premier: Break Your Promise
Freedom Party Leader, McKeever, Urges Against Movie Tax Credits

November 30, 2004 - Oshawa, Ontario

With Ontario's film workers preparing for a demonstration at Queen's Park on Wednesday, December 1, 2004, Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever is urging Premier McGuinty not to increase tax credits and taxpayer funding to the industry. The Ontario Liberals have promised an increase in the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit from 20 per cent to 33 per cent. The Progressive Conservatives have joined the NDP (!) in calling upon Premier McGuinty to honour that promise. The PCs have also urged the McGuinty government to set up a one-time marketing fund and a so-called "frequent moviemaker credit".

"Premier McGuinty, I would strongly urge you to do the right thing: break your party's promise to increase taxpayer funding of the film industry", says McKeever. "A tax credit is not a tax cut: it is a subsidy. I would strongly urge Minister Sorbara to take the newly leftist tories, and their friends in the NDP, to task. I am not defending your government. But it is only fair to the public that the government level with the public about the "level tax playing field" rubbish that Mr. Tory is doling out. The long and the short of it is that Mr. Tory wants the rest of the taxpaying public to pick up some of the movie industry's share of the cost of governing this province."

Adds McKeever: "How is putting the film industry's share of the load onto everyone else's shoulders going to encourage doctors and small businesses to continue operating in Ontario?"

Paul McKeever is the leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario.

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Greatest Canadian

Cargo cult prophet Tommy Douglas has received the nod.

"Unity, diversity, compassion, caring for each other. I mean this is not an American list. There's nothing Darwinian in this room. It was a very generous list."
This, from a CBC producer.

The show had been caught by a London Fog writer
Who'd got out of bed for a cup of cold cider.
He stared at the screen and said, "CBC, why,
"Why are you taking our pay from us? WHY?"

But, you know, that old network was so smart and so slick
They laid it out straight, and they laid it on thick!
"Why, my fellow Canadian," the TV show cries,
"There's a social consensus to maintain or it dies.
"You'll pay us to tell you you're better than Yanks,
"While we make out like bandits until this thing tanks."

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Ghost of JLC Past

I already knew this was a boondoggle at the age of 14 when they were building it.

Get the chump taxpayers to buy big facilities, and flip them -- eventually -- to connected private interests. Capital projects are flat out scams, pure and simple.

"Revitalize" this.

So -- who's gonna buy the JLC?

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Monday, November 29, 2004

A slap in the face

Basil and I think this proposal is a slap in the face to veterans, the people who live on the road, and taxpayers who have yet to understand why taxes are going up again - not to mention that city council spends their time renaming roads that already exist. Never mind that the airport in London is at the end of airport road and also servers as an exit from the 401.

If you want respect in London, it is better to be rich than heroic.

A move is afoot to honour London's war vets by renaming busy Airport Road the Veterans Memorial Parkway. But there's some doubt whether the renaming push by several city politicians will find support among area vets.

At least one prominent vet says a more fitting tribute would be to name London's new $26-million Oxford Street bridge in honour of veterans.

Coun. Roger Caranci, chairperson of city council's environment and transportation committee, said renaming Airport Road, especially if it's part of a ring road, would be a "prominent, daily reminder" of the sacrifices of veterans.

"This is a way to honour all of our veterans, dead and alive, on a daily basis," Caranci said yesterday. His proposal goes to his own committee today.

"It's probably a long time in coming to do something like this for those who sacrificed so much for our freedom."

Caranci is backed by Controller Bud Polhill and councillors Fred Tranquilli, Cheryl Miller and Bernie MacDonald.
[. . . . .]
Not all vets embrace the idea, either. "My personal reaction is if somebody wants to show respect for veterans, that's fine with me," said Bob Walsh, the Royal Canadian Legion's commander for the London region.

"But I'd rather see some new construction -- a new park or bridge -- to honour our veterans and war dead, rather than see something renamed and upset part of the community who'd have their address changed to satisfy another part of the community," Walsh said.

Walsh was referring to recent suggestions to name the Oxford Street extension bridge in honour of veterans.
[. . . . .]
Two weeks ago, city council balked at a board of control recommendation to name it after the late Harry Sifton, a pioneering city developer.

Instead, names of people such as scientists Sir Frederick Banting and David Suzuki, both with London ties, were suggested.

Council has deferred the issue and given councillors time to submit more names. Those suggestions will go to board of control Wednesday.

Coun. Joni Baechler, chairperson of council's planning committee, suggested Caranci and others are trying to divert attention from the bridge to ensure the Sifton name sticks.

"I think that's a big part of it," Baechler said.

Caranci dismissed the suggestion.

"Absolutely not," he said. "I just think (Airport Road) is a larger project and its prominence is much greater in the city."

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Settle down and drink orange juice instead

Again, courtesy of Colby Cosh: finally some sense expressed by someone published in a major newspaper concerning the current flu vaccination hysteria.

Yet amid the flu frenzy, two very important questions aren't given much airplay: What is an average person's risk of catching the flu? And what is the ability of the flu shot to actually prevent it?

Those are two pretty vital questions worth examining, seeing as it would cost us Canadian taxpayers up as much as $125-million a year to immunize all 32 million of us for the flu.
[. . . . .]
Public-health officials in Canada seem to be saying everyone needs a flu shot. We contend that it is possible that both the "disease" caused by influenza viruses and the preventative vaccine regimes pushed on healthy people are so hyped they border on disease-mongering. We think it's likely not worth spending $125-million to vaccinate all of us each year for this condition.

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bugmenot

Courtesy Colby Cosh, an American-Canadian expatriate writes in the Washington Post:

In "officially multicultural Canada," hostility toward Americans is the last socially acceptable expression of bigotry and xenophobia. It would be impossible to say the things about any other nationality that Canadians routinely say -- both publicly and privately -- about Americans.
Yep. Recomended reading.

Does anybody know which book she's referring to here?
The author of a popular book on the differences between the Canadian and American characters (a topic of undying interest here) promotes the view that Americans are all authority-loving conformists.

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Down with the Vulcans or whatever!

Well, you're probably more likely to get laid than at a Star Wars Convention, but these folks still take their movies a little too seriously, enough to hold a poli-fi convention.

"Our intention is that everyone comes back from this peaceful protest in the same shape that they left," McKeever said yesterday. Still, he's advising participants to bring their health cards and bandannas in case police fire tear gas.
Non sarcastic thanks for the juxtaposition, Derry! I never would have put thought to put health cards and bandannas together, and now there they are.

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Resistance is futile in Germany Ontario

I read with interest Basil's post concerning the unconstitutionality of the federal ban on cigarette advertising and the mandatory warnings which decorate each pack of Canadian bought cigarettes. While this law is being challenged, and I predict, unsuccessfully, at the federal level, the Ontario cartel is proposing something similiar at the provincial level. In addition to banning smoking in all public places, Slitherman and his cronies plan to ban the public display of cigarettes. Will merchants who sell cigarettes have to purchase a big black case to hide their wares in? It is unbelievable that the people of Ontario would consent to such fascist controls - next time you work yourself into a panic over second hand smoke, think about the cars in the lot next to the 'dirty smoker' and tell me what causes more damage to young lungs. They used to drown and burn witches too you know....

The Ontario government is launching an innovative multi-media campaign to prevent smoking among youth as part of its comprehensive tobacco control strategy, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman said today.
"Our government is committed to implementing an aggressive plan to reduce
smoking - the number one preventable killer in this province," said Smitherman. "A key part of this plan is an anti-smoking campaign created by youth, for youth. I'm thrilled to announce that we're fulfilling this important commitment."
[. . . .]
Funded by the provincial government, the campaign was created by a panel of young Ontarians from across the province. The panel, which includes former smokers, non smokers and smoke-free advocates, ages 14 to 21, developed messaging and strategies that would reach Ontario youth in the most relevant and effective way.
"This campaign is a commitment from the government to support young Ontarians in the fight against smoking in this province," said Kierston Fu, Ottawa Resident and Youth Advisory Panel member. "We aren't lecturing kids about what they should do. We're providing information about smoking that we hope will make them stop and think about the choices they make."
The youth campaign is one part of the government's comprehensive tobacco control strategy, which includes upcoming legislation to introduce a 100 per cent smoking ban in all workplaces and public places, as well as efforts to support smokers who choose to quit.
For more information, visit the website: www.stupid.ca
Butt out Government! I would rather spend my money on a pack of cigarettes than pay for your propaganda!

