Showing posts from February 23, 2016

Pro-Lifers Oppose Legislation Targeting Infant Mortality Rate

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[Republicans vehemently oppose abortion, yet they are refusing to support legislation that tackles high infant mortality in the US. Why? Planned Parenthood supports it. *RON*]
By s.e. smithCare2 / Truthout, 23 February 2016
Earlier this month, Democratic Representative Gwen Moore introduced a bill in the House to tackle the skyrocketing infant mortality rate in the United States - a nation that prides itself on having the best healthcare in the world, despite the fact that its infant mortality rate is higher than most of the developed world, and some of the Global South as well.

With 6.1 deaths for every 1,000 live births, the U.S. lags behind countries like France and Norway, but also former Eastern Block nations and others struggling to maintain adequate health care, like Greece with its flailing economy, and Poland, where reproductive rights are severely restricted. The survival rates of infants in the United States should be a subject of de…

How Jeb Bush Spent $130 Million Running for President With Nothing to Show for It

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[Remember when this was believed to be a Bush versus Clinton race? "When Jeb Bush formally entered the presidential campaign in June, there was already more money behind him than every other Republican candidate combined... It may go down as one of the least successful campaign spending binges in history." A major-league plutocratic backfire. *RON*]

By Nicholas Confessore and Sarah Cohen, New York Times, 22 February 2016
When Jeb Bush formally entered the presidential campaign in June, there was already more money behind him than every other Republican candidate combined. When he suspended his campaign on Saturday night in South Carolina, Mr. Bush had burned through the vast majority of that cash without winning a single state. It may go down as one of the least successful campaign spending binges in history. Here is Mr. Bush’s story, as told by his ledger:
Positive Advertising: $84 Million

When Mr. Bush finally did get in the race, he ne…

Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries

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[Hello, Vancouverites! Are you living up on Broadway or down on Pacific Avenue? ;-) *RON*]

By Justin Gillis, New York Times, 22 February 2016
The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.

Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.

The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.

Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocki…

One chart shows how unprecedented Vancouver’s real estate situation is

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[Astonishingly, "the average price of a single-family detached home in the Greater Vancouver area has increased as much in the past five months as it did from 1981 to 2005." Townhouses and condos have also "accelerated recently, and in many places we now have Manahattan prices on Vancouver incomes. I don’t see affordability there," said Thomas Davidoff, a housing economist at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. See also: UBC Unveils Tiny 'Nano' Apartments (by my recollection, Gage Tower residences might not have even been this big). *RON*]
By Justin McElroy, Global News, 21 February 2016

There are plenty of studies, anecdotes and reports into just how unaffordable Vancouver’s real estate market has gotten recently.

But the most obvious example of Vancouver’s spiraling real estate prices might just come from a monthly report that has existed for 39 years.

Canada continues to arm nations and now censors the Internet

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[Military vehicles made in London, Ontario may have been used to fire on women and children in Bahrain. Now, a Guelph-based firm is looking to sell web-censoring software to the repressive Bahraini government. "In other words, they're happy to stifle legitimate political dissent and actively contribute to human rights abuses in Bahrain -- which, like Saudi Arabia, sentences bloggers, poets and activists to life sentences and is widely known to torture detainees." *RON*]

By Shenez Kermali,, 22 February 2016

Five years after the waves of popular protest spread excitedly across the Arab world, little seems to have improved.

Egypt is again being presided over by an autocrat embroiled in high-level corruption; Libya, Yemen and Syria are being blown apart in civil wars that seem to have no end in sight.

Then there's Bahrain, the tiny, nearly forgotten Gulf island kingdom that quietly suppressed its own mass uprising on Feb. 1…

The business of the living wage

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[Think about how steadfastly the concept of a living wage has been opposed by the BC Liberal government when next year's election rolls around. *RON*]
By Teuila Fuatai,, 23 February 2016

Staff compensation packages can be a significant determining factor in the success of businesses.

According to workplace research, employees earning a fair deal on the job are more efficient, loyal to their bosses and less likely to get sick.

Kaylie Tiessen, national representative in the Unifor research department, says Canadian businesses hoping to improve the bottom line need to look at what's happening within their own employee base.

"When a company starts viewing their employees as a valuable input into production and sales, that has a direct impact on their productivity, their likelihood to stick around, their loyalty and their well-being," Tiessen says.

"This in the end has a positive impact on sales and on the bottom line for …

America’s Stacked Deck

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[This piece has been garnering a lot of comment and response in the press. *RON*]

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, 18 February 2016
It’s a little bizarre this political season to see wealthy candidates in both parties denouncing our political system for representing mostly the interests of, well, wealthy people.

Bizarre, perhaps, and sometimes a tad hypocritical, but also accurate. America’s political system is rigged. The deck is stacked against ordinary people. That’s the frustration that has fueled, in very different ways, the anti-establishment campaigns of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders in particular, and that is leading other candidates, like Hillary Clinton, to grab their pitchforks as well.

“Yes, the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top,” Clinton declared in the Democratic debate last week.

One glimpse of the structural unfairness in America is this: A dumb rich kid is now more likely to graduate from college than a sma…

British pound sinks on rising 'Brexit' fears

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[The referendum on whether the UK should stay in the EU will be held in 4 months, on 23 June. The people who favour Brexit believe Britain is being held back by the EU, which they say imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also want Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to work. One of the main principles of EU membership is "free movement", which means you don't need to get a visa to go and live in another EU country. They also object to the idea of "ever closer union" and any ultimate goal to create a "United States of Europe". See also today's: The pound is still flat on the canvas. *RON*]

CBC News, 22 February 2016

The British pound had its worst day in years on Monday as the odds of Britain leaving the EU rose after the popular mayor of London said he would join the campa…