Thursday, May 31, 2007

On "free" health care


To attack the idea that certain services and resources should be 'free' is not, alas, all that easy in today's politically dumb climate. However, I think I have a partial solution in how to frame the point. If you ever encounter a person who says that healthcare should be free at the point of use, and it should be a 'right', then point out that this means that someone else has a corresponding duty to be a doctor, a nurse, a hospital orderly or an administrator. Unless people can be forced to perform these roles, then all talk of health as something that ought to be free is meaningless. Of course, at this point the socialist will blather on about incentives and so on, but what if no one wants to be a doctor or a nurse, regardless of pay? Does this mean that anyone who shows an inclination to like medicine should, at an early age, be conscripted into a hospital like a draft for the Army?
Ontario's Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter would probably say yes. Bill 56 was passed back in June of 2006. This bill "authorizes" anyone deemed "reasonably qualified" to provide health care services in a "declared" emergency. If health care workers refuse to put themselves at risk, their incentive are fines of up to $100,000 and a year in jail for each day they refuse to provide service.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deemed Taxes on Deemed Income

I just finished examinations for discovery of a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) auditor (I was on my best behaviour). My client had a lot of income attributed to him for tax purposes, the evidence of which is almost nil. What was most interesting is CRA attributing to my client the money to pay taxes in the total income. In other words, if CRA says that you have $50,000 in hidden income, they say that you must pay taxes on the income and they increase the amount of the income by the taxes you should have paid and readjust the tax figure upward. Or at least that's what I think they did because the auditor, to his credit, honestly stated that she could not tell me the logic of the policy or the calculator, simply that it was the policy of CRA.

Also interesting was the requirement to show a negative. Say my client does not smoke or drink but Statistics Canada says that the average Canadian spends a certain amount on tobacco and alcohol, the CRA attributes the Stats Canada amount to my client as expenditures which require the income to make the purchase. How my client can show no receipts for no cigarette purchases from no store is hard to understand, but what the hell.

The same goes for life insurance. My client does not have life insurance but has an income amount attributed based on the Stats Canada numbers. You cannot show a contract that does not exist.

It was an eye-opener.

I think that I should be able to get a positive result for my client despite a reverse onus that is almost impossible to meet simply because the onus is almost impossible to meet.

(cross post at Little Tobacco)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hillary Clinton and the Five Year Plans: Minding your business so you don't have to

Aspiring dictator Hillary Clinton is moving forward on her promise "to take things away from you on behalf of the common good".

Rumors are abound she plans to nationalize the pages of Yahoo Finance:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ownership society really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.

"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed," she said. "Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."
Markets under the control of government immediately cease to be free and instead become an instrument of oppression for those seeking special privileges at the expense of others. The inevitable result is that the irresponsible get "free stuff" from the responsible because people are held accountable to an abstract horde for minding their own business, and that's not fair.

Sharing the bad news with The Broom.

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The great questions of history

In between pinochle games at the London Free Press editorial offices…

Vote now, before history leaves you behind!

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, USA

8-year-old Christian Golczynski accepting a U.S. flag from his father's casket (© The Tennessean)

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The children of alternative

Post-modernism is the idea that everything is just an affectation, and so you can pull it apart and make little jokes out of the bits. I reject the approach, and not just in architecture. The problem with the Daily Show and Colbert is not that they are smarmy wags, it's that they derive their smugness from making fun of a establishment that no longer exists, if it ever did. Yes, everything sucks. But I hate to break it to you: You're the everything now.

Sippican Cottage, via Maggie's Farm

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"Maybe they should protest their education"

Captain's Quarters has the headline, the story, and the photo:

Dallas-area high school seniors took to the picket lines today, protesting a decision that will keep them from participating in graduation ceremonies for failing a standardized test. Trimble Tech High School seniors who did not pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam will have to wait for July to retake the test, and in the meantime cannot graduate.

For what a high school diploma signifies these days, I'd just as likely "let are kids walk" anyway.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

On the subject of handgun bans

Seems it's not just gun collectors who are to blame:

London police are investigating the theft of an OPP officer's gun from an unmarked, locked OPP vehicle at a city hotel this week, police said.

The .40-calibre gun was nicked from the vehicle Tuesday afternoon as it sat in the Four Points Sheraton parking lot on Wellington Road south, police said.

[..] The theft was one of two incidents in Southwestern Ontario this week in which a police officer's gun was stolen.

On Thursday, a duffel bag containing a police gun, duty belt, baton and handcuffs was apparently stolen from outside a Kitchener high school.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Putting the hog in Hogtown

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation calculates, based on the Assessment of Potential New Tax Measures Under The City of Toronto Act, 2006 HEMSON Consulting Ltd. report commissioned by the City of Toronto, that proposed new municipal taxes could cost the average Toronto household $1,182 and raise $1.115 billion in new tax revenue. The new tax bureaucracy may cost up to twenty-three per cent of the tax revenue ($262 million) to administer.

"There are no proposed tax increases," [Toronto mayor] David Miller argues. "These are potential revenue tools."
Oh, well, that's all right then.

Link via Sobering Thoughts

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It doesn't matter who's wrong or right. Just Ban it. Just Ban it.

Tragically, a 15-year-old boy is dead after he was shot in the chest at a Toronto school on Wednesday, allegedly in response to a fight over fireworks. While the killer escapes into the fog, our governors tragically respond by concentrating on the instrument rather than the aggressor who pulled the trigger.

"We have seen too many shootings result in too many funerals for our young people," Premier Dalton McGuinty wrote in an open letter to federal party leaders, urging them to push through proposed criminal justice legislation and implement a "real ban" on handguns.

"Handguns are designed for one purpose only – to shoot people – and should have no place in Ontario or anywhere in Canada."

Handguns are already severely restricted in Canada, and a handgun registry has been in force for more than 60 years.
A rather typical response that the sheep are used to hearing when something bad happens: BAN IT, as if that will prevent criminals from obtaining contraband materials. Kitchen knives and sterling silver cutlery have more than one purpose, but such instruments could be used as a dangerous weapon. Should the government create a cutlery registry, or just ban all forms of cutlery all together?
The value of allowing handgun collections should be reconsidered, said Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant.

"There's got to be a balance between people's property rights and personal responsibilities to others," he said.
The only "balance between people's property rights and personal responsibilities" is for each and every individual to mind their own business and leave other people's stuff alone. Self-proclaimed keepers of public morality like Bryant help to destroy this balance by removing a person's right to protect their property should the need arise.
Toronto Mayor David Miller, who voiced his support for an outright ban, went a step further and recommended that handgun regulation should become an international issue.

"We know that there's two sources of guns used in Toronto: one is guns that are stolen from collectors, and the other is guns that come from the U.S.," Miller said.
If all else fails, blame it on George Bush.

Also appearing at Dust My Broom.

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Business As Usual

Where's the man to stop the rush of social-democratic ideas? The opportunity and the day have come and are gone! Believe me: gone forever! For the sun is set and the last barrier removed. England was the only barrier to the pressure of infernal doctrines born in continental back-slums. Now, there is nothing! The destiny of the nation and all nations is to be accomplished in darkness amidst much weeping and gnashing of teeth, to pass through robbery, equality, anarchy, and misery under the iron rule of a military despotism! Such is the lesson of common sense logic.

