Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another reason not to trust alternative medicine...

So Karadzic was living in Belgrade before he was arrested (quelle surprise!), and selling alternative medicines. It turns out the key to good health is regular exercise, gingko biloba and the slaughter of innocents.

13 years on, Karadzic does indeed look different than he did during the war. But then, I always assumed that those responsible for hunting war criminals relied on more than just hair colour and distinguishing birth marks or scars.

Hopefully, the arrest of Ratko Mladic won't be far behind. I hear he's leading the Balkan campaign to investigate the relationship between vaccines and autism.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Karadzic Arrested

Radovan Karadzic has been arrested in Serbia.

The AP story points out that he used a number of "elaborate disguises" to evade capture, including disguising himself as a priest. How easy is it exactly to hide out in a monastery if you don't have the support of the clergy? Just asking...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What Lesson Should I Be Drawing Exactly?

I have an informal rule that I don't discuss American politics on this blog because plenty of others already have it well covered and well, I'm Canadian. But I felt the need to acknowledge the defeat of Billary in the primaries.

There has been much said tonight about the historic nature of an African-American being selected as the presidential candidate for one of the major parties for the first time. And I have no quibble with this - it is an important moment in American history. But then somebody always feels the need to point out that it would also have been historic if Hillary had been chosen and that she has "given our daughters hope". Really? What exactly is the message? "If your husband becomes president then one day you could follow in his footsteps". Truly inspirational!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've been saying for a long time that the Ontario NDP need a new leader... maybe John Tory is it!

John Tory -- supposedly leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives -- is suggesting that the ban on plastic bags at the LCBO does not go far enough. Mr. "Tory" wants to ban all retailers in Ontario from using plastic bags.

I have nothing against conservation and have jumped on board the reusable bag at the grocery store bandwagon myself (though largely because they make stuff easier to carry... it's hard not living above a grocery store anymore). But in what universe is tree-hugging by decree a conservative philosophy? Every time any sort of environmentally-friendly trend catches on, there is John Tory proposing it be enacted into law. Why have any faith in the populace when you can just dictate their behaviour?

A party trying to out-Liberal the Liberals. That's just what we need!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

They should have their own schools

School segregation has been approved in Toronto. We are so progressive!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In other news, sky still blue

A U.N. task force has found evidence of corruption that may have cost the institution upwards of $610 million. Shocking stuff indeed.

"U.N. officials privately acknowledge that some malfeasance is inevitable in an organization that processes 12,000 purchase orders in the field each year and buys enough energy to power a city larger than Washington, D.C."

That's the spirit! If you don't even try to be accountable, you can't be considered a failure. And that's a valuable take home lesson for all the member states.

(I know, I'm a horrible blogger and I'm not even going to apologize for the lack of posts.. as my mother always taught me, sorry means you won't do it again. I did however miss my baby's third birthday which is inexcusable... Happy Belated Birthday Bitter Lemon!)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This Land Is My Land, This Land is Your Land from Heart Lake to The City Centre...

This may just be the saddest headline I've read in a long time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Figure Skating on Christmas Day: Priceless

It seems the mayor has accepted the offer from MasterCard. It seems the money is no strings attached, so no advertising.

Of course, we can't always rely on the goodwill of private business, I think it might be worth the money to hire a few fundraisers to find people who have always wanted a public park named in their honour.

MasterCard for Mayor

Mastercard Canada has offered $160,000 to the city of Toronto to open the ice rinks on time. Mayor Miller had decided to keep the rinks closed to teach Torontonians what happens when they displease him.

It will be interesting to see whether the city accepts this offer, or if we instead get a lecture about corporate control of public space.

It strikes me that the city should be looking for lots of deals like this. It would seem that most of our recreational facilities could be financed by the private sector. Nike sponsored basketball courts, Wilson tennis courts, Canadian Tire park.

