Monday, 30 January 2012

Blogging: A New Saviour in our Midst?

If you have seen the movie Contagion, you may remember a distinct line with mention to blogging spoken between a doctor and a journalist. "Blogging is street art with punctuation."

Yes, the movie was infectious (pun?) with it's thrilling scenes and nerve startling plot and list of characters, but more importantly it was also very rich with subtle issues that exist within our society today.

This entry however is not about the movie and is going to avoid mention of the many interesting quirks that exist within modern society. Why? Well, you live in society and you see what goes on most of the time, hopefully most of the time, so you probably already know what these quirks are. Also, if your wondering what the word quirks means...I need you to pick up a dictionary and read it, also read a newspaper and watch the news tomorrow, it may save your life.

Alright, back to the important topic...the thesis, the idea, the subject...yes subject of tonight/this mornings entry...blogging!

What the hell is blogging and why the hell should we be proud of it?

Blogging is a tool that will inevitably save modern civilization from itself. With the proper attention and yes even spin, a blog entry can cure a wide variety of social ailments.

Mad at someone? Write an entry. Want to spread your opinion about political events that will affect people you know, but these people seem oblivious to anything outside of Jersey Shore? Write a blog entry!

Currently, the Chinese are using blogging sites called mini or micro blogs to spread vast amounts of information censored by the governing party in an attempt to inform people. Their actions are what I believe will form the foundation of the fall of the China we have become so used to today. So much so that I strongly believe in around 10 years, we will see the fall of China and the rise of a stronger democratic movement, sorry investors and rich companies using cheap Chinese labor!

I should correct myself though, because blogging is more then an entry. I would go as far to say that to blog is to display one's emotions or perspective with words. Society and capitalism have allowed us to conveniently grow apart to the point, where human contact or socialization can be seen as creepy as quickly as it can be seen as flattering. We no longer need to be in the same room in order to talk to people, nor do we need to borrow their stuff, as everything we need can be picked up at a local store or garbage bin( we throw out a lot of good stuff to).

Blogging pretty much has also become a consequence of our fast paced and divided society, its what allows the cute brunette to voice her opinion and be open on the internet, but socially distance herself from almost everyone in real life. Alternatively, it allows those who feel their voice has been taken from them, to either rebuild it or replace it with a prosthesis and try and impact some positive change on as many people as possible.

So, to keep this short, but still useful, I will leave you with a thought. Use your head and think about something, think about it not only in the short term, but also in the long term. Think about how it impacts you today, how it has impacted you yesterday and how it may impact you in the future. Try and understand it, but not to much or your head might hurt and then think about it in the big picture. If your thinking has outpaced your understanding and your head becomes filled with tons of ideas that you cannot control, open a blog account and spread it all out.

You never know...what you think is useless junk or a waste of time, might just save us all.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Crazy Cat Lady Down the Street Ain't So Crazy Anymore!

Today I took it upon myself to try something different and partake in some investigative journalism, which basically consisted of me asking some contacts a series of questions regarding a rumor I recently heard about.

What was the rumor you ask?

Well, I recently heard something about the City of Hamilton revising it's by-law regarding the number of animals a person can maintain in their living space or home. To my astonishment and semi-disgust, this new proposed amendment would allow any citizen of Hamilton to keep an UNLIMITED number of animals in their home. I am not just talking about dogs, cats and birds either...the subject also included pythons, anacondas and our scary friend the tarantula :S. 

The vote will take place tomorrow (January 25th, 2012), at city hall and will allow pet owners to have an unlimited number of both domestic and exotic pets,with the requirement of licensing for applicable animals.

I snooped around with some contacts within the city to get more information (No Names), and was astonished to find out that the overall opinion on this amendment was positive as city Councillors felt this could bring in more revenue due to licensing fees. I also discovered that this vote was initiated by non other then the various pet stores within the city. They along with a series of animal lovers lobbied the city to consider this vote.

If this motion does in fact pass, that "crazy" cat lady who lives down the lane might not seem so crazy after all. Further investigation has shown me that the requirements around the implementation of this bill state that the owner must provide food, shelter and water for the animals. So, theoretically, I can move into your neighbourhood, raise 10 dogs in my home and as long as food and water are put out, can terrorize you with barks and doggy doo all I want without worry.