Socialism must invariably end in Caesarism.

- Joseph Conrad, "Life and Letters"; G. Jean Aubry, London 1927; Vol 1 p 84, cited in C. Northcote Parkinson, "The Evolution of Political Thought"; Viking, 1964, p.216

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Creative whining

According to the London Free Press, local museums and the London Public Library are distressed by changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that have reduced their subsidies for summer student hiring.

Live by the handout, die by the handout. Presumably the boards are politically sensitive enough not to oppose the new funding formula "giving priority to those who hire students from rural and remote areas with low youth employment or areas with high crime" — they'd just prefer to have more entitlements spread around to protect their own. Not that about them, of course… it's about the children:

"It's very disappointing. They are taking away valuable career experience for young people that the museum has been providing for almost 30 years," Tammy Adkin, executive director of the London Regional Children's Museum, said yesterday.
No need to worry, Ms. Adkin, employers in London are practically begging to give young people valuable career experience these days.

Fortunately, the Children's Museum is adjusting to the circumstances of what it does have and plans to hire six summer students anyway "by making cuts to some programs and possibly by raising admission fees." This, by the way, is the "creative" response of institutions in a genuinely "Creative City," rather than the remarkably unimaginative practise of lobbying for tax-subsidized handouts that typically characterizes their approaches. (We'll overlook, just for this moment, the fact that the Children's Museum receives 95¢ per visitor in municipal funding, not to mention various subsidies and grants from provincial and federal agencies.)

The Public Library, on the other hand, feels itself to be less fortunate. Although it is a major civic player in the local Creative Cities boondoggle, the Library has trouble expressing any creativity when it comes to the subject of self-suffiency. "We're in a real pickle," says Anne Becker, the Library's CEO.

Really. Ms. Becker might want to consider looking somewhere in the redundancies and non-necessities that have accrued from its runaway budgets for a solution. The Library received a 4.8 per cent increase in funding from municipal taxpayers this year, exactly in keeping with a 14 per cent rise between 2003 and 2006. Perhaps the Library could jettison the $52,000 per annum literacy coordinator it used to extort extra funding from city council this spring.

On a side note, the London Free Press followed its journalistic protocol to the letter again and both found and reported that London Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen, local spokesman and agitator for the entitlement industry, had something to say on the subject. Since it's entirely predictable, it's not worth repeating here a second time around.

Update, May 24: It turns out that there is in fact no way at all to wean these civic agencies off their subsidy-welfare dependency. When spineless tax spenders meet spineless tax redistributors, the results are even less spine and more taxes.
Some organizations, which, on paper, didn't need the money, turned out to be in great need of funding, Monte Solberg, the federal Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, said yesterday in London.
In that case, don't bother with the paper.

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The Ontario Insurgency Expands

Since their successful ongoing campaign in Qa'aledonia has proved that the gentlemen's pensioneering society known as "The Ontario Provincial Police" is easily intimidated by shows of force, insurgents are now striking in the Helmand-Hagersville region. What works gets repeated.

We need to cut our losses, declare a failed state, and pull out now, before more people start noticing that these tactics are a proven way to resolve grievances.

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Obstruction for obstruction's sake

According to the London Free Press, planning staff at City Hall are proposing scaling back a planned five-storey development to three storeys after reviewing Sifton Properties' application to re-zone a privately owned parcel of land at the southwest corner of Wonderland and Riverside Roads from "open space" to commercial.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the proposal is driven by political direction of the city's bureaucracy in an attempt to accommodate the competing interests of one of London's largest developers and the local Oakridge Riverside Community Association which opposes any development at the corner, given the mostly specious reasons cited in the report. "Overuse," "excessive loss of vegetation" and "loss of expansive surface parking areas" are subjective considerations which, to be fair, characterize any planning decision but which, in this case, come across as entirely contrived when describing a fairly low density development in a relatively small plot of land surrounded entirely in two directions and almost entirely in the other directions by open parkland and trees, and with eight city-owned parks within 800 metres. The one unprejudiced concern, that the development "may contribute to traffic congestion," is diminished by the fact that the corner is greatly underdeveloped compared to most other major thoroughfare intersections in the city.

In spirit at least, this line-up of rationales resembles the ragtag and ever-changing objections invented by opponents of the development. Protests were initially raised over flooding concerns of building near a waterway — a concern of Sifton's insurers, if anyone at all — but these have notably been dropped for lack of traction and plausibility. A similarly off-point objection, that there is already an over-abundance of commercial property, is also only the concern of commercial property owners rather than the public.

Simply put, it's hard to find any overriding city-wide public interest in blocking Sifton's application apart from a very small contingent of local residents who would find their view of the Thames River blocked. Much ado is being made of pretty much nothing at City Hall at the bequest of a very small but vocal minority of political opportunists who are able to unendingly raise any and all protests at no cost or scrutiny to themselves. Unsurprisingly, the suggested political fiddling with the arbitrary restrictions and prohibitions of zoning bylaws ends up dissatisfying not only Sifton, whose ability to profit from the use of its property is threatened by these political considerations, but also the political community leaders who actually benefit from the repeated media coverage of their continual dissatisfaction. Monica Jarabek, the head of the Oakridge Riverside Community Association and a failed candidate in the last municipal election, has been quoted extensively in every media report on the story and receives two(!) photographs in the print edition of the article. Must be nice if she's planning on running again next time around.

Oddly, Jarabek and other like-minded civic activists tend to gravitate to NIMBY-style anti-infilling development causes at the very same time that they oppose urban sprawl. One would wonder where they should suppose growth and development can occur, except when one remembers that political opportunism depends precisely on irresolution.

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Scratch and Sniff

Wherein Darcey repents for his past and present sins:

What if the provincial and federal governments combined forces on a number of other vices to make Canadians feel good about unhealthy habits in the name of possibly saving the world? Some of the overly taxed everyday items we consume could be tax-proportioned to help save the planet.

You could pop a beer cap and win an evening with Al Gore. For every hundred dollars of your paycheck you pump into a video lottery terminal the governments will donate one dollar to the World Wildlife Fund so they can spend more money on advertisements to guilt us into spending more money and time wasting away our lives. But it is all about symbolically caring. As long as we think we are doing the right thing - that is what matters.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sicko might be coming to London Ontario

Inspired by his trip to Cuba, Michael Moore is considering taking his circus on a road trip to London, Ontario. As the children tire of Al Gore and his convenient lies, Moore might successfully infiltrate the educational monopoly. Let's hope he purchases some carbon credits from Al Gore to offset his emissions.

According to an article published in the London Free Press, Moore might premier his new fantasy film in a city suffering a serious doctor shortage, long wait lines and closing emergency rooms. If Michael Moore thinks Canada's health care system is so great, why doesn't he apply to become a Canadian citizen, or better yet, move to Cuba? Surely, with all his money, he could find a way to jump the queue should the need arise:

Michael Moore is considering coming to London in mid-June to premiere his controversial film Sicko that includes the story of a man treated at St. Joseph's Health Care.

"London and Londoners have a sizable portion in the film," Moore's Canadian field producer, Chris Aldred, wrote in an e-mail from the Cannes Film Festival.

