Who Teaches The Pedagogue?

If children lead children, it shall all be fun and games, until somebody loses an eye…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello, World

Is there anybody out there who wants to help the rich more than become (or remain) one of them? Is anyone more interested in helping the poor than using them?


Ah, the crickets… summer can’t be far away!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Few New Platform Planks And A New Picture


Don't say I never compromise:)


Tracy Tong of Metro Ottawa had a few questions she wanted answered, a desire for a pic, and a rather peculiarly-phrased word limit of four sentences per topic…

Name: Joseph Furtenbacher

Age: 50

Occupation: The world’s best polymathic macroethicist (moral philosopher of all disciplines, academic of none), with a solid grounding in philosophy, psychology, economics, sociology, politics, history, law, pedagogy, theology, architecture, computers and nutrition, I’ve spent the last six months creating a social networking virus that has changed the focus of human dialogue from finger pointing to solution seeking. Due to my frustration at finding my concepts and style as widely copied as my name was deeply buried, I decided to help everyone involved by running for Mayor of Ottawa, both as a means of helping Ottawans (I assumed they felt they needed any help), and letting the rest of the world know the source of the innovations they’d been bandying about so casually. I also wanted to stop the cherrypicking that has allowed my most beneficial (but unpopular) policies to languish unremarked. At the moment, with my campaign in support of ‘The Man Who Should Be Mayor’, and my blog, https://josephfurtenbacher.wordpress.com, I’m engaged in trying to convince the people of Ottawa that they themselves are worth far more than their status, money and possessions combined.

On transit: As with most of the other monomathic theories I encounter, I find our present transit rationale contains holes big enough to drive a light rail train car through. Our municipal debt stands at around $800,000,000 ($200,000,000 of it added this year), yet we cheerfully contemplate adding hundreds of millions more for the whitest elephant I’ve seen since I started looking for them twenty years ago (it’s good, however, that Mr. Haydon is conscious of the need to recycle the fill that would result from digging a tunnel a hundred feet below street level through rock located adjacent to a fault line, though I don’t know that using it to dam the Ottawa river would be my first choice; and in addition, I can’t help but feel that the eventual ongoing costs of security, cleaning, and machine maintenance will hardly help our bottom line). My plan calls for the laying of double track along the 417-174 corridors from Kanata to Orleans, and along the O-Train-Via Rail corridors from Gatineau to Barrhaven, served by feeder busses via underpass accesses, with a street level (sunken) double-track free-to-use shuttle service from an O-Train line transfer (and fare payment) station, along the Slater-Transitway corridors (Slater will become a corridor by splitting the difference with north-south overpasses), to a similar station on the Queensway line. The rolling stock will be the lightest available that is able to reliably handle our admittedly whimsical winter wonderlands.

On taxes: Tax rationale is the largest part of the competence pillar of my platform (the other three being pragmatism, ethics and vision); it’s largely why I decided to run: I’m firmly convinced that practically everyone else in the world (a notable exception being Ezra Klein) has no idea what they’re talking about; as evidence I offer the crazy-quilt disjointedness that our present ‘systems’ exhibit. My rationales, based as they are on the far more realistic model of human nature provided by evolutionary psychology, provide simpler, more effective policies – I’m not whistling in the dark like most people are, so I can address specific issues in detail while maintaining coherence with the rest of the policies I advocate. For example, to address the status and comfort addiction many people in this city suffer from, I would introduce consumption taxes and subsidies through property tax shifting, so as to benefit businesses who produce sustainable, healthy, and prosocial goods and services, while encouraging those who feel differently towards their customers (or the rest of the world) to take a good look in the mirror. And I think it’s sort of hypocritical to complain about upper levels of government downloading costs when we pay large numbers of ‘public servants’ enough to push them into the top tax bracket; I agreed to work for the median (or representative) income of $40,000 not only so as to remain mindful of the problems faced by our less fortunate residents, but also in order to be able to apply pressure to others who may, perhaps, overvalue the benefits of their services to the many people in our region who continue to wait for such basic necessities as affordable housing or daycare. To anyone who argues that such wage levels would not lead to the employment of the right sort of people, I believe that even these few paragraphs offer an effective rebuttal.

