Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Do You Become a Man?

Of course, it's gay bashing.

Of course, it's a hate crime.


And who is this genius?

This is what he has to do on a Saturday night?

Leave his rat hole in Surrey or whatever rock from under which he has slithered to beat up people who are walking down the street?

The new Poster Boy for Stupidity, Ugliness and lack of Substance.

Somebody please help this unrepentant punk become a citizen.

The Courts are Worse Every Day

-- "I am not satisfied that the plaintiffs have proven the defendants were in breach of the standard of care required of them."

With these words, BC Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Barrow has once again thrown a spear deep into the heart of our confidence in the law.

Two men enter a hospital for hernia operations. They are served by the same team in the same room.

Both emerge with flesh-eating disease that near kills them.

Yet, this paragon of common sense and concern for the common weal says they have no right to sue.

Then, pray tell, what rights do they have? What recourse?

Another Fine Fix, Ollie!

"There is a Police Act investigation into John's conduct. It has to do with an allegation of a conflict of interest," said Naughton.

Abbotsford police Chief Bob Rich is in charge of the investigation.

Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld said he would not confirm or deny an investigation is underway."

This was the story in this morning's Province.

Now, maybe I am dreaming this, but...

Didn't Victoria's Chief of Police just resign under clouds a few months ago?

Didn't everyone refuse to tell the public why?

Nice department. Nice government. Nice transparency.

Has anyone explained basic democratic principles to these bumpkins?

Can You say, "Collusion and Appeasement, Boys and Girls?"

On Sept. 30, 1938, British, French, German and Italian leaders agreed at a meeting in Munich that Nazi Germany would be allowed to annex Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland.

Just a little reminder from history about how honorable and bright political leaders can be.

And I can vote for...Whom??

I couldn't even read Barbara Daffy's column today. The headline did me in.

"NDP hoping for a big breakthrough in BC"

Is she kidding?

There are no NDP signs on lawns in my neighbourhood, and, as far as I know, there is no candidate.

We've got your Joyce Murray, your Deb Meredith, your Dan Grice.

But the last I heard, the NDP guy was thrown to the wolves for some nutty indiscretion or other.

Has anyone told Jack Layton or Barbara D. that elections are won in the trenches, on the phones, in the 'hood?

I'd love to vote for the NDP.

If only they'd get around to telling me who the candidate is.

Who Will Rescue the Rescuers?

David Brooks has writen a fascinating and very strong editorial in this morning's NY Times.

The gist is that America wobbles now on the shakiest of grounds because it lacks leadership and authority.

Like many of us, he awaits a resolution to the bailout debacle.

In the meantime, don't even bother to look at what remains of your portfolio.

Go fishing. Talk to your parents or children. Cook dinner.

The Anti-Market News

Monday, September 29, 2008

Humpty Dumpty One

Here is a Letter to the Editor in today's Province. The writer refers to a recovered addict who completely and honestly understands addictions. The writer on the other hand is a theorist who knows nothing of where he speaks. The world is topsy-turvy.

True nature of addiction

The Province

Published: Monday, September 29, 2008

Letter writer Barry Joneson and other Insite detractors don't understand the nature of addiction

You cannot force people to do something and unless society is willing to give police the power to do so, then harm reduction is the only thing that makes sense.

You can have all the treatment facilities you want, but addicts who don't want to make use of them will have only the streets to do their drugs

Brandon Parker,


Humpty Dumpty TWO

A Victoria drug addict's Charter rights were violated because he did not have access to a supervised injection site like Vancouver's Insite.

"How can someone's conduct be criminal in Victoria, but not in Vancouver, where drug addicts have access to Insite?" the addict's enterprising lawyer asked.



Today's spurious headlines are all about John McCain's gambling habits and gambling connections.

There may or may not in time be some important information hidden in these missives, but we have yet to see it.

I good friend tells of the time he played craps at a Vegas table next to McCain for several hours a few years ago.

He says that the good Senator from Arizona was intent and focused and not particularly friendly.

As far as I know gambling is a legal activity in many places.

If we learn that McCain took bribes or did some other illegal and unsavoury acts, then we will have something about which we can complain and somewhere to point.

In the meantime, this kind of innuendo and silliness must go.

The Gambler

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rosh Hashanah

I was saddened to read in a Sun editorial the other day that there are only 13 million Jews in the world today.

There are at least ten cities in China that have larger populations than 13 million people.

The Jewish population in most countries, including Canada is much less than one per cent.

As a Jew, and a typical modern Jew in many ways, I was shocked by these numbers.

Yet, look at our disproportionate contributions.

In music, medicine and science, Jews have been extraordinary leaders for the past century.

Hollywood was and is a Jewish business.

The list of Jewish violinists, pianists, composers, conductors and singers is long and legendary.

Half the inventions in both I.T. and medical technology have come in recent years from Israel.

And make no mistake about it, the future of the Jews is in Israel.

Because those of us in the diaspora -scattered here and yon in every country in the world - are not, by and large, holding the faith.

The reason that we will celebrate the year 5769 next week, the reason that Judaism has survived almost 6,000 years, is that the religion and its customs are in the home.

Daily ritual and observance are at the table and the wash basin and the bedroom. Blessings and thanks are built into the natural rhythms of the day.

