Saturday, July 25, 2009

Believe it or not: Canadians like their health care system

This is the typical distorted view you get from Fox News regarding the Canadian health care system. You can choose to believe it if you want. However, it's hardly objective reporting. Believe it or not Canadians are very satisfied with the health care system. Would they like quicker access - of course. Who wouldn't? Canadians like the idea of accessing health care without having to pay directly. Now of course we all pay for care but through the tax system. Therefore, everyone pays according to their ability to pay. Those with chronic conditions do not have to worry about coverage and access to services. Because resources are not unlimited, they are rationed according to need. You show up at an Emergency Room with a heart attack, you do not wait 10 hours to see a doctor. But show up with a minor injury or a viral infection and you can expect to wait a long time. Even the most Conservative politicians are not advocating the dismantling of Canada's health care system. Every system has its flaws. We'll live with ours.

Americans don't need to copy Canada's health care system. But they need to guarantee access to a basic level of care for all Americans. I'm not sure if Obama has the answer. But health care is such a basic need that politicians have an obligation to look beyond partisan politics and do the right thing.

Mug Shot of the Week

Looks like they busted her before she finished doing her eyebrows.

"Honour killings" is just the lethal form of gender discrimination

"Honour killings" can be defined as the murder of women for actual or perceived behaviour. It really should be called gendercide.

The recent news of the murder of three Afghan-Canadian teenage sisters and another female by their family has shocked Canadians across the country. The murders have quickly been labelled as honour killings because of the suggestion that at least one of the sisteres was dating a man that did not have the approval of her father. The Muslim community has been quick to play the race card with anyone who raises the subject of honour killings. If what is being alledged is true. then these girls weren't murdered because of religious beliefs, they died in the hands of a sexist savage who needed to control them. This is classic domestic violence, nothing more. But I accept the concept of the presumption of innocence so let our judicial system get to the truth.

I have no problem with religious piety as long as it doesn't interfere with human rights. However, some form of extreme religious practices treat women as inferior. I just can't accept that. I'm no expert on Islam but as I see it, the hajib, niqab and burka are tools to ostracize women and only create an obsession over women's sexuality.

But these practices are not unique to Islam. As a Jew, I am familiar with Orthodox Judaism's similar obsession with women's sexuality and discriminatory practices. Women cannot have direct contact with men and in public are kept separate. Women are expected to have arms and legs covered and cover their hair so not to appear attractive to men. There are never reciprocal rules for men.

I recently asked an Orthodox Rabbi why women aren't treated as equal under Judaism. His response was that they were equal but that we are required to show respect to women. What a pile of horse shit. The truth is that many religious fundamentalists practice gender discrimination and will go as far as gendercide to keep women in their place. In an egalitarian society like Canada, that is just utterly offensive.

Dwayne Wise's catch to save Buehrle's perfect game

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Would you vote a naked cowboy for mayor?

Seriously, this guy? Alright, so this is happening, living tourist attraction Naked Cowboy has officially anounced he's running for Mayor of New York City.

In Times Square, he declared: “Today, I would like to announce that I am entering the race for the office of the Mayor of New York City. Why? Well, right now this city can’t afford wasteful spending. What we really need is smarter spending. Fact is, no one knows how to do more with less than yours truly - and that’s the kind of thinking I plan on sharing with my fellow New Yorkers if you elect me. It's exactly the kind of leadership this city needs during these challenging times."

Q-Kmbr Games - Trash Wars

The Toronto garbage strike game "Trash Wars" combines the worst of two urban realities we're facing recently - the union strike (that's made dumps of our city parks), and guns.

Q-Kmbr Games - Trash Wars

Obama's health care plan

I can understand why some people would oppose Obama's health care plan but do opponents have to stoop to racism to make their point?

Manny Ramirez Bobblehead Day was a grand slam

The dramatics was set up because Manny had asked to sit out on his own Bobblehead Day. It was because of a hand injury though it could have been to play with his bobblehead. You'll like his imitation of a bobblehead on the bench. The man is a clown but he can sure hit a baseball.

Not your traditional wedding procession

Today is Alison Krauss' 38th birthday

I just love her voice!

