Friday, September 29, 2006

What's your F score?

Dennis Prager interviews John Dean (yes, that one) about his new Adorno-inspired (yes, that one) book, "Conservatives Without Conscience". The companion phrenology volume, "Conservatives With Prominent Destructiveness Lobes", will be released no later than Spring 1873.

I post this MP3 to use new server space, because it's a fun conversation, and to highlight this great moment in scientism that caught my ear:

DP: So what does it mean, can you give a thumbnail sketch of what you mean by "authoritarian"?

JD: Yes, I can, there are two types of authoritarians. There are authoritarian followers, often dubbed in the social sciences as right-wing authoritarian followers -- that's based on testing, uh, anonymous testing, uh, the databases that i've relied on are, are remarkably extensive --

DP: Yeah, but that's not a definition, that's just telling us that --

JD: Hold on, I'm laying predicates before I give you definitions. Ahh, what you have with the authoritarian personality who is a follower is a person who is easily submissive to an authority figure, or an authority concept. They are very aggressive once they submit to that authority --

DP: How about "non-questioning obedience", is that a fair one-sentence definition? Non-questioning obedience to an authority figure?

JD: Well,I've seen descriptions like that; that's less than precise for purposes of testing people, ummm... Maybe for descriptive purposes that works but, I try to rely on hard sciences.
The inventor of authoritarianism, Theodor Adorno, is most famous for his 1950 book "The Authoritarian Personality" and the "F Scale". See the famous witch-dunking scene from Monty Python's The Holy Grail for further details on methodology.

Or, take the test here. It's set in a vanished time, but it's still fun. I got a perfect F-Score of 3.6 -- add your own in comments.

By the way, you can subscribe to Prager's podcast here. (As authoritarian personalities who believe that nothing worth having is achieved without suffering, they don't make it easy to find out how to get the feed. Be warned.)

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being Fat Freddy"

The first new Freak Brothers in 10 years is on-line:

There is a stop-motion model animation film in the works with a trailer.

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Investing other people's money in "solutions"

So far, over $55 million of taxpayers money has been spent on the Caledonia occupation and that figure is sure to keep rising:

There's a new controversy brewing over the native standoff in Caledonia.

The McGuinty Liberals have confirmed they are not only supplying electricity to the occupied land, the province is paying for it as well.

That has upset Conservative MPP Bob Runciman who is asking how the people of Caledonia can hope to see a resolution to the matter, when the government continues to display weakness and a lack of fortitude.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay is defending the move, saying the government is investing money in solutions, not just asking questions.

Meantime, Conservative leader John Tory has written a Richmond Hill man, asking him to cancel a public rally on the occupied site next month.

Tory says the rally will only add to the tensions in the town.
HT: Paul McKeever, leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario

First the police stand around as natives in Caledonia destroy hydro lines, then the government picks up the hydro bill for the occupied site. David Ramsay wants the free stuff to keep on coming, John Tory tries to prevent "tensions" by writing a letter but remains mute on the real solution - which is to kick the insurgents off the land - and the Ontario liberals, well, apart from throwing taxpayer money at the problem, they are busy drafting legislation to protect consumers from making potentially stupid purchases. While the government is drafting bills to prevent gender-based price discrimination and designing legislation to ban expiry dates on gift cards, who is going to protect us from violent invaders and shameless looters, like the natives in Caledonia and the government?

Cross-posted at Dust my Broom

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Raise the left brow of justice

Iowahawk slays me with "A Clockwork Strawberry", his Keith Obermann parody. HT LGF:

[I]n the words of founding father John Quincy Fillmore, "shan't not our very tone be encrazed?"

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Freedom Party Media

Here's Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever on the Michael Coren show with Claire Hoy and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) head Sid Ryan back in July, discussing Israel's then-beginning war on the ululating pirates of Hezbollah. It's not exactly a provincial issue but the light of common sense shines through:

And, here's Freedom Party president Bob Metz appearing on some 9/11 anniverary show, opposite what appears to be a random guy who wandered into the wrong studio:

Ontario voters lamenting their electoral choice among socialists, socialists, socialists, and socialists in next year's provincial election should look into Freedom Party.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The garbage story is dead, long live the garbage story

(Sue Reeve, London Free Press)

Occupying the top third of the newsprint edition of the London Free Press today is a wildlife exhibit, capturing in perfect repose the routine aggressive gesture of the politician in its natural habitat of permanent third-party opposition. With its unerring instincts for depleted hunting grounds, the atavistic pack's leader ferociously circles territory abandoned by other predators and scavenges for voter carcasses.

After a week of picking out their own headlines, London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco and other area politicians appear to have moved on after desultorily concluding, with the courteous minimum of affected remorse, that they have neither "the influence, authority or jurisdiction" to do anything about the city of Toronto's private purchase of the Green Lane landfill in Elgin county, after a meeting with Ontario environment minister Laurel Broten. Odd… I could have told them that last week. Come 2010, we can see for ourselves just how appreciable is the difference in Londoners' lives whether Toronto's garbage is trucked down the 401 to Michigan or to Elgin county, or whether Toronto's garbage is so much more severe in character than other municipalities' garbage ending up in the same place. And by that time even Howard Hampton will have departed from such barren politicking.

Update: The issue is still not dead. Area politicians are in no hurry to discuss real issues, like taxes, debt, crumbling infrastructure and crime. Yet another article about Toronto's garbage in the crap press:
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley urged London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best to call a meeting of regional mayors to try to block the sale, which closes in about 80 days.

"This isn't the time to give up," Bradley said yesterday.

He was referring to DeCicco-Best's comments after a meeting Tuesday with Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten, who said she won't intervene to block the sale.

[..] "It's never over until it's over," he said. "It's a political issue now and we should continue to make it an issue and let the elected Liberal MPPs know there are going to be political consequences."

DeCicco-Best said she will call a meeting of regional mayors by Monday once she's gathered enough information.
What will Anne-Marie do? Collect signatures?

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Allah - Not Dead Enough

Fearing violent reactions from Islamofascists, the heads of Deutsche Oper in Berlin have cancelled scheduled performances of Mozart's opera, Idomeneo.

THE bloodstained King of Crete stumbles onstage and holds aloft the decapitated heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the prophet Mohammed.

"The Gods are dead!" he calls out to the audience.

[..] Deutsche Oper director Kirsten Harms received police advice that "disturbances could not be excluded" during performances of the Mozart opera. She decided to replace the opera, due to play from November 5, with The Marriage of Figaro.

A spokesman for the Deutsche Oper said putting on Idomeneo would "represent an incalculable security risk for the theatre at present". It was therefore in the interests of the public that the opera should not be performed.

The production of Idomeneo by Hans Neuenfels was only mildly controversial when it premiered in 2003. The plot of the opera, first performed in 1781, centres on Idomeneo, the king of Crete, who is saved by Poseidon from dying in a storm. To repay the god of the sea, the king is obliged to sacrifice the first person he sees on reaching safety. This turns out to be his son.

The opera shows how the king tries to escape from his debt to Poseidon. In the end, his sacrifice entails handing power to his son and the woman he loves. The epilogue, as conceived by Neuenfels, has the king coming onstage with a bag of cut-off heads. With great care, he props them on chairs. The message is clear: the gods are dead and humans have to take over their own destiny.
Taking over your own destiny these days increasingly translates into running away and apologizing for offended feelings. Cries of cultural sensitivity and oppression resound thoughout the airwaves, and the all too typical response to threats of violence at the hands of militant Muslims is to capitulate to the demands of the deviants, rather than to stand up to their irrational and unlawful threats. Theatre goers in Berlin are now denied an opportunity to sit together peaceably to enjoy some art because some bigot might blow himself up before the fat lady sings.

