Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gundon ExclusionWatch

The following redistributions were yesterday noted as occurring among the common people of London.


London police are investigating a second home-invasion robbery in 24 hours.

The most recent brazen attack came about 11 p.m. Thursday when two men forced their way into a unit at an apartment building at 758 Kipps Lane.

That attack came only about 20 hours after an invasion at a townhouse on Railton Avenue at Trafalgar Street at about 2 a.m. Thursday.
Can any of us truly say in our hearts that, finding ourselves excluded from 758 Kipps Lane, with a gun in one hand and a baseball bat in the other, that we ourselves would never enter and assault those inside? There but for the inclusive grace of the community go each and every one of us.

Experts tell us that by carrying out these so-called "home invasions", the excluded are metaphorically asking for an "open door policy" to all of our hearts. Having knocked on the door of London's love for so long, and found themselves without acceptance, programs, or funding, these Excluded-Canadians took the only course left to them by the people of this city.

This is the sad result of the politics of exclusion as practiced by Londoners.

Yesterday's two-hour crime spree in London followed a pair of unrelated gas station holdups Thursday in the city within minutes of each other.

The dramatics -- police speculated the bandit may have been looking for drug money -- began just before 7 a.m. at an A&P grocery store at 1030 Adelaide St. N. when a man demanded money from a cashier and fled on foot.

An employee was slightly hurt in that incident, said Const. Amanda Pfeffer.
In this case the Freeps doesn't make it clear whether exclusionary factors factored into the factors behind these robberies.

I'd tend to blame the employee for his own injury. This looks like a classic case of an ignorant monocultural cashier taking understanding for granted, thus forcing the "bandit" to express his point of view in terms that were sure to cross the cultural boundaries between the two of them.

The abuse of London's underclass goes on.

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Friday, December 30, 2005

PG-13 Lewis Carroll

This gem jumped out at me while attempting to scrute the inscrutable Ianism 2.0:

So you decide to use ad hominem, the tool of assholes and idiots everywhere to try to gain popular support for an opinion, instead of seeking truth?

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Six steps to re-election

Sounds about right (In SDA comments):

Frankly, I would not be surprised if the money derived from the Income Trust manipulation (go long the first day - go short the second day) was then used to purchase narcotics on the third day, those narcotics then stepped on once on the fourth day, sold for enormous amounts of money on the fifth day, and then returned to Canadian investors through offshore shell corporation on the sixth day.
And then, resting on the seventh day. It's good to be King.

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He said the "Word of the Day"!

The Klander thing was PC faux outrage: you know the template, where depictions of particular people are creatively reinterpreted into unflattering depictions of entire so-called "groups", for intimidation, shaming, and propaganda purposes.

"We are all multiculturalists now."

But to say that someone's smile is like that of a... boiled dog's head!

I'm sorry to smear that hateful phrase across your monitor... such are the depths to which political discourse has fallen in this country.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Campaign 2006 In Perpetual Motion!

LIBERAL LEADER PAUL MARTIN The Liberal Party believes in a strong Canada built on the principle that the occasional surplus of atoms in random motion striking one side of the lever will cause the ratchet to move, and make the shaft rotate. The top experts agree that this is the road Canada must take. We have worked for this system and our record is one of great pride and achievements for all groups in this country. And I see the will to make this bold plan work in the faces of the people I'm out there talking to every day. The number one job of the Prime Minister is to keep that shaft rotating for all Canadians, no matter their socioeconomic status, the colour of their skin, or their sexual preference. Canadians are not fooled. They know Stephen Harper, with his simplistic American-style "magnets for the rich" philosophy, will never show leadership by defending that Canadian value. Only the Liberal Party can do that.

CONSERVATIVE LEADER STEPHEN HARPER The Liberal vision of Canada is complicated and incomprehensible to most Canadians without a degree in legal physics. They like it because there are a lot of corners they can cut to give favours to their friends. But in the end it's unworkable for ordinary Canadians. Conservatives have down-to-earth solutions to the problems facing taxpayers. We will never move forward until a powerful magnet is attached to the front of the car on a steel rod. This kind of common sense solution to economic stagnation is anathema to the Liberals. But don't let them fool you. This is not just a Conservative idea. Paul Martin endorsed the theory of magnetic autolocomotion back in 1994, in an unguarded moment even referring to his party's ratcheting means of rotating the shaft as "Alberta-grade fucking bullshit". He's flip-flopped so many times it's hard to keep track of where he stands on these fundamental questions of social priorities. We need to get moving, instead of dithering and handing millions to Liberal operatives for years without a single shaft rotation to show for it. It's time to focus on other priorities and get rolling. Help the Conservative Party build this magnet for all Canadians.

NDP LEADER JACK LAYTON The Liberals and their fatcat cronies want to trick Canadians into believing that their system of pulleys and ratchets can keep rotating the shaft in the new economy of the twenty-first century. The NDP sees a new future for Canadians, a future in which a giant wheel with weighted arms continues to turn forever. Canadians believe that the arms should be positioned so that each arm falling in turn on the rising side provides enough force to bring the next arm into position to fall. The NDP understands these priorities. Earlier today I met with Sheira Nkwekwe, a woman of colour, and Rick Philips, a gay man, and they both urged me to work together with the other parties to build this dream for Canadians. You know, I am so proud to represent the NDP, to represent the hope represented by each inexorable click of each weighted arm bringing jobs, benefits, and justice to ordinary Canadians. It's time for a new approach. Vote NDP.

BLOC QUEBECOIS LEADER GILLES DUCEPPE 'Hwee agree wid da 'HenDP dat hin general da 'heternal counterclockward motion 'his da key to bring da progress 'hand da jobs 'hand da prosperity to da Kebeckers, but you must understand dat 'hin Kebec we yave da different way of doing things in our 'hown culture. Da four ball between Ah and Bay, dey weigh more den da two ball between Bay and Say, 'hand da ball 'har 'hevenly divided 'hin Ah Day, Day Say. Alors da ball 'hon da lef' side are more heavier, 'hand 'hall go 'hin da counterclockward direcsyo. Dis 'his da vision 'hof da Bloc, 'hand wheder Canadian will 'elp 'hus 'hachieve it 'his 'hup to them. So for example although we do not agree dat da weighted 'harm 'hare necessary, we will work wit da NDP or da Conservative when it is in da interest of Kebeckers.

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It's Christmas Time in Canada

AND election time . . . .

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Stephen Harper And Paul Martin Will Save the Environment

Stephen Harper and Paul Martin are both committed to the reduction of greenhouse gases and global warming. No matter which Party the voters elect, citizens will be subsidizing Ethanol producers. If you don't vote, you'll still be expected to play by the rules. Let the bidding war begin:

From The Global Voice:

The federal Conservatives will unveil a plan to set a national standard requiring all of the country's fuel to contain at least 5 per cent renewable fuels such as ethanol by 2010, so that gas pumped into cars and trucks would include some fuel made from organic products.

The pledge, to be announced tomorrow, would be aimed at cutting Canada's greenhouse-gas emissions by four million tons a year by mixing gasoline with cleaner-burning ethanol, or using more biodiesel, which blends vegetable oils with diesel fuel.
As to be expected, the pledge to control the heavens was officially confirmed:
The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association today commended the Conservative of Canada for its election commitment to implement a "Renewable Fuel Standard" requiring a 5% renewable fuel content on average in Canadian transportation fuel.

[..] Yesterday the Liberal Party of Canada committed to similar 5% renewable fuel standard.
Ontario has already pledged their allegiance, under the leadership of Dalton McGuinty, although the motivation and science behind the whole scheme is questionable.