On the environment: I believe that most people in this city are dangerously deluded concerning the degree of sustainability their actions entail; having lived with the crutch of fossil fuels for so long, we have come to consider it a necessity, and therefore a right. For my part, having biked year-round for the last twelve years, I’ve seen staggering numbers of overweight drivers alone in their vehicles speeding to and from jobs which could just as easily have been performed at home, but for the absence of a water cooler. My vision calls for rezoning office buildings and gas stations and raising their rates, as well as implementing progressive residential property taxes (with reductions for those who invest in the production of on-site food or affordable housing) in order to send a message to people who feel that their status is more important other people’s (or species’) health. I will also, assuming enough people care enough about the environment to actually vote for me, spur the creation of rooftop and small-park community gardens and the planting of food trees, and subsidize composting toilets, both to reduce the amount of sewage we dump into the Ottawa river, and to increase the fertility of our region over time.

What’s the one luxury you can’t live without? The belief that someday humans will care as much about themselves as I care about them.

What was the last book you read? Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham, a favourite of long standing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bedtime For BOMA

Joseph Furtenbacher unleashed the St. Bernards of xenophilia,


My name is Joseph Furtenbacher, and I’m running for Mayor of Ottawa. I would be very much interested in hearing why you apparently have no problem with assigning my interest in serving this city to the realm of irrelevancy (while knowing nothing about me, having obviously never bothered to check the websites of any of the candidates, such as <https://josephfurtenbacher.wordpress.com&gt; ). I would also like to know why you decided to go with those perennial crowd pleasers, the dancing dinosauric duffers, with their subevolutionary solicitations and paymentless programs, who lack even the knowledge contained in first year economics and psychology textbooks, in short, those battling beauties known as The Front-Runners.

Mold in public housing, and Larry O’Brien with a $1.8 million mansion sitting empty. Must be nice to have a place to get away from it all (it’s in Brockville) Apparently when you have a garage full of muscle cars, buying local (real estate) isn’t all that important.

Or Mr. Watson, who loved Ottawa so much he quit the top job and left town for the bright lights and high (elite?) society that could only be found in Toronto. Shall I go on? (I’ll take that as a yes.)

Has anyone in your organization ever considered why we have progressive income taxes but flat property taxes? Can anyone explain why this discrepancy exists? Can any of your members explain why the city whines about never receiving sufficient gas tax revenues, but refuses to rezone gas stations and raise their rates? Why, while we have an $800-million debt ($200-million of it added this year) we’re talking about digging a top-of-the-line tunnel that will solve exactly nothing for most of the city? (Contrary to popular belief, not all Ottawans are office workers.) I would encourage telecommuting by rezoning and raising the rates of buildings where people produce nothing but papers or electron flows, and I would encourage on-site fruit and vegetable and affordable housing production by lowering or eliminating property taxes on owners who pursued these options. I would also raise the rates on luxury homes, and if more people decided to emigrate than immigrate, it would merely mean that all that much more affordable housing could be created, and I’m sure there are many people who would be more than happy to perform those jobs in return for a more modest salary and home, realizing that they’d been allowed to live in one of the best cities in the world.

Sorry to take up so much of your time, but you really need to give your head a shake.



Joseph Furtenbacher
Mayoral Candidate, Ottawa 2010

Dean Karakasis, Executive Director of BOMA Ottawa, opined,

Another opine.

From: “Joseph Furtenbacher” <fs910@ncf.ca>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2010 03:56:57 -0400
To: <executivedirector@bomaottawa.org>
Cc: Xanthippa Socrates<xanthippas.chamberpot@gmail.com>; sylvain<sylvain.henry@gmail.com>; Sandy Bryden<indyjones@sympatico.ca>; Robin Lawrance<Robinlawrance18@yahoo.com>; Randall Denley<rdenley@ottawacitizen.com>; OTAG<admin@ottawataxpayer.com>; Glen Gower<ggower@ottawastart.com>; Cockburn, Neco \(ott\)<NCockburn@thecitizen.canwest.com>; allyy caaarella.<ally.carella@hotmail.com>
Subject: Democracy


My name is Joseph Furtenbacher, and I’m running for Mayor of Ottawa…

However, having evidently thought the matter over (or perhaps having had a good night’s sleep), he decided that appeasement was the better part of prudence, and fired off an ‘explanation’,

Dear Mr. Furtenbacher,

Thank you for letting us know your position on the issues below.

Just to be clear our debate is not an open public forum, but a BOMA Member forum, and the choice of candidates to invite was made by our membership (our voting members) through committee not by our office.

While I appreciate your desire to participate, and would endorse public forum debates include all candidates, ours is a 2 hour Members’ Forum not a public forum, and the specific issues to be addressed and the choice of the candidates was our members choice given the restrictions of time available.

