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September, 2009:

God damn it all! It’s National Blasphemy Day

Thanks to the Squid-dude for making me aware of this!

Feel free to celebrate on this day the right to demean whatever fantasy creature you see fit!

Blasphemy Day International is an international campaign seeking to establish September 30th as a national day to promote free speech and stand up in a show of solidarity for the freedom to mock and insult religion without fear of murder, violence, and reprisal. It is the obligation of the world’s nations to safeguard dissent and the dissenters, not to side with the brutal interests of thugs who demand “respect” for their beliefs (i.e., immunity to being criticized or mocked or they threaten violence).

So if you support free speech, and the rights of those who disagree with religious views to voice their opinions peacefully, support our group and join the cause!

Hmmmm… betcha  stuff like this sends the christian right into conniption fits!

There is even a Facebook group!


Thanks for the memories, Mats

After almost 2 decades, Mats Sundin is hanging up the blades.

He was the face of my beloved Leafs for a long, long time and when he is inducted into the Hall, it will be in the Blue and White.

Tack, Mats


Dr. OC Transpo-Love. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bus

As always, I say – well put XUP. Another great commentary on that little, twisted organization that we in Bytown like to call: OC Transpo.

And as I said in an earlier post,  this is one almost-former OC Transpo user who has had quite enough and has his name on a few waiting lists for a parking space close to where I work. After 12 years of faithful ridership, I am sick of it all.

One thing that XUP didn’t mention is the arrogant attitude that many (not all) drivers have toward students and anyone who isn’t white.

Students are regarded almost as a necessary evil and are often berated by the driver for holding their pass upside down or something. Last week, a driver called my daughter a “stupid idiot” for trying to use a transfer that was ONE minute past its time stamp! Gimme a break. And the bus was 10 minutes late!

And I’m not saying that all of the drivers are racists but I cannot count how many times I have seen a non-white person be denied entry to a bus for no apparent reason. Some blokes will stand outside the door, arms extended in a pleading fashion, and the driver just ignores him and drives away.

But if that person is a hot white chicky-poo… well, then there isn’t a problem.

Come aboard miss, glad to see you!

But – enough of all this negativity.  In the spirit of all things that we LOVE (I’m trying to be positive cuz I’m a positive kind guy, eh?) about OC Transpo, I humbly submit the following.

Things to love while on that packed aluminum coffin racing 100 km/h down the Transitway

  • I love the way that the drivers will almost intentionally jerk the bus ahead before the passengers have a chance to anchor themselves.  I especially love the way that seniors’ heads are smacked right into the upright posts – makes a cool “boing” sound.
  • I love the way that folks with strollers / wheelchairs or crutches are treated – like the dawgs they are. Shame on them for not being able-bodied. Shame!
  • I love how some buses just do not show up on Fridays… I’m just guessing that the driver has called in “sick” that day and the office  cannot be bothered to replace him. What’s the big deal? It’s not like the riders have anywhere important to go!
  • I love the way that stay behind the yellow line is unevenly interpreted. If the rider is a non-white male, behind the yellow line means a good 6 feet. If the rider is anyone else but a non-white male, they can crowd the front much as they want… especially if they are a hot and white chick wearing short shorts.
  • I love those buses that appear to have not been cleaned since Chretien was PM… though I suppose that is also a reflection of the general slobbishness of many riders… so,
  • I love the general slobbishness of many riders – it seems as though I have been mistaking the floor of the bus as a floor all of these years – while in reality it is the bus’s own little landfill. My bad.
  • I love interior climate control. It is for the driver’s comfort. Not the passenger’s. It is the operator’s union-given right to wear his or her shorts and ATU t-shirt and jack up the heat to “unbearable” in the middle of January if  they so wish! The riders should be thankful for the free sauna!
  • I love the Special Constables. Or are they the Gestapo – 2009 version? Hard to tell the difference. But you have to love all the cool stuff on their utility belts.
  • I love windows that do not stay closed.
  • I love windows that don’t open.
  • I love how the bus schedules are pretty much just a “guide”. Plus or minus 15 minutes is quite acceptable. What’s the hurry?
  • I love how the bus stops are plowed right when you need them in the morning… provided you start work sometime after 11 am.
  • I love those doors that close on you as you are exiting the bus. I really love that sense of panic when you realise the the bus will likely take off from the stop with you trapped half in and half out of the bus. Gives me a rush to think that I can be beheaded by a passing car.
  • And it would of course be my fault.
  • I love the operators who greet your sunny “good afternoon” with a grunt. Kinda like a “unghn”… hard to pronounce. But it’s attractive.
  • I love the operators who provide monosyllabic answers to sincere questions from a rider. As in “If I want to get to Elmvale, am I better to take the 86 or to take the 148 – or should I take the 112 from Billings?” Response: “unghn”. Clear enough to me! Why don’t you learn how to speak Canadian, eh?
  • I love how it seems that, when I’m in a hurry to get to work, 27 express buses in a row from the ‘burbs go by as I’m waiting downtown to transfer before one arrives that is going as far as Tunney’s Pasture. I really, really do love that!
  • And then I love how it’s completely packed.
  • With high school kids juiced up on Red Bull.
  • And my MP3 player is outta juice.
  • And the driver decided that it’s a good time for a layover.
  • I would really like to drop a very, very special note to the fine fellow who wouldn’t let the guy with the busted bike get on the 148 at Alta Vista a few weeks back. The front of the bus was completely empty and the guy – with a pass – said “please, just for a few blocks”… and all he got was a “get of my bus” response from the driver… OC Transpo operators do not believe in cutting anyone a break. Not that they deserve one anyhow.


