Thursday, August 31, 2006

The gift that keeps on grabbing

According to the London Free Press, the annual "surplus" at city hall is being anticipated again in official circles as an inducement to the electorate to adopt a complacent assent to the idea that its incumbents and staff are managing the economy well, just as if revenue from taxes and monopolistic services were a direct function of planned economic well-being. Given the range of taxes and fees which the city charges Londoners for being Londoners, it cannot be expected that administration could predict with certainty all of its revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, but four straight years of multi-million dollar "surplus" revenue suggests that the "good news" is becoming an annual ritual of under-reporting as a cynical political ploy adopted from the pratice of their former federal Liberal counterparts… especially since the city was entertaining requests for its projected surplus in April of this year, only two months after its last budget. Not to mention the opportunity to idly reiterate the word "surplus" in news stories also helps serve to settle the scales of public awareness against the genuinely under-reported $371.1 million in total corporate debt, which amounts to over $1,000 per resident of London.

This may strike the reader as an egregiously cynical suggestion, but why is administration releasing — and the Free Press reporting — an estimate of the surplus now, more than half a year before it can be accounted but before an election? Moreover, city council has already demonstrated its contempt for Londoners by expropriating surplus revenues for itself and treating it as though it were a legitimate municipal asset instead of being, as Jim Chapman put it last time around,

tax money that we paid to the city beyond what it had to spend to meet its obligations. It may look like a bonus on the city's books, but every dollar of it represents money plucked from the pockets of hard-working Londoners.
Budget chief and deputy mayor Tom Gosnell is calling staff's estimate of a $5.4 million surplus for this year a "very conservative estimate" and, most tellingly, "the gift we weren't left with when we took office in 2003." Expect the word "windfall" to circulate freely in the Free Press next spring when the final "surplus" is calculated. Of last year's $8.7 million surplus, council returned only $650,000 to taxpayers via a reduction of the property tax increase — and only one councillor, Paul Van Meerbergen, supported returning it all.

Now there's a useful and revealing question to ask of a candidate: what would you do with surplus revenue from Londoners?

Much more on municipal "surpluses" here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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McKeever on Tory and the Qa'aladonia insurgency

Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever, in today's Red Star, on the "stasis management" strategy of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party:

Essentially, the party figures that if it can't beat the Harris bashers, it should apologize and seek forgiveness from the public by joining Harris bashers in their condemnation of the former premier and his revolution.

Tory cannot say that the premier should direct police to enforce the law. Doing so would suggest that, if Harris did direct the police at Ipperwash, he was right to do so.

Tory's only option is to concur with McGuinty that a premier cannot direct the police to take action. Doing so serves as an excuse for Tory's failure to advocate police intervention. However, more importantly, as an implicit condemnation of Harris's alleged intervention at Ipperwash, Tory's concurrence with McGuinty serves the party's sacrificial strategy to obtain forgiveness...

Management parties do not propose significant changes to large government programs; they propose only to "repair" and to "manage" them better. Accordingly, the only way for the PCs now to distinguish themselves from the Liberals is by demonstrating that Tory's "leadership" is somehow better than McGuinty's. That effort will fail so long as the party's strategy requires Tory to tow McGuinty's line in response to crises like that at Caledonia.
The Progressive Conservatives give no reasons for sensible people to hand them their votes. Lame promises to do a better job of managing the Ontario government's many and various pyramid scams that are marketed as "FREE STUFF" to a wishful electorate just do not cut it.

Running scams like FREE HEALTH CARE and FREE EDUCATION is one thing, but one would at least expect a prospective leader of government to demonstrate some interest in the whole supposed freaking point for having a government -- at least on off days when he can't think of new side-project pyramid scams such as FREE DAY CARE or FREE GOVERNMENT HAIRCUTS. That freaking point would be the bit where the law abiding are supposed to be able to count on the power to call in overwhelming force against criminals like the Qa'aledonia insurgents, in defence of life and property.

But if Tory isn't even interested in law and order, the basics, the only excuse for the existence of the government to whose leadership he aspires -- then why would any sensible person vote for him or his party?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The make-believe world of political children

Until they must grow up, children will populate their make-believe worlds with other children. Until academics, professional political lobby groups and all other dependants of government welfare and subsidies are removed from the rolls, their infantile politics will infantilize everything and everyone else they come across. Ghost of a Flea, via Quotulatiousness:

But people are not Ewoks. It is not a mistake to criticize our empires of old or the continuing expression of racism and prejudice. It is not a mistake to be appalled by the wars of conquest or the incalculable suffering brought about by epidemic disease and slavery. It is a mistake to imagine the conquered peoples lived in a state of innocence before our rapacious ancestors arrived on the scene. There are two reasons the Eden story leads to error when imposed on our history or contemporary matters of policy. First, turning "the Other" into Ewoks infantilizes them. By this dodge, we well-meaning people of the West may feel guilty but all the decisions remain in our hands. From dam-building to debt-relief to "Do They Know It's Christmas?" the empires shape-shift into NGOs and the old crusading philanthropy carries on uninterrupted.

The second mistake lies in taking cultural difference for existential innocence. In so doing we mistake our myths for history; our sentiment for circumstance. It is impossible to make rational decisions on this basis. Even the relatively untroubled neighbourhoods of Paradise make West Side Story look like, well, a musical. Coke-bottles from the sky and undergraduate anthropology classes notwithstanding, the Bushmen of the Kalahari endure a murder-rate forty times that of downtown Detroit. Teaching cultural ecology for several years taught me one thing: Pointing out this sort of fact is no route to popularity among well-meaning undergraduate students. So much education has no relationship to the world as it is but a re-enactment of the world as we wish it to be. If only the wishful thinking was confined to the classroom. It is one thing for Brangelina to bring their child into the world at an armed camp and call it Eden. It is quite another to decide issues of war and peace on the same basis.

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Census Boycott Update

I've made good use of my census form as a coaster for my wine bottle since I last posted on my adventures with the census bureau and their bureaubats.

As of today, I've yet to directly encounter the hound entrusted with "my case", and no further threatening notices were left for me since the end of July. It just depends on the census worker I suppose, for unlike other people I know who have decided to boycott the census, I've yet to receive my "final" notice, and so far, my guardian angel has refrained from exaggerated and falsified threats of fines and imprisonment such as the following, submitted to Count me Out by another truant:

Contrary to the aggressive threats of the enumerator, the maximum fine is $500, NOT $5000, and the maximum jail time is 3 months, NOT 6 months. As enumerators in some areas are paid for each form collected and eligible for bonuses, it is not surprising that many of the famished hired for the task of pursuing other impoverished citizens would resort to lies and the heavy arm of the law to collect their portion of the spoils.

The Hamilton Spectator, August 11:
[Director of Statistics Canada's central region Doug] Newson says it's taken "longer than we hoped" this census period for enumerators to visit households where forms are missing, due to the high volume and difficulty hiring enough workers.

"We never really got all the people we needed," Newson says. "It's been an uphill battle."

That's because it's a hot economy and census workers get only $11.88 an hour.

"It was difficult to recruit," Newson said. "Our pay rates were not as competitive as we would like."

Statistics Canada was able to hire only about 15,000 of the 25,000 enumerators it needed across the country.

Financial incentives have also been offered to the SWAT teams, so named because they aggressively blitz an area, trying to wrest a completed form from every non-compliant address.

Many householders, caught at the door, fill out the forms in a few minutes on the spot. Others, as happens in every census, aren't home, have moved, duck the enumerators deliberately or just cannot be found.

