Monday, February 28, 2011

Love Does Not Imply Pacifism: Let Slip the Hybrids of War

I am pretty pro-green. I like the idea of renewable resources, I turn off lights when I think about it, and actively try to cut down on my waste (Nobel prize nominations can be sent here). In recent years, however, the green movement has been gaining momentum and like all major movements when they begin to include people that are not so avid they wear the least comfortable//most expensive bamboo underwear ever made, they have begun to corrode their original message.

The climate-gate scandal, which rocked people's perceptions of global warming with allegations that people who had a vested interest in promoting environmental concern (shouldn't that be everybody?) had faked research and falsified data, traumatized the community and set public opinion back several decades. If we all die because we have forgotten what trees smell like, I am totally going to point to the story as the one that delivered the incapacitating shot to the climate change movement. The news that, apparently, they did not falsify data or behave badly made less than a tiny ripple in the grand news sphere. Did you not hear about that? Neither did almost anyone else. Now, even though we know they acted properly, did not mislead us in any way, the notion is there; The tiny, irritating thought that climate change alarmists had (gasp) DUPED US. Even if they didn't really.

Edmonton's personal shopping spree to bling up the old city center airport grounds,as I have mentioned, includes plan for air turbine, in a desperate nod to green culture and equally desperate attempt to make the Swedes stop mocking us. The "ultimate energy source" may  not be all it is cracked up to be, as a British news report shows; the waste resulting from the mines that provide the magnets required for the turbines is highly toxic, carcinogenic, and being dumped in massive ponds that are seriously harming the local communities (Almost like Tailings ponds. Oh snap!) The truth is that there really is no 'magic' energy. No benefit without a cost.

What more could you possibly bring up, you Debbie Downer?
Just one last thing: natural medication is bought on a sort of "trust" arrangement. We understand that it is a bit uncertain, but it is almost in the faith, in the hope that we are healed. The placebo effect is a powerful motivator that can stymie conventional science. We accept the uncertainty because we believe that the company is too small, too grassroots, too "primal", to do the kind of research that big pharmaceutical companies do; so we support them anyway, because it is what 'small' people do - support each other. We have been duped. Unsurprisingly, as happens with industries that people are willing to spend money on, companies are capitalizing on this trend, but part of the magic of herbal supplements is that they are unproven, untested, underground, and that makes them special. If they shelled out for research, that bond of sacred trust would be broken, and they would be held to the same standards as the regular pharmaceutical companies. Oh, and they would have to spend more money.

So what do we do, Pun'd it? We still like the green movement!
That's good; the movement should continue. I wish people would still use their brains. Nothing comes for free, everything has a price or cost, there is no 'easy' button, and companies want to make a quick profit.We have forgotten how to steer our own wheels, and even with a movement that purports to have our best interests at heart, we should not relax. All it takes is a little due diligence to make sure we are making the best possible choices; in this age of the Internet, it is easier than ever.

In happier news Victor likes me so much, he put a ring on me; I am soon to become Mrs. Canadian Pun'd it. Thank you for sharing my joy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yes Means Yes

Trigger warning of the most obnoxious kind.
In the world of 'rape culture' the most often cited line is "No means no", which reminds people that if someone does not consent, when you force yourself on them, you are committing a crime.
This past week, however, a judge has ruled that a victim's clothes and flirtatious manner invited the rape by implying sex was a possibility. The offender has been handed a two year conditional sentence that means he will not go to jail for this crime. He has also been ordered to write a letter of apology to the victim, but there is no mention if he feels genuine remorse, or even considers what he did to be a crime.

So a 'heads up' to all my ladies, apparently wearing a tube top with no bra, high heels, and "lots of make-up" are an open invitation to any man you smile at. Further to that point, the judge addressed that the victim and her friend talked about going swimming in a nearby lake even though they HAD NO SUITS! Obviously this woman wanted sex. Clearly. She was just playing hard to get.

The lack of details in this case are frustratingly vague; there is no mention if she struggled, attacked him at all, or even said no. Apparently they were in the forest when he forced himself on her. That is all the detail we are allowed, but the details of the incident are pretty critical. I will admit, there is the possibility that the woman did consent, but then later felt regret, and so attempted to save herself embarrassment (it has happened) at the expense of the man but we may never know.

What I am advocating, and is steadily  becoming a movement in certain circles, is the "Yes means Yes" phenomenon. It means that for the first couple times of sexual relations, each partner should only take a clear and precise (and sober) YES to mean "Go ahead and do me!". Obviously once a steady relationship has been formed one is clear to take riskier liberties, but the only way to avoid these kinds of disgusting situations is to make one hundred percent sure that your partner is enthusiastic. Simple lack of consent is just not acceptable. It has always bothered me that one partner's desire (often the woman, but not always)  is typically considered "good enough" if they are not unwilling. We need to redefine sex as between two enthusiastic people.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

None if by Land, and Five Fifty by Sea

This is actually The Pun'd it's first joint post; it is written by both myself and a bottle of chocolate red wine called Chocovine. If you ever want to buy Baileys but are too cheap, go pick it up; it is indistinguishable and 14%.  
Recently America has been debating charging Canadians an additional $5.50 just to enter the States and needless to say, Canadians are honked off. It will apply to both flights and naval incursions, thus encouraging heavier vehicle traffic, because I assume the recent recession has hit the American road construction industry hard. The main motivation is, of course, to alleviate a geographic problem: That money is in Canadian pockets when it should be in American pockets.

In our single-minded, childish fashion, like a little boy at summer camp whose bed has been short-sheeted, we have began to stamp our feet and holler about how if they charge us, we will totally charge them right back...but, but, harder! This is typically followed with some cheap-shot about a weight surcharge. But as satisfying as this sensation this would be, we would squander a valuable opportunity to focus inwards.

The Tyee wrote an excellent article on the "buying local diet", also called the "Ten percent shift" campaign by the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. They are committing to allocating ten percent of their income to products that are designed, sourced, or manufactured in Canada. According to a U.S. study, businesses with a "buy local" program experienced a 5.6% growth in revenue, while those without only registered 2.1%.  Even a small commitment to buying local can keep money in the local economy, and eventually cause a ripple effect, making future, larger commitments easier. Rather than focusing on being vindictive, we should take this opportunity to find and support local opportunities. Except for that guy down the street with the luncheon meat in his pockets. Don't buy that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good Fences part 1

As Vic and I were playing Stratego this morning, I noticed he was moving a piece stealthily towards my end zone, so I sniped it; you see, despite how much I love him, I am aware that good fences make good neighbors, and not being a doormat is the key to individual sovereignty. Perhaps I should mail a copy of the board-game over to Stephen Harper and ask him to invite Obama for a sleepover.