What you do not see can hurt you because silencing the past is tantamount to rewriting it. Those who control the censor control the future.

Fear I understand, but give a bully an inch and he will take your yard. There is no bargaining with tyrants. And no apologies are owed.

Via Billy Beck, a letter writer remembers Ayn Rand:
In her 1957 novel, ''Atlas Shrugged,'' Ayn Rand gave us a warning on how the pope should have handled the militant Muslim reaction to his recent speech. In the chapter, ''This Is John Galt Speaking,'' she gave the following context-setting remarks. ''There are two sides to every issue: One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.''

In the next paragraph, she gave the warning that Western civilization must act on immediately to survive: ''When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute, when loyalty to an unyielding purpose is dropped by the virtuous, it's picked up by scoundrels — and you get the indecent spectacle of a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good and a self-righteously uncompromising evil.''
Sharing the rations over at The Broom

Update: HT: Darcey. The BBC briefly airs the offending scene.

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No garbage fatwa forthcoming

According to the London Free Press, London Fanshawe Liberal MPP Khalil Ramal is "determined" to do everything he can to prevent Toronto's garbage from being dumped in the Green Lane landfill in Elgin County.

"I am willing to choose any path, legal path, whatever possible path to block it," Ramal said.
… before continuing,
"As you know it is a private landfill," Ramal said. "I don't know what MPPs from London can do to block it."
Ummm… which means that, at no cost to yourself, you'll do nothing except grandstand for the media… like every other politician in this over-wrought and pointless story. (Hat tip to Lisa for pointing out Ramal's about-turn disclaimer.)

On the subject, mayoral candidate Arthur Majoor notes:
A casual visitor might wonder what on earth this election is about. The media trumpets the Greenway landfill as “The” issue of the election, but the election is not being held in Elgin County, but in the City of London. No member of Council, the Board of Control or even the Mayor has any standing in the issue, and indeed never had throughout the twenty or so years the Toronto garbage issue has been brewing.
Read the rest here…

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Purchasing Social Justice with envelopes of money and an ice pick

Michael Ignatieff and Joe Volpe enlist the support of the deceased, Bob Rae calls on his imaginary friends, and Stéphane Dion preaches good old fashion communism.

HT: Darcey of Dust my Broom - Dion gets cozy with the editorial board of the Red Star:

As in the 20th century, the main issue is to reconcile economic growth with social justice. The party that was able to deliver both to the people was the Liberals. We have been the party that has been able to identify the issues and improve the (lives) of the people. That is why we've been the party of the 20th century. We won't be the party of the 21st century if we don't understand in which century we are.

This is my vision: The economy, if it is to be profitable, needs to be sustainable in the 21st century. Some countries are well ahead of us. We have too much waste in this economy and in this society. My action plan is to improve the situation by engaging in dialogue with members of our party, and subsequently Canadians.

Unless you are able to be more competitive in the new revolutionary sustainable economy, then you cannot do what Liberals would like to do, which is bring about social justice.

When you (have) social justice, you help people to be healthier, better educated and have better security for their families. Then they are more confident and they become bigger players in the economy. And then you have the virtuous circle for the 21st century: a better economy feeding social justice.
Although the ration line seems wrong long, always remember this is the cost of social justice. Canadians need to remember the century they should aspire to is the 20th century - the century of Hitler and Stalin and the Liberal Party of Canada, the oppressed people's saviours. If the Liberals are to protect the country from global cooling warming, two-tier healthcare, organic spinach and Christianity, they must ration out the resources according to the basic axiom of social justice: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The Liberal Party cares. The Liberal Party is sensitive to your collective needs. Regression is good - Progress is wrong.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Councillors late for meeting about trash because they were gorging at the trough

The dead tree edition of the London Free Press contains a little dirty brief concerning the upcoming public meeting to discuss the city's trash collection schedule. Planned for October 16th, the meeting is not yet scheduled because a few too many councillors were busy eating a plate of chicken cordon bleu at our expense.

No link, but reproduced in all its glory:

Delayed dinner break stalls trash proposal

A city hall committee didn't firm up plans to hear from the public about a proposed return to weekly garbage pickups when too few politicians returned from dinner to have a legal quorum.

Controller Bud Polhill and Coun. Cheryl Miller didn't return to a meeting of the city's environment and transportation committee following a dinner that had been delayed by a lengthy debate over Toronto trash.

The committee will meet again soon to schedule a public participation meeting Oct. 16.
Yes, they were filling their faces and talking about Toronto's trash rather than discussing city business. Apparently even more committees are needed to discuss how to form committees to choose the people to sit on the committees. A mandatory time management course would surely also be an asset.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

"Fatwa Fridays"

It's almost October, have you been thinking about your kids are going to wear this Halloween? Some progressive car sales folks in Columbus, Ohio, are giving away some accessories this October that are to die for:

A car commercial proclaiming a jihad on the U.S. auto market and offering "Fatwa Fridays" with free swords for the kids is offensive and should not be aired, Muslim leaders said on Sunday.

The radio advertisement for the Dennis Mitsubishi car dealership in Columbus, Ohio, has "a whole jihad theme," said Adnan Mirza, director of the Columbus office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"They are planning on launching a jihad on the automotive market and their representatives would be wearing burqas ... ," Mirza said. "They mentioned the pope in there and also about giving rubber swords out to the kiddies -- really just reprehensible-type comments."
Crossposted at Mitchieville

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The London Free Press: All the news that's printed to fit

Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, but he didn't have the London Free Press calling the tunes. For almost a week now, the Free Press has been headlining daily "the first drama in the race to become London's next mayor," and local politicians at both municipal and provincial levels have availed themselves of the opportunity to pose for contrived protestations and recriminations over the sale of the 130-hectare Green Lane landfill in Elgin County to the city of Toronto — a sale over which municipal politicians themselves have no jurisdiction let alone financial or environmental interest, and over which provincial politicians have no interest other than procedural approval. Meanwhile, the subjects of municipal taxes, spending, crime for which London politicians are accountable in the upcoming election go unremarked — because the Free Press has nothing and has never had anything substantive to say on the records of candidates on those issues. On the issues that matter — on the issues for which candidates are actually responsible — the Free Press is a blank book.

From a poll in today's Free Press (screen capture taken at 9pm):

So, where's the option for "The Media"?

Postscript: In its quest for ratings, the Free Press is also auditioning Bob McCaig, owner of the Green Lane landfill, for a role in the sensational cast of villains, reporting on New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos' puffed-up assertion in the legislature that the Liberals wouldn't step in to kill the deal because Green Lane had contributed $35,000 to the party in the past two years. The best line in the piece comes from McCaig, who admits to donating to both major parties because “it’s just good business.”

McCaig insisted “it’s pretty standard” to contribute to both the Liberals and Conservatives at election time for any business.
Now why is that, do you suppose?

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That is their appeal. They pretend to be harmless

It's election time, and as also tends to happen prior to the annual portion redistribution, everyone is lining up and demanding their more than equal share. So they chant:

Unless you are willing to offer MY oppressed group more assistance and lobby for our needs, we'll cast our lot with the other oppressor. All communities need more community centres and parks, yes that is true, but the money does not flow fast enough from the pockets of the greedy capitalists. We recognize that total collectivization has not yet been achieved, and as resources are still limited, some oppressed groups will profit at the expense of the others. We'll blame the capitalists and the unjustifiable greed of other oppressed groups.

Susan Eagle responds. In just one day, she has pledged to commit $1.7 million of other people's money towards the health of the nation state we call London Ontario. Specifically, she is currently campaigning for the Middlesex-Health Unit and a "special innovation fund" that provides free drugs and counselling for addicts to help them get back on their feet.

