BlogsCanada.ca
Top Canadian Blogs and News Sites


 
 

LATEST POSTS !

 

 
0
comments
General

Farewell to the United States

Posted  September 19, 2020  by  Anonymous

Its difficult to realize that a governmental system that seemed to be so strong and healthy is actually so weak and brittle that the election of one man and the death of one woman could destroy it.  But that’s the way I feel right now about t…

Full Story »

 
0
comments
General

Saturday Stories: Considering Risk and Great Fences

Posted  September 19, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Aaron E. Carroll, in The New York Times, with a useful read on how most of us have been considering and responding to risk backwards.

Tomás Pueyo, also in The New York Times, on the need for great fences.

Photo: Ongayo / CC BY-SA (https://creativeco…

Full Story »

 
0
comments
General

Saturday Stories: COVID Winter, Circular Errors, Mutations, And Obesity

Posted  September 12, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Irfan Dhalla, in The Globe and Mail, on COVID and the rapidly approaching Canadian winter.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, on the recurrent errors being made that hamper progress on COVID.

Edward Holmes, in The New York Times, covers the mutating SARS-CoV2…

Full Story »

 
0
comments
General

Voting for delusion

Posted  September 12, 2020  by  Anonymous

 

As I read this short piece at No More Mister Nice Guy, I felt increasingly horrified: 

It’s often said that Trump’s approach to everything is “transactional.” I think Trump’s approach to reality is transactional. The truth is the truth when it serves his purposes. In those moments, Trump believes in reality. But in other moments, not only does he walk out to a podium and contradict reality, he does so without necessarily believing that he’s lying. As I’ve said in the past, Trump doesn’t believe in truth. There are (as we see them) facts, lies, and true and false interpretations of reality, but to Trump they’re all equally valid. He’ll use any of them to shape reality, and he’ll believe whatever he’s saying at the time, even if it contradicts what he said six hours ago. In part this is because, as Yastreblyansky says, he believes in the Power of Positive Thinking and therefore thinks confidence can shape reality. In part it’s because it’s important to him to be his audience’s daddy, someone who dominates us the way his father dominated him.

This is the man that millions of Americans voted for. And will vote for again. 

I’m reading more stories now about Americans who don’t believe COVID is actually real – they think its all a Democratic plot, and that millions of Americans are just getting the flu, and hundreds of thousands are dying of something they already had like heart disease. 
I don’t know what they think people are getting sick from in other countries around the world, but probably they aren’t even aware that other countries actually exist.
And I’m reading stories now about how people in small towns in Oregon and Washington and California think that Antifa, not campers or lightning, is the cause of the fires that are destroying their homes.

I hear from friends in Oregon that, per local media, some claims ‘antifa is starting forest fires’ have been traced to magabros hearing ‘blm’ on radio scanners and not realizing it means Bureau of Land Management

— David Burbach (@dburbach) September 11, 2020

Its absolutely crazy.

Anyone else make this mistake recently? 😳#climatechange #wildfires #apocalypse2020 #motordumb #yycbike pic.twitter.com/Gn1TljmSgu

— REWORKS (@ReWorksYYC) September 12, 2020

Apparently AP style now says you can use “less” even when “fewer” is correct and so 2020 continues to plumb new depths.

— Jonathan Gitlin (@drgitlin) September 11, 2020

Full Story »

 
0
comments
General

Dumkirk

Posted  September 7, 2020  by  Anonymous

Yes, I know in the overall scheme of things, the sinking of some of the boats in Trump’s boating parade this weekend is pretty trivial. 

