Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm a loser so I'll sue Google

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A seller of online marketing tools said on Wednesday it sued Google Inc., charging that the Web search giant has failed to protect users of its advertising program from "click fraud," costing them at least $5 million.

Click Defense Inc. filed its lawsuit, which also seeks class action status, on June 24 in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.

Click fraud is not "fraud" as defined under the law. Rather, it is an industry term used to describe the deliberate clicking on Web search ads by users with no plans to do business with the advertiser. Rival companies might employ people or machines to do this because the advertiser has to pay the Web search provider for each click.

Users of Google's popular Web search advertising program pay a set amount -- varying from pennies to well over $1 -- for each click, though in rare instances, the payment is as much as $95.

Click fraud can run up thousands of dollars in advertiser costs or benefit a Web site operator that gets a cut of advertising revenue from Internet search providers.
A company that spends $5 million before it realizes that it made a poor advertising investment is clearly not a company I wish to consult if I am in the market for "online marketing tools."

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Impressionable Folks

"Triangulating" our way to a bright and atomized anomic future:

Three-Cornered Quadrilateral Rights Now!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Svend Putin

Saturday, August 07, 2004:

VANCOUVER - Former MP Svend Robinson yesterday admitted in court that he stole an expensive diamond ring during a time of "devastating stress," but the judge ruled that losing his long-time job and suffering "public vilification" were punishment enough. The judge handed him a conditional discharge, meaning Mr. Robinson will not have a criminal record or serve any jail time.

"This is a gut-wrenching tale of a man who has achieved much, more than most, and who has taken a fall, probably more than most. All for a bauble, a trinket, a ring," said Judge Ronald Fratkin.

"On the balance, I'm satisfied that the credits outweigh the debits for Mr. Robinson. I'm satisfied that what he has gone through, the public would say is enough.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005:
Russian President Vladimir Putin walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring, but was it a generous gift or a very expensive international misunderstanding?

Following a meeting of American business executives and Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg on Saturday, Kraft showed the ring to Putin - who tried it on, put it in his pocket and left, according to Russian news reports.

It wasn't clear if Kraft, whose business interests include paper and packaging companies and venture capital investments, intended that Putin keep the ring.

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A gruesome tale

As if people whose lives are disrupted or ended in personal tragedy have not suffered enough, it seems these days that their individual tribulations are to be reinterpreted as excuses for calls to collective action, typically in the form of expanded regulation or increased government spending. Some sort of unofficial spirit-of-interventionism Equality of Affliction Opportunity Program, I suppose. And the recent shooting in London, in which three people were murdered by a family member who was also killed, is unfortunately no exception. So the London Free Press obliges my poor expectations by charging into this plea for other people's money by noted London activist Megan Walker. This appeal takes bad solutions to Ms. Walker's perceived political problems and attributes them to someone else's problem, related to hers only by a dishonourable expropriated sympathy. It also seems to curiously portray London women as being impetuous herd creatures overreacting to the easily imaginable fear of someone they don't even know in a vicarious orgy of mindless internalization — a representation I'm sure neither the writer nor Ms. Walker intended, although I guess it couldn't hurt the cause of helplessness that has been so financially rewarding in this country.

The city's centre for abused women has been overrun this week with women frightened in the aftermath of the slayings of two mothers and two children. Panic was endemic yesterday among women trying to escape violence from men in their lives, said Megan Walker, executive director of London's Abused Women's Centre.

[…] Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has promised more funds to combat domestic violence but hasn't delivered, Walker said.

McGuinty pledged support a month after his 2003 election. Seven months ago, the province announced aid for the fiscal year that began in April. Three months later, most agencies that provide those services are still waiting.

"We've yet to receive one penny," Walker said.
Neither Dalton McGuinty's promises nor any suggestion that more funds to "combat" domestic violence could avert these tragedies should be taken seriously. If I'm not mistaken, "combat" in this context means hiring more people like Ms. Walker to make more definite demands of the rest of us for indefinite purposes.

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I say, that's not cricket!

Now that Donald Macdonald, the Trudeau-era finance minister who brought in wage and price controls, can no longer cripple Canada's economy by central planning, he's settling for planning to spend Torontonians' money — on cricket pitches. From The Toronto Star:

Macdonald is helping the Canadian Cricket Association lobby City Hall for more facilities. The group is seeking 20 additional pitches, one or two indoor training facilities, and a doubling of the number of cricket programs in schools to 120 — all within the next 10 years.

[…] During their meeting at City Hall, Macdonald and the CCA pointed to a recent Statistics Canada report that predicted more than half of Toronto's population will be "visible minorities" by 2017. Many of those newcomers will play the sport, the group said.

[…] Macdonald, who introduced wage and price controls under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the '70s, believes taxpayer money should be used to expand the city's cricket facilities.

"I think it's important they should feel welcome to play their games with us."
With Donald Macdonald's support, it is apparent that they are feeling quite welcome to play games with us. Macdonald's plan also would advance the objectives of official multiculturalism, another Trudeau scheme, accentuating the exterior and superficial differences between cultures while encouraging assimilation into the carefully cultivated Canadian societal norms of expectations of entitlement.

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Nanny Logic

Popular opinion is only valid when it comes to the ballot box - lots of sales at the cash register only makes nanny suspicious and greedy. The herd can be trusted to choose their legislators but they are not to be trusted to spend their money as they please.

Seems our Russian comrades have a hatred of energy drinks such as Red Bull - like Health Canada, the rulers feel the need to implement tougher measures to protect the vassals against the possibility of caffeine addiction and over consumption:

Russian Nationalist Party Prepares Bill Banning Coca-Cola, Pepsi

Deputies of the ultra-nationalist Liberal-Democratic faction of the State Duma have prepared a draft law banning the sale of soft drinks containing caffeine and other stimulating supplements including vitamins, Ekho Moskvy radio reported on Monday. If passed, the bill would outlaw popular drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

The explanatory note to the bill says that despite the fact that caffeine content in Coca-Cola and Pepsi does not exceed the legally allowed norms, the drinks can nevertheless be hazardous as some consumers drink large quantities at a time.

The radio quoted a source in the Russian parliament as saying that the new bill is grotesque. The source suggested that the Liberal Democrats mistook Pepsi and Coca-Cola for energy drinks. Representatives of Coca-Cola also said that it was impossible that such a bill would be signed into a law as there were no grounds for it.
HT: Grandinite

Some people also drink too much volka, some people watch too much tv, some people eat too much food, some people spend too much time exercising, some people spend too much time talking and some people spend too much time gambling:
Months before an addiction to video lottery terminals led 31-year-old Susan Piercey to commit suicide, she wrote a letter to the machines while at a treatment centre in her hometown of Corner Brook, Nfld.

"I sold my soul to play your game, you never judged me, ever ready to accept my money," she wrote. "I have to let you go. You've hurt me more than anything or anyone in my life."

That was in March 2003. Months later, she took an overdose of pills and was dead in a week.

"To see someone captured by VLT addiction, which we learned started when she was 19 years of age, is just unimaginable," her father Keith told a news conference in Halifax yesterday.

The Piercey family has joined with other families who have lost relatives to VLT addiction to call on Ottawa to launch a national inquest into the social impact of the electronic gambling machines.
Responsible and sane people continue to be punished for the irrational and damaging behaviour of others.

