Tuesday, April 28, 2009

News release: "The Government of Canada Supports Victims of Crime"

"The Government of Canada Supports Victims of Crime"?

Jesus! Good thing they are not supporting the other side!

Yesterday's news release hyping the Department of Justice's "new online Victim Services Directory that will connect victims of crime with services available in their local communities" was really worthy, wasn't it? Not just another empty announcement, was it? With Harpo's Minister's Whack-nut and Wing-nut both at the podium yesterday morning, the announcement must have been meaningful? No?

Could it be otherwise?

To Whack-Wing's credit, their opportunistic announcement to mark National Victims of Crime Awareness Week was not without benefits. If you have been robbed, raped or buggered in B.C., Alberta, or Ontario this announcement had real import. The new online Victims Directory site indeed has a list of agencies that can help. In B.C.'s case there are 109 support agencies listed. In Alberta and Ontario there are 63 and 93 agencies respectively. Good. Victims of crime need all the support they can get.

But if you happen to live in Manitoba, and have been robbed, raped or buggered ... well, this announcement probably won't do you any good. You see, clearly the Tory's were more interested in getting the "news" out than in ensuring that it was providing all with equal information. If a victim of crime in Manitoba needed to rely on this site today they would find their options severely limited. You see, according to the federal government, in all of Manitoba, there are only 5 (five) agencies apparently able to offer victims of crime the support they need? And if you require counselling? Well, there is only ONE, and it, apparently is only for the elderly. Wow. Is this the best they could do?

Could Harpo's minister's not have ensured their much touted site was better equipped before they made an announcement? What is the battered woman from Churchill to do with this information? What are the abused in Snow Lake, Swan Valley, or Souris to do?

Well, apparently, unless you live in either Brandon, Hamiota, or Winnipeg you are shit out of luck. Because, apparently in my province, these are the only locations that have victim services agencies. By the way, if you live in Newfoundland and Labrador, your chances of finding support via this website is also extremely limited - 3 agencies.

So what does this tell us about Harpo and his Ass-Clown government? .

It tells us they are more interested in optics than details. It tells us that their pathetic attempt to be seen to be caring about ALL victims was more concerned with politics than results.

It is not so much that Whack & Wing do not care about VICTIMS in Manitoba, or Newfoundland and Labrador (probably no one believes that?); rather, it is that, in their rush to portray their Tory government as compassionate, these two Ministers of the Crown could not even be bothered to ensure the announcement they were making was really accurate (i.e. that their vaunted "valuable tool" would actually, as far as possible, help "victims and family members to identify local services in their area.") At a bare minimum, in Manitoba's case, they should have made an effort to incorporate the information from this site to see that victims here have as many options as possible.

But, when Tory time is of the essence and PR is the name of the game: Who really cares if the rape victim in Flin Flon, Manitoba has meaningful access to victim counseling agencies courtesy of Harpo's Government of Canada!

In Harpo's World all that matters is that the announcement got made. That the minions stayed on message. Yesterday's news release proves again that we are governed by those live by the mantra: "Fuck substance"!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Regina, Regina: what rhymes with Regina?"

"Regina, Regina: what rhymes with Regina?" [Old Schoolyard ditty c. 1970s]

Be still my beating heart! Did somebody just offend Regina, Saskatchewan . . . again?

Gotta hand to Winnipeg's Bomber fans, they know how to get under the thin skins of the sod humping Saskatchewan Roughrider fan base. However, reports indicate that now they have gone too far! The latest episode in the saga has Winnipeg fans working Blue; using language so foul that Bomber president Lyle Bauer had to actually issue a "formal apology" on behalf of his team.

Given the history of the war of words between these two teams, what could possibly be so offensive as to necessitate a "formal" apology? Did someone call them "banjo-pickin' inbreds'' again? Dust-turds? Dimwits? Beer-swilling gopher fuckers? What is it that was said exactly?

Well, apparently Bomber rookie head coach Mike Kelly picked up on one fan's overly exuberant characterization of Regina as being the "crotch of the world" and went one step further. When speaking of his trading prowess, Kelly said: " We kind of raided the toothless, green, watermelon-helmet-wearing people from the crotch of Canada,..."


That's not very nice.

And, because it was not very nice, the Bomber offices were peppered with emails from unsalted old ladies in Saskatchewan saying how shocked and appalled they were. Regina is not the kind of place one would ever see a 'crotch', said the toothless old babbling baba's from the Queen City.

"Don't ya know propriety and convention dictate that all oil lamps must be blown out before any dress is raised above the ankle in this town?" they wrote, "And while it is true one may occasionally get to feel a crotch in Regina - one most certainly never gets to lay their eyes on it! So take it back", their bony fingers typed, "we all know where the real 'crotch of Canada' is located. Stop lying. Apologize now. Tell the world you were wrong. Tell the world that here, in Regina, we are absolutely crotchless!"