On the Civic Holiday last weekend, enumerators in Ontario, including Hamilton, got $60 bonuses for bringing in 20 completed packages a day, up from the average of 12 to 15.
But despite the "dedicated" efforts of a few exemplary enumerators claiming they worked for hours on end, over hundreds of thousands of forms remain to be accounted for. The government blames public apathy, the "SWAT team" blame the government and local governments blame the people for depriving them of more of your cash:
As of quite recently, more than a third of Slave Lake residents had not responded to the federal census. That’s the news that the Town of Slave Lake’s Director of Finance Julia Seppola shared with Town council at council’s Aug. 15 meeting.

It didn’t go over very well.

“With that sort of lack of completion, our numbers could go down!” said Councillor Rob Irwin. Seppola said she heard the information from a Statistics Canada worker, who had visited the Town office looking for help in locating people. The enumerators were apparently going door-to-door trying to fill in the gaps in information submitted by other means.

Seppola also said she had been told that each person is worth $10,000 in government grants. Council immediately started talking about an advertising blitz to get the message out.

But the next morning, a Statistics Canada spokesperson told The Leader that the enumeration of Slave Lake was finished.

“The Town of Slave Lake is complete,” said Sarah Pearson, Communications Officers for the Western Region of StatsCan.

[..] The Town calculates a rough figure of $1,000 per person in the form of federal and provincial grants. If the census misses 100 people, that’s $100,000 the Town doesn’t get for such things as infrastructure and policing. And if they don’t get the money from there, guess where it has to come from?

“It comes down to property taxes,” says Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee. “People need to make that connection.”
Yes, reduce your local tax bill by claiming your household contains 15 Mexicans, and then claim them all as dependents at income tax time to reduce your federal contributions. That justifies the $567 million + spent on the collection of your personal information so long as your social preferences are realized at the expense of the others.

Spreading the dirt over at Dust My Broom

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to stay in school forever

Andrew Coyne in the National Post perfectly illustrates the transcendental degeneration of morality that accompanies the most junior explorations of mainstream media and Canadian high school and university experiences in the absence of a more compelling and upright parental influence — to which I can attest from my own history:

At some point in his first or second year, the average undergraduate comes to a dreadful, shocking, thrilling, intoxicating realization: Everything I was taught to believe until now is a lie. We're not the good guys. We're the bad guys: the West, white people, my parents, whatever. Grasping this insight is the key to enlightenment, and enlightenment is the key to, among other things, pulling chicks. […]

The reflex oppositionism of so much of the left, its instant identification with whoever or whatever is most hostile to the society of which it is a part, most closely resembles that of the undergraduate. It is a badge, a pose, a lifestyle, an arrangement of reality that is pleasing to believe, a reminder to the believer of the thrid eye of enlightenment that is his gift.
Fortunately, most of us are compelled eventually to make a living in the world and accommodate reality to make a fair game of it, but a vocal minority remain wedded to the scotching of wealth for their subsistence. The permanent infantilization of political understanding is the result of leaving a good portion of the population in possession of the spoils of massive subsidization of academics, professional political lobby groups and all other forms of permanent government dependency.

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We need more soup kitchens!!!!

Adventures in Knifedon continue...

An 81-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach, at 6pm, in a East End London cemetery after refusing to hand over his wallet to an intoxicated youth "in need of money."

Officers arrested a man they found hiding behind a white monument at the cemetery.

“The suspect in this case was intoxicated and in need of money, and the victim was in the immediate area of the suspect when the suspect made the decision to attack,” [London police Const. Amanda] Pfeffer said.

The elderly man was in stable condition in hospital yesterday, police said.

It was a “random attack” that shouldn’t discourage Londoners from visiting cemeteries, Pfeffer said.

“The victim in this case did absolutely nothing wrong and could not have prevented this attack,” she said.
One is left to wonder, after reading the London Free Press article, if the suspect will achieve the status of victim after attending mandatory support group sessions.

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Carnival of Liberty #60

Matt Barr of Socratic Rhythm Method hosts the 60th Edition of the Carnival of Liberty, and it's in Jeopardy format!

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Never trust a dick

Gerard Kennedy has seen the future:

Russia is to create its first women-only traffic police unit because commanders believe they are less corrupt than men, a newspaper reported on Monday.

The male-dominated traffic police routinely forgive traffic violations in exchange for bribes. Many believe this culture helps make Russia's roads among the world's most dangerous: about 35,000 people are killed in accidents each year.

"The first female platoon of 26 traffic officers will patrol the centre of Volgograd (in southern Russia)," Izvestia daily quoted regional police chief Mikhail Tsukruk as saying.

"There is research which proves that women are not inclined to bribe-taking," the paper quoted him as saying. A few women already serve in the traffic police.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

City hall would make a great parking lot

The simple creation of a city council "downtown parking working group" is a guarantee that the perception of a parking problem downtown is going to be manufactured and promoted as an excuse for the central planning afficionados of city staff. After Coun. Bill Armstrong publicly stumped for more price-fixing regulation last week, the working group obligingly dramatized the feeble complaint that, despite an "adequate" number of spaces downtown, the lack of "prime" spaces

mak[es] it difficult for landlords to lease office space and attract new employers.
Fodder in the exercised language of the marketplace to which it is vocationally unaccustomed, the committee promptly overlooks the regulatory obstacles of pricing, heritage laws, and politically-motivated obstructions to development application permits that already exist to depress the supply of parking downtown and recommends instead entrenching a permanent and expensive dependency on municipal intervention.

From the London Free Press:
City council's downtown parking working group says the city should put aside $2.5 million a year for a parking facility.

[…] Parking recommendations include:
  • A capital fund be established with the city setting aside $2.5 million a year for land acquisition or investment in a public-private partnership and to fund incentives.
  • Delivery of 250 to 500 parking spaces within five years, either through a public parking garage, a public- private partnership or private development.
  • Incentives, including grants, 10- and 20-year tax breaks and waiving of development fees and other city fees for developers who provide public parking spaces either on nights and weekends or full time.
My personal favourite is the "option" for staff
to examine several other issues, including whether to increase the number of city-owned lots.
The expansion of an already major competitor with its own proprietary legal means to protect its revenues is quite sure not to stimulate competition in the marketplace, but will certainly maintain the market for self-serving bureaucrats at city hall.

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Gerard Kennedy discriminates against men and childless women

"On the Path to a Great Emancipation," March 8, 1929. Pravda:

Capitalist “democracy” has not and cannot give freedom to working and laboring women. Working women in all bourgeois countries are economically and politically enslaved. Middle class conventionality has a tenacious vice-grip on daily life. Advanced women workers and revolutionary women proletarians are persecuted. The most brutal blows of capitalist “rationalization,” unemployment, and hunger in the midst of plenty descend upon the female half of the proletariat. Fascism, Catholicism, and reformism with increasingly thoroughness exploit the historical backwardness of women workers in order to split apart the proletarian ranks and strengthen the position of imperialism. The temples of “national government”—what a thing to talk about!—are protected by stone walls which prevent the participation of working women.

Only we in the Soviet Union have at hand all of the preconditions and foundations for the complete emancipation of working women. These preconditions were created and acquired in a severe struggle with enemies, at a time when world history passed over the heights of the great October summit. Only our women have been emancipated in practice, acting as conscious builders of a new society and a new governing commune, and speaking out as active citizens with fully equal rights in the socialist family.

[..] The maximum activism of all women proletarians and conscientious working peasant women is one of the indispensable guarantees of our further successes and our victorious socialist growth. The greatest possible and most inexhaustible activism, the unceasingly creative work of the woman proletarian on all large and “small” fronts of our life, their rigid and total solidarity with the Party—these are the obligatory conditions for our creativity.
You figure Gerard Kennedy has been reading through the Pravda achives in preparation for his campaign? Bullying is wrong unless you are elected by the majority for that purpose. 18 years of indoctrination should set the proletariat straight:
Liberal leadership hopeful Gerard Kennedy is proposing an ambitious plan to erase the wage gap between men and women.

