Great man, great historian

Howard Zinn passed away yesterday at the age of 87. News of his passing is available on his website.


Halifax City Council makes a good decision!

No, this isn’t about parking. They are still hopelessly braindead about the residential peninsula.

This is about tax reform! Council voted against a regressive overhaul of the tax system last night, hopefully killing the “fee-for-services” model once and for all. The municipal tax base is currently based on the appraised value of property, so people who own property (and tenants, through rent) pay taxes based on how valuable their property is. They wanted to change this system to a “service-based” system, which would see million-dollar mansion owners paying the same property taxes as thousand-dollar trailer owners, assuming provided services were the same.

Presumably this tax reform process was started to reduce the tax burden on rural property owners who own houses similar in value to urban- and suburbanites, but who don’t get much in the way of city services (homes with no bus service, properties that have their own well water and septic rather than city water and sewer systems, etc.). Also, the changes were presumably supposed to help out those property owners who have seen their property values grow enormously (>200% in some areas) even while their own income has only grown a tiny amount. Cost of living salary increases of 1-3% don’t help out much if your property tax assessment jumps 200% over 10 years.

Regardless of these issues, the tax reform before council was designed to reduce the burden on mansion owners while increasing it on the middle class family home owner. More equitable approaches to eliminate the lack of service to rural areas within HRM would presumably include rebates or zoning rules, rather than a flat fee-for-service system. The runaway property values could be dealt with by basing tax assessments on the owners original purchase price of the property. One could index tax assessments upwards based on cost-of-living increases rather than relying on real-estate booms and busts to reset assessments. New work done on old properties which increase their market values would have to somehow be included into this.

Anyway, I’m sure Tim Bousquet at The Coast will have plenty to say on this in tomorrow’s print and online issue. And he’ll be way more knowledgeable, clear, and thorough than me. 🙂

general silliness, Lighter Things, media

Beaver Trimmed

Even the New York Times has taken notice that the Canadian history magazine, The Beaver, has been forced by changing times to change its name to the less snicker-worthy Canada’s History.  The article notes that, although the source of much schoolyard humor for decades, it is the advent of the Internet – and the inability of students to search websites with ‘Beaver’ in the title, which is not entirely unreasonable – which has necessitated the change.

They chose not to use my suggested title, “Big Titty Milfs”

Although this is the kind of story that kind of makes you chuckle a bit, it makes you wonder what magazine titles will be re-examined, or outright forbidden, by the dreaded double entendre:

  • Bald Pussy Monthly, the magazine for owners of those freaky looking hairless cats;
  • Tits & Ass, a combined publication for lovers of specific types of birds and of donkeys;
  • Student Nurses in Latex, a specialty magazine for Nursing students, reminding them about proper sterilization techniques;
  • Naughty Catholic Schoolgirls Annual, the magazine dealing with the psychology of young women, approximately 17 to 25, who attend Catholic schools and who have encountered trouble with the law;
  • Large, Floppy Breasts on Really Slutty Women

Ok, maybe that’s not the best example…


Praise God; Pass the ammo!

This is certainly a weird story, or at least it would be in any other country but the US:
Defense firm etches bible passage codes on it’s gunsights

The inscriptions are subtle and appear in raised lettering at the end of the stock number. Trijicon’s rifle sights use tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, to create light and help shooters hit what they’re aiming for.

Markings on the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, one of the company’s most advanced models, include “JN8:12,” a reference to John 8:12: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”

The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Praise God in all His glory! I got me one of them Godless Heathens in my sights!

International News, justice, Lying douchebags, Sites of Interest, Things We Should Know

Another Disaster: Human Nature

As I was watching coverage of the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake this morning, absolutely gobsmacked by the level of devastation and agony that has resulted from the disaster, when a sudden, horribly pessimistic thought entered my mind:

Somewhere, someone is already planning to take advantage of this catastrophe and defraud people by exploiting their generosity and their willingness to help those in need.

Beware the scammers, dear readers. My advice to you is to proceed directly to the Red Cross and donate there – at least then you know your efforts to help will actually make a positive contribution on the ground. I encourage everyone to do so.

christians, Conservatives, Inflaming rednecks for fun and profit, media, Mormonism and other forms of child abuse, religion, religious right, willful blindness to absurd extremes

Devil’s Advocate

As a follow-up from Kevvy’s post on the absolutely breathtaking inhumanity of Pat Robertson, particularly in regard to the Haitian disaster, I give you video evidence of the greatest single exhibition of assholatry in human history:

I take some small measure of enjoyment from the look on his confederate’s face – watch again and see how she’s barely suppressing her disgust.

So, sowing discord, taking joy from the misfortunes of others, preaching prejudice and hatred… Who’s the agent of ‘satan’, Pat?

Actually, I take that back – if I’m going to invoke the concept of religion to criticize this putative pinnacle of piety, I have a better idea of who the linkage should be with.