Exhibit #1:

Taxpayers in Middlesex County and London may be on the hook after the Middlesex-London Health Unit learned it won't be getting as much cash from the province as officials had hoped.

The health unit can add four new positions with the provincial funding it's receiving, but that's not enough to do everything the health unit wants to, its directors were told at a meeting last week.
Yes, the public must be aware of the dangers of Alcopops!
Alcopops are tasty, popular and potentially dangerous, particularly for young people, the Middlesex-London Health Unit warns.

[..] Alcopops include dairy coolers, wine coolers, fruity mixes, alcoholic milkshakes -- even alcoholic drinks in the guise of frozen treats.

The problem, according to the health unit, is alcopops appeal to entry-level drinkers, including under-age high school students.

[..] The health unit plans to include its message about the risk of alcopops in its alcohol education and awareness activities.

"Multiple strategies are required to change knowledge, attitudes, motivation and skills so youth are better able to resist the pro-drinking influences and opportunities that surround them," the health unit report said.
And continuing with Exhibit #1, which will cost the city an additional $700,000 if it approves the health unit's budget request:
Coun. Susan Eagle suggested the health unit should fill the city council gallery when the issue comes to a vote to show councillors how much the money is needed.
Let's move along to Exhibit #2:
London city council is being asked to set up a $ 1-million fund to tackle a growing substance abuse problem.

Recommended by the city 's general manager of community services Ross Fair, the "special innovation fund" would pay for projects aimed at reducing substance abuse problems in London's core areas.

[..] Committee chairperson Susan Eagle said it could be suggested substance abuse isn't a municipal concern, but council has to deal with the fallout.

"A lot of things we could technically say are not our jurisdiction, but we are the local folks. We deal with whatever ends up in front of us in our local community that is not being addressed by the other levels of government," she said.

Last month, it was reported the methadone clinic in downtown London has been overrun with more than 400 visits daily, four and a half times more than expected.

The volume was causing concerns in the neighbourhood of the clinic, Fair wrote in a report to council.

To decide what projects are approved, Fair is recommending London police services and the medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit be invited to review proposals with him.

Eagle said she would like to see other community agencies involved as well if the fund is approved.
Line up or storm city hall. Your choice in a statist climate.

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I dare you to leave an envelope in a room with these two in it

Just the man you need in your corner when accused of shady politics:

Embattled Liberal leadership candidate Joe Volpe is the victim of anti-Italian sentiment, says former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, who blames the same ethnic prejudice for his own fall from grace.
. . .

"History repeats itself. Whenever an Italian-Canadian tries to go up and succeed in politics, somebody tries to do something to bring him down," said Mr. Gagliano, who is fighting his lifetime ban from the Liberal party.

"When I got to the top, that's when my troubles began."
More humble men have been able to accept Lord Acton's warning "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

But go ahead, say it Alfonso: Mafia.

People seem to think guys like you are messed up with the mafia. That's why when you pass around envelopes stuffed with loot for the Party suddenly people get these ideas. But that's just because you're Italian and they're bigots. Now poor old Joe was just trying to get everybody out to vote. I thought it was awfully nice of his campaign to pay for those memberships. I bet if he wasn't Italian no one would have bat an eye.


Gee wiz, I forgot about the Russian mafia!
The chaotic show was replete with ghostly spectres hovering in the wings.

In this September 6th photo Ignatieff addressess his undead supporters (note hand gestures), simultaneously with an ethnically diverse living crowd at the Ontario Heritage Centre, promising an all inclusive Canada where the dead may no longer feel marginalized.

Rumour has it that Hedy Fry decided to throw her support behind Bob Rae when he told her he will announce new programs to extend to, not only the undead, but imaginary friends as well.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lift! Bend! Tax! Spend!

According to the London Free Press, GoodLife Fitness Clubs owner David Patchell-Evans and the Fitness Industry Council of Canada are urging the federal finance department to make fitness club memberships tax deductible.

"The benefit to the government is huge."
Do tell… a government that represents Canadians receives benefits for itself, independent of Canadians? The indirect benefit, even if Patchell-Evans is understood to be appropriating an aggregate of individual Canadians under the banner of government, can only be supposed at best — without accomodatingly flexible social science metrics, that is — and clearly is not inclusive of those Canadians who get their exercise outside of a gym. But the financial benefits of specific incentives to targeted industries, of which Patchell-Evans is a member, are on the other hand incontestable…

… which makes these kinds of incentives nothing more nor less than indirect tax subsidies, as the shortfall in revenue must be adjusted for against the demands of other targeted tax subsidies. Why not eliminate all tax deductions and indirect tax subsidies to business altogether, and reduce the tax rate wholesale? Give Canadians the resources to act upon their own incentives instead of the government's. When did we start working out for the government instead of ourselves?

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London City Council keeps talking trash

The stench of garbage is stronger than usual this week in London. Not only did Joe Fontana launch his "Leadership" campaign this weekend, promising a PLAN FOR THE PEOPLE, the favoured subject of city politicians has been trash. In addition to yet another front page story in the People's Press about the Toronto trash controversy, readers are informed that the rotating garbage schedule in London is once again under review. More committees, to discuss how to form committees to choose the people to sit on the committees are expected. For now, another public meeting because Gord Hume cares:

Residents may be offered more -- and, at the same time, less -- at an upcoming public meeting to debate changing London's garbage pickup system.

The "more" part: a return to weekly pick-up instead of the current six-day schedule.

The "less" part: limiting the number of bags to three instead of the current four and mandating a new, lower weight.

A hefty price-tag is the tricky trade-off in returning to a five-day collection schedule, Controller Gord Hume said yesterday.

"It is about a half-point increase on our tax rate in a time that we are trying to keep tax increases to a minimum. That is a significant chunk," Hume said.

[..] Despite the cost savings with the current system, Hume said it is an issue he hears about from residents. People who dislike the six-day collection cycle dislike it a lot, he said.

"They are quite vocal about it and I respect that," he said.
More but less, as taxpayers never gain because they have no real choice over how their money is spent. Remember, Gord Hume is a long time advocate of the debt-ridden John Labatt Centre and a supporter of a proposed multi-million dollar performing arts centre. Who needs another circus when you have city hall?

According to city staff reports, the change back to weekly pickup dates would cost Londoner's an additional $1.7 million plus another $700,000 to purchase new garbage trucks. What is not reported or advocated by the city is cutting money from the bread and circus budget to pay for essentials. As I said before, I'd be willing to pay a little extra for a little less waste:
Junk the JLC, scrap the creative cities project and I'll willingly pay ten bucks more for reliable garbage pickup and a few dollars more besides to fill the potholes. It's hard to be cultured when the raccoons are taking over in cahoots with provincial and local politicians.
And because you probably came here looking to find out what day of the week to put your garbage out, you can check the 'Waste Reduction & Conservation Calendar' here. The London Fog cannot be held responsible if you are confused by the zone map and miss garbage day yet again. Blame the city. It's their site and your money that is paying for it.

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Joe Volpe expected to promise to extend the Charter of Rights to the undead

Having already broken new ground in the Liberal leadership campaign by fighting for the right of those under the age 18 to make political contributions, Joe Volpe appears ready to extend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to that marginallized segment of society otherwise known as the undead.

"Let's face it, here in Canada we have no idea how many undead are currently being denied the right to vote in addition to other fundamental rights and privileges enjoyed by most Canadians" said a source close to the Volpe campaign.

Support seems to be gathering from this marginallized group:

The Toronto Star reported yesterday dozens of people in Montreal-area ridings — including at least two dead people — had been . . . signed up as federal Liberal party members.

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Beijing "hot dogs"

Coming to a diversity workshop near you:

The dish in front of me is grey and shiny.