Ah, CFL preseason silliness at its best.

Ya gotta give it to the Bombers and the Riders, they have perfected the verbal art of outhouse sparring. Equally cordial, equally graceless and equally absurd - the whole beauty of the exercise is that while everybody ends up throwing dung, nobody gets hurt. So, if life's "swine flu" is getting you down, have a listen to the machinations of CFL team's and their fans and you will be heartened to find that levity still surfaces in this economic shit storm we are calling 2009.

"Play Ball!"

[ ** To tell the truth, I can't wait for the first game between these two teams this season. Wonder how many hammerheads will show up wearing crotchless panties on their heads?]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Bank of _ _ nada? Carney's Bong Philosophy.

car·ney - n. Informal Variant of carny.

also car·ney
n. pl. car·nies also car·neys Informal
1. A traveling amusement show; a carnival.

Mark Car-ney
Christian name
Governor of the Bank of Canada (present)
A source of amusement?

The Bank of Canada's Mark Carney has admitted that, in order to figure out how this economy really works, one has to get "down in the weeds". However, we can only hope the repressed tall foreheads at the Bank of Canada have learned their lesson - - To wit; while it may be fun to try and divine the future using a crystal ball during a Gonzo-esque bongathon - in the end, it is but folly. How else can we be expected to reconcile the following?

January 22, 2009 - "the bank sees a rebound to positive activity by the third quarter of the year, when it forecasts two per cent growth and 3.5 per cent expansion in the last three months of the year. . . . .
'We are comfortable with our forecast, he [Carney] told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa."

April 22, 2009 - "Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says the recession likely will persist longer than he previously thought, . . . [and in a different article] . . . Governor Mark Carney, ... blamed the faster-than-expected economic collapse on the failure of U.S. President Barack Obama's administration to stabilize the banking industry and the deterioration of demand for exports." [* guess it always nice to have someone to blame?]

And today? Well, on April 23, 2009 we hear Carney now saying the Bank of Canada may have to devise a plan that will see it buy up "private-sector debt in credit markets that are "temporarily impaired."

"Temporarily impaired"? Ha, ha, ... sounds like a freaking Cheech & Chong euphemism. Mr. Carney, if you and your bongathon directors are really thinking of giving more money to this nation's banking oligarchy, be aware, it will do nothing to alleviate this mess. Our e'ffn banker's have enough of our money already! Further, the only thing that is really "temporarily impaired" is your sad, misguided, belief that the status-quo of wealth diversion in this country should be allowed to stand. To adopt any new measures that would see you give over even more of this nation's wealth to the Royal Bank (etc.,) so they may continue to report monstrous profits would be obscene. The banks in this country don't need anymore help.

How about seeing if your "toolbox" and our Tory government will allow you to give some of the country's money to those most in need - the people?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"The Bruinooge Report": A Hamster's Delight

Oh freaking happy day!

Here in South Winnipeg my copy of Tory MP Rod Bruinooge's "Parliamentary Report" has arrived in the mail.

Whew! And here I was worried I would have nothing to line our Tory's cage with this week.

You see, "Tory" (our pea-brained shit-eating hamster) likes having the "Bruinooge Report" placed under its shavings.

A pleasant departure from the regular facile offerings of the Winnipeg Free Press, it gives our rodent something different to dig up and read during its downtime. The fact that our beloved four legged rodent then proceeds to gleefully crap all over the content of the "Bruinooge Report" is, I am sure, merely a coincidence. But I have to say, "Tory" does seem happier when he has Bruinooge's partisan pablum to keep him company.

If nothing else, at least Rod's 17" x 11" eight paged dark blue-hued offering is good for something: it improves the quality of life of our caged animals.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

MRSA and the WRHA's inexcusable silence. Just another symptom of institutional sickness?

Is a physician obligated to tell you when their clinic has been confirmed as a source site for a highly contagious virus or a potentially lethal form of an antibiotic-resistant superbug?

Apparently, here in Manitoba, the answer is no.

But to be fair, Manitoba's doctors really need feel no obligation to alert their patients when their clinics are confirmed as vectors for the spread of such illnesses such as the Norovirus, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), C. difficile, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). After all, why should they be held to a higher standard than the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA)? According to Free Press, the WRHA feels it needn't apprise us of such outbreaks in our hospitals - so why should we expect anything different from our community doctors?

