Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Little Good News (for a change)



Are you sick and tired of all the bad news out there?  Do you want a break from reading about terrorism, racial strife, bigotry, gun violence, war, environmental degradation and Donald Trump?  You can't ignore the bad news forever, but you can escape it for a time.

Conventional wisdom says that bad news sells.  The old newspaper adage is "If it bleeds, it leads."  However, I have a hunch that many people would like a respite from all the doom and gloom right now.  So, for today, I have written a good news post.  Here are five good news items from around the world.


THE ENVIRONMENT

1.  Despite Donald Trump's pull out form the Paris climate deal last June, many of the largest corporations in the United States have said they intend to honour the agreement anyway.  They have vowed to pursue cleaner energy and reduce emissions on their own.  Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Google and General Motors are voluntarily investing billions of dollars in renewable energy.  They are investing in new wind and solar projects to fuel their operations.  They are becoming major contributors to renewable electricity growth. 

(Information taken from a New York Times article by Brad Plumer (August 4-5, 2018)


2.  New Zealand is scheduled to ban single-use plastic bags by next year.  This is excellent news because single-use plastic bags are one of the most common items found in coastal litter in New Zealand.


SOCIAL NEWS

3.  Older people in Thailand are going back to school in order to order to combat loneliness.  Groups of people in their 60s and 70s are returning to school at a time when changing demographics mean that more seniors live by themselves.

(Information taken from August 3, 2018 article by Lucy Purdy on the Postive.News website).


4.  A homeless man in Mountainview, California, USA has reportedly received hundreds of job offers.  The man, David Casarez, stood on a highway medium, holding a sign that read "HOMELESS HUNGRY 4 SUCCESS. TAKE A RESUME."  He arrived in the Bay Area in September of 2017, with a college degree and three years of experience as a software developer.  Unfortunately, he underestimated the high cost of living and was unable to find work in Slicon Valley.  He lived in his van until he could no longer afford payments.  He was then forced to sleep in a park.

Someone snapped a photo of the 26-year-old  Casarez and posted it on Twitter on July 27, 2018. It immediately went viral.  Since then, Casarez has been inundated with offers of employment.





MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH

5.  Doctors in Vancouver, Canada have unveiled a procedure that could change the face of heart surgery.  Cardiologist Dr. David Wood, of Vancouver General Hospital,  has studied over 400 patients and provided the results to doctors at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Conference in Denver, Colorado.  The procedure, called 3M transcatheter aortic valve replacement and is for treating aortic heart valve disease,  It  has taken place at 13 centres across North America, 11 in Canada.  It is an alternative to open heart surgery and usually takes about 45 minutes.  Instead of cutting into a patient's heart, a small tube is placed into the leg, which sends a balloon into the heart valve.  The new valve starts working immediately and you get twice as much blood flowing into your head, your lungs and your body.  According to Dr. Wood, the patient "is walking four hours later and is discharged the next day."

(Information taken from News 1130 Denver, Colorado website, posted October 30, 2017


- Joanne

Friday, August 10, 2018

An Open Letter to John Tory, Mayor of Toronto #3


This is is the third in a series of open letters to Mayor John Tory regarding the serious issues facing the city of Toronto. until this fall's municipal election.  The election will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Dear Mayor Tory,

There have been three major developments since I last wrote to you on May 18th.

1. On June 7, 2018, the Conservatives, led by Doug Ford, came to power in Ontario.  On June 29th, Mr. Ford was sworn in as premier of the province.  

2. On July 27th, Premier Ford confirmed his government's intention to cut Toronto City Council from 47 members to 25 for the October 22nd election.

3. That same day,,in response to Ford's announcement, Jennifer Keesmaat, City Planner of Toronto from 2012 to 2017, announced her candidacy for mayor.

Jennifer Keesmaat
Finally, we have a race!  At the 11th hour, you were challenged by a high profile candidate.  That's good for Toronto and it's good for you, Mr. Mayor.  Did you really want to sleepwalk your way to victory?  Any worthy leader should welcome such a challenge.  If you win, you will be benefit from it.  Your performance during your second term in office will be much better than if you had cakewalked to victory.

This is a win-win situation for everybody.  Toronto will have an engaging mayoralty race.  Voters will be much more involved and voter turnout will be higher.  More issues will be debated and brought to the forefront, especially since Toronto's future is at stake.  Furthermore, someone will have to stand up to Premier Ford.  You and Jennifer Keesmaat both oppose his ill-timed plan to reduce the size of Toronto City Council without public consultation and debate.

In a letter to Queen's Park, you urged Ford to reconsider his plan to have fewer Toronto councillors.  You wrote: Something as fundamentally important as an election - a primary mechanism of civic democracy - should not be changed without public impacts or costs.  You exhorted the premier to "put the process on hold to allow for a referendum so we can let the people speak."

Toronto is facing many issues that must be discussed during this campaign.  This summer, there has been a tragic spate of gun violence in our city.  I hope it was an aberration.  Unfortunately, it has harmed Toronto's reputation as a safe city.  Spending more money on policing is not enough.  More preventive action must be taken.  Stronger gun control is needed as well as more programs for youths.

Unfortunately, the gun violence has diverted attention from some other serious issues, such as poverty, affordable housing and the environment.  Those three topics should be major issues in the coming election.  There are too many people living in poverty in this city.  There is also a lack of affordable housing.  It is too expensive for many people to live in Toronto.  Renting or owning a home is beyond thair reach.

Furthermore, Doug Ford's government is environmentally unfriendly.  The premier has vowed to scrap Ontario's cap-and-trade program, a program that serves this province well.  His party has budgeted $30 million over four years for a legal challenge against the federal government's ability to impose a carbon price upon the provinces.  What a waste of taxpayer's money!

Ford's government has claimed that removing cap and trade would save each Onario household an average of $260 in 2019.  However, it acknowledged that the saving would largely be cancelled out by the federal carbon tax, which will increase over time.  Moreover, on July 25th,Ontario's fiscal watchdog, Financial Accountability Officer Peter Wellman said he will review the cancellation of the cap-and-trade to determine how that decision will end up costing the province.

