Ottawa tells hundreds of applicants they’re not Black enough for money from the Black community initiative | The Star

Employment and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen calls rejections sent by his department “completely unacceptable.”
— Read on

Fire the guilty bureaucrats!

Breast Cancer and Bras: Recent Research Raises an Alarm Bell

Four years ago, one large study found a compelling connection. In an article entitled Wearing a Tight Bra for Many Hours a Day is Associated with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer [Journal of Oncology Research and Treatment, 2016. 1:1, Vol 1(1)], a group of six authors concluded that “This study demonstrated a correlation between wearing a tight bra for several hours a day and an increased risk of developing breast cancer” due in part to constriction on the lymph nodes. The authors also quoted another study (Hsieh et al, 1991) that “demonstrated that premenopausal women who did not wear a bra had half the risk of developing breast cancer compared with bra wearers.” Yet overall, studies of bra-wearing leading to cancer “have been inconclusive.”

This journal publication of 2016 is one of the more recent, compelling, and so far unchallenged, discoveries of a relationship. Mentioned were the more “well known” factors implicated in breast cancer: early menarche, late menopause, the use of hormone replacement therapy, alcoholism, obesity, smoking, and genetic mutations. The ‘bra and cancer relationship’ has thus returned from one of its original beginnings, the book Dressed to Kill , 1995, by S.R. Singer and S. Grismaijer (Avery Publishing, New York). These two particular authors had claimed:

“We have developed a new theory about breast cancer and have tested that theory by conducting original research on thousands of women (4,730 from San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas and New York) and we feel confident that we have discovered something tremendously important. We believe we have found a trigger for breast cancer. It is a trigger that is pulled by women themselves – but the gun is loaded by society.”

Of course, since then, bra manufacturers, fashion designers and some researchers have poo-pooed this idea, only to be facing now new evidence. In discussing primarily how bras block or retard the flow of the lymphatic system of the body, the authors also addressed the effects of culture in controlling what women wear and how they wear it. Their research led them to conclude that not only age, genetics, toxin intake, diet and hormone factors, but especially social factors, contribute to higher breast cancer rates. For example, in studying cultures in which bras are traditionally not worn (e.g., Asia, Mexico, Japan, South America, Egypt) breast cancer rates are four-fold lower than cultures in which bras are customarily worn, i.e., most Western or “Westernizing” cultures. Further, since public nudity is not permitted yet in most societies, pretend nudity is acceptable, namely that an ad seen on television or the internet today stresses that a bra makes a woman look ‘natural, not naked’. Yet the ‘braless look’ from the ’60s Flower Children, evoled to be included in the Women’s Movement, and “was put into high gear by movies and television.” So underwear manufacturers countered this movemnt with ads and propaganda attacking this freedom, and hitting hard with the claim that women ‘needed to support’ their breasts. When this didn’t work particularly well, the industry took another direction, making underwear that looked as though the wearer had nothing on at all” (pretend nudity). [See The Naked Child: Growing Up without Shame, by D.C. Smith and Dr. W. Sparks, 1986. Elysium Press].

As I had learned (and thereafter personally corrected) from a Mayo Clinic specialist in the ’70s, how prolonged wearing of tight underwear and bluejeans for men lowered sperm counts, and that prolonged tight clothing generally was not a good idea for anyone, I tend to lean towards these latest findings about women and bras. Many lessons can be learned also from the 35 million declared nudists/naturists around the world about why clothing shouldn’t be worn (weather permitting) at all. But that’s another, much larger, topic.

Terry L. Hill, PhD, Medical Sociologist

Living On the Psycho-social Edge: COVID-19 pandemic effects

Well, I don’t know about you, but I have daily flashes of “Hey, this is coming to an end so relax”, to, “Holy crap! Am I catching it? I’m feeling something…”

Each morning when I awake, for example, especially if I’ve had little sleep, I check myself for symptoms, sometimes without thinking about it. Such dedicated vigilance! Regardless, as now a knee-jerk reaction, due in part to daily exposure to thousands of media warnings and those of inquisitive but caring relatives, I have conceded to the messaging.

On the online CTV News site this morning, the statistics shown in The COVID-19 Brief, indicated that as of today:

  1. Globally, there were 2,990,559 cases worldwide, 875, 497 recovered, and 207,446 deceased;
  2. In Canada, there were 46,895 cases, 17,321 recovered, and 2,560 deceased;
  3. In Ontario, there were 14,432 cases, 8,000 recovered, and 835 deceased.

