Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en Excerpts From A Chilling Tale

Sorting through late Great-Uncle Edward's effects, the belongings and memoirs of a man who had spent many years living in and reflecting on London, we found several fragments of what appears to be a tale of terror, affordable housing, and arts funding, set in a Forest City of times past. We haven't been able to find many pages from this story among the voluminous records of one of London's little-remembered chroniclers, but we pass it on to you this Hallowe'en as a fragmentary, ghostly reminder of London's past.

"A friend of mine, who is a man of letters and a philosopher, said to me one day, as if between jest and earnest, 'Fancy; since we last met I have discovered affordable housing in the midst of London."
First page, apparently:



Near the beginning:



This seems also to be a part of the narrative.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sub-urb

Making sure "the streets drain and the toilets flush" in new subdivisions is "not enough" for city planner John Fleming. Urging the City's Planning Committee to adopt new planning guidelines for residential development, Fleming told members that "really what we're talking about is the soul of the community."

Assuming a ministerial mission to London's flocks is bound to appeal to the conceits of politicians. But the rest of us must wonder whether an honest belief by bureaucrats in a vocation of salvation would be preferable to dishonest claims that serve the soul of a bureaucrat's department instead. Fleming's office would certainly stand to gain an expanded mandate over new development under the proposed new guidelines (below), but if anyone expects widespread delivery through the powers of bureaucracy one should examine how the soul of downtown has fared after years of growing regulation and hundreds of millions of tax dollars.

But if faith costs money at City Hall, flimsy faith will have to cost more. When asked by the London Development Institute to postpone a decision on the guidelines until the City "spells out how new designs will be engineered and at what cost," planners objected that the request "would further delay implementation." After years of trying to change "the culture of development," such a delay should appear modest unless disclosing costs would suffer the less dependable faith of ordinary citizens. Much better that such costs are built into the price of new homes without notice or suspicion, even if planners do cite a survey finding that Londoners are willing to pay a "slight premium" for the new guidelines. But how many of those surveyed, like guideline proponent Coun. Nancy Branscombe's "biggest partners," already own their own homes?

New subdivision guideline features, as reported by the London Free Press:

  • Integrate natural features such as hills and trees rather than bulldoze them.
  • Design streets to promote walking and cycling rather than the use of automobiles.
  • Reject cookie-cutter housing and instead use a mix of styles, sizes and building densities to attract a broader range of dwellers.
  • Create public spaces that are easily accessed and enjoyed.
  • Consider the pros and cons of grid-like streets, overnight parking and rear laneways that clear streets of garages and driveways

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Thanks and where is my handout?

Never underestimate the power of groups to effect change:

A group representing Canada's struggling manufacturing industry says auto-parts makers could disappear unless the government gives an emergency short-term loan of $1 billion.

Manufacturers, particularly those exporting auto parts to the United States, are struggling because of the worldwide credit freeze.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters president Jayson Myers said Tuesday that the problems could move beyond auto parts companies, noting that many firms dependent on exports to the U.S. are in trouble.

"Until now we've been talking about what the government has needed to do to promote investment and ensure the long-term competitiveness of the sector," he told The Canadian Press. "Right now, though, we've got a short-term priority and that's just the survival of companies.

"Frankly, if we do not see government helping to provide credit to companies ... we are going to see an awful lot of very, very good and very important companies go out of business in Canada."
The London Fog has important short-term priorities too, so we encourage you to send us well-deserved funds. Mike has fled to a far part of the globe, Basil is busy, Mapmaster is studying maps, Lisa is sleeping, and those other minions are busy preparing for their own retirement. Help us to help you. Please give, and generously at that, as the evil Harper government threatens to cut arts funding.

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Ontario Considers Sources of Revenue to Bail out the Auto Makers

Ontario, the province that would run a deficit before cutting back on wasteful expenditures, is once again focusing on road safety. A bill is on the table that would ban drivers from talking on hand-held cellphones, operating GPS devices and BlackBerrys. If caught, motorists could be fined as much as $500 or more and also lose demerit points. No word if drinking coffee, talking to your passengers, fiddling with your radio and cd player and smoking a cigarette, while wolfing down a bagel, is on the radar next.

Transportation Minister Jim Bradley told reporters Tuesday that Premier Dalton McGuinty asked him to make the roads safer, and that's what he intends to do.

"The premier (asked) me to look at that look at what's been done in other jurisdictions ... to see what our safety partners have to say,"

The Liberal government consulted police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada before drafting the legislation, Bradley said.

If caught by police, drivers will face fines of at least $500 and demerit points. (CTV)
cp: The Broom

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Some might think

Failure to possess a library card in London is a "disservice" to the community, according to London Free Press Editor-In-Chief Paul Berton who himself has at least made splendid use of the libary's marketing materials (pdf) and wasted no commas or conjunctions in his effort to reproduce them in short form.

