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Reviving Blogger's Choice Winners

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

It's been several months since the winners from the 2011 Blogger's Choice awards were announced and considering the year is almost over, I figured it was a good time to remind everyone who those winners were. In the coming weeks we'll be discussing and initiating this years awards, but I wanted to send out this little reminder of the current winners before we get intto that. Go on now, have a gawk!

Art / Craft / Food
WINNER: Norton's Cove Studio
This blog is a behind the scenes look at the art of printmaking from Janet Davis and friends.

Educational / Books
WINNER: Compulsive Overreader
From Trudy Morgan-Cole who loves to read and equally loves to discuss it on this blog.

Entertainment / Media
Greg posts things on his blog that his friends (and everyone likely) will enjoy.

Mixed Bag
WINNER: Oh Me Nerves
A blog of ridiculous rants on just about anything from Steve Melee.

Personal / Journal
WINNER: Travelling Infinity
This a wonderful personal site from Mandy Poole out of Stephenville Crossing

WINNER: Donna Ramsay
A lovely photo blog out of St. John's by Donna Ramsay (obviously).

Political / Commentary
WINNER: The Rural Lens
An informative blog dedicated to keeping Rural NL in focus.

Science / Technology
WINNER: Elfshot Sticks & Stones
An incredible archeological site from archaeologist and flintknapper Tim Rast.

Sport / Recreation
WINNER: NL Running
A very informative Running and multisport blog for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Travel / Business
WINNER: Gas and Oil
All about gas an oil issues as they pertain to this province, ran by George Murphy.


by News @ Comentarios para La Verdad

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by @ Comentarios para La Verdad

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Superman and Jesus: More Similar than You Might Imagine

Superman and Jesus: More Similar than You Might Imagine

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

Superman comes to earth to save humanity just like Jesus. Though the stories are similar, more interesting is that the methods Christian apologists use to declare Jesus historical come to a similar conclusion for Superman.

Getting past denial in Victoria

by (Paul Levy) @ Not Running a Hospital

You have to be willing to acknowlege your problems before you can remedy them.  If I were to characterize the state of public and private hospital care in the state of Victoria, Australia, I'd have to say that this first step is lacking.  Both the public and private hospital systems and the goverment regulators who oversee them are in a state of denial with regard to the level of harm being caused to the public by inadequate attention to quality and safety deficiencies. The health system as a whole, also, is characterized by an uwillingness to engage patients and families in the appraisal and improvement of care.

The question is when and if the body politic and hospital governing bodies and clinical and administrative leaders will overcome their denial of the extent of the problem.

On the public side of the hospital system, the Victoria Auditor-General is about to issue an important report on patient safety in Victoria hospitals, described as follows:

Clinical incidents in healthcare settings cause, or have the potential to cause, unexpected harm to patients. They include falls, pressure sores and medication errors and may result in near misses, adverse events where harm has occurred or sentinel events resulting in serious harm or death. It has been estimated that around one in 10 hospitalised patients suffers preventable harm and an adverse event related to care. The number of near misses, the accuracy of reporting of patient safety incidents, and the effectiveness of subsequent investigation are not known. The audit will determine whether public hospitals are managing risks to patient safety.

If this study is rigorous and accurate, as I have reason to believe it will be, it will confirm a previous analysis about the public hospitals:

A study published in the journal Health Policy showed there were almost 20,000 adverse events - or incidents that cause harm to patients - in Victoria in 2005-06.

The data showed for the first time the extent of errors and complications in Victoria's hospitals and highlighted how little the state government reports such problems. It discloses only the most serious problems, or ''sentinel events'', each year.

In 2005-06, the same year as the study, it disclosed only 91 serious adverse events, including 29 deaths.

The study, led by Katharina Hauck of the Imperial College London's centre for health policy, found that adverse-event rates varied greatly between hospitals - from 6.8 per cent to 30.1 per cent for elective and from 3.6 per cent to 25.7 per cent for emergency patients.

Many believe that quality and safety problems occur mainly in the rural hospitals, but it is clear that they exist even in the most reknowned academic tertiary care institutions.

From all I can see, this study has been ignored by the body politic.  After a brief flurry of interest by media, attention to the issue evaporated.  Will the same happen to the Auditor-General's report?  Concerns about the public health system tend to focus on budgetary matters, sometimes with sniping between federal and state officials that distracts from the level of harm being caused to patients.

There is a tendency among Victorians to extol the virtues of the devolved model of health care organization that exists in the state--as distinct, say, from the more centralized approach employed in New Soulth Wales.  In that state, a Clinical Excellence Commission is directly charged with designing and disseminating improvements in patient care into the state's hospitals.

There is no inherent advantage in one system versus another.  After all, a devolved system can be a fecund environment for innnovation and creativity.  But when it comes to the saftey and quality of care, there is scant evidence that such is the case in Victoria.  An October 2015 study by the King's Fund is notably silent about any such advances.  Apparently looking for positive remarks, the best the authors could say was the following:

The picture that emerges is of a health system performing well. Available data shows that Victoria delivers good results in comparison with other parts of Australia, being at, close to and sometimes above the average on many indicators. Underpinning Victoria’s performance is a well-understood governance model that gives the boards running health services at a local level considerable autonomy within a state-wideframework of priorities.

Putting aside the fact that benchmarking a system to "the average" is meaningless,  the following remarks undercut the validity of even this conclusion:

The transparent reporting of data on performance is another area for improvement. Not only would this strengthen accountability to the public, but also it would support health care providers to compare their performance with others and identify areas in which they can improve. The ‘disinfectant of sunlight’, as it has been dubbed, is being used increasingly in other health care systems, including within Australia, and it could be a powerful means of providing an early warning of performance problems. Increased transparency on safety and quality would also provide boards with the information they need to discharge their responsibilities.

In short, the basic information that devolved boards need to carry out their responsibilities is simply not available.

All of the above is about the public hospitals, but I have now heard and seen enough to believe that similar patterns exist in even some of the most highly regarded private hospitals.  During the last three months, I did not seek stories of safety and quality lapses in the private system, but I've had many reported to me.  One hospital system, for example, has a clear and persistent pattern of mis-identifying patients under their care--sometimes from failing to attach identifying name bands to patients admitted through their emergency room--resulting in near misses as patients were sent to the wrong procedure rooms or were about to be administered the wrong medications.

As in the case of the public hospitals, as dearth of reporting about hospital acquired infections and other sources of harm impedes public debate about this important adjunct to the state's health system. A lack of transparency allows reputation and market power--rather than quality--to form the basis for the relative rates charged to private medical insurers.

I have discussed before the high level of communitarian behavior in much of Australia society, and this is a marvelous thing.  I have also pointed out the notable personal commitment of many clinicians to providing patient- and family-centered area.  This too is admirable.  But general evidence of communitarianism and caring do not make a safe and high quality health care system.  Unless there is a high-level and sustained commitment to reducing harm by Government, by boards, and by clinical leaders; unless all parties embrace transparency of clinical outcomes; and unless patients and family engagement is made an institutional requirement of care design and delivery, Victorians will be put at unnecessary risk during their visits to public and private hospitals in the state.


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Adelanto de la sentencia alcanzará a exalcalde Roberto Torres, perito judicial y exfuncionarios PICSI. Para el miércoles 14 de febrero, en el día de la amistad y el amor, el Colegiado Penal Vacacional emitirá...

No Awards, Yes Newbies

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

More on this in the NL Blogger's Choice Awards section, but just to let the community know (and visitors) I have decided to cancel the 2012 Blogger's Choice Awards as I personally do not have the time to dedicate to the session right now. Without the nominations flowing in as I hoped they would, the job of getting everything ready is considerably more difficult. I've decided to focus on what I can take care of around these parts over the year, and then get back to this whole award thing at the end of 2013.

PLEASE NOTE that nominations will remain open all year, however. You can leave you choices in any of the applicable threads or email them to nlblogroll @


Now for some good news! I've added a bunch of new blogs to the Blogroll, all of which are listed below. These have all been added to the  main rolls on the right side bar, thier category rolls on the left side bar and on each page of the Category Sections. Be sure to check them out!

Estate Law CanadaDuck? Starfish? but…23
The ListMy World in Newfoundland
NL Tires and WheelsAtlantic Muscle
Le BoudoirVote Andrew Harvey
All I SayCornered
of sugar-baited wordsDarrin Feehan Photography
Doyle Pitchessea and light
Photo and Film a Daycoaker's ghost
InsightGeorge House Kitchen
SUITCASE AND HEELSFreedom through knowledge
Geo IslanderBusting Out In Love
The Nfld NotebookThe Musings of a Bartender
Simply HandmadeDenim and Dorky Hats
St. John's KidRandom Island Memories
The Chrysalis Clothing Co

Ottaw is About to Pick Your Pockets - Again

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

If you saw a hard working older person being robbed of something they’d worked their entire lives for would you help them? Would you do the right thing or would you simply look the other way?

Would we even stand up for ourselves if we were the ones about to be robbed?

Thanks to the federal government we may soon be given an opportunity to find out.

Ottawa’s plan to move forward with changes to the Old Age Security system (OAS) in the upcoming budget will take money directly out of your pocket in the coming years and the pockets of Canada’s most vulnerable, its seniors.

At present Mr. Harper’s is focused on picking the pockets of those who look forward to collecting OAS at 65 but aren’t quite there yet. He says his plans won’t affect those already collecting OAS but once politicians and bureaucrats begin their tinkering it’s a slippery slope. Who knows where the changes will ultimately end.

For now the target is the average person in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, the hard working middle class. They’ll be the ones left to pay now and pay later.

If you’ve worked your entire life and hope to collect OAS at 65, you better think again.

The same people whose tax dollars currently pay for the program those over 65 enjoy are about to be told they’ll have to wait longer, perhaps to 67 or older before being eligible.

While your taxes have been paying for this federally funded plan since the first day you started working, if the Harper government has its way you can plan on toiling away to continue paying for it well out into your so called golden years.

So why is the Harper hell bent on messing with the Old Age Pension?

He says it’s because the crush of Baby Boomers about to retire will drive up the cost making it unsustainable. That’s a lie. In fact the real motive behind this robbery is to keep the working class slaving away even longer in order to prop up a declining workforce and continue paying taxes for a few more years.

The federal finance minister is quick to toss out big numbers as a way of proving the program is unsustainable. As impressive as those numbers appear they’re nothing but smoke and mirrors.

The truth is that 20 years out those same Baby Boomers blamed for putting too much strain on the system will begin to pass away and the cost of providing the OAS will once again naturally slide back to more normal levels.

Even with the “boom” about to happen the cost is projected to be just over 3% of GDP, a sustainable amount considering the rate of fiscal growth in Canada each year. Naturally it isn’t the sort of increase a government would want to manage for too long but as the number of surviving Baby Boomers naturally declines after so will the costs.

There’s a reason the working class are called “wage slaves” and this is it.

