We don't sequester other elements…
Via Tim Blair
Saturday, September 29, 2007
We don't sequester other elements…
Posted by MapMaster on Saturday, September 29, 2007
Jay links to a video on the Canadian health care system produced a few years back that is every bit as relevant today as it was then. Welcome to Canada where your pets are permitted better care than you and your family. Runtime: 24:45
cp: Dust My Broom
As you avert your gaze from the computer screen to the wall, it's essentially important to have something other than blank space to contemplate. It is with great pleasure that I announce a solution to your problems.
I work with internationally renowned artist Chris Wright. Chris has recently moved to a new studio and in order to make room for his new creations, we will be offering some original paintings on ebay at bargain starting prices over the next little while, in addition to the wide range of limited edition prints that we continue to feature. And, for the next two weeks, we will offer you a steady collection of prints, paintings and drawings with a starting bid of only $1.00! I invite you to check out our auctions.
Posted by Lisa Turner on Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Post updated below…
A performing arts centre isn't in the cards just yet until "the private sector and the provincial and federal governments kick in as much as two-thirds of the estimated $60-million cost," local politicians announced yesterday with some regret, imagining that culture and creativity depend on their rhetorical and revenue interventions. Although city staff are "not convinced the private sector will kick in $20 million," the simple act of declaring it as a possibility, no matter how remote, will transform it into enough of a prospect to keep the arts centre on the agenda for continued planning and investment. Less remote, of course, is the possibility that a provincial or federal government will at some point find a public relations need for a funding announcement in London… and every other city eventually until the net effect on taxpayers in London is the same. No stake will ever be driven through the heart of this beast, because it doesn't have one…
But $20 million, or at least vague commitments to an amount close enough for politicians to go ahead, is not so unlikely an event to transpire. In what has become the ordinary run of business here in London, investors realize that they can buy into the public relations goodwill of any politically-motivated project while taxpayers bear the burden of risks for debt and operating costs (remember the John Labatt Centre). If there were any sound financial prospects to be found at all in a performing arts centre like the one politicians hope to erect in their own image, investors would be buying stakes in their own model instead.
Check out this on-line poll on the London Free Press that, as typical, requires the reader to interpret not his own response but how it can be used against him.
Update, September 28: Another London Free Press on-line poll has been spiked by someone with enough troops and motivation to blitz the optics of the results — not for the first or second time. Poll results were consistently trending at about a 70% "No" response from the evening of September 26 when the poll was first published and up to at least 1 PM on September 27, with about 400 votes at that time — fairly standard for the newspaper's on-line polls, which regularly attract between 400 to 600 responses. This result was captured at approximately 12 AM September 28:
Speaking of the Free Press, is there any sight more humiliating than people begging on the front page of a daily newspaper for other people's money without having the courage to ask them directly for it?
More: teens who don't pay property taxes are solicited for "cool" ideas with what to do with property taxes in downtown London. Hurrah!
She told representatives of 16 governments gathered for talks on climate change in Washington: “It is our responsibility as global leaders to forge a new international consensus on how to solve climate change . . . If we stay on our present path, we face an unacceptable choice: either we sacrifice global economic growth to secure the health of our planet or we sacrifice the health of our planet to continue with fossil-fuelled growth.”If it were truly a voluntary matter, the citizens of their respective countries would choose with their voluntarily spent dollar, sans governmental interference.
[..] She said: “Every country will make its own decisions, reflecting its own needs and its own interests [and] tackle climate change in the ways that they deem best”.
The US also favours voluntary targets for cuts rather than legally binding commitments.
cp: The Broom
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Looking through WFMU's invaluable MP3 blog, I discovered the "anti-Joan Baez". Ohio's Janet Greene released eight "red-baiting" songs between 1964 and 1966, with the assistance of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. WFMU sez,
"While there were a few other attempts at right-wing folk music during this period, most notably The Goldwaters, Greene was the darling of the anti-communist right during a period when leftist folksongs dominated the popular imagination. For a brief, shining moment, the right wing had its own raven haired troubador..."Here is "Fascist Threat", which, as you might have guessed, is calypso:
Thanks to WFMU, fellow extremist troubadours the Goldwaters, mentioned above, are also downloadable. Here is their "What Have You Done (Left Wing, Left Wing)":
These weren't quite marginal figures; both the Goldwaters and Greene performed at a 1964 Barry Goldwater rally emceed by a tag team of Ronald Reagan and John Wayne.
Finally, and not least, here is the mysterious Keith Everett's catchy 1966 song "Conscientious Objectors", once again harvested from WFMU and originally featured in Otis Fodder's 2003 365 Days Project.
Posted by Mike on Thursday, September 27, 2007
Using contradictory discourses as a political strategy
In postmodern discourse, truth is rejected explicitly and consistency can be a rare phenomenon. Consider the following pairs of claims.
There is a common pattern here: Subjectivism and relativism in one breath, dogmatic absolutism in the next.
- On the one hand, all truth is relative; on the other hand, postmodernism tells it like it really is.
- On the one hand, all cultures are equally deserving of respect; on the other, Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad.
- Values are subjective--but sexism and racism are really evil
- Technology is bad and destructive--and it is unfair that some people have more technology than others.
- Tolerance is good and dominance is bad--but when postmodernists come to power, political correctness follows.
Posted by Mike on Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In this sixth and final episode, candidates Khalil Ramal of the Liberals, Jim Chapman of the PCs, Stephen Maynard of the NDP, Dan O'Neail of the Greens, and Paul McKeever of Freedom Party give their closing statements.
Be sure to catch Khalil Ramal's hilarious, naive admission that going to see Michael Moore's "Sicko", in the company of some nurses, strengthened his faith in the public health care insurance monopoly.
Posted by Mike on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"By destroying traditional social habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of getting on to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanized or brutalized control which is a desperate remedy for its chaos ... Out of Liberalism itself come philosophies which deny it."