[..] The London part of the film is about a Southwestern Ontario man who had his fingers severed by a hockey puck and re-attached in an around-the-clock operation at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre at St. Joseph's. The cost was covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

In contrast, the film tells the story of an American who accidentally cut off two of his fingers with a saw.

He ended up only having one re-attached at a cost of $12,000 because he could not afford the $60,000 bill to have the second one sewn back on.
There is no indication in the article that the American had any health insurance coverage, but apparently if he did, it was not enough to cover his costs. But at least this man was free to take risks, even though he lost a finger. He could have spent his money on more comprehensive coverage, but instead, he choose to spend his money on something else gambling on good health. Not so in the egalitarian paradise we call Canada. Here, there is no choice. Everyone must contribute and participate in the plan, even though you remain at the back of the line, or spend five hours at the walk in clinic, or miscarriage in the waiting room waiting for a bed. It's "FREE", so don't expect perfection. A chair is better than nothing.

Sharing the good tidings with The Broom.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hugo Chavez promotes diversity

It's turning out to be a video weekend here at The London Fog. Hugo Chavez would not approve.

We must identify the enemies of the revolution. The mass media are antisocial. Social degenerates.

[..] We'll stick it to them where the sun doesn't shine.

No one has the right, to day in and day out, put poison, and more poison, in the minds of the Venezuelan people though the manipulation of the mass media. No one has that right.
No one, except Hugo Chavez:

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Dimensions of Dialogue

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Diversified Post Secondary Education

HT LGF, a colloquium of peaceful religious brethren at University of California, Irvine. The chalkboard says "No Audio + Video Recording" (doubtless, in obedience to the holy command not to make graven images, right?) but a brave student recorded a chat by Amir Abdel Malik Ali until he was kicked out:

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Friday, May 18, 2007

New improved legislation! Now with media spot removal!

Endangered species protected in Ontario with tough new law
Thu, May 17, 2007

TORONTO -- Future generations of Ontario wildlife lovers will know iconic creatures like the monarch butterfly and woodland caribou thanks to new endangered species legislation hailed as the toughest of its kind in North America, environmentalists said yesterday.

The Canadian Press homage to Ontario's updated Endangered Species Act as reprinted in the London Free Press today commences on the upswing of environmental lobbyist and government press release material and continues to swing even higher with it for eleven more paragraphs before closing with four desultory paragraphs serving to relate a few meagre protestations as the work of a small isolated band of timid obstructionists. It's rather a neat regional illustration of the way popular conventions on issues like global warming are built on a larger media scale.

The inconsiderable and unremarked passage of the article through the hands of editors and most newspaper readers also illustrates the easy cachet of environmentalism amongst the urban population, among whom most reporters, editors and media consumers count, who rarely see first-hand the effects of environmental degradation or hear of long-existing practices of environmental maintenance among rural dwellers. In the same vein, urban residents frequently do not face the direct costs of many of the regulations that ensue from pandering to this blinkered viewpoint. See Just Between Us Girls and Shawn McRae's website for the exhibits.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Which is scarier, werewolves, anthropogenic global warming, or an evil witch's curse?

It's not a trick question! In the media, every day is Hallowe'en!


We were hiking past the White House late one night
When our eyes beheld an eerie sight
The president appeared with folks very strange
The zombies and vampires of global climate change

(The Climate Mash)
They're doing the Climate Mash
(The Climate Mash)
Real science is bashed
(The Climate Mash)
Solutions are trashed
(The Climate Mash)
And they do it for the cash

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The Man Can't Bust Our Music; In Fact He Helps Us Move Units

Proud To Be Canadian reports on our official state media's promotion of an American corporate product line marketed to children of all ages, an oldies band known as "The Rage Against The Machine". A recent marketing campaign for this brand has been very effective. The target market has been conditioned to respond with shouting noises, followed by positive spending decisions, when they encounter daring, subversive calls to do things like overthrow the evil Bush administration and murder the people who belong to it. In this fascist climate where dissidence is mercilessly crushed, we need a state media to help the corporations sell these ideas and products to such people. (HT KShaidle)

Stroumboulopoulos fawned over(guitarist) guest Tom Morello. Morello denied the band called for Bush and his entire administration to be shot dead, saying that that was merely a fraud perpetrated by Fox News. Wild cheers from leftist audience of apparent doh-doh brains. See video (at the link). Amuse one’s self at his lie. Another show the CBC will nonetheless be proud of. And you at the CBC all make me so damn proud too… to have firmly established myself as an opponent of state-owned media. And to be on the right side.
Shut It Down.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling Popes!

But who's meddling? Christina Blizzard:

"I have a different constituency than does the Pope," McGuinty said when asked in a scrum about the Pope's statement last week.

"I am responsible for representing all kinds of people from all kinds of different backgrounds, different faiths, different cultures, different traditions," he said.

Absolutely. And in a multi-faith, multicultural province such as this, the very notion that a politician should have to check with the Vatican before making a pronouncement is scary.
Absolutely wrong, Christina. As Paul Tuns points out, a politician only has to check in "to call himself a Catholic or present himself for communion at Mass." Aside from that, he's free to make any pronouncement or impose any policy in keeping with what passes these days for "multi-faith, multicultural" preferences. If that is what they keep as their calling, it is a choice that politicians make for themselves, not one that the Vatican makes for them. It is far from being a policy that the Vatican can impose on society as a whole — that is a perquisite entirely reserved for the politicians.
McGuinty took a brave stand on this. No matter what you think about abortion, we should all stand behind him.
This may be the first instance of McGuinty being called brave in the public record, but it is entirely wasted. Politicians like McGuinty are only trying to create a public sentiment for absolving them of having it both ways.

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Obeying Chicken Little, while defying Mother Hen

Via Jay Jardine, sit in the dark in BC or else. Candles are not an acceptable substitute, because they might start a forest fire. Power off:

Similar to energy-saving awareness campaigns in Paris, Rome, Athens, Sydney and Bangkok, B.C. will pull the plug on all unnecessary energy use today in the province's first annual Turn It Off Day.

Sponsored by B.C. Hydro and part of the 30 Days of Sustainability program running until May 21, Turn It Off is meant to inspire conservation and awaken energy consumers to the crisis brewing in our own backyard.

For the last six years, B.C. has been using more electricity than it generates - and consumption is estimated to grow another 25 to 40 per cent over the next 20 years if energy use continues as is, Gillian Robinson, a spokeswoman for B.C. Hydro, said yesterday.

"That's a huge amount of growth, and that means we'll just have to buy more and more electricity on the market," a consequence that will be directly reflected on your hydro bill, she said.

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Greenpeace kills trees to save the planet

Czech President Vaclav Klaus remains one of the few world leaders bold enough to reject Chicken Little's activists.

"Let's bring the debate to whether the 0.6 (degree Celsius warming over the last century) is much or little, how much Man has contributed to the warming and ... if there is anything at all Man can do about it," Klaus said when presenting his book "Blue, Not a Green Planet."

He charged that groups other than scientists have now seized on the topic and ambitious environmentalists are fueling a global warming hysteria that has no solid ground in fact and allows manipulation of people.

"It is about a key topic of our time, and that is the topic of human freedom and its curtailment," Klaus said.

"The approach of environmentalists toward nature is similar to the Marxist approach to economic rules, because they also try to replace free spontaneity of the evolution of the world (and of mankind) with ... global planning of the world's development," Klaus writes in his book.