The plan includes dramatically boosting day care spaces, eliminating inequities in the tax system and collaborating with business and labour to make the work force more equitable and hospitable for women.

Kennedy said his plan would not only give working women the income boost they deserve, it would lure up to 1.6 million more women into the work force.

And, given that Canada's work force is aging and poised to begin shrinking, he said the country's future competitiveness may well depend on increasing the pool of female workers.

"It makes a heck of a lot of sense to encourage them," the former Ontario education minister said in an interview.
Taking into consideration Comrade Kennedy's modest goals, his $7 billion five year plan is quite reasonable to encourage the weaker majority with stale and limp carrots.

Stirring the dust over at The Broom.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Will the owner of a blue Volvo please come to climate customer service…

… your vehicle is causing a hurricane!

Thank heavens, this little girl is going to grow up to be educated enough to know that hurricanes didn't come along until the invention of the internal combustion engine.

Cailyn Fitzgerald helped make signs with slogans such as "gas fuels hurricanes," "exhausted of exhaust" and "cars are driving death: stop climate change."

Fitzgerald said the areas in New Orleans destroyed by the flooding would be rebuilt by now had they been higher-income areas.
Oops, that activist talking-point rolodex keeps flipping pages!

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Free health care for everyone except Canadian taxpayers

David McGruer on the Canadian health care agenda:

In July we all heard about Lebanese evacuees being granted delay-free access to Ontario's health care system. First my thoughts turned to how patently unfair it was to take money by force from already burdened taxpayers and give it to people who by definition were not residents of Ontario or Canada. Some people wrote to newspapers complaining their family could not get immediate access so why should some other group? After tossing a few ideas around I realized the issue here is more fundamental than pressure-group fighting over tax dollars, it is the very moral foundation of our health care system.

You see, the premise of our health care system is the slogan "from each according to his ability to each according to his need," that horrible phrase by Karl Marx which has been at the foundation of most of the great human-caused tragedies of the past 100 plus years: the suppression and extinction of life at the hands of socialist Germany, Russia and China. Value is extracted through government force from people who produce and is redistributed according to the Marxist principle stated above to whoever the politicians deem to be in "need."
Click here to read the whole article.

HT: Paul McKeever, leader of The Freedom Party.

The Freedom Party opposes health care rationing. See the 2007 Election Platform, specifically page 3 and page 13.

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Wealth redistribution for politicians

It seems that Londoners may be less keen to have their own political preferences subsidized if they have to pay for other people's subsidies. From a London Free Press poll:

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In a community of kangaroos…

There's nothing good to say about this:

A man accused of a grisly dismemberment killing has put Manitoba’s jury system on trial with a unique legal challenge that claims native people are being unfairly discriminated against.

Sydney Teerhuis, 34, says the jury selection process doesn’t allow for a true representation of the public to hear a criminal case and is a violation of his Charter rights.

Teerhuis, who is native, is seeking a true “jury of his peers” in the form of a largely aboriginal panel to hear his high-profile case.

One of Teerhuis’ main arguments is that aboriginals are unfairly being precluded from jury duty because of a stipulation prospective jurors can’t have criminal records.
That a man who stands accused of slaughtering and violating another human being can express sincere belief in the idea that “his people” will somehow see things differently and perhaps feel compassion for him — despite his confessing to the murder — shows what possible horrors lie in the notion of handing over justice, as well as any other social service, to the kangaroo court of special interest victimhood.
Trial by peers is a critical part of the jurisprudence of a free people. But one of the most misapprehended and procedurally obscured aspects of this most cherished of rights and guarantee of non-interference by government is what is meant by peers — which as convention, both unwritten and codified, was best summed up by Patrick Henry:
"What is meant by his peers? Those who reside near him, his neighbors, and who are well aquainted with his character and situation in life."
… and who are those who gain the most from justice to the accused and who stand to lose the most from denying it. Peers do not mean artificially segregated special interest groups with selective agendas that supercede the particulars of the case in court. It is hoped that the Charter's indulgent cross-pollination of collective and individual rights does not afford yet another opportunity for the elevation of special interests at the expense of justice.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Michael Moore is a Sicko

London Ontario is on the list of Canadian towns that Michael Moore might visit in preparation for his newest "mock documentary" on the selfish and cruel American health-care system.

London is among the Southwestern Ontario cities Oscar-winning director Michael Moore is scouting as a location for his new film, Sicko.

It's a documentary criticizing American health maintenance organizations and Michigan-born Moore is slated to begin filming at the chosen Canadian site within the next few weeks.

"We're looking for Canadians who've had health-care nightmares in the United States because they didn't purchase extra medical health insurance," says the film's field producer, Chris Aldred, who has spent the past week eyeing locations in London, Toronto, Kitchener, Windsor and Sarnia.
If only Canadians had the option of purchasing medical insurance in the first place, within their own country! An estimated 30,000 Londoners are without a doctor and the vast majority of patients are compelled to wait in line for treatment, unless they are healthy and wealthy enough to purchase "extra" insurance in the US. For months on end, many Canadians are forced to wait to even see a specialist as their ailments become more debilitating and life-threatening. A stay in the hospital is likely to result in an infection from unclean conditions unrelated to your reason for admission. Your cancer doctor has misdiagnosed your most recent tumor as arthritis. Having a miscarriage is an emergency that can wait, in the waiting room.

I'd like to see Moore do a documentary on the State monopolized Canadian health-care system. Who is the slob going to blame for the mess? The politicians for not taking more taxpayer money to fund the blob? Or maybe his obese self for the unfair burden his habits impose on the rest of us.

And Dust My Broom laments

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If thine eye offend thee, pluck everyone else's out

In Britain, from Yahoo News:

Following an investigation prompted by the anonymous viewer's complaint, regulator Ofcom said Monday that children's TV channel Boomerang has agreed to edit out scenes deemed to glamorise or condone smoking.

[…] "while we appreciate the historic integrity of the animation, the level of editorial justification required for the inclusion of smoking in such cartoons is necessarily high."
Owls Aren't Wise is all over it:
Apparently you can kick an animal flat, but making them breathe smoke is cruel beyond all limits.

Actually the smoking is being airbrushed out of history because it is assumed to lead to children learning to smoke. But not learning to hit cats with large hammers or blunt instruments, apparently.

Of course, I still remember growing up in the seventies, watching Tom and Jerry and learning to feel contempt for the Soviet Union, where historical photo-records were known to be altered to remove features unpalatable to the then ruling elite.

But as we all know, the Soviet Union was defeated.

And so is Blog Québécois:
I suspect it won't be long before they demand that all film and television portrayals of smoking be digitally censored. It's going to be odd seeing Humphrey Bogart repeatedly putting his hands to his mouth for no apparent purpose, but it's a small price to pay to pretend that he didn't die of throat cancer.

Or as one comedian put it: Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

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Celebrating cultural diversity

LONDON (Reuters) - Cows have regional accents, a group of British farmers claims, and phonetics experts say the idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Lloyd Green, from southwest England, was one of a group of farmers who first noticed the phenomenon.

"I spend a lot of time with my Friesians and they definitely 'moo' with a Somerset drawl," he said, referring to the breed of dairy cow he owns.

"I've spoken to the other farmers in the West Country group and they have noticed a similar development in their own herds.

Is there hope yet for identifying a distinct "Canadian culture"?

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Who's got all the money?