-- T.S. Eliot
Posted by Mike on Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Like coffins buried in a swamp, ideas for grandiose capital projects keep rising to the surface no matter how often they're pushed down once they've tickled the fancy of politicians and their favourite constituencies. And sooner or later, Londoners will as surely be on the hook for a performing arts centre, now estimated according to a city staff report to come in at $55 million plus land and operating costs. A small matter for the creative cities dogma to absorb, but a burden for taxpayers already staggering under a municipal debt-load of over $300 million and sky-rocketing property taxes since the most recent spate of politically aggrandizing capital projects, which included the John Labatt Centre, London Convention Centre, and the new Central Library and Covent Garden Market.
Although official approval probably won't come to pass this year or the next, even politicians dubious of the centre's merits are not quite rash enough to oppose the idea directly, ensuring that the item will remain on the political agenda and will continue to attract attention, staff reports, and seed money from budget surpluses, as has already been proposed.
"I think it's going to be a tough sell to the general public," Controller Bud Polhill said last night, his observation repeated by others. "There's a specific group of people who would frequent the place asking a whole lot of Londoners to carry the costs."If that's the only ideological obstacle Hume is up against, he should have an easy time of it — in fact, it will be far easier for him if continues to misrepresent opposition to the performing arts centre in such facile, populist-sounding terms. Taxes are, after all, so democratic… especially if they're someone else's.
His comments provoked Controller Gord Hume, who has long advocated a performance centre. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Arts and culture cross every boundary and strata of our society. It's not elitist and we have to get rid of that notion," Hume said.
Though the city would seek funding partners in Ottawa and Queen's Park and donors locally, Cote suggests, that if the project goes forward, city taxpayers pick up the largest share of the cost -- between $35 million and $40 million plus land costs.
[…] Though Hume is confident private donors will help, he believes the biggest challenge will be to get big bucks from the Ontario and federal governments.
And, just so that you're happy, $2,000 of your creative cities taxes so far this year have bought mayor Anne-Marie DeCicco-Best a photo-op, albeit a coy one, for the fifth annual London Reads event. Londoners should anticipate a noticeable increase in the quality of creativity in this town just about any time now…
Even if you don't intend to vote, watching our aspiring rulers argue over our collective fates can be entertaining, though it's much like riding a train that we know will eventually derail itself. You'll have to wait another four years in Ontario for the opportunity, so in case anyone in London still cares, some upcoming local debates are listed here.
Tuesday October 2nd - Wolf Performance Hall at the Central Library - 7 pm. Ridings of Elgin-Middlesex-London and London West
Thursday October 4th - Brescia Auditorium - Brescia University College, 1285 Western Road - 7pm. Ridings of London North Centre and London Fanshawe
Sponsored by Women Our Votes Count and the Institute for Women
This episode features audience questions about the impact of Ontario's aging demographic on the health care system, and about the characteristics of the hospital McKeever mentioned in the first episode.
Posted by Mike on Tuesday, September 25, 2007
"In World War II, America knew how to create effective propaganda.
"These days ... not so much. In fact, not at all. The only propaganda coming out of Hollywood these days is on the enemy’s side."
Both HT LGF.
Posted by Mike on Tuesday, September 25, 2007
David Frum notes the root of Canada's problems:
Prime minister Pierre Trudeau warned Canadians, most notoriously in his Dec. 28, 1975, end of year interview: "We haven't been able to make it work, the free enterprise system."And they're still been trying to work it ever since, instead of letting it work. [Link via Small Dead Animals.]
Monday, September 24, 2007
In an amusing exchange with Sun Media columnist Michael Coren on the value of public education, London Free Press editor-in-chief Paul Berton demonstrates the benefits of his own public education…
…so amply that the conversation never really proceeds past the bromides, stereotypes and other sleights of rhetorical hand that constitute his education on how to face an argument. Well, it's obviously enough to qualify him as the chief editor of a daily newspaper. But if this is an opening salvo on the War On Public Education, let the war begin!
On the subject of education, watch these excerpts from an all-candidates debate in London West in which the Ghost of Public Education Buzzwords takes possession of the body of Liberal MPP Chris Bentley. Also, watch as PC candidate Allison Graham admits the price of her party's proposal to nationalize the administration and curricula of Ontario's religious schools … er, "extend funding" to them. And extend the low standards of public education to their students…
In this episode, Deb Matthews of the Liberal Party and Paul McKeever of Freedom Party answer the question, "Can you describe your health care priorities?"
Posted by Mike on Monday, September 24, 2007
Iranian superstar Ahmadinejad says homosexuality is not a "phenomenon" in Iran. Nope, no gays in Iran, or at least there are not many who will admit to being homosexual for fear of being executed. Ahmadinejad follows up by ensuring his American audience that it is "not a crime to be a woman."
On executions of homosexuals in Iran:Video clip here.
In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that like in your country. ... In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this.
cp: The Broom
See also, Canada is evil.
As the city's planning committee considers new restrictions on building drive-throughs in London because the old rules "were formed in an era before drive-throughs became such a dominant sight," some councillors would prefer an outright ban… including David Winninger.
"They don't serve any useful social purpose," he said.Neither do planning committees or David Winninger, as far as one can tell, but then we're not given a choice in those matters. And nor, apparently, are we allowed to form our own society amongst ourselves according to our own purposes without their stamp of approval. One can foresee the day when make-work social assessments join make-work environmental assessments on the list of regulatory hurdles that anyone must pass before building anything that other people might want by their own accord.
"I wish the drive-through could go the way of the drive-in."How simple is such a wish when only 18 people get to decide upon it for the 340,000 others who keep them going.
The following article was submitted to the London Fog by reader "BL".
The London Public Library has a fancy, new logo. Only thing is, taxpayer dollars seem to have purchased a used insignia.
An official library press release announcing the new logo, a blue human figure leaping on a blue swirl backdrop, celebrates it as a "dynamic customer-focused logo." Oddly, this graphic looks almost identical to the "red figure" found at the Garfield County Public Library in Colorado — swap colours, a little cropping and add a 15-minute Photoshop swirl and voilà!
