Category Archives: Uncategorized

Let’s start with some low-hanging fruit.

Two of three letters to the editor today make me weep for humanity.

First, some guy is upset enough over Human Rights Tribunals that he wrote a letter to the editor (all the cool kids have blogs), decided which OPC candidate to vote for based on the issue (even though, I think, everybody but Elliot wants to do away with them), and is donating money to some other guy’s legal defence. Yeah, there are problems with these tribunals, but are they worth getting all worked up about?

The second letter is a pean to Mike Harris. The basic thrust of this guy’s argument is that since the recession was “largely” was caused by borrowing too much money we are fools to try to spend our way out of this recession. That’s silly. The credit crunch was caused by too many loans to build unnecessary houses for people who couldn’t afford them. That doens’t make all borrowing a bad idea. How many people get through medical school without borrowing money? The key is to invest all this spending in useful stuff, like doctors and infrastructure rather than monuments to waste in the suburbs.

One thousand apologies

I have an admission to make: I’ve been seeing another blog. It’s all lolcats and memes, and to be honest, I miss blogging about serious and local stuff.

So let’s tentatively say I’m back.

This blog is taking an essay/exam holiday

A hospital in every pot

At the risk of driving away everybody but the six other people in Niagara with internet access (oldest CMA in the province!), some more local bloggery follows. (Does it strike anyone else as pathetically lame to respond to a local letter to the editor in an even less-read medium? If this blogging thing doesn’t work out, I can always scratch these rantings in the paint of toilet stalls.)

Jim Katsikas, Fort Erie resident, writes:

I used to joke that as you grow older you move closer to the hospital which my wife and I did a number of years ago, minutes away from Douglas Memorial Hospital. Ironically, four years ago, my wife had a mild heart attack while we were watching my grandson’s lacrosse game in Brampton, but we were minutes away from the first class Osler Centre Hospital and had excellent fire department and paramedic service, and my wife came through just fine. Now, our brilliant health authorities are working towards closing the Douglas on us, step-by-sneaky-step.

What am I to do now, be reassured by the NHS and its transparently insincere and infantile arguments that they will provide a better solution? Fast ambulances with snowplow escorts! Heaven help us!

Without getting bogged down in the details of the planned hospital shuffling, let’s consider a hypothetical question: What is the smallest community that can support a hospital emergency department?

It takes a certain number of people to make an emergency department worthwhile. I don’t know what the smallest possible emergency department would be, but for the sake of argument let’s say it’s one doctor and one nurse. In a town like Fort Erie, would this doctor-nurse duo have much to do during the day? I doubt there are a lot of births and heart attacks every day in a small community. In addition to the medical personnel, an emergency department consumes other resources – support staff, utilities, physical space – that might be used better.

We could build hospitals with fully equipped emergency rooms at the corner of every concession road, ensuring that no resident of Niagara lives more than a kilometre or two away, but is that a reasonable way to spend our money?

Why are Ontario’s best hospitals in Toronto? Because Toronto is home to millions of potential patients and the best medical personnel. As with most things (think of shopping malls and sports teams), it takes a critical mass of people to support these massive hospitals. The same principle holds for middle-weight hospitals; even they need a moderate number of people to sustain them. Fort Erie just doesn’t have enough people, from both the patients and staff sides, to support a modern hospital.

As it turns out, the people of Fort Erie and Port Colborne, who stand to lose their hospitals and emergency departments are not actually losing much. From the Kitts Review of the NHS Health Improvement Plan:

The Douglas Memorial site and the Port Colborne General site do not function as full service hospitals today.  Residents of Fort Erie and Port Colborne incorrectly believe they have access to full service Emergency Departments, a wide range of surgical services and comprehensive acute care inpatient beds.  The sites do not have the necessary diagnostic equipment or specialist support to offer a full scope of services. The Douglas Memorial site and the Port Colborne General site do not provide inpatient surgical perioperative services.  The current surgical program consists of minor surgical procedures that can be provided in minor procedure rooms and clinics. Patient volumes are low and the buildings require significant renovation to meet modern care delivery standards.

So for all the fuss over these hospitals, they aren’t even full-service.

I think if you’re really concerned about access to emergency medical care, you should live close to the ambulances. No matter how close you live to the hospital, an ambulance takes you there, and it provides medical care on the way.

(photo credit)

This is why I read the local letters-to-the-editor

Everyday people have access to a kind of common sense that eludes the media commentators and career politicians.

One of the many problems with Darwin’s theory of evolution pertaining to mankind is that neither Charles Darwin nor his worshippers take into account extra-terrestrial life.

It’s pretty hard for someone to draw conclusions on mankind when Darwin had never seen nor heard of UFOs. That’s kind of like teaching math but not understanding trigonometry.

Oh, dear.

From Ikea’s Old Macdonald Collection

The real question here is who spends $249 for a barnyard-themed rug?

(via Where)

Whatever you think of her politics

Sarah Palin is a good sport. And telegenic to boot.

I had a dream last night…

…about the US Midwest and the purchase of unnecessary transit tickets. I think they may have been two unrelated dreams.

An Insomiac Works Out His Problems on Paper

I took an intensive course this spring which postponed any opportunities for me to find employment until this month.  In addition to a job hunt, I’m working on a big paper and presentation for the beginning of July, about two weeks away.

I haven’t been sleeping well, and contrary to popular belief, a student can’t get by with minimal energy and attention. I’m making slow progress, which is stressful, which leads to more sleepless nights. Which further slows my progress.

And nobody will hire me. Not that I want a job right now. I am enjoying writing this paper and would like to put my full energies into it. But I need to pay the rent and buy groceries. And it’s going to be a long July and August if I don’t find something to occupy my time after all this schoolwork is finished.

Tonight, my third fully sleepless night (not consecutively, thank goodness), I may have come up with a two-pronged solution:

  1. No more worrying about insomnia. If I need to sleep until two in the afternoon and write until two in the morning, so be it. Students don’t have to operate during banker’s hours, and I’m probably doing more harm than good by trying.
  2. I have some money set aside for school from a previous job and grandparent contributions. I was reluctant to touch it over the summer, but since my unemployment is very much the result of a spring course, I think I can justify dipping into the reserves. Also, it’s not like I’ve blown all my money on alcohol – mostly just rent and food. And an awfully pricey bus pass (still cheaper than a car).

It feels good to have the figured out. I can feel the tension melt away.

It’s another matter altogether if it will stand up in the light of day. For now, though, sleep.

Military on Tory dole

AR2008-Z140-02 by lafrancevi

Our compassionate Conservative government has announced a plan to give the military stable, long-term funding so it “can answer the call in the face of future threats.” The 20-year plan is expected to cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $30 billion.

As an attitude toward governance and life generally, I wholeheartedly support our heartless leaders. Departments and ministries should be able to plan for the future with some certainty. Though the Prime Minister might disagree, the same applies to people: When the economy is rough or life deals you a bad hand we should get a hand up from our government.

That said, the numbers don’t seem very generous. Maybe the Tories have an aversion to welfare even when the penniless bum is Our Heroic Military. A billion dollars doesn’t go very far these days; It’s around how much we’re set to spend this year in Afghanistan. The government won’t tell us exactly how and when that money will be spent – something about keeping contractors honest – but I’m betting the bulk of the money won’t be spent for a few years. That’s just how governments work.

I suppose in a world of nearly 7 billion people, it doesn’t really matter how well we fund a military of 70,000 people. We may have to settle for repelling the Danes from Hans Island instead of civilizing central Asia.

[photo] “AR2008-Z140-02” by lafrancevi