Back when we were all scarfing Bon-bons and  watching "Love Actually" over St. Valentine's day, Canada was having a ball allowing United States troops free reign to our homeland. To be precise, they are not allowed to just traipse over for the weekend; we have to invite them in cases of emergency, which here means floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the effects of a terrorist attack. The point of the program is to save lives, prevent destruction of property, and establish order. My Police State Panic pants were getting dusty from lack of use, so I am quite pleased to break them out for this occasion.

It is cold comfort, when considering this development, that Canada is capable of sending troops down south;  Even considering the greater frequency of catastrophes the United States experiences that could require our assistance, there is still a greater chance that we will require the sheer number advantage the States commands. The main concern that is being voiced is who will be doing the asking, why, and what will we do if we decide we are done with them but they will not leave?

The purported authority for inviting the troops up here is alleged to be the department of Public Safety Canada, which also deems Computer Viruses to be an emergency, and is responsible for a plethora of safety concerns such as Olympics and gang violence. In other words, there is a laundry list of reasons to haul the Americans up here to cover our butts. The head of the department is Public Safety minister Vic Toews, who has fallen a long way from the days when he defended citizen's right to protest, calling it a "constitutional right".

A lot of people have criticized the Canadian government for keeping quiet on the issue; while American sites are heralding the cooperation, there is no mention of the policy on Canadian sites, even the Public Safety Canada newsroom fails to mention the agreement. It is distressing that we have to rely on American news sites for information on Canadian matters.

The functional way this scenario will play out is that Canada is allowed tactical control of the troops, but Americans will still maintain command of the troops, so in a difference of opinion, their decision will take precedence. What I cannot help but wonder is how the Canadian police will establish control in case the Americans run amok, considering the lower fire-power, fewer numbers, and different mandate ("Serve and Protect" is a far cry from "Kill a Man Through his Nostril") For that matter, will the troops even be subject to Canadian laws? Does that mean we may be playing host to Blackwater troops, whose antics are pretty uncomfortable, and are decidedly NOT subject to foreign laws while conducting exercises?

Some Americans are concerned this is an American plan to override the Posse Comitatus, which outlines that Federal troops are not allowed to conduct law enforcement activities without the permission of Congress. The Americans are concerned because Canadian troops would not be held to this same law but apparently we are comfortable allowing those same troops to conduct law enforcement activities in Canada.

The final thought, for now, I have on the subject is the recent pipeline plans. With the flagrant bombings and multiple explosions being committed in Southern Alberta and B.C, the government could very easily declare them terrorist activities and bring in States troops to establish law while it builds the expensive new pipeline.
There is far too much implicit here to disseminate in one post; likely the rest of the week, barring exciting developments, will focus on unpacking this new agreement.

Monday, February 21, 2011

We Do Not Love the Way You Lie

As an adult I am frequently reminded of the fact that if you act like you are guilty, you probably are.
Sometimes you have the stupidest openings.
I like suspense, Dear Reader; some anticipation before you find out I am talking about Bev Oda's idiotic alteration to a parliamentary document. Trust is a fragile little birdie. If you hold it too strong, you end up strangling it, but if you hold it too loosely it flies away, and typically poops on you as it goes.
Nice analogy.

Back in 2009 the government was looking at aid group funding, including funding for a church-based group called Kairos. Some speculation abounds that the government was looking to cut funding to groups that did not support the government's beliefs, but the basis for Kairos is a span of nine churches including catholic, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and Evangelical Lutheran churches among many other organizations, so it is hard to argue that perspective. The official reason for the funding cut was that the focus of the group had shifted from where the government wanted to focus; some of the group's primary mandates include: support of Canada's aboriginals; empowering and defending women (especially those of native ancestry); and developing a better energy alternative to the tar sands, all of which are programs I dearly support and it would be super cool if my government supported the things I supported. The CIDA funds groups based on three criteria, but they have made it clear that a group could support these goals and still be denied funding, due to the increased demand for funding. The goals in questions are:
1. Increasing food security
2. Securing the future of children and youth
3. Stimulating sustainable economic growth

All of these are heavily geared towards the millennium goals pledged by Canada, and supported by three additional goals
1. Increasing environmental sustainability
2. Promoting equality between women and men
3. Helping to strengthen governance institutions and practices

The proposal to continue funding for Kairos was put before the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and they allegedly concluded that funding should be continued; the brief document illustrating as such now contains a strategically placed "NOT" in the phrase "That you sign below to indicate you approve a contribution..." which reverses the meaning from recommending funding to not recommending funding. Three signatures grace the bottom; Dr. Naresh Singh, who has contributed environmental issue papers to many journals,  Margarat Biggs, who has gone on record saying she did not know where the alteration came from (she allegedly does not have a problem with the decision, however), and the final one being Beverly Oda, who insisted (twice) she did not know who put the "NOT" on the paper.

Apparently papers are typically submitted in this fashion, with alterations and comments, so the lack of alarm at the time is unremarkable; what is notable is that Prime Minister Steven Harper has insisted she had the authority to override the committee's decision, but that raises two uncomfortable questions:

1) If she did posses the authority, why would she lie about doing so to avoid admitting to it? It is true it was an unpopular decision, but government policy cannot take place in a vacuum - we need to hear about decisions.

2) If she has the authority to override their choices with her personal decisions, without even informing people who had previously signed off a completely opposite decision, there is no need for a committee at all. We can  just let Beverley Oda make all the decisions; They are trying to enforce austerity protocols, cutting an entire government department seems a logical move.