According to the press release, Lindsay Sage, the director of marketing and development, states that a private firm, Velocity Studio & Associates, was hired to create the logo. The cost to the library and consequently to the citizenry was not disclosed, except to say that it was part of "a fiscally-responsible long-term plan" to re-brand the system. But why does a public system with no competition need to brand itself in the first place, and why is it calling patrons "customers"?
The press release also boasts of Velocity's international clients such as AOL Time-Warner and GM — so it is perplexing that a firm with such a reputation should produce such a retro-fitted facsimile. Even if the Garfield County Library acceded to the "borrowing" of its logo, it would seem to be a pretty poor return on a public investment, raising the question: What did the LPL pay for exactly and how much was it? And why choose this one? The press release is silent about the backroom specifics of the issue, but Sage clearly states,
"The new brand was chosen based on extensive internal and external consultation. […] External signage will be replaced over a five yearBy her own admission, consultation was extensive and leadership was informed throughout the process. The press release skirts the issue with PR-speak.
To compound the peculiarity of the press release, Sage frequently repeats how this new logo brings a modern "human" dimension to the library brand. Both the original Garfield and LPL copy logos appear to be modeled after the American Humanist Society's logo.
The design similarity is unmistakable: the LPL's is even blue, albeit some shades lighter.
Sage's repeated use of "human" language suggests that the LPL leadership is aware of the connotation and even the connection between this far-left, anti-religious organization and the logos in question. She seems to be unusually interested in revealing how this logo reflects the library's involvement in social engineering in the London community:
"London Public Library has unveiled a new brand focused on the individual Library experience and on the Library's role a destination in the community, central to the London's social, cultural and economic development."Readers will note that Sage holds a PR certificate from Fanshawe College and was miraculously whisked into a job only 2 weeks after graduation in 2002 by techalliance, her husband's tech firm — which is also extensively involved in London decision-making. She has since been promoted to various high-profile positions including as a director of the Creative Cities Task Force — and she's a director of Fanshawe's Alumni Association. Well done, for a community college grad. See Fanshawe's Alumni Board for her unbelievable CV.
So, get ready denizens of sleepy hollow: things are about to get a whole lot redder, even as they get a whole lot bluer and swirly. Whee!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
In this episode, Khalil Ramal of the Liberal Party, Stephen Maynard of the NDP, Jim Chapman of the PCs, Brett Mackenzie of the Greens, and Paul McKeever of Freedom Party answer the question, "What is the proper role of the private sector in Ontario health care?"
Posted by Mike on Sunday, September 23, 2007
This is truly blasphemous:
The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.God's appointed seer has yet to explain how the collective will maintain "sustainable development" while respecting the differences of the others.
[..] News of the speech comes as Vatican City has become the first fully carbon-neutral state in the world, after announcing it is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting a forest in Hungary and installing solar panels on the roof of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
cp: Dust My Broom
Posted by Lisa Turner on Sunday, September 23, 2007
Forming a circle under the sunshine and clear blue sky, two dozen people gathered yesterday at a downtown park to call for a peaceful world...
The UN's International Day of Peace began in 1981. Member countries agreed to celebrate Sept. 21 as a global ceasefire, day of peace and non- violence in every home, community and nation.
Though doves -- symbols of peace, hope and love -- were supposed to be released to conclude the ceremony, Walker explained they wouldn't be because on the way to the ceremony she noticed people watching falcons in London's sky.
A beautiful unrehearsed moment followed when the crowd looked upward toward the sky in unison as if doves had been released.
Posted by Mike on Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Here's Part 2 of Wednesday's all-candidates health care debate. This episode asks the question, "How will your party ensure adequate funding for London's teaching hospitals?" Answering the question are Progressive Conservative Jim Chapman and Freedom Party's Paul McKeever.
Everyone who can vote for any of these people should be at LOLA, so this is the last video for today. Last night we dug Grizzly Bear, Carolyn Mark, and Old Man Luedecke. The Victoria Park bandshell has never looked so good.Tonight should make the people sway with Torngat, Hylozoists, and many others, all free and live in Victoria Park and in surrounding venues.
Update -- A previous edition of the video for this post, up for an hour or two this afternoon, was misleading.
I got clips mixed up while editing down, and the result made it appear as if a candidate completely ignored a question. That answer was, of course, to a different question, so it will appear in its proper context soon.
Thank you to commenter jonathan for inspiring me to double-check, and unreserved apologies to misrepresented candidate Deb Matthews.
Posted by Mike on Saturday, September 22, 2007
Here's the leader of the Communist Party of Canada, presenting a people's agenda for Ontario.
Five Communist candidates are each questioned for a few minutes at their Youtube website. Do not dismiss them. Please compare and contrast Communist solutions with the proposals of your own favourite Ontario parties.
Posted by Mike on Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
A two-hour all-candidates' debate was held at the LHSC University Hospital here in London on Wednesday, September 19. Eleven were on the stage; multiple candidates appeared from the Liberals, PCs, and Greens, along with singletons from Freedom Party, the NDP, and an independent candidate of whom no more shall be said because he seems like a good guy.
This part features introductions.
There are six parts to this series and they will be posted over the next days. Each part is on a question from the moderator or an audience member. You will see the Freedom Party's Paul McKeever's answer, and the answer of another candidate from another party. We invite omitted candidates to answer the same questions, or any other, in the comments. If there is a massive groundswell to hear everybody, the definitions of "massive" and "groundswell" to be defined retroactively, then maybe I'll post the whole thing; but why spend the last weekend of summer sitting through five different plans for building a skyscraper in ideological defiance of gravity -- let alone uploading them!
In fact, if you live in London, this is no time to be watching Internet videos or stewing about pyramid schemes at all -- shouldn't you -- I -- be at LOLA?
