Sunday, July 30, 2006

Census 2006 - The headhunt continues

As friends and regular readers may recall, I decided to count myself out and so did not submit my census form by the May 16th deadline. It is now July 27 and many of you have been wondering if the census hounds have been knocking on my door. Well, the saga continues, and yes, the enumerator assigned with "my case" has been around, twice, although they were knocking on the wrong door and ringing the wrong apartment and received no response. That did not stop them from leaving threatening reminder notices.

The first visit was about 5 weeks ago. My friend next door informed me that earlier in the day, he spotted a census person hanging around out front, persistently waiting to speak with an occupant. Wrong door, no answer, so they left another form, with no mailing envelope, along with the above notice and the following letter. A short note was written on the letter, ordering me to please leave my completed form for the enumerator to pick up in a few days time:

I ignored this request, but the second form did work well as an outside dish rag and continues to serve as a handy coaster for my glass of water during global warming. I figured the enumerator would leave another notice for me that same week, but I guess they give Canada Post ample time to deliver your form, should you so choose to send it via snail mail instead of leaving your identity in the mailbox for the enumerator. The weeks passed, and I was starting to think that maybe they forgot about me, or that my enumerator didn't want to bother anymore and so filled the form out on my behalf. Not so. Someone was back this week, ringing the wrong doorbell while I was at work, and they left an urgent overdue notice for me and no dish rag. "DO NOT MAIL - CALL US PLEASE. Thank you for helping us assist you." Note that one of the options available to me is to "report this address as vacant."

If I do run into a census goon, I will be sure to inform them that I am looking after the apartment of a government representative of another country. This option is available as a subsection of STEP B concerning whom to include:

0 - If all persons staying at this address on May 16, 2006, usually live elsewhere in Canada or are visitors or government representatives of another country, mark this circle.

Please print your name and your usual telephone number below. Do not complete this questionnaire.
If I tell them I reside at another address, and am merely the cat sitter and have submitted my data elsewhere, by what authority can they ask my name and phone number?

And what if I sent my form in already, by the deadline at that, and it got lost in the mail or not processed by Census Canada? I decided to call the Census Help Line at 1-877-594-2006 to find out. I strongly encourage all readers to do the same, even if you have submitted your form. Ask lots of question and express your concerns. As was expected, I was put on hold, and a recorded voice informed me that the census line was experiencing higher than normal activity and suggested I call back during non-peak times, between 2-4 pm. The "help line" is available between 8am - 9pm. I decided to hold.

The first representative was very difficult to understand, perhaps a recent Canadian evacutee from Lebanon. I explained that I had submitted my form already, yet I had received threatening notices. Just procedure, I was assured. If I had submitted my form, I had no reason to worry. But I explained that I had submitted my form before the May 16th deadline and so it must have been lost in the post or by Stats Can. I further expressed concern about my privacy, especially considering there was no record of the information I submitted. No problem, just give me your information over the phone here and I will quote you a reference number. But I have already submitted my information, and so fulfilled my obligation. No problem, just provide me with your name, address, phone number, date of birth, marital status, language learned at home and your consent regarding the release of your responses in 2098.

I decided to call back so I could speak to another representative. I was again put on hold. No music was provided to annoy me while I waited, but in both English and French, I was informed that all operators were busy. I almost felt guilty for not calling between 2 and 4 about business not of my own making. This time a young woman answered and I explained my situation, as I had done to the previous guy. This representative was more honest and admitted that because many many forms were submitted at once, some people were not yet accounted for. So why are they sending out the census hounds en masse, shortly after the deadline? It was not likely Canada Post lost my form I was assured. Once again, I was invited to submit my information over the phone. I protested, again expressing concern about my privacy, also insisting I had already fulfilled my "obligation." Finally, I pressed the representative, interrupting her scripted response about internet security.

"So, what you are saying is that if I do not fill out a second form, or provide the information verbally to you or an enumerator, I will be considered to have refused to fill out the census and subsequently charged and faced with $500 in fines and / or three months in jail"?

"Yes, but...."

"Thank you. That is all I really wanted to know. Good-bye".

There is no need to panic, "it's not too late" - yet. In the meantime, job opportunities are still available, especially in Alberta! The census is good for the economy, the environment and the poor!

From a CBC article published earlier in July:
Statistics Canada is considering hiring a small army of out-of-province enumerators to chase down the 250,000 Albertans who haven't filled out census forms.

Statistics Canada usually collects the information it needs by mid-July, but this year census staff expect to be working into August, knocking on the doors of tardy Albertans.

Spokeswoman Melanie Dixon said it's a combination of more Albertans failing to fill in the forms and not having enough people to fill census jobs thanks to the high employment rate in the province.

There are 500 vacancies in Alberta. Dixon said Statistics Canada will likely bring in hundreds of people from Manitoba and Saskatchewan to fill the spots. That means paying for their transportation and accommodation.

"The longer we go without these forms, we are spending more money, we have more staff costs, and we're out in the field for longer and longer," said Dixon.

[..] Ed McGowan dutifully sent in his census form before the May 16 deadline. He's annoyed enumerators have to chase after other people who can't be bothered.

"Personally, I'm offended that my tax dollars are being spent to call these people individually to do this. What's the harm? It's silly, just fill the damn thing out."
I'm personally "offended" that the cost of rounding up the personal information of individual citizens is $567 million and counting. These tyrants want information to rationalize future redistributions and social schemes, and they want to maintain the illusion of nearly complete compliance because "we" all count and equality is the banner under which our future is engineered. Accuracy is secondary, and these rationalizations, and indeed their conclusions, are already anticipated and do not depend on the truth of the data -- which can be picked, classified, analyzed and induced into conclusions in a myriad of ways to support a claim in the social science field, later to be used as justification for government legislation, but simply on its existence as a supposedly objective and neutral dataset. That it is objective, neutral and true is simply supposed. If Bowel Awareness Week is on the agenda for the next five year plan, expect to be asked how much toilet paper your household uses per week next time around.

Liars are more highly valued than people who want the government to butt out of their business. Fuck you. I pay taxes and file a yearly tax return, I have a "legal" job, I have a bank account, I have a SIN number, I have a birth certificate, I have a photo health card, I have a drivers licence and a registered license plate, and even a library card. My head has already been counted.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Politics is so gay

With such a conspicuously singularizing lower-case affectation, k.d. lang is no stranger to pretension… for example, trying to put it over that the modern human rights campaign is nothing more than an innocuous plea for equality instead of being a political regime to exact explicit endorsement of and privileges for special interest groups. From The Toronto Star:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen to "support intolerance" by refusing to attend an international gathering of gay athletes, singer k.d. lang said Friday.

lang was critical of her fellow Albertan for failing to support the World Outgames, which is expected to attract up to 13,000 gay, bisexual and transgendered athletes when it begins Saturday.

"It's a sad statement that the national leader of a country that's one of the most progressive countries in the world chooses to support intolerance," she told a news conference at the Olympic Stadium.

[…] Without going into details, lang said she expects the gay community will experience setbacks under the current government.

"They will probably make it (homosexuality) a political issue," she said. "It's not a political issue. It's a human rights issue."
There appears to be a growing trend for political activists to publicly disavow political gamesmanship on their own part and attribute it instead to anyone or anything that resists their every demand. But lang has it quite backwards: it is not a human rights issue but it is a political issue, and it is people like herself that are making it a political issue by soliciting the media to draw attention to it. Harper has not encroached upon any conceivable standard of human rights as he would have if he had forbidden or prevented the games — he has merely declined to explicitly endorse them, which makes him a target of the human rights regime.

Punitive legislative codes prohibiting consensual homosexual sex have long been repealed, which is all that is required to allow gays to be equal before the law. Gay rights activists, however, seek much more than the equality before the law that human rights suggest — they are trying to coerce involuntary statments of consent from the public by political means. Exacting special privileges and public endorsements or immunities from criticism instead subverts human rights and demonstrates a more harmful intolerance than that of which they accuse Harper.