"Russian dog," says my waitress Nancy.

"Big dog," I reply.

"Yes," she says. "Big dog's penis..."

. . .

Nestling beside the dog's penis are its clammy testicles, and beside that a giant salami-shaped object.

"Donkey," says Nancy. "Good for the skin..."

She guides me round the penis platter.

"Snake. Very potent. They have two penises each."

. . .

"Sheep... horse... ox... seal - excellent for the circulation."

She points to three dark, shrivelled lumps which look like liquorice allsorts - a special treat apparently - reindeer, from Manchuria.

. . .

"Some like their food served raw," says Nancy, "like sushi. But we can cook it anyway you like."

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Toronto's trash, new and improved with added imperialism

The very moment people pay for someone to haul away their garbage, it becomes a commodity subject to all the costs and opportunities of any other commodity in the market. Although this is a simple and irrefutable observation, it escapes general notice because the opportunities are mostly distributed by single monopolistic government purveyors who in turn hide the artifically elevated costs in taxes and exert tight regulatory powers over the negative externalities, imposing strict or often impossible restrictions on locations or methods of garbage disposal. As with any commodity that is so effectively dominated by government, commerce in garbage is become a political issue — which means that, far from being governed by rational policy, garbage is a political commodity traded in spurious debates, imaginary moral imperatives and populist clamourings. And whenever rational policy might threaten to intrude, political self-interest overwhelms it with an avalanche of hysteria.

For example, local media are this week steering the politicians' punches in "the first drama in the race to become London's next mayor" and selling its "stakes" as "high" — which would actually make it the second drama, coming only days after the Free Press manufacturing the other previous "key municipal election issue." But who's counting? Bounding right back up to the top of the ersatz populist stump, like trick ponies, London politicians and area MPPs are this time shouting outrage over the sale of the 130-hectare Green Lane landfill in Elgin County to the city of Toronto for rerouting its garbage from Michigan in 2011… an over-wrought demonstration of NIMBY-ism considering that the landfill isn't even within London's boundaries. Even Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley is calling for a regional conference among mayors opposed to Toronto's garbage — and Sarnia is counties away from either the landfill or the route between it and Toronto. The conceits of politicians are immeasurable even when they are doing nothing at all, but affecting some sort of moral ascendancy over the uncoerced commerce between two peripheral jurisdictions in the absence of the slightest jurisdictional, pecuniary or environmental self-interest is presumption that is simply beyond description. So what are they actually outraged about?

"The right thing to do would have been to call us and not let us find out through media reports," Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best said.
"Us" means, of course, her and the municipal government at whose prow she figureheads… and which has no conceivable proprietary interest in the sale. Londoners themselves are expected to merely submit to the proposition that she cares… at least as much as her main rival Joe Fontana who is doing his busy best to out-care DeCicco. But indignation is cheap for politicians, especially when attention to matters of municipal taxes, spending, debt and crime for which they are accountable is so easily diverted. And Coun. Susan Eagle is particularly theatrical on behalf of her electoral interests when given unpaid advertising space in the Free Press:
"It's appalling disregard for local municipalities," Coun. Susan Eagle said. "They're our big neighbours simply asserting their power and will. It's very disappointing."

… "It's about our health, about our safety, about losing our autonomy so a larger municipality can use us as a dumping ground."
What autonomy? The rhetoric of the underdog oppressed by an imperialistic goliath is certainly evocative, but what is the city of Toronto actually doing to the city of London? Given that the Green Lane landfill had already been approved for expansion and was accepting contracts from other municipalities, what makes Toronto's trash different, let alone more imperialistic, than any other community's? But there's no place in the local newspaper for questioning political propositions — valuable newsprint is already dedicated to engineering an osmotic absorption by readers. Bloated reproaches from every area Liberal MPP, Controller Bud Polhill, Eagle and too many others — too numerous to quote, in fact — for a euphemistic "Made-in-Toronto" solution wilfilly deride the fact that Toronto is making its solution. The implication otherwise must be that Toronto is somehow morally compelled to dispose of its garbage in Toronto. But what is the moral imperative of keeping garbage close to home? I myself do not, and would not even if the city did not legally occupy my discretion on the subject. The town of Aylmer dumps its garbage in the Green Lane landfill — why are there no political demands for a "Made-in-Aylmer" solution? Neither buyer nor seller were legally coerced in a transaction for landfill space that meets the province's environmental standards and which isn't even located in the jurisdictions making the complaint.

If anyone has cause for complaint, it is the taxpayers of Toronto who have been forced for years to pay for expensive solutions to the panderings and opportunism of their own politicians that erected the impenetrable political barriers to more expedient and financially efficient garbage disposal methods and locations closer to home, and will continue to do so through a mortgage of at least $200 million for the property — and rumoured to be over $400 million, although the details were voted on in a closed-door session of Toronto city council and, significantly, will not be revealed until after the November election in Toronto. The long-running political gamesmanship in Toronto with electoral populism and the NIMBY-ism and pseudo-environmentalism of special interest groups has prevented rational policy-making and forced political interests to conclude extra-jurisdictional solutions without regard to prudence or sound judgment. By turning its garbage into a political football and lobbing it outside its borders, Toronto has precipitated a regional sport of politicking with Toronto's trash — with the same rules of bombast, irrationality and electoral diversion. There's simply no manufactured catchet in politicking with Aylmer's trash. The particular grievance of London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco is of course not with the garbage itself, for which she has no legitimate nor even contrived interest; it is that Toronto mayor David Miller has successfully tossed the football out of his grasp right into her lap right before an election. If she wanted to object to a legitimate injustice, she could point out that local taxpayers will be obliged to subsidize another politically-wrought financial mismanagement of Toronto through provincial bailouts — except that she's been building her career on lobbying the province and the federal government for bailouts for London's own financial mismanagement. In the meantime, one hopes that DeCicco, Eagle and the others have the foresight to save a few electoral diversions for themselves from the issues of taxes, spending and crime that are in their backyard for closer to the election in November.

By resisting the occasion to rise above cheap grandstanding, local politicians reinforce the doctrine of mystically transforming material commodities into political ones. Opportunities are wasted for political exigency, political costs are added to prices, and commerce is exchanged for cheapened and stultified political debate. This benefits no one, except perhaps unions and special interests. As for what could have been, Arthur Majoor, a candidate in the upcoming election for mayor of London, put it well in a private correspondance:
Decrying garbage as a problem is short-sighted […] Garbage consists of processed materials that can be extracted or exploited in various ways. Enterprising people could have, if given their own resources and free reign, discovered profitable ways to exploit this. In London, the money has been taxed out of their hands and spent on the Canada summer Games, JLC, Convention centre and so on instead, net drains on the taxpayer's wealth. In the meantime, the equivalent of a river of oil and minerals drive past London on a daily basis. Instead of a problem, this is actually another foregone opportunity.
Update: Arthur Majoor expands upon the local garbage issue here: Garbage or Wasted Opportunities?

Update 2: The London Free Press reports that Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory and other local PCs are opportunistically piling onto the trash controversy to discredit the governing Liberals. Cheap and meaningless homilies about "better representation" aside, what is Tory criticizing the Liberals for? The provincial government by regulation must approve the sale but has no procedural reasons to block it except for fabricated political ones … and it is difficult to imagine Queens Park deferring to the parochial machinations of London-area politicians in favour of Toronto's. What John Tory and the PCs would do differently in the Liberals' place cannot be guessed at — nor is it meant to be, beyond a cursory indignation. Tory is doing nothing but trying to score a few political points during a time-out from the legitimate jurisdictional concerns of provincial governance.
Political fallout from the move was to be expected, political scientist Paul Nesbitt-Larking said. "There has been almost universal condemnation because the optics of this are so bad," said the professor at Huron University College.
Indeed, could it be because of anything else?