David Pimentel, a professor at Cornell University in New York:
... for ethanol to be a substitute for gasoline, and fuel all the cars in the United States, 97 percent of U.S. land would have to planted with corn.

The two factions are also neck in neck for farm aid pledges, although the odds are one in a million that Martin would jeopardize the enshrined status of the Canadian Wheat Board. It's "Your Choice" but we know that's not true at all:
Skeptical farmers in this battleground appear to have given Stephen Harper -- and his $500-million promise -- an early edge over Paul Martin after two days of their duelling agricultural platforms.

Just as the Liberal leader did a day earlier, the Conservatives' Harper yesterday unrolled his agricultural platform here, where two hotly contested ridings meet.

The Tory leader matched Martin's $755-million farm-support promise and raised it by another $500 million a year.

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Wow, this is a great collection of Liberal-exposing media collages. (Thanks to Richard).

One has Mike Duffy interviewing a propagandist from the Conservatives and another from the Liberals. At the close of the interview:

"It's Christmas. Back to Saskatchewan, (Liberal "strategist") Thoren (Hudyma)?"

"Oh no, I'm going to Cuba!"

Followed in the video by the famous picture of Trudeau laughing it up with his friend Fidel.

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Society as one big cannibal pot

What if our Conservative party were this far to the "stone age left"?! This country would be in a lot of trouble.

The (British) Tories should support the redistribution of wealth and try to narrow the gap between rich and poor, Oliver Letwin, the party's new policy chief, says today.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he says: "Of course, inequality matters. Of course, it should be an aim to narrow the gap between rich and poor. It is more than a matter of safety nets."

"We do redistribute money and we should redistribute money," he says. "But we have to find ways that empower people rather than reducing them to dependency."

"You would have to be blind not to see that there are people who are not able to participate properly in everything that most of the population takes for granted," he says. "Any human being who looks at that is bound to conclude that we should take steps to enable those people to move out of that condition."
HT Captain.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Home Despot, you say?

The London Free Press reports that London city council backpedalled Monday on a previous planning committee approval of Home Depot's application to rezone land in East London for a new retail location. The purpose of the delay is to seek more input from area merchants "who say they'll be squeezed out by the big-box retailer." So what kind of input are they hoping to find?

Amendments to zoning bylaws require notices to be published in the London Free Press and sent out to nearby property owners advertising public meetings to be held in consultation with the planning committee before it makes its recommendation to city council, a sap to NIMBY-style political pressures. In the case of the Home Depot application, no area merchants showed up to the original public meeting.

But the process followed, while legal, was inadequate, Coun. Joni Baechler said. Rules require notices be sent only to property owners within 400 feet.

That's not enough for a big-box store that can drive others out of business, a phenomenon some researchers have dubbed the "kill rate," Baechler said.
Either the "researchers" or Baechler are misinterpreting the findings. Big-box stores do not and cannot drive others out of business, at least not without the collusion of regulatory or legal interference by local governments. Other stores go out of business because consumers abandon them in favour of stores catering to the consumers' uncoerced preferences for quality, price or selection. Baechler's and council's agency-free world-view, implemented by the specific agency of the law, suggests that consumers favour city hall's central planning objectives over their own choices.

In any case, council's renewal and redoubling of efforts to find objections to the zoning amendment in the absence of any previous legally registered complaint demonstrates nothing more than it is council itself that has a vindictive anti-capitalist objection to free market competition. By actively seeking more input, council is in effect doing nothing other than inviting entrenched businesses to accede to the regulatory restraint of their competition, an unquestionably seductive appeal. In return, council gets to cover the exercise of its political and arbitrary authority over private property with an appearance of disinterested arbitration.

The Free Press article does cite one legitimate-sounding argument for seeking public input in the application process:
The Home Depot would be on land north of Dundas Street and south of the train tracks, east of Clarke Road. The land had been earmarked for a 100-unit subdivision by the city's official plan.

Other business relied on that plan, anticipated new homes and expanded stores, Coun. Fred Tranquilli said.
Nevertheless, this is only an indictment of the planning process itself, implemented through zoning bylaws. Investors in London should realize that their own already established businesses were founded on the sufferance of arbitrary political decisions at city hall, and any long-term planning should be considered similarly tentative.

Although I am ignoring his injunction against raising the subject of ideology, this excerpt from a Terence Corcoran article in the June 30, 2005 Financial Post is worth repeating. Corcoran was responding to Vancouver city council's decision to refuse Wal-Mart permission to build a store — like Wal-Mart, Home Depot is implicitly at least being "cursed for being a 'big box,' an epithet in itself these days."
What should really be under scrutiny in Vancouver, and across Canada, is why city governments have been given such sway over private property and private interests. Somewhere in the laws that give Vancouver city council its authority to shoot down Wal-Mart lies the big gun of urban power, the city's control over private property. The vehicles of control are extensive: zoning regulations, land use by-laws, licensing and other powers of a general and arbitrary nature.

The reach of cities, soon to be expanded in many provinces through new laws and tax revenues, are already extensive. They ban private smoking in private restaurants and close establishments down that don't comply. They prohibit safe pesticide use on private property based on trumped up fears of environmental hazard. Any popular concern can be converted into a city power trip. Anything in the area of health, safety and the environmental is a source of fresh initiatives. What people drive, where they live, what kind of homes they can build — few things are outside the ambit of some form of control by city officials. If they're not doing it yet, they're working on it.

[…] Fighting city hall on the grounds that it is run by anti-whatever ideologues is bound to be futile. The real ideological battle was lost long ago when private property rights were ceded to local government. It makes little sense to rant about the craven ideological pursuits of city council after they were given the keys to the city. By granting local governments such big powers, we turned them into battlegrounds where ideology and politics are the only basis for decision-making. [Cached version of the first page of the original article available.]

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Unfinished thoughts from the United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada (formerly "Christian", now "Hippie") is calling for the withdrawal of imperialist pig troops from Iraq.(HT Neale).

We know that disregard for the human rights of detainees is only one aspect of the widespread disregard for Iraqi human rights. This grave situation is the result of the illegal foreign occupation of Iraq. Peace and justice will only come to Iraq through a deep and abiding respect for the human rights of Iraqis by both the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

We believe the occupation is the underlying source for this disregard of human rights.
This appeal feels only half done. So many details are missing from their vision.

For example, the United Church is silent on who should then shoot bullets into terrorists in Iraq, so as to make them die and bring despair to the survivors? It's as if the United Church expects this to happen all by itself through some kind of Old Testament divine intervention.

Whose jets will fire missiles into the redoubts of the religiously intolerant? Who does the Church nominate to investigate, track down, and kill their suppliers, money men, scientists, engineers, and propagandists? If there is one thing the United Church does not believe, it's that God strikes people down. With that in mind, they should have given their recommended method for doing this instead of leaving us all to guess.

You can't take this letter seriously. The Church doesn't even bother to nominate anyone to take over the job of questioning captured irregulars in intimidating ways.

These are just a few of the gaping holes in the United Church's position. I suppose that the Church is tacitly imagining the Iraqi military and police are the best people to replace American knowhow in these matters. They will be. But can't we wait for things to stabilize in that region a little bit before turning the entire task of destroying networks of nihilistic lunatics over to a fledgling security apparatus? Many more lives will be saved with the help of the professionals Be realistic, United Church.

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London, Ontario…

…stuck in the middle between an incompetent dirigiste city council and a puffed-up putsch-happy band of socialist class warriors. Happy New Year!