In a corresponding case from 1995, then-mayor Dianne Haskett similarly declined to publicly proclaim gay pride week in London at the invitation of organizers. Miffed that their campaign for explicit endorsement was not granted, social advocates successfully petitioned the Ontario Human Rights Commission to force Haskett to issue the proclamation. The Commission fined her $10,000 as well and ordered her to issue a "statement of recognition" of ""valuable contributions of gays and lesbians to her community."

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Free Press indulges vandals

A London Free Press article today rather indulgently portrays the vandals behind over $100,000 in damages at construction sites in London as wayward souls of virtuous intent.

Environmental terrorist groups, such as the Earth Liberation Front, use violent means to justify a noble goal, said [assistant professor of political science Radoslav] Dimitrov.

[…] There are "probably some anarchists in their ranks," said Dimitrov.

The methods of extremist groups, such as ELF, include vandalism and environmental terrorism, he said.

"They're not likely to be effective in their campaign" because the message gets lost in the damage, said Dimitrov.
[Emphases added.] On the contrary, their message is quite synonymous with their actions — the vindictive destruction of other people's property. If anti-sprawl environmentalists wanted to have any pretense that their message exceeded their actions they would be first destroying their own homes and possessions.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Joshua Hurwitz, candidate for board of control

The London Free Press reports on a new candidate for board of control in the upcoming municipal election, Joshua Hurwitz, whom the newspaper describes as:

A graduate of Central secondary school who is studying psychology and geology at the University of Western Ontario, Hurwitz has researched how cities grow and thinks London council has something to learn.

Rather than allowing developers to control when and where they build, council should promote growth that pays for itself and oppose growth that does not, he said. "Sprawl simply doesn't pay for itself."
Having made Mr. Hurwitz's acquaintance, I was disappointed to see a genuflection toward the false progressive idol of "anti-sprawl" that I had never noted before in our conversations. As a political strategy it appears to have a populist cachet, especially if one were to use the Free Press or social science truisms as one's sources. But the strategy is more calculated to appeal to the special interests of semi-professional political lobby groups like the Urban League of London who can provide the electoral resources and ready access to a sympathetically obliging press that provide a young first-time candidate with the publicity he so badly needs.

As political masters, though, the efforts of groups like these are rewarded much more by a disproportionate editorial slant than by actual electoral and policy success, although they have some disproportionate claim to the latter as well. Composed of and representing predominantly established property owners, they are essentially cliques that use the platitudes of progressive education as political means to further the enhancement of the privileges and values of their own property — which must come at the expense of those not similarly established. Legislated anti-sprawl mechanisms in the form of restraints upon real estate development are back-door redistributions of wealth without the use of taxation to existing property owners by artifically elevating their properties' values and penalizing newcomers into the market. Their efforts are assisted by a coalition of socialists and progressives inherently sympathetic to the regulation and control of private property to one degree or another, to which the property owners return the compliment by employing vaguely anti-capitalist rhetoric. It's all cozy and mutually satisfying, but the overall electoral appeal is gratefully overestimated.

Mr. Hurwitz is quite correct to suggest that growth should "pay for itself" — by which he presumably means to abolish the raft of funds by which taxpayers assume much of the capital risk of developers and the subsidization of road and sewer construction to new developments. But the suggestion that developers assume the costs of growth would be an implicit acknowledgement on the part of the city that the real estate in question is, in fact, private property and would demand a reciprocal backing off by the city of the "control" Mr. Hurwitz seems to endorse, control it exerts in the form of artificial restraints like zoning laws and tedious application processes. By removing artificial incentives to growth, the city is spared the costs of growth that does not "pay for itself." Any desire to control development for the sake of control is simply pandering to the "have your cake and eat it too" political special interests.

It is quite possible, however, that the Free Press fabricated the context in which the one quote attributed to him appears — a quote which only by itself is incontestable (rather like the reporter invented geology as a subject of his study — he actually studies geography). It is a faint hope, considering this:
His other focus is on protecting the environment, from lobbying to keep Toronto trash out of the region to spending more to help people leave their cars in the driveway and walk, cycle or take the bus.
I'm sure Mr. Hurwitz knows better than I how much the city is already spending on "helping" people to adopt other modes of transportation, whether they want the help or not, an amount exceeded only by its ineffectualness. But it's the same sort of pandering to vague and inscrutable environmentalist "I know it when I see it" fear-mongering that is all one gets when one asks his anti-sprawl colleagues why urban growth now deserves the epithet "sprawl" and when that became so. Under any objective definition or by any demonstrable measure, the product of any and all urban development throughout history is ipso facto sprawl, including their own homes. The environmentalism works as a tool in their favour to elicit a reflexive acquiescent response from the public, but again gratefully much less in proportion to its publicity.

As a friendly acquaintance, I'm doing my best but it appears that only his methods elevate Mr. Hurwitz above these people:
London police are probing if vandalism at four city construction sites that caused more than $100,000 in damage is the work of a shadowy eco-terrorist group.

Since the weekend, investigators have found gravel left in gas tanks and oil systems, cut electrical or hydraulic lines and a message — Stop Destroying our Earth — written in grease on the windshield of an excavator, London Det. Const. Bart Dowler said.

[…] Similar incidents of vandalism occurred recently in Guelph where a group called Earth Liberation Front (ELF) has claimed responsibility, Dowler said.

The group's mission is to prevent urban sprawl.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cozy Annan

From a CBC radio interview, retired Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie on the Canadian peacekeeper killed in an Israeli airstrike on an UN base in Lebabon:

We received emails from him a few days ago, and he was describing the fact that he was taking fire within, in one case, three meters of his position for tactical necessity, not being targeted. Now that’s veiled speech in the military. What he was telling us was Hezbollah soldiers were all over his position and the IDF were targeting them. And that’s a favorite trick by people who don’t have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can’t be punished for it.
The whole interview can be heard here.

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The bylaw is an ass…

…quoth Mr. Bumble. He may have lived in London.

With legal constraints and checks to municipal powers over private property and interests in judicial tatters and upheld only by permissive and arbitrary provincial legislation, there is so much idle power lying around that its exercise can only be equally capricious. Almost nothing must stay their hands from every nook and cranny of people's homes and yards, no principle of right and wrong or even pragmatic consideration of safety or utility needs to provoke them. But pick up a handful of brightly-coloured bylaws here and others must slip through the city's fingers there — there's only so many bureaucratic resources to hold them! The London Free Press has two stories today about the whimsical dribbling of bylaw authority in London, one by an obstinant refusal to enforce the bylaw, and the other by aesthetic immunities to a bylaw. Once, a man who had broken the law would have taken the chance of being caught… now, he takes the chance that the law might have any meaning or appeal at the given moment. When politics loosens its fetters by judicial and constitutional inconstancy, we have equality neither of nor before the law.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Keep 'em in school 'til they're 18 . . . and teach them to dribble

So you've been wondering what your child is going to be learning before he/she is released from the new extended mandantory time served in our glorious education facilities?

TORONTO -- Ontario should consider changes to its high school physical education program, researchers said yesterday, after finding most students are dropping gym classes, raising fears of obesity in teens.

Researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph have found fewer than half of Ontario high school students are fitting basketball and floor hockey into their timetables after Grade 9.

"The opportunities and especially the participation by secondary schools in physical activity is lower than it should be."

. . .

"Typically, it's recommended that adolescents should be getting at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily," said Dwyer. "If kids aren't getting it at school, they are physically inactive."

That's right - can you imagine anyone getting physical without a health nazis to lead the parade?
Over the last 25 years, obesity rates have more than tripled for Canadian children between the ages of 12 and 17. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

They're getting fat because they've been brainwashed to shun healthy appetite suppressing cigarettes and fed a steady stream of candy from their teachers to reward subservient behaviour in the classroom.
. . .
Both researchers suggested that requiring students to take more than one year of gym in high school could help.

