31 August 2008

"As long as you show up..."

"...you're not gonna fail."

"There's a lot more leniency and a lot less work in credit recovery," says a teacher at one middle-of-the-pack Toronto school. "Kids know that, if they fail, they can do the class again in six weeks."

Credit recovery is also a convenient way for some teachers to shuffle the losers out of their hair.

"It has turned into a huge program here," says the teacher, who, like most, won't speak on the record for fear of professional consequences.
In Dalton McSlippery's Ontario... there's no such thing as failing.

**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
"I believe this approach to teaching emphasizes the child's self-esteem ahead of other trivial matters, such as actually learning."

"That way Ontario's next generation of underachievers can gaze proudly into the fry vat."
**********

RELATED: Failing and disappearing
Thirteen schools closed in Ontario in 2008, but 77 schools are on a list recommended for closing. Most of them will be gone in June, Ms. Kidder predicted. Canada is experiencing steady long-term decline in enrolment.

The number of school-aged children dropped to 5.2 million in 2005-06, down 3 per cent from 1999.

Local school authorities and experts in most provinces say the decline will continue through 2013 and beyond. With little national debate, the country is walking into an irreversible process that will leave dozens of communities in tatters, Ms. Kidder said.

"We have to decide as a society whether we're going to say, 'Oh well' and just keep emptying all these parts of the country," she said.

"It's a big public policy issue and it's a national one."
**********

LAST WORD: Second, third... forever chances

Ontario... land of no consequences...
"Shoot a gun, deal drugs or assault a neighbour and your days in Toronto's public housing should be over."

"The truth is, nothing can be further from the truth."
*


The I-word

How long will it take the "race hustlers" to pop up and label this guy... an "Uncle Tom-Tom"?

"This is a biased blog. It reflects a point of view."

"My name is Robert Jago, I live in Yorkville in Toronto, where I am the head of an HR firm. I am a card carrying American Indian, educated in Vancouver and the Middle East."
It's pretty amazing what you can accomplish when you're not sitting around fomenting anarchy.

It can also have its more sombre moments... as you reflect on the cultural luddites who choose to stay behind and stagnate.
"Looking just at natives - we live in over crowded shacks, we are riddled with disease, and we have the smallness of spirit that comes with all that."

"Here’s the difference and the reason I am depressed - we don’t have a dream."
(via ffof)

**********

RELATED: Clue #1... it wasn't Stephen Harper

Pop Quiz -- Who said...
"Hard work, not handouts, is the way to solving the criminally high rate of native unemployment, poverty and incarceration."
*


Dear CHRC...

"One of the tenets of Canadian law – a real human right, not one of your counterfeit human rights such as the 'right not to be offended' – is equal justice under law."

"That means that rich or poor, powerful or powerless, everybody is treated the same way before the law. It’s a legal tradition that dates all the way back to the Magna Carta signed by King John."

"I know he’s a dead white man, and Christian to boot, so the CHRC would regard him as the enemy."

"But Canada still follows those rules."

Signed,

Ezra Levant

"P.S. Stop sending your correspondence to my father."
*


Remember when you were a kid...

...and you'd always be stumbling across people with bullet wounds when you went out to play with your friends?

A 26-year-old man is recovering from a bullet wound to the leg after he was found screaming and writhing in pain between two homes in Vaughan.

Police added witnesses saw a number of people running away after the shooting, but are focused on one, possibly two males, as suspects in the shooting.
Yeah... me neither.

**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
"I oppose the demonizing of Toronto, since I never see your blog mention any non-Toronto murders or attacks."
Hmmmm... that's funny... perhaps some sort of reading disability?
"Saskatchewan again had the highest rate of all provinces, with 4.1 homicides for every 100,000 people."
And, oops... look over here...
"The minister said Vancouver has the second highest rate of violent and property crimes of any major city in the United States or Canada."
Wait a minute... what's that over there?
"The RCMP charged Pingoatuk (Ping) Kolola of Kimmirut, Nunavut, on Wednesday with first-degree murder in the shooting death of RCMP Constable Douglas Scott."
Maybe, Nonny-bot... you should try reading slower.

Lots more where those came from.

*


And that'd be... BLINK!!!

Jack and Gilles went up the Hill... and Steffi came grovelling after...

Meetings with NDP Leader Jack Layton and the Bloc's Gilles Duceppe have so far followed a similar script: the opposition leaders emerged to say Mr. Harper is intent on breaking his promise not to dissolve Parliament before October 2009 and the prime minister's spokesman emerge to insist the opposition is intent on paralyzing Parliament.

Mr. Dion will sit down with the prime minister despite asserting that he had no time in his schedule before September 9th.
Funny how that works.

**********

RELATED: Media bias? What media bias?
Read all about our "nasty Prime Minister" and... wait for it... his "Conservative warlords."

Good grief.

*


Voting with their wallets

-- Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain took in $6.8 million in donations yesterday, when he named Alaska Governor Sarah Palin his running mate.

The amount was a single-day record, McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said last night. The amount is more than the Arizona senator raised during the entire fourth quarter of 2007.
**********

RELATED: To all the Palin doubters...

Everybody yaps about "thinking out of the box"... why is it they all lose their minds when somebody actually does it?
“We must succeed,” Mr. Bush told General Casey, according to notes taken by a participant. “We will commit the resources. If they can’t, we will. If the bicycle teeters, put our hand back on it.”

“I support you guys 100 percent, but I need to ask you tough questions,” Mr. Bush added.

“Different times call for different kinds of questions.”
**********

LAST WORD: The despicable loony left

*


The Audacity of Hopelessness

Isn't this sorta like pullin' gum off the underside of the restaurant table... and crying "Eureka!"

Green party Leader Elizabeth May introduced Independent MP Blair Wilson — a former Liberal first elected in 2006 — as a Green MP at a news conference Saturday morning in the capital.

The Vancouver MP resigned from the Liberal caucus last fall after allegations of spending irregularities in his 2006 campaign.

