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January 31, 2014

Rob Ford's proposed budget cuts unrealistic and voted down

For the last month Rob Ford has been boasting that he had found at least $50 million in waste in the city budget, but in the end they were deemed too ridiculous and unrealistic. Instead only $726,000 worth of cuts went through council yesterday.

Ford's 18 motions for Toronto's 2014 Budget included:

- eliminating $7 million to plant 97,000 trees - trees that clean up Toronto's air quality, reduce smog, beautify the city, and indirectly boost tourism to Toronto. (Because nobody wants to visit a smoggy city.)

 - $2.5 million in savings by charging $14 for to register for the Welcome Policy, which subsidizes recreation programs for low income families. (Apparently Rob Ford doesn't understand the concept of "low income" families.)

- reversing $600,000 in increases to the student nutrition program. (Something parents of school age children campaigned for in the first place.)

- eliminating security guards at libraries to save $1.6 million. (Because book theft costs the Toronto Library even more to replace stolen books, to say nothing of keeping crime out of the city's libraries.)

- reversing a $390,000 increase to community grant. (Grants that help a variety of special needs.)

- axing council's $3.1-million general expense fund and its $60,000 travel budget, and cutting each councillor's staff salary budget by about 10 per cent. (Ha, like they would ever do that. Why doesn't the mayor axe his own salary first if he wants to halt the gravy train?)

The only two motions that had any impact on the 2014 budget: eliminating the city's employment engagement survey for savings of $250,000, and scrapping two city newsletters worth $476,000.

Total savings = $726,000.

This is Rob Ford's problem when it comes to budget cuts - he doesn't seem to understand that city services are designed to HELP people. Where he sees "gravy" everyone else sees things that are beneficial and needed. eg. If Rob Ford was in charge of an apartment building he would cut off the heat and the hot water, cutback on maintenance to a bare minimum, and fire all the security guards / cleaning / gardening staff, because he would see those things as unnecessary. This is not the kind of guy you want running a city.

Ford's two other successful motions were to request reports on finding $19.1 million in corporate sponsorships for the Pan Am Games and accelerating an effort to streamline city services (which Ford thinks will save $15 million, but might only save $1 or $2 million - or nothing).

Neither of the two reports guarantees any additional money for the city.

The end result was a $9.6-billion budget which passed by a count of 35 to 9, with the mayor and his brother Councillor Doug Ford voting against. After the vote, Rob Ford called it "the worst budget that has ever been presented."

Well who's fault is that? We have a mayor who doesn't seem to comprehend the concept that city services are often necessary - including the ones that protect people, increase tourism and help Toronto's less fortunate.

In the past Rob Ford has made wild claims that his budgets have saved the city "a billion dollars" but there is no actual proof of that when you look at his budgets.

Not even close.

In the past Toronto mayors have always campaigned and wooed councillors to get through the budget cuts or increases a mayor is hoping to get approved. Rob Ford's response has been to try and bully city councillors, calling them childish names, heckling them, acting like a buffoon, etc - as if bullying people would get them to do what he wants.

Rob Ford is not a bridge builder.

Rob Ford is a wrecking ball.

January 30, 2014

Rob Ford had his brother-in-law beaten in prison

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is being sued by his sister's ex-husband who alleges the mayor conspired to have him attacked in jail to prevent Rob Ford's illicit behaviours from becoming known to the public.

Scott MacIntyre, the former common law husband of Rob Ford's sister, says in the statement of claim filed Wednesday that he has known about Rob Ford's crack smoking activities for some time.

MacIntyre was in prison in March 2013 after being charged with threatening Ford, when he was deliberately and brutally attacked by a football player who had been coached by Rob Ford during high school.

MacIntyre alleges Ford conspired with Payman Aboodowleh, who coached high school football with Ford, to have one of their former players, who was also in jail at the time, to beat MacIntyre up. It is unknown how much money Rob Ford promised the player, but it is safe to assume that money changed hands to arrange the beating.

The attack came two months before the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker reported on the existence of a video showing Toronto's mayor smoking crack cocaine. The video is now in possession of Toronto police, who have confirmed the video is real, and that Toronto police have been keeping tabs on Toronto's crack smoking mayor.

Since then a video has come out with Rob Ford angry rant, during which he threatened to kill Toronto's chief of police.

"Ford's drug and alcohol abuse, and his association with criminals to facilitate his drug abuse...are longstanding," MacIntyre writes in his statement of claim. "Ford was anxious that these matters should remain undiscovered."

None of the allegations have been proven in court, but everyone now knows they are likely true due to Rob Ford's past history of lying, scheming, admitted crack smoking, and history of temper tantrums / drunken rages.

