Friday, February 29, 2008

Health Canada Warm & Cozy with Big Food

Yes we are free to eat what we like, eat the very healthiest of food, all, some, or none of the time. So to a large extent, one would think, we can control health, and therefore protect ourselves against many sorts of medical problems associated with diet. Unfortunately, according to this award winning science/tech blog site called Weighty Matters, Health Canada, is looking out for the best interests of Big Food (see Feb. 27 articles). Now that's indigestible.

Health Canada is holding public consultations on whether or not to increase the available claims that Big Food can place on packaging, i.e., what constitutes a "low-fat", "reduced calories", etc. Such labels create health halos around the food.

According to obesity expert, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, Big Food wants Health Canada to make it easier for them to put labels on food which help them sell more of their products, for example, "low-fat" on candy snacks. The intention of food manufacturers of course is to increase sales, and properly worded marketing is worth $ millions. They know that "low-fat" or "reduced calories" will sell more. Researchers like Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell University showed in three studies show that low-fat labels lead all consumers — particularly those who are overweight — to overeat snack foods.

While it's deliciously healthy, and quite filling for industry execs, it is not at all in the best interest of peoples' health.

Freedhoff is becoming a nationally recognized consultant on nutrition. He has appeared on Market Place on at least two occasions to open the lid on the misleading Health Check symbol (see previous posts here on the Health Check symbol sham).

In two recent blog posts he again exposes Health Canada's conflicting interests. Here's a slice from a Feb. 27 post:

Stay tuned tomorrow when I introduce you to the goings on behind the scenes at the current Happy Corporations (Health Canada) consultations into food labeling where surprise, surprise, the food industry has an invited seat to the table, the process is skewed dramatically in their favour, and with industry of course wanting it be made easier for them to make outlandish health claims on foods (health sells) in the absence of real evidence to support them.

If Health Canada is protecting the food industry's profits, while the very foods that get approved are hurting individual's health, then what authority can the general public rely on for real, and healthy, food nutrition information? Well one answer is, depend on yourself to research and educate yourself about foods, what's in them, and how food ingredients affect your health. Ok, yeah sure, we're all gonna become food researchers and find out about safe foods - just like how we take for granted, what elected representatives and their departments are expected to do.

Really, are millions of Canadians expected to spend countless hours, days, or months researching everything they consume or will consume?

Most people are busy with work, families, activities and living - they want quick information about food, but the more lax government criteria becomes regarding nutritious-sounding "health halos", the more likely people will overeat food that is harmful to them, get sick, and continue feeding the cycle of news-making "health care system problems".

The problems in Canada's health care system has been a constant in the news for decades. There are long waiting lists, staff shortages, lack of equipment like MRI, or CT scan units, and huge mistakes in testing, and emergency room problems. The interest of Health Canada should ONLY be in promoting the best habits of people, which in large part is food and diet related. It's such a misleadingly name department when they make it easy for food companies to get a misleading label on unhealthy food, yet people die by the tens of 1000s each year from consuming these very foods. What a contradictory organization!!

How about the department of health and the department of finance get together, talk about how much health cost expense could be saved if people were getting sick less, were not mislead by food labels, were assisted in their daily health education.

Speaking of education, perhaps education departments would want to get involved and teach some real world evidence-based information on healthy eating. Teach kids about what harmful product ingredients promote sickness, what are the recommended daily intake levels of known suspects like sodium, sugar, fat, white flour, red meat, and processed meats. Inform them of how most modern foods are grown, i.e., pesticides used in growing food. Teach them how to interpret nutrition labels - basically how to make educated food choices.

Hey Health Canada, help cut down on the health care problems by being on peoples' side, and promoting food which is evidence-based healthy. Protect people, not the food industry.

Note: The words in the above cartoon have been modified from the original. The artist is Matt Carmody, and the cartoon was taken from this site.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama Closer to Finish Line in Dems Marathon

Grueling, draining, arduous, mentally and physically tiring, are some ways the U.S. Democratic nomination race could be described. This competition is over a year old, and the planning up to its start probably took at least one year, prior to that. It's one thing to give numerous speeches, attend rallies, press conferences, and staff meetings, all across the country, but to also have to counter new charges that may be thrown your way, is just another daily component of a nominee's life on the campaign road.