But there’s nothing like trivial to make Twitter come alive. 
The hashtag of the event is #Dumkirk:

Over the weekend, five boats sank at an event put on by Trump supporters near Austin, Texas. The traffic created choppy waters that submerged several boats. https://t.co/BUX5nDp1sK

— NPR (@NPR) September 7, 2020

This is the worst defeat the Confederacy has suffered in 155 years. https://t.co/VrpmNB0Zxq

— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️‍🌈 (@cmclymer) September 6, 2020

pic.twitter.com/0rwbo8a7Uh

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) September 7, 2020

“Cascading failure through unintended consequences is a perfect metaphor for the Trump presidency.” https://t.co/9NuEzs8tjW

— Jacqueline Keeler (@jfkeeler) September 6, 2020

Boater fraud? https://t.co/yJZXlZGWkF

— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) September 6, 2020

The new Trump ad needs work.#Dumkirk #TrumpBoatParade #BoatersForTrump #LakeTravis #BoatParade #sink #Texas #MAGA #laketravisboatparade #MAGAts pic.twitter.com/cWMlHiDGyZ

— John Óg (@johnogpdx) September 6, 2020

FUNNY ALERT

DEVONS ( MY SON) DAD IS MAGA , HE TOLD DEVON TO START GOFUNDME FOR SURGERY , HE’D HELP , HE DIDNT !!!

WELL .. YESTERDAY , HIS FECKING BOAT SANK IN LAKE TRAVIS ! 🤭🤭😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
TALK ABOUT GOOD KARMA
😂😂😂😂😂😂🤭🤭🤭🤭🤭🤭🤭😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂💞!

— CeCeResistance (@gumboqueen3030) September 6, 2020

I have never loved a picture more. pic.twitter.com/hrcZsuUJM6

— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) September 7, 2020

Full Story »


 
0
comments
General

End of August Doldrums

Posted  August 31, 2020  by  Anonymous

What a strange week! 

I’ve been trying to decide what to post here for this week, and haven’t really got anything organized.
Down South, the Republican Convention came in like a lamb and left like a lamb too, and nobody seems to really remember anything about it. 
Hurricane Laura came and went too, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Two more hurricanes are on their way. Oh, great!
More Black people were shot needlessly, and more protests are underway, and now Trump is talking about going to Wisconsin and nobody wants to see him there. I wonder if he ever gets embarrassed by how useless he is at any kind of leadership? 
Following the example of the Kenosha shooter – who was just “helping the police” by killing two people and wounding a third – we are seeing more MAGA people driving their pickup trucks and waving their flags at the protests, and so more people are getting shot. This isn’t going to end well. 
 As Twitter keeps mentioning, it’s bizarre for Trump to be talking about how the protest violence is Biden’s fault, when it is happening under Trump’s watch. Of course, Trump never takes responsibility for anything so why would he ever take responsibility for the violence of his own supporters? 
And here in Canada we have a new Conservative leader — Erin (AKA Eric) is not making a good first impression as he refuses to confront the haters in his own party. You know, I seem to remember that it was Trudeau, who is supposedly just a whimpy drama teacher according to the Cons, who didn’t hesitate to boot people out of the Liberal caucus for any accusation of misconduct, and who refused to let anyone run under the Liberal banner if they were not pro-choice, and who refused to give federal money for student employment to any organizations that preached against abortion. 
O’Toole doesn’t seem to realize that a leader who goes along with jerks and assholes because he doesn’t want to offend anyone is not a leader that Canadians will respect or support. 
And now school is getting underway, and it will be a disaster. Give it a week or two, for COVID to start passing between children and teachers and the families, infecting and killing across Canada. 
COVID is the honey badger – it don’t care
Everybody basically KNOWS this is going to happen. But we all seem to be in some sort of mass-hypnosis fugue Tinker Bell state where we think if we just BELIEVE hard enough and WISH hard enough and HOPE hard enough then everything will be JUST FINE. 
Yesterday the Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer said we have to change our “summer bubbles” when school starts — basically, what he was saying in an incredibly convoluted and indirect way, is that Grandma and Grandpa have will have to stop seeing the grandkids once they go back to school.
Oh, what a week!

But then I watch this:

Some things you need to stand back and just watch. Bald eagle 🦅 being released back into the wild. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/HgziUJ2Dbo

— Jim Osman (@EdgeCGroup) August 8, 2020

and this

I’m melting seeing them. pic.twitter.com/JlJ5IeccLX

— Life on Earth (@planetpng) August 22, 2020

Now I feel better.

