Archive for April, 2006

Toronto Transit Tokens Counterfeited

BOSTON, April 29 (UPI) — More than 5 million fake Toronto subway tokens were minted in a Massachusetts plant, netting scammers $9 million profit over three years, police say.

A massive international sting involving the FBI and Canadian authorities has broken the scamming ring, the Boston Globe reported. Investigators developed leads that resulted over the last several weeks in 100 charges against 21 people, including alleged middlemen, vendors, and ringleaders.

In February, Toronto police arrested three Canadian brothers: Reginald Beason, 47, and Alexander Beason, 36, who were charged with fraud; and Alfredo Beason, 49, who was charged with possession of fake tokens, the Globe said.

From Massachusetts, court documents say, the tokens were shipped in boxes of 20,000 via UPS and FedEx to Niagara Falls, N.Y., where runners loaded them into cars and drove them across the border.
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awesome live music

I saw a Steely Dan tribute band last night when I was out with some friends. I’m not really a Steely Dan fan, but it I had a good time regardless, because the band was really good, both the band and the audience had a lot of energy. It was at the Orbit Room on College Street – they play the last Thursday of every month if you want to check them out next month.

in case you forgot, on this beautiful morning…

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Though the numbers vary depending on the source that you trust, at least 180,000 people have been killed during the Sudanese Genocide. Official numbers of dead in this type of conflict are hard to come by so some estimates creep up to 400,000. Either way, genocide is genocide.

Genocide – noun (Legal Encyclopedia) – The crime of destroying or conspiring to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. Genocide can be committed in a number of ways, including killing members of a group or causing them serious mental or bodily harm, deliberately inflicting conditions that will bring about a group’s physical destruction, imposing measures on a group to prevent births, and forcefully transferring children from one group to another.

This Sunday, April 30th Project Equity, STAND and Oxfam Canada are hosting a rally titled “Scream For Darfur” along with NDP Leader Jack Layton. This rally coincides with others being held in San Francisco and Washington DC.
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Remember Chernobyl

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant disaster. Take a moment to remember the brave souls who worked to avert the worst (hard to imagine that the local fireman rushing to the scene some armed with no radioactive protection and only shovels). Despite the fact that the site has been sealed in concrete to this day the epicentre is part of a 30 km “exclusion zone”

Not all involved were so brave or honourable. It took some 2 days before officials told their own people and the world that reactor No. 4 had blown up and was spewing radioactive dust. Meanwhile people in neighbouring countries and eventually the World were contaiminated.

It should also be a sombre reminder to those of us here in Ontario since 40% of our power is coming from Nuclear sources. Canada is the world’s leading uranium producer, accounting for a third of global production and 15% of global reserves. About 85% of Canada’s production is exported for nuclear energy production in the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe, bringing in about Cdn$500 million annually. Canadian policy forbids the export of uranium or nuclear technology for use in nuclear weapons.

Such disasters should be a wake up call. A signal to reverse bad pratices, to learn from mistakes and injustices and heal. The “social costs”, like pollution or health care are not always factored in cost/benefit analysis of these projects. While Canadian reactors are some of the safest in the world and built so they CAN’T serve as a means of refining weapons grade uranium, we still have to live with their waste (for the next 1000 years or so…)

This has to stop!

Just in case anyone missed my grand experience from Tuesday morning… it SNOWED. (At least at the corner of Thorncliffe Park Drive and Overlea Blvd.) Normally, a few flakes doesn’t constitute a snowfall, but being this close to May it is worth noting!

Yesterday the temperature was, (at its lowest) 0.3 degrees!
This morning it was -1 degrees Celsius!

People at work have been talking about how it isn’t normal to be this cold this close to May. Yet… a quick look at the historical data from The Weather Network shows that this should be completely expected.

I suppose that unlike gas prices, our weather is actually pretty much OK for now.

The Floor Will Blaze Tonight

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Back in town so what better way to celebrate than to check out the return of Casa de la Musica at the Gladstone. Hope to see some familiar faces…

BLACK MARKET are playing again!!! As usual early birds can get a free Cuban salsa lesson w/SARITA LEYVA @7:30pm

Gladstone Ballroom – 7pm
$10 cover

Barn Burner

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The game last night, the first opener this season for A.J Burnett, was amazing! Edge of your seat excitement as the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox went into the 12th inning to settle this first in a three game series.

In the bottom of the 12th, Lyle Overbay hit a double that allowed Troy Glaus to sprint all the way from 1st to cross the plate ending the game 7-6. The Jays played an impressive game last night, though the pitching roster took a hit as Burnett had to leave with joint pain, sadly the same injury that he was suffering prior to this game. By the 4th inning he had pitched over 60 throws. Something the Red Sox didn’t have to deal with until the 6th inning.

If the Jays can win both remaining games against Boston (including the one they are leading 4-0 in the 1st, as I write this) then we should move into 2nd place in our division behind Baltimore as Boston would move down from 1st into 3rd.

Personally, I was happy that the final run to win was not a home run. There are so many home runs in current games it almost leaves strategy and speed to the wind.

…signals Green for TTC

The Liberal McGuinty government approved a technology change to TTC vehicles that should help improve route times. According to the Ministry of Transportation website the technology is called “traffic signal pre-emption” and will allow streetcar or bus drivers to “shorten a red, or lengthen a green traffic signal to their advantage when approaching an intersection.”

We might all have heard of the stories about how supposedly flashing high beams at long lights gets them to change faster. (I have seen this done with varying degrees of success) This technology works in a similar fashion.

I can’t wait to see this in action. There wasn’t any mention about this technology not working during rush hour, so I suppose that following a TTC bus when driving might not be a bad thing anymore even during those busy times!

Back in the City

Glad to be back in the “Tdot”!!! (as I was on an extended roadtrip stateside)

Ventured to Washington D.C. over the holiday break. I was astonished at the weather down there compared to our home sweet home. Even with the recent WARM weather here it still seemed as though D.C. was a good month or two ahead as far as Spring/Summer… (well into the 20’s!!!). I got to skate FREEDOM PLAZA, one of the Capital’s most famous skateboard spots. I even bumped into one of the Living Legends that helped make the spot so famous, CHRIS HALL. Good to see that dude again, especially since he’s moved back to down there from the GTA almost 8 years ago.

Oh well… Back at work and the business grind… If I could have only made my trip a week later, the C$ is really starting to beat up on the US$ again…LoL

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