Monthly Archives: March 2012

Riots ‘r Us – Part II

Sometimes we have to scratch our heads, what would be a good topic for a decent blog posting today?  And it’s not always obvious, or maybe we have too much to talk about, which is paralyzing in its own way, since we don’t have unlimited time to write (we actually have jobs, in the private sector, that pay, and family lives to boot), so it becomes a struggle to pick which story we want to talk about. 

We don’t just want to become another Kathy Shaidle (www.fivefeetoffury.com ) linking people to articles that they may very well have been able to find on their own.   How she wins blogging awards, we’re not quite sure.  Good for her anyway.  Mark Steyn likes her, which is good enough in our books.

Regardless however, some days like today, the material, the topic, literally just falls into our lap.  And today is one of those days.  Easy work.

Yesterday, we posted a snippet of our blog as a comment on the National Post’s website story about the London riots.  It’s fun to do, and besides it does bring some traffic to our humble little website here.  (Incidentally, the best reactions we’ve gotten were to our postings about Ontario teachers, Toronto’s LRT vs. Subway debate, Gerald Kaplan and Zach Paikin.  Huh.  But we digress.)

So, here is the story on the Post website, but in particular, if you need a good laugh, go to the comments, and don’t just read our comment, but follow the serial commenting of one Sue McPherson.  We wonder sometimes if these types of comments are really the work of a prankster, satirizing leftist lunatics, writing things like the London riot;

“It’s best there be an investigation, although investigations are also politically motivated, so there’s no truly just way of doing this. To me, seeking out the underlying cause or influences would be helpful to understanding the circumstances. That kind of thing can be done, if it is in the best interests of the ruling class who may have something to lose. so I don’t expect to see it done here.”

And it goes on from there.  Rich stuff.  These types of persons really do exist.

So, out of curiousity, we googled Ms. McPherson and lo and behold she has a website, with a link to her blog.  A sampling of the wisdom found on her blog is as follows, commenting on the London riots again, the riot;

“…was a reflection of the disillusionment of youth. One woman whose home neighboured on the site of the riot said that the vandals were singing O Canada as they watched the CTV news vehicle go up in flames…”

Oh, brother.  The deranged mind that would try to shoehorn political protest and existential angst of the young onto an event that was clearly a drunken anarchic mess of young morally vacant losers is something to encounter.

But then, if you read her life story, and see that she never once mentions a respectable, paying job that she’s had, that basically her life has been in pursuit of higher academic accreditation in Womyn’s and Social Studies (a useless field, sorry, of no benefit to society at large), that she is seemingly obsessed with the topics of ageism, feminism and the Polytechnique killings committed by one Gamil Gharbi, an Algerian muslim – not representative of your common North American male in any respect –  we have to wonder; how many Sue McPherson’s are there out there?  How many are clogging our university system, living off government grants and hand-outs and then polluting our political discourse with absolute drivel?  Probably more than we’d like to know.  But once in a while they pop their head up and give us endless entertainment with their hilariously insane views on events.

Rock on Sue.  Keep chasing that MA in a useless degree and reading noble causes into the actions of drunk punks.

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Riots ‘r Us

We have little interest in exploring the ‘why’ a few dozen students, with another thousand or so watching, decided to riot in London, Ontario this past weekend.  As the one line of thinking goes, if you are able to explain a bad behaviour, then you are by extension obliged to forgive it.

So, ignoring the possible explanations for why a bunch of idiot college students would think it appropriate to riot during St. Patrick’s Day, or why other morally vacant students would consider this spectacle and rip roaring entertainment, we will choose instead to build on our philosophical discourse last week with our citation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, or the Law of Entropy that states essentially;

“All things seek their lowest energy state”

It’s an important insight to not just science, but to broader society as well, because the Law is applicable to what we see around us day to day.  Consider that anarchy, chaos and disorder represent the lowest energy state of a society, Stage I of spiritual development if you agree with M. Scott Peck’s hypothesis.  Then on a grander scale what we are engaged in is a daily struggle against the universe, the tendency of all things towards entropy.  It is a lot of work.  Stasis, or standing still, is not an option; visualize standing still on a slippery muddy slope… eventually you start falling backwards.