The problem, of course, is that few North American Jews have the discipline or desire to keep to the path.

Like the Chinese, we are adept at blending in to any culture and succeeding on that society's terms, while still honoring our deeply felt histories.

And like any wandering peoples, we increasingly intermarry, change our names, join the golf clubs and make observance only an occasional tipping of the hat.

I am not an observant Jew.

Yet, I am deeply, profoundly, inevitably Jewish. And happy to be so.

I love study. I love argument. I am a life-long learner. I love food and sex and passion and laughter.

If I knew another way to be, I might consider it. But I don't. This is what I know and I like it.

Even in the shadow of History's One Great Horror, the Holocaust, I am proud and happy to be a Jew.

I just didn't know, in my ignorance, that there were so few of us.

Score One

To give him his due...

John McCain may have lost the debate the other night handily, but he did get off the occasional funny line.

This was my favorite.

"I've looked Putin in the eye, and I saw three letters - KGB."

Not enough to win an election, but, hey, these are desparate times.

It's like looking for a good moment in an Owen Wilson movie.

Three Bears

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, Representative Barney Frank, center, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., and Senator Harry Reid, early Sunday.

I have one question.

How high is your confidence in these geniuses to solve this problem?

Weren't all four of them long in place while this madness was going on?

I have really reached the point where I find almost all politicians to be disgraceful fakes.

Officials said Congressional staff members would work to finalize the language of an agreement that would include pay limits for executives and require the government to do more to prevent foreclosures.

But yesterday a news report advised that there were many "executives" who had been on Wall Street for less than a year who would walk away from the fire with millions in compensation.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I am pleased to Renounce...

Toll Smoll.

Drek in; drek out.

Now, the Preem has taken to getting teary-eyed every time he announces one of his little pea-and-shell games.

Lord! Will someone take this poor fellow out for a quiet walk somewhere.

Moving Right Along

It's not often that I agree with a sitting government about much of anything.

But I am pleased to see the new permission by Victoria to allow pharmacists to renew some prescriptions without a visit to your local bones.

For many of us, these renewals are simple, harmless and necessary.

Why then add another $29.30 or whatever the tab is to say Hi to our family doctor. We need to eliminate useless expenditures in the medical system and this is one reasonable way to do it.

(Having nurses and other practitioners doing a host of jobs that do not need Mr. Seven Years is another reasonable way to cut costs.)

Of course, the docs are mightily upset and like good politicians everywhere, they warn of the dire consequences of asking pharmacists to be more than order takers and fillers.

Yes, this new initiative opens opportunities for mistakes and corruption.

But why should my neighbourhood pharmacist be more prone to these diseases than my doctor?

Not a Thrilla in Manila

One of our favorite sportscasters loves to shout over footage of running backs crashing towards the end zone, "Rumbling, stumbling, bumbling..."

We needed him last night at the McCain/Obama sparring match #1.

I suppose all those commentators must find "balanced" things to say after the nosebleed, but unless we were all watching very different channels, I gave Obama 15 rounds and The Old Guy zilch.

McCain was also undignified, whining repeatedly, "What Senator Obama doesn't understand is..."


Paul Newman

He should have been given a shelf of Oscars for "The Verdict."

His reading of Frank Galvin, the alcoholic Boston lawyer, was brave and unforgettable.

Redford had 6 directors quit on him when he tried to make the movie. Redford wanted the character turned into a tradional hero. That's Redford. The directors walked, and then Newman got hold of the project.

He lost that year at the Oscar's to Ben Kingsley's thorough reincarnation of "Ghandi."

He should have won a shelf of Oscars for "The Hustler." His portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson, the pool player who has to learn life's lessons at great cost is gripping and watchable year after year.

He lost unbelievably that year to Maximillian Schell in "Judgement at Nuremberg," a stolid, plodding docudrama that managed to make one of history's greatest tragedies almost boring.

(At the same ceremonies, George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason both lost in the Best Supporting Actor category for their astonishing work in "The Hustler" to George Chakiris in "West Side Story." Go figure.)

He was that rare thing - Paul Newman - a Huge Movie Star, who happened to be also a Great Actor.

And a philanthropist and social activist and a devastatingly charming handsome fellow.

We will search for some time to find his like again.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman: 1925 - 2008

27 September 2008 8:49 AM, PDT | From IMDb News

Beloved actor and humanitarian Paul Newman has died of cancer in his home in Westport, Connecticut. He was 83.

Newman, whose stunning blue eyes and immense capacity for generosity made him one of the most cherished personalities of his era, was an extremely private man and was rumored to have been seriously ill for several months. He had canceled some planned appearances in the summer.

Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio in 1925, Newman first made his mark on the stage and TV but his startling good looks and undeniable presence destined him to appear on the screen. Newman often played troubled characters with streaks of nobility such as “Fast” Eddie Felson in The Hustler, and the eponymous, irrepressible roles of Hud Bannon in Hud and the imprisoned rebel, Cool Hand Luke.