Rob Ford's own wife has called the police countless times due to Rob Ford's history of spousal abuse. But she never presses charges against him, always dropping the complaint out of fear of her husband's rages.

The lawsuit also names Ontario's Ministry of Correctional Services, which is responsible for the province's jails, Aboodowleh and Aedan Petros, the former football player who MacIntyre alleges attacked him.

MacIntyre is seeking $1 million in damages from all of the defendants, plus $100,000 from each of them for aggravated, punitive and penal damages. He is also seeking another $100,000 from the ministry, who he alleges breached his charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.

Archery and Bowhunting booming in popularity

By Charles Moffat

Archery and bowhunting are booming in popularity in North America - largely due to all the buzz about archery in movies like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Brave, The Avengers, Hanna and also TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Arrow.

This newfound popularity of archery - and by extension, bowhunting - has boosted the number of people doing archery dramatically.

Bows are flying off the shelves of archery equipment stores. Waiting lists for hard-to-find bows are getting longer and longer.

One young woman reportedly waited 6 months to receive her new handcrafted bow because the company in question was so overwhelmed by the sudden demand for archery equipment.

And it has been persistant.

Ever since the release of the first Hunger Games movie more and more women (and men too) are getting into archery. The fad - if you can call it that - is not slowing down. It is speeding up according to people in the industry. Every month the demand just grows and grows.

Archery stores like Tent City in North York, Bass Pro in Vaughan and even traditional archery stores like "Basically Bows Archery" on Queen Street East in Toronto are doing rapid business and figuratively raking in the dough.

An archery display at Bass Pro in Vaughan.
Adjusting a compound bow at Bass Pro in Vaughan to make sure it is square.
One archery instructor in Toronto reports that people are already booking archery lessons for June and July - partially because he is booked up for most of March, April and May. And this is just January - what would be considered a slow season for archery lessons.

Furthermore there are now more archery clubs than ever before, including Facebook groups like The Canadian Toxophilite Society (Toxophilite is an old fancy word which means a lover of archery). There is also archery blogs, which are becoming a welcome source of information for people who are new to archery.

Many new archers are hesitant to get into bowhunting, but the thirst is still there. One of the reasons to do so is because many new archers believe in ethical hunting, which is actually nothing new. Most hunters believe in ethical hunting - and believe that hunting for trophies is just morally wrong.

Many non hunters have difficulty grasping the idea that hunters believe so strongly in "ethical hunting". We've been raised in a media rich society that has pushed the idea that all hunting is wrong - ignoring the reality that humans eat animals and have always eaten animals since the dawn of cro-magnon man.

But The Hunger Games has brought to attention the fact that regardless of whether you hunt your food yourself, or whether you buy it in a grocery store (a la the fictional people of "the capital"), it is still killing animals for your food regardless. That realization has made many young people to rethink hunting and fishing when it comes to how they choose to get their food.

For example, a single moose would provide a family of three with enough frozen meat in their freezer for a year (not so much that they are eating it every day, but enough that they can eat moose meat regularly without getting bored of it).

In the past I have gone a more traditional route with my own meat. Once per year I buy a pig, pay for the butchering and I get enough ham roasts, sausages, pork chops, butt chops, etc to fill a freezer. By the time the year is over my freezer is almost empty and it is time to order another pig. That single pig provides a good chunk of my protein needs for a year.

Now imagine for a moment if I took up moose hunting with a bow. Or deer. Or elk. Or black bear. Or grouse, goose, duck, wild turkey. I could take my traditional approach even further by hunting the animals I eat during the year, pay for butchering, and stock my freezer accordingly.

It would, I realize, hurt farmers if everyone did what I am proposing. But not everyone is going to suddenly give up farm grown pork, beef, poultry, mutton, etc, so I think the farming industry will be perfectly fine.

I also want to note that you don't need a big expensive compound bow to get into hunting. You just need a bow that has the appropriate poundage (minimum 39.7 lbs for deer, minimum 48.5 lbs for elk, moose and black bear), a hunting license, and hunting tags.

That means that you can hunt with a traditional bow, like the Bear Grizzly bow in the video below.

January 28, 2014

Barack Obama's State of the Union 2014

The big emphasis this year in Barack Obama's State of the Union address was economics and raising the minimum wage of Americans - effectively giving every American a raise.

January 21, 2014

New Rob Ford video, Toronto mayor drunk

A new video of crack smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford has surfaced, this time showing a drunk (and possibly high) Rob Ford talking to some men in a fast food restaurant while speaking in a fake Jamaican accent.

The photo from the right and further below are from the new Rob Ford drunk video.

The video has reignited calls for Rob Ford to resign as mayor and seek rehab for his drug and alcohol addiction.

