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Spadina Ave.

No is not enough

Later today, Kathleen Wynne will sit down with media from across the province to talk about the transit funding tools she’ll push for. After that, Andrea Horwath will probably denounce her.

Metrolinx has said we need $2 billion per year to keep commutes just in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area from worsening. Andrea Horwath will say that new taxes and tolls will add to the burden of working families across Ontario and she’ll be right. She will then say that can get all that by closing corporate tax loopholes and that is crazy. Last year corporations contributed about $9.5 billion to the provincial budget; 20% is a lot to raise anyone’s taxes by. And we haven’t even done anything for Ottawa, London, or any of the dozens of smaller transit systems across the province.

When Andrea Horwath says that taxes will be burdensome, what she’s actually saying is that taxes are unpopular. If she repeats it today, what she’ll be saying is that she’s more interested in the leadership than in leading. And she’ll be saying that she lacks the courage or conviction to invest in this province’s future.

Tim Hudak and the brothers Ford act like they believe in magic words and talismans (efficiencies, casinos, gravy) that will pour out money for whatever ails the province. Andrea Horwath’s fixation on corporate tax loopholes is the same. If she actually wanted to make the funding plan for transit more progressive, she would do exactly that: work with the premier on a more progressive plan, and do the hard work of bringing the province around to it.

Later today, Kathleen Wynne will announce that she is willing to put her popularity on the line for the future of the province. After that, we’ll see whether Andrea Horwath is willing to do the same. If she isn’t, and her MPPs aren’t either, that should tell Ontarians all we need to know for the next election.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Squash Crust

My choir had a Thanksgiving potluck this weekend full of great food, good company, booze, and surprising musical talents. I wanted to bring a shepherd’s pie (my favourite fall food) but with the surfeit of potato I went for a different crust. Basically, I combined and simplified a lentil shepherd’s pie recipe from my favourite vegan blog (It Ain’t Meat, Babe) with a squash mash from new, awesome find Really Nice Recipes. Here’s the combo:

Serves 3-4
Prep + Cook time (parallelized): 90 min

Ingredients

  • 400g squash (1 acorn, but the less sweet the better; use more for larger casserole dishes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup brown lentils (black beans are great for a larger grain texture; adjust water and cooking time)
  • 1/3 cup barley,
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup broth

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cover the squash in olive oil, place a garlic clove in each half and sprinkle with oregano, and dashes of salt and pepper. Pop it in the oven and bake until soft (~30 min).
  2. Boil the lentils (use 2-3 cups of broth, 20+ minutes if starting from dry lentils) and add barley, bay leaf, rosemary, and vinegar ~10 minutes before ready.
  3. Slice the celery and onions, and cut the carrots in 1″ (2cm) quarter-circle wedges. Sauté to softish (coincidentally, ~10 minutes!).
  4. Combine the lentils and veggies, leave to simmer. The squash should be done by now – remove from oven, scoop the soft flesh in to a mash-friendly container, then mash away.
  5. The lentils should be soft and fillingy by now. Pour in to a casserole dish then glob squash mash to cover. You should bake for a while to get the squash a bit drier, but that isn’t strictly necessary. You can also put this in the fridge at this stage where it’ll probably keep well for days, but remember to leave plenty of time for reheat as it has quite a bit of thermal mass.

Quick notes on Qantas

-Double vegetarian lunch is a great thing, especially the sweet potato quiche
-They’ll probably keep sticking me on old Boeings but Qantas’ A380s are magnificent machines, so obviously bigger than their neighbours
-Trying to avoid upgrading the entertainment systems by using iPads will only work if they aren’t gross and the experience is solid. Frequent service and the custom UI (hindered by Apple’s programming walls) makes Q Streaming a bit unpleasant.

Yeats Infection

Dear friends,

Please do something with the name Yeats Infection – gaellic metal, memescape strategy game, a book of zombie poetry, a meditative poem, anything.

Thank you.

Love, Senning

People are Pretty Great

people are pretty great

From time to time, I get obsessed with the Dawkins humanist bus ads, the ones that read “There’s probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.”  And that’s great, and fair enough, but there’s more to humanism, isn’t there?  Of course there is: humans are pretty awesome, normally.  We like to launch things and probe things and discuss things, and out of that we get new pictures, new data, new ideas.  Us!  Slow, fleshy, awkward things who can’t survive three days in the winter without whisky and comforters!  Every person around you is part of a species that knows how to build the LHC and mille-feuille and e.e. cummings!

All those people sitting beside you on the subway are humans.  Do you see what I’m saying?  What I’m saying is that these people are capable of ridiculous things.  Right beside you!  That person is a human!  Turn your head!  Go, turn your head and say hi!