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THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Film ‘Boyhood’: Reflections on Holding On and Letting Go

A date night with my husband Jim doesn’t happen often.  We have fallen into our habits of cooking dinner together, followed by reading or watching a British television drama.  Sometimes, though, a movie or play catches my eye and I peek out of my turtleshell long enough to organize an escape from my comfy chair at home.

This week, we saw Richard Linklater’s new film, ‘Boyhood’.  I’d seen the word ‘masterpiece’ attached to the project, but it was the idea of a film being made about a boy growing up over twelve years that captivated me.  At first, Mason (Ellar (Read more…)

Things Are Good: A Hippocratic Oath for Bankers

Bankers destroyed the economy and in too many countries those responsible walk free despite the damage they wrought. Iceland jailed bankers at fault in their country, but what can we do to ensure that bankers behave in the future?

Doctors take the hippocratic oath in order to practice medicine, now it’s being suggested bankers need something similar. We don’t want bankers to be like people with MBAs.

In contrast to a rigid moral regime that most ethical systems call for, the theory of virtue recognises that people’s needs are all different and as a result, argues for the fulfillment of (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: If you can’t trust Postmedia when it reports on oil and the environment, when can you trust it?

If you can’t trust your Postmedia website, who can you trust? I mean, other than Alberta Diary. Regardless, don’t blame these poor guys. They’re just trying to earn a living. Below: Economist Robyn Allen, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey.

Industry self-regulation doesn’t work and never will for a simple reason: He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Companies that tell fibs to their customers don’t like being regulated by their own tame “watchdogs” any more than they like being told what to do by the government. The difference is, in the case of in-house regulation, they’re big enough to kick (Read more…)

Law is Cool: Is Work-Life Balance Attainable?

By: Shannon O’Connor

Maintaining a work-life balance has been difficult for numerous legal professionals. The question still remains: can a balance between work and life be attainable within contemporary society?

I believe that it is possible to achieve a balance between work and life. This balance ensures that an individual is able to complete work while doing the activities they love. It is quit a challenging endeavor and comes with multiple obstacles. Ultimately, this balance can be achieved through multiple avenues.

Guidelines for Achieving a Work-Life Balance:

• A work-life balance is more attainable if you run your own practice (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice Extra Edition – The Freedom to Believe in Stupid Ideas (Religion)

Dear Religious people,

Have you thanked your local atheist today? If not, you should because atheism and by extension secular society, is saving you from the immoral loopy shit your bronze age beliefs demand. The latest demonstration of how immoral and barbaric religion is comes to us from the Sudan. (read more about Mariam at Al Jazeera)

“Mariam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese mother, doctor and Christian, has been sentenced to flogging and death unless she recants her Christian faith. She is 8 months pregnant and has a two-year-old son. Please, join the international community in (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Now That…that is a Catch-22 – Belarus 1942

If you have not picked up or borrowed Blood Lands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder yet, I suggest you do so. It is a shockingly candid dissertation on what happened to the people on the Eastern Front between Stalin and Hitler. I quote from that text:

“Partisan operations, effective as they sometimes were, brought inevitable destruction to the Belarusian civilian population, Jewish and gentile alike. When the Soviet partisans prevented peasant from giving food to the Germans, they all but guaranteed that the Germans would kill the peasants. A Soviet gun threatened (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Now That…that is a Catch-22 – Belarus 1942

If you have not picked up or borrowed Blood Lands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder yet, I suggest you do so. It is a shockingly candid dissertation on what happened to the people on the Eastern Front between Stalin and Hitler. I quote from that text:

“Partisan operations, effective as they sometimes were, brought inevitable destruction to the Belarusian civilian population, Jewish and gentile alike. When the Soviet partisans prevented peasant from giving food to the Germans, they all but guaranteed that the Germans would kill the peasants. A Soviet gun threatened (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: No Charges Doesn’t Mean Wright Is Clean

On Friday, we learned that the RCMP will not be laying charges against Nigel Wright for writing a cheque to Mike Duffy in the amount of some $90,000 and change.  The CPC, and the PMO, seem to think that this is some kind of exoneration.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The RCMP only lays charges when they have evidence of criminal activity that is sufficiently solid to have a “reasonable expectation of conviction”.  If for any reason, the evidence is insufficient to meet that bar, charges are not laid. In no respect does this mean that what (Read more…)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: With the new Québec government, the provinces should push back

Monday’s landslide win by Phillipe Couillard and his Québec Liberal Party is a great sign that the idea of sovereignty may have been set aside for a long time. But I think it should lead to something more. It should lead to the federation our Founders wanted but has often wavered from this principle, especially under Stephen Harper.

At the outset, I have to say that with the win, the new

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: What in the world is Eve Adams?

When I was a kid, I was known for throwing hissy fits on just about anything that didn’t go my way. Now a lot of us adults probably were like that in our younger days, too, but we smartened up. In that vein, though, I have to wonder if Eve Adams was like that as a child, because lately she’s been at the edge of losing it – and her party’s respect too.

Adams started out as a bright light in an

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Two steps forward in America, one step back in Uganda

Another good (and bad) week for common decency.

1) Freedom of religion. That’s the excuse a lot of business owners used well into the 1970s when they refused service to Blacks, Asians and Native Americans. So it was good to hear Gov. Janice Brewer of Arizona veto the so-called “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed people to do business with gays and lesbians. It followed the

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Finally, the Confederacy gets on board — well, one state does

In a decision that surprised me, a Southern federal judge overturned Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen also ruled that the state also had to start respecting the laws of 17 other states and Washington DC that permit the practice. This marks the first time a Confederate state has joined the bandwagon of equality. (Read the decision in Bostic v.

