Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gary Kasparov cuts through the bullshit on Real Time

Chessbase has the transcript.
Video here.

Shortlived but scary illness

Yesterday morning at 9:30 I was hit by dizziness so extreme I couldn't stand. My eyes couldn't focus and the room was spinning. It wasn't long before nausea bloomed and from there it was a hell of a ride.

I vomited 15 times, twice so violently my nose vessels burst. My face is also covered in tiny broken capillaries or blood blisters from the pressure. Thankfully these are subsiding.

The ordeal ended as abruptly as it started at 3:00 PM, which seemed odd because stomach flu (or at least all the stomach flus I've experienced) normally lasts between 12 and 24 hours and food poisoning usually takes longer than a 6 hours to overcome.

I hope this hideous experience doesn't typify the bugs that are going around right now. (And I sincerely hope it wasn't the Capers salad bar I dined on Thursday night as I regularly feast on that. One thing is certain: I won't be touching lentils for awhile.)

Meals are rudimentary: oatmeal, home-made chicken broth and mint tea.

I won't be doing ab work for a few days. (Nothing develops a six pack quicker than bringing your stomach through your esophagus.)

On to a pleasanter subject: An interview with Pat Derby at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (and some lovely footage of Pat cuddling Annie).

Click to view

Friday, October 12, 2007

Conservatard at work

The lamest cop out ever, and Jesus would agree.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Private health care works wonderfully for the private contractors

Dr. Brian Day, the new President of the Canadian Medical Association is prescribing private health care and private health insurance for Canada. The horror stories coming out of the private health system in the US and Canada don't seem to phase Day. He's sure it can work here.

Last week both the CBC and the New York Times reported appalling conditions in private nursing homes. Today the New York Times has a report on the wide-spread abuse by private insurers against their clients.

Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.
Horrifying? Certainly. Surprising? No. This isn't news. So why is Day advocating this for Canada. It's simple. Incomes of physicians are enormous in a private system. Insurance companies also employ doctors to make medical decisions and pay them huge salaries and bonuses for saying no to patients.

Dr. Day claims that private care can be successfully integrated within a the public system, but we're seeing evidence that it isn't working for patients. Over the past ten to fifteen years, government has reduced funding for health care. Federal transfer payments to the provinces are no longer sufficient to meet public health care needs and provinces claim they are forced to contract out medical services. (They call it streamlining.) The private companies now running nursing homes in BC have cut services and staff. In several places these facilities are unfit for human habitation. Families report that people are going weeks without baths, aren't receiving adequate nutrition, and in some cases are underfed. Family members report seeing puddles of urine left on floors to dry, Alzheimer patients are not being supervised, patients are left to rot in beds and wheelchairs because there aren't enough staff to attend to their needs and ensure their well being. This is what the government calls "managed private care".

Dr. Day has dollar signs in his eyes. Physicians and surgeons make buckets more money in a private system. The few hundred thousand they make a year in the public system just isn't cutting it for them anymore.

I have a suggestion for Dr. Day and other physicians who aren't satisfied with their upper middle-class Canadian lifestyles. Keep your summer mansions in Canada and relocate your greedy asses to the US where you can become wealthier beyond your wildest dreams.

Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sharing the fortunes of the alley...

Sharing the fortunes of the alley...
Originally uploaded by * Ahmad Kavousian *.

A photo from, I'm assuming, the Downtown Eastside by a newly discovered Flickr member.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Canada's Lynndie Englands in training

The overall program of training our border officers is a very successful one.'— Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day (aka the man who walked with dinosaurs)

You be the judge.

According to the Customs Excise Union (CEUDA), which represents border services officers, the majority of staffers trusted to guard Canada's borders are either part-time students or new, full-time recruits, many who started as students.

The CBSA hires some 1,200 students each summer. Those being kept on, as full-time recruits, get nine weeks of training.

Part-time students are not issued firearms, but all recruits hired on full-time eventually will be. The minister responsible for public safety, Stockwell Day, has just announced a $50-million expansion of the Rigaud centre, to increase the number of recruits that can be trained.
In numerous posted photos, new recruits are seen drinking and partying at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) centre in Rigaud, Que., where they train to become full-time officers, on taxpayers' money.

One recruit wrote, "My tolerance for alcohol that I built up at Rigaud … is insane."

"It looks like you do a bit of learning and a lot of drinking," Hughes told CBC News.

One photo, apparently taken in B.C., shows a Canada Border Services Agency officer drinking from a keg while in uniform. Consuming alcohol in uniform, on or off duty, is a direct violation of CBSA's code of conduct.

Another alleged officer, also pictured in uniform on the web, posted responses to a quiz — answering that she has cheated on a test, smoked pot and felt like killing someone.

Some of the CBSA recruits at the drinking party were making daring poses at a government training facility in Rigaud, Que.Some of the CBSA recruits at the drinking party were making daring poses at a government training facility in Rigaud, Que.

When a friend apparently asks her, online, if she has been issued a gun, the officer answers, "I think the prime minister should be getting on the phone, and calling a few people and getting that straightened up real quick," said Turner.

The female officer also wrote: "I don't have a gun... YET!!! You will be the first one to hear about it when serial killer Harper gives me one."

It seems she didn't like training in Quebec. In postings, the writer refers to the province as "the land of poutine and frog," and "f---ing French bastards."
"If they are playing around with Facebook, saying those things, what are they going to do when they get a gun?" asks Hughes. "What kind of jokes and pictures are they going to take with firearms?"

A male officer, who posted his CBSA job title as "Bad Ass," did post a picture of the type of gun he expects to get, with the caption, "Soon enough, baby. Soon enough."

That same officer wrote he is "incredibly excited that he got to arrest someone again." There are pictures of men necking and holding each other down, apparently as a joke. The photos are labelled "Victoria Rape."

"It shows immaturity among people and that's exactly what it is," said Turner. "If this person is going to get a gun I think I would be really nervous if I were the traveller."

The former B.C. officers are also raising alarm bells about how new recruits performed on the job.

"Most of them lack the maturity, they lack the experience," Hughes said. "I've seen so many students that should have been referring so many prime candidates for secondary inspection and have just let them into the country."
Stockwell Day is one of the stupidest creatures alive and his judgement is not to be trusted. It’s astounding this idiot has a cabinet post never mind an MP’s job.

Between the buffoons (neoconservative federal politicians) in charge of the nation and the psychos running the US government I won’t be travelling to the US any time soon.