Today at city hall (from AltLondon):

The city asked OMB member Douglas Gates for a deferment of his final ruling until after an appeal, today, citing a new provision governing the OMB.

[…] Mr. Gates ruled he would not allow a deferment, and that he will make an order. He did not entertain any new maps and that includes the one put forward by Imagine London.

It is not known how soon his final ruling will come down. He did ask if City Hall will be open tomorrow (it is open a half day).

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Everyone get Drunk and go to the polls on Christmas Day!

Canadians across the country will be able to vote between noon and 4 p.m. on Christmas Day if they fancy getting out of the house.

There will also be a repeat performance on Jan. 1, when voters can head to the polling station if they feel the need to clear their heads from any New Year's revelry.
Atone for thy sins and visit the ballot box. They should have one at Easter too, because not everyone celebrates Easter.
Joan O'Neill knows there's a good chance she'll be getting at least one election-related call on Christmas Day.

O'Neill, who works for Elections Canada and is responsible for 13 ridings in eastern Ontario, said she expects returning offices to see some action this weekend.

"Not everybody celebrates Christmas," she said.
But it usually means a few days off, or extra wages if you do work.
Nor was it hard to find people to work the statutory holidays, even though O'Neill wants election workers to play it straight Sunday and keep the more potent holiday cheer corked until the polls have closed.

"Cookies and Christmas cake and a happy attitude would be wonderful Christmas cheer to have in the office," O'Neill said.
Pot cookies are on the list of approved offerings.
"But if they want to bring in the other type of Christmas cheer, they should probably wait to open it until 4 o'clock. They can open it just before they leave the office and have a little drink before they say goodbye."
Can the cattle bring their own booze too, as long as they show up near closing time?

I shall spoil my ballot with sticky syrup from the Christmas cake.

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Making Poverty a Reality

Considering that Bono was actually nomimated for the Noble Peace Prize and is received by powerful State leaders on the basis of nothing other than his money which enables him to lobby the rich and powerful, the inclusion of his mug on Time magazine, next to Bill "I apologize for making so much money" Gates, is rather to be expected, as annoying as it is to see the self-righteous and hypocritical warriors so magnifically displayed to bored grocery store patrons. Until these guys devote all of their efforts, talent and money to the UN, and enter the regulatory ration line like the rest of us, happily marching into the woods to take a dump, they cannot be trusted.

It is not a frivilous matter to prop up corrupt regimes. Bono, Bill and Melinda, please remove your heads from the asses of the ruling elite.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Gnotalex has the perfect suggestion for your holiday entertainment needs this Christmas, as long as you and your friends and family enjoy being unproductive wastrels like I do! Sober Santa causes much hilarity without leaving the comfort of your computer chair! (Hint: ply your guests with whiskey beforehand to achieve advertised results.)

Here's something to consider if your tastes are more refined — an art installation created entirely from cheese doodles.

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A Nation of Minorities

Paul Martin visits London Ontario, and his first stop was the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario. The London Fog editors were unable to attend, because we were all working hard to pay for the needs of minorities while trying to house and feed ourselves. Besides, the minority that we represent is not approved by the Party - advocates of individual responsibility clog the public engine because they are SELFISH. Our daily food ration should thus be denied in the interest of favoured minorities because rationing is a reality when funding and resources are limited:

Prime Minister Paul Martin was given a high-energy welcome when he made his first campaign appearance in London last night.

Speaking to about 1,000 people at a seven-riding rally at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, Martin praised the Muslim community for its contribution to Canada.

Martin told the crowd Canada is made up of minorities and he is determined to defend their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Martin said as prime minister he is determined to defend the charter's protection of freedom of religion and same-sex marriage.

[..] In a veiled reference to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's position that he would allow Parliament to hold a free vote on same-sex marriage, Martin said it isn't appropriate to "cherry-pick" rights.
Martin also finds the time to talk to Chip Martin of the People's Press:
[Chip Martin] Q: The last time I was at the Islamic Centre . . . former Liberal MP Pat O'Brien was making much of his denunciation of same-sex marriage . . . Is your position on same-sex marriage a tough one with this audience?

[Comrade Martin] A:Don't forget these are Charter rights we are talking about. And we are a nation of minorities. We have to recognize you can't cherry-pick Charter rights. What you have to do is say, 'If you want your rights to be respected, then you have to understand other people's rights have to be respected.' When the courts said this is a Charter right, then it is the responsibility of the prime minister to defend the Charter. All Canadians should be concerned about Charter rights . . . in a nation of minorities, all of us should be even more concerned.

I am reminded of a post I read yesterday by Bob Tarantino of Let it Bleed. An excerpt:
I (and you) do not have my rights to free speech, free association, fundamental justice, equal treatment before the law and various others because of what some constitution says - I (and you) have those rights inherently and inalienably because of the very fact that I am a sentient human being - is it my (and your) existence that gives rise to these rights, not what Pierre Trudeau signed in 1982. It's very nice that the government has elected to formally recognize the existence of my (and your) rights, but it's not dispositive of the matter.

Let's examine what Paul Martin is saying: he is now reduced to arguing not that individuals need to be protected from government action, but that a piece of paper needs protection from Stephen Harper. That oughta motivate Liberal voters: Stephen Harper's armed with an eraser and a bottle of whiteout! To the barricades! Seriously, though, what does it even mean to say that someone "won't protect the Charter"? Imbue Stephen Harper with the full malignance that the Liberals are so desperate to, and still: what's he going to do? What could he possibly do? How do you "attack" the Charter? Is this some weird reference to the use of Section 33 (the "notwithstanding" clause)? How can you attack the Charter using... the Charter? Harper has pledged that he will not use Section 33 when dealing with same-sex marriage, but that's almost besides the point. Is Section 33 somehow not part of the Charter? Did it slip in there unnoticed? Were the fifteen times that Section 33 has been invoked been somehow unconstitutional? Even those questions, though, seems to presume to much about what Martin actually understands about the Charter and human rights.

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"Don't ask, don't tell." Sound advice.

Why is this satire?

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper announced today a new policy on the controversial issue of same-sex marriage. “We believe in a balanced approach that is fair to everyone,” said Harper. “If a gay or lesbian couple wishes to marry, they will be allowed to do so, providing they do not disclose their marriage to anyone. In turn, my government will make no inquiries into their marital status.”
From Derision 2006.

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Council voted yesterday to hire a top-gun lawyer and pursue victory regardless of cost

…is how the London Free Press staff ecumenically describes council's decision to hire outside legal assistance for its challenge to the Ontario Municipal Board order to replace its seven two-councillor wards with fourteen smaller single-councillor wards after all. Apparently Free Press staff are unsympathetic to the challenge. City lawyer Jim Barber had argued that the city's own legal staff were qualified to seek leave to appeal from a divisional court, but their poor preparation and arguments in the original OMB hearing suggest otherwise.

[C]ouncil voted 11-8 to seek help from outside lawyers over the objection of two councillors who said they had supported the appeal in part because it would cost little or nothing.
It's too bad those councillors don't take that consideration when supporting plans that are not a matter of defending principles.

Update, December 21, 2005: It's too bad those councillors don't take that consideration when supporting plans that are not a matter of defending principles.