The fact remains that many transit riders have no other option but to avail themselves of this crappy system. And that is truly sad. Maybe the folks of this fair borough will rise out of their red and white shackles and cry for good service, civil drivers and on-time buses!

But I doubt it.

Finally, if you have ever gleaned anything from my posts on this blogs, you will know that I’m a freakin’ LEFTY.  But even I am saying that maybe, just maybe, we should think about contracting this out to the private sector. If I ever run again for municipal office, that will be one of the planks in my platform. I swear!


Those wacky gun nuts are at it again!

Just when I think that I have seen the most ridiculous thing ever to come from our neighbours to the south, along comes a new doosy-winner.

According to Metro, a candidate for South Carolina’s adjutant general – the dude in charge of the state’s national guard corps (whatever that is) – invited the public to join him for a round of shootin’… and a chance to win a brand new AK-47!!!  Yup, $25 gets ya  a BBQ, a clip of bullets for target practice and a chance to win the gun!

And 500 folks came out to join him!

I wonder if our politicos are paying any attention to this. But being that big guns that can literally cut a moose into two are frowned upon north of the 49th, they’d have to think of another grand prize…

  • Like a free ticket to one of Stevo’s anger management classes. Valid only for those 18+ or 12+ if from Alberta.

Grrr... I'm angry... grrrrrrrrrr....

  • A lecture by Minister James Moore on why the Calgary Stampede is more culturally enriching than the now buried National Portrait Gallery. Anyone named Paul Dewar will be stopped at the door.
  • An inside look at the speech therapy classes being attended by Pierre Polievre… he’s been struggling to say anything not scripted by the PMO since ‘05.
  • A free workshop hosted by Tony Clement on “Using the “wet-look” to your advantage”. Cost of Bryl-cream not included.

Pretty damn tempting. Might even buy a ticket to one of these for the fun factor!


Isn’t this political interference?

Good ol’ Jason Kenney. Always the nice politico with kind words for little old ladies, soccer moms and anyone else eligible to vote. The “target audience”, one might say.

To Jason and the rest of the Harperites, the immigrant population is an important part of this group.  It is reckoned that by capturing the hearts and minds of Canada’s immigrant communities, then the Promised Land of Majority Government is within reach.

So it is no surprise to me that one of Harper’s chief lap dogs was in a Hogtown Chinatown grocery store yesterday to offer moral support to a grocer that is facing charges including kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault after he collared a shoplifter who came back to his Toronto store. The guy was pretty sick of losing a considerable amount of his inventory to those folks who advocate the 5 finger discount method of pricing, so he took matters into his own hands.

Whether or not you agree with taking the law into your own hands is moot. What is relevant is that a Minister of the Crown, in a blatant attempt to gain political brownie points, has broken one of the key tenets of our judicial system and interfered with a case that is before the courts.

Afterward, the minister said he didn’t want to interfere in a court case. But he offered sympathy to merchants of shoplifting. He said Mr. Chen, who arrived as a refugee in 1991, is an exemplary newcomer to Canada and a victim of crime.

But he HAS interfered. Just by showing up and expressing support for the shopkeeper, he has in essence thrown out the principal that politicos shall NOT interfere or APPEAR to have interfered.

Funny thing is that this is by no means the first time that JK has been accused of political interference. Reported in the Embassy Magazine on July 22, 2009;

Jason Kenney has compromised his position as immigration minister by repeatedly slamming the validity of various refugee claims and blatantly undermining the independence of Canada’s refugee tribunal, legal and immigration experts, including former IRB chairman Peter Showler, are charging. Over the past several months, Mr. Kenney has publicly declared asylum claims by U.S. war deserters to be “bogus,” accused would-be Mexican refugees of systematically abusing the system, and questioned the legitimacy of refugee claims by Roma from the Czech Republic.

As above, it matters not if you agree with the move to impose the added conditions to Czech refugee claimants; it’s not the point.

The Minister of the Crown is responsible for the way that his or her department carries out business and interprets and acts upon policy directives. It is therefore correct to reason that if the Minister is expressing a strong opinion about a particular issue that is relevant to the department, the department will likewise follow that course in its actions. An institutional bias is introduced.