"If there were policies that indicated students would need to take more than one credit of physical education during high school, participation would increase," said Allison.

I guess I reveal my naiveté in assuming that the word participation when refering to sports activities connotes a willing engagement.

I hope this new emphasis on physical activity will ensure our children won't have to sit through the latest version ofReefer Madness or have to witness the instructor's trackpant "tent" as he teaches reproduction during the ever dreaded compulsory and sedentary "health class". That said, I do recall one interesting piece of knowledge acquired in health class: one of my classmates once demonstrated that if you visibly yawn you can set off a chain reaction in a room of otherwise unoccupied people - try it on the subway or bus sometime!

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Equality is another one of those words…

…whose original meaning in a political context is almost irretrievably lost under an iterative barrage of progressive newspeak. From The Inequality of Equality by William Gairdner, via Jesse Gritter Online:

A decade ago, a group of maverick law students (moderately conservative, that is) at Queen's University, Kingston, invited me to debate Sheila McIntyre, one of Canada's front-line feminist law professors, who is openly dedicated to the destruction of our ordinary concept of the law. The sparks were flying before an overflow crowd.

She argued that the differences between people and groups in society are not natural, circumstantial, or deserved in any way, and that "systemic" oppression exists throughout society. Therefore, she wants the law to create true equality by treating people differentially; by handicapping those with power, and bestowing advantages on those without. She wants lawyers, judges, and Members of Parliament to be social engineers.

However, the normal concept of law in the West has always struggled against such activists to insist that all people, rich or poor, smart or stupid, strong or weak, without distinction, must submit equally to the same Rule of Law; that, by and large, and despite natural or circumstantial inequalities, this is more fair.

But Marxists, and radicals like McIntyre joke that a free society under this merely "formal law" concept just means the rich and the poor alike are allowed to sleep under park benches. Formal law, they argue, can produce only "formal equality", as distinct from "substantive," or concrete equality, under which everyone would have the same material advantages. They are quite willing to surrender their freedom to a massive egalitarian state to gain this extreme sort of equality.

Freedom-lovers rebut that if the law is anything besides formal, then it is not law at all. It has been transformed into politics. They believe freedom is more important than equality, and the best kind of law is therefore prohibitive: law that simply tells you what you cannot do, but which otherwise leaves you alone and free.

There is real danger, however, in switching from formal to substantive law, because throughout history, whenever the law gets seized by social activists (who may themselves have good, if misguided motives) it soon thereafter gets captured by much stronger political activists who quickly shove the softer McIntyre types aside. Then in the absence of formal safeguards, anyone may quickly become its victims – as may the ideologues themselves.

Many egalitarian revolutions that rely on substantive laws to achieve their extreme political purposes, soon devour their intellectual founders, who are seen to lack the stomach for real blood. That's how such as Robespierre, the radical egalitarian theorist of the French Revolution, the "prophet of virtue" who had ordered thousands of his own citizens guillotined, got killed in the name of liberty: there was no formal law, or procedure, left to protect him.

By then, the laws are primarily
imperative; that is, laws that orders you around and make you live a certain way, or do certain specific things to fulfill utopian ideals, creating advantages for some, and penalties for others in a feverish quest for equality. Most Western so-called liberal democracies are now awash in such "equalization" laws.

There was some pleasure to be had in reminding Professor McIntyre that it was she who had an $80,000 per year job as a tenured professor, and could not be fired. It was she who was the former president of a radical feminist group supported by massive government grants that has already radicalized our society through just such changes in the law as she proposes. And it is she who gets her turgid articles published in state-subsidized journals. So, in fact, she is herself a power-broker and stakeholder, and exerts her own brand of influence over those who prefer a free society to a tyrannical one.

Just following this debate, writer Rob Martin published an article in
Ontario’s Lawyers Weekly, citing Dean of the Queen’s University Law School, Donald McCrae, who said "The idea of equity is that everyone should get the same advantage." How humourous! It has apparently never occurred to the good Dean that at such a point the whole concept of advantage has no meaning.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blank out in Ontario continues

I could almost hope for blackouts here in Ontario, if that meant angry voters would repay McGuinty and his gang next fall for not doing their job.

From the Toronto Star, HT to Darcey:
A Six Nations land dispute in Caledonia is blocking the construction of a high-voltage power line necessary to deliver imported power to southern Ontario in the event of a shortage.

The $116 million, 76-kilometre line from Thorold to Hamilton was to be completed this month, but Six Nations protestors are claiming it passes through disputed land.

As a result, the final section was brought to a standstill in the spring.
It shouldn't necessarily be necessary to import power, except the government continues to control and ration the energy supply. See the Freedom Party's 2007 election platform for more on the energy crisis resulting from "fixed" prices and gross mismanagement of your money.

Update: Correction. Global warming is the trouble.

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London's newspaper of selective record

Remember the remonstrations of organizers of the "peace" rally at the JLC this past Saturday, the one demanding of the federal government that it "oppose all aggression and condemn war crimes against civilians," among other demands?

"We really want to focus on peace and keep it focused on peace…"

"We really don’t want any politics involved…"

"I want to keep politics out of this…"
Instantly recognizable as press release-style blandishments for public consumption, they were nevertheless predictably distributed — not once but twice — by a conciliatory London Free Press as anxious itself to believe in the power of wishful-thinking as much as anything else. Contentions irrefutable, of course, except by evidence that was itself entirely predictable. From a letter to the editor (link not archived):
I am a Canadian who has listened with outrage to the stories of what my fellow Canadians have been suffering in Lebanon. I have cried and prayed for the families of Ab Chahbar and others I have heard about.

I support the efforts of our government to remove these Canadians from Lebanon, no matter what the cost. I have, however, been discouraged at the attitude of some of the refugees. An honest "thank you" would be more appropiate, I think. However, I do understand that these people have been through a horrific time and are probably under great stress.

It was in this spirit that I attended the "peace" rally at the John Labatt Centre on Saturday. I was disgusted to see pro-Hezbollah and Hamas flags and scarves among the Lebanese flags. I understand that these groups have been declared terrorist organizations by our government. Was it not these groups that entered the sovereign nation of Israel, kidnapping its soldiers and bombing its civilians? Are not these groups the very ones that have caused the recent tragedies for our citizens caught in Lebanon?

Why did I hear only Israel condemned in speech after speech and the Harper government criticized?

Was this really a "peace" rally in support of our fellow Canadians caught in a country at war, or only an opportunity to support a terrorist organization?

Cindy Theriault

Like the Free Press reporters, we are supposed to simply imagine the "peace" and "non-political"-ness of the rally. Compare the pre-rally coverage of the Free Press with its sympathetically benign, tear-jerking and conspicuously apolitical reporting of the rally, Rally seeks Mideast peace. What a rag…

Thanks to Honey Pot for pointing out the letter to the editor in the comments section.

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Bob Gedolf should receive taxpayer dollars too

The heathens of London, which make up the majority of the population here, fail to provide the expected voluntary tithe, in addition to the not so voluntary one which they must provide unless they would prefer to go to jail. Guy Lombardo is no longer revered and that matters to Susan Eagle, the champion of collective memory.

He sold more records than any Canadian, yet the hometown London museum named in his honour isn't exactly a tourism hit.

The Guy Lombardo Music Centre has "fallen through the cracks," Ward 7 Coun. Susan Eagle said yesterday.