Trailer for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

UPDATE: It appears that for some reason Disney has pulled trailer. You won't find it on YouTube but its still working here.

I'm guessing this guy has never been with a woman

For goodness sakes the guy is wearing the worst toupe in the world, stretch pants with stirrups, ballet slippers, and a half shirt.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July has been celebrity death month

The month isn't even over but the list of dead celebrities took on a lot of new members. First there was Jacko at the end of the June.

Then Karl Malden left us.

Oscar Mayer stuffed his last bun this month.

Walter Cronkite signed off permanently.

But I literally broke into tears when I heard that Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua has called it quits.

Here's a job I could do...judging Laker girl tryouts

Maybe Ontario is ready for public auto insurance?

Ontario auto insurance rates are on the rise. Insurance companies are complaining they are losing money and that the cost of claims is out of control. The insurance industry is advocating benefit cuts which are being considered by the government. Tell me if you’ve heard this before?

A recent government reports indicates that over the past two decades the auto insurance system in Ontario has been under constant reform that has left the public with complicated and expensive system. Each set of reforms has included changes advocated by the insurance industry to control costs but within a few years they come back asking for further changes. So I couldn’t help notice an editorial in the Toronto Sun questioning whether it was time to consider public auto insurance in Ontario.

The provinces that have public auto insurance systems have stable costs and benefits and don’t require radical changes. Their benefits are as generous as those in Ontario although a number of public provincial systems don’t provide for lawsuits, which is probably one of the reasons we have a privately delivered system. Lawyers won’t support a system that doesn’t include lawsuits. The insurance industry reports that the average accident benefits claim is about $38,000. The annual report of Manitoba Public Insurance indicates that their average claims cost is only about $3,000. Something is not right here. How much should it cost to treat a whiplash injury?

I like the way the do it in Quebec. The government run insurance program provides coverage for bodily injuries and private insurance companies provide coverage to fix your car. I think it’s safe to say that insurers are better at fixing glass and tin than broken bodies. Maybe it is time to give public auto insurance a chance.

Happy 62th Birthday Albert Brooks (Einstein)

This is a very funny bit.

Hump Day Hottie

Kat Dennings

By the way Kathie Lee just learned today what Hump Day meant.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Microsoft closing YouTube rival

Microsoft is closing Soapbox, its onetime video-sharing rival to Google's YouTube, the company said Tuesday. Microsoft launched soapbox in 2006, but it never caught on as widely as YouTube. Google's in-house offering, Google Video, didn't either, but Google has chosen to support it.

This is the first I ever heard of Soapbox. Anyone out there ever used it?

What happens when your e-car runs out of power?

Electric car drivers introduce another existential problem when they're on the road: Road range anxiety.

Chances are you haven't heard of it, given that electric cars are more scarce than a Phoenix Coyotes season ticket holder. But one of the great barriers to electric-car ownership is anxiety over the car's limited range. Once you hit the open road, will your battery run out of juice before you find a place to plug in and power up?

Plug-in cars can travel about 60 km before they need the support of a gas-powered engine. When the engine kicks in, it doesn't actually propel the car but rather recharges the battery. However, after about 500 km the battery is completedly drained and will have to be plugged in. So owners are limited to short day trips. No driving down to Florida in these babies.

Yet even for city driving, owners will expect to be able to plug-in their cars at work or while shopping otherwise what's the point of owning an e-car if is constantly relying on the gas engine. Last time I checked, there were no outlets in parking lots in Toronto.

I now pronounce you both Kelly Hildebrandt

This October, Kelly Hildebrandt will vow to share her life with a man who already shares her name. This is no joke. Kelly Katrina Hildebrandt, 20, and Kelly Carl Hildebrandt, 24, will be married in South Florida this fall.

Their modern romance was a match made in cyberspace. She was curious and bored one night last year, so she plugged her name into the popular social networking Web site Facebook just to see if anyone shared it.

At the time, Kelly Hildebrandt, of Lubbock, Texas, was the only match. So she sent him a message.