Publius at Gods of the Copybook Headings sums the whole mess up very nicely:
The division of political labour is determined by the extent of the market for political bafflegaffe. More than a century and a half ago, people conceded to the state the task of garbage disposal. About thirty years ago the job of environmental guardian was added to the laundry lists of government responsibilities. […] government involvement means politicization. Activities that most people would never have been aware or concerned about, become major issues because politicians need to put their faces in front of a television camera every so often.

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The Cult of the Oppressed Native

The couple who formed Caledonia Wake Up Call are organizing a protest on October 15th and the property destroying insurgents are asking the Provincial government to prevent the protesters from gathering.

Six Nations protesters are calling on the province to stop a rally they say could spark a "volatile situation" on the former housing development aboriginals have occupied in Caledonia since February.

[..] Hazel Hill, spokesperson for the aboriginal occupiers, said the governing Liberals need to step in and stop the rally before it creates a "volatile situation."

"They have to deal with it. This isn't public land . . . It's not optional to have rallies. It will incite problems."

Residents of the town, just outside Hamilton, and aboriginals have clashed several times since the occupation began more than six months ago. Six Nations protesters say they won't leave until the land they say was taken illegally from them more than 200 years ago is returned.
Actually, the government currently owns the disputed land, meaning it is indeed "public." It has not yet been awarded to the oppressed. The natives created this "volatile situation" in the first place, beginnning with their illegal occupation of the site, and the government choose to deal with the occupation and destruction of property by spending over $17 million of taxpayer money on the purchase of the land. If the proposed rally turns violent, it will likely be because the insurgents show up to hose down the protesters while the police hang around drinking coffee.
The province has no plans to sanction or stop the rally. Anne-Marie Flanagan, spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay, said the government won't "speculate about an event which may or may not occur . . . We'll . . . [sic] appropriate action to make sure people are safe."

[..] Former Ontario premier David Peterson, who the province appointed to begin negotiations in the dispute, said he doubts anyone will take the rally seriously.

"There are a lot of wackos in society. It's important not to give them too much credibility. I don't think anybody there will think this is a constructive thing to do."
Now that the government has gone ahead with the purchase, they must defend their decision and all who oppose the almighty wisdom of the provincial Liberals are a bunch of "wackos". There are a whole lot of "wackos" in government but unfortunately, even if we ignore them, they won't go away and their actions *or failure to act* remain destructive and counter-productive.

Crossposted at Dust My Broom

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Cry Fiscal Imbalance and blame the next tier


"It's as though they feel their lives have no meaning unless the media is paying attention to them."

Local pop culture expert Allan Gedalof
With the possible exception of Imagine London, the Urban League of London, and other gangs who enjoy frequent and undeserved coverage of their collective agendas, most Londoners recognize that the London Free Press is a piece of trash. It takes me about 5 minutes to scavenge through the news sections for blog worthy crusty bits.

Yesterday's edition was typical of the norm. Particularly pathetic was the front page. Occupying two-thirds of the page, yet another story about Toronto's purchase of a privately owned dump in Southwestern Ontario. This story has been headline news for the past four days. London currently has their own dump, meaning our backyard already smells like garbage, not to mention the interior, and the land Toronto purchased was already a dump for the unrecycled waste of Elgin county residents. Area politicians are now, unsuccessfully, calling on McGuinty to step in and stop the sale. The dump purchase is now becoming a "major" election issue.

The 'not so Free Press' is doing its best to divert readers' attention from the real issues impacting Londoners. Property taxes and municipal debt continue to rise along with the crime rate, but instead of focusing on the local mismanagement of the city, the London Free Press chooses to aid career aspiring politicians by deflecting public attention from their fiscal incompetence by reporting on campaigns to save the trees, ban pesticides, preserve heritage, and to stop graffiti by banning spray paint.

The other third of the front page - yes, the front page - was devoted to a story about a 36 year-old London firefighter and his 18 year-old ex-girlfriend exposing their dirty underwear on the Dr. Phil show.
London firefighter Corey Thompson battled burning charges of infidelity yesterday on TV's "Dr. Phil" show.

On the show, themed "Revenge of the Exes," Thompson was confronting his ex-girlfriend Ashley, who claimed he had cheated on her repeatedly during their 10-month relationship.

The 18-year-old woman said she hoped to exact vengeance on her ex-lover by exposing his disloyalty to the world on TV.

"She is just hell-bent to make me pay," countered the 36-year-old Thompson, who confessed to having affairs with three other women while dating Ashley.

When show host Phil McGraw asked why Thompson would date someone so much younger than him, he replied:

"She has a wicked little body on her. Can you blame me?"
The answer is to ban garbage and the Free Press along with it. Waste should not be permitted while Africans starve and die of AIDS. Trees shed tears of blood for each member of their race that is turned into newsprint. Recycling does not ease the pain.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Saint Said

David Friedman:

A saint said "Let the perfect city rise.
Here needs no long debate on subtleties,
Means, end,
Let us intend
That all be clothed and fed; while one remains
Hungry our quarreling but mocks his pains.
So all will labor to the good
In one phalanx of brotherhood."

A man cried out "I know the truth, I, I,
Perfect and whole. He who denies
My vision is a madman or a fool
Or seeks some base advantage in his lies.
All peoples are a tool that fits my hand
Cutting you each and all
Into my plan."

They were one man.

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I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd

Found at Daily Kos, HT LGF .

"We haven't really seen a transformative progressive like that in the World since the days of Franklin Roosevelt... Venezuela-China-Iran-Russia take stock of common humanity and common sense and form a counter-balance to the tyranny and destruction thrust upon the World at the hands of the arrogant and murderous Right-Wing-Orwellian-USA."

"Chavez is cool in many respect, but he puts a chill down my spine at other times."

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Drop that bottle of Evian, now!

The much-publicized environmental campaigns of the past few decades against global warming, chemicals, urban sprawl, and a hundred other celebrated causes have brought tremendous financial rewards to the leaders of those movements. Each reproach drives expiatory donations and membership from an anxious public. More handsomely, however, the ratcheting of environmental anxiety makes each cause a political issue, driving massive tax-funded subsidies to give environmentalists jobs as professional lobbyists, researchers and lawyers. And because the profitable manufacture of anxiety depends on the natural but rudimentary distrust of change, environmentalists are by and large ideologically forced by the dynamism of the free market into adopting irrational socialist rhetoric about "essential needs," "public trusts" and "commodification," and placing their trust instead in rigid government regulation.

Peter Shawn Taylor in yesterday's Financial Post notes the environmentalist doctrine of "hydrologic destiny" and its costly but under-publicized returns on political investment in "Ontario's Greenbelt Plan, the work of the International Joint Commission (IJC) on U.S./Canada boundary waters as well as the Great Lakes Charter agreement signed in 2005 by the eight Great Lakes states plus Ontario and Quebec, which virtually bans watershed diversions" (emphases added):

Then there's the case of Waukesha County, Wis., where much of the local water supply is contaminated with radium. Waukesha is just short drive from Lake Michigan, but because the sub-continental divide runs through the county, many municipalities within it are prevented from piping in safe water from the lake. The City of Waukesha is contemplating a petition under the Great Lakes Charter for an exemption to divert Lake Michigan water for human safety reasons. But its success is unclear and opponents have been lining up for years. The American Civil Liberties Union has declared it will challenge the application on the basis of "environmental justice." The Wisconsin director of the ACLU has said that "water diversions will almost certainly increase suburban sprawl." Hydrologic destiny thus becomes a new way to make life miserable for humans. Save the water, kill the cities.