There is also the repetition of giving rehearsed speeches, and the repetition of playing goalie so the other doesn't score with some attack. At last night's Ohio debate, Clinton and Obama must have been sick of looking at each other, yet again. Much of the conversation was predictable, like their differences on health care, Clinton's vote for the Iraq war, and Obama's inexperience. It's repetitive, but real, and so they can at least frame their answers in various manners each dabate, and in that way, find new and/or positive approaches to look positive, and take advantage of the anticipated topic.

Ohio's debate was apparently only on MSNBC, and was broadcast on their web cast, though, it was broken up so much that you missed much of it. Actually CNN's web site gave the impression that no debate happened at all - guess they did not want to promote a competitor's broadcast.

From what I saw, no clear winners. Certainly, no big body blows from Hillary, which is what she needs to win Ohio, and Texas. However, when she speaks about health care, she does get more passionate, and that gets viewers listening. On another question regarding her mocking his lofty rhetoric at a rally, Obama gave a light hearted response, saying that Hillary gave a humorous delivery, and he wasn't negative about it.

He seemed confident, as did she. Like some previous debates, afterwards, the status quo of support may not have budged much. At the current time, trends in the pre-election polls has Obama edging closer to Hillary in Ohio, and even surging past her in Texas, which is becoming an all too familiar foreshadowing of what might happen again once the votes are counted.

He is now 54% vs her 38% in the national polls. A year ago it was completely opposite. Then, her support was 49% while his support was 17%. After 20 debates in a year his momentum has been due to his improved debating style, incredible campaign organization, and a high level of fundraising.

If Clinton loses Texas and Ohio, then it becomes clearer who the successful nominee will be, and its' looking like only superdelegates could save her then - and that's getting iffy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Celebrities Vying for Vice Presidency Nod

Entertainment celebrities have sacrificed their careers before for the good of public service. Sonny Bono, formerly of Sonny and Cher, was mayor of Palm Springs, and elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. Actor turned politician, Ronald Reagan spent many years in political office before winning the Presidency in 1980, at the age of 70. Now other entertainment celebrities are hoping to add VP to their resumes.

Several rap performers want to be Obama's running mate if he wins the Democratic nomination.

Snoop Dogg, (formerly Snoop Doggy Dog, his wife kept the name) is hoping to get the nod. Snoop says he does not want to see another Vice President Gore, or VP Bore as he likes to say.

I hope to help the Obamas win the U.S. election for the Dems, by helping to get more homeys out to vote, ya know what I'm sayin'! I want to be Vice President Dogg, and with the help of Mrs. Doggy Dog, I know I can do it.

Others are seeing opportunities to change careers as well. You could also be reading captions or headlines like this in the future:

Seen in this photo are Vice President LL Cool J and Mrs. Cool J.

To the left are Vice President Dr. Dre and Mrs. Dre.

Public grateful for career change of Vice President Celine Dion.

Vice President Jerry Springer hopes to reach a peace agreement between fighting sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

President Clinton and Vice President 50 Cent greet the Queen and Prince Phillip.

President Obama and Vice President Paris Hilton to meet with Arab-Israeli delegates at Camp David.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Money Quotes

Some years back I researched and designed a money saving web site for students who wanted to attend MUN. The site, called Stay Afloat, is a comprehensive place for students and parents with plenty of money saving tips, "free money", debt reduction info, a budget calculator, program cost calculator, student jobs links, and banking tips.

Since, MUN has gone with a new template and new pages use that template. But the Stay Afloat pages are still accessible. This particular site's tuition information, and some other costs or program information may be out of date, but it is still a good tool for saving tips, and wise budgeting. There are also a few student testimonials on how they went through university with little or no debt, so it's possible.

At the top of major topic pages are money related quotes from famous people (and anons). Here are some of the best quotes below. Hope you enjoy.

  • They say that money can't buy you happiness, but I wouldn't mind being known as that melancholy guy who drives around in the red Lambourgini Diablo. --- George Carlin

  • All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy. ---- Spike Milligan

  • If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. --- Anon.

  • I was a bank teller. That was a great job. I was bringing home $450,000 a week. --- Joel Lindley

  • Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. --- Oliver Wendell Holmes

  • I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something. --- Jackie Mason

  • I wasn't affected by inflation -- I had nothing to inflate. --- Gerald Barzan

  • I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by four o'clock this afternoon. --- Henry Youngman

  • POVERTY: Having too much month left at the end of the money. --- Anon.

