Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fox and squirrel

Ben Affleck is 37 today

Can a Canadian-style health care system be introduced in the U.S.?

I think one of the dilemmas facing Americans is when the examine other public health care systems there are aspects that cause concern. Certainly that is the case when they look at the Canadian health care system. Just because it works in Canada (and yes it does work) that doesn't mean it will work elsewhere.

Public infrastructures tend to match the characteristics of the citizens. The Canadian health care system evolved from a medical plan that was introduced by the Sasktchewan government in 1962. The federal government provided sufficient funding in 1966 that the other provinces adopted similar plans. The Canadian system is actually a mix of public and private funding (private insurance or out of pocket). Private funding covers those services not covered under government plans (about 30% of services). The delivery is through a mix of private and public facilities. Doctors do not work for the government and in most cases are renumerated on a fee for service basis. The cost of publicly funded services are controlled for the most part by rationing services. Canadians on the other hand accept the fact that you might have to wait for non-urgent care in exchange for free access to unlimited hospital and medical services. And there are no death panels in Canada.

America is more of a laissez-faire, capitalist marketplace that would never accept rationing services. In addition, there is a large, sophisticated insurance sector in the U.S. which did not exist in Canada back in the 1960s. A much different model is needed.

As I see it, there are several problems that exist beyond the fact that 47 million Americans are uninsured. There is no portability so Americans are stuck in jobs because of concerns over health care coverage. This creates a drag on the economy. Consumers are concerned about arbitrarily losing insurance coverage. Also, health care in the U.S. is too expensive because of the added cost of medical malpractice. Practicing defensive medicine is very expensive.

Here are my proposed fixes:

  • Drive down the cost of health care by introducing malpractice reforms.
  • There should be a minimum level of coverage that all health insurers must provide.
  • There should be a "take all comers" rule that would require that every insurer must provide anyone requesting a quote with a rate and must provide every applicant with a policy.
  • Workers should be able to continue purchasing coverage from an insurer after leaving a workplace.
  • Employers who provide health insurance as a benefit should be required to give their employees the option of joining their plan or funding to purchase insurance from another insurer.
  • The government could provide grants to the unemployed and workers without health care coverage which would allow them to purchase coverage on their own.
  • The government could compete with the private health insurance companies.

Banff squirrel gets around

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mug Shot of the Week

How NOT to open an automatic sliding door

Small penis alert

It seems some guy in Toronto has been peeing in the lobby of an apartment building for some time (like 7 years!). The fed up tenants have posted his picture all over the neighbourhood (above) in addition to posting a video on YouTube (below). Don't you just love YouTube.

Yowzer! Halle Berry is 43.

Rod Blagojevich's Elvis impersonation is reason enough to impeach him

One of the worst politicians in our era has out done himself. Below Rod Blagojevich delivers the worst Elvis impersonation ever in the history of mankind. The young lady at 47 seconds sums this up perfectly...

Who is teaching this kid to dance...Pee Wee Herman?

Only a woman could do this to a toilet

Teeder Kennedy has died

Maple Leaf fans should be sad today with the news that Ted Kennedy has passed away at the age of 83. Like most Leaf fans I never saw Kennedy play hockey but you can’t ignore his accomplishments no matter what era he played in.

For those fans who think the all-time best Leaf player was Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, Wendel Clark or Doug Gilmour. I’ve got news for you, as great as those players were; they never had the success that Kennedy had. None were even close to be being considered the best player in the game. Kennedy was a Leaf centre for 12 seasons with five Stanley Cup wins, team captain from 1948 to '57, and the last Leaf to win the Hart Trophy in 1955 as the NHL's most valuable player.

Just looking at his MVP year, he beat out Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Rocket Richard. He wasn’t in the top 10 scorers or picked to the All-Star team but he was still recognized as the best player in the league. He wasn’t the fastest skater. He wasn’t the hardest hitter and rarely fought. But he played hard every second he was on the ice. He never held back anything. Those types of players are rare in any era.

Teeder along with Syl Apps were probably the greatest captains the Maple Leafs have ever had.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fashion Disaster

This should be banned from the golf circuit.