Mr. Wilson is also contemplating a defamation suit against family members following an ugly financial dispute.
*


30 August 2008

Stand by for breaking news...

...on gravity holding stuff down.


If you can make it there...

...you'd better be wearing a condom...

New York City's Department of Health and Human Hygiene said the report is the "most precise estimate yet" of annual infections of the HIV virus in New York City.

The report says in 2006, nearly 4,800 New Yorkers contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This means there were 72 new infections per 100,000 people. That number is three times higher than the national rate, in which the incidence of new infection is 23 per 100,000 people.

Overall, an estimated 100,000 New Yorkers are known to be HIV positive.
Another egregious case of "live and don't learn."

*


Shssssh.... they're not cops

They're, well... sort of a teaching aid...

The School Resource Officers are part of an experiment to address crime and earn student trust, the heads of the public and Catholic boards said yesterday.
And, of course, there's absolutely no correlation between this police deployment and areas known for gun-toting thugs...
The program promotes prevention and those that will have police are not necessarily known as high-risk schools, he said.
I can't wait to hear how many coppers they're deploying at Upper Canada College.

Only in Canada.

**********

RELATED: Vote of confidence
**********

LAST WORD: Get your kids out...

...while you still can.
-- TORONTO -- Four teenagers are in hospital with minor injuries after a shooting outside a house party at an apartment building in the city’s west end. Police were called to a home on Jane St near Lawrence Ave W. just before 10 p.m. Friday night, said Staff Sgt Bob Skinner.

The victims, ranging from 15 to 19 years old, all sustained non-life threatening shotgun wounds to the legs. They were found at the back of an apartment building and transported to local hospitals for treatment.

“The victims themselves and the crowd are being un-cooperative and as such there are no leads,” Skinner said. Skinner added that the victims are known to police.

*


More bad news for Timmy

The top Canadian soldier in Afghanistan announced Saturday that 800 American soldiers have officially joined his own forces in the dangerous Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

The arrival of the American battalion last month almost doubled the number of foot soldiers on the ground in the province that is under Canadian command.

They will be stationed in the Maywand district northwest of Kandahar city and will report to Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, the Canadian head of Task Force Afghanistan.
*


What's not to like?

The presence of Palin on the ticket also gives the GOP a claim on the historic nature of this election: Barriers will be broken no matter who wins.

"You want change," says a McCain aide. "Here we come."

She was a sportscaster and a fisherwoman, doesn't mind smelling like salmon occasionally, was once runner-up in the Miss Alaska competition, and her husband is a champion snowmobiler.

For all I know, she may also throw knives.
**********

RELATED: Initial reaction seems favourable
Sarah Palin has already received a better reception than Joe Biden from voters. Biden initially only received a 39% favorability rating when announced a week ago, and still hasn’t climbed above 50%.

In contrast, Palin has a 53% favorability on Day One.
*


29 August 2008

Oh, man... that's just spooky

So, Charlie... what you're saying is... the Inspectors at Maple Leaf Foods... were totally unqualified alcoholics who got their jobs because their dad was the boss?

-- OTTAWA -- The Mayor of Walkerton, Ont. is calling for a public inquiry into the outbreak of listeria, saying he cannot believe lessons failed to be learned from the tainted water tragedy that killed seven people in May 2000.

Mayor Charlie Bagnato released a statement today decrying the current outbreak as “outrageous” and noting that some of the cabinet ministers who were in the Ontario government in 2000 are now in the federal cabinet.
Sorry Charlie... your buddy Stephane already stepped in this one.

**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:

And Charlie... you're blaming "cabinet ministers" for the seven fatalities in Walkerton?

Seriously?
"Mayor Bagnato knows a lot about the importance of a trustworthy and reliable operator. In 2000, contaminated water killed seven people and sickened more than 2,300."

"After the tragedy, Walkerton disbanded its public utilities commission, shed the dishonest and inept Koebel brothers and handed operations over to Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), the Crown-owned agency that operates water or wastewater facilities for more than 200 municipalities across the province."
And yeah, Chuckles... while we're here, let's just take a closer look at who's responsible for what.

(h/t jag in comments)

**********

LAST WORD: Speaking of cabinet ministers
-- MONTREAL -- A Montreal newspaper is reporting that a former cabinet minister in charge of the federal program linked to the sponsorship scandal has bought a vineyard in Quebec's Eastern Townships with a government loan of more than $500,000.

Montreal La Presse reports today that the purchase of the Dunham vineyard was registered last Friday in the Quebec Land Registry for $733,687. The loan from Farm Credit Canada, a federal crown corporation, was for $550,000.
*


"He is still angry..."

"...for me throwing him out, and is upset that I haven't just forgiven him, however, the information I have received, is - as hard as it is - I need to be resolute in my message that what he has done is abhorrent and unacceptable..."

"So – tell me that a nice clean clinic isn’t, to some degree, a subtle message that:

a) Using heroin can be 'safe';
b) Society doesn’t judge you for what you are doing, and in fact, is in a small way, supportive."


"To everyone who has sent a subtle or not-so-subtle message to my son that drug use and dealing is 'victimless' – well, f*ck you all."
**********

RELATED: Drug addiction... the victimless crime
-- TORONTO -- As detectives search for the family of a man whose decomposing body was discovered in a recycling bin earlier this week, a crack-addicted pregnant woman remains in custody charged with his slaying.
*


Whoa... never saw that comin'

I thought... maybe Condi Rice...

**********

RELATED: At CTV... the spin starts early...

After hearing of McCain's choice of running mate, Democratic nominee Barack Obama congratulated Palin."

"He told reporters in Pennsylvania while he hasn't met her, Palin seems like 'a compelling person' with a 'terrific" personal story.'"
Yeah, yeah... that's nice... but I think you guys skipped over the part where the Obamaniacs were a little less than gracious...
Barack Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Hey Bill... don't you mean the present Governor of Alaska... who has, well... the same amount of foreign policy experience as the Big O himself?

