Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cell Phone Use and Cancer

Having just completed Disconnect, a book by epidemiologist Devra Davis showing the relationship between cell phone use and cancer, I was heartened to read that the Who has just released a statement that cell phones may in fact be carcinogenic. Although mildly worded to play down the danger, it is a breakthrough of sorts, in that the cell phone industry has been doing everything in its power over the last two decades to undermine studies that show the damaging effects of cell phone microwave radiation.

Having lost my brother-in-law to glioma, an almost-always fatal form of brain cancer, I have been sensitive to the dangers of cell phones since he was diagnosed. A heavy user and early adopter, his cancer was, as is usually the case, found on the side of his head where he regularly and frequently used his phone.

While there is no doubt that the industry will seek to undermine the WHO's warning, it really is incumbent upon the consumer to exercise due caution when operating these devices. I am also including here a video based on much of Davis's book:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Star Editorial Recommendation

I really have nothing new to add to the continuing saga of the Toronto Police Service's obstruction of efforts to get at the ugly truth behind the G20 security debacle. However, today's Star editorial does a good job of explaining why a complete and unfettered inquiry is necessary to determine the role played by all offending parties, from the Prime Minister on down, in depriving people of their Charter Rights and abusing citizen protesters.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mark Pugash and the G20 Police Scandal

Mark Pugash is certainly earning his salary these days. The vexing and pugnacious Director of Corporate Communications for the Toronto Police has been loyally but, in my view, futilely acting as a human shield for Chief Bill Blair, the leader mysteriously unavailable for comment on any matters generally pertaining to the investigation of police abuse of citizens during last June's G20 debacle and most recently and specifically, the beating of Dorian Barton while he took some pictures during the protests.

Continuing to defend the indefensible with a straight face, Mr. Pugash has a letter in today's Star in which he takes the paper to task for claiming to be playing a role in advancing the momentum of the investigation into Barton's claims.

As always, the reader can decide how credible Pugash's claims are about the Toronto Police Services' investigation of its own people.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The G20, The Toronto Police and The Art of Critical Thinking

For those who might wish to sharpen their critical thinking skills, I am providing a link to an article in today's Star that provides a timeline of the investigation into Dorian Barton's abuse at the hands of Toronto police during last June's G20 Summit. Are the police claims of co-operation with the SIU investigation into the identity of the offending officer credible? Does police spokesman Mark Pugash's narrative pass the smell test? Has Chief Bill Blair behaved like a leader who wants to hold his force accountable?

You decide.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Redoubtable Rick Salutin

Never one to allow either his ethnicity or his political beliefs to overshadow his intellect, Rick Salutin in today's Star has an article of interest to anyone who feels uncomfortable with Stephen Harper's unconditional support of Israel. As well, for those who believe criticism of the Jewish state should not necessarily be equated with anti-Semitism, Mr. Salutin offers some welcome insights.

Journalism You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

For those who think all journalists have lost their bite, I suggest they read Rosie DiManno's column today as she writes disdainfully of the Toronto Police Force and its consistent failure to track down officers who abused citizens during the G20. Making so bold as to accuse somebody within the service of lying, she also expresses her contempt for the application of a double standard in evidence that is obvious in the SIU's failure to accept civilian witnesses as sufficient to go forward with charges.

Let's hope that Rosie doesn't incur any traffic infractions in the near future.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Couple of Video Reminders of Abuse and Duplicity By Police During G20 Summit

And The Two Chief Culprits Remain silent

Today's story in The Toronto Star shows how the search for the identity of the officer who allegedly beat Dorian Barton is reaching absurdist levels.

Yet despite the increasing evidence of flagrant police obstructionism, Toronto Chief Bill Blair and Premier Dalton McGuinty, the main architects of the massive deprivation of Charter Rights that occurred during the G20 Summit, remain silent.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Despite Police and SIU Obstruction, G20 Lawsuit Moving Ahead

I have already written extensively about the G20 police abuses of our Charter Rights and have cited the McGuinty Government's collusion in those abuses as the main reason I cannot vote for the Ontario Liberals in October. However, a story in today's Star is well-worth reading to remind ourselves of how hard the authorities are working to obstruct any efforts at justice, in this case for Dorian Barton, who was severely beaten for snapping a few pictures last summer at Queens' Park, the so-called official protest zone during the G20.

The refusal of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to compel identification of the officer responsible for the beating, despite the fact that it was witnessed by 11 other officers, speaks volumes of how politicized the entire process is, as does the failure of the SIU to accept a civilian eyewitness account of the incident.

