Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Negative Option Organ Donation in Ontario, Again

The Ontario NDP are dead wrong on calling for negative option organ donation again; pun not intended.

CBC, Ontario's NDP calling for law presuming automatic consent for organ donation

Ontario's New Democrats are renewing calls for a presumed-consent law to govern organ donation in the province.

NDP members Peter Kormos and Cheri DiNovo plan to introduce — for the third time — a bill calling for a system that assumes people want to donate their organs when they die.

I still don't feel comfortable with 'negative option organ donation' - somebody else making the decision for me, or a decision on behalf of my next of kin. Making a decision about what becomes of me is very personal, and can be extremely difficult for those left behind.

I continue to support making selecting or not selecting organ donation a requirement for renewing one's driver's license or health card, but I don't agree with this position.

The NDP should rethink their position on this bill.

It's Tempting, I Know, But ...

The first person who makes a "series of tubes" joke loses.

[New York Times, Senator Ted Stevens Indicted in Corruption Case]:
A federal grand jury has indicted longtime Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, on charges of failing to disclose receiving gifts of services and construction work as part of a wide-ranging corruption inquiry involving public officials and corporations in his home state. The indictment accuses Mr. Stevens of failing to report on his financial disclosure forms receiving gifts of more than $250,000 — in labor and construction materials — from Veco Corp.
However, indicted Republican jokes are fair game.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thought Experiment : Social Conservative vs Social Libertarian

The difference between a social conservative and a social libertarian is that a social conservative wants people to behave like them and the social libertarian wants people to behave like themselves.

True? False?

In a political party developing one unified party policy, can both live with each other, or would you necessarily expect one to leave to find another political home?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hear, Hear

Montreal Gazette editorial, Tories' scurrilous attacks on election boss are ludicrous:

The Conservative Party of Canada, starting with its leader the prime minister, should find the decency to knock off their scurrilous assault on the integrity of Elections Canada and its commissioner, Marc Mayrand.

...

If the Conservatives did, indeed, play by the rules, they should make their case by sticking to the facts of the matter. Instead they are resorting to the classic scoundrel's defence: Impute motives to others, deny everything and make wild accusations.
[H/T, Far and Wide]

This is how the party reacts to "simple" adversity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Definite Loss of a Canadian Icon?

This one is different than this one, though.

The move marries the two oldest department store retailers in North America, and will create an $8-billion (U.S.) merchandising powerhouse for the new buyer, NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, N.Y. It will combine HBC's Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and Fields chains with NRDC's Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, the jewellery and home decor chain.
I have never ever heard of "Lord & Taylor".

While I'm on the National Post ...

Did you know Jonathan Kay thinks that "many people casually associate the word "conservative" with unfettered capitalism."

I wonder where they got that idea?

Maybe because many "conservatives" and "Conservatives" believe that the Canadian state is not a gigantic service club that we've all joined and pledged to advance the goals of. It's a coercive organization with a territorial monopoly.

The Order of Canada is Just a Tool of the Man

I don't read the National Post as a rule, but out of a sense of balance, I've included their "Top Stories" and "Editorial" RSS feeds in my Google Reader news tag.

Boy, am I glad I did, because I got to read Karen Selick's editorial - "A worthless award".

The awarding of the Order of Canada to abortionist Henry Morgentaler has stirred controversy in recent weeks. Several Order of Canada holders have even gone so far as to return their honours to Rideau Hall.
Several? By my count, it's three unless I've missed more dead people, more guys who should have had it stripped in the first place, or more people who received it as an obligatory appointment.

But the best part, the Order of Canada is really just a symptom of the apparent fact that ...
The Canadian state is not a gigantic service club that we've all joined and pledged to advance the goals of. It's a coercive organization with a territorial monopoly.
Runner-up for the best comment, though:
There's one honouree whom I consider to be a hypocritical, dishonest scoundrel of the lowest order.
We're perhaps led to believe that she means Conrad Black so she's all fair and balanced - but, for all I know, she could mean Al Waxman.

This all spawned by an award she barely spends any time thinking about. I'd hate to read her opinions on things she throws her full intellectual weight against.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wayne "Ice Cold Beer" McMahon Let Go

Just learned that Wayne McMahon, the Ice Cold Beer Guy from the Skydome Rogers Centre, was let go. Going to a Jays game in the 100 level is going to be a lot different.

[H/T, Torontoist]

For those who may not know Wayne, here's a video.

If you liked or were entertained by Wayne, join the Facebook group to petition Aramark to hire him back.

Ontario Health Teams Work

Kudos to the Ontario government and Premier Dalton McGuinty for the creation of Family Health Teams in Ontario.

They work, according to Statistics Canada.

Canadians look to primary health care providers for many of their basic health care needs, as well as for management of most chronic conditions. In 2000, the First Ministers agreed to promote the establishment of primary health care teams that would focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic diseases. In the 2004, they strengthened their commitment with the objective that half of Canadians would have access to multidisciplinary teams by 2011. Considerable investments have been made over the past decade in an effort to meet these goals.

...

The key results are:

  • Almost 40% of Canadians have access to a primary health care team, defined
    as access to a nurse or other health professional (for example, dietitian, nutritionist) or both at their medical doctor or regular place of care.
  • Individuals with two or more chronic conditions and those reporting "fair/poor" health were more likely than people in better health to report access to a primary health care team.
  • Those who have access to a primary health care team are more likely to receive health promotion and disease prevention, particularly those who have chronic conditions.
  • People with chronic conditions who have team-based care are more likely than those who do not to receive whole-person care and higher levels of care coordination. They are also more likely to report receiving a higher quality of health care.
  • Access to primary health care teams reduces emergency room use through reductions in unmet needs and in uncoordinated care. Reductions in uncoordinated care also lessen the risk of hospitalization.
  • Reductions in unmet needs and uncoordinated care, and the more positive fatings of quality of health care in general, indirectly enhance confidence in the health care system.
  • However, access to teams may have a negative direct effect on confidence when experiences with those teams do not result in improved processes of care.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What About ... Impending Loss of an American Icon?