Not only will you have Mr. Harper to thank for working longer in order to pay for a system you won’t be able to access until much later in life but as an added bonus you’ll also get to pay more to cover the gap it will create on the provincial level.

Currently provincial governments cease to pay social assistance to low income recipients once they begin collecting Old Age Security at 65. Raising the age of qualification means provincial assistance programs will have to be extended to fill the void, and guess who’ll have to pay for this added tax burden being downloaded to the provinces?

When you add it up, raising the age of qualification for OAS means:

A) Canadians will be forced to work longer before they can retire;

B) Will continue to pay more federal taxes over the extended period in order to support those already on OAS;

C) Will be forced to pay even higher provincial taxes necessary to extend social programs needed to fill the void left by the changes; and

D) In the end will collect less OAS by virtue of receiving it later in life than they would have otherwise.

If that isn’t like someone stealing money out of your pocket I don’t know what is.

If you hope to collect Old Age Security at 65, if you’re a hard working person who doesn’t have a company pension or your pension won’t be enough to retire on, if you are in a physically demanding job and worry that you may not be able to physically continue working past 65, now is the time to stand up and do something for yourself and those around you.

Call, write or email your Member of Parliament. Let them know how you feel about being fleeced. Contact the Prime Minister directly. Send a message to the Conservative Party of Canada letting them know that you won’t stand for it and they’ll pay the price in the next election.

If someone was about to be robbed, would you try to stop it? Somebody is and it’s you.

Note:  If you aren't sure how to contact your Member of Parliament check out the links section on the left side of this page for a site that will allow you to look up their contact information.

Por: ShantayTit


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by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Cómplice conocido como “Chivi” fue quien la retuvo CHICLAYO. Por el plazo de siete meses fue recluido en el penal de Chiclayo el sujeto José Carlos Sampén Pérez (a) “Tripa”, mientras continúan las investigaciones...

10 Year Anniversary

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

It was January of 2006 that this whole NL BlogRoll idea was launched. I had been blogging on my own personal site for several months by that time, and was inspired by the number of other local bloggers out there. What started as just a personal collection of blog links, turned into this site, intended to not only promote all those bloggers, but also the corner of the planet in which I live, and love a lot: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

There's been many ups and downs throughout the last decade, with some years having contests and 'Blog of the Week's', and other years being very quiet, especially in the later years. The site has gone through numerous renditions and expansions, adapting to new online technologies along the way, and sometimes being forced to. The original 'Blogroll' was an awesome service provided by a company/website simply called Blogrolling. This service allowed bloggers to add a simple script to their own sites which displayed the list of NL bloggers, sorted by last update (much like we have here now). When that service went offline, I was forced to either let everything crumble, or rebuild. Obviously I rebuilt - I couldn't just let it die - and thankfully Blogger added a widget which sorts blogs by last update - albeit, not one others could also display. Being a prime opportunity to expand, I also took this time to add all the categories to the site as well, an addition I think was worth it. A lot of work has gone into these pages over the years, but none of it was a chore to me. I love this resource, and I hope others get something from it too.

I'll always consider blogging to be the original social media, here before Facebook and Twitter became the normal way to share thoughts on the internet, and comment on other peoples thoughts. Many people still continue to blog to this day, evidenced by the hundreds of active links found below. The dormant ones often rise again too, as past bloggers decide to dust things off and write a post, much like this one today for me. It being a milestone of 10 years since this thing was created, how could I not write a post, right?

There are other motivations for writing this today though, as I added about 20 new blogs over the past few days, each in their own categories and applicable rolls. Some cleanup of dead links and dormant blogs took place too, but the main thing to note here is the newly added blogs, which I always enjoy doing. New bloggers are born every day, and I love it. Here's to another 10 years of collecting and sharing the many blogs local to Newfoundland and Labrador!

Recurrence Rollercoaster – #2 The GcMAF route (and why you should always kick the tyres of any cure)

Recurrence Rollercoaster – #2 The GcMAF route (and why you should always kick the tyres of any cure)

by bisforbananascisforcancer @ Supplement – BisforBananasCisforCancer

A quick re-cap for newcomers to this blog:  I was diagnosed with breast cancer (Stage 1) and spent approximately 1.5 years doing alternative treatments, but the tumour kept growing so I had a mastectomy.  I woke up from the mastectomy to find my left arm paralysed and numb due to  nerve damage (to the brachial … Continue reading

Top Chef Canada (season 3) | Wikiwand

Top Chef Canada (season 3) | Wikiwand


The third season of the Canadian reality competition show Top Chef Canada was broadcast on Food Network in Canada. It is a Canadian spin-off of Bravo's hit show Top Chef.


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Según agentes integraría banda delictiva “Los Marcas de Fanny Abanto” CHICLAYO. Sindicado de integrar la banda delictiva “Los Marcas de Fanny Abanto”, agentes de la sección de Investigaciones SEINCRI de la Comisaría del Norte...

William Lane Craig Wrong About Morality Again as He Justifies Hell

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

WLC dances around the question, “Can a loving god send people to hell?” It’s an embarrassing question for Christians, and WLC’s analysis doesn’t help.


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Por incumplimiento de pagos de administradores Luis Dávila y Maxs Ayora, azucarera parará su molienda luego le cortaran suministro de energía eléctrica. Situación devela crisis económica en excooperativa e irresponsabilidad empresarial de sus directivos....

25,000 New Testament Manuscripts? Big Deal.

25,000 New Testament Manuscripts? Big Deal.

Cross Examined

When the conversation turns to the reliability of the New Testament, the number of manuscript copies is likely to enter the conversation. 25,000 copies. Wow—that is indeed a lot. But that’s irrelevant.


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Proyecto ha permitido registrar un avance del 90% en la recolección de los residuos sólidos CHICLAYO. A pesar de ser un proyecto piloto, y de ejecutarse por etapas, la primera planta de transferencia de...

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I'm curious to learn just what website system you are using? I am experiencing some small safety difficulties with the most recent website regarding property development so I'd love to find one thing far more secure. Have you got any suggestions?


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Equality Has Little to do with Equalization

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

It’s probably a psychological side effect of the foggy weather around many parts of Newfoundland and Labrador this summer but lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (and very little lawn maintenance). Call it day dreaming if you will but I like prefer to think of it as a “vacation of the mind”. It may sound corny but when life gives you lemons (or in this case incessant pea soup fog) you do whatever you can to turn it into lemonade.

These mental excursions have lately led me to consider perception. How perception can, and often does, create a form of false reality and how even though perceptions can sometimes change they often stubbornly refuses to do so.

I wonder, for example, how perceptions about Newfoundland and Labrador have or haven’t changed among Canadians in the past few years. It’s not that I spend a lot of time concerned about that particular subject, in fact, though it may sound trite, I’ve learned over nearly 50 years that what matters most is how you perceive yourself, not what others think of you. Never the less, knowing quite well how Newfoundland and Labrador has been viewed by many Canadians for a long time I find myself curious about the current state of affairs.

In a recent unrelated article I mentioned that through my travels I've seen for myself how our oil driven economy and new attitude have helped alter perceptions far and wide, both inside the province and in other parts of the world, but when it comes to the old stereotypes across Canada I wonder if reality has finally begun to replace age old fallacies that have existed since 1949 or if those misperceptions remain as widespread as ever?

One of the oldest bugaboos that has plagued Newfoundland and Labrador for decades is the idea that the province is a financial drain on Canadian taxpayers. “Living off my tax dollars” was, and I’d argue still is, the prevailing attitude in places like Ontario where equalization payments to “the rock” have been seen as a form of federal welfare. Never mind that the tax dollars funding equalization come from citizens inside Newfoundland and Labrador just as well as they do from those in other parts of Canada, the perception remains.

Never mind as well that Newfoundland and Labrador hasn’t received one penny of equalization for a number of years now. And ignore the fact that a media driven cost/benefit analysis some time ago showed the province has contributed more to Canada financially than it received in all forms of federal transfers (equalization, health transfers, jobs, etc.) during its history. Regardless of any of that, the perception of a bottomless money pit where every Mother’s son is looking for a hand out has existed for a long time and it’s a hard image to shake.

Nobody ever said it was a requirement that perception have any basis in reality.

Those misperceptions are why today I found myself gazing into the ever present fog and pondering what people in other parts of Canada now believe. How much reality has managed to get through to the average man or woman on the streets of Ontario, Quebec or elsewhere in Canada?

Although accurate numbers are hard to find, due to holes in available public data, during the 62 years since Newfoundland and Labrador entered the Canadian federation, in 1949, my best estimates indicate the province received somewhere between 20 – 25 billion dollars in equalization payments.

By comparison, Quebec currently receives nearly 8 billion each and every year from the fund. In other words, over the next 3 years alone Quebec will receive as much, or more, in equalization as Newfoundland and Labrador saw during more than 60 years of Confederation. How much Quebec has benefitted from the program over those same 60 years is something I’ll leave to the imagination of the reader.

Add Ontario, Canada’s newest “have not” province to the mix and reality takes yet another turn away from some long held perceptions.

This fiscal year alone Ontario will receive 2.2 billion in federal equalization payments and that number is rising with each passing year. When you factor in the equalization payments Ontario has already received over the past two years, even if transfers remain at their current rate, in 10 short years Ontario will have collected as much in equalization as Newfoundland and Labrador did throughout its entire history.

Before everyone in Ontario suddenly emails me to remind me (in colourful language) that Ontario contributes more far more to equalization than any other province please stop, take a deep breath and try to get yourself get past that false perception as well. (our email server will thank you)

In reality Ontario doesn’t pay anything into equalization, no province does. Equalization is paid for by federal tax dollars collected from your paycheque and mine whether you live in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta or Newfoundland and Labrador. The “federal tax” item you see on your weekly pay stub is what pays for it along with other forms of federal taxation. The province doesn’t pay a penny into the pot no matter what any politician running for the premier’s seat might have to say about it.

Equalization payments are indeed issued to the provincial government but it’s individuals like you and me who foot the bill. I pay as much as you do when it comes to funding equalization so let’s not go there.
That aside, generally speaking I suspect equalization is a sore point for the people of Ontario who have long seen themselves as Canada’s economic engine but I don’t quote these numbers in an effort to belittle or thumb my nose at them or the people of Quebec or anywhere else for that matter. Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians would likely feel well within their rights to do exactly that after having been looked down upon for so long but that’s not what this is about. Rather I quote the numbers precisely because they are not misguided or misinformed perceptions. They are facts, plain and simple.

I also quote them in an effort to lay a solid ground work for a personal request.

As I stated earlier, I’m curious about current attitudes across the Country so if any of our readers in Ontario, Quebec or elsewhere in Canada would like to comment on attitudes toward Newfoundland and Labrador where they reside I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if perceptions are indeed changing in your neck of the woods or if, as I suspect, old attitudes toward the province remain a Canadian reality.

I’d love nothing more than to have my own perceptions proven wrong.

