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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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Formosa Plastics Opponents Ask Louisiana Governor to Veto Bill Over Harsh Sentencing Concerns

Posted June 11, 2020 by Anonymous
Sharon Lavigne of RISE St. James

Read time: 10 mins

On Friday, June 12, Louisiana’s Democratic governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign off on a piece of legislation, House Bill 197, that would make it a more serious crime to trespass on Louisiana’s so-called “critical infrastructure,” including the state’s system of flood-control levees, fossil fuel pipelines, and sprawling network of petrochemical plants and refineries.

But if you ask Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, a Louisiana community group, what House Bill 197 means to her, the answer that comes back isn’t about floodgates or water pumps or pipelines. It’s about the legacy of slavery in the United States — and how that legacy echoes in criminalization efforts today.

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General

Chevron’s #BlackLivesMatter Hypocrisy

Posted June 10, 2020 by guest
Chevron's Richmond refinery on fire and the company's Black Lives Matter Twitter post

Read time: 7 mins

The oil giant funds both civil rights groups and police, saying “Black Lives Matter” while committing acts of environmental racism all over the world.

By Amy Westervelt. This story originally appeared in the Hot Take newsletter.

At a House committee hearing on fossil fuel deception last year, Congressional reps from oil and gas states repeated a long-used talking point: A clean energy transition is just a big fuck-you to poor people. They claim that it risks leaving marginalized communities out in the cold and stalls development in Africa. (They love to talk about how dependent African economic growth is on fossil fuels, never about how they’ve destroyed water sources and wetlands and murdered protesters there). The grossest part: Fossil fuel companies also fund various civil rights groups to spread their message for them, all while simultaneously literally choking the life out of Black and brown communities with refineries and petrochemical plants. 

It’s an underhanded trick that’s almost as old as the industry itself. In fact, some of the same PR firms that helped Big Oil come up with the strategy of framing a transition away from fossil fuels as racist helped Big Tobacco push the idea that a cigarette tax would disproportionately harm Black communities back in the 1990s. The tobacco guys even put money into the same civil rights groups to spread that message as the oil companies are funding today. 

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New Orleans Activists Call out Environmental Racism Alongside Police Brutality in Week of Protests

Posted June 9, 2020 by Julie Dermansky
Crowd gathered outside of Jackson Square on June 6, the last night of a seven-day protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read time: 9 mins

On June 3, just hours before New Orleans police tear-gassed a group protesting racial violence, Jesse Perkins, a Black veteran, called out the many shades of racism and violence his community faces daily.

What they inflicted on us was a slow violence. What is happening every day to these Black men on the street every day is violence. But it is all relative,” said Perkins, who lives in a house built on a toxic Superfund site in the Upper 9th Ward’s Gordon Plaza, a Black neighborhood. “That is why I’m here connecting the dots. Violence is violence. Racism is racism, whether it is environmental racism, whether it is racial profiling, whether you walk on the streets and get your brains knocked out by some guy who has taken an oath to uphold the law.”

Perkins was among the New Orleans activists connecting environmental racism and police brutality during a week of local protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police and focused on the Black Lives Matters movement. These protests, and the many others like it around the country, are taking place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, whose death toll has disproportionately affected African Americans and illuminated racial disparity in the United States.

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General

We are the world

Posted June 6, 2020 by Anonymous

Saskatoon BLM

Its been quite a week, hasn’t it? Even here in Saskatoon, the George Floyd rally on Thursday was attended by hundreds of people, all races and colours. 
And its been like this all around the world. Yes, we have seen Black Lives Matter and police abuse protests before, but this time it feels different. I am amazed that protests about the Floyd homicide have been continuing day after day, and that they have spread so far, so fast.
George Floyd protests break out around the world as anger grows ...  
PHOTOS: Thousands demand justice at global Black Lives Matter ...

So now I am wondering if our shared COVID-19 pandemic experience has changed us in ways we could not have predicted.

For the first time in history, all of the peoples of the world shared the same experience – a two-month shutdown that was virtually unique in our human experience. 