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Who elected these people?

Judges told to move on pot offences

By KATHLEEN HARRIS, OTTAWA BUREAU, SUN MEDIA

Canada's new pot reform laws will toughen penalties to combat dangerous marijuana grow-ops -- but judges also need a lesson about the gravity of the crime, said Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan. Responding to a Toronto Sun article about chronically lenient sentences for large-scale growing operators, the deputy prime minister said more judicial education is required.

"We need to help judges understand how absolutely serious this is -- the social costs, the economic costs, and quite truthfully, the danger to the lives and safety of first responders when they go into these houses," she told Sun Media. "This is not a crime that should be taken lightly. This is not a victimless crime."

Oh, how true. It certainly sounds like you want to make people suffer if they disagree with your opinions.

Surprised by statistics from B.C. showing the odds of going to jail are less than 1-in-100, McLellan noted the retabled marijuana decriminalization bill doubles the maximum prison term for grow-ops. It also requires judges to issue written reasons for not giving a jail sentence when there are "aggravating" factors, like booby traps, repeat offences or established links to organized crime.

"One of the reasons we're amending the Criminal Code is because we believe this is a serious crime, and we believe courts must treat it as a serious crime," McLellan said.

But Conservative justice critic Vic Toews slammed the reform bill as "inadequate" and "more lip service than action." He charged it's a Liberal ploy to give the false appearance of tackling the problem.

"They know full well the courts don't even impose the present maximum sentences," he said. "If they're really serious about addressing the issue ... they need to impose mandatory minimum prison terms."

Failing to have tough mandatory sentences on the books only encourages a revolving door of grow operators, who set up shop again after just a few months behind bars, he said.

Copyright © 2004, CANOE

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Eventually there will be only one brand of cigarette

Lawyers: Tobacco laws unfair

MONTREAL (CP) - A federal law that bans tobacco sponsorship, restricts advertising and requires large warnings on cigarette packs is unconstitutional, lawyers for Canada's three largest tobacco companies argued Monday.

Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. and JTI-Macdonald Corp. argued before the Quebec Court of Appeal that the 1997 Tobacco Act effectively constitutes a total ban on advertising, which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled was unconstitutional in 1995.

"Our view is that this is deja-vu, that we're looking at a prohibition which is total again and that the Supreme Court has already essentially decided the matter in 1995," lawyer Simon Potter said outside the courtroom.

"There is no justification for a law which tells people that you cannot evoke images or evoke emotions," said Potter, representing Imperial Tobacco.

The companies said a 2002 Quebec Superior Court ruling upholding the federal law failed to address several key constitutional issues and contained numerous factual errors.

The federal government, the Canadian Cancer Society and anti-tobacco advocates said they will argue during five days of hearings the law is constitutionally valid.

While the restrictions on advertising and promotion infringe on freedom of expression, they are justified as a reasonable limit under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the cancer society said.

"We believe that these laws are essential to protect public health in Canada, to reduce smoking among adults and among children," said Rob Cunningham, lawyer for the cancer society."

"And it's working."

The youth smoking rate at 18 per cent is the lowest ever recorded. Smoking among adults has decreased to 21 per cent, compared with 30 per cent before these laws were enforced, Cunningham added.

Copyright © 2004, CANOE, a division of Netgraphe Inc. All rights reserved.

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Bite Me

Well, it looks like council is going to wait for the province before they decide what to do about 'dangerous dogs'.

"We're just going to wait until the province tells us what we can do and what they're doing," said committee chairperson Coun. Roger Caranci.

"The biggest issue is enforcement. If we don't have the tools to enforce, (a bylaw) is not going to help us at all."
....
"If there's no mechanism (the threat of jail time) for the city to collect fines, there's no accountability," Caranci said. "We need the province to make things tougher."

Caranci said Calgary's dangerous-dog bylaw is one he'd like to see mirrored in London.

The Calgary bylaw allows for fines up to $2,500 and six months in jail if unpaid.
Council has sure spent alot to time talking about a bylaw they aren't even sure they can enforce. Mass hysteria strikes again in Ontario! In my thirty years on this planet, I have never been bitten by a dog and truly, I don't see too many pit bulls in a given day for that matter. People surely should take responsibility for their dogs, and not just for those breeds the politicians deem dangerous. As usual though, the emphasis is shifted away from responsibility and instead the focus is control and nannying.
And what does the province suggest?
Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant last month announced legislation to ban pit bulls, following a series of horrific attacks on humans by the squat, muscular dogs.

Bryant's proposed Dog Owners' Liability Act would ban all pit bulls, muzzle existing ones and raise fines and sentences for offenders. Existing owners would be allowed a "transition period" to comply.

The proposal, which Bryant hopes will be passed by Christmas, doubles the maximum fines for irresponsible dog owners to $10,000 and, for the first time, includes potential jail terms of up to six months.

The city has been considering several options, including a ban on four dog breeds: pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and Akitas. Existing dogs of those breeds would be allowed if owners applied for an extension within 90 days.

The bylaw could also include stringent controls on any dog deemed dangerous if it charges someone or appears menacing, even if it hasn't bitten anyone. Those dogs would be muzzled and be put down if their owner refuses.
Well, if this isn't bad enough, the city would like to add to this:
New regulations being considered include a tiered licensing fee structure based on whether an owner has taken preventative action, such as obedience training.

As well, enforcement issues such as staffing needs, plus public training, education and awareness plans, and the possibility of mandatory spaying and neutering for all dogs are being examined.

Stanford said many elements of a new or amended bylaw would encourage good pet ownership. For instance, he said, the benefit of mandatory neutering or spaying is two-fold.

"Once a dog is spayed or neutered, they tend to become less agressive," he said. "And it's also important to control the population. There are a lot of unwanted pets in London."

Owners whose pets are spayed or neutered would pay significantly less for a licence.
I propose that in order to hold office, at any level, that politicians be neutered and spayed - perhaps like dogs, they would be less aggressive and hey, maybe they would stop trying to 'control the population'. I also propose that all politicians be required to produce a certificate proving they have successfully completed obedience training.

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Sunday, November 28, 2004

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Snakeoil?

A couple of weeks ago we received a letter from Darcy O'Neil, asking us to publish his story about a local London pharmacy's sale of unauthorized prescription drugs to people who did not know they were receiving them. He does not believe the public's interest is being served by the efforts of existing regulatory bodies to address the situation.

We here at the London Fog abhor governmental regulation in any form; and it seems to me that many of the problems that arise between regulatory boards and businesses wouldn't even be an issue if it weren't for the existence of unnecessary and monopolistic regulations in the first place. We must always be mindful of the government and the claims of its appointed bodies to know what is in our best interest when it comes to health.

However, in a regulated environment such as the pharmaceutical industry, people have come to expect that apothecaries will in fact sell the products that they claim to sell -- this is a matter of integrity that should be demanded of any business in a regulated or unregulated environment.

We present Mr. O'Neil's story along with a link to his website -- make of it what you will.

London Free Press is not currently reporting on this story. A free press can abet the process of helping people regulate their own transactions, but our local paper may not be so interested in this. However, we are not making any judgment here about the merits of this particular story or the Free Press' decision not to publish it at this time. Any comments?

On April 14, 2004 I presented the following story to the London Free Press. To date they have elected not to publish it, even though it concerns serious issues with the publics health. The only stated reason for not publishing is that their lawyers keep requesting revisions, but they are looking for a way to publish the story. Basically, their lawyers are concerned about potential legal threats if they publish the story.