Accepting the sanctity of watersheds means putting water droplets ahead of human necessity. But the endgame is about more than just fighting sprawl. Everyone who defends hydrologic destiny, from the Sierra Club to Ontario's McGuinty regime, understands well enough that if water can't be moved from one watershed to another, then it can never be sold to someone who might need it. Protecting watersheds is all about keeping a lid on the rational pricing and sale of water. It's not about science or logic, it's about an anti-market ideology.

If Canada is ever to see an economic benefit from its massive and renewable wealth in fresh water -- selling it to the thirsty U.S. southwest for instance -- the watershed doctrine of hydrologic destiny will have to go.

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Public Service Announcement

Always tip in cash - the records are not auditable like credit cards or interac stubs. Even if you pay the basic service fee with a credit card, just write zero in the tip line and pay a cash tip if appropriate.
Arggh, of course! I've usually tipped with whatever card I'm paying the main bill with -- not realizing that a portion of the server's just reward would be thrown away on social programs, community investment initiatives, and human rights forums. I pledge to be a better customer in future.

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Is a tree in the bush worth more than two in the burbs?

By any account, voter focus on the issues of municipal spending, taxes and crime does not favour many of the incumbents in the upcoming civic election. The response of the London Free Press is then, naturally, to manufacture an entirely spurious issue. The lead story in Monday's Free Press is titled:

Trees could become election issue

For the Free Press, at least, the headline will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as it never contests the self-invested authority of its own importance. Reporters will now be unabashed to add facile and incomprehensible stories about London's trees to their long list of irrelevancies and diversions from which to diffuse attention from the substantive issues with which council is legitimately entrusted and that most directly affect Londoners. Abstractions like the electoral significance of trees may cue the histrionic reflexes of local amateur auto-environmentalists and delight the pedantic appetites of special interest "citizen" groups, like the Urban League of London, for imbuing their pretensions to moral authority with regulatory control, but for the rest of us…

…well, the rest of us will have to pay for them. From the Free Press:

Council voted 16-1 to amend the official plan to make it easier to designate woodlands significant and protected from development.

The move protects an estimated 96 per cent of the 135 woodlands on 1,700 hectares of undeveloped land outside the city's urban growth area.
Joe Belanger, reporter of municipal citizen clamp-down record for the Free Press, mostly elides the fact that the probated — sorry, "protected" is just a friendly-sounding euphemism — woodlands are not the property of the city but privately owned. More tellingly, he entirely elides the regulatory definition of "significant," except to say that the so-designated woodlots would be, in his characteristically un-disinterested manner, "be spared the developer's axe" — which is an interesting omission given the absolute and unarbitrary injunction that the designation would impose on property owners. In fact, the proposition of "significance" is wilfully unquantifiable and inscrutable in direct proportion to the thorough rigidity of the embargo placed on property owners in its service.

As with the pesticide ban earlier this summer, the regulatory utopianism of auto-didactic environmentalism makes its appeal for uncompromising authority over the property of Londoners with the emotional but meaningless rhetoric and vague assertions about London's "lagging" tree coverage, a contention that is dubious from any scientific or elevated visual vantage point.
"We need to be firm and committed to the (Forest City) brand of our city," said Coun. Joni Baechler, who led the push for a new policy.

Baechler's impassioned plea drew applause and cheers from a boisterous gallery of more than 50 onlookers, several carrying signs.

"If we can't be the benchmark for forest coverage, how can we hold that brand," Baechler said. "It's our responsibility to protect that brand."
And, from the previous day,
"Here we sit with the Forest City brand and we're letting our forests decline. If council members are not willing to defend the city's brand, they shouldn't be sitting at the council table."
Why does the city need to "brand" itself? Against what other "brands" is the city competing? Just how much more regulatory authority over private property will need to be ceded to unelected city staff to protect this ineffable "brand?" I don't know how many times Baechler finally ended up repeating the word "brand" during the course of her successful campaign, but its constant reiteration was engineered to rally a pathetic veneer of populist consent that overpowered any meaning to which consent ought to be attached. Consent, that is, among the governed… among the activist groups present, consent to appropriation of other people's property is always met with a customary exuberance. For Baechler's fellow councillors, the clanging populism was only a welcome palliative to the consideration of whether the stridency of special interest groups and its obliging reporting in the Free Press would be a hindrance during the election. Only Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen dissented in favour of the property owners.

In the end, however, neither activists nor councillors have much in the way of qualms about this kind of regulation because the costs are not borne by themselves but by the property owners whose opportunity to profit from their ownership has been abrogated and by aspiring homeowners. It is clear that the use of the impenetrably obscurant credentials of "branding" and the anaesthetizing reflex-triggers of environmentalist key words like "trees" serve a end-around policy subterfuge for urban sprawl containment, the holy grail of civic activists who already have a place to live and who, incidentally, stand to gain from artificial inflation of property prices by restraining outward development.
"It's really puzzling to listen to the anti-environment sentiment that permeates this council," [Urban League of London member Sandy] Levin said. "Once those woodlots are gone and subdivisions put on them, they can't be replaced."
It's even more puzzling that Levin and every other environmental platitudinist fail to recognize that trees grow — as in the trees that suburban homeowners plant and cultivate on their properties without regulatory coercion simply because they happen to like them just as much as any activist, if not so volubly, without any muncipal coercion. Levin and his colleagues might observe this if they ever stepped outside their own Old South and Old North territories of historic urban sprawl.

So, let's hear that tired canard about developers controlling the agenda at city hall again!

While haranguing councillors before the vote over the defense of the city's "brand," Baechler scolded them by saying
"It is our responsibility to protect the city's interests."
Well, just so the rest of Londoners know where they stand in the city's hierarchy of interests and responsibilities!

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Carnival of Liberty No.63

Brad Warbiany at the Unrepentant Individual has hosted the Carnival of Liberty No.63.

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An important public service announcement

What's Wrong with Healthcare on the perils of collective opinion:

I truly believe the biggest threat to law and order and good government is PUBLIC OPINION.

Just think about it. In democratic countries all levels of government get voted “in” through some type of majority and get voted “out” by the same process. The driver behind this process obviously is “public opinion”. This is our Democratic Achilles heel. The only thing that democratically elected officials and governments have to fear is public opinion.
Which might explain the $9.5 million that Health Canada recently spent to increase public awareness of the term "primary health care". The citizens must be sure to understand what tier they are entitled to. See Fighting for Taxpayers for the sordid details.

Back to Al of What's Wrong with Healthcare:
On a global scale, the various terrorist groups of the Middle East learned a long time ago there was only one thing that democratically elected leaders feared, and that was public opinion. And they quickly learned how to use it. Unencumbered by the usual games and frailties of political correctness, truth, negotiating in good faith, fairness, peace on earth, etc. they simply played to our sympathies and portrayed themselves as the victims, continually using our media and freedom of speech, to sway public opinion in their favor. In their country, the media has been strictly controlled, and only the messages they wished the public to hear were ever heard. They have used public opinion throughout their nations and, indeed the world as a whole, for recruitment of suicide bombers, raising money, preventing aggression from other nations, and even managed to paralyze the United Nations and the European Union (and the Canadian NDP party).
So it would seem the MSNM has it right, those who control public opinion control the most powerful weapon in a free society.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Journalism is a Religion of Peace


"It has been reported," said (WUSA-TV's Peggy) Fox, that "your grandfather Felix, whom you were given your middle name for, was Jewish. Could you please tell us whether your forebears include Jews and, if so, at which point Jewish identity might have ended?"
Background, and video of the exchange.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Willie Nelson is fucking awesome

Wow! Touring with a couple ounces of mushrooms and a pound and a half of dope at 73 years old! Willie Nelson is fucking awesome.