If the government wants to shrug its shoulders and accept the whole issue, fine. If it genuinely feels no harm is done, that perhaps Mrs. Oda did not want to be connected to the unpleasant decision of cutting funding for a charity group, fine. But the important detail to me is that I disagree with the change in funding - I want that group funded. With the loss of funding to many woman's groups (Kairos being just one), issues like the decision to keep Caribou classified as threatened instead of endangered as recommended by conservation groups in Alberta, and the deliberate ignoring of proper parliamentary procedure, it is unclear how we can hope to make an international difference, if we can not even support these goals within our own country.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: U.S. HB 1171

Whenever I watch movies like V for Vendetta or read books like 1984, I always scoff to myself, quietly, inside my head, wondering how things could ever get so bad. I like to believe they could not possibly get that bad; people would notice and Do Something. But I understand now, after reading almost all day and periodically staring melodramatically into the distance; All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. For we must be vigilant, watchful, and diligent; the steady oozing of malevolence is cunning, and never sleeps. Our rights can be frittered away like tiny grains of sand until we only notice when we try to build our castles in the sky, only to have our solid footing dissolve out from under us.

Okay, no more wine for you.
No, seriously, Dear Reader, I am stone cold sober! More than that, I am APPALLED. We would recognize evil, wouldn't we? We would hold it up to the light to watch it sizzle away like the demon it is...right? If there were ever a law allowing any random individual with a gun and a grudge to kill people, the outcry would be monstrous. Nothing gives the random public the right to kill anyone for any reason (Protection of domain and person arguments aside), right?

I was discussing my blog with a coworker when he suggested I should write about the South Dakota law that would give people the right to kill any doctor who performed an abortion on a woman relation. I am embarrassed to admit I snorted. A rare, incredible moment passed where I dismissed something as mere alarm-ism. It felt so good, I may have even rolled my eyes. But no more. My only dish today was crow.

Check this out: (copy-pasta'ed verbatim from the South Dakota official website)

    Section 1. That § 22-16-34 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-34. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.
    Section 2. That § 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-35. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished. 

That is not even sneaky. You do not even have to read very far into that to see where they are going. Like that time my dog puked in the living room, and the other dog wanted to eat it, so she just slowly sauntered on over, really tame-like, "Do you honestly think you are being clever?"
We may have to rub their noses in this; otherwise how are they going to learn it is wrong?
The bill has been defeated, and if they are smart, they will not try that again, but it just goes to show that not everything is ponies and rainbows, and we must fight to protect what we value. Never forget; CONSTANT VIGILANCE.
Anyway, that is more than enough horror for one day;

 Hey, hey, hey! You do not get away that fast! You said you were anti-abortion!
Yes, but this is SO WRONG! It is so dreadful and annoying to be lumped in with anti-abortion nut-jobs; I can not even call myself "pro-life" because of all the horrible connotations. I am not anti-choice. I love choices. But so many people choose abortion for the wrong reasons, and that needs to be addressed too! So you know what I am? I am Pro-Health. Woman's health, fetal health, mental health, doctor's health. If it is healthy - I support it. There we go.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Baby Takes the Midnight Train

I pay taxes. Too much in taxes, if one were to ask me, but then again, that is the de-facto response from anyone who has a mouth and a property tax bill. When I am forking over the cash this fiscal term, however, I might take small relief in the notion that it is going towards something I actually want to support.

Anyone who is familiar with the blog is aware that I work nights (not for the next week and a half, however! Vacation: all I ever wanted.) With that burden comes the unhealthy lifestyle, constant aggravation, and lingering sensation of being a "second class citizen" because I fail to work the typical 9 to 5, or even, truth be told, some variation of that. I have long bellowed about the city's lack of consideration for those outside the normal work hours box, the diurnal preferential treatment, and the culture of night-worker discrimination that hampers our fair city; if work can only be done in hours dictated by the average stuffed suit, how are we ever going to gain a true competitive edge enough to really start living like we are the fifth largest municipality in Canada (I could scarce believe it either).

Not only does this narrow-minded view hamper our economy, but I believe it also fosters a more dangerous city; most crimes are committed at twilight, when people are tucked away having pot roast and watching Leave it to Beaver. The reduced traffic alienates those of us who find themselves traveling to work when most are putting on their p-jammers. Not to mention how difficult it is to get a decent decaf when I have to schmooze a business associate in the early morning hours (this has never occurred, but I do still want a decaf), all too aware my poor body needs to purge the caffeine in under two hours (another blog post will be relegated to the despicable, loathsome, pernicious baristas who will pour you a regular, then pretend it is decaf. FIE ON YOU.)    

Hey Lady? Eyes on the prize, eh?
Oh. Quite right. Thank you, Dear Reader. Sometimes I get carried away, imagining how many times I have sat to enjoy a quiet breakfast and coffee with my darling before going to bed, only to lie in bed, unable to sleep, playing castanets with my teeth for hours...

Right. So what I am obliquely referring to, is the recent 2011 budget allowance that includes $250,000 worth of accommodations for a proper nightlife on Jasper ave, by which I do not mean better bars. I mean cleaning up littering, public urination, aggressive behavior, and late-night transportation issues. I genuinely do not care if drunk people have a nicer place to piss when they finish their eighth whiskey-coke, what I care about is this: having to step in piss; about the tiny notion, however small, that I may one day be able to drive only a little, and transit to work at any hour; and, on those rare occasions I find myself unarmed downtown, not having to employ every available reflective surface to check and see if I am being tailed (I reserve that for my hobby - theme music included).

This represents the hope that I may one day be able to pretend I am a normal human with a normal job, and actually find a decent lunch that does not include the prefix "McFoodstuffs" (I kid; even starving  I don't eat that garbage.) One day, maybe soon, this city will not shut down just because the sun has gone to bed; maybe we will return to the community that earned awards for its police-community joint program; Maybe we could become a cohesive, formidable City of Champions that could rise together to protest when we are snubbed millions that were damn-near promised for an Expo bid.
Oh yeah, and maybe we will stop setting a new record for homicides. But it is mostly about the food.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hey! Council! Leave Those Cars Alone!

I have resisted posting about the snow and its removal from the streets of Edmonton for a while, and now I am really pleased I did, because I have a real doozy.
My car is a standard, and I have it equipped with all season tires that served me well last winter, and I assumed would continue to do the same. This year, in Edmonton, I was stuck in the snow severely enough to be pulled out no fewer than seven times. One time I even parked on what I had perceived to be solid ground, but turned out to be a ramp of slippery ice that ducked my car nose first into a wind row and refused to let me back up. That incident occurred at ten o'clock at night, while I was alone, in my belly-dancing gear, on 118th avenue, which, although it is getting better due to some valiant community efforts, is not the place for a lady to be stuck at a scary hour of the night. Ordinarily I would consider this my own fault for not investing in better tires, and concluded the matter by shaking my fist at the sky that cursed me with such snow, but when I consider it took over a month for the snow to be successfully removed from Edmonton, while St. Albert, its arguably sleeker northern neighbor, and even little Morinville had the snow removed within one to two weeks respectively. Needless to say, I was a bit choked to hear the following sentiments from Edmonton's councilors.