But it was his role as Butch in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, opposite Robert Redford, that thrust him into the realm of super-stardom. He followed it with other classic films including The Sting, The Towering Inferno, Slap Shot, and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

Newman was a star right out of the gate, however, being nominated for an Oscar for his third major role as Brick Pollitt, the drunken husband locked in a loveless marriage with Elizabeth Taylor’s smoldering “Maggie the Cat” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Newman’s real-life relationship was exactly the opposite. He was married to actress Joanne Woodward for 50 years. The two worked together in 1958’s The Long Hot Summer. It was the same year they were wed and that Woodward won an Oscar for her work in 1957’s The Three Faces of Eve.

It was not the end of their professional collaborations. Newman also directed her to another Oscar nomination in Rachel, Rachel (the film picked up four nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay by their lifelong friend, Stewart Stern). Newman also directed Woodward in The Glass Managerie and starred with her in Mr. & Mrs. Bridge.

Nominated for seven Oscars (including Best Actor nods for Absence of Malice and The Verdict) Newman finally won on his eighth nomination for his reprisal role of Fast Eddie in Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money (he would be nominated two more times afterwards, for Best Actor in Nobody’s Fool and Best Supporting Actor in Road to Perdition).

But of all the trophies Newman won or was awarded in his life none seem more appropriate than his honorary 1994 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Newman’s charitable giving, from his Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, a camp for seriously ill children or his proceeds from Newman’s Own, are legendary. As was the man. As will be his legacy.

Newman is survived by Woodward, his five daughters and several grandchildren. A son, Scott Newman, died of an accidental drug overdose in 1978.

Paul Newman

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quote of the Day

Michael Byers is the NDP candidate for federal office in Vancouver Centre.

He lamented yesterday that "his two sons may never see polar bears in the wild."


How many human persons have actually seen polar bears in the wild? 137?

How many might expect to?

Was this part of your plan?

I'll go to University, get a medical degree, marry Ellen, have kids, play golf and , oh yes, stop by the arctic some day to, you guessed it, see polar bears in the wild.

Running against this wizard are Hedy Fry and Lorne Mayencourt.

Somebody get out the nets.

Step Right UP!

A local radio station has been buying ads in the Sun of late.

This is what they claim:

Talk that matters to you.

A station that captivates your interests.

A station that makes you more interesting.


I didn't know that listening to a radio station could make me more interesting.

I didn't even know that one of my life goals was to be more interesting.

To whom?

The guys with whom I play bridge once a month?

This particular radio station, under the same steely-eyed management for years, has had a 1.5 share for decades. That means that 1.5% of the local audience of interesting people are listening. That's not enough to visit Tim's.

The world is completely mad, I tell you, and no where more so than in the wonderful topsy-turvy house of mirrors called Media.

J.J. McColl

I was so sorry to learn today of the passing of J.J. McColl.

She was a wonderful, writer and broadcaster and a warm and loving friend.

Brilliant Satire

Do yourself a really, really BIG favour and watch the first ten minutes of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show here.

President Bush's speech on the financial crisis is very similar to his speech on Iraq five years ago.

In fact, as Stewart and his staff put the two videos side by side, you see the full impact of the lying snake who has been the President of the United Staes of America for eight years.

The Unbearable Lightness of Bulbs

Political correctness under a new light.

Last week I stopped in at London Drugs to buy a 40 watt bulb.

They had none.

Or should I say, they had none that I could recognize as familiar.

Rather, there was a ready supply of the new twisty, twirly thingamajigs that are supposed to burn for a millennium or two. So I bought a 2-pack.

Took the creepy thing home, put one in the wall sconce above the watercolor in the hallway downstairs and behold - ugliness on display!

A light that pauses before it comes on and then glares a sheering hospital corridor brightness that changes your home into an institution.

The twisty, twirly that I put in one of my living room lamps burned out last month, long before it claimed it would.

"Bull," say I.

Whose cousin owns these godawful things? Does the Premier's uncle own the franchise.

I went into the Home Hardware on Salt Spring Island earlier this week and bought me a gross of the Old Familiars and smuggled them back on an unsuspecting BC Ferries crew.

Well, they'll never see the light, will they?

My new old bulb's casting a lovely soft glow above my painting again.

No doubt I am minutes away from the Invasion of the Correct Lighting Commitat.

Send chocolate and a saw.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Behind Door Three

Mike Howell, staff writer has given us an excellent front cover piece in this Wednesday's edition of The Vancouver Courier.

Our good friend, Victor, has exactly the same reaction to a key element of this story. The foto says it all.

But here is Victor's take:

"If you want to know everything that's wrong with Canadian politics,
please look at page four of today's Courier. There is a picture of a
bus load of Punjabi women being delivered to vote in the Vision
Vancouver nomination meeting. Sadly, the bus is a school bus, an
ironic image speaking volumes.

The greatest disrespect that can be shown immigrants is to use them as
ballot box cattle. This is a technique mastered by the Liberals over
the last 40 years but it is sickening to actually see it documented.

Please spare me the bullshit about participation in the democratic
process. Remember the Punjabi women who died in the crash of that farm
workers bus a while back. Police who interviewed other women working
at the farm reported that they could not recite their addresses and
phone numbers. In either language.

The women that Vision Vancouver herded to the meeting were undoubtedly
on a par. An ethical reporter would have interviewed them on the
aspects of Vision policy that they supported. But that would have been
deemed culturally insensitive. So we pretend and preen in or
multicultural delusions. Disgusting."

