Saturday, September 17, 2011
I have had an opportunity to review Changebook which is the Ontario Conservative’s platform document. Although I have low expectations of election policy documents, this one doesn’t even meet my mediocre standards of pragmatism. The layout and artwork remind me of a Grade 5 story book. The content is just not realistic. This is not a matter of ideology. For example, there were a number of policy initiatives in the 1995 Common Sense document that I did not agree with but economic basis of the Harris platform were sound and endorsed by economist Mark Mullin.
Changebook suggests that a Conservative government would be able to eliminate Ontario’s $14 billion deficit, expand health care and education, provide taxpayers with tax relief and accomplish all this by reducing waste and finding service reductions in other programs. Well it’s not possible because health care and education spending make up about 70% of the provincial budget. And after 15 years of belt tightening by the provincial government there is very little waste to be found. Many programs and services are underfunded which causes long waits for service (hospital ERs), inadequate services (GO trains), and decaying infrastructure (crowded roads).
A significant portion of our tax dollars do not go to funding programs but to paying interest on accumulated debt. We either start paying off the debt now or sink into the financial crisis that exists in the U.S. So when the Conservatives propose to remove Debt Reduction Charge from electricity bills, sure that will save us money today but it doesn’t eliminate the debt created by low energy prices in the past. By the way, it was a Conservative government that introduced the Debt Reduction Charge. The trouble with Changebook is that it tries to buy voters with their own (tax) money, relying on gimmicks such as HST givebacks instead of making productive investments.
Interestingly, Jim Stanford, a labour economist., suggests that Changebook goes beyond oversimplification to outright manipulation. Stanford works for the Canadian Auto Workers — but he is a widely respected analyst. His analysis was released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (a lefty think tank), shows how the data and charts in Changebook cross the line of truthfulness and accuracy, misstating Ontario’s economic situation, hydro rate hikes and the rising debt. It documents the deception on a scale that would embarrass any first-year economics student, let alone someone like Hudak with a masters in economics. He describes the charts in the document as a creations of a graphic artist and cartoon like.
After a year of watching Rob Ford hunt for ‘gravy’ do we really want to watch the same spectacle on a provincial level?
Friday, September 16, 2011
...will he be able to use the supernatural to fix the economy?
Some Tanzania men on anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs have experienced abnormal breast enlargement similar to that of women. There are even cases where women taking the life prolonging drug against HIV complaining of queer side effects including becoming disabled.
Joseph Mkanda, 43, one of the victims, said he developed strange symptoms plus growing breasts after taking the drugs. Initially, he suspected the cause to be lack of a balanced diet. But he soon realized that the main problem was the type of drugs he was taking.
"I feel very much ashamed to go out of my house, because I have developed breasts like a woman. I fear that other people would laugh at me,” he said from his Mtwara-base.
“I went to one of the medical doctors in my village, who told me that such signs were normal for people suffering from AIDS who have been taking the drugs for a long time. At the moment, I don’t know what to do or where to go,” said Mkanda.
Initially when I saw this photo I thought it was one of the fake Scarlett Johansson nude photos going around. But after closer examination I realized Scarlett is shorter, blonder and has smaller nipples.
Robert Jeffrey Young, 43, and Mark Rubinson, 25, discovered their friend Jeffrey Jarrett dead but delayed reporting the find to police so they could first have a free night out while keeping Mr Jarrett's body in their car, they stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Denver, used their friend's ATM card and withdrew $400 at a strip club before finally reporting him dead.
The men, who are now free on bond, have been charged with abusing a corpse, identity theft and criminal impersonation.
It's unclear how Mr Jarrett died, but the men have not been charged with his death.
The bizarre scenario is reminiscent of the 1980s movie Weekend at Bernie's, in which two men discover their friend dead and maintain a façade that he's still alive while staying at his home for the weekend.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Here are the booking photos of the eight members of an Amish sect who were ordered jailed by a Kentucky judge after they refused to pay fines for failing to affix orange safety triangles to their horse-drawn buggies.
The men, who were booked Monday night into the Graves County jail, refused to pay the fines on grounds that their religion bars them from wearing or displaying bright colors. Jailed for misdemeanor contempt of court, the inmates were provided dark-colored jumpsuits in place of the standard issue orange coveralls.
The defendants were hit with a range of time in the county lockup (between three and 10 days) by District Court Judge Deborah Hawkins Crook.
While members of the Swartzentruber Amish sect will affix reflective tape to the rear of their buggies, they eschew use of the bright safety triangle, which they consider too modern.
I see the Chinese are very serious about road safety. This is the same country that ships kids toys with toxic paint and toxic pet food. I guess health and safety regulations are for the suckers in the West.