The issue is with a local London pharmacy's sale of unauthorized prescription drugs to people who were unaware they were receiving them. They were marketed as "natural health products", but actually contain regulated (prescription) ingredients. The number of unauthorized products sold, that I am aware of, is 12,527 between 1999 and May 2003. This number could easily be doubled since many of the product sales were not tracked.

I was an employee at the company and after discovering the issues I "blew the whistle". I contacted Health Canada and the Ontario College of Pharmacists. The principals, both pharmacists, of the business admit to selling the products, but claimed ignorance. They stated they were unaware it was illegal to sell these products. That may work for some corner store vitamin shop, but these were licensed pharmacists.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists, after taking 282 days to investigate, decided that they should just receive a written warning! The sad thing is that this is the second time the company has faced discipline in the last three years. Membership has its privileges.

The London Free Press has refused to publish the story, even with the owners admitting to selling the unauthorized products. They are more worried about liability, even though there is a Health Canada document stating all of the above, and more. They have had all of the information on the story since April 2004. Chris Nixon, the city editor, has stated that the story is under review. Basically, it will be a historical article.

As for me, I was fired for insubordination in June 2003, for my complaining. I also received two lawsuit threats from my former employer. They never followed through since they were merit less. I also was threated with legal action by the Ontario College of Pharmacists since I recorded a number of phone conversations with their investigations department. Basically, the recording are embarrassing to them and they wanted them removed from my website. However, Canadian law clearly allows me to do this so I don't believe they will push forward with actual legal action.

The reason I am writing is that the mainstream media won't cover this story, for whatever reason, but there are thousands of people affected by this. I have a website, Snake Oil, that details the whole story. It includes a lot of evidence including pictures, legal documents, Health Canada docs, audio recordings and much more. The latest message I received from the London Free Press indicates that they are "still looking for a way to publish the story". Whatever that means. You either publish or you don't.

Self regulated organizations seem to be setup to protect their paying membership, not the public. This is a serious issue that needs public scrutiny, but without media coverage these pharmacists will be allowed to get away and keep their significant profits from the sale of all these unauthorized prescriptions. The people who were potentially harmed will never know.

It seems that the London Free Press has forgotten what "Free" means, and maybe a more appropriate name should be the London Not So Free Press.

Darcy O'Neil

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Recent intellectual history, 190 proof

"The failure of epistemology made postmodernism possible, and the failure of socialism made postmodernism necessary."
Happy birthday to Billy Beck and thanks for the promising reading tip. I forget where I read it, but an even purer distillation is
"If Marxism doesn't make sense, then nothing can!"

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Dropping the other shoe



Apologies Accepted - the world's answer to sorryeverybody.com

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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Burn the witch

We used to have a problem with ignorant people being racist. But racism is self-discrediting in a free and open society, and social opprobrium rightly brings all but the most retarded to heel.

Now, we have a problem with ignorant people smearing others as racist, typically via Rube Goldberg opium dream logic. At this point, the only counter to this is mockery and satire, as "anti-racism" still has the cache of being the good side from ages past.

O tempora, etc.

For example. (Caution: gratuitous direct links to racist websites.)

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Friday, November 26, 2004

Pass the joint, and don't forget the GST

OTTAWA (CP) - A group which advocates legalized marijuana says a new poll shows federal pot policies are out of touch with public opinion.

Almost six in ten Canadians feel that adults who possess small quantities of marijuana should be left alone, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said Thursday. The organization says its poll found significant support for taxing and regulating cannabis.

The poll was released the day after an addiction survey found that cannabis use among Canadian adults has doubled over the last 10 years.

The group said most Canadians consider it a poor use of police resources to spend millions of dollars a year to enforce marijuana laws.

The organization said taxing and regulating cannabis would generate billions of dollars for social programs.

Now it all begins to make sense to me.......The government wouldn't want to miss out on tax dollars!
But of course, regulation will keep the black market alive.

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Boot camp planned for two year olds in Ontario

The Public Education system is falling to pieces, but the Ontario Liberals intend to spend even more of the spoils on early years daycare and Liberal indoctrination.

How long before home schooling and private schools are banned in this province? From cradle to grave, "we will control how you think". These are the formative years for young minds, so of course the Liberals will ensure their program is started in on early.

The current regime has only been in power for about a year now, but they are charging ahead with the socialist agenda.

Our first priority is to create a full day of learning and care for four-and five-year- olds," Bountrogianni said.

The first spaces will be located inside or nearby elementary schools to allow children to walk, she said.

By the end of the Liberal mandate in 2007 Bountrogianni wants to create as many as 50,000 child-care spots for kindergarten children .

Fifteen years down the road, the government envisions a full day of learning for children as young as 2 1/2 years old.
And it is going to cost us too - alot!
But even the first phase of the plan will prove very costly. He estimated the board would need more than $30 million, much of that to add 119 classrooms, since the board is over-capacity and kindergarten classrooms are typically shared, with half-day classes in the morning and afternoon.
And Let us not forget the disadvantaged.......
It appears Queen's Park would start with day care spaces for children from low-income families with money also going to children with language and hearing disorders, said Roderic Beaujot, a sociology professor at the University of Western Ontario.

That makes sense because disadvantaged children tend to benefit most from early childhood education, Beaujot said.

[. . . . ]

Bountrogianni said Ontario won't copy Quebec's long- heralded day-care program, where parents pay a daily fee of $7, although she has suggested the province's plan would someday surpass its Quebec counterpart.

"We're not going to have the Quebec model," she said.

"This is a made-in-Ontario model."

The Nanny State rears its ugly head in Ontario.

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Comrade Carnaval

One question - Why did these guys take the job in the first place?

Montreal — He hasn't even joined a picket line yet, but Canada's most famous snowman already has a nickname: Comrade Carnaval.

The Bonhomme Carnaval, roly-poly symbol of joie de vivre and wintertime fun at the Quebec Winter Carnival, seems to have some more proletarian worries on his mind these days. Maybe it's the sub-zero weather, the screaming kids and drunken out-of-towners. Maybe it's the grind of being perpetually cheery.

Whatever — Bonhomme wants to join a union.



But is the Bonhomme having a meltdown? Neither the union nor carnival management would discuss his working conditions, saying it would ruin the "magic" of the Bonhomme character. "He's like Santa Claus," Mr. Dallaire said.

Still, those in the know say that despite the permanent grin on his face, Bonhomme's life is less than jovial. Noël Moisan, a Bonhomme in the 1950s and 1960s, said his reliance on a cane today may stem from the years he spent in a 7-foot-tall padded costume with a gigantic fibreglass head.

"I used to lose 15 pounds each winter," Mr. Moisan, 86, recalled from his home in Quebec City yesterday. He said Bonhomme, premier symbol of the world's largest winter carnival, deserves a share of its riches; last year's carnival brought $22-million in economic spinoffs to Quebec City.

"This is the 21st century and it's normal to have a union," Mr. Moisan said. "We're dealing with people who are out to make a buck, so Bonhomme should get decent pay."

[. . . . .]

"It's hard work. The Bonhomme has to be on his feet early in the morning and late at night. These are 15-hour days, easily," said Jean Provencher, a Quebec City historian and author of a book on the history of the Carnaval de Québec. "You have to show good humour, availability, infinite politeness and constant joy. It's not a sinecure."

He said the snowman outfit has been made lighter in recent years "but a guy still comes out of it exhausted."

These guys don't do this everyday though:
Bonhomme Carnaval has a gruelling schedule, putting in 1,000 public appearances in January and February. There are occasional perks during the non-winter months — promotional tours to New York or Paris, for example — but the work is largely seasonal. It's not known if the snowman turns to pogey the rest of the year; the carnival's official version is that he flies off for the North Pole.

