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General

Strange Days Indeed

Posted April 4, 2020 by Anonymous

I wonder if John Lennon ever realized how prophetic his words would be:Nobody told me there’d be days like theseStrange days indeed.I never understood how a pandemic would destroy the world economy.  Millions of people out of work. Millions w…

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General

Trump EPA’s Refusal to Strengthen Air Quality Standards Most Likely to Harm Communities of Color, Experts Say

Posted June 12, 2020 by Anonymous
A protester wearing an #ICANTBREATHE face mask in front of the 3rd Police Precinct on May 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Read time: 8 mins

In April, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, proposed maintaining, rather than strengthening, national air quality standards for soot, a type of air pollution with serious impacts for heart and lung health. This week, an independent panel of experts who previously advised the EPA on these air standards slammed the current agency’s decision in the New England Journal of Medicine, pointing out it’s literally a matter of life or death, especially for communities of color.

Mustafa Santiago Ali, former head of the EPA‘s environmental justice office, also highlighted in congressional testimony how the effects of air pollution are just another form of the same systemic racism that ends up hitting people of color particularly hard, and even more so during the current pandemic:

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General

BC RCMP Boss Apologizes to Woman Dragged by Cop During Wellness Check

Posted July 3, 2020 by Manisha Krishnan

Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli said he’s “deeply concerned” over video showing an officer stepping on the head of a UBC student and pulling her hair.

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General

On The Existence of Street Pianos In Toronto Community Centers

Posted January 18, 2020 by bigcitylib

I used to be totally against them.  It was always some no-talent eight year old plinking out a ghastly version of Chopsticks and you can’t tell them they suck or STFU! because their parents will get upset and report you to the facility staff becau…

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General

Fiddling while America burns

Posted May 5, 2020 by Anonymous

People in the United States are realizing that Trump and his administration have spent the last two months tweeting and twiddling their thumbs.

Silly. The plan is to pretend that the problem had been solved (because it’s been a while and staying at home is boring) and start opening up the country. What could go wrong?

— Your Friend & Sabre ⚔️ (@xiphodaimon) May 4, 2020

And why did they expect anything different?
Trump is utterly incompetent at everything, and the only people he hires are people who won’t show him up. So of course he is clueless now and so is everyone else around him. 
If America survives this, it will be because of its governors, who are rapidly forming their own regional associations. But they don’t have the authority to deficit spend so we are going to be stuck for the next 9 months watching the US economy implode, until Biden can take over. It isn’t going to be pleasant.
Still, its a tricky go, isn’t it?  I’m uncertain about our future is, too, but I do have some confidence that the Trudeau government and most of the provinces are on the same page. Though Saskatchewan is reporting new cases, the Maritimes are doing better.
Vox had a big article today comparing Canada and the US:

The American response has become infected by partisan politics and shot through with federal incompetence. Meanwhile, Canada’s policies have been efficiently implemented with support from leaders across the political spectrum. The comparison is a case study in how a dysfunctional political system can quite literally cost lives.
The Canadian approach has not been perfect. Its death rate is currently much higher than best-in-class performers like Germany and South Korea; Canadian officials have fallen down, in particular, when it comes to long-term senior care and the indigenous population. But given the interdependence between these two large neighboring economies, Canadians are not only vulnerable as a result of their own government’s choices but also because of their southern neighbors’ failures.
“The biggest public health threat to Canada right now is importing cases from the United States,” says Steven Hoffman, a political scientist who studies global health at York University.

Yes, its going to be a long time before that border reopens.
I am beginning to worry seriously about Canadian food supplies — so much of our food is from vegetable and fruit growers in the US, and further south too, and these all depend on an established and predictable supply chain where crops get planted, harvested, processed and transported in an orderly progression.  Canada can produce its own flour and beef and apples, but not oranges. Or bananas.

“Let me tell you about the olden days, children.  Why, there used to be a time when we could get bananas any time we went to the store.  Any time at all!”

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General

After a Legal Battle, Juneteenth Ceremony Honors Enslaved Ancestors at Gravesite on Formosa Plastics Land

Posted June 19, 2020 by Julie Dermansky
Sharon Lavigne speaking at the Juneteenth ceremony at the site of a former burial ground for enslaved African Americans on the site where Formosa plans to build a petrochemical complex.

Read time: 7 mins

“I feel like our ancestors are shouting and rejoicing in heaven about what we did for them today,” Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, a community group fighting petrochemical plant construction in St. James Parish, Louisiana, said after a June 19 ceremony held in their honor. “We did not forget them on Juneteenth. We honored them by leaving roses at the site where their remains are buried.”