Meanwhile, back in Massachusetts

by (Paul Levy) @ Not Running a Hospital

It's been some time since I commented on issues of market dominance in Massachusetts, but a recent story by Bruce Mohl at Commonwealth Magazine caught my interest. He writes about a petition being supported by a health care union, SEIU, and Steward Health Care that would mandate a flattening of rate disparities among the state's hospitals.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association opposes the ballot question.  Mohl notes:

All but one of the hospital association’s board members head institutions that would benefit financially from the ballot question, but nevertheless they have formed a united front against it. Their reasons vary. Some are wary of government price regulation; others don’t think a ballot question is the best way to set health care policy. Whatever their motivation, the united front benefits Partners HealthCare, the one association member who would take a big hit if the ballot question becomes law.

Mohl notes that under the proposed legislation:

Lowell General Hospital would receive $27 million. Cambridge Health Alliance would get $22 million. CareGroup, which owns Beth Israel Deaconess and Mount Auburn Hospital, would pick up a total of $17 million. Baystate Health and Lahey Health would each receive $10 million, New England Baptist would get $7 million, Boston Medical Center would recover nearly $4 million, and Tufts Medical Center nearly $3 million.

He also reports:

A source familiar with the board’s discussions said Partners wields enormous power within the association, since it supplies 20 to 25 percent of its revenue. The source said the hospital association has pledged $14 million to the ballot question fight, with $12 million coming from Partners and $2 million from the association’s other members. The Rasky Baerlein firm is being enlisted to run the ballot campaign, the source said.
What more evidence do you need of the power and intimidation that Partners can wield among the insiders of the Boston health care market?

Some in the MHA find inimical the prospect of regulation of hospital pricing by the state.  Oddly, some of those very people are among the first to complain that the market-power-based rate-making system current employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield and the other insurers is unjust. Now, when they could act, they adopt an ostrich-like pose.  Do they really think that "a hospital association subcommittee headed by Michael Widmer, the former head of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation" will find ways to address the pricing differentials?  Over the course of the last decade, two Attorneys General have documented the disparities problem and its untoward effect on overall health care costs in the state, and the MHA has failed to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, Steward's support for the petition is humorous.  That system has always bragged about being a "low-cost" alternative to the pricey academic medical centers.  It now seems to realize that it is not really "low-cost" but simply "low-paid."  Meanwhile, for years it sent its tertiary referrals to Partners' Massachusetts General Hospital, the highest paid tertiary center--a move that undercut the profitability of the global payment based system Steward has chosen to sign with insurers.

In short, everybody seems to want to have it both ways.  Except Partners.  Which has is (again) their way.  Bravo, Partners!  Well done.

A Few Fall Additions

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

Below are more lovely additions to the site, and these few will likely be the last new ones for the year. With only 2 months left to 2012 (as hard as that is to believe), I can't see many more requests to join coming in. Besides, I'll be focusing on the NL Blogger's Choice Awards which will be coming soon and, as of this update, everyone who is currently listed will have a chance to be a part of it... but I won't talk about that any more yet. For now, focus on the newbies below and go check them out! I'll get the the 2012 awards session soon enough...

Becoming Martha

A Pop of Pretty

My Dark Cove Pantry

My Little Piece of the Puzzle

Best dressed bride

Jason Holley

Annette Whelan Photography

Mia Penney Creative

I'll Rant and I'll Roar!

Time for a "no dickheads" rule

by (Paul Levy) @ Not Running a Hospital

In his wonderful book about the All Blacks, Legacy, James Kerr reminds us that a key to the success of this remarkable rugby team is an unbreakable social contract, "No dickheads."

I'm beginning to think that the body politic needs a similar approach.  If we view each country as having an implicit social contract, we can see that its tenets have an ebb and flow--from inclusive to exclusive, from sharing to selfish, and so on.  It appears that we are now heading, in several countries, to the end of the spectrum that is dysfunctional.

Martin Flanagan sets forth this thought in his book about Australia, In Sunshine or in Shadow. Although written several years ago, I have found his observations to be apt today in many ways.  A country whose philosophy was based on "mateship" has moved.  He writes:

I ask my father-in-law--what does it mean to be Australian? He looks out the window and says, "Giving the bloke beneath you a hand up." This ethic is directly at odds with the political ideology of our day. known in this country as economic rationalism, it is a glib brew of post-modern capitalism and social Darwinism that has no meaningful notion of culture and no respect for the local except as a marketplace.

Ari Shavit, in My Promised Land, describes a similar phenomenon in another young country that came into being on a wave of mutual support and social justice. A friend of mine there in Israel, looking at the current political leadership, behavior, and social trends, says, "I don't feel I am living in my own country anymore."

And in the United States, well, what can we say about the current campaign in one of the two major parties?  This article notes:

Much of the polarization dividing American politics was fueled not just by gerrymandering or money in politics or the other oft-cited variables, but by an unnoticed but surprisingly large electoral group — authoritarians.

This trend had been accelerated in recent years by demographic and economic changes such as immigration, which "activated" authoritarian tendencies, leading many Americans to seek out a strongman leader who would preserve a status quo they feel is under threat and impose order on a world they perceive as increasingly alien.

There was never a more important time for people of influence and status to speak up for the more positive social contract that has worked to make nations great.  But, not only those people.  With the rise of social media, everybody has a forum they can employ for similar messages.  It's really time to use the resources at our disposal to encourage and support a "no dickheads" rule, a culture of respect, openness, understanding, empathy, and mutual support--one that welcomes the diversity within but also the inflow of new citizens seeking gratefully to participate in a productive and free society.

But it is just that freedom that, without diligence, diminishes us all.

If not, we best remember the quote from Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a communist. 

When they locked up the social democrats,
I did not speak out;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


by @ Comentarios para La Verdad

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GcMAF (Maf314, Bravo Probiotic) ice-cream

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by bisforbananascisforcancer @ Supplement – BisforBananasCisforCancer

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF. Updated 20 Feb 2014 … Continue reading

The Most Popular Logical Fallacy in Christian Discourse

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

One particular logical fallacy springs too easily to many Christians’ lips. It’s easy to spot, and those who care about making sense should look for and eliminate this error.


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

En instalaciones de la biblioteca Emiliano Niño LAMBAYEQUE. Con la finalidad de incentivar la lectura en los niños, el área de Biblioteca, Educación y Cultura inauguró el Espacio de Lectura para la Primera Infancia...


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by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Rechazan designación de nuevo administrador Damián Mateo Pacheco CHICLAYO. Agricultores de las diferentes Comisiones de Regantes de la Junta de Usuarios del Valle Chancay Lambayeque (JUCHL), protestaron en el frontis de la Autoridad Local del...

Chad Banana to Sue Local Reporter.

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

With election fever about to take hold here in Newfoundland and Labrador I thought it might be a good time to look at the light side of politics.  I hope you get a chuckle or two.


Chad Banana to Sue Local Reporter

Local political hopeful, Chad Banana, announced today that he is in discussions with his legal team – Dewey, Cheetham and Howe – about moving forward with a lawsuit against freelance reporter, Jimmy Dingle.

Alleging defamation of character Mr. Banana claims that in an August 30th interview and subsequent article Mr. Dingle defamed his character by referring to his political career as “15 minutes of fame”.

Banana says he takes issue with that characterization. He says he has personally done the math and determined that his time in the spotlight is far closer to 20 minutes.

“Nearly double the time indicated by Mr. Dingle” Banana told reporters.

Mr. Banana admits that his estimates may not be 100% accurate as he couldn’t decide between a Conservative or Liberal estimate, but he believes that doesn’t matter because, “Dingle is an idiot anyway”.

During today’s press conference, held near dumpster number 6 at Robin Hood Bay, Banana told those attending, “I’m sick and tired of reporters smiling sarcastically every time I put myself out there on the political stage”.

“I just don’t get it. I used to be the Mayor of my home town you know. My time there, managing the affairs those 90 residents, makes me far more qualified to lead this province than either Dunderdale or Yvonne Jones.”

Upon being reminded by one media representative that Ms. Jones is no longer the leader of the Liberal Party Banana appeared puzzled and said that if this were true he might consider leading the Liberals himself since the NDP didn’t accept his nomination papers when he tried to assume the leadership of that party.

At this point reporters in the attendance began to whisper among themselves then, smiling sarcastically, one stood to inform Banana that it was actually the PC party which had rejected him and that he had already tried to win the leadership of the Liberal party but lost his bid to Kelvin Awkward.

Mr. Banana then appeared to become quite agitated and began yelling at reporters to stop acting so superior.

“I’ll sue you all”, he shouted, “each and every one of you will pay for this if it’s the last thing I do today”.

Banana then pulled a golf pencil and a Loony-Tunes notebook from his jacket pocket and began demanding the names of every person in the area, including Robin Hood Bay staff, who just happened to be sweeping up some discarded Tim Horton’s coffee cups at the time.

Those in attendance then began to disperse while diligently avoiding eye contact with Mr Banana.

When last seen Banana was furiously writing in his notebook and muttering to himself, “Damn Karen Appleyard anyway, I should be the new leader, not her. It’s just not fair! Where are my lawyers”!

There was no report of what became of the discarded Tim's cups.

By Lex Smurphy (name changed to protect the libel)


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

Víctima reconoció vehículo donde fue secuestrada por depravado que cumplirá 9 meses de prisión preventiva CHICLAYO. La situación legal de Eliseo Yaguana Salvador (24), acusado de ultrajar a una menor de 12 años se...

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Piden indemnización contra Marco Cardoso, Nery Saldarriaga y otros más por presuntamente haber ocasionado un perjuicio económico durante las instalaciones eléctricas de la nueva sede de centro educativo chiclayano. CHICLAYO. El Segundo Juzgado de...

Recurrence Rollercoaster – #3 The GcMAF route – the Good and the Bad

Recurrence Rollercoaster – #3 The GcMAF route – the Good and the Bad

by bisforbananascisforcancer @ Supplement – BisforBananasCisforCancer

I’ve had mixed response to my previous post Recurrence Rollercoaster – #2 The GcMAF route with readers posting comments about their experiences with GcMAF, and their opinions on Goleic, Ruggiero and Noakes. I’m going to keep this as succinct as possible so I can get on with the rest of my saga, so that you can … Continue reading



by (Paul Levy) @ Not Running a Hospital

You can't be here in Australia for very long before hearing about the concept of "mateship."  Here are some explanations:

Wikipedia says: "Mateship is an Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality, loyalty and friendship."

But it goes further than that.  This government site says:

'Mateship' is a concept that can be traced back to early colonial times. The harsh environment in which convicts and new settlers found themselves meant that men and women closely relied on each other for all sorts of help. In Australia, a 'mate' is more than just a friend. It's a term that implies a sense of shared experience, mutual respect and unconditional assistance.

And this article notes: "It is a term that conjures images of young men providing unconditional support for one another amid the toughest of conditions."