As if to prove the point, the same lawyer, George Rust D'Eye, that is being hired to appeal the OMB ruling is also being hired to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada an Ontario Court of Appeal decision striking down a bylaw preventing development along a four-block stretch of Richmond Street. The Ontario Court had ruled that the city was not justified in presenting evidence for the bylaw in camera. Unfortunately, the only principle in this case is council's authority to make arbitrary political decisions in secret.
London city solicitor Jim Barber says he won't disclose Rust D'Eye's hourly rate.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Adopt a surgeon and enforce government approved discrimination

It is estimated that 50,000 Londoners are without a family doctor. The two emergency wards expected to service a city of approximately 350,000 are filled to capacity and wait times for many critical medical procedures are longer than a year, and that after you finally get in to see the overworked specialist.

Today's rather unsurprising Breaking News from the London Free Press, intended to encourage you to come back tomorrow to see the sorid statistics, confirms that things are getting worse, not better:

Londoners are waiting weeks longer for hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery, compared with patients scheduled for the same operations last July.

Wait times locally have climbed in recent months for several key operations, according to the latest statistics released by the Ontario government.
Despair no longer Comrades of London Ontario! Britian has the answer to our troubles. From the Red Star:
London—Britain's cherished universal health-care system has started denying treatment to fat people.

The first official move to refuse surgery happened last month when a local health authority in Ipswich, northeast of London, announced that obese people would not be given hip and knee replacements.

The move, which has been met with both praise and condemnation, comes amid a story all too familiar to Canadians — hospitals facing cash shortages at a time when the population is both growing and aging.

Dr. Brian Keeble, head of public health for Ipswich, acknowledged that while the added risks of hip and knee surgery on obese patients were a factor in the move, so was the reality of limited resources.

"We cannot pretend that this work wasn't stimulated by pressing financial problems," Keeble said in a statement of the list of services being reduced to save money, with joint replacements being the most controversial.

Keeble added that given the increased failure rate of the procedures on overweight people, the limited amount of money available is better spent on slimmer patients.

[..] . . . Tony Harrison, of the independent London think tank the King's Fund, said the move amounts to a good dose of common sense given the reality of limited resources.

"Rationing is a reality when funding is limited," Harrison said, adding responsible health-service providers have an obligation to taxpayers to get the most benefit out of the money they're given.
Ontario should adopt a five year plan, spearheaded by George Smitherman, to deal with the failing health care system. First, it is obvious treatment should be denied to fat people until they lose wait and start eating according to the four food groups. The smokers and the drug users are also a burden on taxpayers and so will no longer receive treatment for drug related health problems. The third phrase, spanning the last three years of the plan, is to reduce, with the eventual goal of completely eliminating public care for old people - afterall, they are close to death so why waste the resources?

Although the members of these targeted groups pay vast sums, against their will, into the public pot and although they are unable to seek private health care in Canada, the essential point to be remembered is that there is a limited amount of funds and so the government must deny these people not only their money but also the services that this money is collected to pay for. It is not in the public interest for people to budget their own funds and activities. They'd only smoke cigarettes, drink beer and eat popcorn.

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Oil For Food recap

It's Christmas again, and South Park's "Christmas in Canada" gets more eerie every year.

BNP Paribas and TotalFina may have blood-stained corporate histories, but the intimate and intricate connections of Power Corp. to Canada's governing elite raise the truly disturbing questions.
The rest is at Newsmax.

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Did the City of London commission this stupid poll or was it the London Free Press?

From the People's Left Arm:

Londoners rather city council spend money to attract jobs than to fix roads, hire cops and firefighters or improve recreation, a new poll suggests.

Asked to rank those four choices 38 per cent of Londoner [sic] picked job attraction as their top priority.

That easily surpassed the next two choices, fixing roads and hiring more police and firefighters, which finished in a near statistical dead heat.

New hires was the top choice for 25 per cent of respondents while 24 per cent picked roads — the difference well within the poll's margin of error of 5.8 per cent.
3000 Londoners responded to this survey, outnumbering those whose testimony formed the basis of the recent OMB decision on London's current ward system by 2985.

The fact that only one percent of respondents ranked the nebulous concept of creating jobs as the top priority of city council, with a error margin of 5.8 percent, is nonetheless an occasion of self-congratulation for Controller of Arenas, Parks, Libraries and Creative Cities Gord Hume:
Finishing a distant fourth were parks and recreation facilities, picked as a top choice by only seven per cent. That’s the same number who either said they didn’t know or volunteered their own answer.

The results didn’t surprise council members.

“It shows again that Londoners are smart and have their priorities right . . . This is pretty much how the budget (is coming) down this year,” controller Gord Hume said.
Do I smell an upcoming municipal election in 2006? What this poll shows, if anything, is that Council and City Staff are stupid and have no notion of responsibility or properly aligned priorities. What's going down in this city is that the very priority voted as last in this totally meaningless poll has been the very first priority of city council for years. Spending on recreation and entertainment is one the biggest reasons Londoners are overtaxed and under-serviced. A one percent difference is 'significant' because council doesn't want to spend money on the roads, because they've already spent and borrowed tons of money on capital improvements which must now be paid for. Fixing the potholes is not near so glorious as boasting the JLC.

The reality is that people don't want to come here because the roads are crumbling and covered in snow, the sewers and water pipes are bursting, the guns firing and property taxes and debt proportionally higher than other municipalities. The best way to attract newcomers, other than those seeking public housing in London, is to bite that hand that steals.

"There's no sense having good roads if you have nowhere to go."
Coun. Fred Tranquilli

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

A tumor of boomer humour

"So, Mr. Williams," I asked, "what is your position on the Canadian election?"

"Stay Liberal!" he expounded with the speed of a stand-up.

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Does it pay?

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CollaboratorWatch 2006: London West

Stepping out to buy a train ticket, I dropped in to the neighborhood variety store for smokes on my way downtown.

Ahead of me in line was a little dark cloud of a troll, purchasing a Toronto Star. It took me a little while to register that this troll was in fact Sue Barnes, the MP for this benighted riding.

Barnes and the owner were in conversation. Barnes handed him a card with a big red L on it, saying something to the effect of, "OK, call us, and we will set up a meeting". I realized that this was no place for a patriotic Canadian to spend his money.

The owner turned to me, Liberal business card still in hand. "Yes sir."

Not having come up with a witty line like, "Sorry, the Liberals are bad for business," I looked at him, looked at the card, looked at her, slowly said "No thanks," and walked out.

I then went and gave my money to the Party anyways by buying a train ticket and smokes somewhere else. But hopefully it made him a little more wary of Liberals, and perhaps made her a little bit more ashamed to be Sue Barnes.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

TV Eye

The purges and trials that the people will demand following the election must not neglect CPAC.

For example, the host and a guest just went through regional and provincial polls. Liberal-voting regions were given lengthy treatment and the reasons expounded upon for Liberal dominance. Then in the journey west, we hit Alberta, and the host and guest back right away from Alberta with a "Whooooaahh!", moving directly along to BC. Those figures weren't on screen 10 seconds.

I may post audio later, if it's as openly biased as it seemed.

Later: Embarrassing repeated references to Bono during the big TV election debates in the nation of my birth.

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The season of inclusion

If we can manage to spare everyone's feelings enough, we can all just be quivering masses of feeling and not have to use our heads — the distribution of intellectual capacity being so, you know, unequal and everything. Like John Ralston Saul says, Lord knows that "reason" has already had its turn. From Raleigh, NC:

The sign at McDonald's on the corner of Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road reads: "Merry Christmas, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It is a holiday message that Amanda Alpert thinks comes on a little too strongly.

"It offends me because it specifically talks about Jesus, Merry Christmas. It doesn't give credit to anyone else," Alpert said.
You mean, like Bob Geldof?

HT: John the Mad. The good news: McDonald's didn't bite on her complaint.

