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October 24, 2011

Why you should never buy from a Puppy Mill

CANADA - If you love animals why would you buy a pet from a puppy mill?

Well the sad answer is that some people just don't care. Out of sight, out of mind. They don't realize the horrible conditions the animals are subjected to, the unsanitary conditions, the diseases, the violent treatment of the people who run puppy mills.

In Canada the Humane Society and police work continually to find puppy mills and shut them down. Dogfighting and cockfighting activities are similarly banned. In Ontario the penalties for persons guilty of such offences can vary from $1,000 to $60,000 with possible imprisonment of up to two years. Learn more by reading the Ontario Animal Welfare Act.

A puppy mill's primary goal is to make money. Regardless of what price they set on selling these pets (often sold via pet stores with dubious reputations) their goal is to make as many pets as they can in a hurry in an effort to maximize profit and very little overhead.

We won't go into the details of some of the horrific treatment cats and dogs endure at puppy mills, but we can show you a few photos of animals which have been rescued from puppy mills by the Humane Society.

"Don't ever buy a dog unless you have personally visited where the dog was born and raised."

Now you could buy a rescued animal from the Humane Society... but buying any pet which may have been subjected to violence is risky, especially if you have children. Abused animals can sometimes respond violently without warning.

No, its far better to buy a pet from a dedicated breeder. It may cost you a lot more money, but over time it will be a wise investment. ie. Toronto Maltese Puppies cost $2,000 to $3,000, but over a 10 or 15 year period the financial sting isn't so bad. Especially as you grow to love and adore your pets.

McGuinty’s Liberals win third term... will there be a 4th?

CANADA - Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals were re-elected over a week ago and already people are thinking they might win a 4th term.

But the third term will have a short leash. McGuinty’s Liberals were re-elected with a minority government, propped up by the NDP. The rare “three-peat” win on Thursday October 6th saw the Liberals win 53 seats out of 107, just 1 short of a majority government. The NDP won 17 seats and will be propping the Liberal government up in exchange for compromises.

History Repeats Itself

In 1985 David Peterson's Liberals were elected with 48 seats, propped up by 25 NDP seats under then NDP leader Bob Rae. This historic cooperation between the Liberals and NDP ended 42 years of Conservative control.

The cooperation between the Liberals and NDP led to many great changes which helped the economy, health care and environmental policies in Ontario. In 1987 the Liberals were re-elected with a majority, but people later realized it was the NDP component which had been so helpful. To make matters worse the recession hit Ontario hard during 1989.

Thus in 1990 the NDP was elected with a majority government under Bob Rae, and due to a tight budget Bob Rae brought in "Rae Days" (days when government employees were asked to work for free in order to cut back on government spending). This measure wasn't popular and led to the Conservatives later winning a majority in 1995.

So the question is, if history is to repeat itself, will a Liberal-NDP cooperation now lead to the Liberals being re-elected for a 4th term? Its entirely possible.

For now the Liberals will be supported on a “case-by-case” basis by the New Democrats and, on occasion, the Progressive Conservatives.

“Dalton was clear — no deals — and with these numbers there is no need. When you’re at a threshold, it’s a mandate,” said one senior Liberal insider on the election night.

The lifespan of a minority administration is usually only “18 months to two years”, depending on the economic woes of the time. If the economy is good it can last longer, but the ruling party sometimes forces a fresh election if their popularity is soaring.

McGuinty, 56, is the first premier to win three straight elections since Davis in 1977.

Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, 43, meanwhile looks to be at the end of his career. Public opinion polls suggest that he isn't leadership material. He needs to stop and reflect, do some inventory management of his staff, compare that to what people in Ontario actually want and see if the Conservative Party needs to change its platform. If he still thinks he is the right person to lead the Conservatives then he might stay on... of course he might stay on as leader purely out of ego, and not due to any logical reasoning.

Meanwhile we must conclude that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is a competent leader to have managed to win 3 consecutive governments and to keep Ontario's economy humming. No lack of production planning ability there.