But what I've found is that the term also often implies demonstrating that loyalty with a panache of machismo, sometimes--in the view of others--to the the extent of foolishness. Martin Flanagan tells a story in his book In Sunshine or in Shadow:

Just after the Rocherlea turn-off, I stopped for a hitchhiker, a young man in his twenties, who looked to be in pain. He was holding his groin and got into the car with difficulty. He told me he had picked up a pup belonging to his mate's dog, a half bull terrier bitch, which had responded by leaping up and biting him in the testicles. I asked if he struck the animal or kicked at it to get away. He looked at me as if I hadn't heard him correctly, and said, a second time, more slowly than the first, "It was the mate's dog."

When I told Bob Brown [a Tasmanian environmental activist] this story, he laughed till he cried, big sodding drops that fell on his shoes, and I knew he loved this poor silly bastard and the foolish splendour of his male pride.

The term is also exemplified in the 1890 iconic epic poem by A. B. "Banjo" Paterson, "The Man from Snowy River."  When I heard the musical version by Wallis & Matilda from their album "Pioneers," I remarked that the difference between this story and America is that the guys in the American Old West would not necessarily have come to the aid of one of their fellow horse owners to go after the colt.  Here they did, to be helpful for sure, but especially for the sport of the difficulty in retrieving it.  Here's the poem.  [Sorry, I can't get the formatting exactly right here, so go to the original to see all the words.] Note the description of the pony in the third verse--the perfect horse for this mate:

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stockhorse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up -
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony - three parts thoroughbred at least -
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry - just the sort that won't say die -
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long a tiring gallop - lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited sad and wistful - only Clancy stood his friend -
"I think we ought to let him come," he said;
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."

So he went - they found the horses by the big mimosa clump -
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, "Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills."

So Clancy rode to wheel them - he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side."

When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringybarks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely, he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around The Overflow the reed beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

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9 Responses to Christian Hell (2 of 3)

9 Responses to Christian Hell (2 of 3)

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

What sense does an all-loving God sending people into eternal torment make? (2 of 3)

OAS Changes will Cause Aboriginals & Poor to Die Sooner

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

Part 3 in a series on potential Old Age Security (OAS) changes.

That's right increasing the age of eligibility for Old Age Security will disproportionatly affect the poorest Canadians and those of Aboriginal descent, in fact it may even cause them to die years earlier than they would otherwise.

Who will suffer the most the age of eligibility for Old Age Security is raised from 65 to 67 or even higher? That’s the question I’ll try to shed some light on today.

Of course anyone already receiving OAS won’t be affected. If you believe the governing Conservatives, those close to 65 (nobody knows how close) won’t be either, but beyond that everyone who expects to makes less than a 100+ thousand a year after retirement will assuredly be affected.

With the state of company sponsored pensions and RRSPs, the high debt levels in Canada and the level of unemployment in various parts of the Country are any indication that’s likely to mean a very large portion of Canada’s population will be in serious trouble as they age.

For some it may mean having to work an additional 2 years (or whatever the number turns out to be).

Working longer may be an inconvenience for those in good health with white collar occupations but it might be a major problem for blue collar workers in physically demanding jobs. I sure wouldn’t want to be climbing around a construction site or loading tractor trailers late into my sixties, especially if my joints were already fighting back from years of abuse.

Even those lucky enough to have company pensions may feel the heat. What would happen if (as an example) it was decided to raise the age of qualification for anyone more than 5 out, in other words anyone under 60. What would happen to someone who retired already, say at 55 with a small company pension and enough savings to supplement their income until 65 when they expected to collect OAS?

Most company pension plans are designed to be clawed back by a substantial amount once a retiree reaches 65. If that happens what would an existing retiree do for income when his company pension is reduced and he or she still doesn’t qualify for OAS?

For some things might get pretty rough. It could mean less money after retirement to cover the cost of luxuries such as groceries, rent medications or heat. That’s bad enough but it could be worse…

What if the changes made you die sooner than you would have otherwise? Think it can’t happen, think again.

Many individuals can make arguments for leaving the age as it is but beyond the standard concerns across Canada there are two groups who could be hit pretty hard by a rise in the age of qualification.

The poor and Aboriginals

The Harper government claims that because people live longer today than they did in the 1960’s, when the qualification age was set at 65, something has to be done to offset this extended lifespan.

The average Canadian is indeed enjoying a longer life today but what he neglects to say is that the poorest Canadians and those of Aboriginal descent tend to die much younger than the average. This means that a rise in the age of eligibility will disproportionately penalize those groups by taking more money from their pockets than from anyone else. So much for Canadian equality.


by @LaVerdad @ La Verdad

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Updates and New Additions

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

Before listing all the new additions that were added to the site this evening, I wanted to remind any readers that the 2012 NL Blogger's Choice Awards will be coming soon. Having said that, it is likely that things will be postponed slightly, mostly due to the lack of nominations that have come in thus far. No, I'm not going to blame it on totally on the community, as the lack of available time to promote the nomination phase hasn't been good for getting things rolling. The past month has flown by for me and I don't really see things slowing down in the coming days or weeks. With that said though, Nominations will remain open for as long as needed. Please head on over to the Blogger's Choice Awards Section for more information and to nominate your favourite NL Blogs today.

December Newbies

Before you head out (or just after your done nominating), be sure to check out the newest additions to the blogroll as well, which are listed below and added to all the applicable sidebar rolls found throughout the site. Enjoy!

Trekkin' and Such

The Ice Flow

A Blade of Grass

Anarchy Newfoundland

Younger Grit

Liberty Manifesto NL

Paul Kinsman

Zach Wheeler Blog

Holly Momma

Caroline Clarke Blog

Labrador Spirit

NL Insider

Newfound Marketing – Newfoundland Marketing Company

Mud Songs

Food Alergies Etcetera

Richler Recipes

Fulda conference #9: Amygdalin (Vitamin B17/Laetrile) – advantages and risks (Dr Martin Stoppler)

Fulda conference #9: Amygdalin (Vitamin B17/Laetrile) – advantages and risks (Dr Martin Stoppler)

by bisforbananascisforcancer @ Supplement – BisforBananasCisforCancer

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF. Dr Martin Stoppler studied … Continue reading

Fight cuts to Search and Rescue / Support Burton Winters

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

The following post was originally published on Sue Kelland Dyer's blog.  Sue and I don't always agree on the political situation in Newfoundland and Labrador, or in Canada for that matter, but this is a case where we definately see eye to eye and I hope Web Talk readers can as well.  Please visit the facebook site: Support for Burton Winters and show your support for Burton and the people of NL who depend on Search and Rescue for their lives. 

Let Newfoundlanders and Labradorians (and all Canadians) Worldwide Unite for Burton

There is a movement in Newfoundland and Labrador and it involves the loss of a young man's life from Makkovik.

It is the belief of our people that this young man did not have to die on the ice - trying to get home.

On Facebook there is a Group called "The Burton Winters' Rescue Center IN Labrador".

Our people are uniting and we need the voice of EVERY Newfoundlander and Labradorian as well as support from people in all Northern and Maritime jurisdictions.

Please remember Burton as the young man who walked 19 km's on the ice - bravely to try and find his way home. Please remember Burton by joining this group and its call for action.

Sue's original Post available at:

GcMAF at work — Bravo Probiotic — myths of the dangers of dairy products for cancer patients (a talk by Prof. Marco Ruggiero)

GcMAF at work — Bravo Probiotic — myths of the dangers of dairy products for cancer patients (a talk by Prof. Marco Ruggiero)

by bisforbananascisforcancer @ Supplement – BisforBananasCisforCancer

For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF. Please note:  The opinions expressed in this talk … Continue reading

Vision - A Casualty of Drive by Politics

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

The most common definitions of “Vision” include:

1. The faculty of sight;
2. Intelligent foresight;
3. The manner in which one sees or conceives of something;
4. A mental image produced by the imagination.

That’s something every Newfoundlander and Labradorian would be within their rights to jot down, seal in an envelope (or place in an email) and send directly to every candidate running in October’s provincial election.

History tells us the world’s most respected leaders aren’t remembered for their ability to win office or hang onto power but for being visionaries and for their ability to engage the public in making their dream a reality.

Where are the visionaries in Newfoundland and Labrador today?

Talk to the average politician and you’ll discover most can’t see past the next poll, next election or next fiscal year. Vision, true vision, extends beyond those false parameters. It reaches far into the future, perhaps to the next generation, the generation after that, or even beyond.

Visionaries recognize the present for what it is, the future for what it can be and are capable of laying the building blocks that inspire others.

As a people why are we so easily accepting of announcements about “slightly lower” unemployment rates or achieving an “average” Canadian wage? Instead we ought to aspire to having the lowest unemployment and the highest wages in the Country.

It goes without saying that we won’t reach such lofty heights overnight, in fact we may never get there, but if we don’t aim for the target we’ll never come close to hitting it.

Take our natural resource, the province, regardless of which party is in power, has always developed those resources in exchange for the direct revenues (royalties / taxes) they produce and for the limited number of jobs extracting them creates. Why?

Why hasn’t government ensured that every ounce of benefit is squeezed from the resources around us and why haven’t our leaders, past and present, been able to understand that those resources are a diverse package of interrelated opportunities rather than a series of independent revenue streams?

Maximizing benefits doesn’t have to involve a heavy handed approach that might scare investment away and the benefits reaped don’t have to flow directly from selling the resource itself.

Legislation forcing industry into a position where profitability is unduly limited or which unfairly places social obligations on them isn’t the answer either. A far better approach is to create an environment where industry itself can see the economic advantages of increasing its presence in the province. This would require a government that understands how the different pieces of the puzzle are interconnected and can be leveraged.

As an example, based on public statements by NALCOR it would seem that rising oil prices will continue to drive up power rates until such time as Muskrat Falls energy is available. At that time rates will stabilize. They won’t fall mind you, but stabilize.

Based on this it appears higher rates charged (due to the cost of oil) will remain in effect even after the oil is no longer needed, ultimately providing additional revenues to NALCOR when Holyrood closes. After all, when those costly oil purchases are no longer necessary the revenue has to go somewhere.

Likely those hundreds of millions of dollars, along with earnings from selling power outside the province, will be used to repay the development costs of the project and provide a healthy return for NALCOR and the province.

This might seem reasonable enough from a traditional business perspective but NALCOR isn’t an independent business and the power they sell is directly linked to the local economy and to every individual and business in the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador, compared with other Canadian jurisdictions, is somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to power rates. According to NALCOR our province isn’t the only place rates are rising and after Muskrat is complete, even with the higher rates, we will continue to sit somewhere in the middle of that pack. This makes me wonder, why is that good enough?

Why are we willing to settle for being “average”?

As part of a longer term view, considering the size of the investment - and its associated risks - perhaps a more visionary approach to Churchill power should be considered.

There’s a difference between thinking inside the box and thinking outside it. In fact it’s been said visionaries don’t even recognize a box exists.

