Monday, December 31, 2007

Stuck in the middle

In his year-ending Sun Media editorial, Lorrie Goldstein asks whether global warming has stopped.

Without a standard advent, or indeed a comprehensive and observable meaning, it is impossible to answer if or when global warming as a physical phenomenon will ever have ended, but the question does lead to the more relevant problem of whether global warming as a political and rhetorical implement has a perceptible best-before date. How many years of ordinary survival and non-cataclysm, for example, would it take before politicians and activists might possibly abandon years of countless trade restrictions, caps and bans, artificial market schemes, conferences, advertising and general alarms as just so much fruitless agony and opportunism, not to mention untold billions of dollars of wasted wealth. Or is climate anxiety to be a permanent imposition?

It would be too much to expect any admissions in the event that global warming as a device should fail, but a little learned prudence and hesitation would be a minimal compensation. Of course, the market in presumptive righteousness and authority is likely to remain at its record levels for that to happen. We would ordinarily like to wish everyone a warm and comfortable new year in 2008, but under the circumstances it might be better to pay the price of warmth and comfort for a little peace.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Let's call it self-inflicted poetic justice"

PressTV, "the first Iranian international news network", gets caught plagiarizing The People's Cube. Thank you PressTV for "embracing and building bridges of cultural understanding."

Dear Iranian Mullahs! While our satirical website and your Propaganda Directorate deal in the same trade of making up facts and exaggerating reality, we are different in that we can recognize a spoof - but you apparently can't. On Dec. 27, 2007 you used our spoof image on your propaganda website to illustrate a "true" statement that Jews are welcome in Iran and that Western reports about mass emigration of Iranian Jews are "lies spread by the Zionist hegemony."

[..] The spoof image in question first appeared in 2005, in our parody called Israel Dismantles; World's Problems End, which revealed the absurdity of demands to dismantle Israel, with various nations, including Iran and Germany, celebrating the return of their long-missed Jews.

It gets better. Our Iranian friends tell us that the original Farsi-language placard says "Nuclear power is our absolute right," which means that you, dear Mullahs, used that image as a propaganda tool to advance your nuclear program - so you could threaten and maybe even annihilate the Jews in Israel. In our spoof, we changed the message of the placard to the complete opposite, making it appear improbable. To be fair, your story about Iran's love for the Jews was just as improbable, so it would seem only logical to put them together. It would, we repeat - if your goal were to publish a self-parody. That wasn't your intention, however. You only did it because you didn't know better.
cp: Dust My Broom

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Cities aren't the biggest landlord…

…they're the only landlord.

As London city council ponders a draft budget for 2008 that essentially proposes a 5.5 per cent hike in tax levies, councillors may wish to consider a creative program proposed in Greenburgh, N.Y. that would allow seniors on fixed incomes to labour at $7/hr. for nothing less than the privilege of keeping their own homes from the city. Or, of course, we can continue to pretend that a decade of rapidly escalating property taxes is a privilege itself…

Greenburg's "solution" is no sure thing, however, as "unions would have to be convinced that the program is no threat to their members' job security." Funny that concerns over taxes and union approval should occur in the same place…

Link via Billy Beck

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Denialist Ambient: Brown Bin

The London Fog has been at the forefront in warning against the disturbing new Internet phenomenon of "global warming denialist" music. This new form of hatecore is aimed directly at our children and other vulnerable people who may not yet be convinced of the scientific and spiritual realities of man-made global warming.

To this point, most denialcore has been harsh, loud, and aggressive, cynically produced to appeal to violent, disaffected youth denied access to the after-school programs they need to prevent them from falling into a lifestyle of climate crime and denialism. But it appears that the denialist virus has spread from hardcore through new wave into ambient music itself.

We just received the latest MP3 album from Toronto-based denialcore ambient project Brown Bin. The laid-back, 50-minute self-titled release includes tracks such as "Secret Fluorescent Bulb Gutter Disposal, 2 AM", "Drifting In Disbelief", "Unsettled Scientist", and the one highlighted below, "Delusory CO2 Theory". Do not be fooled by its placidity: this ambient music positively drips with denial of established scientific truth.

PLAY LOUD


We invite denialism-watchers around the globe to send us local examples of the denialist phenomenon. It is important that we all work together to monitor this disturbing trend in music.

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Here's where democracy gets scary

According to a national survey of 1,000 adults, two-thirds of Canadians believe in angels (66 per cent) and nearly half believe in spirits and ghosts (48 per cent). Another 10 per cent of people are convinced their own house has a supernatural presence.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Free advertising?

God and sinners will have reconciled again in this season, but one cannot be so sure whether politicians are covered under this unregulated program.

Councillors in London will have the holidays to mull over the idea of giving themselves an extra gift this year in the form of increasing their extra-office expense limits from $5,400 to $10,000 because some have been "forced" to use these expenses to hire summer staff when their purpose has been to buy "advertising and promotional gifts or souvenirs," or to attend conferences, which Controller Gina Barber euphemistically describes as "research." Whether constituents are sympathetic or not to politicians' advertising and junket requirements should take little imagination, but it apparently takes even less to pretend that their self-promotion will "provide enhanced services to their constituents."

Of course, when other people's money is passed around so freely, it is no wonder that the imagination to deal with it should be so cheap… or, for that matter, the gratification of distributing gifts or attending junkets at no expense to oneself. Even so, however, the rationalization for such an increase still appears extravagant when every single other policy, pronouncement, regulation, ban, edifice, demolition or tax levied on London taxpayers is already performed as an advertisement for politicians.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day Toots And The Maytals

PLAY LOUD

Toots and the Maytals - Revolution

Update: Some thirty years after that, here's the video for their brilliant cover of Radiohead's "Let Down".

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Human rights for thee, not for…

Catholic Insight magazine has been advised by the Canadian Human Rights Commission that a "human rights" complaint has been filed against it for … well, essentially for being overtly Catholic.

As Paul Tuns notes, you're not likely to see much or any press coverage over this latest human rights crusade since Catholic Insight is just not the press' kind of press.

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Santa wants your credit card

Tim Burton has nothing on the art of making Christmas creepy like this…



Link, via Small Dead Animals

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Rum balls… now for the proletariat!

Until this year, only regular initiates of the London Fog have been able to take part in the annual Festival of Lisa's Christmas Rum Balls…

But, like everything else, what was once a jealously guarded secret ritual is now up on the internet for everyone to revel in! Like Alice says, rum is important… which just might make chocolate with rum one of the most important things you will do this Christmas season. Not the most important, mind you, just one of the most…

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Keeping track of their sexy

… you insist on demanding state-run, public education be offered to all. Fair is fair. You refuse to engage with your elected government officials with regards to the curriculum that school boards are expected to deliver. Fine.
To be fair, I wouldn't have minded having a "cuddle puddle" to be busted up as a seventh-grader… but then again by that time I still hadn't been educated.