Let's just think about that...
Other Republicans also pointed out that, as a state governor, she stands alone among the four presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls to have executive office experience.
*


David Miller's "Phony War"

Yes, Toronto... rise up and praise your mighty warrior-king...

The final shot for the Canadian National Recreation Association Gun Club's shooting range in Union Station was fired Wednesday night --the fatal round coming from Toronto Mayor David Miller.

Are you feeling safer today with the eviction and closure of this pistol range? Or did you even know it was there, since nothing terrible happened there in the eight decades when it was a CN-owned property and then later when it was turned over to the municipality?

Unfortunately for the 130 members who had never had an incident or accident in 81 years, Miller found out they were tucked away on the seventh floor and that was the end of them.

"It's a crime," said club president Tom Bradbeer, a member since 1982. "We feel very sad."
And the reality here is, this takes not a single illegal gun out of circulation. Toronto's actual pistol-packin' thugs will continue their reign of terror unabated.

Shutting down these totally law-abiding citizens is simply political theatre designed to cast the Mayor as a crime-fighter.

And what villains did his blondeness dispatch on this august occasion?
He described a sombre scene of about 20 defeated members gathering around telling stories and each taking a final shot in the range that helped train everyone from police officers to Olympians like Avianna Chao, just back from Beijing.

"There were some speeches," Bradbeer said. "We cleaned out the filing cabinets. When we left, the lock codes were changed and we can no longer get in any more."

Just like that. They were evicted from their only home since 1927.
Hey, Super Dave... maybe you can turn the range into a city-funded heroin parlour.

Truly... I fear for my country.

*


Iran continues...

...to pump up the "nuclear jam."

-- TEHRAN -- A top Iranian official say the country now has 4,000 working nuclear centrifuges.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Reza Sheik Attar made the claim to Iranian state media Friday, saying another 3,000 centrifuges will soon be installed at Iran's main nuclear site in Natanz.
And, altruists that they are, the mad mullahs are more than willing to share the love.
Iran said Thursday it had agreed to share nuclear technology with Nigeria to help the African nation produce more energy.
**********

RELATED: So where is Team Obama on this?
Michael Rubin, a lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School, published an article in The Washington Post on Tuesday in which he surveys Biden's statements and positions concerning Iran.

From his survey it emerges that for more than a decade now Biden's attitude toward the Islamic Republic has been soft and conciliatory.

It is no wonder that the senator and soon to be Democratic candidate for the vice presidency is the favorite senior American politician of the regime in Tehran.

Ayatollah Mohammed Kashani, who is close to the spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, praised Biden for his opposition to the military option and said, in a sermon in Tehran in December 2007, "The senator said rightly that Israel was not able to suppress Hezbollah in Lebanon, so how can the United States deal face to face with a nation of 70 million?"

As is the custom, the cleric's words were greeted by his audience with cries of "Death to America."
*


To give Obama his due...

...he gives good teleprompter...

McCain's campaign dubbed the stage constructed for the evening the "Temple of Obama," and hoped the rally would strengthen their efforts to portray Obama as a political celebrity out of touch with ordinary voters.

"Looks like they're getting ready for the emperor to arrive, don't you think?" quipped Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential McCain's vice presidential running mate.

"I think with the Roman columns and the facade it's perfect, because the facade is for production purposes, but there's not much behind it."
**********

RELATED: Meanwhile, north of the border...

..."Obama-Lite" is stirring the Big Green Cauldron...
When Mr. Dion launched the Green Shift last June, he said Liberals would spend the summer having a "dialogue" with Canadians about the complicated plan.

Since then, one insider said the leader has rejected any criticism of the plan, insisting "there will be no changes, not a comma."
'
The progressive, compassionate left... they just know what's best for you.

*


cc: Bernie Farber

"Wake up and smell the kangaroos!"

*


28 August 2008

McCain VEEP done deal?

Republican presidential candidate John McCain decided on a running mate early Thursday, and one top prospect, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, abruptly canceled numerous public appearances.

The Arizona senator will appear with his No. 2 at an Ohio rally on Friday, aides said, though they provided no details on McCain's pick.

Without explanation, Pawlenty called off an Associated Press interview at the last minute, as well as other media interviews in Denver, site of the Democratic National Convention.
I guess we'll see.

*


Just another reason...

...to get the hell outta Hogtown...

When Toronto high school students return to class, they will be joined by Toronto police officers, CTV News has learned.

Uniformed police officers will be posted at about two-dozen public high schools and two Catholic high schools beginning in October.
*


Even the junkies know...

...this really isn't about their salvation...

These are the people to whom Insite really matters; not the drug addicts themselves, but the bureaucrats and politicians who will have smaller empires if Insite is closed.

They are selling Insite to the public on the basis that harm reduction represents the compassionate way to deal with addiction.

They are the empathy industry.
**********

FROM THE COMMENTS: A question for Stephane Dion
"My 17 year old son has been charged with trafficking crack cocaine..."
And, Roblaw continues...
"The resounding advice, from former addicts, dealers and their families, was you have to force them to hit rock bottom before they will get it."

"As hard as it was, my son was out of the home, was hiring his own lawyer (even though I am a lawyer with criminal lawyers in my office) and while I have told him I love him, I have told him he is not welcome in my home until he has shown that he has turned his life around."
I can't imagine the courage it must have taken to do this.

Read it all.

*


Here's hoping...

...they'll finally be able to break that... ribbed, lubricated "latex ceiling."

-- TORONTO -- The University of Toronto will launch Canada's first graduate program in sexual diversity studies this fall, allowing students to pursue master's and PhD programs focused on the sexual aspect of everything from pulp fiction to public health.

The graduate degrees will be collaborative programs with other faculties, meaning that students apply through departments such as history or law, but their thesis topics are approved through the Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.

The research interests of this year's grad students range from queer theatre in Canada to the homoerotics of militarism and peace activism.
Ah, yes... worthy subjects all.