Ford's decision has already led to the cancellation of a number of green initiatives that were funded through cap-and-trade initiatives.  For example, the GreenOn program that provided rebates for energy-conscious homeowners has been axed, as well as a fund for school repairs.  The mayor or Toronto must speak up and protect the environment of the province's most populous city.

So, let the race for mayor begin in earnest.  It should be fascinating.  May the best man or woman win!


Sincerely,

 Joanne

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Shifting Trends of Global Energy Usage

We are all affected by energy usage and the need for more efficient fuels and technology   The following infographic provides an overview of worldwide energy trends as countries develop and their populations increase.  The demand for energy is increasing and new solutions are needed to help developing nations move away from outdated method such as fossil fuels.  This infographic illustrates which countries are adapting most effectively to the trends in energy production and usage.  I hope you find it informative and useful.

- Joanne

”
The Shifting Trends of Global Energy Usage by Roof Stores.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Most Iconic Falls in Film History: A Guide to the Movie Fall of Fame

The following infographic is a rundown of the most famous and dramatic falls in film history.  It provides a brief summary of the fall in the context of a particular movie.  It contains statistics related to its length, speed, time and impact.  It also rates the fall within the Fall of Fame.  Film buffs, especially fans of action movies, should really enjoy this.  It is entertaining and fun.

- Joanne

”The
The Most Iconic Falls in Film History by Roof Stores.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Welcome home, John Tavares


“I just felt like my heart was in two places: where I’m from, and a place where I’ve been for a long time and helped me become the man I am today. My gut was tearing apart, my heart was tearing apart figuring out what I wanted to do. And yesterday was one heck of a day… I was walking up and down the pool at my house trying to get a sense of what I wanted to do and the path I wanted to take. I just felt this opportunity was just so rare.”

- John Tavares, on his decision to leave the New York Islanders for a 7-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs
Press Conference, July 1, 2018
                           
Welcome back, John Tavares!  Toronto Maple Leaf fans are delighted that you've made the decision to come home to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).   You're a local boy, born in Mississauga and raised in Oakville. The Leafs were your favourite childhood team. Now you have an opportunity to lead them to their first Stanley Cup victory in over 51 years.  It's the chance of a lifetime, but it's also a monumental challenge.

Leaf fans have endured years of frustration and disappointment.  The team was grossly mismanaged under the ownership of Harold E. Ballard.  In 1979, at the lowest point in Ballard's reign, coach Roger Neilson was fired in the middle of the season with no announcement to the press.  In fact, Neilson was forced to inform the media of his own dismissal.  Leaf fans were in an uproar and Ballard was unable to quickly find a suitable replacement.  So, he reinstated Neilson two days later.  However, in a foolish attempt to surprise the fans with a mystery coach, Harold made a strange request.  He asked Neilson to wear a paper bag over his head as he entered the arena for his first game back. The bag would be removed when he arrived at the bench.  Mercifully, Roger refused to do so, but he still finished the season with the Maple Leafs.  He was fired again the following April.

Then there was the debacle in Game 6 of the 1993 Western Conference Final.  In the words of hockey writer Luke Fox, that game "defined misery for a generation of Leaf fans.  Referee Kerry Fraser failed to call a penalty on Wayne Gretzky's for high sticking Leafs star Doug Gilmour.  The Los Angeles Kings went on to win the game and the seventh and deciding game.  Canadian hockey fans were deprived of a glorious Stanley Cup final between the Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

More recently, there was the Leafs' meltdown in Game 7 of their 2013 playoff series with the Boston Bruins.  The Leafs just collapsed and relinquished a 4-1 lead with 11 minutes to play in the third period.  They allowed the Bruins to come back and win the game 5-4 (and the series) in overtime. Here's how Chris Johnston described the feeling on Sportsnet,com for Maple Leaf fans: "To lose a game you led by three goals would be crushing if it happened in February; to do it in Game 7 of a playoff series is nothing short of soul-destroying."

Something had to be done to right the ship.  In the spring of 2014, Brendan Shanahan was officially announced as the Leafs' president and he developed a plan for the Leafs.  In May of 2015, Mike Babcock took over as head coach.  In July of 2015, Lou Lamoriello was added to the mix as general manager.  Fans were told to be patient, that there would be pain before victory.  So Torontonians accepted a season of finishing 30tth in a 30-team league with nary a complaint.  Their reward was the acquisition of prized centre Auston Matthews, whom they acquired in the draft lottery.  Lamoriello has since left the Leafs and accepted the GM position with the New York Islanders.  He has been replaced by the young, up-and-coming Kyle Dubas, who was instrumental in persuading you to sign with the Leafs.

It appears that all the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together for the Maple Leafs.  Nothing is guaranteed, though, and we could still be disappointed.  Nevertheless, there are valid reasons for hope and optimism.

John, you were born on September 20, 1990.  You are far too young to remember the sordid history of the Ballard era and you were just a toddler when the Gretzky/Gilmour incident occurred. You came into this world 33 years before the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in May of 1967. You've probably only seen grainy photographs and old video clips of the event.inning the Holy Grail of Hockey was a lot easier back then,  There were only six teams in the league and the Leafs routinely draped themselves in glory. Thy won four Cups during the 1960s., but they haven't even played in the Stanley Cup Final since then.

You posted a yourself as a young boy with a Leafs blanket on your bed as you slept.  However, you did not sign with the Leafs merely for sentimental reasons.  If that had been your only consideration, you would have remained with the New York Islanders. You spent nine season with that team and you many great memories.


You did not sign with the Leafs because they offered you the most money either, or the longest contract.  The Islanders reportedly offered you $11.25 million annually, compared to the Leafs' $77 million and they were the only team to present you with an eight year deal, compared to the seven-year contract you accepted with the Leafs.  You must genuinely believe that this team is headed in the right direction and that you have the best chance of winning it all in Toronto than in the other cities you could have chosen.

The Leafs are coming off a 105-point season.  They they have a core of young, talented players such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.  Their future looks bright because their American Hockey League farm club, the Toronto Marlies, won the Calder Cup recently.  Those factors undoubtedly influenced your decision to sign with the Leafs.

Here's what you told the press on Canada Day:

"It really took the right opportunity and fit.  I thought the timing couldn't be beat and certainly being from here, and I think that where this team is at and how good and young their core players are., and obviously seeing in recent weeks how the Marlies did and what the future holds, with much more talent and the job they've done here, it was just hard to turn down.  It was hard to turn down this opportunity."