Posted by Mike on Friday, September 21, 2007
Londoners may have forgotten about the Creative Cities Committee, but the Creative Cities Committee has not forgotten about Londoners. According to Alt-London, city council approved the committee's recommendations for the following funding by an 18-1 vote (ward 10 councillor Paul Van Meerbergen opposing):
(a) $23,000 in start-up funding for the London Heritage Council;It's a small thing for a creative city, which means that not one of us will notice a difference in the quality of creativity in London except for those who get to spend the money, but it's a useful thing to bring up from time to time to keep the tax spigots open. The near unanimity of the vote indicates either an exceptional common resolve among the city's politicians to make petty gestures in support of petty causes, or an utter indifference to tossing around other people's money. Either way, or both, it was not a subject up for any kind of debate.
(b) $5,000 for MainStreet London's mural project;
(c) $6,000 for the London Ontario Live Arts (LOLA) Festival;
(d) $2,000 for the London Reads event.
This third instalment of the London Fog's exclusive interview with Paul McKeever, leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario and candidate for London West, follows what has been the hot topic of the provincial election over the past weeks — public education.
In this segment of the interview recorded in August, McKeever offers what he sees as the prospects for John Tory's proposal to extend government funding to religious schools — "the biggest violation of religious freedom ever experienced in this province" — and also discusses his party's platform for primary and secondary education — "our position is that someone whose children are not attending school should not be paying for education."
"Education is a cost of living and we can't fool ourselves that just because we pay it through taxes we're not paying it."Run-time: 5:23. Videos edited by Mike. Each instalment of the London Fog interview with Paul McKeever can be seen here.
See also: Paul McKeever's message to the constituents of London West.
Update, September 21: Kim Campbell was once famously said to have remarked that "an election is no time to discuss serious issues." From Sun Media's Campaign Notebook:
COMPLICATING THE COMPLEXWhat attraction Campbell's observation has for the media should not go unnoticed either.
The PC faith-based school funding pledge is confusing already, but one lesser-known party leader is adding another layer of detail. Paul McKeever, head of the Freedom party, says the "Charter implications have so far gone unnoticed." The proposal, he says, would "deprive religious schools of Charter protections" . . . zzzzz
. . .oh, sorry, we blacked out there for a minute.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Gina Barber, on the ridiculous troop decal issue in the Sept. 19 issue of The Londoner:
"This is not about whether we support our troops or not. War is not a hockey game in which we root for one side. This is an effort to silence critics of the war."Gina -- you don't "root for one side" (to use your childish analogy) even when one of the sides celebrates intolerance, sexism, imperialism, domestic violence, homophobia, and religious bigotry, and objects to Marxism and multiculturalism even more than I do?
As for me, I'm on our side.
Posted by Mike on Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Controller Gina Barber told Board of Control yesterday that "London should follow the lead of Woodstock and appoint an integrity commissioner," according to the London Free Press. That's a pretty frank — and expensive — admission from a politician that politicians can't be trusted left to their own devices. As commenter Elaine notes:
It is going to cost Woodstock a $10,000.00 annual retainer fee, plus $250.00 an hour if the Integrity Commissioner has to move his ass from chair A to chair B.More importantly, especially considering that voters now have to wait four years between municipal elections, it is an admission that the reach of politicians extends so far and in so many directions that the electorate has no practical way to gauge the ethical practices and conflicts of its representatives any longer…
…which is a poor prospect, since the most proper function of democracy is to guard the guardians. Ethics and integrity are such friable and contestable subjects that they can only be contained in the population, not in the hands of one "expert." Not even the courts have been able to get a regular handle on them. But if the City must persist in designating a ghost-buster office, surely it could save money simply by arming a regular staff member with an exorcism manual instead.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Post from Monday, September 17 updated below…
City council will vote tonight on Board of Control's recommendation (PDF):
That the expenditure of up to $1,000 BE APPROVED for the placement of yellow ribbons supporting Canadian Troops on City-owned vehicles…But, according to the London Free Press, at least a few councillors are opposed to the city government's implicit endorsement of a "partisan political statement." All fine and well, of course, but didn't Councillors Eagle, Winninger and Barber also approve the precedent when the council voted to fly the pride flag at City Hall earlier this summer, and at the tune of a $2,500 unsolicited donation to pride week organizers? Consistency may not have quite the status of a virtue, but it's regrettable that it appears to have no political utility at all.
But, of course, it's only a "political statement" if the sentiment doesn't coincide with the moral posturing of the progressive and socialist left.
See also: Alt-London
All in favour of God, Motherhood, Apple Pie, Canada, the Pursuit of Truth and Happiness, Ham and Eggs (avec toast) and Hot and Cold Running Water, stand up and say "Yay."Update, September 18: By an 11-8 vote, council approved the measure after an "emotional debate," for crying out loud.
The ribbon proposal was brought by deputy mayor Tom Gosnell, who said it had nothing to do with politics.… as political an assertion as anything else uttered throughout this brouhaha. Except for the occasional lapse, which is what all good journalists live for, everything politicians say and do in council is political.
Also: Alt-London backs the "eight council members [Barber, Armstrong, Baechler, Branscombe, Winninger, Eagle, Bryant and Usher] who refused to be cowed and showed the courage of their convictions despite the political risks involved."
Not to denigrate anyone's courage on anyone else's say-so, but were not these same eight councillors all among the majority who approved the rainbow flag precedent back in July? Was that courageous too, to take a completely opposing position then on "attempting to tell Londoners how to act and think" as now? Or is it just politics again?
Council digest bonus: Who wouldn't have wanted to be around at council Monday afternoon to watch the gratuitous nods of understanding as councillors tried to digest this "Assessment of climatic change impacts in the Upper Thames River basin: Results and implications" presentation given by Slobodan P. Simonovic of the Institute for Catastophic Loss Reduction (PDF).