Hi, my name is Jarell and I'll be your robber today

FBI agents in Anchorage, Alaska, have arrested Jarell Paul Arnold on bank robbery charges . Arnold became a suspect in the robbery of the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union last week when someone came into the bank and asked for the balance on an account. The teller asked him for his name, and he said Jarell Arnold. Then asked for his account number, and he gave the number of an account held by Jarell Arnold. Then asked for a picture ID, and yup, it was him. Then the robber, having established his identity, handed over a note saying he had a gun and wanted all the money in the drawer. He got away with about $600. But not for long.

It seems the first break in the case came when the robber told the teller his name. From there, the police seemed to be able to come up with a suspect.

Bank robbers really need to have a minimum IQ if they want to go into this line of work.


Danny Bonaduce is 50 years old today

My how Danny has grown up.

Phoenix Coyotes are a house of cards ready to collapse

To understand the fundamental flaw in the Coyotes franchise you have to look at the City of Glendale and how the two are tragically linked. Glendale is pretty much a bedroom community of 250,000 spread over a large geographic area. Glendale is only 10 miles from downtown Phoenix. The problem is that no one from Phoenix ever goes to Glendale. Just like no one in downtown Toronto goes to Brampton.

Glendale is the home of both the Phoenix Coyotes who play out of Arena and the NFL's Arizona Cardinals who play out of the University of Phoenix Stadium. Both facilities are part of a development called Westgate City Center which is meant to spur growth in the sparsely populated community. Westgate was designed to contain shopping, entertainment, commercial office and luxury residential with the arena anchoring the development. The problem is that if there is no one at arena, the restaurants, bars and stores are empty. No one goes out of there way to hang out at Westgate.

Westgate is owned and developed by Steve Ellman who purchased the Coyotes in 2001. It is suspected that he used the team and the arena to help finance Westgate. There was considerable concessions from Glendale to make this all possible and the city was promised considerable tax revenue that has continually fallen short. Glendale put up $180 million to build the arena. In 2005 Ellman unloaded the team and the arena lease to an unsuspecting Jerry Moyes.

So Glendale has put up all this money with the expectation of lease payments and tax revenue. Westgate will die without a tenant is its anchor facility - the arena. Jerry Reinsdorf appears asking for major concessions from Glendale and what choice do they have. The other leading bidder for the Coyotes, Gary Balsillie wants to pull the team out of the city. Retailers are concerned about negotiations to create a special taxing district around the arena in order to collect a "voluntary" surcharge on retail sales. Reinsdorf is looking for $23 million in tax revenue which would nearly quadrupling the city's 2008 sales tax collection for that area. The Arizona Cardinals made it known they are not happy with the idea of the surcharges. The NFL team’s stadium would be in the special district and team president Michael Bidwell was quoted in local media reports as saying it was not fair that Cardinal fans should have to pay for the Coyotes’ problems.

Who lets a deer sleep in a bed?

The Canadian government is trying to evict a Vancouver Island woman's unusual roommate – a pet deer that the woman has been living with for the past five years. Ucluelet resident Janet Schwartz has raised Bimbo, a small black-tailed deer, in her home since she was a fawn.

The animal was found by a friend of Schwartz near the dead body of its mother outside the town, about 300 kilometres northwest of Victoria. Since then, Bimbo has slept on a bed in Schwartz's home and eaten at her table, Schwartz said.

"She eats all the same food I eat. She'll eat anything, bananas, apples, potatoes, cookies, candy, pop. You name it, she'll eat it," said Schwartz. "She'll give you kisses and she loves to dance to Elvis Presley. It's her favourite music," said Schwartz. And she'll get up on her hind legs to hug me," she added.

But authorities have expressed concern about the unusual domestic arrangement. Deer are wild animals and are not to be kept as pets, according to British Columbia Environment Ministry wildlife biologist Kim Brunt.

"I would suspect that it would have a reasonable chance of surviving if slowly re-introduced back into the wild," said Brunt. "The first step would be not allowing it into the house or treating it so much like a domestic animal," she said.

The ministry has told Schwartz in a letter that Bimbo must be set free or taken to a rehabilitation centre. Schwartz said those options are unacceptable. "I don't want to let her go because I love her. She's like a baby I never had. I don't want to see her go because I love her," Schwartz said.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bride's wedding night one to remember forget

A German bride spent her wedding night flaked out next to a crate of vodka before being rescued by police.