You haven't been designated captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs yet, but I'm sure you will be.  Who else is better qualified to wear the "C" on his chest than you?  You have the right leadership qualities and lots of experience.  After all, you were captain of the New York Islanders for over five years and you don't exactly seem averse to the idea of assuming the captaincy of Toronto's storied hockey franchise.  At your July 1 press conference, here's what you said when broached about the subject.

“That never came up in our conversations over this past week. They definitely expressed me coming in and wanting to use my experiences as a captain and things they believe I can use as leadership qualities.”

On a sweltering summer day in Toronto, we Leaf fans can hardly be forgiven if we allow our imaginations to run amuck.  We can't be faulted for daydreaming about you hoisting Lord Stanley's Jug in a parade along Yonge Street.   can provide you with a better feeling than that.  No city is more hungry for a Stanley Cup than Toronto.  You can own this town, Mr. Travares.

People in this city are already wearing Leaf sweaters with Tavares' number 91 on them. We can dream of Stanley Cup glory, can't we?


- Joanne

Monday, June 25, 2018

The World Cup Legacy: Is It Really Worth It?

Okay, fans of the "beautiful game."  Here is an infographic on the legacy of World Cups.  As we enjoy this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia, let's take a look at some graphics and statistics about previous World Cups in Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.  Was it really worth it for those countries to host this international football/soccer championship.  I hope this provides you with some insight.

- Joanne


In order to host a World Cup, countries have to go through an arduous bidding process, competing against other nations for the prize of hosting the biggest sporting spectacle on Earth. However, more is promised than just a month long festival of football. When any major sporting event takes place, a lot is said about the legacy that it will leave behind once all the spectators have went home. This is especially true for the World Cup. The hosting nation often builds new stadiums, infrastructure and accommodation. In return for this, an economic stimulus is promised. A World Cup is meant to leave permanent benefits for the host nation, in terms of job creation, increased participation in football and public facilities. But does this happen? We’ve analysed some of the key outcomes of the previous four World Cups to find out.


During the 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, South Korea’s national side miraculously made it the the Semi Final’s, narrowly losing 1-0 to a 75th minute Michael Ballack strike. The event was hailed as a success for its seamlessly smooth operations and excellent football, but what effect did this have on both of the host countries? Tourism to Japan increased after the tournament. The Japanese public opinion of South Korea reached an all time high, helping to heal long standing issues between both countries, stemming from WW2. Although football is popular in Japan today, baseball remains the nations favourite pastime. The tournament reportedly cost a combined total of $7.5b to host, with an estimated economic impact of $11.86bn, making the tournament a financial success. This was the first time the World Cup was hosted across two countries.


The 2006 World Cup in Germany was widely praised as a tremendous success for the nation. According to the German government, tourism revenue increased by around $400m during the tournament, helping to boost the Germany economy. Also, a staggering 500,000 new jobs were created in the lead up to the tournament. The city of Cologne reported that their visitor numbers after the World Cup increased by between 7& and 10%. Another tangible benefit was that in preparation for the tournament, the German government invested the sum of €37b in infrastructure such as roads, transportation and facilities, so that the country could facilitate the surge in visitors. This is something that the German people still benefit from today. The German League also benefited by being awarded $70m, which was in turn put into grassroots development, so that young Germans could dream about playing in a World Cup one day themselves.


South Africa spend around $4bn on the 2010 World Cup, investing the money in six new state of the art stadiums and upgrading infrastructure such as roads and airports. FIFA generated a staggering $3.36bn from the event and awarded South Africa with $100m to fund grassroots projects around the country. Unfortunately, the South Africa World Cup has done nothing to improve the fortunes of the nations national team. Nicknamed Bafana Bafana, the team failed to qualify for Russia 2018, finishing bottom of their qualifying group with 4 points from 6 games. The national league still suffers from poor attendances, excluding the countries two major teams, Orlando Pirates and the Kaiser Chiefs. The estimated average cost of a tourist attending South Africa for the World Cup is estimated to be $13,000. The Cape Town stadium hosted five first round matches, and went on to host a second round, quarter final and semi final throughout the tournament. The stadium cost a reported $600m with the nations total spending for stadium construction and reburbishment topping $1.4bn. This left many South African’s wondering if they money could be better spent elsewhere in the country.


Widely criticised for leaving Brazil with several expensive but dormant stadiums, the 2014 World Cup is one that divides opinion. Brazil exited the tournament in a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the Semi Final, leaving the Selecao’s dream of winning the World Cup on home soil in tatters. Despite initial concerns, the 12 World Cup stadiums were ready on time for the opening ceremony to begin. However, now lies several near-abandoned stadiums which struggle to host any football at all. The most expensive stadium, adding up to a total cost of $550m, is located in Brasilia and is being used as a parking space for buses. 


Copyright 2014 Nouveau Finance Limited.  Moneypod is a trading style of Noveau Finance.Ltd. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Is U.S, Attorney General Jeff Sessions using the Bible to defend evil?



"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose!"

- William Shakespeare
From The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3


 U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has quoted from the Bible in defence of President Donald Trump's immigration policy.  In so doing, Sessions has cited Scripture for an evil purpose. He has used a Biblical verse to justify the inhumane practice of separating the children of undocumented immigrants from their parents.at the southern border of the United States.

The passage that Sessions quoted is from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 13:1, which reads as follows:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Here is what the Attorney General has said to justify the United States Justice Department's policy of prosecuting migrants who cross the border from Mexico.  During a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions declared, ""I would cite you the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes."

That passage from Romans 13 has been used to defend the most execrable and immoral practices.  Sessions, who is a Southerner from Alabama, knows that it has been quoted to justify slavery and the treatment of human beings as property.  The Nazis in Germany used it give religious authority to genocide.  In South Africa, it was used to grant legitimacy to apartheid.  St. Paul would be appalled to know that his words have been used to condone actions that cause human suffering.  Paul himself spent time in prison because he did not always obey the rules of unjust governors.

What Jeff Sessions has suggested is that God supports the Trump administration's reprehensible policy of tearing children away from their parents.  He has advocated that laws should be blindly obeyed, even unjust laws.  Sessions should read Henry David Thoreau's essay, Civil Disobedience.