LAFAYETTE, La. -- Willie Nelson and four others were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of narcotic mushrooms and marijuana after a traffic stop Monday morning on a Louisiana highway, state police said.

The citations were issued after a commercial vehicle inspection of the country music star's tour bus, state police said in a news release.

"When the door was opened and the trooper began to speak to the driver, he smelled the strong odor of marijuana," the news release said. A search of the bus produced 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana and 0.2 pounds of narcotic mushrooms, according to state police.

Nelson's publicist, Elaine Shock, declined immediate comment.

. . .

Nelson, 73, has recorded songs including "On the Road Again" and "City of New Orleans.

Keep on rolllin' Willie!

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

George Smitherman fears competition because he is incompetent

As I noted a few days ago, during a recent visit to London Ontario, George Slitherman publically announced he is glad that sick and dying people will not be allowed to spend their own money on health care in the city they reside in. You see, it is a "a very bad idea" to trust people to budget their own resources. They need to look after their fellow comrades first. At least for now, the public monopoly on wait times is secure.
Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman says he is delighted that a Vancouver-based private health-care clinic has delayed setting up in London.

Smitherman said during a stop in London on Friday he hopes it never happens.

[..] Smitherman said the for-profit clinics result in more people losing their family doctors.
Be sure to stay tuned to This Canada for a series of posts on the Ontario Health Care Disgrace.
We in Ontario have come to expect no less in distortion of the truth by our lying McSquinty Liberal government because, in London, no family doctor or general practitioner is accepting new patients! So how, Oh Great Slitherer, could we “lose” more family doctors?

[..] Lest you think that this disgraceful lack of family physicians is an anomaly confined to London, you might also be interested to know that the situation is exactly the same in the surrounding communities of St. Thomas, Aylmer and Tillsonburg. No family doctors, none, nada, zip, zilch, zero, are accepting new patients.

[..] In coming posts I am going to be delving into other aspects of our health care fiasco in Ontario including Liberal sanctioning of the practice of renting out of taxpayer-funded MRI’s and other diagnostic equipment to 3rd parties for their profit, the arbitrary nature in which family physicians are allowed to drop patients from their lists, possible abuses of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by changes in our “health care” system, and how McSquinty and his crew of misfits are fiddling on their duffs while Rome (and Alymer) burns.
And let us not forget the bankrupt, queue jumping 'Adopt-a-Doc' program here in London Ontario:
You can have a doctor -- but only if you are willing to take him away from somebody else.

[..] Socialism, of which our health care system is a prime example, tries to ignore the existence of the economic problem itself. Designing a system founded on a wishing-away of the fact of scarcity is as crazy as building a space shuttle without attention to thermodynamics.

Unfortunately for humanity, the consequences take longer to shake themselves out in the former case, so the lessons are obscured. Worse, there is an endless line of hucksters interested in obscuring these lessons with promises of FREE STUFF, if you'll only give them a monopoly over this or that commodity.

But there is no escaping reality in the economic realm, any more than in the physical one.

And so -- as the scarce resources run out because the mad dream of socialism prevented the price system from encouraging prudent planning for tomorrow -- we must all resort to fucking each other over to get our slice of the ever-diminishing pie.

I must push the sick old man out of the way to get on the patient list of one of those scarce family doctors before he can. That's just the way it is. And London can bring the doctors in by enticing them away from poorer, needy areas. Too bad for the rest of you.

Compassion is red in tooth and claw.

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"The response to barbarism is not to destroy civilization…"

"…however, that has been the response of intellectuals in the West…"

From an interview with Theodore Dalrymple by Paul Belien of the Brussels Journal.

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Manufacturing compliance with the help of the media

The manufacture of grievances, to justify strident demands for their redress, is the tyrant’s stock-in-trade. It is what took Adolf Hitler to power over the Germans, and it is what today’s Islamic fanatics depend upon to control the Muslims, and push them towards an apocalyptic jihad against the West. Moreover, the basic tactic of bullying is to demand apologies for exaggerated or imaginary offences. It is to make the decent kneel before the indecent.
David Warren - Apologize for what?

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Exercising your rights may "provoke" religious bigots to violence

An Iraqi insurgent group threatened the Vatican with a suicide attack over the Pope's remarks on Islam, said a statement posted yesterday on the web.

"We swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life," said the message posted in the name of the Mujahedeen Army on a website frequently used by militant groups.
If an unbelieving white woman such as myself were to threaten authors, cartoonists, film makers, presidents and popes with violence because I found their words and images offensive, I'd justifiably be confined to an insane asylum and forced to undergo anger management sessions. Not so if you are a radical believer in the religion of peace. Your threats will be responded to with an apology.
In a broader talk rejecting any religious motivation for violence, Benedict cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

The pontiff did not endorse that description, but he did not question it, and his words set off a firestorm of protests across the Muslim world.

The new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the pope's position on Islam is unmistakably in line with Vatican teaching that says the church "esteems" Muslims.

Benedict "thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions," Bertone said in a statement.

He noted that earlier during his German trip, Benedict warned "secularized Western culture" against holding contempt for any religion or believers.
This morning, it came from the horse's mouth:
He said, in what many described as a craven climbdown and public mea culpa unheard of by a pontiff in living memory, that "at this time I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims".

He concluded that the Vatican had already attempted to explain his controversial speech, which quoted the views of the 14th century Emperor Manuel II Paleologos in conversation with a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

The pope said, "I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect".
Don't expect the pope to ask for an apology from those that threatened to kill him for his speech. Just so long as you shut up, and turn away from Mecca when you pee, they will leave you alone.

Crossposted at Dust my Broom

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Incantatory democracy

What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination of every kind of human excellence--moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how Democracy (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods? You remember how one of the Greek Dictators (they called them 'tyrants' then) sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy into a field of corn, and there he snicked off with his cane the top of every stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level. The moral was plain. Allow no pre-eminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser, or better, or more famous, or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level; all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus Tyrants could practice, in a sense, 'democracy'. But now 'democracy' can do the same work without any other tyranny than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite the tops off the big ones. The big ones are beginning to bite off their own in their desire to Be Like Stalks.

— C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Proposes a Toast (via Edward Michael George)

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Friday, September 15, 2006

George Smitherman is delighted with the government's monopoly on health care

Line up and suck it up. That's the latest bile gleefully regurgitated by George Slitherman:

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman says he is delighted that a Vancouver-based private health-care clinic has delayed setting up in London.

Smitherman said during a stop in London on Friday he hopes it never happens.

[..] Smitherman said the for-profit clinics result in more people losing their family doctors.
Are you going to wait in line too Slitherman, or will you use your stolen riches to seek care elsewhere?

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"The Anti-Social Contract"

Our "British correspondant" Owls Aren't Wise on the Social Contract:

I never agreed. I was too young. In fact I was never given a chance to agree or disagree, and was never asked to sign an actual contract. Nobody was. The 'social' variety of contract is in fact a deadly serious concept, a contract even more important than one between two business entities. It is supposed to bind an entire world to a promise, a promise that we already know to be unachievable, false even.

The only part that applies is the binding. And the binding is applied at will, because the 'Social Contract' is a Carte-Blanche one, not set to paper, except for a few vague and grandiose promises about the immense prosperity which will surely follow if we just do as we are told.
And its mode of propagation:

In the window of a gew-gaw shop in town was this poster, apparently taking for granted what everyone suspects, namely that the conclusion to any 'well-rounded' education today is the incorporation of copious amounts of the official religion, Marxism.