They were debating, today, just as I walked in, evaluating the Edmonton snow removal program to possibly revamp it for future efficiency, something, one councilor vouchsafed, they have been considering since the mid 1970's. As they pondered back and forth (Really, how bad are three foot wind-rows?) one councilor, Jane Batty, spoke up in defense of the snow program, outlining how she believed Edmontonians should have better tires, and implying that we should all take partial blame for getting stuck. Let me say that again; She believes we should take partial blame for not having better vehicles.

This whole argument crumbles when you consider how city council whined that even their snow removal trucks were getting stuck and the fact that other cities seem to have handled okay without mass catastrophe. (unless they had a really big sale on winter tires the week before...) Councilor Ed Gibbons was quick to point out that the council acknowledged that they had been caught "with [their] pants down", and so you would assume that the council would side with the motion and deal with this outrageous problem.

Not so. Kim Krushell raised a motion to defer the report to March 8th, and despite Kerry Diotte's staunch view that they should move immediately, the motion to defer was approved by everyone present, except for Mr. Diotte. So it will be at least March 8th before reforms to the snow program are even sniffed at.
Perhaps the citizens of Edmonton should petition for a car allowance so we can all afford the kind of cars council feels we should have.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So, No on the Giant Ball Pit?

Edmonton, having tucked its central airport into the ground and scattered the sod, is now looking to re-imagine and reinvent the area into a full community; a herculean task incorporating commercial, family housing that honors the history of the airport, which still looking to become more environmentally sustainable. We have taken proposals from five engineering companies from around the world, and today the concepts were unveiled. I have given them a brief scan, but it is a massive pain to do so online, if Dear Reader is interested, I would highly suggest wandering over to take a look in person.
Alright, as promised I managed to wander on over to city hall and gander at the proposal boards, despite being pretty star-struck from the sky-high windows of City hall. 
A dominant theme in all the proposals seems to be altering the topography, breaking up the large, flat area into ditches to corral water and provide activities, but I am unsure why people seem intent on turning the runways into giant flowerbeds, as though using the available concrete pad would be bad. Another thing no one seems to have tipped  off these dreamers about is that in Canada, a large, flat, pool of stagnant water is a mosquito love-ground. Without adequate measures in place to either spray for pests (which I hate) or constantly break up the placid water, we have a large bug problem on our hands. I also dislike how everyone brings up the LRT connections, as though the City was not going to do that already (Holy smokes, guys, have you heard of this El-Ar-Tee thing?!); No taking credit for our ideas, please. The other problem is that three of them noted how much Edmontonians consumed, saying if everyone in the world consumed as much as we did, mankind would need four planets to sustain ourselves; because nothing starts a proposal off like a lecture about how we are bad, bad people.

The Kansas proposal focuses too much on open space concept, and although the gardens are a nice touch, we run the risk of incorporating too many hobo friendly spaces and initiatives, such as the complete accessibility and the foliage. Carbon neutral by 2020, but a private waste sorting seems a waste of money if it cannot be expanded into a whole-city endeavor. There also is little to suggest comfortable integration into the existing roadways, but further examination may prove this false. A complete review of this proposal confirmed what I was concerned about; it does not really matter how many ravines or interesting hills you have if every building resembles a bunker. Just big block squares far as the eye can see.  Their claim that every point is accessible is 5 minutes sounds like reckless hyperbole meant to compete with other buisness' proposals that any point is accessible in twenty minutes. Also, their concept picture is populated with random people images that I recognize from Google. I searched for 2girls1cup for a half hour, to no avail.  

The U.K proposal bisects the space less aggressively, but  relies more on natural forms of energy conservation, gray water systems and solar collection,  rather than the manufactured ones suggested by Kansas; this would seem to save us money that we can put towards other endeavors. They also offer a greater variety of spaces, public and private, home and business, but the extravagant "main street entrance" runs the risk of partitioning the location, turning it into a gated downtown community. The dominant theme is merging outdoors and city life, but the private spaces, like apartment courtyards, are sort of creepy in a downtown area. Worse, they propose to surround the outside with the highest value properties, which serves to increase the feeling of a gated community, into which no darkness shall enter...

The Netherlanders incorporate the existing roadways into the new space, which would certainly help accessibility, since navigating around that area is mildly annoying right now, and focuses on "magnets" that specialize in certain services, "community sports magnet", "commercial magnet" and "transit" to name a few. They also incorporate a line of wind turbines into the location, however, which is unlikely to ever fly (Har. Har.)but is a nice touch.The eco-houses are quite admirable, and I hope we can incorporate something similar into any winning design, but they still have those wind turbines and the gray water system empties into the canal, where they suggest people can bathe.  Because that is something we really want to encourage in Canada. Outdoor bathing. In public.

The proposal from Vancouver got an automatic boost because it was Canadian, I am shamelessly pro-Canadian, and had me tearing up within a minute by suggesting we name one of the community towers after Margaret Littlewood, the only female flight instructor at Edmonton's old air base. It may be a nose-leading plug, but it totally worked on me. I can also appreciate their emphasis on using local resources, such as local food, in which the interest has been growing, but they do it through community gardens, or hobo-magnets as I call them. This is the first display to suggest a carbon program that can be expanded to include all of Edmonton eventually (other than filling the city with windmills) and so help me, I like this one.
I like it marginally less now that I have read about their "underground vacuum garbage tubes", which I am certain will result in at least a few deaths in their first few years of existence, but with Edmonton's homicide rate where it is, maybe it will lower the risk we suffer of tripping over a body.  And they have windmills. What did we do to piss off Vancouver?

