A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Discover introduces its new blog Astrobeat.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at our operations throughout our solar system.

  • Dangerous Minds shares recordings from Prince’s Sign o’ The Times tour rehearsals.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study of gas giant HD 95086b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes evidence for pre-European trade in eastern Polynesia.
  • Gizmodo notes that a large vertical farm is being built in New Jersey.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Kim Davis is being accused of hiding requested public documents.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the Chilcot report proves Blair’s culpability.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the weakness of Deutsche Bank, looks at how the weak pound won’t help Britain, and observes Italy’s weakness.
  • Steve Munro considers reviving the Scarborough LRT proposal.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes Australia’s problems with Internet speed.
  • Supernova Condensate looks at the Juno probe’s arrival at Jupiter.
  • Transit Toronto notes that high speeds have slowed down rail transit in Toronto.

[NEWS] Some Tuesday links

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  • Bloomberg notes political despair in Japan’s industrial heartland and looks at Argentina’s statistical issues.
  • The Globe and Mail reports on Morocco’s continued industrialization and describes the fear of a Vancouver-based pop singer for the life of her mother in China.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the recent terror attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.
  • MacLean’s notes the good relations of Israel and Egypt.
  • The National Post reports on recent discoveries of quiet black holes.
  • Open Democracy looks at the connections between migration and housing policy in the United Kingdom.
  • Transitions Online notes how Brexit has wrecked central Europe’s relationships with the United Kingdom.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers detecting industrial civilizations through their ozone holes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the French National Front’s opposition to the Pride parade in Paris.
  • Language Log considers English names in China.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is confused by Spanish policy towards Scotland in the era of Brexit.
  • Spacing Toronto notes that twenty years’ worth of Fort York’s journal are available online.
  • Supernova Condensate notes the complexity of the Juno probe’s arrival at Jupiter.
  • Torontoist shares photos of Honest Ed’s in its last months.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the domination of Russia by its big cities, reports on a political dissident in Belarus, and suggests the Donbas republics are starting to erode.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling mourns the death of Alvin Toffler.
  • The Big Picture shares images of the Istanbul airport attack.
  • blogTO notes Toronto’s recent Trans March was the largest in world history.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly interviews memoirist Plum Johnson.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the determination of distances to dim stars and looks at the total energies likely to be used in interstellar travel and interplanetary colonization.
  • Crooked Timber notes the ordered recount in Austria’s presidential elections and advocates for anti-militarism.
  • D-Brief notes the exciting discoveries of Ceres, and observes that ancient tombs may have doubled as astronomical observatories.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze considers where warm Jupiters form, considers the stability of complex exoplanet systems, and notes a high-precision analysis of solar twin HIP 100963.
  • The Dragon’s Tales wonders if the shape of Martian sand dunes indicate a denser Martian atmosphere a bit more than four billion years ago.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers evictions and poverty in the United States.
  • Inkfish notes that different honeybees seem to have different personalities.
  • Language Hat notes the import of Maltese in Mediterranean history.
  • Language Log talks about Sino-Japanese.
  • Lovesick Cyborg shares the doubts of polled Americans with the viability of virtual lovers.
  • The LRB Blog shares an article supporting Corbyn.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that San Francisco was literally built on buried ships.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the collapse of Greek savings and looks at Euroskepticism’s history in the United Kingdom.
  • Steve Munro updates readers on Union-Pearson Express ridership.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer thinks the Netherlands Antilles offer useful models to the United Kingdom, and is confused by a claim that that bias against Mexican immigrants does not exist when the data seems to suggest it does.
  • Torontoist goes into the life of conservative Protestant newspaper publishing Black Jack Robinson.
  • Transit Toronto notes that in a decade, GO Trains will connect Hamilton to Niagara Falls.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues against using the Brexit vote to argue against referenda.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the Russian deployment of military forces to the Belarus border, looks at Tatarstan’s concern for its autonomy, observes the changing demographics of Ukraine, and notes the Russian debate over what sort of European Union collapse they would like.
  • Arnold Zwicky remembers his father through ephemera.

[URBAN NOTE] Three links about the problems with the John Tory Scarborough subway expansion

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In the Toronto Star, Ben Spurr in “Jury’s still out on subway’s impact on immigrants” notes that the subway expansion, contrary to Tory’s claims, will not open up Toronto to Scarborough’s many immigrant poor.

In an effort to win over hearts and minds for the controversial Scarborough subway extension, Mayor John Tory has suggested that a major benefit of the project would be its ability to deliver transit to underserved immigrant communities.

But the city’s own analysis shows the $3.2-billion, one-stop subway would directly serve only a small number of residents in disadvantaged neigbourhoods that have high populations of newcomers.

[. . .]

Tory wrote that the subway would “promote social equity,” and charged that “many of the subway’s loudest critics do not live or work in Scarborough, where more than half the population is born outside of Canada. When they say this is too much to spend on a subway, the inference seems to be that it’s too much to spend on this part of the city.”

[. . .]

City planners determined the Scarborough subway “would directly serve very few” disadvantaged residents, which they defined as people living in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas — designated areas that are economically marginalized and often have high immigrant populations.

The proposed one-stop subway extension running along McCowan Ave. would bring only 1,700 additional residents of NIAs within walking distance of a transit station, the report found.

Christopher Bird’s fisking of Tory’s op-ed at Torontoist, “John Tory is Lying About the Scarborough Subway”, is thorough.