A would-be robber was arrested after he tried to hold up his local town hall, mistaking it for a bank . . . Wearing a mask and waving a toy pistol, the unemployed man burst into the town hall . . . and shouted: "Hold-up, hold-up!"

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Prepare to blow thy load

Better to spend life in prison for sowing the seeds of dissent than to be caught screwing plastic by your mother.

CHICAGO - Cook County prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother desperately didn't want her to know he'd packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey.

So he told security it was a bomb, officials said.

Madin Azad Amin, 29, of Skokie, was stopped Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.

When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

He later told officials he'd lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn't want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Stephen Turner: candidate for special interest subsidies

According to the London Free Press, ward six candidate and Imagine London member Stephen Turner is proposing that the next city council partially rebate donations to municipal candidates from individual donors — "but not corporations…"

Such an incentive would help level a playing field Turner says is dominated by corporate dollars.

In the 2003 civic election, corporations or people associated with them gave $220,000 to winning candidates — nearly four times as much as the $60,000 given by individuals, said Turner […]

"There's skepticism city hall is beholden to business issues. If we can change that ratio (of donations), perhaps we can show city hall is working on behalf of the people," he said yesterday.
Given recent increases in taxes, program spending and development charges for commercial development, along with pesticide bans, zoning restrictions, heritage laws, bureaucratic obstacles and legal costs associated with building permit and zoning change applications, and resistance to municipal contracting out of services, it would be hard to argue that business is getting much of a return on its investment in London. It would be nearer the truth to say that by donating to candidates business is trying to purchase back some of its right to do business with its own property in opposition to other special interest groups either trying to bribe bureaucrats and politicians against it, or in those positions of power themselves. In other words, the "problem" reinforced by Turner and the London Free Press is only one of perception.

As always, the left — Turner is implicitly endorsed by NDP MP Irene Mathyssen — tries to cure a perception instead of a problem… by creating another problem. In this case, Turner is advocating that taxpayers be forced to subsidize political beliefs that they do not hold by rebating from municipal revenues donations to candidates whom they do not support. However orthodox these abrogations of free speech are becoming in this country, subsidizations of influence peddling, whether of individuals, corporations or unions, do nothing to curb the growing traction of special interests in the political process. If business, to take only the most maligned example, has something it can buy from politicians, should it not be asked what the politicians have to sell and why? That politicians have appropriated for themselves control over almost every aspect and disposal of private interest and property makes the reciprocal purchase of or cajoling for some return of that control as a favour inevitable. As a proponent — and indeed a jealous coveter — of political control over private property, Turner joins a long list of politicians who find it more politically useful to loudly divert attention to the symptoms of corruption or influence because it allows politicians to simultaneously protect their privileges of granting favours and at the same time exempt themselves from blame for its causes. Turner's proposal is simply an attempt to substitute one special interest with another more disposed to the sentimental proposition that they have entitlement to other people's possessions. For trying to pull the wool over voters' eyes and advocating that they pay for the privilege, Turner emphatically disqualifies himself for consideration as a candidate opposed to special interests.

See also Developers contributing to municipal candidates … so what?

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Government fixing the problem of the environment? What a fine idea!

It must be considered a relief when politicians have only two sides of their mouths from which to speak. From Andrew Coyne, via EclectEcon:

With the environment on everyone’s agenda and Canada groping for a strategy to deal with global warming, the government of Ontario has stepped up with an imaginative, far-seeing response to the challenge that confronts us all. While others are content merely to debate the issue, the McGuinty government has bet hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds on a revolutionary new form of mass transit that maybe, just maybe, holds the key to a greener future. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s called the Camaro.

Based on a leading-edge, eco-friendly technology known as the internal combustion engine, the Camaro concept car may seem like something out of science fiction, but in fact starts production in just three years. Using the advanced industrial wizardry of rear-wheel drive — whatever will they think of next? — the Camaro’s whisper-quiet 400 horsepower engine can carry its two passengers as many as three kilometres on a litre of gas. Take that, climate change!

But this sort of technological breakthrough doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s the fruit of the kind of dynamic, creative partnership between business and government that naysayers typically decry as “corporate welfare.” Left to the short-term obsessions of the marketplace, Detroit would probably just turn out a string of gas-guzzling muscle cars, high-octane Viagra for aging babyboomers recalling their carefree youth. Whereas with government money they can pretend it’s about jobs.

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More essays per cubic litre than any other blog

As ever, Gods of the Copybook Headings is a stiff and bracing tonic in the parlour of Candian internet opinion. And if GCH wants to argue that it is a finely aged spirit to boot, who is anyone not to indulge them on their second anniversary, exclaimed for posterity in the excellent eponymous homage GCH II: The Wrath of Publius?

Begun two years ago as a drunken bar bet between three university acquaintances, The Gods of the Copybook Headings has remained true to its original intention: a useful and enlightened "waste of time." Hailed by its admirers as "mildly interesting," "only occasionally pretentious" and "scatological," it has also attracted its fair share of criticism. From "the product of an obsessed and warped mind" to "lacking in either coherence or humanity." Truly a tradition to be proud of. Still the question lingers. Why? Why write more than three quarters of a million words on everything from religion to capitalism to the new James Bond.
…followed by no less than a compelling history of our own time.

For those of you still on summer holidays and who wish to spend some (or alot) of that time productively, GCH has dotingly assembled a copious Very Best of The Gods of the Copybook Headings, Seasons One and Two. Typically, there is not a bit of "wasted time" for the reader in any these articles.

Read the whole thing here

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Underneath a sky that's ever falling down

HT to CCosh for linking to this 1976 comic book found by MrKitty. The comic is from the Office Of Energy Conservation of the Department Of Energy, Mines, and Resources of Canada.

I know, I know, you're scratching your head, because everybody knows that global cooling will have reduced us all to ice cubes by 1986. There are indeed mistakes in this comic. But the environmental and economic horror that awaits us all in the year 1996 -- if we don't change our ways and more importantly send money to environmentalists -- needs to be seen by everyone, especially children who may otherwise give little thought to what will happen before they were even born.

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An example of state rationing

"In a year, we've done more to attract doctors than in the previous decade," said DeCicco-Best.

I have a family doctor. Why don't you?

City council is congratulating themselves after announcing two new doctors and a 57 year old pediatrician will be opening up practice in London thanks to more cash from the almighty province. And the bankrupt Adopt-A-Doc incentive program has received $10,000 more dollars in donations. Reason to celebrate? I think not:
It's estimated up to 30,000 Londoners do not have a family doctor.

[..] A city report said London needs 63 new doctors just to meet Ontario's basic service standard of one doctor for every 1,380 patients.

With about 194 full-time family doctors, London has one doctor for every 1,835 residents.
As the population grows, so will the shortage of doctors so long as the government continues to prevent private clinics from providing services to willing customers, while at the same time helping some municipalities and regions jump the queue at the expense of the others with your money. Count yourself "fortunate" if you are so unfortunate to lay your mat in a designated "underserviced" area.

Breaking News!! from the London Free Press website. Londoners lacking a doctor flock to the reported practicing site of Dr. Huma Alam, one of two physicians expected to practice in our foggy city, only to be turned away, yet again:
The City was scrambling to set the record straight yesterday, after several patients raced to sign up for a newly announced doctor - only to be told she was leaving and not taking new patients.

It turns out Dr. Huma Alam does intend to start up a practice in London but not until January when her present contract is over.

A mix up of information earlier this week sent several would-be patients rushing over to the Family Clinic of St. Joseph’s Health Care on Platt’s Lane where Alam is filling in for a maternity leave.

[..] Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best said yesterday the error was the fault of the City and it should have been announced that Alam would not be taking new patients until January.

