Friday, March 31, 2006

Health Care in Canada is sick and dying

If you are an American who, for some reason, thinks that government-funded health care is the way to go, just look at Canada. As a Canadian, I, on one hand, appreciate the "free" access to health care. The US model is ridiculously expensive. On the other hand, I hate the fact that I have to wait in line all the time for even the most basic health care.

I pay more taxes than most, ergo, I should get better health care. That's simple. I should also be able to pay for even better health care out of my pocket (either through direct billing or through insurance). That's simple too.

Now, in typically American fashion, getting health care in the US is over-priced and ultimately about as stressful as whatever ailment required the health care to begin with! There has to be a happy medium. In an affluent society, everyone should be able to get affordable health care. However, people who can afford it should be able to get more timely health care. This is part of the privilege of being successful...oh, wait. Being successful is a bad thing in Canada. I forgot.

Perhaps a solution would be to have people OPT OUT of public health care altogether or perhaps some sort of percentage plan. That is, the government would only cover 50% of your health care costs. By opting into this, you would get a reduced tax rate. Good idea? I think so.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

You're kidding, right?

This is a blog post aboout the NHL. Hockey. So, if you aren't interested, I'm giving you fair warning.

The Toronto Maple Leafs (sic) have lost two in a row to the Montreal Canadians as both are fighting for a playoff spot. The combined score was 11-3. All year long I have been saying that the Leafs have neither the talent nor the depth to even make the playoffs let alone do anything significant towards winning a Cup.

During the off season, the Leafs made a few, what were called, "high profile" free agent signings. Guys like Jason Allison (who hadn't played in years due to injuries), Jeff O'Neil (who Carolina couldn't wait to dump), and Eric Lindros (who was and still is damaged goods). The Toronto-centric media was all over these signings. But the worst spate of journalistic bias came with the signing of Mariusz Czerkawski. In September 2005, Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun wrote:

Reputedly, Mariusz Czerkawski can do back flips after he scores.

If the new Maple Leafs right winger can hit in the 30 to 40-goal range this season, perhaps as Mats Sundin's linemate, it will be Toronto's hockey office doing the cartwheels. Czerkawski officially came aboard yesterday, signing a one-year deal believed to be worth around $500,000 US.

Um. Okay. Based on what is this guy going to score 30-40 goals? Here are his career stats:

Year Team GP G A Pts +/-
2005-06 BOS 8 1 1 2 -4
2005-06 TOR 19 4 1 5 -2
2003-04 NYI 81 25 24 49 +8
2002-03 MTL 43 5 9 14 -7
2001-02 NYI 82 22 29 51 -8
2000-01 NYI 82 30 32 62 -25
1999-00 NYI 79 35 35 70 -16
1998-99 NYI 78 21 17 38 -10
1997-98 NYI 68 12 13 25 +11
1996-97 EDM 76 26 21 47 0
1995-96 EDM 37 12 17 29 +7
1995-96 BOS 33 5 6 11 -11
1994-95 BOS 47 12 14 26 +4

His best year was 2000-01 in which he scored 35 goals! Where does Hornby think this guy is going to get 30-40. As a side note, if you look at the stats, he only had 5 pts and only played in 19 games. Good acquisition.

The worst part of all of this are the idiot fans of the Leafs. You can be a fan, like my sister-in-law, and still be realistic. She cheers for them, but has absolutely no hope. She KNOWS this team is filled with talentless stiffs.

But guys like this, who commented on a recent Toronto Star forum:

...Also why didn't the leafs try to pull off a trade for a goalie before the deadline. Considering the number of games remaining I can't fathom why these moves were not made and the blame has to be put squarely on the shoulders of Ferguson Jr. and Quinn. I can't understand how they play so well against Carolina and stink the joint out at the Bell Centre.
Milt Kenigsberg, North York

Poor Milt. He totally has no clue. They didn't pull off a trade for a goalie because they COULDN'T. What could they have given up for a goalie? What team would want ANY of the stiffs they had to offer? Also, they had NO ROOM under the salary cap to make such a deal if it didn't involve at least one of their overpaid players.

This kind of attitude from both the fans and the Toronto-centric media is what turns off the rest of us. I hate the Leafs, not because of the team per se, but because of the idiots on the fringes. I can't wait for the playoffs to start sans Leafs.