Late this morning, Lavigne and a couple dozen supporters held the memorial at what they say is a former burial ground for enslaved people that sits on the future site of a $9.4 billion plastics plant complex. But even as widespread protests against anti-Black racism have prompted a national reckoning, the ceremony at the former grave site was met with opposition. FG LA LLC, a local member of the Formosa Plastics Group, owns the property on a former sugar plantation and denied Lavigne’s request to have a Juneteenth ceremony there. It took a last-minute judge’s ruling to force the petrochemical corporation to make the ceremony legal; Lavigne had planned to hold the ceremony there, with or without permission.

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General

Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day II

Posted March 13, 2020 by bigcitylib

Visited The Elsy (LCBO) today.  I notice that while they’re knifing each other over toilet paper at the Walmart across the parking lot, here everything is calm.  People believe that Water and wipes are essential, booze some kind of peripheral…

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General

Congress Investigates How Marathon Petroleum and Koch Network Influenced Clean Cars Rollbacks

Posted May 29, 2020 by Anonymous
Marathon gas station

Read time: 4 mins

On Thursday, May 28, several Democratic members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), sent a letter to Marathon Petroleum seeking information on the oil company’s involvement in the Trump administration’s rollback of clean car standards. The Congressmembers are also investigating Marathon’s coordination with, and financial ties to, various free-market groups and whether those relationships are compatible with the groups’ tax-exempt status.

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General

Public Health has failed us all

Posted June 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Over the last week, I have come to understand that the COVID 19 pandemic will be known as the worst North American public health failure ever. 

Here’s why:

Remember five months ago, way back in February, when COVID cases first began showing up in North America?  
That is also when doctors in Europe, who were already dealing with dozens of cases, started reporting that, unlike other recent viruses,  transmission of COVID 19 appeared to be happening from people who didn’t know they were sick and who did not display any symptoms.
It is impossible to find and quarantine such people, because nobody knows who they are. They themselves don’t even know they are carrying the virus.
The only way that someone without symptoms can be stopped from transmitting a respiratory infection is for everyone to wear a mask, so that the infected people are prevented from spraying infectious droplets every time they speak, cough, sneeze, etc. 
So if, back in February, we had all been told to wear homemade masks whenever we were out and about (like many people already do in Asia, by the way) this simple act would have protected the friends and families and coworkers and clients of the hundreds of people across North America who were already infected but didn’t know it – the dentists, the doctors, the choir members, the conference attendees, the nursing home staff, the teachers, the social workers, the waitresses, etc etc
And thus, COVID 19 virus would not have infected hundreds of thousands.  And thousands of the people who died would have lived instead.

But what happened when, back in February, European doctors started reporting that symptom-less people were infectious? 
Well, nothing.
Faced with these early reports of symptom-less transmission, public health authorities like the World Health Organization, and the CDC and Canada Public Health did not leap into action. 

They squabbled. They denied the evidence. They quibbled about terminology. The New York Times report goes on:
Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that for two crucial months — and in the face of mounting genetic evidence — Western health officials and political leaders played down or denied the risk of symptomless spreading. 
Leading health agencies including the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control provided contradictory and sometimes misleading advice. A crucial public health discussion devolved into a semantic debate over what to call infected people without clear symptoms. 
The two-month delay was a product of faulty scientific assumptions, academic rivalries and, perhaps most important, a reluctance to accept that containing the virus would take drastic measures. 
The resistance to emerging evidence was one part of the world’s sluggish response to the virus. It is impossible to calculate the human toll of that delay, but models suggest that earlier, aggressive action might have saved tens of thousands of lives. 
Countries like Singapore and Australia, which used testing and contact-tracing and moved swiftly to quarantine seemingly healthy travelers, fared far better than those that did not.
And another thing happened too, at the same time. 
Even without a lot of evidence, even without contract tracing and quarantining travelers and other government measures, there was one crucial step that everyone could have taken without any government program at all – wearing a homemade mask. 
It seems like at least some of those who work in public health in North America also believed that the situation with COVID 19 was so urgent that wearing masks couldn’t hurt and might help.  
But they decided not tell us. 
While public health officials hesitated, some doctors acted. At a conference in Seattle in mid-February, Jeffrey Shaman, a Columbia University professor, said his research suggested that Covid-19’s rapid spread could only be explained if there were infectious patients with unremarkable symptoms or no symptoms at all. 
In the audience that day was Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning physicist and former U.S. energy secretary. “If left to its own devices, this disease will spread through the whole population,” he remembers Professor Shaman warning. 
 Afterward, Dr. Chu began insisting that healthy colleagues at his Stanford University laboratory wear masks. 
Doctors in Cambridge, England, concluded that asymptomatic transmission was a big source of infection and advised local health workers and patients to wear masks, well before the British government acknowledged the risk of silent spreaders.
But back in February, there wasn’t enough PPE to go around and all the medical masks we had were desperately needed by medical staff. 
So Public Health authorities had a choice — they could have been truthful, and told us that masks might help but the general public had to use homemade masks to save the medical ones for the health profession. 
But this message was too complicated and people were already hoarding toilet paper, and homemade masks might “give us a false sense of security” because we’re all just so stupid that we wouldn’t stay home anymore and besides, we likely wouldn’t wear then correctly anyway. So it was just so much easier to us not to bother with masks at all, that they weren’t necessary for anyone who wasn’t already sick.  