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Money doesn't buy brains

Al Gore's spokesperson responds to the global warming deniers:

After a quick review of the report, Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said 25 or 30 of the scientists may have received funding from Exxon Mobil Corp.
cp: The Broom

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Advice of the day

"The next time some grocery-store clerk or workplace colleague asks you for a food-bank donation, have the social courage to say no."

Related: Remember, we're the big meanies here

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The Deniers and skeptics are increasing in number

Maybe the sky isn't falling after all. The US Senate Environment and Public Works office has released a report that casts a well-deserved shadow on the preachers of consensus on the issue of man-made global warming. Are heads getting a little cooler across the globe?

Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.

The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.

Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears "bite the dust." In addition, many scientists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" the green movement.

[..] The over 400 skeptical scientists featured in this new report outnumber by nearly eight times the number of scientists who participated in the 2007 UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers. The notion of "hundreds" or "thousands" of UN scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny. (See report debunking "consensus") Recent research by Australian climate data analyst Dr. John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired.

Proponents of man-made global warming like to note how the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) have issued statements endorsing the so-called "consensus" view that man is driving global warming. But both the NAS and AMS never allowed member scientists to directly vote on these climate statements. Essentially, only two dozen or so members on the governing boards of these institutions produced the "consensus" statements. This report gives a voice to the rank-and-file scientists who were shut out of the process.

The most recent attempt to imply there was an overwhelming scientific "consensus" in favor of man-made global warming fears came in December 2007 during the UN climate conference in Bali. A letter signed by only 215 scientists urged the UN to mandate deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. But absent from the letter were the signatures of these alleged "thousands" of scientists. (See AP article)
cp: The Broom

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Subsidizing failure

In a Letter to the Editor of the London Free Press, Arthur Majoor suggests some small steps that City Hall can take to "limit the damage" of giving tax dollars to the Arts Project and Ambassador London without any plan from these organizations on how they will spend the money.

Since these organizations have obviously failed, the first condition that City Council should impose is that the boards of directors submit their resignations …
Read the rest here.

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There's Just Something So Huggably Soft About Totalitarianism With An Exotic Accent

The third-world-style "human rights" complaint against Mark Steyn in two of our third-world-style Human Rights Commissions continues. So does the radio silence from the legacy media. Ezra Levant is clear as ever.

I blame... the media. Seriously: I blame them for the soft bigotry of low expectations. If Soharwardy and Elmasry were WASPs, the media would ridicule them for their thin skin, and would attack their views as the reactionary fascism that it is. But because they're foreign-born, dark-skinned Muslims who speak with an accent, the media shut off their natural skepticism and forget all of their ideals about free speech -- and their judgment -- because they want to be gentle.
HT the FFOF.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Binary

Doing the math with humans doesn't quite equate. See Joseph Baron's short film:

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Quote of the day

"… to compare Le Corbusier to Mussolini is a gross and unjust slur — on Mussolini."

Speer, on the other hand, might have been flattered by the comparison with Le Corbusier if not the consequences.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sinkhole City

Image courtesy of London Free Press, December 13, 2007

The downtown sinkhole has finally been filled, but another watermain break has occurred causing another sinkhole, this time at Oxford Road, west of Proudfoot Lane. In other news, representatives from Ambassador London, with the support of London's chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding, are asking for $940,000 over the next two years - sans a concrete business plan - to "sell" London to the world. Last night council gave them $30,000 of your taxpayer dollars. According to Coun. Cheryl Miller, it's okay to beg for money without justification if you are volunteering your time to begin with:
Ferguson and other volunteers have raised more than $100,000. And while they need to develop a focused business plan, council should support them in that, Fielding said.

[..] Coun. Cheryl Miller responded that Ferguson and sponsors of the Ambassador program shouldn't be expected to produce a business plan.

"The organizations that donated don't have time for business plans because they're all volunteers," Miller said.
Properly speaking, volunteers cease to become volunteers when their activities are funded by non-voluntary contributions from taxpayers.

You can't wish away reality and prudent people won't likely move to a city with yearly property tax hikes, increasing debt, crumbling infrastructure, low paying jobs and expensive arenas, unless there is an activist job awaiting them that is.

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Tributes

Council yesterday voted to give $30,000 for the privilege of being asked for $940,000 more over the next two years in order to have people say nice things about London. And that should just about sum up anything that anybody outside London needs to know about our city.

Once we've figured out the going rate for saying nice things about London, of course, we'll revisit our blogging policies. Until then, the City probably figures we owe them money.

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Gang welfare

So… what just are we buying with the $300 million we're sending to the Palestinian Authority over the next five years as part of a promised $5.6 billion bailout package from the rest of the world?

These statistics do not mean that foreign aid causes violence; but they do raise questions about the effectiveness of using foreign donations to promote moderation and combat terrorism.
In other words, a smart Palestinian leadership might conclude that it has a powerful financial incentive in provoking violence to wheedle welfare payments from nations eager to buy a respite from the Middle East imbroglios in which they've politically or rhetorically intricated themselves.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Scrooge McLicense

Local Christmas tree vendors who set up shop each year in parking lots around town say they won't be doing business in London after this year now that the city has raised seasonal license fees from $285 to $1,000. And driving these retailers out of town is "just the point" of the hike, as Brett Stein, the City's licensing manager, admits…

…which is just the worst point of licensing by-laws, if its purpose has become to determine who succeeds and who fails in the marketplace. Stein does make some mumbling about the cost of recovery for policing complaints about these operations regarding traffic flow, cleanliness and operating hours, but one has to wonder why the City isn't passing off the responsibility of policing terms of lease on private property to the private property owners themselves. But the primary purpose of the fee increase is clearly punitive — or protective depending on which side of "established" the business happens to be on. As Stein says, "the fee hike had the support of the London Chamber of Commerce because it supports existing retailers." Of course it does… what business is going to resist punitive regulatory pricing of its competitors? And just as certain is that this policy will not benefit Londoners in any way at all.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a Jihad Christmas

I'm pretty sure I put this little clip up on the Fog previously, but for those who haven't seen it, watch as Charlie Brown converts to Islam.

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Music To Deny Global Warming By

Here's infamous global warming denial hatecore band The Recyclenots with "It's Not Real It's Lies".

