Excitement from the Remnants of Ike

Tropical Storm Ike

As I’m writing this, the National Hurricane Centre of the United States, which had predicted that Tropical Depression Ike would dissipate over Missouri, is now predicted to increase strength as it heads over Indiana and Michigan, becoming a tropical storm again as it heads over Ontario. Perhaps the situation is similar to how Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto, when it combined with a northern cold front to re-intensify as it hit the province.

What fun!

Actually, seriously, I’m actually a little bit excited. But that’s probably the armchair storm chaser in me talking. I enjoy blustery weather when I’m outdoors, or even when I’m driving. I call it “Byronesque” and feel that it inspires my writing, sometimes. I also remember when Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina and made it up to southern Ontario as a tropical storm. There was minor damage in Toronto, but still that sense of excitement as we prepared for it to hit. I remember my friends telling stories about being out on Toronto’s streets late at night in the middle of torrential rainfall.

I suspect we may be the sort of people who should be kept away from the Gulf Coast as the storms bear down.

I’m very thankful that, although Ike hit Galveston head on, things don’t appear to have been as bad as they could have been. They’re calling it the third costliest storm in American history, but so far the death toll remains low. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The Progressive Bloggers Barbecue

I had a good time at the Progressive Bloggers barbecue out in Markham. Though I couldn’t stay late, I met up and put faces to the names of a number of bloggers out there. The CBC also showed up to interview some of us.

I believe a similar gathering of centre-right bloggers is happening in the middle of October, and though I probably won’t make it to that, I’d like to say that it was good to be invited.

Now you know the real reason for my non-partisan stance: I get invited to more blog parties that way. :-)

Carbon Taxes Are Good for the Economy?

Well, if coupled with corresponding income tax cuts, they might be, or so says a report commissioned by the Harper government which, understandably, the Harper Government is trying to downplay. Even the Sun has taken notice of this. (Hat tip to Saskboy)

But it isn’t too hard to think through, is it? When the Harris Tories came to power with their Common Sense Revolution, they offered up a 30% cut of provincial income taxes rather than a cut to the provincial sales tax. Finance minister Ernie Eves went onto the pages of the Globe and Mail to explain his reasoning, and said that a cut of income taxes had more impact on the economy than the cut of a consumption tax. And we’re now seeing that Harper’s 2% cut of the GST has slashed government revenues, without a corresponding increase in economic activity.

I must admit, I was skeptical to begin with, but it’s becoming clear that, if you have to tax, consumption taxes are a better tax than an income tax. Perhaps it’s because the income tax works to stifle income, and thus economic activity, whereas consumption taxes work to stifle consumption, which while stifling economic activity, also stifles various costs to the economy.

And, remember, a carbon tax is little more than a souped-up consumption tax.

Pictures of Saskatoon

A long shot, I know, but does anybody know a good resource of photographs of Saskatoon? The story of The Dream King’s Daughter has moved to this city, and I would like to be as authentic as possible. I’m especially interested in what the skyline looks like from the north end of the city, and what 51st Street East looks like. Any takers?

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