Reuters reports that Cologne police were forced to rescue the 30-year-woman when the BMW she was unconscious in began to overheat in the sun.

She was still passed out after the police smashed the window to get her out.

"Only after being shaken several times did she eventually regain consciousness," a police statement said.

She climbed out of the broken window, still wearing her wedding dress.

The boozy bride had no idea where her husband was.

Looking back at Charles Manson

I’ve done posts on the 40 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and Woodstock. However, the Manson murderers are just as famous, even today, and in conjunction with these other events defined a generation.

At the time Manson was an ex-con with a history of extreme violence who dabbled in the L.A. music scene. Manson also established himself as a guru in San Francisco’s hippie community and formed a group of very close followers (mostly female) who were referred to as the Manson Family. Without going into too much detail, Manson had concocted a bizarre apocalyptic theory based on his insane interpretation of the Beatles’ White Album that he become obsessed with. As a result he instructed his Family members to go on a shocking murder spree that took place 40 years ago this week.

The public was both obsessed and horrified by the crimes. It took several months until arrests were made. But was shocked people the most what how Manson was able to control these kids who largely had come from good, middle class homes. The defendants’ behaviour was disruptive and outrageous. Manson Family members held vigils outside the courthouse.

Charles Manson was pure evil and these crimes closed out the 1960s and an end to an era of idealism and innocence. Hippies were supposed to be drugged out kids not psychopaths. The space race represented the potential of mankind. Woodstock was about peace and love as America fell deeper into the Vietnam War. The randomness and senselessness of these murders penetrated the American psyche for years to come. The dark side had reared its ugly head changed America.

Hump Day Hottie

Keri Russell

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Igloo is melting

...its that global warming thing.

J.P. Ricciardi says Shaun Marcum is healthy

The Blue Jays initially believed that Shaun Marcum might be ready to rejoin their rotation by now. The club's latest stance is that it probably makes more sense to let him finish out the season in the Minor Leagues.

"He's healthy," Ricciardi said. "There's nothing wrong with him, but there's no reason to rush him. He's going to pitch next year for us. He'll be like 17 months post-op at that time. He feels good. We'll probably just keep throwing him, but there's really probably no need to get him to the big leagues at this point.

So why wouldn't we believe JP?

The obligatory Megan Fox post

...oops how did Wilson get in there?

Remember if Obama's health care plan gets through Congress can always blame Canada.

Ouch!! 6 months for yawing in court

Drowsy spectators in one suburban Chicago courtroom might want to stifle their yawns from now on. Clifton Williams, 33, of Richton Park, is facing six months in jail for making what court documents call a yawn-like sound in Will County Judge Daniel Rozak's court last month. The yawn happened as Williams' cousin, Jason Mayfield, was being sentenced for a drug charge on July 23.

Rozak found Williams in contempt of court and sentenced him to six months in jail. However, Rozak could free Williams after a status hearing Thursday, if Williams apologizes and the judge accepts. By then, Williams will have served 21 days.

Witnesses disagree about whether Williams' yawn was out of line.

Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County state's attorney's office, said the prosecutor in the courtroom at the time told him that what came out of Williams' mouth could hardly be called a "yawn."

"This was a very loud, boisterous, deliberate attempt on the part of this individual to disrupt the proceedings and show disrespect to the court," Pelkie said. "It was not a guy who involuntarily yawned. This guy was making a statement — a very loud statement — in court."

Mayfield disagreed, saying it was "not an outrageous yawn." Williams has written his family to say that he can't believe he's in jail "for nothing."

A message left for Rozak Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Six months is the maximum sentence judges can give for criminal contempt without a jury trial.

UPDATE: Williams was finally released after 3 weeks in jail.


Joe Jackson (not that one) is 55 today

One Hit Wonder

Traveling Wilburys - Handle With Care (1988)

Bad actors in bikinis ruin The Big Lebowski

This is painful to watch.

