Saturday, May 01, 2010
In their March 25 budget the Liberals promised to lower generic drug prices and subsequently Minister of Health Deb Matthews said that would be accomplished by cutting an allowance paid to pharmacy owners by the manufacturers of the drugs.
The allowance — which amounted to $750 million in 2009 — is intended to fund patient services. However, Matthews said, the pharmacies’ own reports show they haven’t — going instead to fund fringe benefits, bonuses, reduce overhead costs and boost profits.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Canadians live about three years longer and are healthier than Americans. In a study published in BioMed Central's journal Population Health Metrics they said Canadians can expect to live until 79.7 years of age, versus 77.2 years for Americans.
A healthy 19-year-old Canadian can expect to have 52 more years of perfect health versus 49.3 more years for Americans.
There are two distinct potential explanations for the gap: differences in access to health care and in the prevalence of poverty.
Canadians have a universal healthcare service, which is free at the point of care, whereas Americans' access to health insurance is usually based on employment, income through Medicaid, or age through Medicare, and not universal, according to the study.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Pierre Gauthier has a tough decision to make this summer. What to do with Carey Price. Probably the right decision is to move him but that seems to be a tough decision for the franchise to make. No one wants to admit they made a mistake. Just ask Brian Burke whether he would still make that Phil Kessel trade.
I don't think Price should be traded because he has been beaten out for the Canadien starting job by Jaroslav Halak. There are lots of good reasons why you might hang on to both for now. But there is one very good reason for trading him now - bad attitude! Maybe Price has spent too much time reading Montreal columnists declaring he is the next Patrick Roy. However, his reputation has taken quite a hit and for good reason.
He has resorted to whining, sulking, poor sportsmanship, throwing temper tantrums, too much partying. These are things some coaches and managers might overlook if you deliver on the ice but Price has not. For me the last straw would have been the Game 4 against the Capitals. Washington' Jason Chimera had just scored his team's fourth goal to put Game 4 to bed. After the goal Price fished the puck out of the net and fired it directly at the celebrating Washington players, thumping one of them on the butt. He later admitted to doing it intentionally. Within the next five minutes, Price cross-checked Brooks Laich in the back. Then as Nicklas Backstrom skated by the bench after scoring the Capitals' second empty-net goal, Price swung his stick at Backstrom.
These acts earned Price two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties. The refs missed the Laich cross-check. Price exhibited a level of immaturity volatility that should have to concern management. They have a choice - either wait for him to mature and develop or make Price someone else's headache. I know what I would do.
I know that Bob Gainey was very committed to Carey Price. I suspect that Gauthier will also be reluctant to give up on 23-year old that might still be a franchise player.
Liu Ye, 39, from Zhuhai in China, married a life sized foam cut-out of himself.
"There are many reasons for marrying myself, but mainly to express my dissatisfaction with reality," he said.
"This marriage makes me whole again. My definition of marriage is different from others."
The ceremony was attended by more than 100 guests. The cut-out was wearing red bridal dress.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
China was stripped of a bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics on Wednesday for fielding an underage gymnast. The medal was given to the United States instead.
The International Olympic Committee acted after investigations by the sport's governing body determined that Dong Fangxiao was only 14 at the 2000 Games. Gymnasts must turn 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible.
Dong's results from Sydney were nullified in February by the International Gymnastics Federation. Because her scores contributed to China winning the team bronze, the FIG recommended that the IOC take the medal back.
The IOC said Dong also was stripped of her sixth-place result in the individual floor exercises and seventh place in the vault.
I had originally thought that it took FIG 10 years to figure out they had cheated. Well it turns out that wasn't the case.
Although there was much speculation about the age of the Chinese gymnasts back in 2000, there was no investigation until 2008 during the FIG's investigation into the ages of the Chinese team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
If you are going to use fake ID, then you better continue using it. Because Dong's accreditation information for the Beijing Olympics, where she worked as a national technical official, listed her birthday as Jan. 23, 1986. That would have made her 14 in Sydney too young to compete. Her birth date in the FIG database is listed as Jan. 20, 1983.
Dong's blog also said she was born in the Year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac, which dates from Feb. 20, 1985, to Feb. 8, 1986.
A 74-year-old woman from Hamilton, Ontario who attempted to cross the U.S./Canadian border into New York earlier this week was arrested when a officials discovered a marijuana charge from 1980.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
VHS tapes and walkmans may have been firmly cast into oblivion but another 1980s invention, the , is marking its 30th anniversary this month as popular as ever.
The little yellow square of paper that changed lives was actually the product of an engineering mistake by 3M scientists who accidentally stumbled upon an adhesive like none other that could stick and be repositioned on just about any surface.
