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Friday Ramblings

School is out! Yesterday my son finished up his last day of grade one and my daughter had her last day of junior kindergarten on Wednesday, so today marks the official beginning of summer vacation. School ends about a month later in Canada than in the U.S. but also begins a month later (the Tuesday after Labour Day).

This is a long weekend in Canada as July 1 happens to be Canada Day. Since that day falls on a Sunday this year, Monday will serve as the day that all the businesses are closed. We don’t have any big plans this year, but will probably just spend the day as a family. And that sounds good to me.

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iPowerWebiPowerWeb, a hosting company I often recommend to my clients, is offering a special deal from now until July 4. A hosting plan that is usually $7.95/month is now discounted to $4.95, based on a 12 or 24-month plan. So if you are in the market for hosting, this is a good opportunity to get setup and to get setup at a very reasonable cost. Click the banner for more information.

Speaking of hosting, I’ve been noticing that things are beginning to slow down a little it around here. When you post a comment now it often takes 30 or 60 seconds for the page to rebuild. I expect this is an indication that I am stretching my server a little bit. Movabletype, the software I’m using, tends to be a little resource-intensive at times. So it may be that I’ll need to move to a new server (again) before long. The problem is that I’m kind of on the edge of the budget hosting and if I move I fear it’s going to dramatically increase hosting costs. But I’ll worry about that when it becomes absolutely necessary.

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Sorry to keep shilling Discerning Reader, but I recently added a preview of a feature that may be of interest to some people here: Mini-Reviews. These will be very short book reviews that will be suitable for including in church bulletins or for archiving in a church library. They will give an at-a-glance look at a particular book, giving people a very brief overview of the book’s content and an idea of what audience is most likely to enjoy it. We expect churches will want to use them either to showcase books that are currently available to borrow in the church library or to showcase books the members of the congregation may wish to purchase. If you make your way over, you can download some samples. Do let me know if you find them useful and if this is something you’d be willing to use in your church.

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Now that Sicko, Michael Moore’s latest film has been released, Americans are bound to hear a lot about the wonders of the Canadian health care system. As I understand it, Moore’s ultimate proposed solution to the American health care conundrum is to adopt a socialized system similar to what we enjoy in Canada. The truth is, though, that the Canadian system simply isn’t all that and a bag of chips. The system works, but it comes with a cost that most Americans would be unwilling to pay: a heavy tax burden.

This article, which a friend sent to me, does a good job of explaining a few of the system’s shortcomings. Despite what Moore says in his film, we do have long waits in the emergency rooms of our hospitals. It is not unusual to wait five or six hours (or more) for basic emergency care. Waiting times for some procedures such as MRIs or mammograms can be so long that people end up driving across the border into the U.S. where it can be done the same day and for a reasonable cost. Some American clinics even advertise to Canadians, letting them know about this alternative. Elderly people also find that they tend to be deprioritized in the system as there are more patients than doctors, more surgeries needed than slots to do them. Many of our best and brightest doctors head to the States where they can begin a private practice and make more money than they could dream of making here. While it is unconstitutional for the rich to receive better care than the poor, the rich can afford to go to the U.S. and have their needs met there. And this is exactly what they do.

I seem to recall Michael Moore visiting Canada during the filming of Bowling for Columbine and declaring that most Canadians don’t lock their doors. This is, of course, a preposterous lie. We lock our doors good and tight, just the same as our American neighbors. Moore is lying again in Sicko. Our health care system is good, but it has some serious problems. It is certainly not the ultimate solution, and especially so if you dislike 45% tax brackets. And I don’t know too many who do.