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Il miglior fabbro

How did I miss this Andrew Coyne? Hat tip Gods of the Copybooks:

Informant indicated the family had spent several decades cementing control in parts of the country, particularly in Ontario and Atlantic regions, through judicious system of rewards and punishments, enforced by a network of local captains. Top lieutenants, known as "political ministers," are engaged in massive extortion racket, collecting more than $190-billion every year from citizens and businesses in return for "protection" from a range of calamities -- unemployment, old age, managerial incompetence etc. -- an operation known as "the Canadian way." Though operation now netting in excess of $9-billion a year, consigliere Ralph (Stoneface) Goodale has put out word the shakedown will continue unabated. (A second operation, restricted largely to the province of Quebec, in which businesses that made "contributions" are alleged to have received lucrative contracts, has been shuttered until a government investigation blows over.)

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Canada cannot export its beef to the United States, but we do import fresh meat.

Immigration Minister Judy Sgro, embroiled in a controversy over a residency visa awarded to a Romanian stripper, now says she plans to change the rules that exotic dancers can use to emigrate to Canada.

Under the present rules exotic dancing is classified as one of the jobs the Labour Department monitors for shortages, making it easier for people to emigrate and fill those jobs.

Well, at least they are employed. I wonder how the Labour Department monitors for shortages of exotic dancers.

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Cyclists Under Attack

Let me get this straight. The environmentalists complain that we drive our cars too much, thereby polluting the environment. The law makers on the other hand, while paying lip service to these sentiments, continue to harrass, bully and discourage cyclists. Recently, in Ontario, the Liberal government has been pushing for a law which would make it mandatory for cyclists to wear helmets.

In New York City, there is a push to make all cyclists purchase a license for their bicycles.

Bill 497 would require every New Yorker over the age of 16 who rides a bicycle to acquire a license ($25) from the Dept. of Transportation; those who failed to display this license could be fined up to $300, have their bicycle impounded and be subject to up to 15 days of imprisonment. No word yet from Provenzano on whether the licenses would come in the form of a six-spoked yellow wheel.
15 days of imprisonment and a fine of up to $300! Will the cost of imprisonment offset the profits gained through the licensing fee I wonder?
Cycling groups say Provenzano has a history of being anti-bike: she has stalled another bill that would allow bikes inside public buildings and even tried to remove bike lanes from her neighborhood.

"I have personally had a lot of trouble with bikes," Provenzano said.

Personally, I have alot of trouble with people like yourself. Shall we pass a law making it mandatory for you to get a license just to leave your house?

Officially, the justification for this proposed bill is to deal with dangerous riders and some suggest the bill would help cut down on bike theft. However, dangerous riders can be charged under current traffic laws and bike theft would continue all the same, so I conclude that a) this is a cash grab by the city, b) another example of state control over individuals and c) Provenzano has a bee in her bonnet,
"I have personally had folks ride their bikes into my car, and there is nothing you can do legally." said Provenzano. "Bikes should be subject to all of the same laws as automobiles."

Last year, Provenzano tried to get bike lanes removed from her Bronx neighborhood after 19 residents of Morris Park received tickets for parking in the lane. She said the lanes were painted incorrectly, are barely used, and the local community board did not want any bike lanes in the area.

Thanks to my Dad for pointing this story out to me!

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Cheesus Christ!

Canadian firm gobbles up 'religious' cheese sandwich

Hail Mary, full of cheese
I bit into thee.
Blessed art thou amongst sandwiches,
and blessed is the bread of which thou
art made.

Holy Mary, mother of cheese,
pray for our dinners,
now and an hour after we're fed.
Amen


AP 2004-11-25 02:10:14

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. -- An online casino owned by a Canadian-based company forked over $28,000 US yesterday to the owner of a 10-year-old, partially eaten grilled cheese sandwich thought to carry the image of the Virgin Mary -- then sent the "religious icon" on a world tour. GoldenPalace.com had the winning bid.

"It represented something that we believed to be a piece of Americana pop culture," said Steve Baker, head of Cyber World Group, GoldenPalace's Canada-based parent. He said the company had expected "minimum value" -- and "a laugh and a hoot about it."

But he conceded: "It's taken on more of a life of its own than we ever imagined."

Copyright © The London Free Press 2001,2002,2003

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Make sure your children get a law degree
there's a bright future for them here in London

All in a day's work at City Hall.

London's city engineer and several prominent developers are named as defendants in a $2-million libel lawsuit filed by a major developer. Vito Frijia, owner of Southside Group, is seeking $1 million in general damages and $1 million in punitive damages in the lawsuit filed Nov. 9.

Oh wait - there is another lawsuit!

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Politicians run amok
but that's OK, it's not their money

London's zoning bylaws are "out of control" and the city is completely unapologetic about the mess they've gotten us into. How do these people get reelected?

A group of London city councillors is "completely out of control" and driving up legal costs, says a city development lawyer. Lawyer Alan Patton spoke yesterday after Superior Court Justice Helen Rady quashed a new bylaw rezoning a portion of Richmond Street because it rendered a pending decision by her "inconsequential."

[ . . . City councillor] Baechler defended her action yesterday, saying she wouldn't be intimidated from defending the interests of residents in Ward 2.

Apparently paying taxes to pay for lawyers to defend the city because of its arbitrary and vindictive actions is in the interests of the residents of Ward 2. Poor people.

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What did you answer?

Survey finds drug, booze use rising

Suprise! Suprise! How much did we spend to figure that out?

Pot and injectable drug use has doubled since 1994, and alcohol use is also increasing.
DENNIS BUECKERT, CP 2004-11-25 02:10:15

OTTAWA -- The number of Canadians who say they have used cannabis or injectable drugs in the past year has doubled in a decade, according to a major new survey. But addiction specialists still see alcohol abuse as the greater problem.

Data from the Canada Addiction Survey, the most comprehensive addictions survey ever done in Canada, present a disturbing picture of a society increasingly dependent on mood-altering substances.

Fourteen per cent of respondents said they had used cannabis in the last year, up from 7.4 per cent in 1994. About a third said they had failed to control their cannabis use.

About 269,000 Canadians said they had used an injectable drug in the past year, up from 132,000 in 1994. Nearly 4.1 million Canadians reported using injectable drugs at least once in their life. That's up from 1.7 million in 1994.

Wow, do they consider snorting or smoking "injectable drugs" as actually using "injectable drugs"? Or do you actually have to pop it to get in on that stat?

The proportion of drinkers rose to 79.3 per cent this year from 72.3 per cent in 1994. Seven per cent of respondents described themselves as frequent heavy drinkers, up from 5.4 per cent in 1994.

Conservative justice critic Vic Toews said rising rates of abuse are an indictment of federal drug policy.

Twelve years of Liberal government and this guy thinks its the federal drug policy driving us to drink?

"The Liberal drug strategy is failing," he said. "Safe injection sites aren't safe.

"I am concerned about the decriminalization of marijuana or any other drug."

Me too. I don't tink it's safe to inject marijuana. I tried it last night and I won't do it again. That fucking bud wouldn't even get through the needle! Man, can you imagine what that shit'll do when it hits you veins? I don't care what anyone says,injecting marijuana is not safe!

Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan said the government is not legalizing marijuana. "All we're doing is changing the penalty regime."

Wouldn't wanna do that would we? Let's just waste billions re-writing the laws.

"This is both a good news and bad news story," Michel Perron of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse told a news conference.

"Despite the fact that most Canadians drink in moderation and without harm we are concerned about heavy drinking among youth aged 18 to 24.

The reasons for the increasing substance use will become clearer as data are analysed in greater detail, he said.

No need analyse it any further, the Consevative justice critic seems to have it figured out . . .

DRUG USE FINDINGS

Highlights from the Canada Addiction Survey, released yesterday.

- 44.5 per cent of Canadians reported using cannabis at least once in their life, compared with 28.2 per cent in 1994.

- 45 per cent reported using some illegal drug at least once, up from 28.5 per cent in 1994.

- 14.1 per cent reported using cannabis in the last year, up from 7.4 per cent in 1994.

- 50.1 per cent of males used cannabis at least once in a lifetime.

- 39.2 per cent of women used cannabis at least once.

- 79.3 per cent of Canadians reported using alcohol in the last year.

- 7.3 per cent said they were lifelong teetotallers.