I am well aware that there are always objections to this kind of arrangements, but they always come from people who aren't offering a solution beyond "more taxes". And if we aren't going to get advertising for public facilities then it's time to start charging for their use. I see no reason to be subsidizing other people's recreation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shut Up CTV

CTV has projected that the referendum will fail. They provided further analysis that it was just too darn difficult to explain to people. Which, I suppose is why they didn't even bother trying. If it can't fit into a 3o second sound bite it's too complex for CTV. The failure of the pro-MMP side was that they didn't go around the province sticking cats up trees with "Vote MMP" buttons. CTV would have been all over that!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Only In Canada

One level of government is lobbying for another level of government to hand over funds to yet another level of government. And either way you slice it, it's our money. Now that's accountability!

Monday, October 01, 2007

More About MMP

Reviewing my posts I realise that I have failed to address another positive of the proposed system: we will probably see higher turnout in "safe" ridings.

I would never not vote. I'd always go and at least spoil my ballot, because voting is fun. But many people do not share this nerdy passion of mine. Most people don't get the giddy excitement when the phone rings around election time that it might be a pollster asking who I'll be supporting or what issues matter to me most. They don't vote because they know their vote won't make a difference, this isn't cynicism on their part, it's an accurate assessment of our voting system. For those Conservatives who live in a comfortable NDP riding, or those NDPers who live in a safe Liberal riding, why bother going out of your way to cast a ballot when it will have no effect on the outcome? But if they knew their ballot would count for something -- as it would under MMP -- they'd probably get out to vote.

I grant you this probably isn't a huge segment of the non-voting population. Many people just aren't interested in politics at all, but this is a group we really should want to vote: the people who are well informed enough to know what's going on and that their vote really won't make a difference. The Elections Ontario ads telling us we must vote so that we can have our say simply aren't true for people in safe ridings. For their vote to count they'd have to move somewhere with a contested seat. That seems a lot to ask for a little bit of democracy.

Vote MMP

So I've told you why the people who support FPTP (which apparently now includes the Toronto Star) are wrong. But why should you support MMP? In a nutshell because it is a fairer way of electing government that makes sure the votes of all Ontarians count. We will still have the local representation that we have now, but the amount of power that a party has will reflect their support across the whole province. More specifically:

We don't have a two party system. As much as the establishment Liberals and Conservatives would like to pretend that we live in a two-party system -- with the NDP and smaller groups acting as an uninvited guest to their party -- we don't. If we did, First Past the Post would do just fine because those who received the majority of the vote in a riding, and across the province would form a majority government. Instead, it is typically the case that those who receive the largest minority of the vote wins a majority government, or occasionally a minority government.Very occasionally, the party that does not win the largest number of votes still wins more seats and they form the government.

We don't have a system of independents. Those who support First Past the Post suggest that it isn't about who forms the government provincially but who is representing you locally. At one of the debates I attended, we were actually told (by a Liberal no less) that democracy is what happens in the constituency office in the days before an election when disabled people, minorities and women get together and stuff envelopes for the candidate of their choice (presumably while able-bodied white men are working to bring these people down). I'm not making this up. In reality of course, it's not about the local candidate. Most people cast their ballot for the party. Either because they are lifelong supporters of the party, because they support the platform this time around, or because they are trying to defeat another party. Certainly there are exceptions to this, some people really like or really hate their local candidate and voting for the individual, but on the whole this is rare. It is good that this is rare, because it is a stupid thing to do. When your candidate gets elected, he or she will have to follow the party's orders. We do not send 109 107 MPPs to Queen's Park to deliberate on the issues of the day, we send 107 votes to Queen's Park, for or against the government's agenda. Some people with power within a party will have more say that others, but if your candidate is a backbencher it's basically their job to shut up and vote as they're told. I'm not suggesting that this will change with MMP but let's at least get the voting in line with the wishes of the people of Ontario.

Millions of votes are being wasted. Now the anti-MMP gang have done a pretty good job of making it seem like people who say this are being immature whiny brats. My point is not that if I don't get the government that I want that my vote is wasted. My point is rather that vast numbers of people may support a particular issue, but unless they all happen to live near one another it doesn't matter at all in this province. I'm perfectly willing to accept the idea that I am not always going to get exactly the government I want. But everyone should get a say in who forms government, not just the people who happen to support the successful candidate in an arbitrary geographical area.