The American authorities, faced with a shortage, actively discouraged the public from buying masks. “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams tweeted on Feb. 29.

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
https://t.co/UxZRwxxKL9

— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020

In other words, they lied to us.
And the politicians those public health authorities were advising — the governors and premiers and presidents and prime ministers – ended up passing on those lies because they didn’t know any better.  
So now here we are in June.
And now the public health authorities say, “Oopsie!!  Hey, you guys, we tell you now that you really should wear masks after all, because everyone would be just so much safer.”
Only its too late. Hundreds of thousands have already died. And millions are confused by the changing stories and the untruths and the squabbling and now they don’t believe anything that public health authorities are telling them. And the people who own stores and manage events and work in offices and teach in schools are just as confused. So they don’t know whether to require masks or not.
Back during the Spanish Flu, public health failed because they just didn’t know how to organize public health administration and do the scientific studies and analyze policy options and communicate widely with the public.
Now, we have all that. We have a huge public health infrastructure with thousands of experts worldwide whose whole purpose in life is to keep people safe. 
But in North America, they failed us.

“Why doesn’t the public trust us” sob the people who sold a cynical lie about masks being innefective to the press

— Kurt, myself today (@Freidland2) June 28, 2020

So first they didn’t recognize the truth, and then they didn’t trust us enough to tell us the truth when we needed it.  

[CDC head] Azar also pushed back on the idea that the new surge in cases is a result of reopening the country too fast, arguing, “That’s not so much about what the law says on the reopening than what our behaviors are within that. If we act irresponsibly, if we don’t social distance, if we don’t use face coverings … we’re going to see spread of disease.”

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General

How I spent my summer vacation

Posted April 10, 2020 by Anonymous

Here’s the tweet of the week month:

Today is 3 wks in quarantine w/o sugar. Walking 3 miles a day, no meat, dairy or flour! I feel great! No alcohol & vegan diet! A 2 hr home workout everyday. Lost 14 lbs & gained muscle mass! I have no idea whose tweet this is but I’m proud of them so I decided to copy & paste it!

— Alison 🇨🇦🇿🇦 (@AckAlison) April 10, 2020


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General

Saturday Stories: COVID files

Posted June 13, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Stephan Kamholz – Chair of Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center, died of COVID19 on June 11th, 2020. May his memory be a blessing 

Sharon Begley and Helen Branswell, in STAT, spoke with 11 epidemiologists to explore what we need to ensure such that we don’t screw up dealing with COVID’s inevitable second wave.

Tomas Pueyo, in Medium, on whether we should all be striving to respond more like Sweden?

Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer, in The New York Times, with a coronavirus vaccine tracker.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, in The New York Times, moderates a discussion about whether or not a coronavirus vaccine can be produced in record time

Rachel R. Hardeman, Eduardo M. Medina, and Rhea W. Boyd, in The New England Journal of Medicine, discuss stolen breaths and racial inequities in medicine.

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China

17 Developers Are Testing Coronavirus Vaccines on Humans. Here’s What You Need to Know About Them.

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

The race to develop a coronavirus vaccine is getting crowded — and expensive.

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General

Back Home Again

Posted February 5, 2020 by Polar Bear

I have been away from the blogger writing for quite a time. I have been busy working to get well and after two years without being able to walk I am finally making progress. I was encouraged during the past couple of years to receive many contacts from…

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General

Saturday Stories: The COVID Roundup

Posted May 9, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Bredy Pierre-Louis, Family Physician, Brooklyn, Died From COVID19. May his memory be a blessing

Caitlin Flanagan, in The Atlantic, on having stage IV colon cancer during the time of COVID19 (if you only read one piece this week, make it this one)

Orac, in Respectful Insolence, discusses Plandemic.

Tomas Pueyo, in Medium, on testing and contact tracing.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, covers whether or not we should be currently worried about coronavirus mutations

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General

Saturday Stories: This Week’s COVID Selections

Posted May 30, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Earline Austin, 63 yo NYC Physician, died on 4/3. Originally from Guyana, she lived in Fresh Meadows and was affiliated with Staten Island University Hospital. Attended Ross University for Medical School. May her memory be a blessing

Emily Chung, in the CBC, with everything you need to know to understand R-naught values.

Andy Larsen, in the Salt Lake City Tribune, with a breakdown of different locations and events and what we know of their risks in terms of spreading COVID.

