Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gina Barber discriminates against politicians with penises


If female politicians in London are indicative of the norm, they should return to the kitchen - at least then they could be said to be giving something back to the community by providing for their family instead of feeding from the public trough.

Newly elected Gina Barber is already bullying council to give special consideration to women when deciding who shall be appointed to boards and committees.

Lfpress:
A rookie city council member led a successful push last night for more diversity on boards and commissions.

At her first official council committee meeting, Controller Gina Barber challenged council's three proposed appointments -- Controller Bud Polhill, Coun. Harold Usher and Coun. Bernie MacDonald -- to the Western Fair board.

"There are 24 members on the Fair board and only three are women," Barber said.

"Now we're going back and appointing three men and I think we're sending the wrong message to the Western Fair board."
Barber is sending the wrong message to all Londoners by suggesting councillors should be chosen on the basis of their genitalia rather than their expected competence to fill a given position. The last thing we need are a bunch of self-proclaimed "victims" running the show, but diversity these days is not about individual difference but all about obtaining handouts by virtue of your identification with a recognized "oppressed" visible minority.
Coun. Susan Eagle backed Barber with a motion to replace Polhill with Coun. Cheryl Miller, who spent the last eight months on the fair board.

The fair board -- a position loaded with perks such as free tickets and meals -- is a popular appointment.

The debate was sparked when [Coun. Cheryl] Miller told council she'd like to continue on the board, especially because a governance review will begin soon.

[..] Controller Gord Hume then suggested Usher step aside to let Polhill stay on the board, a motion defeated after Usher didn't agree.

"I'm not going to take my name off the nomination list voluntarily," Usher said. "I don't think there are any visible minorities on that board and with 24 members, I think that's pathetic."

Miller was then appointed instead of Polhill.

[..] Planning will be one of the busier committees overseeing an Official Plan review. It will be chaired by Coun. Joni Baechler, joined by Barber, Hume and councillors Roger Caranci, Judy Bryant and Nancy Branscombe.
There are a total of 7 women and 12 men elected to council. If we play the marginalization game and include Harold Usher, that means 8 members of council are "visible minorities." Diversity bullying seems to be working, for men are outnumbered 2:1 on the planning committee. I'd be willing to pay an extra few bucks a year to provide all female council members with free MidolTM.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Have you heard this one?" said the Minister for Laughs

Kate pulls a Fenris:

"Merit based advancement will become the norm, setting back women's rights a generation," warned Judy Sgro, chairwoman of the Commons committee on the status of women. "The past government worked very hard to get women out of the kitchen, into spike heels and wrapped around a pole. It would be shameful to see such progress set back by the neanderthal views of Conservatives who believe women to be the equals of men and numerically undeserving of minority status."

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The Culture of the Victim

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you, unless you happen to be a member of a recognized victim group that is. The two men subject to Michael Richard's tasteless rant at a comedy club (video here) after they interrupted his performance are apparently demanding a personal apology and possibly some money. I predicted this would happen when the story first hit the news. (HT: The Mayor)

Two men who say they were insulted by actor-comedian Michael Richards during his racist rant at a comedy club want a personal apology and maybe some money, their lawyer said Friday.

The men, Frank McBride and Kyle Doss, said they were part of a group of about 20 people who had gathered at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory to celebrate a friend's birthday. According to their attorney, Gloria Allred, they were ordering drinks when Richards berated them for interrupting his act.

[..] Allred, speaking by phone from Colorado, said Richards should meet McBride and Doss in front of a retired judge to "acknowledge his behavior and to apologize to them" and allow the judge to decide on monetary compensation. She did not specify a figure.

"Our clients were vulnerable," Allred said. "He singled them out and he taunted them, and he did it in a closed room where they were captive."
To the best of my knowledge, the escape door of the comedy club was not blocked by white supremacists with guns. The proper response would have been to respond in kind to Richard's comments, thereafter promptly leaving the room. But that's not the way to get ahead these days, and it's a sad truth that vulnerability is now more highly valued than strength.

In defense, Richard's could claim he was a victim of bullying at the hands of black youths and demand some compensation in return, expect he's white and not quite Jewish enough.

Cross-posted at The Broom

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National Socialist Nutrition















As always, Dalton McGuinty can be counted on to limit individual choice in regards to decisions concerning your health:

Premier Dalton McGuinty defended the ban [on raw milk distribution], saying it was a serious matter of public health that he's not interested in re-examining.

"If you want to engage in the mass distribution of milk to millions of children and Ontario families on a daily basis, the very best and safest way to do that is to ensure that it's pasteurized," said McGuinty.
Note that the ban is on raw milk distribution; you're not even allowed to give it away. You must compromise food value for the greater public good of mass distribution of milk to millions of children. If it's for the safety of the children, there's no arguing against the state's decision.

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SWAT Overkill: The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force

The use of paramilitary police raids on no-knock police warrants is causing quite a stir in the USA, particularly with the police shooting of an elderly woman in Atlanta. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has this to say in an Editorial in Popular Mechanics:

Abetting this trend was the federal government"s willingness to make surplus military equipment available to police and sheriffs' departments. All sorts of hardware is available, from M-16s to body armor to armored personnel carriers and even helicopters. Lots of police departments grabbed the gear and started SWAT teams, even if they had no real need for them. The materiel was free, and it was fun. I don't blame the police. Heck, if somebody gave me a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to play with, Id probably start a SWAT team, too so long as I didn't have to foot the maintenance bill.

Thus, the sheriff's department in landlocked Boone County, Ind., has an amphibious armored personnel carrier. (According to that county's sheriff-elect, the vehicle has been used to deliver prescriptions to snow-bound elderly residents, and to provide protection during a suspected hostage situation.) Jasper, Fla., -with 2000 inhabitants and two murders in the past 12 years- obtained seven M-16s from the federal government, leading an area newspaper to run a story with the subhead, "Three stoplights, seven M-16s."

This approach, though, has led to problems both obvious and subtle. The obvious problem should be especially apparent to readers of this magazine: Once you've got a cool tool, you kind of want to use it. That's true whether it' a pneumatic drill, a laser level or an armored fighting vehicle. SWAT teams, designed to deal with rare events, wound up doing routine police work, like serving drug warrants.

The subtle effect is also real: Dress like a soldier and you think you're at war. And, in wartime, civil liberties - or possible innocence - of the people on "the other side" don't come up much. But the police aren't at war with the citizens they serve, or at least they're not supposed to be.

The combination of these two factors has led to some tragic mistakes: "no knock" drug raids, involving "dynamic entry, where the wrong house has been targeted or where the raid was based on informants' tips that turned out to be just plain wrong.
I would suggest that the War on Drugs mentality adds to the problem. These incidents never seem to revolve around an individual in threat of immediate harm, but around some guy selling illegal drugs. The amount of money spent in surpressing individual rights is gross. If the state wants to clean up the crime and violence related to drug sales, legalize or decriminalize the sale of drugs. There will be plenty of legitimate, non-violent corporations and individuals in the market almost immediately.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stephen Hawking worships the moon gods

Stephen Hawking's solution to global warming is to start colonizing the moon. I think his mind is following the path of his body.

"I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space," Hawking told the Daily Telegraph. "There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars."
Don't put your eggs in one carton, as you might drop it on the way to the stove and so be left with none.

A career change might be in order. Perhaps he could consider a comedy routine, as his latest ideas certainly make some people laugh. (H/T to Darin for the YouTube clip.)


Cross-posted at Mitchieville, the town of too many libraries.

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London North By-Election Shocker!

London North Centre had a most exciting and important byelection last night.

The Socialists won with 34.9% of the vote, beating their rivals the Socialists by almost 4,000 votes. The third-place Socialist Party, hoping to pick up another London seat, were left well behind at a dismal 14.1% of the vote. Clearly it was not the Socialists' night.

The big story of the byelection results was the solid turn out for the new, up-and-coming Socialist Party, who brought in over one quarter of the votes cast by London's discerning and wise electorate. By voting for the Socialists in such unexpectedly high proportions, Londoners demonstrated their openness to new, innovative Socialist ideas, and their dissatisfaction with the current Socialist minority government's Socialist agenda.