So that being said, it is work, to keep a society together, a constant struggle.  In that context then we have our riots in London, Vancouver, Toronto where have you… so considering the fight against entropy, we’d argue not so much that the riots must stop, but that they must be stopped.  There is a difference.  Simply, asking, pleading that the rioters stop is passive, whereby actively stopping the goons would be aggressive and pro-active, a truly anti-entropy endeavor.

Forget the root causes, forget trying to understand why young hooligans would get drunk and destroy property for no good reason.  This behaviour must be stopped.  Actively, aggressively and preferably at the moment it is happening.

So into this abyss come our fearless London police, who after sensing the crowd was getting out of hand, withdrew, then returned in force to be pelted with beer bottles and rocks and pieces of wooden fence.  And then they pulled a Caledonia, preferring to videotape and take pictures of offenders, documenting the crime in progress with the hopes of identifying them afterwards, while praying for some worthwhile help from social media.

Huh.  How’s that working for you in Vancouver?

Shame.  Where were the rubber bullets?  Do they even have such things, or is that some kind of fairy tale fantasy for law and order types?

Nope, instead now we are reliant on identification of the culprits subsequent to the crime having been committed, anarchy being tasted, the lowest energy state of our society being flirted with.  And quite frankly we aren’t holding our breath for the successful capture of all the idiots that should be publicly caned.

But, for the future, if that’s the way our police want to do things, we here at RA, in our entrepreneurial zeal will be heading off to our world-class product development lab to work on some or all of the following riot-management and post-riot identification devices;

  • Water cannons that spray dye, so that all rioters are easily identifiable post-riot;
  • Grenades that explode with dye;
  • Helicopters dusting the crowd with something like colloidal silver that after inhalation turns the skin blue;
  • Massive time-out chairs for the big babies to sit in, but the chairs are so super cushy that the drunks fall asleep instantly;
  • Flyers to drop over the crowd during the riot that read, “You are special and you are unique snowflakes”, for the generation raised on self-esteem boosting at all costs.  But the twist is the flyers have ink that never comes off their fingers;
  • Other ideas

All told, we think even these few ideas as starting points will help us get our rioter-management and rioter-identification business off and running with great success.  Because, one thing we can guarantee is that given our lack of interest as a society in actively resisting entropy, we can comfortably predict more and more of these riots in the next couple of years. And again, we don’t care why; we only know that there could be lots of money to be made.

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RoboFord: How Rob Ford, Robocalls and Newton’s 3rd Law Relate

We’ll start this post with a high-minded philosophical preamble before we get to Rob Ford and the Robocalls scandal, but you’ll have to bear with us for a bit here.

We’ve mentioned in several posts of the past how basically all of the beliefs and worldviews of the progressive left can be distilled into four basic principles that we call the Pillars of Progressivism; the Brotherhood of Man, the Triumph of Learning and Reason over Faith and Natural Law, Social Peace through Social Equilibrium and Man in Harmony with the Environment.

When you look at these core principles from which almost every leftist idea or fad can be derived, you have to think – those are pretty noble.  Those are “good” ideals really, and only if you’re particularly religious would you have issue with the one principle.

So, on the surface it’s hard to argue with them, until you think more deeply about it and decide that what it describes is a perfect world, utopia, which would have to be populated by perfect people to be lasting.

And therein is where it fails – people are not perfect.  So you have imperfect people trying to impose, through government coercion largely, a “perfect” world, and ultimately it doesn’t work.  It is a disaster in the making and the only difference between liberals, socialists and communists is the speed at which they would send society into the brink.