Might the province be better served by cutting power rates as much as possible once the expense of Holyrood oil disappears? This is not to say taxpayers should subsidize power rates, that NALCOR shouldn’t make a profit, or that the loans shouldn’t be repaid, the question is how high those profits need to be and what the plan is for paying down the debt.
We may have a unique opportunity here since NALCOR isn’t developing the project as a privately owned company or publicly traded corporation. As such it shouldn’t have the sole goal of maximizing profits. Its owners are the taxpayers of the province. Ultimately any corporation is responsible for achieving the long term objectives of its shareholders, in this case the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

When it comes to the Lower Churchill, perhaps we should ask ourselves if our primary intent, beyond keeping the lights on, is to reduce debt quickly, increase profits for NALCOR and government, grow the economy and related employment or pursue some combination of the above.

Perhaps the answer is to eliminate the debt quickly and then drop power rates as low as possible while ensuring the future viability of the corporation. Perhaps not. Who knows, but if we examine all our options, including the eventual repatriation of the Upper Churchill , might we be able to focus our efforts on one day making Newfoundland and Labrador the lowest cost jurisdiction in Canada, hell why not in all of North America, for access to clean power?

If we could eventually reach that target what might it mean?

Clearly it would be a welcome reprieve for rate payers in the province and would go a long way toward easing the burden of the less fortunate among us, but what about the bigger picture?

Low rates would obviously reduce the cost of doing business here. If the costs were low enough that alone would increase the profitability of existing enterprises and improve their ability to expand, hire new employees and even increase wages.

With less focus placed on direct profit from our energy reserves and more on offering the lowest possible rates, major industrial players now content to harvest resources and ship them elsewhere for processing might find themselves able to do that processing here at a lower cost and for increased profit thus creating more employment and provincial tax revenue.

It’s often been said that our remote location and distance from world markets is a barrier to developing a manufacturing based economy. There may be some merit in that but with the Northwest Passage, the most sought after shipping route in the world, beginning to open up could our location at its Eastern gateway actually benefit to us in the future? When it does open up, if the infrastructure necessary to take full advantage of low cost renewable energy were put in place, including for the use of Upper Churchill power, what might it mean to the province 30 years from now?

Secondary processors who use our iron, copper, oil or other valuable resources to produce consumer goods around the world might eventually come to recognize the province as a unique location with abundant resources and cheaper power than they can find elsewhere. How many jobs would that create?

Perhaps stimulating industry and employment in this way would generate provincial revenues far beyond existing levels. This broadening of the provincial tax base might even enable a visionary government to lower personal and business taxes. It might result in us becoming one of the lowest cost places to live in Canada while ensuring we are even more attractive to business, guaranteeing the cycle of growth continues to expand.

In the long run such an approach has the potential to be far more lucrative for the people of the province and for government coffers than the status quo.

Picture a future where Newfoundland and Labrador is recognized as a strategically situated treasure trove of raw materials that has the lowest cost power in North America and perhaps even the lowest tax regime. A place with a diversified economy where well paying jobs are abundant and the provincial treasury is flush with cash.

Of course this might sound like a pipe dream and in reality the entire idea is nothing more than rambling on my part. I wouldn’t pretend to know if such a scenario is viable or not but at least it’s a concept, the germ of a direction, the seeds of a vision that extend beyond the next few months or years or even my own lifetime and certainly beyond the next election. In other words it’s far more than any of the parties are putting forward.

With an election on the way we should all question where the long term vision is for our province. What about the fishery or the forestry sector. Where do we want to see our health care system and our schools a generation or two from now and how do we plan to get there? All of these components are intertwined and need to be part of an overall vision.

We may have a small population in Newfoundland and Labrador but we are also blessed with a vast array of renewable and non-renewable resources and a population that I truly believe is willing to work for a brighter future. In fact I’d argue that any government unable to satisfy the needs of our small population, while surrounded by such vast wealth, doesn’t deserve to hold office.

At this point in our history what we need is a visionary leader bold enough to set aside political expediency and take the reins firmly in hand. Unfortunately the closest thing to vision we’ve seen from any of the political parties are promises likely to expire the morning after the polls close. Hardly inspirational.

Por: ShantayTit


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Becky Higgins - the most epic version of hide + seek we've ever done!

Becky Higgins - the most epic version of hide + seek we've ever done!

Becky Higgins

  Feeling like today should be an awesome Thursday? We sure do! Most of you know that we’ve been doing something pretty fun with our customers for a while now. On social media it’s called #BHhideandseek. Once in a while (sometimes twice a week), we arrange to have a Project Life Core Kit placed in …

Lest We Forget - A Pittance of Time

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

Web Talk hasn't been very active of late.  To be more precise I, as the host, have been on a break from the sometimes all consuming effort it takes to tilt at our province's many windmills.

That said, I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to honour our deserving veterans.

If you'd like to take a few moments as well please click the link below.  It will take just a couple of minutes from your day but I believe it's well worth the time: to remember.

Pittance of Time (please click)

If you are also disgusted with the treatment of our poorer veterans who, if they make more than 12K or so a year, are denied funding for a decent funeral, let you MP know how you feel.  A link to MP contact info is available on the left hand side of this site, or you can contact Veteran's Affairs at:

Lest we Forget...

Election 2011 - Sharing Provincial Wealth

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

With the provincial election in full swing, and especially after the leader’s debate (argument) it occurred to me that it might do us all some good to step back from the political rhetoric for a moment and consider our future without the political spin.

I realize I’ll probably get plenty of nasty on this article. I also suspect I’ll be branded a “typical townie” or told my political leanings are overriding my common sense. So be it. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of being a Tory, a Liberal or an NDP (depending on the time of day and subject at hand). None of it is true of course.

The truth is that the only things I hate more than politicians who are willing to say anything to win is keeping my mouth shut or sitting in front of an idle keyboard. In this case all three of these pet peeves have combined to lead me to type this commentary rather fast and furiously, even for me.

So, lets start with a question: Has anyone living in, or who recently visited, the St. John’s area noticed that on nearly every major road there are numerous signs practically begging people to apply for a job?

I drove down Torbay Road a few weeks ago and counted no less than 11 such signs in a 1-kilometer stretch. It was inspiring.

Granted most of those jobs are in the service sector, but with the high demand for employees these days those companies are now offering everything from medical and dental plans to flexible shifts, above market wages and a myriad of other perks.

A quick scan of newspaper or online job postings reveals that employment opportunities in the metro area have skyrocketed and are growing all the time. Most often those jobs are for higher paying professional positions.

At this point you may be wondering if I’m bragging about how good things are this side of the overpass and what any of it has to do with the current election campaign. Well, it has a great deal to do with the election because while this new reality, where there are more jobs than applicants, might exist in the St. John’s area, once you move into rural parts of the province the picture gets much more bleak.

The unemployment rate across the rest of the province is staggering and it is this reality, our “dual economy” which is providing fodder for politicians, especially for Liberal leader, Kevin Aylward in this election. In fact I’d argue Mr. Aylward has hung the future of his party on perpetuating the myth that rural Newfoundland and Labrador has been forgotten.

Well folks, that position may make for good political spin and it may sway some voters, but is it true?

I don’t believe it is, not for a second, no matter how often I hear it repeated.

It wasn’t true under the Williams government, it isn’t true under the Dunderdale government and for that matter it wasn’t true under the Liberal and PC governments of the past either. In fact, I’d argue that a great deal of focus has been placed on rural areas for a very, very long time. Unfortunately, most of that attention wasn’t focused on what really mattered.

It wasn’t, for example, focused on protecting the fish stocks before they were destroyed. Rather it was more often directed at opening yet another unneeded processing plant to help ensure some candidate’s election victory. That’s just one example of course but one very reflective of the current election rhetoric by the Liberal leader.

No matter what any politician might say over the next couple of weeks, it is not the job of government to make work, beyond perhaps creating a job for themselves.

The point is that governments shouldn’t be in the business of creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs. I believe that’s where the misconception that rural Newfoundland and Labrador is being ignored comes from. It comes from those who see government as something it isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be.

The place of government is to make sure that essential services are delivered in the best way possible, that the public is safe on the streets and to foster an environment conducive to business growth. It’s business that should create employment, not government. Government can, and should, set the table, but its business that must pull up a chair and sit down. Anything else is smoke and mirrors.

A responsible government should, and usually does, encourage business growth. They do this by offering tax breaks or other incentives for business to set up shop in strategic areas. They also try to court investment and market the benefits of the places they govern. That doesn’t mean, no matter what any candidate might say, that government can, or even should, throw money at any particular industry or region simply to “make work” there.

I moved around the province and the country for years before finally settling in the St. John’s area. Essentially, I went where the work took me. I didn’t want to leave my home town and I still hope to return there when the opportunity arises. I did what I had to do and I’m still doing it every day.

It’s no secret that many people want to stay where they grew up, where they have family and where they are the most comfortable in their own skin, but most of us can’t do that. That isn’t government’s fault and it isn’t something unique to Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s happening across Canada and around the world.

Major companies generally locate in larger urban areas where they can more easily find suppliers, are close customers and have a bigger pool of potential employees (including those in outlying rural areas) to choose from. This is as true for oil industry employers as it is for secondary industries like IT companies, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, taxi services and the rest. It isn’t some sort of conspiracy or plot to deny jobs to those in rural areas it’s just the way business operates.

Why is it then that so many people believe because there isn’t a job for them in their small town they are being neglected or forgotten by government?

How can anyone expect government to spend millions to “make work” in places where there is none and where business itself does not, for whatever reason, want to set up shop?

No matter how much oil or how much gas is produced, and no matter what politicians promise on the campaign trail, most of the direct business spin off from the oil industry will continue land in the St. John’s area. That’s something government, of any stripe, has very little control over, but that doesn’t mean rural Newfoundland and Labrador is not benefiting from the improved economy.

Think about what it would truly mean if government actually responded to the expectation of creating employment in every town or propping up failing businesses enterprises with provincial revenues.

In today’s reality, it would mean that tax dollars desperately needed for infrastructure, schools and hospitals right across Newfoundland and Labrador would be eaten up trying to find ways to make employment in one part of the province while, as previously mentioned, just a few hundred kilometres away, in another part of the province, employers are screaming for workers.

Does that make any sense?

When it comes to certain industries like fishing, aquaculture, wind farms, smelters and the like there are valid reasons why those are built outside of the urban centers, and there is no doubt that this sort of development will continue to be supported as profitable opportunities arise. It’s doubtful however that those developments will grow fast enough to make a serious dent in the unemployment rate in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Neither will pumping millions of dollars into fish plants unable to turn a profit from ever decreasing fish stocks. That is also a reality.

Spending millions to try to create or prop up work in rural areas at the same time there is a severe shortage of workers in urban areas is a recipe for economic disaster.

So why are there still those who believe that because there is a dual economy in the province, rural Newfoundland and Labrador is getting nothing from the oil boom?