Some issues are larger than your neighbourhood Although I have been told many times that all politics is local and the community is what matters, I simply don't believe it. We live in an age where I can communicate as easily with someone in Thunder Bay as I can with someone down the street. Toronto isn't only ethnically diverse, we have people of all political stripes as well, too bad that isn't reflected in government. If Sudbury and Oshawa are such vastly different places that local representation must trump province-wide support in all cases, why bother sharing a province at all? We could just have really powerful municipalities instead. Yes, from time to time, one region will need more attention and will need someone to stand up and represent it in the legislature, and MMP will still protect this. In fact, list candidates will be able to help when one region of the province is having troubles, in a way that local candidates from other regions cannot without taking time away from their own constituents. I am simply not willing to accept that the only thing that matters in 21st century Ontario is what city you happen to live in.

I don't believe that MMP will fix every problem we have in this province, but I do think it's a step in the right direction.

Update: The correct number of seats in the legislature is 107 not 109, as I originally stated.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Did you hear we're having a referendum?

Ontarians are going to the polls on October 10th and only about half of us know that we are going to be asked to also vote in a referendum on electoral reform. There’s some blame to go around here. Whoever it was that decided that the education campaign about the proposed new system – Mixed Member Proportional – would begin at the same time as the election campaign began is an idiot. People need time to understand the change and also decide whether or not it is a change that they favour. Then there is the fact that the media is barely talking about it. Sure, most of the big papers have small sections explaining the changes, but it is most definitely not being treated as a big deal. This is way more important than who becomes premier. The Liberal and Conservative platforms are basically interchangeable. But the group most responsible for our lack of knowledge about the referendum issue is the voting public. Seriously people, inform yourselves! Now, if you’re not planning on voting then don’t bother. That's your business. However, for those who are actually going to turn up at the polling station on October 10 and put your X in a box (or whatever they’re having us do this time around… do we have stickers yet?), find out what you’re voting about! (You can read about it here). It matters. Voting alone does not fulfill you civic responsibility, you’re actually required to know what you're voting for.

I have long been a fan of the proportional representation. I think ideas matter more than neighbourhoods and would much rather have my vote count than be able to call my MPP to help me get a job or whatever they supposedly do at the local level. The fact of the matter is that I live in a community whose politics don’t match mine. If I called my MP to say that I’d like her to make sure that not a penny of the federal surplus goes to city coffers because it is the taxes of the Canadian people, not city council, I don’t think she’d heed my concerns. And, at the end of the day, in our province and country, our politicians belong to parties, and these parties pretty strictly control how they behave, so the idea that you get representation from your MPP is pretty laughable. As Bitter Lime likes to point out, the parties could send Muppets to Queen’s Park and it wouldn’t make a difference. But, you crazy kids seem to like having an MPP you can call your own. And that’s what is on offer, a mixed system that will let you keep your MPP while also giving you an extra vote on the ballot: for the party. New "list" MPPs will make sure that the number of seats a party holds in the legislature will roughly equal the amount of support it received throughout the province.

I’ve now been to two debates on this issue and I’ve heard the arguments. I went into the first relatively convinced that I was going to support MMP, but with an open mind that I might not have heard all the facts. I went into the second convinced that I wanted to hear Andrew Coyne and Marilyn Churley-NDP debate on the same side of an issue (a recap of that debate can be read here).

The arguments that I have heard to support First Past the Post (FPTP, our current system) are as follows:

It’s much simpler. Let’s recap our current system: The province is divided arbitrarily into “ridings”; each riding has a campaign to elect an MPP who represents a party. At the same time there is a province-wide campaign for premier that most people will pay more attention to. You have no power to elect your premier unless he is also running as the MPP for your riding. People go into the polling station and either vote for the candidate who has appealed to them the most, the candidate that belongs to a party that has appealed to them the most, the candidate that has the best chance of defeating the candidate that they hate the most, or the candidate whose name they recognize. Then we tally up the votes for that riding and whoever has the most votes -- probably not a majority -- gets to go to Queen’s Park. The party that has the most people sent to Queen’s Park forms the government and their leader gets to be the premier. In the case that the party leader did not win his seat, another MPP will probably give up his seat and allow the party leader to run in his riding so that he can be premier. If the winning party has more than half the MPPs, they now get all the power. If you voted for your MPP because you thought they were a swell guy or gal it doesn’t matter because they now have to go along with the party on pretty much everything. Now is that really simple, or is it just what you know? There is a difference. You know what is really simple? Dictatorship. Do we have supporters for that system as well?