PLAY LOUD

global warming
do not fear it
you must jeer it
let me hear it
it's not real it's lies
Crossposted to Mitchieville, where the regional battery disposal center is the nearest snowbank.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

In the dark

Toronto Mayor David Miller announced that "Torontonians will join WWF-Canada and the Toronto Star in turning off their lights on March 29 from 8 to 9 p.m." to make, as politicians will do when their own jurisdictional authorities are not encumbered, a cheap and sanctimonious gesture at "national governments [who] have failed to step up to the challenge of climate change."

Although the endorsement is introduced with that hint of compulsion that would have been altogether appropriate, the idea "that everyone should spend 60 minutes like an environmentalist," as Paul Tuns puts it, is not actually mandatory — it merely relies on the prospect that ordinary citizens will gratify their purposes through meaningless gestures in harmony with the political dramatists they have employed. Everybody wins… hurrah!

Because it's voluntary, it will be a great opportunity to learn which neighbours to stigmatize as deniers by those those lights left on. And for criminals who make heyday during blackouts, it will be a quick but equal opportunity to reap profits from dim sentiments.

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A Post Carbon World?

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Tolerance in Action

In the name of tolerance and diversity, students at a public school in Lye, England have been required to dress like Muslims in celebration of one of their holidays. It's unclear if the female teachers wore burkas or the less modest hijab.

According to multiple reports out of England, officials in this West Midlands school have required teachers and students to don Muslim dress for a belated celebration of Eid, the end of Ramadan. The school’s program also seeks to involve parents in its celebration of diversity by hosting an afternoon mothers-only gathering, keeping in Muslim tradition that married women should not mix with other men.
Needless to say, Muslims will not be required to participate in non-Muslim traditions. "Tolerance" is a one-way street.
This story will not get much play in the United States because the mainstream media instinctively recoils from stories that may call into question the can-do-no-wrong tags of diversity, pluralism, and multi-culturalism. In these turbulent times, they would argue, anything that promotes tolerance has got to be good.

And I would agree. But I would add that there is nothing tolerant about imposing a minority group’s traditions and beliefs on the majority. There is nothing tolerant about glorifying all expressions of culture except one’s own. There is nothing tolerant about cowing Christians into acting like Muslims, intimidating Jews into acting like Christians, scaring Muslims into acting like Westerners, or even worse, suggesting that we should all be nothing.

This, I would say, is a sign of a dictatorship of cultural relativism. Such absurdity has nothing to do with tolerance.
HT: Jason Hayes

cp: The Broom

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Offended Muslim Syndrome

Via The People's Cube:

Following the misery inflicted on Islam by a toy bear that ended up with calls for the execution of an English woman, more Muslims are stepping forward with stories of long-suppressed emotional trauma imposed on them by so-called reality. This has led to the creation of support groups and social networks that help followers of the Prophet Mohammed cope with the agony of learning about life outside of their immediate environment, offering assistance with technical resources, practical guidance, and strategies for early intervention and punishment of those who offend Islam.
Continue reading here to learn more about OMS.

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This is your draft budget

London's draft budget for 2008, submitted to council yesterday, recommends a 4.4 per cent increase in the property tax levy and an 8.6 per cent increase in water and sewer charges. Council is advised by staff to consider using four-fifths of an estimated 1.5 per cent increase in assessment growth to reduce the property tax rate hike to 3.2 per cent, and twelve per cent of an estimated $7 million surplus in 2007 revenues to reduce the increase further to around three per cent. While this figure would compare favourably along with last year's property tax rate increase of 2.51 per cent after hikes of 3.9, 5.9 and 6.6 per cent in the three preceding years, it should be remembered that the proposed increase — even if not taking water and sewer rate hikes into account — is again above the rate of inflation as it has been over the past seven years.

To put the proposed budget increases in perspective, even a best-case three per cent scenario will result in an overall property tax rate increase of 38 per cent since 2000 — after 2007's hike, they have already increased 34 per cent — while water and sewer charges, which are almost never contested by council, will have increased 86 per cent since 2000, after increasing 72 per cent from that date after last year's budget. Moreover, these official increases have been mitigated over the years by surplus revenues, which represent taxation above and beyond budgeted rate increases, and by grants from other levels of government, which represent stealth taxation of Londoners who, of course, must pay for these taxes as well. Even without taking grants into account, the draft budget actually represents a 5.5 per cent increase in tax revenues to the City — effectively an average 5.5 per cent tax increase to Londoners who additionally pay for surplus revenues and assessment growth increases. Taking every tax obligation that the City puts on its citizens, it is probably safe to say that London's tax revenues have increased well over 50 per cent since 2000.

Why has this happened in London, and what misunderstandings of Londoners and misrepresentations by the City have contributed to this acceleration of unsustainable fiscal practises? We'll explore these questions, as well as some of the specifics contained in the draft budget, and attempt to provide an accurate figure of tax revenue increases in London over the next couple of days.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Al Gore's carbon spewing trip to Bali

Pumped from receiving the Nobel prize and his recent "green speech" in London, England, where he bored attendees at the cost of roughly $6500 Canadian a minute, today Al Gore addressed the delegates at the UN Climate Conference in Bali.

Al Gore savaged the US government’s “obstructing” attitude and urged delegates at the UN conference on climate change to ignore Washington if necessary to pursue the “moral imperative” of a new global regime.

“My country is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” the former US vice-president told 2,000 of the 12,000 people attending the conference on Thursday. “[But] over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now.”

[..] Mr Gore, fresh from receiving the Nobel peace prize jointly with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said delegates must “find the grace to navigate around this enormous obstacle, the elephant in the room that I have been undiplomatic enough to name.”

[..] A substantial part of Mr’s Gore’s hour-long address was a recap of material he has used on numerous occasions since making An Inconvenient Truth, his Oscar-winning film, in 2006. He described how scientists are warning of a rapidly escalating crisis unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.
Terence Corcoran notes that in addition to the junk science regurgitated from his famous sci-fi flick, Gore - the white elephant in the room that continues to be an obstacle to rational debate - was to present a petition signed by approximately 240,000 "no-name petitioners dragged from the Internet." Compare and contrast this with the Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, signed by over 100 scientists and specialists from around the world, including some IPCC representatives.
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by government representatives. The great majority of IPCC contributors and ­reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.
cp: Dust My Broom

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Uncommon Knowledge

The Hoover Institute's wonderful "Uncommon Knowledge" PBS program has been resurrected as a webcast! The only problem is that, so far, there aren't as many yearly episodes as there once were.

The newest episodes aren't yet found at that link. See host Peter Robinson interview Victor Davis Hanson in this week's five-parter on the topic of "War and History".

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Slice of Statism

The presence of fat people justifies the ends to achieve the means:

Thick bread equals thick waistlines, according to Baroness Gardener of Parkes, who told the Lords of her concern that the width of a standard slice was getting thicker.

