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Everything posted by maarsen

  1. People who want to pay less in taxes. Unfortunately this is not a surprise to anyone who works in or knows people who work in nursing homes. Check out the website of the Ontario Health Coalition or the OCHU website. Candace Rennick, Secretary Treasurer of CUPE Ontario started out working in LTC homes before becoming a union activist and has been raising these issues for years. People and governments have not wanted to listen. Michael Hurley of OCHU has also spoke many times on these issues. We had 10000 people at Queens Park last year trying to bring this to the attention of the public and it barely makes a minute or two on the any TV station in Ontario.
  2. I found out last week that the US has two definitions for how long one foot actually is. If there was ever an argument for the metric system in the US, this has to be it.
  3. We just had a report on LTC homes done by the armed forces who got sent in. I guess Walkerton wasn't a one off thing for Conservatives. Freeze their pay, take away sick days and you get what you pay for.
  4. I am surprised that Shackleton is remembered al all these days. I still think just about anyone who was famous since the turn of the 19th century will be forgotten in 500 years except as a trivia question. Ford and Disney have been put out as being memorable but the problem is that copyrights expire and industries die. Name a corporation that has lasted for over 300 years. I can only think of one. The Hudson's Bay Company and i think they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Elon Musk? He may be remembered but also cursed for his Starlink satellites that are ruining visual astronomy. The only way to be remembered is to have your name put on something that will last 500 years, create a theorem in mathematics named after you, discover something really notable in science, or do something so stupid or despicable, or both, and you forever become the bad example everyone points to as a cautionary tale.
  5. Closest person to settle or at least overwinter would be Shackleton. He was a somewhat notable figure.
  6. Beard trims? I thought the new trend was to look like a Civil War General.
  7. Handsome Ned had a song about that. I wish I could link it but I only have it on CD. The title is "I've come to get my baby out of jail"
  8. Authors rarely have their books remembered beyond their lifetime, no matter how popular while living. Go to Project Gutenberg and look up writers who were very popular during their time and who are completely forgotten now. G.A. Henty seems to have been the JK Rowling of the 19th century, but even I had never read him as a child and I was going through 2 or 3 books a day when i was but a lad. Who even reads Jack London any more. Tolkein I give a chance to be remembered because a huge amount of his popularity was after his death. To be remembered you not only have to be popular but able to speak to generations yet unborn. Shakespeare certainly did. The best way is to be a mathematician and find a really neat proof. That worked for Pythagoras.
  9. Civil servants have elected bosses. Crappy bosses always blame their workers for management stupidity.
  10. There was an outbreak in the hospital I retired from last year, and it was in my old department. I just talked to some one whom I used to work with and he was one of the infected. His story is rather interesting. 6 people who work together all came down with symptoms on the same day. Naturally they all go and get tested. 3 test positive and are sent home to self isolate and the other 3 tested negative. All 3 decide to stay off , just in case. On the next weekend being short of people, one of the 3 who tested negative is asked to come into work as they are very shorthanded now and he should wear a mask and try to avoid people as much as he can. He does not think this is a good idea so he gets tested again and comes up positive as do the others who originally tested negative.
  11. The Conservative party here in Canada is anything but conservative in trying new ways to choose a leader. Any time tested way of choosing a leader tends to bring out moderates who appeal to a reasonably large chunk of Canadian voters. Consider that in the last election that left leaning parties, Libs, NDP, BQ, Greens, got over 60% of the votes. Social conservatives are increasingly more vocal in the Conservative party and novel electoral methods that give them a stronger voice are being pushed by them. I consider this a win-win situation. They get the leader they want, the rest of us get an increasingly irrelevant Conservative party. BTW, now that spring has finally showed up, I hope the little blackflies stay away from where you are. Australia may have loads of poisonous creatures but we have the dreaded blackfly.
  12. True enough about the Cubans wanting better relations. They have no objection or laws about Americans coming to visit, and some do, traveling from Canada to do so. I have been all over Cuba and have never had the smallest interference by any people in authority. I even went to see Fidel's grave just after he died and interrupted a discussion a group of Cuban extremely senior military generals( judging by the gold braid and stars) were having to ask directions to a washroom. I did get a few strange looks but I did get directions. As for Cuba being a police state, I have to say, wandering the cities and roads, I see more police in an average week here in Ontario. The only time we were ever stopped was when the police were investigating a hit and run accident and wanted to see if there were any witnesses. We were coming back from the Cuban government's private game reserve where visitors needed to show passports to enter. We did not have ours so we were asked to wait until the general in charge left and then we were let in by the guard. If this is repressive police state, the evidence is rather thin.
