Showing posts from November 5, 2014

Starved for Time? Here’s a Surprising—and Easy—Solution

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["Doing nothing" could be a key to happiness... and productivity. Astoundingly, 67 percent of men and 25 percent of women in this study preferred giving themselves a painful electrical shock to being alone with their thoughts! *RON*]
By Christine Carter, Greater Good - The Science of a Meaningful Life, 4 November 2014

Although I think I spent most of my childhood daydreaming, I seldom do it anymore. Occasionally, I’ll catch myself spacing out in the shower, just standing there, and I’ll try to hustle myself back on track, lest I waste any more time or water.

Rarely do we just let ourselves stare into space these days. Like many people, I feel uncomfortable when I’m not doing something—uncomfortable “wasting time.”

We humans have become multi-tasking productivity machines. We can work from anywhere, to great effect. We can do more, and do it far more quickly, than we ever dreamed possible. Our fabulous new technologies buy us tons more time…

When Big Oil acts like a big bully

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[Kinder Morgan, digging their own PR grave, one bone-headed move at a time. "How, in a democracy, can someone be charged for occupying public land, and for speaking their mind freely? Last I checked, Canada had a constitution." See also ‘We are not radicals’ – Kinder Morgan lawsuit defendants speak out. *RON*]

By Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun, 4 November 2014

You would think that, in the name of public relations, somebody at Kinder Morgan might take a clue from the company’s name to work on its image.

It could do with some “kinder.”

But no. Quite the opposite. In its clumsy handling of its proposed pipeline expansion to bring diluted Alberta bitumen to Vancouver, Kinder Morgan — through its pipeline subsidiary Trans Mountain Pipeline — has alienated the city of Burnaby, the city of Vancouver and, well, me, for one. As part of its survey work, it took down trees in a public park.

When the city of Burnaby tried to stop the work in the par…

Denmark Is Considered The Happiest Country. You'll Never Guess Why.

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[From one year ago, but a good piece. The constitutions of most nations include some statement on how their country wants to have happy citizens. On some of the things that matter in contributing to the Gross National Happiness of a country! *RON*]

Huffington Post, 6 November 2013

Our Living Well, On Location series explores cities and countries from around the world. How do other people pursue health and happiness? We're going coast to coast, country to country to find out.

Last month, Denmark was crowned the happiest country in the world.

“The top countries generally rank higher in all six of the key factors identified in the World Happiness Report,” wrote University of British Columbia economics professor John Helliwell, one of the report's contributing authors. “Together, these six factors explain three quarters of differences in life evaluations across hundreds of countries and over the years.”

The six factors for a happy nation split ev…

Refugee Health Care: Feds Temporarily Expand Coverage After Court Ruling

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[While happily waving the Canadian flag, the xenophobic Harper government temporarily ceases breaking the law until it sees if it can continue ignoring the Canadian Constitution. "We're only doing the right thing, we hope, while our appeal is being heard." *RON*]
By Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 4 November 2014

OTTAWA - Medication for children and prenatal care will be among the new federal health care benefits available to those awaiting a decision on their refugee claim — but only temporarily.

The new measures unveiled Tuesday will only be in effect until the federal government has exhausted its legal avenues in the ongoing battle over whether its health care coverage program for refugee claimants is unconstitutional.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said the government respects the role of the court, but disagrees with a court decision in July that invalidated the existing program, requiring a replaceme…

Harper's Income Splitting Tax Only Benefits the Already Rich

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[Income splitting will cost $2.4 billion in lost revenues. The big winner are rich men, especially in Alberta. "The piece of the pie for 20 per cent of Canadians with income less than $45,000 will amount to .03 per cent. That decimal point is not a typo." No class wars here, that's for sure. *RON*]

Dennis Howlett, E.D., Canadians for Tax Fairness / Huffington Post, 4 November 2014

According to the government's own calculations, the Income Splitting tax cut will cost $2.4 billion.

That's a serious amount of money. Used wisely it could do a lot of good.

Instead, most of the benefits of income splitting will go to Canadians who need it the least. According to an analysis done by Queen's University Law School Professor Kathleen Lahey, the top 20 per cent of families with incomes over $140,000 would get 43 per cent of the estimated $2.4 billion a year, even with a $2000 cap on benefits. Men would get 87 per cent of the additiona…

B.C. Ferries Considers Changes To Service Between Horseshoe Bay And Nanaimo

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[Basic public transportation should be a public service not a private business. Residents of BC should have the right and ability to travel freely within the province to and from all major centres. *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 4 November 2014

A report by BC Ferries looking for efficiencies has raised questions about running ferry service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo, suggesting that the route may become a passenger-only service or be re-routed entirely through Tsawwassen.

The report, which was submitted to the B.C. Ferries Commissioner at the end of September, outlines several options that could save the corporation money including consolidating the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo and Tsawwassen-Duke Point routes; consolidating just the Nanaimo and Duke Point terminals; using a passenger-only service for some trips; or shifting service to Vancouver Island from Horseshoe Bay to Tsawwassen, either in whole or in part.

The report argues that because of the…

Despite efforts to suppress journalistic expression, no longer a quiet Canada

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[On crowdfunding versus the corporatocracy in keeping Canada's journalism scene, and meaningful democracy, alive. *RON*]
David Peddle, Vancouver Observer, 5 November 2014

Canada has been turned upside down in recent weeks. From the attacks in Ottawa to the sex allegations against CBC’s top cultural broadcaster, it’s been a shock to what many considered a relatively uneventful country. But, if anything good can be said to have come from these events, it is the elevated level of discussion and awareness in the Canadian public sphere, where millions of the usually disengaged are engaging in [mostly] constructive dialogue about serious issues like mental health, militarism, surveillance, and rape culture. And this time, we’re not looking to the crazy antics of our friends to the south, this time we’re taking a deep look at ourselves and our society, what defines us and what our values are.

There is a parallel conversation taking place: What is the…

The movement for environmental rights is building

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[Time was, in a democracy, you didn't need to explain to people or convince them that air is a common good. *RON*]
By David Suzuki,, 4 November 2014

The idea of a right to a healthy environment is getting traction at Canada’s highest political levels. Federal Opposition MP Linda Duncan recently introduced "An Act to Establish a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights" in Parliament. If it's passed, our federal government will have a legal duty to protect Canadians' right to live in a healthy environment.

I'm travelling across Canada with the David Suzuki Foundation's Blue Dot Tour to encourage people to work for recognition of such a right -- locally, regionally and nationally. At the local level, the idea of recognizing citizens' right to live in a healthy environment is already taking hold. Richmond and Vancouver, B.C., The Pas, Manitoba, and the Montreal borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie all recentl…

Exclusive: Washington Cuts Funds for Investigating Bashar al-Assad's War Crimes

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[Is the US going to snuggle up to Assad now?  "More broadly, we have seen this harsh anti-Assad, anti-Syrian government rhetoric drop down. It's completely dropped off the map."*RON*]
By Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy, 3 November 2014

The U.S. State Department plans to cut its entire $500,000 in annual funding next year to an organization dedicated to sneaking into abandoned Syrian military bases, prisons, and government facilities to collect documents and other evidence linking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its proxies to war crimes and other mass atrocities during the country's brutal civil war, according to the recipient of the assistance and a senior U.S. official.

The move, which has not previously been reported, comes as the Obama administration is stepping up funding to collect evidence of war crimes in Iraq by the Islamic State, an extremist Islamist organization that has horrified the world with its mass…