All politics is local. I’ve heard this a number of times and I have yet to hear a defense of why it is true. Is tax policy local? Are environmental issues local? Is the math curriculum local? Sure, there are regional issues that matter, but I remain unconvinced that they are more important than all the other issues. And if your riding ends up being represented by someone in the opposition in a majority government, how well are your regional concerns being heard?

The parties will become too powerful. Sure, this is a concern. The parties will be responsible for drawing up the lists, and there are no rules about how this will be done apart from the fact that they have to present the list before the election. But under the current system the parties are really powerful, and there are a million examples of star candidates running in ridings where the party is strong rather than their own neighbourhood so that they can be elected. So I don’t really understand how it will be a big shift. Yes, parties could put party hacks on the list but ultimately that will affect the amount of support they get, so it might not be very smart.

It would lead to minority governments and they are unstable. Do we live in Iraq? I think I can handle the threat of a little instability in my government if it better reflects the views of Ontarians. But ultimately, I don’t think the argument is true. It is based on the premise that a minority government under MMP would be the same as a minority government under FPTP. What we know of minority governments is that they can’t ever accomplish anything because the Liberals are trying to force the Tories out or the Tories are trying to force the Liberals out and no governing gets done. But if minority governments become the norm, how acceptable will it be to Ontarians that the parties spend all of their time trying to bring down the government? It doesn’t seem like a good plan to get you reelected. Rather, governments will form coalitions around issues and make policy. And, as Andrew Coyne pointed out last night, in our current system a slight shift in the vote from one election to the next results in a radically different government, which isn’t particularly stable. Again it is just what we happen to know.

There will be too many parties. The only people who seem to make this argument are Liberals or Conservatives who fear that they will lose support. I care about democracy, not big parties, so I am completely unsympathetic to this argument. Claims that we will have radical religious parties, or far right or far left parties doesn’t seem to match up with the Ontario I live in. The Greens will probably get some MPPs, which seems acceptable given the amount of support they get each election. Over time new parties will probably develop as well. But given that they need to get at least 3% of the support to win even one seat, it is not likely that these people will be on the radical fringe. And if they are, so be it. They will still be very weak and if they are that radical it would be political death to align with them. The fact remains that, even if a particular party is distasteful to you, if they represent the beliefs of a significant number of Ontarians, who are you to say they don’t deserve a seat? The Liberals are distasteful to me and nobody seems to want to strip them of their right to run for office.

So that’s my case on the case against MMP. Stay tuned for the next edition of referendum blogging: the case for MMP.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Good on ya!

Two Saudi women pepper sprayed and "verbally abused" members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice when they were told that they were inappropriately dressed.

Considering these men make it their business to follow women around and comment on their appearance, I'd say they got off pretty light.

Maybe all that is needed to start a revolution in Saudi Arabia is to arm all the women with pepper spray. Or better yet, teeny tiny guillotines.

(Link via FP Passport)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Whereas dads will be voting for John Tory because he'll let them walk down to the corner store for a beer

Why do these articles about women who have children pop up every election season? The point being, while you might expect mothers to vote en masse based on narrow self interest, some of them actually seem to have political opinions of their own. And after only about 90 years of enfranchisement. Good on ya gals! Next stop: the work force!

Not Bad

John Tory has said he will consider allowing convenience stores to sell beer and wine if he becomes premier.

Of course, this being Ontario he has to wrap it up in supporting local industry rather than saying government monopolies are bad. But hey, you take what you can get. More personal responsibility and less public religious education and I could get behind a Tory government.

They can't tell journalists not to smoke, how could they ever stop a genocide?

A sign in the U.N. Press Room

(via FP Passport)

Friday, September 21, 2007

D) None of the Above

Didn't last night's debate make you excited about the future of our province?!

For a start Dalton McGuinty looks vaguely non-human. Could be an alien, could be a cyborg, but definitely not human. Plus there's his record. My favourite moment during the debate was when he said John Tory had been going around the province accusing him of being a liar in everything but name. I'm not sure what his point was there other than that John Tory has shown remarkable restraint.