[..] Alam, who obtained her medical degree in Pakistan and recently graduated Western’s residency program, has not confirmed yet where she plans to set up her practice.
Oops. Sorry. You'll get over it, as you have no choice.

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The End of an Era

Sigh... Brian Neale of NealeNews is calling it quits.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"It kind of sounded like firecrackers"

Knifedon has reverted back to Gundon.

A quiet, northwest London neighbourhood was shot up in a spray of gunfire yesterday, leaving police looking for at least one suspect and two cars.

"Several shots" were fired at two males on Homestead Crescent about 2 a.m., but neither was hit, London police Const. Amanda Pfeffer said.

[..] Officers were seen yesterday combing the area in front of a housing complex sealed off with police tape.

One resident said bullets struck the complex and his parked minivan.

"A few areas got hit by bullets," said Toufic Saade, who also heard the early-morning gunfire.
The lack of funds available to community support groups for poverty victims in this city is to be blamed for the increase in violent crimes in London Ontario. London's finest have their hands full with law-breaking cyclists and jay-walkers. It's up to the activists to rehabilitate the murders and robbers. More of your income is required.

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Homeless humbug

London's Community & Protective Services Committee met last night and took seriously the proposition that recent delays in funding to local agencies for housing initiatives for the homeless are "catastrophic… horrible news," and "a catastrophic situation" that will have "a devastating impact" on the London Homeless Coalition as presented by its delegation to the committee… or in effect endorsing their claim that "people will die." Indeed, such purple prose is almost understated for a coalition formed specifically in response to government funding and who apparently exist more to "advise, shape, and coordinate the community's responses to homelessness" than to provide any unmentioned actual assistance in their mission statement. A political interest birthed by the indulgent promiscuity of previous governments for institutionalized cash scrambles — for "community's responses," read taxes. According to the coalition, a higher priority for your support than voluntary donations is to "[w]rite or call your MP, your MPP and your local government and tell them we need immediate action…" Well, that's alright, it's mostly other people's money…

Responding to this … mmm … professional complaint, the committee at least declined for the time being the coalition's request to discuss "financial options within the budget of the City of London" and voted instead to recommend that "council pressure Ottawa to release the funds," a much cheaper and sentimentally uncontentious motion. A nifty bit of equivocation and glad-handing of special interest groups by the committee, but its advocacy of a lobbying role for municipal government to the federal government presupposes that it has no idea whose jurisdictional responsibility is funding for homeless programs. Apparently the committee does not expect that voters will have any more clue. Given that the Constitution is silent on the matter, it might occur to the committee if it were not blinded by its own political exigencies that charity is in no official domain at all but the voluntary watch of the country's citizens. No less and at no more cost to itself than the London Homeless Coalition is the Community & Protective Services Committee appropriating common sense virtue to cover itself with tinfoil glory for political benefit. Bah humbug on them all…

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Charlie Brown Christmas Jihad

Charlie Brown and Linus convert to Islam:

HT: Basil of the London Fog

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Bill Armstrong already has a parking spot

Coun. Bill Armstrong, so far uncontested for re-election in ward two, is nevertheless still test-driving populist schemes after his earlier success as the sponsor of this summer's pesticide bylaw. From the London Free Press:

Downtown parking rates should be regulated to prevent operators from driving up rates, says a London councillor. Coun. Bill Armstrong said he'll raise the issue at an environment and transportation meeting today.

"I'm concerned that there seems to be a lack of competition for private lots and I think we need to look at that right now," Armstrong said. "I think we should look at whether there needs to be regulations around who has the lots, where they are and what they charge."
Armstrong might to equal avail patronize the complaints about the pricing of anything else in the city, like gasoline, beer, automobile repairs, etc. What makes parking rents different from these other commodities? Answer: council would not have to make an entry into the parking market because it is already highly regulated by the city. If zoning laws and politically-motivated obstructions of development application permits did not already discourage entry by competitors into the downtown parking lot market, the city is itself a major competitor, although the only one possessing the legal means to protect its revenues. Creating competition by regulation is the vainest conceit of politicians. Regulation has reduced competition to the few players who possess the wherewithal and political capacity to stay upright in the shoals of council's control of the market — increasing regulation by price-fixing is the surest way to entrench the lack of competition and supply. If Armstrong were genuinely concerned about the lack of competition in the parking market instead of standing on a populist stump, he'd be urging council to back out of it.

Of course, if Armstrong were genuinely concerned about the prices of goods and services to Londoners, he'd start with the one over which he and council have the most immediate influence and that wouldn't require one new bit of regulation — municipal taxes.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

The Cult of the Excluded

Think experience and/or merit counts for something? You are a despicable ageist!

Council bosses in Norfolk are planning to axe long service awards for staff - in case they are accused of being ageist.

New laws that come into force in October will make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the grounds of how old or young they are.

Bosses at Broadland Council say they are "reviewing" their policy of handing out awards to employees, in case they breach the rules.

According to The Sun an insider said: "The council officers are terrified of contravening the new legislation.

[..] A council spokeswoman said: "We are looking at all processes in terms of age, gender and race."
HT: Degrees of Freedom.

Also from Degrees of Freedom, "How to Argue With A Libertarian". HT: Jay Jardine.
8. Criticize libertarians for whatever interaction or noninteraction they have had with the state.

Example: "Yet another libertarian that went to a state school. What a hypocrite!" Alternately: "Yet another libertarian that went to a private university. Of course the super rich can afford to be libertarian." Since the government is involved in just about every aspect of our lives, it should be easy enough to find a similar charge to make against any libertarian. Whatever the personal activities of a libertarian may be, be sure to find fault.

9. No policy should ever be tried until it has already been tried.

Example: "Let libertarians point to a successful example of their policies being implemented before we consider implementing them." Be sure to use this argument like a taxicab, however, as it implies that no government program should ever have been implemented in the first place.

[..] 12. When all else fails, claim that a government intervention is justified because it promotes some unquestionable goal.

Example: "This tax increase may seem unpleasant, but we have to remember that taxes are necessary as a way to promote the greater good. Sometimes individuals need to sacrifice for the benefit of society." Sometimes it helps to define "greater good" and "benefit of society." Other times it's better not to do so. Decide based on the particulars of the situation.

13. Make whatever mixed behavioral assumptions best support your claims.

Example: "Private theft is bad not because of any libertarian argument based on rights. It's bad because if people are free to just take the belongings of others, the consequences would be terrible." Alternately: "The government must be able to collect taxes because the consequences are so good." Do not be afraid to have it both ways.

14. Disregard the possibility that libertarians make tradeoffs in their own lives.

Example: "You claim to oppose taxation but you live in a place with taxes." The libertarian in question will argue that he opposes taxation but remains in his present place of residence to avoid other things that are worse than taxes, such as even higher taxes or the costs of leaving the country. Disregard any such protest. Call the libertarian a hypocrite.
Update: An example, via Nobody's Business.

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Fight the War on Drugs by Stopping the War

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP - has a new promotional video on the dangerous effects of Prohibition.

Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs.

Although those who speak publicly for LEAP are people from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities, a large number of our supporting members do not have such experience. You don't have to have law enforcement experience to join us.

By continuing to fight the so-called "War on Drugs", the US government has worsened these problems of society instead of alleviating them. A system of regulation and control of these substances (by the government, replacing the current system of control by the black market) would be a less harmful, less costly, more ethical and more effective public policy.
While I disagree that the remedy to the "drug problem" is to give Government more regulatory powers - remember, the Government decreed Prohibition - I wholeheartedly support their efforts to end Prohibition.