While I was pondering the loss of a Canadian icon, the United States is also doing the same [Dear Journal - Wall Street Journal, Budweiser-InBev: Patriotism Has Its Price–$70 a Share]
All that patriotism stuff? The Missouri Senators, the Clydesdales, the flag-waving distributors?

Well, forget that.

Everyone and every board has its price. And based on reporting early this morning, Anheuser’s price is $70 a share, or about $50 billion in total from Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev.
I don't know. InBev is heavily hyping Budweiser internationally. Anheuser-Busch couldn't do it - why not InBev?

Impending Loss of a Canadian Icon?

Goodbye, Labatt Blue.

Hello, Budweiser.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Favourite Cash Grab

Since I'm on a friendly rant talking about a great Canadian tradition, the cash grab, here's my favourite. And yes, there seems to be a petition for it too. And yes, I also complain about this blatant cash grab, but still somehow to manage to plunk down the cash for it.

A case of twenty-four Labatt Blue, brewed in Canada, sold at a Buffalo-area duty free store - US$15.00 . So, roughly $15 Canadian.

A case of twenty-four Labatt Blue, brewed in Canada, sold at a Toronto-area beer store - CD$39.50 . So, exactly $39.50 Canadian.

I'm willing to bet, that InBev is still making some profit on that $15 case of beer. I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

By comparison, a bottle of Havana Club 7-year old rum, distilled in Havana, sold at the Havana airport duty free store - US$8.00 . A bottle of Havana Club 7-year old rum, distilled in Havana, sold at a Toronto-area LCBO, CD$30.50 .

Economically speaking, it makes sense to me that the farther a thing has to travel, the more borders it has to cross, or the more oceans it has to swim to get to the store, it stands to reason that the price of the product should go up.

Yes, there are taxes and minimum prices and all that - but still, it's just Labatt Blue.

Other famous Canadian cash grabs include Costco memberships ("What, I can pay to shop at your store? Please -- sign me up!") and buying ice from the store (this is Canada after all - it's in the backyard 8 months of the year :) ).

I Love that Word SCIENNNCE

What?

[H/T, Peterborough Politics]

I for one am glad for this new era of no patronage appointments*.

I'm currently enjoying a few cocktails on this fantastic summer evening, so I'll spare you any more thoughtful commentary. I respect Preston Manning's more populist politics but ... what?
* Political appointments and cronyism had eroded staff morale and damaged the public’s perception of the institution, which many suspected had become corrupt and a haven for patronage.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Outrageous!

Hey, everyone! There's going to be a product on the market that I don't need, but is too expensive for me to purchase. Despite the fact there are other products that do similar things cheaper, we should start a petition to make the seller change their prices! It will work, despite the fact some people would have still bought the thing at those crazy prices!

Also, some products have an additional feature that the companies providing the service want to charge extra for. The original primary feature of the device has not changed, but that's irrelevant. We need to fight this cash grab on ancillary features! First, it's automakers charging extra for "air conditioning", now this. If I can't receive text messages from people with my mobile phone, how else can I possibly "talk" through a mobile phone? What am I supposed to do with my thumbs?

I want a petition calling for lower Ferrari pricing in Canada.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Defeatist Sentiment

Stephen Harper once said:

I think there is a dangerous rise in defeatist sentiment in this country. I have said that repeatedly, and I mean it and I believe it.
Stephen Harper will make the case to fellow G8 leaders next week that it's futile to reach a global agreement on climate change without including the world's biggest polluters.

...

"At the end of the day, if we don't get an agreement where major emitters play a role in helping to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we're simply not making any progress," [PM Stephen Harper spokesman] Soudas told journalists at a pre-summit briefing.
Further:
The Conservatives say the Kyoto targets are unattainable, and trying to meet them would tank the economy. Complying with Kyoto, they say, would lower Canada's gross domestic product by 6.5 per cent, cost 276,000 people their jobs, reduce per capita income by 2.9 per cent next year and squander $51 billion in national economic activity.
Noting those concerns, a quick search through Google turns up the following:

As for German national economic activity, The Economist says that "Germany's economy is the world's third-biggest and one of its most advanced." If that isn't squandered national economic activity, I don't know what is.

But, in some respects, it's pointless to point out positive examples. Those who deny human involvement in climate change or those who would have us do nothing will continue to point out there are worse examples of polluters anyway.

They insist we have to set our bar at the lowest possible level. They insist it is impossible to innovate and demonstrate to nations who haven't had the luxury of polluting through an industrial revolution that is possible to do otherwise.

The biggest threat, apparently, is the Official Opposition's plan to introduce a carbon tax should they win a majority government and enact this legislation.

There are, of course, no other threats to the West's oil wealth.

Certainly not attempts to question sources of imported oil and their impact on the environment in foreign countries.

Certainly not dramatic rises in the cost of gasoline consumption.

Certainly not the global economic impact of the rising cost of oil.

The truth is, the biggest threat to the West's oil is the fact that the Canadian consumer might decide not to spend money on oil anymore - the costs associated with consuming oil may be too high. That, even if St├ęphane Dion's "tax on everything" does not come to be, it has sparked the dangerous notion that consuming oil in order to thrive economically may not be the most ingenious long term plan ever concocted.

Oil might go the way of asbestos and that scares a lot of people.

Updated: Fixed a typo.