Gambling and the local economy part 2

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Seventy three dollars. It’s not a large amount if you’re middle class, certainly not if you’re Conrad Black. But for others it can be significant. If you’re on minimum wage, it’s a full day’s wage, before taxes. If you’re a senior on a fixed income, it’s a week’s groceries. It’s also the average amount a typical gambler spends at one time in a gaming facility in Ontario, according to the answers I got from my questions sent months ago to the OLG. The clerk gave me their answers last night, … click below for more ↓

Lost Worlds, Lost Words

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Moidered. It sounds like something from the Three Stooges. Or maybe something Tony Soprano would say.”I moidered him.”  But it actually means “crazed,” according to Samuel Johnson in his famous dictionary of 1755. It’s long since left  the stage of English usage. Scan down another few inches and you’ll find “mome.” No, not “mome, mome on the range” or a reference to Mitt Romney’s bizarre religion. Mome means, “a dull, stupid blockhead” according to Johnson. I can think of a use for that right now. Some words deserve to … click below for more ↓

Conspiracies, Secret Meetings and Backroom Deals

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As the year comes to a close, I think it’s about time I ‘fessed up about the conspiracies, secret meetings, backroom deals, hidden commissions and other underhanded dealings council has had this term. There haven’t been any. Sorry about that. I know how many people have built little, angry sand castles out of the notion we have been secretly plotting in backrooms and handing out commission cheques like drunken pirates on a shore leave, but the simple truth is that we haven’t. I know, I know, … click below for more ↓

America’s Intolerant WBC Fundamentalists

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[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JAErHl7lZ4] I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I watched this. laugh because Russell Brand* just runs circles around these guys from the Westboro Church and they don’t seem to realize when they are being mocked. Fish in a barrel, I suppose. Cry because they obviously believe their hatred; they obviously believe that their narrow, bigoted and violent take on their scriptures is not only right, but the only one. I don’t think they got the message Brand was trying to push on them: they are too … click below for more ↓

Tax the Rich – a video

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[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6ZsXrzF8Cc] You really should watch this video. It explains in clear, simple terms the argument of the billionaires and the rest of us. I like it because – while it’s simplistic – it is succinct and presents its argument in a powerful story. It also clearly underscores the very polarized US arguments about both taxation and wealth. This was commented on the Daily Kos as well. Amusingly, it was immediately pounced upon by the rightists as “socialist” propaganda. Sean Hannity, talking head for the uber-right Fox … click below for more ↓

Someone is wrong on the internet

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I discovered an entertaining site recently called Skeptic North. It’s a Canadian equivalent to several similar sites and blogs I read that are mostly American-based. It challenges popular assumptions, ideas, trends and pseudoscience and other claptrap. In a Canadian way, of course. Meaning that it’s usually much too polite in how it handles some of the balderdash online. I’m less gracious. Bullshit is bullshit and should be called out. I discovered it when I was looking for some additional backup material on COLD FX, an over-the-counter, … click below for more ↓

The Known Unknowns

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“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know,” said United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld in a now-famous statement. “There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.” Monday night, Council was treated to a “known unknown” when we were asked to approve a motion* that condemned a report that at least seven of us had never seen, … click below for more ↓

How to Survive the Mayan Apocalypse

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How will anyone survive the “end of the world” predicted for December 21, 2012? Easy: by breathing. That’s because it won’t happen. That the Mayans never predicted it would seems to have bypassed a few of the tin-foil-hat brigade. The complex Mayan calendar simply ends one of its long cycles – just like ours ends its annual cycle on December 31. Just like we end decades, centuries and millennia on Dec. 31 with a year that ends in zero (10, 100, 1000). But most important: it’s … click below for more ↓

Mayors Under Siege: Why Laws Must Change

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is planning to appeal the recent judicial decision that ousted him from office for failing to obey one of the basic rules of municipal governance. In fact, during the hearing, he admitted never having read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, one of the key pieces of legislation that govern municipal politicians, even once during his decade on council. Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland wrote a 24-page decision that called Ford’s  “wilful blindness” inexcusable, and said: “It is difficult to accept an error-in-judgment … click below for more ↓

Another popular myth debunked: moon doesn’t make crazies

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“Myth Debunked: Full Moon Does Not Increase Incidence of Psychological Problems,” says the headline on a story on Science Daily. I was amused by the notion that, in 2012, anyone would seriously believe that the moon affected human psychology – especially supposed educated people. In this case, it was very serious and resulted in a paper with the lengthy and ponderous title, “Impact of seasonal and lunar cycles on psychological symptoms in the ED: an empirical investigation of widely spread beliefs.” The abstract says: This … click below for more ↓

Do We Need a CAO to Run Town Hall?

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One of the comments in a rather lengthy letter presented to council recently was about hiring a CAO. The author demanded a “panel of qualified citizens appointed by an independent body* to oversee the recruitment, participate in interviews and the transparent selection process to fill the vacant position of Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Collingwood.” Aside from being wildly out of context in a letter ostensibly about local recreation facilities, that non-sequitur underscores a common misunderstanding about the nature of municipal governance and bureaucracy. Many municipalities have CAOs … click below for more ↓

Ten Lessons Learned From the Petraeus Affair

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After watching the recent, exaggerated – and sordid – upheaval over the story about an extramarital affair that the (now former) head of the CIA had with his biographer, I have come to several conclusions about America, sex, American media and publicity: 1. Americans, who bought millions of copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey“, a poorly-written, highly derivative, pornographic book, and then turned it into a national industry that includes home parties where BDSM equipment is sold to housewives, and dozens of spin-off blogs based on the book, are easily offended … click below for more ↓

Post-US Election Thoughts: The Blame Game

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It didn’t take long for the blame, the vitriol, the accusations and the excuses to start spewing forth from the Republicans, after Obama won a second presidential term. You would think that the party would be chastened, introspective and look to where they failed to engage the electorate. Do some serious soul-searching: what failed? Policies? Platforms? Ground work? Attack ads? Flip flops? Instead they seem to have their collective heads stuck in the sand and instead to looking inwardly, they are blaming others for their failure. … click below for more ↓

The Useless Web

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We all know Wikipedia is not always accurate, and sometimes biased. We all know that most internet quotations are wrong attributed or misquoted. We all know that the Web is full of useless, trivial pap like “psychic” hot lines, astrology, creationism and Ann Coulter. Plus it’s replete with the shallow: salacious gossip, celebrity skin, innuendo, pornography, political extremism, angels, UFOs, crop circles, anti-vaccine advocates, religious fundamentalists – the intellectual-nourishment equivalent of a  box of greasy fries and a sugar-laden soft drink. But they are content-rich, compared … click below for more ↓

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