There were many reasons that I gave for not running for office. Perhaps I didn't mention or emphasize enough this kind of appalling nonsense passing for democratic process.


97 of 100 Americans has a gub.

31 of 100 Canajuns have a gub.

I'm not feeling smug and safer.

No Country for Real Men

My mind is made up.

You will never convince me that Gordon Campbell's carbon tax has ANY merit.

Tell me that transit will be seriously improved to the point where I can safely and efficiently catch a conveyance and I'll leave the little put-put in the garage.

Tell me that SUV's will be outlawed.

Tell me that every polluting industry will be ordered by law to cut emissions by 25%.

Tell me I can buy an electric car that is allowed to run on the streets of Vancouver.

But the carbon tax scam is ALL smoke and mirrors.

And this latest back-tread by the Preem to accommodate local municipalities is simply more pea-and-shell game.

Do not take this nonsense seriously. Do not pay it heed.

This is exactly the same silver bullet "thinking" that brought you the Community Court and safe injection sites and on into the night...


What is the scariest thing about The Bailout?

The fact that George W. Bush is the point man.

Because now we should believe him?

I defy anyone to really understand this atrocious mess, other than in the obvious generalities - greed, venality, corruption, dereg, greed, did I mention greed?

But having the Worst President in History 'splainin' stuff to the 'merican people...?

When will it be safe to watch the TV again?


A 23-year-old Abbotsford resident was hit at 1 a.m while talking on her cell phone and sitting on the train tracks near the pier at the 15000 block of Marine Drive in White Rock.


Last week, a woman came within inches of taking out my son and I as we attempted to cross a street. The woman barrelled at top speed through a traffic circle while texting.

There is no question that somewhere out there is a Higher Power.

How else to explain the survival of the endless list of effing eejits who cross the street in the middle of the block with their backs turned to oncoming traffic?

The cyclists who don't wear helmets but listen to tunes whilst maneuvering busy streets, when but a few feet away are perfectly good and safe bike paths?

The only people in the known civilized world - Vancouverites - who drive left around traffic circles because it suits them?

The geniuses who sit on train tracks, listening to their MP3's and live to tell the tale?

The Lord is merciful.

Or a really, really Big Joker...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Adios...for a day or two

On Monday morning, I will be heading into the woods for a few days.

I'll be reading....books! Remember those?

The news will have to survive without my take.

See you all on Thursday morning.

Wallace Craig exposes the Meddling

"Set in a sterile and disused pre-trial jail behind the Criminal Court at 222 Main Street, the DCC will be a revolving-door court for drug addicts, a finger-in-the-dyke experiment that lacks the critical support of detoxification and residential treatment premises."

This is the second paragraph is what is perhaps Justice Wallace Craig's best piece ever in the North Shore News.

Read it and understand that the community court is a good idea, amateurishly executed.

Joyful Noise

Pop the Corks!


What are you doing today to celebrate Insite's fifth anniversary?

Take a junkie to brunch.

Break into a Lexus.

Drag a political candidate screaming through the DTES back alleys.

Light up with Elizabeth May.

SEx, Lies & Injection Sites










Vancouver's supervised injection site celebrates fifth anniversary

Cheryl Chan The Province

Sunday, September 21, 2008

When Insite, North America's first supervised drug-injection site marks its fifth anniversary in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Sunday, the celebration will be tempered with disappointment.

Despite research that shows Insite works, the federal government has refused to support it, say members of PHS Community Services, which runs the facility along with Vancouver Coastal Health.

"Old arguments against Insite just don't stand up against real research," executive director Liz Evans told The Province. "It's time to accept that supervised-injection sites are a necessary part of the comprehensive plan needed to seriously address drug addiction." "It's time for Stephen Harper to listen to the evidence and put public health before politics," said Mark Townsend, Evans' partner and a fellow PHS executive.

Insite has been the subject of more than 30 peer-reviewed studies and several government-commissioned reports that show it has a positive impact in the community, has taken more than a million injections off city streets, has intervened in more than 850 overdoses, has reduced transmission of HIV and hepatitis C and does not attract new drug users. Townsend said it is "disappointing" to be constantly fighting the battle against Ottawa, despite support from the municipal and provincial governments and nearly 80 per cent of doctors in the Canadian Medical Association. "The sad part of it is, there's lots more to do," said Townsend. "We've opened detox beds, we're trying to establish therapeutic [services] with horse therapy. We run a dental clinic and a medical clinic, but our time gets sucked up trying to keep [Insite] on the table." In addition to Insite, PHS Community Services also operates Onsite's 12 detox beds, several transitional beds for patients waiting to get into a long-term treatment facility and a raft of other services in the Downtown Eastside. PHS has assets of $12 million and revenues of almost $11 million a year. Insite, which sees about 600 to 1,100 users daily, has operated in the Downtown Eastside since 2003 under an exemption from the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The permit had already been extended twice when in May, the B.C. Supreme Court granted it a constitutional exemption. The federal government is appealing the decision, with the case scheduled to be heard in April 2009. Meanwhile, federal candidates on the campaign trail have offered words of support. The Liberals have promised to renew Insite's federal licence as part of their made-in-B.C. platform. Green Party leader Elizabeth May has also pledged support. Townsend said it shouldn't matter who is in power. "We don't see it as a political issue," he said. "No matter who's in power, you need to know a health issue like this isn't politically interfered with." Invited speakers at tomorrow's news conference include Dr. Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society, and Prof. Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University.