A 25-year-old woman drank almost a pint of whisky before groping a Virgin Airways steward and demanding sexual intercourse, it was alleged. Katherine Goldberg, who works in education, was on a flight from South Africa to Heathrow when she drunkenly assaulted the crew member by grabbing his penis, it was claimed. She consumed the whisky on the August flight when the assault happened, Uxbridge Magistrates Court was told.
Stella Waata, prosecuting, said: "The circumstances are that Miss Goldberg was on a flight from South Africa to Heathrow and she was drunk whilst on the airplane. "She proceeded to sexually assault one of the crew members by demanding to have sex with him and grabbing his penis and crotch area. She was believed to have drunk at least 50 centilitres of whisky." She added: "I understand what representations are to be made in relation to the charge of sexual assault."
Ms Goldberg's lawyer applied to adjourn the case to make representations in relation to the charge of sexual assault and asked that Ms Goldberg receive a caution. Mr Brennan said: "The purpose of my application is so that we can raise our representations with the Crown. I wish to raise representations in relation to one of the charges, that matters are dealt with by way of a caution rather than continuing with the court proceedings."
Agreeing to the adjournment, Miss Waata said: "I understand what representations are to be made in relation to the charge of sexual assault. Given the circumstances, I understand Miss Goldberg works in education, a short adjournment of one week would not be disagreeable." Miss Goldberg, of Ealing Common, west London, is charged with one count of sexual assault on a male and another of being drunk in an aircraft. She was granted unconditional bail until her next appearance at the same court on 22 September.
How dumb is this teacher? Everyone knows that male flight attendants are all gay. No straight guy would ever have a woman arrested for touching his penis. Straight men pay women for that.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A Jewish York University professor came under fire recently for an anti-Semitic statement he made in class.
The hell you say? Listen up: A 22-year-old senior named Sarah Grunfeld complained to local Jewish groups that Professor Cameron Johnston had the audacity to exclaim “all Jews should be sterilized” in his “Self, Culture and Society” class.
Except that, had Grunfeld not tuned Johnston out before leaving the classroom in a huff, she might have heard him say “‘All Jews should be sterilized’…would be an example of an unacceptable and dangerous opinion.”
Luckily, Johnston managed to talk the Jewish community down from their calls to have him fired. The incident was “a very unfortunate misunderstanding,” said Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs rep. Sheldon Goodman.
Grunfeld, however, is not backing down from her claim that Johnston is an anti-Semitic Jew: “The words, ‘Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth,” she told the Toronto Star, “so regardless of the context I still think that’s pretty serious.”
I guess Sarah has never heard of an hyperbole. No question our school system is producing very attentive and focused students. Let's hope her excuse is that the class starts at 8:30 am and she hadn't quite woken up yet. But every senior knows that you avoid classes before 11 am. In fact even the freshmen know that.
I'm posting this nude picture of Scarlett Johansson as an experiment. Just checking to see how many hits we get over the next 24 hours. Will keep you posted.
p.s. Nice boobs! Okay the pic may not be real but it sure look good nonetheless.
p.p.s. Love the following headline
Here's a chant guaranteed to dampen the next pep rally: The new miniskirts for San Jose's Piedmont Hills High cheerleading squad are too R-I-S-Q-U-E!
Intent on cracking down on miniskirts, the high school's principal has decided the cheer squad's new uniforms also have no place in school.
Instead, said Principal Traci Williams, the cheerleaders must cover up with sweats to wear their uniforms during school.
"This is really unfair to us," said Piedmont High senior, Antonia Bavilacqua, 17, who is leading the vocal charge to change the principal's mind. The skirts are still OK for games, just not during school. "We're just sad and hurt. It's our school colors and spirit. And they're making us feel like outcasts."
The dress code at the East Side Union High School District campus isn't new -- and requiring that skirts or shorts stretch lower than mid-thigh is pretty universal school code around the country. What's new this year at Piedmont Hills is that the cheer skirts got shorter -- and it happened just as administrators began conducting "dress-code sweeps," yanking inappropriately dressed students out of class and into a special building until parents can be summoned with a change of clothes.
"Pockets are hanging out," Williams said of the offending skirts found during the sweeps. "Cheeks are hanging out. We don't want them bending over."
At one school in a place where it's really hot, Florida, cheerleaders were exempted from the no-miniskirt rule. And at neighboring San Jose Unified schools, cheerleaders can wear their skirts to school -- as long as they wear bike shorts or the like underneath.
At one school in a place where it's really hot, Florida, cheerleaders were exempted from the no-miniskirt rule. And at neighboring San Jose Unified schools, cheerleaders can wear their skirts to school -- as long as they wear bike shorts or the like underneath.But what does that have to do with a tailored, custom-made uniform that cost school cheerleaders $300? It's not clear who decided to raise the cheerleaders' hemlines. But the squad is aghast at the school's solution: Wearing sweatpants under a miniskirt is just "dorky," said senior squad member Sierra Burt.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A Carlisle man faces felony charges after police said he was seen eating raw meat from off of the shelf of the Carlisle Walmart Monday afternoon.