Although I can appreciate you disagree with their choice, I am bound to follow their direction.

By policy, I will share your disappointment with our Board of Directors, by forwarding your e-mail to them at our next Board Meeting and so they are aware of your comments.


Dean Karakasis
Executive Director
BOMA Ottawa

Never one to sufflate fools gladly (his needling usually had the opposite effect), Joseph stood up,

Hi Dean,

Good to know you’re only *representing* people who are more interested in being entertained than in preserving the system of governance that others died to protect. I’m also impressed by the way they’re able to sacrifice a full two hours out of their television viewing schedules once every few years. It makes me feel that we almost have a hope in hell of avoiding the fun times the rest of the world is currently going through.

But how is it that though your job description contains the word ‘Director’, you are ‘bound to follow their direction’? Surely you’re not one of those modern ‘leaders’ who leads by asking their followers which way they want to go? It’s good, though, that you are resolved to follow policy in re sharing my disappointment with your Board of Directors; I’m sure they will be equally impressed by the values I hold dear.

Hope the annointed ones provide lots of promises (and maybe even a few ideas on how to actually pay for them) in return for their dinner. Such dedicated citizens certainly deserve something more than business as usual. I, myself, can’t help but feel that the $2.x billion being tossed around would be better utilized in reducing the affordable housing backlog by more than 2% per year. But perhaps when the Downtown TunnelVision is finally up and running, they’ll allow homeless people to stay there as was done in Britain during WWII.

I hope I haven’t insulted you too badly. I generally don’t have any problem with people who believe they know more than me, but no one likes being talked down to by children.

Prophetically yours (I recently came across a document I wrote fifteen years ago that describes our present situation to a ‘T’),


Joseph Furtenbacher
‘Mayoral Candidate’, Ottawa 2010

p.s. I must admit, you’ve got me shaking my head, and not in a good way.

. . .

Dean Karakasis acknowledged his inability to change anything,

Dear Mr. Furtenbacher,

Thank you for letting us know your position on the issues below…

This was followed by a Summit,

Dean Karakasis sued for peace with a hand-picked selection of his finest words…

I respect your position, best of luck in the election.

Joseph Furtenbacher couldn’t help but notice that his parsnips remained unbuttered, and was about to say so, when he noticed that the Sun was setting – it was almost too dark to read. He glanced to the far right, and became aware of a dim light struggling to make its presence known – The Ottawa Star Chamber Of Commerce. His face assumed its best ‘Perry Mason, Fighter’ expression – as a proud Citizen, he knew he had a duty to battle xenoapathetic destruction wherever it raised its gilded head.

Giving a wave to Dean, he turned towards the Valley, and started trampling down the Right side of the Hill.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Feast Fit For A Front-running Mayoral Candidate

Neco Cockburn talked turkey(s),

A fairly tame mayoral debate Friday..

Things wouldn’t be so tame if any of the crackerbarrel cognoscenti would ever admit that they can run (for Mayor), but they can’t hide (from their civic duty to defend their positions against *all* challenges, not just the easy ones).

..ended a week in which the two front-runners in the campaign hit each other with some of the most personal accusations seen so far..

People generally quarrel because they cannot argue. – G. K. Chesterson

..Candidates Clive Doucet, Andy Haydon, Larry O’Brien and Jim Watson discussed..

or, as we say here in Ottawa, ‘debated’,

..issues such as transit, youth, labour negotiations and homelessness..

none of which, it turned out, they had personally experienced in years,

..in front of about 150 people at the Château Laurier..

All dressed up and no place (better) to go…

..at a debate organized by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa..

For those about to talk,

From: Joseph Furtenbacher

To: office@ottawakiwanis.org

Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 1:31 PM

Subject: Hobnob Much?


Was just reading about your ‘mayoral’ ‘debate’ at the Chateau La-di-da. Nice to see how the other half ‘lives’.

For a description of my views on how to make the world a better place, please see


In particular, I would direct your attention to ‘Rationale’, which I spent twelve hours a day for the last five months writing, and which contains more good social justice ideas than are dreamed of in your philosophy, whatever that may be.



Joseph Furtenbacher
‘Mayoral Candidate’, Ottawa 2010

p.s. Sorry if I seem a bit sarcastic, but I feel the democratic process has been trampled on more than enough by people with more money than brains, and I never envisioned your organization in the role of enabler.

<rant app off>

..Perhaps the most interesting exchange occurred before the actual debate..

One of these things is not like the others:

– seating arrangements,

– ethics,

– the role of talk-radio station CFRA,

– an exchange between Watson and O’Brien earlier this week.