So, what exactly does one do with a doctorate in... "Let's get it on?"
Paul Halferty, 34, is in the fifth year of his PhD at U of T's drama centre, but will enter the collaborative program this year to continue his research in queer theatre.

Mr. Halferty believes his focus on sexuality will help him find a teaching job at a university.
But, of course.

*


To tell you the truth, Bill...

You seem more like a... "live and don't learn"... sort of guy to me...

"Everything I learned in eight years as president … has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job," Mr. Clinton said to a wildly waving sea of American flags.
**********

RELATED: Everybody just settle down...

...Hillary knows what's best for you too.
Earlier in the day, Mrs Clinton earlier halted a roll call vote - in which each state, in alphabetical order, declares how many votes were cast for each candidate in the primaries - to call for Mr Obama's nomination by voice vote.

Many in the crowd shouted back "No!" as she released them, but Mrs Clinton urged them to put the party first.

The roll call for the nomination included Mrs Clinton's name in a bid to placate her disappointed supporters.
*


Fixed Date Elections Bill (C-16)

- Third Reading - 6 November 2006 -

Notes for an Address by the Honourable Robert Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Excerpt:

* Mr. Speaker, some Opposition members had concerns that this bill is illusory in that the Prime Minister can call an election at any point up until the fixed date for the election.

* However, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has to retain his prerogative to advise dissolution to allow for situations when the government loses the confidence of the House.

* This is a fundamental principle of our system of responsible government.

* Moreover, if the bill were to indicate that the Prime Minister could only advise dissolution in the event of a loss of confidence, it would have to define ‘confidence’ and the dissolution of the House of Commons would be justiciable in the courts – something that we certainly do not want.
(h/t reader rich)

**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
"Aw come on, everyone knows the Prime Minister is breaking the law. The Liberal Party says so, and they would never, ever mislead people - remember when they warned us that Harper was going to put soldiers in our cities with guns, they were right about that, right?"
*


Spirit of Trudeaupian generosity...

...to, actually, themselves... puts BC Liberals in NDP's sights...

Huge pay hikes for senior bureaucrats may account for the NDP passing the governing Liberals in a new poll, the Liberals admit.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen said yesterday it's "quite possible" that senior staff wage increases up to 43 per cent accounted for the Angus Reid poll numbers.
NDP honcho Carole James thinks it's more than a possibility...
"It happened on a Friday afternoon on the opening day of the Beijing Olympics. They wanted to hide it. The government believed it could get away with anything."
C'mon, Carole... deep breaths... they're Liberals... it's what they do.

*


27 August 2008

Goofy, Mickey and...

...INCOMING!!!!!!!...

Tourism is a tough sell in Iraq, however, because there are still suicide attacks that kill dozens and infrastructure is weak. But since insurgent attacks and sectarian bloodshed have declined over the past year, Iraqis are venturing outside their homes.
*


The proof is in...

...the pudding-head.

-- Financial Post -- The most overblown comments have come from Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who has suggested that the Maple Leaf situation reflects that of the tainted water tragedy at Walkerton eight years ago, when seven died and several thousand became sick.

Mr. Dion pointed out that Mr. Clement was part of the Mike Harris Ontario government that was allegedly "partly" to blame for the deaths at Walkerton.

The Liberal leader went on to accuse the federal Conservatives of "wanting to take the same deregulation approach to food."
Of course, Steffi... as per usual... is talkin' outta his ass.
The linking of Walkerton to deregulation is totally inaccurate.

The inquiry into Walkerton fingered lazy, unqualified and incompetent government employees. Private testing was one of the few parts of the system that worked.

Mr. Dion should be ashamed if he doesn't know that. He should be even more ashamed if he does.
(h/t reader rich)

**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
Nepotism is definitely one of the worst problems of a small town. In this case, according to O'Connor's report:

"Mr. Koebel began his employment at the Walkerton PUC in 1972, at the age of 19. He had a Grade 11 education. His father was the foreman of the Walkerton Works Department at the time."
**********

UPDATE: Will this be enough for Dion?
-- TORONTO -- Canada's food inspection system, under scrutiny amid a massive meat recall and a listeriosis outbreak that's killed at least five people, was absolved of blame Wednesday by the president of embattled meat giant Maple Leaf Foods and defended by the minister of agriculture.

Michael McCain - the Maple Leaf chief executive whose abject apology has been playing in television commercials across Canada for nearly a week - said both the recall and the responsibility for fixing it are for his company to bear alone.
*


The New Oil?

A Quebec think-tank with a blue-chip business board of directors has waded into one of the most controversial issues in Canadian politics by coming out in favour of bulk water exports.

“Large-scale exports of fresh water would be a wealth-creating idea for Quebec and for Canada as a whole,” the Montreal Economic Institute said Wednesday. “It is urgent to look seriously at developing our blue gold.”

Indeed, Quebec could generate $65-billion a year in gross revenue if it were to export 10 per cent of the one trillion cubic metres of “renewable fresh water” available to it each year, according to an MEI research paper.
*


Dems counting on "Slick Willie"

To work his manly charms...

The convention has also zeroed in on the two critical demographics: working-class voters and women, which make up a large percentage of the undecided voters and were the core groups supporting Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

In 2004, women and Latinos were the key deciders of the election, with large numbers of older women switching from John Kerry to President Bush in the last month because of concerns about national security.

They are likely to decide the election again, and Mr. McCain is investing heavily in the security argument even as the economy has been steadily rising as job No. 1 for the next president.
**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:

Meanwhile, back at Mount Olympus

-- DENVER (Reuters) -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

Once Obama speaks, confetti will rain down on him and fireworks will be fired off from locations around the stadium wall.
Please, please... enough with the blinding white light!

**********

RELATED: Of course... heroes often fail

And you know... that ain't gonna be pretty


Different, uh... strokes

This sorta puts me in mind of those gory mock crucifixions the media trots out every year around Easter.