Here in Manitoba, the WRHA believes that publicizing confirmed outbreaks of contagions that can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration, skin rashes, boils, "severe blood infections, pneumonia and even death" is unnecessary. Evidently, the WRHA does not feel it is in the public interest for people to know if the facility they are visiting (for whatever reason) has confirmed cases of MRSA, Norovirus, etc.,

According to the WHRA's director of infection control, Dr. Embil (Embilcile?), any furor over the Authority's failure to notify is really much ado about nothing. After all, he says, the WRHA can "anticipate outbreaks every year".

"This is all old news. Quite honestly, this is no news. It happens, it's the reality of taking care of sick people."

Yes Dr. Embil-cile, of course such outbreaks are bound to occur. As for your ability to "anticipate"? Whoopee! Well done Sherlock! Bet you even have the ability to "anticipate" that "every year" you may see a patient or two present with a heart attack, a stab wound, or maybe even a baby? Course, none of these are contagious. And therein lies the problem. When it comes to known outbreaks of contagions that are uncontrolled within our hospital settings you (Dr. Embil-cile & co.) have a duty to inform. Unless, of course, you really believe that all the other jurisdictions across North America who have decided disclosure is the better part of valour in the battle against superbugs are wrong?

As a Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) article in 2006 pointed out, there are serious public health implications associated with MRSA outbreaks in community settings. Schools, daycares, etc., are all at risk. And according to CMAJ, all strategies for the successful control of the spread of such infections hinge on two factors: public awareness of the problem and public education. So, when an outbreak is verified in a Winnipeg hospital setting why is it not publicized? Why is the public not informed in a timely fashion? Given that the community based strains of MRSA (CA-MRSA) "are most frequently described within reasonably well-defined populations"; is it not be reasonable to expect that when a outbreak occurs within a similarly easily defined population (i.e. the staff, patients, and visitors to a specific hospital) that the public be notified of the associated risks of exposure should they visit the hospital?

Dr. Embil-cile, no one is particularly blaming you for the MRSA, Norovirus, and C. difficile outbreaks at your facilities. But in the same way that such outbreaks are (largely) unavoidable in hospital settings, icy roads happen in winter. However, at least weather reporters make an effort to tell us of icy conditions when they occur to help us make informed decisions before we hit the highway. Is it too much to ask that the WRHA not do the same when it comes to periodic adverse germ events within the walls of its hospitals? Why not give people who are choosing to visit a site afflicted with an unresolved outbreak the info they need to make an informed decision? Does one take little Billy or Nancy in to see Grampy in the critical care ward if they know his wing is experiencing an MRSA event? Maybe. Maybe not? But, at the very least, they should have all the facts as they become available. Surely one should not have to file a freaking FIPPA request just to find out if our PUBLIC hospitals pose an exceptional threat to our personal health.

It's about time the WRHA demonstrated a little institutional responsibility. Transparency never hurt anyone (well, unless of course they were guilty of doing something wrong). At this juncture, nobody is accusing the WRHA of anything more than repeatedly exercising poor judgement. The WRHA must stop withholding information on known outbreaks. If it is true that from 2006-08 that 803 patients and 609 hospital staff in Winnipeg were infected with the illnesses in question, then Joe & Jane Public have a right to that data. If there is currently an outbreak not under control within this city then it should be made public. That professionals like Dr. Embil-cile believe such outbreak events are "old news" is not the point. The point is that "news" only becomes "old" after the facts are known.

Ongoing or persistent outbreaks are news. Especially when they impact the lives of 700-1000+ people per year in this city. Just release the facts WRHA - its not up to you to decide what is "no news" or "old news". In this case, control freak doctor-administrators do not "know best" what constitutes real news. That privilege, especially in a public system such as ours, belongs rightfully to the people: you know the one's who pay the bills.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Whore of Babylon offers up Salvation. Uh-Oh! This Can't be Good - Can it?

Financial reporting and accounting in a downturn: PricewaterhouseCoopers advises:

"Current market conditions have resulted in additional challenges for companies in preparing their financial statements and related disclosures including asset impairments, valuation issues and liquidity disclosures. Yet, at the same time, users of financial information and regulators are seeking increased transparency in financial statements and related disclosures to understand the risks and business issues companies face."

So let's get this straight. At a time when it is of paramount importance that companies restore investor and consumer faith in their ability to manage their balance sheets many of them, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, are failing to allocate the resources needed to produce reports that foster transparency? Oh, boy... this can't be good.

And what of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), that benevolent global accounting giant whose news release promotes how it can "help companies learn more about financial reporting and accounting in turbulent times"? How can PwC possibly promise that their new "Economic and Credit Crisis Task Force" will be able to lead companies out of one of the most complicated and perilous marketplaces in capitalism's history? How can its Task Force, made up of "senior cross-functional experienced practitioners who understand market volatility" deliver the goods?