Only about 200 people have visited the tiny museum this year, and about 1,000 people toured it last year.
So, unless people voluntarily donate their time and money, the place should just fall into the crack of oblivion. Not so in London, where heritage is a religion which protects potholes and crumbling structures. Supporting the pioneers at the expense of the present "pioneers" and the future "pioneers" is the right thing to do in this city according to certain elected representatives of 'the people'. Public awareness, funded by those not so voluntary offerings, will sustain the otherwise unsustainable. Susan Eagle explains:
Eagle plans to propose a motion at tonight's city council meeting to develop a stronger marketing plan to enhance the museum's visibility in the city and beyond.

"(It's) an important piece of our history," she said. "We need to take more initiative as a city" to keep it alive, she said.

Ward 6 Coun. David Winninger will second the motion.

If passed, city staff would begin looking into better ways to promote the museum by strengthening its relationship with the city parks and recreation department and integrating it with London's Culture Office and Tourism London, for example.

Although the Wonderland Road museum is classified a tourism site, Eagle said it isn't listed on the city's tourism map, making it difficult for visitors to find.

There's no signage on the Highway 401 for the museum.

[..] He was a "significant and important person. We need to maintain that recognition of him," Eagle said.
And the roads continue to crumble as the line-ups for a family doctor grow longer still. On the bright side, the city can request provincial cash to pay for the 401 signs pointing to a destination the majority will continue to drive past.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Imagine if John Lennon were the UN Secretary-General

Imagine if progressive education was useful… Imagine if the signs held up at "peace" rallies actually influenced reality…

This 2005 item from The People's Cube will, I suspect, be always unfortunately applicable:

Persistent rhetoric coming from concerned progressive critics worldwide has finally convinced Israeli officials that the state of Israel has no moral right to exist. "That's it," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained at a press conference. "We are dismantling the Nation of Israel. I'm leaving for Poland next week."

"My cabinet and I had long discussions about world troubles, and we concluded that our critics are right - all the troubles can be traced back to us. So, in order to resolve these issues, we felt it would be best to extend our withdrawal beyond Gaza to include the West Bank and Israel proper," Sharon said. "The Gaza pullout was only a test, and the ensuing waves of peace and brotherhood it had triggered in Palestine and beyond, encouraged us to disband altogether. Without us here, people of the world will finally be able, once again, to live in permanent harmony and understanding - just like they all did before Israel's founding nearly sixty years ago."
Continue with the testimonies of Cindy Sheehan, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kofi Annan, George W. Bush and others here. Via The Last Amazon.

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The Red Ensign Standard still flies

Quotulatiousness has just posted the 44th edition of the Red Ensign Standard.

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Carnival of Liberty 55

Carnival of Liberty No.55 has been hosted by Indian Cowboy. Go have a look.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bob Geldof is no longer a hero

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is knocking on your door next Bono.
ROME (AFP) - Live 8 hero Bob Geldof has been forced to cancel two concerts in Italy because of lack of public interest, after only 45 people turned up to see him perform in Milan.

Geldof walked out of Milan's 12,000-capacity Arena Civica on Friday without playing, given the paltry attendance. His manager explained that a concert for less than 400 people would not be viable, Italy's La Stampa newspaper reported Saturday.

The 54-year-old Irish rocker, who said he had flown in from South Africa for the gig, sought to placate angry fans afterwards by promising to give a free concert in September.

A scheduled performance in Rome on Saturday night, for which 300 tickets had been sold, was also cancelled, La Stampa said.
HT: Nealenews

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Another politician confused by politics

The London Free Press reports that board of control is declining to participate in the orgy of self-congratulatory electricity rationing being sponsored by the city of Woodstock.

London's lack of support prompted Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding to suggest London's response "was almost institutional."

"That's as opposed to grassroots response," Harding explained.
When an institution solicits another institution, it would be hard to expect any other sort of response, unless you're a peevish Woodstock mayor.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

The faint cry of the professional politician

A local politician is dutifully quoted in the London Free Press as saying that he wants tomorrow's rally at the JLC to be non-political.

“We really want to focus on peace and keep it focused on peace,” said Khalil Ramal, Liberal MPP for London-Fanshawe and one of the organizers of Saturday's event.

“We really don’t want any politics involved.”
Making political demands of the federal government is, of course, the farthest thing in the world from being "political" … as long as its not his government being rallied against.

While the politician shams an apolitical rhetoric, his government is playing preemptory politics itself with the Lebanese evacuation with a little welfare dispensation and rule exemptions:
Ontario’s Citizenship and Immigration ministry announced $200,000 to be split in half — $100,000 to the Red Cross relief efforts for people left in the embattled country, and $100,000 that will go to help Lebanese Canadians who’ve been out of Canada to re-locate, he said.

In a separate announcement, Ontario’s Health Ministry said Canadians returning to Ontario from Lebanon will have immediate access to public health care. Normally people who have been out of the country for more than 12 months have a three-month waiting period for OHIP coverage.
Not that I have any quibble with the latter announcement — rules in a public monopoly have always been inherently arbitrary and subject to change at the least economically necessary or politically desireable whim, but it makes one wonder what rules are for in the first place?

Update: Readers are invited to document the anticipated "non-politicalness" of signs and demonstrations at tomorrow's rally via digital photographs or reports. Submissions will be posted and duly credited.

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Big Brother Database

More madness in the UK:

The home life of every child in the country is to be recorded on a national database in the ultimate intrusion of the nanny state, it has emerged.

Computer records holding details of school performance, diet and even whether their parents provide a 'positive role model' for 12 million children will be held by the Government.

Police, social workers, teachers and doctors will have access to the database and have powers to flag up 'concerns' where children are not meeting criteria laid down by the state.

The 'children's index', which will cost the taxpayer £224 million, will even monitor whether youngsters are eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, whether they go to church or are struggling to get good marks at school.

[..] The database has already been piloted in 12 local authorities and the Government plans to make it nationwide from next year.

It will try to introduce a regulation in Parliament in the autumn - allowing it to become law with barely any scrutiny by MPs.
Cameras should be installed in all homes containing children to ensure that the data collected is more accurate. Just because the database says that child x eats five servings of fruits and vegetables, it doesn't mean it's true. Someone might lie.

But even that might not be going far enough, because the child might visit a home without state surveillance systems in place, and the child could be exposed to second hand smoke and maybe even consume trans fats, and the authorities wouldn't know, unless the child was a paid informant or aspiring politician, so all homes throughout the country should immediately be wiretapped and equipped with spy cams. For those sceptics out there whining about the cost of such a program, I say, shame on you! What about the children? Surely the health of the nation is more important than a few measly dollars. It will also be good for the economy because it will create jobs. But what about rights?
Rights are not abstractions, retorted the minister of defense, people either deserve rights or they don't, and these people certainly don't, anything else is just so much empty talk, You're quite right, said the minister of culture, rights aren't abstractions, they continue to exist even when they're not respected, Now you're getting philosophical, Has the minister of defense got anything against philosophy, The only philosophy I'm interested in is military philosophy, and then only if it leads us to victory, I am, gentlemen, a barrack-room pragmatist, and my approach, whether you like it or not, is to call a spade a spade, but now just so that you don't start looking down on me as someone of inferior intelligence, I would appreciate it if you could explain to me, as long as it's not a question of demonstrating that a circle can be transformed into a square of an equal area, how a right, if it isn't respected, can still continue to exist, Very simple, that right exists potentially in the duty of others to respect and comply with it, No offence, but civic sermons and demagoguery will get us nowhere, slap a state of siege on them and see how they like it ...

From Seeing by Jose Saramago
HT: Jay Jardine

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Funding Junk Nobody Would Willingly Pay For Since 1963

Does the Ontario Arts Council logo remind you of anything?

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

David Warren:

Lebanon has a prosperous future in alliance with Israel and the United States. It has no other prosperous future. The idea appears to be seeping into the Lebanese ruling classes. Even the once radical Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, seems to get this.