HT: Radley Balko of the Agitator

Crossposted to Dust My Broom

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rudimentary functions and forms,
the Parable of the Post Office

It is a most extraordinary fact that all modern talk about self-determination is applied to everything except the self. It is applied to the State but it is not applied to the very thing to which its verbal formula professes to apply. I, for one, do believe in that mystical doctrine of democracy, which pre-supposes that England has a soul, or that France has a self. But surely it is much more obvious and ordinary fact that Jones has a self and Robinson has a self.
— G.K. Chesterton, Government and the Rights of Man, Illustrated London News, July 30, 1921

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Every time a social activist cries, an angel dies

The sorriest casualty of modern social activism is the wholesale numbing of the noble sentiments of compassion and charity that used to attend to the misfortunes of the down-and-out. Every time the sick, the homeless, the unemployed immigrant, the single mother and every other trademarked victim of tax-funded social agencies with decorated offices, junketing budgets and public relations managers is trotted out in the media as a hostage for more government funding and regulation, I am less inclined to negotiate for their release. And I doubt that I'm alone. It's not compassion fatigue, it's political fatigue, and it's too bad… I still drop coins into the palms of those whose faces I can see unmediated by mass advocacy campaigns, but as plastic manufactured tokens and the necessary accoutrements of politically-oriented movements and institutions I am indifferent.

The wholesale funding of charity through taxes has found more than willing accomplices among formerly charitable agencies in this country because contemporary funding depends less on the merits of their causes and more on the shrillness of their political advertisements, the professionality of their political legerdemain and the accommodation of sympathetically sensationalistic media. In sacrificing voluntary action for an incestuous interdependency of money/cutbacks for political support/opprobrium between governments and agencies, they become nothing more nor less than yet another unaudited political machine for electioneering extortion, as discreditable and removed from the sphere of average citizens' involvement than the rest.

In two consecutive issues of this week's London Free Press, reporter Joe Belanger has obligingly and uncritically sponsored opposition politicians' and agencies' slamming of the federal Conservative government's alleged "reneging" of funding promised by the previous Liberal government for housing initiatives to help the homeless.

A London MP yesterday accused a federal minister of "reneging" on promised funding for local housing initiatives to help the homeless. New Democrat housing critic Irene Mathyssen also demanded Diane Finley, federal minister of human resources and social development, restore the funding "immediately."

"Minister Finley must reassure Canadians that this government will take care of its most vulnerable citizens by reversing the other massive cuts to programs across Ontario as well," the London-Fanshawe MP said. Finley and federal officials deny they cut an estimated $376,000 in funding to 11 agencies helping London's homeless.
As a Canadian, I would be much more reassured if Minister Finley and the Conservatives stopped patronizing these professional political agencies as though they were unloved stepchildren from a previous marriage whom the government is reluctant to disavow but who keep demanding support payments, and more as the charitably-inclined organizations they claim to be. Never minding of course that government manipulation of housing, rental and employment markets is responsible for the greatest part of homelessness in this country during the last quarter century, one doesn't really expect the general sort of economic understanding that would abstain from demanding more of the kind from government from the graduates of social sciences and humanities who eagerly settle for the non-productivity of professional activism. But if they really wanted us to believe their claims to benevolence and charity, would they stoop to this kind of hyperbolic extortion method?
The head of the London Homeless Coalition says "people will die" over the harsh winter if the agencies don't get the funding that was to carry some programs for the homeless through to April.
Would a voluntary charity ever dream of coming to your door and telling you that "people will die" if you don't hand over your twenty bucks?

Cross posted to Dust my Broom

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Do you have a license for that plastic fork?

The Scottish Executive has come up with a plan to help prevent knife crime. The sale of swords is now banned, "unless sold for legitimate reasons". Selling swords is soon to become a lot more profitable in Scotland. Never mind that swords are not easily concealed and thus not the most popular bladed instrument to carry on your person.

Shops selling swords will need a licence, as will businesses dealing with non-domestic knives and other bladed weapons such as machetes.

The measures are the latest steps from the Scottish Executive to curb the problem of knife crime.

They come weeks after a nationwide knife amnesty.

A total of 12,645 blades - including lock knives, machetes, swords, meat cleavers, bayonets and axes - were handed in during the five-week amnesty.

Exemptions to the ban on sword sales include swords that are to be used for Highland dancing, museum displays, historical re-enactments, fencing and martial arts.

[..] Kenny MacAskill MSP, justice spokesman for the SNP, said: "We must continue to recognise that knives are as much of a cultural problem in our communities as they are a criminal one.

"We must ensure we tackle the causes as well as the symptoms of this scar on our communities."
You see, says Mr. Kenny, the evil hetronormative capitalists who sell these instruments of destruction to otherwise innocent victims of the oppressed minority threaten the diversity of our multicultural ecology. But what Mr. Kenny and the Scottish authority fail to appreciate is that the mad quest for material gain makes it possible for poverty-stricken-activists to purchase swords to impale people for a crust of bread.

HT: Let Freedom Reign

Slicing it up with the Broom.

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"Make Mine Freedom"

Greg Mankiw has a link to some animated Cold War propaganda (in the best sense of the term). Indirect HT Billy Beck.

"Dr Utopia's sensational new discovery, "ISM"! Ism will cure any ailment of the body politic! It's terrific! It's tremendous! Once you swallow the contents of this bottle, you'll have (turning to the working man) the benefits of higher wages, shorter hours, and security. (to the capitalist) E-normous profits! No strikes! (under his breath to the capitalist) Remember, you're the big boss! (To the politician) Government control! No worry about votes! Name your own salary! (To the farmer) Bigger crops! Lower cost! Why, Ism even makes the weather perfect every day!"
Don't miss this video!

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Greatest movie line ever

This is why it was the Golden Age of Cinema…

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Can't say we weren't warned

Let's slum it through the London Free Press letters section today.

How can Canadian advocates for Israeli self defence best help their own country? Why, get out, of course, so as not to endanger other Canadians with careless talk that might anger the righteously violent.

I would suggest that those people emigrate to Israel -- including Stephen Harper and his Republi, . . . er, Conservative party members. This could help spare our crown jewels of potential "acts of terrorism."

Allan B. Capp
Actual religious psychopaths are a mysterious force of nature in Allan's world, and as such no more subject to blame than the ozone hole. Obviously you blame the guy who drives the SUV; wasn't he warned enough times about the consequences to himself and the rest of us?

Look at what this next person writes, with disingenuous second-person use of the pronoun "we", meaning "you":
...please also take a look at the number of children massacred by Israel in the last month. That sums it up for me.

As long as my fellow citizens are willing to speak out against injustice and stand up for peace our country will be safe. The day when we sit silently or worse yet, applaud such actions, is the day when we should be worried.

Ali Asfour
Let me translate that for you :
As long as my fellow citizens are willing to speak out against injustice and stand up for peace their country will be safe. The day when they sit silently or worse yet, applaud such actions, is the day when they should be worried.

Simpa Thiza
...Worried by what, exactly, Simpa? There's something about a clear if-then like the one in the last paragraph of a letter in my hometown newspaper that kind of gets me wondering what you're up to -- and I sure hate to feel that way about a fellow man of peace.

Maybe I'll catch that plane to Israel, chased out by a panicking mob of Allan Capps eager not to offend the wrong barbarian; just in the nick of time as it turns out, as
Ali blows the city up behind me.

Update: No, I've decided to stay here in Canada.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

And now for something completely cute

Found at CuteOverload.

How much raw fish can a cat carry away? A Japanese TV show holds the championships.

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Our Gender-Neutral Parental Figure which art in Parliament


Humboldt Journal (jpg);
In her acceptance speech [Rev. Brenda] Curtis said some people think the United Church is a front for training New Democrats.