Full Story »


 
0
comments
General

IDEAS THAT MATTER: The COVID Crisis–Are The Youths Trying to Kill Us?

Posted  August 22, 2020  by  bigcitylib

I have often felt sad over the state of The Youths.  What with robots coming for their jobs and Climate Change, their future seems lacking.  But by the time its obvious that their lives will be a dystopian dead-end I will myself be retired an…

Full Story »

 
0
comments
General

We’ve got a goddamn plan!

Posted  August 22, 2020  by  Anonymous

  • Chrystia Freeland is going to be a great Finance minister. 

    The first thing she will have to do it get a grip on the pro-Morneau leaks from her department. 
    Like the one this week about Trudeau Chief of Staff Katie Telford’s husband Ron Silver phoning up to see if the Finance Department would change some part of the pandemic benefit programs to benefit his employer:

    The most bonkers part about this story isn’t the content itself (though it’s a legit thing). It’s that very few people could have provided the info. And the fact that they chose to, which burns (if indirectly) the PMO, is kinda … wow.

    Someone is not happy with the boss. https://t.co/NVTk3eHOdo

    — Matt Gurney (@mattgurney) August 21, 2020

    At Routine Proceedings, Dale Smith writes

    For the past two weeks, as the leaks about Bill Morneau started coming out in advance of his departure, we also saw a number of warnings over social media about Liberals being their own worst enemies and that now was really not a good time for a civil war within the party. The fact that there were anonymous leaks to both VICE and the National Post about this incident shows that someone is suddenly awfully keen to talk, hoping to possibly embarrass PMO in some way, and considering that the leakers are showing how virtuous they were in standing up to Silver might make one assume that those leakers are loyalists of Morneau who are trying to, if not burnish his reputation, then certainly tarnish his detractors. I do wonder if this is a limited screw-you to Trudeau, because I haven’t yet seen camps loyal to Chrystia Freeland and François-Philippe Champagne forming and trying to oust Trudeau so that one of them can take over just yet. That said, this year has proven to be full of surprises, so we’ll see.

    I don’t expect Freeland will have any difficulty with the Finance bureaucrats. Listen to her putting down David Akin for being annoyed on behalf of the opposition parties who are being forced to put up or shut up:

    Global News reporter David Akin asks Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland why she hasn’t tabled a budget yet

    I mean she has been Finance Minister for

    48 Hours!

    Plenty of time according to Akin #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/rEqbEm2LLH

    — G.T. Lem (@gtlem) August 20, 2020

    The next thing Freeland will do is get to work on Trudeau’s grand plan for Canada. I do believe there is an untold and unnoticed (by the WE-obsessed Canadian media) story of the Moreau resignation: Trudeau intends to use the COVID crisis to greatly improve Canada’s social welfare system. Moreau wouldn’t do it, but Freeland will. 

    I think the Morneau resignation, whether forced or not, provided an opportunity for Trudeau to make changes to Canada that he has long wanted to make — I wondered if Morneau was resisting these changes, and THAT, as much as the WE issue, was why he had to leave. 
     Here’s Trudeau using a reporter’s question about government pandemic support to talk about his plans:

    A winning message from @JustinTrudeau . If the opposition parties want to force an election this fall, this is the Liberal plan they will be objecting to. https://t.co/RTckSWqjIL

    — Cathie from Canada 🇨🇦 😷🏳️‍🌈 (@CathieCanada) August 22, 2020

  • Full Story »



     
    0
    comments
    General

    More funny stuff

    Posted  August 14, 2020  by  Anonymous

    One of the things I love about Twitter is the funny people on it:

    I ate a box of Thin Mints, didn’t get thinner. I don’t think they work 😡

    — Hear Me Roar (@Stop_Trump20) August 12, 2020

    Tucker Carlson thinks it’s cool to mispronounce Kamala Harris’s name.

    Hmmm. What sounds like “Tucker”?

