Monday, June 29, 2009

Healthcare Debate or The War of Misinformation?

I must confess that I missed President Obama's televised "Questions for the President: Prescription for America", apparently a town hall-style event in which Obama answered questions on health care posed by audience members. I would have liked to have seen it, if for no other reason than to finally get a real sense of exactly what he is proposing and exactly what it is that has so many riled-up.

However, I am less much interested than what (if any) reforms Americans may ultimately make to their healthcare system than in defending all the misinformation which appears to proliferate like rabbits about the Canadian system.

Although I must admit that from over here it looks like the majority of Americans seem to neither really appreciate nor understand what an enviable position they are could be in at the moment - presented with an opportunity to take a close look at all the various systems around the world (none of which work perfectly, I would posit) and pick and choose what might work for them, in the process creating something entirely new, something entirely American. Pity that.

I found this video over at Take Five and although quite long, as Punky says it is definitely worth the time to watch. Although, personally, I think more for what is doesn't say than what it tries to say. Or should I say, what it purports to say.

Many, many moons ago I did a piece over at the Flight Deck (two pieces actually) about the Canadian healthcare system. Which, by the way, in heading over there to get the links, I reread, including all the comments on Part I. Might I suggest, if you have the time, you do the same? It really was a good discussion.

But I digress. What I want to specifically comment on is the End of Patients' Rights video, above.

On the surface, the video shows the many errors with both the Canadian and UK systems of healthcare. These two systems (and their stated flaws, accompanied by heartbreaking personal antidotes) are held up as examples of why and how a government/national healthcare could never work and should never be tolerated by US citizens.

We are accompanied on the tour by Mr.Rick Scott (who although not said to be an actual doctor, certainly comes across as the trusted medical professional) who helps to point out (in case we somehow can't see it for ourselves) the faults of nationalized healthcare. And why US healthcare is so much better.

I will give Mr. Scott this- he does actually (twice I believe) refer to reform of the American system (and thus, by implication, I suppose) the need for reform and states that this is " a great opportunity to improve healthcare in America".

And he points out what he sees as the four key components to such reform; namely, choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility. None of which I, personally, have any problem.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Seems Apt Somehow ...

Although you would think we should be able to do something more for these people than just adding a Michael Jackson song to a montage of protest photos.

No matter how well the vid turns out.

H/T to Punky at Take Five

Friday, June 26, 2009

Me No Compute

It's nice to see I'm not the only one mystified at all the Michael Jackson hype, that there are many at least some others shaking their heads over the whole debacle.

Because me no compute.

One of the commenters at Lex's states that as a child of the 80s, he can understand some of what’s going on "because Jacko WAS music when [he] grew up. He was also the King during the formative years of many of those who are in charge in the world of media (it’s a relatively young crowd if you think about it). So to them, an idol has passed."

Which reminded me of the comments of one of the DJs on our local radio station this morning; she was quite upset about his death and made a comment to the effect that the only thing that might compete was Elvis' death except he was only someone she and her friends listened to growing up, not someone they were "into" like Jackson.

I was 17 years old when Thriller was released in 1982. So yeah, I guess you could say Michael Jackson was the "in" thing when I was growing up. I can't tell you how many times I watched that video or danced to that song back then. Hell, as a teenager I witnessed the birth of both MTV and Michael Jackson, the superstar. And to think my own kids think they're so cool.

And yet still I shake my head. Me no compute.

Lady Di was only four years older than me. Meaning that I was 16 when she married Prince Charles. I suppose that makes us contemporaries for lack of a better word. And what teenager girl couldn't help but be awed by that fairy tale wedding ceremony?

Yet I recall shaking my head in disbelief when she was killed in 1997. As just one example, I was amazed how my husband of all people, he who has really no interest in anything celebrity, seemed stuck on such a *momentous* event as her death. I didn't get it. And still don't.

Not that her whole life wasn't an interesting story, from her fairy tale marriage to her charity work to her divorce to the conspiracy theories around her death. But. The way it went on. And on. And on. Sorry, I just don't get it. Me no compute.

I was 12 years old and traveling through the US with my Mom, brother, aunt, uncle and little cousin when Elvis died. How well I remember that day. We had stopped for the night at a hotel in Phoenix on our way to the Grand Canyon when the news of his death came on the radio. Of course, it was BIG news. And sad news.

But I was stunned at my aunt's reaction. Basically, she lost it. There's simply no better way to describe it. She cried non-stop all that afternoon and night and into the next day. It may have been probably was a lot longer than that but that's all I can say with absolute certainly so many years later. I mean you honestly would have thought her husband or her 3 year old son (whom she ignored through her tears) had died ...