I come from a small rural town in the province but I work in St. John’s and now live just outside the city. Do you want to know a little secret? I get the same benefit from the oil industry and the resulting government revenues as anyone else in the province, urban or rural.

I don’t get a cheque from the oil companies in my mail box each week. I don’t glide to work on gold paved streets, and I don’t spend my days sipping champagne at taxpayer’s expense while fairies cut my grass or shovel my driveway in winter.

I left my home town and moved to where the work was located like countless others. Each day I drive to and from my job over the same sort of pot hole filled roads many people in rural areas would recognize in their own towns.

On the other hand, I occasionally notice improvements in our highways when I travel across the island to visit family. (It’s here that the folks in Labrador may have a far better argument than most about being forgotten or neglected).

I sometimes read about new dialysis equipment, cancer clinics or seniors’ care facilities being built in different parts of the province.

I see attention being paid to refurbishing schools or to improving government services.

I see more or different medications being covered for lower income families through the government funded drug program. (Though not nearly enough)

I see provincial debt slowly being paid down and I see the amount of provincial taxes I pay slowly reduced thanks to the improved economy.

It’s these things that are all made possible by an increase in provincial revenues, much of it oil generated, and it is these things that are used to spread the wealth around the entire province.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not praising the current government for these things. It’s simply a fact that there is more money in provincial coffers today than there has been in the past and as a result more can be done to make life a little better for everyone.

I don’t doubt that more will be done as time goes by, no matter which party wins the election on October11. Though the specific spending priorities may change depending on who is in power the general way the wealth is distributed will not change, or at least it shouldn’t.

If it does change, if “Make work” replaces “Take work” (where ever you have to move to get it) then heaven help us all.

Don’t for a minute believe that rural Newfoundland and Labrador has been forgotten simply because unemployment is higher or because a particular mill or fish plant has shut down. You can blame that on a lot of things, the global economy, declining fish stocks, a limited need for newsprint, but it isn’t government that closed those industries and it isn’t government that can re-open them, at least not if they are to be profitable rather than a drain on taxpayers.

If the next government opts to spread the wealth, or worse yet, drive us all deeper into debt, by artificially creating work in areas where private industry is unable to turn a profit then we will all pay the price for their short sighted approach.

The future of our province and the full benefit of our economic growth can only be ensured if we recognize the most beneficial role of government and if we “take work” not “make work”.

Old Age Security - By the Numbers

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

Part 2 of a series of commentaries on proposed chnages to the Canadian Old Age Security program.

OAS Changes – By the Numbers

If Ottawa increases age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) from 65 to 67, forcing a large part of the population to continue working further into their so called “golden years” what will the impact be?

In an effort to understand the potential impacts lets assume the Harper government will, as stated, leave current OAS recipients alone and have no plans to change the rules for anyone close to retirement. The actual age range that would be affected is as yet unknown but for the purposes of this evaluation let’s assume those within 5 years of eligibility (those already 60 or over) won’t be impacted.

Canada has an estimated population of 34.5 million citizens. Currently 27.5 million are under the age of 60 and would be directly impacted. Due to the low number of people with adequate company pension programs in Canada it’s a fair assumption that a large portion of these people would have to find other means of support when they retire, or they would have to ontinue working longer in order to receive less OAS from age 67 onward. (Lower benefits naturally result from collecting from a shorter period of time between enrolment and death).

The 27.5 million affected represent 80% of Canada’s population.

There’s more.

The reason Ottawa says it needs to make these changes is the large number of baby boomers about to retire (driving up the cost of the program) making it unsustainable. With that in mind one has to consider the long term outlook, not just the next decade or two.

Based on Canada’s age demographics the increased cost of baby boomer retirements will peak around 2031 and then begin to taper off as less boomers enter the program and more begin to pass away and are no longer in the system. After that point the cost of OAS will begin to drop off and eventually end up at an even lower cost (as a % of GDP) than it is today.

Approximately 30% of Canadians are between 45 and 59 and these individuals would be the most severely impacted. Many of these people are already in their “best earning years” and many will find it difficult to find ways of growing any soft of alternate retirement funds over the limited amount of time remaining before retirement. As a result they will have to make some tough decisions, either delaying retirement or looking for ways to offset those missing two years over a relatively short period, if they can even afford to invest any of their income in a volatile market.

Those who are unemployed or on social programs will also be in peril as they’ll continue to be dependent on provincial social programs for the intervening years.

Consider as well that a full 50% of today’s population, or more than 17 million Canadians, are currently under the age of 45. This means that even though they have more time to prepare for their future they will be affected regardless. These Canadians may have more time to prepare but is it really necessary to make these people the first generation to be forced into coping with less than the generation before them?

Even under the existing rules that allow for retirement at 65, anyone under 45 would not be eligible for OAS until at least 2032 or in most cases, many years later. This means that long after the increased cost of the baby boomer bulge has passed and when costs are dropping off these Canadians will still be forced to work longer for less pension dollars.

While the numbers touted by Conservative pundits may seem staggering, with costs growing from 36 Billion to 108 Billion by 2031, those numbers don’t tell the entire story.

Over the same period projections also show Canada’s GDP increasing at a healthy rate right along with the cost of OAS. The more accurate measurement to consider is the cost as a percent of Canada’s GDP. This measurement shows us that even at the height of the “bulge” (2031) the overall cost of the program is only expected reach 3.14% of GDP, a very sustainable number. Currently the cost sits at 2.41%. That’s a total increase of less than 1% of GDP (0.73% to be precise) after which the costs start to decrease at an ever increasing rate, eventually ending up even lower than the current level

The current government claims we only have to look to Greece or other European nations to see what happens when pension plans grow out of control. Never mind that the problems in some EU countries are the result of many complex issues that extend beyond public pensions, that’s the line they have decided to push.

When you consider that even 5 years ago France’s public pension plan cost about 10% of GDP, the UK 6.6%, Germany 10.4% and the EU at about 10%. Those numbers are hardly comparable to 3.14% 20 years from now. In fact the numbers show that rather than being a crisis, Canada’s temporary bubble in OAS cost is actually little more than a minor inconvenience.

In the end the numbers tell us that by increasing the age requirement in order to address a short term “bulge” Ottawa stands to benefit greatly from reduced program costs in later years while still forcing aging workers to remain in the workforce longer.

The benefits to Ottawa identified above don’t even include the added tax revenue generated from the quasi-enslaved workers, or additional impacts to workers such as the added tax burden they’ll face on a provincial level as the provinces are forced to extend existing social services program payments for low income individual past the age of 65 and until they are eligible for OAS at 67.

The Politics of Arctic Sovereignty

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

It’s time Canadians demand to know how long Stephen Harper plans to continue playing the Arctic sovereignty card without actually doing anything to ensure that sovereignty.

Stump speeches, campaign rhetoric and photo-ops serve the imperative of rallying Canadians around the flag while scoring political points but they do nothing to ensure the protection of Canada’s Northern region.

During the 2006 election campaign the Harper Conservatives promised to increase Canada’s military presence in the Arctic by deploying icebreakers and installing a remote sensing network in Northern waters.

In 2007 Stephen Harper announced that he would build eight Polar Class 5 Offshore Patrol Ships and establish deep water port facilities in the far North. Construction of those vessels, which are in fact a major downsizing from ships already on the drawing board prior to the Conservatives taking office, has yet to begin and where’s the port facility? Apparently it’s still contained in a cabinet briefing document stuffed into some filing cabinet on Parliament Hill.

During that much publicized announcement, at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, Harper said, “Canada has a choice when it comes to our sovereignty over the Arctic. We either use it or lose it and make no mistake this government intends to use it because Canada’s Arctic is central to our national identity and our future”.

Perhaps closer to the truth is liklihood that talking about Arctic sovereignty has been central to his campaign success and he plans to use it for what it’s worth as long as possible.

We’ve all heard media reports about Arctic exercises by the Canadian military, in fact one is underway as I write this, but a week or two of patrols, once a year (during summer months only) isn’t going scare away any nation bent on claiming part of the Canadian Arctic.

If local police in your community staged a parade, no matter how impressive, before high tailing it out of town for the rest of the year just how protected would you feel knowing you’re completely on your own for the next 11+ months?

With the Arctic opening up more and more to shipping traffic, with multiple nations scrambling to stake a claim to its borders and riches, and with nations around the world far more unstable today than most of us can remember in recent years, national security is not a subject to be taken lightly. Nor is it something that should be used for political gain and then quickly tossed aside until the next election.

A perfect example of the low regard the federal government has for Arctic sovereignty is the Canadian Forces air base at Happy Valley – Goose Bay.

For years advocates have done everything in their limited power to convince Ottawa that the base needs to once again become an integral part of Canada’s military defences.

Situated in Labrador, 5-Wing Goose Bay is ideally positioned at the gateway to the Eastern Arctic. In fact Canadian Forces aircraft are using it to stage this year’s Arctic exercises. Unfortunately, as with Arctic sovereignty, once those exercises are complete the base will again be forgotten until it serves somebody’s political ambitions.
The Conservative government promised three elections ago to re-activate the base, which was a key component in North America’s defences during WWII. They spoke of making it an “operational requirement”, of stationing a 650 person rapid response battalion there and of using it as a base for a long-range unmanned aerial squadron.

As with other commitments to Arctic sovereignty nothing has happened during the years since those promises were made other than to restate them during each election cycle.

Just last week the Minister of Defence, Peter MacKay, and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Peter Penashue, who hails from Labrador and was a long time supporter of 5-Wing Goose Bay prior to joining  the Conservative caucus, cancelled a planned trip to the base. Their visit was to have provided them with a photo-op regarding the remediation of some long standing environmental issues. The visit has now been rescheduled for early September however there is no expectation of any announcements regarding the future of the base.

Stephen Harper may talk the talk but when it comes to Arctic sovereignty there’s precious little evidence he ever actually intends to walk the walk.

At the PMO political expediency, not territorial security, appear to be the driving force behind Arctic sovereignty.

No new patrol vessels have yet to materialize. The promise of a Northern deepwater port exists on paper only and 5-Wing Goose Bay, Canada’s closest airbase to the Arctic’s Eastern approaches, continues to collect dust except for rare occasion when an Arctic exercise is staged or when some unidentified aircraft unexpectedly enters Canadian airspace. When that happens CF-18s fighters are scrambled from the nearest operational base in Bagotville Quebec but, due to the vast distance between Bagotville and the coast, those jets are forced to land at the neglected Goose Bay facility in order to refuel before continuing with their Intercept mission.

Apparently it’s a defence system that works well on the political stage but I’m not so sure it would do much for Canada’s security should anything faster than a box kite made an approach.

When it comes to Arctic sovereignty the Harper government may not have done anything to protect our Northern border but at least we can all stop wondering if some foreign nation will try to encroach on our territory there. It’s all but guaranteed. In fact with the current level of security available we’ll be lucky if a rogue Boy Scout troop brandishing Swiss army knives doesn’t seize control of the area.

A “Personal Relationship” With Jesus? I Doubt It.