Can one more Socialist opposition backbencher really make a difference in a Socialist minority government?

Only time will tell -- but political scientists agree that one thing is certain. Whatever happens, you'll eventually be euthanized to make best use of society's limited resources.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Greening the courts

This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt.
— Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825.
When the judiciary takes upon itself the role of exercising a will upon the law instead of passing a judgment upon it, it attempts to invest itself with an authority that it cannot even pretend has been given it by anyone or any body of associated persons or government but itself. In such a position without restraint except by itself, its administration of justice cannot be regarded as anything but capricious, and a poor defense for liberties if it can impose upon the citizenry the enforcement of the law that it pretends to check on the part of the executive. From the Associated Press:
The Supreme Court hears arguments this week in a case that could determine whether the Bush administration must change course in how it deals with the threat of global warming.

A dozen states as well as environmental groups and large cities are trying to convince the court that the Environmental Protection Agency must regulate, as a matter of public health, the amount of carbon dioxide that comes from vehicles.
The question of interpretation of a law is by itself appropriate to the Supreme Court's function as a necessary predicate of its responsibility to protect the liberties of a free people from encroachment by the law as determined by the Constitution, but it is not asked to test the bounds of the law's admissibility under this condition; it is asked instead and is apparently taking upon itself the question of legislating and enforcing (and, not incidentally, expanding) the law's bounds, and from that rewriting ad lib the conditions under which the law may be judged, an authority it has never been granted except by itself. It is entirely possible that the Court has accepted the case to establish a precedent for recusing its judgment on precise questions of legislative or executive jurisdiction, but its history of barely bridled opportunism is a poor friend to this hope.

Of course, as Mr. Bumble observed, the law is a ass… and three branches of asses will just as surely soil the stable as one.

Update: The Cato Institute's amicus brief argues both that the courts are not empowered to address generalized and unredressable claims of injury — that is, outside the meum and teum of their intended jurisdiction — and that the EPA's functions can only be delegated by the legislative branch. Furthermore, I should add, there is nothing in the Constitution of the United States that allows the judiciary to compel action by any other branch.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yet another isolated incident

Another isolated incident.

LeBlanc maintained he did nothing different from any other journalist covering the event, but was singled out by Sgt. John Parks, the arresting officer.

Parks testified that he arrested LeBlanc partly because he was "scruffy" looking and carrying an unprofessional-looking digital camera. Parks also testified that LeBlanc challenged police authority at the event, and resisted arrest.

However, CBC videotape of the event, entered as evidence by the defence, contradicted police testimony that LeBlanc refused a police order to leave the conference centre and resisted arrest.

McCarroll said the pictures proved beyond a reasonable doubt that LeBlanc did nothing wrong.

"There is such a discrepancy between the evidence of Sgt. Parks and the CBC video, that I find it unsafe to convict Mr. LeBlanc," he wrote. "I am not even satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that if Mr. LeBlanc was in fact ordered to leave by Sgt. Parks, he heard or understood the order."

McCarroll also said the officers had no right to seize LeBlanc's digital camera or delete his photo without a search warrant.
Will any police officer be charged? No. Forget about the assault and the unlawful arrest. Forget that he clearly perjured himself at the trial. The judge praised the police action in stopping the remainder of the mob:
"In spite of my findings in this case, there is one conclusion I have come to beyond any doubt. These courageous officers acted above and beyond the call of duty in preventing a serious breach of peace. If these young masked invaders had succeeded in gaining access to the main meeting room where probably hundreds of delegates were in attendance, God knows what would have happened," he wrote.
I'm a rule of law guy. Getting together in a mob is not a licence to use force like so many anti-globalization protestors tend to do. However, some judges just love cops and will accept their false testimony unless faced with a videotape or a couple of independent eye-witnesses to the contrary. The fact that the cops did their job with respect to the mob does not absolve the cops of their actions against Leblanc and their complete disregard for the administration of justice or the oath they swore before testifying.

I'm not anti-cop. It is the exercise of power because they can attitude and actions of certain cops that not only drives me nuts, it causes me fear. The ramifications for Mr. LeBlanc was a criminal record which has more ramifications for employment, travel or the next time you are accused. Get hauled in for speeding and you have a resisting arrest record when they run your licence and see how it works out for you.

The police act with impunity because they know they will not get charged. Other recent isolated incidents:

volokh
instapundit
Little Tobacco

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Recycling Bullshit

Watch the video.

David Janes also links.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Buy Nothing, Save the Planet by perishing

Today was "Buy Nothing Day", so instead of postponing my purchases until tomorrow, I rushed out and bought lots of stuff TODAY because I look forward to the demise of available goods TOMORROW. If Global Warming is caused by humans, clearly less of them are needed, and that can best be achieved by entitlement rationing.

Buy Nothing this Christmas. Put your neighbour out of a job. The Caribou will thank you.

Cross-plopped at the Mitchieville municipal homepage.

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You can't make a silk purse if the sow doesn't have ears

While millions of Canadians sustain their perceptions and grievances on a daily diet of the CBC and the Toronto Star, these are the leading sources of ideological malnutrition in this country. Edward Michael George, possibly less given to the flashy-vector-graphics or stentorious-canned-anthems of the CBC, takes on the static medium of the Star… with the bonus juxtaposition that never fails to make me laugh of serious and insightful observations with a blunt and simple and possibly juvenile graphic (above). Semper poo poo ho:

The world the Star describes is unrecognizable to me at the most fundamental level. Indeed, and what amazes me more: while Toronto Starland is a quite fantastical place, it is somehow also entirely devoid of a sense of romance; it is a place of shrill, awkwardly and toothily grinning busybodies--relentlessly chattering away in their native tongue, Pedantian, in spite of the absence upon their heads of ears--stuck in a never ending bid to outsuccour the other members of their überclass for the grunting approbation of the masses over which they have absolute charge. Savage, irreligious, slavering elephant-men to a man, these masses ...
Read the rest here…

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Goose jealously protective of good, criticizes gander

Or, what's good for the goose isn't correct for the gander: the College Republicans at Boston University's $250 Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Maude Barlow to invade London Ontario

Maude Barlow, the National Chairperson for Council of Canadians, is scheduled to appear in London on November 29th for a town hall meeting at the Royal Legion branch, located at 499 Hill Street, between the hours of 7-9pm.

The agenda: "Medicare Works! Keep it Public, keep it fair."

"We can't afford private health care".

Brush up on this song and plan to attend.

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"Where are all the Conservative Women?"

"Where are all the Conservative Women?" asked Belinda with a snicker. She could see she was attracting some stares as she entered the cafe on Richmond Street.

"Is she gonna steal our women from us too" whispered one of the old timers at the counter.

"Bunch a Goddamn vampires, the likes of her," was the hushed response of his companion.

The eyes of the waitress froze them both where they stood.

Belinda was surrounded now by onlookers as she affectedly sauntered through the coffee shops of her adversary's hometown. Seeing a large crowd had gathered, the Heiress knew she needed to say something memorable to add further insult to this humiliation of the enemy. This time she was going to wing it. No speech writers. Her thoughts, in little fragments, began to race through her head to the rhythm of her increasing heart beat: "I'm not, not some dumb blond anymore . . .

"That's why women and some men won't participate in politics," the Heiress blurted out.

You could hear a cockroach fart in the silence that followed.
















. . . But don't worry folks:

Even though she ain't been saying too much, the old mistress's back in town. And she's just come back from bouncing around in the biggest political slinging town on the continent.

Now she's home to fulfill the prophecy she left us with.

And this time she's gonna singlehandedly rid the whole Goddamn nation of all the druggies, perverts 'n creeps - the ones the Liberals let run rampant as they siphoned off the nation's resources.

Clint Eastwood never said much either.

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Return of Big Doctor

What with all the talk about those damn fat people clogging up the health care system, it is clearly time for the return of Big Doctor:

Big Tobacco is our friend. Big Tobacco has always been our friend. We are at war with McDonald’s. We have always been at war with McDonald’s.