- 13.7 per cent said they were former drinkers and had not used alcohol in the last year.

- 20.2 per cent reported heavy drinking at least once a month.


Copyright © The London Free Press 2001,2002,2003

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Consumptive Totalitarianism

Although this story comes from Britian, courtesy of Nanny Knows Best, it should cause all of us throughout the Western nation to recoil in disgust and fear.

A professor from Staffordshire University, Dr Rachel Davey, has a few suggestions for dealing with the compulsive and addicted masses. Yep, once again it is the fatties which are the focus of the nanny state.

“..It is not inconceivable that some form of food rationing and portion size control may be required in future if the dramatic rise in obesity continues. This could be done via supermarkets since most of the food we consume in the home is purchased at a relatively small number of food outlets. Obesity is virtually impossible to treat by conventional methods so efforts need to be directed towards prevention. To change social attitudes and challenge social norms, governments must implement radical policy changes which will enforce an environment in which food production, marketing and consumption are controlled…”

Despicable! Better start stockpiling.
Take heed Ontarians - Obesity is nearing 'epidemic' proportions in Ontario

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The horse rears its head

While admiring the Baroque beauty of this little cloud of smoke, I noticed there are two very distinct horse heads in the top of the image. They emerge from the stream of smoke at the base, which looks like sketchy view of a horse's torso seen from behind. One head rears backward while another looks forward. It is as if the lines act as tracings of gestures capturing a wildly gesturing horse. There are at least two distinct heads. After looking at it a while the sense of motion begins to appear and traces of others can be seen. Reminds me of some of Picasso's horse sketches. Very nice photograph. This has always been one of my favourite cigarette warnings, but having noticed this I'm in awe!


Note at least two horse heads extended from the backside view of the horse. Posted by Hello

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Church going may be hazardous to your health

First they came for the smokers, then they came for the worshippers - all in the name of public health. This bit of nannyism comes from Holland, but I wouldn't be shocked if I read it in the pages of the London Free Press.

“The exposures are worrisome, not so much for the occasional church goer, but priests, choirs and other people working in churches may have significant exposure"

Sound familiar outcast smokers?

Burning candles may cause cancer
A visit to church may be good for the soul but not so good for the lungs, a new study shows. 

Scientists from Maastricht University in The Netherlands found that burning candles and incense in church can release dangerous levels of potentially carcinogenic particles.  

“After a day of candle burning we found about 20 times as much as by a busy road,” Theo de Kok, the author of the study, said. “These levels were so unbelievably high we thought we should report it to the public.” 

The air at a Maastricht basilica contained 20 times the European Union limit of PM10 particles after a simulated mass ceremony. Tiny PM10 particles can be inhaled and are therefore a potential hazard. 

The scientists also found high levels of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as well as some unknown types of free radicals released from burning candles and incense. Free radical atoms act as starters and promoters of cancer tumours. 

“The exposures are worrisome, not so much for the occasional church goer, but priests, choirs and other people working in churches may have significant exposure,” he said. 

De Kok said priests at the church in Maastricht had tried to improve ventilation after the study. He also noted some churches had stopped using real candles to protect artwork and delicate interiors. 

De Kok called for research into whether priests, monks and others who work in churches were more prone to lung disease. 

“Particle pollution, whether it be in an outdoor or indoor environment, can be a danger to lung health and cause respiratory diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis,” said Richard Russell of the British Thoracic Society.

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Tax me - I live in London part 2 - Unless I work for the city ....

Yet another London city official is suspended, with pay!

A senior finance manager with the City of London was suspended with pay Friday after revelations he filed a false income tax claim and doctored his T4 slip. John Hay, manager of finance, corporate and technology services, is off the job and an internal city hall investigation is underway, city manager Jeff Fielding confirmed yesterday.

Fielding wouldn't comment on the nature of the investigation, but it's believed the probe will involve all corporate computer systems to which Hay has had access over the last eight years since he joined the city.

"I can't confirm or deny that," Fielding said. "This is a personnel matter."

Hay earns between $70,064 and $87,580 a year, Fielding said.

Contacted at his home yesterday, Hay said he was taken aback by his suspension.

He said he hadn't told anyone at work about his tax fraud case and hadn't expected suspension.

"I suppose it's to make sure everything is OK on the systems I'm responsible for," he said when asked if he was given the reason for his suspension.

But he said he's sure the probe will turn up no wrongdoing.

"I'm absolutely confident there will be no problems."

[. . . . .]

Hay, who once worked in the information services department at The Free Press, happens to have been featured two months ago in The Free Press column 20 Questions.

Asked how much money it would take for him to feel secure, he said: "I suppose it would be enough money so that I could live in comfort and without worry even if I never worked another day in my life."

Well, it looks like you get your wish for now Mr. Hay - at least for the eternity it will take the city to investigate your doings, while you collect your whole salary.

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Tax me - I live in London

Once again the city justifies tax increases with reference to the downtrodden - afterall, how could anyone be so cruel as to begrudge the poor a small portion of their earnings? Problem is, the distribution of the spoils taxation is not so utopian or clear cut, nor is it a small portion of your earnings. Who gets a piece of the pie depends upon which group you belong to. Such a system encourages poverty, indeed rewards weakness - and strength becomes equated with who can shout the loudest and gain the most favour with council.

Such a system tells taxpayers that they do not have the same right over their earned income as someone else does. Never mind that you and / or your family might have needs not recognized as legitimate by the government - you will be taxed and you will pay those taxes, otherwise you will be faced with force. Clearly, people are not treated as equals in this system.

London's poverty-fighting efforts, sacrificed last year on the altar of budget cuts, must be restored in 2005 for all the city's good, some councillors say. Last year, city funding to agencies working for the poor was rolled back seven per cent, some of it on the understanding it would be a temporary cut.

Council is looking in the next two months to hack away at a projected tax hike of more than 10 per cent.

Even so, spending $450,000 more in 2005 fighting poverty is justified, even if other services must be cut, Ward 1 Coun. Ab Chahbar said yesterday.

"There's nothing untouchable, but, for me, this is a high priority," Chahbar said.

"These people of misfortune are our brothers and sisters in society and it's incumbent upon us not to leave them behind.

"If we don't look after them, where do they go?"

[. . . . .]

A staff report says that without restored support to the poor, more than 12,000 vulnerable people will have trouble "meeting their basic needs, such as food security, shelter and emergency transportation."

The higher numbers include:

- $100,000 more for The Heat and Warmth program, which -- through several social-service agencies and the United Way -- helps low-income people pay utility bills. Last winter, 641 families benefited from THAW funding. Failing to increase city funding "has severe implications such as possible loss of accommodations, homelessness, increased emergency shelter usage (and) children taken into care," the staff report says.

- About $80,000 more for street youth. This includes additional help for the Youth Action Centre and resource centres in the Glen Cairn, Crouch and South London areas.

- $65,000 more for the mayor's anti-poverty action group. Each year, the city has set aside $250,000 for this fund. Last year, however, council slashed $65,000 from its funding as part of budget-cutting efforts.

- $162,500 more for community support agencies that provide services to children in low-income families.

Ward 5 Coun. Sandy White, a social worker, believes it will be a tough battle in council chambers because social services are usually "the first they'll go after."

She figures a lot of things could be cut -- including planning for a ring road -- but not this.

"We need to put as much into people as we do into profit."

You mean Ms. White, more money is needed from taxpayers to support city staff like yourself. More programs = more bureaucrats to oversee all of these programs and to generate more useless reports. Profits are good for people and lead to general wealth and you should understand this as you cannot take blood from a stone, meaning, you cannot tax the poverty stricken masses. Poverty is your justification, but you feed off the profits of others. You bite your own tail.

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The War Against Individuals

Hat tip: Slashdot

According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters.

Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins.

[. . . . ]

Laser-printing technology makes it incredibly easy to counterfeit money and documents, and Crean says the dots, in use in some printers for decades, allow law enforcement to identify and track down counterfeiters.