..The candidates’ microphones were left on as they ate lunch before the debate..

On the menu:  Tangerine-Glazed Breast of Chicken, Vegetables, Cappucino Mousse Coupe

..so anyone plugged into the sound board could hear a conversation between Doucet and Watson..

‘Beam me up, Jim!’

‘Which planet are you on?’

..They chatted about seating arrangements, ethics, the role of talk-radio station CFRA and an exchange between Watson and O’Brien earlier this week, although none of it was particularly surprising..

I found the use of the word ‘ethics’ a bit surprising, since it’s one of the pillars of my platform, along with competence, pragmatism, and vision, and I’m fairly sure they’re not ready to go there.

..(O’Brien and Haydon, who sat together on the other side of the table, didn’t seem to have much to say to each other, even though Haydon once worked in O’Brien’s office as an adviser.)..

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – that’s all.’ – Lewis Carroll

..During the debate, not much was said that hasn’t been heard before..

It’s like déjà vu all over again, etc. But seriously, folks, if you want to hear anything that hasn’t been heard before, you’ll have to start listening to me. I talk about things like representatives working for the median income of their constituents, which here in Ottawa is forty thousand dollars (before taxes); subjecting myself to recall by one third of the people who voted; making myself available weekday evenings (upon request) for community consultation; ridding city hall of bloat and illegality (I believe that keeping residents informed of any city hall shenanigans is one of the central duties of the Mayor); taxing unsustainable, unhealthy, or antisocial consumption, and subsidizing its opposite through progressive property taxes, property tax shifting, and personal rebates; limiting government by acknowledging an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; reducing payments to the upper levels of government while increasing employment; promoting on-site fruit and vegetable production and affordable housing construction through property tax reductions; listening to people who know what they’re talking about and why it’s important, and lecturing those who don’t; returning to rural residents the rights and responsibilities they should have had all along; buying ecologically valuable land and refusing to sell utilized public property; reducing cycling injuries and fatalities through bylaw reform; reducing sewage overflows by subsidizing composting toilets; reducing waste by convincing volunteers to do some waste diversion instead of donor diversion; increasing our international status by being able to point to all the things we do right; etc.

..although Doucet said he’d hold a newcomers’ festival for new immigrants if he’s elected..

Sigh. What’s a guy gotta do to get a break in this town?

..Haydon, who’s building his campaign around his vision of a bus rapid-transit system, warned that the city won’t have money left for other programs if it goes ahead with its plan for a $2.1-billion light-rail transit line..

That argument would carry more weight if Mr. Haydon could explain how electing me could possibly fail to cure our Capital Tunnel Syndrome and Clogged Arterials:)

..None of the candidates would provide a firm commitment in response to recent calls from housing advocates for an annual fund of at least $15 million..

I must admit, I myself have a hard time committing to numbers ending in fives or zeros; I always have the sneaking suspicion that someone’s been counting on his fingers…

..comprised of money saved from provincial uploading of social-services costs, to be put into affordable housing..

Any particular rationale behind that move? Life is more than home alone.

Watson said he’ll release a housing strategy in the next couple of weeks..

It takes time to develop these things from scratch, and having to press so much flesh (a necessity if one plans on implementing anything at all) doesn’t really move the process along much.

..while O’Brien said it’s important for private-sector developers to incorporate homeless accommodations in larger accommodations..

Too bad he didn’t buy local, or he could have led the way by converting his $1.8 million “luxury liner moored on the shores of Brockville” into flats.

..Doucet said he’d start a land trust for social housing..

which started a veritable stampede, as reporters rushed out of the room to let the world know what had happened…

Gaia shrugged.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Incredible Expanding Position Paper

CTV asked,

Why are you running for Mayor?

I’m glad you asked that question, though I doubt my answer will win me many friends. I’m running because it has become painfully obvious to me that no one else in this city has the foggiest notion of what is actually wrong with our present system of governance (let alone how to fix it); no one else seems willing to admit that they are in any way responsible for the problems we face; and finally, no one else appears to view this election as anything more than a giant popularity contest, to be followed (inevitably) by recriminations and finger-pointing when they discover (as our neighbours to the south did) that hope rarely leads to change. As well, I believe that my online reputation (based on my social commentary, archived at https://josephfurtenbacher.wordpress.com/ , for anyone who cares more about honest government than watching television), combined with the Mayoral soapbox, could save lives worldwide.

What will be your top priority if you win this election?