"The government itself, which is the only mode which people have to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted, before people can act through it."

"Under a government which imprisons anyone unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison."

In 1963, civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. went to prison because he protested the segregation laws in Alabama, defying a judge who ruled that Dr. King could not hold protests in the city of Birmingham.  In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King explained why he had broken the law.  "I am here because injustice is here, King wrote.  "I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all."

According to a 2016 profile in Newsweek magazine, Sessions is a Sunday school teacher at the Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama..  He has also been a delegate to the annual Alabama Methodist Conference.  Is it any wonder that Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that AG Sessions "could use more time in Sunday school?"  Moore, who is responsible for lobbying the government for Southern Baptist interests, declared, "We all have moments when we could use a little more time in Sunday school and this is one of those moments for the Department of Justice."

Sessions

Sessions reminds me of the Pharisees, a Jewish sect at the time of Christ.  They followed the letter of the law, but ignored the spirit of the law.  They were more concerned about appearances than actions.  They were more interested in upholding the law than acting compassionately.  That is why they criticized Christ for healing the sick on the Sabbath.  Christ, however, called them out for their hypocrisy.

Instead of focusing on a singular Biblical quote, Sessions should instead focus on the basic tenets of Christianity such as "love your neighbour as yourself."  He should also reread the parable of the "Good Samaritan" and write a 500-word essay on it.  Let me be clear.  I am not advocating that laws should be completely disrespected and ignored, only that they should not be obeyed blindly and unquestioningly.

In a just society, compassion should always overrule the letter of the law.  How dare the Attorney General of the United States hide behind the Bible to justify the cruel and immoral treatment of innocent babes in arms!  How dare President Donald Trump blame the Democrats for this egregious policy!  He has the power to stop it with the stroke of a pen.  Instead he refuses, using the children as a bargaining chip to obtain the funding for his insufferable wall along the Mexican border.  What kind of of president does that? What kind of a man does that?

This should not be a partisan issue.  It is a moral issue.  That's why all five living First Ladies of the United States, including Donald Trump's own wife, Melania, have spoken out against the so-called "zero tolerance" family separation policy.  It appears however, that their opposition has fallen on deaf ears.

The Trump administration has brought shame and disgrace upon a great nation.  It is time to stand up to the horror that it has wrought.  Children need the security of being with their parents.  Pediatric experts agree that without that security, they will suffer irreversible psychological damage.  That is an outrage!  It's time to take a stand.  People in the United States and around the world should protest and speak out against Trump's immigration policy.  Thankfully, Americans have the chance to express their opposition with their vote on November 6, 2018.


- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE (June 20, 2018): Under increasing pressure from the public (and reportedly from his wife Melania and daughter Invanka), President Trump has announced his intention to back down on his policy of separating children from their parents.  It's good that Trump has changed course, albeit rather reluctantly.  He has blamed the Democrats for the immigration debacle, saying that they were the reason for the separation of families.  Yet, he now says he intends to sign an executive order backing down on his administration's unconscionable treatment of migrant children.    It turns out he can put a stop to it with the stroke of a pen.

What about the 2,300 children who are already separated from their parents?  Their fate is unclear and they remain locked up.  The executive order does not excuse what Trump has done and does not undo the harm to the children that have already been detained.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Living Room to Live Room:: The Most Famous Recording Studios in the World

Here is an infographic that music lovers and others are sure to enjoy.  It is filled with information, photos and sketches regarding the most famous recording studios in the world.  It provides the names of some artists who have recorded albums in the comfort of their own homes and gives you tips on how to create an at-home studio of your own.  I hope you have fun with this infographic and that you find it informative and useful.

- Joanne

”Living
Living Room To Live Room by Insulation Express.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bobby Kennedy, America needs someone like you again


1968 was quite a shocking year in the United States.  Two major assassinations rocked the nation to its very core.  On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was killed while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee.  Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a strong supporter of Dr. King and the civil rights movement, tried to heal a grief-stricken country. He talked of his own grief when his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas.  About two months later, Bobby himself would be killed by an assassin's bullet during his campaign for his Democratic nomination for president.

I have watched Bobby's victory speech in California many times.  I watched it again last Sunday night and it almost brought tears to my eyes.  He ended his speech with the words, "And it's on to Chicago and let's win there!"  Tragically, Bobby never made it to the Democratic Party's convention in the Windy City.  He was shot dead while walking through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  If that hadn't have happened, RFK would most likely have been elected president.  After his victory in the California primary, he had the momentum to defeat his Democratic rival, Eugene McCarthy for the Democratic nomination.  He probably would have gone on to defeat the Republican nominee for president, Richard M. Nixon.

Sadly, it didn't happen that way.  Nixon won the 1968 presidential election and was re-elected in 1972.  The Watergate Scandal ensued and Nixon resign from office in 1974.  The United States was deprived of the opportunity of having Bobby in the White House.  What a loss.  He would have been a great president.  No, Bobby wasn't perfect and he wasn't a saint.  He had a heart, though.  He was compassionate, not narcissistic.  He was concerned about poverty, not about tax breaks for billionaires.

50 years have passed since RFK was murdered.  If he were alive today, I am certain that he would oppose the polices of the current President of the United States vigorously.  In an interview just before his death, Bobby was asked by David Frost about how his obituary should read.  He replied, "Something about the fact that I made a contribution to either my country or those who are less well off.  I think back to the way Camus wrote about the fact that perhaps this world is a world in which children suffer, but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this?  I'd like to feel that I'd done something to lessen that suffering."  Can you imagine Donald Trump saying anything like that?  I don't think so.

You are missed, Bobby.  The United States and the world could use your kind of leadership.


- Joanne

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Are You Fluent in Monwy Slang?

Here's a quiz to test your knowledge of slang associated with different types of British and American currency.  Why not see how much you know.  Enjoy!

Joanne

Thursday, May 31, 2018

UK Residents: Here's How to Boost Your Pension Pot By Insulating Your Home

Here's an infographic that is especially relevant to those who reside in the United Kingdom.  It illustrates how how much of an impact insulating your home would have on your pension savings if you live in the UK.  It also provides some important tips on how to conserve energy, which concerns everyone.   I hope you find it helpful and informative.