For the next three months the two exchanged e-mails. Before he knew it, occasional phone calls turned into daily chats, sometimes lasting hours. He visited her in Florida after a few months and "fell head over heels."

Months after Kelly Hildebrandt sent her first e-mail, she found a diamond engagement ring hidden in treasure box on a beach in December.

There was also some uncertainty about how to phrase their wedding invitations, so they decided to include their middle names. But any confusion likely won't carry on past the husband and wife.

There are no plans to pass along the name to future children.

40 years of Moon hoax conspiracy theories

Forty years after U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon, many conspiracy theorists still insist the Apollo 11 Moon landing was an elaborate hoax. There numerous websites dedicated to exposing the hoax and just as many sites debunking the conspiracy theorists. A 1999 poll by The Gallup Organization found that 89% of the US public believed the landings were genuine, while 6% did not, and 5% were undecided.

The theories fall in 3 categories:

- It never happened at all and was completely faked. The theories suggest that the technology was insufficient at the time or radiation would have been lethal to astronauts.
- There were unmanned landings and but that the rest of it was faked.
- There were manned landings but that the U.S. government did not want to share scientific information so fake photos were made public.

The conspiracy theorists also have quite a number of theories on why the hoax was perpetuated:

- Cold War prestige as it was deemed important to win the Space Race with the Russians.
- NASA got billions from the government (some of it used to buy people's silence).
- The space program was intended to distract the American public from the Vietnam War.
- It was considered important to deliver on JFK's commitment to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s.

Yusuf Islam formerly know as Cats Stevens also formerly known as Steven Demetre Georgiou is 61

Man ticketed for speeding on 401 while watching porn

Call it another reminder to keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

A Mississauga man got caught by Northumberland OPP Saturday after another driver complained about a speeding car with a driver watching a porno movie.

Yup, the caller complained the man, alone in his car, had an X-rated movie playing on a portable DVD player in the car's front seat, police said.

Police caught up with the man around 12:39 a.m. along Hwy. 401 in Port Hope.

OPP Const. Chris Dewsbury said the car was clocked at around 140 km/h along the 100 km/h road.

Officers noticed evidence the driver was possibly impaired and a breathalyzer test was administered but he blew within the legal limit, police said.

Efe Osemwegie, 32, of Mississauga is charged with speeding and operating a motor vehicle with a television visible to the driver.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who takes their homework along to a break in?

Police say they caught two teens that broke into Sacramento home, and the key to tracking them down was a homework assignment left behind.

It's become a common crime in one Natomas neighborhood. But, when a pair of teens tried to break into a home this past week they made a big mistake.

"Well, they say going to school is beneficial. In this case, it was beneficial for us," says Sgt. Norm Leong.

The teens broke into a home with someone still inside, and when they heard the call to police they apparently got scared.

"Suddenly these kids were worried about getting caught, so they started making their getaway," says Sgt. Leong.

The two teens started jumping over neighboring fences, and that's when they left their backpacks behind.

"Low and behold, in one of the backpacks was some homework with someone's name on it," explains Sgt. Leong.

The stunning Diana Rigg is 71

...and will forever be Mrs. Emma Peel.

Sprite ads you won't see in North America

My memories of Apollo 11

President Kennedy’s commitment to land on the moon in 1961 before the end of the decade seemed almost a fantasy back then. However, as America got closer and closer it captured the imagination not just of Americans but everyone on the planet. It’s hard to describe how captivated the world was on the Apollo program in a world where so often people have no clue what is going on down the street from them. Everywhere people were talking about it. The only other event I experienced that captured people’s attention was how Canadian were caught up in the first Canadian-Russian tournament in 1972. But even that hardly compares to the moon landing and certainly was followed globally.

Many of us who are still around to recall the event can look back and reflect on where they were and what they were doing 40 years ago today. The moon landing occurred the year after Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey which only fed into a public’s fascination with space. I was just shy of my 13th birthday that July. It was too bad that the moon landing was scheduled during the su

mmer so that educators couldn’t take advantage of the hype to help you understand what was going on. Walter Cronkite and his peers did an excellent job stepping in. Fortunately the Apollo 11 occurred just prior to my annual trip up to summer camp because in those days television reception in the middle of the Haliburton Highlands was pathetic.