A devout Muslim has been found guilty of child cruelty after forcing two boys to beat themselves during a religious ceremony, in an unprecedented case.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court found 44-year-old Syed Mustafa Zaidi guilty of two counts of child cruelty. The boys, aged 13 and 15, were forced to beat themselves with a zanjeer whip, with five curved blades.

He denied his actions were wrong, saying: "This is a part of our religion."
Well... I guess that would be hard to argue.

*


So we went down...

... to the Walmart superstore in Belleville to get school supplies for the boy... and as usual... there were 3 cashiers manning the almost 30 checkout stations.

I mean, why do they even put in more than three stations if they don't intend to ever use them? It's like they're saying... "Obviously, with a few more minimum-wage scanner jockeys, we could speed this process up... but you're just not important enough to us to do it."

“A whopping 86 per cent of participants polled admitted to walking out of a store frustrated with having waited too long for service,” said Maritz, which advises companies on how to improve their performance.
Now I'm not sure why anyone would need to pay a consulting firm to figure out that people don't actually look forward to standing in long lines... but I won't be going back there anytime soon.

And don't even start about the self-checkout stations. I got suckered into doing that over at Home Depot and after the scanner couldn't read the sku numbers off the labels... the printer wasn't able to manufacture a receipt.

What the hell happened to actual customer service?

I don't get it.

*


More adventures in...

...the pursuit of... well... something other than excellence.

-- BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA -- A school in northern Australia will review a ban on cartwheels, handstands and other gymnastic tumbles in the playground after a community backlash, the state education department said Wednesday.

Kylie Buschgens said her 10-year-old daughter had been punished for doing cartwheels, even on the grass, after students were told of the ban at a recent assembly.
Fortunately, this one may get nipped in the bud.
On Tuesday, Education Minister Rod Welford suggested the school should overturn its decision.

“I think the decision by the principal in Townsville the other day was prompted by the fact that increasingly we as a community are wrapping our children in cotton wool,” Mr. Welford said. “I think our generation of parents are mollycoddling their children.”
Just ask Jericho Scott.

*


26 August 2008

Dear Mayor Miller

Maybe picking on members of the Olympic shooting team... isn't gonna solve Toronto's problems after all...

Cops now believe he'd been lying there for hours before a passerby stumbled onto his lifeless body.

But beyond figuring out who killed him and why, they have an equally perplexing question: how did a man known to hang out almost exclusively in the downtown core wind up in a place he likely never even knew about?
And it's not like we're talking about a single problem area.
Homicide detectives are investigating the possible murder of a man found on the front lawn of a house in the city’s east-end this morning.

The man, who has not been identified, was found with severe injuries to his body when police arrived at the scene on Bon Echo Court, Scarborough about 7 a.m.
And there's a lot of problems that have nothing to do with guns at all.
A Toronto man is facing charges after a pair of stabbings in two separate city locations, police said today.

Mauricio Antonio Delgado-Cruz, 37, allegedly sliced a man in the back in the early afternoon yesterday, fleeing the Yonge St.-Orchardview Blvd. area shortly after.

Police say he then approached another victim near Eglinton Ave. W. and Bathurst St. and stabbed him several times with a pen.
**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
"It gets better: Two of the charges for Mauricio Antonio Delgado−Cruz are 'Fail To Comply Recognizance.'"

"Great. Lets go for threezies!"
**********

UPDATE: Latest murder victim identified
Toronto police have identified a body found near a Scarborough home as belonging to 19-year-old Caxtons Kyeremeh.

Kyeremeh has been described as well-known to police, regarding weapons, ammunition and drug-related offences.
**********

WELCOME, YET AGAIN, READERS OF CANADIAN CYNIC

Apparently, the Cynic is a big believer in politically correct censorship. If it doesn't fit his lofty, lefty, compassionate world view... it is verboten.

He's not disputing that any of these events happened... you just aren't allowed to acknowledge them.

Or Canadian Cynic et al... will fix your wagon.
**********

RELATED: Your money... his friends
Is 17 people travelling to Quebec City on the city's dime the kind of services Torontonians are in need of? Mayor David Miller never mentioned this junket when he was ramming through his new tax reforms last year.

And here we were thinking the City of Toronto was dirt poor -- you know, we must help bail these turkeys out.

Turns out, during an era where there was fear of not making budget, the city fathers miraculously found $41,854 to cover expenses for 17 people to go to beautiful old Quebec.

C'est bon.
*


If there is a God...

...he's got a pretty weird sense of humour.

-- LOS ANGELES -- Dave Freeman, co-author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die,” a travel guide and ode to odd adventures that inspired readers and imitators, died after hitting his head in a fall at his home.

He was 47.
**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
"Things to do - No.#68... Fix loose step on basement stairs."
*


Biden & the "Dead Cat Bounce"

-- PRINCETON, NJ -- It's official: Barack Obama has received no bounce in voter support out of his selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate.
Say it ain't so, Joe!
Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 23-25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama's Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing John McCain and 44% supporting Obama, not appreciably different from the previous week's standing for both candidates.

This is the first time since Obama clinched the nomination in early June, though, that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.
But, hey... he'll always have Teddy.

**********

RELATED: What about the plagiarism?
The Biden episode merits revisiting because as acts of plagiarism go, it was spectacular, and because it points to other dicey chapters in his life.

To know Biden in full, you must appreciate his parts.
And guess what?

It wasn't the first time he'd done it.
If you give Biden the benefit of the doubt—and I don't—you'd expect that such a calamitous "mistake" from his youth would have seared into his mind the importance of keeping his mitts off of other people's words.

That it didn't speaks terabytes about his character.
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"Holy crap!"

...say freaked out Liberals... "These guys say stuff... and they actually mean it."

-- OTTAWA -- “The country must have a government that can function during a time of economic uncertainty, and if it's not this government, or not this Parliament, the public will have an opportunity to decide whom.”

“The opposition parties have been threatening and or demanding an election for some time, so I think if that is eventually where we have to go, I don't think they will at this point be able to say they're the least bit surprised.”
C'mon, Steffi... be a man.