It was thought that Dalton McGuinty might get the boot because of the amalgamation of the 5% GST and 8% PST into the 13% HST, an act that made Dalton McGuinty unpopular amongst rich people who now have to pay more when buying a new car, cigarettes or luxury goods. Most people still pay 13% tax regardless.

There was also anger about rising hydro bills, gasoline prices, etc, but most people blame those things on the American Recession & Recovery of 2007-2010.

But both the Conservatives and NDP released relatively centrist electoral programs months before the vote that only promised to tinker with the HST and most other Liberal initiatives, in other words no daring changes just blue and orange versions of the Liberal platform.

The Conservatives did propose forcing prisoners to work on chain gangs and equip sex offenders with GPS bracelets so they could be tracked, but no other changes. (Chain gangs and GPS bracelets may be coming anyway due to Stephen Harper's federal government.) The Conservatives promised to keep running deficits until 2017.

Meanwhile McGuinty is now talking about creating 50,000 green energy jobs thanks to Ontario subsidies for wind and solar power, and plans to cut college and university tuition by 30% for low- and middle-income students.

October 17, 2011

Exercise Addiction and Other Things

HEALTH - There are many bad things one could be addicted to that are bad for your health. ie. Cocaine, crack, heroin, smoking cigarettes.

In contrast caffeine and chocolate are so comparatively minor that most people don't consider them addictions. A coke habit (Coca-Cola) certainly is better than a cocaine habit.

Anything in too much abundance to the point of addiction can be a cause for trouble, both physically and mentally.

Addictions come in many ways. A myriad different addictions for each of the Seven Deadly Sins.

1. Lust - sex addiction or fetishes.
2. Gluttony - food addiction.
3. Greed - gambling addiction. ie. internet gambling websites.
4. Sloth / Acedia - addiction to laziness or neglect. ie. procrastination.
5. Wrath - rageaholicism.
6. Envy - collection / hoarding in an attempt to outdo another.
7. Pride / Vanity - addiction to the attention of others.

But what about an addiction that is good for you? Such as an addiction to eating healthy foods?

Or how about exercising?

Truth be told even running can cause negative physical and psychological effects on a person. Runners are the most vulnerable to exercise addiction because it releases endorphins and beta-endorphins (a powerful painkiller), adrenaline and other hormones. This cocktail of chemicals ends up acting like heroin on the brain, creating a powerful addiction that many marathon runners are prone to.

Ironically there is plenty of heroin addiction treatment programs, but not many professional programs to treat exercise addiction. It can be rather difficult to determine when someone is an addict. The best route is to actually measure what they are doing and then compare to confirmed addicts.

ie. If you're running 100 km / week, you're an addict. Some exercise addicts are known to run 6 or 7 days a week, anywhere from 100 km to 150 km. They're so addicted they would rather run than spend time with friends or family. They even run when they go on vacation.

The Symptoms of Exercise Addiction

1. Insomnia and/or restlessness. All the extra chemicals being released is interfering with their ability to sleep or rest.

2. They exercise even when sick or injured.

3. They avoid family and / or friends to go exercising.

4. Anxiety, irritability, and depression.

5. Often the addict has some psychological problem from their youth that has scarred them mentally. A parent or relative who mocked their weight, being tormented by children at school, etc.

6. Denial. Exercise addicts will never admit what they are doing is "abnormal". Instead they pride themselves on being very athletic.

7. Low self esteem / an obsession with perfection.

How do you know if you are an Addict?

Have you missed important social obligations and family events?

Have you given up other interests, including time with friends?

Have you missed a workout and it makes you irritable and depressed?

Do you only feel content when exercising or after exercising?

Do you like exercise better than sex, good food or a movie?

Do you work out even when sick, injured, or exhausted?

Do you exercise more if you find extra time?

Has family or friends told you that you exercise too much?

Do you have a history of anxiety or depression?

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