However, they could also be employed to track a document back to any person or business that printed it. Although the technology has existed for a long time, printer companies have not been required to notify customers of the feature.

[. . . .]

John Morris, a lawyer for The Center for Democracy and Technology , says, "That type of assurance doesn't really assure me at all, unless there's some type of statute." He adds, "At a bare minimum, there needs to be a notice to consumers."

If the practice disturbs you, don't bother trying to disable the encoding mechanism--you'll probably just break your printer.

Crean describes the device as a chip located "way in the machine, right near the laser" that embeds the dots when the document "is about 20 billionths of a second" from printing.

"Standard mischief won't get you around it," Crean adds.

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How do you make hundreds of millions of dollars disappear?

"Gagliano continues to deny mob ties"

I'm just Gagliano
And everywhere I go
People know the part I'm playing
Hey, you wanna "make an ad"? The money isn't bad
And the saps with T4s are paying

There will come a day
When omerta fades away
Then what will they say about me
When the end comes I know they'll say who needs Gagliano
We've still got the gun registry

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The Ninth Edition of the Red Ensign Standard

The Ninth Edition of the Red Standard has been raised by Dust my Broom

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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Thou shalt not enjoy thyself, worker

Hat tip to Chris Wright for pointing out this ruling in Alabama from back in July.

A group of adult-product merchants and customers trying to overturn Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys will challenge an appeals court ruling that upheld the 6-year-old law, their lawyer said Thursday.
........
In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, [July 27th] the 11th Circuit overturned a lower court and upheld a state law banning the sale of devices designed to stimulate human genitals. The court ruled the state has a legal right to regulate the sale of sex toys and decided the Constitution doesn't include a right to sexual privacy.
.........
The law does not prohibit the possession of sex devices.

Perhaps charities and humanitarian groups will still be allowed to distribute these instruments of decadence to the 'addicts' that simply cannot help themselves.

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Nanny says be quiet and stop complaining

Bicycle helmet laws, smoking bans, liquor taxes, seatbelt laws, pit bull bans . . . we all know the kind of thinking that brings about the Nanny State. But most advocates of these laws will not admit unless pressed that the control of individual behaviour is the objective. How refreshing it is to read someone who is proud to be totalitarian.

But ideas of public health will always be inconsistent and subjective. Today's monstrous imposition is tomorrow's normal practice - motorcycle helmets, breathalysers or seat belts.

She's got that right at least, but she thinks that the inconsistency and subjectivity of policy and law is a good thing!

Hat tip: Nanny Knows Best

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Our Patron Saint Of Wishful Thinking

Look at the standings in the Greatest Canadian competition -- pyramid scheme visionary Tommy Douglas is in the lead, as the top choice of the over-50 early buyers-in.

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Sad tramps, happy tramps

Whoa, did you know that professional clowns have their own union?!? And a big part of the routine is the common sense proletarian understanding that . So as influential clown stakeholders and rentseekers involved in the community's well being, the clowns are standing up against the moderately socialist Fox Network in defence of the full on stuff.

"Prime Minister Paul Martin must assure anxious Canadians that their telecommunications, cable and broadcast industries will not be sold to foreigners," said (Media Vice President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada) Peter Murdoch...

"The entry of Fox News, the ferociously right wing U.S. television news channel, into the Canadian broadcast marketplace, makes it incumbent upon government to maintain and reward Canadian ownership of our primary cultural messengers," Mr. Murdoch added.

"We need to bolster our own cultural forces to ensure that we are not over-run by the bulldozer of loud-talking American network bullies. It's that direct and that simple," Mr. Murdoch said.

Our clowns are not very multicultural... maybe they know they just aren't as funny as the evil clowns.

Will the price of having Fox News be ever more free money for official Can-clowns, to help our counteract the bad effects of the foreign circus on the national sense of humour?

Their jokes are so predictable that I've already written the punchline.

Oh, and:
"It is critical government assure Canadians that their voice will not be lost in the din of table-thumping rants of polarizing news outlets.

What's that you say son? CBC has made me deaf in the left ear.

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Saturday, November 20, 2004

Two mannequins are better than one

London's top administrator says a troubling track record of unresolved conflicts at city hall warrants creation of a second position -- at a proposed cost of $100,000 -- to tackle code of conduct and harassment complaints. The new position of human resources specialist would be in addition to the job of human rights specialist held by Joyce Burpee, city manager Jeff Fielding said.

You would have thought they had learned their lesson from the experience of hiring Joyce Burpee. Never let it be said that London doesn't dare to walk down the Road Less Sensible.
Fielding, who has held top municipal postings in Kitchener, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary, said he's never encountered such a high number of complaints that can't be resolved in-house.

All complaints under the city's workplace harassment and discrimination prevention policy that can't be resolved internally are referred to outside investigators.

The probes have contributed to the more than $1 million in outside legal fees London has paid out in the past three years.

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Your human right may not be my human right

It seems that the Supreme Court has ruled that health care is not a human right after all, unless provinces declare certain procedures to be so. What a wonderfully arbitrary system -- rather like the whole notion of human rights in this country. How about this -- it is a human right not to have the government decide what you need and what you don't need.

Supreme Court rules against autism group

Parents of autistic children in British Columbia had asked the top judiciary to force the province to pay for an expensive therapy, arguing that their equality rights under the Canada Health Act were being infringed.

In a unanimous decision, the court said the government had no obligation to pay, overturning lower court decisions that recognized the treatment is medically necessary.

The ruling was seen as a signal that governments no longer have to worry about being forced to pay for expensive programs by special-interest groups claiming discrimination.

The decision leaves the door open for governments to cut services for the elderly, welfare recipients and anyone receiving special funding based on the argument that denying it would be discriminatory, said Toronto lawyer Fiona Sampson.

"It's a retrenchment on our equality rights in general. It doesn't apply just to autism. Because the court used a very narrow and restrictive interpretation of equality, that interpretation can get picked up in other equality rights contexts," said Sampson, director of litigation for Women's Legal Education and Action Fund.

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Your votes count!

Via Occam's Carbuncle, a "Three factions of the same scam" heads up:

Canadians may be forced to do without American cookies, cereal, chips and many other tasty treats as MPs from all parties expressed support Thursday for an NDP motion that would make Canada the second country in the world to ban trans fats.
Suck my second hand smoke, "Conservative" Party of Canada.

Listen to how this person talks about you:
"If we need to make a choice between the shelf life of people versus the shelf life of doughnuts, the Conservative Party of Canada will always support the shelf life of people," said (Conservative health critic Stephen) Fletcher.
Like a farmer deciding what's best for the livestock.

Maybe you think about yourself this way and want trans fats banned because you just can't help giving in to Pleasure and sinning against Health by eating food you know is bad for you.

If that is the case, I recommend you investigate locally owned or franchised cults, which are constantly looking for new recruits. If you join, they will force you to have a nutritious diet. I doubt the Hare Krishnas let you eat Oreos. And they will give you a purpose in life, one more profound than fretting about easily avoided chemicals.

Sign up and live forever. You can be the best worker your cult could ever hope to invest in. Be healthy and leave the rest of us with the option of enjoying gooey snacks.

This leaves you free to force yourself to choose Health as you value it, so you can feel good about leaving me free to choose Fun as I value it.

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

It's WORLD TOILET DAY!

November 19th is World Toilet Day. And there is a conference to celebrate it too.

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Diversity and intolerance in Ontario

Premier Dalton McGuinty encouraged Muslim parents yesterday to allow their children to attend public school classes that include teaching tolerance of gays and lesbians. McGuinty and Education Minister Gerard Kennedy both reached out to Muslim parents who are upset about what the Toronto District School Board calls "anti-homophobia education" at a downtown school.

"I think it's important all our children have the opportunity to learn about those things that distinguish one of us from the other, and that they learn to respect those differences," McGuinty said.