"That approach ... is a utopia leading to completely other than wanted results," he says.
Meanwhile, the hippies contradict their religion by cutting down trees to build an ark:
Environmental activists are building a replica of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat—where the biblical vessel is said to have landed after the great flood—in an appeal for action on global warming, Greenpeace said Wednesday.

Turkish and German volunteer carpenters are making the wooden ship on the mountain in eastern Turkey, bordering Iran. The ark will be revealed in a ceremony on May 31, a day after Greenpeace activists climb the mountain and call on world leaders to take action to tackle climate change, Greenpeace said.

HT: Drudgereport

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Another Great deed by the UN

First the United Nations brought human rights to Libya.... now they are teaching Zimbabwe about sustainable development... this is the most ridiculous letter to the editor I have seen in a long time:

UN posting may give Zimbabwe real incentive to improve
National Post
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Re: The UN's latest, editorial, May 14.

One remarkable effect of the rotating chairing of UN committees is that it gives compelling reasons for errant regimes to imagine themselves becoming responsible custodians of world standards. The developmental worth of this system can be seen when these states learn to adopt maturity and stewardship.

Libya was forced to think about the meaning of human rights when it became chair of UN Human Rights Commission. This resulted in some profound policy epiphanies that would been unimaginable before Libya's turn at chairing that committee. Could anyone have envisioned Libya admitting responsibility for the Pan Am disaster at Lockerbie, Scotland, or backing away from lethal WMDs, if she had not been given the responsibility of heading a human rights institution?

I hope that Zimbabwe, as the new head the UN's commission on Sustainable Development, will transform similarly. Prescriptive behavioural management does not have nearly the effectiveness of developmental techniques.

Alan Blanes, facilitator, World Movement for the Culture of Peace
Initiative 2000-2010, Edmonton Committee, Edmonton.

By the way, the World Movement for the Culture of Peace appears to have some affiliation with the UN. Now, if we could only get Sudan as the head of UNICEF, the children of Darfur will have much better lives.

(also at Little Tobacco)

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Activist demands community-based human resource training

Red Star at morning, whitey take warning:

"We're not trying to go along to get along," said Anizor, president of Black Youth Taking Action...

"Immediate establishment of K-12 black-focused schools; change in the current K-12 curriculum to establish truth; immediate diversion of the $250 million from Brampton (super) jail; and immediate repeal of Safe Schools Act," under which an inordinate number of black kids have been suspended and expelled from school, Tewelde said.

"Right. Right, Right. When one group is in control, and the other is not, they can write the story. His-story. Not ours. Is that so strange? What, we don't have any history of this? Groups subjecting another group and rewriting the history to suit their purposes; or taking scripture to suit what they want to do?

"Is this so strange?"

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

18 out of 19 London politicians prefer preferential treatment

Well, what's not to prefer about that?

London City Council voted last night to diversify its bureaucracy by bureaucratizing diversity. Negative consequences from Council's gesture "to transform city hall into a welcoming and inclusive place that embraces diversity in its workplace" are not expected, since London has already been shown to work just fine in the absence of any talent or ability at City Hall.

Although councillors were generally very well pleased with the effortlessness of pandering to a 3 percentage point gap in political correctness, perennial fly in the feel-good-ointment councillor Paul Van Meerbergen dismissed the shiny happy new racism:

"I consider this an affront to visible minorities … It's these types of policies that belong on the scrap heap of left-wing political ideology," Van Meerbergen said.

The auto parts sector — of which Van Meerbergen is a member — has succeeded by promoting minorities because of talent, not race, he said.

"It's done without artificial political constructs. It's done on merit — not skin colour," Van Meerbergen said.

Usher ignored his statements, saying, "Some comments don't deserve a response."
At least when we can't think of one.

The Motion (PDF):

Moved by Councillor Harold Usher, seconded by Councillor Joni Baechler.

That the Chief Administrative Officer be requested to provide a report that identifies and illustrates strategies that we will use to transform the City of London into a welcoming and inclusive city, which embraces diversity within its workplace and workforce and encourages the same in its departments, boards, commissions and affiliated community partners, leading to a just and integrated society where diversity is valued and dignity and integrity are sustained for all.

To think a city staff report can do all that! After that, they can get started on world peace and hunger.

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What London needs is more diversity

From London's York & Richmond correspondent (via AltLondon)

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Acceptance is just something we'll have to accept

Coun. Harold Usher wants the City to hire more visible minorities, ostensibly to make apparent an otherwise imperceptible three percentage point gap in the proportion of visible minorities represented in the City's workforce and the overall population (11 vs. 8 per cent) Good thing we measure these things.

Go for it! All things being equal in the equality economy, skin colour is about an equally valid basis as any other fashionable governance theory used in decision-making at City Hall. Extended to high level bureaucratic management, this policy could also have the effect of replacing the Old Boys Networks that cause so much cynicism with Old Multicultural Networks instead. Half the protocol is already in place, having abolished any requirements for ability or leadership.

Usher and Coun. David Winninger, an MPP in Bob Rae's NDP government when it brought in employment-equity laws, prefer to avoid an explicit policy of job rationing to fill quotas, opting instead for an explicit policy of job rationing to fill something not called quotas:

"When you're choosing between equally competent candidates, you would choose the candidate who meets the (designated) priority," [Winninger] said.

"I think it's fair as long as you don't forget about merit."
Except at election time, of course.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Purge the neo-materialist deviationist tendency!

The National Post tells us that at the interfaith gathering known as "Marxism 2007", it happened that

at one point, a self-proclaimed Trotskyite in his 20s stood and for about three minutes declared his "absolute hostility" to all religions. The crowd shouted him down.

Several speakers later, Benoit, a 40- year-old from Gatineau who delivered his intervention sitting down, said that when he last read the Communist Manifesto, it did not say, "Atheist Communist workers of the world unite."

Minutes later, the Trotskyite slinked out.
They just don't make Marxists like they used to.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Insurgents target SUV in London

The police task force aimed at getting illegal guns off the streets is probing the shooting up of an SUV in London's busy downtown area Thursday night...

Someone near Hyman Street and Central Avenue called police about 10:30 p.m. Thursday to report what they said sounded like gunshots. Police searched the area and found the shot-up black 2001 GMC Jimmy.
When will people come to understand that biased, one-sided reporting such as this and this only creates more insurgents? No effort was made to gather any perspectives in either story apart from the police interpretation of the supposed shooting. If we're not willing to listen to the demands and grievances of people who feel strongly enough about their issues to be capable of menacing someone with a pellet gun or repeatedly shooting a stolen SUV, then why are we surprised when the militants among them strike back?

The brutal police-state tactics of Operation Disarm are only radicalizing the youths of the insurgent community, driving them to commit these acts of desperation and revenge. That this is happening in relatively nice parts of town is a testament to a widespread tacit support for the insurgency's goals among ordinary Londoners.

We need to withdraw. We need to withdraw now.

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Creaking news

Rich, poor gap widening
Sat, May 12, 2007

In a bid to reverse declining sales of its rhetoric, "Rich Poor Gap" brand unveiled its Summer 2007 lineup today, with sizes expanding again for the 373rd consecutive season. Spokesperson Myra Hempworthy noted that, while the lack of interest in the general population continues to be a concern, orders from the media are expected to remain strong.

