Archive | December 2015

Waiting for spring

By Jim Brown

This sign was photographed in a bank of snow near Clinton in late December, 2015. They likely won’t get many sales until the spring.

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Window art captures festive spirit

By Jim Brown

Amazing window art displayed at the Summerside A & W. Was fortunate to have my camera with me when I visited. According to a customer, the works are the creation of an accountant who also has a flair for artistic design. Apparently he uses his art to relieve the stress of his hectic job. Talk about putting diners in the festive spirit!

Trump just can’t get himself fired

By Jim Brown
I’m baffled.
I really don’t know why someone who brags about how smart he is, how shrewd a businessman he has been in building an empire that has endured for decades, would risk everything on the throw of a dice.
Donald Trump is nobody’s fool. And yet he’s acting like a world-class buffoon.
The Republican presidential front-runner has truly disgraced himself with racist, intolerant statements on the debate stage in front of an incredulous TV audience of millions and a baker’s dozen of fellow Republican candidates, all of whom are truly clueless automatons capable of spouting only tired, endlessly recycled talking points.
Why does Trump talk about building a wall across the Mexican border to keep the Mexicans out of the US? Why does he threaten to ban all Muslims from entering America? Why does he threaten to employ the full might of the American nuclear triad, even though he hasn’t a clue what “triad” means?  Why is he hurling disgusting insults at a female Fox debate moderater? Why is he cozying up to Vladimir Putin, a dictator who doesn’t mind invading neighboring countries just for kicks? Why, why, why?
After wracking my brains since the election cycle started, inspiration struck me like a lightning bolt out the clear blue sky. I think he wants out. He’s bored and he’s forced to hang out with other GOP candidates who are completely out of touch with reality. Maybe he also misses his show, The Apprentice.
The Donald, who has become accustomed over the years to bracing conversation with the likes of Bill Clinton and others who are very good at what they do, must suddenly break bread and pizza with folks whose only interests seem to lie in God, guns, the tax code (and its terrible unfairness to Republican supporters) and making war. In about five minutes with these supporters, anyone with an eye-dropper’s worth of grey matter would be looking for a way out, or risk going insane.
Trump, I think, has deliberately taken his campaign over the precipice. He’s done and said things that lesser known candidates would not even think about unless they wanted to commit political suicide. And yet his poll numbers keep going up. Most polls show him with a better than two to one lead over his nearest challenger.
If you’re The Donald, you must be ready to rip that expensive ferret off your skull in frustration. The more graceless he gets, the more racist and downright scary he sounds to rational folks with a flicker of sentience, the more attractive he becomes to the drooling millions of Tea Party loyalists who hang on his every word.
Donald Trump is probably wondering what’s in it for him, even if he wins the presidency, since he would giving up billions in potential deals just to make nice with special interest groups, unions and government officials who hold his country’s economic health in their grubby hands.
Take a moment to shed a tear for a man with a gargantuan ego who realized, too late, what it means to have himself defined by the company he keeps.
It seems Donald Trump just can’t get himself fired, no matter how hard he tries.

 

In a galaxy…

002By Jim Brown

Friday, Dec 18 Charlottetown Guardian: Did they really have to go to “a galaxy far, far away” for front page news?

Why not reimburse us for unfair tolls?

By Jim Brown
Of course PEI senator Percy Downe’s proposal to get Ottawa to eliminate Confederation Bridge tolls for Islanders is a hair-brained idea. It’s so screwy it confirms the prevailing image of the Red Chamber’s denizens having way too much time on their hands in which to commit mischief.
But let’s just imagine for a moment the new government of Justin Trudeau agrees with Downe and decides Islanders have been royally shafted since the Confederation Bridge’s construction in 1997 at a then breath-taking cost of one billion dollars.
If that happens what’s to stop an enterprising class action lawyer from filing a claim on behalf of 146,000 Islanders demanding everyone’s money back. If it was unfair to force Islanders to pay a toll in the first place why shouldn’t they get reimbursed? There’s certainly precedent for that in a lot of consumer protection cases that have been resolved in the plaintiff’s favor.
I don’t know about you, but I would think the toll fees and the accumulated interest since 1997 would add up to a nice piece of coin. In fact,  I would think $1,000 per Island family would be fair compensation after more than two decades of unfair treatment by Ottawa.
Can’t wait to get that cheque in the mail.

Trump’s folly?

By Jim Brown

For Trump’s sake he’d better hope there’s enough rednecks sleeping at his hotels to make up for the inevitable backlash from moderates and liberals. He could win the presidency and see his business empire flushed down the toilet.

PEI needs a carbon tax

By Jim Brown

It must have sucked all the oxygen from the lungs of former Harper government supporters. What happened? Why Canada’s newly minted Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna just announced at the Paris climate change conference Canada would seek a global agreement calling for all countries to take drastic steps to hold global temperature increases to 1.5 C. Most nations wanted the target to be a 2 C increase.

That’s the “shock”. Now how about some “awe?”

Maybe tiny PEI., population barely 140,000, could do what it should have done years ago and impose a price on carbon at the pumps. Why British Columbia, led by a decidedly right-of-centre government, beat us to the punch years ago is mystifying. We like to bill ourselves as an environmentally progressive jurisdiction and yet we haven’t done what most climate change experts insist is necessary.

The time is perfect to implement a carbon tax, because the price is now hovering around $1 a litre for regular unleaded gasoline, and with oil prices slumping to $38 a barrel on Dec 7, thanks to OPEC countries decision to increase already plentiful supplies, it’s hard to imagine that scenario changing any time soon.

Basically Islanders and all Canadians have been given the equivalent of a hefty pay raise over the past year. All motorists have some extra cash in their wallets thanks to plunging oil prices. Now let’s tax some of it. In BC the carbon tax works out to about seven cents a litre. We could do the same here without causing extreme hardship for Islanders. And, like BC, we could use the carbon tax revenues to offset a decrease in personal income taxes, so it will have a net neutral impact.

Why is our government dithering? The only way to discourage consumption of GHG emitting fossil fuels is to put a price on carbon. We pay more for something our government wants to discourage people from buying and less on our income taxes.

PEI missed the boat years ago. Let’s at least play catch-up before we fall too far behind.