Yes, we were forced to be alone and isolated. We couldn’t go out, we couldn’t see our family and friends. But everyone around the world was, for the first time ever, dealing with the same emotions, the same fears, the same questions and concerns, the same depths of despair, the same glimmers of hope. 
After this experience, I think the peoples of the world understand each other in a more profound way than we ever did before. 
And perhaps this is why now millions of us are on the same side of these protests.  We get it.
People are standing up in solidarity for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality, in numbers I have never seen before  – generals are apologizing for ever working with Trump, sports leaders like Sydney Crosby are speaking up, Harry and Meghan are too, bike manufactures are suspending sales to police, corporations are making statements, even the NFL is apologizing for the way they treated Kaepernick.  
Wow. Its truly remarkable. This is the way the world changes.

I’ve been watching politics closely for a long time, and I’ve never seen any entity get its ass kicked as badly in a PR/political battle as the country’s metro police are right now.

Only rival is the Catholic Church, and both relied on their wide popularity for their power.

— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) June 5, 2020

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As Protests Rage Over George Floyd’s Death, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice

Posted June 3, 2020 by guest
Black Lives Matter Rally in Eugene, Oregon, May 31, 2020

Read time: 11 mins

By Ilana Cohen, Evelyn Nieves, Judy Fahys, Marianne Lavelle, and James Bruggers, InsideClimate News. This story originally appeared in InsideClimate News and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

When New York Communities for Change helped lead a demonstration of 500 on Monday in Brooklyn to protest George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, the grassroots group’s activism spoke to a long-standing link between police violence against African Americans and environmental justice.

Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, said she considers showing up to fight police brutality and racial violence integral to her climate change activism. 

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General

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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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

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

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

Captured Courts: Senate Dems Call Out GOP For Assault On Judiciary

Posted May 27, 2020 by Anonymous

Read time: 2 mins

Under the cover of dark money from big donors and special interest influence, Republicans have stealthily extended their ideological agenda into what is supposed to be an independent federal judiciary, according to a new report released today from Senate Democrats.

The report, titled Captured Courts: The GOP‘s Big-Money Assault on the Constitution, Our Independent Judiciary, and the Rule of Law, examines a decades long effort by conservative interests to “fix” the federal court system to serve their political agenda. This effort has accelerated under the Trump administration and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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General

California Leads Multi-State Lawsuit Against Trump Admins’ Clean Car Rollback

Posted May 27, 2020 by Anonymous

Read time: 3 mins

A coalition of 23 states plus the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Obama-era clean car standards. Those standards mandated stronger reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from new light-duty cars and trucks — reductions equivalent to corporate average fuel economy improvements of 5 percent annually.

But on March 31 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule requiring only minimal fuel economy increases of 1.5% annually, which the agencies’ own analyses showed would result in more pollution and premature deaths.

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General

Say goodbye to choirs for a while

Posted May 26, 2020 by Anonymous

When I grew up, of course we were all in the Children’s Choir at church, and every school grade had its own choir every year to perform at the school Christmas concert. Its how I learned all my carols and Christmas songs
Of course its been years now since I was in a choir, but I do remember once, about 40 years ago, when I participated with hundreds of others in a Sing-Along Messiah at the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria —  what a great experience that was.
Now we are finding out that the recent COVID research says choirs are a prime mode of virus transmission:

It may be the single most famous outbreak in the U.S.: the Skagit County, Wash., choir practice.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled the results of its contact tracing. The choir met every Tuesday evening until March 10. At that last meeting, 61 members were present and chairs were arranged close together in six rows of 20 with many empty chairs. They practiced for 40 minutes together, for 50 minutes separated into two smaller groups, and then for 45 minutes sang together again. There was a 15-minute break between the second and third session for oranges and cookies, but many didn’t eat.  No one reported physical contact between members and most everyone left immediately after practice. Hand sanitizer was distributed. But, in the end, 53 of the 61 contracted the coronavirus. Three were hospitalized, two died.
This seems to happen repeatedly. The Amsterdam Mixed Choir gave a performance March 8; 102 out of 130 singers tested positive. Fifty members of the Berlin Cathedral Choir tested positive as well.

