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Muzzling elected officials…

… is a worrisome development and one that has been codified by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB).

Trustee Blackburn is outspoken, no doubt. And sometimes, like all of us, she likely says things that she wishes she could take back. But Donna alone is responsible for what she says and how she says it and if her bosses (the voters of her zone in Barrhaven) do not agree, they will turf her out in 2018.

She is a fine representative of her constituents and works harder than any other Trustee I have seen. Some may not like her style or her politics, and that is fair, but it does not warrant what is, in essence, the passing of a motion of censure.

Go get ’em, Donna!

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National Volunteer Week, 2016

Anyone who knows me is well aware of the importance I place on volunteering one’s time freely and gladly for the benefit of the wider community.

Without volunteers, there would be little help for those down on their luck and living on the streets, pets in need of homes, or seniors who want some companionship or require someone to deliver their food.

Kids’ sports programs? Hockey? Soccer? Baseball? Forget it. 99% volunteer-run.

Parent Councils wouldn’t exist and without them, no movie nights, new play equipment, used book drives or school bake sales.

Community Associations – those groups of volunteers that organise community garage sales, offer programs and events, do those baked bean suppers or who arrange for Santa to give out some presents at the local community hall – b-bye to all those.

Spring garbage clean-ups? Nope, those riverbanks and highway ditches will just have to live with the tossed out cans, bottles and tires.

United Way canvassers? Ciao.

Adios to all those who collect furniture and food for refugees, money for the Kids Help Phone or put together a soccer tournament at work to benefit something-or-other.

Goodbye Rotarians, Lions and Kinsmen. All you do will be missed.

The point I am trying to make is this:

Think, even for a moment, of all the ways that the work that volunteers do touch you and your family and friends. Then imagine if they all bailed.

Thank a volunteer today. Better yet, become one! It doesn’t need to be a huge effort. Do it and you will feel good about yourself and will become one of these irreplaceable threads in the fabric of your community.

Happy Volunteer Week!!!!

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The anti Uber argument…

… reminds me of the old story of the electric light and the candlestick makers…

NO! The candlestick makers said. We invested. We thought our industry would last forever! The electric light makers don’t have to go by the same rules!

IT ISN’T FAIR!!!

It is sad and unfortunate that the candlestick makers are going to have to change their business models and that some will suffer.

It truly is.

But the world has changed. Consumers want light at the flick of a switch and for-hire rides when they want one and on their terms.

Should the free for all that Uber has enjoyed so far carry on?

Nope.

Should cities like Ottawa find a way to accept times have changed and consumers demand a level of service above what the taxi industry has been offering?

Absolutely.

Ottawa City Council must accept reality and create the environment where Uber can compete with the taxis. And if the taxis don’t like it, they should find something else to do aside from the candlestick business.

 

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Here there be dragons…

… are words that you can find on old sailor navigation maps that are meant to say: “Hey fools! Stay away from here! Like, don’t even THINK about it!”.

The American people would serve themselves well to heed these warnings. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC outlines a solid case that the escalating violence around the Trump supporters has been deliberate and planned. If true, our southern neighbours are headed full-steam toward those dragons… and they may not find it that easy to escape them.

Those are pretty dangerous beasts, those dragons. They have a nasty bite.

Be careful, my American friends…

Dragon

 

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That point when you know that something has gone too far…

You know, extreme fashion like bell bottoms and clothes made from meat, a practical joke that pushed the limits of good taste, Boy George…

That kind of too far.

Sooooo, America?

You have now and officially gone too far.

Stop the stupidity.

Now, please.

trump

 

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Quote of the week…

… from the Guardian:

Stephen Harper, Canada’s former prime minister, was a vacuous, anodyne nothing, as magnetic on the public stage as the podium he spoke from. His occasional efforts to ingratiate himself to younger voters – or rather the efforts of his staff to make their boss seem plausibly nonrobotic – ranged from dismal to pathetic, such as a kitty-petting photoshoot so unconvincing that you fear for the safety of the cat.

Brilliant.

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About that storm…

… that we had in Ottawa yesterday.

