Archive for March, 2010

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

March 30th, 2010
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spiral torontoMany of Toronto’s critics, this one included, believe they have waged a war on cars over the past 20 years. The war has been waged in the name of getting people on the TTC: give the city of Toronto a nickel, they’ll buy a quarter’s worth of bike lanes; give them a dollar, they’ll buy $10 worth of street car tracks; give them $10 an they’ll buy $100 worth of subway line. And recall, these people want to tear down the Gardiner Expressway, all the better to see all those condos that dot the lake.

The Toronto Board of Trade issued a report yesterday that says Toronto’s commute time is the worst in 19 major urban centres, including the notorious Los Angeles, and that is a “glaring downfall” in the city’s economic picture.

The Board of Trades solution?

Building the city’s public transit infrastructure is critical to improving productivity, Ms. Wilding [Carol Wilding, head of the Toronto Board of Trade]…

In other words what we’ve been doing the last twenty years isn’t working, but if we do it faster…

Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral ,

Happy 65th Birthday…

March 30th, 2010

Eric Clapton is the original Yardbird guitarist, the first of three to pass through that legendary band and onward to bigger and better.

clapton-2Cream was the original power trio, the model for so many others, including bands like Led Zeppelin who took the musical trio and added a vocal. Clapton was the first guy who brought the Les Paul guitar out of obscurity, plugged it into a Marshall Amp and transformed the look and sound of rock music.

As an musician Clapton has a hand in such works as After Midnight, Sunshine of your Love, Badge, Crossroads, Lay Down Sally, For Your Love, My Fathers Eyes, White Room, I Shot the Sheriff and Wonderful Tonight to scratch the surface.

It is for none of the above that At Home in Hespeler celebrates “Slowhand” Eric Clapton’s 65th today. We Celebrate Eric Clapton because of Layla, one of the most magnificent, deeply felt songs in rock’n’roll. A true work of genius, and a pretty good career in and of itself. So happy birthday Eric Clapton, and no, all your love was not in vain.

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Guy Earle

March 29th, 2010

Anybody looking for news on the Guy Earle trial, somebody has begun a Guy Earle Trial blog. So far it’s a complete resource on what’s happening at the trial.kangaroo_court-2

Today, complainant Lorna Pardy gave her version of events.

This after Earle’s lawyer,  James Millar, walked out on the tribunal, citing it as “an illegal proceeding against the rule of law” and the tribunal as ” proceeding illegally.” It was a “high handed,” “abusive process,” and to continue he would be “consenting to what is an illegal process.”

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Saturday Fluffernutter: Special Bob Seger Edition

March 27th, 2010
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fluffincolorIn an brief phone interview with Detroit DJ Dick Purtan on Friday, Bob Seger announced plans for a fall tour:

Well, we’re thinking about maybe a tour later this year. We’re looking at some dates and trying to get some buildings, maybe October, November. But we just started two days ago, so we’ll see what’s available.

The interview is available here.

Seger’s latest CD, a compilation of his earliest hits, Early Seger Vol. 1, is now available nation wide in Walmart stores. Previously it was only regionally available.

No word on tour dates or availability in Canada, but Detroit’s not that far from Hespeler, and it may be time to see Bob Seger on front of the home town crowd.

Hey Ron, feel like a road-trip?

Fluffernutter, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin' ,

Even They Know They Crossed the Line

March 25th, 2010

The dumber leftists who presume to speak for “Canadians,” such as Denise Cooke-Browne or the appalling Susan G. Cole may not see it, but when The Canadian Association of University Teachers sends a letter to Dr. Francois Houle, you know the University of Ottawa crossed a line:

March 22, 2010

Dr. Francois Houle
Vice-President Academic and Provost
University of Ottawa
Room 217A Tabaret Hall
550 Cumberland
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5

Dear Dr. Houle:

We are deeply disturbed by your correspondence with Ann Coulter regarding her speaking engagement at the University of Ottawa tomorrow. Your admonishing her about speech rights in Canada raises serious questions about the University of Ottawa’s respect for freedom of expression and academic freedom.

The purpose of a university is aptly captured in the University of Toronto’s statement on the “Purpose of the University”:

Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.