It was, she added, contributing to the problem of people becoming overweight and she wants to see a return to "normal" sized slices.

[..] Baroness Gardener said: "I speak as a member of the All-Party Group on Obesity. Why is it that in central London you can hardly find a thinly sliced or medium-sliced load of bread to buy, and any sandwich you buy in any supermarket is now made with thick bread?

"While the House of Lords continues to use medium-sliced bread - and very nice bread - in its sandwiches, even the House of Commons has moved to thick bread.

"Surely at a time when we want to reduce people's consumption, there should be more pressure from the Food Standards Agency, or one of the many departments the Minister speaks about, to take us back to normal-sized bread instead of these super-sized sandwiches."
HT: Mitchieville

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MADD about your selfish freedoms

MADD has been lobbying for mandatory alcohol devices to be installed in all new cars for a while now. Even if you don't drink and drive and have never been convicted of impaired driving, MADD would like your new vehicle to be equipped with another expensive electronic gadget that increases the likelihood your mechanic will enjoy more visits from you.

The real issue is fulfillment of MADD's demands make all drivers guilty until proven innocent. Armed with the results of a new study, MADD is bumping up their lobbying efforts a notch. 1514 respondents, along with the participants of 5 focus groups, overwhelming identified drunk driving as one of the biggest threats to road safety. Among the solutions supported are random breathalyzer tests on drivers who exhibit no evidence of impairment.

Two-thirds of Canadians want police to have the authority to do random breathalyzer tests on drivers, according to a recent survey.

In a report released yesterday by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada, 66% of respondents to a survey said random checks should be done.

"Just because you can drive straight doesn't mean you're not impaired," said Gladys Shelstad, president of the Edmonton MADD chapter.

But she agreed random breathalyzer tests would open up a can of legal worms, be open to challenges under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and would likely never happen.
Police currently conduct RIDE checks and can pull motorists over at random, so what's the big deal if they ask you to blow into a tube or request a sample of your blood? If you aren't doing anything wrong, you should thank the fine officer for enforcing "justice." The practice of obtaining search warrants before entering your premises should also be dispensed with, along with the paper work and time it takes to obtain such warrants. If an officer wants to search your home for drugs or guns at 2 in the morning, you should brew him a cup of coffee and be glad collective justice is finally being achieved.

cp: Dust My Broom

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Just the punch, hold the line

Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: That's not funny.

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Covent Garden Market London Ontario Events Open Letter

I never received a reply. Perhaps a reader out there has the answers.

Subject: The Market Rallied Today‏
From: Mike of the London Fog
Sent: December 9, 2007 10:18:30 PM
To: info@coventmarket.com

Hello,

Regarding this past Saturday's rally at the Market, and your document "Public Square Usage":

The policy reads, in part,

"Covent Garden Market invites Special Events that fall within the following categories: food related, agricultural, cultural, charitable, and commemorative to the Market and district."

No one would say that that rally and most of the displays upstairs fall under any of those categories, and

"Covent Garden Market encourages those that do not fall within these categories, such as sports and recreation special events, to approach the Parks and Recreation Dept of the City of London for information regarding its many available venues."

Like parks, open spaces, meeting halls. But,

"Covent Garden Market reserves the right to hold events that do not fall into the categories as outlined above."

So, a conscious exception was made, particularly for these organizations and their various causes. From a purely selfish perspective, I encourage you to continue to make exceptions for the likes of the NDP, Post-Carbon London, and Indymedia, and hold lots of radical leftist political rallies and displays at the Market. I relish going to them, and there is more wind shelter there than in Victoria Park. But, I do have to wonder whether, by allowing this particular exception, the Market can be interpreted as endorsing the notion of man-made climate change, opposing Canadian involvement in Afghanistan, and alleging the nonspecific criminality of George Bush and our own Prime Minister?

Do the Market and its vendors endorse jailing Stephen Harper, George Bush, and Fukuda of Japan, as advocated in effigy on your second floor on Saturday?

I can't believe that its vendors are on board with "Mak[ing] Affluence History". How did the chocolatiers like the calls to get your loved ones nothing for Christmas?

Was the Market expecting something different, and taken by surprise?

Have you received many complaints?

Again, I thank you for indulging the Council of Canadians, for my own personal entertainment value, but does it seem smart from a business perspective to use your premises to call for the jailing of the winner of an election, who by definition was supported by a large proportion of your potential customers? As one of the stakeholders in the Market, I have to wonder what you were thinking.

And slightly tongue in cheek, may I build a David Suzuki/Stephane DIon/Al Gore effigy for your second floor landing?

I repeat, please don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining by any means. I want you to hold more, bigger, louder protests so I can make more, bigger, louder fun of them. I just want to understand the Market's angle in making this exception.

I want to believe that the Market is still about food, fun, and family, and not about demands for radical, coercive "social change" and insulting effigies of elected political figures who stand in the way of those demands. Surely the Market, a public institution, formerly restricted its premises to events "food related, agricultural, cultural, charitable, and commemorative to the Market and district" to avoid such contentious questions having to be asked and answered!

Yours, a multi-decade frequent visitor of the Market,

Mike

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Word of the day

Islamophobia-phobia

For every spontaneous action, there is an excessive and inapposite institutional reaction. For every institutional action, there is spontaneous inertia.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

You got a permit for that sandwich kid?

The parents of six children who suffer from severe allergies have filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission because the Woodbridge school their children attend has stopped the practice of checking lunches for contraband foods.

The families say failing to screen lunches for eggs, peanuts and other allergens to which their children suffer severe reactions is a form of discrimination.

[..] The students who suffer from the severe allergies say they no longer feel safe.

"At school, I'm afraid because I don't really know some of the food with eggs and milk look like, and most of the time the kids won't spot it because if it's like a candy or something, they'll just eat it," 11-year-old Alex told CTV News.

[..] Official Chris Cable told the Toronto Star that St. Stephen has a "vigilant" approach to accommodating the children, and sends a letter to all families asking them not to send food that contains nut products or eggs in "pure form," and suggests a list of allergy-safe snacks.

Cable told the newspaper that while the Ontario Human Rights Code requires schools to accommodate children with disabilities, "it makes no mention of daily inspections of children's lunches by school staff .... nor does Human Rights require parents to send in notes with each lunch and snack to describe the ingredients."
Even if those in charge of lunchbox inspections have a culinary degree, it's unlikely their judgment is going to be much more accurate than a child's. Apart from obvious instances of violation - such as a bag of peanuts or a hard boiled egg - it's often not clear if something contains nuts or "unpure" levels of egg. Lunch bag inspections are also not going to prevent some kid from smuggling in a bag of peanuts in his pocket. Are full body inspections next? Perhaps transfats should be added to the list of contraband substances because transfats, and not the actions of "the victim" choosing to consume potentially harmful foods, cause childhood obesity.
McGuinty's government will introduce legislation today that will outlaw trans fats from all school menus for kids from junior kindergarten up to Grade 12.

