Tag Archive | Politics

Much delayed Toronto subway extension a go

It appears that the federal government has finally gotten their house in order and is getting much needed funding to the Province of Ontario after 2 years of stalling by the Harper government. The feds are chipping in their $697-million share of the $2-billion dollar Spadina subway extension, according to the Toronto Star.

Any subway extension is good news in my book (even the poorly conceived and pointless Sheppard line, but barely), but this stretch is especially important to Toronto. Take a look at the proposed extension below (for the full view, check out my subway map here):

Image courtesy of Spadina Subway Extension Project

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Michigan Playing Ping-Pong with Public Health

It’s been roughy a decade since the effort to ban smoking in Michigan’s places of business has begun. Now, it seems that the state’s Senators and Representatives have finally been given the cash vision to see that banning smoking will not harm businesses and could actually be good for the economy in both he short and long term. In fact, both branches of government have already passed bills to ban smoking and Governor Granholm seems poised to sign a smoking ban into effect.

So…….what’s the hold up?

Apparently, the Senate and the House can’t seem to agree on some of the finer details of the bill. While the Senate passed a straight ban across the board, the House feels that a gentler, semi-ban would be more appropriate. Their version includes exempions for casinos, tobacco shops, casinos, cigar bars, casinos, bingo halls, casinos, horse tracks, and casinos. It’s fairly obvious that the states bingo halls have gained enough wealth and influence to lobby the House into stalemating this bill for as long as possible.

And so the match continues. The Senate passes one version and sends it over to the House. The House changes it, passes it and sends it back to the Senate. In the meantime, Michigan is at risk of losing her chance to show her progressive nature by becoming only the 35th state to pass a full/partial ban on smoking.

Thanks a lot checks and balances.

Hail to the Chief!

Those of you who know me already know this, but for you newbies, I am a HUGE fan of our 43rd President of the United States. HUGE. So much so that I wanted to bring an important movement in San Francisco, California to your attention.

I know what you’re thinking: how could a city full of dirty hippies be spearheading something to celebrate the administration of George W. Bush? Well, it’s simple. A group of like minded individuals have gotten together and formed the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco with the goal of commemorating Bush’s tenure in the White House by naming an important Californian landmark after our fair president:

The Presidential Memorial Commission is proposing an ordinance initiative for the November 2008 San Francisco ballot, to rename the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility the George W Bush Sewage Plant. We believe this is a appropriate and enduring legacy, for no other president in modern American history has accomplished so much in such a short time.

So head on over here and lend your support to this worthy by joining the movement! And then sit, meditate on the Bush presidency and deliver a gift to W.

Somebody is upset I didn’t reference him on this. I’m not going to say who. But if you’re astute you can figure it out. His name starts with “J” and ends with “imsey.”

Is Toronto Transit Union throwing clogs in the machine?

I have had the great fortune in my first few weeks in Toronto to have the specter of a TTC strike raised already. How lucky can I get? Now, the Transit Union and the TTC are in talks. Pay special attention to the statement by Union President Bob Kinnear:

Kinnear added that the union is not contemplating a work slowdown, but would totally shut down the transit system if it concludes that labour action is necessary.

Great, wonderful, dandy. I’m all for positive negotiations to deal with issues. But I have my suspicions as to whether the Union is really sticking to this “no work slowdown” claim, however. In fact, I think they are throwing the proverbial clog in the transit machine.

Both my Friday morning and Monday morning commutes have experienced significant slowdowns for the following reasons:

a) “Problems with the signaling mechanisms”

b) “Passenger assistance button has been pressed’

c) “Emergency at a platform”

Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I typically don’t look for sinister motives behind actions. But it does seem odd that these various “issues” keep occurring at peak times while negotiations between the union and the TTC are ongoing. It smacks of saber rattling, to me.

In any case, I’m a newbie on the TTC, maybe these sorts of delays happen all the time. If there are any seasoned TTC riders, let me know.

But it makes you wonder. This also is a nice segue into some thoughts I’ve had on unions in general, but I’ll save that for another day when I’m sure the ghost of Walter Reuther isn’t floating around.

Barackula

Ben

This was passed on to me by my friend and current condo-mate.  Just a warning:  the freaking song will get stuck in your head all night.

Check it out here.

And not a bad likeness of a young Barack.

Obama Winning the Internets

 Ben

According to the Washington Post, Obama has managed to raise $3.35 million over January and February in Internet contributions from supporters.  That is in comparison to $368,112 for Clinton for that same span.

So what’s the secret?  Obama has spent time and money on creating an on-line connection with anyone who comes into contact with his virtual campaign.  Searches are harvested and redirected brilliantly, emails to supporters and other interested parties are relevant and engaging and, perhaps most importantly, the pleas for cash are not as blatant or desperate as the Clinton campaign.

Check out the article for the full scoop.

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Alberta’s dismal voter turnout

Ben 

I wanted to reproduce this editorial from today’s Edmonton Journal: 

In the next three-plus years, each time you hear an Albertan complain about the provincial government, remember this

Chances will be almost three out of five that the grumbler cared so little about the future direction and management of public affairs he now bewails that he or she couldn’t be bothered to vote on March 3, 2008.

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Alberta Election 2008 – Conclusions

Ben 

I don’t even want to talk about it, I’ll just give you two sets of data to compare.

Popular Vote – by %

Conservatives – 53%

Liberal – 25%

NDP – 9%

Alliance – 7%

Green – 5%

Actual Seats in Legislature – Out of 83

Conservatives – 73

Liberal – 8

NDP – 2

Alliance – 0

Green – 0

Does this seem disproportionate to anyone else?

In any case, good riddance Alberta, you can have your 4 decade long dynasty of incompetence and shortsightedness.  Enjoy.

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