  • Money talks, but all it ever says is good-bye. --- American Proverb

  • The person who doesn't know where his next dollar is coming from usually doesn't know where his last dollar went. --- Author Unknown

  • The only reason I made a commercial for American Express was to pay for my American Express bill. --- Peter Ustinov.
  • Friday, February 22, 2008

    A Civilized, Healthy and Possibly Hillary's Swan Song Debate

    Sitting mere inches apart at a public broadcast desk Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton exemplified civility in the Texas debate last night. It could have been less civil had Clinton attempted to score points with a more aggressive attack on Obama.

    She could have been more forceful on his relatively short experience in congress, Obama's "just words" versus substance angle she's been aiming at lately, and his "borrowing" of Gov. Deval Patrick's words. She raised the issues, and made a jab about him talking "change you can xerox" referring to Obama's use of lines from a colleague's speech. The comment was not applauded but rather there was booing from the crowd. He defended himself well on these issues, using the experience issue as an opportunity to outline what accomplishments he had achieved.

    He was spoke "presidentially" on the U.S. presence in Iraq, on Afghanistan, and his approach to foreign affairs - to open communication with friends, as well as enemies, which was applauded.

    Clinton was strong on questions about the economy. She highlighted the home foreclosure problem, and listed a couple of solutions - putting a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures, and freezing interest rates for five years. Her experience working on health care since the 1990's brought out her passion on this issue as well, where she was strong, and chippled away at Obama's approach to universal health care. She said that his approach, voluntary inclusion, versus her mandatory health care coverage, would not work because it was voluntary.

    The issue of superdelegates possibly being the deciding factor in the outcome of this nomination race was thought not to be an issue by Clinton. She said that it would sort inself out.

    Given how the evening ended, with her, in a particularly friendly moment, telling the audience that it was an honor to be in the race with Barack Obama, and using John Edward's previous lines, "whatever happens, we're gonna be fine," she reached across to shake Obama's hand, she showed acceptance of where they both stand in terms of delegate support.

    One felt the sense that she would be content if superdelegates did indeed vote to reflect Obama's popular vote lead. That moment was a feel good point. It got a standing ovation, touched an emotional chord with viewers, and made a positive and memorable impression of Hillary Clinton as a likeable person. If anything were to score her voter support this was it.

    Like previous debates, both were very impressive, showed their individual styles, and in at the end, probably brought the Democratic party closer together overall.

    The debate showed both in a positive light. Perhaps she chose not to attack more vigorously because there is a mutual admiration, goal commonalities, and similiar visions, if not always similiar approaches.

    If the trend in the last three weeks stay the same for Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island on March 4, then Obama's support will just continue to rise from now till March 4. Bill Clinton even said yesterday that if his wife does not win in Texas, then it's probably not going to happen.

    In the debate, Hillary the nice person, came through, especially at the end. One of the last questions posed was about how each of them had handled a crisis in their lives. Here, we were reminded of her strength as a person, when she told the crowd that her past pain, (Bill's affairs & impeachment), was nothing compared to what some people are living with each day. That was received well and showed her caring side. She knows the reality of the momentum of Obama, the numbers, the trend of demographic shift, and in the debate, wanted to end with her image being presented as positive and caring. This could be the last time both will debate each other for the Democratic nomination. Texas polls show them neck and neck, though she has a slight lead going into Ohio, at least at this date.

    If anything, this debate was a good example of the way competitors in a race like this can exchange their ideas, compare, contrast, while not mud slinging. Many other politicians and aspirants could learn from last night's exchange.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    The Race for the White House is going to be ... Black or White. But then again ..

    When the final outcome is to be determined by superdelegates, it's not so black and white who will win.

    In the race for the Democratic nomination, the goal is to attain 2025 delegates to win. Right now, he has 1315 compared to Clinton's 1245 overall delegate number.

    Each state has a certain number of delegates, with the most populous states having the most delegates. The Democratic party nominees split the state's delegates proportionally based on the popular vote in state primary elections, and proportionally in state cacauses. While most delegates are "pledged", i.e., they have to represent either Clinton or Obama, the 796 superdelegates are not pledged to either, and can really have the final say in who becomes the party nominee.

    The American party nomination process is really a super marathon which started over a year ago. Former underdog Barack Obama has turned the campaign tables around. He has exceeded expectations, surprised pundits, ignited a new interest in politics among the American electorate, and has taken the lead in popular state votes, and in delegates.