Do you hear yourself McGimpy? Yes, your government does need to remember that individuals are different from one another, that they have different abilities and needs and also different viewpoints. Perhaps it is time for the Ontario Liberals to practice what they supposedly preach - which is to say, back off and let people make their own choices. Respect the choices of individuals for it is individuals, not groups, that have rights and it is time that we remembered this in Ontario.
Controversy erupted after students at Market Lane public school were shown videos that depicted the feelings of children who get taunted at school because their own parents are homosexuals.

Angry Muslim parents complained that their religious beliefs were getting less respect and demanded their children be excluded on religious grounds from similar presentations in the future.

The board rejected their request Tuesday night, saying that allowing some students to be excluded from discussions about gay families would violate the rights of those children with same-sex parents.

"Ultimately, our civil values include respect for sexual orientation," Kennedy said before a cabinet meeting yesterday. "I don't think there's any harm done to parents who find their children exposed to ideas that are different than the ones they teach at home."

Of course it is good for children to be exposed to different ideas, but the answer is not government issue tolerance training. The end result of such teaching is hatred and intolerance and segregation. Forced acceptance will never lead to real acceptance and respect. Homosexuals and lesbians have rights - the same rights that are accorded to each of us, individually, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, values, religion. The government should not be in the business of promoting values or tolerance.
"Teaching tolerance to young people is a must," said Elmasry, also a professor at the University of Waterloo.

"But you have to balance that with the appearance you are not promoting certain values -- in this case, homosexual families."

Elmasry has been at the centre of controversy after suggesting in an interview that all Israelis over the age of 18 were legitimate targets for Palestinian militants.

I hope you aren't the one teaching tolerance Mr. Elmasry.
For a taste of how tolerant Mr. Elmasry is, check out the transcript from his recent appearance on the Michael Coren show.

Update: Carolyn Parrish gets fired, but Elmasry gets off with a slap on the wrist.

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I didn't make this up - honest!

'Toilets are a basic human right'?????

BEIJING -- Laugh all you want, say public hygiene experts at the World Toilet Summit, but the importance of having washrooms you can use is no joke. The three-day event, which began yesterday in Beijing, is an international commode conference with a mission -- the globalization of presentable latrines.

"People are saying, 'We want good toilets!' because toilets are a basic human right and that basic human right has been neglected," said Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization. "The world deserves better toilets."

About 150 scholars, toilet designers and environmentalists from 19 countries gathered to exchange ideas on such topics as the latest toilet technologies, lavatory management tips and the relationship between toilets and tourism development.

"You can laugh at it for a short time," said Sim, whose group is based in Singapore.

"But after a few seconds, you should start to pay serious attention to the subject because you have been ignoring the toilet subject for too long and it's doing something to your body, to your life quality, to your social graciousness."

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I don't use the word "mobsters" metaphorically

Ministers of Public Works with ties to the mob? Nooooo waaaaaaaay, that doesn't fit the job profile one bit.

Alfonso Gagliano has held titles in Canada that include labor minister, deputy House leader, ambassador to Denmark and minister of public works.

In New York he held a different kind of title, according to secret FBI documents obtained by the Daily News: "made" member of the Bonanno crime family.

Bonanno? Give me a break. What health care gangland monopoly do they run in their territory? Show me their "surplus". I doubt they get 50%+ protection money from the people in their territory.

Small timers, these Bonanos, compared to the $uper-$weet banana republic.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

17% of the population a victim of discrimination in Ontario

Ontario smokers could find themselves way out in the cold, if the province goes ahead with a plan for sweeping, no-smoking zones around all public buildings.

CTV's Toronto affiliate, CFTO, has learned of draft legislation that could leave people in the province very few options on where to light up. The only choices left could be in their homes, their cars, and far away from any public building.
........

Ontario's minister of health, George Smitherman, would not confirm the report of the draft legislation, but did repeat his commitment to getting citizens of his province to butt out.

"We ran on a platform of a 100 per cent ban on smoking in public and work places and we're going to fulfill it," Smitherman said.

As well, CFTO says the Health Minister will get support from Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. He is said to be onside with efforts to raise cigarette taxes in the province to bring them closer to the national average.

"I have to balance between taxes that discourage smoking -- and that works -- and making sure our taxes are not a catalyst to a black market that doesn't serve anybody," Sorbara said.

Funny, I always figured that higher taxes and bans on commodities are a catalyst to the black market, rather than a deterrent.
Check out this article by Neil Smith concerning the pleasure hating and fascist nature of anti-smoking laws.

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Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Now available on ebay!


In her description of the sandwich, Duyser said she made the sandwich 10 years ago, and when taking a bite, saw the face of the Virgin Mary looking back at her.

At first, she was scared, she said. However, after winning $70,000 US at a local casino, Duyser said she realized the sandwich was special and decided to share it with the world.

The sandwich was made on plain white bread with American cheese and cooked with no oil or butter.

Duyser said the 10-year-old sandwich shows no sign of mould or crumbling, though it has been stored only in a clear plastic box with cotton balls. She considers that part of the miracle.

Update: The sandwich was purchased by an online casino for $28,000

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One of these days these boots...

CBC:

At least one Liberal MP will find it difficult to hide her distaste for the recently re-elected U.S. president. Carolyn Parrish didn't even try on Monday, playing along with CBC-TV's This Hour Has 22 Minutes by stomping on a George Bush action figure.

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London Liberals in a race with the province to ban doggies

Why not concentration camps for dangerous breeds? Notice certain breeds and indeed certain dogs, are not presumed innocent until proven guilty. London council just loves passing bylaws, so much so that they ignore the likelihood that the Ontario Liberals will impose a ban soon.

No decision was to be made at last night's public input session on the city's two proposed bylaws.

They include:

* A ban on four dog breeds: pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and Akitas. Dogs of those breeds already living in London would be allowed to stay as long as their owners applied for an extension within 90 days. Otherwise, the dogs would have to be moved outside the city or euthanized.

* Stringent new controls on any dog deemed dangerous if it charges someone or appears menacing, even if it hasn't bitten anyone. Those dogs would face muzzling and would risk being put down if their owner refuses.

The bylaws are expected to go back to the environment and transportation committee in two weeks for an ultimate referral to council.

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Down with honest competition in London Ontario

Another bullying bylaw = further employment for lawyers and court representatives. More on the new taxi and limousine bylaw in London:

The new bylaw introduces a number of changes to the city's taxi and limo business, including a requirement for newer vehicles, slightly higher fares and new regulations that prevent the sale of new cab plates issued by the city.

Current cab plate owners are allowed to continue the practice of selling and leasing plates.

But the most controversial changes are definitions and categories that identify what each type of vehicle can do and charge.

All Around's minivan fleet was put in the new "group transportation" category and must charge $30 per hour.

"Nobody's going to pay $30 an hour to take a van from Commissioners Road to the university," Hassan said.

The limo service now charges customers $6 to start their ride plus an extra $3 for travel through additional zones into which the city is divided.

There are other problems with the bylaw, Hassan said, such as requirements for drivers to pass an English-language test, restrictions that could prevent disabled people from driving cabs and the responsibility of drivers to determine whether a passenger is "grossly unclean."

"It seems to me this bylaw has been hastily thrown together (because of) All Around . . . and brought in before the company was able to establish a foothold in the city," Hassan said.

[. . . . . ]

Jamie Donnelly, director of operations for Abouttown Transportation, welcomed the bylaw.

"I don't think it will bring peace, but it's gone a long way," Donnelly said.

It will mean more business for taxis and less competition from limousines, Donnelly said.

The requirements for newer vehicles and safety checks will only improve the industry's image and customer satisfaction, Donnelly said.

What's wrong with honest competition Mr. Donnelly? I suppose people like you prefer protected monopolies and yeah, there is the safety justification again. Safety is in everyone's best interest and should not be obtained through force. Safety is something that will come about naturally because people place a value on it.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Budget antics - Council scapegoats city staff

Never mind that we hired you in the first place.

Staff who prepared the city's draft budget drew fire last night from councillors upset with the proposed 10.9-per-cent tax hike. But a bid to send the $834-million draft budget back to staff to bring the tax increase down to council's target of three per cent failed.