Ms. Coulter certainly does raise disturbing questions and provocative challenges. While many of us profoundly disagree with her, a university should welcome controversial speakers and vigorous debate, not seek to restrict discourse or speakers.

We feel you owe an apology to Ms. Coulter and, even more importantly, you owe the University of Ottawa community an assurance that the administration of the University strongly supports freedom of expression, academic freedom and views the role of the university as fostering and defending these values.

Yours truly,

Penni Stewart                            James L. Turk
President                                   Executive Director

h/t goes to Ezra via Facebook.

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Journalists for Thought Crime

March 24th, 2010

In the wake of the Ann Coulter fiasco, the most astounding letter appeared on the pages of the National Post Wednesday. From one Denise Cooke-Browne, a former journalist/human rights investigator (i.e. thought police-woman), the writer professes to be all for free speech. With a tone of, “well the proletariat twits will speak so we may as well let them,” she defends free speech as being a) in her favour and b) a fundamental freedom as defined in the Canadian Constitution, in that order.

The rest of the letter falls into the “be that as it may” form of argument. Ann Coulter, Cooke-Browne argues, should be charged for her uttering’s. Hell, she should be charged, in Canada, for what she said in the USA. She is a section 318 thought criminal and immoral as she finds the noose, an exception could be made.

The thing is, free speech isn’t just two little words in isolation which, depending on your inclination towards interpretation, could mean should be available at no cost on the internet. The phrase “free speech” is a contraction of the sentence “all speech will be free of prosecution.” You can’t be in favour of speech being free of prosecution and prosecuting Ann Coulter for her speech. It’s rather like being in favour of free love and thinking it’s OK to stone adulteresses… oh wait…. It’s rather like being a librarian in favour of book burning… no that won’t do…

If you want a peek into the minds of the the insufferable twitsour betters who run the HRC’s in Canada, have a peek at today’s letters page in the National Post, and see what former Newfoundland Human Rights Investigator Denise Cooke-Browne has to say. Frighteningly absurd posturing wrapped up in official condemnation.

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If You Write Something That is So Stupid…

March 22nd, 2010

that you subject yourself to hatred and contempt, is it still hate speech?

Dear Ms. Coulter,

I understand that you have been invited by University of Ottawa Campus Conservatives to speak at the University of Ottawa this coming Tuesday. We are, of course, always delighted to welcome speakers on our campus and hope that they will contribute positively to the meaningful exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of a great university campus. We have a great respect for freedom of expression in Canada, as well as on our campus, and view it as a fundamental freedom, as recognized by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or “free speech”) in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here. You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm, Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind. There is a strong tradition in Canada, including at this University, of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions and urge you to respect that Canadian tradition while on our campus. Hopefully, you will understand and agree that what may, at first glance, seem like unnecessary restrictions to freedom of expression do, in fact, lead not only to a more civilized discussion, but to a more meaningful, reasoned and intelligent one as well.

I hope you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful country, city and campus.


François Houle
Vice-recteur aux études / Vice-President Academic and Provost
Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
550, rue Cumberland Street
Ottawa (ON) K1N 6N5
téléphone / telephone : 613 562-5737
télécopieur / fax : 613 562-5103

As Blazing Cat Fur say’s, “Maybe it sounded better in the original German?” Well they did master the concept of pre-crime.

Original h/t to Five Feet of Fury.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: Oscars, Razzies, Alice and Pink; Corey Haim (1971-2010)

March 13th, 2010
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorHollywood glittered Sunday night as the movie industry celebrated itself in it’s annual Oscar night. The show, co-hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, is being widely panned as boring and predictable. The show was boring, the winners predictable. The top winners were:fluffernutter

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’nique (Precious)
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)

If there was any surprises, it was that one movie didn’t dominate as is often the case. Favourite, and most nominated movie Avatar, won three Oscar’s: Visual Effects; Cinematography and Art Direction.

fluffincolorReview in Brief: Alice in Wonderland: “It was,” the twelve year old boy shrugged, “OK.”

Higher praise you will not find.

fluffincolorCounterpoint to Oscar night is the Golden Raspberries. The Razzies, which get handed out the night before the Oscars, celebrate the worst performances in movie-dom.