    He has won the last 10 states. Hillary Clinton can still win but according to political pundits she has to win big in two significant states, Texas and Ohio. It's not looking like a sure thing for her. The demographic that gave her most support is gradually shifting to Obama's side. Wisconsin is the latest to show the trend of his support - he got 53% of the white male vote, a higher than previous, percentage of female voters, and a larger number of "working class" voters. This trend is becoming clearer with each state win for him.

    Right now, it is looking good for Obama to win the Democratic nomination. However, it is possible that even if he has most of the overall delegate number at the August Democratic convention, in a close race like this, superdelegates can turn the table for Clinton to win.

    You have to wonder just how democratic the U.S. party nomination process is, when the majority of voters prefer one candidate, but a group of mainly inside party members, can potentially vote for a choice that nullifies the popular vote.

    There is no obligation for the 796 superdelegates to vote to reflect the overall delegate lead by Obama. They can, but are free to vote either way.

    Political experts talk about a vague, non-comittal decision process that could take place among superdelegates. For example, if, there is a significant lead by one over the other, then they will likely vote that way. But there is still no certainty in this at all.

    Potentially, assuming for the sake of argument that Obama continues his lead and has say, an overall 200 delegate lead on Clinton going into the August convention, superdelegates could still vote enough to declare Hillary the winner. This seems very unfair, not to mention such a waste of time, energy and money for the loser. One might think, "what was the last year and a half all about?"

    Since Super Tuesday, time has definitely been on his side, as the idea of a first black President appears to be more accepted among the general U.S. populace, even more over-60 voters are voting for him.

    He has to avoid any major slip-ups, close off weak areas he has been criticized for, like lacking on policy details, and continue to say the "right" things, that are palatable to most voters.

    He, more than anyone represents change in the U.S. Of the G8 nations, there have already been at least three female nation leaders, Thatcher, Kim Campbell, and Germany's Angela Merkel. Obama is causing excitement for several reasons - great campaign, great speaker, hope, change, and because he, even by his skin color, represents the greatest leap in direction, political evolution, and attitude change for the U.S. His messages of broader health care coverage, more money in the pockets of seniors (reduced or no income tax to be paid), less tax breaks for the small group of super rich, a yearly minimun wage increase to keep up with inflation, are all appealing to a broader slice of Americans.

    Hillary has an uphill battle to reverse the direction he's going. There's a 370 delegates prize in the March 4th primaries in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. She Has to get about a 60/40 size win to catch up with Obama and be back in the race.
    No pressure Hllary.

    This campaign is full of surprises, and Clinton can indeed win enough delegates to lead again. Or the superdelegates could come to her rescue, or not. If this whole election process were a television series, the current episode could be called "Desperate White House Wives."

    The race has a leader, but the outcome is still not yet black or white.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Personal Care Home Safety is Last Priority

    Why would you want to operate a personal care home without a sprinkler system? In the last two days it's been widely publicized that 22 personal care homes are still without sprinkler systems even after being warned of this five years ago. Right now fingers are being point in various directions - at Gov. for not paying all up-front refitting costs and being paid back later, and at home care owners for simply not following through. One personal care home operator described his situation, saying that there were several impediments to getting sprinkler systems - the unavailability of contractors, and banks not providing loans even with government subsidies to help defray the costs.

    Whatever the reasons five years ago, or more, this issue should have been dealt with. Where there is a will there's a way. To put the lives of senior citizens at risk in this way seems to be careless and irresponsible for all parties involved. Why wouldn't an operator not want to cut down on the risk of people getting burned, damaged property, and increased insurance rates?

    Just now a personal care home operator on Here & Now was interviewed. She purchased a building two years ago that was approved by Government, despite it not being equipped with a sprinkler system. She made a valid point, that had this issue been brought to her attention at the time of purchase, she could have either negotiated a better price to reflect the renovations required, or decided not to buy. This particular situation has been unfair to the operator, and the building should not have been approved as a personal care home in the first place. Fire officials say that having a sprinkler system is a no-brainer.

    So right now there are many seniors very worried about where they may have to live in the event the homes are closed. That's a stress that people who rely on others for their care, should not have.

    Restaurants that have failed health inspections get passed, and now high risk care facilities get passed when they shouldn't. It's better late than never but both elected officials and business operators need to put peoples' health and safety first.
    References: cbc, Telegram

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    A Closer Democratic and Demographic Race

    The U.S. 2008 Democratic race is a dramatic movie in the making. There's no violence, no sex, yet (who knows what Bill is up to?), but it has historical drama, an underdog, make that two now, impressive contestants, a continually changing voter dynamic, and a see-saw popularity contest that is evident by the numbers.