Me no compute.

No, I simply do not get our fascination with celebrity. How and why people make them larger than life in their own lives. Or how it is that some find people like Michael Jackson "more real than reality", although I agree it's an apt enough description.

On average, one person dies every second as a result of hunger. That's 4000 people every hour. 100 000 people each day. 36 million people each year.

And if that's not compelling enough for you, one child dies every 5 seconds as a result of hunger. That's 700 children every hour. 16 ,000 children each day. 6 million children each year.

How can that compare to the death of any single celebrity, no matter who they are?

Between February, 2002 and April, 2009, 120 Canadian soldiers have given their lives in Afghanistan. Fighting for you and I. How can that compare to the death of any single celebrity?

Obviously, I could go on. And on.

Yes, I recognize that these celebrities had people in their lives who truly loved them. Who will mourn their passing. And of course, that's something I can relate to. Of course, I am saddened for those people. In the abstract.

But the way the rest of us carry on?

Nope. Me no compute. Not one little bit. Frankly I think we're all most of us are simply nuts.

And none of this even touches who or what MJ himself really was. Imagine if I were to actually go there...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Life's Lessons

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it..

9.. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger..

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to g oing after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43.. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer , Cleveland , Ohio.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I find it hard to imagine why the federal government would claw back a disability pension granted to a Canadian injured while serving his country once they are discharged from the military.

Apparently, I'm not the only one. And apparently some of those veterans affected have had enough.
A former soldier who returned his military medals in protest to the Governor General will get a chance to argue for his class-action lawsuit in the country’s highest court.

The Supreme Court of Canada said Thursday it will hear Dennis Manuge’s case.

Manuge, of Porters Lake, and a handful of other veterans recently sent their Canadian Forces Peacekeeping Service Medals and NATO Service Medals to Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, the commander-in-chief, to protest the treatment of wounded soldiers.

He described the decision as "outstanding news for disabled vets."

A military mechanic injured at the Canadian Forces base in Petawawa, Ont., Manuge had $10,000 of his disability pension clawed back by the federal government after he left the military.

Both a military ombudsman and a Senate committee which investigated the case found the claw back to be "profoundly unfair." And although a private-member’s bill tabled to rectify the claim was approved by the House of Commons, apparently that wasn't good enough for the Conservative government, which refused to recognize it.

Now that same government is fighting the class action suit every step of the way, having successfully appealed the certification of the lawsuit. Which point will now be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada.

You have to wonder (or at least I do) why and how a government who repeatedly states how much it appreciates and values the "bravery and dedication of the exceptional men and women of the Canadian Forces" could act this way.

Or perhaps they only truly appreciate the service of those who have "made the ultimate sacrifice". Seeing as how it's cheaper for the government coffers that way.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Musings

My apologies upfront.

Although really too much for one lonely musings post, there are just too many ideas bumping around inside my little pea-brain to give each of them their own post. That just ain't gonna happen.

So you have this instead.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Looks like I mislabelled that post about the Kit Kat's dance recital.

She hurt her foot quite bad two weeks ago. you see - we actually thought she might have broke it, but fortunately the x-rays were clean. Still, the whole outside of her right foot remains bruised and swollen. I had serious doubts she would make it through the ACR, let alone the dance recital (which involved three shows over two days).

She made it through both though. Who knows, perhaps some of that preaching I'm so good at about sticking with your commitments might actually be sinking through. At any rate, it occurred to me as I was saying good night while she moaned about her foot last night that I really should have titled the post "Dance Like A Flamingo".

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And yes, I agree. That kid has been taking up waaay too many of my weekends lately. Hey, it's not like she drives herself to three dance recitals, you know.

~ ~ ~ ~

To be filed under the category of Pet Peeves ... as if bicyclists who seem incapable of following the rules of the road aren't bad enough, now we're suppose to deal with them all nakkid?

Apparently they're concerned about their exposure. To cars, that is. Which, in that case, perhaps I should start driving naked, considering one of the fully-clothed (I-pod included) variety just about struck me last week. While my vehicle was stopped. In traffic. As in, not moving.

Just toodling down the middle of a main Halifax thoroughfare in rush hour traffic, weaving between vehicles at his leisure while apparently looking everywhere except right in front of him (somewhat of a problem given that he was riding on my side of the road heading straight toward me) ... he just missed plowing into the passenger side of my vehicle. Suddenly awaking from his trance, he hit the brakes and turned away at the last second, mouthing "Sorry". To which I mouthed "Idiot" to his retreating back.