- Joanne


Boost Your Pension Pot By Insulating Your Home


Attribution: Insulation Express

Monday, May 28, 2018

No, Rudy Giuliani, truth is not relative


I can't let this go unchallenged.  Rudy Giuliani the former Mayor of New York City, in an interview with the Washington Post, made a statement that is very insidious, yet so indicative of the Trump team's mentality.  Giuliani, now attorney to President Donald Trump, discussed the subject of Trump's willingness to testify before Robert Mueller and his Special Counsel investigation.  He argued that it would be a perjury trap for his client because "Truth is relative."  Then he added, "They may have a different version of the truth than we do."

No, Rudy.  There is only ONE version of the truth.  The truth is not subjective.  The truth is objective.  Facts can be checked and proven right or wrong.  Two plus two equals four.  There is only one correct response to that, only one truth. In Trump World, perhaps two plus two equals five.  However, Trump World is an Alice in Wonderland place, somewhere down the rabbit hole.  The American president and his team seam to subscribe to the Humpty Dumpty Theory of Language.  Like Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's 1871 classic Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, they seem to believe they can make words mean whatever they choose them to mean.


[Humpty]
[Alice]
"I don't know what you mean by 'glory'," Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"
"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master-that's all."
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper some of them- particularly verbs: they're the proudest- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

- From Looking Glass, Chapter VI

Robert S. Mueller III is a man of integrity.  He goal is not to trap Trump.  His goal is to find the truth, nothing more. If Trump and his associates are innocent of wrongdoing, why should the have anything to fear from a man like Mueller?  If the President of the United States is not guilty, why is he so afraid of the truth?

What is truth?  Over 2,000 years ago, Pontius Pilate who governed the Roman province of Judea, famously asked that question.  In the Gospel of John, Chapter 18, Verse 38, Pilate questions Jesus' claim that he is "witness to the truth."  A jesting Pilate replies, "Quid est veritas?" ("What is truth?") in Latin.


The Trumpsters will not stop muddying the waters. So, I will do my best to challenge them.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines "truth" or "the truth" as a noun meaning "That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality"  Facts can be proven true or false.  That is why the truth is crystal clear.  It is pure and unadulterated.


- Joanne

Monday, May 21, 2018

America has lost its moral compass

The United States has always presented itself as a beacon of hope, a place where immigrants could make a new and better life for themselves.  It has always thought of itself as a vibrant democracy.  Sadly, however, a terrible malaise has spread across the "land of the free and the home of the brave."  With the rise of the far right, aided and abetted by U.S. president Donald Trump, the Republican Party, the National Rifle Association (NRA), Fox News and billionaires such as the Koch brothers, a great nation has lost its moral compass.

What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country when mass school shootings have become the norm, when they routinely occur.  On the morning of May 18, 2018, I woke up to the news of yet another school shooting, this time at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

"No other developed nation comes close to the rate of US gun violence. Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every adult.

Data from the Gun Violence Archive reveals there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – nine out of every 10 days on average"
- The Guardian

What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country when its president condones torture. The U.S. Senate has conformed Gina Haspel as the first female head of the C.I.A.  The trouble is that Haspel was in charge of a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in 2002 where detainees were subjected to interrogation tactics that critics have described as torture.  She also drafted the cable that was sent to destroy several .interrogation tapes in 2005.  Isn't it wonderful that woman who has been linked to waterboarding and the cover-up of torture?

Isn't it great that Donald Trump, the President of the United States has endorsed waterboarding, He told the BBC that it "absolutely works" and that he wants wants to "fight fire with fire."  The Merriam-Webster dictionary has defined waterboarding as "an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee's mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of "drowning" - in other words, a method of torture.  Let's not mince words.  Let's call it what it is.


What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country whose president has called the media "the enemy of the people."  Sadly, too many Americans agree with his assessment. The United States is a country that has always cherished freedom of the press and freedom of speech, as enshrined in the First Amendment to its Constitution. In Trump's America, many people strongly defend the Second Amendment and the so-called right to bear arms.  Why don't as many voices speak up in support
of the media and the First Amendment?

The United States' ranking dropped from 43 to 45 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) 2018 World Press Freedom Index, continuing its downward trend since Donald Trump assumed office..


What is happening to the United States of America? 

There is something wrong with a country when its right-wing evangelicals support a president whose polices and actions violate the basic tenets of Christianity. Yet, right-wing evangelical Christians form a large part of Trump's base.  Although well-versed in Scripture, these evangelicals, including Vice President Mike Pence, support a man whose words and values are contrary to the words and values of Jesus, who taught humility, charity and brotherly love as set out in the Sermon on the Mount and in parables such as The Good Samaritan.  Trump preaches.the polar opposite.  He denigrates immigrants, refugees, Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks, the poor and marginalized.


What is happening to the United States of America?  

There is something wrong with a country when so many people believe outright lies and are unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood.  Americans have been brought up on the legend of George Washington, the country's first president.  At an early age, children are told the story about how Washington admitted to chopping down a cherry tree because he could not tell a lie.  That's how much truth has always mattered to Americans.  It is said of the first American president that he could not tell a lie.  Meanwhile, the current president cannot tell the truth.  Fact checkers such as journalist Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star's correspondent in Washington, have relentlessly uncovered Trump's exaggerations, inaccuracies and outright lies.


What is happening to the United States of America?

There is something wrong with a country when many citizens, including a large number of females, cast their vote for a man who bragged on tape about groping women.  There was no misunderstanding Donald Trump's words.  His words were captured on videotape. His vulgar bragging was revealed prior to the 2016 election.  Yet, he still won the presidency due to the result of the electoral college vote.


What is happening to the United States of America?

There is something wrong with a country when the president's budget allows tax breaks for billionaires and crumbs for lower income Americans.  The amount of poverty in the United States is staggering.  The gap between the haves and have-nots is growing wider every day.  Here are the cold, hard facts, based on statistics provided b the United States Census Bureau:

Current estimates on poverty in the U.S. The official poverty rate is 12.7 percent, based on the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 estimates. That year, an estimated 43.1 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure. According to supplemental poverty measure, the poverty rate was 14.0 percent.