    With Obama's three state win last evening, he is on a hot roll, with eight straight state wins. Hillary's lead is now Obama's lead. While he leads her by 25 delegates, 1215 to 1190 (according to CNN at this time), she still has more superdelegates in the overall number. This could change as well. Superdelegates are those that are directly involved in party politics, Governors, Congressmen, ex-Presidents, Senators, and right on down the line. There are 796 superdelegates, and the whole contest may come down to their votes to finally determine who the successful nominee is.

    This could get messy. Currently Obama has more pledged delegates from primaries and caucases than Clinton. If this remains true, then what would happen if super delegates decide to favor Clinton over him? There could be a lot of political and public outcry. Super delegates do not have to say publicly who they will vote for. They are up for grabs, and are being courted by Obama and Hillary.

    Last night's election results was another big win for Obama, but was also bad news in another way for Clinton. This is not just a Democratic race but also a demographic race. In Maryland and Virginia, Obama got more votes from women, 60%, than Hillary. This was mainly Hillary's edge. He also beat her in the Latino vote.

    This campaign is most exciting. Clinton could very well make up her latest lost ground in March with big States Texas and Ohio having a sizable chunk of the delegates. On the other hand, if the demographic trend continues for Obama, these states could be her final upset, and like Rudy Giuliani depending on Florida delegates, this could deliver a stinging upset for her. She is banking very much on those wins.

    It's close and an amazing race to witness. There are two bright, very capable people campaigning for the same job, and both have likable ways. Ultimately, it would be sad to see Hillary lose, and it would also be a pity if Obama did not. Either way, they both have made history by running, and either will be quite a refreshing change from G.W. Bush.

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Democratic Race could be Photo Finish

    The February 9th Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington, and Virgin Islands, could edge Obama closer in delegates to Clinton. There are 158 delegates up for grabs here, and the demographic of two states involved, Louisiana and Washington, make for a promising outcome for him - a 31.7% black population in the former, and 27% with a Bachelor's degree or higher in the latter - the national average is 24%.

    Obama has done very well with black voters, and college students and white males. While white women gravitate more to Hillary, white dudes could be the group to finally determine the nomination outcome. According to this article,

    "If you look at the demographics state by state, you can see that, right now, Obama's being kept alive by white guys," said Richard Parker, a Harvard lecturer and co-founder of Mother Jones magazine. "It's the one group which is not voting identity politics because they don't have a candidate."

    It's expected that today's caucus results will tighten the gap between the Democratic rivals. The momentum, the near equality in the delegate numbers, the realism of a black underdog being more accepted as potential U.S. President, must be making the Clintons a little more nervous. Hillary Clinton does represent more political experience, but one expert analyst suggested that Obama is a certified outsider, and that is his appeal. Mike Murphy on Meet the Press said Obama's power is not just a message of change.

    What he's really talking about is rejection of what people perceive to be the broken status quo of politics.

    The young voters who are factoring big in Obama's success thus far, could be thinking that way - that "we've seen the old guard at work, let's really mean change, with conviction." Obama has spoken often about unity not just in his own party but between both major parties. That message is applicable to all demographic groups.

    There may be another underlying factor in his growing popularity as well. Pride. Not just among African Americans, but among white voters, who may feel in a personal way, a sense of absolution.

    This Democratic nomination process could very go on till the August convention. Even if Obama does not win the nomination, to come this far, with so much multi-racial support, it stands as a positive societal step in race perception and relations, and a heightened sense of pride among African Americans.

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    After Super Tuesday Time is on Obama's Side

    As more people become familiar with Barack Obama the more support he gets. His support surge had started to reflect in recent polls in California but many votes were already mailed in before his recent rise in that poll. The Latino vote had been largely behind Clinton, and it seemed to hold true for her in the most populous state of California. Interestingly, Obama did get the majority of the white male vote in that state, and an extremely huge chunk of the black vote there. Had Obama had more time to campaign his momentum may have tipped the Latino vote in his favor. Hillary has more of the female vote at this time. That and the Hispanic vote won her California.

