Arts, Healthcare and Politics

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Rob Ford and Addiction: the Video

Here is the Vidoyen video I’ve made about Ford and his addiction. It is three minutes long. Click here.

Rob Ford and the Media  

I recently watched Jesus of Montreal again after not seeing it for many years. The 1989 film is a postmodern version of the passion play and its literate narrative — its subtle humour and play within a play — allows viewers to consider Jesus’ life in both extraordinary and ordinary circumstances. Read more…

Addicted to Success

In the summer of 2011, a Dutch social psychologist was in the process of losing his job. His name was Diederik Stapel and he’d committed an unimaginable fraud: over ten years he’d falsified data for over 55 experiments, some of which formed the basis of doctoral theses he’d supervised. Read more…

Why we all need Edward Snowden

That is why I’ll reluctantly, very reluctantly, trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and e-mail addresses — and then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congress — to prevent a day where, out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime. Read more…

Blood, MOOCs and Money 

In the late 90s, a titillating story started making the rounds in Toronto. Its focus was a series of poison-pen letters authored by a pharmacology professor at  U of T. They had been sent to research physicians at the Hospital for Sick Children and in them he skewered one of their colleagues, a hematologist under his administration. The professor’s perfidy had been discovered through DNA analysis: to stop suspecting one another, recipients of the letters had contributed to a pool and paid for the test themselves. Read More…

From a Whistleblowing Doctor

This is an article written by British whistleblowing physician Dr. Rita Pal, pictured above. Dr. Pal is an independent medical journalist based in the UK. Between 1999-2007, she worked as a psychiatrist in the National Health Service UK.

Her reflections on a death culture within the NHS — a system much like Canada’s — confirms what many of us have already suspected: the elderly, disabled and disenfranchised are being provided with a very different kind of care. Read more…

Why is the CBC Promoting Euthanasia?

Quebec’s ‘Medical Aid in Dying’ bill has passed its second reading in the province’s national assembly. It will likely pass a third, leaving Quebec at odds with federal laws that prohibit assisted suicide. The CBC has been running 20-minute segments about assisted suicide on Monday night episodes of The National. Producer Duncan McCue said that instead of debating the issue, his series would tell the “stories of terminally ill Canadians who are facing tough questions.” Read more…

Daphne Koller and the Problem with Coursera

The corporate world has other tentacles in education, and the portal that’s granting them the most access these days is technology. In Benda’s terms, the current “realism” being foisted on academics is the idea that online distance-learning, in the form of massive online open courses (MOOCs), must be implemented to save cash-strapped institutions. The idea is being flogged by corporations looking to expand their markets and has found support among co-opted academics willing to help them. These are academics, like Lynch, who have made Faustian bargains in return for the glory of heading institutions operating in the black. Read more… 

What Toronto May Owe Ford 

“Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of American communities.”

– Jane JacobsDark Age Ahead

Call me a contrarian, but I have difficulty with Jacob’s idea. A friend and I traversed the space in between condo towers down by the Gardiner this past weekend. Read more…

Open Letter to the Canadian Medical Association

I am writing on behalf of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet to members of the Canadian Medical Association to encourage you to communicate a clear and strong rejection of medical aid in dying and other ending-of-life practices due to their discriminatory impact on people with disabilities. Read more… 

Policy Arrogance and Why Canadian Anglos Need to Share

It’s a common belief that opponents of physician assisted suicide (PAS) are bossy, religious people. It’s a mischaracterization that helps supporters of the procedure — religion among the chattering classes has never been popular. Read more… 

Status, Money and Maureen Taylor

I’m at risk of losing readers because I write about this topic so frequently, so I’m going to keep this brief and suggest you watch the three minute video below. In it I throw out a challenge to Maureen Taylor, the widow of Dr. Donald Low. I’d like to have a medical-legal expert examine her husband’s and my mother’s medical records to determine who got better treatment. I’m doing this because I believe the information will be revealing. As long as levels of care are so variable in this country, introducing physician assisted suicide, a procedure Taylor is pushing for, is too risky. This is a risk Taylor cannot possibly appreciate since it’s unlikely she will ever be treated badly in our system. Her husband’s reputation and her own background as a journalist guarantee this. Read more..

The Canadian Medical Association: Whistleblowing 2.0

Internist Dr. Horace Baltz was on duty at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. He and a younger internist, Dr. Bryant King, were openly critical of the choices made by doctors at the hospital during the storm. King decided to leave once the euthanizing of the “turkeys” began. Read more… 

British Perspectives on Assisted Suicide

Below are four videos and one short text: from academic Jean Hardiman-Smith, who discusses her father’s death, to Liz Carr, Jane Campbell, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Timothy, activists who give two minute talks from the Westminster Rally Against Assisted Suicide, a rally that took place in July of 2014. These videos (and text) are eloquent, emotional and informative. There is nothing like hearing firsthand from those who have experience of a healthcare system that treats the disabled and the elderly like second-class citizens. Read more… 

A Streetcar Named Congestion

I’ve changed my relationship with my car. I was a commuter for 12 years, driving to work from a Montreal suburb. Last year I sold my house and bought a condo in the working class neighbourhood of St. Henri. My new neighbourhood is a Jane Jacob success story: there is mixed income housing, a high street with small businesses, repurposed old buildings everywhere and a very distinct sense of eyes on the street. Two blocks west is a tree bordered square with an art deco fountain in the middle of it. Apart from the parking tickets I keep getting, I couldn’t be happier. Read more… 

What Toronto Owes Ford 

“Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of American communities.”

– Jane JacobsDark Age Ahead

Call me a contrarian, but I have difficulty with Jacob’s idea. A friend and I traversed the space in between condo towers down by the Gardiner this past weekend. Read more…

Our Useless Mainstream Media

I’m not sure what Michael Cooke, the editor of the Toronto Star, was thinking by allowing Daniel Dale and Robyn Doolittle to shape the Star’s editorial position on Ford, but it was a mistake. I can’t be the only one having trouble taking them seriously. Read more… 

Speaking ill of the Dead 

This article refers to events in Canada. Susan Griffiths of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is the latest person to publicize her desire for assisted suicide, and to have her efforts celebrated by the press. Read more… 

Five Days at Memorial

Anyone concerned about euthanasia — for or against — should  read Sheri Fink’s account of the choices made by doctors and nurses at Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina. Read more… 

 

Alice Munro’s Magic 

Alice Munro’s “Vandals” appeared in her 1994 collection, Open Secrets. It’s a complex story of incipient alcoholism, pedophilia and survival. Despite its dark themes, the story isn’t entirely bleak and that’s because there’s an alluring character, Liza, at the centre of it. Read more…

A Death is Announced: The Death of the Classroom 

A revolution is coming to U.S. higher education, one that will sweep away an archaic business model, erase the value of many venerable brands, and enhance the brands of new entrants and nimble incumbents. It will be a tough time for many U.S. colleges and universities but great news for the rest of the world. Read more…  

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