You might just get to like it.

*


Yeah, I'm shocked...

...who could have possibly seen this coming?

-- Pyongyang -- North Korea says it has halted work to disable its main nuclear reactor. Official media in Pyongyang blame Washington for the move and warn the government may restart its nuclear program, breaking international promises to dismantle it.
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They can't take care of themselves...

...and now we're gonna magically turn them into horse-whisperers?

The Vancouver-based organization behind the city's controversial supervised-injection site hopes to purchase a piece of land where recovering hard-core addicts could take care of horses as part of a long-term recovery program geared toward those using its supervised-injection site and detox facilities.
With the whole health-care system imploding... how about we spend resources on people... who actually care if they live or die?

*


A little pushback...

...from the guys on the other side of the fence.

*


Say, Teddy...

...while we're still on audacity...

Party officials will be hoping the Kennedy magic will help to heal rifts that remain between the supporters of Senator Obama and his rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton.
I guess I'm just a little unclear why anybody would look to this guy to walk their dog... never mind heal any rifts.
Ted Kennedy's own tilt for the presidency foundered in 1980, but his career was forever marked down for his role in the death of a campaign volunteer, Mary Jo Kopechne, a year after Bobby's killing.

After leaving a party he drove off a bridge on the Massachusetts island of Chappaquiddick and left the scene of the accident, failing to report it to the police for several hours. Ms Kopechne was trapped in the car and drowned.
You feel like maybe clearing up a few murky questions here?

Yeah... that's what I thought.

**********

LAST WORD:
Sen. Ted Kennedy: "And when the Reagan administration was selling arms to Iran, WHERE WAS GEORGE?"

Answer: "Dry, sober, and at home with his wife." -- P.J. O'Rourke
*


25 August 2008

The pursuit of... well...

...something other than excellence...

-- NEW HAVEN -- The fighting started this week when Coach Wilfred Vidro refused a directive by league officials to replace 9-year-old pitcher Jericho Scott, whose pitching they say is so hard, fast and accurate that it might frighten or discourage other players.
So now the nanny state's gonna step in and mess with a fourth grader's proud accomplishment? Whatever's going on here... and there's talk it involves another team sponsored by the league president... it's just wrong.
Vidro said Saturday, “There’s no such thing as any kid pitching too hard. ... Let him play and your kid is going to get better.”

On Saturday, with no other youth teams in sight, Jericho’s team took on the parents instead. And their winning streak continued, 7-5.
(h/t reader dan)


Those triumphant Dems...

...sure know how to party...

"There's a moment that you want to enjoy your bitterness."
*


The God Card

Of course... he's nothing like that famous demon-worshipper... Stephen Harper...

"Is this God of whom you speak an important factor in your life?"

"It is part of the hope I have" was the reply. "A creator who is full of love. I hope this is true. I am a man of hope."

"I will play hope but Stephen Harper plays fear."
Apparently, we're just baby steps away from "blood-libel."

C'mon, Steffi... you bring it!

It's not like your hug-a-thug ethos is winning you too many votes.


He's not a rich guy like McCain

Good ol' Barry's just like you and me...

Obama officials said a key purpose of the convention is to give voters a better sense of the candidate’s biography and roots. A film that appeared to be a biography of Obama was playing silently in the Pepsi Center Sunday afternoon.

In Wisconsin Sunday, Obama said he hoped convention viewers would conclude, “He’s sort of like us. He comes from a middle-class background, went to school on scholarships. He and his wife had to figure out child care and how to start a college fund for their kids.”
Well... maybe there's a few small differences...
Just hours before tonight's big Pennsylvania debate, Barack Obama kept his pledge to release his income tax return for 2007.

It shows that he and his wife Michelle earned more than in previous years -- more than $4.2 million, with about $261,000 from salaries and the rest from book royalties.
Oops.

**********

RELATED: Apparently, he was afraid...

...to tell her himself. Yeah, that's Commander-in-Chief material.
-- DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Hillary Clinton learned Friday she would not be Barack Obama’s running mate by a close associate and later that day spoke directly to Obama, according to a senior Obama aide and a Democratic official.

The associate was asked by the Obama campaign to inform Clinton she was not his running mate before it was publicly announced. It is not clear what Clinton and Obama talked about in the private conversation that took place later.
*


The View from Here

Joe Biden - Democrat

"Ladies and gentlemen, your kitchen table is like mine. You sit there at night...after you put the kids to bed and you talk, you talk about what you need. You talk about how much you are worried about being able to pay the bills. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a worry John McCain has to worry about. It's a pretty hard experience.

"He'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at!"
John McCain - Republican
"I spent 22 years in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things."

"As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi."
*


Seriously, I can't wait for next weeks...

..."preventing your baby from being stolen and replaced with a changeling" initiative.

Hey, Petey... if your 50 seat airliner falls out of the sky and plunges into a lake at 200 kilometers per hour... trust me, water wings are the least of your worries.

Air Canada Jazz’s decision to drop inflatable life vests from its flights is "asinine," Halifax-area MP Peter Stoffer said Saturday.

"They’re removing life vests?" he asked. "Are they nuts?"
Anybody spare Chicken Little here a valium?

*


See Steffi... the thing is...

...you start to remind people of a junkie who can't scare up his connection... it's all over...

"One thing is sure," said Dion. "The parliament is working. The parliament is not dysfunctional. This is full improvisation, and it shows panic from the Prime Minister."
It's showin' panic from somebody... that's for sure.

**********

RELATED: As Stephen Taylor said last week...
"The leader of the opposition started his press conference by responding indirectly to the Prime Minister’s ultimatum given at the Conservative caucus retreat in LĂ©vis, Quebec when the PM said that Mr. Dion has to 'fish or cut bait.'"