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

“I have a personal relationship with Jesus” comes easily to the lips of many Christians. But have you ever stopped to think what this would mean in practice? Let's explore what a “personal relationship” with Jesus would actually look like.

Christianity: Just Another Marketing Scam

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

Take a look at this outrageous ad from 30 years ago and see if it doesn’t remind you of Christianity.

Por: ShantayTit


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What will their legacy be?

by (Paul Levy) @ Not Running a Hospital

A danger of being "Thinker in Residence" for several months here in the state of Victoria, Australia, is the danger of diagnostic anchoring--too quickly reaching conclusions about the state of the health care system--followed by confirmation bias--valuing only those observations that support the conclusion you've reached, while ignoring other data.  With cognitive errors of this sort, the best defense in avoiding them is to be aware of their existence.  So, I've tried assiduously to be careful during my visit here.  But the time has come to offer my considered view on several matters.

In a recent blog post, I noted that the extensive program of traffic safety run by the Transport Accident Commission is an example of the strong sense of communitarianism that pervades this society.  I suggested that a future column would explore whether this communitarian view within Victorian society carries over into health care--whether there is a comparable commitment "towards zero" with regard to preventable harm in hospitals.

I conclude, with some sadness, that the answer is "no."

At a meeting with a high government official, I was asked how the the situation with regard to quality and safety in this state compares with other jurisdictions I've visited around the world.  I answered that the situation was comparable.  The offical seemed satisfied with that answer.  I was too polite to point out that satisfaction was not the appropriate response.  As I often note, there is no virtue in benchmarking yourself to a substandard norm.  In most of the developed nations, the situation with regard to quality and safety can best be described as islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity.  That such is also the case in Victoria should be no cause for contentment--for the simple reason that this state has the potential to do better.

What's behind the failure to act decisively in the communitarian manner exemplified by the TAC in the transportation arena?  A hint was given in a meeting with a senior official in a private hospital system, when I asked if there were any efforts to share advances in quality and safety among the region's hospitals:

"We won't share what we learn about quality and safety improvement because that information gives us a competitive advantage, e.g. with regard to reducing lengths of stay, which has a direct impact on our finances."

I was shocked by this statement, but several of my more knowledgeable colleagues were not when I mentioned the reply to them.

Contrast this attitude with that of several pediatric hospitals in the Midwest United States:  "We compete on everything, but we don't compete on quality and safety."

Like many other countries, increasing health care costs vis-a-vis available public tax-generated money and private health care premiums are big issues here.  There is a tendency for those in government and those in the industry to list financial issues as the primary ones facing the health sector.  That, in turn likely leads to the kind of comment made above about competition.

But such competitive forces and the narrow priorities drawn from them are not compatible with the underlying purposes of the hospitals and people working in them.  Nor are they compatible, if the public understood fully, with what would be the expectations and demands of the populace.

In his marvelous book Legacy, James Kerr writes about the greatest rugby team on earth, and notes:

In answer to the question, "What is the All Blacks' competitive advantage?", key is the ability to manage their culture and central narrative by attaching the players' personal meaning to a higher purpose.  It is the identity of the team that matters--not so much what the All Blacks do, but who they are, what they stand for, and why they exist."

What happens when hospital leadership focuses so intensely on money and competitive standing?  A former trainee from Boston put it this way:

The absence of a sense of purpose of this kind is toxic. For instance, if you have an advertising campaign that emphasizes our kindness or humanity, but we have no policies or practices that distinguish our kindness or goodness from anyone else's, it may be persuasive to our market as a branding tactic, but it's actively alienating to those of us who work within this system. 

Kerr paraphrases Jim Collins' Good to Great by noting that "When enthusiastic and rigorously adhered to, a dramatic, compelling purpose is a fundamental driver of the companies that go from good to great."

So an irony is that, while many health care institutions seek competitive advantage, they will not achieve what is possible even on that front because they fail to focus sufficiently on the public good aspects of their business.  They give their doctors and nurses insufficient reason to have a fulfilling sense of purpose that could in turn make a huge difference on the commercial front.

Here, of course, the penalty for a lack of purpose is worse than the commercial consequences.  People are dying and are being harmed in Victoria's hospitals to a greater extent than is necessary.

As noted earlier, the TAC is not content with even 300 traffic fatalities per year and instead helps the people of the state move that number towards zero. In contrast, in the health care arena, the number is far greater and yet there is a systemic failure to acknowledge the problem.  Government agencies fail to cooperate on solving it to the extent commensurate with the public health hazard.  No one proposes a standard of zero preventable harm for the Victoria hospitals.  Instead, the focus is solely on sentinel events, which are just the tip of the iceberg with regard to preventable harm.

Hospitals themselves fail to work together on the issue.  The various colleges representing the doctors' specialty groups have not addressed it in a meaningful way.  The medical schools, likewise, do not work together on making longitudinal training quality and safety and clinical process improvement part of a shared curriculum.

It may be that that the nascent patient quality and safety movement in Victoria will grow and help nudge government and health sector leaders to make elimination of preventable harm a priority activity comparable to eliminating traffic deaths.  In the meantime, unfortunately, self-satisfaction reigns and harm persists.  The people of Victoria deserve better.

Long Overdue Update

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

Yes, I know I deserve a slap. It's been forever since this place has been updated; not at all in 2014 in fact. Shocking behaviour I know, but I didn't go through all of this year without a post, so that's something right? And it wasn't just an update of blogs neither. There are a few other changes around these parts as well, like a slight change to the layout, moving the blogrolls from the sidebars, to what I think is an easier viewing place below. There are some other changes throughout all the pages, which I won't bore you with, and there are some more updates on the way soon. No really, I still want to create a couple more categories - a Family/ Health one, and also a Food one perhaps. We'll get to that later, though...

Quite a few new blogs were waiting to be added this last several months, and I very much apologize for the wait. All those waiting have been added to their applicable rolls now though, and here they are listed below. Be sure to go say hello, and welcome them aboard!

Stuffed At the Gill's famishedgut
The Usual Suspects Kim's Cookology
Problematic Press Centre for Newfoundland Studies
MarCommSoc: The Blog SADIE: THE FILM
of sugar-baited words MGB, or Some Odd Magpie
Little Wonder Newfie Blog
Olivia Canela HSC Dialysis Online Auction
LEESA KLI Tiptoeing Through
Jenni From The Rock Melanie Smith Photography
CPJ Photography slow:biker
Rainfly Zach Wheeler Photography

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9 Responses to Christian Hell

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

Consider hell. An all-loving God sends people there to burn forever. What sense does that make?

Keep Calm and Blog On

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

Even after 11 years of collecting and promoting blogs from Newfoundland and Labrador, I am still amazed by how many are out there. Our province is not heavily populated after all, and with platforms like Facebook and Twitter having already taken over all things social media, it's pretty amazing to see so many still kicking around. There are nearly 500 blogs listed on this page, and sure, some have been dormant for years, but over half have been updated in the last year; many of those in the last month. The main blogroll below lists them by most recent update. Take a peak and you'll see several updated within the last 24 hours even - at any point of reading this post.

I wanted to give an update, to let visitors know that I have spent quite a bit of time over the past few months cleaning things up around these parts. Several new additions were added, and several dead links removed, plus other big tweaks and adjustments to the rolls below. The story of the day, however, is that I have finally created the two new categories I've been wanting to create for seemingly forever now: FOOD / COOKING and HEALTH / FAMILY. There was such a large number of blogs with these themes in the other categories, I just had to split them out, and I'm glad it's finally done. Check out the new category mini rolls below, and they have their own sections as well if you prefer.

Visiting every blog in the list, and re-categorizing many of them, was quite time consuming, but I gotta say; what a ride! So, so, many awesome blogs out there, some of which have been listed here for a long time. Others are brand new, and this is something I find truly inspiring. New bloggers continue to be born every day it seems, giving me hope that this community will remain alive and fresh for many years to come.

To the bloggers both new and old: keep on bloggin' on!

9 Responses to Christian Hell (3 of 3)

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

What sense does an all-loving God sending people into eternal torment make? (Concluded)



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July 1 - Beaumont-Hamel, Beyond the Wire

by (Patriot) @ Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador

With Canada Day approaching I’d like to beg the indulgence of our readers for a moment by asking, during this time of celebration, that we take a moment to remember how that day also marks one of the most solemn in Newfoundland and Labrador’s pre-confederation history.

When people today consider Newfoundland and Labrador’s military legacy they’re likely to think of the men and women serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Few think of the time before the province’s Confederation with Canada when, in 1916, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment faced the bloodiest day in its history.

The Regiment was comprised of some of the best and brightest Newfoundland and Labrador had at its disposal. Many were athletes, scholars and aspiring business leaders. All were determined to fight for the Dominion of Newfoundland.

By the end of 1915 the war was going badly for the Allies. The Eastern Front was in disarray, the Gallipoli campaign had failed and Allied commanders desperately wanted a major success. To this end they concentrated their efforts on the Western Front. Beaumont-Hamel sprang from that plan.

German forces had been deeply entrenched at Beaumont-Hamel for some time and although an Allied assault there had been planned for an earlier start, bad weather postponed the offensive until July first of 1916. This delay gave the Germans plenty of time to re-enforce their defenses and prepare for the assault.

At 9:00 p.m. on June 30, the Newfoundland Regiment turned out for roll call with a head count of 25 officers and 776 NCOs or other ranks, 801 in total.

The plan of the British command was to penetrate a section of enemy lines that had previously been targeted by a week-long artillery barrage. As a result there was expectation among the ranks of limited resistance, but all was not as the men hoped.

A 10 minute delay in advancing took place after the suspension of artillery fire. Such a short period of time might seem insignificant to a civilian but for many on the battlefield that day it turned out to be a lifetime. The extra 10 minutes allowed the enemy the time they needed to evaluate the situation at hand and make ready for battle.

Of the delay, Private John Ryan would later recall thinking, “That’s it, we’re licked”.

He was right.

In reality the week-long “softening” of the lines had been largely unsuccessful and most of the German defenses remained intact. With the enemy aware of the upcoming ground assault the odds were stacked against the men of the Regiment.

It was a recipe for disaster most of them could not have been aware of as they dutifully followed orders to leave the relative safety of the trenches.

The men, each carrying nearly 70 pounds of gear, spilled over the side and advanced across more than 500 metres of open grassy slope, in broad daylight, with no artillery cover and in full view of the enemy.

As they moved down the exposed slope towards “no man’s land” a murderous cross-fire cut through their ranks. Almost immediately men began to drop, at first slowly but then in larger numbers as they approached the first gaps in their own wire. Many fell while they were still behind their own line of defense.

Private Anthony Stacey, who watched the carnage from a forward trench, later said, “The men were mown down in waves.” The gaps cut the night before were “a proper trap for our boys as the enemy just set the sights of the machine guns on the gaps in the barbed wire and fired”.
With Dogged determination the survivors continued onward, many stumbling or stepping over the bodies of fallen friends.

