Archive for September, 2010

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Thursday, September 30th, 2010

The media complain about the low voter interest,

It would be higher if the media gave it their best.


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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Friends in Toronto are quite concerned,

With Ford as mayor, they will be burned.


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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The triangle by that MP Brown,

That younger man about town,

In Ward 8 he’s caused a frown.

Let’s see if we’ve got this right,

He sponsored Robinson’s fight,

To prove to all he has the might.

But Ms. Eadie who’s Brown’s E.A.

Is running there to have her say,

It makes you ask: what’s at play?


#85– Religion and politics: The Mix.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

One of the first lessons learned by a budding young politician is the role of religion in politics.  Like the fiction that party politics are not part of municipal politics, you quickly learn that there are attitudes related to religion that can influence and distort logical voting patterns.

Take the old saw, for example, that Liberals are Catholic and Conservatives are Anglicans.  This is no longer true.  The schism in the Roman Catholic parishes today has driven a wedge between more liberal attitudes and the hide-bound right wing that still believes in the infallibility of an out-of-touch Vatican.  Similarly the Anglican bishops have driven a spike into the hearts of that church’s congregants by fighting over innocent blessings of same-sex commitments.  The right-wing anti-abortion hard liners of the Roman church today make common cause with their equally ignorant cousins in the Anglican Communion.

But it is not just the (thankfully) dwindling numbers of right-wing Catholics and Anglicans who succour conservatism.  The problem is based in the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States.  This is home plate for those who are born-again and accept Jesus as their saviour and damn the rest of us to an everlasting Hell.  Some 16 million strong, these are the religious nuts who put a fool such as George W. Bush in the White House and will try to compound the stupidity in 2012 with Sarah Palin.

As Canada’s Stephen Harper has proved, the hard right are not easily dismissed.  And they are not just the religious right.  The political manipulators of the right, with their mantra of clichés, prey on the stupid, unthinking and uneducated.  Read their justification for eliminating the long gun registry and wonder from what zoo these people escaped.

What is really wrong is that religion, itself, does not deserve the rap.  There are kind, gentle and intelligent religious movements out there for caring people.  There are religious movements concerned for the needs of the sick, the impoverished, the disadvantaged, the mentally challenged, and others whom God’s self-appointed spokespeople on this earth have forsaken.  There are religious movements that seek to further our knowledge and welcome new thinking.  There are religious movements that respect us as caring, concerned individuals. There are religious movements that do not hold judgements over their brethren and seek communion with all.  They are just harder to find.

Here in Babel, the Pentecostals and Baptists of the Barrie Christian Council are the largest single religious group.  They outweigh the weakened Catholic and Anglican congregations of old Ontario.  They are used unmercifully by MP Brown and his ilk as fodder to be manipulated for political advantage.

The next time the Conservative Member of Parliament for Babel appears before the Christian Council to try to influence it, the parsons should ask the Catholic-raised Brown if he is washed in the blood of the lamb?

– 30 –

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Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Brown’s Uncle Joe will say what we want to hear,

If we elect him mayor, we’ll be crying in our beer.


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Saturday, September 25th, 2010

In Babel’s city election, MP Brown will tell you how to vote,

Vote for Uncle Joe and Ms. Robinson or you’ll miss the boat.


#84 – If pigs could fly and other political fantasies.

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Heavens and goodness gracious, Rob Ford could be elected mayor of Toronto.  So what?  The truth be known, voters usually get what they deserve.  Obviously, Toronto voters must have done something very wrong to deserve Rob Ford.

But they could do worse and often have.  When Mel Lastman was mayor, for example, many who knew him were prepared to leave the city.  Thinking back over the years, Toronto has had some very good mayors and some very bad ones.  The only problem is that some people have problems separating them into their respective piles.

The problem with mayors is that they are human and have to pose as superman or someone else they are not for the voters.  They are given just one vote on their council, the same as the councillors.  They get paid more and they are expected to work harder but their authority does not go much beyond a few perks of office.  The role of chief magistrate is just not all that easy a ride.

A mayor who antagonizes the other members of council or runs roughshod over what the other councillors see as right for their voters or fails to cooperate with them, will have little cooperation in return.  The only solution for a fractious and unruly council is that it will find it hard to get re-elected at the next opportunity for the voters to have their say.

Rob Ford might surprise people if he gets elected and realizes that getting what he wants for himself and the voters requires some skilful horse trading with the other members of council.  He obviously already knows that and all he is doing at the moment is posturing for the voters’ attention.

The problem is that the race for the mayoralty is theatre of the absurd and we are all actors in it.  We choose our candidates for many of the wrong reasons, vote from whim and spite, and often deny our choice once we have made it.  Logic has little to do with our decisions, emotions and prejudices are excused as reasoned and we have far too little information to really make a thoughtful decision.

What is most frustrating to the voter and the candidates is the news media.  These people want to pontificate, not clarify.  They want to appear smart in their assessment and are abusive of human rights in the guise of neutrality.  They have neither the depth nor the knowledge nor the information with which to assist the voter.  They do not care.  They want copy, they want to scintillate.  They care not for the facts unless they support titillation.  Their editors will discard truth for a better story.

But the most blame belongs to us as voters.  Toronto deserves Rob Ford.  Long may he reign.  And may pigs fly.

– 30 –

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Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Aspen, Hamilton, Tascona and Ramsay run for the past,

Babel can have a future if for Lehman your vote is cast.


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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Our municipal election here in Babel

Seems more like a silly nursery fable.


#83– I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

If you are not a religious person, you might not appreciate the beauty of Psalm 121 in the richness of the King James version of the Christian Bible.  It has had many variations in revised bibles but none are as eloquent.  It came to mind today when discussing the water pollution control centre on the other side of the creek next door.

To be frank, water pollution control is the euphemism in Babel for the sewage works.  A city engineer working on a project there was once heard to say that the excess water that was piped out to the middle of Kempenfelt Bay was almost drinkable.  It makes you wonder: What does he mean by ‘almost?’

As some readers are aware, this blog has waxed eloquent over the years when discussing the wildlife and natural beauty of our creek.  It is a definite asset to the community.  There is not the same warm feelings for the sewage works.  It has been under fairly constant construction for the past five years.  The city has been running construction project after construction project ad nauseam.

The first project of note was holding tanks for a parade of honey wagons that now make regular daily deliveries to the works.  (And if you do not know what a ‘honey wagon’ is, it is a very large transport with a very large tank to carry the offerings of septics as well as the holding tanks of yachts, recreational vehicles, Johnny-on-the-spots, etc.)  The even huger underground holding tanks hold their contents in the ready until very late at night when the city’s toilets are less involved in their regular function and there is increased capacity in the sewage treatment system.

That project was finishing up three years ago, when the bulldozers started levelling the trees and berms of the park that graced the other side of the creek and served as an attractive buffer between the creek and the buildings of the sewage works.  The wanton destruction prompted many calls to city hall and a tired operator informed people that it was temporary as construction required a lay-down yard for the next couple years.  She assured callers that the park would be restored bigger and better after the supposed two years of construction.

Hah!  That lady lied.  When talking to the site foreman earlier this year about when he was moving out, we asked why the chain link fence with its barbed wire still protected a mainly flat and now little-used field.  He explained that was where the next construction was and the fence was permanent.

This is all in aid of explaining why, I lift up mine eyes unto the hills that surround us, savour their early dusting of fall colors and say: Dear God, do something about those God damn engineers.

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