In retrospect I find this story slightly disturbing.
Our desire for the free market to remain ‘unencumbered’ by government imposed restrictions is in actuality a desire by private interests (in essence, no different than you or I, except with investment capital & lawyers on retainer) to not be held down by any societal responsibility, to cut themselves off from the collective for a brief moment to give themselves an unfair advantage over the interests of their fellow man. Consider when the owner’s wife shows up to curse us out and call the cops, telling demonstrators and members of the community to get off her land, she was also demonstrating – very clearly mind you – that she did not consider herself to be in any way integrated with other members of her society. She may even tell you as much to your face, for spite.
She didn’t recognize that all citizens are fundamentally united, chiefly via taxation and the specifics of our citizenship, constitution and charter, and that her imposition on others by refusing to realize this is far, far greater than the imposition she feels by recognizing her tacit claim to land ownership may be worthless given a decision made in favour of the interests of the collective.
What kind of sick society would have you believe you belong to a collective, tax you accordingly to provide for the whole, and then turn around and accord special interest arrangements to put some above the great mass, for their myopic, individualistic and ultimately financially-driven motives?
Standing even among a couple dozen like-minded people demonstrating their belief that the interests of the collective always outweigh the interests of the Howard Roark crowd is sufficient enough for me to see what’s right here. While city’s across North America build modern tenements in the form of postage-stamp condos on every square foot of ‘apparently available’ land, the delicate balance that was achieved so well in Montreal becomes threatened. Make no mistake, there’s a reason we have so many great neighbourhoods in this city – it wasn’t an accident, it was planned. Parts of this city were designed and built by some of the finest minds in the business – other parts were influenced after the fact. It’s part of our legacy as the first Metropolis of Canada, and we damn well better fight to keep it. I find it difficult to believe the social-cohesion of this city isn’t at least in part a result of excellent neighbourhood design and cohesive community planning and management. I can’t imagine what this city would look like and how it would feel if we allowed all the Fatal’s of this world to do whatever they felt with every scrap of land illegally transferred into their ‘ownership’.
Suffice it to say, if free-market capitalism in action seeks to destroy a community green space, then I’ll take socialist city-planning any day of the work-week.
So I finally had an opportunity to listen to Arcade Fire’s latest album. Yes, I’m aware the Suburbs came out some time ago and they all already won the Grammy for best album. What can I say, I like taking my time and waiting for an ideal moment to sit down and really get into an album. There can be no interruptions, nothing to take away my focus.
This past weekend I had the opportunity – specifically on SUnday, when there wasn’t much to do given the tailed of the hurricane.
And as if it needs to be said once more – with gusto – The Suburbs is a truly fantastic album. Made me weepy at one point, and made me remember long car rides with my parents some twenty years ago. Kudos Arcade Fire, for awakening some very pleasant memories. If you haven’t given it a listen yet, go out and get it on vinyl.
Or, wait until September 22nd and see them live at Quartier des Spectacles.
Sweet Zombie Jesus, I really can’t wait.
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) is perhaps my most favourite song of all time. What can I say, I know I’ve said that a lot, and I meant it each time.
The gaping hole on the urban tapestry was as a result of the Mount Royal Tunnel, constructed around the turn of the 20th century to allow an efficient and direct northern rail connexion to the new heart of the city. The Canadian Northern Railway, half of CN’s predecessors, built the Town of Mount Royal as a model garden suburban city, boasting its rail connexion to the city centre as its chief advantage – imagine that, excellent public transit access as a major selling point for a massive residential development, about a hundred years ago! Profits from the residential development allowed the CNR to expand by leaps and bounds. Even more impressive eh? Makes you wonder why we don’t do this anymore.
And imagine all that was here before was an open void. Seems almost otherworldly to me, and very hard to imagine as I lay out on my roof at nights watching the grand beacon announce our presence to all points within a fifty kilometre radius at eight-second intervals. Very hard to imagine indeed.
While the MTQ and City continue to argue about land-expropriation and the design of the new Turcot Interchange (read this fascinating Spacing Montreal article on the City’s space-efficient circular design), the major spans on the Saint Lawrence crumble, as does the Ville-Marie Expressway, and the traffic disruptions from regular infrastructure repairs and maintenance have already led to varying degrees of small-scale economic damage throughout the region.
In other words, we don’t just need to execute major renovations, but need to renovate with minimizing maintenance clearly in mind. Systems need to be designed with preventative maintenance as opposed to reflexive, piece-meal maintenance, much in the same manner as aircraft are maintained (and its for this reason that some aircraft models have exceptionally long lifespans of over 50 years). Thus, this perfect storm may also be a perfect opportunity to include wide-scale preventative maintenance measures streamlined across the board – after-all, these project are all exclusively within the realm of vehicular traffic, so there’s bound to be a significant amount of capital-cost overlap as well.
What’s significant here is that there are an exceptional number of vehicular commuters here in Montreal, on average spending about 30 minutes commuting to work each day. Two and a half hours on average spent driving to work – what a horrible waste of time! In Montreal, much like Toronto, about a quarter of vehicular commuters spend more than 45 minutes in traffic. The idea is that Montreal commuting times will increase dramatically by 2015 (and I can imagine, incrementally increase until then) as these projects wreak havoc on our local transportation infrastructure, which is heavily focused on individual usage of automobiles. Ergo, a new Transit Alliance proposes that the public transit system be expanded to accommodate people inconvenienced by the traffic disruptions. Unfortunately, according to one StatsCan study, about 82% of commuters who use their cars to get to work have never considered using public transit to get to and from work, whether its available or not. The typical justification given is that it is inconvenient.
My justification for that previous statement is rather straightforward – if West Islanders, or any other community for that matter, wanted better public-transiot access, they’d pony up the bill, which is high and heavy no matter which way you cut it. Yes, the communities who have access to the STM pay for it in part, but the City is clearly footing the lion’s share of the bill.
Consider the social cohesion and sense of community that is provided every day by frequenters of a ‘community station’ and ask yourself, with everything else in mind, whether we can afford not to do this.
This is a priceless video of Rick Perry stumbling through a very straightforward question about why he supports abstinence-only sex education despite its proven track record of failing miserably at preventing teen sex and numerous unwanted pregnancies. Perry is responsible for encouraging this type of sex-ed, and now Texas has the third highest rate of teen pregnancy amongst the fifty United States (and what the hell, let’s throw in the USA’s many dependencies, districts, governorships and other scraps of the American Empire for good measure). It’s insane unless its purposely malicious, doubtless a vital component to the manipulated self-perpetuating and clinical poverty which permeates the American working class. It is despicable no matter what way you cut it, and let us not forget that the literal definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over agin, each time expecting a different result.
Which in turn begs the question, why the fuck is he even in the running?
To say he’s a George W. Bush clone in and of itself is overly simplistic. I’d argue instead that he’s being very carefully coached, doubtless by the same individuals responsible for coaching W and Ray-gun Reagan. What this means with regards to the November 2012 US federal election is anyone’s guess.
The fact that people are guessing is pathetic, but that’s another issue I suppose.
In any event, keep in mind as Canadians, as citizens of the world, we will have to deal with whatever catastrophe this guy’s responsible for.
Sleep well – this man may soon have a finger on the nuclear trigger. Given his track record what with executing individual human beings, how do you think he’ll manage the largest nuclear arsenal on Earth?