Surfing the Internet is bad for my health.
I know: Probably not the best thing for a blogger to reveal. But there’s a little bit of Orwell’s Two-Minute Hate (http://www.enotes.com/1984/q-and-a/what-two-minutes-hate-124283) in the easy way headlines can harness our collective outrage. Every day I sit down at my desk and turn on my computer and surf the headlines. And many days it takes just a few minutes before my blood pressure spikes.
Yeah, that’s pretty much a perfect storm for triggering anger in me: a dog – a puppy – shot by an entitled, overbearing civil servant, who then feels so untouchable he has the arrogance to remain at the scene writing a ticket for the people whose dog he tried to kill. Honestly, the rage I would feel if that happened to my pet would probably trigger a heart attack.
Then there’s the cavalier way some people like to spend other people’s money. Advocates for a municipal income tax instead of property tax think they’ve come up with a fairer way to fund communities (http://thechronicleherald.ca/editorials/219304-in-praise-of-income-tax). This is hogwash.
The fairest way to fund municipalities is with a property tax that reflects the last sale price of a property, prorated each year to reflect inflation. Municipal politicians will tell you that leaves public coffers woefully underfunded. I say tough. Do less.
Municipal income tax means that a frugal, recluse millionaire who chooses to live in a humble dwelling and accesses few public services will still get dinged with a huge bill. Is this justified? Of course not. He’s forced to pay more just because the collective community wants to take his money away. We can hide crimes behind legislation and rhetoric, but it’s basically theft to pay for the projects of big-spending governments.
Yet another one of those silly indexes ranking cities has been released: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/04/vancouver-quality-of-life-top-canadian-cities-mercer_n_2237245.html?ir=Canada+British+Columbia
Don’t we get one of these every other week? Sure, the criteria are tweaked, but it’s the same bloody thing over and over again. Usually, I would be quick to sing the merits of Halifax. I’ve often argued it’s the best city its size I’ve ever been to (not a large pool to draw from, granted). But today I found out our provincial capital has the second highest murder rate in the country: http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/halifax-has-second-highest-murder-rate-in-the-country-1.1065844
That’s a bad statistic. That carries a lot of weight, and it should. You may have impressive architecture, a great nightlife, a storied history and a beautiful location. But if lots of people are being killed, your city is second-rate at best.
It pains me just to write those words. I hope this trend can be reversed. I’ve always liked Halifax a lot. But the murder rate is discouraging.
One blip of good news today, though. The UK’s Scouts are considering creating a Scouting oath for its young members that doesn’t include a reference to God. It’s about time this group welcomed unbelievers. Now if they could just do something about the reference to the Queen…