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An angry cop

As one part of the legal institutions devised for common defense of property and life, police are customarily reserved in their public criticism of the complementary institution of the judiciary. That's why it's so refreshing to listen to this justifiably angry cop in San Francisco after one of his colleagues was killed pursuing a repeat-offender felon and trying to mop up the almost systematic leniency of judges (via Proud to be Canadian).

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Tears for cash

In the wake of the lone gunman's rampage in Montreal yesterday, Ontario minister of colleges and universities Chris Bentley quickly seized the occasion of a common sentiment of dismay to reflect it onto the tinfoil political opportunity to ask Ontario campuses to see what they can do about security… as if any security short of armed guards in every room could prevent a lunatic bent on taking a few innocent people down with him.

Rising to an occasion for which his political instincts have been honed, the University of Western Ontario's president Paul Davenport acknowledged the logistical impossibility of implementing security measures to prevent such anomalous occurrences, but could not resist adding the bromides of canonical academics for which he is famous:

The problem is a societal one, he said.

“We need to work on the problems that contribute to the creation of violent criminals,” he said.

That includes improvements to the health-care and social-service systems, he said.
You get right on that, Dr. Davenport! That's what universities are for these days, after all, to tell the rest of us we had it coming for our guilty neglect of tax-funded monopolies, of which universities happen coincidentally to be among. Overarching and self-serving platitudes come so easily to the lips of these masters of bureaucracy that it would not have mattered to Dr. Davenport to find out whether Kimveer Gill had been deprived of health care or had sought out and been turned away from social services before uttering them. Just keep that gravy train rolling!

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Zarathustras herding and directing the lesser beings into order…"

Publius, of the Gods of the Copybook Headings, is never one to let a specimen of parasite go by without producing a masterful essay on the species' inception and the culture of its propagation. Starting with the example of the new Stephen Lewis Secondary School in Mississauga, he strikes hard at the roots of public education in The Good Canadian:

In no other part of Western society, with the exception, perhaps, of Canadian health care, do we tolerate anything like public education. A near monopoly whose political allies have sweeping power to throttle its competition, through the tax code and what can only be termed the school "inspection" racket. This monopoly has existed for so long and been so pervasive that few can imagine an alternative. In fact its opponents are decried as fanatics, heartless or elitist, if they're lucky. A halo hangs over the unionized, bureaucratized nightmare of public education. The willing and able are trapped with the criminal and incompetent until the age of 16. Graduation is guaranteed, the certificate of completion in all honesty nothing more than a certificate of attendance, and for that only a very minimal record is required. It is a travesty of the very idea of education. All in the name of creating good citizens of a great democracy. Yet even the very concept, the ideal itself, is an inversion. It is the people in a free society who dictate to the government how it should act. Just as the idea of a Ministry of Culture, or Heritage, is an abomination, because it is not the duty or prerogative of government to tell its masters what their culture should be, so the same applies to ideals of good citizenship. It is for We the People to tell our servants in government what it means to be Canadian, not the other way around. The people can err and often do. Our governments, being drawn from us, can in the end do no better.
Highly recommended… read the rest here.

Update: Be sure to check out the comment from a public school teacher on the same post.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Arthur Majoor on CJBK

Arthur Majoor, candidate for mayor, will be appearing on the Shauna Rae Show on CJBK 1290AM between 10:30 and 11. There will be a phone-in segment, so call 519-643-1290 to ask him a question.

From The benefits of broad based opportunity by Arthur Majoor:

There is an old story about two clans who lived by the ocean. One clan spent their time sailing out and trying to catch whales, while the other clan netted fish. When the whaling clan caught a whale, everyone feasted, but between catches everyone went hungry. The fishing clan, on the other hand, ate small regular meals all year long.

London is becoming like the clan that hunted whales. City Council spends inordinate amounts of time and energy searching for the next “whale”. When a whale is caught, like the JLC, Ontario Summer Games, or Memorial Cup, there is a short period of feast, but then bills for the event have to be paid, and in the mean time, the day to day business of the city is neglected. Many of us in small and medium business never get an opportunity to take part in the financial “feast”, but we all most certainly pay for the whale hunt through our taxes.

A broad based property tax cut puts us in the position of clans which fish. While each person might only receive a small benefit, we will collectively spend and invest our tax savings to satisfy our own wants and needs, energizing all sectors of the economy. Instead of random investments in areas favored by city politicians and bureaucrats, or promoted by special interest groups, there will be a continuing flow of private investment in all areas of the economy. A broad based economic foundation will help protect the people and the city from the effects of economic booms and busts.

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The Obesity Messiahs

When he is not attending the International Congress on Obesity, Paul Zimmet is ganging up with and engaging in acts of discrimination with Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce.

From the Australian, HT Karen De Coster:

The chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce, Philip James, and Australian diabetes expert Paul Zimmet made a joint call for intervention last month, urging a ban on all marketing of food to children, strict food and physical activity requirements in schools and the adjustment of "fiscal policies" to increase the price of sugary and fatty foods relative to healthier alternatives.
This is wrong because it hurts the poor. Their welfare allowance is barely sufficient to enable them to purchase three meals a day at the local 7-11. Take away their doritos and hot dogs and the impoverished will perish!
TAXING unhealthy foods in a bid to put the brakes on the obesity epidemic would be ineffective, inefficient and unfair to the poor.

Access Economics health expert Lynne Pezzullo said the growing clamour from health experts for a so-called "fat tax" was misguided and would hurt the poor much more than it would hurt the rich.

Low-income people who were not obese would suffer unduly as a result, she told an international obesity conference in Sydney.

[..] She argued that taxes and regulation, such as advertising or marketing bans, qualified as a "heavy hand" and were unnecessary.

She said lighter intervention - such as partnerships with the private sector to encourage healthier products, and subsidies - might be warranted.

However, she said subsidies were best used to support after-school physical activity programs and other things shown to be cost-effective.

The only circumstances where food subsidies might be warranted was in small rural areas where healthy food was significantly more expensive, she said.
From the government's perspective, it is more "cost-effective" to increase taxes on shit that people actually want, while at the same time forcing taxpayers to subsidize tofu and granola consumption. And if the sugar farmers suffer from the increased taxes on sugary food, they too will be eligible for subsidies, just like the tobacco farmers. As for "after-school physical" activity, why not just devote even more of the school day to jumping-jacks? So long as the marginalized minority is the minority, they are entitled to more rights than the majority.

And now for some common sense. Karen De Coster:
Apparently, the Lifestyle Planners can tax and/or regulate away bad foods, yet the alternative for those who choose to eat themselves into obesity is to eat more of the available or non-regulated foods. Duh. In fact, portion size contributes to obesity far more than does one's choice of foods. So what is the government's back-up plan? An Overeating Taskforce? Or the Calorie Counter Cops? Surely, considering that fettucini alfredo - and almost any Italian dish served up in a restaurant - is weightgainer food, shouldn't they ban Italian restaurants? And how about all the low-fat (Healthy Choice) frozen dinners that are nothing but empty calories and have more carbs (sugars) than a can of coke? Junk food or not? In fact, how is "junk food" defined? Having the obese hand of government reaching into your cupboards at the command of "expert planners" is coming soon to a theatre near you.
I am in the process of patenting a previous final solution to the problem of excessive consumption of food as determined by the guards of the public trough:
Government issued refrigerators with a scale attached. The occupant of the complex must step on the scale in order to receive their daily ration of food. If the citizen weighs in over the government decreed maximum healthy weight, the fridge remains sealed and the unhappy obese person is deprived of their ration until such time as they weigh in at a socially acceptable weight.
I've since revised my plan to deal with all cupboards containing edibles. Cameras will also be installed in all homes to ensure that skinny citizens do not unfairly steal food to distribute to the hungry.

I continue to share tofu with Dust my Broom

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