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The only good hippie...

Here we see the Nazi Santa and Mrs Claus, hanging out on the rooftops of naughty people and asking the little meat-shields how many Jews they would like to kill this holiday season. The Nazi Santa is there because he knows the naughty person's well-armed and righteous victims are still too malignantly over-civilized to give Santa what he's asking for this Christmas. AP:


HT LGF.

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Climate Change - Science Morphing to Politics

David Janes is again on to the misrepresentations held out as scientific truth by global warming / climate change alarmists.

Here is a link to a whole bunch of David's posts on the subjects. (if I recall correctly, Dave cut his programing teeth in the weather mapping trade)

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Emptying your wallet one regulation at a time

A man has been fined for paying his taxes directly to a tax office.

Lfpress:

OTTAWA -- A Canadian businessperson who paid his taxes several days before they were due was slapped with a hefty $287,000 penalty because he remitted the cheque to a tax office instead of a bank.

Documents obtained by Sun Media show the Canada Revenue Agency punished the taxpayer with a 10 per cent fine and warned him to pay up immediately or face potential "legal action being taken without further notice."

"Since our records indicate that your payment of $2,870,400.00 was direct remitted, you have been assessed the penalty for failure to remit at a financial institution in the amount indicated," reads the notice of assessment.

The payment was stamped "delivered by hand" to the Tax Services Office and the cheque deposited to the Receiver General of Canada.

[..] CRA spokesperson Jacqueline Couture said the Income Tax Act rule requiring businesses to make source deduction payments at financial institutions has been on the books since the early 1990s, but enforcement and a mandatory 10 per cent fine only began last month.
From what I can understand, the initial changes were made to make the gathering of the spoils more "efficient" and "cost-effective", although until now the Government didn't take advantage of the opportunity to fine taxpayers for non-compliance. This is totally disgusting. Why wasn't this man informed by the tax office when he remitted his payment? According to Couture, a letter was sent out to businesses back in March informing them of the law which has only been enforced for a month, and apparently not known about by bureaucrats working in the tax office, but no grace period for this guy who dutifully paid his taxes early.

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Why don't they just print more money?

To all you old people out there who worked hard throughout your life and saved money for your retirement, while paying taxes at the same time: should a flu pandemic occur, you will be asked to get to the back of the line. Those of you that suffer from a terminal disease will also be left to the ravens:

A team of critical care doctors has come up with a tool their colleagues hope they will never have to use -- a guide on how to make the harrowing decisions about who not to treat during a flu pandemic.

The triage protocol, as it is called, suggests a scoring system that would see treatment withheld from people with the least chance of surviving in favour of helping those deemed to be more likely to pull through if they get care.

The protocol, published yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, doesn't suggest scoring the elderly more harshly based on age alone. But the authors admit advanced age could be a count against care in a future version of their decision tool.

"We received strong and consistent feedback from both expert and stakeholder consultations that an age criterion should be included," they wrote.
In other words, money is evil and should have no bearing on how much you receive. It is much fairer for a team of "experts" to evaluate your marginal utility as a human being before the decision is made to give you treatment. May as well add fat people and smokers to the list as they are are more likely to be a greater burden on the public health care system.

Cross-posted to Dust my Broom

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City core worth leaving alone

Today's London Free Press lead editorial, City core worth it, reviews the work city council "has been doing for decades" trying to restore London's downtown to an officially proscribed nostalgic utopia of original bustling prosperity:

… enough reports on core renewal to fill the downtown library, enough meetings to put even the most diehard downtown lover to sleep. Enough tax incentives to make suburban developers weep. Enough tax money spent on megaprojects in the core to finance a ring road…
and concludes in not quite so many words that the work has been a failure so far, as raising the subject itself goes to prove. The Free Press' solution? More of the same, "for decades more"!

Why would the Free Press counsel continuing political intervention after the city's decades-long policy of downtown torture by a thousand taxes and regulations has so evidently resulted in consequences so opposite to its intentions? Because it costs the Free Press nothing to continue as media proxies for a political class that cannot even imagine anything less than the necessity for its active intervention in and direction of almost every sphere of social and economic activity in the city. It is what the political class has raised itself for, and unintended consequences be damned for insufficient force.

Not that the Free Press would admit as much; instead, it characteristically obscures the indefensibility of a proposition with the patronizingly meaningless sentimentality we have come to expect of it:
Downtowns may struggle, but they are still the heart and soul of most cities. They make us unique. They are key to our history — and our future.
Three mawkishly incontestable but irrelevant sentences are designed to direct our acquiescence to the wisdom of decades of blight by political agency. The sad thing is that many Londoners are either as equally dedicated to the rule of vapid moralizing, or otherwise resigned to sinking more of their tax dollars into the downtown pit of centrally planned decay that they will never bother to visit.

If the city were to resign its self-appointed mission of engineering miniature Shangri-Las, and failing miserably in the process, a corresponding reduction in taxes and abolition of burdensome regulation would allow the downtown to actually thrive in some form or fashion… it just wouldn't necessarily be in the way of the rosy vision of bygone days to which the city's fathers would have everyone be sold on. And what's wrong with that? Times change, whatever the appeal of retrograde civic puritanism to that minority of constituents who actually vote. It's not your father's downtown anymore, and it never will be again. At least let it be something else…

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ballot Booth Justice

An open question to "libertarians" who voted Democrat in the mid-term elections: so, you support robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Some "treats" that Americans can look forward to if the Democrats have their way:

*An increase in minimum wage
*Increased spending on public health care
*Increased spending to "save" the planet from humans
*More funds for the "disadvantaged", as defined and created by your rulers
*More dithering on the war in Iraq

Shame on you all. You should have stayed home. You can as much gain liberty at the ballot booth as you can gain riches by gleefully paying your taxes. Now go read this by L. Neil Smith:

The thing to remember in all of this is that there's really only one "major" political organization, the Boot On Your Neck party, and that when everything else is said and done, you can forget about Right and Left, socialism and fascism, conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans. All that government is about, all that government's ever been about, and all that government will ever be about is simply stealing.

[..] Government is about stealing; that's all it's about; that's all it's ever been about; that's all it will ever be about. The kind of society government needs most is a society at war with itself, torn by violent crime, crippled by poverty, intellectually and technologically stagnant. A peaceful, prosperous, progressive society is a threat, because it eliminates all the excuses traditionally used to steal from us.

No election is ever going to change that.
HT: Jay Jardine

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Freeing up speech on the Internet and for blogs

Via Instapundit, Beltway Blogroll is reporting the California Supreme Court has held that Internet Service Providers are not liable for defamatory content posted by third parties:

"plaintiffs who contend they were defamed in an Internet posting may only seek recovery from the original source of the statement."
It will be interesting to see how the regulatory bodies will react.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh adds his two cents:

A long line of cases had already held that when a user posts material on a site, the operator of the site (or of the computer), can't be held liable, even when it's notified of the potentially tortious nature of the activity. Thus, for instance, we wouldn't be liable for libels posted in our comments. But this case, as well as Batzel and some others, apply this principle even to immunize those who actively repost material, rather than just serve as passive conduits for what others post. This means that if a commenter posts excerpts from others' work, even the commentator himself would be categorically immune from liability for the contents of those excerpts, at least unless he's "active[ly] involve[d] in the creation of [the] posting," or unless he's conspiring with the original author.

UPDATE II: One commentator at Volohk Conspiracy:
This is not a victory for free speech, which was already protected; it is a victory for the perpetrators of libel and slander.
I'm not so sure that this is correct. The Internet provider cannot possibly screen every post for truth nor can every blogger know what is true or false. The liability becomes too remote once you get past the person that has published the original statement. The key for bloggers is to cite/link to give credit for the original statement.

cross post Little Tobacco

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Guilty until proven innocent

MADD is insane:

Washington - The threat of arrest and punishment, for decades the primary tactic against drunken drivers, is no longer working in the struggle to reduce the death toll, authorities say. Instead, they are proposing to tackle the problem by turning to technology: alcohol detection devices in every vehicle.

