Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall is Here

Autumn, originally uploaded by ICT_photo.

Today hubby and I went for a drive along some country roads. We do that sometimes when we want a change of scene from work. The leaves are beginning to change. Mainly yellows and light oranges.

Tonight temperatures are expected to drop to a low of 5C (41F). If we get a few cool nights like this I expect we will soon have some reds in the mix, in time for Thanksgiving next Monday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Demand For Meat Drops in the Netherlands

Photo from De Vegetarische Slager vegetarian butcher website.

Here is a very interesting story I read recently about a butcher store in the Netherlands, courtesy of VegNewsDaily.

"The Vegetarian Butcher, a chain of faux-meat stores, is taking off in the Netherlands as Dutch citizens cut back on meat consumption. By Hilary Pollack

A chain of vegetarian butcher shops is rapidly expanding in the Netherlands, where the demand for meat alternatives is rising as 87 percent of citizens no longer eat meat on a daily basis and two-thirds of the population sees meat as a luxury, rather than a necessity. 

The Vegetarian Butcher—or De Vegetarische Slager in Dutch—has grown from one storefront to 30 in less than a year, offering faux chicken, bacon, gyros, sausage, and more to the masses. Founded by Niko Koffeman and organic farmer Jaap Korteweg, the company aims to provide sustainable meat alternatives with superior flavor and texture. Koffeman estimates that 80 percent of the shop’s clients are vegans and vegetarians, but the company hopes to convert people who want to reduce or completely omit meat from their diets. “Animal cruelty is one reason, but also a growing concern for sustainability,” Koffeman says. “After all, meat production is highly inefficient.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cheering The Idea of Letting Uninsured Patients Die

Prescription bottle photo from Flicker.

CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer’s hypothetical question about whether an uninsured 30-year-old working man in coma should be treated prompted one of the most boisterous moments of audience participation in the CNN/Tea Party Express.

“What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself,” Paul responded, adding, “That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risk. This whole idea that you have to compare and take care of everybody…”

The audience erupted into cheers, cutting off the Congressman’s sentence.After a pause, Blitzer followed up by asking “Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” to which a small number of audience members shouted “Yeah!”Read more here.....

That’s what freedom is all about. Taking your own risk.”.......

Freedom, to me, is knowing that everyone has access to health care. That no one goes without. That people don’t die because they cannot afford health care. Freedom to me, personally, is freedom from worry that my family cannot afford medical treatment if they get sick. Freedom to know that I won’t lose my house, or be bankrupt due to the exorbitant cost of medical procedures. When I tally up the cost of higher taxes in Canada, and compare them to my average health insurance premium, together with co-pays, deductibles, and paying for everything else my insurance didn’t cover, my family is much better off financially paying slightly higher taxes in Canada and being fully covered.

Our family had health insurance in the US, so we were under the radar of the number of uninsured in the US. Add to the 50 million uninsured people in America the “under insured”. Our family were, not by choice, underinsured. We chose to have health insurance, but could no longer afford full coverage.

I don’t know where Wolf Blitzer got the idea that health insurance premiums are just $200 per month.

In just a few years our health insurance premiums went from affordable offering us a reasonable amount of coverage, to a 4 figure sum every month (comparable to our mortgage), with a $10,000 per occurrence per family member deductable. Every year we had to drop more and more benefits, because we could not afford the premiums. We were underinsured heading towards uninsured through no choice of our own. This is not freedom to choose.

A few years ago my youngest fell off his bike and broke his arm. It was a simple break, reset, and cast. Cost us $8,000. $8,000 for a simple broken arm! Another child I know had a more complicated break, and it cost his family $17,000. They could not afford physiotherapy on top of this, so the child’s arm may be permanently damaged. Another family had twin 8 year old boys. One boy had moderate asthma, but she could not afford the expensive preventative asthma medication. One night he was rushed to the ER with a bad asthma attack, and he died. These are just people I know, these situations are repeated all over the US.

People are not uninsured by choice. They are uninsured because they cannot afford the insurance, the co-pays, the deductibles, the prescription medication to prevent controllable illness becoming life threatening.

I asked someone once what he thought about universal healthcare. He said “I don’t want to pay anything towards healthcare in case I don’t need it, because then I would be paying for someone else’s healthcare”. It seems many Americans hate the idea of paying a few dollars towards helping someone else who may be sick or injured.

As for the nostalgic thought that Ron Paul has; “just let the patient’s church pay for it”, this is wistful thinking on several counts. Not everyone has a church. Churches don’t have the kind of money to pay for expensive medical procedures. Here’s the best one, I can I can only imagine how doctors’ offices and hospitals are going to react when they are told to send the bill to a church. The patient will be told to come back when they have several thousand dollars or adequate health insurance.

Health insurance companies and medical professionals make obscene profits. Americans have been brainwashed to believe that universal healthcare is bad.

Any civilized country has access to universal health care. You want a healthy population, otherwise illness can spread. It doesn’t matter, in a pandemic, if you have healthcare. You may still get sick from the person who couldn’t afford preventative treatment.

So, cheering for uninsured people to die. This is not freedom, and this is not compassionate.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Golf Course Open Until Snow Flies

I saw this sign yesterday at a local golf course.

Summer's definitely over when you start seeing signs like this one.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Did the US execute an innocent man?

Follows is an excellent article written about the execution of a potentially innocent man in Georgia, US, Troy Davis.