True small “c” conservatives don’t dispute the ideals that progressives are aiming for, but instead they argue that these should be personal, individual ideals.  People are not perfect, and hence when we give them the power (and money) to enforce high-minded principles on others, the result is usually corruption, abuse and a loss of freedom.  Thus the fundamental reason why  (true) conservatives are for limited government and individual rights above collective rights, and the preservation of social contracts and institutions (such as churches) to empower the individual with the resources and support to deal with difficulties of life, and not be looking to the state for cradle to grave protection.

But coming back to the progressive left – you can see then why they feel morally in the right, on the side of the angels.  And anyone who opposes their worldviews must logically be then evil, stupid or both.

And it’s all in-bounds then when it comes to personal attacks or denigrating right-wingers as having lower IQ’s or being racist, or attacking their children, as when comedian Louis CK talks about Sarah Palin as a “c**t with a retard-making c**t”.   No problem, when the left does it, but if a conservative comedian, say Jeff Foxworthy or Adam Carolla, were to say something along those lines in a routine about a leftist politician, wow, the blowback would be way different, wouldn’t it?

So, we come to Rob Ford and the desperate effort to “impeach” him, based on his having raised $3,100 for a junior football team using official letterhead essentially.  It’s all good, in the left’s eyes, because regardless of the reason, getting Rob Ford out of office in Toronto is the end result.  Get the fat, anti-union, redneck buffoon out of office.

Oh, and it’s OK to mock Rob Ford’s staffer as a Musollini Nazi “black shirt”, and then issue a half-ass apology for the offended staffer overhearing a “private” conversation.

Andrew Coyne recently wrote about the moral wasteland that has become the political scene here in Canada, and elsewhere to that extent.  The context of his article was the Robocalls scandal, and the apparent depth to which the Conservative party was willing to stoop to swing the vote in some key ridings.  But the Robocalls scandal we think we can explain (not excuse) given the context of everything we’ve just discussed and considering Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion that says;

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions”

So then, say you are conservative, and every day you are confronted with a cabal of left-leaning or left-sympathizing media, society elites, celebrities and academics that feel it fair and appropriate to mock and demonize you and your beliefs regularly, with impunity, claiming that not only are you wrong, you are too stupid for us to bother debating – how do you react?  We think the Robocalls scandal shows us part of the answer to that question – you abandon some of your own ethics and descend into guerrilla warfare, because if they aren’t going to play fair, then why should you? 

And hence here we are at this point in our history.  And it ain’t looking too good for the future.

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An Imperfect Toronto Transit Analogy

Imagine you’ve just built your dream house, but now you have a limited budget to find furniture to fill your new home.  So, you bring in two interior decorators to help.

The first one tells you that she will take the money you’ve budgeted and head to IKEA.  At IKEA, on your budget, she’ll be able to find furniture for every room in the house, and pretty much completely furnish each room.  The furniture won’t be ideal mind you; the faux steel railing décor won’t really match some rooms of the house, the size and layout of some of the pieces won’t really fit well with some other rooms, there’ll be some wasted space or in some rooms it might get cramped.  Oh, and don’t try and move the furniture too much after you’ve set it up, it’s not the sturdiest stuff.  And don’t have any kids and let them jump on the bed, or slam the drawers or anything rough.  But hey – you’ll have furniture in every room of the house, and you’ll be all set.

Along comes the second decorator.  He tells you that he’ll take your budget, but that he also wants another 35% on top of that, and he’ll go to some Mennonite carpenters, and he’ll have them build you wonderful, custom made, tailor fitted pieces of furniture, but only one piece per room.  So, for a while, you’ll have a fantastic leather sofa in the living room, but have to put your TV on milk crates until you can afford to have a custom made TV cabinet.  You’ll have to keep your clothes in laundry baskets, while you sleep on a wonderful king-size bed dreaming of the day you can afford a custom made dresser and vanity mirror.  And so on.  But in the meantime, in the years between this purchase and the time when you’ll be able to afford the next set of pieces, you’ll be in possession of beautiful hand crafted, sturdy, quality furniture that will last you a lifetime and will have been built to perfectly fit your new home.