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Friday night blogging with "alternative" media

It's the weekend, that time of the week when the handbasket destination of the world can be taken less seriously and I can be lazy. So I headed off to Owls Aren't Wise, Britain's Curmudgeon Laureate, stole a link and some text and made a funny picture as my contribution to the handbasket brakes.

Hello, and welcome to the Daily Show with Leon Trotsky.
Today on the anti-Bush section, we look at an actual time that Bush volunteered to answer audience questions; we pick up on the question asked by our Communist stooge, and then cut Bush's answer out altogether, so that he is damned by the question, regardless of his answer.
Read the rest… and "thanks for watching!"

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It's really important…

…that your vote in the upcoming election be informed, just in case you're the only one. Get all the news you really need to know about the election at Derision 2006 — vision, economic policy, social policy…

Layton would legalize same-person marriage.

VANCOUVER (CPB) – Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Vancouver today, NDP Leader Jack Layton vowed to prevent discrimination against persons who are the person they wish to marry. “The courts’ interpretation of marriage has been unconstitutional and discriminatory toward same-person couples,” said Layton. “I believe that all rights and privileges of marriage be extended to those who choose to take their nuptials alone.” Supporters cheered – “Don’t groan. Don’t moan. We have sex alone!”

HT: Jay Currie.

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They'll be suing frito-lay next

Companies peddling vices that people want, beware labeling your product as "low fat" or "light"; although presently approved by the powers that be, you might find yourself faced with a mammoth lawsuit down the road, just like Philip Morris:

The decision in favour of Altria's Philip Morris USA division was a major victory for the tobacco industry, which has been successful in overturning a number of the massive judgments imposed in recent years.

In a 109-page decision, the court dismissed the case on the grounds that the US Federal Trade Commission had specifically authorized tobacco companies to characterize their products as "light" or "low tar and nicotine."

The class-action suit representing 1.4 million smokers was unusual in that it did not seek damages for physical harm.

Instead, it argued the smokers had been defrauded by the false claim that the "light" or "low tar" cigarettes promoted at that time were no safer than regular cigarettes and, in fact, could be more harmful.
The people want to be deceived, which is reflected in market spending habits and unfortunately, voting tendencies. Many people don't want to take responsibility for their choices and when the gamble doesn't work out in their favour, promptly attempt to pass the cost and the blame onto the once cherished supplier. These people are encouraged and supported by legislators and regulatory boards who control the fate of merchants and producers, contributing to general hysteria and subsequent unwarranted lawsuits.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

What do they care, each of them is rich enough to pay for it in the States

It's the first leader's debate of the campaign. Through a translator, I am listening to sheer lunatics discuss health care. One and all.

Makes me sick.

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Great Moments In Central Planning

To: Comrade A.S. Korolyov, Director of Mines


In response to your order requesting an explanation of the six-hour period on the twelfth of November of the current year during which the convict work gang No. 4 under my supervision in the Golden Spring Mine stood idle, I report the following:

The air temperature in the morning was sixty degrees below zero. Our thermometer was broken by the on-duty overseer, as I reported to you earlier. Nevertheless, it was possible to determine the temperature, since spit froze in midair.

The work gang was brought to the site on time, but could not commence work, since the boiler injector serving our area and intended to thaw the frozen ground wouldn't work.

I have already repeatedly brought the injector to the attention of the chief engineer. Nevertheless, no measures were taken, and the injector has completely gone to pot. The chief engineer refuses to replace the injector just now. We have no place to warm up, and they won't let us make a fire. Furthermore, the guards won't permit the work gang to be sent back to the barracks.

I've written everywhere I could, but I can't work with this injector any longer. The injector hardly works at all, and the plan for our area can't be fulfilled. We can't get anything done, but the chief engineer doesn't pay any attention and just demands his cubic meters of soil.

Mine Engineer L.V. Kudinov,
Area Chief of the Golden Spring Mine

The following was written in neat longhand obliquely across the report.

1. For refusing to work for five days and thus interfering with the production schedule, Convict Injector is to be placed under arrest for three days without permission to return to work and is to be transferred to a work gang with a penal regimen.

2. I officially reprimand Chief Engineer Gorev for a lack of discipline in the production area. I suggest that Convict Injector be replaced with a civilian employee.

Alexander Korolyov,
Director of Mines

-- Varlam Shalamov, The Injector, Kolyma Tales

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City lawyers to have another go at the OMB

The London Free Press reports that city lawyers will ask divisional court on Dec. 20 for leave to appeal the recent contentious OMB order to London to replace its seven two-councillor wards with fourteen smaller single-councillor wards. On Dec. 22, city lawyers will ask the OMB for a review of rehearing of the decision as the Board reconvenes in London to assess the implementation of the ruling.

"If the board (refuses the city's request) and issues an order before the end of the year, then the election would be carried out in accordance with the board's order, subject to the outcome of the court appeal," said city lawyer Jim Barber.

Barber also told controllers there's not enough time to hire outside legal help, although the board passed a resolution giving him the option to hire a lawyer if necessary.
That's too bad, the city could apparently benefit from outside legal assistance. The city's arguments in the original hearing were poorly prepared and failed to rebut most of Imagine London's appalling assertions, allowing the Board's arbitrator, Douglas Gates, the indulgence of choosing between weak positions and substituting arbitrary collectivist platitudes for sound judgment. I'm not a lawyer myself, but considering that this is a political rather than legal matter, I submit these positions to the city's lawyers for consideration…

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The rate of return on your good intentions is a friendly plug in the London Free Press

If shares were issued by the city of London, the risk on your investment would be shielded by the city's legally unrestrained access to your earnings to the tune of 5.9 and 6.6 per cent property tax rate increases in the past two years. Unfortunately, you'd still only receive warm-and-fuzzy-feeling dividends, compliments of the London Free Press:

London's share of a year's profit from the John Labatt Centre was $151,000.

[…] "I don't know how much better it could be doing," said Vic Cote, the city's finance manager who oversaw development of the JLC.
Mr. Cote ought to be hoping that the JLC would be doing a lot better — the city spends annually about $4.1 million on debt payments for the $42 million it contributed towards land and construction of the $52 million facility.
Revenues totalled $13.8 million against expenses of $12.5 million, producing a profit of $604,394 for the London Civic Centre Corp., the private-sector partnership that leases the facility from the city. Global Spectrum manages the JLC.
This comment by an anonymous reader bears repeating:
Remember the 'original' deal based on conservative estimates estimated the City getting annual profit share of approx $500,000. But a few City staffers in the back pocket of Global Spectrum 'amended' the deal and slipped in wording allowing Global to siphon out all profits as 'management fees' and what ever was left the City got a share of which had to be at least $50,000. Some people would call this FRAUD … but corruption at the very least.

Incidently a City Manager involved in this deal (Clive Matthews) quit the City the day before the JLC opened and he became a Global Spectrum Director … and got his kick back and now is living in his seven figure new house paid for by London taxpayers.
Deputy mayor Tom Gosnell, a critic of the original deal made with Global Spectrum, thinks that it's time to let dead dogs lie, never mind the flies and stench:
"Its overall economic impact to the city is measurable, with the activities and spinoffs you see downtown."
I've no doubt a methodologically vague measurement could be constructed to support the city's position, but it would be a stretch to come up with $42 million. Sounds like a job for some academics looking for grants coming from you know who.

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When they came for the "homophobes", I didn't say anything, because I am opposed to discrimination in all forms

Steyn, on an incident that's been all over American talk radio this week:

...the other day, the author Lynette Burrows went on a BBC Five Live show to talk about the government's new "civil partnerships" and expressed her opinion - politely, no intemperate words - that the adoption of children by homosexuals was "a risk". The following day, Fulham police contacted her to discuss the "homophobic incident".