Kimberly A. Prather, Chia C. Wang, and Robert T. Schooley, in Science, on how if you want life to return to some remote semblance of before’s normal, if you’re not already doing so, you need to start wearing a damn mask

Clayton Dalton, in The New Yorker, on what we lose when we become numb to mass death.

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General

‘Slam Dunk’ Study Finds Trump EPA’s Move Not to Tighten Air Pollution Standards Would Prematurely Kill 140,000 Americans

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
Salem Harbor power plant soot pollution

Read time: 7 mins

A new study from public health researchers provides the strongest evidence yet that increased exposure to a type of air pollution from tailpipes and smokestacks that’s known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), or soot, can cause premature death. This peer-reviewed study of air pollution impacts on older Americans suggests that current air quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not protect public health, and that strengthening the standards could save over 140,000 American lives over a decade.

In praising this study as a “slam dunk,” one former EPA air pollution scientist warned that the Trump EPA, which is trying to maintain the current standards, “ignores it at their peril.”

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General

From Hurricane Maria to COVID, Gas Lobbyist-turned-Trump Energy Lawyer Uses Crises as ‘Opportunity’

Posted June 14, 2020 by Steve Horn
Bill Cooper being sworn in by Rick Perry

Read time: 14 mins

Among a string of recent environmental rollbacks, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) aims to vastly narrow the scope of environmental reviews for those applying for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permits. The proposal has been guided by Bill Cooper, a former oil and gas industry lobbyist who’s now a top lawyer for the DOE.

On May 1, the DOE issued a proposal to limit environmental reviews for LNG export permit proposals so that the review applies to only the export process itself — literally “occurring at or after the point of export.” The rule would take off the table for consideration lifecycle greenhouse gas analyses, broader looks at both build-outs of pipelines and power plants attached to the export proposals, and other potential environmental impacts.

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General

Celebrating July 4th Like This Isn’t a Pandemic Will Cost Lives

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Forty states are seeing their case numbers rise. Maybe rethink the family BBQ this weekend?

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General

Oh My God The Nutrition World Is Painful

Posted February 19, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Short post to say that watching people aggressively argue about their preferred diets of choice, and seeing reputable people willing to prop up the most shameless of medical hucksters if they happen to share a nutritional belief, and the endless debates about physiology, and meal timing, and breakfast, and fasting, and macronutrients, and lipids, and anti-science shilling, and multi-level marketing, and so much more, is so very tiresome.

As a clinician I know that what actually matters is how to help the person sitting in front of me, remembering that science, meal patterns, macronutrients, and physiology, may not always matter the way some study says they could or should in the face of an individual’s life and personal preferences. Ultimately, and regardless of what I think is “right” on paper or right for me, my job is to help patients make sustainable changes that in turn lead them towards the healthiest life that they can actually enjoy.

Similarly, as a public health advocate, I know that if there were any amount of education, or a brilliantly crafted public health message, that in turn would effectively drive societal behaviour change we’d have all already changed all of our behaviours. I can also tell you that energies spent on initiatives relegated to personal responsibility, including but not restricted to those promoting one person’s diet tribe, pale in importance to energies spent on initiatives relevant to changing the food environment. And there’s no shortage of targets that span all dietary dogmas – from advertising to kids, front-of-package health claim reforms, junk food fundraising, the provision of free cooking skills to kids and adults, national school food programs and improvements, tax incentives and disincentives, and more.

All this to say, it’s my opinion that these two flawed foci, that there’s one best or right way and that personal responsibility will be our salvation, are the two main reasons why we can’t have nice things in nutrition and nutrition related public health.

        
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General

Cast your bread upon the waters

Posted May 10, 2020 by Anonymous

Ecclesiastes 11 1
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

150 years ago, the Choctaw people collected what was then a grand sum of $170 to send to the people of Ireland, who were starving because of the Potato Famine.  CNN reports that the Choctaw understood starvation because they had experienced it themselves on the Trail of Tears.
Now Irish Times reporter Naomi O’Leary is returning the favour:

Native Americans raised a huge amount in famine relief for Ireland at a time when they had very little. It’s time for is to come through for them now. https://t.co/ONl9UXmwdH

— Naomi O’Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 2, 2020


Half a million dollars has been raised in Ireland. This isn’t the only time that Ireland and the American indigenous people have connected.

The act of kindness was never forgotten, and the solidarity between the Irish and Native Americans has continued over the years.
In 1992, 22 Irish men and women walked the Trail of Tears to raise money for famine relief efforts in Somalia, according to Bunbury. They raised $170,000 — $1,000 for each dollar the Choctaw gave in 1847. A Choctaw citizen reciprocated by leading a famine walk in Ireland seven years later.
In 2017, the town of Midleton in Ireland unveiled a sculpture commemorating the Choctaw’s 1847 gift. In 2018, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced a scholarship program for Choctaw people to study in Ireland while he was visiting the tribal nation in Oklahoma.
The GoFundMe donations are just the latest example of the longstanding relationship. As one Irish donor on the fundraising page wrote:
“You helped us in our darkest hour. Honoured to return the kindness. Ireland remembers, with thanks.”

