Quick Hits - January 2

PETA Activist, 19, legally changes name to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com.

Erin: Or Moron, for short.

Toronto Garbage Ads

Anybody here catch the ads the City of Toronto is running to promote its unpopular mega garbage bins? Does the Armchair Garbageman know about this? Or how about Spacing’s Wire.

I was surprised to catch this ad watching the Muppet Show on the Christian Broadcasting System (cable 23 in Kitchener) promoting these refuse bins, that are really just excuses to plunk more advertising on Toronto’s sidewalks. The ad features shots of the bin while an exuberant announcer tells us that the bins hold 20% more refuse than the old bins, have places to store your trash, recyclables and cigarette butts. And, here’s the interesting bit: (paraphrased) “if these bins are established all across this city, it could contribute $1 million to Toronto, lowering your taxes.”

One. Million.

Just last month, the City of Toronto approved a $1.250 BILLION budget.

So, “if these bins are established all across this city”, it could contribute 0.1% of Toronto’s total budget.

Could somebody tell me how much of that 0.1% has already been spent on these pointless ad spots?

Hurricane Epsilon?!!?

Did you know that the hurricane season isn’t yet over? Officially it’s over, but there have been tropical storms, and one hurricane, since we stopped paying attention after Gamma. Tropical Storm Delta killed eight people in the Canary Islands and did significant damage to the area. Hurricane Epsilon defied all of the forecasters’ expectations by forming and maintaining strength over a portion of the ocean it had no business being over, and Tropical Storm Zeta is still ongoing.

And while still on hurricanes, we seem to have let Katrina fade in our minds, but there are still unresolved issues. I remember that some bloggers pooh-poohed the mayor of New Orleans’ admittedly hyperbolic statements about a five digit death toll, but this statement on the current assessment of Katrina’s damage should give them pause:

The official death toll so far is 1336, with 1090 of those victims in Louisiana and 228 in Mississippi. This makes Katrina at least the fifth deadliest U.S. hurricane of all time. The death toll could go much higher, making Katrina the third deadliest. Over 4,000 people are still listed as missing. Most of these missing people are probably alive and well, according to Kym Pasqualini, CEO of National Center for Missing Adults. However, she indicates that 1,300 of the missing from the most heavily damaged areas of New Orleans are a matter of great concern, and many of these people may have died in the storm.

Yes, 2600 is a long way from “tens of thousands”, but it’s still more significant than what we knew at the time Mayor Nagin’s comments were criticized. And given that he was speaking in New Orleans at the height of the disaster, I think this sad fact offers him some vindication.

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