A Scotland Yard spokesperson told the Telegraph's Sally Pook that it's "standard policy" for "community safety units" to investigate "homophobic, racist and domestic incidents" because these are all "priority crimes" - even though, in the case of Mrs Burrows, there is (to be boringly legalistic about these things) no crime, as even the zealots of the Yard concede.
As Steyn points out, cops would much rather go after non-violent thought criminals than people who might shoot at them. Thus "homophobia" becomes a priority crime while real property crime goes ignored.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Joe Fontana fails to make the grade

Longtime entrenched Liberal MP Joe Fontana doesn't honour his personal resolutions, yet we are to trust he will act in the best interests of his constituents?

Labour Minister Joe Fontana of London wishes he'd quit smoking Jan. 1, as he had vowed. But he's still puffing and has picked up a case of bronchitis on the campaign trail. "I'm giving it up," he says. "I am trying my best."

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Too many TV dinners leads to social activism

Cafe Hayek, on the environmental crisis:

Let’s assume that global warming is happening and that it’s caused by modern human industry and commerce. Is there a case to be made for the United States government to continue to avoid signing the Kyoto Protocol? More generally, is there a case to be made to shrug our shoulders and say “best not to do anything through government about global warming”?

I think so.

One legitimate reason for refusing to endorse massive, worldwide government-led efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions is that any such effort will inevitably be politicized. Even if the possibility exists for such regulation to make the world a better place, this possibility is remote compared to the likelihood that grandstanding politicians, special-interest groups, arrogant environmentalists who are intolerant of commercial values, and well-meaning but misinformed voters will combine to generate policies that do more harm than good.
Case and point via Mark Steyn:
Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace:

Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with.
In plain language this translates to "We've no idea what's going on, but legislation must be passed to control the emissions of the populace." People breathe and breed to the detriment of the planet. The hetronormatives should thus be among the earliest of sacrifices.

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Scott Ried wants to take your beer and diaper money to improve moral acceptance of Liberal rule among tots, and on a provincial level, Gerard Kennedy and his gang plan to force young people to keep learning the Party Agenda until at least the age of eighteen. After eighteen years of proper conditioning, the majority of citizens are sure to be more receptive to public education campaigns.

Perhaps forseeing the enormous cost to physically restrain pupils in their publically designated, equally uncomfortable seats, the Ontario Liberals have come up with a new 'incentive':

Ontario high school students who drop out won't be allowed to get their driver's licences under proposed new legislation.

The aim is to keep students in school until they're 18 so they can graduate. Roughly 45,000 Ontario high school students, or 30 per cent, leave each year before graduating.

[..] Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said students applying for their licences would have to show a document to the Ministry of Transportation that proves they're an active student.

Kennedy says the penalty will come into effect once schools establish a wider choice of courses and add more co-op and apprenticeship programs to keep at-risk students in school.

"The licence provision is a proactive way of setting the bar, the marker, that avoids the courts, allows us to deal with it as something people will come to accept - that it's a privilege to have a driver's license and one of the corresponding obligations is to be serious about taking your learning as far as possible," said Kennedy.
Yeah, I am sure I will learn lots at the point of a government gun. Bypass the courts and we'll come "to accept" your legislation, because if we don't, we won't be eligible for that "privilege" or worse yet, will end up in jail.

Since when is the "privilege" of operating a motorized vehicle granted according to anything other than a person's ability to safely and competently manoeuvre a vehicle??!! Understanding the feelings of minorities, women and gays, according to government interpretation, is going to make me a better driver?

Fuck you Kennedy. In my youth, I resisted your evil ethics and teachings, and so did not receive that high school stamp of approval. I quit, when I was 15, and was granted my parent's approval upon condition that I get a job, which I did. I am not an "at-risk" citizen, except in so far as I prefer to think for myself and don't like bureaucrats and crooks telling me what my best interests are. I am employed and graduated with distinction from an accredited university and so now I am the proud owner of a cherished piece of paper which I will soon line my cat's litter box with. The Christmas season is all about giving.

More from Comrade Kennedy:
"Our Student Success Strategy is about customizing high schools to give
every student an Ontario education advantage," said Kennedy. "Enforcement measures are intended as a backstop to these important student success programs and to send a strong signal that we are taking responsibility for student achievement."
Success measured according to whom and by what? By definition, advantage is contrasted against the relative failure of someone else and that doesn't work very well in a society of EQUALS. By what divine authority do you take responsiblity for the choices of individuals? I didn't elect you buddy. I don't respect your authority although I am forced to submit.

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"Somebody's going to be killed one of these days"

Three London councillors out of 14 are recommending the city restore funding to improve Commissioners Road West. A few of the problems cited:

- The road has three lanes but with 24,000 vehicles daily, has more traffic than some five-lane roads.

- The water main below the road is prone to breaks and the sewers need extensions, problems that can only be fixed cost-effectively as part of a road widening.
After twenty years of advice by "experts", this is what city staff recommends:
City staff wanted to spend less than $1 million to do a study that would enable construction in 2007 but that was rejected by controllers.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

London Fog Election Guide 2006 : LONDON WEST

Ours is a global age, in which national decisions are also international decisions. The London Fog has enlisted four respected members of the international community, representing a broad spectrum of Canadian political opinion, from right-of-centre to moderate. We were lucky enough to find a quartet of internationally renowned figures who differ on many issues, but who all have something to say about London federal politics. And they're not pulling any punches.

Like many of Canada's favourite pundits and media personalities, our guests are well known to be sassy, politically incorrect, and not afraid to step on a few toes to move the discussion forward.

In this instalment, we focus on the important riding of London West. Liberal Sue Barnes is the incumbent.

    Barnes stood up to the American hegemony, in support of the children and women of Canada and against killing the women and children of Iraq for George Bush and Haliburton. We have such women as Sue Barnes here in Venezuela, and they are among our strongest ideological allies in the struggle against imperialism and colonialism. I only wish my own woman would clench her own jaw with such steely, angry determination when faced by the enemies of equality and the profiteers of global death. Sue Barnes, I would wish to wait for you beneath your window at night, playing the gitarra, between my teeth a red orchid, the flower of my country.A
    Sue Barnes? I have never heard of this person. They tell me that in Canada, as here in Cuba, the most important positions are all appointed by the leader of the ruling Party. Google says that Sue Barnes was first elected in 1993, twelve years ago! By the time I have served with a comrade for twelve years I have come to decide whether I would be comfortable appointing him to represent the Party in some official capacity or another. Why does London West keep electing someone who evidently will never provide favours to them at least as a minister, or the overseer of the program of multiculturalism, or the railways? Clearly London requires a more reliable and cunning representative if its people are to receive their share of benefits from the federal government.B-
    politicians are all the same. i figure the more controversial politicians like to rile up their constituency with extreme ideas. this is why stephen harper will never be prime minister, since canadians don't like fundamentalist christians who want to take away their right to choose. sure sue barnes has been a long time member of parliament. sure nobody has ever heard of her. but that's my point. if you can stay in office for that long without making any waves then you're probably the lesser of the evils. and i trust she'll defend health care staunchly against the corporations. B
    I see that the Liberal Party has ruled Canada for many years. I see that appointments to high positions are confined to the oppressed Quebecois. So much power. Why have the English not been driven from their homes? Why do their farms not feed the heroes of a glorious resettlement program? Why do the Liberals help the English enjoy the plenty they deny to their French slaves? I see through you, Liberal Party. You traitors serve the interests of the racist colonialists. You protect their illegitimate tenancy of Canadian land from the anger and justice of your Quebecois kinsmen. You hold state power but you do not defend the helpless. Sue Barnes' parasitic stasis is the perfect symbol for this party of half measures. F

