Monday 28 April 2008

Money grows on trees

Or it must seem that way to our provincial government, who's solution to every problem is to throw money at it. The latest example?

EDUCATION Minister Peter Bjornson has taken school boards by surprise this afternoon by introducing a moratorium on closing schools. ... To keep schools open, government would provide greater funding [FP]
Why close redundant half-empty schools when you can dip into the bottomless well of tax dollars to keep them open?

I like this part:
"To determine the most effective ways to use these buildings to serve their communities on a long-term basis, we will consult with school divisions about the regulations."
Did he say that with a straight face? I want to see some video.

Sunday 20 April 2008

The future of Winnipeg: cookie-cutter condos

The Free Press apparently got the scoop that the new Director of the planning, property and development department at the City of Winnipeg will be ... a developer, not a planner. At first glance this appears to be a case of putting a fox in charge of the hen house. But wait just a sec ... this guy is best known as the developer behind Sky Waterfront Condominiums in down town Winnipeg. So maybe it's not that bad. You know, a downtown friendly developer instead of one of those urban-sprawl promoting developers.

Just to be sure, though, I decided to do a little Googling. Who is this guy, really? Well, for starters David at Waverly West tells us that he's an internet pharmacy mogul. With respect to real estate, my internet searches didn't turn up much when I looked for "Phil Sheegl" or "Winnix Properties", but Sunstone properties, the name under which Sky Waterfront is developed, is associated with a number of other condo developments, including:

Where else do these condos show up? On the Qualico web site.

So what it appears we have here is a guy who made a fortune selling drugs to seniors in Phoenix and is investing his money in cheap condos, by partnering with Winnipeg's biggest urban sprawl culprit. Beautiful.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Missing the mark on car theft

It was a bad day for Harper in the pages of the Free Press today.

First, there was the Candian Press front page headline story RCMP raid Tory headquarters in election probe, which, if you read the story, is somewhat misleading. There was the thing about Bernier calling for the resignation of the governor of Kandahar. There was a poll that people want the GST increased again. General Hiller is retiring, and now Grapes on Kenaston is closing before Harper had a chance to eat there.

Then there was "PM told anti-theft promise a miss". Right off the bat, I gotta say that it was a big mistake for Harper to make this announcement in Winnipeg. I can only assume that some advisor told him that Winnipeg is the "car theft capital of Canada" so it might be appropriate. But seriously, that was dumb. Organized chop shops are the least of out problems.

The Free Press jumped all over it, telling us that Harper "disappointed" a "victim". Was he a victim of organized crime? NO. How can you "miss" something that you're not aiming for? The story is followed up with a web poll Do you think proposed federal 'chop shop' legislation will make the streets safer? where, surprisingly, 14% of people voted "Yes".

Next time Harper comes to town, he better have a new Youth Criminal Justice Act in his hands. I am sure one of the two local papers will still roast him, but at least he would be a more difficult target.

Still on the topic of car theft, this time of the "punk" variety ... I generally like Dan Lett's stuff but I think he's off the mark today. He argues that longer sentences aren't the answer:

Supporters of harsher penalties will argue that they are just one part of an effective campaign, meant to work in concert with enhanced social programs and anti-theft initiatives. The reality is that tougher laws with longer sentences tend to eclipse those other initiatives.

Longer sentences mean more people in remand, on trial and in jail, which means significant increases in the costs of administering the courts and of incarceration. That leaves less money for social programs that divert potential auto thieves to more wholesome activities.
Most of our car thefts are performed by a small handful of level IV offenders. Is chasing them down, arresting them, booking them, processing them in court, and letting them go and repeating the cycle the next week cheaper than just keeping them in jail? Does it increase public safety?

On January 31, Nicholas Lilke, a Level IV offender, was arrested and charged with:
Failing to Comply with a Probation Order X 2, Mischief Under $5000.00, Forcible Confinement, Break and Enter to Commit an Indictable Offence, Obstruct, Resist a Police Officer, Trafficking in Firearms, Trafficking in Ammunition, Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm and Possess Prohibited Firearm or Ammunition.
On February 4, less then a week later, the same dude stole an SUV and slammed into a Police cruiser, injuring the officers.