Here's the thing. I have no problem with cyclists. As long as they follow the rules. Meaning, if you're on the road, you are actually obligated to follow the rules of the road. You can't pretend you're a vehicle one moment and then act like a drunk pedestrian in the middle of the road meandering wherever the mood strikes the next. At least not if you want any sympathy from me when someone flattens you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Seems like we haven't talked much politics lately.

The thing is I thought it would be a bit more exciting to actually have a NDP government in Nova Scotia. And yet, it doesn't feel like much of anything at the moment, one way or another.

I wasn't sure what to make of that until I read Laurent Le Pierres' piece in the Chronicle Herald on Friday entitled "So Why Doesn't It Feel Like History?".

As Le Pierres points out, when an unassuming fellow like Darrell Dexter assumes power, just like everybody assumed he would, something seems to be missing. Le Pierres references Joe Clark's [more commonly known as Joe Who?] line:
We will not take this nation by storm, by stealth or by surprise. We will win it by work.
Perhaps that's what's at work here.
... Tuesday evening was the culmination of 10 years’ hard work for Dexter and his disciplined crew. Through his steady, studious and ambidextrous approach — an ability to use the left and right hand with equal ease — Dexter succeeded in turning the New Democrats into the new normal. In fact, he was so successful that their ultimate victory was somewhat devoid of shock value.

The Dexter majority is a minor quake on the Richter scale...
A little anti-climatic, perhaps?

Le Pierres considers the NDP ready to govern now, in a way they most definitely were not in 1998 when they shocked the Province by winning 19 seats and tying with the Liberals. One more seat then and how different history would be now. For better or For worse, according to LePierres.

As much I would have loved to have seen a NDP victory at the time, I must say that I'm not completely broken up that it's taken until now to happen. Because as much as I tend to agree with their policies (at least provincially), I'm glad they've had the time and the chance to do what they've done, to influence government policy as much as they have, from the other side of the aisle.
Today, no one is more conscious than Darrell Dexter’s NDP of the importance of getting it right. They understand that they have been handed a historic opportunity, and that the trust of Nova Scotians must be handled with care. On Tuesday night, many voters, especially in rural areas, cautiously tiptoed into the NDP camp.

If Dexter can keep them there in four years, he’ll truly make history. If not, he’ll be history.
To which I can only add ... Hear, Hear.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Speaking of politics, my thoughts turned back to one of my favourite Lex quotes (yes, I admit it, I do have the occasional Lex quote) when I saw this picture followed by this headline today.

The Lex quote in question being
I believe that choices are actions, and that actions have consequences. If you didn’t pick up on this growing up, you weren’t paying attention.
I believe my grandmother's rendition might have been something closer to "Think before you speak" while a good friend of mine is always working on teaching her children to "Stop. Plot. Think. Do." Personally, I prefer "Put brain in gear before engaging mouth".

But however you choose to word it, the point remains ... actions do have consequences. Oh yeah, sorry, I guess that line is already taken. Too bad someone hadn't pointed that out to the Pres.

But never fear, Hilary is here.

Hey, it could be worse ... it could be Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano.

Oh wait, I guess Hillary isn't much better, is she?

Woe is us...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Still Dreamin' ... of Free Falling

Whatever you may think of his politics, the man does have style.

Former president George H.W. Bush marked his 85th birthday on Friday the same way he did his 75th and 80th birthdays: He leaped from a plane and zoomed downward at more than 100 mph (160 km/h) in freefall before parachuting safely to a spot near his oceanfront home.

Bush made the tandem jump from 10,500 feet (3,200 metres) with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott of the Army’s Golden Knights, who guided them to a gentle landing on the lawn of St. Ann’s Church.

Good Lord, I hope I don't have to wait until I'm his age before I get my chance.

To Free Fall. For real.

Live. Love. Dance.

Cadets last weekend. Dancing Around The World this weekend. A busy girl she be.

Some great music. And great dancing. From the littlest to the biggest.

The Kit Kat is in a Hip Hop class, you see. They did their version of Walks Like An Egyptian.

So I figured the least I could do was share a bit of the music. Since I like ya and all.

You'll have to add your own dancing rendition though, I'm afraid.

The evening ended beautifully on this note.

Which I thought was rather nice for a Saturday night.

Enjoy. I know I did.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Savouring Small Victories

This parenting gig, not always such an easy thing.

Some of you might recall that the Kit Kat joined the rank of the bus drivers this past Fall. And at first she really enjoyed it. In fact, the biggest challenge was getting her to bed after Cadet night because she was too excited to actually sleep.

Alas, that was not meant to last. Around Christmas time, she decided this was no longer something she wanted to do. It was much too boring, you see.

Unfortunately for her, the house rule is that if you start an activity, you have to finish out the year. And so it was that with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the Kit Kat was forced to keep her commitments.

