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Today’s News: June 7 2012 – Bags, Mister Rogers and the UN

Toronto banned the plastic checkout bag. It’s funny how that happened – Mayor Rob Ford wanted to get rid of the fee, council agreed and went one step further and got rid of the bags. Now he’s mad! Quite entertaining if you’ve never seen him get mad.

  • I too have an opinion on this – I don’t entirely agree. I think getting rid of plastic bags *IS* the way to go. I have so many around the house and contrary to popular belief, they are not recyclable. However, when the announcement came out I was listening to a call in show on CBC and a couple of small business owners called in. They were quite upset that there was little warning (fee is gone on July 1st, bags gone on January 1, 2013) and absolutely no consultation. They have tried the reusable bags in the past and customers have not been happy and they’ve taken their business elsewhere – not a good thing to keep our small businesses go (shop local!) It was not on the agenda and there was no public input. That is not the way that I think a government should work but it seems to be the trend. Stephen Harper has brought in EI and environmental changes with no consultation, nor it being on his election platform. Majority government and he thinks he can do what he wants. That’s what Rob Ford is pushing for as he is vocally speaking out about starting his election campaign (vote is in 2014) and “removing” members of council that disagree with him. You know, sometimes they both scare me…..

    It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. Mister Rogers remixed!   Awesome!

    A disturbing fact: Canada ranks 53rd in the world for the number of peace-keepers deployed, just 42. We invented peacekeeping! Shouldn’t this be part of Canada’s military focus?

    And a note about yesterday’s entry. I can see what links my dear readers click and it’s amazing how many more clicked on the breasts link than any of the others….

     
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    Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

     

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    Today’s News: June 6, 2012 NSFW today


    Ray Bradbury passed away today at the age of 91.
    I haven’t read much by Bradbury but I recognize his impact on the science fiction world. I applaud him for the social issues he brought forth 50 years ago in Fahrenheit 451. And I look forward to reading more (checked “Something Wicked This Way Comes” out of the library today). Do you have a favourite book by Bradbury? Why have his books made you think?

    Had this actual conversation with my husband this morning regarding Kelly Ripa’s “comedy” this morning with Neil Patrick Harrris. Breasts in Advertising Do you even notice any more? Do breasts actually encourage you to buy food products? Do you define yourself as a feminist?

    I’ve been trying to avoid the obvious story with Luka Rocco Magnotta. But there seems to be rash of dismemberment and cannibalism??? First a guy in Miami on bath salts (recently a copycat in Louisiana on same drug). Then a college student in Maryland and now Magnotta. What is with the rash of cannibalism??? Does it have anything to do with a new Hannibal Lector series coming to TV in the fall?

     
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    Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Feminism, Uncategorized

     

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    Today: June 5, 2012

    GOP blocks pay equity. Seriously??

    Macaroni for $13.99 a box! 2nd seriously? That is ridiculous. There needs to be a way that government and private business can find a way to cut the costs, even if only by 25% (and even raise wages by 10% or more??). Perhaps a discount paid for fuel that is used to supply towns under 10,000 and above the 60th parallel? Perhaps a break on the GST rate for Northern citizens? I know people choose to live up there (and have forever) but we need and want people in all parts of our country. The Innu were the first to notice the melting of the polar ice caps. They were the ones that alerted the world to the blight of the polar bears. They will be ones to defend the land once the oil, gas, gold and diamonds are accessible. But we can’t make eating healthy out of reach of most people! This is happening in the south too but not to this extreme.

    Poplar Hill Home town news: It’s just a shame that they have done away with the parade. I was in almost every year growing up through the school, Girl Guides or on my own. Somewhere I know there are pictures….

     
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    Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

     

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    Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Week

    Mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. It affects your physical health and your quality of life. It can allow or prevent you from working or raising a family. It affects your ability to recover from illness or traumatic event. And each year, one in five Canadians will experience a diagnosable mental health problem or illness.

    The point of Mental Health Awareness Week is to separate mental health from “the other” – it’s not just something that other people deal with. The Canadian Mental Health Association’s theme this year is Mental Health For All. 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lives, regardless of age, education, income level or culture.

    We all understand the cost of our health care but do we actually see the whole cost? Mental illness costs the Canadian economy $8.5 billion a year in health costs, short and long term disability and lost productivity (not taking into increased policing costs). It is estimated that each day 500,000 people in Canada miss work due to mental health concerns.

    It is stigma and discrimination that prevents people from speaking out, from finding support. Over this week I hope to change that even if just for one person. I will be writing about mental health issues for children and teens, policing issues, and what happens when it comes to the nursing home.

    The National Mental Health Strategy will be out tomorrow.  It’s been 5 years of research for recommendations on how to move forward with mental health issues in Canada.  There should be some interesting ideas coming forward soon.

    If you find yourself needing someone to reach out to please contact your local distress line (in London 519-667-6711) or the Canadian Mental Health Association (in London 519-434-9191). Or send me a message and we’ll talk. Remember, anyone coping with mental health concerns can use some support sometimes, whether you’re the survivor, family member, friend or employer.

     
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    Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

     

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    Rally – January 21st

    So I’ve decided my internet soapbox needs a break.  I need to get into the real world and get energized!  Tomorrow (okay, later today the 21st) a large rally will be held at Victoria Park in London to support the locked-out Electro-Motive employees.

    I’m not connected with Electro-Motive in any way, nor am I a union member, however I feel we must stand together so that Canada continues to *have* a middle class. We do not have a division of 99% vs 1% like the United States but our division is closer to 85% or 90% with just 10-15% of people controlling the wealth.

    If we do not stand up for ourselves we will find ourselves in worse shape – with few jobs offering a living wage indexed to inflation, a pension plan, medical benefits or simple job security. I haven’t been to a political rally in over 15 years but I intend to be there tomorrow!  Who else will be attending?