I’ll bet it has something to do with the act of singing – maybe the forceful expelling of breath from deep in the lungs spreads the virus droplets further. Who knows? 
Whatever the reason, I think singing together in public is likely not going to be happening anymore, not until a vaccine is available.
So I guess there are going to be no more Choir!Choir!Choir! experiences:

This may be the way choirs will sing together now:

Even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir did an online Sing-Along Messiah this Easter.
But for one last time, here’s the real thing:

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General

Saturday Stories: The COVID files

Posted May 23, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr.Sudheer Singh Chauhan, Internal Medicine Physician and Associate Program Director IM Residency Program at Jamaica Hospital, New York, died of COVID19 on May 19th. May his memory be a blessing
Kai Kupferschmidt, in Science, on why only some people are COVID super spreaders 
Natalie Kofler and Françoise Baylis, in Nature, on the perils, pitfalls, and disparities of “immunity passports”. 
And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s a segment I did with CTV’s The Social on the very real impact these scary times has on our physical and mental well being
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General

Thinking about the future of Canadian food

Posted May 23, 2020 by Anonymous
CNN has a big story tonight about the future of the US food supply – with more questions than answers:

“We don’t know what the food-service sector will look like,” said Jaime Chamberlain, a fresh-produce importer based in Nogales, Arizona. When the pandemic largely shut down the US in mid-March, “I lost about 96 percent of my food-service contracts from one day to the next. That is an incredible hit to my business.”
Now, Chamberlain asks, “Are people going to go back to cruise lines? Will they go to a restaurant that seats 100 people? Will that restaurant be able to operate with the same amount of seating? Maybe there’ll be no more conventions for 1,000 people… I think people are going to be very reluctant.”
Burkett, speaking by phone from his Mississippi farm, shares those and other worries, and not just on his own account.“As a farmer, the dilemma I’ve got right now, is we don’t have a market. I’ve got crops going to be there to harvest, and I don’t know if we’ll have someone to sell to or not.” In a few weeks, Burkett said he will have more than 120,000 ears of sweet corn to harvest — all meant to go to restaurants that may or may not need them. “My biggest fear is the fear of how long this is going to last. I have to decide now what I’m going to plant in the fall. I’ve got to order seeds, get the ground ready,” Burkett said. He’s decided, for example, to go ahead and plant seedless watermelons, so they’ll be ready to sell this fall to the New Orleans school system — and he’ll have to hope the schools are open.

Canada is going to be having similar problems, because nobody knows what is going to happen.

COVID19 has upended the world, and given Trump’s mismanagement in America, which will bleed over into Canada too, we are going to be on our own for a long time, I think.

For us here in the west, the main issue I think is going to be food — growing it, and importing it.  The food production and distribution and processing chains are in shambles and its going to get worse.
Yes, we are planting a garden this spring after years of not bothering. And yes, we have arranged for weekly vegetable deliveries from the local market garden. And yes, I am hoarding jars so I can freeze and can vegetables and fruit for the first time in a long time. And yes, we know a guy who knows a guy who can get us a side of beef the next time they are culling their herd.
But its not going to be enough.
Especially if the meat plants keep on having to close down because the virus is running rampant through their facilities.  Wait till it gets into the fish plants, and into the fruit and vegetable processing lines.
Has anybody yet figured out the safest ways to seed, fertilize, harvest, and process our Canadian crops this summer?  Will we also have to figure out how to get our Saskatchewan grain to flour mills in Ontario, and move BC apples to the food processors in Quebec, instead of following the usual north-south shipping lanes, selling our food south while eating food imported from the US? 
And hey, funny thing, hoocouldanoode? – but maybe it would have been a good thing to keep the Canadian Wheat Board around for just such an emergency, because the Canadian government could tell them what to do and they sorta had to do it – unlike the grain companies who will happily make a pile of money shipping all our grain production to China or wherever even if Canadians need the bread.
Our remaining other marketing boards might well turn out to be useful for the next few years, too – we will need the eggs, and the milk.
Basically, in the long term, I think Canada will have to get more self-sufficient, both in terms of what we produce, and how we sell it.  It won’t be as “efficient” as the globalized food production and distribution system our food producers have spent the last 50 years developing. But at least in a Canada-focused national system, Canadians would be the first in line.
But its going to be a painful time while we sort it out.
Full Story »

 
General

#ObamaGreat

Posted May 17, 2020 by Anonymous

Here are Obama’s two addresses tonight to the HBCU and high school 2020 graduating classes. 

#ObamaGreat and #ObamaWasBetterAtEverything are now trending around the world. 