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Breaking something or other

London to continue to receive no news in the usual way:

London Free Press editorial workers ratified a new three-year contract with Sun Media yesterday, avoiding today's 12:01 a.m. strike deadline.

The 50 members of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild will receive annual pay hikes of 2% for each of the three years, a union source said Friday night.
Massive waves of indifference are expected to continue to seep over London…

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Exposed: The Climate of Fear

Glenn Beck on CNN, May 2 (42 minutes runtime):

Update: London to be inundated by global warming!

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Start saving…

…the next London property tax hike is only ten months away. City staff are forecasting another 4.5 per cent increase in spending next year, requiring another three per cent hike in property taxes to pay for it after an anticipated 1.5 per cent tax assessment growth. Spending and tax increases well above the rate of inflation have become the norm here over the past five years or so, but so too has spending eventually exceeded the preliminary forecasts in that time. Politicians are already sounding the alarm.

Board of control yesterday asked staff for a review of the $30-million debt cap on spending on hard services and the impact any increase would have on taxpayers.
If that's what we're paying staff for, there's one expense that can be avoided. The impact on taxpayers would quite simply be yet higher taxes. The cost of paying London's debt, now over $300 million, topped $38 million in 2004 alone, which made up 5.6 per cent of the city’s overall budget. Council instituted the cap on new debt four years ago after the an all-out spree of deficit-financed feel-good capital projects — the John Labatt Centre, the Central Library relocation and expansion, Covent Garden Market and the Convention Centre — caused the debt to spiral out of control. The deferred spending is coming back to haunt London, as ordinary capital investment in road and sewer infrastructure has been curtailed under the debt cap regime to the point that a massive renewal of investment will soon be required, a condition exacerbated by council's continued use of the capital budget to fund unnecessary and frivolous projects. The much-ballyhooed "infrastructure gap" that municipal politicians use to extort tax dollars from senior levels of government is a product of their own financial mismanagement. Capital investment in infrastructure is now unquestionably a priority, but unless council manages to severely rein in its operating spending, total spending and taxes will continue to rise extravagantly in London.

Among the other things we've come to expect each year, however, are last minute multi-million tax dollar handouts from the federal and provincial governments that allow council to maintain its projected spending while shaving a few decimal points off of the municipal tax hike. Another is the "discovery" of millions of dollars in surplus tax revenue from the previous fiscal year, giving council the green light to to dispense extra token cash favours to various civic groups, thereby exceeding even the spending projected at the beginning of the budget process. These massive budget "surpluses" are becoming an expedient custom at City Hall.

Despite the good game talked up by councillors each year about financial responsibility, these are substantially the same people who have been representing us for the past six years of extravagant spending and tax increases. I'll take the current hand-wringing with a grain of salt… especially considering that board of control has also instructed staff to "explore the issue" of increasing councillors' $5400 travel allowances to permit them to attend more conferences.
And it's not about putting money aside for "boon-doggling" said Controller Gord Hume, who raised the issue.

"Some people are going to say this is just a boondoggle, but we're a big city with a billion-dollar budget trying to be creative and bring new ideas into the city," he said.

"I think, at the end of the day, most people are concerned about value. If someone goes to a conference in the United States and comes back with an idea or innovation that saves us $500,000, that's pretty good value.
Exactly wrong, Mr. Hume. Conferences are boondoggles. Anything councillors want to learn they can learn from conference proceedings or email — actual attendance is just an excuse to junket. Besides, it's the staff in London that make all the analyses and decisions, except to add even more spending.

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Geese v. Ganders

Except for being actively counter-productive, economic nationalism has nothing at all to do with economics and everything to do with politics. Andrew Coyne takes on the seemingly incurable affliction of Canadian politicians and media:

Economic nationalists never get around to explaining just how Canada’s sovereignty -- the right of our governments to make laws for the public good -- is tied up in the ownership of a private corporation. It’s just sort of assumed. But in fact a foreign-owned company may as easily be taxed or regulated as a Canadian, as a moment’s thought will reveal. Or if sovereignty is synonymous with ownership, how is either preserved by depriving Canadians of one of the most elementary rights of ownership, the right to sell?
On a side note, what the hell is the government doing advertising itself in Google Ads?

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It's A Small World After All!

Who says that children don't take after their parents?

Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV uses a Mickey Mouse-like cartoon character to indoctrinate Palestinian children to invoke jihad.

The character, named "Farfour", encourages for all Palestinians and Muslims to uprise against Israelis and Americans. Some of the valuable "teachings" the mouse tells children include:

"We, tomorrow's pioneers, will restore to this nation [Palestine] its glory!"

"and we will liberate Iraq, with Allah's will and we will liberate the Muslim countries, invaded by murderers."

"We will resist and protect against the Zionist occupation until we win, with the will of Allah, we will resist until we win."

"We will win, Bush! We will win, Sharon! Ah Sharon is Dead. We will win, Olmert! We will win! We will win, Condoleeza!"
Also, the TV show has a call-in segment which allows children to ask Farfour questions about martyrdom and sing chants about jihad.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian Information Minister has pulled the show citing it's currently "under review."

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A "Fairness Doctrine"

What could be fairer than that?

London Free Press editor-in-chief Paul Berton thinks that "it would be nice to see [Bill O'Reilly] muzzled," but that "it wouldn't be democratic."

Not so fast, Paul. If some members of the U.S. Congress have their way, conservative broadcasting will be, if not exactly muzzled, at least strategically compromised by regulating equal access for liberal viewpoints on radio and television — and it will be completely "democratic," not to mention Democratic as well. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a leading proponent of legislating a return to the Fairness Doctrine, said in January that "We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda" and added "we are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible."

Naturally, forcing it ahead through regulation is just the progressive way of going about it. But one would have to look long and hard for a progressive agenda deficit in the American media, as even the elections of Kucinich and sympathetic petitioners would attest, unless one were looking precisely in one direction — talk radio, which is dominated in the U.S. by conservative commentary. Strikingly, the Fairness Doctrine would not apply in the print media which is dominated instead by liberal thought. The rationale for applying the Doctrine is that broadcasters are "trustees" of public airwaves leased to them by the government, but this is clearly a pretext copped from its original inception in 1949 when radio station frequencies were a very limited resource. In an abundant and competitive marketplace where conservative talk radio has succeeded strictly by its popular appeal since the Doctrine was dissolved in 1987, the scarcity argument has long been invalid, even if it had ever been "fair" in the first place. Reinstating the Doctrine would quite simply be nothing other than an attempt to "muzzle" conservative viewpoints, to borrow Berton's description.

The ellipsis in this account, of course, is that the Doctrine would also apply to television broadcasting which, with the noted exception of Fox News, is dominated instead by liberal or progressive viewpoints. One might hesitate to suppose what constitutes "opposing viewpoints" in the minds of FCC bureaucrats when applied to Fox as opposed to ABC, CBS, NBC or CNN, but a defining characteristic of modern liberal thought is precisely that it is convinced it already incorporates opposing viewpoints.