Journals from the Past

I don't know what I did to deserve this largess.

I must have renewed my telephone or cable subscription. Something.

Now I am receiving in the mail each week Maclean's magazine.

I can understand a document like this in 1957.

But today?

It is chocker-block full of earnest good work.

And utterly unreadable.

I think this "gift" has a finite time line. I expect it to move on to one of my unsuspecting neighbours in a few weeks.

Oy Vey!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Bailout

The bailout.

One Trillion Dollars.



Nice cocktail.

The illusion of American Capitalism and it's revulsion with the very word "socialism" is exposed.

Necessary? The world markets might collapse.

Hideous? You and I won't get bailed out of our puny mistakes in judgement.

You tell me. This is a huge subject requiring days of discussion and enquiry.

Good luck to us all.

Leadership & Hospitality - BC's Finest

The news that a museum in sunny downtown enlightened Prince Rupert has barred an American visitor and his motorized wheelchair is way beyond appalling.

The museum has its excuses and reasons and they are all shoddy beyond understanding.

Please tell me these ghouls will be fired.

Please let us citizens of BC fly this fellow back and give him a personal tour of the museum and fotos of the previous administration in jail or living on the streets.

What were they thinking?

I have been looking in vain for over a week now for lawn signs advising me of whom my NDP candidate might be.

They must have all gone up in smoke.

Turns out he's the second pothead the party has had to ditch.

Nice. Thorough. Thoughtful.

This is the best we can do?

All the Honorable Gentlemen

"You have feces and urine and blood on walls, you have garbage that piles up, you have mattresses, people are living there," said Greater Victoria board of education trustee Peg Orcherton.She said discarded needles at Victoria high school are also a big concern. Orcherton said the problem has existed since she was first elected six years ago, but was never as bad as it is now."

Story about Victoria schools in this morning's Sun.

The raging success of Harm Seduction continues at a steady pace.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Liz . has a different Take on the Dr-Pharmacist Issue


Your interpretation may be correct.

George Abbott's protestations to the contrary, however, I read the proposal differently. I think it was a back-handed attempt by the Liberals to take doctors' visits off the healthcare system and load the fee on at the drug store.

The Minister says not, but drug stores are not into losing money. So if Abbott is successful in squashing the fee, the pharmacy will just build the cost into the price of the prescription.

I support doctors on this, and here's why...

The current system, as you point out, requires a patient to visit the doctor to have a prescription renewed beyond the number of repeats indicated on the first label. A costly, unnecessary nuisance? Maybe - but only if an innocuous med is being prescribed.

For anything more, the BCMA has a valid point - even if it does provide income for the prescribing physician.

Today's medications are hi-tech stuff. Almost daily, we hear of newly-discovered, sometimes life-threatening side effects of meds that have been on the market for years. In some cases, that unnecessary visit to the doctor can save your life...

Conflicts with diet or other meds; doubling-up by patient visits to more than one pharmacy; undesired side-effects, drugs not achieving the relief for which they were prescribed, embarrassing results a patient will not discuss in a busy drug store. There are endless reasons why that doctor's visit would be a better way to go.

All of that said, there's a far more important aspect to the Pharmacare problem that is never really thrashed out...


Following a bout of food-poisoning about five years ago, a patient was left with a chronic case of gastro-esophageal reflux - GERD. Left untreated, a GERD patient is not only very uncomfortable, the condition can lead to cancer.

The modern, very expensive, blitz-advertised remedy is what, for legal reasons, I'll call the sexy-pill. The sexy-pill was initially prescribed to our patient.

It did not effect a cure within the "usual" eight weeks. A visit to the doctor suggested other, less expensive, options. The patient demurred, reluctant to change from said sexy-pill, which had given great relief, despite no cure.

Incredibly, the doctor explained thusly: "This alternative, in all ways that matter, has the same ingredients. What you need to know is that the manufacturer of the sexy-pill initially produced a similar med, same medicinal ingredients...but the patent-protection period was coming to an end. Had that happened, any company would have been free to produce it, and the price would have dropped dramatically. So the manufacturer added a few mean-nothing ingredients, changed its appearance, re-patented it for another ten years, and Presto! the sexy-pill was born. And it is now sold at an even higher price."

When our patient expressed surprise and disgust, the doctor replied, "It happens all the time -all throughout the pharmaceutical industry, and the legal rights of the patent are costing us bigtime. How else do you think they can afford to give me this box of sexy-pill samples."

When I heard about this, David, I began to do some research which, sadly became overwhelmed by other projects. Suffice it to say - other countries, many of them poor countries, have found ways to combat this...ways that, if duplicated in North America, would save patients and governments alike BILLIONS of dollars.

Likely to happen? Don't hold your breath.

Liz J.

September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please, be Quiet

Opaque is an idiot.

Worse, he's irresponsible and dangerous.

Worse, he's the province's top cop.

The man says on the radio that the police make too many mistakes.

He says this, of course, in a knee-jerk defense of the courts.

It is no accident that most of the citizens of this sovereign state have lost all confidence in our courts.