"We understand that parents have the first responsibility when it comes to raising healthy children, but I think parents in Ontario are entitled to know that they've got a partner in our government," the premier told reporters at Bayview Middle School.
cp: The Broom

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Imagine Jesus without a Heaven

It's easy if you try… Local deejay Jeff McArthur had the earnestness on the reverb cranked up during his morning show on this "important day" when he interviewed one of John Lennon's personal assistants:

Do you ever step back to imagine what the world would be like today if Lennon were still alive?
Oh, I don't know… now that every cheap and narcissistic wish-fulfilment fantasy is regular fare in the grand theatre of public sentiments, I'm not sure that there is really anything else that Lennon could have accomplished here on Earth.

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What are we gonna do? Waste Free World!

By now everyone has heard about Climate Change. It's the new way that the world will end unless we use our power together to shape a purer, chastized humanity, one that controls the weather. This newfangled idea is all the rage.

Reasonably well-attended, a gathering of a rally of a protest was held at noon today amid the snow and ice of the skating rink at the taxpayer-supported Covent Garden Market. It's no surprise a couple hundred people showed up -- how could one "resist" this poster? I simply had to attend to see if there would be any gas masks, or any of the carbon-based-tear-gas spewing corporate-serving pigs who make them a necessary accessory. I think the idea here was to press the authorities to make believers and unbelievers alike be the change the protestors wish to see, and our children, and starfish, and droughts, and stuff.

As always, this was a decidedly partisan affair. As no rose is without its thorn, and as no child's joy in receiving a new toy is without its quota of hundreds dead from rising sea levels, no environmental protest is complete without its applause line demanding that the $100 million spent on Afghanistan instead be used to create jobs for climate change activists. I admit that my awareness was not raised very much, since my denialist pal L. was among those lured by the police-state emergency imagery. L. has a similar taste for political rallies that involve "saving the world" by empowering and obeying leaders with visions, so we were too busy joking around to learn anything. But anyways, "people making more jokes about mass movements" is one change I want to see. So we did make a difference, but still, apologies for my frivolity and inability to give details. Besides which, reader, regardless of your status as good person or denier, you could probably have gotten up there yourself and given a speech of your own about the need not only to change our own behaviour but to take action and use the government to make other people change theirs too. Second verse, same as the first.

London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen was there, as ever, in front of the nationalistic-yet-diverse standard of the Council of Canadians.

City Controller Gina Barber gave a speech, too. Ms. Barber's newly assigned, environmentally friendly "People Power" sleigh-pulling human resource stands at ease in blue reindeer horns. To those who allocate him, he is worth his weight in carbon credits.

There were about six or seven speakers in total, but the Change Agency Formerly Known As The Covent Garden Market had more stuff inside on the second floor.



Not even the democratically elected leaders of some of the few open societies on the planet escaped criticism. Here, in playful effigy on the second floor landing of the Covent Garden Market, were the "Black Hearts of Bali".

On the way past this, George Bush spilled my latte.

By the way, you can buy all sorts of marvelous things at the Covent Garden Market! Don't you want to help make Stephen Harper have a bad day by spending your money at its folksy market stands?
This year, kids, how about if Santa brings nothing for Christmas but empty boxes? You can keep warm in them without Daddy having to pay any carbon taxes, too!

Upstairs, there was a makeshift, prison-like phonebooth where one could telephone the Prime Minister and demand more action. Laptops allowed market-goers to talk to internet websites, such as one that wants drive-throughs banned in Canada, or another that tells you about Al Gore in Bali. The tables included booths with pamphlets and books and slogan pins.





"Full of Food -- Full of Life!"
No, no more power to the people, that will be quite enough, thank you, 1967 is thataway, just find the arrow of time and go the opposite direction. Tell Syd Barrett to take it easy with the acid, and don't forget to take the authoritarian saluting imagery or whatever with you as you leave, since it isn't called for in London, Ontario.

Contemplate, and within yourself resolve the juxtaposition of a Nobel Peace Prize quote with the decidedly fascist photograph.
If we work together, we can do it.

And that was that. At points, it really was a well-attended rally as these things go in London, and it does seem that these days, green events do bring the people out much more than anti-war ones. Of course, the traffic on a Market Saturday afternoon will provide many, many eyes that might normally drive right by a Victoria Park event, so this is a new kind of orange to compare. But if the Covent Garden Market is open to being used like this, it may become a rallying point of choice!

And so, the proceedings over and the activist booths mined, I departed to comfort the afflicted.

Crossposted to the climate criminals at Mitchieville

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Friday, December 7, 2007

We sure know how to pick 'em in London

If London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen isn't representative of quite all the politicians actually elected in London, she is unfortunately representative of the kind of shrill panderer that the progressive political machines in town mobilize to elect. Sorry, Canada…

New Democrat MP Irene Mathyssen has offered up a formal apology to Conservative MP James Moore after she accused him earlier this week of looking at pictures of "scantily clad women" on his laptop.

[…] She said she offered the apology "without qualification" and went on to apologize to Moore's family and all members of the House.

However, CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife cited a report in Friday's online version of the London Free Press, in which Mathyssen vowed to stand by her claims.

The MP told the paper she would only apologize for failing to speak to Moore before raising the issue in the House, not for making the accusation.
Canadians are too accustomed to the duplicity of their politicians to make this episode of two-faces anything other than a minor scandal in a long and weary list of minor scandals. But what emotional ordeal could have overcome the ordinary political restraint of an MP inured by vocation to the goings-on at gay pride parades? Apart from the rigours of preparing to milk her one day of perpetrating stereotypes of gender hysteria for all that you're worth, that is…
Mathyssen said her complaint about Moore came on a day in the House when the governing Tories "were talking about all the wonderful things they have done for women." She said the government has closed regional offices that help women and curtailed funding programs heavily used by women.

"There is this pervasive attitude that women don't matter with the Conservative government," Mathyssen said. "They have made that painfully clear. It concerns me very much that that attitude is prevalent and it is underscored when we demean women by showing off inappropriate photographs."
To borrow the sentiments of my finest female acquaintances, is this what we really need more female politicians for? To promote hysteria over reason and caution as principles of debate? Or to elevate targeted make-work social science research programs to standards of human goodness above pause? Shouldn't we first commission research into the effectiveness of research programs for women?