Ahead lay the German front lines, a three-tiered system of forward trenches, well dug in and protected by expanses of barbed wire. Past the first line of defense, at ranges between 2,000 and 5,000 metres, the Germans had constructed a second line of trenches and were working farther back on yet a third.

The German lines were manned by tough and experienced soldiers who had turned a natural Y-shaped ravine into one of the strongest positions on the entire western front. The network of heavily protected lines presented a formidable obstacle to any attacking force as the fighting Newfoundlanders learned the hard way.

As the only large body of troops moving across the battlefield that morning the men of the Regiment were clearly visible to the enemy who subjected them to the full brunt of their weaponry.

Most of those who succeeded in escaping the volley of fire concentrated on the gaps in their own wire made it no further than the now infamous “danger tree”, a landmark between the two sets of enemy combatants that had served artillery commanders as a landmark.

The few who eventually reached the German lines were horrified to discover that the week-long artillery barrage had failed in opening up the German barbed wire. As a consequence the majority of the soldiers who reached their objective were killed as they became entangled.

The condition of the enemy wire had been known by commanders the night before the attack, thanks to a report by a Newfoundland reconnaissance team, but that report was dismissed as little more than “nervousness” by men “facing battle…” It was a decision by British Commanders that amounted to a death sentence.

In the end the Regiment was decimated.

Beaumont-Hamel turned out to be more of a slaughter than a battle. In less than 20 minutes most of the men were either dead or wounded. It was all over in under half an hour.

Of the 801 men who had charged the German lines most were killed or seriously wounded and only 68 were able to make roll call the next day, a casualty rate of over 90%.

In time the Regiment rebuilt its ranks and through its actions at Beaumont-Hamel and in other campaigns the soldiers ensured their place in military history.

During the war the Regiment earned no less than 280 separate decorations, 77 of which were awarded to original members of the “first 500” who set sail from St. John’s in 1914. In fact, one in every seven men among the original force received some sort of military honor.

For their bravery and sacrifices, in September of 1917, King George the Fifth bestowed upon them a “Royal” prefix that would continue to be used from that day onward. This was just the third time in British military history that such an honor was awarded during a time of conflict, the last occasion having been more than a hundred years earlier.

Of course all of those men who served at Beaumont-Hamel are long gone now but their fighting spirit lives on to this day in the men and women from Newfoundland and Labrador who serve with Canada’s forces.

We may not be able to express our gratitude directly to those who gave so much on that dark day but we can certainly honour their legacy. On July first and throughout the year take a few minutes to visit a local legion or war memorial, stop and chat with an aging veteran and offer a simple thank-you for the sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf.

It only takes a few minutes to shake a veteran’s hand or buy one a cold beer. And, as we go about our celebrations this Canada Day weekend it only takes a few seconds to quietly remember those who suffered on that faraway battlefield on July first 1916.

Beyond the Wire

The big guns cease and silence falls,
My heartbeat sounds to fill the void.
Just ten short strokes upon life’s clock
‘Till I am ordered o’er the side.

The smoke has cleared above the field,
I wonder who will tell our tale.
I fear my best is not enough
But fear still more that I might fail.

For Country I must fight or die
Like countless others gone before.
Eight hundred others face my fate,
Young blood to spill on foreign shores.

As one we rise and find our feet.
The trenches fall behind us fast.
The wire cuts we hope to breach
As one by one our fate is cast.

Blood rushes through our beating hearts
Like bullets coursing through the air
Laying low our charging ranks,
My heart beats yet, but some no more.

Wire gates make targets clear
We blindly charge toward them still
Trampling men for whom we care
Cast away upon the till.

Blood and mire are as one.
Angry hornets mow us down.
Charging hard my only hope
Upon this hell of earthly ground.

Stealing glances left to right
As near the ragged tree I draw
Where once eight hundred souls advanced
So few have made it out this far.

Yet on I race toward the fire
Across the field where corpses grow,
If I can reach that tangled line
My safety I might then secure.

Cries of anguish hard at hand
My breath grows ragged, strained and raw,
My mind is numbed with blinding fear,
My boots are now in full command.

Ahead the wire barbed and sharp,
Standing strong, no way inside.
My charge is such I cannot halt,
The bastards at command have lied.

Leggings snared within its grasp,
Struggles fail to set me free.
With desperate rage I fight for life
But fate has different plans for me.

My body feels the first report.
I know no pain, just anger now.
The second turns the sky to red,
And darkness falls forever more.

On next day’s dawn they’ll take the call.
Those sixty-eight remember me.
I gave my best until I fell.
No voyage home across the sea.

Brachial plexus injury #11 – treatments and supplements for nerve injury

Brachial plexus injury #11 – treatments and supplements for nerve injury

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After my left arm was paralysed from nerve damage caused by the mastectomy, I went into over-drive on the research front on treatments and supplements that could help.  Here are some I tried. My nerve surgeon didn’t quite sneer, but he raised eloquent eyebrows and told me in his beautiful Italian accent that in his … Continue reading

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2 Tragedies Produce 2 Very Different Approaches to Prayer

by Bob Seidensticker @ Cross Examined

Christians are supposed to pray, but everyone pretty much knows that prayers don’t change anything. Here’s one Christian apologist whose agenda is revealed by his contradictory approaches to two tragedies.

Summer Blog Additions

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

Those who have been enjoying the Blog of the Week selections over the past couple of months may have noticed that none were selected this past Sunday. The reason being is that I decided to focus attentions this week to new blog additions. With so many email requests having built up, this is in fact long overdue. In a blog community as large as this one currently is, it's hard to imagine there are more blogs out there that haven't been listed yet... but there are. The 42 new additions in this update prove that, and this after a year of already heavy adding. I'm quite impressed.

As always, the blogs have been listed in all the applicable rolls on this main hub (the New Additions roll and their applicable mini roll) and also listed on the main roll of their applicable individual category page.

So I now leave it to you, the visitor, to continue doing just that; go visiting further. The newbies are listed below!

The Mighty AgletThe Cro's Nest
Wendy Shirran Ceramic ArtNL Kitchen Garden
Avalon PaintingThe Simple Craft Diaries
JeffapaloozaStange Duck
Digital Marketing.caTom Shepp
So it goes…A Fine Balance
I am Funny Like That!Charles Pender
Betty and LilNL Photogs
Official Jennifer McCreathPossibilities…
Castaways of YesterdayEast of Cape Spear
Fabulous. Crazy. BeautifulLaura Bee Dot
Rockin' KnitsFinding Health
DMW CoachingMother Blogger
Darrell SharpeBojan's Blog
NL Parking WarsIceberg Quest Blog
Treasure Island CachingAvalon Bicycling
I should have done this yesterday
On Da WAC: Confessions of a Newfie Welfare Rat
Champney's West Recreation Group
Reynolds' Thoughts and Fictions
Heart's Content Community Market
OUR TOWN - Clarenville

Fall 2013 Additions

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

2013 has been a bit of a dud year in NL BlogRoll land. There weren't any awards handed out and there were no Blog of the Week additions - both of which we hope to resuscitate in 2014. What we have been able to do this year however, is keep on top of new additions to our beloved community. The list of blogs is the most important part afterall. So, stay tuned for more updates on 2014, and in the mean time check out the fall additions below. Be sure to say hello!

Sile's Knittin' and Kittens

Peace of the Rock- the Art of Robina Anstey

Newfoundland Beer History


NL Geek

Caddyshack Gander

Ocean Delight Cottages

The homing beacon

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

Robert Leamon


Trekking to Town

Olivia Canela

The cost of Bravo Probiotic — GcMAF Yoghurt — Maf314 — someone find me a camel!

The cost of Bravo Probiotic — GcMAF Yoghurt — Maf314 — someone find me a camel!

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For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF. Updated 21 June 2014 – there is a … Continue reading

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GcMAF/Goleic/Bravo Probiotic – a few tips

GcMAF/Goleic/Bravo Probiotic – a few tips

by bisforbananascisforcancer @ Supplement – BisforBananasCisforCancer

For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF. GcMAF: GcMAF Cancer: 1.  Method of … Continue reading

Spring 2013 Additions

by (Stephen Eli Harris) @ Newfoundland Labrador Blog Roll

Spring has arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador, and how wonderful it is to have the winter done with - though I probably shouldn't jinx it by saying that too loudly. With a new season here, I figured it was time to do some cleaning around these parts while I had a couple hours to do so. I spent time rearranging where some of the blogs were listed in the rolls on this page today, but that isn't the main reason for this post. The most important thing I did today was add 17 news blogs to the network, and that makes me smile. I'm always a happy camper when I get to add new blogs. I have to say that it never ceases to amaze me to find out that there are more out there. I keep on thinking I will come to the end of the NL blogs, but it never happens... and it hope it never does. But, that's enough babbling out of me for now. I thin it's time for ya'll go check out the newbies, and be sure to say hello!

My Food Infatuation

Art Association of NL

The Bay Vegetarian

Bookshelf Buzz


Y's Perspective

From Islands To Mountains

A Fabulous State

Healing with Essential Oils

Saltwater Rhino

The Rising

Postcards from a Life Well Travelled

Being Everlee's Mom

4 O'clock Whistle

R. W. Watkins Vs The CBC


Bontours Blog


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Ask, instead, why they would want to leave

by (Paul Levy) @ Not Running a Hospital

It isn't often that I am surprised in a negative way by something relating to an Ohio pediatric hospital.  Indeed, the hospitals in that state have been at the forefront of working together to enhance quality and safety for their patients.

But this recent story in the Columbus Dispatch caught my eye. An excerpt:

Non-compete agreements built into contracts help ensure that doctors can’t join a hospital’s crosstown rival or enter private practice across the street — at least for a while.

The choice to relocate elsewhere to practice medicine is especially limited for pediatric specialists employed by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The Dispatch reviewed a non-compete agreement that shows that Nationwide Children’s pediatric specialists risk being sued if they take a job within 100 miles of the hospital within two years of leaving it.

It turns out that other Ohio hospitals have similar, if slightly less restrictive clauses.  The rationale:

Recruiting and hiring require a significant upfront investment, Thornhill said. “It’s a classic business practice of protecting the investment.”

Well, maybe it is--although courts have sometimes tossed out such agreements if they are too wide in scope,.  As noted here:

In states where noncompetition clauses for physicians are enforceable, the provision must: 1) protect the employer’s legitimate business interest, 2) be specific in geographical scope, and 3) have a narrowly tailored durational scope. If the language in the clause is vague or does not clearly describe the exact terms of the restrictions on practice, the clause might be unenforceable or open to greater interpretation than either party anticipated.

But I have a different concern, especially for places like Nationwide, Cincinatti Children's and others that put great stock in engaging their staff in ongoing process improvement.  From the point of view of those leading a learning organization--one focused on constant improvement from within--it is far better to figure out why someone would want to leave you than to inhibit them from doing so.

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