Although I had expected the most from the Swedish proposal, the video is half over before they say anything substantial other than, "Check out our engineering muscles!" and "We should, like, use less energy!" I am interested to know how spaces can be both child and senior friendly, other than simply shoving everyone into giant, soundproof bubbles. (Kids would enjoy it and they would potty-train themselves [sorry for that visual], and old people would both be safe from harm in a peaceful, quiet area.) They also mention gardens, but save themselves with the notion of urban farms. If we are to have urban, sustainable gardens, they are going to have to be professionally done, that is just how it is. As a grand finale, they remind us that we are all going to have to go to school to learn how to be as environmentally friendly as Sweden. I can not make this up. Seeing the proposal in person did nothing to diminish the arrogance of the company; the headline on a board says the proposal was not about "a design competition" or finding "a winning master-plan" to which I wondered, since when? Of course it is.  The design also features a closed waterway which will either become stagnant or run up power bills to artificially move it. The rest of the proposal was confusing, citing things like the "Bohemian index" and the number of patents per capita (Are there any in Edmonton?). It is intended to house people "cradle to grave", but the cost of building the overly ambitious houses may sink us.

Anyway, I hope to go check out some of the actual display boards so I can get a better feel for the proposals, since I think I am missing a lot of the details, unless they were blatantly thrown in my face. I will try to check it out tomorrow, or next Tuesday at the latest.
In perusing them all, I have come to the conclusion that they all need to revamp the gray water system since, if I recall correctly, some medications like birth control are not filtered out adequately.

UPDATE: 24/06/11
It seems that the Vancouver proposal has been selected! We await the vacumn tubes with much anticipation! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: A Woman's Rebuttal

I started  my morning today with Yukon Jack's "My big yap" feature on the bear radio station. Well, this is a lie, I started it groggy-eyed and blearily staggering around the kitchen wishing I could convince my early-morning self to become my wakeful self in time to give rest-of self some coffee, but once I had achieved a state of traffic, I turned on the radio in time to hear Yukon Jack give his view on Valentine's day.

Last year I had the fortuitous timing in my job to be going for a half an hour drive every day exactly when his program would come on and I always loved it; I must confess, I almost always agreed with him. (Except when the whole Tiger Woods story broke and Yukon was insisting Tiger could not just say "No comment" because Yukon felt we all had a "right" to know what was going on, to which I screamed, "No we do not! It is his personal life, we should piss off!" but even then I could almost see where he was coming from, Tiger being a public role model and all.) But Yukon's Valentine rant, so typical around this time that sometimes I mouth along to the words, had me hopping up and down on my seat hollering, "You bastard!".

"It is a corporate plea for money!" They bleat, "They are abusing our notion of Love!" So what? Companies have press-ganged our notion of kindness and charity for Christmas, but we still focus on the meaning of Christmas, which is Jesus if you are religious, and togetherness if you are not (Or scotch-eggs. Whatever you want.). Even the fact that atheists have dissociated Christmas from its origins enough to celebrate it implies that it does not matter much where it came from, just what it means now.

"It makes men buy stuff for women! I don't need a day to be romantic!" Obviously you do! Do you honestly think that if you brought your lady flowers once a month and told her how beautiful she is (not just to get sex, FYI, and yes, we can tell when you are) constantly, do you genuinely believe she would balk at not having something that one specific day? "Of course she would!" the indignant male population choruses (In harmony), to which my reply is, "Why the hell are you dating someone so shallow then? You have only yourself to blame if you stick your balls in a bear-trap and it hurts" (This analogy falls apart because one is incapable of opening the bear-trap, whereas one certainly can get out of a bad romance).

"There is no day for men!" Holy flipping truffle pops, guys, we have no copyright on the day! If you want it, open your damn fool mouth and say, "Jeez sweetie, what are you getting me for Valentine's day?" Just like you whine that the ladies do. Then, perhaps, if you were both being appreciated in the fashion you like, you might look forward to the day.

Until  then, just shut your whining cake-hole.

Footnote: I feel it is relevant to point out that I did enjoy my Feast of St. Valentine; Victor and I went to the restaurant down the block, we had planned on dressing, but dressed comfortably instead, had steak and a bottle of red, then stumbled the half block home, and passed out watching hilarious British comedy. Idyllic. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Canada to Take Running Start at Brick Wall

What happened to Canada's good name?
From the lost security seat on the UN, the whistler dog tragedy, the European ban on seal meat imports, the campaign against our oil sands, to the fact that we cannot make up our mind on staying in Afghanistan or not (thus pissing off people that want us to leave AND stay) it is clear that we are getting a bum rap in the international news circuits lately.

There is no point in stamping our feet about the security position anymore (that is gone like Brittany's career), I already think any international dispute about the oil sands can kiss my butt, and we only need to come down hard on the dog-killing doofus to gain face there, but the seal meat ban is a problem. A recent challenge has gone from the federal government to the World Trade Organization to appeal their May, 2009 decision to ban the import of seal meat, a ban which some people estimate costs Canada $2.5 million a year just in straight revenue, let alone lost jobs and slackening industries (No word on the boost to "cute seal picture calender" companies).

Although I am the first one to advocate ass-kicking when it comes to Canadian sovereignty (I had my heart surgically altered to resemble a maple leaf - I occasionally black out, but it was totally worth it!), the problem is we missed the big "bad-guy" paint brush. We could fight the ban, even have it removed, but without the demand for the product, it is so much waste time and effort. Ordinarily, when a ban is imposed, you see a surge in demand as people rush to stock pile the good prior to the ban; with seal meat, however, the demand had dropped precipitously even before the imposition. Canada was totally rejected by a country that eats horse meat. This is worse than that time in 6th grade you caught your crush sniffing his own underwear but you still liked him so you asked him out anyway, and he just pushed snow in your face and told everyone in the class that you smelled funny.

But who can blame them? I mean, even here at home we are sniffing our own underwear...I mean, refusing to eat seal meat; why are we expecting different from the Europeans just because they don't shave? If we can not even support our own industry, it is rude to impose on others to do so. The worst part is the people suffering the ill effects are not some corporate fat cats (I have always wanted to use that phrase) in an ivory igloo; it is the average worker in Newfoundland and Labrador, the average Inuit who relied on the trade for income, in other words, it is just the average Canadian. The federal government wasting its time appealing decisions that were approved 550-49 when, even if successful, they will do no good, is ridiculous, no matter how hard the government bleats about the fact that the decision was based on "emotions" rather than rational thought. That door has closed, stop calling, stop texting, and stop sitting outside their window playing "In your eyes". It is so over.

In international news, Hosni Mubarak has stepped down. Go on, protesters, strut like an Egyptian!
Today, the proudest boast is: Little man, squiggle, squiggle, sun, eye, dancing lady, sitting dog!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Yeller x 1 Million

Trigger warning, This story was just about one of the hardest things I have ever had to read about and comes close to making me physically ill.