Today, three cases illustrate.

In two of the, Hell's Angels have been acquitted of various criminal charges. Oops.

In another, a man fired eight shots at his mother, striking her with three, killed her, then buried her in the woods nearby.

Sentence? Four years.

So, in a time when the police need more support, not less, our top cop babbles shamelessly on the airwaves that the police make too many mistakes.

No doubt the police, like you and me, make their share of mistakes.

No doubt their mistakes are costlier than most of our failures to put the top back on the marmalade jar.

But their mistakes pale to insignificance compared to the atrocities doled out by our courts on a daily basis. Criminal justice is but a ghost in this town these days and most of us feel it viscerally.

Opaque is a shame.

Dr. Proctor

Pharmacists will now be able to renew prescriptions without your visit to the family doctor.

Clearly this means the world is coming to an end.

At least, that's what it means if you are the BC Medical Association, to whit, a doctor.

Raise the drawbridge! Alert the crocs! The peasants are revolting!

Stealing Drunk

An employee steals.

He is caught and he is fired.


Apparently not.

Not if you are a member of the BCGEU, who have now involved the Human Rights Tribunal and several court systems in their defense of the indefensible.

It is true that we have come a long way to understanding and helping alcoholics.

Today, an addict will get opportunities from his or her employer to clean up long before the pink slip option emerges.

But what's that got to do with stealing?

Being a drunk has long since been removed from our court systems as an excuse for criminal behaviour.

The BCGEU needs find more worthy fights to fight.

Sulu's a Fag!?!?!

The wedding pictures of actor George Takei and his partner that flashed around the world the other day got me thinking.

And not in the right direction.

Takei played Sulu on Star Trek for 947 light years, or thereabouts.

My first concern was all those Trekkies.

Many of them will be happy for their Sulu Man, of course.

But equally many will probably foresake their protein shakes for several days in mourning.

Willing and able to accept the most fanciful notions - people with pizza faces, William Shatner is a great actor, a guy with pointy ears and no emotions could be anything other than president of the United States for eight years - these same loyals will struggle with the idea that one of their favorites wants to snuggle with a similarly gendered humanoid.


Then my thoughts - if you can call these thoughts, more like LED blinks on a mottled wallboard - wandered to that lovely gal who has replaced Branjolina as The Headliner. You know, the one who knows everything about Russia because she can see it from her front porch.

Her defenders ( a nation unto itself, Palinistan) will be quick to tell you that she is not against gays. Or at least, not too close to them. That she thinks gays should have all the usual equal rights. Just that "marriage" is a word, apparently so holy, so suffused with godliness that it cannot be squandered on any other than a righteous man and a righteous woman.

First and last is the word, don't you know?

So I'm looking at these pics of George and Brad and I'm wondering once again how the marriage of these two souls can in one catclysmic moment upset all that has come before and all that will follow.

How many millions of men and women have married and will marry? But two guys in California dare to marry and the world is coming to an end.

The tolerance and acceptance and love that comes with these holy vows has gone where?

Closer to home, we learn today that abortion and gay marriage are still issues in the upcoming federal election.

We are on the precipice of a total world economic collapse and there are people still kvetching about abortion and gay marriage.



Mazel Tov, congrats, tanti auguri to Mr. Sulu.

Some aliens do come home.

CFL Legend Dies at 69

I was sorry to learn this morning of the death of Ron Lancaster.

Lancaster was one of the great football quarterbacks, both sides of the border.

He was a gritty, scrappy player and a pleasure to watch on the field.

P's & Q's

Headlines like "International Students Take Priority," are not helpful.

The real story is that the West Vancouver school system is so hide-bound and frozen that it can't handle 2 more students who would like to walk to school.

The headline plays unnecessarily into the hands of anti-immigration folk, who wait, drooling, just for moments like this to emerge from their bunkers.

David talks...and talks...and talks...

Joseph Planta interviewed me the other day on his website, thecommentary.ca.

You can listen to this enlightening silliness here.

Terribly Cruel, Terribly Biased and Oh So Funny

The Age ~~ Melbourne ~~ Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Welcome to this year's blockbuster

By Catherine Deveny

I'M OBSESSED with Sarah Palin. She's the first thing I think about
when I wake and the last thing I think of before I go to sleep. I
google her a dozen times a day and manage to bring her up in every
conversation I have.

"You have hair. Sarah Palin has hair. What a coincidence! She has big
hair and it's brown. Her kids have hair too. Their names are Track,
Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. Would you like to see a photo of
Sarah's hair? Or her kids' hair? Or her husband the First Dude's hair?
She's a great mother, she went back to work three days after giving
birth to a disabled child. Of course, she didn't have to. She chose
to. She and the First Dude had little Trig's best interests at heart.
Never too early to instil independence. It toughens 'em up. Next stop?
A bloody good war."

I found myself checking out Palin Facebook groups last night. The ones
that amused me included: Excuse Me, But Has Anyone Else Noticed That
Sarah Palin Is Insane? My Dog Is More Qualified To Be Vice-President
Than Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin Is A Bona Fide Whack Job. Librarians
Against Sarah Palin. I Would Have Sex With, But Not Vote For, Sarah
Palin. And: I Would Rather Have A Mentally Challenged Goat As VP Than
Sarah Palin.