It reminded me of the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree that is send each year to Boston in gratitude for the help that came from Boston after the Halifax explosion:

100 years ago today, the Halifax Explosion occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia killing 1000 people. Boston immediately sent doctors & medical supplies to assist in relief efforts – this is why Nova Scotia sends Boston a Christmas tree every year. https://t.co/HYHi6xbqm3 pic.twitter.com/MdhQa3r4Zg

— BostonTweet (@BostonTweet) December 6, 2017


People will never forget those who helped when they needed it the most.

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General

Funny stuff

Posted June 21, 2020 by Anonymous

OK, here’s some funny stuff I collected over the last while — particularly enjoyed the last one:

My spouse is “attending” a virtual conference for the next few days. To help simulate the real thing, I’ll set out a picked-over tray of mini-muffins, soggy cut fruit, and some weak coffee, and then whisk them away just as he approaches the table.

— Erin Conwell (@erconwell) June 19, 2020

Had a bit more #LifeCommentary fun with my friend’s dog, Sooty. He’s fabulously bonkers. https://t.co/iLwRCv76xZ

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) June 15, 2020

This talented pupper doing an amazing obstacle run pic.twitter.com/3l4bYkgp0e

— Back To Nature (@backt0nature) June 20, 2020

Even bears have their Felix Ungers. https://t.co/36E68JPeMJ

— Neil (@NPSusa) June 20, 2020

pic.twitter.com/SZ2u5dRVlT

— Fátima Ma. Alvarado.💙💛🇻🇦🇳🇮📿 (@Falvarado1974) June 19, 2020

This is quite possibly the greatest commercial I’ve ever seen… pic.twitter.com/t3oxiJrUr3

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) June 17, 2020

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General

COVID Shakespeare

Posted March 15, 2020 by Anonymous

What’s the difference between Covid 19 and Romeo & Juliet?

One’s a corona virus and the other is a Verona crisis.

— Julian Lee (@JulianLeeComedy) March 14, 2020

One’s a pandemic disaster, the other’s Iambic pentameter

— folb (@SleepingAnnual) March 14, 2020

Omg. Now do Two Gentlemen of Corona.

— Steve Austin from Texas (@ResistTheLiars) March 15, 2020

With jokes like that you’re just trying make us welcome death

— Tom (@_T0M_V_) March 15, 2020

ok isaac newton discovered calculus and william shakespeare wrote king lear while in quarantine but i bet none of them could eat 2 family packs of chips ahoy in 3 days while in quarantine so what the fuck

— Ryan Dils (@ryan_dils) March 15, 2020



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General

Take off, eh!

Posted May 30, 2020 by Anonymous

Dear Bob and Doug,

Please take off, eh!

Yours,@CAFinUS pic.twitter.com/gu48YsfBYj

— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) May 30, 2020

Not sure if anyone in the States will appreciate this but it’s AWESOME the #LaunchAmerica astronauts are BOB & DOUG 👊🤘#Canada

Icons in Canada from SCTV fame !! 🇨🇦🌏🪐🌙🚀🛰@Astro_Doug #Nasa #SpaceX

Take Off !! Eh. #LiftOff #TakeOff pic.twitter.com/nyZc6i39yi

— Kevin Smith (@Global_Smith) May 28, 2020


Dear SpaceX,

Can you launch Trump into space instead?

Asking for America.

Thanks!#LaunchAmerica #SpaceLaunchLIVE #SpaceX Cape Canaveral International Space Station #LaunchDay #TrumpMeltdown #HadEnough #TwitterFactCheck #spacexlaunch #CarolynGombell Bob & Doug Challenger pic.twitter.com/3aPDEbN0TP

— Steve Rustad (@SteveRustad1) May 27, 2020


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General

New NAFTA Trade Deal Deepens Oil and Gas Dependency During Climate Crisis

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
President Donald Trump delivers remarks with Canadian President Justin Trudeau and then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the signing the USMCA trade agreement on November 30, 2018.

Read time: 7 mins

The coronavirus pandemic and record-low oil prices dealt a blow to the fossil fuel industry this year. But the new trade deal between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, known as the USMCA, will provide a boost as it replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The deal goes into effect July 1.

Reading between the lines of the 2,000-plus page deal, environmentalists say it is bad news for North America’s climate future. Far from addressing the crisis, the deal provides loopholes for oil, gas, and mining companies to operate across borders, and paves the way for U.S. companies to export even more fracked natural gas across the border into Mexico.