Ricciardi says moving Alex Rios was not a salary dump

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said the move was not “a financial dump,” but acknowledged that Toronto needs “more financial flexibility.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mug Shot of the Week

Woman hires undercover cop to kill husband

A South Florida woman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly hiring an undercover police officer to kill her husband of six months, authorities said.

Dalia Dippolito, 26, was charged with solicitation to commit first-degree murder and taken to the Palm Beach County jail, Boynton Beach Police Department spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said. Bond had not yet been set and it was unclear if she had an attorney.

Dippolito gave an informant pictures of her husband, 38-year-old Michael Dippolito, and $1,200 for a hit man to purchase a handgun, according to a probable cause affidavit. She also offered to create an alibi for herself and detailed her husband's daily schedule.

An undercover officer posing as a hit man called Dippolito on Monday afternoon and arranged a meeting. The officer asked for $3,000 in cash and a key to the couple's home. The undercover officer later met Dippolito in a pharmacy parking lot and asked if she was sure she wanted her husband killed.

She laughed, according to the according to the affidavit, and said: "I will be very happy."

Authorities staged an elaborate crime scene outside the Dippolito home on Wednesday morning, complete with yellow crime tape and several police vehicles. Below the break the news to the "shocked" Dippolito.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

That was quite the storm tonight

Woodstock was held 40 years ago this week

For those who were not there Woodstock was held on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York from August 15-18. I wasn't there either because at my age my parents were not about to let me travel 300 miles for a weekend of rock, drugs and whatever else. About 500,00 did make it down though.

There were 32 acts and it rained for much of the weekend. The concert was supposed to be a money maker but turned into a free concert when organizers were overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands that showed up. The large numbers also overloaded the infrastructure including roads, food, first aid and toilets. It was a logistical nightmare. But it seemed that no one care. It turned out to be an event that defined a generation. There were two deaths ( heroin overdose and someone in a sleeping bag run over by a tractor) and two births (one in a car and one in a helicopter) and 4 miscarriages.

Some big name bands turned down the opportunity to play at Woodstock including The Doors, Jethro Tull, Led Zepplin, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan The Moody Blues and The Byrds.

Here are some highlights.

Friday, August 15

Richie Havens

Arlo Guthrie

Saturday, August 16


The Who

Suday August 17

Joe Cocker

Crosby, Stills and Nash

Jimi Hendrix

Blue Jays GM Confirms There Never Really Was A 'Roy Halladay'

Responding to criticism that the team should have done more to deal star pitcher Roy Halladay by the trade deadline, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi revealed at a press conference Monday that there was no such person as the alleged six-time All-Star.

"Please, guys," said a defensive Ricciardi, who shopped "Halladay" around to the Phillies and Red Sox, among other teams. "A 6-foot-6, 225-pound pitcher with a 94-mph fastball who plays 200 innings a season? We're not giving that guy away for just anything, even if he does exist."

"We developed, by which I mean made up, a really good pitcher here, one of the best in baseball," said Ricciardi, who compared Halladay to a young and real Bob Gibson. "No one made an offer that came close to what Roy—who as far as they knew was a living, breathing baseball player—was worth. We went into negotiations looking for a made-up power bat, or at least two pretend arms that we could slide right into the rotation. I would have even accepted one existent major-league player."

Ricciardi continued: "The best the Phillies could come up with was Kyle Drabek and a prospect to be fabricated later. You're going to have to do better than that if you want Roy Halladay."

Halladay, who was fake-drafted by the Blue Jays in 1995, is credited with 142 career wins and 45 complete games, though Ricciardi confirmed that the fictional right-hander is just an amalgam of statistics compiled by Juan Guzman, Pat Hentgen, Woody Williams, Esteban Loaiza, Josh Towers, Gustavo Chacin, and other assorted Blue Jays pitchers through the years.

"We needed a new face for the franchise back in 2002, but our roster was pretty thin," Ricciardi said. "So we included a clause in our pitchers' contracts that said anytime they posted a decent start it'd be attributed to a 'Roy Halladay.' Then after the game, we'd say, 'There's a Halladay start,' or, 'Good old Roy, at it again.' At the end of the season, we said he'd won 19 games, and scouts were asking about him all over the place. It wasn't really too difficult adding him to the roster, since we haven't had any press covering the team in 15 years."