Unlike talk radio, but like its print collegiate, television journalism enlists its corps primarily from the ranks of degree recipients from progressive-dominated university journalism programs — this explains in part a general predisposition to liberal attitudes in these venues. But it is the regime of journalistic accreditation itself that prejudices this outcome. Convinced by the virtue of possessing credentials, editors and journalists assume a mission to be above the fray of unaccredited positions — that is, to be "impartial" or "objective, or to relate opposing viewpoints as a principle method of reporting. When conscientiously applied in individual reports, this approach can be informative. But when it is editorial policy, as it is in Berton's Free Press, impartiality forces on the media an attitude of compromise between opposing viewpoints. Not only is this a bias in itself, artificial compromise is the essential modern liberal proposition — to accommodate the irreconcilable opposites of right and wrong, sense and fashion, reality and wishful thinking, etc. One should say, to be precise, that the liberal agenda is exactly the attempt to hold opposing positions at the same time. Having been schooled and accredited under similar precepts, FCC bureaucrats could probably be expected to see it just the same way.

Finally, a letter to the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser in response to this editorial puts the Fairness Doctrine best this way:

I propose … that the Fairness Doctrine is already built into every electronic media vehicle available to Americans today in the form of on-off buttons and channel changers. If I do not like the editorial slant of a media outlet, I turn it off or change the channel, thereby ignoring its advertisers.

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Bring your own shovel

First they came for the lightbulbs
and I did not speak out
because I liked to sit in the dark.
Then they came for the plastic bags
and I did not speak out
because I already owned a cloth bag.
Then they came for the oil
and I did not speak out
because I did not drive a car.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to save me from the planet.
Though it has long been apparent that John Tory's Conservatives are essentially indistinguishable from the other major socialist parties in Ontario, the Conservatives are out-gimping Dalton McGuinty and his gang when it comes to plastic bags.
Environmentalists and opposition critics blasted the Ontario government Wednesday for announcing a voluntary plan to reduce the use of plastic bags by half over five years, saying the province should take more concrete action sooner.

[..] The province wants retailers to train staff to double-bag less often and to offer alternatives such as paper bags and reusable cloth carriers. It has set a target of eliminating one billion bags from circulation by 2012.

McGuinty defended the voluntary approach, saying the government wants to work with retailers to help change consumer behaviour rather than impose a ban or tax on plastic bags to force the issue.

"We've worked with teachers, we've worked with our doctors . . . now we're going to work with the retail sector when it comes to dealing with plastic bags," he said.

[..] In Ontario, Conservative critic Tim Hudak said the Liberals should have taken action earlier to curb the use of plastic bags.

"Let's get this straight, four years into a mandate and they're setting a plan for five years later still," Hudak said. "Too little, too late."

New Democrat Michael Prue said the province should follow San Francisco's lead and mandate the use of bio-degradable plastic bags made out of corn starch.
Soon after the present hordes of Ontario announced they were looking to ban the sale of "inefficient" light bulbs, the Federal Conservatives promised to do so across the entire country. Is a plastic bag registry next? Or could this recyclable series of five year plans be as lucrative as selling carbon credits?
... fashion designers are already moving to cash in on the trend.

There is a silk Hermes bag with a price tag of US$960, made of hand-wrought silk, while Castiglioni's foldable nylon bag retails for $843. The Stella McCartney organic canvas shopper sells for a mere $495.
HT: Jay Jardine and cross-posted at Dust My Broom

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Thanks for the money. I'm leaving Caledonia now.

After fifteen months of failed negotiations in the Caledonia dispute, veteran aboriginal affairs negotiator Jane Stewart is being replaced.

The former Liberal Indian affairs minister is being replaced by Murray Coolican, a former deputy minister of Ontario's aboriginal affairs department, after a year at the negotiating table and with no deal to end the occupation of a former housing development site in Caledonia, Ont.

David Ramsay, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said Stewart did not request to leave, but some say privately she was ready to move on and return to her consulting business.

Her departure suits the change in negotiations since Coolican is more experienced at dealing with the technical details involved in aboriginal land claims, he said.

"He's got all the skills and knowledge to be a very successful negotiator," Ramsay said in an interview.

"(His appointment) reflects the true position of the province's role at the table - that of a secondary role and technical adviser ... We (don't) need as high a profile person as Jane Stewart now as we did in the beginning."

Although Stewart was being paid $1,300 a day to negotiate an end to the occupation, Coolican's salary is still being negotiated, Ramsay added.
According to Dalton McGuinty, the Federal Government is in a "conflict of interest" should they fail to hire an independent body to settle outstanding land claims like Caledonia.
"Right now the federal government finds itself in an untenable position - it has to decide whether or not it's going to give up some of its own land. I think that puts them in a very difficult position."
Dalton The Gimp fails to mention that the land disputed in the Douglas Creek Estates has not been crown land for over a hundred years until his government purchased it with other people's money prior to consulting with the federal government. He has yet to answer allegations that according to his own logic, or lack thereof, the appointment of a new provincial negotiator puts his government in a conflict of interest because that chunk of land happens to be within Ontario's borders.

The government giveth and the government taketh away.

cp: Dust My Broom

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UWO Gazette News Editor Calls For London Police Impartiality Between Canadian Soldiers, Taliban

UWO Gazette News Editor Cigdem Iltan has a bizarre letter in today's Free Press. I excerpt the whole thing since it will vanish from the Free Press website anon:

Ribbons on police cars send a poor message

It's recently come to my attention a number of London police service vehicles are sporting yellow magnetic Support Our Troops ribbons.

I have no objection to civilian vehicles displaying political messages. However, I do object to a blatant violation of the Police Services Act.

The act states that LPS is "committed to conduct all investigations with fairness and impartiality." The ribbon found on many police vehicles indicates LPS has aligned with one specific side of an extremely hotly contested political debate.

Complete impartiality in any situation is admittedly difficult to achieve. However, for LPS to so obviously commit itself to this particular political cause baffles me. Impartiality refers not only to race, colour, sex, age, or sexual orientation, to name a few. Impartiality involves a conscious, active and self-evaluative effort to weigh all opinions equally.
As an aside, this ("impartiality") was in former, wiser times, known as "being an idiot". I say this without rancor, in the strictly medical and descriptive meaning of someone who is incapable of deploying concepts in such a way as to reach a reasonable conclusion.

And notice that if this kind of mindlessness is truly a value, then the denial of this mindlessness is equally a value -- for who is impartial ol' Cigdan to partially complain about my opinion that his version of impartiality is the pure creed of the double-talking weasel?
It involves the ability to make judgments free from bias and discrimination -- which includes political views.

Fairness and impartiality cannot be achieved by officers wearing either their own or their employer's political affiliations on their sleeves. Not only is it now impossible to attain impartiality, but it appears the LPS is not even trying.

Cigdem Iltan
Cheering on and encouraging our troops as they kill Taliban murderers (more, faster, please!) does not imply a political affiliation -- if one considers oneself Canadian, that is.

And even if one is on the other side -- as one presumably is if one professes the virtue of indifference between Canadians and Taliban -- one must agree that retrofitting Taliban terrorists with new holes is a carbon-friendly means of supplying needed nutrients to Mother Earth and reducing the carbon footprint of the religious fascist community. Surely we can agree that the smallest steps towards saving the planet may sometimes dovetail with steps towards saving the victims of Islamofascism?