Carlisle police said an employee saw Scott T. Shover, 53, opening packages of raw ground beef and raw stew beef in the store and eating some of it at 2:40 p.m. Shover then placed the opened packages back on the shelf to be sold and never paid for them, according to police.
The total loss of meat was valued at $24.53, police said.
A loss prevention officer and a store manager followed Shover outside and pointed him out to an officer who happened to be in the parking lot at the same time, helping to move trucks along, police said.
Shover was arrested at Taser point without any further issues, according to police.
He was taken to Cumberland County Prison on retail theft charges, police said. Shover's record shows that he has four previous retail theft convictions. Since he is a repeat offender, this most recent theft becomes a felony offense, police said.
An orangutan in Malaysia called Shirley - famous for smoking cigarettes thrown by visitors into her enclosure - is being helped to kick the habit. Wildlife officials say she is undergoing "cold turkey" at Malacca zoo after being removed from her zoo in southern Johor state last week. Shirley is expected to be sent to a wildlife centre on Borneo island once her rehabilitation is complete. Her withdrawal symptoms are not too bad, officials say.
Malacca zoo chief Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said she was so far displaying a regular appetite for food and no obvious signs of depression and illness. "I would say she is not addicted... but she might have formed a habit after mimicking human beings who were smoking around her," he said. "Smoking is not normal behaviour for orangutans," he pointed out. Results from blood and other tests have not yet come back. The orangutan - thought to be aged around 20 - and four other animals were rescued from the zoo last week, having been kept in what the authorities said were deplorable conditions, she adds.
Nature Alert, a British-based activist group, had raised its concerns with Malaysian officials more than a year ago after conservationists shot footage of Shirley being thrown lit cigarettes. They claimed on their website at the time that she "appears to suffer severe mood swings, sometimes looking drowsy - as if drugged, other times without a cigarette she was very agitated, looking as if she could be suffering withdrawal symptoms". Sean Whyte, CEO of Nature Alert, on Monday described the removal of Shirley - and a second orangutan Abu - from Johor zoo as "wonderful news".
TMZ reports that Manny Ramirez was led out of his Weston, Fla., home in handcuffs, and was put in custody.
Manny charged with battery, after his wife, Juliana, told police he had slapped her in the face so hard that she banged her head on their bed's headboard. Her injuries weren't serious enough to require medical attention, but she said she'd called police because she was afraid things would escalate, according to Ramirez denied hitting his wife, saying she'd hit her head when he "shrugged" her, but the marks on her were consistent with her story. When Manny was released from a Florida Jail after posting $2,500 bond, he ingratiating himself to local media by snatching microphones out of their hands and throwing them.
I can't say I hated Manny as a ballplayer but he was certainly one of my least favourite players. He was an incredibly talented player who could have been one baseball's all-time greats. But he was also a selfish, childish man who in the end only cared about himself. He could carry a team to a championship but just as easily could quit on the team. He was caught once taking illegal drugs and then became the only player to be caught a second time. Instead of serving a second suspension, he just walked away from the game.
Well spousal abuse is a little more serious. Manny can't just walk away from this one.
Monday, September 12, 2011
A devoted, 290-pound White Castle fan is steaming mad at the fast-food chain, which he says repeatedly broke promises to make the booths in his local eatery bigger.
All stockbroker Martin Kessman wants is a place at the table. But when the 64-year-old walked into the White Castle in Nanuet back in April 2009 for his usual No. 2 combo meal, he got an unpleasant surprise.
“They’re stationary booths,” he told The Post. “I’m not humongous, [but] I’m a big guy. I could not wedge myself in.”
Mortified and in pain from smacking his knee into one of the table’s metal supports, Kessman limped out of the restaurant, and later penned a complaint to corporate headquarters.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Everyone remembers what they were doing when the news came over the Internet that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre North Tower. It was one of those moments in history that we witnessed and had to make sense of. Who can forget the sudden wave of vulnerability that came over us at the time. That hasn’t necessarily gone away, we’ve just learned to accept it.
The war against Al-Qaeda goes back before the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. was at war with Al-Qaeda in 1998 following the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The Clinton administration has made some attempts at killing bin Laden with no success. It wasn’t until the war reached the U.S. homeland with tragic results that Americans finally took notice.
This was a battle the U.S. couldn’t have avoided. However, the misadventure in Iraq only prolonged the war against Al-Qaeda, caused unnecessary suffering and strengthened real threats like Iran. It also further radicalized many young Muslims. There is no question the world is quite a different place today.
Bin Laden believed that destroying the World Trade Centre would bring down the U.S. economy but, in fact, the attack had no impact at all. Ironically the U.S. economy came crashing down later in the decade, not as a result of the planes but by greed.
I will have no other posts today. Your thoughts and comments on this day are welcome.