It may seem mean to pick on Mathyssen, but I reckon she had it coming to her. I wouldn't ordinarily stoop to evoking rude language toward women, but this is the perverted and unintended consequence of extreme political correctness — that the era of taking gratuitous offense is now finally giving way, fact after conclusion, to the era of giving gratuitous offense.

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Free Stuff Alert

Police in Conyers, Georgia are providing a gift to local thieves this Christmas. Cars containing visible packages will be tagged with a bright yellow ticket, saving potential cons the trouble of checking each vehicle one at a time:

Officers with the Conyers Police Department will be on foot patrol in the parking lots of major shopping areas in the city over the next couple of weeks. They will place yellow tickets on vehicles with packages or boxes of merchandise that are visible on the seats or floorboards of cars; in other words, vehicles that are easy targets for thieves.

Conyers Police Chief David Cathcart said the yellow ticket program is part of an overall crime prevention program to help remind people to be careful with regard to their Christmas packages.

"If you leave packages in clear view in your car, then you might be providing an opportunity to a thief that can be avoided if you are just a little more careful," said Cathcart. "Even if you put your packages in the car and think you're only going to be in another store for a few minutes, you're still at risk because it only takes a moment for someone to take advantage of a situation."
HT: Fark

Vancouver police have not yet resorted to flagging the cars of the careless, but they aren't exactly protecting your possessions either:
The Vancouver Police Department has announced a new crime prevention campaign to reduce theft from vehicles. The campaign includes a series of TV ads and posters at bus stops that say: "If you leave it, thieves won't".

[..] [VPD Chief Jim] Chu says the start of the campaign is a good reminder for shoppers during the holiday season to leave nothing in their cars. "The main reason cars are burglarized is because possessions are left in clear view of thieves."

Part of the campaign is to distribute signs that can be left in cars, saying: 'Nothing to steal but this sign. Please don't steal the sign'.
HT: Jay Jardine

cp: Dust My Broom

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Frank Le Fou, Live On CHRW

London's one and only true bard, Frank Le Fou, appeared live on the mighty CHRW 94.9 this week, and we have the audio. Although he's more accustomed to late-night gigs, Frank turned in a passionate performance, only slightly tarnished by the bad engineering of the smarmy DJ. Whoever that guy was, he had Frank's microphone up way too loud.

PLAY LOUD



Fans of this sinkhole serenader, this pothole poet, will be suffused with delight as he sings all their favourites -- including a raging version of "I Will Never Laugh Again At New Orleans". Frank is a Creative Cities lab experiment gone horribly right.
  • 3% And Risin'
  • I Will Never Laugh Again At New Orleans
  • The Outdated System's To Blame
  • Whatever Happened To Storybook Gardens?
  • Pothole City
  • Downtown London, What A Mess

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KyoTwo

Peter Foster on the essential Marxist quality of global hysteria solutions in Bali:

The real theme of this United Nations gabfest -- like that of its 12 predecessors, and of the hundreds, if not thousands, of related meetings --is whether globalization and trade liberalization will be allowed to continue, with a corresponding increase in wealth, health and welfare, or whether the authoritarian enemies of freedom (who rarely if ever recognize themselves as such) will succeed in using environmental hysteria to undermine capitalism and increase their Majesterium. Any successor to Kyoto will be rooted in hobbling rich economies, increasing the poor world's resentment, unleashing environmental trade warfare, and blanketing the globe with rules and regulations that benefit only rulers and regulators. Bali is not about climate; it symbolizes the continued assault on freedom by those who seek -- or pander to -- political power under the guise of concern for humanity.

Just at the point where Marxism was being consigned to the dustbin of history, the more or less concealed power lust that had fed it found a new cause in the environment.
Read the rest and also read more:
The reason that poor, ill-governed countries support the Kyoto process is because they have been persuaded that it represents a meal ticket. Under it they can flog the non-emission of hot air to developed nations, and have failed aid policies continued under the rubric of "clean development."

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sauce For The Goose

AGWN thinks education is the answer to the outdated stereotypes perpetuated by Irene Mathyssen.

I call for Irene Mathyssen to be sent to attend gender sensitivity training. During the training, she will be asked to learn that not all men are slavering dogs, and that all men deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"We are national leaders"

Eighteen years later, the 1989 Montreal Polytechnique massacre is still the gift that keeps on reducing crimes and tragedies to a shrill political insignificance. And never one to let any opportunity to let an insignificance pass by unshrilled, London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen shrills forth again (video). It's no wonder the NDP tolerates the Taliban — they've demonstrated the solution to these sorts of problems.

Update: "Ms. Mathyssen has accepted the explanation and offered her apology to Mr. Moore," [NDP spokesman Ian] Capstick said. "Ms. Mathyssen will be making a formal statement in the House of Commons at her earliest opportunity."

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Shove It, CIC

Yes.

The nation's "right wingers" have been complaining about the HRC's creeping censorship for years, but the media/academic elite (like, well, Coyne) are suddenly waking up now that -- yikes! -- Macleans is in its crosshairs.

Thanks for coming out. Better late than never, I guess.
How was it that, years ago. I as a naive, dumb teenager (admittedly, one raised on Orwell and C.S. Lewis) could see immediately what Human Rights Commissions were, but the genius lawyers who designed them are surprised to see their tool used for intimidation and censorship by religious and secular partisans unfamiliar with the insulting give and take of a free society? Could none of our nuanced, deep-thinking pundits really find their powers of concentration for the five seconds it takes to see why it's a bad idea to establish boards that throw out rules of evidence and give prizes to whoever can cry the hardest about being an oppressed victim with hurt feelings?

I can't believe I'm going to subscribe to Macleans. Maybe I'll get it delivered to London lawyer Faisal Joseph's office. He has taken on the disreputable task of representing the Canadian Islamic Congress before Der Kommission.

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London is wilting



When a city resorts to spending money on metal trees to attract tourism and beautify a downtown full of empty facades

When a city begs the province for money to fix aging infrastructure though they raise taxes every year and spend our money on arenas so Rod Stewart and Cher can come to town

When a city holds property hostage in the name of heritage

You know that city is not the place to be.


Welcome to London. According to the latest census data, London is losing young people to cities that offer jobs commensurate with their education and abilities.

Lfpress:

But the city is attracting many more people from smaller towns and cities.

The danger in the latest equation from the 2006 Census is that London becomes a retiree zone while young workers head to other high-tech centres, city business leaders said yesterday.

