Saturday, July 29, 2006

Profiteering off necessities

The apartment in Calgary Im staying in has issued notice to renters that the rent will be increased by $200/month. There are 30 units which adds up to $6000/mth or $72,000/year. Considering that the apartments expenses haven't gone up (no mill rate hike) and natural gas prices are actually falling, one is left understanding that the increase is a function of demand. They get $72,000 extra a year because there's no other place to stay, so people will be forced to pay.
While I'm generally a supporter as well as a beneficiary of our supply and demand system, our society has deemed that certain goods and services be tempered from raw market forces. Education, health etc. are subsidized because we believe it is in the public good for them to be affordable. In a solemn moment of reflection, it seems really absurd how acceptable and commonplace it is too make whatever profit one can from other people's necessity to have a roof over their head. Its true, owning an apartment over the long term has risks of vacancy and risk should be rewarded, but I really resent such grotesque gauging on such a basic need. Calgary is suffering for skilled labour because there is no place to live and hence people can't move here or afford to move here causing cyclical dilemmas.
I hope these landlords die early and in painful ways. Its a fate better than they deserve.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

world trade center barf-o-rama

Its a big enough world that I'm sure many others share my constant desire to kick nick cage in the teeth. I take solace in this. So when the inevitable cultural hedge fund that is hollywood finally got around to 9/11, they really stuck it to me by placing mr Cage at the helm. A Hedge on wall street usually involves ""selling short" in stock that is a competitor to one you already own. This means that when the stock goes down, you still make money. Its sort of like betting on both teams in the Stanley Cup. I'm sure we can look forward to Cage et al converting sensless and meaningless death into the exact opposite. As Humphrey Bogart said "They got lucky, yesterday they were just two German clerks. Today, they're the honoured dead." Indeed, the Hollywood hedge fund will always salvage cultural profit, even in a bear market.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

the power of nightmares

just watched the first part of the 3-part bbc documentary "the power of nightmares" described as:

"This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today.

From the introduction to Part 1 (Baby It's Cold Outside): "Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today's nightmare vision of a secret organized evil that threatens the world, a fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful."

This doc so far has been an excellant investigation into the morphing ideologies that have shaped much of the current geopolitics. To my reckoning it is devoid of emotional appeals and conspiracy theory- esque speculation. I saw it on cbc newsworld but also found a downloadable copy online. Anyone with 3 hours and an interest will certainly be rewarded with fresh insights and knowledge.