I'd been thinking the US election campaign was dragging on endlessly
until I read the headline "McCain chooses woman for running mate." I
loved that, "woman". Sums the whole thing up. She's the closest thing
Republican strategists could find to a man with a vagina. No political
party in the world would have had the genius to dream up Sarah Palin.
She's a social experiment with lipstick.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd likened the Sarah Palin story to
the chick flick Miss Congeniality. I think of it more as an in-flight
movie. Like Dumb and Dumber. If you're after a laugh, check out the
campaign poster for McCain and Palin. The slogan is "The Ticket For
America". The running mates look like an old rich bloke with erectile
dysfunction and his white trash trophy wife wearing glasses so she
looks intellectual and that.

McCain strikes me as "a bit of a fall" away from stewed prunes and
dribbling, and she looks as hungry and deranged as Anna Nicole Smith.
"Hey, Johnny, why don't y'all take up smoking! It's not too late. Have
another spoon of cholesterol. Where's that special button you done
talked about that blows up countries? Bristol's boyfriend's Xbox isn't
working and he's bored."

I'm not proud of it but to be honest, the comedy writer in me really,
really hopes Palin gets in. Shooting, hunting, God-fearing,
anti-abortion, book-banning, homophobic, white trash moron. I'd love
to see the White House lawn covered in cars up on blocks. Male,
female, goat or goldfish, Palin is a writer's dream. I wish I had the
imagination to invent her.

And the hits just keep on coming. Each day there's another titbit that
draws me in. "She what? Not only believes that abstinence should be
the only form of contraception taught in schools and she slashed
funding to a program for teenage mothers but she charged victims of
sexual assault for their own rape kits. I don't even know what rape
kits are but I sure as hell know you don't charge people for them."
And how does that whole guns and God thing work? "Say a prayer and the
merciful Lord will protect us. And if he doesn't, pass me the Uzi."

The only problem with Sarah Palin is that she's real. And, like it or
not, she'll be used as an example of a female politician. Regardless
of the fact she should be filed under dangerous white trash fuelled by
fear, propelled by power and supported by halfwits.

I have two long-held beliefs. First, people should have to pass an
intelligence test before they're allowed to vote and second, that the
rest of the world should be able to vote in the US elections because
the outcome affects us as much as them. If not more.

Like most people, I believe in democracy. As long as everybody else
votes the same way I do. The problems with democracy are that a) not
everyone makes an informed choice and b) if they do, what informs that
choice. We're at the mercy of the morons. People who vote for race,
gender, class and politicians who massage people's prejudices and
reinforce beliefs fertilised by fear.

Sarah Palin personifies the cockiness of ignorance. Bertrand Russell
said: "Fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but
wiser people so full of doubts." Pass me the popcorn, I can't wait to
see how this movie ends.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Watching a Government Fold in on Itself

Fun to see The Preem on the run:

1. Clarence Hansen, chairman of the (Do We really Need This Body?) Board of Education, says that politics played no factor in choosing school upgrades in Campbell's riding.

Whose cousin is this clown?

Running off at the mouth is allowed; but babbling incomprehensibly and lying through your teeth is unseemly for a guy in a nice suit.

2. The Board of Trade - THE BOARD OF FREAKING TRADE, FOR GWADSAKES - has declared the Preem's Carbon Tax a no-go.

Campbell is the Board of Trade. The Board is the Liberal government. These folks are Siamese twins.

This is like having your mom not applaud wildly when you recite the poem at the Christmas concert.

3. Vaughn Palmer lists the 900 reasons that cancelling the fall sitting of the legislature has rightfully infuriated citizens and lovers of the democratic process everywhere.

Can you say, "Stayed too long at the fair," boys and girls?

Just asking

Of course, I don't really understand the market collapse.

Do you?

A house of cards way too complicated for a simpleton like me.

But, if I am not mistaken, the ever-so-brilliant Lehman Brothers were enormously over-leveraged on paper mortgages.

In short, they put most of their eggs in one basket.

Now, excuse me for asking those who know so much better.

But isn't a basic principal of investment to maintain balance and diversity?

Deeply Imbedded Fantasies

Today's Letter to the Editor from Dr. Stan De Vlaming and 23 of his medical friends demonstrates a) how myths are created and b) why we are in such a mess regarding drugs.

Here is the key statement in their letter:

"Methadone mainenance is a valuable tool for the treatment of addiction and is supported by 50 years of experience and research."

Methadone maintenanc is in fact an unmitigated disaster, a dreadful waste of public funds and a declaration of hoplessness. "You cannot walk free of your addiction, so take this, you poor fool."

What cynicism.

What lack of kindness and courage.

What Dr. De Vlaming and his colleagues are well-respected doctors.

They are, as Marc Antony said of Brutus and Cassius, honorable men all.

Commentary on Home care from Linda

David, I have to agree with you comments on home care.

Although I have worked as an LPN in a long term care facility for over ten years, I started out working for a home care agency in 1997.

When I started with this work, I was classified as a "Home Support Worker II" (I was not working as an LPN). I assisted people in their homes with washing, dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, errands, companionship and the like). I enjoyed working with people in their homes.

