Thursday 30 October 2008

Godspeed You! Nurses Union

Back in March '08 around the time the Nurses signed their peachy new inflationary contract, Juanita Smith, a nurse, said the following:

"You're constantly worried you're going to make a mistake-- that you're going to give the wrong dose, you're going to miss something, you're going to miss an order that can have repercussions, that somebody waiting in emergency, something is going to happen to them while they're waiting," (*)
7 months later:
The emergency room where Brian Sinclair died after waiting 34 hours for medical help has one of the worst staff shortages in the city... the Health Sciences Centre ER is short close to 13 full-time nurses -- 19 per cent of its regular nursing staff. (*)
Meanwhile, the nurses have received two more 5% raises in Oct since getting their big raise in March. You can't expect giant raises to solve the problem overnight, but they will help eventually, right Maureen Hancharyk, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union?:
"it's not going to fix the nursing shortage" (*)
Or, maybe this is one of those things that you can't solve by throwing money at it. Like most things. Mr.Doer.


This is what I'm going to play for the kiddies on Halloween night:

Monday 27 October 2008

The Running of the sheep

Three men were seriously injured Sunday during the Running Of The Sheep in Madrid, Spain. The annual spectacle, which began in 1372 as a protest by farmers, has since turned into a week-end long festival and tourist attraction. However, many people question whether it is all worth while.

American college student, Daniel Rickards, had to have his left leg amputated after being trampled and then gnawed by ravenous sheep.

"I entered the Running Of The Sheep for the adrenaline rush, you know, I though it would be a blast. Now look at me. My dream of playing pro football is over."

Sadly, stories like Daniel's are all too common. Still, the organizers insist that the show must go on. "How can we turn our backs on 700 years of tradition?" they say.

How can we, indeed.

Sunday 26 October 2008

My addiction has been cured

I was a regular poster on the NewWinnipeg internet discussion forum. Not the most prolific poster at all, but I certainly enjoyed the discussions and debates.

About a month ago, I went on vacation overseas. As I was walking through the streets of cities in Europe, topics that were discussed on NewWinnipeg often came to mind: Urban Density of course is one. The contrast with typical North American cities, and Winnipeg in particular, is mind blowing. But also things like Bike Paths and Rapid Transit. Hey, did you know that Winnipeg isn't the only city with a fetish for Giant Banners? Check out this picture from Barcelona that shows an entire building covered by a banner, right next to Antoni Gaudi's famous Casa Batlló:

I returned from vacation armed with all kinds of thoughts and observations from my overseas experience, only to find that my favourite internet forum hath been cleft in twain, due to acrimonious comments, accusations of duplicity, banning - perhaps prematurely - of regular members, and other nonsense. Such drama.

Sadly, NewWinnipeg is a shadow of it's former self, and a rival forum, the Sandbox, has been set up by the disgruntled ex-NWers. So now what? Do I have to pick sides? Do I have to shun NW if I want to chat with the familiar virtual faces in the Sandbox? Can I post on both forums, or does that make me a double-agent? Jeeze. Can't we all just get along?

Fuck it. I probably spent too much time on the forum anyhow.

Monday 20 October 2008

Mr. Victim comes to town

It's easy to feel sorry for Dion. For some people at least. Here's a smart guy with a good ideas, they say, who got bullied and mistreated and suffered from a party that was not united behind him.

Dion is one of those people who feels sorry for Dion. After moping in his house for five days, he finally emerges like a little mouse, and reluctantly squeaks out his resignation.

"It's not my fault. It's all those other big bad people around me. They made fun of my accent. They posted an ad of a bird pooping on me. What could I do? I did everything right, but I never had a chance!"*

*this may not be an exact quote.

I didn't see his full press conference, but if Mia Rabson's column can be believed, he not only blames the conservatives, but his own party as well -- before he became leader!

Dion said the attacks on him and the propaganda against the Liberal Green Shift plan was a well-funded campaign by a Conservative Party which had far deeper pockets than the Liberals.

He said his party has struggled to adapt to new political fund-raising rules which were put in place by the Liberal government before it was defeated in 2004. (fp)

Wait a minute .. the fund raising rules that your own party created are responsible for your pathetic showing in the election?

Am I the only one who realizes that Dion was never equipped to be Prime Minister? The job of Prime Minister requires a number of skills, with 'Leadership' at the top of the list, and 'Book Smarts' somewhere around 16th or 17th.

If Dion had the leadership skills and ability to build a vision and articulate it to masses, he could have united the party behind him. He could have built popular support, raised more money and made people forget about Harper's ads. He could have showed better judgment in choosing his platform.

Leadership skills, good judgment, the ability to negotiate and articulate a vision, and to bring people with differing views together to common ground: these are not just useful skills in becoming PM, but in being an effective PM -- both in running national affairs but also in building a presence on the world stage and commanding respect from other leaders.

The man also appears to suffer from delusion. Just now on CTV Robert Fife reported that, as of this morning, Dion still believed he could survive a leadership review and had to be talked into resigning.

Good mental health, by the way, is also a useful attribute for a PM to have.

Friday 17 October 2008

Mr. Obvious comes to town

Liberal MP Joe Volpe felt the need to publicly point out the obvious, two days after the election:

Toronto MP Joe Volpe said Thursday it would be best for Dion and the party if the leader signals his intention to leave as quickly as possible.

With the party broke and likely facing another election within a couple of years, Volpe said Liberals need to get on with rebuilding and they won’t be able to do it with Dion at the helm. (*)

adding: "I’d like him to go out with some dignity", while simultaneously removing Dion's ability to go out with some dignity.

Seriously, what's the point, Volpe? Dion's not retarded. He knows he's finished. He just needed a few days to come to terms with it, before announcing his retirement as leader.

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Election Thoughts / Blog Action Day

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite, talking about "Blog Action" Day after not posting anything for a month. Action is not a forte around here. I really don't have much to contribute, but I will offer this, along the B.A.D. theme of 'Poverty':

What is it? It's a glimpse of a shanty town, taken from a train outside of Figueres, Spain. It's a common site outside of the cities I passed. These folks live in makeshift little shacks and grow food on very small plots of land alongside highways and railways.

I offer no solutions to the problem of poverty; only a peek at how some people in other areas live with it. Obviously squatting on a piece of land and growing food year round is not an option here, but it is somewhat admirable that they fend for themselves in this way.

a hat tip to CJ who made me aware of this Blog Action Day thing. See also West End Dumplings with a very good post.


Some very quick thoughts on the election:
  1. I hope Dion enjoys the next six months of getting poled by Steven Harper, 'cause that's all he has left as opposition leader.
  2. Loudmouth party-hopper Garth Turner can now turn to blogging full time.
  3. There was some good news for the Liberals: Justin Trudeau won his seat, probably after finishing every campaign speech with a tearful "Je t'aime, Papa"
  4. The Green Party needs a real leader, not somebody who is overjoyed at losing.
That's all I can muster at the moment.

'Later, dudes.

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