On July 16th much of the world was already glued to their televisions to watch Apollo 11 launch into orbit. Not only were there millions watching from home but thousands and thousands lined the highways around the Kennedy Space Centre to watch the crew liftoff. At the launch site there was a VIP section for the many celebrities that showed up. For the next few days much of the television programming was pre-empted to allow the public to follow the mission. It all culminated on July 20th shortly after 3:00 pm when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon. It was a Sunday but my parents who owned a variety store were at the business and not at home. I watched with landing with my brother and sister. The descent of the lunar module from the command module seemed to take for ever but every minute was filled with suspense. The chatter between the astronauts and the Mission Control Centre in Houston was mostly meaningless to me. The pictures were so grainy that it was really difficult to make out at times what you were watching. Because there was no camera on the moon it was impossible to capture the module landing so instead the broadcasters provided simulated images. Adding to the suspense was the realization that the lunar module might run out of fuel before landing. They landed with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining. Then came those famous words from Neil Armstrong “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

There was quite a delay until the famous first moonwalk. It was late in the evening when Neil Armstrong descended the ladder on the lunar module and stepped down on the surface to utter his historic line “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I think 600 million people (1/6 of the world population) watched him bounce around the moon surface that evening. It was so incredible you could hardly believe it was happening.

At the time it was predicted that manned missions to Mars would happen but the 1980s and no one doubted it following the success of the Apollo program. However, those successes do not seem to be easily when the mission involves such a great distance. A number of space fatalities underscored the risks of space exploration and tarnished NASA’s reputation. Still the moon landing is a classic example of what good man can accomplish in contrast to today when the headlines are dominated by financial collapse, the threat of terrorism and the effects of climate change.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hey Toronto! How do you beat the heat during a garbage strike

Are the kids driving you nuts this summer? You can't take them swimming because the pools are shut down during the municipal strike. What is there to do?

Well in New York, people are coping by going dumpster swimming. Some New Yorkers stuck in small apartments on a hot summer day have a new option: swimming in huge bins that once held trash. That's right, people are swimming in dumpsters.

So if you want to make some money this summer then get three big metal bins and they were cleaned, lined with plastic and filled with water.

One Hit Wonder

Scott McKenzie - San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (1967)

Statue of the Week

New cervical neck treatment for auto accident victims

Ricciardi, don't trade Roy Halladay

'Doc' Halladay just completed another pitching clinic a few minutes ago. His 4th complete game of the season and 44th of his career. He scattered 6 hits and no walks over 9 innings and gave up a run. He struck out 7 and needed only 105 pitches. But this is just a typical game for Halladay.

His career record is 141-69 which means he has won more than twice as many games as he has lost. His single season high for losses is 11 (last season) but he also won 20 games. He would never has lost that many games if it wasn't for lack of run support.

But Halladay has never pitched a playoff game. That is because since last winning the World Series in 1993 the Blue Jays have been rebuilding but never contending. This year is no different despite the unexplained hot start this season. They own the best pitcher is baseball who surprisingly is happy to play for Toronto. But their dumb ass GM wants to move him. It's next to impossible to find a pitcher of his calibre but Ricciardi wants to trade him. In sports trades it is pretty much accepted that the team that receives the best player in a trade generally is the winner of that trade. It is unlikely that there will be no Roy Halladay type player coming the other way. He is one of a kind. Maybe it's the blame of the mediocre owner, Rogers Communications who provides enough of a budget to provide for an acceptable product for their sports channel but has no interest in winning.

I was listening to his wife Brandy on the FAN yesterday during the 5th inning promoting a food drive sponsored by players's wives and girlfriends. The woman was in tears on thought about leaving Toronto. Does this sound like a player who wants to jump ship? Halladay is a stoic individual who rarely shows emotion but the man actually loves it here. Do him a favour and give him a contract extension to allow him to finish his career here. Then build a winner around him. He deserves it.

Mug Shot of the Week - Twins Edition

Oscar Meyer wants an explanation

...who was behind the wheel of the Wienermobile?