"Dion made reference to fishing, cutting the fish, eating the fish and fishing for victory… or something."
**********

FROM THE COMMENTS:
"Dion and the Liberals are talking trash about everything the Tories are doing - how the CPC policies are taking Canada in the wrong direction and that Harper should be stopped soon and now - BUT Dion has to now come out and say that Parliament is working effectively and should continue on if he doesn't want an election."
**********

LAST WORD: Go ahead, vote Liberal... I dare you
"What shocked the Hong Kong policeman was that the Triad member had phoned someone in the Canadian immigration minister's office in Ottawa," says Mr. McAdam.
*


Dump Musharraf... everything's fine

Well... not quite.

-- ISLAMABAD (AFP) -- Pakistan's fragile ruling coalition was at risk of being pulled apart on Monday, setting the stage for a major political showdown two weeks before the country's lawmakers choose a new president.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif, head of the second-largest party in the coalition, has laid down a Monday deadline for the reinstatement of judges sacked by Pervez Musharraf, who resigned as president last week.
And the political squabbles are the least of their worries...
The political bickering has also underlined concerns for Pakistan's stability as the country tries to keep a lid on Islamic militants from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Nearly 100 people were killed in suicide bombings last week alone. Pakistan Taliban say the bombings were carried out in response to a military campaign against them -- and have threatened more attacks to come.
**********

UPDATE: A bag of feral cats...

...as Sharif pulls the plug on coalition.
-- ISLAMABAD -- Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif pulled his party out of the ruling coalition on Monday, deepening a political crisis that has diverted government attention from pressing security and economic problems.

The move came just a week after the coalition parties had celebrated the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf in the face of the coalition's threat to impeach him.

The PPP is reluctant to restore the judges partly because of concern the deposed chief justice might take up challenges to an amnesty granted to Mr. Zardari and other party leaders from graft charges last year, analysts say.

Before Mr. Musharraf sacked them, the judges — the former chief justice in particular — were quite willing to challenge his government on the legality of various decisions, a tendency the PPP may not view with enthusiasm now that it governs.
**********

RELATED: A little closer to home...
Although he’s disturbed that Barack Obama has voiced strong support for Israel, he’s willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s simply lying to the Jews in order to get elected.
*


24 August 2008

The audacity of...

...pissing off millions of Democratic party supporters...

The latest, released by the campaign early Sunday, features clips of Ms. Clinton during the primary battle saying critical things about Mr. Obama, including, "Senator Obama's campaign has become increasingly negative."

A voiceover announcer says, “She won millions of votes but isn't on the ticket. Why?"

"For speaking the truth."
And suddenly, the annointed one turns into an "Agent of Same-Old, Same-Old."
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, mentioned often as a potential No. 2 to Mr. McCain, said Sunday that Mr. Obama's choice of Mr. Biden had undermined one of the key messages of Mr. Obama's campaign, that he is an agent of change.

“Now you pick someone who is a consummate Washington insider, who was elected to the U.S. Senate when Barack Obama and I were 12 years old,” Mr. Pawlenty said in a conference call with reporters.

“Where's the change?”
**********

RELATED: You're sure you want to...

...die on that particular hill... er... Hillary?
"Senator Obama has made a choice more out of weakness than strength. It is quite clear [that] the strong choice would have been Hillary Clinton. The obvious choice would have been Hillary Clinton."

"She had 50 percent of the Democratic vote [in the primaries]; Obama had 50 percent of the Democratic vote."
**********

LAST WORD: Let's take a little trip...

...back to the day Joe Biden launched his own presidential campaign...
Biden is taking some heat for comments he made to the New York Observer, in which he said of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a rival for the nomination: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Immediately the conservative media establishment -- Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report, bloggers -- publicly pounced.

At Townhall.com, Mary Katherine Ham wrote: "A clean black man? The first black guy on the American political scene who can both shower regularly and speak properly?"

"Is that really what Biden thinks?"

"If a Republican had said this, we'd have a national outpouring of grief over the residual ignorance and racial insensitivity in our country, and the guy would be in sensitivity training until around about the time John Kerry is elected president."
Not that Obama is any better.

*


In other...

..."you'll never hear it on CTV" news...

In what is being hailed as the biggest show of force this year in the Taliban stronghold, Canadian and Afghan forces pushed through the central part of Zhari, battling with insurgents and confiscating weapons caches and a "significant amount" of materials used for building improvised explosive devices.

The three-day campaign, code-named Op Timis Preem, kicked off Thursday morning with a pre-emptive early-morning air strike on a known insurgent command-and-control centre in western Pashmul.

Two insurgent commanders were suspected to have been operating there and, while no confirmation has been made yet, they are believed to have been killed in the strike.
**********

RELATED: And next door in Iraq...
-- BAGHDAD, Aug 24 (Reuters) -- U.S. forces said on Sunday they had caught two prominent al Qaeda leaders, including one they blamed for the kidnapping of an American journalist.

They said they had captured Ali Rash Nasir Jiyad al-Shammari, known as Abu Tiba, on Aug. 17 and Salim Abdallah Ashur al-Shujayri, known as Abu Uthman, on Aug. 11.

"The capture of Abu Tiba and Abu Uthman eliminates two of the few remaining experienced leaders in the AQI (al Qaeda in Iraq) network," U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll said.
*


A Toronto state of mind

Jacqui Wilkinson stepped out of her nearby Shaw St. home to find an officer analyzing a bullet that landed inches from her doorway.

But "it doesn't bother me," she said. "To me this (neighbourhood) is like suburban bliss, and it wasn't here, it was on Ossington."
Well... that certainly explains a few things.

*


Inject this, you idiots

From the folks who brought you government-sponsored heroin parlours...

B.C.-based organized crime groups are controlling the sale of methamphetamine across Canada and abroad, according to Criminal Intelligence Service Canada's annual report.

Meth production in the province was up in 2007 "primarily to meet expanding international market consumption," said the report, which marks trends in organized crime across the country.
But, but, but... isn't drug abuse a victimless crime?
The resulting drug-gang violence that has ripped through Metro Vancouver in recent months is a hallmark of the crime groups, the report said.