It has remained among the top five best-selling office supplies in the United States each year ever since.In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, with the help of Jesse Kops, a fellow scientist, accidentally developed a "low-tack," reusable pressure sensitive adhesive. For five years, Silver promoted his invention within 3M, both informally and through seminars, but without much success. In 1974, a colleague of his, Art Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook. Fry then developed the idea by taking advantage of 3M's officially sanctioned "permitted bootlegging" policy. 3M launched the product in 1977, but it failed as consumers had not tried the product. A year later 3M issued free samples to residents of Boise, Idaho, United States. 90 percent of people who tried them said that they would buy the product. By 1980, the product was being sold nationwide in the US; a year later Post-its were launched in Canada and Europe.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Police in South Lafayette, Pa., say a man killed his wife and set their house on fire after the two argued over him staying up late to watch a playoff game between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Allegheny County police say Robert Abrams argued with his wife, Jeannette, early Friday because he had stayed up to watch the end of Game 5 of the first-round series.
Ottawa won Thursday night's game in triple overtime.
Authorities say Jeannette Abrams, 44, was dead before the fire started. They say her husband likely started the blaze to hide the killing.
Robert Abrams was charged Friday with homicide, arson and abuse of a corpse. He suffered burns and other injuries in the fire and was hospitalized.
Meet Jennifer McCreight. She was so offended that an Iranian cleric claimed that “immodest women” were responsible for earthquakes that she organized today, Monday April 26th, as Boobquake day. A day where women across the globe can walk around with their boobs hanging out in order to prove their sluttiness does not, in fact, cause natural disasters.
Well guess what Jen? Your stunt caused an earthquake.
Today there was an earthquake registering 6.5 in Taiwan. Coincidence? Somewhere a bunch of clerics in Iran are sitting around with big grins on their faces.
People looking to take revenge on cheating partners are most likely to make cars their prime target, a survey has found.
Three out of five people would get even after discovering their spouse's infidelity, and cars feature prominently in their schemes for revenge.
The poll of 3,000 people indicated that 19 to 21-year-olds plan revenge by damaging the paintwork on their partner's car, while those aged between 22 and 25 would smash the windscreen.
Among those in the 31 to 35 age group, the tactic was most likely to involve selling the vehicle off for a throwaway price, the report said. People over 50 tend to give cheating spouses the silent treatment, while spending as much money as possible.
The survey also found that women are more likely than men to take revenge, with 10% venting their anger on their partner's car.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
A restaurant in a northwest suburb of Adelaide that refused a blind man entry because it thought his guide dog was "gay" was ordered by the Equal Opportunity Tribunal to pay him $1500.
Ian Jolly, 57, was barred from dining at the Thai Spice restaurant in May 2009 after a staff member mistook his guide dog Nudge for a "gay dog," a tribunal heard this week.
A statement given by restaurant owners Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le said one of the restaurant's waiters said that Mr Jolly's partner Ms Chris Lawrence stated "she wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant."
Mr Jolly and Ms Lawrence were refused entry to the restaurant - which displays a "guide dogs welcome" sign - even after providing staff with a guide dogs fact card.
At an Equal Opportunity Tribunal conciliation hearing on Friday, the restaurant agreed to provide Mr Jolly with a written apology and attend an Equal Opportunity education course, in addition to paying him $1500.
"The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog," a statement from the hearing said.
Everyone couldn't help but notice that GM CEO Ed Whitacre announced this past week that GM has paid back its government bailout loans "in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule." He is even running newspaper and TV ads--a needless expense given that a credulous media is only too happy to parrot his claims for free.
This is pure fantasy and GM seems to be getting away with it.
The U.S. gave GM $49.5 billion and Canada provided another $9.5 billion last summer in aid to finance its bankruptcy. So when Mr. Whitacre publishes a column with the headline, "The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full," most of us unfamiliar with bailout minutia would assume that he is alluding to the entire amounts. That, however, is far from the case.
Because a loan of such a huge amount would have been even that much more politically controversial, the U.S. handed GM only $6.7 billion as a pure loan while Canada coughed up $1.4 billion. The vast bulk of the bailout money was transferred to GM through the purchase of 72.5% equity stake in the company (60.8% for the U.S. and 11.7% for Canada) -- arguably an even worse deal for taxpayers than the loan, given that the equity position requires them to bear the risk of the investment without any guaranteed return. Yup, that's why it's referred to as Government Motors.
But when Mr. Whitacre says GM has paid back the bailout money in full, he means not the entire $59 billion--the loan and the equity. In fact, he avoids all mention of that figure in his column. He means only the $8.1 billion loan amount.
But wait! Even that's not the full story given that GM, which has not yet broken even, much less turned a profit, couldn't possibly repay the loan portion from its own earnings. As it turns out, the government put $13.4 billion of the aid money as "working capital" in an escrow account when the company was in bankruptcy. The company is using this escrow money--government money--to pay back the government loans. It's like a Ponzi scheme.
In order to recover the total investment, the two governments have to sell their equity. The plan is to do that only when GM becomes a publicly traded company once again. Somehow I doubt we will ever get our mony back.