  13. The Soviet Union tried to put missiles in Cuba in response to the US putting missiles in Turkey near the border to the USSR.
  14. Didn't I hear that Trump is tested every day? I can imagine how he feels at the end of a week. Unless he lies about being tested.
  15. Not really. During the last round of wage negotiations for 2017, PSWs, cleaners and porters received a wage boost on top of the one negotiated by OCHU Ontariowide of 1.5%. As we are not allowed to strike this was all settled by negotiation or arbitration and I was on the negotiating committee for our local union. We negotiated an additional increase for the PSWs and cleaners, and with the added bonus for hazardous duty, a PSW or a Housekeeper can earn almost as much as a skilled tradesperson in a hospital. Tradespeople in hospitals are in the unfortunate position of having their wages compared to RPNs in Ontario due to pay equity. The ratio of pay is set by arbitration and OCHU has tried for years to boost RPN pay , which used to be in a comparable ratio to RNs, so that skilled trades people in hospitals can achieve a rate increase comparable to the private sector. Hospitals are having a hard time finding skilled trades to work there and most are working short handed for the simple reason they do not pay enough to attract skilled tradespeople. The people they do attract were people like me who were content to take a substantial pay cut to get into a quieter, cleaner, less physical job as they neared retirement. In an auto parts factory, I could do enough overtime to make over a $100,000/year. There is very little overtime at a hospital and I would usually make just over half of that per year.
  16. Plant maintenance are the people who actually run and upkeep the building. We looked after the heating, AC, ventilation, including for the negative pressure rooms, plumbing, electrical and so on. As such we work everywhere in the hospital. Every floor and every room. The entire building is automated and we also monitor and adjust temperature and humidities to keep it all within mandated parameters. There were 7 positive tests and when I retired we were down to 7 plant maintenance operators. The other 7 people are clerical, management and helpers, who are not trained in plant operation or do not have the relevant trade license. We were required to work 7 days a week and bee on call to respond to emergencies such as broken pipes, nurse call system screwups, fire alarms, pump and fan failures during the times after hours. If plant maintenance is not available, the building cannot be occupied. If one trade is absent such as no electrician on duty, due to illness, then a simple job such as replacing a 600V blown fuse becomes very problematic. There are about 1000 nurses in the hospital, RNs and RPNs, probably about 75 PSWs. If PSWs disappear, nurses can do their work. There is nobody to replace the 7 plant maintenance guys. Those 7 have to cover 3 shifts, 24/7 365 days a year.
  17. The Ford government has given a pay increase to those health care workers who re in most danger of exposure to COVID-19. Other healthcare workers were left off of the list. Michael Hurley, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions president made a remark about this and wanted to know the reason why, pointing out that all hospital workers have a high risk of exposure. I just saw on the news that Markham Stouffville Hospital has an outbreak in the plant maintenance department. Almost the entire department has tested positive. Just as an aside, under Ontario law if there are no building operators able to work in a hospital, that hospital cannot be occupied.
  18. 4 times. By then you have to admit that you are completely under the spell and cannot live without it.
  19. The good old days when reality and satire didn't mix.
  20. I have a full head of hair at 64 years of age and if stubbornly refuses to go grey. I would be much happier with thinning hair now. Damn, but being handsome is a chore.
  21. If I remember the timelines, it was British ex-intelligence agent who brought out all the damming info about Trump. Most of which is available in public documents, if you have the time and inclination to dig into. The peing prostitutes were from this agent's Russian contacts from his British intelligence days. How British intelligence talking to Russians to reveal info about Americans is a violation of any law us really a stretch. Just admit that yeah, I am backing a legless horse in this race and move on.
  22. Having been to Cuba many times I think I am qualified to say that their leader is smarter than Trump. But then, so is a turnip.
  23. It seems the American government is also challenged in the understanding of the relationship. I guess the indigenous peoples are taking a page from their northern neighbours on how to negotiate with governments.
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