Peter Showler, a former chairman of the IRB and director of the Refugee Forum at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa, said Mr. Kenney has absolutely introduced institutional bias into the refugee board’s decision-making. He said Mr. Kenney’s comments have caused a “significant amount of damage” to individual refugee claimants from Mexico and the Czech Republic, as well as to the judicial process.

“I am not aware of a single previous minister of immigration who has made such remarks, who has intruded on the judicial process in this way; not one,” Mr. Showler said. “This is extraordinary and I think he has overstepped the line, and I think the courts are going to tell him that he’s overstepped the line.”

This interference is unprecedented and must not continue if we Canadians hold an independent and non-political judiciary and immigration system to be an important part of our society.


Those wacky christians are at it again!

Good post by Ken over at My Corner of the Universe.

Yes, Christians need to chill. They are in a bit of a siege mentality lately as they are railing against windmills coming at them from all directions.

A Christian group is calling for the removal of an elephant statue, modeled after a Hindu god, from the Calgary Zoo calling it “selective religious partiality.”

“The zoo is not a place of religious indoctrination, it is supposed to be a safe family environment free of religious icons and selective religious partiality,” Blake wrote


Jim Blake, national chairman of Concerned Christians Canada, sent a letter to the zoo on Thursday, calling for the sculpture to be removed.

Reminds me of The Simpsons episode:

In the episode “Homer the Heretic,” Springfield’s multifaith volunteer fire department mobilizes to save the Simpsons’ home–and Homer’s life. Reverend Lovejoy explains to Homer that God was working through his friends and neighbors, including a Christian like Ned Flanders and a Jew like Krusty.

But the minister comes up short when he points toward the other firefighter, Apu Nahaasapeemapetilon. After a nonplussed pause, the minister characterizes the convenience store operator’s religion as “miscellaneous.” This level of ignorance is too much for the normally mild-mannered Asian immigrant. Apu explodes: “Hindu! There are 700 million of us!” Corrected, Lovejoy replies with condescension, “Aw, that’s super.”



Amalgamated Transit Union votes to retain right to strike…

If I had any doubts about giving up on OC Transpo, they have effectively disappeared.

A bid to end crippling strikes or lockouts at OC Transpo was voted down on Friday by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279.

The vote was 62.8 per cent in favour of maintaining the strike/lockout model instead of arbitration.

Jim Haddad, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 279 secretary-treasurer, said he was very disappointed.

“They’re afraid of what the arbitrator will decide. It’s the unknown,” he said.

“Hopefully, the next time the two sides are at the table they will negotiate and get a contract.”

Yeah, right.


It’s Girl Guide cookie time!



Too late, OC Transpo, way too late…

So the ATU members are voting to give up their right to strike.

Yippee. Nice thought.

But given:

  • the increasingly cramped buses
  • the increasingly common buses that just, like, don’t show up
  • the increasing congestion downtown and around Hurdman station. And I suspect it’s the same around Baseline, Lincoln Fields, Orléans, etc.
  • the ever increasing fees for ever decreasing levels of service
  • the notion that the transit users of this city will likely be the ones who foot the bill for the Siemens out of court settlement resulting from the Council’s ineptitude
  • the notion that if I need to urgently pick up one of my little ones (i.e., “Hello, Mr. Trashy, this is the school calling, your little one has been throwing up all over the staff room…”), it will take me a minimum of an hour by bus or a $25 cab ride to get from work to the school or daycare.
  • the distinct possibility that even if the ATU does vote away their right to strike, they may just go ahead and do so anyway
  • etc.

For an extra $65/month extra – once I cancel my bus pass – I can park in the underground lot across the street.

After 12 years of riding, you’ve lost me, OCT and ATU. Bye-bye


Michael Moore’s new pic

Yeah, I know Michael Moore goes over the top to get his point across. And yeah, he’s a big doofus.

But the fundamental points of his rants (i.e., movies) are sound – if sometimes a little exaggerated. The system is most definitely broken.

And don’t give me that right-wing, everyone for themselves, entrepreneurial crap. The financial institutions in most countries (1) have been playing the public and the governments for patsies for decades and have gotten away with it. And are still getting away with it.

Capitalism is a good way to run things… if for no other reason than all of the alternatives have failed miserably… but it needs fixing.


In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth, and the top 1% controlled 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation’s wealth.[15]

In 2003, the 1% with the highest salaries paid more than 34% of the nation’s federal income tax; the 10% with the highest salaries paid nearly 66% of the total income tax; the top 25% of paid 84% of the income taxes; and the upper 50% accounted for nearly 97% of US income tax revenue, primarily because, as stated above, the bottom 40% had comparatively no wealth (less than 1%) to be taxed in the first place.


1. ‘cept in Canada! Go Canada!