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General

Stages of Grief

Posted April 18, 2020 by Anonymous

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
These are the stages of grief and I’ve been through them all since the COVID19 lockdown began. I think everyone else has going through them too.

Denial – how can this be happening? WTF is this? Isn’t there some easier way?
Anger – don’t they realize what they are doing to us and to the economy? Its so terrible for so many people.
Bargaining – well, maybe it won’t last too long if everybody acts the right way.
Depression – how awful this is, and its going on FOREVER!!!
Acceptance – it is what it is. Nothing we can do except to get through it.

Though I must admit, I still feel anger:

What shocks me about #COVID19 is the economic disaster. I never realized we might have no way to control a disease except to close everything down, worldwide, and keep it closed for weeks or months. People starving, businesses bankrupt, economies ruined, lives devastated.

— Cathie from Canada 🇨🇦 (@CathieCanada) April 14, 2020


The economic hit from this is going to be so hard, and last so long, and hurt so many innocent blameless people.
But every time I start to feel sorry for myself and for all of us, I remember that whatever I am going through, it is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what others are dealing with.
I don’t think our society will ever be able to repay doctors and nurses for what they are doing for all of us, risking death every day to save as many as they can.
There was one tweet in particular, from a pediatric surgical fellow and single mother in New York, that made me just cry.

My babies are too young to read this now. And they’d barely recognize me in my gear. But if they lose me to COVID I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job. #GetMePPE #NYC pic.twitter.com/OMew5G7mjK

— Cornelia Griggs (@CorneliaLG) March 29, 2020


I hope she will be OK.
I hope someday her children will be able to honour her for what she is doing.

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General

Trump is unwell

Posted June 14, 2020 by Anonymous

After yesterday’s West Point debacle – the water glass, the inability to say “McArthur”, the ramp, the tweet ABOUT the ramp – #TrumpIsUnwell is trending this morning on twitter. 

Along with all the jokes, there is this:

The media’s failure to meaningfully cover Trump’s cognitive and physical decline after obsessing about Hillary’s health is evidence of open misogyny at this point.

— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) June 14, 2020

Personally, I believe that Trump has a minor stroke last November – remember the fast and unscheduled “tour” of Walter Reed? – and he still has impairments on his right side. 

 On a lighter note, #ObamaDay is also trending twitter:

You’d think Republicans would be more worried about protecting the Constitution.

It’s the only thing preventing Barack Obama from being president again.#ObamaDayJune14th

— Middle Age Riot (@middleageriot) June 14, 2020

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General

A White Couple Was Arrested After Pointing a Gun at a Black Family In a Chipotle Parking Lot

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Viral video footage of the incident showed a white woman pulling her gun after telling the family that “white people aren’t racist.”

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General

Lost years

Posted May 12, 2020 by Anonymous

Well, I think we have all realized now there is not going to be any “normal” anymore. 

The hysterical “reopen, damn it!” marches across the continent were a cry of despair against the inevitable, but now I think the truth is sinking in.

There is going to be a new Depression across North America. 
Here’s a thread about what we are facing:

Because they’re competing with the other shop across the street, they cut prices to keep their share of the market. And they often operate while servicing debt. Most businesses need to keep all of the balls in the air just to survive. That time is over.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

The entrepreneurs have no capital. Their capital is gone. They can’t start new businesses. A handful will survive but with drastically reduced ability to invest. They will suffer in survival mode.
So will there be any jobs?

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

In 25 years the businesses on the street will be completely different. Many of those once apparently solid companies will fail within the next 12 months. Expect nothing but grim news.
If you have a job, cherish it. If you have a secure government job, keep it.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020

We must (this is an imperative) pick ourselves up and keep going. We owe that to ourselves, our families and our fellow occupant of planet earth.
Hold on. Stay strong. Better days will come and they’re worth living for.