    — George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 12, 2020

    Check me out guest hosting @JimmyKimmelLive tonight 🤯 pic.twitter.com/4vVsbT579x

    — Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) August 12, 2020

    A priest, a minster, and a rabbit walk into a bar. The rabbit says, “I think I’m a typo.”

    — Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 6, 2020

    If you voted for trump because “he’s not a politician”, then I hope your next colonoscopy is done by a plumber.

    — Mo Bella🌊 🌊 🌊 🌊#VoteBlueToSaveAmerica (@Mocraig13) August 6, 2020

    Feeding 10 dogs at once is like going through Game of Thones every single day with the plots and betrayals and double-crosses and backbiting and frontbiting and dominance and submission and a finale that feels rushed and leaves everyone dissatisfied.

    — William K. Wolfrum (@Wolfrum) August 5, 2020

    They catch the fish and then let it go. They don’t want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.

    — mitch hedberg (@mitchhedbot) July 31, 2020

    pic.twitter.com/mukntBVeDa

    — Scrappy McBuckyball (@ScrotieMcB) August 14, 2020

    Full Story »

     
    0
    comments
    General

    School Daze

    Posted  August 8, 2020  by  Anonymous

    From Reddit: pic.twitter.com/QNLRl937V8

    — Cathie from Canada 🇨🇦 😷🏳️‍🌈 (@CathieCanada) August 6, 2020

    Oh dear, I think we’re in trouble now.
    The Sask school plan is based on wishful thinking – it imagines that COVID is symptomatic, that students with symptoms can just stay home or go home, and that nobody else (teachers, parents, staff) will get sick.https://t.co/lh4Je7b64F

    — Cathie from Canada 🇨🇦 😷🏳️‍🌈 (@CathieCanada) August 5, 2020

    I don’t have any children or grandchildren in school these days, and thank heavens for small mercies.

    One thing that really impresses me about Saskatchewan is how consistently we’ve been able to come up with the worst plan in Canada on a broad range of policies, from suicide prevention to school reopening. Truly inspirational.

    — glengarry glen busey (@birlios) August 5, 2020

    I think this mom has it right:

    After a lot of conversations & thinking, we have decided the safest thing we can do for our son is keep him home in Sept. He will be learning via the CBE online hub. I will have to give up my job as they require me back in person as of Sept, but I know this is the right choice.

    — Lucy 🇨🇦 (@TheBlueGem3) August 7, 2020

    The School Safe “plan” in Saskatchewan is based on wishful thinking:

    What I don’t understand is why employers in the business sector are not demanding a better plan for schools. If their employees cannot be at work because they have to stay home with their kids, won’t that cause the economy to shut down again? #skpoli #sasked #covid19sk https://t.co/VOy9q6bhEc

    — Maren Beaton (@maren_beaton) August 7, 2020

    Parents aren’t happy:

    What I am curious on (if it’s been mentioned anywhere, let me know) is what happens if one staff or kid tests positive? Is every single person in school that has come into contact with that one positive case going to be sent for testing and isolation till test results come back?

    — Bort (@Kfb28) August 7, 2020

    Neither are doctors:

    Saskatchewan’s doctors press for safer return-to-school plan – Premier Moe says he’s open to changes: https://t.co/dHuAVThnNO @SMA_docs @keepskkidssafe @GordWyant Dr. Shahab @SaskHealth @CBCSask

    — Dennis Kendel (@DennisKendel) August 8, 2020

    I am concerned that the Sask Party seems to be reducing the whole School debate to a discussion of whether or not to make masks mandatory, while the Sask Medical Association is asking for a much broader look at school problems:  

    [SMA says]“Closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded spaces with many people, and close-contact settings with close-range conversations are not uncommon in schools and these realities need to be front and centre in back to school plans.” Education Minister Gord Wyant said Friday that, in response to the association’s concerns and recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the province is looking at making masks mandatory. 