"We are a regional hub for health care, education for Southwestern Ontario," said Gerry Macartney, general manager of the London Chamber of Commerce.
Jobs are overrated. Just ask Lindsay Sage, co-chairperson of Emerging Leaders, and also Director of Marketing and Development for London Public Library:
The loss has as much to do with perception as the high-tech jobs in Kitchener, said Londoner Lindsay Sage.

Sage is co-chairperson of Emerging Leaders, a group trying to increase the involvement of 22- to 44-year-olds in the city's future.

[..] "The XY generation, 22- to 44-year-olds, work to live, not live to work."

Cities that offer entertainment, culture, easy transportation and affordability can draw workers from that generation, Sage said.
No matter the logo, the reality of the situation in London trumps any marketed "perceptions". Quite simply put, this city is becoming increasing expensive to live in each day and unless you are fortunate enough to land a job with one of the few high-tech industries still operating within city walls or are resourcefully lucky to win a job at city hall, your choice is a call centre or retail, complete with corresponding credit bills and student debt.

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Forbidden knowledge

Since the City lost its three-year legal battle to prevent demolition of a house at 915 Richmond St. because council had been ruled to have acted improperly by imposing a development freeze behind closed doors, it seems in keeping to hide the City's in-house legal costs over the case from the public as well. This is to protect the public from… well, from the embarrassment of knowing that they have a council that spent well over $328,000 for absolutely nothing.

See also:

911 Richmond Street: A case study in political obstruction

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How to dispose of organics in London:

Collect your decomposing food scraps, kitty litter and dirty diapers into a garbage bag and find the nearest dumpster. In return, the City will handle the removal of $4 million to $5 million of your taxes in order that another fleet of trucks can drive endlessly around town to save the environment.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Decrepitude and closed businesses are our heritage

Council voted last night to pursue a city lease of the old Capitol Theatre on Dundas St. at an estimated cost of between $1.15 million and $1.6 million for 10 years to preserve "what's left" of it… specifically, a generic front lobby that's been abandoned for years and a narrow and very unassuming façade, which would be a fitting epigraph for downtown London and its city council.

Why bother? When even "a longtime advocate for retaining heritage properties" like Butch McLarty from Alt-London thinks it time to "move on," there's not much of a constituency to buy any more with its preservation. At that price, there's nothing else much to buy anyway.

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The Green Religion

If the green revolution reaches its logical conclusion, people will soon be given a choice of the ration line or the gas chamber. Humans are bad for polar bears and trees and are advised to put down their bagpipes, suck up their crappy marriage and light one less candle in the name of the collective:

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.
"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," said Liad Ortar, the campaign's cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site's environmental forum. "Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation."
Crossposted: Dust My Broom

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Baby steps

When did the old City Council — that for at least the past two years has refunded less than ten per cent of the City's multi-million surplus take in tax revenue to taxpayers — get turned into this City Council?

Council yesterday rejected General Manager of Finance and Corporate Services Vic Cote's recommendation to put a cap of $850,000 of this year's anticipated $7 million surplus — in itself more than ten per cent — for use in reducing next year's tax rate increase and instead voted to make it the minimum amount for that purpose. This sudden munificence comes much to the dismay of Controller Gord Hume, who argues that Cote's plan to "commit half of each years' surplus to reducing debt and the balance to funding depleted reserves and paying for public works and one-time community needs" would lower tax rates in the long run. Hume's rationale for committing surplus revenue to debt repayment, depleted reserves and necessary public works makes a certain amount of back-door sense, as these certainly do constitute future tax obligations for Londoners… except that Hume and the rest of council have in the past made the "one-time community needs" the financial priority for surplus spending, in effect using budget surpluses to increase the city's tax revenues for the purpose of distributing gifts and gratifications to various constituencies to their own political benefit. For example, last year's surplus was used to fund the following:

  • $200,000 for the aquatic complex at the Boys' and Girls' Club,
  • $250,000 on top of an equal amount included in a reserve to buy woodlands,
  • $200,000 to the Children's Museum,
  • $200,000 to the London Ski Club,
  • $650,000 for new affordable housing,
  • $500,000 for "downtown parking initiatives,"
  • $500,000 to establish a "severe weather stabilization fund," and
  • $200,000 to plant trees.
Such items hardly protect the taxpayer from future tax obligations, and in fact contribute to the feelings of entitlement to tax dollars that afflicts the city's community groups. If Hume were concerned for the future tax obligations of Londoners he would at once drop his relentless push for a tax-funded performing arts centre in London, but of course one comes to suspect that his real interest in defending Cote's proposal lies in the protection of the maximum use of surplus revenues for his and council's own political ends.

More to the point, however, tax obligations are not reduced by appropriating additional taxes to apply for necessary budget items — an obviously absurd proposition — but by reducing actual spending of taxes, a reality that no one on council, for or against Cote's proposal, is prepared to recognize except Paul Van Meerbergen. Funding debt repayment, depleted reserves and necessary public works ought to be the first — and last — items on the city's budget preparation, not an afterthought, if council is concerned with the level of taxes in the city.

Council's decision to allocate a minimum of $850,000 to reducing next year's tax increase is a welcome preliminary step to allocating council's duties and privileges viz. taxes and spending, but if revenue is not budgeted in the first place, councillors cannot even pretend that it is an asset of theirs to distribute.

See also:

Once again, Londoners get robbed twice by city council
Over the board: 4.6% tax increase in store
Budget surpluses are bad news for taxpayers
The gift that keeps on grabbing
London briefs
Not all special interests are equal
Cynical surpluses
It's going to get more expensive to live in London… again
City Hall cannot be trusted with taxes
Melba toast
Don't trust council with a "surplus"
Thanks for the two bucks, now scram
And my income tax refund is a bonus too…

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Policing Caledonia the OPP way

Mark Vandermaas provides a first hand account of the latest protest in Caledonia at Voice of Canada. Highlights of the event include, but are not limited to, the following:

6. Natives were driving the wrong way on the east shoulder of the road to get around residents. I stepped in front of one of the cars. The driver slowly moved up hitting my flagpole. Then he falsely claimed that I had intentionally done damage to his car. Police took me away to file an ‘accident report,’ but I don’t know if the driver was detained.

7. A native woman falsely accused Gary of assaulting her before pushing him. A native man then attacked Gary from behind, hitting him in the head as he was trying walk away. Witnesses and video confirm her attempt to fabricate an assault charge. This was the first of two attacks on Gary.