Over the course of the winter Olympics in Vancouver,  many industries contingent on the tourism boom flourished and prospered. Many of these were shut down afterward, since the slackening demand makes it too unprofitable to continue running. Although I had seen posters denouncing the evils of things like circuses and other places that employ animals, I had never considered the actual reality of that world; the immense cost to keep animals that means any slight dip in revenue causes a large loss very quickly. When one sledding company in Whistler B.C experienced the post-Olympic drop, it found it was saddled with about a hundred dogs that were expensive to keep and care for.

With typical business thinking, the company noticed they were losing money, and since that is a mortal sin, they decided to get rid of the dogs. The reports all use the phrase "euthanize" but that is offensive to people who support doctor assisted suicide by implying the two scenarios are similar in any respect. The death of these dogs was needless and cruel. It would have gone unnoticed had the worker who was responsible for the killings not filled a workman's compensation claim for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because the executions were so gruesome (there are plenty of details about them online - I will only say that it did not go smoothly).

I genuinely believe the worker should receive the psychiatric treatment he has requested: In prison. If he is unwilling to own up to the fact that he brutally, needlessly, killed around one hundred animals, then he should be left to his own devices, not subsidized for lacking the backbone to refuse to kill one hundred animals he  has allegedly raised himself. Especially when a veterinarian they had approached to humanely put the dogs to sleep refused, saying he would not kill healthy animals. Perhaps that should have been a sign to call authorities.

It is a problem in our society when people who are told to do something by their jobs just shrug off their moral convictions and do whatever. Back when Milgram first conducted his experiment on obedience, he found a large percentage (over half) would punish a helpless "volunteer" up to the point of death because they had been told to do so by a scientist. It has been theorized that if we somehow were to obtain clearance for a similar study now,  we would find an even higher proportion willing to do anything as long as they are able to pass the blame on to someone else.

Needless the say, the company should also be held accountable. Each party should bear the complete burden of guilt,  accompanied by whatever compensation they should be billed for. The only good that has come from this is that I have no doubt many people in Canada, such as myself, will think twice before participating in any business that incorporates animals unless we can be certain the animals are humanely taken care of. We like to assume a regulatory body has a tight hold on animal cruelty cases like this, which should be easily monitored given the fact that it was a business, but it seems we were too naive.

With a lighter note to end on, Bill C-389 has passed the second reading and on to the house of Senate! It gives me warm fuzzies to know we are making progress in this area.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Foxes in Fiscal Hen Houses

In anticipation of an intensive post I put food in the microwave and accidentally started it for 25 minutes, but when I pressed "reset" it ignored me and continued cooking; My first thought was that it had gained sentience and was revenging itself on me. I need a hobby. 

To spare Dear Reader the agony of trolling through pages and pages (and PAGES) of legislative debate notes, I shall try to just condense it down to the informative highlights.
1. A Senator saying tax cuts were "stupid economics".
2. The testimony of The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association arguing for corporate tax cuts, which seems a bit self-serving, but then again, I find myself arguing in favor of personal income tax cuts. 
3. A Senator pointing out that corporate tax cuts were promised a while ago, and so businesses have been operating under those assumptions for a while in areas like hiring, investment, and policy making.
4. A report found the multiplier effect, which is typically the greatest consideration factor when defending tax cuts to promote the economy, for businesses to be .30, while it was a solid dollar for households.  (Even more [$1.70] for the lowest income households, but that felt a little like clubbing baby seals - and I do not mean taking them out to an awesome techno party)
5. If we taxed Oil companies at the regular rate, they would provide $1.9 Billion in taxes.
6. The Hon. The Speaker reminding everyone they are not allowed to personally insult each other.

I tend to remain open-minded on budgetary issues, since when dealing with an ornery beast like the economy a careful hand and economic background are best. I have no illusions that my two courses in economics have somehow equipped me to evaluate fiscal policy. I do, however, know how to assess arguments, and when people appeal to citizen's emotional sides such as asking how many Canadian lives could be lost by a budget that does not approve corporate tax cuts, it is a pretty clear sign that you have no rational point. It also seems preposterous to reduce corporate taxes from 18% (reduced to16.5% this January) to 15% (in 2012) based on information that was obtained back in 2007.

All in all, however, a Liberal from Mississauga said it best, "Maybe the timing of the tax cuts is the critical issue, not that tax cuts might be good or bad in certain circumstances. Right now we know one thing, and that is people are hurting." 
It will be interesting to watch the tax developments to see where loyalties lie. 

One final note; Bill S-7 giving Canadian citizens the ability to sue other people and other countries for damages suffered due to terrorism has passed the first reading. This means I am this much closer to suing America for Fox News. It is a good day.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sorry, Philosophical Ideology is Not on the List

The Legislative assembly was having a debate this morning about Bill C-389, which is the private member's bill that suggests the terms "Gender Identity or Expression" should be added to the list of things we are not allowed to discriminate against a person because of.

Despite some weak and sad objections about how this will turn everyone gay and cause complete societal breakdown, the plan to add it is pretty solid. Transgendered individuals, as one MP pointed out, are in danger of discrimination, harassment, or even assault, by people that can not seem to expand their world view past a few  micrometers. If adding an amendment can help alleviate even a little bit of this discomfort in the lives of people who already have a lot of difficulty, carry on.

The bit I fail to understand is the precise wording of the discrimination ruling. It suggests pretty clearly that you are allowed to discriminate against people unless your motivation for doing so is one of the privileged reasons they outline. Imagine if we applied this principle to other areas of law: You may not kill anyone for these reasons;  no-one shall speed because they are late or pregnant; no donations of more than $500 shall be made to a political party in the hopes of bribing them. It seems a strange direction to approach prohibition from; permissive with exceptions.

Anyway, I scheduled sometime to be sick today (3pm to 8pm), but I am still being shoved onto the trucks to work for my wage tonight, so wish me luck!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

False News Deadline

Just in case you are living under a rock (A valid lifestyle change nowadays) I would like to clue everyone in to the fact that tomorrow, Monday, at midnight eastern standard time, is the deadline to complain about the CRTC's proposed amendment to the false or misleading news bill. They are gearing up to add the modifier that it is not permissible to broadcast false or misleading news if it endangers the public's lives, health, or safety.
Personally, if you are just accepting what the major news networks give you at face value, you deserve what  you have coming, but I suppose we should maintain some semblance of truth.
If it goes through, though, you will always have me, Dear Reader. I will never intentionally lead you astray, unless it is really, really funny.