What would you do?  In all honesty they’re both pretty lousy options; on the one hand you get a lot of sub-par stuff that you in all likelihood won’t be too keen on a few years down the line, but at least you’ll have everything you need.  On the other hand you’re going to be asked to spend more money than you have, for a few really good pieces of furniture, while other needs will be left begging for an indeterminate time.

This is the dilemma essentially being faced in the transit plan wars being waged in Toronto.

If you aren’t able to follow Toronto municipal politics, that’s unfortunate; it is wonderful theatre, much more entertaining at the moment than federal or provincial politics.  The names of Hitler and Stalin are invoked regularly, you’ve got the left vs. the right, downtown vs. the suburbs, unionists vs. pro-business, and now you’ve got Transit City proponents vs. Rob Ford’s Subway proponents.

Transit City was the old mayor’s plan to put Light Rail Transit (LRT) tracks across the city.  Rob Ford campaigned for mayor saying that Torontonians didn’t want “streetcars” they wanted subways.  So, instead of network of LRTs, he essentially proposed a more expensive single subway line connecting Scarborough to the existing system, that he didn’t actually have money for, while the other cheaper LRT plan has gotten funding commitment.  And now you have the mayor’s plan being turfed by dissidents on council, the head of the TTC being fired, the TTC turning around and clearing out all the Ford supporters from the board and on and on.

And to make it more interesting, yesterday Tim Hudak came out and said that the Ontario Conservatives were in favour of subways.  We’re not sure how wise it is to get involved in Toronto’s municipal wars, but polling must have told him that’s what the majority of Torontonians want to hear.  And, oh Tim, we’re expecting you then to make the trip to Waterloo next election (in say… four months or so?) and announce that you are going to cancel the funding for the LRT project here, if you’re so in favour of subways.

For the record, we think subways are the way to go also.  And this is probably one of the few types of projects that we think government should find the money for; infrastructure is an investment in the economy and provides value for money over 40, 50 years or longer if done properly. 

But we do find it a curious sociological study, that has nothing really to do with ideology, what a person’s preferences are when confronted with the two transit plans in Toronto or our analogy that we began the post with; there are those who want instant or short term satisfaction, and there are those wanting to measure twice, cut once and do it right the first time, even if that means doing less.  Is that a right or left thing, conservative or socialist thing?  It might be.

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Wow, The Climate Changers Are Really Stretching Now

At times we’re at something of a loss on how to treat all the climate change bullshit that gets passed off as news; we here at RA being very proudly in the denier camp.  And we have a real hard time stomaching the sanctimonious preaching, the needless alarmism and the rampant hypocrisy from the climate changers of the world.

Take for example this article bemoaning the impending, inevitable end of pond hockey in Canada, all because we haven’t enacted Kyoto.  Seriously.  The article goes so far as to threaten us with never having another Wayne Gretzky ever again!  My God, Stephen Harper, aren’t you a hockey fan?  How can you in good conscience allow this to happen?  Would you stop with the robocalls just long enough to weep with the rest of us for the hundreds of thousands of displaced outdoor hockey players in our country?

Now admittedly, we’ve had a pretty warm winter here in Ontario, not warm enough to melt Heather Mallick’s brain, but pretty warm.  Reasonable people might say, OK, it happens once in a while.  And you know, last year we had a pretty stiff winter, lots of snow and plenty of downright cold days (yeah, funny how short some memories are).  And even this year, while sure we had a warm winter here, just look across the pond – Europe has had a very cold winter (yeah, funny how myopic some people’s vision is).  Lots of snow.  Lots of freezing temperatures.  They’ve had a much colder winter than normal.