For Israel, there is no turning back. It is a categorical imperative: for if the Israeli military isn’t facing Hezbollah and Hamas, then Israel’s civilians have to face them.
See also The war of 2006

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Playing apolitical for political gain

The London Free Press reports that a rally "to demand action from the federal government over the Mideast conflict" is expected by organizers to draw a "huge turnout" on Saturday in front of the JLC. Organizers, who include the Association of London Muslims and People for Peace as well as church groups, make three demands of the government:

  • oppose all aggression and condemn war crimes against civilians
  • take steps toward protecting Canadian citizens there
  • provide humanitarian aid to those affected by the fighting.
Said Faisal Joseph, chairman of the Association of London Muslims:
"I want to keep politics out of this."
With demands like those, what part of "politics" doesn't he understand?

From a London Free Press poll (snapshot taken at 20:25 July 20 — poll results not archived):

Terence Corcoran:
Coming soon: A United Nations declaration that, in the event of war, insurgence and other disasters, all people have the right to instant logistics. When the bombs fall, get me out of here, NOW! And send the bill to the government. Where's my cruise ship?

[…] The logistical nightmare is obvious to everybody except, understandably, the people on the ground desperate to leave Lebanon. But there is no good reason to transmit their personal frustration and expectation back to Canada as a failure of government. There are no existing commitments by any government to provide full passage to safety. Foreign Affairs plainly states on its travel advisory services in emergencies it can help only in limited ways. It will, for example, "assist in arranging evacuation in the event of war." Assist in arranging, not find the boat and book the flight and pay for the tickets.

By any standard, the Canadian government -- and that of all the other nations whose citizens want out of Lebanon -- is providing service beyond the call of existing policy.

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Give me air conditioning or give me death

From the National Post:

In Cyprus, 261 weary evacuees disembarked from the 62-metre Blue Dawn, Passengers said the trip across the eastern Mediterranean was difficult, without air conditioning, adequate water and provisions for the ill.

“It was hell,” cried one woman wheeling her baby away from the boat in a stroller.

Canada provided the worst service to its nationals of any country, said Caroline Nohra of Montreal.

“Everybody was vomiting on everybody,” said Nohra. “It was very miserable. The kids were scared, screaming, panicking.”

She added, “I would have preferred to stay in Lebanon than come this way, the way we were treated, like animals.”
Perhaps ungrateful people such as Nohra would like to return? The voyage on the way back to Lebanon to rescue more people is sure to be less crowded. Being treated like an "animal" for just over a day is a small price to pay considering the alternative is potentially being blown up or turned into a human shield should you have remained.

HT: Honey Pot in comments, here.

Crossposted at Dust my Broom

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Bureau of Inefficiency

According to the London Free Press, board of control is expected to endorse a plan to create a new centralized regional economic development bureau incorporating and replacing the four existing agencies, London Economic Development Corp., TechAlliance, the Stiller Centre for Biotechnology and the Small Business Centre. The new agency is expected to reduce duplication, inefficiencies, blah, blah, blah… *yawn*

Reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies is an admirable if timid goal, but considering that these agencies trucked specifically in inefficiencies, centralizing those inefficiencies in one bureaucratic office to become more efficient seems rather whimsical. The role of economic development agencies, or agency, is to lure business investment to London, which allows that the investment climate in London is not so conducive to business that it will find its way here on its own competitive advantages. As an alternative, agencies or agency must PowerPoint or "sell" London on its more tangential benefits — e.g., lunches and junkets — and assist with the arrangement of exemptions, grants and risk-free loans. If the city were serious about inducing business investment and reducing inefficiencies, it would dispose altogether with its regulatory obstructions and burdens, and lower taxes. Except for those businesses dependent themselves on a cozy relationship with regulation, the inherent advantages of a frictionless market would attract far more investment than the inefficient and uncertain traffic in political favours and exemptions, and would cost Londoners altogether less than the $2.2 million they spend on economic development agencies, however many there are.

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Why Bad Men Rule

H.L Mencken on politicians,

Will any of them refrain from promises that he knows he can’t fulfill – that no human being could fulfill? Will any of them utter a word, however obvious, that will alarm or alienate any of the huge pack of morons who cluster at the public trough, wallowing in the pap that grows thinner and thinner, hoping against hope? Answer: may be for a few weeks at the start…. But not after the issue is fairly joined, and the struggle is on in earnest…. They will all promise every man, woman and child in the country whatever he, she or it wants. They’ll all be roving the land looking for chances to make the rich poor, to remedy the irremediable, to succor the unsuccorable, to unscramble the unscrambleable, to dephlogisticate the undephlogisticable. They will all be curing warts by saying words over them, and paying off the national debt with money no one will have to earn. When one of them demonstrates that twice two is five, another will prove that it is six, six and a half, ten, twenty, n. In brief, they will divest themselves from their character as sensible, candid and truthful men, and simply become candidates for office, bent only on collaring votes. They will all know by then, even supposing that some of them don’t know it now, that votes are collared under democracy, not by talking sense but by talking nonsense, and they will apply themselves to the job with a hearty yo-heave-ho. Most of them, before the uproar is over, will actually convince themselves. The winner will be whoever promises the most with the least probability of delivering anything."
as quoted by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in Why Bad Men Rule:
One of the most widely accepted propositions among political economists is the following: Every monopoly is bad from the viewpoint of consumers. Monopoly is understood in its classical sense to be an exclusive privilege granted to a single producer of a commodity or service, i.e., as the absence of free entry into a particular line of production. In other words, only one agency, A, may produce a given good, x. Any such monopolist is bad for consumers because, shielded from potential new entrants into his area of production, the price of the monopolist’s product x will be higher and the quality of x lower than otherwise.

This elementary truth has frequently been invoked as an argument in favor of democratic government as opposed to classical, monarchical or princely government. This is because under democracy entry into the governmental apparatus is free – anyone can become prime minister or president ...

However, this argument in favor of democracy is fatally flawed. Free entry is not always good. Free entry and competition in the production of goods is good, but free competition in the production of bads is not. Free entry into the business of torturing and killing innocents, or free competition in counterfeiting or swindling, for instance, is not good; it is worse than bad. So what sort of "business" is government? Answer: it is not a customary producer of goods sold to voluntary consumers. Rather, it is a "business" engaged in theft and expropriation – by means of taxes and counterfeiting – and the fencing of stolen goods. Hence, free entry into government does not improve something good. Indeed, it makes matters worse than bad, i.e., it improves evil.
Crossposted at Darcey's realm.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


We always knew it was true, but this confirms it:

Parting with the fine revenue from London's ban on overnight parking may be too stiff for city council.

A staff report received at council's environment and transportation committee last night says the city would lose upwards of $100,000 in fine revenue by doing away with the ban.

And the committee voted against lifting the 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. ban for July and August when staff said there would have to be cuts to other services or a tax hike to make up for the lost revenue.
It's nice to see that bylaws are upheld not for any principle of defending right and punishing wrong, nor even for considerations of safety or utility, but just for cold hard cash. Why suppose that any of the other hundreds or thousands of bylaws enforced by fines are motivated by any greater moral purpose?

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Immoderation Throughout History, Episode MCMVL

Moderation, proportion, and restraint are nowhere to be seen as a helpless, frightened, outnumbered German camp facilitator is beaten to death by Jews as American imperialist troops look on (April 29, 1945)

- (Image taken from The Protocols Of The Elders Of Disproportionalism, Amnesty International Press, Paris, 1988)

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Success is failure and failure is success

Karen De Coster, on the poverty of false entitlements:

I saw a t-shirt recently, being worn by a woman who had the total look of a public school teacher. Her shirt said, "Failure is Success." This statement is, of course, turning the act of "trying" into a heroic act on its own. It's how we have dumbed down human life in order that we may all finish in first place and take home a cheap, plastic trophy. Of course, this is the sort of brainwashing that comes from the public schools. Whereas success is an attainment or realization, failure is the lack thereof. But in a world awash with touchy-feely self-esteem boosting, the definition of words is trivial as compared to a person's puffed-up self-image before the world.