French for Broth Foot Bath

While wasting time today I was led to the Wired website's list of 100 perfect gifts whether you have been naughty or nice. It is fortunate I found it post-Christmas since most of the top drool-worthy items range upwards of $400. If you have time, I would strongly suggest wandering around in it, since it is ridiculously interesting.

The item that caused me the most pause, however, was a consumer level Sous-vide. Now, full disclosure, I had no idea what it was, but I am always keen to try new cooking methods and the review talked about it in such glowing terms that I could literally feel my mouth fill up with drool, and I had yet to even see any actual consumables. The curious Tarsier I am, I immediately Googled the process and was dazzled by descriptions of 1970's France and chefs with numbers written in French next to their names. All clear signs this stuff must cook food by radiating it with the solemn power of lesser Hawaiian deities and reduce it to a single atom of calorie that is the complete essence of "tasty". I was pretty sure, after eating something that had exited this French miracle, that I would never need to eat again.

I tooled along into the section marked "Sous-vide 101" since I had no compunctions about flaunting my lack of knowledge in this arena, and since I was sure this would be the next big thing, I wanted to be fully informed so I could jiggle my expertise in the face of lesser-knowing plebs (I am coming out of the closet here; I am a total expert-addict. I want to act like I know everything - ALL THE TIME [My family: "No shit"]) and feel, let us be frank here, like a total stud.

The article is accessibly written, describing the usual cooking process and how it is so vastly inferior to this new technology that by the end you wonder if the only food you have been eating up to this point is charred tire rims (Is that where the honorific "Michelin star" came from? Being able to cook so well people will eat a tire?) I found myself bobbing my head in agreement, yes the cooking process does tend to overcook things, that is so true, and yes the shrinkage of foi gras is so costly (Usually the only way shrinkage is costly for me is in liquor to bolster flagging ...self esteem). It is true their main example was steak and my personal opinion is that any steak that has to even look at fire is overcooked (I typically cook it with my body-heat - just slap it under your shirt for a little bit. You get a bit of body-hair garnish, but then you can skip flossing) but anyone that knows me is aware I am not about to let a little thing like complete lack of relevance to my life stop me from learning something new.

The first spasm of disbelief came when I realized how often "water" was mentioned, and was confirmed when I found the easy to read directions, for people who just were not getting it yet, at the bottom of the page.
1. Season and Seal
2. Simmer
3. Serve
At this point I am willing to guarantee anyone in the Military, Cadets, and outdoor enthusiasts are smelling a finely boiled rat at this point because I was having flashbacks so strong I began to suspect the juice I was drinking had fermented. (About bleeding time - that was a whole pack of yeast) As a cadet whenever we went camping the main source of food was a small brown bag called an IMP or Individual Meal Packet. Created by the Military to provide cheap, easy, nutritious, long-lasting meals, we were gifted these by the government when they had an overstock. These self-contained sources of food had utensils, condiments, seasoning, meal, sides, bread, dessert, coffee and juice, gum, matches, napkin, and the bag could hold water over a fire to, you guessed it, boil your food. They arrived vacuum-sealed, they stayed fresh so long we used to joke about eating something that was created when you were born, and we loved them for the novelty. I hear since military men are occasionally confined to eating only them for months at a time, they are less fond. Functionally what this boils down to is that I am a highly trained Sous-vide chef and I did not even know it.

Oh but it is precision temperature for optimal blah blah blah.
Let us cut the crap. It is a Ziploc bag in a counter-top jacuzzi. For the restaurant this is a cheap way to make entrees in advance then heat and serve with a minimal of cost and fuss, for the average home-owner it is a slow-cooker and a tap (Vacuum-seal not included). If anyone was planning on buying one, I would appreciate a cut of the $500 you save. They even have a break-down of the functions/advantages of the Sous-vide against a slow-cooker and an immersion circulator, but despite the high number of "yes" labels, they could not bring themselves to claim the cooker or circulator did not do these things, and so exchanged the expected "no" for a simple " - ", which to me represents a small, quiet, face trying very hard to be innocuous while implying "no" as heavily as possible.

Now, if they has marketed this as a $500 hot-tub, we could talk...

Saturday, February 05, 2011

World Wide Elimination! Canadian edition!

I have concrete proof the reason for the existence of the world is to piss me off. I finally had to stop stealing some random "linksys" Internet hookup while at work, and bought my own Internet stick and connection plan like a grown-up. Since Wind mobile offered a no-contract 25$ a month unlimited plan, and all I had to do was buy a hundred dollar stick, I gleefully spent the money, pleased with the whole ordeal. Dimly aware, on some level, that I was flirting with fire, given the recent fervor over the CRTC's smack-down on unlimited, and the government's smack-down on the CRTC, but I was confident the worst I would incur would be a large contract plan for my precious Internet. I had no idea that, just like the WWE, there was another throw-down coming!

This time, in the title-weight bout: TELECOM vs. THE CABINET! And the crowd goes WILD!

As my sardonic readers mark another chalk line on the wall for the dominant ruler in this three-way slug fest, the more observant wonder why this makes a difference to me if I have already resigned myself to the financial slaughter. Apparently, the ruling this is all related to was also the one that sanctioned the emergence of Wind mobile into the Canadian market since, as an almost wholly Egyptian owned company, it fudged a bunch of Canadian corporation laws. So theoretically, it is possible this ruling will be reversed and, I assume, Wind mobile ousted from the company, leaving my husk to be scavenged by whichever Internet company wants to feast on my entrails.

Also, let me put my alarmist pants on, just for a second, and wonder about North America's loyalties to Israel,  and the fact that the Egyptian president who is currently under threat is supportive of Israel, and any new regime might not necessarily be so accommodating, and Wind mobile is Egyptian and may be supporting the revolution (probability 0.01%, one thing that is bad for business is revolutions, and another thing that is extra bad for Internet/phone companies is when the government shuts everything down). This whole convoluted series of events sounds unlikely until you remember that here in Edmonton, we had a man arrested for organizing terrorist activities that killed four United States soldiers. 