In the first phase of the plan, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, backed by a national association of state highway officials and car manufacturers, will announce here today a campaign to change drunken-driving laws in 49 states to require that even first offenders be made to install a device that tests drivers and shuts down the car if it detects alcohol.

[..] Officials say interlocks for first offenders are not a panacea but will reduce repeat offenses. They say the next step will be a program to develop devices to unobtrusively test every driver for alcohol and disable the vehicle. The automaker Saab and a medical equipment company already have devices that may be adapted for that job.
Got that citizen. Collective "rights" and "protections" are prior to the rights of individuals. There is nothing obtrusive about forcing global warming contributors to blow into a tube before they are permitted to start their vehicle as we are each and everyone responsible to everyone. I can only imagine that these devices will always function perfectly and never malfunction because the State is always perfectly efficient and wise. This is a great advance for the socialist utopia envisioned by Karl Marx. I look forward to the day when motor vehicles will come equipped with a smog advisory device designed to prevent polluting vehicles from starting should the global warming risk prove higher than normal. Today is a great day, as we are closer to our collective goal of total public ownership of all spaces.

Alas, a wise astrologer that goes by the alias of Sargon the Magnificent advised me to carefully examine the local Library's annual budget. Complying with his request, I am now tormented by the results of my findings. What if the Drunk Drivers Alliance claims they are incapable of controlling their urges because they are victims of a collective society which denies them funding and rewards them with fines? After all, we are all responsible to each other. Can this issue can be resolved at the cardboard booth of justice?

Asking the same question at Dust My Broom.

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Saving stupidity

The curse of the chronic employment of bureaucrats — otherwise known as completely useless and unproductive members of an alternate society — strikes down another victim:

A spicy sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

The sausages will now have to be labelled Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages to avoid any confusion among customers.

Jon Carthew, 45, who makes the sausages, said yesterday that he had not received any complaints about the absence of real dragon meat.

[…] A Powys County Council spokesman said: “The product was not sufficiently precise to inform a purchaser of the true nature of the food.”
But did the trading standards’ officers actually test the sausages to make sure they contained no real dragon meat? Via Ghost of a Flea.

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R. v. Plumber - The power to resist an unlawful arrest

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the limited powers of arrest available to police officers under Highway Traffic Act, RSO 1990 c.H in its 2-1 decision in R. v. Plumber released on November 14th.

[1] This appeal principally concerns the power of arrest under the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H. 8 (the “Act”). The appellant was charged with assaulting a peace officer in the execution of his duty and assault with intent to resist arrest. Both charges turned on the legality of the arrest. If an arrest is unlawful, the officer is not in the execution of his or her duty and the citizen is entitled to resist the arrest.

[2] In this case, the police officer purported to arrest the appellant because he failed to identify himself as required by the Act. The Act, however, carefully circumscribes the arrest power. In particular, the power of arrest does not arise because a motorist refuses to produce his or her licence. Rather, where the person refuses to produce the licence, the officer is entitled to arrest without warrant under s. 217 of the Act only where the person has also refused to give reasonable identification “when requested by a police officer”: Highway Traffic Act, s. 33(3). In my view, the circumstances authorizing an arrest did not arise in this case and the arrest was not legal. It follows that this appeal should be allowed and the charges against the appellant dismissed.
The facts involved a cabbie who not only refused to produce a licence when pulled over on a traffic stop, he produced a tape recorder and proceeded to unleash profanities at the police officer. When the officer went to arrest the cabbie for failure to produce a licence, the cabbie resited. Rosenberg J.A. at paragraph 46-48:

[46] As the appeal judge observed, s. 33 imposes positive legal duties on drivers to identify themselves. But, those duties are only triggered in the specific circumstances set out in ss. 33(1) and (3). In this case, while the s. 33(1) duty was triggered, the s. 33(3) duty was not. The appeal judge said in his reasons:

A demand for the licence followed by a second demand and supplemented by a warning that the person will be arrested if s/he fails to identify herself/himself will be sufficient to trigger the arrest power in s. 217(2).

However, in this case the warning Constable Allcroft gave to the appellant was tied to the failure to produce his licence, ownership and insurance, not to a failure to provide alternative identification by way of his name and address. Thus, the arrest power was not triggered.


[47] On the version of events as testified to by the officer there can be little doubt that, had the request for alternative identification been made, the appellant would have refused to comply. But, that is not the point. The arrest power is a limited one and it can only be triggered if the officer had reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the appellant had contravened s. 33(3). Reasonable and probable grounds imply objective and subjective components: R. v. Storrey (1990), 53 C.C.C. (3d) 316 (S.C.C.) at 324. The officer not only had to believe that the appellant had committed an offence under s. 33(3), but that belief had to be reasonable. On the facts known to the officer, the appellant did not contravene s. 33 and therefore the officer did not have grounds to make the arrest. Without the request, an essential element of the contravention was not made out.

Since the police officer did not have grounds to make the arrest, the arrest itself was illegal. An illegal arrest is permitted by law to be resisted. Any individual has the power of arrest under the common law and as a result any individual has the power to resist an illegal arrest, even if the arresting person is a police officer. Because the police officer had no jurisdiction or authority to arrest, the act of the arrest was an assault by the officer upon the cabbie. The charges against the cabbie arising out of the arrest were dismissed.

It is doubtful that the police officer will be charged with assault.

(It is not recommended that you resist arrest by a police officer as the legality or illegality of the arrest will not be determined until after the fact.)

cross post: little tobacco

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Beverley Hughes was raised by wolves


When I first read this, I seriously thought it was a spoof on the welfare state, but like Billy Beck, I guess I haven't been paying enough attention to what's going on in Britain.
Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said.

Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children's future and the state must put them right, Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said.

Their children's well-being is at risk 'unless we act', she declared.

And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new 'parenting workforce' to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and 'supported'.
A feature of the Orwellian state is the destruction of the language and along with it, common sense and rational thinking. Hence, the use of state force translates into the idea of "support", and "we, the community" becomes larger than the individual components that make the thing what it is in the first place. In Hughes' regime, "all of us" want to be ruled and cared for by the state, but because many of us do not know what is in our best collective interests, (although we can be trusted to vote) we do not yet understand that involuntary compliance is double plus good! Into the Brave New World of obesity charters and test-tubed hatched babies we go:
Tony Blair has backed the idea of 'fasbos' [foetal anti-social behaviour order] - efforts to identify and correct the lives of children who are likely to fail even before they are born - and new laws to compel parents to attend parenting classes are on the way.

[..] Mrs Hughes condemned the way governments before 1997 thought they had no role in the upbringing of children, which it 'regarded as the entirely private arrangements families make.'

She praised the Government's record of pouring billions into state benefits for single parents, into providing subsidies for childcare, into pushing mothers into work, and into the 'Sure Start' children's centres.
Apparently, the parents of this contemptible creature failed to read nursery rhymes to her during the formative years, because Beverley Hughes clearly did not learn that stealing and bullying are wrong. But silly me, I forget that state intrusion into early education was less reaching when Hughes was a child. If a state approved list of multi-cultural friendly rhymes had been available at the time, she may have turned out even worse.
The Nobel economist James Heckman famously showed that the return on human capital was very high in the early years of life and diminished rapidly thereafter. And yet the emphasis in spending in British social policy had always been the opposite. Investment was negligible in the early years. It then began to grow at just about the age that diminishing returns were setting in. If policies had been devised expressly to defy the evidence they could hardly have been better. We have responded to the evidence and begun to correct the anomaly.

[..] There are people who will shout about the "nanny state", who will tell us it's none of "our business", who will say more reasonably that if you try to predict, you stigmatise. But today's society doesn't work like this. Yes, there are areas in which the State, or the community, no longer has a role or, if it does have one, it is a role that is completely different. It is not for the State to tell people that they cannot choose a different lifestyle, for example in issues to do with sexuality. All that has changed and rightly. But where children are involved and are in danger of harm or where people are a risk to themselves or others, it is our duty not to stand aside. Their fate is our business.