8. Approx 20 mins or so later, Clyde Powless confronted Gary with the clear intention of attacking him. The officers asked if Gary wanted to leave, which he agreed to do. They told him to keep walking no matter what happened. The natives assaulted the officers while trying to get at Gary. In one video, you can clearly see a woman grabbing Gary’s arm while Clyde Powless cowardly attacks Gary from behind trying to jump on his back with a hand around Gary’s neck. Caledonia resident Doug Fleming, however, tackled Powless to the ground. Another native punched Gary in the face causing his glasses to come off. Gary fell to the ground and was stomped and kicked by natives who bruised his ribs, and hurt his foot so badly that the top of his running shoe was soaked with blood.

9. Our associate Jeff Parkinson was filming the attack on Gary when he was thrown to the ground by an OPP officer where he hit his head and was knocked unconscious for about 20 minutes. A witness said not one officer came over to check on him, that he was forced to call an officer over and request a blanket. Jeff was taken to hospital. As of today, he is suffering the effects of a bad concussion, and is having trouble remembering, reading and with his concentration.

10. During the day, natives assaulted police who made no attempt to arrest them. During the day the police faced the residents who were not violent instead of the natives. One witness said she saw a native push an officer violently from behind. The officer turned, looked at the native, did nothing and then turned back to face the residents.

11. Although OPP did not send any meaningful backup (one reporter said about 10 officers did come to join approx. 8 original officers) as the situation was escalating during during a 2 hour period, they blocked the main road about one mile away near the Canadian Tire store in town. They allowed natives to get through to the scene, but refused to allow residents to pass.
Read the rest here.

Thanks to Broom commenter WL Mackenzie Redux for the link.

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The Compassion Of Low Expectations

Not necessarily "The View". Can you spot the real quotation?

  • WHOOPEE GOLDBURG: Yeah, because you’d think if you’re going to sit in the front of a bus, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to the South and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as African Americans, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King were called troublemakers.

  • WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Yeah, because you’d think if you’re going overseas, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to America and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as European and American, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons we’re called the ugly Americans.

  • WOOPIE GHOL D'BIRGUE: Yeah, because you’d think if you’re going place to place, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to small redneck towns and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as gay Americans, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons Matthew Shepherd was called a mean name.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Nicities

London’s financial position is relatively weak, and its draw on public funds appears high.
Toronto Mayor David Miller calls it "very ill-informed" and the research "so shoddy it barely deserved to be called a study"… so as far as I'm concerned, that's an endorsement of the Frontier Centre's 2007 Local Government Performance Index. And while mixing quantitative data with qualitative values always brings some doubt to final assessments — what are "niceties" and how do they "reasonably balance" with "core" expenditures? — the London overview (PDF) presents a mostly common-sense summary of what Londoners already have a pretty good idea:
Summary

The City of London operates in a sound local economy with house prices, unemployment and median household income all close to national averages. The municipality’s operations are affected by above average debt and net liabilities and a high drain on public funds. The standards of public reporting were thirtieth out of 30 LGPI cities. This includes poor accounting disclosures such as a failure to delineate property taxation from user charges, thus frustrating analysts and stakeholders alike when they try to measure this municipality’s financial situation.

Findings

• London’s financial situation includes above average long-term debt (27% above) added to which, net financial liabilities are very high at $2,467 per household. However, ownership of London Hydro goes some way toward balancing the net financial position.
• London’s capital, operating and total expenditure measures are approximately 20% more than the LGPI municipal national averages.
• London has a high reliance on grants from other governments. While this reliance on public funds is not discernable due to the conflation of taxation and user charges (above), a higher government grants figure, 121% above average, suggests this is a highly publicly funded municipality.
• The proportion of niceties expenditure compared to necessities (at 81%, close to the average proportion of 74%) indicates a reasonable balance between the core and non-core expenditures.
• Capital expenditures are higher (by 23%), perhaps accounting for use of the higher debt funding.
Thanks to BBS in the comments for the link.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Two-tier justice continues in Caledonia

It's been nearly two years since insurgents occupied a disputed piece of land in Caledonia and there is no resolution in sight:

Ontario's minister of Aboriginal Affairs said First Nations protesters occupying a disputed tract of land in the town of Caledonia, Ont. - 30 kilometres south of Hamilton - will not be forcibly removed by Ontario Provincial Police.

Michael Bryant stressed the need for short- and long-term solutions to the 21-month old dispute as he wrapped up his first trip to Caledonia Monday.

Bryant met with politicians, religious leaders and residents and spoke of the need to move forward and not be "paralyzed" while negotiations continue.

[..] "Whether people leave the land voluntarily today or involuntarily today, what do we do then tomorrow?" Bryant said after his final meeting.

" We have to find a long-term solution. This talk about removing people is just a blind alley. It is taking us nowhere."
Whenever a politician talks about "moving forward" we can safely assume that he has no idea what he is talking about except he believes more money and committees are needed. Presumably the natives are continuing to enjoy free utilities in addition to the money they are pulling in from cigarette sales:
A protest over a disputed "smoke shack" at the end of Caledonia's main street turned violent yesterday, leaving two men injured and forcing Haldimand County OPP to call in reinforcements.

The clash, at the south end of Argyle Street, centred on the shack, where protesters allege natives are selling cigarettes illegally.

A lawyer for one of the injured men, Gary McHale of Richmond Hill, who has organized past protests against the native occupation of a housing development in Caledonia, said his client was badly beaten in a "completely unprovoked attack by a group of natives."
The five or six insurgents who reportedly physically attacked McHale have so far not been charged, though Fantino promises to bring justice to the protesters, though it would seem they did nothing other than gather outside the smoke shack:
OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino vowed in the release that the force, "will seek every legal remedy possible to end this madness and to bring them (protesters) to justice."

"These incidents, where interlopers put their personal agendas over those who are striving for a permanent and lasting resolution will not be tolerated," said Fantino, a former London police chief.
Only the natives who are illegally occupying the sight will be tolerated for putting their own personal agendas above the law.

cp: The Broom

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What a tangled web we weave…

…When first we practise to be aggrieved.

Anthony Daniels, a.k.a. Theodore Dalrymple, in "Who shall 'scape whipping?" published in the November New Criterion:

It is no doubt a sign of the march of secularism that most men now believe that, if there were any justice in the world, they would be better rather than worse off. In their opinion it is not mercy that they need, but compensation.

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday Night Laibach

Yugoslavia, 1987. Here's Laibach's divisive German-language cover of Queen's "One Vision". Freddy Mercury's lyrics take on a whole new character when barked at you in German.


One man one goal one mission,
One heart one soul just one solution,
One flash of light yeah one god one vision

One flesh one bone,
One true religion,
One voice one hope,
One real decision,
Wowowowo gimme one vision

No wrong no right,
I'm gonna tell you there's no black and no white,
No blood no stain,
All we need is one world wide vision...
No subtitles, though it's fun to follow along with the English lyrics.

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