A successful event accomplishes its intended purpose. A failed event is the non-realization of an intended purpose. Failure may be a path to success, but attainment is the key that turns failure into success. There will always be those who cannot stand the thought of inequality in terms of results, thus the redefining of words serves the ends they covet: everyone is equally successful. Trying = succeeding. Failure can't possibly occur. We can all feel good about our efforts. Nothing left to discuss.
HT: Billy Beck

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Thomas Sowell on Time Magazine's celebration of the dawn of legislated anti-capitalism in America (via Gods of the Copybook Headings):

Monopolies are much harder to find in the real world than in the world of political rhetoric. Monopolies raise prices but, in the big industries supposedly dominated by monopolies -- oil, steel, railroads -- prices were falling for years before Theodore Roosevelt entered the White House and started saving the country from "monopoly."

The average price of steel rails fell from $68 to $32 before TR became president. Standard Oil, the most hated of the "monopolies," had in fact innumerable competitors and its oil prices were not only lower than those of most of its competitors, but was also falling over the years. It was much the same story in other industries called "monopolies."

The anti-trust laws which Theodore Roosevelt so fiercely applied did not protect consumers from high prices. They protected high-cost producers from being driven out of business by lower cost producers. That has largely remained true in the many years since TR was president.

The long list of low-price businesses targeted by anti-trust laws range from Sears department stores and the A&P grocery chain in the 20th century to Microsoft today, prosecuted not for raising the price of Windows but for including new features without raising prices. Much of the rhetoric of anti-trust remains the opposite of the reality.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

One portion fits all

The people of London Ontario are currently experiencing Global Warming. Taking the humidex factor into consideration, it has been over 40 degrees here for the past few days. I understand that other regions of the world, including areas of Canada, are also very hot right now. If people ate less crap, people would be less flatulent and so the levels of methane gas would be less and the move toward a freezing climate progressively closer. Our comrades south of the border are doing their best to prevent the Thames River from reaching boiling temperatures next year. Rationing is our only hope!

From the Washington Post:

Those heaping portions at restaurants -- and doggie bags for the leftovers -- may be a thing of the past, if health officials get their way.

The government is trying to enlist the nation's eateries in the fight against obesity.

With hamburgers, french fries and pizza the top three eating-out favorites, restaurants are in a prime position to help improve people's diets, a government-commissioned report said yesterday.

The report, funded by the Food and Drug Administration, lays out ways to help people manage their intake of calories from the growing number of meals prepared away from home, including at the nation's nearly 900,000 restaurants and other establishments that serve food. One of the first things on the list: cutting portion sizes.
Does the report also recommend passing laws making it illegal to sell customers more than one governmental approved portion in an appropriately legislated time frame? Should the grocery store owner be held responsible if the dissatisfied and still hungry customer stops off on the way home and buys a couple of bags of doritos? It's more likely they would go after the restaurant owner for failing to "know" that the patron would eat more after he left the establishment. Like the bar owners, it should be the responsibility of restaurant owners and their employees to reduce portions according to predicted consumption habits of their patrons.
The report does not explicitly link dining out with the rising tide of obesity, but it does cite numerous studies that suggest there is a connection.
And a suggestion by self-serving bureaucrats is too often all it takes to influence the lawmakers.

HT: Nobody's Business

And for the kiddies, "a sandwich, an apple and a drink with some crap dessert. These are foods that children call *expendable*. In other words, it's trash-time for Lunch 4 kids."

HT: Mitchieville

Sowing the seeds of discontent over at Dust My Broom.

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Psycho Killer

Perceptive, intelligent, deep thinking popular musicians have long stood for freedom, sticking it to the man, and getting all wacky at arenas after paying $100 for tickets. David Byrne continues in that tradition, explaining the omission of the track "Qu'ran" from the recent reissue of the excellent "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts".

There's tons of things you can think of that they don't print, that they don't say, that they tiptoe around very carefully. It is a form of censorship, but that's also the way people are as animals -- that you don't unnecessarily provoke people unless you really are looking for a fight. And you do self-censor certain things, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. That's just the way human social interaction works.

And I thought, that seems kind of reasonable. So my opinion was that somebody certainly has the right to do cartoons that make fun of somebody else's religion. But to reprint them just to provoke a fight and just to provoke it like thumbing your nose at someone else and going, "What are you gonna do about it? What are you gonna do about it?" Which is kind of what it is. Then it's kind of like, "Well, if you keep doing that, somebody will do something about it."
I always thought Talking Heads were a rather shitty band -- and I'm sure a diverse segment of society shares my values. As offensive as their CDs might be, it is blaming the victim to get angry at the radio, or at little shiny pieces of plastic. We must never lost sight of the root cause of the music of Talking Heads: the band itself. I certainly wouldn't ever get violent about it, but you never know who might.

Anyways, shitty band or not, music itself is a sin for a broad spectrum of society. Yes, it is true; every time David Byrne opens his mouth to serenade the world, an Islamic angel cries and sharpens his sword with the tears.

Will he now, finally, be silent, and quit provoking music fans and Mohammed fans alike? Show some respect, David.

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Being a bureaucrat means never having to say you're sorry

As though compassion were a scarce and coveted proprietary political commodity, modern socialists, progressives, and even many generally well-intentioned citizens champion the defense and expansion of social programs belonging to the welfare state with the refrain, "what about the poor? what about the minorities?"

One might have asked in the 1930s, "what about the Ukrainian peasants?" … if one had been allowed to ask, that is.

The last fifteen or twenty years have afforded to people an unprecedented luxury to examine the levelling poverty, viciousness and despair that are the consequences of yielding jurisdiction over good intentions to political mastery and charging bureaucracies with their execution — and the rigours to which they will apply any scrutiny of the licence they have received by fiat to redefine good intentions in the interest of concentrating and expanding their monopoly. Needless to say, this luxury has been squandered by most. Public education has been helping to see to that…

Crossposted at Dust my Broom

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Summer reading

One of the most pleasant aspects of municipal government is the relative pace and quiet of the time leading up to elections, specifically the lack of crude and costly pork-barrel vote-buying schemes that plague provincial and federal election campaigns. Without political parties or parliamentary privileges attached to relative aggregations of partisan seat-warmers, blame or credit in municipal politics tend to accrue to either the council as a whole or to the individual councillors who lack the privileges of governing parties or ministers to initiate spending without legislative oversight. Oh, sure, the mandarins in city administration continue to concoct their expensive schemes to expand their domain or to appease those special interests sympathetic to an encompassing social engineering role for bureacurats. But their power at this time of year is largely limited to preparing the fronts in next year's war of budgetary persuasion. This year's budget has been set, and unlike provincial or federal ministries, there are no massive departmental funds available exclusively for use at political discretion.

Quiet and unobtrusive, then… just the way local politics always ought to be. If, however, you do need a London political fix, check out the weekly updated website of Arthur Majoor, candidate for Mayor of London in November's municipal election, a permanent link to which is available on the sidebar here.

A city is more than a collection of buildings and artefacts. It is more than a postal code where people live. A city is the place where we live our lives, the place where we do our personal, family, social and economic activities. The late Jane Jacobs observed that cities provide the dense web of interactions and environment of trust which permit great things to be planned and executed, and this can only occur with strong horizontal links between communities of like-minded people reaching common goals, not vertical links to governments and bureaucracies seeking to execute their own agendas.

Unfortunately, London is losing its way. People living and working in London have their opportunities and choices constrained by a civic government which demands more and more tax dollars, while also creating an ever more intrusive regulatory environment for business and property owners alike. The bonds of interaction and environment of trust that cities should provide are being supplanted by lines of control leading to City Hall.