"Violence and intimidation are used to solidify or further a crime group's involvement within a criminal market. It is usually directed either externally against criminal rivals or internally within their own organization to maintain discipline," it said.
Not to mention the myriad criminal acts committed by the, uh... clients themselves.

Victims? What victims?

*


Kick off your work boots...

...put on your thought slippers, and prepare for a science course so mind-blowing, it’s written almost entirely in italics.

#4. The Theory: Evolution

The Crazy Part: The part where the family tree of every living creature on Earth collides at a single point on a single day in the past, making you related to Hitler as well as every insect you’ve ever killed.

What It Says:
We’re all familiar with the basics of evolution: that a munificent monkey-goddess birthed us all from Her banana-scented womb. But there are some lesser-discussed implications of natural selection that are just plain weird.

Furthermore, large chunks of the human genome are thought to be ancient retroviruses that managed to transcribe themselves into our DNA and have spent the remainder of their days happily clambering up and down our nucleotides like the McDuck children on a mansion banister.

Basically your cells are millions of individual organisms, all huddled together in a you-shaped beehive.

Now see how long you can go before wanting to shower.
(via sda)

**********

RELATED: While we're on religion...
A court in Saudi Arabia is reported to be preparing to hear a plea for divorce from an eight-year-old girl who has been married off to a man in his 50s.

The Saudi newspaper al-Watan said the girl had been married off to the man by her father without her knowledge.
**********

LAST WORD:
Later, he would get to the touchier part, about how the minute changes in organisms that drive biological change arise spontaneously, without direction. And how a struggle for existence among naturally varying individuals has helped to generate every species, living and extinct, on the planet.

For now, it was enough that they were listening.
*


23 August 2008

The Lichtenstein Cave...

...is a short drive away from Manfred's village, deep in the Harz mountains.

This is the spot where Manfred's relatives, dating back 3,000 years, were buried. The 3,000-year-old skeletons were in such good condition that anthropologists at the University of Goettingen managed to extract a sample of DNA. That was then matched to two men living nearby: Uwe Lange, a surveyor, and Manfred Huchthausen, a teacher.

The two men have now become local celebrities.
*


That Joe Biden...

...he's flexible...

The party also announced the release of a new television commercial by U.S. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, called "Biden."

The video shows Biden on TV news programs criticizing Obama, and in an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," saying he considered McCain (R-Ariz.) a friend and could run with him for president.

The party said the ad would air in key states.
*


Despite the horrible, systemic racism...

...apparently nobody wants to leave...

-- LOS ANGELES -- Immigration authorities on Friday ended a trial offer not to jail illegal immigrants who had been ordered to leave the country if they surrendered at government offices.

In the three weeks that the federal immigration agency tested the program in a handful of cities, only eight people came forward.

There are 457,000 “fugitive aliens” who would have been eligible for the program, he said, and about 30,000 in or near the cities in the program, which was promoted largely in the Spanish-language news media.
Funny how that works.

*


Yet another dead teen

It's hardly even news any more...

The most violent year in Peel Region's history continued last night as a 15-year-old boy was shot dead behind a school in Mississauga.

Yesterday's death brings Peel's homicide total to 19 – a record for the region. Last year, there were 15 homicides; in 2006, 12 people were killed.
**********

UPDATE: Remember when you were a teenager...

...and all your friends were running around shooting each other?

Yeah... me neither.
Peel police arrested a 15-year-old boy late last night in connection with the death of a Mississauga teen who was shot and killed in a grassy field just steps away from a busy community centre.

Evan Popoola, 15, was found shot to death in the football field behind St. Jude Separate School on Nahani Way in Mississauga Friday evening around 6:30 p.m.
*


Our litigious world

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the man charged with handling London's 2012 Olympic security preparations, is suing his employers for $2.3 million on racial and religious grounds, according to the British Broadcasting Corp., which did not cite a source for its report.

Mr. Ghaffur, born in Uganda to parents of Pakistani descent, joined Manchester's police force in 1974. He switched to the Metropolitan Police in 1999 and rose to assistant commissioner — the force's third-highest position — in 2001.


It isn't just the health care system...

...that's imploding...

It took nearly seven months — or 205 days on average — for criminal charges to be resolved in Ontario courtrooms last year, up from 176 days in 2000 and 115 days in 1992, government statistics show.

While reducing appearances is a good start, Ontario courtrooms are still starving for more provincial resources, said Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory.

“There are lawyers and others who are gaming the system, sometimes perhaps at the instruction of their clients, to seek out delays for as long as possible so that the day of reckoning is postponed as long as possible,” he said.

“I think we’ve got to crack down on both of those. We’ve got to supply the resources and stop people from gaming the system, and I think that’ll make a big difference.”
*


22 August 2008

With apologies to "Hot Fuzz"

Judge... Judy... and executioner.

**********

RELATED: While we're on lawsuits

According to Berg, he filed the suit--just days before the DNC are to hold its nominating convention in Denver--for the health of the Democratic Party.

"I filed this action at this time," Berg stated, "to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated."
This is just another nuisance nutcase, right?
Phillip Berg, the filing attorney, is a former gubernatorial and senatorial candidate, former chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery (PA) County, former member of the Democratic State Committee, and former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania.
Hard to imagine this is happening without Hillary's knowledge.

**********

UPDATE: Obama goes with Biden

*


Don't try this at home

The professional journalists at the Globe and Mail say... "It's a freakin' mystery."


C'mon people... wake up...

...and smell the new entrepreneurism...

The two classmates from New York's Trinity school collected and sent off 60 fish samples to the University of Guelph in Canada. Of 56 samples that could be identified by a four-year-old DNA identification technique, 14 were mislabeled.

In all cases, the fish was labeled as a more costly type, apparently ruling out simple chance. It was the first known student use of DNA barcoding technology in a public market.

"It bears on a number of issues -- food safety, fraud and protection of endangered species," said Bob Hanner of Guelph, who oversaw the analysis of samples. Other imports, such as meat, could also benefit from DNA checks.