There was enough doubt in this case to warrant a new trial. Unfortunately, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act 1996, (passed after the Oklahoma City Bombing), bars death row inmates from later presenting evidence they could have presented at the original trial. This Act bars them from having a new trial. So, if that evidence was not available at the original trial – tough luck. Potentially innocent? It doesn’t matter. Several world leaders, Amnesty International, and even the Pope intervene – so what! We are the United States and human rights don’t apply to us, and guilty beyond a reasonable doubt no longer matters.

"I Am Troy Davis: Why I’m Afraid To Be An American And You Should Be Too [OPINION] Written by Travon Free on September 22, 2011 7:23 am

I am afraid to live in this country. The United States of America. Afraid to live in a country where the new norm is thinking with our hearts or our gut and painting the rational minded individual as unpatriotic and liberal. Afraid to live in a country where intelligence and science have taken a back seat to what people “feel” is right, not what they know to be true or actually is true for that matter.

I’m afraid to live in a country where facts have become taboo and are no longer valid arguing points in shaping the society we all share and everyone’s opinion matters. I’m afraid to live in a country where now the fringe individuals who we use to consider lost in the fray or even “crazy” now have a seat at the table and are considered just another voice on the issues."

Read more of this interesting opinion here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Piping Summer Evening in Guelph

Enjoy this video clip of the Guelph Pipe Band performing at McCrae House from youtube.

During the summer months Guelphites can enjoy “Piping Evenings with the Guelph Pipe Band”. The Guelph Pipe Band (established in 1922) performed on the grounds of John McCrae House.

John McCrae was a Lt Colonel in the Canadian Army during WW1, and the author of the poem Flanders Fields. Because of this poem the poppy became of symbol of rememberance. He was born and raised right here on Guelph in a beautiful stone house just steps away from the Speed River.

Last night was the last “summer evening” that the Pipers would be playing at McCrae House this year. It was a little chilly, and there was a refreshment stand with a pot of, dare I say, “piping” hot tea ;) I know, I know, but I couldn't resist it.

Hubby and I brought some folding chairs, and enjoyed the show. It was nice to see so many families there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

6 Year Old Watched 9/11 Live In School Classroom

10 years ago eldest boy was in first grade and had just turned 6 when 9/11 happened. It was a strange enough day for us adults.  Parents were withdrawing their children from school. We had decided to leave him in school because we wanted his day to be normal as possible.

We didn’t know that his first grade teacher turned the classroom tv on that morning, and stood by and sobbed while these young children watched everything live on CNN.  No explanation or re-assurance was given by the teacher. I’m sure these children were all frightened.

When I picked him up at the end of the day I could tell by his face that something was wrong. He had spent 6 hours in front of the classroom tv watching live tv coverage of planes crashing into buildings, people falling and bouncing off the buildings, and the buildings crashing. He didn't know the news was replaying the same news footage repeatedly and thought many planes flew into many buildings. He was almost hysterical in the car on the way home from school because he thought a plane was going to crash into our car or our home and we would be killed. He had no idea how far away Florida was from New York. He was in such a state nothing I said to him would re-assure him that he was safe.

He suffered from nightmares for several weeks after that. Today he says he wished he hadn’t watched 9/11 live at so young an age.

When I asked the teacher why she allowed these children to watch live and uncensored coverage of the event, she said that “this was history in the making and as an American student he needs to know about it”. She said it was her duty as a patriotic American to allow her class to watch it live on tv.

I wish, as a parent, my 6 year old child had not been exposed to live and uncensored news coverage of the event without my knowledge or consent. I think it's unhealthy to expose such a young child to this.

Is It Time To Move On From 9/11?

Photo by Melissa Lyttle, St Petersburg Times.

Above photo is the installation of a permanent 9/11 memorial by the front door of Pinellas Park High School, in Pinellas Park, Florida.

Is it time to move on from 9/11? Is it healthy to continually focus on it?

Other nations have experienced terrorism, and they know that continual re-living of events is the goal of the terrorists. The “ism” is the act, and the “terror” is the residual fear caused by the act. It is like picking away at a scab instead of allowing it to heal.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back To School Today, Yay!

Kids are back to school today.

Summer is over.

Weather has turned cooler.

Hopefully there are a few warm days left, but at least the humidity has gone.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hot Waffle Ice Cream Bar

The Original, Freshly Baked, Ice Cream Waffle.

Of course, no visit to the Ex would be complete without a sampling of their famous Ice Cream Waffle. I loved these as a child. The waffles are freshly made and hot, served with a freshly cut slab of creamy vanilla ice cream.

Let's Go To The Ex

Princes' Gates entrance to CNE with Midway in background.

Last week we went to the Canadian National Exhibition, or CNE.

To our Usian friends, this is like a state fair. The Ex, as it’s affectionately known, has been around since 1879. It started originally as an agricultural fair and grew from there. To those of you who are familiar with Toronto’s nickname of “hogtown”, the nickname came from the CNE since "market" livestock was often sent from the CNE to the meat processing plants in Toronto.

The Ex takes place for 18 days, starting around mid-August and ending on Labour day. When I was a child we always went, and it was an exciting end to our summer vacations. Today there are bigger and better theme parks for the kids to go to, but the Ex still has a lot of charm.

3 boys had lots of fun. We bought them a Midway pass, so they rode everything.

We had so much fun we stayed until closing.