As for John Tory, I'm sure he's a very good person. He does seem like he really cares. I think he would have been a good mayor for Toronto. Unfortunately, he's basically running on a Liberal platform. I mean, I assume there'd be less cricket grants in a Tory government, but Dalton's attempts to paint him as a right wing ideologue or compare him with Mike Harris are hilarious.

And then there's Howard Hampton. Can someone please explain Howard Hampton? I don't have any deep thoughts on the matter, we differ so much ideologically that I don't think it's worth putting too much energy into getting to know his platform. But how does a party lose official status (however briefly) and not get themselves a new leader?

I'll probably end up voting for the Freedom Party. It doesn't really matter anyway, since nobody but Rosario has a chance of winning in Trinity-Spadina (it's those eyes!). But, ya know, vote or die!

Oh well, at least there's the referendum (about which more later).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

This is the best response I've read so far to the whole HPV "controversy".

The Macleans article was a disgrace and a complete disservice to young women whose parents may have been swayed by an irresponsible writer who mixed arguments about the evils of capitalism, the effectiveness of the drug, typical fears about vaccines and then added in overblown claims about the side effects of Gardasil for good measure. A piece of advice Macleans readers: if your author is citing trial lawyers rather than doctors or scientists on medical issues, you should be suspicious. Another piece of advice: stop reading Macleans.

A cynical person might think it was just a political stunt

The mayor is now saying that Toronto's community centres will be opened up again on Mondays. So basically, he thought he could force council to support him by pissing off Torontonians. His little tantrum hasn't worked and now he's backing down because he hates being unpopular. Now that's leadership!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The website didn't work... he should have tried a facebook group instead

Broom boy isn't going to get his special meeting. The mayor couldn't get two thirds of city councillors to support a meeting to raise our taxes.

His supporters aren't pleased: '"It is shameful and very disappointing that people are using their own personal power to advance their own personal political agendas," [Glenn] De Baeremaeker said Tuesday.' According to the new City of TorontoAct, using power to advance a personal agenda is a special privilege granted to the mayor.

Jesus Thinks Your Slutty Daughter Deserves to Die

To prove that we should be dismantling rather than extending public religious education in this province, school board trustees in Catholic boards are debating whether or not girls in their schools should receive the HPV vaccine.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had the following to say: "Infection with HPV or other sexually transmitted diseases can occur only through sexual activity, which carries with it profound risks to a young person's spiritual, emotional, moral and physical health". This is particularly true if the young person happens to get cancer and die. (And not that I think people deserve to get sick for having sex, but what if it wasn't consensual? Surely these men are familiar with the concept of rape... I seem to recall the issue has come up in the church quite a bit lately... )

The province should refuse funding to any board that makes this decision on religious grounds. This is the 21st century and a bunch of hypocritical superstitious freaks should not have this kind of power. If you want state funds to support your religion, move to Saudi Arabia and get the hell out of my country.

C'est Formidable!

The Liberals didn't win any of the three Quebec by-elections yesterday. I take it all back, I love St├ęphane Dion!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh, there's a website?!

So I sent the mayor's office a message to tell them that I opposed his tax plan and thought that the website fairtaxes.ca was undemocratic. The response I received from someone in his office...

"Mayor Miller believes that a land transfer tax and vehicle registration tax will provide the resources necessary to continue to provide the public service that Torontonians demand and deserve. Read more on line at www.fairtaxes.ca."

I understand the generic e-mail response, I don't really think that someone in the Mayor's office carefully crafts a reply to every inquiry, nor do I think they should. But read the text of the message, see what it is about and then respond. Don't just cut and paste the generic tax message. I don't know how much this woman earns, but I think I've just found the way for the city to save some cash.

Is This Even Legal?

David Miller has mounted a website encouraging you to support his plan to raise taxes so that he can hire consultants to solve the global warming crisis (and perhaps bring back that lustrous sheen back to his hair).

Included on the site is all sorts of propaganda for Miller's proposal and provides the option to send the following message to your councillor:

"Dear Toronto City Council,

I support a fair tax plan for Toronto — one that will provide the funds we need to build our great city. On October 22, please vote in favour of the new taxes."