I am an advocate for animals, I love them all except for ones that have eight legs and eyes, but I think this is ridiculous!!! The implementation of this by-law would not only open up the possibility for more animal abuse and neglect, but would also increase the risk of annoyance and the potential for great danger in our community. Sudden images of youth and elderly citizens being bitten and or killed by a pack of "local" dogs come to mind. Additionally, the sad recollection of a couple in Florida who awoke to find that their pet boa had escaped during the night, slid its way to their infants crib and strangled it to death.

As unbelievable as this fear may seem, the reality facing animals is that training aside...they are still animals based on instinct and things happen, throw in a larger group of animals and more things happen. Owners who think they are experts can often end up with a giant mess on their hands and the city's as well, when their pets become to much to handle. If a variation of this law was to go into effect, at least cap the amount of animal and require a series of special permits to carry more then a certain type of animal within city limits.

Good Luck with that bub!

Leader of the pack.

What do you think about this law? Is it another example of business (pet stores) laying in bed with the government(municipal) in an attempt to make money for both sides?

If our by-law officers are already strained and overworked with current complaints, do you think this new amendment would make their jobs easier or counter any net gain with the need for more officers on staff?

Salutations and Greetings!

A few days ago I was notified by Progressive Bloggers that my application to join their blogroll had been accepted!

If you do not know what or who Progressive Bloggers are, I will tell you. PB is a site dedicated to politically inspired blogs that relate to Canadian events and topics. Their site has something called a blogroll, which will post various blog submissions daily for viewers to see and discuss. Even though this achievement can be seen as something rather small and insignificant, I still feel it is important to celebrate and...for those of you who are reading my blog now or have been following it from the beginning, I wish to extend to you my salutations and an offering of peace and prosperity. Your viewership is greatly appreciated and adds a bonus to the writing I contribute to the political road map.

I created the political road map last year as an attempt to add some direction to the political system we employ in Canada. I love this country deeply and even though I have lost much within it, I still feel grateful to have been given the chance to be born here, grow here and hopefully contribute back as well. Canada as a country is something special and I feel that as citizens...we have a duty to maintain the direction our country heads in and ensure that it does not stray off course due to the actions of a few.

So once again...whether this blog entry falls upon your eyes or no eyes at all, I thank you.

You can witness the PB site yourself by visiting this link .::.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Why Beatles Music Will Solve Any Problem You Have.: Let it be :.

Looking back at many of my previous entries, I realized a serious foul on my behalf that required immediate attention...hence why this is my second blog entry for today and my third cup of coffee. Anyways...back on track to the more important things.

The Beatles!

Hit Cult Pop phenomenon, trailblazers, inspiration for countless other musicians...etc, etc, etc and all the fine other things that millions of people continue to use as their understanding of the band itself.

"Never before has a band changed so much within society and made so much money doing it." - Me

Yes, I am quite biased when it comes to these 4 lads from Liverpool, however for the sake of this blog I am going to focus on why their music is relevant to society today and more importantly how it can change our political structures for  the better! Many people claim to be fans of this band, yet their knowledge of the band does not escape what one might view on a commercial or what the publishers of Beatles music today have released.

As a result, my first song to analyze is a famous one that has broken records for the amount of covers performed by other artists and still holds the record for a close second behind Hey Jude as a drunk song sung by a group larger then 4 in public spaces:

Let it be-Released in 1970, recording originally began in 1969, but was prolonged as additions and dubs were added to the original. 

Ironically, this was one of the last songs recorded by the Beatles as a single band before they inevitably broke up.

Looking at this song and society with a philosophic outlook, one can see that the advice provided by this piece of art could solve one of the main issues within western culture...stress. Stress like an illness infects many people and can lead to drastic outcomes as a result. One who suffers from stress can become even more incapacitated as they focus on everything that will inevitably increase their stress level. Our society has become so stressed out due to the financial constraints put on us that we forget to take life in strides and put more emphasis on more important things.  As a result, in a world we have created to make our lives easier, we have also jailed ourselves due to the amount of stress generated to keep it going.