Ask a police officer if longer sentences would make a difference with scum like this.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Jerks, Weirdos and Lawsuits

In case you don't venture out of the Manitoba Blogosphere very often, there's something worrisome happening out there: "Human Rights" guru and Professional Victim Richard Warman is suing a bunch of bloggers and pundits:
Ezra Levant
• Kathy Shaidle of FiveFeetOfFury
• Kate McMillan of SmallDeadAnimals
Jonathan Kay of the National Post daily newspaper and its in-house blog Conservative (read: evil) internet forum.

why? I really don't understand yet, and it doesn't sound like the defendants understand either, but I suspect that Warman might be in over his head with this one. If you only want to click on one link, I recommend Levant's. In any case, for the sake of us all, whether your right wing or left, you had better hope Warman loses.


other blog updates:

Conceited Jerk has started posting again, which is good to see. Go check him out if you haven't stopped by in a while.

I would like to wish Jim Cotton well with his newsletter project.

There's a couple other local blogs that I'll be adding to the roll:

Winnipeg Love & Hate Awsome (slightly-photoshopped) pictures of our fine city. Updated almost daily.
Weirdos of Winnipeg Like the name says, pretty much. h/t: Alex on NewWinnipeg
Slurpees and Murder Yes, really .. it's a Winnipeg blog. I know it's hard to believe with a name like that.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

"I don't think it was ever about the cost."

Sounds like something a person might say when they are spending someone else's money.

A $175,000 eagle statue has some people from a Manitoba First Nation questioning the spending decisions of their council.
Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches said the statue is a tribute to residential school survivors. Some people who live on the reserve said they were left out of the decision to purchase the statue -- and feel the money could have been better spent. [ctv]
Even if the money came from VLT revenues, every dollar spent on this is a dollar less for community necessities.
Chief Meeches wants to build a $250,000 garden on the site where the eagle currently sits, and is hoping governments will help fund it.
I am guessing that climbing beans are not on the agenda for the garden.
x-posted at the Broom

Monday 7 April 2008

Signs of spring

How we at the Peanut can tell that spring has arrived:

  • retarded Canada geese flying north. (The smart[er] ones come later)
  • Harleys in front of the Marion Hotel
  • patios (Yay!)
  • water covering the floor of my garage
  • $800 suspension repair on my car
  • squirrels fucking in my back yard.
  • start of the Toronto Maple Leafs spring golf league.
  • really really annoying construction projects:

Ahhhh ... I've waiting so long for this time to come!

Thursday 3 April 2008

The cheese eating surrender-monkeys are coming!

I have to say I kind of like this Sarkozy dude. First off, the guy is 53 years old, twice divorced, and now he's nailing this:

Gotta give him props for that. [note: I had a different picture up at first, but replaced it for the benefit of those of you at the office. If you want to see it, go here]. Secondly, while leading a nation of passive anti-Americans, he took the step of committing additional French soldiers to serve in relatively dangerous Eastern Afghanistan. Sure, it's only 700 soldiers, but that's a lot more than many of our European allies are contributing, including the Germans. Yes, I know, technically Germany has troops in Afghanistan, but they avoid any sort of mission that could possibly result in them getting dust on their boots, so they don't count. (*)

The French contributions led to a US transfer of troops to Kandahar province, which is good news for Canada. It is sad that our funny-speaking NATO partners are so hesitant join us in the field, but that is really a direct result of the war in Iraq. The US administration tried so hard to link Iraq to Al Qaeda to justify the invasion that the two wars are one-in-the-same for many Europeans. The unpopularity of Iraq has spilled over to Afghanistan, here in Canada too, but moreso in Europe. But anyhow ... hooray for Sarkozy! (and for Carla!)

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