There are more people living in poverty in the United Sates (over 43 million) than the entire population of my country, Canada (slightly less than 37 million, according to the latest estimate from Statistics Canada).  There are more Americans living in poverty than the entire population of the state of California (over 39.5 million, according to the latest estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.

So, what does the Trump administration do?  It passes a budget that hits poor Americans the hardest, cutting out food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It claims that it will make up the difference with a box of canned goods, a change that Office Manager and Budget director Mick Mulvaney describes as a "Blue Apron-type program."  However, according to The Washington Post, critics have charged the Trump administration of "drawing an unfair comparison between the food stamp program, which delivers an average of $1.37 per meal to American's poorest, and a high-end meal kit that runs $10 per serving."

The Trump administration has also implemented sweeping cuts to popular safety net programs such as federal housing subsidies and Medicaid.


What is happening to the United States of America?

There is something wrong with a country that is so out of step with the rest of the world.  The United States has pulled out of the Paris accord on climate change.  It is completely out of sync with the rest of the world on climate change.  French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Trump to allow the United States to rejoin the Paris accord, but he stubbornly refuses.  He prefers to remove environmental protections and he regards climate change as a hoax.

Instead of trying to improve the Iran nuclear deal, as Macron and other leaders have urged him to do, the U.S. president has reneged on the agreement.  It is an imperfect deal, but it has worked and could be improved.  Donald Trump will not listen to reason and he continues to isolate the United States from the rest of the world and its leaders, including allies such Macron, Angela Merkel of Germany and Canada's Justin Trudeau.

The world desperately needs the United States to get back on track, to find its moral compass.  That probably won't happen unless the Democrats take back at least one of the Houses of Congress in November.  Too many Republicans put part ahead of country.  For shame!

- Joanne

Friday, May 18, 2018

Open Letter to John Tory, Mayor of Toronto #2

 


This is the second of a series of open letters to Mayor John Tory regarding the serious issues facing the city of Toronto. until this fall's municipal election.  The election will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018.


Dear Mayor Tory,

In my fist letter to you, I expressed my concern that no high-profile candidate is poised to oppose your re-election to the office of Mayor of Toronto.  I stated that it would not be beneficial for both you and the City of Toronto if you had an easy ride to re-election.  I then listed the three most serious issues facing the city:

1. Homelessness, poverty and addiction
2. The environment, health and cleanliness
3. Transportation

In this second letter to you, I will elaborate on other issues and improvements that are needed.  Let's begin with the task of making Toronto greener and more beautiful.  Let's build a city that is pedestrian friendly.  Urban activist Jane Jacob firmly believed that cities are first and foremost for people.  In "Downtown is for People," her classic 1958 article for Fortune magazine, she wrote, "There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings that we must fit our plans."

* Toronto could use more green spaces, more public squares and more outdoor seating.  One of the attractions of European cities is the abundance of large public squares.  Think of the beautiful piazzas in Italy or Trafalgar Square in London.  All we have is Yonge-Dundas Square, which leaves much to be desired.  Surely it can be improved and beautified.  It is much to stark and tawdry.  It needs more greenery, more seating and some attractive art.  Nobody expect to see statues by Michelangelo or fountains by Bernini in Yonge-Dundas Square, but the place can still be enhanced.  Let's start by giving it a better name.  "Yonge-Dundas" just doesn't have a good ring to it.  It doesn't sound classy.

* Mr. Mayor, I also think that our city needs more public washrooms, especially in subway stations.  The majority of TTC subway stations do not have them.

* For too long, developers have been aloud to run rampant and unchecked in this city.  I want to weep when I see how our view of Lake Ontario has been blocked by numerous highrise condominiums.  It's a pity!

It's also a shame that the venerable Humber Theatre, a historic landmark in Bloor West Village is going to be replaced by (what else?) a condo development.  Toronto is losing another majestic old movie theatres.  Soon there will only be sterile, cookiecutter Cineplexes.

* Toronto should have a planetarium for stargazers and astronomy lovers.  It is regrettable that the McLaughlin Planetarium was forced to close in 1995, due to budget cuts imposed by the newly elected provincial government of Mike Harris.

* Toronto's public libraries are precious.  Their social and educational value should not be underestimated.  They should always be properly funded and appreciated.


- Joanne


If you would like to read my fist letter to John Tory, click on the link below.



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Photos of Cherry Blossoms in High Park, Toronto



On Saturday, May 12, I visited a very busy High Park here in Toronto.  It was filled with people of all ages and backgrounds.  They were just enjoying the cherry blossoms and snapping photos.  In the past few years, this has become quite a popular event in Toronto.  Here some more photos.






























- Joanne

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring of discontent for Toronto sports fans

For Toronto sports fans, this has been the spring of our discontent.  Everything looked so promising for the Maple Leafs and the Raptors as their 2018 seasons drew to a close.  The city was flushed with excitement and a sense of anticipation.  Even if the Leafs and Raptors failed to win their respective league championships, we had hopes that they would go deep into the playoffs.  Our optimism was not just fuelled by wishful thinking.  There was solid evidence that both teams were poised for some degree of playoff success.  After all, the Raptors won 59 games this year and finished first in the Eastern Conference of the NBA.  They set franchise records for most wins in a season.  As for the Leafs, they also had a fruitful season, finishing third in the NHL's Atlantic Division with 49 wins and 26 losses. They are loaded with young talent such as Auston Mattthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

So what went so horribly wrong?  Well, both teams failed to step up in the playoffs.  Their best players did not come through when it really counted.  They didn't pull together.  They weren't hungry enough.  There's no way to candy coat it.  In their first two games against the Boston Bruins, the Leafs looked overmatched and unprepared.  Boston played with confidence and poise. The Leafs, on the hand, didn't resemble the same team that won 49 games during the regular season.  Where were Auston Matthews and William Nylanders?  A team's top players are supposed to shine in the playoffs.   Boston's big line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak completely dominated the Blue and White.  In addition, Leaf goaltender Frederik Aandersen was far from outstanding.  Freddie was not so steady.  The red-headed Dane has certainly played better, but it was not all his fault.  The Leafs' defence was not exactly stellar and Jake Gardiner. had a painful Game 7.  Gardiner he took the loss hard, declaring that he "didn't show up" and that he "let a lot of people down."