"But when the broken hearted people, living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be." But though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they may see."

Not only a very impressive use of poetry and lyrics, but  a very deep and true outlook on the current political situation that our world faces. We divide ourselves into nations and wage war in an attempt to resolve any conflict that comes before us, yet we fail to see that throughout all of the chaos and division that we create, we are all people living the same life, suffering the same, breathing the same air and most importantly loving the same way. The very fact that we put so much emphasis on little problems that in turn become very large ones as a conflict arises, puts more emphasis on the need for us to let it be, when it comes to these problems in the first place. As gloomy as our separation and violence look however, there will always be a chance of peace overcoming and allowing us to live and work as one.

.:If it will be, then it will be, if not then let it be:. Words of wisdom that can change your entire life.

Furthermore, when the song references Mother Mary, one might automatically think that religion has been infused with the words of wisdom of let it be. In this context, religion has nothing to do with this song. Mother Mary was a reference to McCartney's own mother.

I want you to take a minute and listen to the song, actually listen to it more then once and think about how the lyrics come across to you. How does the song make you feel and what thoughts seep into your mind as the lyrics pass into your ears.

Did I miss something with regards to the lyrics of this song and are there other ways that this song provides solutions to the problems we currently face?

Until next time...I will analyze another song and explain how it provides a solution both to our social lives and our political ones.

SOPA and PIPA: Twins From Hell or Saviours?

If you have been surfing the internet lately, you might have seen various ads and user posts against something called SOPA. Alternatively, if you opened a paper today, you probably would not have seen anything relating to this unless that newspaper was the Toronto Star.

So what the hell is SOPA and it's little sister PIPA anyways? Why is it important to you and I and why do I have to see a million ads against it all over the internet???????

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act or House Bill 3261, while PIPA stands for the Protect Intellectual Property Act. Both acts inherently strive for the same goal albeit some minor differences in their drafts that make them two separate entities. However, if passed these two bad boys will enable the owners of intellectual property to beef up their arsenals against copyright infringement and piracy and essentially any other act that comes close to mimicking the two regardless of them being either legal or illegal.

To be honest, both acts strive to do something very good in an effort to protect the hard work that individuals have completed in order to create. The biggest winners of these acts will be software developers, the music industry and alternatively the movie industry. These three industries are under constant attack from online pirates who distribute their material at little to not cost and undermine the regular retail value of these items, this inevitably leads to lower profits for the respective industries.

As good as this might sound however, SOPA and PIPA become a nightmare for online entities that maintain forums for users to view online material. The biggest players in these forums would have to easily be both YouTube and Wikipedia. If users upload material that goes against the law and alternatively the acts, the owner(s) of the material in question can demand that both sites not only remove the material, but also remove the users who have posted the material. failure to do so would end up costing said online provider a lot of money in fees and or legal action. This is where the line has to be drawn because both SOPA and PIPA will inevitably make it much more difficult to start up an internet business that allows user input and comment and lets face it...everything on the internet today has become a forum or realm that allows user input or comment.

Furthermore, the government has essentially proposed to force the ban of accounts that are linked to uploading contraband material and closing any accounts that govern their income sources, such as PayPal. What we have here is a scenario, where someone used a cannon to kill a fly. The acts fail horribly not in its intentions, since no one wants to spend all this money creating something only to have it distributed free on the internet without recognition of their work.

In the end, both SOPA and PIPA do nothing to combat actual online piracy as they focus on the distribution of the material in realms governed by the United States and nothing outside of it. This act wants to protect US business and allow profits to attempt to return to their pre-napster days, however the method in which they have chosen to do so will not only increase the costs for many companies due to fines and legal fees, but also operating fees due to the extreme moderation required to ensure no contraband material is uploaded. Censoring the internet in this case will not only have extreme repercussions to it's architecture, but will most likely be turned around and hurt the users who rely on it daily.