Libraries help us learn, engage, discover, connect. Libraries and librarians teach us about proper and effective research, about critical thinking, about the possibilities of resources available to all of us, much of which is not readily available (as some might think) in a bookstore or on the Internet or on television.
On the shortcomings of popular thinking, Berton continues:
Libraries make us literate. And illiteracy in London, as a recent Free Press report showed, is far more prevalent than too many of us think.
It would strike us as odd that illiteracy should be so prevalent given the prevalence of libraries in London these days, but scrutinizing literacy-making claims for a system that has received an average annual budget increase of 4.9 per cent over the past six years is obviously not the kind of exercise in critical thinking that the library board would have in mind for us. Not when a crescendo of commas can make the literate and critical thinking Londoner:
Less illiteracy and more information for everyone makes a community prosperous, progressive, innovative, successful, resourceful, flexible, understanding, caring, co-operative …
For anyone currently doing a disservice to the comma community, however, Berton includes the helpful advice that libraries are "not as mysterious or as intimidating as" … you guessed it … "some might think."

See also:

London Public Library: out of control

The spoiled child

Oh, to be a Library administrator in London in the springtime

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Tyranny of Nice

Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere, authors of the new expose of Canada's "Human Rights" Commissions, on the Michael Coren Show last night.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Curtailing Rights Because They Care

The CRTC has launched "a proceeding", with a corresponding commission, effectively multiplying the bureaucrat count, to consider the problem of the internet. What a fine way to secure existing positions in a time of economic collapse. Check the CRTC course guide for opportunities in your community.

The government agency says the proceeding will include a public hearing starting on February 17, 2009, in Gatineau, Que where the federal government is inviting comments on "the significance of broadcasting in new media and its impact on the traditional broadcasting system"

In simple terms, the agency is trying to establish a role for itself in the regulation of what Canadians can and should be able to see over the internet similar to the way the commission regulates what Canadians can see over Canadian radio and television.

The result of these hearings could result in in the overturning of a 1999 decision that exempted from regulation broadcasters that distribute their video content over the Internet. The hearings will also examine a 2007 decision that took a hands off approach to broadcasters and wireless companies who were sending video through cellphones and other mobile devices.

In a written statement this week, the federal bureaucrats said the review was required now because Canadians are now spending more time watching video over the internet and mobile devices. The Commission, therefore, wishes to consult on the "the appropriateness of the Commission's exemption orders for new media and mobile broadcasting services." (Digital Home)
CP: The Broom

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Et community organizers

Students of social science, must fear popular approval: Evil is with them when all men speak well of them.

~ Alfred Marshall, quoted in Friedrich A. Hayek's speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1974.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cartoons and porn!

And we're not talking about that silly anime stuff!

"Did you say 20 per cent?" Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best asked incredulously.




And if you don't find that amusing . . .

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Stun

Canadian author Joseph Boyden may be "stunned when anyone — including the prime minister — labels the arts 'elitist'." But it is altogether less surprising to find a Canadian literary talent — interviewed from New York, incidentally — entirely misattributing recent cuts to arts funding as a product of coarse sentiments by wildly misreading a comment by Stephen Harper criticizing publicly subsidized artists.

What Canadian artists apparently lack in honesty or reading comprehension might be slightly compensated by their creative redefinition of themselves as "the arts" were it not for the fact that such self-serving interpretation is elitist itself. Fantastic re-enactment of Harper's comment in pursuit of a minor constituent election issue only exhibits the narrow, trivial, boorish and — frankly — elitist nature of much publicly funded art that disinterests ordinary Canadians in the first place.

Authors may "challenge the way we think," according to Carolyn Young, communications manager for the University of Western Ontario Book Store. But if Boynton is an example, they're not nearly as keen to challenge each others conventions when cold hard cash is on the line.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sing for Obama Reposted



The original poster deleted this totalitilarious video before I was able to see it, but the internet didn't let me down.

I still think that "O BA MA" thing by the rap singer is a tiny bit creepier though.

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If you don't eat yer tofu, you can't have any meat! How can you have any meat if you dint eat yer tofu?


Global Warming needs a new kind of leadership because "study upon study has shown that awareness-raising campaigns alone are unlikely to work, particularly when it comes to more difficult changes."

People will have to be rationed to four modest portions of meat and one litre of milk a week if the world is to avoid run-away climate change, a major new report warns.

The report, by the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Surrey, also says total food consumption should be reduced, especially "low nutritional value" treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolates.
Vice Shift?

Will exceptions be made for jackboots and athletes?
The Michael Phelps Diet:

Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.

Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.

Dinner: One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks.

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