Lo and behold, coming close to the end of the year, the Kit Kat discovered that she had missed a promotion night back in February and was unaware that she has been promoted in abstentia from an ordinary garden variety Cadet to a Leading Air Cadet.

Which she thought was pretty exciting. And which caused her to muse that maybe Cadets wasn't that bad after all and perhaps a flight scholarship could be in her future.

Of course, it probably helped that she had recently made a friend there along the way. Being something that the Kit Kat, great kid that she is, still struggles with.

At any rate, the 507 F/L MacLean Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron held their Annual Ceremonial Review this past Saturday.

You can catch all of those pics here. I must say, they do like to march.

Following the ACR, the Kit Kat advised her rather surprised but very pleased parents that she was willing to consider sticking with the program next year.

Sunday was the Squadron's Annual Banquet where more promotions were handed out.

And the Kit Kat is now planning her activities for this September. Working them around the Air Cadet schedule. Which makes her poor, beleaguered parents very, very pleased.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.

Congratulations, Corporal Kit Kat.

Monday, June 8, 2009

History in the Making?

Update: Yes, We Can Did!!

They" (whoever that might be) say Nova Scotia just might be about to make history come Tuesday. In that we just might elect the Province's first NDP government.

And we all know the polls don't lie.

Of course, the amusing thing is that even among the ever increasing number of those who solemnly promise to change their allegiance from their standard Liberal or Conservative vote there is a lot of trouble believing it will actually happen.
Gordie Rendell is the kind of voter NDP Leader Darrell Dexter is trying to persuade to support the New Democrats in the waning days of Nova Scotia’s provincial election campaign.

In Rendell’s case, the deal appears to be done as he told the Opposition leader he would switch his allegiance on Tuesday from the Liberals.

The main thing is that we do need a change," the retired broadcaster said as Dexter canvassed over the weekend in Chester, a South Shore community considered one of the key battlegrounds in the election race.

But Rendell also sounded a note of caution for the NDP, saying he wasn’t sure other older voters, who have traditionally voted Liberal or Conservative, would switch their votes.
Equally amusing, or last disconcerting, is the fact that I, myself, fit firmly in that category. Of disbelief.

After years of polls showing the NDP's growing support and the fact that they fell only one seat short of the ruling Conservatives last time around, it's hard to believe things will ever be any different in this province. This very Traditional, very conservative province.

Of course, we have elected three minority governments within the past decade. Perhaps it really is time for a change.

And despite having been falsely accused in the past of always having had orange signs on my lawn (reality being that we have never displayed any party's campaign sign), I think I would be just as happy to see a minority NDP government.

Yup, I said minority. I know. I'm kind of funny that way.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sixty-Five Years Ago

D-Day. The invasion of Normady.

We have heard those words bandied around a lot today as the 65th anniversary of the "liberation of Europe".

A day with many fine speeches.

But let us never forget Juno Beach.
Juno Beach, an eight-kilometre-wide stretch of sand and bucolic fishing villages, was where 14,000 soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division battled their way ashore against fierce resistance from 7,100 Germans of the 716th Infantry Division.

The Canadians overran the port of Courseulles-sur-Mer, France and two smaller villages to the east - Bernieres and St. Aubin. By nightfall on June 6, 1944, they penetrated further inland than either the Americans - or the British.
And although I'm no fan of the man, I must say that I did appreciate his words today.
"On this stretch of beach, code-named Juno, Canadian soldiers undertook what would prove to be one of the defining operations of our proud military history," Harper told a crew of dignitaries and veterans at Juno Beach.

"Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen had pushed further inland than any other allied troops.

"Together they had breached Hitler's . . . Europe and effectively turned the tide of a war as bitter and bloody as any the world has ever known," said Harper.

The prime minister said that the soldiers fought for peace and freedom, the same things Canadians today are fighting for in Afghanistan.

It is no exaggeration to say that the course of history itself changed that very day," Harper said. "A triumph of this magnitude was not without sacrifice, of the 15,000 Canadians who took part in that initial assault, nearly 1,000 were killed or wounded. Over the course of the Normandy campaign, over 5,000 had paid the ultimate price.

"Through their bravery, skill and sheer determination, the shackle of the Nazi oppression was shattered and humanity was rescued from a future of tyranny, racism and cruelty."
All of them.

And might I suggest that you take a few minutes to peruse the first few videos to the far right of this page. And end with this nice piece from the UK Guardian.

By the by, as to Sarzosky's apparent desire to have today's ceremony limited to only President Obama and himself, to the exclusion of Canada and Britain, might I remind le president that his country was happy enough to see us there in 1944.

Something which the French people themselves do not seem to have forgotten, even if their leader has.