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On Mass Surveillance

The revelation this week that CSEC has the capability to monitor the movements of Canadians simply by gathering some metadata from the traffic that goes by on public networks raises a lot of interesting questions that are worth discussing.

In an e-mail conversation on the matter, the following question was raised:

And I see that in a debate in the House today Nicholson (Defence) says that the documents don't support that Canadians were targeted. But if WIFI generally is being monitored how can Canadians avoid not being targeted?

It's a good and legitimate question. One that I wish had (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: DWR Quote of the Day – If You Look at the World…

It is a new year. Some small sliver of optimism remains -

If you look at the world and say “Yes, there are enough homes for people, yes, there is enough food for people, but if we give it away for free they won’t have earned it and the economy will collapse.” Then you have chosen money (a constructed medium of exchange) over living beings who only want to continue living in peace and safety.

And I have no qualms telling you, that is the wrong choice, and you have been brainwashed by this destructive, exploitative system.

From (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Pretty rich: Manning Centre founder and namesake lectures Ottawa Press Gallery on ethics

The Parliamentary Press Gallery, apparently as seen, sort of, but not quite, by Preston Manning. New ethical guidelines required? Doubtful. Below: The founder and namesake of the Calgary-Based Manning Centre; Senator Mike Duffy.

Let me get this straight: the founder and namesake of the Manning Centre presumes to lecture Ottawa’s Parliamentary Press Gallery on a supposed dearth of ethics because one disreputable Conservative Senator was once a member of the exclusive journalistic club and another worked as part of the Fourth Estate?

Preston Manning, the godfather of the Canadian Organized Right who acts as its chief financial matchmaker, teaming (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: A Thought on Spanking your Child…

“When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.

The boy was gone a long time. And (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Technology Is Opening A New Era Of Ethics

Whether it is the accumulation of data about your life on Facebook, your online professional profile on LinkedIn, or the location tracking features of your cellphone, there has never been more data about you available.

Some of it is “public”, some of it is definitely not.  The people that operate these various facilities all argue that they have a “commercial right” to utilize the data that their various services are gathering about you.

The right to utilize data is a complicated one.  First of all, who really owns it?  After all, what is posted to my Facebook account is mine (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: NDP ethics chair Pat MartinAnt denounces ‘black shroud of secrecy’

Inspired by this headline: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/12/10/ndp-ethics-chair-pat-mart_n_4421940.html

Alberta Diary: Resolving ‘Tobaccogate’ – Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion … but not necessarily in Alberta

Where there’s smoke, ummm…. there’s smoke. Got that? Actual Alberta government tobacco lawyers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson.

The astonishing thing about yesterday’s ruling by Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner exonerating Alison Redford in the “Tobaccogate” affair is not that Neil Wilkinson concluded no wrong was done when the premier helped make a decision to award her Ex’s law firm $10 billion worth of business.

Heck, for all I or any other Albertan knows maybe there really are only two or three law firms actually capable of doing the work, and maybe Mr. Wilkinson was (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Diane, it’s even worse than you claim

Diane Francis is a writer whose typical view of Canada is about 400 miles wide so its not surprising that in her New York Post expose, she ignores corrupt political acts in western Canada. For example, while the Confederation Bridge to PEI cost $1.3 B ($1.8 B in 2013 dollars) to cross 13km of ocean, two Fraser River bridges near Vancouver will cost the public over $6 B. Nor will she note that while BC residents pay punitive carbon taxes, BC Liberal’s largest financial supporter exports billions of dollars worth of carbon rich coal without paying carbon tax (Read more…)

Northern Insight: Baksheesh, bustarella, schmiergeld, kuroi kiri

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare

Organizations that aim to safeguard assets create effective operational and audit controls. They also respect codes of ethics like that of SCMA, a group of professionals working in procurement, contract administration and materials management. It states, “…members must ensure that the objectivity of their decisions is not compromised or unduly influenced by the acceptance of gifts, gratuities, or hospitalities of any kind. Members should be discerning in their business and social relationships and activities…”

Protections are particularly (Read more…)

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: "I’ve got more than enough to eat at home," Ford says

You couldn’t get the best scriptwriters in Hollywood or Broadway to come up with this line. Rob Ford, responding this morning to numerous allegations that he hired a call girl to visit his office in Toronto (among other allegations of downing mickeys in one shot and DUI), said they were untrue. But then Ford went after one of his former assistants who talked to the police, a woman who claims

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: Take a time out already, Rob!

So Rob Ford has actually admitted it. He’s bought illegal drugs during the last two years. Notwithstanding that concession, 30 of 44 councillors on Toronto City Council voted to ask him to take a leave of absence. Naturally, Ford refused. He also said he still has a “coat hanger” in the closet. I’ve heard of double entendres but not that one. (Any guesses what he means? Because unless

Writings of J. Todd Ring: No more excuses

There is no question: this generation will be held responsible for our actions, and even more, for our inaction. Apathy, complacency and denial are morally unacceptable. In fact, at this time in human history, they are nothing less than complicity in the worst of collective atrocities. We must act now. There are no more excuses. […]

Blast Furnace Canada Blog: As always, it’s the coverup (if that’s what it is)

At this point, I really don’t give a damn if Toronto Mayor Rob Ford did drugs. If he did it certainly hasn’t impaired his performance as a politician. What I do care about are the following:

Ford obviously has major issues. Be they mental or substance, or both, he needs to deal with them before someone really gets hurt. His city has an excellent benefits package that includes