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Life's like that

Dhiya, an Iraqi immigrant pal of mine, just called me with some basic questions about taxes in Canada. He's been trying to get a stable, over-the-table job after a hard go of it, and he thinks he may have a line on something now. He asked me what kind of taxes people pay on their earnings. I told him I didn't know how it worked for people around full time minimum wage, but I pay around fifty percent of what I earn.

Fifty percent!?! Yes, fifty percent.

Did he ever laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

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Why doesn't Ward Churchill just go away?

Not content to eat only one of his feet, Ward Churchill is swallowing himself whole.

WorldNetDaily:

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill suggested to a forum on conscientious objection they might be more effective in opposing war if they supported the "fragging" or killing of line officers.

In a Portland meeting on resistance to military recruiting, Churchill, famous for comparing Sept. 11, 2001, victims in the World Trade Center to "little Eichmanns," twice suggested anti-war activists should support those who kill their officers.

"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal," he said. "But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"

Later, in a question-and-answer period, Churchill was asked whether the trauma "fragging" inflicts on that officer's family back home should be considered, he responded: "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?"
Hat tip: Mitchieville

Also be sure to check out Pirate Ballerina, perhaps the definitive watchdog over the barkings of Churchill.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rights reduced to laws

In Canada, rights are defined by legislation. A new right has been invented today with the passing of the same-sex marriage bill, at the expense of the rights and freedoms of others. The human rights tribunal is now hiring.

"(This) is about the Charter of Rights,'' Prime Minister Paul Martin said earlier Tuesday.

"We are a nation of minorities. And in a nation of minorities, it is important that you don't cherry-pick rights.

"A right is a right and that is what this vote tonight is all about."

[..] Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said Harper is going to have to come clean and acknowledge that he would have to invoke the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to override the new law.

"They're going to have to acknowledge that they want to override the (Charter of Rights); override constitutional-law decisions in nine jurisdictions in this country; override a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada; override the rule of law in this country," Cotler said.

[..] "It's an historic moment, it's about equality for gays and lesbians," said NDP MP Libby Davies.

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London — a New Urban Dictatorship in the making

In theory, local governments ought to be more responsive to and intrude less on their citizens. But in practice, local governments serve as initiation grounds for social activists and have become incubators for interventionist regulation and socialist redistribution initiatives for the more conservative provincial and federal levels. When local governments conspire with other governments to transfer tax money between jurisdictions and blur the distinctions of jurisdictional responsibilities, the opportunities for statism at all levels are enhanced by diluting and diminishing the accountability that would ordinarily accrue to governments that must adhere to the checks of well-defined divisions of power and taxation. Upset with social housing? Who're you going to vote against? Terence Corcoran has an interesting article in today's National Post, The New Urban Dictatorships:

Across the land, a New Deal for Cities is taking shape. Modern pressure to give cities more power and money has been building for several years. Now, encouraged by a weak and unprincipled Liberal regime in Ottawa, vast new law-making authority and massive volumes of federal cash are about to be transferred to local politicians.

The rhetoric behind the power shift has already slipped into the realm of cliche: Cities need a seat at the table; Canada has a $60-billion infrastructure deficit; cities suffer from fiscal imbalances; cities are engines of growth trapped in 140-year-old funding models; cities need new tools to survive in the new global economy.

Around these and other pap phrases, each more meaningless than the last, the New Deal for Cities movement is giving rise to a new phenomenon: the New Urban Dictatorships. The expanse of new powers to be assigned to city potentates -- powers to zone, control, direct, enforce, impose, regulate, tax and generally lord it over every person, business and property owner under their jurisdiction -- is unlike anything we've ever seen in Canada. And we've already seen a lot.

[…] But cash transfers are only the most obvious part of the growing problem with the new urban policy agenda. [… The] new urban power movement seeks to give cities broad planning authority and fiscal tools that can have only one outcome: Get ready for big-state local governments with unlimited power.

Some of the same people who fought hard and loud against urban amalgamation in places like Toronto are now proponents of turning the amalgamated giants they opposed into major powerhouses of arbitrary authority.

There's no space here for a full cross-Canada search of the emerging urban power grab, but the push in Toronto — backed by the province — is so vast as to be in itself a breach of constitutional proprieties. A recent provincial-municipal task force report listed the "enabling powers" that a new City of Toronto Act might confer on the city. These would include authority to "regulate; prohibit; provide for a system of licences, permits, approvals or registrations and impose conditions with respect to city purposes; provide for compliance; require people to do things; create offences and enforce bylaws; raise revenue."

On top of these enabling powers would come "enhancements" to existing powers, plus new planning and zoning powers that would give the city "the option" to impose affordable housing on new developments, set densities, control housing types and adopt urban planning fads as they come along. Still other blanket clauses would allow the city to provide "services and other things that the city considers are necessary or desirable for the city."

[…] At least somebody recognizes that we are in the midst of a dangerous power grab that needs to be checked. Recent court decisions in the United States (see Richard Salsman below on the U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision) and Canada show that citizens can no longer depend on constitutional protections against arbitrary power. Citizens are pitted against citizens, developers against citizens, corporations against corporations in a power free-for-all. Whoever sways the local power authority wins the game.

These new urban deals are not about government in a democracy. They're a new form of tyranny, and we should at least make an effort to stop them before they really get out of control.
If Toronto gets theirs, other municipalities' aspirations won't be left long ungranted, especially with the amazing confusions of civic judgment these schemes make available. Anne Marie DeCicco never met an opportunity for aggrandization with minimal accountability that she didn't like.

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Susan Eagle on Excess Baggage

Well, the dumpsters of private businesses and the lawns of frugal Londoners will soon be filling up with more garbage. Although it takes council many meetings and visits to the cafeteria to make up their minds on any issue, they have voted in favour of a four bag limit on garbage. There will be many more plates of "chicken cordon bleu, vegetables in a phyllo pastry, fish served on a red pepper sauce with coconut shrimp, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetable, bread, salad and a wide assortment of drinks and deserts" in council's future however, as they try to work out the details of such a scheme.

City council last night approved a staff recommendation to establish a limit on the number of bags that will be picked up free.

Beginning in January, residents will be limited to four bags in an effort to encourage more recycling and extend the life of the landfill.

[..] Details of how the four 60-pound bag limit will be enforced and what people will do with excess trash are still being developed.
Of course the price of trash removal should depend on the amount of trash a person is disposing of, which is precisely why the city should get out of the business of goods and services. City run business necessarily results in some people paying more for less.

I must admit I was rather surprised to read that poverty champion Susan Eagle was upset with the bag limit:
Coun. Susan Eagle lost a bid to reduce the bag limit to three. "This might only increase their expectations to put out more garbage," Eagle said.

"It seems to me this is far too cautious. I'd rather see three bags or less. We're going to be taking too long to get people to seriously consider recycling."
How will the poor be able to afford those garbage tags? But I imagine Eagle has thought of that and will suggest poor people be given a garbage subsidy. In addition, the housing projects will have large dumpsters and so residents will be exempt from the bag limit.

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Do the math Londoners!

Believe it or not, Tom Gosnell actually has a good idea! Commenting on the decision made by council to audit Paul Van Meerbergen,

Gosnell suggested the city could seek the audit costs -- estimated as much as $35,000 -- from Corrigan if the complaint is ruled frivolous.
It takes $35,000 to investigate a complaint from a sore loser over $6000, and on spurious grounds at that:
Corrigan alleges in the complaint that a letter sent by then-London West MPP Bob Wood to voters in support of Van Meerbergen should have been claimed as an expense.
There is no redeeming their decision to order an audit, but still, I hereby start a petition to implore council to get their heads out of the cafeteria for once and do something sensible: collect that $35,000 from Ed Corrigan if the claim turns out to be a scam, which it probably is and likely a slimy attempt to smear the name of your competition.