"But I assure you that it's not. However, I have my suspicions that if Jesus had been a party politician, he would have been a card-carrying New Democrat."
First things first - would Jesus have been a member of the United Church of Canada?
I doubt it… the United Church has never even got as far as Exodus 20:17
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
But they've got the rendering unto Caesar bit down pat, along with the lobbying of Caesar, campaigning for Caesar, running for Caesar…

Best line of the comments at SDA from Dante:
With all due respect to the United Church, it's gotten so bad thse days that they now pray "to whom it may concern."

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reduce the ration line: Vote Freedom Party

Gerard Kennedy, former Education Minister of Ontario, is munching grass in redder pastures. Consequently, a by-election has been called in the vacated riding of Parkdale-High Park.

The Freedom Party provides a handy chart comparing the candidates' positions on matters of importance to Ontarians.

Silvio Ursomarzo is the candidate for the Freedom Party of Ontario. To view the Freedom Party's platform, go here.

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All Purpose Phrases

Billy, on the common phrase "play a role", with usage as in "Community-based activism played a role in the achievement of social justice in Pol Pot's Cambodia":

Why does almost everyone now look at the actions of real life as the equivalent of the artifice of the stage? Or: if that is not what they see, then why do they constantly use that language with such determined ubiquity?
Me, I'm still trying to understand the difference between an "issue" and a "controversy" in Media-val English. How do you tell them apart?

Maybe it's because I went into science instead of journalism, but it seems to me that these words are now interchangeable, with one only selected over the other depending on whether a two- or four-syllable word fits the desired soothing stress pattern of the sentence being spoken.

Does anyone know of a "controversy" that isn't also an "issue", or an "issue" that isn't also a "controversy"?

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Culture czarism

An August 8th candidates forum at the London Fringe Festival saw almost all attending incumbents and hopefuls exhibiting a reflex assenting response to the Creative Cities stimulus-prod of the event's artistic community sponsors and committing themselves to the facile proposition that the taxpayers should do more to fund arts and culture in London whether they use them or not — in the course of a campaign, meaning that they are in effect committing themselves to a commitment to commit themselves, etc., to platitudinous politics and the endorsement of another special interest lobby group to co-junket with bureaucrats and politicians at city hall and exchange political support for funds. It's culture! Nothing sordid or self-serving here!

According to a correspondent of this blog who attended, Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco, Coun. Susan Eagle, and Controllers Gord Hume and Russ Monteith showed up about fifteen minutes before the event and "were rather surprised and upset that they were not represented at the front table. The show producer was rather annoyed since they had not RSVP'd the invitation, and were therefore not expected. A compromise was reached where they were allowed to sit in the audience but could only speak after the rest of the candidates." The mayor subsequently highlighted the proceedings with a typical mixture of corn-fed vagaries and contradictions:

"We can't be a city where bricks and mortar and roads and basic services are all we put our resources into," Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best said. "When it comes to arts and culture, we need to reach out across the community — individuals, groups and organizations in partnership. Government alone is not going to do it."
I shudder… not because I know what she is talking about but because it sounds expensive. Of course, people generally do not put all their resources into "bricks and mortar and roads and basic services" — the basket of services, commodities and luxuries to which they subscribe is otherwise known as the market. Let arts and culture "reach out across the community" without the politically-motivated mediation of a handful of politicians and bureaucrats — reciprocal interest will be met with proportionate support. Whatever "it" is, if government is not going to do "it" alone, it's going to do it with the same taxes that directly subtract from the individual citizen's opportunity to fund the arts and culture that add to his own enjoyment of civic life. As high-minded [sic] as DeCicco's ambitions for Londoners sound, her political ambition to acculturate Londoners is a costly mono-politico-lithic centralization of arts and culture to an elitist bureaucratized vision.

As Arthur Majoor, candidate for mayor in the upcoming November election, puts it:
While her Worship the Mayor was quick to differentiate between a “Bricks and Mortar” campaign and what she characterized as “Quality of Life”, she failed to address two important points. Bricks and Mortar are indeed the job of civic government, but quality of life is something which you, the reader and voter, achieve by your own efforts.

Quality of life is achieved by being able to make choices, and the ability to make choices comes from having access to your own resources. London’s arts community needs an audience with the resources to choose to patronise the arts in all its forms. Loss of that base not only hurts artists, but also the support industry that is built around the artistic community; distributors, art suppliers, galleries and venues. Channelling even more tax dollars into extravagant projects like a $70 million dollar performing arts centre hurts the London arts scene in several ways. A large performing arts centre will have to concentrate on blockbusters in order to take in enough revenue to be even partially self supporting. Imported acts and artists will drive out local talent. The constant flow of tax dollars to subsidize the cost of the performing arts centre will pull funding away from other artistic endeavours, and indeed draw funds away from other civic mandates. Finally, even though most Londoners will not be able to afford the extravagant ticket prices, they will be paying for the centre for years to come through their tax dollars, limiting opportunities to patronize other forms of artistic expression and narrowing the choices of what artistic expressions get supported.

The Creative Cities Task Force worked on a flawed premise. Cities which were artistic and cultural centres in the past became that way because they were first economic and political centers. The ahistorical view of the arts community adopted by the Creative Cities Task Force supports a view of art and culture which is disconnected form the underlying culture of the city, and in effect creates a “Disneyland” for the arts, not a creative and self supporting artistic community.
See also his response to a questionnaire from a selectively "interested voter" on the subject of the arts in London:
2. [W]ill you create a cultural staff position at City Hall?

A. No.

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Lessons In Taqiyya

Barbarian speak with forked tongue.

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It is the nature of Government to discriminate

If bar owners in Ontario were to erect a barrier in downtown London to protest the smoking ban, do you think the government and the police would turn their heads and avert their eyes?


A judge's ruling Manitoba's anti-smoking law must apply to native reserves has raised a legal question other provinces will face as they decide whether to allow band councils to set their own smoking rules.

Justice Albert Clearwater of Court of Queen's Bench ruled Monday an exemption for reserves is discriminatory because it violates Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees all people receive equal treatment under the law.

"It is every bit a breach of the charter to create offences for certain conduct by persons . . . and to concurrently exempt aboriginal persons from prosecution for the same conduct," Clearwater wrote.
As the authorities in Ontario are reluctant to enforce the laws off the reserves when natives are involved, it is probable your average non-native will continue to be harassed by the appointed smoke nazis while the natives happily puff away on the reserve. I suspect the situation will remain much the same in Manitoba, despite the ruling, as natives there will not likely take kindly to some white-collared busybody telling them what to do on their officially recognized land. Nor should they.

Instead of playing the oppressed card, natives and non-natives alike should band together in protest against legislation like anti-smoking laws which gradually destroy the concept of private property and necessarily your rights along with it. Special exemptions and privileges enjoyed today will come back and bite you in the ass tomorrow.

Crossposted @ Dust My Broom

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Fiscal imbalance: the great game

The extra- and ultra-Constitutional transfers of taxpayer wealth between municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions, agencies and special interest clients in this country are so utterly pandemic, labyrinthine and underreported these days that the fiscal imbalance canard is an unrestrained addiction among politicians and political interests everywhere simply because it cannot succumb to any real or simple scrutiny by even the most interested of investigators but does act to suggest facilely an absolution of financial responsibility by the claimant for fiscal woes even where they would be quick to leap for credit on any successes. Too useful and satisfying a political stimulant to abstain from, to resolve the inequity of transfers by eliminating them is unheard of — the proposed solutions from the high-seekers are always to increase the drip!

From the London Free Press:

After years of protests from municipalities, Ontario says it will review how social housing, street repairs and many other local services can best be delivered without destroying municipal coffers. Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the 18-month review yesterday in a speech to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario meeting here this week.