Tony Blair on "Social Exclusion"
Get to the back of the line seniors; your marginal value as a commodity has diminished.

CP: Dust my Broom

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Stephen Orser and the crime platform

"The inmates are running the asylum" isn't just an aphorism in London; we elect 'em to make sure it's a policy. Even before being sworn in, councillor-elect Stephen Orser has already made himself an exemplary representative of his Ward 4 constituents by getting himself busted. OK, that might be an unnecessary dig at the residents of Ward 4, but then again some of them were the ones who elected Orser on the basis of nothing more apparent than his ubiquitous enormous red signs. From the London Free Press:

A newly elected London city councillor is behind bars, charged with assault just four days after his Ward 4 victory.

Councillor-elect Stephen Orser, 45, appeared in court yesterday by video link from city police cells, where he spent Friday night and last night after being charged.
Details of the alleged assault and the victim(s) have not yet been released, and we note of course that Orser has not yet been convicted of anything, but the local theatre of metaphorical congruity will have its liberties.

Update, Nov. 20, only one week after the election (how time does fly): According to the London Free Press, Orser was released from confinement at the OPP Elgin detachment on $2,000 bail and ordered by a justice of the peace as conditions of his release:
  • "not to go within 100 metres of his former residence except to retrieve personal property in the company of police" and
  • "not to consume alcohol or visit any place that sells alcohol as its primary source of business."
It should not be necessary to repeat that Orser has not been convicted of any criminal offense, and that the mere fact of being charged does not preclude being sworn into office nor sitting on council. If convicted, however, Orser would be "ineligible to hold office as a member of Council if [he is] serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution" [City of London press release].

Stories of this kind always invite speculation, especially given the paucity of information made public so far. The Free Press has certainly found a vehicle for teasing out circulation for at least a few days as the case draws out. But for the curious among you, one commenter below has left what "sounds like" more informed speculation.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'll keep mine, give me yours

Make way for Executive Director of the United Way of London and Middlesex, Helen Connell:

Since new municipal councils don't take over until January, freshly minted representatives have some time to think through what they want their community to look like at the end of their four-year term.

And here's a place to start. "Holding taxes" and "lowering taxes" are not visions. Rather, they are political mantras repeated throughout elections in an effort to win favour with curmudgeonly voters. Taxes represent a method to fund your visions and you are expected to invest wisely.
You know what they say in Paraguay -- it takes a poverty pimp to know a curmudgeon (That rhymes in the Paraguayan dialect).

Note the esteem in which Connell holds "visions", above the actual desire of actual non-phantasy humans to flourish by keeping what they earn. These phenomena, "visions", were known in other times and places as illusions, dreams, daydreams, trips, trances, hallucinations, fantasies, and mirages:
A vision is what a community can and should be -- not just for the people who supported you and funded you, not just for your ward constituents, but for the entire community.
When I hire a plumber, I want him to fix my pipes. I don't want him to have any vision beyond getting my pipes working as quickly and inexpensively as possible and then going away. I do not want him to bill me for his thoughts on my interior decoration or to add on service fees to establish a plumber's working group on my landscaping situation.

Likewise, the city and its people are not Barbie's Dream Castle waiting for Helen Connell and friends to play house. City government is hired to maintain infrastructure and protective services. It's boring, and it doesn't help anybody feel good about themselves splashing about other people's money, but it's the only thing government can try to do with any chance of benefitting the citizens.

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Planting Downtown London

The London Downtown Business Association -- which exists only because membership dues are by law non-optional for downtown merchants -- plans to spend about $200,000 to install thirty wrought-iron tree sculptures throughout the core. One supposes that iron was chosen so as to produce a magnetic field powerful enough to pull tourists' wallets downtown by day and capture stray bullets by night. Given the symbolic richness of this plan, the obvious choice would have been brazen trees.

This is not a joke. The economic model chosen by over 60,000 impressionable Londoners in this past week's election is to be epitomized by metal trees. The vagaries of natural growth over time, where trees, trunks, branches and leaves grow, thrive, and die to take best advantage of changing circumstance, are to be supplanted by expensive, dead, metal fetishes to what once was. Remember how great downtown was back in the good old days before the city started blocking the sun, stealing the air, and taking the nutrients to feed a growing flock of white elephants bred for the explicit purpose of bringing the circus to town? I bet metal trees with two-metre iron trunks (for that chic "metal pole" aesthetic) are just the thing to bring a happening downtown back.

The brainchild of architect/developer Andy Spriet, and funded with $200,000 mostly from the London Downtown Business Association, it's part of the city's effort to promote public art in the core area.
That $200,000 left in the hands of the merchants and their customers would presumably just have been wasted on stock and rent and wages. How does that benefit anybody important? How does that display our commitment to our arborial brothers and sisters, artificial or otherwise? After all, we are or at least were the Forest City, ages before we became Pothole City. If Londoners' contempt for other peoples' property extends from City Hall's skyrocketing taxes all the way down to youth forced by rising student debt to take their frustrations out on real saplings planted on downtown sidewalks, then it makes perfect sense to take money from those rich, greedy downtown merchants to pay somebody to replace natural growth in a healthy environment with a few shiny, highly visible ersatz stand-ins in an unlivable one. Trees can't survive downtown? Put fake ones in. Rough times for non-crack-related businesses? Sit back, pay up, and let Creative Cargo Culture do its work.
Coun. Cheryl Miller, who has long championed the core's revitalization, said the tree art could even draw more tourists.

"I think this could put London on the map," said Miller.
Wha? Haven't you heard, Cheryl? The John Labatt Centre already put us on the map. No, we're not bookmarked on Bono's GPS receiver yet like we were promised, but we're a big sloppy drool-coloured dot on the map of cities who re-elect council that spends $40 million up front and $4 million annually servicing debt so as to collect $150,000 a year from contractually unprofitable arenas.

The city is in the business of replacing natural growth with temporarily shiny, temporarily colourful metal replicas chosen and placed by committee. It's almost as if the LDBA were mocking its poor tributaries.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Smell Test Appeal to The Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has, for reasons unknown, granted leave to appeal to the Crown in the R v. A.M. case. The facts of the case were summed up by Armstrong J. of the Ontario Court of Appeal as follows:

[1] On November 7, 2002, three police officers attended St. Patrick’s High School in Sarnia and, with the assistance of a “sniffer” dog, conducted a warrantless and random search of the school. The attendance of the police on that particular day was not at the request of school authorities. The principal and staff were unaware that the police were planning to attend until they arrived in the school.

[2] As a result of an indication from the sniffer dog, the police were directed to the backpack of A.M. When they searched the backpack, they found that it contained a quantity of marijuana and psilocybin. A.M. was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking in respect of both drugs.

[3] At trial, counsel for A.M. moved to exclude the evidence of the drugs found in the backpack on the basis that the search by the police was unreasonable and therefore offended s. 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The trial judge, Justice G. M. Hornblower of the Ontario Youth Justice Court, accepted the submissions of counsel and excluded the evidence related to the drugs under s. 24(2) of the Charter. In the result, A.M. was acquitted of the charges.

[4] The Crown now appeals the acquittals on the basis that the trial judge erred in finding a breach of s. 8 of the Charter and in excluding the evidence under s. 24(2) of the Charter.
At trial the judge had found as follows:
[21] The trial judge found that there were two searches. The first search was the search conducted with the assistance of the sniffer dog; the second search was the search of the backpack of A.M. The trial judge concluded that neither search was reasonable.

[22] Finally, the trial judge concluded that the search was a police search in the guise of a search by school authorities. He noted that, even if it had been a search by school authorities, the school authorities had no right to conduct such a search in the absence of reasonable grounds to believe drugs could be found.