Our free and Democratic countries have become so connected to the internet that it has become an essential foundation both in our social, political and business realms. To impose a measure so threatening, so finite and constrictive is to impose something that will strangle the free realm we have all come to rely upon...the very internet itself. Not to mention, censorship of this magnitude is something one would expect from a country like China and we have already seen the kind of resistance that government faces in opposition to it....micro-blogs! :)

So if you have a chance, get involved somehow in the discussion over SOPA, it is inherently an American proposition and will most likely not pass due to the overwhelming opposition to it, but it is still something that greatly affects us all. The internet has given us the ability to connect with individuals around the world and can arguably be termed the last truly free realm we have in our lives, so lets protect this realm and fight the copyright issue properly without all of these kill everything in sight methods.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Harper's New Canadian Empire 2.0

Flip open a newspaper, log onto your online news site or watch the evening news and you most likely have heard much more regarding Stephen Harper's most recent moves on the international chessboard. It seems a blog entry I created in 2011 is coming true even today as the Harper government pushes forward to transform our country into the newest empire in town, one of course based solely on natural resources, many of whom are finite and will eventually run out. You can view that blog entry  here.

Firstly, the HMCS Charlottetown was deployed today from Nova Scotia on a mission to support NATO surveillance in the Mediterranean regarding terrorism. Uh why? Have we not seen enough military action in the past year alone to question why Canada seems gun-ho to attach itself to every military mission available.

Do we have something to further prove to the world or are we telling the world a new message?

"When I am done with Canada, you won't even recognize it."

You can read the full article on this move here.

Follow this move up with a military skirmish added to the upcoming Canada Day festivities in Ottawa that will cost $3.7 million and involve a theatrical company overlooking the authenticity of the performance. Again...when has Canada ever glorified our military actions with anything aside from remembrance of those fallen? Is this a message to the Canadian people to compliment the supposed message above about what we can look forward to in this country's near future?

You can see the original article for this move here.

These two actions however pale in comparison to the more heated discussion going on regarding the proposed northern gateway pipeline. Our government has opened up the discussion to foreign entities in an attempt to get a more clear and rounded picture of what this pipeline will offer and also risk. I agree with this approach because you get a better picture regarding what you might be walking into with this project, however this move has also opened up the ability for some anti-Canada opposition to move in and have it's say to. Not a bad thing, since we do live in a free and democratic society that views all sides of the argument right?

Socially it is ethical, environmentally not so much.

Mr. Harper however has vowed to the Canadian people that no outside voices will disrupt the talks. The related article to this can be viewed here.

Take that ya Gawd Dang hippies!!!!!!

Ezra Levant from Sun News wrote an article on this topic as well, his focus however was on how the new change allows foreign voices to interact with a topic that has no relation to them what so ever. Ezra was against the overall idea of opening up the discussions to third parties and hearing them out, but then again Ezra isn't used to hearing more then one side of an argument...he works for Sun News.

His article can be read here.

What are your feelings regarding the topic of the proposed pipeline and it's economic and environmental effects? Should we take a more nationalistic approach toward it and if so, how does one properly be nationalistic in Canada? Should we look to Canada's past and reference a country devoted to peace, diplomacy and the preservation of the environment? How about looking at our country via Stephen Harper's recent proposal that seems to have us focus on military might, the appearance of success and making a profit over everything else?

I thought I would mimic some other more successful news sites and add a section entitled: Caption my picture!

Here it goes:

Scientific data? No, that's alright, my boys at headquarters already wrote up the numbers.    

I challenge you to caption this picture better then me!

Until next time.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Healthcare Endgame: Why we are failing ourselves and those before us.

I was recently introduced to the term : "Bed Blockers", while I watched a Global News special called 16:9. This term is used to label elderly Canadians who are left in a hospital bed while they await a spot in a long term care facility. These individuals are often mistreated indirectly as hospital staff become overwhelmed and are unable to attend to their constant need for attention.

You can watch the roughly twenty minute clip here if you want to see the reality of this term:

I was utterly shocked when I saw the mistreatment that went on in Canadian hospitals as a result of a lack of proper facilities. The elderly within our society not only represent those who came before us and helped build this country, but a portion of our population that is in need of our help in their vulnerable state. The treatment of those who require the most help within our society dictates how well we are doing as a society and if this term is any indication, we are in a lot of trouble.