    Is that a knife in your hand, Gina Barber? Do you come to cut the throat of the neoliberal imperialist? Or do you come to cut the lifeline of his hegemony, to cut apart the lying serpent of privatization? Whichever path you strike out upon, I won't stand in your way. A

    Nikita once told me that Stalin would sometimes say, "The woman who can look at power over the lives of millions, and say to herself, 'I will take that', is well-equipped as any man to serve the Revolution." I was a bit shocked by Stalin's sexism at the time, since of course that goes without saying. And it also goes without saying that this is the only choice for progressives in this riding. Still not convinced? At the request of the patrons of the Fred Landon Library, and in the spirit of "Deviant or Different?", I have agreed to free a criminal librarian imprisoned some years ago, into army service -- if you make Gina Barber your MP. A

    gina barber cares. i know of several former students from secret ndp exchange programs and they had all learned the true meaning of sociology. they showed great discipline and performed admirably in the presence of some of my highest generals, when one jokingly invited them to join in on a self-criticism session. this kind of example and leadership is important if canada is ever going to become the canada we all know it can become. can you imagine stephen harper or some other fundamentalist goon taking her classes? question one: why did you cause this election that canadians don't want? oops, you fail, pat robertson. oops, you fail too, stephen harper. gina barber to the head of the class.A
    This is a candidate? I will show you a barber, the barber of humanity, who reshapes the nation. Like the barber, he reshapes the nation with sharp tools, so that the sun may shine on the smiles of the people, without imperialism always getting in their faces. Your capitalist illusion of democracy does not admit such necessary measures. This contest is no contest. It is a contest of all gay long-haired English oppressors. Est-ce que vous me comprenez, madame? No, you are too busy stealing bread from hungry Quebecois mouths to speak the native language. F

    Al Gretzky is precisely the fundamental cause of the great evils and the great tragedies currently suffered by your people: the neoliberal capitalism, the Washington Consensus. All this has generated is a high degree of misery, inequality, and infinite tragedy for all the peoples of Canada. Do you see what I see, rolling down that track? It is one of your VIA trains, owned and operated by the people, full of food and education and popular liberation. Al Gretzky waits further down the tracks with a bundle of dynamite. The explosives are his shrieking demands for the return to a false, racist golden age morality of the past. And this campaign is the fading cry of an old millenium, the fading light of fast-receding constellations of free market lies. F
    Brad Pitt took me to a hockey game in Moscow once. It was very exciting to see the people produce such skill! He told me that in Canada, hockey is an important opiate of the people, and I can see why! In Cuba we only have baseball, as it is impossible to import enough ice. One half of our ice production is used to keep military rations cold and the other half goes in the daiquiris and slushies of the wonderful Canadians who bring me their resort money. It is so warm and beautiful here! There is no need to go out into the snow to vote against right wing extremists who will fire you from your government job. The Cuban government provides free postage for Canadian absentee ballots! D
    sometimes i think that the conservatives get tarred with too much of a "right wing" brush. maybe it's not so much that they're right wing, it's that they're just not ready to run canada. i think it's sad when parties parachute in candidates for the name recognition, and it's even worse when it's just because they have the same last names. what can al gretzky contribute to the debate over urban violence, which will increasingly become significant in london over the life of the next government? he probably doesn't even know who eminem is. let's face it. peter mckay would have found a more qualified, more progressive candidate to serve canada, and on the basis of more than name recognition. canada is a young country, one where the beliefs of past generations can only hold you back. C
    See the Canadians cheer for their foolish game of hockey. This ritualized combat between the French and the English consumes the thoughts of all Canadian and Quebecois peasants. The thought of real revolution is soothed on the field of ice. The hatred of the Quebecois for his English rape-lord is displaced into enthusiasm for this tiresome game. It is the wicked invention of the English capitalist slavetenders. It is no surprise that the Western elite would slap Quebec yet again by nominating this man. He was a celebrated hockey player some thirty-five years ago at the height of the armed struggle against the death-grip of imperialism. The people know their enemies. F

    There are those gifted men of historical authority who guide the people forward, and there are those less anointed by history, who prepare the way for the great leaders with ideas. The Greens are the latter. When I gaze into their eyes, I see none of the cold steel required to achieve their very clever and promising Six Principles. So innocent and literal-minded. The Green Party would be laughed out of an auditorium of Venezuelan freshmen. Senorita Jarabek, there are so many things an experienced older man such as myself could teach you about the meaning of social justice and participatory democracy. Come to my castilla, and I can tell you of the delightful applications of these excellent ideas, over fine wine and organic fair trade steak. B
    One of the best aspects of Canada is your school system. It really does seem to be working! It is heartening to see so many young people in the vanguard of the Green Party. For a while, it was difficult to win new minds to the cause of centralized economies, but this great new "environmentalism" retooling of the eternal struggle for popular authority has reinvigorated the taste for justice among the young in the capitalist world. We don't need this idea in Cuba, since our Revolution has remained strong from the very beginning. The same is true in this riding. With a strong NDP candidate, there is no need to press the environmentalist line forward among the people of London West. A-
    sometimes we get caught up in politics and we forget to step back and look at the big picture. what does it matter whether or not same sex couples can get married if we don't have a planet for them to love each other on? has everyone been so brainwashed by the story of "chicken little" in school that they don't see why it's important to preserve our environment if any of this stuff is going to matter? it's a question of responsibility, one the conservatives have refused to answer all along. all the same the greens are a bit radical for most people who've been brainwashed by television so you'd probably be wasting your vote here. besides, you have a chance to bring canada into the family of enlightened nations with jack layton. i do agree though, it's amazing to see this kind of commitment from young people coming from outside of the dprk. B
    I am not interested in the mystical babbling of Moammar Gadhafi. F

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Urban liberalism fails

Thanks to reader Daniel for pointing out this article by Joel Kotkin in The American Enterprise. Kotkin was author of The Rise of the Ephemeral City, an excellent article about the troubles cities invite by invoking Creative Cities liberal-welfare economic policy. Ideological Hurricane is another cautionary tale for municipalities engaging in central planning economic interventions for the sake of fashion.

The truth is that, rather than improving conditions for average residents of their cities, many urban politicians and interest groups have promoted policies that actually exacerbated a metastasizing underclass. Urban liberals tend to blame a shrivelling of Great Society programs for problems in cities. Observers such as former Houston mayor Bob Lanier have suggested, however, that the Great Society impulse itself is what most damaged many cities—by stressing welfare payments and income redistribution, ethnic grievance, and lax policies on issues like crime and homelessness, instead of the creation of a stronger economy.

This modern liberalism veered far from the traditional progressive visions of politicians like Theodore Roosevelt and Fiorello LaGuardia. Those leaders believed in the basics: building up the economic infrastructure that government has long been responsible for (like ports and transportation), efficient and honest provision of services like education and policing, and mainstream, even conservative, social policies. Today, only a handful of mayors like Chicago’s Richard Daley, Jr., Charleston’s Joseph Riley, and Houston’s Bill White still stick to this “back to basics” focus. Most other urban leaders have turned to more ephemeral issues, less mainstream values, and economic policies that largely surrender to public worker unions, spiced with an emphasis on cultivating arts, entertainment and pro sports, tourism, and show-projects.

