One reason so many people oppose big gubmnt is that politicians, like everyone else, respond to incentives. This means that many politicians, or at least enough that it's a problem, are susceptible to some sort of influence.
Electric cars might well be one of many examples*. From the Washington Post:
An electric car start-up and its sister company sued the Energy
Department on Thursday, claiming Secretary Steven Chu and his agency
awarded money to politically favored firms and strung along their firms
and others in a “fixed” race for federal funds.
In addition to complaints of cronyism, XP Vehicles and Limnia
said they have evidence suggesting the Energy Department improperly
shared their patented technology with competing companies that won
*Other examples might include bailing out the banks and sacrificing bondholders to bolster labour union support in the auto industry.
The champagne glasses have disappeared, but everything else is there. It even stands out a bit.
The temperature yesterday reached +5C [recall that C = Canadian, F = Foreign] and is forecast to reach +double digits over the weekend. I'm not sure how long the bottle can last under those conditions!
In February, the Bank of Canada will stop distributing pennies in Canada. Given my history and notoriety in recommending that Canada abandon the penny, I think they should have a special ceremony and let me send the last penny out into circulation.
I mean, how often is it that someone from UWO is mentioned in a University of Trono publication like this:
The Bank of Canada has announced it will phase out the penny. Why now?
John Palmer, an economist at Western University, has been telling the
Bank of Canada to get rid of the penny for the past 30 years. Pennies
are a nuisance. How many people nowadays would stop to pick up a penny
off the ground? A century ago, you could pay for a chocolate bar with
two or three pennies; now they have no real purchasing power. And they
cost the bank 60 per cent more to produce than they’re worth. The
question is why the bank took so long! The answer is that it probably
just came down to inertia. In any institution, there’s always risk with
Actually, it's been only about 23 years or so, but who's counting?
In preparation for the World Figure Skating Championships, to be held in London in March, the City of London has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to dress up and clean up the city, including yet another logo. Meanwhile, the buildings directly across the street from the venue are dilapidated, in danger of collapsing, empty, run-down, etc. I can't see how spending so much to re-beautify a walkway near Market Lane or to design a new logo can have much of a positive impact on the city's image when this is the sight that will greet people from out of town every day:
From the far left:
a corner storefront that has been vacant, with the appearance of some work-in-progress inside having been abandoned over a year ago.
a supper club that went out of business (and for which we had little use)
a store front that has been empty for, I think, at least a year and a half.
a boarded up building with a wall on top that looks unsafe even if it isn't.
an okay pub
and the building on the far right of the photo is a "club" that is open only from 10pm - 2am on Saturdays. Huh? One time when I was walking past it during those hours, I asked one of the security personnel if he thought I'd fit in with their patrons. He smiled.
I don't know what the city can or should do about this situation. My small-gubmnt preference is that the city do nothing (and cancel the order for the new logo). But even ignoring that preference, given the local bureaucrats' goal of promoting the city, here are two bits they must consider:
Promoting the city will not work very well with these buildings and store fronts that have been abandoned and/or are in disrepair. At the very least, if it is even possible (and I have no idea), it might be nice to clean up the insides of those buildings and display the works of local artists in the storefronts. But who knows what relationships are like between the property owners and the city. Maybe the property owners are at odds with City Council. Or maybe the property owners have plans to rent the storefronts to food vendors or souvenir merchants temporarily during the World Figure-Skating Championship.
Visitors are not going to be thrilled about running the gauntlet at and around Dundas and Richmond: smokers and pan-handlers make it unpleasant enough, not to mention reports of drug deals, violent attacks, etc.
The point I'm trying to make is that putting a dress or a tux on a pig doesn't change the fact that people will recognize it as a pig the minute they look at it.
I live downtown, about a block and a half from the scene in the above photo. I know parts of downtown can be unpleasant in places and at times. But increasingly there is a regentrification taking place as new, high-end condos are being built. I'm hoping this trend continues.
At the same time, I am sure there are many things I don't understand about why that half block of buildings looks so blighted, so I don't want to go too far out on a limb here. But with those obvious conditions, it's hard to see how beautifying a walkway will help the city's image very much.
The film "Poklosie" delves into the dark history of Polish complicity
during the Holocaust. Director Wladyslaw Pasikowski's work has sparked
fresh debate in Poland by posing the question: How anti-Semitic were the
Poland's Jewish community was almost entirely decimated during the
Holocaust. The Nazis murdered 90 percent of the three million Jews
Later, the communist regime fostered a climate of anti-Semitism in the
country, forcing many more Jews to leave. A kind of phantom pain was all
that remained, the sort experienced by people who've lost a limb.
The loss is, to this day, almost unbearable.
Fierce debates between Jewish and Catholic Poles continue to shake the
country on a regular basis. The question is always the same: Did the
majority of Christian Poles approve of, or even assist, the mass murder
The country's self-image as the most significant victim of the Nazi terror and the Second World War is at stake.
It's a debate that has been reignited in recent weeks with the release
of the film "Poklosie" ("Aftermath") by director Wladyslaw Pasikowski.
The thriller tells the story of a Catholic farmer, Jozef Kalina (Maciej
Stuhr), who discovers the traces of a massacre of Jews during the
Holocaust in his village. His research reveals that it was local Polish
villagers who, without the help of the Nazis, had murdered their Jewish
Shortly after I moved to Canada in 1971, someone from the US asked me, "How big a city IS Canada?"
A couple of years later, I was awarded a prize for having come the farthest to an event because I was from Canada (I'd traveled maybe 900 miles) when there was someone else there from Hawaii (what? a couple of thousand miles?).
Canadians, in general, know a lot more about the US than people from there know about Canada. When I first took my job in Canada, I read a short history book about Canada only to be aghast that
maybe the US didn't win the War of 1812;
after reading that book, I knew a LOT more Canadian history than many Canadian residents.
There’s an American joke that Canada is like a loft apartment over the
world’s greatest party. It turns out, judging from McCall’s history of
Canadian humor, that they might all be chuckling at us up there. The
unique national brand of humor is, he writes, a response to — and way of
coping with — the oppressive weight of American culture.
Regardless of whether this perception of culture is correct, it is widely held, especially by producers of cultural events in Canada who resent the competition in Canada from the US. But Canadians have been wildly successful in the US entertainment business. The article lists many Canadian comedians:
The list of famous Canadian comedians is long – really long: John Candy,
Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman (all of whom, like many others, came through
the famous Toronto branch of Chicago’s Second City improv club), Leslie
Nielsen, Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, Seth Rogen, Eugene Levy, Samantha
Bee, Mike Myers, Mort Sahl, and on and on.
and the list includes only comedians. Canadians are quite proud of other entertainers who also got their start in Canada.
It makes sense that Canadian entertainers would head south... that's where the big market is.
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