     And it is, of course, not just the schools themselves that are problematic. Its also the impact that COVID increases in schools would have on the rest of us.
    I spent four months staying away from people, stores, restaurants, everything. So will I have to go back to that kind of life if there is community COVID spread here again? Yes, I’m afraid so.

    I spent my evening sobbing in the park with my husband and mother-in-law about how it will now be unsafe to see our families as soon as schools reopen.

    There is no plan.

    Our province has failed.

    — Amy (Lawson) Empringham (@lawsonames) August 5, 2020

    Full Story »


     
    0
    comments
    General

    Canada’s Obesity In Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline, Released Today, A Huge Step Forward

    Posted  August 4, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

    I’m proud to have played a small part in the release of today’s Obesity In Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline as it is the first (I think, though I’m biased) to truly take a patient-centred approach while simultaneously treating obesity like a chronic disease

    Not a small endeavour, this years long effort includes chapters never before seen in any other obesity treatment guideline including those on weight bias and stigma, virtual medicine, commercial weight loss programs, living with obesity, as well as issues specific to indigenous peoples.

    It explicitly steers away from diet culture (but does speak to the need for individualized medical nutrition therapy), teaches readers that neither BMI nor weight measures the presence or absence of health and introduces them to the concept that obesity should be considered a chronic disease only when excess adiposity impairs health, and it recognizes that obesity is anything but a choice.

    While going through the entirety of the guideline isn’t doable in a short blog post, here are the guideline’s overarching summary points:

    • Obesity is a prevalent, complex, progressive and relapsing chronic disease, characterized by abnormal or excessive body fat (adiposity), that impairs health.
    • People living with obesity face substantial bias and stigma, which contribute to increased morbidity and mortality independent of weight or body mass index.
    • This guideline update reflects substantial advances in the epidemiology, determinants, pathophysiology, assessment, prevention and treatment of obesity, and shifts the focus of obesity management toward improving patient-centred health outcomes, rather than weight loss alone.
    • Obesity care should be based on evidence-based principles of chronic disease management, must validate patients’ lived experiences, move beyond simplistic approaches of “eat less, move more,” and address the root drivers of obesity.
    • People living with obesity should have access to evidence-informed interventions, including medical nutrition therapy, physical activity, psychological interventions, pharmacotherapy and surgery.

    Kudos to all of my fellow authors and especially to Dr. Sean Wharton the project’s chief cat wrangler.

    To have a peek at the CMAJ’s published guideline summary, click here.

    To access the guideline in its 19 chapter entirety, click here.

    Full Story »

     
    0
    comments
    General

    August funny

    Posted  August 2, 2020  by  Anonymous

    OK, its been one of those weeks, so here’s some funny stuff:

    My son is wearing a MAGMA cap and a Vote Trump 2020 button. He’s been spat on, punched and verbally abused. I hate to think what will happen when he leaves the house.

    — Humanist. (@kennuck) August 1, 2020

    I sunburn easily. https://t.co/k9APKRxFn9

    — Brent Butt (@BrentButt) August 2, 2020

    Republican politician Louie Gohmert, who claims to have caught COVID-19 from wearing a mask, is now claiming he got pregnant after several people told him to go fuck himself.

    — Middle Age Riot (@middleageriot) July 30, 2020

    If you are not wearing a mask because you are afraid your brain won’t get enough oxygen, I’m sorry to tell you, that ship has sailed.

    — Chip Franklin (@chipfranklin) July 29, 2020

    “Jesus Christ, what’s Trump done NOW?” https://t.co/5ZhOGjnKWr

    — Harry Turtledove (@HNTurtledove) July 24, 2020

    #MeanwhileInCanada pic.twitter.com/tY1gFbE1f6

    — Meanwhile in Canada (@MeanwhileinCana) July 30, 2020

    Full Story »


     
    0
    comments
    General

    Button, button, who’s got the button?

    Posted  July 26, 2020  by  Anonymous

    Well, this is a little strange. 