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Which is which again?

The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal. [...]

Under fascism, citizens retain the responsibilities of owning property, without freedom to act and without any of the advantages of ownership. Under socialism, government officials acquire all the advantages of ownership, without any of the responsibilities, since they do not hold title to the property, but merely the right to use it -- at least until the next purge. In either case, the government officials hold the economic, political and legal power of life and death over the citizens. [...]

Under both systems, sacrifice is invoked as a magic, omnipotent solution in any crisis -- and "the public good" is the altar on which victims are immolated. But there are stylistic differences of emphasis. The socialist-communist axis keeps promising to achieve abundance, material comfort and security for its victims, in some indeterminate future. The fascist-Nazi axis scorns material comfort and security, and keeps extolling some undefined sort of spiritual duty, service, and conquest. The socialist-communist axis offers its victims an alleged social ideal. The fascist-Nazi axis offers nothing but loose talk about some unspecified form of racial or national "greatness" . The socialist-communist axis proclaims some grandiose economic plan, which keeps receding year by year. The fascist-Nazi axis merely extols leadership -- leadership without purpose, program, or direction -- and power for power's sake.

-- From Ayn Rand, "The Fascist New Frontier", cited in Ayn Rand Lexicon, Binswanger, ed., Signet 1986

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Taking the fifth... judge's house

Hat tip CQ.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
This proposed hotel is to be built over Supreme Court Justice David Souter's home, in keeping with his ruling on Kelo vs City of New London.

I'll sweeten the pot by promising to send the city of Weare, New Hampshire $1 to reassign the people's land to such a cool hotel project. It would put Weare at the top of the creative cities map for the next time I visit NH.

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Short on detail, long on suggestion

With the heat and humidity oppressing us, it's nice to get a pass from the connecting city council hooks and London Free Press grommets. If that's what it takes, bring on global warming — no new rip-the-heart-out-of-the-welfare-mother-and-put-it-on-display sob stories, equal-poverty-opportunity socialist extra-jurisdimensional redistribution schemes, or layaway pharaonic-ego capital projects in chambers or the news today. In fact, the only thing that's going on in the London Get-What-You-Pay-For Press is this little tidbit about the city's only free market councillor:

London city council is expected to order an audit of Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen's election campaign spending today.

[… Former city councillor Ed] Corrigan, who lost his Ward 7 seat to Van Meerbergen in the November 2003 election, alleges Van Meerbergen didn't file all expenses, whether donated or paid for, and exceeded election spending limits.

[…] Corrigan's complaint is focused on Van Meerbergen's expenses related to signs and media advertising.

As well, Corrigan says a letter sent by then-London West MPP Bob Wood to voters in support of Van Meerbergen should have been claimed as an expense.
I might have construed that letter as being one of Bob Wood's expenses, not having made my usual rounds of the Bureau of Regulated Human Judgment Revision. Having been set straight, however, by the registered-and-stamped free speech crowd, I hereby pledge the London Fog to promote Ed Corrigan's next campaign with letters, posts, flyers, radio ads and as many tawdry amusements whose sarcasm may be perceived but not proved as we can think of. With any luck, we can use up his whole budget.

Let's see… the next election is only a little over a year away, so it's time to do some rough work on the campaign. It's a little coarse at this time, but hobnobbing with world leaders ought to be worth a few votes…


Ed, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea honours the illustrious immigration law and human rights industrial planning of you and your glorious ancestors at the University of Windsor! The DPRK stands foremost among nations in the plentiful and fruitful manufacture of progress toward these heavenly temples of social activist virtues! At least, we haven't had any complaints.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Rabble.ca

Godwin's law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Seems the crew over at Rabble are quite upset over a comment written by Conservative candidate for the riding of Edmonton Centre, Laurie Hawn:

Okay everyone, hands up all who think that Canada's national socialist leader, Jack Layton, would put himself at the back of the queue if he (or his wife) needed an MRI. I didn't think so.
Well, as Grandinite reminds us, the rabble seem to be experiencing short term memory loss. Loyal readers of the London Fog might also remember this post from just one month ago. Apparently it is acceptable to imply the Pope is a Nazi, but dare not question the motives and status of Mr. Federal Socialist, Happy Jack Layton.


Rabble rousers commenting on Hawn's post:
Those dumbfuck stupid bastards have absolutely no shame, do they? They'll smear anyone, throw innuendo around anytime, and in general act as the basest examples of humanity just like their big brothers, the Republicans in the USA, if it furthers their goal of destroying Canadian politics and giving the store away to the fat cats.

[..] Well, at least this establishes that we can call them Nazis too.

[..] Harper must force a retraction and apology immediately.

When a youth uses similar terms some can excuse it for the person not knowing about the hateful connotations. And accept a simple apology and chalk it up to the innocence of youth.

When similar language is used during a protest some can chalk it up to the heat of the moment.

But this was thought out. This was printed on a personal website.
Now let's see what rabble ranters had to say a month ago regarding the Heil Mary cartoon:
Thanks for the responses giving me access to the cartoon. I interpret it as being anti-New Pope(for years his nickname has been Joe the Rat) rather than anti-Catholic. I also interpret it as being anti-fascist rather than anti-German. Most importantly, I interpret it as being very funny.

[..] I don't think the cartoon is offensive, except to people who go around looking for something to be offended by. But I don't think it's terribly deep satire either.

It's a fairly simple allusion to the Pope's teenaged Hitler Youth membership, or his more recent extreme conservatism, or both, in the form of a pun that would be at home in Mel Brooks' The Producers. It'd be reading too much into it to suggest that the cartoon actually says anything.
Your daily dose of hypocrisy, brought to you by The London Fog.

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London Ontario - a nice place to raise a family

The fun just never stops here in Gundon.

LONDON, Ont. (CP) - At least two people were killed and two police officers wounded in a shooting that left "multiple deceased persons" in a home on a quiet street near the city's downtown early Monday.

Police said they received a 911 call from a child at about 2:30 a.m. reporting an apparent assault.

When officers responded to the home, they were shot at several times. Two officers were reportedly hit in the upper body and taken to London Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

"The officers, as they approached the residence, were fired upon - they were shot and received non-life threatening injuries," Const. Jeff Arbing told London radio station CFPL.

He also told reporters there are "multiple deceased persons" in the home, but would not be more specific.
HT: Nealenews

Update: Four confirmed dead in London shooting.

Update 2: More sad details from the London Free Press.

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150 Years of Foul Odors, Bad Art, Garbage and Beggars in London Ontario

I wanted to go for a walk today, and as smog and the smell of raw sewage is the norm in this dirty little town, upon reading the London Over Priced People's Press, I decided to go check out the latest art craze in honour of London's 150th despite the stench.

In a fleeting glance, they appear to just be six utility poles bunched together.

But take your time and the oddly decorated utility poles, on Riverside Drive overlooking the banks of the Thames River, come alive to speak a little about the history of London, as seen through the eyes of artist Kirtley Jarvis.
Forewarned by the free press, I took my camera, determined to give this installation piece more than a passing glance. I need not have worried however, for if I had been an unsuspecting passerby, I am sure I would have been stopped in my tracks by this visual monstrosity:




Personally, I think shit in a can would have been a more appropriate homage to London.
It's just part of a new art exhibit, You Are Here, celebrating London's 150th anniversary, housed mostly in the yellow brick cottage known as One Dundas Street at the Forks of the Thames beside the splash pad.

