For those not following the lead-up to the Canadian general election: Our fear-mongering leader recently cut funding for the arts (I'll spare you the details) and backed this up with a few patronizing and ignorant remarks about people who care about such things. From The National Post:
"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see
a gala of a bunch of people at a rich gala ... all subsidized by the
taxpayers - claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know
those subsidies have gone up - I'm not sure that's something that
resonates with ordinary people," Mr. Harper told reporters.
Significantly, Harper, who is reasonably bilingual and usually doesn't hesitate to speak French, refused to repeat these comments in the language of most of the "ordinary people" of Quebec.
So, for his Philistine, narrow, meanness, I think he deserves this YouTube video which has already had over 100,000 views and is described by The Post as "the most talked-about political ad of the Quebec campaign".
Latest poll: "Last night's tracking showed a noticeable jump in Bloc support in Quebec coinciding with attacks on Stephen Harper's views and comments related to culture." - CPAC - Nanos Tracking
TO SLOW GLOBAL WARMING, INSTALL WHITE ROOFS By Margot Roosevelt Los Angeles Times September 10, 2008
Builders have known for decades that white roofs reflect the sun's rays and lower the cost of air conditioning. But now scientists say they have quantified a new benefit: slowing global warming.
If the 100 biggest cities in the world installed white roofs and changed their pavement to more reflective materials - say, concrete instead of asphalt-based material - the global cooling effect would be massive, according to data released Tuesday at California's annual Climate Change Research Conference in Sacramento.
From Survival International: "Bruce Parry, star of the BBC series ‘Tribe’ and ‘Amazon’, has teamed up with some of the music world’s brightest stars to create a fundraising album for Survival International, entitled "Amazon/Tribe - Songs for Survival".
Bruce has worked with producer Martin Terefe on the album that includes KT Tunstall, will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas), Johnny Borrell (Razorlight), Tom Baxter, Mystery Jets, Jason Mraz, Yusuf Islam, Hot Chip, the Go! Team and Mike Oldfield."
The Pesticide Action Network devised air-monitoring technology that allows people to detect and fight toxic pesticide exposure.
Five billion pounds of hazardous pesticides are applied to crops each
year. The chemicals are a major source of toxic air pollution. As a
result, farm workers and others near agricultural sites experience high
rates of cancer, asthma, miscarriage, and birth defects.
The Pesticide Action Network developed the Drift Catcher, a monitoring
system that allows people without scientific training to test their air
for pesticides. The device captures airborne pesticides on a resin
filter, which is then analyzed in a lab to determine the quantity and
types of pesticides present. With these scientific results in hand,
vulnerable communities have won legislation to force the use of safer
pest management and reduce hazardous exposures.
Nearly a third of air fresheners contain phthalates, used to make the scent last longer. This according to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). They are the same family of chemicals found in many water bottles. Air fresheners and related products are used by about 60% of Canadians. Some stores in Europe and the US are starting to remove some of these products from their shelves.
If there's one prop of "civilization" we can do without, surely this is it: the illusion of cleanliness.
Even in Canada - known for its functioning public health system - quality and availability of service is falling. It's always been important to play an active role in ones own healing process and doctors are gradually getting used to us more activist-type patients. However - with doctors and support staff increasingly pressured to produce more results - treatment and even surgeries, can feel more like assembly lines. The process can tend to become so standardized and "efficient" that any adjustment for specific patient needs is kept to a minimum. Take, for example, that almost standard procedure of inserting the "drip" (or cannula) as soon as you get that gown on. Surprise! It turns out that about a third of us do not need this little device which can also add to the risk of infection and blood clots. This according to a BBC report on a study in the UK, so I guess results would vary somewhat in other "developed" countries. From the BBC report:
Of the patients studied - who were all treated in the acute medical assessment unit of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary - 91% of patients had a cannula inserted. But 28% of the tubes were never used. The researchers also found that in 71% of patient records there was no documentation of a cannula being inserted, while in 57% there was no documentation of it being removed. Four patients had developed blood poisoning, which infection control specialists said was likely to be linked to the cannula.
It may be time to begin asking: "Do I really need that?"
From the above, it's pretty clear that Canada is lagging seriously in taking action on its greenhouse gases. With an election about to be called in Canada, The Sierra Club of Canada has come out with a Sierra Club Voters' Guide on what they call The Climate Crisis Election, which includes the above image and a ranking of the contesting parties on the effectiveness of their policies to reduce greenhouse gases.
The Green party's A- mark reflects a plan that "is very ambitious,"
national campaigns director Jean Langlois said at an Ottawa news
The Liberals, who have made their environmental plan, dubbed the
Green Shift, the centrepiece of their platform, received a B+. Their
aim is to balance a carbon tax with income-tax cuts.
The Bloc Québécois received a B. "The Bloc have a target that reflects what needs to be done based on
science. However, their plan is not very detailed," said Langlois. For
instance, the party doesn't specify a price for carbon emissions.
NDP received a B. . . . lost marks for relying only on cap and trade for reducing emissions and
forgoing a carbon tax.
The Conservative party received an F+ because the Sierra Club said
it has chosen a "completely inadequate" target for reducing greenhouse
gases and because it is relying on intensity targets to meet its goals.