Why is this sort of thing allowed? The mayor is using city resources to not only get his political message across but also to make it easier for those who support his particular agenda to get in touch with their councillors. How democratic! The only good thing is that the site is so obviously one sided (despite the "Don't Take Our Word For It" section) that I imagine only those people who are already fully dedicated to the Miller message would participate.

I'll be contacting my city councillor to tell him I oppose it. But my city councillor is Kyle Rae so I'm sure my e-mail will go unread.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's not election season in Canada without a Liberal leader lying straight to your face

So Dalton's campaign has begun. What the hell is with the ads saying that regardless of what our "creed" is, our kids should all go to the same schools? I actually agree with this statement, but he doesn't. His kids go to Catholic school where they learn that Jesus is magic.

I think John Tory's idea of creating public religious schools for everyone is completely stupid, but only a Liberal would have the gall to claim that Catholics are deserving of special treatment because they were here before the Muslims, Jews or Scientologists and then say that "We're all in this together". The Premier is Catholic and he's defending a Catholic school system over any other. That is so progressive!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Maybe this time he could stitch the promise on a sampler

Dalton says he won't raise your taxes. No really.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mayor Miller Knows What You Want

More taxes, right?

Why do I get the sense Mrs. Miller gets appliances as birthday presents?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Liberals to Cancel August long weekend

The Ontario Liberals are promising that if they are re-elected, they will give Ontarians an extra holiday "Family Day" (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth) in February. With their track record on campaign promises, I can only imagine that they will review the situation and determine that Ontario families aren't working hard enough and will cancel the August long weekend instead.

Given the available options, my vote is for sale this time around. But a promise of future time off isn't going to cut it. I'm going to need hard currency. Unmarked bills delivered to the voting booth with an instruction as to where to put my mark will do just fine.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


So approximately half the hits to my blog on an average day come through a link to Lucien Freud's 'Girl With a White Dog' that I posted last year during my trip to London. I've always found it a bit odd, thinking the image couldn't possibly be that popular. Unfortunately, unlike with text searches, Google didn't provide me with the query that was bringing everyone to my site.

Well today, a search for 'Girl Dog Sex' from Comcast led someone to my site and it occurred to me that perhaps it was a similar search that was directing people from Google. Sure enough, I queried those words in Google Images and I was the 2nd hit.

No I don't really have a point, other than to say people are really disgusting (and also stupid, since it seems pretty obvious from the thumbnail displayed that the image is probably not what they are looking for).

Raul Hilberg, 1926-2007

The historian Raul Hilberg has died at the age of 81. His work "The Destruction of the European Jews" published in 1961 was one of the first major studies of the Holocaust. Despite all that has been written since, this book remains one of the most important and widely read histories on the subject.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Let's not forget the idiots at the top

Since I've been directing much of my anger at our city and federal politicians of late, I wanted to spare a few moments to remember our federal bureaucracy.

I can only assume that the investigation into the Singh/Kaur issue will discover that radical Hindu nationalists have infiltrated the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi. Because even I am unable to believe that this kind of policy can be arrived at by incompetence alone. Hanlon's razor be damned.

However, I am extremely concerned that these are the same people who we rely on to keep criminals and terrorists out of the country. If you are unable to cope with the idea of multiple people with the same name, perhaps you'd be better suited to less administrative work. I hear Wal-Mart greeters love their work and find it quite stress free.

Maybe the CIC could get a grant from the Province of Ontario to improve their operations...

How Much Do Cricket Whites Cost Exactly?

I'm not going to get all upset about the Liberal government in Ontario using grant money to buy support because complaining about Liberal corruption makes about as much sense as leaving your stash with Lindsay Lohan and then complaining when it disappears. We can't keep electing them and then complain about their behaviour not changing.

However, what does really bother me is that nobody seems to be up in arms that these grant programs exist at all. Ignoring the extra $850K that was thrown in to buy Dalton a few votes, why the hell should the Ontario Cricket Association have been eligible for a $150,000 grant in the first place?! I mean, why does Ontario even have a minister for Citizenship and Immigration? Isn't it a federal issue?!