Jake Gardiner
The Maple Leafs lacked leadership and discipline in their series against the Bruins.  They didn't have their eyes on the prize.  Otherwise, Nazem Kadri would have been able to control himself instead of incurring a needless three-game suspension.  Kadri's suspension cost the Leafs dearly.  The Boston series clearly exposed Toronto's weaknesses, especially their defensive flaws.  The Leafs just weren't ready.  At least they gained some playoff experience - the hard way.  Looking ahead to next season, they have chosen a 32-year-old whiz kid named Kyle Dubas as their new General Manager.  They should also has a team captain in plac by then.  We will see what happens.

As for the Toronto Raptors, I honestly expected much more from them than from the Leafs.  They played so impressively during the regular season and it seemed as if their time had finally come.  The first playoff round ended well for the Raps.  They defeated the Washington Wizards in six games.  However, for the third season in a row, they were spooked by the Cleveland Cavaliers and King LeBron James.  James completely unnerved the Raptors.  They didn't know how to deal with him..  He psyched them out.  He toyed with them.  He humiliated them.  It was difficult for Toronto fans to watch.

What happened to DeMar DeRozan?  Although healthy, he was benched for the final 14 minutes of the Raptors' 105-103 defeat in Game 3 against Cleveland.  DeRozan is an all-star.  He's no LeBron, but he's the Raptors' best player.  Something is terribly wrong when your best player is so ineffective that he isn't utilized in the closing minutes of a crucial playoff game.

Coach Dwane Casey paid the price for the Raptors' poor performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs.  He was fired soon after, despite the 59 wins and receiving the Coach of the Year Award from the NBA Coaches Association.  As sports fans know, it often happens that way.  The players can't all be fired, so the coach becomes the fall guy.  I'm not saying that Casey doesn't bear any responsibility for the Cleveland debacle.  No one player or coach should shoulder all the blame.  That fiasco was a team effort and Casey deserved better.

Dwane Casey
So, it's the middle of May and the Toronto Maple Leafs have gone another year without winning the Stanley Cup.  That's 51 years and counting.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights, in their first year of contention, are still alive in the playoffs.  If they defeat the Winnipeg Jets, they will earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.  It's hard to believe that Vegas has gotten so far in their initial season.  I admit that I am biased and that I would prefer Winnipeg to win.  However, I don't want to underestimate the Knights.  They have certainly exceeded expectations.  Yet, even if they weren't playing Winnipeg, I couldn't bring myself to cheer for them to win Lord Stanley's Jug.  It doesn't feel right.  It doesn't feel as if this new franchise has paid its dues yet.  The Golden Knights' success is  rather galling to Leaf fans who have waited patiently for so many years and to all the NHL teams who have never won the Cup.  Still, if they manage to win it, they will be the legitimate victors.


- Joanne

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Business of E-Sports

Here is an infographic about the business of sports.  It contains facts and statistics about electronic sports or organized competitions between professional gamers.  It provides information about the growth of e-sport revenue growth, the highest earning esports gaming countries.  sports clubs with the most esport players and the top esport players and tournaments.  I hope this infographic entertaining and informative.

- Joanne

”MonEy”
MonEy by Moneypod.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

After 51 years without winning the Stanley Cup, what's next for the Toronto Maple Leafs?


Today marks a rather significant anniversary for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their legion of fans.  In many ways, it is a dubious anniversary because it is a reminder of the franchise's many years of futility.  For it was on this day, May 2nd, back in 1967, that the Blue and White last hoisted the Stanley Cup.  That was 51 years ago - more than half a century.  Of course, there were only six teams then, so it wasn't as difficult to win Lord Stanley's Jug.  There wasn't a gruelling two month marathon of playoff hockey (the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup on June 11th last season).  In 1967, the Leafs were an older team, so they wouldn't have survived the endurance test that the NHL's premier championship has become.  Their goaltender, the legendary Johnny Bower, was 42 years old.  Their other goalie, Terry Sawchuk, was 37.  Their captain, George Armstrong, was 36.

Technology has changed in leaps and bounds since the Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens in that long ago Stanley Cup Final, as have social mores and fashion.  Younger hockey fans may find it hard to fathom a world without cell phones and the Internet, but colour television was a novelty in 1967 and people watched the Stanley Cup finals on small black and white TVs.  There were no advertisements along the boards of the arena or on the ice.  Players didn't wear helmets, most goalies didn't wear masks and there were no bearded 6 foot, 5 inch behemoths.  The people in the crowd were not dressed in the home team's sweater.  Many were all dressed up in suits and dresses.

When the Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup, Canadians were celebrating Centennial Year. We were basking in the glow of Expo 67 in Montreal, which opened its gates on April 27, 1967, just days before days before the Leafs' Stanley won the Stanley Cup.  Pierre Elliott Trudeau was planning his run for the leadership of the Liberal Party and his eventual replacement of Lester Pearson as Prime Minister of Canada.  "Trudeaumania" was soon to sweep our land.

Flash forward 51 years.  The son of Pierre Trudeau is the current Prime Minister of Canada.  There are 31 teams in the National Hockey League, including such hockey hotbeds as Nashville, Tennessee and Phoenix Arizona.  The latest franchise to join the league is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.  As of this writing, no Canadian-based team has won the Stanley Cup for 25 years, since Montreal won it in 1993.

Toronto fans have been patient through the horrible years when Harold Ballard owned the team and through many mediocre and sub par seasons.  In 1993, with Doug Gilmore leading the way, the Leafs almost made it to the Stanley Cup final, only to be thwarted by Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings.  The dream of a Toronto-Montreal match-up was put to rest. 

The Leafs haven't been as close to winning the Holy Grail of Hockey since then.  However, fate smiled upon them when they won first choice in the lottery draft and were able to sign the talented Auston Matthews.  Matthews is surrounded by some other skilled young players such as Mitch Marner and William Nylander.  I believe the team is headed in the right direction.  Unfortunately, this year,they just weren't ready.  Here's what they need:

1.  More playoff experience:  One of the reasons Boston defeated the Leafs in the first round of this year's playoffs is that they have much more playoff experience.  Compared to the Bruins, the Leafs lacked poise and confidence.