Ricciardi shrugged and added, "Roy's my uncle's name. And whenever we needed a face, like for his baseball card, we just used a picture of our UPS guy."

Roy Halladay is just the latest in a long string of completely fictitious Blue Jay greats, a list that includes Dave Stieb, Jesse Barfield, and Joe Carter, whose home run to win the 1993 World Series was actually just a two-run single in the seventh inning by Paul Molitor.

For their part, the Blue Jays clubhouse seemed happy that the abstract concept of Roy Halladay remained in Toronto.

"We heard the rumors, but you never expect a player like Roy to be said to play anywhere else," first baseman Lyle Overbay said. "It's not what Roy would want. Of course he deserves a chance to win, but he should win as a fake Blue Jay."

Catcher Rod Barajas added: "Our front office believes in us enough to give us the players to compete, real or imagined. We may be 11 games back of the wild card, but having a make-believe Roy Halladay is better than having no Roy Halladay at all."

Reactions around baseball were muted, as the revelation seemed merely to verify doubts that a pitcher of Halladay's caliber would ever play in Toronto.

"Those first couple of years you can't really control [playing in Toronto], but then you demand a trade and get out of there," ex–Blue Jay Orlando Hudson said.

When asked if he remembered playing with a Roy Halladay, Hudson said, "I don't remember any of my Blue Jay teammates."

Manager Cito Gaston admitted to being nervous when Halladay was selected to start the 2009 All-Star Game. "We sent [starting pitcher] Brian [Tallet] over to St. Louis in a specially made-up Halladay jersey. We thought for sure someone would notice at that point. But hey, who recognizes Brian Tallet?"

Ricciardi did not seem concerned about the inherent deceit behind the Halladay trade negotiations, insisting that some of the greatest players in baseball history were creations.

"Baseball is built on little deceptions: the curveball, the hidden-ball trick, the existence of Stan Musial. And we're not the only team who bends the truth. The Padres played 212 games last year just to make a little extra money. Just slid by and no one noticed. Milwaukee doesn't even have a third base."

When asked to explain his team's inactivity at the trade deadline, Ricciardi bristled, saying, "Look, we are in fourth place in the toughest division in baseball, and the only way to remain competitive is by cutting salary, trading for prospects, and building for 2011."

"Obviously, if Roy Halladay existed, I would have traded him," he added. "I'm not an idiot."

from the Onion

Statue of the Week

Happy 52nd birthday Melanie Griffith

Check out Melanie in Something Wild. The handcuffs come out at the 6 minute mark.

New York expensive? How about $54,000 a month just to sell hot dogs?

Homeowners aren't the only ones in hot water over overpriced real estate. A New York City hot dog vendor has been evicted from his prize spot outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art because he couldn't pay a whopping rent bill of nearly $54,000 a month. Damn, no wonder those dogs are so expensive!

Snack cart owner Pasang Sherpa of Queens had a deal with the city's parks department that required him to pay almost $643,000 per year for the vending rights near the museum steps.

He says he was $310,000 behind on his payments when he was evicted.

The Parks Department had auctioned off the rights to the spot last year.

Since then another museum row hot dog vendor, has offered to let Sherpa sell dogs at one of his carts.

Kitty porn?

It's a variation of "my dog ate my homework" - how about "my cat downloaded some porn"?

Keith R. Griffin, 48, of Jensen Beach, Florida was charged this week with possessing child pornography. Police say they found more than 1,000 child porn images on his computer, and hit Griffen with 10 charges of being a filthy sleazy pervert. Well, they call it something else, but you know what I mean.

Griffen isn’t featured here because of that, though. He’s Today’s Moron because of his explanation. He claims he left his computer on, and his cat walked on the keyboard, causing the child pornography to be downloaded.

This story falls apart on several fronts.

  1. The odds of a cat randomly typing out the complex URLs and passwords needed to access download sites are astronomical.
  2. The odds of a cat randomly accessing child pornography, which is hidden online because of its evil nature, are even more impossible.
  3. Cats prefer looking at pictures of birds, mice and old episodes of Sylvester and Tweety on YouTube. Everyone knows that.

The cat issued a terse “no comment.”