     
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    Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

     

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    The News Stories that Changed the World in 2011

    Okay, so it’s December 30th and time to recap 2011. So here is my list of the stories that changed the world the most this year – not necessarily the biggest stories but the most changing (for that reason the death of Kim Jong-il is not on the list as I fear there will be no change with his son taking over).

    10. The death of Qian Necole Liu – She was a student at York University who was murdered. The crime was witnessed half a world away via webcam. A man is now in jail charged with her death thanks to witness statements from Asia. Gotta love technology!

    9. Death of Osama Bin Laden – It may or may not mark a major change, it all depends on how much it slows Al-Qaeda down. For a bit it seemed that the US military was taking out “the next leader” or the “Number Two” every few days. We haven’t heard anything in a while now.

    8. Atlantis’ Final Mission – This is most definitely a change as it’s the end of the current US space program. There are no more missions planned and if the Americans want to go into space they’ll need to catch a ride with the Russians (that seems odd…) I guess NASA can cut their budget now.

    7. The death of Steve Jobs – For most changing this could be further up the list if it wasn’t for the brilliance of Steve Jobs. He hired people who thought outside of the box so the great inventions that he started will continue. This move ensured Apple wouldn’t fall apart when he departed.

    6. The Occupy Movement – It’s not clear yet how much change the Occupy Movement will bring. Disenchanted and disenfranchised people got involved with politics and civics for the first time for many (the first time since the 60s for others). Hopefully the interest will continue into more action and next year I may need to move it up the list.

    5. Japan’s Disaster – Earthquake, then tsunami then nuclear issues. Again, it’s not clear how changing it will be overall. It’s greatly affected the lives of many Japanese who lost homes, jobs and loved ones. It’s also started protests in Japan over the use of nuclear power. The auto sector in North America was also affected as many of the local auto manufacturers get parts from Japan. We still have to see the impact that the debris will have on the beautiful British Columbia cost as it’s expected to make landfall this coming year.

    4. Arab Spring – First Tunisia, then Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Each country has had a different experience and it’s been more beneficial in some countries than others. Overall, it had a major impact by allowing everyday people experience that they can influence government, even when that government is a dictatorship. We will need to see what permanent changes come from it.

    3. The Economy – This was a major story on both sides of the pond. The US almost was unable to pay their employees due to bipartisanship and their bond rating was consequently downgraded for the first time in history. On the other side was the European Union which may or may not exist next year this time. Germany is holding the power right now and many are unhappy about the politics of that (since upset over World War 2).

    2. London’s Jobless Rate – I had to add a purely local story and this one does it. The jobless rate in London Ontario is 9.8%, 2nd only to Windsor Ontario. We’ve had too many plants close and lay off mass amounts of employees. I call on our mayor Joe Fontana to step up with his plan to bring more small business to London. I think he’s right that it’s more important now to go after 10 businesses that employ 10 people each than 1 business that employs 100. Unfortunately, the jobless rate in London may climb again soon with a nasty strike expected to start at Electro-Motive in the next few days. If the parent company CAT pulls them out of London that will be another 700 good-paying jobs lost.

    1. The most changing story of the year – JACK LAYTON! The NDP was elected on good ideas and the personality of Jack. For the first time ever a party besides the Conservatives and the Liberals held the position of the Official Opposition. Jack showed us how to fight in politics and in life and was out there on the campaign trail waving his cane after hip surgery. Unfortunately, after the great height of the election wins came the great loss of Jack Layton passing away from cancer. We will never know what good he could have done in the opposition, nor will we ever know what he could have done should he have been elected Prime Minister. He got many young people involved in politics for the first time and I hope that the enthusiasm carries into the next election.

    So there’s my list. Do you agree or disagree? What did I leave off?

     
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    Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Occupation Movement, Uncategorized

     

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    A View of North Korea

    So Dear Leader has died.  It’s hard to believe that all the mourning in the street is being done out of pure grief.  I think much of it is a fear of the ruling party and fear of what will come next.  Maybe the North Koreans really are mourning the loss of a great man but really, what is life like inside North Korea?

    You’re greeted by the soldiers – soldiers everywhere on the border.  Then once you pass the checkpoint you hit the roads – 6 lanes across and a lone cyclist crossing it. Very few people here can afford a car; the only vehicles you’ll see belong to the military (often broken down) or the Mercedes that belong to the North Korean officials. As you drive on you come to the capital, Pyongyang.  As a tourist, you’re forbidden to leave your hotel – make sure you get your sleep while you can since the loudspeakers blast patriotic songs on the hour from 6 am to midnight. Life is hard with back breaking work in construction or manufacturing. Most of the time there’s not enough to eat but you don’t dare complain about the Dear Leader.

    Don’t get me wrong – life isn’t all hard. We like to attend the mandatory National Day dance. It’s fun to dress up and dance and pretend that all is good.  There’s enough to drink that it’s easy to forget for a while.

    My family lives in the countryside. My mother and grandmother and I all toil long days in the rice paddys, so bent over grandmother can no longer straighten up at the end of the day. My father is in the military and walks all day. I don’t know why Dear Leader needs so many in the military – who could possibly harm him? In the evening we light a fire and cook up the small amount of food we have for the family (once less mouth now since the baby died.)  It’s a hard life but Dear Leader takes care of us.

    I’m scared now though. Things weren’t always good under Dear Leader (don’t say I said that) but we knew what to expect. Like everyone else I don’t know much about Kim Jong-un but grandmother says he’s very young to be running a country as powerful as North Korea. Maybe he can get more food to the people without blowing anyone up….

     
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    Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

     

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