Yet Premier McGuinty still insists he has nothing to apologize for, despite the fact of his collusion with the police to wait until the G20 was over before revealing that the secret law regarding a five-metre perimeter around the security fence was, in fact, non-existent. I am convinced that it was the fiction about this law that emboldened police to overstep their authority at every opportunity, leading to mass mistreatment and jailing of thousands of people that notorious weekend in June.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lawrence Martin on the Shortcomings of the Press

Lawrence martin, in a piece called Has the fourth estate lost its tenacity? wonders whether it is the failure to offer much followup on stories of abuse of authority, dirty tactics, etc. that might explain why none of the wrongdoing on the part of the Harper Conservatives seemed to have any effect on their electoral fortunes. Well worth a look.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Harper Collins and E-book Ripoffs

While I have not yet succumbed to the allure of the e-book, I was shocked to learn that the publisher Harper-Collins has decreed that libraries can only lend out their books 26 times before having to once more pay full rights to the company. A small Alberta library has decided to stand up to this unfair and exploitive pricing practice by boycotting e-books from that publisher. One can only hope that libraries across the country find the backbone to take the same measure.

You can read the full details in David Climenhaga's article at rabble.ca.

Friday, May 20, 2011

American Sweatshops

Since I started subscribing to the Toronto Star, one of the big difference I've noticed from the Globe's business section is its emphasis on the human, as opposed to the corporate dimensions of companies. Today is a good example as David Olive looks at how the U.S. is becoming a sweatshop country being exploited by European companies who treat their American employees quite differently than the workers in their own countries.

Stephen Harper, John Steward, and Asbestos

An online article in today's Globe and Mail, written by Gerald Caplan, explores how the Harper government's retrograde policies have made Canada something of an international pariah. Especially interesting is how the export of asbestos was recently skewered on The Daily Show.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guerrilla Tactics, Civil Disobedience, And The Census

Given the ideological reasons behind the Harper government's decision to eliminate mandatory completion of the long-form census, all rational objections to the move having been summarily and imperiously dismissed, many Canadians regard the 2011 Census with suspicion and disdain. It has been argued, for example, that the changes will conceal many of the negative facts of Canadian life, such as poverty rates. Consequently, concerned citizens are seeking ways to register their objections and undermine what they see as a move by the Harperites to use the resulting flawed data to eliminate or underfund programs that are vital to segments of the population.

Catherine Porter, writing in today's Star, offers some interesting strategies some are advocating to thwart this agenda, ranging from turning in indecipherable forms to outright refusal to complete them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

And They Did This BEFORE They Got Their Majority

Probably to the surprise of few who have tracked their anti-democratic and anti-transparency propensities, last month the Harper regime terminated The Coordination of Access to Information Requests System, or CAIRS, an electronic list of nearly every access to information request filed to federal departments and agencies.

Frequently used as an investigative tool by journalists to keep the government more open, its demise will undoubtedly further the agenda of Harper and his minions.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Maude Barlow on the Election

While I have been having a bit of a difficult time recovering from the double blows of the Harper majority and the apparent apathy of 40% of my fellow Canadians in their failure to vote in last Monday's election, I took some comfort in reading Maude Barlow's thoughts in a piece posted on rabble.ca.

Check it out if you need some reasons not to abandon all hope.

Rick Salutin on the NDP Surge

Always an original thinker, Rick Salutin offers a very interesting explanation for the record number of NDP candidates elected last Monday.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pension Reform's Opponents

Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti has written a good article entitled Canadians betrayed on cpp reform that discusses the need for reform to the Canadian Pension Plan and how efforts by the financial industry have convinced the Conservatives to back away from it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some Eloquent Refections From A Defeated M.P.

My son sent me this link that, I think, speaks to the sentiments of those deeply disillusioned over the outcome of the election and the shoddy tactics that helped the Conservatives to achieve that outcome.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Election

I really can't write anything about the results of the election, other than to say the fact that 40% of my fellow citizens couldn't be bothered to vote breaks my heart.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Today's Opportunity

Just a short message: This is the day we all have the opportunity to make each other proud by turning out to the polls in huge numbers!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Blowhard Donald Trump Finally Gets His Presidential Comeupetance

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who takes special pleasure in seeing blowhards cut down to size. (Indeed, aren't most of us hoping for that with Monday's election results?) Stateside, I can think of no bigger waste of resources and airtime than Donald Trump who, many will recall, took real pleasure in claiming victory in the recent White House decision to release Obama's birth certificate to prove that he is indeed an American, something that has long been disputed by racist fringe elements in that country, the Tea Party's 'birthers' being probably the best-known of such groups.

At this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner, Obama finally got his revenge. While his jokes may not have been consistent, the look on guest Donald Trump's face was. Pay close attention to it in this video, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.