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Monday, May 7, 2007

The 12 days of Allison Graham

I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country. Oh, and one for my province, and one for the party next week, and one for the hairstyling appointment on Thursday, and one for…
In the Inbox:

From: Allison Graham
Sent: March 14, 2007 10:43 AM
To: 'Allison Graham'
Subject: Allison Graham for MP? It's Up to You!
I have decided to run for the Federal Conservative Nomination for London North Centre. If you are aware of my community, professional and political involvement outside of my role with the London Free Press as the People You Know columnist then this will come as no shock to you. In fact, it is probably an expected turn of events [...]

All aspects of my life have led to this moment.
Oops! Wrong life, I meant this one!
City councillor Paul Van Meerbergen has been acclaimed the federal Conservative candidate in London North Centre.

Allison Graham … announced Mar. 26 she's withdrawn.

Instead, Graham, 32, said she will contest the provincial Progressive Conservative nomination in London West, for Ontario's Oct. 10 election.

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The Queen was not amused

Bush had to stay up past his bedtime and drink his water from a glass, but still the Queen does not approve. Did Queen Elizabeth purchase carbon credits to offset her emissions for this visit? A slip of the tongue is a lot more carbon neutral than the Queen and her entourage. On the other hand, if the Bush administration really cared about the environment, they would have served the Queen prune mush for dinner instead of a five course meal.

Standing with the Queen on a podium, he recalled her previous state visits, but had a little problem with the dates.

“You helped us celebrate our bicentennial in 1796,” he said confidently, and in a split second realised his error. “Er, 1976”, he corrected himself, to a gale of laughter from around the lawn. The Queen, smiling broadly, gave him a knowing sideways glance.

To another outburst of hilarity from the crowd he told her: “You gave me a look only a mother could give a child.”

At least he didn’t greet her with: “Yo, Majesty, how ya doin’?”
cp: Dust My Broom

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London Filler Press

Forty members of the London Free Press editorial staff voted unanimously yesterday to support strike action as early as 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Ten staff did not vote. Although negotiations between the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 87-M, will continue during the week, the strike vote also means that Sun Media can lock out the workers on Saturday. Morale at the London Free Press, whose editorial staff numbered 170 in 1990, is notoriously low … which, one might suggest, has been reflected in the quality and content of the Free Press in the past decade. It should be added, in the case of the Free Press, that at the same time morale does not necessarily precede quality — owners, management and staff have all contributed to the Free Press having becoming an almost irredeemable publication.

Meanwhile, more Sun Media filler should be expected over the next while … which should continue to keep total reading time well under the standard five minutes.

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The Leftist/Islamofascist/Badwulfian Convergence

Whether your tastes in nonexistent deities are secular or celestial, whether you think women should be running reeducation camps or shut up indoors, there is something for you at Marxism 2007... for a price.

Make cheques payable to "Marxism" and send to:
PO Box 339, Station E
Toronto, ON
M6H 4E3
You say tomayto, I say tomahto; let's smash capitalism and then fight over whatever's left.

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

A good reason not to buy The Vancouver Sun

Via Jay Jardine, David Suzuki was the guest editor of Saturday's tree murdering Vancouver Sun.

Coincidently, today was the very first day in my 33 years on this planet that I tasted sushi, so I tracked down the article about sushi destroying the planet. Apparently, vegetarians such as myself are no more absolved of their sins than my beloved carnivorous companions. Eat within your 100 mile radius or join the ration line and pay for your entitlement with government issued carbon credits. The planet depends on your compliance.

Sushi deconstructed:

Sushi is somehow a quintessentially West Coast meal. Light, nutritious and packed with healthy oils and clean carbs, sashimi, nigiri and maki would seem to be a guilt-free way to eat. But just how lightly does a plate of sushi tread on our planet's precious resources?

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Après nous le déluge

Mohamed Mechmache, President of AC Le Feu — an association created following the November 2005 riots, has ominously warned that "France did not understand the message sent during the riots in October and November of 2005."
…which is, namely, to keep your head down and your mouth shut while the rioters have their way with France. After Nicolas Sarkozy, famous for calling the rioting class "rabble," was elected as President of France earlier today, the message will just have to be repeated

… and repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and repeated, and repeated … (Follow ¡No Pasarán! for coverage.)

Oddly enough, Nicolas Sarkozy is commonly branded as "right wing" in the press even over here, where it has been apparently picked up without any scrutiny from their European confrères, although he is entirely ideologically compatible with the systematic institutionalization of entitlements that characterizes democratic socialism in France. What primarily distinguishes Sarkozy, a Michael Ignatieff sort of fellow if we were to place him in Canada, is a disdain — in rhetoric at least — for the consequences of such a system, inevitable as they are. It is this that has struck a chord with French voters, who along with many Europeans are beginning to evince a desire to reconcile the possession and the eating of the cake. Good luck with that. I suspect the rioters will have only to fear for their "sport," but little for their entitlements. Insofar as we can entertain hopes, however, I'll go with Theodore Dalyrmple: 'I want Sarkozy to be right'

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When socialist rhetoric collides

“We are Socialists, enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are determined under all circumstances to abolish this system!”

— Adolf Hitler in his May Day Speech, Berlin, 1 May 1927 (quoted by John Toland in his book Adolf Hitler1976, p. 306. Via The Brussels Journal.

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Friday, May 4, 2007

The chicken coop

Representatives, represent away!

But spare me the embarrassment of being represented by this madness. (Via Small Dead Animals here and here.)

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The London Five-Minute Press

The union groupies at AltLondon have the news that union workers at the London Free Press will be holding a strike vote on Sunday. If they do go on strike, will anyone notice? Apart from saving about five minutes of their day, that is.

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When Moncton is ahead of you, Something ain't right

Civic cheerleaders and local media have been jumping with joy over the ranking of London as the "8th best city to live" by Money Sense Magazine.

The cities were ranked according to "livable factors" such as unemployment, growth rates, crime, new vehicle ownership, weather, and housing prices.

While everything sounds rosy for London, the statistics of this survey must be questioned.

Firstly, most of the cities that are in the "top ten" are the capitals of their respective jurisdictions, which make them heavily dependent on government civil servant jobs and government funding in general. As well, non-capital cities such as Kingston and London contain a high institutionalize workforce in education, medical, and/or correctional facilities.

This, by default, makes these cities immune to any instability in the economy including recessions. The unemployment rates are therefore relatively inflexible.

Secondly, the validity regarding low housing costs are deceptive since they do not take into account property tax rates. Although the price of housing is relatively inexpensive the the majority of the "top ten" cities, their residential tax rates are not disclosed. This brings a false sense of lower real estate prices.

Even though the capital costs of a home may be lower, the tax expenses related to the property could outweigh the initial purchase savings in the long-term.

Thirdly, The use of newer cars as a measurement of community wealth is meaningless since new vehicle ownership crosses numerous economic demographics. Although many people in a particular city may have newer vehicles, this does not mean that the owners are considered "wealthy" by any means. Most likely, it means that the vehicle was purchased via interest financing or a long-term lease.

Also, many people who own older vehicles may belong to a more affluent demographic. For example, someone who owns a classic car would be considered "poorer" because they happen to not own a new car.

Fourthly, the crime statistics in the survey only take into account the homicide rates in each respective municipality and not the general crime rates as a whole. This is another misnomer.