John Tory’s greatest power as a politician is his veneer of respectability and reasonableness. No matter how irresponsible a position Tory takes, he is masterful at presenting himself as someone who has considered all positions and chosen the most moderate and reasoned course. Because Tory is a politician, people can often forget that this is strictly a veneer, a mantle he adopts to cloak policies that are unreasonable, ill-advised, or just plain stupid.

The latest terrible idea Tory has chosen to advance during his mayorship is the Scarborough subway. Unfortunately, the Scarborough subway is so evidently a bad idea that widespread opposition has risen to it, because it is an enormous waste of money on a bad transit strategy that the general public actually doesn’t want as much as they want the Downtown Relief Line. As the months have progressed and people do not magically agree that his terrible policy initiative is actually really good, Tory progressively gets more and more upset. The latest iteration of this is a truly mendacious column in today’s Toronto Star, which probably could have done with a once-over from the paper’s fact checkers before it hit print—because it is full of shit.

“Throughout my time in office, I have tried to be completely honest with the people of Toronto so I will make this admission: the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway is an issue with which I’ve struggled.

“We are a city that likes to draw lines and take sides, especially when it comes to transit, and it’s easy to characterize people as either ‘for the subway’ or ‘against.’”

Well, yes. It is easy to characterize people as being for the subway or against it, because it’s a binary option. Either we build a subway or we don’t. Being for or against the subway is not the same as being for or against transit generally, which is what Tory is dishonestly suggesting here.

Also note that Tory here is also setting up one of his favored rhetorical ploys: to present everybody else as divisive and himself as a neutral problem solver. The issue with that is that this is a divisive issue, and Tory has chosen a side. He is not above this particular fray.

TVO’s Steve Paikin, meanwhile, in “Why John Tory’s sticking by the shaky Scarborough subway plan”, looks at the reasons why Tory may press ahead regardless.

However, Mayor Tory in his heart of hearts must also wish the hard data surrounding the proposed one-stop subway now on the books were a lot firmer. I’m sure ̶ without even asking him ̶ that he wishes the ridership projections for the subway were higher; that the population per square kilometre around the subway stop were denser; and above all else, that the cost of this project (which just jumped a billion dollars earlier this month) weren’t so egregiously high. More favourable facts on the ground, which would have made this project so much more justifiable, would be such a lifeline for this mayor. Alas, those more favourable facts just aren’t there.

However, other political realities are:

For better or for worse, the prevailing political winds at all three levels of government have agreed that Scarborough must have a subway ̶ that an LRT is somehow seen as second-class, and Scarborough, after being the butt of jokes for too long and being under-resourced with public services, can’t be seen to be receiving second-class treatment any longer.
Anybody hoping to be re-elected as mayor of Toronto in two years will need to cover his suburban flank against Doug Ford, who although currently out of politics is already increasingly appearing in the media and giving every indication he’s going to challenge Tory to a mayoral rematch in 2018. He was on Newstalk1010 the same morning Tory’s op-ed appeared, blaming the mayor for the return of “the gravy train,” a slogan so compelling, it propelled his late brother Rob to mayoral victory in 2010.
At the risk of indulging in too much psychobabble, Tory knows he is a child of privilege, went to the best schools, has had some great jobs, and lived a wonderful life. It is perfectly consistent with his sense of fair play or even noblesse oblige to ensure that Scarborough, with its large numbers of new and lower income Canadians, gets a subway, even if it’s only a one-stop model.
I don’t doubt for a second that Tory has struggled hard with this issue, as he confessed in his Star op-ed. He must know the cost estimate of this project is awfully tough to justify. And given the Toronto Transit Commission’s track record on previous projects, does anyone seriously believe this thing won’t eventually cost billions more? Who knows? It’s going to take years to build. Critics will say think of all the other more useful transit projects we could have funded with that money. And they’d be right.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 29, 2016 at 5:27 pm

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit could give Scotland a chance to take some of London’s finance industry, looks at the Canadian-born governor of the Bank of England, looks at a quiet crisis in the Russian economy re: investment, and notes the awkwardness of the British diaspora in the European Union.
  • Bloomberg View notes the United Kingdom’s upcoming challenges with India.
  • The CBC notes that Iceland has gotten a Canadian-born first lady and looks at the new Panama Canal expansion.
  • Daily Xtra quotes the Canadian prime minister as arguing Canada must make amends for past wrongs to LGBT people.
  • MacLean’s looks at the indecisive results of the latest Spanish election.
  • The National Post notes that Scotland is already preparing for a second vote.
  • Open Democracy looks at the strange new dynamics in Northern Ireland, where Unionists are applying for Irish passports.
  • Universe Today examines experiments in agriculture using simulated Martian soil, and looks at a star set to rotate around the Milky Way Galaxy’s central black hole at 2.5% of the speed of light.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reports from Washington D.C.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper looking at the stellar wind of Tau Böotis and the impact of Tau Böotis b on this.
  • Language Log considers the exact grammatical role played by Brexit.
  • Language Hat links to a report on a museum of language in Paris.
  • The Map Room Blog notes that the website Atlas Obscura is set to produce a book.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the paradox of a Cornwall dependent on EU funds voting against the European Union.
  • Steve Munro looks at the problems of fare integration in regional transit.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares multimedia highlights of the launch of China’s new Long March 7 rocket.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at a new road shortcut in suburban Charlottetown.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at institutional chaos in the Moscow area and suggest Cossack mobilization risks a North Caucasian countermobilization.

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