A Little Something to Fight the Poison

Saturday, November 30, 2002
MORE HEALTH CARE GOODNESS: Roy Romanow's report on health care reform was The Big News in Canada last week (once when we'd finished up with that "moron" thing).

Roy's prescription: put more money (CDN$15 billion extra over 3 years) into the system (or perhaps more accurately, put back in bunch of money that we took out of it in the '90s to attack the deficit); place conditions on how the provinces can use health care grants; fund home care and to really expensive drugs; slam about private clinics as a solution (they would still be allowed, but they have to charge the government and they can't allow people to buy their way ahead of other patients).

Not bad, although I guess I'm not that surprised, since Romanow basically hinted at all of this when I saw him and his health care report roadshow at Yale last month.

Considering how much has been spilled in this in the Canadian papers, I don't have that much to add. Go check out the Globe's wall-to-wall coverage of the report (which I suppose is pretty cool, when one considers how much more important this issue is than, for example, the sniper attacks) to get more Canadian universal health care happiness.
Friday, November 29, 2002
A TREE BY ANY OTHER NAME: Kate at The Kitchen Cabinet (a very fun Yale Law blog) points out this story involving my very own Toronto: some over-ardent staffers in the mayor's office managed to draw flak from the Political Correctness Police-Police by proposing to name the colourful tree with those shiny balls and garlands and stuff that they erected outside City Hall a "holiday tree."

Far be it from me to attempt to defend a move that struck even ardent multicultural groups as dumb and pointless, much like making fruitcake or trying to buy anything cool for your dad. But I can't refrain from noting that it's kinda ironic that no one calls the darn tree by its really old-school name, which is the (Winter) Solstice Tree, dedicated to Bacchus, Roman pagan god of wine, pleasure, fertility, and mystical ecstasy.

Happy Christmas holidays everyone: may they overflow with alcohol and passionate fecundity!

ASIDE: Just wondering--how much coniferous vegetation exists in Bethlehem anyway?
FUN TIMES swapping drinks and opinions with Andrew Edwards of Sketch the other night. Andrew, drinks are on me next time we meet--I realized that I totally stiffed you on the bill most of the way home; not exactly a good way to build up 'Net karma.

These would be links of penance, if they weren't so deserving: first, Andrew makes an inquiry to the Chinese government. Second, he points out an almost completely incoherent NRO piece by John Derbyshire about why the U.S. is obviously so far ahead of the curve with regard to crime prevention than other countries. Warning: his answer is so unrelated to any kind of comprehensible logic that it may induce the kind of migranes that make you want to grab a screwdriver and attempt self-trepanation.

Top Arafat aide says uprising 'a mistake'

Well, yes, if you're a Palestinian who considers guaranteeing a guy like Ariel Sharon continuous electoral success a bad thing, then, yeah, the latest Intifada probably wasn't such a hot idea.
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
MAKE THE SWITCH: This is especially for all of you Dems who are annoyed at the results of the past couple of elections: a clever 49th parallel riff inspired by those Mac ads featuring the testimonials of former PC users.

(Manu deserves all the credit for finding this; I just thought I'd post it right away 'cause it kicks ass)
IT LOOKS LIKE Chrétien finally decided to cut loose his Communications Director for calling Bush a moron in an off-the-record conversation. Probably a good move since a Communications Director is generally supposed to be good at, uh, communicating.

ASIDE: Anyone (viz. Sean Hannity) who thinks Mr. Centrist-Pragmatist Chrétien is "obviously a leftist" is "obviously" a tool who should consider doing some research before he opens his big Fair and Balanced mouth. Let ignorance ring...
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
WARM FEELINGS (WE'RE NOT WORTHY!): So let me tell you that I have had a pretty crappy last day-and-a-half. I made the silly decision to visit my parents in Toronto via Greyhound, and due to a traffic delay, what was originally going to be a tiring 13-hour journey expanded into a completely exhausting 18-hour trip. I know, utter foolishness. But the kicker was walking off the bus in Toronto and discovering that I'd lost my wallet. And, of course, it wasn't the unusually large amount of money that I was carrying that bugged me the most, but the massive irritation involved in replacing all of those cards and pieces of ID.

Anyway, so I was stting in my mom's office making these calls to cancel those cards and checking email, in a very bad mood and reeking of bus-smell, when I noticed an email from Devra over at the always entertaining Blue Streak that practically forced me to smile: she made Antidotal her Blog of the Week!

Thanks for the lift, Devra--as always, well-placed and perfectly timed.

P.S.: If you're reading this and you have my wallet, return it to me and I promise to make your blog my Blog of the Millennium.
Monday, November 25, 2002
For some additional information on the relative efficiency of private v. public health care, see this paper by Tuohy, Flood and Stabile from U of T.
PHILOSOPHER JOHN RAWLS (1921-2002) passed away yesterday. His groundbreaking A Theory of Justice was my introduction to contemporary political philosophy. No one doubts that his enormous contribution to philosophy will survive for years to come.
"To see our place in society from the perspective of [the original] position is to see it sub specie aeternatis: it is to regard the human situation not only from all social but also from all temporal points of view. The perspective of eternity is not a perspective from a certain place beyond the world, nor a point of view of a transcendant being; rather it is a certain form of thought and feeling that rational persons can adopt within the world...Purity of heart, if one could attain it, would be to see clearly and to act with grace and self-command from this point of view."

--John Rawls, A Theory of Justice
Celebrate Rawls' life and his deep commitment to justice, equality, and human dignity by reading more about him: you can start with an illuminating intellectual biography by Thomas Nagel, and a warm portrait by Ben Rogers.
Sunday, November 24, 2002
COMPLETELY IMPOLITIC ADMISSION: I've come to the stark realization I utterly lack the capacity to blog about the following Canada-U.S. story both in a manner that is both respectful and honest; the original story's headline, as reported by The Toronto Star says it all:
Of slightly more interest is that the aide offered to resign (without completely admitting that she made the comment), but Chrétien didn't accept it.

I know that I should say something about how the aide's comment in the midst of international negotiations demonstrates exactly how much of a moron she is (especially considering that she's the communications director!), and that I feel ashamed that someone representing my country could show so little respect and class for a foreign head of state, or that I empathize with how disrespectful this is...


I'm sorry, my American friends; as hard as I've tried, I can't generate any indignation on your behalf when I so sincerely feel that you collectively (or at least semi-collectively) put 3,000 nuclear weapons and responsibility for the security of the free world into the hands of a guy who makes Dan Quayle look like John Nash.

I can't even glance at a photo of Bush without thinking that he'd need a cribsheet to pass the written contestant exam for Wheel of Fortune. But if it makes you Yanks feel any better, I'll gladly admit that Chrétien ain't exactly the sharpest pick-up stik in the tube either; his quote clarifying his opinion of Bush in the wake of the "moron" comment was priceless:
"He's a friend of mine. He's not a moron at all."
Yeah Jean; that's really a stunning endorsement of W's intellectual firepower...