"Why, when we asked for a three-per-cent draft budget, don't we get it?" Coun. Rob Alder asked at the council meeting.

"That is ignoring council's resolve. I do not like the position we're currently in."

Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen initiated the discussion by proposing the budget be sent back to staff to cut the tax hike to three per cent.

The motion failed to get the required two-thirds support to be considered for a vote.

And in case you are wondering about the proposed increase, well, tune in to Mr. Gosnell:
Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell, council budget chief, has called for a moratorium on new spending or expanded programs, which account for about one-quarter of the proposed hike.

Gosnell said almost half the increase was due to unexpected costs related to provincial downloading or other external factors.

He also cited the fallout of previous council decisions, such as more than $4 million to pay new debt related to several major city projects over the last five years, including the new Central Library and John Labatt Centre.

"Our goal was three per cent," Gosnell agreed.

"But we didn't know what the impacts (of provincial downloading) would be, so you can't plan for it."

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Government-enforced monopolies a popular tool in London Ontario

It's official - the buffoons we call council here in London have sided with the monopolistic bullies running the cab industry.

"It's very difficult to please everybody, so there's always going to be contentious issues," said Coun. Roger Caranci, who chairs council's environment and transportation committee.

"But I think many of the people are happy with what transpired tonight."

At least 200 taxi and limousine drivers turned out for the meeting, filling the public gallery and spilling into the main-floor foyer.

Several police officers were on hand to assist security.

The biggest loser under the bylaw will be All Around Limousine. All Around's launch 18 months ago sparked complaints from cabbies the company was operating illegally and taking their fares.

"Taking their fares?" Do the entrenched cab companies have a right to my money somehow that I don't know about? Why am I not allowed to pay All Around Limousine, or any other limousine or cab company for that matter, the rate that we freely agree to? I pay for service that I feel satisfied with and if I am not satisfied, then I do not pay and the crappy companies can freely go out of business or respond to the market and offer better service. Oh, but I forget myself - it's a safety issue.

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Shiver

Let It Bleed covers Alexandre Trudeau in Macleans.

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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Last gasps of the obsolete

During a CSPAN panel discussion among legacy media geniuses, there's a really funny monologue from ABC News Senior Correspondant Carole Simpson, who drips Marie Antoinette-worthy contempt for the lowbrows who voted for Bush out of their ignorance. The ignorance arises from not viewing "reputable" sources like ABC and the New York Times.

It's here, at about 22 minutes in. Well worth seeing.

UPDATE: Daily Recycler has a clip from later in the debate. If you've not had your daily requirements of citric acid you can get a contact high just off watching her look and talk like she's sucking the sourest lemon on Earth.

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Don't run with scissors when the house is burning down!


From the Post's comments section:

I was shocked to see the front page of your newspaper.

Showing a GI smoking and portraying it as being cool is disgusting, to say the least.

First of all, you are promoting smoking, even though it is a health hazard.

Secondly, our brave men and women are fighting a tough war in Iraq, and to show them as you did does not do them justice.

Maybe showing a Marine in a tank, helping another GI or drinking water would have had a more positive impact on your readers.

Smoking should be outlawed, not endorsed. Ali Mahdi

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Friday, November 12, 2004

The war on fun

Via Drudge,

An 11-year-old girl in West Covina, Calif., was suspended from her school from doing "dangerous" cartwheels and hand stands during lunch time, according to a Local 6 News report.

Deirdre Faegre, who is a Student of the Month at San Jose-Edison Academy in West Covina was dismissed from the school this week after school authorities warned her for the last time to stop doing gymnastic stunts during lunchtime.
I know a lot of you are saying this is ridiculous, because you're wondering if anybody values education and character so little as to warehouse their own children in public schools. That is not the issue here.

Cartwheels are a gateway. The illicit thrill and fun, combined with the sense of mastery given by a well executed cartwheel, are the root cause of disobedience of petty authority exercised impertinently.

The whole public school system could crumble if that is unchecked.

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Good riddance, sorry you were here

A great big London Fog "Hope It Hurt" goes out to the demon Yassir Arafat, inventor of passenger plane hijacking and homicide/suicide bombing.

It was 75 or so years late in coming, and a sadly easy end for a villain. All the same Paul Martin speaks up with his usual moral clarity and statesmanship:

Prime Minister Paul Martin offered his condolences to Arafat's family on behalf of all Canadians.
Umm, no, not all, Paulie. If they were his family they had lots of opportunity to kill him themselves, sending him straight to heaven for his 72 white grapes, and they never took them. No condolences here for selfish people like that.

Psychopathic murderers should be treated equitably. But did we see similar condolences to the completely innocent Dahmer family when he was murdered in jail in his prime? I think not. Sheer hypocrisy.

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Urban planning and the public good

This is what happens when the public good is an objective in urban planning.

Another battle at the Ontario Municipal Board may be brewing over Reservoir Hill. The city's planning committee will vote today on whether to approve changes requested by city staff to a site plan submitted by Ayerswood Development Corp:
[. . .]
The company, owned by developer Tony Graat, is seeking permission to build a 12-storey apartment building on the historic site.
[. . .]
The city has fought development on the hill, considering it historically and environmentally significant.
[. . .]
The original development plan by Ayerswood was for two 12-storey buildings on the site.

The city rejected that plan, sending the fight to the OMB.
[. . .]
City staff and two neighbours contend the plan does not position the highrise building in the centre of the two proposed buildings as the OMB requested.

City staff are also not happy the site plan proposes the building be moved farther off Springbank Drive, meaning the foundation will cut deeper into the hill.

In response to an urban planner who has given thoughtful input on the subject of urban planning (October 12 and October 21): Is profit a scary thing when compared to the "checks and balances" provided by statist planning? This kind of politicking and waste of time and money sound much scarier to me. Checks and balances sound good, but the social and environmental factors of which planning is supposed to be mindful cannot be measured by or stated in anything but arbitrary terms at best and completely politically self-serving terms at worst. Is the public good served by having only one 12-storey building rather than two on the site of historical and environmental significance? How? And who determines the hoops through which the developer must jump to use its own property? Is the building too close to road or too far from the road? Nobody seems to be able to make up his mind.

Any conception of the public good is necessarily arbitrary to the individual who makes his own rational judgment about what is good for his property. There is no tenable or definable concept of the public good for there is no such thing -- there is only a number of individuals. These individuals may freely associate and possibly in such numbers that they might consitute a majority in a given area at a given time -- this is your ballot box -- yet to call the common interest of such an association the public good is to regard it as something superior to the individual good of others who are not part of that assocation and to maintain a precedence over their interests. This cannot be done without resorting to coercion or interference. In a totalitarian society, individual interests do not even have to be acknowledged. But in our wishy-washy planned state, we pretend to acknowledge the rights of individuals to own property and at the same time try to hold collectively established notions of the public good over what people can do with their property -- whose property is it anyway? This results in arbitrary distinctions of what is good or not according to the collective vs. the individual because nobody knows where the individual ends and the collective begins -- and it sounds completely ridiculous to me. The public good is a seemingly disinterested objective that is decided by humans who are interested in maintaining their publicly funded status -- or if we wish to be fair, the advancement of the public good only coincidentally serves the interest of those who are paid to advance it.

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Never mind good parenting skills - Comrade Kwinter will save the day!

War on cybercrime against kids widens
OTTAWA -- Ontario's fight against Internet crimes that target children got a boost of up to $5 million yesterday. Monte Kwinter, Ontario minister of community safety and correctional services, announced the additional spending at a YM-YWCA in downtown Ottawa as part of Crime Prevention Week.

Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police will devise a strategy before the end of the year outlining what is needed to combat Internet crimes against kids.

The Ottawa police service, which has had a high-tech crime unit since 1998, will play a role in the development of the strategy.

Ottawa police Chief Vince Bevan said educating the public about the dangers of cyberspace is vital to breaking the cycle of Internet crimes committed against children.

The province announced in June it would invest $1 million in additional annual funding in provincial police efforts in fighting child pornography.

Copyright © The London Free Press 2004

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