    In the meantime, he has won 13 of 22 states, an incredible showing for him against a former first lady and Washington veteran. At the time of this post New Mexico was still undecided (he was at 49%, she was at 48%). He has the money and now more time to appeal to more states in the remaining primaries. Hillary currently has less cashflow for advertising. The big states are out of the way, New York and California. Hillary won them, but overall the delegate count is close. She was expected to win those states, and now it is more of a bare knuckles fight for the rest of the states. As time passes Obama is inching closer to Clinton, and even passing her in the polls.

    The U.S. election process is as clear as fog, but Democrats need 2,025 delegates to win the party nomination. As it stands now, Hillary has an overall total of 783 delegates compared to Obama's 709.

    The momentum of his message and appeal is spreading, and looking more attractive to voters, particularly newer ones. Hillary is an already familiar face, that many know much about. People are still learning about Obama, and it appears, liking what they are hearing.

    In some not so obvious predictable states like Missouri, it was a nail biter right to the very end. With 99% of the vote in, the split was 49.02% for Obama, and 48.18% for Clinton. It finally went to him.

    The real war begins now as Obama's ground troops and supporters will need to use their second wind to bolster him in every way, and fuel the momentum he has going.

    Super Tuesday's results only some months ago, seemed like it was going to be a coronation for Clinton, however, the tides have turned, and the flow is part of the Obama wave. The next contests are on Saturday in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington.

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Obama or Hillary: Who Would You Vote For?

    Super Tuesday is building to be super exciting because the California and U.S. national polls have both Clinton and Obama statistically tied going into today's primaries. The momentum is in Obama's favor. A month ago delegate-rich California would have decidedly given Clinton the majority of the votes. However, a poll released February 4 even has Obama ahead by a few points in that state. While it sounds close, California may vote in Hillary's favor because in the month prior to Feb. 5, nearly half of votes could have been mailed in, and during a time frame when more support was polled for Clinton.

    She is also expected to take the next largest state New York. Still, there is a dynamic U.S. electorate right now and as was seen in New Hampshire, polling results are not at all necessarily good predictors of outcome. In that state primary, Obama was expected to win, but Hillary pulled a "comeback kid". So there could be a generous number of political surprises on Tuesday.

    Super Tuesday's outcome is expected by political analysts to be an indecisive split for both Democratic candidates, therefore, it's expected that remaining state primaries will be even more crucial in determining a clear leader and party nominee.

    It's a very exciting and unique contest. Both obviously, by gender and race, represent that kind of change, it will be a party first for either.

    Who will represent the most change? Hillary does not. She has been in the White House with Bill for eight years, and was already heavily involved in that level of politics. She spent years while Bill was in office, working on a revised health care system, and often reminds audiences that the "'90s weren't so bad", the "'90s were a prosperous time". She alludes to her husband's tenure as President, and hints that with another Clinton there, things will be the same as they were in the 1990s. You can't help but think that there still are two potential President Clintons.

    A President Obama would signal a large political and sociological change because it would indicate that race matters less than ever to the mostly non-black American voter. It may also send the message that Americans are ready to trust, and give a black candidate a chance. As well, because racism has been an American disgrace, some may view an Obama win, either consciously or subconsciously, as compensation for centuries of inequality. While females and blacks historically have been not treated as equals, the black experience has been more inhumane. That change in the government's top spot will for many be seen as the greatest change. For this observer too.

    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    Some of these Restaurants are not like the others

    .. some of these restaurants just don't belong,
    Can you tell which restaurants are not like the others
          By the time I finish my meal?

    The thought of restaurants failing health inspections is totally unpalatable. Of the 5 restaurants Auditor General John Noseworthy found that failed inspection to stay open, one restaurant violated two critical health hazards during eight consecutive health inspections, but remained open. No restaurants have been named in this report, which keeps you wondering if or when you dine out again.

    One of the problems is that restaurant inspectors are behind schedule and short staffed.

    This story like the many other health problems exposed in the last half year is good news. This stuff needs to be public knowledge, so that there is more public pressure to fix the problems, give confidence to people, cut back on disease, and inevitably cut back on strain on health care. Like many health problems, this one is preventable.

    The priority right now is to fill vacancies in restaurant inspection. It is obviously pressure on current inspectors to keep up with demand, but it is not right to allow restaurants to stay open when they ought to be closed.

    Toronto's Dinesafe program requires restaurants to post a food safe inspection notice that is in an obvious place clearly visible to members of the public, at or near the entrance of the establishment.

    Here are the Dinesafe eight simple rules to get that pass.

    Unless there is more confidence in the food establishment industry there just may be more people passing by more restaurants more often.