Londoners see the constant increases in taxation being used to provide benefits for the few, rather than supporting opportunities for the many. While expensive prestige projects are being pursued by City Hall, Londoners in general have to deal with crumbling roads and infrastructure. While City Hall touts new housing starts, new jobs and new developments, over a million square feet of retail space sits empty, and London’s median income declines relative to other cities in the province. Escalating spending is constantly blamed on “downloading” and other external factors, without any reference to the decisions and actions of city council.

It is time for a change.
Arthur Majoor's declaration of candidacy can be found here… he can be reached by email at this address.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Optimism comes with a high price tag in London Ontario

And so Londoners have every reason to be pessimistic.

Months of uncertainty and concern over the future of a North London community centre may soon be over.

But it comes with a hefty price tag -- more than double the $2.1 million the city initially planned to spend to improve the North London Optimist Community Centre.

City staff are recommending a two-year program of upgrades -- including a new roof that can handle snow loads -- that would total $4.5 million.

"I've been battling for this since Day 1 and it's finally going to be done the way the people who use it wanted it to be done," said Ward 3 Coun. Bernie MacDonald.
And what about those of us who don't use it and don't wish to pay for it? No worries, the next generation of the people can pay for it.
In a report, city staff suggest repairs and upgrades can be carried out in three phases starting with a $2.9-million roof; $500,000 for other upgrades including a new elevator and accessible restrooms; and $1.1 million for other major renovations, such as removing racquet and squash courts and converting them for other uses.

Construction would begin this November with a planned re-opening in July, 2007.

Council has already approved $2.9 million in funding and will have to approve the balance.

Staff say there's room within the city's $30-million debt limit this year to spend the $500,000 needed for the second phase.

But the $1.1 million for the third phase would need to be approved after the Nov. 13 civic election.

[..] "This is a good thing, because we really need it for our exercise, to stay healthy," said Tilly Fay, a 67-year-old rollerskater.
Lest we forget:
Council currently has a self-imposed $30 million debt cap in place for each year's budget — this means that they can add $30 million in debt each budget above and beyond any debt retirement made. Last year the city incurred $69 million in new debt after retiring $29.8 million. "Surplus" money used for debt reduction could then presumably be applied to this debt retirement, allowing an additional $8.7 million to be incurred as debt in the next budget, as long as total new debt does not exceed $30 million. "Debt reduction" then would not result, and has not in the past resulted, in reduced debt.

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The power of "The People"

Terence Corcoran:

[Thursday] Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced a $400-million transfer of cash to local utilities to impose conservation on citizens and business.
Until Thursday, the provincial government has attempted to stave off rationing of electricity by investing the practice with a populist ring of environmental-friendliness under the euphemism "conservation," and exhorting Ontarians to self-sacrifice under its banner. As if electricity were simply found on the ground in scarcer and scarcer amounts instead of being the product of human ingenuity and industry applied to a limitless resource. Unfortunately for the government, their exhortations had as much flair and effectiveness as a Brezhnev speech.

Phase 2 of rationing is now underway. Local utilities are developing "targets" for conservation; like production quotas in the Soviet Union, they are driven by political necessity rather than reality and will not be achieved by naturally occurring incentives created in a marketplace responding to supply and demand. Programs paying consumers to cut consumption appear as incentives, but they are political surrogates. Funded by taxes rather than responding to supply and demand, they incite merely a crude competition to recover politically-created liabilities in the form of government handouts at the expense of everyone else, and do nothing to stimulate the creation of electricity supply. Moreover, their effect must be negligible on overall consumption unless the programs were to explode to a sizeable percentage of overall electricy consumer bills, in which case everyone would be funding everyone else to no net gain except for a general energy poverty.

Price-fixing at popular rates has scored political points and maybe some votes, but billions of dollars have been borrowed to subsidize the difference and to buy electricity from other jurisdictions. As well, it has deterred private investment in power generation. Power stations are wearing down or going off-line and the government wavers, confused by its own ecological rhetoric, on replacements. The unsustainability of this system is coming to a head. Given the inevitable failure of the petty euphemisms, exhortations and tax redistributions, genuine rationing cannot be far off. The province has been setting the stage last year for rolling brownouts and blackouts, and the tools are being distributed by the government to effect rationing at local levels. Utilities have been given the authority to implement "load control" technology as a part of the "smart" meters that the province has forced all residences to have. Utilities can operate the load controls remotely, meaning that during periods of peak demand, or theoretically even for punitive reasons, household consumption can be turned down or off.

Rationing is not looming to protect a fragile resource but to protect a public monopoly that places sole power to determine the methods, structure and prices of electricity generation and distribution in the hands of bureaucrats and unions. It is evidence of failure on the part of the public model, and yet no major political party in Ontario dares to relinquish political control of the monopoly or face down the entrenched unions and bureaucracies. Compliance with their conservation schemes only delays slightly the inevitable rationing but, worse yet, deflects the burden of responsibility from them to us.

The rest of Terence Corcoran's typically informative and accurate article can be read here. My thanks for some of the information in this post goes to Paul McKeever, leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario, in an email. The party's platform on electricity can be seen here.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Stand around, try to look tough, don't make waves, collect overtime

Yeah, it must be tough to be in the OPP. Until that pension starts rolling in, you have to deal with all kinds of scumbag websites and people shooting at you with cameras on a daily basis.

It's hell out there, but nobody ever said a cop's job was supposed to be easy.

Are You sure you're not a Canadian?
We cannot allow you to view this website?

By clicking HERE you agree that you are not a Canadian and have the right to Free Speech.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Bono - All mixed up as usual

The rubbish bin of history. It can and will be rewritten. Hold hands and shout, or maybe not hold hands "if you know what I mean, but we will walk with each other. We will get things done."

Bono is now asking the world a question on Yahoo! Answers. Be sure to watch Bono's thankfully short video message, but don't watch it while you are eating. The charitable message may cause emaciation.

Bono's answer to malaria: more government funded Mosquito nets. Bono's answer to starving people in Africa: more foreign aid, meaning more funds for oppressive and bloodthirsty African dictatorships via governments. Bono acknowledges that politicians waste money, but what he doesn't understand is that Governments, as directed by the One World Overlords and their advisors, and funded by unwilling tax casualties, will help ensure poverty becomes not only our history, but our reality.

Ht: Mises Economics Blog

Spreading the fog over at Dust my Broom.

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Trudeau Becomes Prime Minister

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Approved by the Ministry of Fairness

Post-Bolshevik socialists, encumbered by the grim and inconvenient realities of the inherent slavery and destitution of applied Communism, cannot count on the revolutionary fervour of ideology anymore and are driven to substitute instead simple populist stumping. From the London Free Press:

The Ontario New Democrats say drivers are being hosed at the pump and it's time for Queen's Park to step in and regulate prices.

The opposition party brought its campaign for price regulation to London yesterday, where it wasn't hard to find motorists questioning the prices they pay.
At first glance, there would seem to be a conflict between the populism of regulating affordable gasoline prices and the party's other populist plank of carbon-fear environmentalism, signalling an apparent pragmatic departure from strict ideology. But there is no contradiction nor any ideological easing. The burning compulsion of Marxists to seize the levers of material production and exchange are merely smeared with a thin paste of sympathy for drivers, but the proletariat ownership of the means of production is accomplished as readily by putting it under the jurisdiction of bureaucratic whim. The end result of politics driving the engines of supply instead of market demand being, as always, a shortage of supply — and, in this case, the one policy would neatly supplement the other.

According to the Free Press, the NDP's proposed regulations would impose a retail price for gasoline for all stations in Ontario based on market cost of production, "legitimate" transportation costs, the "legitimacy" presumably adding another layer of bureaucratic "expert" determination, and the wonderfully fanciful "fairness to consumers," which in the old days was understood to mean what consumers were willing to pay but which can now be added to the job description of yet another layer of bureaucrats. Once bought off by political concerns, the price would be "locked" for two weeks so that the bureaucrats can take a breather. The system, in other words, would work almost precisely like this (via Freeway to Serfdom):
The owner of a New Brunswick gas station says the province's new system of price regulation has forced him to shut off his pumps.