— Paul Doroshenko, Q.C. (@PaulDoroshenko) May 11, 2020


Trump’s mismanagement – his ignorance about testing, plus his inept and corrupt support programs –will result in successive waves of Covid outbreaks across the US all summer and fall, each one killing thousands more. Everyone will just try to stay home as much as possible, so the US economy will continue to decline. Meanwhile the US government will bankrupt itself as it fights a losing battle to try to shore up the stock markets, the only economic measure Trump thinks is important.
In nine months, Biden will take over, but by then it will be too late for the thousands of businesses and bars and restaurants that will go bankrupt by next fall, after a few miserable months of trying to reopen. The companies that survive will be the ones that continue to have their employees work from home. So the downtown office towers will be empty and the owners of commercial real estate will be going bankrupt too, not to mention everyone from window washers to the people who water office plants.  Farmers across the US will  be watching their restaurant markets disappear, and they won’t be able to find immigrant workers to pick their crops. 
Canada’s economy won’t crash as badly, I don’t think — our more effective and better run federal support programs will cushion the blow a little better for us – but still, its not going to be pretty. The US border won’t be reopening for a long time yet, and our biggest trading partner won’t be buying nearly as much as they used to. Tourism will be a disaster, our oil and gas industries are in free fall, and we don’t know who will be buying all our agricultural exports anymore either.
If we can avoid another Great Depression, we will be lucky, I think. 
Back in 1973, journalist Barry Broadfood published Ten Lost Years – he interviewed hundreds of people about their experiences during the Great Depression and put it all into a book, and for many Canadians, it was the first time we had ever really heard about what happened to ordinary people in Canada during the 1930s, that awful time.
I have been thinking about that book a lot lately.
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In Break With Trump’s EPA, Nevada Announces Plan to Cut Tailpipe Emissions

Posted June 23, 2020 by Anonymous
Las Vegas traffic

Read time: 4 mins

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced on Monday, June 22, that Nevada would be developing a policy to increase the number of zero and low-emission vehicles sold within the state.

With the announcement of the Clean Cars Nevada initiative, Nevada is set to join 14 other states that have fully or partially adopted clean car standards identical to California’s stricter standards authorized by the Clean Air Act.

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Courage is found in unlikely places

Posted March 18, 2020 by Anonymous

Things are awful and they’re going to get worse – the economy is going to tank, maybe worse than it did in 2008, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs. 

To understand why the world economy is in grave peril because of the spread of coronavirus, it helps to grasp one idea that is at once blindingly obvious and sneakily profound.
One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is.That relationship, between spending and income, consumption and production, is at the core of how a capitalist economy works. It is the basis of a perpetual motion machine. We buy the things we want and need, and in exchange give money to the people who produced those things, who in turn use that money to buy the things they want and need, and so on, forever.
What is so deeply worrying about the potential economic ripple effects of the virus is that it requires this perpetual motion machine to come to a near-complete stop across large chunks of the economy, for an indeterminate period of time.

In spite of the billions that governments will spend to prop up the economy, our standard of living is going to decline. Or at least it will FEEL like it is declining — we won’t have the restaurants around anymore that we used to love, we won’t be getting the variety and quality of food we are used to seeing in grocery stores because the agricultural and shipping industries are going to be in such disarray, we won’t have sports or new TV shows or new movies or touring theatre companies or concerts or community events. For many of us, our retirement savings are taking a hit that we won’t be able to recover. 
Not to mention, of course, the hundreds of thousands around the world who will get sick, and the tens of thousands who will die in the next 18 months to two years, before a COVID vaccine can be developed and put into production and reach the market.
Goodbye yellow brick road, yes indeed.
Someday maybe we will say “I remember when you could walk into a store and buy bananas any time of the year”.
So in the meantime, I can only keep my spirits up by searching out some “good news” stories. Because once again, in a crisis, people have a remarkable way of pulling together, pushing though, helping themselves and each other to cope and to manage and to survive.

“But where shall I find courage?” asked Frodo.
“That is what I chiefly need.”“Courage is found in unlikely places,” said Gildor.
“Be of good hope! Sleep now!”

Beautiful. King Street, right? https://t.co/LkN6dqdqnj

— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 18, 2020

@CoronavirusCast

You wanted some positive stories.
Here you go. This man must be a listener.

Sask. First Nation chief prepared for COVID-19 pandemic weeks before it hit https://t.co/1zRd7e74O3

— Raptor Girl SK- We the Champs! (@raptorgirlSK) March 17, 2020

While our doors may be closed, we’ll still bring the Gallery to you online.

During our closure, we’ll take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. Each day we’ll focus on one room and the works of art on view within it. #MuseumFromHome pic.twitter.com/VfI4Nm8kj5

— National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) March 14, 2020

We’re better than our political leadership. https://t.co/ez9K1RChDP

— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) March 16, 2020

Louis Vuitton is switching all its perfume & cosmetic manufacturing factories to make hand sanitizer gels. https://t.co/p6I5QC1s4d

— Krishnan (@cvkrishnan) March 15, 2020

Hope they were able to find some TP https://t.co/3gBnXKJAKB

— Kevin Smith (@Global_Smith) March 15, 2020

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Journalists under attack

Posted June 1, 2020 by Anonymous

 

In his daily CNN newsletter, Brian Stelter gives a summary of some of the attacks made on journalists over the last few days in the George Lloyd protests across the US:

[there have been a] shocking number of cases of reporters being assaulted and arrested while covering the unrest. This wasn’t just a stray rubber bullet here or there — it seemed, to a lot of people, like targeting of journalists, by both police and in some cases by unruly protesters.