It currently costs the Canadian government $1250.00 a day to house an elderly patient in a hospital bed, while a long term care facility costs roughly $100.00 dollars a day to do the same thing with more specific and efficient services to properly care for the individual.

There are currently 15,000 beds in this country that are being blocked as a result of elderly patients who are unable to stay home and are also waiting to gain entry into a long term care facility. With cut backs to in home services still occurring, the elderly population within our country are facing a harder and harder time trying to manage their own health. Not to mention the stress that is also added to a family when someone is no longer able to care for themselves at home and requires constant attention.

Let's do the math and see what kind of impact bed blockers are currently having on our healthcare system. If we have 15,000 individuals costing the state 1250.00 a day that equals $18,750,000 being spent daily to care for these individuals.

As alarming as this is, what scares me more is the response given to the Canadian people from both the provincial and federal government. Our provincial government is stating that everything is essentially on schedule, but that more work is to be done. Our federal government on the other hand under Mr. Harper have been stating how difficult it will be to maintain our current system due to the high demand put on us by our elderly citizens. This is the kind of misdirected reasoning that can lead to drastic cutbacks and cancellations, which will further put stress on the average and I.

Let's face it...our society has become overstressed with work and family life to the point where we cannot realistically care for our elderly family members. This horrible realization has become a question that every family now has to discuss. You call them grandma and grandpa, however society has labelled them a burden both financially and physically due to the extreme amount of attention required to care for them.

Everyone seems content with passing the issue along to someone else. The answer to our growing demand for senior care is not an easy one and is quite complicated, but what sickens me is how complacent we are with asking someone else to do something or do nothing at all because it seems like the easier solution. Ask yourself the next time your waiting for 6 hours to see a doctor how much money has been either cut back or budgeted, because the government and hospital administration cannot seem to properly target areas that need help or a redirection of funds.

In Canada, our provincial governments administer our health care and receive funding from the federal government. Currently, there are individuals within government who have attempted to have our federal government become more aware of this very expensive and devastating gray zone that has been created in our health care system. The government's response was simply that the provinces are the ones who must address these issues as they receive federal money to run their programs.

It has become evident that the average Canadian must now use their own actions to get something done. There is still a lot of hope available that will allow us to care for our elderly family members and still maintain this beautiful system we call socialized health care. Canada is known for being able to tackle tough problems and work hard for solutions, yet I feel that in recent years we have taken a more relaxed outlook on these problems and are dealing with symptoms and not the problems themselves. Our health care system can be sustainable and cutting back programs and privatizing is not the answer we need to provide the best coverage possible. We need our government to look at where our tax dollars are being spent and redirect them to provide the best support possible, which in this case is a need for more in home care and long term care facilities to look after those who can no longer look after themselves.

 Alternatively, we need to find time ourselves to give these individuals more attention and show them that they are appreciated. I know this is difficult if you have a grandparent that is ill, but the elderly have so much wisdom they can teach us young folk. Wisdom that cannot only make our lives easier, but help us tackle problems that they have tackled long before we were born. It is our duty as citizens to ensure that our individual pasts are available for future generations who will walk this earth long after we are buried within it. 

What do you think about this current situation and the impact it has on our system? Do you have a family member at home who is having problems taking care of themselves due to illness or old age?

Our elected officials have a duty to find solutions when a problem presents itself, however we as citizens also have a duty to make sure those we elect are doing their job. I know it is difficult in our age of long hours and decreasing pay, but if you speak up and get others talking...things will happen.

We owe it to our grandparents and those who came before us because they have done so much for us both directly and indirectly. If we fail at caring for them and respecting them in their time of need, what does that say about us as a people and country? As other nations begin to industrialize at a more rapid pace, this problem will slowly become an issue for them to, the best example being China and it's record busting middle class.  Stand up, make your voice heard and demand that our government work to find a solution to keep our country moving and our system growing. Canada should present itself as a beacon of hope and an example of what can be done to combat problems, not run from them just because the solution takes a bit of elbow grease.

Until next time!