So, the law of averages would seem to indicate, all is good.  And perhaps we should consider applying the law of averages over years and decades and see how we pan out.  Turns out if we did that, we’d all see things are just fine – but umm… that doesn’t work with the climate changers’ agenda, so we’ll just ignore that, along with a thousand years of climate data so we can produce incredible hockey-stick graphics for Al Gore to lie about.

And one last thing that struck as absurd in the article – how many kids are playing hockey outdoors anyways?  The article had to go all the way back to Wayne Gretzky, circa the 1970’s to find an example of a superstar raised on outdoor rinks.  With all the things kids have these days  – Xbox, Playstation, cable TV, the internet, Blu-Ray DVDs… how many kids are we talking about here?  That’s its own sad commentary on society today.

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The Teachers’ Utopia of Ontario

It’s kind of ironic, in light of all the recent anti-bullying awareness days being held at schools around Ontario, that the teachers themselves engage in a bit of bullying when it comes to their upcoming contract negotiations.

Ontario is in poor shape in terms of government fiscal soundness, that’s pretty widely accepted as the truth now.  So let’s review some facts before we discuss too much further about the teachers;

  • Under Dalton McGuinty, teachers’ salaries have increased approximately 34%.  No private sector job can brag about such an increase in pay over the past eight years.  In fact, in the manufacturing sector there has been a widespread roll back of compensation… we wonder how some of the private sector union members feel about this disparity in fates;
  • The average elementary/high school teacher in Ontario is paid approximately $84,000 per year.  That puts teachers in the top 5% of income earners in the province.  Yes, that seems remarkable when you contrast it with the corporate fat-cat caricatures of the “rich” but it’s true – teachers are the “rich”.  Not the 1% yet, but getting close.  Which makes the Ontario Teachers union financial and moral support of the Occupods a couple of months ago so specious;
  • The average education spending in Ontario is approximately $8,000 per student for elementary and high school level.  This places Ontario near the top of the country in terms of per capita spending.  However, Ontario school boards needed to raise over $100 million dollars last year outside of school, through fundraisers, to ostensibly pay for items such as school texts, gym equipment and other items;
  • Enrollment in schools is stagnant, barring a few school boards in and around the GTA, and some French school boards.  There are, to put it simply, fewer and fewer school age kids, owing to reduced birth rates (less than 1.8 kids per family in Canada – less than replacement rate).  And yet, universities keep pumping out more and more young teachers every year, despite obviously diminishing demand for them;
  • McGuinty’s push for smaller classrooms however partially filled the demand void, by artificially dividing the student population into smaller groups, thereby requiring that there be more teachers (and more infrastructures to house them).  This despite the fact that there are no studies demonstrating conclusively that smaller classrooms are more conducive to learning or produce better results than the classroom sizes of ten, twenty years ago;
  • McGuinty’s push for all-day junior kindergarten is another of his demand void fillers.  Create another need for more teachers, despite no studies conclusively demonstrating that junior kindergarten carries any of the benefits developmentally that its proponents claim

So all of these points, taken in their totality should say this to almost anyone who reads them – the teachers in Ontario have had no greater friend than Dalton McGuinty over the past 8 years.  He has created artificial demand for more teachers and given them very healthy pay raises despite market economics not supporting the need for him to have done so.

A lot of money is spent these days on private schooling, tutoring outside of school, and then we get stories where schools are talking about co-parenting and calling the police over the drawings of a four-year old.  It’d be hard to argue that there is increasing faith in the ability or quality of our educational system, and yet all the financial markers point to the educational system having been the beneficiary of more and more public spending.

We have two huge expenditure points in this province; education and health care.  When it comes to our health care system there are some honest brokers out there are willing to debate the benefits of privatizing aspects and changing our delivery model for the sake of reducing our costs, making the system more sustainable financially and getting value for money.  Funny how we hear hardly a peep questioning whether the way we are delivering education in this province in the best manner possible, whether we get value for money, and whether this is a sustainable model to move forward in the future.

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