[23] The trial judge excluded the evidence obtained as a result of the police search under s. 24(2) of the Charter. In his consideration of the application of s. 24(2) of the Charter the trial judge said:

While this case centres around the rights of A.M., the rights of every student in the school were violated that day as they were all subject to an unreasonable search. This search was unreasonable from the outset. It is completely contrary to the requirements of the law with respect to a search in a school setting. To admit the evidence is effectively to strip A.M. and any other student in a similar situation of the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. It is effectively saying that persons in the same situation as A.M. have no rights. Such a finding would, to my mind, bring the administration of justice into disrepute notwithstanding the other factors I have alluded to.
Section 8 of the Charter reads as follows:
8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
The evidence was excluded under section 24(2) of the Charter. Section 24 of the Charter reads:
(1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

(2) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.
The Ontario Court looked at the reasonableness of the sniff search and concluded:
[51] The search in this case was warrantless. The Supreme Court of Canada in Hunter, et al. v. Southam Inc., 1984 CanLII 33 (S.C.C.), [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145 at 161 held that a warrantless search by the police is prima facie unreasonable. The Crown, who seeks to justify a warrantless search, has the burden of rebutting the presumption of unreasonableness. In Collins, the Supreme Court held at p. 278 that “[a] search will be reasonable if it is authorized by law, if the law itself is reasonable and if the manner in which the search was carried out is reasonable.”

[52] I pause here to observe that, in respect of a search by school authorities (on reasonable grounds), the same presumption does not apply: see M.R.M. at para. 50. However, I have already said that, in my opinion, this was a warrantless search by the police and therefore the presumption in Hunter v. Southam applies. As Cory J. said in M.R.M. at para 56:

The usual standard, requiring prior authorization in the form of a warrant which is based upon information which provides reasonable and probable grounds, will continue to apply to police and their agents in their activities within a school. The modified standard for school authorities is required to allow them the necessary latitude to carry out their responsibilities to maintain a safe and orderly school environment. There is no reason, however, why police should not be required to comply with the usual standards, merely because the person they wish to search is in attendance at an elementary or secondary school.
The court then concluded that the detention of the students for 1-2 hours was not reasonable, but that this was not as egregious as the warrantless search:
There was no credible information to suggest that a search was justified. There were no reasonable grounds to detain the students. As Laskin J.A. said in R. v. Calderon (2004), 188 C.C.C. (3d) 481 at para. 69 (Ont. C.A.): “An officer cannot exercise the power to detain on a hunch, even a hunch borne of intuition gained by experience.”

[58] The Supreme Court of Canada has held that there must be a clear nexus between the individual to be detained and a recent or on-going criminal offence. This position was articulated by Iacobucci J. for the majority of the court in R. v. Mann, 2004 SCC 52 (CanLII), [2004] 3 S.C.R. 59 at para. 34:

The case law raises several guiding principles governing the use of a police power to detain for investigative purposes. The evolution of the Waterfield test, along with the Simpson articulable cause requirement, calls for investigative detentions to be premised upon reasonable grounds. The detention must be viewed as reasonably necessary on an objective view of the totality of the circumstances, informing the officer's suspicion that there is a clear nexus between the individual to be detained and a recent or on-going criminal offence.

[59] Quite apart from the detention of the entire student body, of more significance is the unauthorized warrantless random search itself.

[60] In my view, the Crown has failed to rebut the presumption that the search was unreasonable. Even if the presumption of unreasonableness did not apply, it is my opinion that there were no grounds upon which to justify a random search of the kind that was conducted in this case.
The evidence was properly excluded.

The idea that the police can collude with school administrators to detain students while random searches are conducted by the police may sound great to some overly protective parent who has forgotten his own childhood. For me, it just does not pass the smell test.

(Cross post: Little Tobacco)

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Diapers are oppressive

The path to a socialist paradise according to Fenris Badwulf:

Several scientists, notably the Racism in Acrylic Media Studio at the Fine Arts department at the University of Toronto, have sought consensus to overcome the racist desire for control in our society. And, to have people enslaved to their colon is really racism at its worst. The diaper, truly the second best symbol of freedom after the hammer and sickle, offers our village peoples the opportunity to experience life without the slavery to toilets, toilet paper, and social conservative morals.

Scientists have shown that people who wear diapers are less likely to crash hovercraft, to beat spouses, and commit chainsaw related crimes. Further evidence is not needed now that opinion makers have made their beliefs known; what is needed is funding to suppress the spread of this offensive Christian ideal of bowel control. No more should we feel enslaved to others arbitrary dark ages hocus pocus about what is right and wrong. Children are being traumatized as we speak and this must stop. Laws must be passed! Brochures must be issued! Information hot lines must be established. The CBC must produce a documentary showing the links between toilet training, Global Warming, and aboriginal glue sniffing.
I am saddened. I expected a fairer solution from a man who claims he cares. Diapers are bad for the environment and are an identified burden to landfill overflow which contributes to global warming. Societal expectations of hygiene are oppressive and discriminatory. Until people everywhere are sanctioned by their respective obligatory unions to give up control of their bowels in all public places, including their work places, bereft of restraining devices such as diapers and bras, the capitalists will continue to control the global village. Diapers, disposable or otherwise, contribute to global warming and hence must be banned.

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Beating the politically correct retreat

An excerpt from America Alone by Mark Steyn, published in the National Post:

To understand why the West seems so weak in the face of a laughably primitive enemy, it’s necessary to examine the wholesale transformation undergone by almost every advanced nation since World War Two. Today, in your typical election campaign, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much every party in the rest of the West are all but exclusively about those secondary impulses: government health care, government day care, government paternity leave. We’'ve elevated the secondary impulses over the primary ones: national defense, self-reliance and reproductive activity. If you don’t “go forth and multiply” you can’'t afford all those secondary-impulse programs whose costs are multiplying a lot faster than you are. Most of the secondary-impulse stuff falls under the broad category of self-gratification issues.
Indeed, the political player in Canada is compelled to utterly and abjectly recant any deviation, large or small, from the politically correct agenda of patronizing socialist and defeatist cant. Witness Dave Burghardt's humiliating and useless apology in the face of the dominant Canadian culture of surrender:
Burghardt says he's "truly sorry for a number of things I wrote … some of the things I wrote cannot be excused. I take full responsibility for any pain I have caused."

[…] In his letter, he points to his comments about Muslims, which he says showed his ignorance. He says he wants to learn more about the faith and its quest for peace.
Burghardt should have let his balls hang out… instead he withdrew them at the first little boo of political correctness.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Enviro-communism

Yet another "solution" to global warming has been proposed by Paul J. Crutzen at the U.N. conference on climate change in Kenya. HT Drudge.

Air pollution may be just the thing to fight global warming, some scientists say.

Prominent scientists, among them a Nobel laureate, said a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere could act as a "shade" from the sun's rays and help cool the planet.

Reaction to the proposal here at the annual U.N. conference on climate change is a mix of caution, curiosity and some resignation to such "massive and drastic" operations, as the chief U.N. climatologist describes them.

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist who first made the proposal is himself "not enthusiastic about it."

"It was meant to startle the policymakers," said Paul J. Crutzen, of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. "If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this."

[..] The Dutch climatologist, awarded a 1995 Nobel in chemistry for his work uncovering the threat to Earth's atmospheric ozone layer, suggested that balloons bearing heavy guns be used to carry sulfates high aloft and fire them into the stratosphere.

While carbon dioxide keeps heat from escaping Earth, substances such as sulfur dioxide, a common air pollutant, reflect solar radiation, helping cool the planet.

[..] By telephone from Germany, Crutzen said that's what he envisioned: global haze as a component for long-range planning. "The reception on the whole is more positive than I thought," he said.
Pollution is blamed for global warming but the latest suggestion is to intentionally shoot more of it into the atmosphere? The correct response is to get rid of the Kyoto accord and let the productive economy carry on sans government interference. More frightening than global warming / cooling is the prospect of politicians elected by the ballot box storming electorate playing the role of God; everything our policy makers touch withers and dies and so shall the earth if world governments are permitted to manage the planet like the Communists ruled Russia.


Cross-posted at Dust my Broom.

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RIP Milton Friedman

Reading and studying Milton Friedman’s works helped me and many of us to understand economic reality, to understand economics, to understand its methodology, the role of the market in society, the role of the state in a free market economy, the role of money in the economy etc. Surely there were other influential authors but there was no one comparable in intellectual and human integrity, in firmness of stances and attitudes, in innovative boldness, in simplicity and clarity of exposition and in the scope and quality of important contributions both to economic theory and to the theory of public policy...