For the first time someone has won both the Oscar and Razzie for acting, as Oscar nights Best Actress Sandra Bullock received the Worst Actress honours for All About Steve. To her eternal credit, Bullock showed up at the 30th annual Razzie awards to receive her award.

Other Razzie winners were:

Worst Picture: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Worst Actors: The Jonas Brothers (Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience.
Worst Supporting Actor: Billy Ray Cirus: Hannah Montana: The Movie
Worst Supporting Actress: Sienna Miller: G.I Joe: The Rise of the Cobra

fluffincolorMiley Cyrus this week had this to say about her relationship with her new boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth:

I think we’re both deeper than normal people…

Which makes them… deeply abnormal?

fluffincolorPink Floyd won a major court victory this week that prevents EMI from releasing any Pink Floyd recordings in any form except the complete albums.  Floyd originally negotiated a contract that allowed Floyd to block releasing any song individually. In the era of MP3s and iTunes, Floyd decided they are still an album band. A stand that is to be respected, but you have to wonder what it does to Pink Floyd’s long term fan base.

fluffincolorCorey Haim (1971-2010) – Corey Haim was a star for approximately five years during the 1980’s. He seems to have spent the rest of his life paying for his teenage celebrity.

One of the two Coreys, Haim died this week of a suspected accidental overdose – probably prescription drugs – after years of drug abuse.

Originally from Toronto, Haim will be buried in Toronto.

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In All Thy Senators Command

March 11th, 2010

If you were wondering where the impetus for changing the words to the National Anthem came from, wonder no more. It comes from – ahem – Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth, who has been pushing the Prime Minister for a gender neutral anthem. And like all good social activists, she doesn’t actually take no for an answer:

…it’s not politically expedient. But it will come up again because there are thousands and thousands of women out there who want it to come up again.

Singer Nancy Ruth, who is not a Canadian Senator

I would rather hear Singer Nancy Ruth(above) perform the anthem.

Oh, there’s thousands and thousands are there? In a country of 35 million people that’s a part of a whole percent, so yea, go ahead.

Who is this Senator Ruth anyway? (Doesn’t that sound like the name of a snack food – “Senator Ruth Brownies available now at Mac’s“?) The Senator for Ontario was elected to the position in 2005 –  haha, just kidding. The Senator twice stood for election as a Progressive Conservative to the Ontario Legislature, in 1990 and 2003 (note: the Conservative senator seems to have skipped the Mike Harris years). Thousands and thousands voted for somebody other than her and she lost both times. Undeterred by minor inconveniences like the will of the people, she got herself appointed Senator in 2005 by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin (recommended by Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, we presume).

In her spare time she founded the Women’s League Educational and Action Fund, and a women’s Studies Chair at Mount Saint Vincent University. It’s tempting to suggest the only way she has a conservative bone in her body is in the Belinda Stronach sense of the phrase, but as Canada’s first openly lesbian Senator, even that seems unlikely.

Lets be clear about the national anthem. It is your anthem. It is my anthem. As I began to suggest last week, it is not the politicians anthem to change. It is not for Stephen Harper to tell us the words, and it sure as hell is not for Senator Nancy Ruth. Sing it as you want to sing it, using whatever turn of phrase means something to you. If enough people do so, it will change organically, naturally. Not shoved down our throats by someone who thinks the words public servant are both descriptors of the unwashed masses. And, of course, as is often the case in feminist causes, the people pushing for change talk about equality, but really mean something different. Senator Ruth claims to want the words “in all thy sons command” changed to “thou doust in us command.” However, at this weeks Conservative caucus she pestered her colleagues to sing “in all thy daughters command.” With an ear for phrasing and melody like that, she should try a music lesson before critiquing any piece of music. The material point though, she doesn’t really want gender neutral, she wants the lyrics feminized.

This, ladies and gentleman, is the Senator who has your Conservative Prime Minister’s ear. Frankly, if this was the kind of person I wanted my PM taking advise from, I’d vote for Jack Layton.