Many pertinent questions were undoubtedly posed about the multiple assumptions built into the models used, expansive theme and methodology, as well as the Institute's pecuniary interests in other official interests in climate change… and by "many" I mean at least as many as in an undergraduate social science class. But councillors would have understood the conclusions with all too much ease:
Hillary Clinton starts out of the gate with her new $110 billion plan to expand federally funded health insurance programs in the U.S. right on the defensive:
"Don't let them fool us again, this is not government-run. There will be no new bureaucracy."Maybe not, but as Tommy Douglas is Our Witness there will surely be a much larger, more expensive and proportionally ineffectual existing one.
According to the Associated Press, Clinton also "rejected the notion of punitive measures to force individuals into the health care system," but then went on to quote her:
"At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed" [emphasis added].If that sounds like a most contingent rejection, it is:
She said she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview…"
Monday, September 17, 2007
The modern liberal hangs the success of society on the integrity of its institutions. On the other hand, the non-modern-liberal hangs the success of society on the integrity of its citizens.
[…] Strangely, it puts us at odds, quibbling over a journey where the destination is agreed. We stand on the highway of life arguing: Go left! No right! One could suppose, I suppose, that all roads lead to where we're going and that left or right will get us there in the end, but I'm not so sure.
Consider this road that has lead us to the left or banked us to the east if we were originally facing south. Our almighty institutions have become just that...Almighty. Scrambling to try to provide an answer for all the problems and discomfort of its vulnerable sheep, including the weather. Begging for rules of protection. Thy rod and staff comforts us. The Angel of Blame leadeth us beside still waters and restoreth our soul to a blissfully soothed state.
Our children are suffering. Why aren't the schools doing something? Crime is flourishing. When will the courts save us? Our people are in poverty. Who has a program to save us?
"Center for Food and Justice? Those are two strange things to tie together, it's like having the Center for Automobile Safety and Skin-Care."
Yet another make-work project is underway in London: in the name of 'fairness', London rulers are now sifting through a barrage of applications submitted by groups looking to fly their flag alongside the rainbow approved one. If council truly wanted to celebrate their commitment to inclusionary exclusionary diversity, they would simply fly one red flag:
As predicted by Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, city council is starting to get requests to fly flags at city hall after council voted to fly the Gay Pride flag. In a letter to council, Pastor Troy Dingwell of the King Street Congregational Church of London complained gay groups are getting "special treatment" and said Christian groups should have the same right to have their flags flown. Clerk Kevin Bain advised the board of control yesterday that city staff is working on a report on how other cities handle the flag-flying issue.In other news, a collective group of artists from Argentina are here in London to 'beautify' a portion of the Galleria:
Starting today and continuing for the next two weeks, six Argentine muralists and three from Vancouver will put their talents to work on the street, bringing beauty and visual interest to the bland brick tunnel on King Street between Clarence and Wellington streets.Unlike individuals who support "solitary" artists with their own earnings, Londoners might soon be forced to pay for collective expressions of creativity whether they like it or not.
[..] Art is a mainly a solitary pursuit in Canada, said Curtis-Norcross, adding "there's a big public art movement in Argentina."
[Coun. Judy] Bryant said the project is an example of what the city could be supporting with a public arts policy soon to receive consideration.
Maria Sansotta, an Argentinian journalist, said the artists plan to paint a mural with a message of liberty, equality and fraternity "between the north and south."
Today's election deck chair has a big sign on it reading "Boomers Beware".
Although the province has gone to considerable expense to expand the training of new nurses, offered incentives to keep retirement-age nurses working longer and to bring the percentage of full-time nurses closer to 70%, the demographics within the profession suggest nursing shortages will become a major health care issue over the next several years we are not adequately prepared for.I imagine that by the time people my age are old and end up chronically sick in the "health" "care" system, we will quickly be euthanized and our organs repurposed. But an antiquated value for high-maintenance human life will still persist through the time of the Boomers, who will be kept alive, but left to change their own bandages, adjust their own tubes, and hope their children are willing to damage the economy by taking time off work to feed them.
The problem is exacerbated by U.S. recruiters who offer well-paying full-time jobs, benefits and perks to Canadian nurses and by the fact that Ontario hospitals, old age homes and other health care facilities are short-staffed with poor working conditions.
Free Health Care -- not one word of truth in the phrase.
Posted by Mike on Monday, September 17, 2007
Via Little Green Footballs, some video coverage of flamboyant Washington DC protesters singing songs, banging some drums and shouting for the impeachment of George Bush. Not for one minute does one get the impression that these protesters appreciate the fact that they can gather in the capital to protest their government without being imprisoned or beaten to death. I'm certainly no apologist for government, big or small, but I'd rather live in North America than say Iran, Russia, Zimbabwe or Venezuela, to name just a few countries where you learn to shut your mouth before it is shut for you against your will.
Among the groups coming out to voice their discontent were HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive). A quick google search delivered their home page and curiously this story, covered by the Washington Post, featured on HIPS homepage:
Tens of thousands of condoms provided free by the District to curb HIV-AIDS have been returned to the health department because of complaints that their paper packaging is easily damaged and could render the condoms ineffective.Cross posted at The Broom.
Demand at two distribution sites in Southeast set up by nonprofit groups plummeted more than 80 percent after the condoms, in a mustard-yellow and purple wrapper, were introduced this year. More than 2,000 packets a week were scooped up in mid-March, but by late May, only 400 were being given away each week.
[..] In addition, expiration dates on some of the Chinese-made condoms were illegible.
[..] The city health department apparently does not consider the situation a problem.
"To date, we have not received any substantive complaints," spokeswoman Leila Abrar said in a statement, which says that the District has given out nearly 650,000 condoms since February through partnerships with 50 organizations.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
"It's time to forget political agendas and act," say politicians and government-subsidized social agency spokesmen who attended the Child Poverty Symposium in London last week. Well, without a political agenda, that should certainly exempt at least the possibility of any government action on the front… except that that is almost certainly the exact opposite of what these politicians and advocates have in mind. By "political agenda," one is supposed to read as any agenda that does not coincide at least in sentiment and taxes with their general redistribution platform. And since Liberals were apparently the only politicians in attendance at the Symposium, one must conclude that they don't have a political agenda!