"Senior cross-functional experienced practitioners"??? What? Who are they? What are they? A new breed of PwC accountant? Must be some newfangled group of Uber-Super-Duper-bean-counters. They must be the kind of specialists uniquely qualified to teach companies the tricks of "leveraging knowledge, experience and networks" to get them "through a multitude of capital market and economic crisis issues." Hmm, where did they come from I wondered?

Ah, ... and then I read this. And all was revealed. You see, PwC's new "senior cross-functional practitioners" were hatched in that same primordial soup of obfuscation that gave us the "casino capitalists" who "used the latest tricks to cook the books with many of the on-balance sheet or off-balance sheet structured investment vehicles that metastasized big time in the first decade of this new century." So, who better to explain the absolute friggin' fiscal nightmare that has befallen North America capitalism than the same group of PwC player's who "O.K.'d" the books at AIG and FreddieMac last year! They surely must know the way out... right?

With ass-clowns like PwC offering their services to save capitalism what could possible go wrong? If only every company had their very own PwC "senior cross-functional experienced practitioner" teaching them how to 'leverage knowledge' to overcome the affliction of "asset impairment" all would be right with the world. Another AIG anyone?

If the present crisis has taught us nothing else, it is that: We cannot trust the same players who got us into this freaking mess to get us out of it. As French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently remarked in the NYT's:

This crisis is not the crisis of capitalism. On the contrary, it is the crisis of a system which has drifted away from the most fundamental values of capitalism. It is the crisis of a system which drove financial operators to be increasingly reckless in the risks they took, which allowed banks to speculate instead of doing their proper business of funding growth in the economy; a system, lastly, which tolerated a complete lack of control over the activities of so many financial players and markets.

Keeping these remarks in mind, PricewaterhouseCooper's generous offer to "assist" beleaguered companies at this juncture should be taken for what is: More empty words from a "cross-functional" whore who has already given us the clap once, but who now promises that this time will be different. Yeah, right!

Condoms anyone?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Insanity, Duplicity, Canada, Cannon, Harpo, and Mental Illness

"Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, poses so grave a threat to Canada that he can't come back, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said yesterday, abruptly reversing the government's written promise of an emergency one-way travel document less than two hours before his flight home was to depart from Khartoum" - Globe & Mail, April 4, 2009

The outcry against Harpo & co.'s indefensible machinations to deprive a Canadian citizen of his right of return is both justifiable and needed. Minister Cannon's latest actions should not go unchallenged.

As the Canadian Press reports regarding Mr. Abdelrazik's case:

"A recently published report suggests Canadian Security Intelligence Service operatives initially asked Sudanese authorities to arrest and detain him.

But investigators found no evidence to support alleged terrorist links and he was released without charge, only to be arrested and jailed a second time in October 2005.

Sudanese authorities have since released him. The RCMP and CSIS have acknowledged there is no information linking him to any crime.

Abdelrazik has been allowed to live inside the Canadian embassy in Khartoum for the last year, where he sleeps on a cot in the foyer."

Which begs the question, if Harpo & co. truly believe that Mr. Abdelrazik poses such a threat to our "national security" that he must barred from our "soil": then why do they allow him to take refuge on our de-facto "national soil" at our embassy in Sudan? After all, the principle that an embassy is an extension of a country's "national soil" is well established. So, presumably, if his return to Canada is now formally verboten, one would think it would apply to ALL our sovereign territory. Of course, under a government that seems to have created two different classifications of citizenship, why can't there now be two different (Tory inspired) classifications of what constitutes Canadian soil? Will the absurdities never end?

What's next? Two different classifications of rights in this country?

Minister Cannon and Harried-Harpo must bring this man home now. If they really have evidence that he is guilty of of any crime - then try in a Canadian court. If they do not, then they should stop insinuating, shut-up, do what's right: Stop playing politics with the life of a Canadian citizen and bring him home.

On a completely unrelated note; it was revealed this week that 46 per cent of Canadians believe that sometimes the label "mental illness" is applied to actions that give “people an excuse for poor behaviour and personal failings.” Don't know about you, but that sounds perilously like a majority to me? Who knows, if voters were to apply the same definition to the antics of the Tory's maybe it portends the possibility of an electoral upset?

Just keep up it Harpo. With all the cuckoo's in your Tory nest, it's only a matter of time before you find yourself sporting a new electoral straight-jacket. With luck, your oft absent conscience will soon return from its hiatus, haunt you, and drive you so batty that you'll find yourself not just invalidated, institutionalized, drooling and lobotomized; but, a la Nicholson, confined to a cot needing help (maybe from another "second class citizen"?) that frees you from the misery of your memories of how you mistreated Mr. Abdelrazik. Ah, justice.