Stephen Tobias, who owns an Esso station in north-end Saint John and is under contract to buy gasoline from independent wholesaler Wilson Fuels, said he can't afford to sell at a loss. When New Brunswick's gas regulation system took effect on July 1, the province set a maximum price of $1.12 per litre for regular self-serve gas.

Kevin McCann, the New Brunswick sales manager for Wilson, said the regulated price has left virtually no profit margin for retailers, and a loss if customers use credit cards.

"No business model is made around making negative profit, other than if the government runs it," McCann said Friday.
Neatly, then, government-sponsored price-fixing appeases the same regulatory appetite that spurs their environmental fear-mongering, and by sapping Ontario's economy will achieve the politically advantageous effect of a negligible global difference in carbon emission. Huzzah!

Of course, if the NDP were really interested in doing drivers a favour, they would recognize that the most direct and least costly method would be to reduce taxes on gasoline. But the state's bloodletting of wealth is certainly one perquisite of socialist ideology that they'll never give up.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson joined London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen in yesterday's campaign pitch, speaking at the closed-down Saddy's gas bar on Wharncliffe Road. Its owner recently bowed out of the business because of wildly fluctuating gas prices.

"There is no competition in the market anymore," said Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay.
So, naturally, we'll reduce the competition to none.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Go Israel!

It's nice not to have to be ashamed of this government.

Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday endorsed Israel's incursion into Lebanon and strikes on Gaza as measured self-defence.

"Israel has a right to defend itself," he told reporters on his plane en route to a visit to Britain and the summit in Russia of the Group of Eight (G8) top industrialised nations.
The UN did what the UN always does:
The United States has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have demanded a halt to Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The veto drew a sharp rebuke from Arab representatives.

Ten of the Security Council’s 15 members voted in favor of the Arab-backed resolution, one more than necessary for adoption. Four nations - Britain, Peru, Denmark and Slovakia - abstained, and U.S. Ambassador John Bolton cast the lone ‘no’ vote, killing the measure.
The Finns, who as we all know spent the 20th century standing up for all that is good and right, speak for the European Union.
“The European Union is greatly concerned about the disproportionate use of force by Israel in Lebanon in response to attacks by Hezbollah on Israel,” according to a statement issued by Finland, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency. “The presidency deplores the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon cannot be justified.”
Cheerful Nazi collaborators Norway and France also chimed in on the side of genocidal rocket launching barbarians; perhaps it's nostalgia for the V2.

Israel, do not listen to any of these hypocrites and do not take counsel from your enemies' sycophants. Hit hard, kill everyone in Hezbollah, and ignore the crocodile tears of the "world".

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The pursuit of love and happiness

"Señora," said Velásquez, "the pursuit of happiness can, it seems to me, be compared to the solution of a quadratic or cubic equation. You know the last term and you know that it is the product of all the roots, but before having exhausted all the divisors you reach a certain number of imaginary roots. Meanwhile the day goes by and you have had the pleasure of engaging in calculation. The same is true of human life. You also reach imaginary quantities which you have taken for real values. But in the meantime you have lived and moreover acted. Now activity is a universal law of nature. Nothing is at rest. The rocks seems to be at rest because the ground on which it rests opposes a force greater to it than the pressure it exerts. But if you put your foot on this rock you will soon see how it acts."

"But," said Rebecca, "can you submit the movement which we call love to calculation? It is claimed, for example, that with familiarity love grows smaller in men and it grows greater in women. Can you tell my why?"

"The problem that you have set me, Señora," said Velásquez, "presupposes that one of the two loves grows and the other diminishes. So that there will necessarily be a moment when the two lovers love each other equally, one in exactly the same degree as the other. In this way the problem can be brought to bear under the rule of maxima and minima and can be represented by a curve. I have thought up a very elegant proof for problems of this kind. Let
x …"

As Velásquez reached this point in his analysis …

— Jan Potocki, The Manuscript Found In Saragossa, trans. Ian MacLean

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Social climate science

From the government's Department of Climate Change Agitprop website:

As Terence Corcoran demonstrates in today's Financial Post, and supported in another article by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, the claim that "[t]he 20th century has been the warmest globally in the past 1000 years" is false. Yet the taxpayers are funding an official sanction of this and other misleading claims. Why does a government agency feel obliged to disseminate lies? For that matter, why does the government run a climate change website? Is it the proprietor or administrator of climate change? If so, something should be done about that!

Carbon-based climate change and the insistence on its anthropogenic causes is the holy grail of bureaucrats and activists. The regulation of carbon emissions presupposes the regulation of all human activity — what exertion or industry of humanity, primitive or advanced, does not in the beginning, middle or end emit carbon, down to our very exhalations? But in a society that retains at least a vestigial allegiance to the idea that government derives its powers from consent, the charge of prospective regulators is to inculcate the notion of consensus to self-serving nonsense by constant iterating it. So the government website is replete with appeals to "consensus" or "agreement" to support its claims, a familiar but generally overlooked refrain in governmental and non-governmental agency circles as well as the media. But to claim consensus or agreement is to stretch the definition of the words beyond all ordinary bounds or to narrow them to unfamiliar confines. It is no wonder that the imprimatur of consensus is applied so often for political purposes, its definition governed by political advocates while it still retains its suggested authority.

L. Graham Smith:
Contemporary environmentalism is the latest and most visible scientific arena to supplant empiricism and skeptical enquiry with a collective, social theory of science: a theory based on axiomatic constructs and diligent compliance by mutually supportive actors, notably bureaucrats and activists. Rigorous enforcement involves the marginalization of any outside the collective and social intimidation of those who question the prevailing orthodoxy.
See also this article from the invaluable Terence Corcoran.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yasher Koach!

Found at FreeRepublic, courtesy poster "Alouette":

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Regulating freedom, and passing the blame, one law at a time

Should the retailer of alcoholic beverages be held responsible if the consumer becomes "intoxicated"? Perhaps your local variety store owner should be charged because he sold you "too many" potato chips containing trans fats? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider relocating to New Mexico:

Bar owners are upset about proposed changes in state liquor regulations that could make it easier to fine them or revoke their licenses.

Opponents at a hearing on the proposals Thursday were especially concerned about the impact to their business if someone is found with a high percentage of alcohol in their blood after leaving their establishment.

Under the proposal, an alcohol level of 0.14 percent or higher within two hours of the sale, service or consumption of alcohol will be considered evidence that the person was intoxicated at the time of the sale -- subjecting the business to a violation for selling to intoxicated people. The current regulation limits the time frame to an hour.

[..] The state Alcohol and Gaming Division also proposes to reduce the number of violations required for the state to revoke a liquor license. Currently, a business can lose its liquor license after five violations within 12 months involving sales to minors or intoxicated persons.

The state wants to be able to revoke a license after four violations for selling to minors and after two violations of selling to intoxicated persons. In both cases, fines would be doubled to $10,000.
HT: Nobody's Business

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While the police were busy reviewing footage from the downtown surveillance cameras and hunting down residents not wearing seat belts, a bloody stabbing was taking place across the street from police headquarters. The police are asking the public for help. Apparently, the cameras outside of headquarters are as useless as the ones downtown.


Officers were called to the nine-storey building at 580 Dundas St. about 10:30 p.m. Monday when a 27-year-old man visiting an apartment suffered a "severe stab wound" to his leg, police said.

The attack took place in a seventh-floor unit, several tenants said yesterday.

While police said they found the scene of the attack and interviewed several people, other witnesses left before questioning and investigators were still looking for suspects last night.

[..] That attack was London's second stabbing of the night, coming just hours after an unrelated incident a few streets away, police said.

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