The work of numerous London artists is intertwined with historic maps and events of the city.

"You Are Here is a rare opportunity to view historic maps of our city in conjunction with work by London artists who bring an extra dimension to cartography," states Jarvis in a promotional pamphlet.

It was Jarvis, also the exhibit's curator, who spearheaded the effort to get city artists involved in the sesquicentennial celebrations.

"The contributors to this exhibition have explored and charted their experience using intriguingly diverse materials and techniques," Jarvis writes.

"Through their subjective map-making they reveal not only what is vital to themselves, but to the community and visitors to London."

Jarvis's contribution, The New Urban Forest, is located directly across the river from One Dundas Street.

Jarvis uses mostly wire on the poles to create images and words, all relating to the city's history.

"If you look around, the urban landscape is dominated by wires and poles," Jarvis said in an interview yesterday at the opening reception for her work.

"I just wanted to do something for London's 150th and there's a lot of history in the poles. I'm extremely happy with it."

It's a provocative work honouring the city's past, including the Beck Pole about Sir Adam Beck, founder of Ontario Hydro, and the Gallows Pole to remind us of Cornelius Burley, the first -- and some also say second -- man executed in London.

The rope broke in the first try, but held on the second effort.
As part of the Creative Cities proposal, council might want to consider bringing back public executions to encourage more visitors to London:
London's first gallows were erected in the courthouse square facing Ridout Street. People came from miles around to see the hanging - allegedly as far away as Hamilton and York (now Toronto). In a time when horse-shoe tossing was considered a major sport, a hanging ranked as one of the year's must-see events. An estimated 3000 people - ten times the village's population - turned out to gape at the spectacle.


As the wires on the poles are disconnected from a power source, my interpretion of this piece is that it is a celebration of the impending blackout.

However, my brief journey through London and encounter with four beggars in the span of only two hours, was yet to contain a high point. On my way home, my dashed aesthetic expectations were somewhat revived - this 'accidental art piece' was for me a more profound statement of the past 150 years:

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Your environmental footprint: the Cultural Marxist version of Original Sin

Foxy Loxy:
Hey guys. Where are you all going?
Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey:
Help! Help! The sky is falling, and we're running to tell the king!
Foxy Loxy:
Whoa, whoa, whoa. How do you know the sky is falling?
Presumably not included in the "Climate Change Teacher's Kit".

It ain't Junk Science if it helps the Party!

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

The 14 Commandments according to London Public Library

10 commandments might be good enough for God, but not for The London Public Library:


Since I'm paying for it via tax dollars, I figured it might be a good idea to go wear out a concrete seat at London's miniature replica of East Germany, more affectionately known as the Central Library Reading Garden. Alas, it was closed:




As I am not one to give up without a fight, despite the 40 degree temperature and extreme fog, strong stench of raw sewage and countless beggars trying to get me to donate at least a quarter to their cause, I nonetheless persevered, hoping to get some return on my dollar. Thus, Mapmaster and I trudged on down to the peace garden:




But the trees were dying,



and the garbage was piling,



so, we went home to celebrate Tax Freedom Day with some highly taxed rum and coke and smokes.

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Hats off for anomie

According to FD poster a3, this was taken earlier this year at Ryerson.

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London 150 Song Contest Winner Announced!



Today, June 26, 2005, is Tax Freedom Day for common Canadians, known colloquially as "chumps" or "suckers". It is a special day indeed for those of us stupid enough still to work and produce value for a living instead of using the power of government to steal from those who do.

Yes, starting today, your lives begin, comrades! For the whole rest of 2005, you will no longer be working for the benefit of the Party. Although you will still a nobody of a peasant, a nothing with fewer medical and property rights than your dog, you will be allowed to spend the rest of this year working for your own selfish, inconsequential meat-needs rather than the more rarified and cunning needs of the various formal and informal organized crime families represented by the Party.

Don't get too uppity, though, bitches, since you're back working for the Party on the first of January. The only escape from this cycle will be your eventual euthanasia. Yes, you will die, but the Party is eternal. And he who has spent half his life working for the eternal Party lives on in every kickback, in every secret bank account, in every shipment of hashish.

More importantly though, today is also the day we announce the winner of our London 150 Celebratory Song Competition!

... drum roll ... CRASH!

By universal acclaim, the winner is THE DIPLOMATS, with their stunning track LONDON IS CRUMBLING DOWN.

Congratulations, The Diplomats! We hope you have the presence of mind to pack a harmonica and tambourine for the long, packed cattle car train ride to Nunavut in 2017. Enjoy the prize, and the knowledge that you created the one song that will forever define the 150th birthday of London, Ontario!

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

The 20th century? Wha?

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Friday, June 24, 2005

An important thing, apparently…

I would have ignored this article, except that I'm told that something important is happening in London. From the London Free Press:

London is one step closer to redefining itself as a creative city. Board of control recommended yesterday that city council adopt the Creative City Task Force's recommendations along with creating a culture division in the city government.
Gord Hume says that we'll be the only city in the country with such a division — London treads where fools fear to wander. But a culture division will be instrumental to municipal press releases announcing the creativity of London. Creativity doesn't just happen without a municipal fiat. And it's important…
[—] "I think it's important that the culture division be seen as a catalyst," Controller Russ Monteith said during the meeting. "It's important we make a positive statement. London wants to be a creative city."
This is an important statement reversing the city's previous position that it wanted to be an uncreative city. Russ Monteith missed his calling as a motivational speaker inspiring people to do nothing in particular. Having read the paper daily, I still don't know what precisely constitutes creativity in a city — at least as far as social science papers rejigged as official policy goes. But the only thing that matters is that it's important…
[—] "It's important that the cultural division be a facilitator, enhancer and enabler; that it not get mired in bureaucracy and regulations," Controller Gord Hume said in an interview after the meeting.
Good luck, Mr. Hume, I'm sure you mean what you say — but after having spent years in the city hall cafeteria, you might want to check out what goes on in the city hall divisions in the floors below you.

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Who's boss

The Toyota deal is done — and The London Free Press has learned the Woodstock area has always had the inside track on the assembly plant that will be officially announced next Thursday.
So why this story from a month ago:
Oxford County is attempting to expropriate land occupied by the Blandford Square Mall near Woodstock to assemble a serviced land parcel to entice a $600-million Toyota assembly plant, which may employ 1,500 to 2,000 people, to the area. But the owner is asking $16 million for the 40-hectare site, while the county has offered more than $2 million.
Just to remind everybody who's boss

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Heads...

on...

In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the ability of New London, Conn., to seize people's homes to make way for an office, residential and retail complex supporting a new $300 million research facility of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. The city had argued that the project served a public use within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy.
pikes....
"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England may not enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."

-- William Pitt, 1763

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Joni Baechler waxes waxy…

…over trivial municipal make-work projects. From the London Free Press (there's obviously not much going on today):

[London's] Celebrate 150 committee unveiled bright yellow street markings yesterday to highlight the city's original boundaries in 1855.

[…] "This gives individuals moving around the city — both visitors and Londoners — a visual of the size of the city in 1855," said Joni Baechler, Ward 2 councillor and committee chairperson.

"It will allow individuals to envision and understand the people and families who created the city we have today," she said after unveiling a road marking at the historic Blackfriars Bridge on Ridout Street.
I can just see them so clearly now — yes! these people seem to have had city boundaries! And apparently driverless horse-powered carriages… I am drowning in empathy for my ancestors.