Curing the bad case of bloat the majority of the people of Ottawa (including those employed at city hall) suffer from. A Princeton study (admittedly small) found that happiness is subject to diminishing returns above $20,000/year (I’m assuming that’s after taxes:) Having lived happily on $12,000/year myself for the last ten years, I’m more aware than most people that love of either comfort or status (or both) is just a subtle way of saying you have nothing more important to do with your time here on Earth; that a stubbed toe (or a status rail transit system) is indeed more important than an earthquake in China. Of course, half the battle involves helping those who are actually trying to make the world a better place. (I hope I’m not being too blunt, but I can’t help but feel that the time for diplomacy has long since passed.)

What do you propose to improve Ottawa’s transit system?

Ah, there it is. (I have so many reset buttons on my desk it’s beginning to get quite cluttered.) First, I would try to convince people (and I can be very convincing when I want to be…) to drop the insane notion that we either need or can afford the monstrosity of a tunnel currently being ‘debated’ (elsewhere I’ve referred to it as the Moneypit Flyer:). My system is based on existing track (where available and useful), and, more importantly, on existing right-of-way. Since I couldn’t begin to adequately describe it in the hundred or so words I have left, you’ll have to check my blog from time to time; I’ll have a map and the accompanying notes up shortly after I finish the multitude of other tasks with which I’m faced (such as answering questionaires like this:)

What do you propose to improve Lansdowne Park?

Hmm… I know it’s here somewhere… Okay, got it (pushes button expectantly). Let’s see, tear out any surplus concrete (including any RoughRidden stadiums that happen to be left lying around after our recently completed thirty-year binge), preserve all trees, historic buildings and outlying parks, and, though I’d be the last person to force my personal tastes on anyone, I’d like a simple Roman amphitheatre (dig a hole and pile the dirt and stone around the edges), with a stage at one end, and behind that an L-shaped seven-storey affordable housing/community space building, with healthier-than-usual commercial suspects on ground level, and a permanent (and expanded) farmer’s market, possibly staffed by city employees. And if there’s any room left (I’d like to have large amounts of grass and artfully located trees), we could do far worse than to put a nice new library there:) Discuss amongst yourselves.

How do you describe your policy on municipal taxes?

Well, I’ve never explicitly described it, but I have summed up my entire tax rationale in the following paragraph:

JF: progressive personal-exemption spacial and temporal taxes, levied in the coin of the realm, on the consumption (including the consumption of good money known as income) of unsustainable, unhealthy, or antisocial types or amounts of physical or mental goods or services, in order to guarantee the positive right to self-improvement worldwide through United Nations equalization payments, or, in laymen’s terms, from each according to his feast of wealth, to each according to his famine of health.

And, as I’ve indicated elsewhere, I will introduce progressive consumption taxes and subsidies through both commercial and residential property tax shifting and rebates, and including, incidentally, the consumption of unnecessary amounts or types of real estate.

Thank you for reading. I’m Joseph Furtenbacher, and you can find me at fs910@ncf.ca , (613) 237-6446 (intermittently; I’m on dialup), or by going to my blog, as mentioned, https://josephfurtenbacher.wordpress.com , which is the closest thing I’ll have to a webpage (and more than sufficient for my purposes) this campaign.

p.s. I hope I won’t be breaking any laws if I repost this there without permission…

p.p.s. I’m sending you two pics – they’re like night and day:)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A ‘One-Minute Pitch’ On The Teevee – But Wait, There’s More…

Joseph Furtenbacher speechified for a rather small (yet somehow unnervingly large) CBC camera,

Hello everyone, my name’s Joseph Furtenbacher, and though I say it myself, I am the most intelligent and compassionate person presently occupying our humble sphere. Sad but true. You’ll no doubt be wondering why I haven’t bothered to dress up. The short answer is: anyone who would vote for someone because they look nice is not someone I’d want to have to answer to down the road.

As for why I’m running, I believe this city is on the same slippery spending slope that has sent others into the ditch, and it’s become apparent to me that I’m the only one who has any real ideas on how to turn it around. For the extraordinary evidence behind these claims, please see my WordPress blog.

Now, as to why you should vote for me, I’ll work for the median income of forty thousand dollars, I’m willing to subject myself to recall from one third of voters, my preferred debate format is a free-for-all between myself and my opponents, and last but not least, it will help you to demonstrate that you care about yourselves at least half as much as I care about you.

Thank you for listening, and have a good day.

Only afterwards did he learn that he’d wasted three of the sixty seconds he’d been given…

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments