Regina's New Sunday Bus Schedule Is A Disaster

Last spring Regina Transit, in response to a petition requesting expanded service on Sundays (when buses typically run hourly from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.) and stat holidays (when there's no service at all) to make it easier for transit users to do stuff like go to work/church and attend special holiday events, announced plans to extend service on Sundays (no mention was made of holidays) so that buses ran from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. At the same time it announced a fare increase (adult jumped from $2.10 a ride to $2.25).

The fare hike was instituted Aug. 1. Today, our office received a fax from Regina Transit announcing its intention to begin expanded Sunday service on Aug. 30. Oh good, I thought. But then I read this:

In order to better serve riders' needs and provide extended hours without significant budget impact, service was redesigned resulting in removal of service from limited areas of the city. Sunday service will operate on 11 routes. Only three of those routes will be the same as on weekdays. The Sunday routes were designed to provide service to as many of the religious buildings, shopping areas and activity centres as possible. This means walk distances to the bus stop may be longer in some instances. Where changes to routes have been made, bus stops will also indicate whether there will be no Sunday service at a particular stop and some new signs will be installed for Sunday service only.

What it boils down to is that instead of 18 routes, there will be 11. They'll have different names than existing routes, and their own numbering system (901 through 912). And the bus routes themselves, except for three, will all be different--sometimes radically so -- from the routes people ordinarily ride Monday-Saturday.

Uh yeah, right. I cycle for transportation as much as I can, but for a good four months of the year I rely heavily on Regina Transit for getting around, and I wholeheartedly support it as a service vital to any notion of Regina being a modern and progressive city. And this is a pathetic joke. Way to make transit use safer, more convenient and user-friendly. Yes granny, we'll give you Sunday service. Only thing is, you may have to walk a bit further to catch your bus. Yeah, it's icy in the winter. And cold too. And it gets dark early. And buses only run once an hour. So make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to make it to the stop (heh-heh).

I don't blame Regina Transit. That phrase in the first sentence "without significant budget impact" says it all. Regina Transit doesn't control its own purse strings. It works with the money it has.

I can't wait to see what the petition organizers will have to say about this.

More On That Jerk With The Rifle At The Obama Rally

Turns out his show of force was planned in advance--police had been notified and the "journalist" who interviewed him is apparently a friend and fellow libertarian wackjob. Here's the story on Talking Points Memo.

So, instead of this being a spontaneous event where a lone asshole shows up with a gun to intimidate people who disagree with him it's an organized, calculated show of force by an organized group of armed right-wingers and fringe media creeps. Phew! A group of heavily-armed, self-absorbed egomaniacs with axes to grind and a following is so much better than one loon with a machine gun. I feel so much better about America's prospects for the future now.

The gunman's name is supposedly "Chris B.". In the interview he attacks the public option in health care by saying, and I quote, ""We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote." (I wonder how he feels about gay marriage.)

Naturally, this guy also says taxation is theft--one of my favourite psycho anarchist right-wing talking points.

Here's the charming little video where he says many pleasant things.

Of course this is all insane garbage. No one is talking about taking his "right" to private healthcare insurance away. But most Americans want a public system. They voted for it. They should get it.

These gun-toting maniacs really need their own country. Ideally on Mars. In the meantime, where, exactly, is the FBI? Yeah, yeah I know, probably spying on some neighbourhood anti-poverty organization somewhere. Snort.

Here's the Guardian's take on the whole thing, by the way.

Library Development Drop-In Session Tomorrow

Here's the skinny on the library dealie:

The RPL will host a "Central Library development drop-in session" tomorrow. According to my information, the RPL will "share our progress to date on the Central Library Development and discuss the ideas that will create this new Regina landmark."

The drop-in will occur at the Central Library branch in downtown Regina and be located on the second floor in an easy-to-spot locale. According to the person I spoke with, the drop-in will be operational during library hours. I recommend going between one and five if you can, since those were the times I first heard so that's probably when they will be serving delicious confections. (I am speculating on this detail. I do not have confirmation that there will be confections.)

Sounds like something people should be following. You should go if you can.

See you tomorrow perhaps!

Obama Joker Artist Interviewed

The scoundrel behind that portrait of Obama as the Joker has been found--and he's not the conservative you'd think he is. From the Los Angeles Times:

When cryptic posters portraying President Obama as the Joker from "Batman" began popping up around Los Angeles and other cities, the question many asked was, Who is behind the image? Was it an ultra-conservative grassroots group or a disgruntled street artist going against the grain? Nope, it turns out, just a 20-year-old college student from Chicago. Bored during his winter school break, Firas Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software. Alkhateeb had been tinkering with the program to improve the looks of photos he had taken on his clunky Kodak camera. The Joker project was his grandest undertaking yet. Using a tutorial he'd found online about how to "Jokerize" portraits, he downloaded the October 23 Time Magazine cover of Obama and began digitally painting over it. Four or five hours later, he happily had his product.

Full, very interesting story here.

The pictures, of course, have been used by right-wingnuts to attack Obama as a socialist. The artist's critism of the President, however, is that there "wasn't much substance to him".
As for the Conservative red-baiting? "To accuse him of being a socialist is really ... immature," Alkhateeb tells the Los Angeles Times. "First of all, who said being a socialist is evil?"

RPL Open House

I posted something on this last week, then e-mailed the RPL for confirmation and never heard back from them. Received an e-mail from another source today saying that there will be a drop-in open house Wednesday Aug. 19 from 1-5 p.m. at Central Library to discuss progress that's been made on plans for an expanded downtown library. The announcement is framed in terms of an invite to Regina Public Library Stakeholders. I assume that means everyone, but these days it's hard to be sure, as some people/organizations apparently hold bigger stakes in public facilities and policy issues than others. Why else would they receive direct invitations, while others, like prairie dog, only learn of things through word of mouth?

UPDATE FROM WHITWORTH, 2:20 P.M. : I have a call out to the Library and will report back on what this thing is before the end of the day. Is it innocent? Is it sinister? We'll soon find out!

WHITWORTH UPDATE: 2:24 P.M. Amazing what can be cleared up with a phone call. There's no conspiracy, it's an open-to-the-public drop-in. I am told we were definitely sent a media notice (which I can't find). I'll post more details when I have them officially, which will be later this afternoon.

Six In The Morning

1 PLANE DOWN, TWO DEAD A flight instructor and his student are dead after a crash near Saskatoon. (Leader-Post)

2 HEALTHCARE FOR EVERY AMERICAN IS UN-AMERICAN Hillary and Bill couldn't get it done and now Obama's floundering in their footsteps. The White House is taking about being open to other ideas--much to the delight, I'm sure, of paramilitary lunatics, traitor Democrats, the entire Republican Party and Fox News bullies. Oh, and the special-interest for-profit medical system. But if you skip the headlines and read the actual stories, it ain't over yet. Washington Post)

3 TRASH TROUBLE Regina's dumpster situation is dire. (CBC)

4 AFGHANISTAN'S DUBIOUS DEMOCRACY Corruption, threats and bombs, bombs, bombs rattle nerves leading up to elections. (Guardian)

5 THE WAR ON AGING Researchers are fiddling with drugs that may extend lifespan. I don't think our planet could handle us sticking around any longer than we do but that's a problem for another day. (New York Times)

6 CONSTITUTION SAYS EXECUTING INNOCENT PEOPLE OKAY: AMERICAN SUPREME COURT JUDGE Yeesh. (firedoglake) Oh, and speaking of dick judges... double yeesh. (Telegraph) Judges only work 9-5 but state-sponsored murder is okay anytime I guess.