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Aid reserved for those sympathetic to the Party

Alberta could use some of that left over money from the tsunami crisis right about now.

But as Kateland notes, Martin and his bandits are strangely quiet, especially considering their usual practice of rushing to the aid of the downtrodden in hopes of scoring a few brownie points with the voters. Along with these votes goes the corresponding illusion that the government is there to protect and ensure the livelihood of the people - that is, as long as you are on their side.

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Crumbling Piles and Foul Odors In London Ontario

I was treated to a visit from my parents over the weekend, but this time I didn't subject them to an anti-peace rally at Victoria Park. Instead, we went for a long walk and I brought my camera along to capture the beauty of London Ontario. Unfortunately, I am unable to share the smell of raw sewage that served as a background fragrance for much of our walk.













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The Forest City gets the London Free Press plea treatment

Being a student of remote sensing, this story from today's London Free Press could almost quicken my heart.

The Forest City is considering using satellite images to measure the amount of tree coverage. The city's planning committee approved a staff recommendation yesterday to join a provincial program, Quick Bird, to get a more accurate measure of London's forest canopy.
Joe Belanger, the Free Press reporter, is too busy a man to investigate any complicated concepts or terms in City Hall press releases that he repeats — Quickbird, one word, is a high spatial resolution (sub-meter in the panchromatic band!) multispectral satellite operated by Digital Globe, not a provincial program. Perhaps he means the OMNR's Forest Inventory Program that uses Quickbird imagery to analyze forest cover?


Images from Spaceflight Now and Lantmäteriat, respectively.

I could get excited about this — after all, there might be a cushy big-vacation-time gold-plated-retirement-package civil service job in this for me, serving your community, of course — but that niggly conscience-y part of me wonders what the wherefore and the why of purchasing expensive satellite imagery and hopefully even more expensive remote sensing analysts could possibly be.
The moves come on the heels of a Free Press report in April that showed London's estimated forest coverage of 10 per cent lags behind other Ontario cities.

[…] But city staff challenge the claims by such cities as Toronto, Kitchener and Hamilton that claim tree coverage of 20, 15 and 14 per cent, respectively. "They're measuring it differently in every city," [whined] Andrew Macpherson, manager of parks, planning and design [and all-Londoner council sycophant].
A government program to assuage wounded civic pride — that's just truly wonderful. And obviously necessary — Londoners can't be trusted to make judgments based on their own senses without an official statistical report contrived through esoteric specialist analysis. If only there was some way Gord Hume could contrive to entangle the pressing need for civic enthusiasm for the Creative Cities proposal with this manufactured horror of a treeless London wasteland… Wait! There he is, wading unnecessarily into an inadequate and inappropriate association of unrelated objects to the mutual satisfaction of at least himself and the desultory City Hall quote-seeking of Joe Belanger:
Controller Gord Hume, chair of the city's creative cities task force, said preserving and enhancing the city's tree cover is a major recommendation.

"This will put all cities on a level playing field because right now, municipalities are determining forest coverage different ways," he said. "A creative city is also a healthy city, and that's clean air, clean water and more trees."
I could suggest that a creative city may also be a free city in which people make their own judgments and decisions about what to do in their own community with their own money, but that's not the kind of social-science-parsed-through-politicians-and-community-newspapers thinking that we need these days!

Speaking of London gratifying the tireless urges of provincial programs, Londoners can soon expect to wade through their own filth to enjoy vicarious enjoyment of Gord Hume's civic pride. Also from the Free Press:
City residents soon may be counting the number of garbage bags they put at the curb. A four-bag limit could be in place by next January to encourage more recycling, a plan approved in principle last night by council's environment and transportation committee.

[…] "We are way behind other municipalities and we have to start moving in a more aggressive manner down this path," said city engineer Peter Steblin. Residents put out about 37 per cent of household waste for recycling. The province has set a target of diverting 60 per cent by 2008. "There's no way we can reach that deadline without these kinds of measures," Steblin said.

Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental programs, […] conceded the city also will have to start collecting and recycling organic waste to meet the provincial deadline. "That is not far away and we'll have to move to organic collection, which comes with the highest price tag." The move could cost as much as $3 million a year.

[…] Controller Gord Hume persuaded other committee members to approve the four-bag limit in principle while awaiting a complete staff report on the issue.
Nothing could give me more solitary pleasure than separating my rinds from my cigarette butts with my bare-naked hands, as long as city hall and Dalton McGuinty make an explicit video of their orgiastic regulatory passions.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Anne Marie DeCicco goes to outer space

"I'm over the moon right now," a jubilant Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said.
Say, what's got Anne Marie dropping her customary "valley girl" speech fillers and draping her cleavage all over Paul Martin's jolly uncle knees? Anne Marie is over the moon, alright! Right over into the Strapless-Red-Dress airhead-equality dimension.

With three levels of government savagely competing for the destruction of jurisdictional sovereignty all in order to serve Londoners, it shouldn't be all that surprising that the connections between the different parts of Londoners' political brains have been completely severed. According to the London Free Press,
London will rake in almost twice what it expected from federal gas-tax revenue, just-released projections show. Yesterday's windfall is the latest in a series of unexpected provincial and federal jackpots the city has hit in the last two months.
We've just won the lottery! Given the special London-disability federal tax exemption, this of course means that only other parts of the country will be giving their tax revenue to London, and Londoners don't have to pay gax-tax for any other non-disabled municipalities! Nyah nyah!
The city will take in almost $55 million over the next five years from Ottawa's decision to share a cut of its gas tax with municipalities.

[…] "I'm over the moon right now," a jubilant Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco
said. "$54.6 million over five years. Can it get any better than that?"
$1 billion dollars right now? That would be much better — council could speed up the plan to give every Londoner their own motorized scooter and helmet. But don't go around emoting that these federal jackpots fall from completely non-temporal skies — you wouldn't see Jehovah dishing out manna to any Tom, Dick or Harry who wan't willing to do a little proselytizing for Him, now, would you? Put the London Free Press and Anne Marie DeCicco together, and I see it's time for an unpaid unregistered political plug for the Liberal Party:
That money is part of the deal the New Democrats made with the Liberals to support the federal budget. It depends on the budget passing next week, prompting Prime Minister Paul Martin yesterday to urge the opposition Conservatives to pass it.

"There's too much at stake for us to tolerate partisan games any longer," Martin said. "I believe that it is time to put politics aside and pass the budget."
Of course! Money matters are always non-partisan, aren't they? The fact that they're traditionally considered to be confidence motions is superfluous to this parliament — one-party states must by redefinition be non-partisan to maintain the paternalistic fiction. I feel for Paul, really I do — you don't have to see Kim Il-Jung or Fidel Castro getting on their knees for this kind of democratic citizen-loving.

OK, enough of Paul Martin — mutual masturbation has to go both ways. Anne Marie's still has some more heavy breathing to do.
"There's going to be no shortage of ways that we can use this money to improve the infrastructure of our city and make us even more competitive than we are today," DeCicco said. "We'll be able to bank any of the money that we don't use in the first year … [and] can use it for projects next year," she said.
Projects! Anne Marie sure knows what we Londoners need… more bread and circuses. Time to start putting London on the creative cities map…


PAC poster by Mike

We at the London Fog must caution the citizenry of the need for vigilance against the dark forces on council who're trying to pass off paltry slices of enriched white bread without the self-aggrandizing circus visions of Mayor DeCicco. Listen to this frightening Palpatine-wannabe:
Any extra money should be divided between debt, tax relief and improving social programs, said Coun. David Winninger. "I don't think giving people money back would be prudent. It seems foolish, like a gimmick, if we give with one hand, but we know we're going to need that money in the future, so we're going to take it back," he said.
At least he's not suggesting that Londoners should have any of that money in their own pockets — who knows what grubby uncivic things people would buy with it.

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Bilingual Today, United Tomorrow

or ..... Public awareness campaigns break Canada.

or ..... Adscam continues, because Canadians don't care.

or ..... Get a real job, but you don't have to because you are a Canadian bureaucrat.

or ..... Get lost, I am tired of you all.

or ..... I'll learn whatever languages I am most interested in and will profit me the most.

or how about ..... just piss off federal language rewriter.

More money down the drain for the apparent sake of the province that wants to say bye-bye to Canada:

New French strategy planned

The federal language commissioner thinks Ontarians need an attitudinal adjustment when it comes to the French language.

And one expert says it's time to stop selling bilingualism to anglophones as a faintly guilt-washed patriotic duty and rebrand it as a gateway to the global marketplace.

Thirty-five years after Canada became officially bilingual, the Commissioner of Official Languages is offering a contract worth up to $100,000 for a "social marketing strategy" in Ontario.

The tender, posted on the government's Internet clearing house a week ago and open until the end of the day today, seeks bids "to promote the value and brand image of the French language to a non-French speaking audience."

"The goal of this project," states the tender, "is to produce measurable attitudinal change in how the people of Ontario view the use and learning of the French language."

It's the first time such a contract has been offered, and the aim is to create a marketing plan that could be used across the country, said Robin Cantin, a spokesperson for commissioner Dyan Adam.

Ontario was chosen as the central starting point.

"That's really where we can make the most headway in the learning of both official languages, because individual bilingualism in Ontario is a bit low right now," said Cantin.

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The Red Ensign Standard no.24


A Chick Named Marzi has the newest "best of the best" of the Red Ensign Brigade on show in the Red Ensign Standard no.24. Go check out the cavalcade of the clever and the ornery…

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Dust My Broom Update

An update on Darcey's situation, courtesy of Ian.

For those that don’t know, Darcey just arrived “home” in Alberta after spending some years in California. If you check out his website, you’ll see that he has been affected by the major flooding throughout central and south Alberta.

He advised me that he has no power, and therefore there will be no updates to his site until he can get a generator for power. I’m sure once he gets the generator, updating his blog will be on the low end of priorities.
Lisa pledges to help out and provide updates as I am able.

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UWO Convocation 2005

Veritas et utilitasTM — Truth and usefulness

©University of Western Ontario brand apparel division

Graduating students come and go, but academic activism and interventionist elitism will always live on in the administration and faculty of the University of Western Ontario. So much of the hue and cry centered on UWO's decision to give Henry Morgentaler distinction with a funny hat and an ill-used academic pulpit, for all that's worth anymore, that the other invitees for the redefinition of academic achievement went mostly unnoticed. That's probably a beneficial state of affairs usually — let sleeping leftists and statists lie or at least ignore their yippings as best you can. But I enjoyed the works of these anti-revisionists so much, I thought I'd put them up here for somebody's enjoyment.

The Eclectic Econoclast on Maude Barlow:

This morning's guest speaker was Maude Barlow, a conflicted yet sincere person who has no realistic idea about the concept of scarcity but knows it shouldn't exist.
And Publius on Marc Lalonde:
Just to refresh older minds, and inform the younger ones, Monsieur Lalonde's bit of economic "planning" nearly destroyed the economy of Alberta and drove many young Albertans to the far corners of the earth in search of work. If you wonder why Liberals are not liked in Alberta the NEP is one of the more recent logs on the fire we call inter-provincial relations.

[…] Trudeau, and Lalonde, had expected to reap easy money from high oil prices through both taxation and Petro-Canada profits. Enough to check the ever expanding deficit. With the collapse of oil prices in 1981-1982 that plan, like so many other Trudeaupian schemes, ended.
Well done, gentlemen. Now let's go back to repressing any awareness of these peoples' existence — it's so much healthier in the summertime.

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Mathematical Perspectives On The Endarkenment

HT Gods from The Conspiracy To Keep You Poor And Stupid:

Partisans of social justice mathematics advocate an explicitly political agenda in the classroom. A new textbook, "Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers," shows how problem solving, ethnomathematics and political action can be merged. Among its topics are: "Sweatshop Accounting," with units on poverty, globalization, and the unequal distribution of wealth. Another topic, drawn directly from ethnomathematics, is "Chicanos Have Math in Their Blood." Others include "The Transnational Capital Auction," "Multicultural Math," and "Home Buying While Brown or Black." Units of study include racial profiling, the war in Iraq, corporate control of the media, and environmental racism. The theory behind the book is that "teaching math in a neutral manner is not possible." Teachers are supposed to vary the teaching of mathematics in relation to their students' race, gender, ethnicity, and community.
Obligatory:
"...You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.'

He paused for a few moments, as though to allow what he had been saying to sink in.

'Do you remember,' he went on, 'writing in your diary, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four"?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'

'Four.'

'And if the party says that it is not four but five -- then how many?'

'Four.'

The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston's body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

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A Free Lunch

No wonder London City Council feel they are entitled to free gourmet grub at the taxpayer funded cafeteria at City Hall. "If the MP's can eat for free, why shouldn't we"!

MPs defend parliamentary 'free lunch'

On the menu Monday: breaded sole, some french fries and a little veg on the side.

As NDP MP Pat Martin tells it, the meal is, "delicious, healthy and nutritious."

In fact, CTV News didn't have to go far to find others who felt the same way.
Hey there NDP hypocrite!! That's food that could be going to the poor!! Just imagine what Susan Eagle would say?! And I damn well hope you weren't endangering public health by eating fries cooked in oil containing trans fats.

On the menu for London councillors, at the expense of the elderly:
At $22 a meal, the cost at city hall towers over the $5 a resident Dearness Services receives from the province to buy breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks.

[..] Tuesday night's meal in London was typical, featuring chicken cordon bleu, vegetables in a phyllo pastry, fish served on a red pepper sauce with coconut shrimp, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetable, bread, salad and a wide assortment of drinks and deserts.

Asked after the meal if London was spending too much compared with other cities, Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco became upset, saying, "We had some vegetables and salad and turnovers . . . I'm not going to have this discussion."
Back to the MPs:
Bloc Quebecois MP Michel Gauthier, for example, may not be behind a united Canada. But he'll gladly throw his support behind a free Canada Dry gingerale.

But, as Gauthier explains, "It's part of the work."

When asked whether he thought it right that all MPs should eat for free, however, Liberal MP Pierre Pettigrew said no.

"No, I think we can afford to pay for our food," the foreign affairs minister told CTV. "I have no problem with that."

But Ontario Liberal MP Susan Kadis says she sees no problem with ensuring the nation's lawmakers are well fed.

"I don't think its wrong to provide something for MPs. I know myself, often there isn't time to go to the cafeteria sometimes you miss lunch."
Boo hoo hoo - judging by the waistlines of many MPs, they sure make up for their missed lunch at dinner time. And as for providing "something for MPs", well, that's called a salary. But I suppose the budget is a little tight when your base salary is only $141,000 a year. Thanks to you and your kind, I soon won't be able to afford to pay for my lunch after you've finished gorging at my expense. These will be the same people jumping the breadline and getting the pieces of cabbage and portions of meat, while those at the end of the line will be left with nothing but brown broth.


And what's with the plug for Canada Dry - are they too receiving government contracts and kickbacks? Or do you figure Gauthier is just trying to be funny?
CTV News has learned that the federal parties order approximately 180 meals a day, four days a week when Parliament is sitting.

Based on a catering price list that pegs the cost of Monday's fish dish at just under $20, the Parliamentary kitchen is serving some 20,160 meals a year for a total tab to taxpayers of $382,000.

[..] When CTV asked the MPs who was paying for their lunch, many had no idea. Of those who ventured a guess, most thought their parties paid.

If they were to pay, it could cost a little more. When CTV went to the Parliament Hill and ordered Monday's fish meal, for example, the bill came to $31.
The free food falls from the heavens and the trough keepers justify their unfair advantage as follows:
DeCicco also took umbrage with those who say dinner meals are paid for by taxpayers, noting councillors must treat the meals as a taxable benefit. "It's not a subsidy." she said.
Like, thanks for clearing that up for us all Anne Marie.

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Bought and stays bought

I nominate the U.S. Marine Corps to audit the Party and its clients.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity

Erin Carey and Ted Baar. Keep your children away from these people.

South Boston's Untouchables are relegated to the lowest jobs, and live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, and raped with impunity by upper-caste Bostonians seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.


On the subject of government helping you to "overcome collective action problems in your social life" (thank you, Matt), it should be no surprise that your fellow peers are just as gung-ho about removing the stain of tobacco use from the vicinities and extremities of their delicate pink orifices and imagined collective consciousness. From the Boston Globe:
[…] a Boston Housing Court jury ruled that a South Boston couple could be evicted from their rented water-view loft for heavy smoking, even though smoking was allowed in their lease.

[…] Last Friday, a jury ruled in favor of the landlord and the eviction. Even though the landlord could have written a nonsmoking clause into the lease and didn't, the jury found that the couple's heavy smoking violated a more general clause banning "any nuisance; any offensive noise, odor or fumes; or any hazard to health."
Of course, they tried to argue their case on the unconvincingly technical detail that the ventilation system in the apartment was defective — how strikingly banal in contrast with no-life, no-liberty, pursuit-of-health ideology. Neo-nonconstitutionalists are already yipping with a glee restrained only in inverse proportion to the amount of restraint required to complete the effect.
Although the verdict is not binding on other courts, tobacco law specialists said the decision is one of the nation's first to declare smoking a nuisance serious enough to become grounds for eviction.

"It is very important, because it is a sign that people are more aware of how dangerous second-hand smoke is," said Professor Richard Daynard, chairman of Northeastern University's Tobacco Products Liability Project, which tracks second-hand smoke litigation nationally.

"I believe this decision could accelerate the willingness of courts to decide that, if you are creating smoke that is seeping into other people's units, you are doing something that has to stop," Daynard said.
With friends like these, who needs the Surgeon General of the United States, unless you want a little representative democracy kick to the limited-government cranium.
Testifying at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on smokeless tobacco and "reduced risk" tobacco products, [Richard] Carmona was asked if he would "support the abolition of all tobacco products."

"I would at this point, yes," he replied. He declined to state whether he would support a law to ban tobacco — saying "legislation is not my field" — but did say that he "would support banning or abolishing tobacco products."
Such small distinctions between legislated bans and unlegislated bans are not meant to be understood or even important to the affected masses huddled outside the scheduled-for-demolition walls of civil society for a surreptitious puff. Human considerations of reason, rights and constitutionality are not to be weighed against microscopic particles of plant smoke. We are as children — "retarded children" — even to our fellow in-the-received-know citizens.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Right mind, wrong country

Darcey's back in the country, but he's been away for so long he's been spoiled on good ol' animal fat and California wines. Time for Darcey to check in at the National Zeitgeist Office and register for the bread line. And of course, re-acclimatize himself to the CBC.

I had some time last night to watch some Canadian news. […] I came across a performance by David Usher called CBC Newsworld - This Hour. Watching it with my son I found myself growing angry. Very angry.

[…] This is not the Canada I remember… Or maybe it was and being out of the country for so long has enabled me to step outside the Canadian looking glass.

A deeper realization comes as I realize that I will be helping to fund this garbage.
Re-indoctrination camp continues
The CBC turned a farce into their lead story and they were gloating.
Official Report:
Citizen Darcey continues to be uncooperative. Further administrations of CBC recommmended. If rehabilitation proves unsuccessful, subscription to Toronto Star may effect appropriate response.

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The ends justify the means in Canada

Ian of Ianism commenting on the recent Supreme Court ruling granting police even more rights than the citizens:

It seems to me that when a government refuses to recognize fully those rights that have become to be known as “natural” rights, its justice system may use whatever logic they wish to determine what is absolute and what is not.
But don't worry too much now citizens - if you aren't breaking the law, you have nothing to worry about. I think we've heard that brand of argument before ....

Also hosted at Dust my Broom

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Sniffing Ethanol

Freedom Party of Ontario leader, Paul McKeever, opposes the Government of Ontario's decision, announced today, to grant $520 million to private businesses involved in setting up new ethanol production plants in Ontario.

"This decision is wrong, politically-motivated, and economically foolish", says McKeever.

"There is no economically sound case for this decision. There also is no principled reason to give welfare to publicly traded companies like Suncor, and not to give money to other business ventures. What's next, an income stabilization fund for lawyers in a solo private practice?", says McKeever, a lawyer in a solo private practice.

"Ending the tax exemption for ethanol producers is the only good part of this announcement", says McKeever. "Such an exemption is a disguised form of welfare; one that masks the nature and extent of the welfare by burying it in tax code. At least with this announcement, we know exactly how much the government is throwing down the sink-hole."

As for PC opposition leader John Tory's criticism that, in effect, the subsidy should be paid but that fuel content requirements should be delayed until the plants are up and running, McKeever adds: "If that is honestly the only thing that Mr. Tory sees wrong with this proposal, he is not qualified to say no to an up-sizing on an order of fries. Mr. Tory's modus operandi would appear to be to agree with the substance of everything Mr. McGuinty does, but to disagree only with the manner in which it is implemented: we've seen it with everything from the green belt to contracting with doctors. It's a pathetic way of politicking. Indeed, it's actually a cowardly election strategy for 2007, and it is a disservice to Ontarians who object, right now, to the Liberal government's agenda. I think that Mr. Tory is going to realize all too late that Ontarians who want Liberal policies vote Liberal."
McGimpy and his nannies are justifying this handout with reference to .... surprise! .... health and the environment:
"By supporting the production of ethanol fuel, we're helping farmers, creating jobs in rural Ontario, and moving forward with our plan to reduce greenhouse gases and the harmful emissions that cause smog,'' McGuinty said.
McGimpy might want to do a bit of research before making such assertions. From an abstract of a paper available here in pdf format:
First, I demonstrate that more fossil energy is used to produce ethanol from corn than the ethanol’s calorific value. Analysis of the carbon cycle shows that all leftovers from ethanol production must be returned back to the fields to limit the irreversible mining of soil humus. Thus, production of ethanol from whole plants is unsustainable. In 2004, ethanol production from corn will generate 8 million tonnes of incremental CO2, over and above the amount of CO2 generated by burning gasoline with 115% of the calorific value of this ethanol.

Second, I calculate the cumulative exergy (available free energy) consumed in corn farming and ethanol production, and estimate the minimum amount of work necessary to restore the key non-renewable resources consumed by the industrial corn-ethanol cycle. This amount of work is compared with the maximum useful work obtained from the industrial corn-ethanol cycle. It appears that if the corn ethanol exergy is used to power a car engine, the minimum restoration work is about 6 times the maximum useful work from the cycle. This ratio drops down to 2, if an ideal (but nonexistent) fuel cell is used to process the ethanol.

Third, I estimate the U.S. taxpayer subsidies of the industrial corn-ethanol cycle at $3.8 billion in 2004. The parallel subsidies by the environment are estimated at $1.8 billion in 2004. The latter estimate will increase manifold when the restoration costs of aquifers, streams and rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico are also included.
Update: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation takes a similar stance on the issue.

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Nanny needs a good long bath

Nanny stinks so bad, it will take a firehose and all the laundry detergent that China can produce to subdue the odor. Browsing a few blogs today, I found this incredible post from Balko over at The Agitator. If only we had more people like this in Canada, but alas, their reasoned arguments fall on ears plugged up with fake beaver fur.

Last night a colleague here at Cato brought up a great line in the sexual harassment episode of South Park in which Gerald Brovslofski explains to Kyle that sexual harassment laws were written by Democrats to tell us what we should think, feel, and say in the workplace. Kyle responds, "Isn't that fascism?"

Gerald replies, "No, because we don't call it fascism."

That's the feeling I got while sitting through seven hours of tedious Washington D.C. City Council hearings yesterday on the proposed (and now inevitably) smoking ban coming to the nation's capital. I was told to show up at 10:30am to give my testimony. I finally got to speak at a little after 5.

The D.C. government already uses the force of law to compell D.C. residents to wear a seatbelt while driving, to not speak on a cell phone while driving, to wear a motorcycle helmet, and -- soon -- they'll tell business owners they're forbidden from allowing people to smoke in their establishments.

But none of this is fascism.

Why not? Because the people pushing these laws don't call it fascism. They call it "public health."

A few of my favorite moments from yesterday's hearings:

# Listening to the insufferable Jim Graham lecture every smoking ban proponent on the dangers of smoking as if they were a six-year old child. Graham's questioning was the paternalistic government personified.

# Christopher Hitchens amusing appearance and testimony in which he told Graham, "you're treating us like children -- retarded children."

# One witness pointed out that the two bills calling for an outright ban on public smoking in the District specifically exempt city government from the ban. Typical.

# A former Congressman named Al Swift appeared before the council and spoke in a manner that was slow, deliberate, and reeked of "my opinion is extra important because I'm a former Congressman." He said that he fully supported the smoking ban, but that he was worried about "unintended consequences. He explained, "I like to go to cigar bars, and because cigar smoking is my favorite kind of smoking, it should be exempted."

In other words, "this ban should apply to everyone in the city, except for people like me." Why doesn't it surprise me that such an attitude would come from a former Congressman?

Inexplicably, Jim Graham agreed with him, noting that cigar bars were "special" places where people gathered to smoke, socialize, and eat and drink.

So as I understand it, then, you're allowed to go out with friends, smoke, eat, and drink only if you're the kind of person who smokes cigars and frequents cigar bars (read: old, white, wealthy, and influential). Those kinds of people should get an exemption. People who want to go out with friends who happened to prefer cigarettes are, simply, out of luck.

# An official representing the American Lung Assocation made a pretty stunning statement, one that went overlooked when it happened. Graham asked the guy at what level of exposure to second hand smoke a person's risk of various ailments increases. The ALA rep said it takes frequent exposure over a very long period of time for risk of serious illness to significantly increase. In fact, he said, even among smokers, a person would need to smoke a pack per day for ten or twenty years before that person would significantly raise his risk of lung cancer.

This official then turned right around and insisted that secondhand smoke was a health threat.

I'm not an epidemiologist. But I have a hard time figuring out how those two statements can exist side by side.

# Good governance. I don't believe a majority of the council was ever present at the same time during the hearings. Schwartz, to her credit, was there for the whole thing -- or at least until I left. Graham was there for most of it, though he took a couple of breaks. My speech at 5:15, for example, was to only Schwartz and one staffer. Graham came in at the tail end of it (and promptly asked me a question that showed he completely missed my point). Harcore smoking ban proponent was there for less than an hour, and questioned only one witness (out of about 140). To my knowlege, no other councilmember was there for more than an hour.
Be sure to read Balko's testimony!

HT: Jerry Aldini.

Also be sure to check out Jay's latest post, "Got Your Brain Bucket On, Citizen?" Pay attention People's Republic of Ontario - we'll be sporting the safety armour soon.
Vancouver Police Bicycle Helmet Education and Enforcement Program

British Columbia has had a mandatory bicycle helmet law since 1996. In Vancouver, many cyclists are complying with this law. However, there are still a significant number of cyclists that are not wearing helmets.

ICBC statistics show that wearing a bicycle helmet decreases the risk of head injury by 85%.

The Vancouver Police Department's goal is to increase helmet use amongst cyclists in an effort to decrease the risk of injury.
And just how do the police propose to do this. Why, through the use of force, of course:
The Vancouver Police Department will start a targeted bicycle helmet enforcement initiative on June 15 th which will run until June 30 th, 2005. Regular enforcement will continue throughout the rest of the year. Fines will be issued to offenders to encourage compliance with the rules. Police will also be ensuring cyclist are complying with other regulations such as having required lights at night.
The whole notion of criminality has been destroyed in this country. Nutcases like this can cross the border with a coffee and a handshake and yet a peaceful citizen who chooses to *gasp* mount his bike without protective head gear gets three days in jail!
The province's civil-liberties director is condemning a three-day jail term served by a Kelowna man for not wearing a bicycle helmet

Michael Hein, 19, got out of jail Tuesday after he was arrested Saturday for riding his bike downtown without head protection. A judge sentenced him to time served and fined him $35 for breaking the city's helmet bylaw
Crossposted at Dust my Broom.

Update: Pooh comments here and here.

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One Day In The Life Of Yahya Ibn-Denis

Ich liebe Mitchieville! He must have some of the best connections in the blogging business. Somehow, he has gotten hold of the diary of a Guantanamo Bay Solzhenitsyn.

7:43 A.M. Put on my galabiyya and noticed that the American Imperialistic earth rapists must have used Downy instead of Snuggle when they washed my clothes. I'll itch all day, I just know it. I can't take this kind of torture anymore, Americans are barbarians. Death to America. Praise be to Allah.

9:00 A.M. Ate breakfast, had a helping of Mahammara Labni. I believe the American abusers are trying to make me sick by using 2 table spoons of chopped fresh dill instead of one table spoon. They will not break me. Death be to all the American cooks and wait staff. Praise be to Allah.

10:00 a.m. The bells rang and I went to prayer. Prayed for the deaths of all things American. We also prayed to kill all the Jews and heathens. Then we prayed to kill all things living. I saw Al Zababi Al Hussein Al Khomeini again, and he was sporting a new pair of Air Jordan's. Michael Jordan is so 1990's, it is obvious the Americans are trying to torture us by fitting us with outdated sports wear. Death to America. Praise be to Allah.
Update: Amnesty International is reporting that this journal may have been typed in Notepad. Are the Amerikkkan thugs preventing their prisoners from using more feature-laden document software with formatting and spell-checking?

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