Milton Friedman helped us to interpret the actual communist economy not as a textbook command economy, based on directives going in the vertical direction from the central planning commission at the top to individual firms but as a very strange and truncated market economy with imperfect, but nevertheless dominant horizontal relations among economic agents at the microlevel. Milton Friedman knew that it was impossible to suppress human behaviour, the spontaneity of exchange, implicit if not explicit prices, wide-spread bargaining etc. It was a very rare attitude at that time.

Vaclav Klaus, 1997

In this clip from the PBS series "Free to Choose", Milton Friedman riffs on Leonard Read's "I, Pencil".



Thanks a lot, Milton Friedman!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gina Barber meets control

Meet the new face on board of control!

Gina Barber, pictured at left participating in an anti-war rally in Victoria Park last year (see below), has been a tireless social activist and aspirant to political power for so long now — 27 years, according to the London Free Press — that the simple name recognition acquired from repeatedly sticking her face in public has finally generated a sufficient constituency of careless and idiotic voters to attain success.

A member of the Ontario NDP executive and a two-time failed NDP candidate in the last two federal elections, Barber is, among other things, a hardcore environmentalist, an unapologetic pro-union, anti-development, anti-privatization and anti-automobile activist who considers somehow that "private parking drains resources from the city."

Barber is a proponent of bureaucratic planning and tax-funded subsidization of arts and culture, as well as of the city's proposed performing arts centre monument to political prestige, of which she regrets that:
"Unfortunately, I do not believe there will be wide Council support for any large capital projects." [Emphasis added.]
A social scientist who generously substitutes politically correct theories for cause and a deficiency of socialistic central planning for effect, Barber is reluctant to commit to increased policing resources because "poverty, racism and social exclusion" are the significant predictors of crime and prefers instead "the social, recreational and cultural services that the city supports" as agency for public safety. No potential scope of the city's jurisdiction and tax-taking authority for social engineering is too intemperate to take advantage of:
"Decent, safe, affordable housing should be the right of every citizen." [Emphasis added.]
Indeed, the city should not refrain from using its powers, and Barber only regrets that some of the city's authority and abilities are "limited by senior levels of government."

I could go on about her views on child care, public transportation, animal control, and more, but this is enough for anyone. It is sufficient to say that Gina Barber is, in short, a hardened communist, the likes of which London has never seen before on council… which is rather saying quite a lot. The rapacious ego of the tireless communist despises the community that does not think like her and relentlessly tempts her to take community and political involvement to mean involving the community in her own nihilistic schemes whether they like it or not. A council with Gina Barber on it can be expected to promote expanding its authority into issues not generally understood to be or barely tolerated as under municipal jurisdiction. Having to sit with her in meetings for the next four years, I am almost sympathetic for the first time in my life for her fellow controllers, Tom Gosnell, Bud Polhill and Gord Hume.

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Maybe it's genetic.

Multiculturalism be damned -- must we share the planet with devotees of this ideology of hatred?

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Scream real loud

A town in California is preparing to pass legislation that would ban smoking in all "public" places:

Hoping to pass what would be the nation's most far-reaching ban on smoking, the [Belmont] City Council asked its staff to draft an ordinance that would outlaw tobacco use everywhere except inside single family homes.

While details of the proposed law still need to be worked out, city councilors said Tuesday they want it to be as comprehensive as possible and to give police the option of ticketing people caught smoking on the street or in their cars.

"We need to pass as stringent a law as we can. I would like to make it illegal," said Councilman Dave Warden.

The city initially planned to pursue a smoking ban similar to ones passed recently in two other California cities, Calabasas and Dublin. Those laws made secondhand tobacco smoke a public nuisance, a move designed to make it easier for residents to sue neighbors who puff with impunity.

Instead, council members voted unanimously to see if a complete ban was enforceable and would survive legal scrutiny. Belmont, population 25,000, is located 22 miles south of San Francisco.
Why stop at single family dwellings? Children and small furry animals who reside in such hetronomative units of isolation are at risk! And just think! The nicotine polluted air from single family homes of smokers seeps out into the public sphere and contributes to global warming and decade long waiting lines for health care. Blame the smokers! Kill them.

Damnit! I care about animals across the globe! I'm going to enlist Little Tobacco's services to sue my neighbor for riding the bus instead of walking! The noise and pollution caused by his preferred mode of transit is a public nuisance and a stress on the squirrel population besides. The oppressed collective should band together and file a class action suit against the polluting portion of the collective. May the strongest mob control the ballot boxes. It's all about democracy.

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Dalton McGuinty continues to pass around the bucks in Caledonia

After nine months of failing to enforce the law in native occupied Caledonia, Premier Dalton McGuinty and Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs are claiming the federal Government is willing to take at least partial responsibility for resolving the land dispute, which may include paying for some of the costs incurred thus far, estimated to be between $40-$55 million. In the meantime, the insurgents continue to enjoy free water and hydro, courtesy of taxpayers.

From the Hamilton Spectator:

McGuinty had been forcefully calling for Ottawa to "step up to the plate" and take responsibility for the Caledonia occupation, including footing the staggering bill. That tough talk prompted federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice to cancel a meeting with his Ontario counterpart David Ramsay last month -- but not until Ramsay had flown to Ottawa and was sitting in his office.

That snub is in the past, said Ramsay, who met Friday with Prentice. The federal government is now prepared to look at reimbursing some of Ontario's costs and take a new "leadership role" in ending the dispute at the negotiating table, Ramsay said.
Speaking of "leadership", The Gimp claims native land disputes are a federal responsibility, but if this is so, why did he wait eight months before demanding the Feds step in?? Instead of asking for Federal help when the occupation began, he dithered around while the natives destroyed property and purchased the disputed piece of land with other people's money even though the legitimacy of the occupier's claims were unsubstantiated. Wake up people of Ontario. It's your buck that's being passed around.


Cross-posted at The Broom

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Oh yeah . . . baby . . . right there . . . mmm . . . harder . . . yeah, harder . . . Oh yeah!















Sex education for endangered species:

A Thai zoo, which has hosted a couple of pandas for four years, will play "porn" videos for the male next month to encourage them to breed in captivity, the project manager said on Saturday.

The pair -- living chastely together at the zoo in the northern city of Chiang Mai since arriving from China in 2003 -- would be separated in December, but stay close enough for occasional glimpses of each other, said panda project chief Prasertsak Buntrakoonpoontawee.

"They don't know how to mate so we need to show the male how, through videos," Prasertsak told Reuters.

And apparently this works.

Also loitering at Mitchieville.

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Booming economies discriminate against women and children

According to Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS), more job opportunities mean fewer choices for battered women. From the Calgary Sun:

Alberta’s booming economy is taking a toll on abused women who can’t afford to run away from their tormentors, a watch group said today.

The high cost of living and housing in the province means a growing number of women can’t afford to get away from their abusers and those who do seek help from shelters eventually return home to the violence, said Alberta Council of Women's Shelters spokeswoman Patti McClocklin.

[..] "What is their choice — living in the street and sleeping under a blanket or returning to their abuser — right now, those are their only two options.”
Well, they could take part in the booming economy by getting a job and gaining some self-sufficiency, but that might put groups like ACWS out of business.
The ACWS today called on the province to increase funding to shelters, so women will have an immediate option when they do work up the courage to leave a dangerous situation, said McClocklin.

And because shelters are only the first step to help victims of abuse, the province’s affordable housing crunch must be dealt with immediately, she said.

“It’s frustrating because there are so many people here making money because of the boom ... but there are lot of people who aren’t benefiting from it,” said McClocklin.

“Actually, their problems are becoming greater.”
And what of my "entitlement"? I don't happen to be a battered woman, nor a single mother, but I do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and the government has yet to control the sun. I have been ripped off. Alas, I am just a big meanie libertarian who happens to question the legitimacy of stealing from the ant to feed the grasshopper.

Cross-barked at Dust my Broom

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The dauphine of London

Anne Marie DeCicco-Best makes her victory speech

"We are going to take this city to a place it's never been before — we're going to bring more jobs, keep more of our young people … We're going to rock. We're going to be known as the city to emulate, a city that's doing all the right things."
— incumbent and re-elect mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, victory speech as reported by the London Free Press
It would be churlish to ask the twice re-elected DeCicco-Best why, after six years as mayor already, she would only now be going "to take this city to a place it's never been before," or where she think that place might be considering the economically deteriorating direction of uncontrolled taxing and spending the city has been going under her administration. More importantly, though, it would be missing the same point that has been dogmatically overlooked by almost every candidate and their supporters during the recent election — that neither DeCicco-Best nor any other politician can "bring more jobs" or "keep … our young people." It is people themselves, not politicians, who create jobs or who decide where to seek opportunity or who, if I may say it, "rock." The best and the most that politicians can do is to stay out of their way while they're trying to do it. Having felt compelled to bring up those issues in her victory speech — not including the "rocking" bit, that is — is a pretty frank admission that her administration has not been doing a very good job of that at all.

It would be in vain to hope that the mayor and other councillors will rid themselves of this damaging conceit — it has so long been popularly uncontested that it has become to be seen by them and almost every aspiring politician to be instead among the privileges and perquisites of their positions.

And from the contemptuous, loutish and heckling behaviour of many of DeCicco-Best's supporters at public debates during the campaign, it is apparent that these privileges and perquisites are jealously regarded.

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The Future of London . . . .

..... perfectly encapsulated by the Modern version of "The Ant and the Grasshopper", reproduced at Samizdata:

The Classic Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

The Modern Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. BBC, ITV and Sky show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. Britain is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
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Politics is no place for an honest man

My grandfather used to say "politics is no place for an honest man". For many years I naively assumed this meant simply that some politicians of nefarious character would bury the truth in lies and an honest man, not willing to claim he can provide the cake and let the voters eat it, would lose for not promising more golden boughs. I see now that, in a world of political correctness, deviating from the official party line or saying anything which challenges popular assumptions does not open up dialogue - whereas in a real democracy it should encourage dialogue - but receives demands of resignation.

Just what we need in politics are more people who are afraid to speak their minds (isn't this how 'hidden agendas' come about?). Politicians with convictions who speak out are bound to offend someone and/or special interest group, so muzzle them and save some votes.

But here at the London Fog, where we wallow in political incorrectness, we are happy to reproduce the damning words of Dave Burghardt's blog:

Excerpts from Dave Burghardt's blog:

- About Belinda Stronach's defection from the Conservatives to the Liberals: "All this demonstrates one more reason why women shouldn't be allowed to run for office, much less vote. It is a fool who looks (for) logic in the chambers of the female mind." (May 18, 2005).

- About the Liberal party: ". . . What it means to be Liberal was long ago replaced with greed, expediency and corruption. . . . The Liberal Party is dying, suffering from a chronic case of no ideas, no leaders and no ability to do anything about it." (March 19, 2006).

- About Kyoto: "The idea behind Kyoto is so utterly stupid it's no wonder our loony left has embraced it as the environmental saviour. . . Kyoto is nothing but PR -- it won't work, it's only a chance for international leaders to get their pictures taken together looking like environmentalists." (March 28, 2005);

- On Muslims and their feelings of alienation: "If the Muslim community feels alienated from the rest of Canada, pass the Ny-Quil because I won't be able to sleep tonight." (July 20, 2005).
And to make matters worse we have this outright denial - not of what he said (which he can't) but that he still feels this way:
Pearson said . . . Burghardt "in no way feels that way (as expressed on his blog) anymore. He felt he made a terrible mistake and that's why he took it down (several months ago).
So what's up? Was he born again? Electroshock is working? What made him change his mind? Threats of damnation from Megan Walker? It's bad enough this guy is called to task for expressing his opinion in a democratic society, but now Pearson is claiming Burghardt has figured out 2+2=5 in the last couple of months - and he fired him anyway.

Yep, I guess Glen Pearson better fill those volunteer positions with some more party drones. You know, the kind of people who don't ask questions, do just what they're told - don't think for themselves. Just the kind of people you want surrounding government representatives.

Meanwhile, Dianne Haskett can sit back in her ivory tower and wait for the polls to close while Walker ensures the Liberals will lose for her.

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Time to free up speech - hate speech

A while back I reminded myself that it was time to post on the hate laws in Canada. While the intent of such laws, like so many, is admirable, laws that impinge upon rights, or in this case, trample upon the freedom of expression, invariably backfire and are used for purposes for which they were not intended by the framers.

Hate laws were brought about partially by demands from and with the full support of various Jewish groups. They wanted to stop the Ernst Zundels of this world from propagating hate against Jews. The result has been far from expected as jewishmag.com writes:

Canada is widely regarded as a model multicultural society; tolerant, peaceful, fair. To be sure, we have our share of bigots, racists and malcontents. But we are a progressive society. Progressive societies resolve their internal differences peacefully, and respectfully. And if some should confuse intolerance for truth or mistake might for right? Well, unlike the US, we also have criminal hate censorship laws, as well as assorted human rights, equity, and hate speech codes to set them right. But before anyone thinks of emulating the "true north strong and free," they better have a close look at what is happening on progressive Canadian campuses.
....

And so, Benjamin Netanyahu and Daniel Pipes cannot equally freely, or fearlessly, speak at any progressive, multicultural, Canadian campus. No pro-Zionist can. But just about every self-serving anti-Zionist demagogue and Israel-demonizing progressive ideologue can. Hate is whatever those with the power to disrupt, destroy, and silence, say it is. And so, only the Jewish voice is a campus security concern. Hate censorship has been hijacked. A shelter against illegitimate promotion of hate has been turned into a sword against legitimate exercise of Jewish voice.

How could it be otherwise? Censorship is force not talk. It is not about demonstration of right, but an exercise in might. Might is a double edged sword. In the end, the sharper edge, as is the nature of might, belongs to the more belligerent, or the more popular, not the more tolerant or the more civil. The popular have sympathy. The belligerent have force. The tolerant, and civil, have only words. By legitimating hate censorship, Jews have robbed themselves of rights to their own words and armed those of their intolerant adversaries. Jewish students on Canadian campuses find themselves neither with equal freedom to speak nor equal freedom from hate. The message is clear: if you are visibly Jewish you do not equally belong, even as every other historically vulnerable community – blacks, gays, Asians, transsexuals, Arabs, and Muslims – does.

There is a lesson in all this. Jewish faith in hate censorship and campus speech codes was a mistake to begin with. Rights to silence weaken, rather than strengthen, the Jewish voice. To be sure, freedom of speech carries risks. But for the tolerant, a political culture built on censorship might, at the cost of talk is, in the end, riskier still. Inclusion by silencing is tolerance built on quicksand. Quiet is not the same as acceptance. Compliance is not comprehension. Jewish hate censorship has been a self-deceiving, and self-debilitating, ruse. In fact, progressive Canadian campuses were rife with undercurrents of singularly anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish sentiment long before the Concordia riot. But it took a Netanyahu to ignite the truth, and bring the failings of campus hate speech and equity codes to light.
While I take the point of the article, I do not suspect that Jewish speech is being repressed by these laws. The state is not charging the speakers under the laws. The problem for the Jews is that when you legitimize "offence" as being worthy of sanction, you are legitimizing the use of force to prevent/stop the "offence".

Offence is the key to freedom of expression. To paraphrase, I may hate what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it. This is the freedom of expression. Once there is a decision that certain speech is offensive and will be subject to state sanction; or when the state decides that it will not use its monopoly on the use of force to prevent a mob from committing acts of violence against those who have offended through speech, the right no longer exists. It is merely a privilege, subject to the whims of the majority or the mob. It is time to repeal these progressive laws which, like all progressive laws, is draconian in its result.

Some of my other posts on free speech can be found here.

Hat Tip: The Volokh Conspiracy.

cross-post: Little Tobacco

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