"I'm delighted," said London Controller Gord Hume, attending the conference to give a talk about the Creative Cities task force he chaired. "This has been a five-year battle for me and many others. It's about sustainable funding and better servicing for the people of Ontario."
The term "sustainable funding" is a polite, fuzzily environmentally-friendly-sounding euphemism for permanently entrenching tax increases in a binding agreement to transfer provincial revenues to municipal jurisdictions. The aggregated funding comes from the same Ontario taxpayers whether extracted at the local or provincial level — in fact, the suggested transfers of "sustainable funding" require that taxpayers in jurisdictions that have to deliver fewer services or deliver them more efficiently must subsidize those that deliver more or less efficiently. Sustainability in the political context of Mr. Hume means access to revenues that purportedly benefit his own constituents without having to take electoral responsibility for its collection — for taxpayers, it means permanent obligations.
Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa McLeod, a critic for municipal affairs, said the premier is deliberately avoiding what municipal leaders call Ontario's municipal fiscal imbalance.
More to the point, Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and municipal leaders are avoiding the genuine peremptorily asymmetric grievance between jurisdictions — the provincial government's mandating of service provisions by municipalities. Abolishing these absurd liabilities would simply and finally render claims of fiscal imbalance moot, but no parties to the debate will seriously entertain this idea — while the opposition enjoys the opportunity to criticize the government at no cost of scrutiny, the provincial government enjoys the political capital of legislating an appearance of humanitarian caring and managerial common sense, and municipal leaders obscure the mostly discretionary nature of their appropriations and expenditures. Any outcome of this review will not benefit taxpayers in the slightest but only entrench the self-serving confusion of jurisdictional responsibilities. The gamesmanship of fiscal imbalance makes loud victims of governments when the real imbalance is between the taxpayers and all their governments.

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Bill Clinton ponders mandatory circumcision

Can't keep it in your pants? Don't understand the concept of cleaning all crevasses of the body? Snip some skin, celebrate diversity and line up for some government appropriated cash.

Bill Clinton called for the world to prepare to tackle the cultural taboos surrounding circumcision yesterday if, as many expect, trials show that it protects men and the women they sleep with from Aids.

In a speech to the International Aids conference in Toronto, Canada, Mr Clinton said that if the trials had good results, there would be a major job of persuasion ahead. "Should this be shown to be effective, we will have another means to prevent the spread of the disease and to save lives, and we will have a big job to do," he said. "It is important that as we leave here we all be prepared for a green light that could have a staggering impact on the male population but that will be frankly a lot of trouble to get done."

The problems would be most obvious in India where Muslims are circumcised but Hindus are not, and the difference is associated with religious identity. During sectarian violence, men have been known to pull down each other's trousers as a means of identifying friend from enemy.
If only it were that easy...

Fogging up The Broom

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Monday, August 14, 2006

For the armchair policy wonk…

…or aspiring despot, NationStates is a free online game that allows players to run nations and visit the unforeseen consequences of their know-it-all social engineering on only a few billion virtual saps. As unelected leader, your response to issues alters the prosperity and prospects of your nation everyday, while you jockey for advantage in strategic alliances and bicker over ineffectual UN showman resolutions. For some reason my own subjects pay a one per cent flat income tax — I have apparently not allowed them enough personal latitude, whether they wanted it or not.

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Maude Barlow

Hurrah! Fenris is back, and he's got creaky old Maude Barlow in his anti-racist sights.

Reminds me of a song I wrote for Maude a couple of years ago,

Hear the little children say,
"Maude Barlow, go away."
There's no need for us to disagree

Rich white man all coked up says
"Maude Barlow should shut up."
Isn't he a lot like you and me?

Urban black man in his cups says
"Maude Barlow should shut the fuck up."
There's common ground between the three

Well, hip hip hip hip hooray
We achieved consensus today
Maude Barlow should shut up, and shut the fuck up, and go away

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Destroyers vs Builder

Lots of info and links at RelapsedCatholic about the Religion of Peace's pro-war termite gathering in Toronto this weekend.

The Hizb people set up their PA equipment on the back of a pickup truck. Just as they started to speak, a workman at the ROM, about 10 feet away, started whacking away at some steel beams.

A massive “clang” punctured everything the speakers uttered, and soon some of the Hizb supporters turned and started shouting at the workman to quit what he was doing.

People with a clue are aware that construction workers aren’t shrinking violets. Boy did he let fly at the Hizbees. First he swore at them, then he told them he had work to do, he wondered what on Earth they were doing there on a Saturday afternoon, and then questioned if they were Canadian.
He's not the only one clarifying the traditional Canadian position on Islamic totalitarianism. Inspiring feel-good video linked at Darcey's of a Canadian raid on a Taliban compound.

Update: I'm not one to say "bring the boys home", but it looks like there is some cleanup for them in Aisle 8.

With dispatch, please. In the meantime:
Imagine - everywhere, nationwide and worldwide that these dhimmies go to openly advocate the islamist takeover of the free world, an army of us descending upon them en mass with cameras, then uploading pictures of their faces, their cars and license plates to a Wikipedia-style database of islamofascist collaborators...

It may well be time for the citizen blogosphere militia to rise up and begin the process of sytematically identifying our enemies and naming names.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Brave OPP Heroes Defend "Native" Flag

Being in the OPP isn't just about cowering, eating donuts, collecting overtime, and waiting for an indexed pension. It's also about tackling and kicking women!

Unarmed women, of course -- this is the OPP we're talking about!

Here's an radio interview with the woman involved, and with other witnesses of the dereliction of duty and racist selective enforcement of the law for which the Ontario Provincial Police are becoming famous.

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Progressive politics on the couch

"We see it all around us today — in political creeds, in the conduct of nations. A reaction from humanitarianism — from pity — from brotherly good will. The creeds sound well sometimes — a wise régime — a beneficent government — but imposed by force — resting on a basis of cruelty and fear. They are opening the door, these apostles of violence, they are letting out the old savagery, the old delight in cruelty for its own sake! Oh, it is very difficult. Man is an animal very delicately balanced. He has one prime necessity — to survive. To advance too quickly is as fatal as to lag behind. He must survive! He must, perhaps, retain some of the old savagery, but he must not — no, definitely he must not — deify it!"
— Agatha Christie, Appointment With Death

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Some of my best friends are disproportionate

Too summerish and uncreative to provide actual original content so far ths. wk.!

Many great posts at People's Cube, which is sort of like a funny version of "The Onion". H to the T to the WS!

From the mighty Cube:

Europe's view of the present Israeli offensive against Hezbollah as an "overreaction" and "disproportionate use of force" is rooted in relatively recent history, say progressive researchers. In 1943, Europe itself suffered from a similar Jewish overreaction to some controversial German policies, in an event known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when Zionist radicals attacked the National Socialist German Workers Party that was loved by the German people for its far-reaching educational and social welfare services.
There's lots more to the article, including an excerpt from "Guns In The Closet", a note-perfect 2006-style report from Nazi Germany under siege:
Twisted cars and wreckage litter the roadside. Craters, some as wide as 60 feet, have filled with water and become small lakes.

It is in this unfortunate but familiar reality for Germany that the new landscape is being formed — deepening current loyalties rather than shifting them.

Nowhere is that more clear than in the area I am traveling today, a Nazi stronghold north of the city of Düsseldorf. Here, I am told, few families have fled. Instead, they are waiting for the call of Nazi leader Adolph Hitler to come south to fight the Americans.
More topical food for thought for the Eisenmitleid crowd is also available there under "Conflict In The Middle East: Progressive Solutions"

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