1 THE WORK WEEK DAWNS ON THE BIG TRAFFIC SWITCHEROO Joe Couture’s Leader-Post story is here. Go read now, then come back. Thank you.

2 WIKILEAKS FOUNDER HIDING FROM AMERICA Apparently when your (excellent) whistle-blowing organization releases a horrific video of asshole American soldiers slaughtering Iraqis, it lands you in trouble. Who knew? (The Guardian)

3 HATE CRIMES WENT UP IN AUGHT-EIGHT They did, it’s true. By one-third. Blacks and Jews got the most attention from the bigots and nutters.  Sixteen per cent of hate crimes were committed against gays and lesbians. It’s always good to be reminded that even in Canada, disturbed, frightened and angry whack-jobs walk among us. (Globe And Mail)

4 FIRST MINISTERS MEET TO TALK PENSION PLANS Read all about it. (CP/Winnipeg Free Press)

5 ABOUT A BOOB’S BOOBS Evil and dangerous teabag politician Palin’s robust bosom draws creepy mediainterest to which I have succumbed — to my shame. (Huffington Post)

6 THE BIG SWITCHEROO, PART TWO  My only source so far is CBC radio, and judging from callers the mood about the excellent new two-way downtown is “suspicious”. Well, give it some time, you negative nellies. It’ll get much better.

The City changed things up because the past traffic system encouraged reckless driving and an anti-downtown mentality. The old downtown one-ways trained drivers to think of our beautiful city centre neighbourhood as a freeway to speed through as fast as possible. The ONLY REASON for one-ways in a downtown is to herd people out of it as fast as possible. That is not what we want. Downtown is NOT a freeway. It is a place of business, shopping, entertainment and, yes, residential living. Regina doesn’t need drivers treating our beautiful city centre like the Lewvan.

There’s a story on CBC’s website here. And, arrrrgh. The manager of the Tiki Room, a supposedly cool downtown business, says “We had basically zero consultation.” Well, respectfully, no. Over the last number of years there have been town hall meetings and information sessions, and media — especially us — have done a reasonably thorough job of covering this. So if this businesses manager was asleep at the wheel he needs to take some responsibility for that rather than  implying the City pulled a fast one on his business. If you bury your head in the sand, don’t complain about not knowing what’s going on.

(In this manager’s defence: sometimes you just don’t know what to say when a reporter’s bugging you for a quote, so he might not actually mean to be so negative. Reporters want drama and there’s not as much drama in good news. And in his further defence, the City did an okay job getting the word out but could’ve done more. I blame being under-resourced.)

Also, parking keeps coming up. “There’s not enough parking and this will make it worse, whiiine!” Well, first, no, it’ll make parking slightly better, long-term. But you can’t have this fantasy  downtown parking people always talk about. These expectations that everybody should be able to park right in front of wherever they’re going are asinine. Scratch that–they’re delusional. If you want easy parking, move to a town with 5000 people. If you want to live in a city — which you seem to, because you’re here — don’t talk like a spoiled child. You can’t have your urban cake and eat it too.

If you’ve travelled, you’ll remember that most cities have two-way downtowns. The reason? They WORK. Embrace the change, Regina. Get excited and don’t be such a wet blanket. Our city just took a big step to a better future.

Rant ends. Oh, and PLEASE drive, walk and bike extra safely while people adapt to the new excellence.