But even Liberal politicians and social advocates could not be naive enough to suppose that "poverty" policies could be advanced without a political agenda. It's just that they would prefer that everyone who's paying for it blithely accept it as unsullied by politics. Socialism has always depended here in North America on adopting the highest of high moral rhetorical grounds to make it appear defensible in belief, however it is practised in reality.
And "outrage" must surely be the easiest, and most conspicuous, way to exercise some lily-white moral posturing. But absent a political agenda, outrage and $1.17 will only get you a small Tim Horton's coffee (price including sales tax, corporate taxes, property taxes, license fees, regulatory fees, duties on imported goods, minimum wage thresholds, payroll taxes, etc.). Well, maybe not having a political agenda is profitable after all!
But is child poverty even such a compelling and widespread problem now that it requires "outrage" and our complicity in apparently apolitical political action? Well, if it's not, it had just better be! Since theirs is not a political agenda, I suppose we can just take their word for it.
Liberal MPP Deb Matthews said some of her constituents spend as much money on lawn care as others do on their rent.One could be happy with the "glass half full" view that lawn care is affordable to so many, but then that perspective wouldn't do much for the "glass half empty with taxes" agenda.
This could never happen in London. I mean, our bureaucrats work for us, don't they? And not, um, for a bureaucracy…
My wife and I wanted to put an addition on our house here in the City of Los Angeles. Our general contractor told us that the first thing we had to do was get up-to-date zoning and property information from the Building Pemits Department. He recommended that we hire a "fixer" who was used to dealing with the bureaucracy. That was 2 months ago. Today, we were informed by the City zoning department that they could not give us the necessary zoning information ... because, according to zoning records, our house does not exist! On top of which, the zoning folks also had no record of the street on which we live.Best comment:
I was speechless until it occurred to me to ask why, if our house doesn't exist, we have to pay property taxes and so on. The answer? "That's another department." Back to being speechless. I then recovered enough to ask what we had to do to have the existence of our house established, which I thought would be a simple process - after all, you can see it on Google Earth. I was told we would first have to have a hearing to determine whether the street that runs in front of our house is a public street or private road. Given the backlog, it would be about a year before that process could be completed. Then we'd have to have another hearing to establish the existence of our house. Then we'd have to apply for a building permit, geological inspection, etcetera etcetera. At which point, I gave up in despair.
Well, why not add a non-existing addition to your non-existing house with a non-existing permit?
Posted by MapMaster on Sunday, September 16, 2007
The Venezuelan government has broken the world record for the largest pot of soup. Considering the food shortages that have been plaguing the county, I'm betting the line for a taste of the ration was miles long:
The hulking stainless steel cooking pot, set up outdoors in downtown Caracas, contained about 15,000 litres of "sancocho" stew, Food Minister Rafael Oropeza said. That would dwarf the current record- holder listed on the Guinness World Records website, a pot of 5,350 litres of spicy soup prepared in Durango, Mexico, in July.Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Robert Mugabe is drowning out the rumbling tummies of Zimbabweans with a debut song that is dominating the state controlled airwaves and apparently regarded as "as second only to the national anthem". Has anyone heard it aired on the CBC yet?
Oropeza called it "Bolivarian stew" - a play on the name of Chavez's socialist movement, named in honour of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. He said it was enough to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people.
Workers stood on raised platforms stirring the soup with poles, and then dished out servings to a crowd at a state-run market.
It contained 3,000 kilograms of chicken, 2,000 kilograms of beef, plus tonnes of legumes and vegetables.
His country may be starving and the infrastructure collapsing, but the 83-year-old President, Robert Mugabe, has become an unlikely pop star in Zimbabwe.
The embattled leader's voice has been sampled on a new record called "Beitbridge" by an artist named Nonsikelelo, which state radio stations have been told to play.
The chart hit features parts of a speech Mr Mugabe made in the the small town of Beitbridge, near the South African border. With no hint of irony, the chorus has Mugabe saying, "Forward with developing Beitbridge", "Food to the people of Beitbridge", and "We don't want Beitbridge to lag in development. We are committed to the development of Beitbridge."
c/p: Dust My Broom
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Ontario's no-go zones:
Aboriginal protesters left Sam Gualtieri one blow short of death when they ran away after attacking him in the house he was building in Caledonia, Ont., for his daughter and her fiancé, Mr. Gualtieri's brother Joe said yesterday.Related:
[…] Mr. Gualtieri was attacked after a Thursday protest stopped construction at the Stirling South building development in Caledonia, southwest of Hamilton. The 90-unit subdivision, on eight hectares, is about one kilometre from the disputed Douglas Creek development, which has been occupied by protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve since February, 2006.
[…] Joe Gualtieri said Ontario Provincial Police officers on the site "stood there, and they did not intervene" until after the beating, when the attackers had fled.
While the province purchased the Douglas Creek site from the developer, builders who now become the target of protest should not look to the province for help, according to industry sources who attended a recent private briefing by John Burke, the deputy minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.If police are avoiding conflict, it ought to be no surprise that they are of no use in resolving it. But the conspicuous avoidance by the province's lawmakers of even the subject of conflicts between parties that nominally depend on the government to broker them guarantees not only that those political and physical conflicts will continue, but also that the justice of competing claims will not receive serious public reflection. Perhaps if one side has disavowed its dependence on the government to resolve conflict, then other sides ought to be disabused by now of the notion as well… but we all know it doesn't work quite like that.
Industry sources said that, last Friday, the final business day before the writ calling the provincial election came down, Mr. Burke said the province stands behind its land registry system and development approval process.
But he cautioned that native protests turn a construction site into police business, and even if the builder gets a court injunction ordering protesters off the site, the police will be cautious in enforcing it because their priority is avoiding conflict, the sources added.
Unless anyone can suggest a more likely explanation, it would seem that the police are there precisely to maintain that dependence from the other sides… even if that means overlooking a protection racket. Certainly the politicians aren't comfortable with the topic, even going so far as to try to shut up the media.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
In August of this year, the London Fog sat down for an exclusive interview with Paul McKeever, leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario and candidate in London West for the provincial election this October 10. In this second instalment in the series of interview excerpts, Mr. McKeever discusses provincial-municipal relations and the proper responsibilities of municipalities in Ontario. He might even seem to have London in mind when he suggests how to constrain municipalities from building money-losing arenas, conference centres, and "momument[s] to my greatness, I'm the councillor of this, I'm the mayor of that…"
Q: This year, if you were the premier, what would you say to David Miller who's got a $575 million operating budget shortfall and who … says that the only way that Toronto can keep running the way it does right now is that it needs more money from the government of Ontario?
A: He wouldn't get it from me…
"Each level of government should be generating its own revenues, that way there's an accountability for the taxpayers. The taxpayer knows what was spent by that government, and how that government got its money…The first instalment of the London Fog interview with Paul McKeever, Freedom To Choose, can be seen here.
There's no reason why London should be paying for the TTC…"
See also: the Freedom Party of Ontario's platform on abolishing property taxes and Paul McKeever's message to the constituents of London West.
Apparently the Canadian government has "embarrass[ed] itself internationally" by opposing the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Peoples' Rights that passed by a vote of 143-4 at the United Nations today. Or, to be more precise, some political actors are very much hoping that it will appear to be an embarrassment for the Canadian government for their own purposes.
But is there any reason to care? Aside from the fact that the Declaration is not legally binding on Canada, unless a wayward illiterate judge were to get it into his head that it is, there surely is no political body on earth whose actions and resolutions have earned it less credibility to say nothing of credit, than the United Nations, at least outside of Toronto's city council. At its best, the U.N. is the high temple of useless, sentimental bafflegab when it is not perpetrating frauds or politically prejudiced deceits. The Canadian government might just as well have quietly signed on to the Declaration — it's a strategy that has accommodated the world's tyrannies very well over the past half century.
Amazingly, and uselessly, the televised Rogers debates have already happened; they took place yesterday and the day before, about five minutes into the election.
Here are the upcoming ones known unto me. If you know of any other riding or all-candidates debates, then please update this post, comment, or email us, depending on your security clearance.
- Tuesday, Sept 18, 7-9 PM
Kiwanis Centre, 78 Riverside, London
All-candidates debate: Ontarians with Disabilities - moving forward, or still waiting?
- Wednesday, Sept 19, 7-9 PM
University Hospital, Auditorium A, Third Floor (B3-246)
All-candidates health care forum.
- Monday, October 1, 7-9 PM (London-Fanshawe)
Jewish Community Centre, 536 Huron St.
Thanks to Anonymous.
- Communist Party Platform
- Family Coalition Party Policies
- Freedom Party Platform
- Green Party Platform
- Liberal Party Agenda
- Libertarian Party Platform
- NDP Commitments
- PC Party Plan
The NDP appears to offer bite-sized, daily "Commitments" in lieu of a monolithic platform. If I'm wrong about that and they have a comprehensive platform document anywhere, please comment.
Every politician loves to be in front of a camera, and in the case of the NDP it most certainly extends to their foot soldiers, too.
"Nye fotograf! Pashyol! Pashyol!"
Readers of the London Fog are acquainted with NDP operatives' instinctual fondness for preventing fellow citizens from recording public events. Last fall I was ridiculously harassed by London North's NDP riding association VP Gil Warren while attempting to document an NDP-heavy "anti-war" (so to speak) demonstration in a public park. NDP London-Fanshawe candidate Stephen Maynard was most amused by Warren's behaviour. His only question was for me. It was the natural question that would occur first to any lover of liberty and freedom of assembly: why was I refusing to identify myself to some obviously disturbed random person bothering me in a public park?
Advocates for the freedoms of speech and assembly, and of the open society, should think again about whether the NDP respects and represents those values. If they don't understand easy stuff like this, if the immediate physical impulse from the grassroots up to the top of the riding association is to harass suspected dissidents and suppress information, then why on earth would you lift a finger to help this organization get any power over you?
Europe does like its armbands.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
While the European Commission's reversal of its policy to force Britain to adopt metric measures exclusively is being celebrated as a victory for publicans and grocers, who will still be allowed to advertise in imperial units alongside their metric equivalents after 2009, it's a very shallow return on a lot of political investment in pints and pounds. Neither the Commission nor the British government are giving up even an ounce of their powers over the negotiation of common parlance and exchange among people — they're only deferring their use.
"We're not abolishing metric. We're just saying imperial can be used alongside metric," spokesman Ton van Lierop said.How very civil of you.
A small grocery store here in London, Ontario that only posts prices per 100 grams lost my business a long time ago, but fortunately everyone else is still at least quite free to patronize the little vestige of Trudeaupian societal planning that they peddle. Bully for them and bully for all the rest of us too.
Dalton McGuinty is well remembered for raising taxes in Ontario, shortly after promising not to raise taxes. The Gimp is once again promising not to raise taxes, though he's not willing to put it in writing this time, just in case a suitable scapegoat can be found to justify further increases. In other words, he promises not to promise not to raise taxes.
On the tax front, Premier Dalton McGuinty marked the fourth anniversary of his broken 2003 campaign vow to freeze taxes by making the same pledge if the Liberals are re-elected -- only this time, he's not putting it in writing.John Tory would blame the government for not having enough power over the education of your child. In addition to extending funding to faith-based schools (does this include funding for Scientologists?), Tory aims to limit learning outside of school hours to 10 minutes per day.
[..] In Ottawa, McGuinty said voters can be assured he won't have to break his pledge not to raise taxes if the Liberals win.
But unlike during the 2003 election, when he signed that promise for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he declined to put that down on paper.
McGuinty imposed a health-care tax of as much as $900 a worker within months of taking office, blaming a hidden $5.6-billion deficit left by the Conservative government.