I was paid $13.30 per hour (IN 1997!!!). The rate for these workers has not increased much (if at all). This wage did not include time to travel between clients homes. In others words, I might be booked for two hours in one home, and then have to take a bus for 1/2 hour to get to another job - I was not paid for that 1/2 hour - ONLY the time that I was caring for someone in their home.

I remember getting a call from the scheduler asking if I could drive from my family home in East Vancouver to a client in South Tsawassen for a two hour job. They wanted me in the middle of the weekday rush hour. I politely explained that I could not justify spending over an hour to commute to a two hour job (and then have to drive home) (Incidentally, I was not going to be reimbursed for the use of my car either..). Later, I accepted a job in facility (very hard work, but rewarding personally/professionaly and with fair compensation

You better believe it costs money for good home care. I really admire the people who continue to care for people in their homes. They are doing a great job and they certainly are not being fairly compensated for all that they give.

Oh, and while I am ranting away....it's all well and good that we want to encourage people to stay in their homes - but just look at the hullaballu that occured when that 90+ woman simply wanted a ramp put into her building (where she had been living for 30 years!!).

All the new townhomes that are being built have steps and tiny washrooms - not exactly condusive for people in a wheelchair requiring assistance!!

Hot damn - I think I will just continue. What EXACTLY do they mean by "age friendly communities"??? Would this be more 55+ housing so we can keep our elders completely separated from their families and any community support. How about make the existing housing accessible and encouraging inclusive communities to begin with!!

Supporting volunteerism?? Who the heck doesn't support volunteerism where and when appropriate?? Check out Volunteer Vancouver, Check out the classifieds in the Employment Paper!! Lots of need for good volunteers!!


You want to support seniors - stop delisting needing medications from Pharmacare!

You want to support seniors - every new development must be wheelchair accessible and every new unit must be wheelchair accessible.

You want to support seniors - better fund long term care facilities, provide funding for extra in home care where needed (and pay fair wages to home care workers so that the best and most suitable applicants will take on this work).

You want to support seniors - provide tax relief for seniors who are retired and unable to work so that their pensions and savings are not eaten away by inflation.

Finally, if you want to support seniors - for those elders who eventually have continuing and complex care needs who require placement in a skilled nursing facility - try to have an ounce of compassion and allow the placements to be made based (at least partially) on geography. There is nothing like an elderly couple being torn apart when one needs placement - only to have the placement be 30 kms away and impossible to access by public transit.


Okay, I think I said my piece

Linda Yuill, LPN

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Victor Ruminates on the differences between Politics and Politicians in the Excites States and Canerda

The Sarah Palin competence controversy provides an exiting opportunity
for Canadians to examine the role that competence plays in the
selection of Cabinet Ministers in this country.

Those with a minimal knowledge of Canadian politics understand that
there are four criteria for selecting Cabinet Ministers. These are:

Region, plurality, gender and ethnicity. Competence for the Cabinet
portfolio, which is an executive portfolio often involving billions in
spending authority, is an unintended and rare consequence of this

Before briefly explaining how these four selection criteria are
applied for selecting Cabinet Ministers, we should acknowledge that
competence is not always a leading factor in selecting a Prime Minister.

Look at Pierre Trudeau. When he became PM at age 48 he had 3 years of
political experience. Prior to that he lectured briefly and edited an
obscure policy pamphlet in Quebec. As for his foreign affairs
experience, it consisted of backpacking around the world well into his
30's, an age when the rest of us had a job. He famously wore a Nazi
helmut during WW2 and fawned over Castro and Mao. We should brag.

In terms of the criteria for selecting a Cabinet, it works as follows.

In Cabinet selections, a PM needs regional balance and plurality means
that a dummy from a big constituency gets the nod over a Rhodes
scholar from a small one. Gender selection and Ethnicity require no

Let's look at the results of this process.

Region: How about Max Bernier, the biker chick boinker from Quebec
elevated to international relations.

Gender. Can you say Hedi Frye?

Ethnicity: Dosanjh can glide from party to party assured of a Cabinet
post. Ditto Raymond Chan, another Mensa luminary

As for plurality being a determinant, it's hard to top the career of
Sheila Copps.

Ms. Copps did nothing before entering politics other than have the
good fortune of being sired by a popular Mayor of Hamilton. She made
her name in Opposition as a member of the so-called Rat pack. Her most
famous exploit in that phase of her career, proudly described in her
biography, consisted of crawling in fury across a finance committee
table to intimidate John Crosbie. If I saw Ms. Copps massive butt
crawling at speed in my direction, I too would be intimidated.

She became Deputy Prime Minister. The PM in this country has far more
executive powers than the President of the United States. Scampering
Sheila was a heartbeat away from the job.

Another member of the Rat Pack was Brian Tobin, later touted by many
as a Prime Minister in waiting. Prior to being elected at 24, he spent
2 years as a disc jockey at a 5000 watt radio station. I'm impressed.

So while Canadians smugly sniff around the competence issue in other
countries, we maintain a blissful or willful ignorance about how we
elevate people to powerful Cabinet posts here at home.

Maybe with two elections in the next 7 months, it would be a good time
to start. But we won't .

Victor Godin


Tomorrow morning, Monday, September 15th, I must be at a work assignment at 8:30.

Thus, no blog.

Back Tuesday in fill mojo.