Every time evil capitalists such as myself talk about spending cuts, we are accused of taking food out of the mouths of starving children or underfunding our churches schools. The reality is that we just let the government take our money and spend it on whatever frivolous pet projects they want. After all, they're smart enough to convince us to vote for them, they must know what's best.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Think What This Province Needs Is More Bureaucracy and Bigger Cultural Divides. Who's with me?

John Tory apparently.

The Conservative leader has promised to set up a commission to look into funding religious education in the province. Because the best use of our tax dollars in the 21st century is indoctrinating young children into the archaic beliefs of their families.

Golly gee, I do hope that when new immigrants come to the country, their ethnic and cultural communities encourage them to send their children to these religious schools. Then in a few years, people of different value systems won't be talking to each other at all. This is going to rock!

Just get rid of the Catholic system and let parents teach their kids whatever fairy tales they want to at home.

I'll be declining my ballot in October.

Friday, July 20, 2007

They Should Have Threatened To Shut Down the Yonge Line, At Least Then People Might Have Noticed

Shockingly, despite threats yesterday, the city will not be closing down the Sheppard Subway line.

I have an idea as to how the city can save costs: starting in the fall we should switch from an overpaid elected city council to an unpaid appointed one. Each week, a different grade eight class from a local school could be selected to run the city. Not only would we save money, the students would have the opportunity to learn about government, and the maturity level of city councillors would increase significantly.

And since we're on the topic, I have a crazy money as to how the TTC could raise some funds: make the Metropass non-transferable again. I've never quite understood how a supposedly cash strapped system could get away with allowing people to basically ride for free. (Yes I get that it was all part of some plan to get higher levels of government to fork over cash because of the increased ridership). "We just don't understand, ridership is through the roof and we're broke!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It won't last

I did enjoy watching David Miller lose in his bid to create ever more taxes for the people of Toronto (when is the ceremonial breaking of the broomstick?). But it might actually be more fun watching city council playing at fiscal responsibility.

Sadly, of course, it won't last. I would like to think that they could start sensibly reducing their spending, but I have no doubt they'll cut in the areas that will have the biggest impact in order to teach us a lesson about what happens when the mayor doesn't get what he wants they have to actually work within a budget.

Of course, it's all our fault for electing them in the first place.

Friday, July 13, 2007

But you voted for Miller!

"39 per cent of those who voted for Miller would have been less likely to support a candidate who favoured new taxes." Really? You voted for David Miller and you didn't think that at any point he might have raised taxes? This is truly shocking to me. To begin with he was, until very recently, a card carrying New Democrat and I have never met a NDPer who didn't believe that I should give more of my money for the 'public good'. Plus the broom just screams, "I'm going to sweep your money into city coffers".

Apparently 69% of Torontonians think that we should have another election before new taxes are discussed. 100% of Lemons think that there is no way this mayor should have the right to demand I pay the city for the right to see a movie while subsidizing other people's sports and rec.

Small Mercies?

The economic destruction of Zimbabwe could be preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. As men are no longer afford to keep mistresses or pay prostitutes, they are limited to one sexual partner -- their wife. Thus the spread of the disease is restricted.

Of course, I'm sure if asked Zimbabweans would rather have their economy back and rely on education and condoms to stop the disease.

Sadly, things are likely to continue to get worse before they get better in Zimbabwe. Especially since the African Union continues to treat Robert Mugabe like a hero rather than the thug that he is.

(first link via Foreign Policy Passport)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Let's Fight EOS Together

Excessive ovation syndrome. It's true. I can't think of the last time I attended a performance in Toronto that didn't receive a standing ovation. I've always put it down to Torontonians' unusually high tolerance for mediocrity, but apparently it's a continent-wide phenomenon.

The problem is, what are you supposed to do when you are actually blown away by a performance? Rush the stage?

(Link via Marginal Revolution)

Librarian Humour

This is actually how Martyloo got me to go to Paris.

Farewell Honest Ed

Ed Mirvish died this morning at 92.

Toronto is a better place because of him. He will be missed.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sorry NYT But Librarians Aren't Cool

I'm not sure if the idea that librarians and library science students think they are hip is sad or funny. But this article isn't completely wrong. They do indeed tend to be very left wing!