    Today the Globe and Mail published a story about how Canada’s pandemic early warning system within the Public Health Agency of Canada has been muzzled under the Harper Conservatives in 2014, and how the Liberals had said they would change this but then they never did. So as a result, the epidemiologists in the early warning system, called the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), were silenced just when Canada needed them the most.
    Other than not actually telling us which the individuals or offices are responsible for the muzzling, its an explosive article:
    Early detection is as much an art as it is a science. 
    The disease is hiding, but the signals are detectable. 
    Acting quickly can have a big impact on the outcome. With COVID-19, the signals began small, but grew louder. 
     “We all had enough warning,” she said. “We saw what happened in China, in Italy,” Dr. St. John agrees. “The signal was there,” he said. 
     However, few people outside GPHIN knew Canada’s early warning alert system had effectively stopped working, just when it was needed most. 
    When Ms. Thornton, the vice-president in charge of the alerts, appeared before a House of Commons committee in May to face questions about Canada’s handling of the pandemic, she was asked how the government had tracked the spread of the virus. 
     Ms. Thornton referenced GPHIN and the work it did. Though she made no mention that GPHIN had not issued a single alert in the previous 12 months. Nor did she mention that analysts had been assigned to other work, or that GPHIN had not sounded any further alarms on COVID-19 developments after the outbreak became known – even though the department’s own guidelines required as much.
    As far as the committee knew, Canada’s surveillance system had been operating as it always had. 
     It’s not easy to know the consequences of such decisions, but Mr. Garner, the former senior science adviser at Public Health, says he believes Canada’s early response to the outbreak – which has been criticized for being slow and disorganized – was a product of the many changes he saw made to the department. 
     Those changes helped move Public Health’s focus away from science, he said, which slowed down its ability to react effectively – and with maximum urgency. 
     “All of these things have tragically come home to roost,” Mr. Garner said. 
     “Not to be overdramatic, but Canadians have died because of this.” 
    A pretty damning indictment of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and of the Canadian government.
    But then I also found this: in April, the CBC published a story that said GPHIN had been undergoing a technical upgrade in 2019, and that’s why it hadn’t issued alerts about COVID19 until the end of December.

    CBC News has obtained a series of internal public health agency documents and slide-presentation decks — including one given by a senior epidemiologist from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) last November on the eve of a pandemic that has since killed tens of thousands and crippled the world economy. 

    The documents bring into sharper focus the kind of information key decision-makers had at their fingertips as the outbreak started in China and raise questions about how seriously global pandemic preparedness was being taken within the federal government. 
    The records show GPHIN was in the middle of a long-overdue technology upgrade as the virus was spreading. 
    Despite almost four years of work with the National Research Council of Canada, the early warning system was — as of last fall — still in need of “improvement in the geographical and time tagging algorithm,” according to a Nov 12, 2019 presentation to a WHO conference in Seoul, South Korea by senior epidemiologist Florence Tanguay. 
    That algorithm is crucial to the system’s ability to sort through as many as 7,000 online articles per day to spot disease outbreaks around the globe. 
    The network also was awaiting an “expansion to new data sources,” such as social media feeds. 
    From its inception in the late 1990s, GPHIN had relied on news wire services and later local media articles posted online.
    So now I’m not sure what was going on in Canada last January and February.  
    Maybe GPHIN was issuing timely and accurate reports on the emerging virus but Public Health Canada was minimizing their analysis and not sending the reports up the ladder to government. 
    Or maybe because GPHIN was basing its alerts on wire services, its reports were no longer regarded as reliable enough for PHAC and government to count on.
    Either way, it does sound like somebody maybe dropped the ball, doesn’t it?
    And I hope there might now be some attempt to figure out what really happened.
    Full Story »


     
    General

    Messenger of the gods

    Posted  July 19, 2020  by  Anonymous

    The last time Comet NEOWISE was visible in our sky, Stonehenge had not yet been built.Comets used to be seen as messengers of the gods, sent to tell us something important. This time, maybe its just “wear a mask and keep your distance!”

    Full Story »


     
    General

    How Canadian is this scandal, really?