Anyway, back into the closet with my pants, and enough of that. The point is we have a fascinating battle for Canadian's browser-powered souls here; there is a lot exciting in Canada lately.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Defining (Ske)Eve

When I woke up this morning, I fully intended to put on my Hippie-Love-Shack pants but I got dressed in the dark and put on my  Alarmist pants instead, so I have been jumping at everything all day. I would have an easier time relaxing if the advertising industry did not make it so easy to over-react though.

Cue the poster that pissed me off this morning. As I wandered through the University this afternoon, a hot pink poster caught my eye and since I must know everything at all times, I stopped to peruse its barbie-flavoured information. The headline read:
"Punch the one you love"
I can not even make this up.
It was a poster for Edmonton's Defining Eve gym/yoga loft/workout space/feel-good space, encouraging people to sign up for their St. Valentine's boxing classes with their loved ones because as anyone who has brought a love interest/spouse to the gym knows, there are plenty of opportunities for romantic moments, looking deeply into each other's eyes as you hork up a lung and contemplate murdering your spin class instructor. (This is obviously a joke. Do not bring your loved one to the gym unless you are not serious about one of two things: Your fitness or your chances with this person. [P.S. Do not post to tell me about how you and your snookums are the perfect gym soulmates - I do not care])

Now, a judicious reading of the poster reveals the slogan to be one of two things: an incitement to domestic violence or a castrating belittlement of female strength, "Go on, punch him! It won't hurt!"
Oh Girl, you are so overreacting! I realize you have The Pants on, but really?
No, Dear Reader, I will not be calmed on this one. With male domestic violence just beginning to come out of the woodwork, the last thing we need is some insensitive garbage like this plugging the idea that women can just beat up on guys and that is "okay" or "normal". Can you imagine if it was aimed at men? "Hey guys, slug her one in the jaw!" My Alarmist pants would have exploded into a pair of Infuriated Short Shorts (One step further is the Incandesent Thong because sometimes a girl has to have her butt hanging out to kick some serious ass).

The other option is just as bad. As a lady with some guns hanging off her (I am totally flexing right now; my bench-mate thinks I am a lunatic.) I have experienced the occasionally sexist attitude (Alright, it was just the once, but it really annoyed me) and it is completely demoralizing. Weight training, self-defense, and other forms of aggressive training are classically considered something women do not get "serious" about. It is typically treated like a hobby, not a serious endeavor, and that is bothersome. Most of these, when one commits, require a pretty serious lifestyle adjustment, and it is tough to fly in the face of public opinion when most people feel comfortable telling you whatever they have on their pea-sized brain. (I hear child-rearing is another topic that everyone is an expert on) It is even worse when your hard work, effort, and commitment are reduced to the kind of accolade given to Farmville accomplishments. So go on, punch him ladies, just mind your manicure! TEE-HEE.

Now that I have calmed down sufficiently to do some looking into it, further information has come to light; their motto is "Because sometimes love hurts" so I guess they are going to go with condoning domestic violence. Capital. 
This is just as bad as that whole City of Edmonton "Only whites are racist" program.

Companies Rule The Conservatives

In anticipation of shoving more CRTC/UBB/Internet garbage in my reader's faces, I have eaten the same meal for the past six days, so now that I am ready to exude spaghetti from my pores, here is some more news on the usage based bilking.(See, I can suffer for my art.)

As should be the case in situations where businesses and the federal boards that love them grow too large for their communal britches, the greater federal government is stepping in to smack people's hands away from the cookie jar of Canadian citizen's pockets. Or at least it plans to posture like it will. ("M-Muh-Muh-Mission accomplished, folks!") Before I get to the cynicism that you all know so well, I have to point out one other thing.

It is not called the Opposition party for nothing. It is one of the perks of being the antagonist is you can pick and chooses the battles to finger-wave at, purporting to support the populous, while your real motivations, intentions, and goals remain hidden behind a veneer of hand-wringing impotence. The very fact that the Liberals and the NDP are linking arms to heckle and molest the Tories about the CRTC's ruling is hilarious because I have got twenty dollars that says if the situation were reversed, the Liberals would have allowed the CRTC to do whatever they wanted (the NDPs would still be hungover from the massive love-fest they had for being elected, so their actions are pretty indeterminate). I hate that newspapers still publish about the opposition's reaction to government rulings as if it changed anything.

Anyway, on to the reason why the Conservative government will hem and haw, scratching their chin and adjusting their glasses while peering at the CRTC issue until such time as the population has calmed a little, then do nothing about it: it is saving them money. Well, sort of. The reason being waved around for the higher billing is to disincentive people from using the Internet for frivolous activities since the companies' systems are unable to handle the high demands and so everyone is slowing down, even the people that the bourgeois consider "important" (Not sure why my thirteen hour cheezburger marathon does not qualify). This means the people that the Internet companies want to keep happy are getting grumpy. To combat this, they jack up the cost of surfing, making people really consider whether they need to stream that video of the funny ostrich. Which is, understandably, infuriating, because what they should be doing, if they were good companies that wanted to continue making money, is expand their system to accommodate for the increased traffic, but the siren call of gouging current customers was better than the possibility of gaining new customers or offering better service to existing ones.

That whole decision making tree means one of two things to me, however: one, the breadth of the Internet empire has become so large and unwieldy that it is unfeasible to grow it any further, or two, the government finally said they would no longer subsidize the growth of the industry, which is also why they will not do anything about the CRTC's ruling. They tired of giving tax money  to the Internet companies to expand their areas, and so figure they will just look the other way past the blatant money grubbing that will finance the expansions from now on. I mean, there is only so long you can keep giving your kid money to build a lemonade stand for until eventually you have to wonder why he does not just build an Orange Julius. Like, seriously, kid, you are fifty.

You bet they are going to keep jerking our chain until past the theoretical might-be-an election, though. No sense spoiling all their fun too soon.

 UPDATE February 2nd,  2011
Holy crap I never thought they would do it. But it looks like they are actually going to do it. Be advised; they have not actually done it, but they have pledged to do it unless the CRTC does it first, but that could be a bluff...
UPDATE February 3rd, 2011
What did I say? What did I tell you? I love gloating so I am going to repeat this; the CRTC is going to debate the decision until May. How convenient. Bookmark the petitions people, because we are going to be kicking asses again in May.

UPDATE February 5th, 2011
Hold my seat, I have to get popcorn for this.