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Happy 70th Birthday…

March 10th, 2010

Chuck Norris doesn’t sweat. However, his perspiration is the fountain of youth so Chuck Norris doesn’t actually have birthdays. Furthermore, Chuck Norris could drop kick time and sent it spinning backwards to whenever he wants, so aging isn’t really an issue with Chuck Norris anyway. And if he cried, his tears would cure cancer, so illness isn’t a big issue with Chuck Norris.

That said, here at At Home in Hespeler we are celebrating today anyway, because of all the great Chuck Norris jokes, and because of his inspired, Oscar deserving performance in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story – the only Chuck Norris movie I think I’ve ever seen.

Happy 70 anniversary of the day Chuck Norris was born.

Birthday Wishes

In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…

March 9th, 2010
If daltons-ontarioGrandpa takes Grandma shopping and gets going more than 50KM over the speed limit, they take away his car and he faces fines in the thousands.

If an ex-MP gets drunk and has coke on his person, then hops in his car and drives 93 in a 50 zone, it’s a $500 fine for careless driving.

One wonders whether the table is now set for Michael Bryant’s “walking his dog without a leash,” plea bargain.


Correction. I originally stated Jaffer was found guilty of dangerous driving. It was actually careless driving.

In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…, Politicians acting badly ,

Libertas Post Back

March 8th, 2010
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new_hampshire_quarter_reverse_side_2000When Gerry Nicholls travelled to New Hampshire to save the Yanks from themselves, his “socialist free zone”  website, LibertasPost got put on temporary hiatus.

Last week I received an email from veteran journalist Nate Hendley informing me he was taking over as the new editor at LibertasPost. Please continue contributing, was the gist of his email. I did, crossposting We Stand on Guard for Thee to LibertasPost.

Today, Nate hit the ground running with a couple of stories, re-launching, or at least re-igniting, LibertasPost.

It’s good to see Libertas back in operation. Be sure to visit often as it will hopefully be a lively site, where freedom reigns, once again.

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We Stand on Guard for Thee

March 4th, 2010

Some days you just feel old. My daughter is upset that they are going to change the anthem. I’m explaining, in my best “When I was a boy,” voice, nothing new.

11287423As a lad I learnt the anthem thus:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
Oh Canada, glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Notice the difference? The third line from the end is different:

Oh Canada, glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

instead of

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

It was changed in the late 70’s by Montreal Canadian anthem singer Roger Doucet. I remember the scandal, my sainted mother herself was outraged. How dare he!

But we were a different country then, a hardier people. From Roger Doucet’s lips to Canada’s ears, as it were. Within’ a year or so the new lyrics were official, although I don’t recall anybody declaring them so. It was an improvement (sorry mom), and it changed.

If Stephen Harper wants to mess with the anthem, he isn’t the first, won’t be the last. I’ve re-learned the damn song once, I can do it again (but do hurry, my memory isn’t what it used to be).

 It shows you, however, how far we’ve fallen. The government decides to change the lyrics and everybody wants to debate the point, instead of asking why we can’t wait until changes occur organically. What’s needed is for John McDermott to step up and change the lyrics. Mom will complain, then presto magico, they’re changed. No pimply minions of bureaucracy needed.



Update: Here’s the actual words from a 1976 recording, released by teh Government of Canada for the 1976 Olympics:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love
in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts
we see thee rise,
The True North,
strong and free!
And stand on guard
O Canada
We stand on guard for thee
Oh Canada,
glorious and free!
we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada,
we stand on guard for thee

You’ll see in the comments I was challenged on my memory of the words. This is accurate as printed on the back of said recording (which I found in a collectible shop today).

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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

March 2nd, 2010

spiral torontoA steaming mad Councillor Paula Fletcher challenged a citizen asking questions at a budget consultation meeting Monday…

Challenged? She screamed like a petulant child at a taxpayer, concerned about ever more taxes. And the citizen was right, she damn well ought to be fired.

But don’t believe me, listen to the audio here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your elected representatives.

Politicians acting badly, Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral , ,

Is it “Politicizing the Games” when You’re This Blatant?

March 1st, 2010

Jack Layton is in the middle of the crowd when they cut to the camera at Wayne Gretzky’s pub in Toronto. A girl’s arm is in the way of the camera showing his always smiling face, and he moves the arm.

h/t  Torontoist

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