2.  A stronger defence:  Defence is the Leafs' weak spot. Jake Gardner certainly looked bad in the Game 7 loss to Boston, but he should not have to shoulder all the blame.  For example, Freddie Andersen didn't play his best in the seventh game either.  He didn't rise to the occasion.  The Leafs were awful in the first two games in Boston.  However, they did improve greatly in the rest of the series.  Still, their star young player, Auston Matthews and William Nylander did not shine at all.  Although Mattthews had 27 shots on goal in seven games, he finished the series with just one goal in Game 3 and one assist in Game 5.  As for Nylander, he only had four points (one goal and three assists).

3.  A team captain.  The leadership of a captain is very important.  The Maple Leafs were probably too hasty in making Dion Phaneuf their captain, but now they are overdue to choose a captain.  It's hard to imagine a team winning the Stanley Cup without a captain.  Many think it's a matter of time before Auston Matthews wears the "C" on his uniform.  Perhaps, he's the one, but I think all of the Leaf players should have a say in who has the honour of being captain.  They have a good idea of who has the right leadership qualities and whose right for the job.  It should be put to a vote among the players.

4.  More discipline.  A Stanley Cup-winning team is disciplined and focused.  The Leafs took too many unnecessary penalties in their series against Boston.  Nazim Kadri, in particular, must exercise control.  He was no help to his team while he was suspended for three games

Whom do I want to win the Stanley Cup this year?  The Winnipeg Jets, of course, and not just because they are a Canadian-based team.  A victory would mean a lot to the city of Winnipeg.  Yet, I wonder if the situation were reversed and the Toronto Maple Leafs were still in the running for the Cup,  how many fans in Winnipeg or other parts of Canada, could bring themselves to cheer for the Leafs?  Anyway, good look to the Jets. as long as they're not playing the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I hope to see some celebrating in the 'Peg this year and maybe a parade along Yonge Street in the near future.



- Joanne

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Solar Energy: A Global Overview of the Rise of Rooftop Energy Storage

The demand for renewable energy sources is increasing every year due to climate change.  The  Rooftop solar energy storage is available, affordable and on the rise.  The following infographic will provide charts and statistics tracing its growth around the world.  It highlights the trends in solar energy and how attitudes, how global attitudes are changing and which countries are leading the way.  I hope you find it informative and useful.  

- Joanne

”The
The Rise of Rooftop Energy Storage by Roof Stores.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Reflections on Earth Day 2018


If I had to name the most serious threat to the survival of humanity, my answer would be climate change.  In second place, would be nuclear devastation.  Some people shrug and say they are sick and tired of hearing the preaching of "tree huggers."

Here is my reply:

There is no choice.  It is time to sound the alarms and they should be blaring!  We need to shout our message from the mountain tops!  Like ancient Rome, the Earth is burning and like Emperor Nero, too many our leaders are fiddling.  How can environmentalists let up when there is such a crisis?  Scientist the world over, especially Canada's Dr. David Suzuki, have been warning us of the dangers.  They are united in the same cause as religious leaders such as Pope Francis, who has pointed out clearly that climate change is a moral issue. (Who says that science and religion can't find common ground?).

At the moment, one of the most powerful leaders in the world refuses to to do anything about the environmental crisis.  The current American president and his Republican cohorts are more beholden to oil companies than to human beings.  They are  more interested in protecting the wealth of the fossil fuel industry than in protecting the health and welfare of ordinary Americans.  President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement and has encouraged the revival of dirty coal mines, despite the fact that these mines cause sickness, disease and pollution.  Of course, people need jobs.  They have to put food on the table.  However, there are alternatives to reviving a dead fossil fuel industry.  Why should American workers regress to a time when their livelihood threatened their health?

Anti-environmentalists would have youo believe that we have to make a choice between jobs and the environment.  However, it doesn't have to be an either/or proposition.  There are alternatives.  It is possible to create jobs while protecting the environment.  Employees can be retrained or work at "green jobs."  Not only than, but do we really want people to work in mines and destroy their health.

Thank goodness that Jerry Brown, the current Governor of California, recognizes the dangers of climate change and pollution and wants to do something about it.  He has leverage, too, because California boasts the world's sixth largest economy, Governor Brown wants to work with the Canadian province of Ontario, where I live.  Unfortunately, there is a clear and present problem on the horizon.  The people of Ontario are scheduled to go to the polls on June 7, 2018 and Doug Ford, leader of the Progressive (italics mine) Conservative Party of Ontario,  is poised to  become the next premier of the province.  Ford is a right-wing populist.  Like Trump, he is a climate change denier and he plans to repeal Ontario's cap-and-trade system, which imposes a limit (cap) on industrial emissions and permits companies to buy (trade) credits that allow them to exceed that limit.  By the way, this is not a tax because the price is not paid directly buy taxpayers.  If Ford's party wins the election, as expected, it will be a terrible blow to environmentalism in Canada's most populous province.

Unfortunately, right-wing populists have been making strides.  There could not be a worse time in history for the rise of right-wing climate change deniers.  We sol-called "tree huggers" must counter them before it is too late.


The Earth is what we all have in common.















Wendell Berry (1934- ), American poet and novelist.
From The Unsettling of America [1977]


Whatever our age, our gender, our race or ethnic background, our social and economic status, we all inhabit the same planet.  We all have a stake in the protection of the Earth.  As a farmer and environmental activist, Wndell Berry makes the case that we all have an interest in the future of our common home.


We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

- Native American proverb

There was classic public service announcement (PSA) from years ago.  It showed an Indigenous man with a tear in his eye after seeing the environmental devastation caused by litter.  That PSA was poignant and extremely effective.  It should be shown again to an new generation.  If only non-natives respected the earth like the aboriginal people, we would would have clean air and clean water.  We would be healthier and happier.




Here are two things you can for the environment on Earth Day and every day.

* Don't use plastic water bottles.

*  Don't forget the three Rs - Recycle, Reuse and Reduce


Note to Smokers                                                 


Please don't throw your cigarette butts on the ground.  Cigarette butts remain on the ground for for years, leaking toxic chemicals into the environment. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, cigarettes contain almost 4,000 chemicals,  About 50 of them are carcinogenic.  Here is a list of some of those chemicals: arsenic, acetone, ammonia, lead, formaldehyde etc.  Carelessly discarded cigarette butts contaminate our water supply.  They harm humans and animal life.


- Joanne