Congratulations to the HBCU Class of 2020! Michelle and I are so proud of you. As you set out to change the world, we’ll be the wind at your back. Can’t wait to see what you achieve. https://t.co/PCsjkJJTXi

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 16, 2020

Congrats to the high school Class of 2020, as well as to the teachers, coaches, and most of all, parents and family who’ve guided you along the way. Thanks for letting me be part of your big day! pic.twitter.com/RjYvHs2BhC

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 17, 2020

And here is what people think about the guy America has got instead:

— Eleven Films (@Eleven_Films) May 16, 2020

The contrast is enough to break your heart.

I’m all for a Space Force if we use it to launch every fucking member of this criminal administration straight the fuck into the sun

— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) May 15, 2020


Full Story »


 
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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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.

Full Story »

 
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

Full Story »

 
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!”

Full Story »

 
General

FREE Help From My New Venture For Ontarians With Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Or Prediabetes But Stranded By COVID19

Posted May 4, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Are you an Ontario resident recently diagnosed with either type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes where COVID19 has prevented you from receiving comprehensive support to help manage and understand your new condition? If so, my new venture may can help, and better still, for FREE. Built initially to support weight management, Constant Health, our new digital behavioural intervention, is being re-positioned to help people with newly diagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes who in turn have been left stranded by COVID19.

Constant Health’s iOS app (note, this opportunity is currently only available for those with iPhones or iPads as the Android app is still in development), will provide you with 12 weeks of private and secure (PHIPA compliant) access to both a Mayo clinic certified health coach as well as a registered dietitian who together, by way of text messaging and video chats, will work collaboratively with you on your diet and lifestyle to help improve your blood sugar control and teach you about your new condition.

Constant Health’s technology includes a robust, open-ended collaborative goal setting engine, a built-in food diary, a searchable and filterable database of millions of the web’s most popular recipe sites, along with a proprietary real-time dashboard which will allow our team to applaud and encourage your success as well as to help troubleshoot your struggles.

As with my office’s practice (the Bariatric Medical Institute), Constant Health’s services aren’t limited to any particular dietary strategy, but instead work with you on whatever approach you feel would best suit your life and preferences. From low-fat, to keto, to vegan and everything in between Constant Health can help.

Rest assured, there are no strings whatsoever. Currently, thanks to an unrestricted grant from Novo Nordisk, we have a limited number of spots available to freely offer and plainly, we are not currently accepting paid patients. However due to provincial medical licensing regulations for both MDs and RDs, and the need for physician screening, we can currently only extend this offer to Ontarians.

If you’re interested, live in Ontario, and have an iPhone, simply fill out this quick survey and if eligible, our office will contact you to book a consultation with me so that I can explore your medical history and have a peek at your lab results for us to mutually determine if the program is for you.

        
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Yes, its about time

Posted May 2, 2020 by Anonymous
I was computerless for the last week+ so I didn’t post, but here I am again.
And I am so glad that Trudeau is banning assault rifles in Canada. I agree with @Dred_Tory:

Dear people who are pissed that AR-15s are set to be banned:

No one gives a shit.#ar15

— Sir Francis (@Dred_Tory) April 30, 2020

Here’s some funny stuff to end the week:

I must’ve watched this 50 times and I’ll probably watch it 50 more. pic.twitter.com/S7GjgMlH7j

— ѕυzу (@suzy_swears) April 28, 2020

Seals are just dogs of the sea pic.twitter.com/PcSz3mJQKe

— What’s Underwater (@UnderwaterVids) April 26, 2020

This is the best weather forecast in the history of television news pic.twitter.com/LhmoJDCkbZ

— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) April 30, 2020

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) May 1, 2020

And a little Jann Arden to finish things off:

This could be the most Canadian-COVID19 tweet ever. 🇨🇦 https://t.co/t64WghKHCi

— Jeffrey Luscombe (@JeffreyLuscombe) April 27, 2020


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Saving lives

Posted April 25, 2020 by Anonymous

Once we recognise that this is a major event in human history, it can actually help gain some perspective. And as Cuomo said “What we have done has saved lives” pic.twitter.com/cZFbE9HTlX

— Helen Jenkins (@jenkinshelen) April 25, 2020

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Laugh and the world laughs with you

Posted April 18, 2020 by Anonymous

Joe Biden could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot Donald Trump and I would still vote for him

— doug wiser (@MyBigRedTruck) April 18, 2020

If you could pick one person to curse Donald Trump out on live television in that press room for one minute straight, right to his face, who would it be? I think I would go with Samuel L. Jackson.

— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) April 8, 2020

What do ya bet if trump ever used an interpreter for the deaf they’d fuck up and get him a mime?

— George Carlin’s Ghost (@OldFuckGCG) April 16, 2020

My best friend sent me this. I can’t stop laughing. It’s spot on 😂 pic.twitter.com/ecTo5MtcaV

— Emmet Kelly (@EmmetSeanKelly) April 11, 2020

Americans dumbest criminal. pic.twitter.com/T39kWEomxw

— Only in America (@Crazzyintheusa) April 15, 2020

Most pointless colouring picture ever. pic.twitter.com/OFcQzoVUab

— You Have One Job, Stay Indoors (@_youhadonejob1) April 15, 2020


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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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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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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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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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Friday Funfest

Posted April 3, 2020 by Anonymous

The COVID-19 news is so depressing, beaten only by the economic news, which is absolutely awful. So here’s something a little more lighter-hearted, on a cold Friday. 

This is Toby he is now working from home… pic.twitter.com/RB6na9bUsT

— Stuart Antony (@STU_ACTOR) March 31, 2020

A true friend is someone who helps you in good & bad times, no matter what. pic.twitter.com/6UW6JNEhl1

— Land of cuteness (@landpsychology) April 3, 2020

How the livestock keep warm in Russia. pic.twitter.com/qlh8s8JuUB

— 🇷🇺Only In Russia 🇷🇺 (@CrazyinRussia) April 3, 2020

— Engineering (@engineeringvids) April 2, 2020

Sandra the orangutang started washing her hands because she saw all the zookeepers doing it repeatedly during the COVID-19 crisis.

Wash your hands.
Be more like Sandra.🌎❤️🧼🌎 pic.twitter.com/t8TTizDGeD

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 1, 2020

Grizzly bear casually fixing a fallen safety cone as they walk down the road pic.twitter.com/c4klDbdGOJ

— Nature is Lit🔥 (@NaturelsLit) April 1, 2020

— Animal Life (@animalIife) March 14, 2020

And this thread wins the award for the funniest tweet of the week:

I think I just got a group of goats in Llandudno arrested.

Let me explain… first, I saw this from inside a dark pub (the one I live in currently). I thought I was seeing things. So I took some video: pic.twitter.com/RtxYG6htLC

— Andrew Stuart (@AndrewStuart) March 27, 2020

So maybe next week will be better — well, we can always hope!
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#DieForTheDow is trending

Posted March 25, 2020 by Anonymous

Image result for picture of throwing baby to the wolves

Age-wise, I am on the wrong side of the “let’s save the economy by throwing grandma to the wolves” argument. So I have to say, I disagree with it!
And with COVID-19, it won’t work anyway. 
Because it isn’t only the grandmas who get sick and die. Its the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the stock brokers, the policemen, the bartenders, the teenagers on a beach. 

Many of the shitmonkeys advocating #DieForTheDow are legislators who have proven (but mysterious) ways of getting tested for COVID19 that your average person doesn’t. Have NO doubt: these shitmonkeys will also have first dibs on increasingly scarce ventilators & other treatments. https://t.co/2HZJpqXDwM

— Sailin’ Dame (@YerseniaP) March 24, 2020

If you need a wake-up call, here it is: My husband was on a large conference call of American med school deans last night. One asked about legal coverage for pulling people off ventilators to give to others more likely to survive. I.e., not being charged with murder. Here we are.

— Alice Dreger (@AliceDreger) March 24, 2020

The choice is between:

– a very hurtful major recession caused by social distancing, managed by stimulus

or

– a economic collapse caused by the breakdown of our health system due to millions of deaths, tens of millions of hospitalizations, that cannot be managed by stimulus

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) March 24, 2020

At the end of all this, let’s try to remember that the geniuses who told us not to worry about coronavirus are the same geniuses telling us not to worry about #climatechange

— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 16, 2020

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MOTHER NATURE

Posted March 18, 2020 by Polar Bear

The year 2000 sure has been a wonderful this year. Whatever riled her up we will never know but  the daily events have been nothing less than specular. Record low temperatures and record high temperatures. Record snowfalls and record everything. I…

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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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