    Posted  July 13, 2020  by  Anonymous

    So I guess the Globe and Mail thinks we’re supposed to be outraged now that prominent Canadians have raised money for an outstanding charity

    What a typically Canadian scandal this is. 
    I guess only non-entities like me are ever supposed to raise money for charities – over the years I have given a few bucks to the Saskatoon Food Bank and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and I went door-to-door for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and for Diabetes Canada.  
    So as far as the Globe and Mail is concerned, that’s OK as long as I never achieve any public prominence or get active in politics years after. 
    Because hey, how dare people like Katie Telford and Seamus O’Regan, back in 2010, years before they were involved in politics, volunteer to work on creating artworks in developing countries, to support a charity then called Free The Children which later morphed into WE Charity and then later still got money from the feds to run a gigantic volunteer effort to give Canadian university students some support during COVID summer. 
    Can’t have that.  This corruption must be STOPPED I tell you! And The Globe and Mail is ON IT!
    I guess if I ever do become a cabinet minister or something, I’ll have to make very very sure that I never never have anything to do with any decisions around funding for, say, the Heart and Stroke Foundation. After all, I could be charged with having an awful and corrupt conflict of interest, I guess.

    What I learned about Canadian politics this week: charities that administer services to young people bear a level of scrutiny that a pipeline company given billions from the Alberta taxpayer for Keystone (which will never be built) doesn’t have to face#cdnpoli

    — DJ Chocolate Milk (@DJChocolateMLK) July 11, 2020

    I would think that sometime next week, or maybe the week after, we will start seeing news stories with Conservatives and NDP expressing deep deep concern for the horrible situation of Canadian post-secondary students, with lots of hand wringing about what in the world they are going to do for money to pay tuition this fall. Somehow, its all going to be Trudeau’s fault again of course. 

    Oh gag me with a spoon.
    Trudeau’s Canada Student Service Grant idea was a good one, innovative and useful, another Trudeau success. 
    Oh, can’t have that.  Not during a Conservative leadership campaign, when they were all just desperate to knock the Liberals off their perch at a time when Trudeau is so popular across Canada and around the world. It had to be trashed, and trashed it has been.
    Of course they had to trash an outstanding Canadian children’s charity while they were at it, but can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
    So what can be done now? Well, nothing. I might be wrong but I think its too late to fix it this summer.  
    Trudeau should just expand CERB eligibility to anyone who intends to go to school in the fall.  Move the Student Service Grant funds into the CERB budget, and let students claim the benefit for July and August, and just be done with it.  I think they would each get about $4,000, which would be something.
    And he can urge them to volunteer somewhere, too. Maybe the service grant program can continue in the fall and winter, when government staff will have the time to run it.
    Ending this post on a more cheerful note, here’s some funny:

    REASONS TO NOT WEAR A FACE MASK pic.twitter.com/Ah75mzSF24

    — Brittlestar (@brittlestar) July 10, 2020

    This is how the evolution of the desk works pic.twitter.com/1NcmZ17epV

    — I Didn’t Know That (@lDidNotKnowThat) July 12, 2020

    pic.twitter.com/mwYF8YYH6L

    — NotHereForYourBS🇨🇦🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🦄🌈📚🎧☕️ (@1peculiarchik) July 13, 2020

    You need this. We all need this. #LoveWins#FreshTweets @thegoodgodabove TY

    pic.twitter.com/ug3KbTapWn

    — Southern Sister Resister (@ResisterSis20) July 10, 2020

    Full Story »


     
    General

    Celebrate

    Posted  July 5, 2020  by  Anonymous

    Trudeau’s uplifting message on Canada Day:

    Canada is an amazing place to call home, and its people make it even better. We’re always there for each other – in good times and bad – and we always will be. And that’s worth celebrating. Happy Canada Day, everyone! https://t.co/SDC41cWOY0 pic.twitter.com/2OKNyxGEqe

    — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 1, 2020

    Biden’s inspiring message on Independence Day:

    Our nation was founded on a simple idea: We’re all created equal. We’ve never lived up to it — but we’ve never stopped trying. This Independence Day, let’s not just celebrate those words, let’s commit to finally fulfill them. Happy #FourthOfJuly! pic.twitter.com/1WrATlx8Xl

    — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 4, 2020

    Here’s another good one, from Arnold Schwarzenegger:

    Happy birthday, America. Thank you for letting me live the American Dream. We must fight every day to make sure that dream is as true for a Black child born in Minneapolis as it was for a white bodybuilder born in Austria. via @attn pic.twitter.com/rM95vb3twC

    — Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) July 4, 2020

    And nothing in either of Trump’s speeches is worth repeating. But here’s a summary, in case you missed them both:

    As Frederick Douglass delivered a swiff and swippy victory in Operation Desert Storm in Vietnam, protected against the oranges of totalittotalitotarianism, with super duper missiles and stock rocket records. God bless the United Schates and rid us of Obamanacare.#TrumpIsUnwell

    — Trent Capelli 🇨🇦 (@TrentCapelli) July 5, 2020

    Full Story »


     
    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.”

    Full Story »


     
    General

    Sports will be back, sort of

    Posted  June 25, 2020  by  Anonymous

    I think the realities of getting back to sports are becoming clearer as we begin to understand that Corona Virus is not going away any time soon.

    Yes, we are going to be able to play and watch sports again! 
    But no, we won’t actually be able to watch the games in person — though maybe eventually we can as long as absolutely everyone wears a mask absolutely all the time. And no shouting!
    Hmm — would that even work? 
    Or would the silence just be too creepy, like those bizarre photos of a chamber orchestra playing to a theatre full of plants?  
    I’ve been watching the Ultimate Tennis Showdown and its fun to see a newer, quicker version of tennis, though its a little odd to hear the fake crowd noises after each shot. 
    Likely when sports do get going again, each sport will have to deal with continual interruptions as individual athletes come down with COVID-19 and stop playing until they are well again.
    There is one thing about the sports shutdown that I will miss — the #LifeCommentaries on twitter, when sports announcers kept themselves busy by posting videos narrating ordinary life as sporting events:

    Dogging.#LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary pic.twitter.com/05A64OcSKP

    — Twittbr3 (@Twittbr3) June 18, 2020

    1500mm Heat#LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary pic.twitter.com/fmsIWfcfAK

    — Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) April 14, 2020

    Sooty looking for a clean sweep in the Regional Common Gymnastics pic.twitter.com/ycInWuMVTH

    — Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) June 15, 2020

    Commentators have been turning their hands (and socks) to absolutely anything lately! pic.twitter.com/xj86k27LUI

    — Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) June 14, 2020

    Some sports are slower. More about the strategy. pic.twitter.com/JMBaGJ1tSd

    — Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) April 9, 2020

    International 4×4 Pushchair Formation Final. Live. #LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary pic.twitter.com/BGGh01m1k1

    — Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) March 17, 2020

    LIVE SPORT!

    Today’s episode is based largely on me chasing our dog Yogi round the garden. Enjoy! 😂

    Chin up people; hope you have a good weekend. 🐶😊#lifecommentary #goodboy #youbaddog pic.twitter.com/kvcgoYSr3N

    — Andrew Coley (@Andrew_Coley) March 20, 2020

    It was an honour to be asked to appear on this year’s unique USA @ESPYS show on @espn.

    Among some incredibly poignant films, I helped provide a spot of levity as @mPinoe introduced my take on the likes of @rogerfederer @serenawilliams @lindseyvonn and @SebToots in lockdown. 🎙 pic.twitter.com/Jo1bptLV5z

    — Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) June 23, 2020

    Full Story »

     
    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

    Full Story »


     
    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

    Full Story »

     
    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.

    Full Story »


     
    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

    Full Story »

     
    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.
    Full Story »

     
    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


    Full Story »

     
    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.

    Full Story »

     
    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:

    Full Story »

     
    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
    Full Story »