Right-wing blogger and Maclean's columnist Colby Cosh professes consternation at his discovery that running a hunger strike from a makeshift teepee in the middle of the Ottawa River involves actual out-of-pocket expenses, for which supporters of the striker might solicit actual contributions. Pressing his dudgeon pedal to the metal, Cosh waxes indignant at Chief Theresa Spence for "distort[ing] the perceived integrity" of "the most morally serious activity a protester can undertake." Oh, the humanity! Cosh concludes his thinly veiled ad hominem attack by speculating that Spence's "demands aren’t in earnest and the whole thing is no more than a publicity ploy." Well thank goodness for...

In response to last night's post about the surprising drugs-and-arms bust on Boularderie, John Percy, leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, writes: [T]he war on drugs...

As you have no doubt heard, police busted a house at Southside Boularderie Island yesterday, just a few miles down the road from Contrarian HQ. They found an eyebrow-raising array of firearms, along with cocaine, ecstasy, steroids, and my personal favorite, pot. An RCMP news release cataloged the seized items in a handy bulleted list. The release also included this statement from Inspector John Ryan: Yesterday's seizure reinforces the clear link between drugs and violence. Wrong. Yesterday's seizure reinforces the clear link between prohibition and violence. Eliminate the prohibition on drugs, and you'll eliminate the artificial prices that enrich and encourage gun-toting thugs. Overnight. Al Capone taught our grandparents this...

[Video link] The presidential limo is a 1987 VW Bug. The presidential pooch has only three functioning legs. The presidential laundry hangs on the line, washed in water hauled from a well in the yard. The president himself, Jose Mujica, who won a landslide victory in Uraguay's 2009 election, carries six bullet wounds in his body, a legacy of his time with the Tupamaros guerrillas in the '60s and '70s. He also spent 14 years in a military prison, including two confined to the bottom of a well. Mujica donates 90 percent of his $144,000 annual salary to charity, bringing his effective income...

The award for the stupidest idea to emerge in the hotly contested CBRM mayoralty campaign goes to Rankin MacSween. At a debate sponsored by the Cape Breton University Student Union, candidates were asked how, if elected, they will improve student prospects for living and working in Cape Breton after graduation. Here's the Cape Breton Post's description of candidate MacSween's response: MacSween talked about creating a community investment fund that would allow the municipality to invest in small businesses each year. “We’re talking about a minimum of five to 10 investments in small businesses a year,” he said. CBRM is $96 million in debt* by...

Like many Cape Bretoners, I cringe when fellow islanders, egged on by CBRM's outgoing mayor, blame all our problems on Halifax. It's unbecoming, it's untrue, and it's a lazy excuse for avoiding the hard work of re-imagining Cape Breton's economy. Just for the moment, however, I'm more annoyed by the volley of stones hurled these last 24 hours from the glass mansions of our capital city at the Dexter Government's on-again, off-again, on-again rescue of the paper mill in Point Tupper, Richmond County. There's no question Dexter made a huge gamble on this bailout.* It's natural for taxpayers to be nervous. No...

Visa has released a new iPhone app that uses survey data to help parents calculate the going rate for tooth fairy emoluments, based on a parents' gender, age, income, location, and educational attainment. The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal played with the app for a while and came up with in interesting discovery that doesn't really surprise me much: The smaller the amount I put in for household income, the greater the size of the average tooth fairy's gift. In fact, I was only able to get calculator to output $5 by setting my household income to $20k per year and selecting that my...

"One of this government's least admirable traits," said a friend who admires much the Dexter Government has done, "is its refusal to ever admit it made a mistake." The impulse to stay an obviously incorrect course is common enough in government, and it commonly leads to even greater error. This month, the Dexter Government's refusal to admit mistakes in its reprehensible treatment of a Cape Breton addiction recovery centre led to further error in the form of a dishonest procurement process. On Friday, the Board of Directors of Talbot House announced it would not submit a tender to supply the addiction recovery services...

Here at last is Contrarian's searchable map of 2011 political donations in Nova Scotia: [Direct link to map] Each dot represents a donation. The dots are color-coded by party: orange (and brown) for NDP; red for Liberal; blue for PC; green for Green; and white for Atlantica. The larger dots stand for donations of $1,000 or more. Clicking on an individual dot reveals a pop-up table listing the name and address of the donor, the party to whom they donated, and the amount and type of donation. Use the + and – slider on the left side of the map to zoom...