  • All things considered, I think the City staff and equipment handled the situation the best they could. More than fifty centimetres of snow fell in about a 14 hour span… very challenging for City crews. Hopefully the aftermath will be cleared away quickly.
  • What switch doesn’t go off in some drivers’ heads during a storm? Clearly it’s the “wow, I guess I should slow down” switch
  • Speaking of failed switch openings – please, please, PLEASE clean off your vehicle BEFORE you leave the parking lot! Do NOT do so in the middle of a busy street after your “clear the car of snow” switch finally does trip.
  • Last -and this will be sure to bug some of my cycling friends. I get it that you pedal-pushers have the right to share the road with we drivers. And normally I never have issues with that. But do you really, REALLY have to exercise that right in the middle of one of the biggest storms EVER and cycle along one of the busiest streets in Ottawa (Heron road and Riverside Drive, for those of you in the know). Witnessed this yesterday (and not for the first time)… couldn’t see a freaking thing because of the blowing snow but here’s this idiot, riding along, cars swerving to avoid him… being a hazard to himself and others! Can the City pass a bylaw prohibiting this type of activity? Or maybe a change to the Highway Traffic Act is in order? It is sheer lunacy to cycle in those conditions.

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The death of a newspaper

I have never been the biggest fan of the Ottawa Citizen. Ever. Preaching, self-righteous columnists like David Warren turned me off the paper years ago. Their coverage is usually biased, overtly partisan and sometimes poorly written.

However. And it is a big “however”. Those are my opinions, and I am entitled to them. Others think differently and that is how it should be. A healthy democracy needs all opinions to be aired and discussed. Newspapers have traditionally performed that function and usually very well.

That is why losing another newspaper like the Ottawa Citizen is a tragedy. With each passing of an Ottawa Citizen or a Sun or any other paper, a little bit of our democracy is eroded.

There are some talented people named in the Tweet below. I have had the pleasure of meeting Joanne Chianello on a couple of occasions and she and her work is top-shelf. Same goes for Andrew Potter. They are both talented individuals who will land safely somewhere. And I wish them the best.

citizenlayoffs

Maybe it is time for another one of these?

Why is this happening? Like Warren Kinsella, I am not buying all of the B.S. excuses that Godfrey et al are spewing.

What does it mean? Well, it means Paul Godfrey doesn’t give a sweet shit about Canadian journalism, for starters. That much should be clear to everyone, by now. All that he cares about, seems, is fattening the accounts of U.S. hedge funds, and giving himself big bonuses as amazing people like the ones above are shown the door. –

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Diamond dogs and suffragettes….

In spite of my love for his music since I was a child, I didn’t get a chance to see Bowie until the spring of 2004 here in Ottawa. I took my then 11 year-old eldest daughter with me. I thought it important at the time that her first live concert be someone who should could brag about later in life (Since then, my wife and I took our second daughter to see Rush at Bluesfest… for a similar reason). And to my recollection, she loved the show.

This wasn’t at all surprising. Ziggy’s music was timeless; Heroes is just as poignant now as it was when it was first released decades ago. The duet with Freddie Mercury on Under Pressure is still breathtaking. Space Oddity, still haunting. In this age of kiddy-pop, boring melodies and meaningless lyrics, when a Bowie tune comes on the radio, it stands out as something unique.

Below is the only – and I mean ONLY – Christmas tune that I do not automatically switch off when it is played, at any time of the year.

Thank-you, Sir David.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiXjbI3kRus

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Crazy will beget more crazy…

So bye-bye 2015 and hi to 2016!

2015 was pretty momentous, yo. What with a new game in town on the Hill, the Jays making a legit run to the WS and Donald Trump proving once again that are neighbours to the south can be a bit unbalanced from time to time, it was full of hope, it was heart-stopping, and bizarre and unpredictable!

But hey, let’s look ahead to the next 12 months.

  • Will Team Trudeau live up to the hype? The shine will come off at some point over the next year and the country will see whether the bravado is just that, or if there is real substance in the leadership and Cabinet. I believe it will be the latter.
  • Will the American GOP actually, really, truly nominate the white-trash racist blowhard? I hope and think not, but they are an unpredictable folk, those ‘mericans…
  • Big year in sports coming up with the obscenely massive waste of money called the “Olympics” in Rio, and for we footie fanatics, the UEFA Euros…
  • Speaking of sports, will the Jays make another run? Will my beloved Gunners finally win the Premiership again? Will the Leafs get first pick in the draft??? Will my hometown Red Blacks and Fury have another successful season?
  • Will I win the office hockey pool?
  • Will Mark Zuckerberg FINALLY give us all that money that he has been promising on Facebook?

So many questions!

Happy New Year!

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