Certainly New Orleans was following a very conventional program of urban liberalism. Local leaders had become convinced that becoming a “port of cool” was the ticket to success. Never mind the grubby fiscal and regulatory basics of encouraging business activity. Instead, city and state leaders adopted Richard Florida’s trendy “creative class” theory, and held a conference just a month before Katrina promoting the idea that a cultural strategy of fostering edgy arts and boutique entertainment districts was a promising way to bring in high-end industry. Over the previous decade, city leaders had already transformed the once-bustling warehouse district into a tourist zone. Before the hurricane hit, state and city officials were looking to expand the now-infamous convention center at a price tag of some $450 million.

Amidst the focus on les bons temps, high-paying core industries like the port and energy production were left to decamp to places like the less lovely but far more business-friendly and efficient city of Houston. This is a tragic story which played out in similar ways in many city halls.

The result of these unfortunate political decisions was to leave many urban cores with nothing but some often largely vacant office towers, Potemkin tourist districts, lousy public schools, ineffective police departments, and blocks of decrepit neighborhoods where residents are more dependent on government checks or jobs, or criminal activity, than on paid employment. The results of this decoupling of cities from the global economy has been all too evident. Wealthy elites who own or patronize restaurants, high-end hotels, loft developments, and cultural institutions have done fine. Younger, single, and gay residents of cities have enjoyed themselves. But for working- and middle-class families with children, cities have become hostile environments.
Read the whole thing

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Smells like Canada

The party in power inevitably employs its friends and well-wishers, and passes laws and enforces proceedings against others not of the same political conviction.

Over a period of time these laws and enforcements build up a body of resistance. The oppression mounts. It may become a public scandal. Finally, the "ins" are ousted and the other party assumes power.

Immediately the process repeats but with alternate emphasis. Those who are "ins" become "outs." And the newly hired "ins" go to work to cut their friends free from oppression and to visit their vengeance upon those who subscribed to the beliefs of the former "ins." Then the same iniquities come to pass all over again. Those persecuted change places with the persecutors. And around and around goes the political wheel of chance, with the voting public spinning the wheel.

In our own time we have seen one curious variance occurring to this otherwise monotonous and easily predictable routine. The "ins" and the "outs" have performed a merger. The party in power has now scarcely a discernible difference from the party out of power. And the reason for this merger is self-evident. The government has in itself grown so large and so formidable that it tends to absorb any and all politically interested persons, regardless of party affiliation. And since, in the main, there is no real difference in political parties, each party desiring only to rule — each party adopts an advertising program consisting of those public statements which each party leader feels will win an election — the merger is that of blood brothers and constitutes no betrayal.
Robert LeFevre, "The Nature of Man and His Government"

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OMB reform: developers 0,
democratic excesses 1

The Ontario Liberal government introduced legislation today to restrict the Ontario Municipal Board's authority over urban planning issues and make it more difficult for developers to circumvent planning decisions made by local councils. If passed, the legislation would, among other things:

  • reinforce the OMB's original role as an appeal body rather than a principle decision-maker on planning disputes between municipalities and developers;
  • require the OMB to give "greater weight" to the decisions of municipal councils during the appeal process;
  • require municipalities to have up-to-date official plans subject to revision every five years;
  • allow councils to consider architectural and design features as a condition of planning approval; and
  • allow municipalities to establish local bodies for appeals on some minor variances.
The OMB, author of a contentious ruling on London's ward system last month, is described by the Canadian Press as "a costly and bitter battleground in which municipalities and their citizens are pitched against developers." One assumes that by "citizens" the CP is not rhetorically disenfranchising those individuals who live, work or shop in the "industry's" products.

The OMB's decisions in favour of developers have in the past, disproportionately perhaps by anti-development lobbyists, compromised its perception as an impartial arms-length arbiter. However, those decisions have often managed to curb the arbitrary and politically-motivated regulatory excesses of politicians who pander to NIMBY-style opposition to development — the OMB frequently rescues cities from irresponsible economic policy and heavy-handed property restrictions. These ends, though necessary, are obtained at the expense of allowing elected politicians to take populist stances on development issues without having to be held accountable in the end. Loosening restrictions on municipalities' planning authority may be an unappealing prospect — London has spent $220,000 so far in legal fees in unsuccessful attempts to defend the recklessly political Richmond Street zoning bylaw — but local government in Ontario will remain a child's game until voters and councillors are not saved from the consequences of their dirigiste fantasies. A little competition in regulatory regimes in Ontario would punish those towns and cities that allow their elected politicians to pander to their own "I got mine" prejudices. Unfortunately, the legislation will not go far enough.

Update, December 13, 2005: The London Free Press reports that deputy mayor Tom Gosnell is pleased with the proposed OMB reform:
"Giving more deference to local councils is appropriate because the public can change the makeup of a council every three years. …It's more democratic than leaving the decisions to a board that doesn't understand the history or interests of a city."
Alan Patton, a lawyer for local developers, offers a perspective less indulgent to politicians' grandstanding rhetoric:
[…] he's not convinced local politicians will like the changes, especially if more deference is shown to local councils and residents.

"That falls into the category of 'Be careful what you ask for because you might just get it,'" Patton said.

Instead of just taking planning issues into account, Patton said the changes could allow developers appearing before the OMB to show other issues that influenced the decisions of politicians, including personality conflicts, biases and the trading of favours.

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The streets of London Ontario are ridden with potholes and smell like urine

In London's future is another capital project sure to attract vandals, drunks and perverts.

Outdoor urination causing civic ruination

Pee now, pay later.

That's the intent behind a proposed London bylaw that would levy $125 fines against people who urinate or defecate in public view.

Bathroom humour aside, the issue is a serious one for downtown residents and business owners whose properties can become receptacles for the foulest of discharges once bars close their doors at 2 a.m.

In a September sweep to crack down on rowdy post-secondary students, London police laid 89 charge [sic] for public urination. In one case, a business owner found a woman defecating in her flower bed.
But perhaps the woman was not drunk at all, but merely providing a natural fertilizer for the pretty flowers? Like Drew Barrymore, the woman probably laments the advances in sanitary options. She was enjoying the awesome experience of taking a crap in full view of the neighbours, hunched over like an animal.

When drunken and you have to pee, bylaw or not, the drunks are going to piss on the steps of city hall as they stumble home because bus service stops at midnight. Why pass a bylaw when such behaviour is already prohibited under existing laws covering vandalism and indecent exposure in public, unless you want to increase the powers of city enforcement officers?
The current laws allow police but not city enforcement officers to charge someone for urinating on public property or with trespassing if they go on private property.

But the latter route involves a lot of paperwork and time, problems that could be alleviated with a bylaw, said Orest Katolyk, the city's manager of bylaw enforcement.

[..] One alternative would be public washrooms such as those employed in Europe.

The revenue raised from the proposed bylaw would of course be grossly insufficient to cover the cost of public washrooms. Snow removal and garbage collection soon to experience further cuts as public washrooms become a fixture on every city block.

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The culture of entitlement rolls on.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Take my money, please…

It turns out there are words to express the Liberals' contempt for Canadians! Scott Reid, Paul Martin's communications director, said in an interview today on the CBC that a child care transfer to parents instead of an institutionalized and regulated universal child care program would be a bad idea because…

Don't give people twenty-five bucks a day to blow on beer and popcorn.
If Canadians can't be trusted to spend their own money, why on earth would their vote for the Liberal party be accorded any more respect?

Check out the clip (.wmv) from Proud to be Canadian — you shouldn't need to see it to believe it, but just in case…

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