We must warn you, much of the language used by Rob Ford is considered offensive. The video below is uncensored.

January 17, 2014

The Parti Québécois has lost touch with reality

The first week of hearings into the Parti Québécois’ new "charter of values" concluded Thursday - and it is self evident that the Parti Québécois has lost touch with reality. Why? Because they are making up fictional scenarios to justify the implementation of the charter.

The charter is a proposed ban on public-sector workers in Quebec wearing religious symbols - specifically kippas, yamakas, burkas, niqabs, kufi hats, turbans, and any overly large crosses or other symbols. (No precise size has been determined for what is considered "overt".)

The ban would be a clear violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and also the Quebec Charter of Rights, and therefore would have very shaky legal standing if it ever became a law.

What is funny however is that whenever asked to provide evidence in support of the proposed ban the various members of the Parti Québécois come up with fictional (and high unlikely) stories to support the ban.

Here are some examples.

Yves Gauthier - "Even if we are open and all that, it is not always clear, because having your prostate checked by a digital rectal exam is a little disorienting, at least the first time. I could not see myself, on top of that, dealing with a veiled doctor, with a burka or chador … So yes, especially as a matter of principle, I totally agree that services should be given with the face uncovered."

Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville - "The young man can feel rejected because of the religious symbol worn by the person providing health service in this case. Can you understand that the religious symbol can sometimes be a message of rejection for those who see it?" [Speaking about a hypothetical situation in which a young Muslim homosexual who has been rejected by his family because of his sexual orientation seeks medical care and is greeted by a nurse wearing a hijab who doesn't even know him and knows nothing of his sexual orientation.]


Now it may be just me (and a lot of other people who listen to this BS in disbelief), but it seems to me that the Parti Québécois has had a long history of racism dating back to PQ leaders like Jacques Parizeau who blamed the loss of the 1995 Quebec Sovereignty Referendum on "money and the ethnic vote".

It is a well known fact that many members of the PQ doesn't like immigrants, outsiders and anyone who threatens the racial / religious purity of Quebec - in other words Jews (who wear kippas and yamakas), Muslims (who wear burkas, niqabs and kufi hats), and Sikhs (who wear turbans).

The additional banning of "overly large crosses" is just make it seem like Christianity is also being treated equally, but in reality nobody has defined what counts as an overly large cross so for all we know they might set it to 12 inches or something equally ridiculous. In which case it is safe to assume that 99% of Christians would be unaffected.

So what is next for the PQ? Well, I imagine they will pass a law prohibiting immigrants from riding pink unicorns, because only the Parti Québécois is allowed to ride around on fictional creatures and make up such ridiculous things.

See what I did?

I made up my own fictional bit of reasoning. Equally ridiculous.

The fact is that new laws are only supposed to come into being when there is an urgent demand for such a law and there is ample evidence to support the creation of such a new law. Basing a new law on fictional examples is pure poppycock.

January 4, 2014

The Toronto Escalator Rules

This is hilarious! It isn't really news, but it is worth sharing. It is proof positive that Torontonians get really annoyed when people don't follow their precious escalator rules.


Rule #1. If you don't know the rules, learn the rules.

Rule #2. These rules are not matters of etiquette. They are rules. Follow them or suffer the consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #3. Respect the elderly, pregnant women, and people who are disabled. They can break the rules as they see fit.

Rule #4. If standing on the escalator then stand to the right. Other people will be walking up or down the escalator on the left.

Rule #5. If there is an escalator available going in your direction the you MUST take the escalator. Do NOT take the stairs if other people are coming up or down the stairs from the opposite direction. Taking the stairs when you don't need to makes you subject to consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #6. Go with the flow of traffic instead of annoying people. Blocking the stairs with your stupidity instead of taking the escalator makes you subject to consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #7. No ignoring rules because you are in a hurry. Especially during rush hour times. Other people are in a hurry too so you being in a hurry and breaking the rules is just going to lead to consequences. See Rule #8.

Rule #8. People are encouraged to step on the feet, verbally abuse, elbow and stand in the way of people blatantly ignoring The Toronto Escalator Rules. Do so with the understanding that you can get away with some things, but nothing blatantly illegal.

Rule #9. Remember that elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities are not to subject to Rule #8. Do not elbow them or step on their feet, etc. Remember Rule #3.

Rule #10. When there are no escalators then you must take the stairs. If there is traffic going both ways on the stairs then stick to your right. Don't pass people ahead of you unless you have ample room. Remember Rule #5. If there is an escalator going in your direction, then you MUST take the escalator. Taking the stairs when you don't need to makes you subject to consequences. See Rule #8.


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