 

Bellingcat identified “at least 50 separate incidents where journalists have been attacked by law enforcement. In these examples journalists have been shot with rubber bullets, targeted with stun grenades, tear gassed, physically attacked, pepper sprayed and arrested.”

 

 >> CBS’ Michael George tweeted: “I’ve covered protests for 15 years across the US. This is the first time I’ve ever seen police actively and intentionally target the press with rubber bullets, tear gas, and arrests. Scenes reminiscent of China, Iran. We remain determined to show the country what’s happening here…”

 

 >> On Sunday morning I interviewed LA Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who described the moment when Minneapolis police fired rubber bullets Saturday night: “We were shouting ‘press’ and I was waving my notebook at them. They just kept following us and firing at us…

 

 

As Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik wrote in this column, “the question that remains is why we are seeing more physical attacks on the press than we did, say, in 2015 in the uprising in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.” Echoing what he said on CNN, Zurawik wrote, “There are a lot of reasons for the rise, but here’s the one I think making the greatest difference: almost four years of the president of the United States demonizing the press, calling reporters ‘enemies of the people’ and ‘scum,’ and encouraging rallygoers at his events to intimidate them…”

I am wondering if some police are also blaming the media for what is happening, in a “shoot the messenger” reaction — maybe they have the idea that they could beat people up any time they wanted, if it weren’t for cell phone cameras and reporters publicizing it when they do.
The actual problem, of course, is that police are beating people up. 
And journalists keep on reporting it when it happens.
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Democrats’ New Climate Plan Says Polluters Shouldn’t Receive Immunity From Lawsuits for Climate Impacts

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference about the new climate action agenda on June 30.

Read time: 5 mins

On Tuesday, June 30, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, released a comprehensive action plan for tackling climate change. 

Some environmental groups criticized the plan for lacking ambition and not directly targeting fossil fuel production. However, the Democrats’ agenda does support a powerful provision for holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their contributions to the disastrously warming planet: Not granting them legal immunity from Congress.

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Saturday Stories: This Week’s Worthwhile COVID19 Reads Roundup

Posted April 18, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Huy-Hao Dao, 44,,who worked at Quebec’s Montérégie-Centre Integrated Health and Social Services Centre in Longueuil and sadly the first Canadian physician to die of COVID19, may his memory be a blessing.

Roxanne Khamsi, in Nature, on the incredible challenges we’ll face producing and distributing a SARS-CoV2 vaccine if/when we find one.

Michael Specter, in The New Yorker, with a profile of America’s real doctor – Anthony Fauci

Apoorva Mandavilli and Katie Thomas, in The New York Times, discuss what serology tests are, and whether they’ll help us all get back to work.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, on our pandemic summer and how the only way out is through.

Maggie Koerth, in FiveThirtyEight, on COVID’s destruction of our medical supply chains and how it’s not impossible the entire world’s supply of medical grade glass (used for vaccine vials for instance) has already been pre-purchased.

Terrie Laplante-Beauchamp, in the Globe and Mail, with her must-read 3 day diary of her experiences volunteering as an orderly in a Montreal based long-term care facility hit hard by COVID19.

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Shell’s Falcon Pipeline Dogged by Issues with Drilling and Permit Uncertainty During Pandemic

Posted June 15, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Wolf Run Creek

Read time: 17 mins

Over the past few months, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Shell Pipeline Company has pressed onward with the construction of a 97-mile pipeline running through Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Shell plans to use the Falcon pipeline to supply its $6 billion plastics plant currently being built in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, with ethane, a raw material pulled from shale wells in the state and from neighboring Ohio.

A DeSmog investigation found that Falcon’s construction has struggled with drilling problems and has continued even while one key water-crossing for the pipeline lacked state or federal permits. During that same time, vast numbers of other businesses in both states — including the Shell plastics plant itself — were forced to slow or stop activities in efforts to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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Prince Andrew Is ‘Bewildered’ That the FBI Wants to Question Him About Jeffrey Epstein

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Now that Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested and charged, the FBI is turning its attention to Epstein’s royal friend.

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Health Canada Fails Science And Canadians By Allowing Any Purported Weight Loss Supplements To Be Sold

Posted February 24, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

The latest of many systematic reviews and meta-analyses of herbal supplements for weight loss plainly makes the case that there is no justification for their sale.

They. Don’t. Work.

None of them.

None. Of. Them.

So why does Health Canada license and allow the sale of 1,128 natural products whose listed purported use is for weight management? Or of the 671 products that purport they’ll improve sexual enhancement? Or of pretty much any of them?

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the taxation of the $1.8 billion annual Canadian sales of vitamins and supplements?

Maybe it lies in well-intentioned hope?

Maybe it lies is political contributions and lobbying?

But the one place where it doesn’t lie is in science. Shouldn’t that be the only place that matters?

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