Tory is promising to limit homework to 10 minutes per grade a night, which his platform says will provide some relief to students and their families who struggle under the nightly burden.
McGuinty outlined his homework help plan in a visit to an elementary school near his Ottawa home and later at a Lindsay high school.
Tory, who also campaigned yesterday in Kitchener, said he wants the 53,000 children in private religious schools to come into the public system so government can ensure they receive schooling that meets provincial standards on testing, teaching and curriculum.
"That is what inclusiveness is all about," Tory said.
"It may not be universally popular, but I tell you I believe in my heart it is the right thing to do for the province of Ontario and a stronger public education system," he said.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Leftism will always be with us, because it is not so much an ideology but a sort of evil seed planted in the heart of man. In my opinion, it truly is a genetic condition, as it is a reflection of the primitive economic system that prevailed in the archaic environment in which man's genome was selected. That primitive worldview is based upon group solidarity, scarcity, stasis, and envy, whereas the non-genetic ideals of classical liberalism are based upon enlightened self-interest, abundance, progress, and ignoring people's petty constitutional envy.
Posted by Mike on Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Recently, The London Fog was pleased to have the opportunity to interview Freedom Party of Ontario Leader Paul McKeever. Contrary to popular media opinion, tax spenders do have a choice other than Dalton McGuinty and John Tory in the upcoming Provincial election on October 10th. With both leaders promising to spend even more of your money at the same time as they make unrealistic promises to cut spending, you cannot afford to ignore the options if you plan on heading to the polling station next month. Mr. McKeever is running in the London West riding.
Here is the first of a series of segments produced by The London Fog wherein Paul McKeever addresses the issues that ultimately matter to Ontarians. We will be posting further installments throughout the month of September.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Much ado lately about Election Canada's decision to allow veiled women to cast ballots in federal elections, and while it might seem warming to finally find some popular concern expressed over the methods by which governments are chosen in this country, these are nothing really but swift kicks at a barn door that's long lost its hinges (assuming that the kicks are aimed in good faith and not out of a latent fear of one constituency in particular). Despite some recent tightening of protocols, voter identification rules in Canada are so lax that the national myth of civic gentility is the only real marketable defense against suspicions of election fraud, which is to say nothing at all of election fraud itself, of course.
See also: Lorne Gunter, Voting while veiled, The National Post:
Up to and including the last federal election, it was unnecessary for voters to prove their identity when going to vote. It was common to be asked for photo ID before making a $20 credit-card purchase, boarding a plane or buying cigarettes at a corner store, but not before performing the seminal act in a democracy.
Posted by MapMaster on Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Ward Churchill is canvassing for a new job following his recent firing from his post at the University of Colorado for plagiarism. What better way to win over potential employers than to liken the victims of 9/11 to "Little Eichmanns", yet again?
HT: Hot Air
Also appearing at Dust My Broom.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Bin Laden, or some other radical sporting a ridiculous beard and darker skin, cozies up to the left wing extremists with his latest message of
peace and love confusion. If only this person had attended a publicly funded school approved by the UN, all would be peaceful on our planet:
According to the transcript, bin Laden says there are two ways to end the war:See also: Our Internal Enemy
"The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you."
The second is to do away with the American democratic system of government. "It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations."
[..] He goes on to call Noam Chomsky "among one of the most capable of those from your own side," and mentions global warming and "the Kyoto accord."
He also speaks to recent issues grabbing headlines in the United States, referring to "the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes..."
"To conclude," bin Laden says, "I invite you to embrace Islam." He goes on to say: "There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling 2.5 percent."
cp: Dust My Broom
UPDATE: 27 boring minutes of Osama Bin Laden delivering his message of hate and incoherence.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Police in St. Thomas are cracking down on the "pirate cabbies" menacing the city's grimy deeps for the crime of boarding and pillaging lawful merchant cabbies. Or, as it were, picking up passengers at bar closing time for $5 without a permit issued by the city.
“We are so concerned about it. They are breaking the law and the city's lucrative business selling permits to its partner monopolies in the taxi industry," said police spokesperson Const. Ander Nielsen…
…except that he actually said "it is dangerous for the passengers" instead of the permit and monopoly bit. Those same passengers who, apparently, have been judged incompetent to decide for themselves what service they want and from whom to get it without the self-serving intervention of politicians.
Nielsen added that "police were first tipped off by the taxi companies, frustrated over the loss of business." Odd, that. Also noting that police have "several officers dedicated to cracking down on the problem," he might also have added that they are not in the least bit embarrassed by it. Avast, mateys!
The bulk of electric power cannot currently be stored in an economically feasible way. It has to be generated at the same time it is used, and electricity grids require power to be supplied at the rated frequency and voltage, free from harmonics, voltage surges and interruptions. A modern industrialised society depends heavily on stable and high quality power supplies to run industrial processes and information technology. There are, therefore, a number of operational aspects which have to be taken into account when specific energy targets are considered. For the deployment of renewables on a large scale, these include the intermittent nature of leading sources, the related problems of full integration with grids, low capacity factors and the need for back-up power.Via email from Blowing Our Tax Dollars on Wind Farms
When renewable energy targets are aimed at the reduction of GHG emissions, broad technical issues should be taken into consideration. For example, emissions per kilowatt-hour from conventional power stations are reduced by maximising their base-load operation; however, integration of some renewable generating capacities into the grid can increase frequency fluctuations, thus raising the overall emissions levels. Another issue, which in many cases is not fully taken into account, is back-up capacity to provide electricity at short notice, which most often relies on diesel or coal-fired generating units.
Once again, the CAA has launched its annual Worst Roads campaign. Its goal is to rank the most dilapidated roads in Ontario in order to get politicians to better maintain them. London consistently makes the top 10 in the rankings. This year is no exception with Bradley Avenue in the 4th position overall.
C'mon London, It's time to show our civic pride and get London up to the #1 spot this year. Let's make Anne Marie DeCicco-Best embarrassed to show her face at the next Canadian Federation of Municipalities function.