Although the murder rates may low, the crime rates for other serious forms of crime such as assaults, robberies, and thefts could be uncorrelated to the murder rates. Thus, the crime rate as a whole in a city could be much higher due to the high forms of non-homicide related offenses.

Finally, the weather in one community over another does not accurately reflect the livability of a community. The likes and dislikes of different types of weather vary from person to person. Some people like the cold and snow, others like warm and sunshine.

The survey arbitrarily decides that most people like to live in cities with low amounts of precipitation and with higher number of days when the temperature is above 30 degrees C.

The survey as a whole should be taken with a grain of salt as it has many forms of frivilous and biased statistical information that are unrelated to the safety, income levels, and economic activity of any city including London.

If Money Sense used more relative measurements on livability and economic prosperity such as broad crime rates, residential property tax rates, private sector and infrastructure investment, and amount of bureaucratic red tape on property owners--London would score much lower that 8 out of 123.

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Canadian government will not accept Canadian Currency

Cash Money. It is the legal tender of the country and you can buy whatever you want with it from anyone but the Candadian government:

Cash no longer accepted for paying taxes

Ottawa will no longer accept cash payments from people paying their taxes at service counters across the country. The Canada Revenue Agency says it will still accept cash payments made through banks, however. Service counters will continue to accept cheque and debit payments.
Apparently it's too inconvenient....
The agency says it made the change because the amount of people who pay by cash is so small.

Of the seven per cent of taxpayers who make payments at the service counters, less than one per cent pay by cash, said Revenue Canada spokesperson Heather Cameron.

"It comes down to the fact … that there's so few people that are actually making their payments in cash now," said Cameron.
And here I was thinking that it was legal tender and if you tendered it on the government in payment, the government is to accept the same. A refusal to accept would certainly give rise to the question of whether penalties or interest would accrue.

(C/P at Little Tobacco)

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Union and City Hall corruption scandal

Our thanks to readers who forwarded this story about apparent municipal corruption to us from AltLondon.

A written complaint by a union steward of London Civic Employees CUPE Local 107, which represents London's 520 outside workers, alleges that its president Tim Whitworth signed secret remuneration agreements with the City on two occasions to pay him $6 an hour ($240 weekly) above and beyond his hourly rate as set by the City's and the union's last collective agreement, as well as an additional weekly salary of $105.80 to compensate him for "loss of opportunity for acting [supervisor] pay."

Whitworth, whose former job with the City was as a "leading tree trimmer," allegedly struck the deal to pay him a weekly salary on top of his hourly wages with Larry Allen, contract manager of the City's Human Resources department, on January 14, 2005 backdated to November 1, 2004 when he took office. It is not known who approved the extra $6 hourly rate of pay. The additional compensation amounts to approximately $17,980 per annum, or about $44,300 since Whitworth became the local's president.

More details can be found at AltLondon.

The "loss of opportunity or acting [supervisor] pay" is particularly galling, since Whitworth took it on himself to forgo that opportunity. But as it turns out, political connections are a more than compensatory opportunity. Notwithstanding any contraventions of the local's bylaws, which are to be determined May 7, the question concerning taxpayers is why management at City Hall is topping up his pay. A serious deficiency of the legislated absence of a competitive market for the services the civic employees provide is that the City unilaterally acts as an agent for taxpayers who have no other choice in these dealings. At the level of bureaucratic management, citizens have little choice but to trust that these transactions are conducted for them to their favour, or to hope that politicians might take an interest in oversight. But actors in both politics and high level management, of which Whitworth is de facto a member, move in close circles with each other at a far remove from the interests of taxpayers, and have much more in common with each other than the supposed ideological differences that characterize media commentary on issues would ever suggest… which is why in every single case of mismanagement or corruption that not one of them ever suffers any consequences. To date, the City is not investigating Whitworth's irregular compensation deals with management at City Hall, but nothing consequential for taxpayers would likely result from an inquiry in any case. However, it would be useful to know why.

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Food Fight - third round

It's smackdown time again over at Mitchieville. This time around, it's all about cheese. On the menu from Lisa's Kitchen, Mushroom, Ricotta and Asiago cheese pizza,

served up with these melt in your mouth Cheddar Dijon Biscuits.

Go over to Mitchieville and cast your vote for me in the comment section. Remember, a vote for me is a vote for The London Fog. Show Reg the foggers are not as insignificant and "quaint" as he thinks. Besides, it's evident this soy eater votes NDP. If you value your wallet and your freedom, your only choice is Lisa.

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Save the Sasquatch: Canadian government to discuss Big Foot's fate

When they aren't talking about hockey, the elected gatekeepers of our wallets and minds are discussing more important matters, like sasquatches:

The sasquatch, the legendary hairy man-like beast said to roam the wilderness of B.C. and other parts of North America, should be protected as an endangered species, says MP Mike Lake.

He wants the sasquatch -- a.k.a. Bigfoot -- to be protected under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

A petition to the House of Commons, signed by almost 500 of Lake's constituents in Edmonton and due for debate next week, asks the government "to establish immediate, comprehensive legislation to effect immediate protection of Bigfoot."
HT: Darcey

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Is there anything more offensive than offence?

The issue dominating Canada's Parliament is the naming of the Captain of Team Canada at the hockey world championships? The Bloc are offended. The NDP are offended. The Liberals are offended. The Tories are offended. Why?

The Bloc Québécois is demanding Shane Doan be removed as captain of Canada's
world championship hockey team, in light of the disparaging comments he
allegedly made about French Canadians in 2005.
Doan's French Canadian buddies think he's a good choice:
"In the heat of the battle things get said sometimes, a lot worse than
being called a French frog or whatever," said Alain Vigneault, coach of the
Vancouver Canucks.

"[Doan] says he didn't say it. Even if he did, come on. If our politicians,
French or English, if that's the only thing right now they have to worry

"There's a lot more important things going on right now in society,"
Vigneault said. "It is utterly, utterly stupid, not to say embarrassing."
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur had a similar reaction.
"I know Shane really [well] and I don't see him saying that," he said. "All
these years in the league I never had a problem with it, so for me to hear that
other people had a problem, I have a hard time understanding it."
What were the offending words:
Doan said he was complaining to teammate Curtis Joseph about the
officiating, telling the goaltender, "'Four French referees in Montreal, Cuje,
figure it out.'

"I would have done the same thing if we were in Los Angeles and it was
four officials from California," Doan said Wednesday. "Or if we were in Calgary
and it was four westerners."
Oh Dear! Call a Royal Commission:
The Bloc introduced the motion, supported by the Liberals, Conservatives and
NDP, demanding that Hockey Canada explain itself to the parliamentary
The NHL cleared Doan of any wrongdoing and the official who made the decision has this to say:
Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of
hockey operations, blasted the politicians for meddling, calling
the intrusion "ridiculous.

"I stand by my original comments after our investigation," Campbell
told the Canadian Press. "But I would add to it at this point in time, it's
rather embarrassing to all Canadian hockey fans we're rehashing this again,
particularly when Hockey Canada and Shane Doan are representing and working hard
in Moscow right now, competing for our country. It's ridiculous."

Ridiculous? To call this parliamentary behaviour ridiculous would be an insult to the ridiculous. It reminds me of the uproar over Triumph: The Insult Comic Dog insulting people.

I am offended by Parliament's offence.

Cross posted at Little Tobacco

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