“Doctors worry of  potential backlog and further delays for patients once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Some doctors privately speculate wait times for procedures could run a year or longer.”

On CBC Radio this morning, there was more discussion from experts about the widening stress effects on people who are self-isolating or ‘social distancing’, and who also repeatedly see or hear the Covid message. Some of these effects included domestic violence, verbal abuse, and even suicides. Most however, reflected resulting feelings of constant apprehension, helplessness, and resigned fatalism. Where hope had been compromised, high anxiety ensued. It was seen as a slow ‘turning out of the lights’ coupled with the fear of what’s coming next, and what can be done about it, for myself or my family.

When a neighbourhood, extended family, town, city and country share these legitimate feelings, it can have more widespread net effects, to wit:

  • the temporary (or in some cases) permanent closing of “non-essential” businesses;
  • greatly reduced employment levels, including the numbers of full-time and part-time staff;
  • remedial and enforceable government policies around social distancing in public, loss/recuperation of wages, re-deployment of hospital staff, access to healthcare, and distribution of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment);
  • a redefining of Long Term Care guidelines;
  •  restrictions on the size of public gatherings (maximum of 5 in Ontario);
  • the closing of schools, colleges and universities, and other public institutions such as libraries and community centres

The human body as an organism is prepared to adapt to its environment in response to weather, microorganisms, chemical irritants and pollutants, and the psychological pressures of daily life. This constant condition of homeostasis becomes upset or out of balance when it is confronted especially with a new unidentifiable threat such as Covid-19. “Whether this [new] stressful situation actually induces physiological change depends upon an individual’s perception of the stress stimulus and the personal meaning that the stimulus holds. A person’s reaction, for instance, may not correspond to the actual dangers that the stimulus represents; that is, a person may overreact or underreact. Thus, there is considerable agreement that an individual’s subjective interpretation of a social situation is the trigger that produces physiological responses…A number of studies have shown that the human organism’s inability to manage the social, psychological, and emotional aspects of life – to respond suitably to a social situation – can lead to the development of cardiovascular complications and hypertension, peptic ulcers, muscular pain, compulsive vomiting, asthma, migraine headaches, and other health problems.” (pp. 75, 77, in MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY, 8th edn., by William C. Cockerham, 2001. Prentice Hall)

Covid-19 in other words, can make you sick over time, by just worrying about it. It is a crisis through time, and its magnitude is made clear by 1. “the intensity of the threat or actual loss; 2. its extent through important dimensions of the person’s or group’s life space; 3. the speed with which it occurs; 4. the degree to which the person is prepared to cope with the crisis or be overwhelmed by it; and 5. its duration or recurrent nature” (pp. 223-232, MEDICAL SOCIOLOGY, 2nd edn., David Mechanic, 1978. Free Press).

The psycho-social ‘edge’ of the pandemic affects everyone worldwide, as we are all living on the edge of an unfamiliar enemy for which there is no known cure – yet. As an optimist who has faith in science to get humans out of this mess one way or the other, I go to that hope AFTER I get up in the morning…if I had a restless night. Millions of us would not be here had it not been for relentless researchers discovering a vaccine for mumps and measles/rubella (MMR).

Clothes or No Clothes, and COVID-19

Research today shows a connection between the virus and how clothes can harbour it. One recommended protection move is to shed and wash your work clothes when you get home, and then not wear clothes until the next day. Silly?


Of course, apartment dwellers might have a more difficult time with this concept, and suburbanites too. Owners of acreage-size lots and farmers? Not so much. (trees and fences work great!)

But there are other possible roadblocks to this virus prevention idea. Some that come to mind are:

  1. religious values that associate nudity with shame, sex, sin
  2. traditional family values about the human body
  3. strangers and non-sypathetic relatives who might randomly come to your door, etc.
  4. how many and how large are your windows (in principle, windows are for looking out of, not for looking into).

Nonetheless, if you can get away with it, or you are already doing this, or are a bona fide nudist/naturist, then a no-clothes homelife might not be a bad idea…at least until the pandemic has reached the bottom side of the curve. We have enough trouble as it is accepting the human body as made, so this idea, if it catches on, might alleviate our body prejudices as well as help keep us healthy (and make the world a safer place in more ways than one; but that’s another blog).


Spaceship Earth: the Best Metaphor

When I came to this realization only a few years ago, that humanity is, in effect, inhabiting, changing, and steering this collective spaceship, I saw everything more soberly and clearly. We are, without a doubt, now totally connected to each other and dependent on each other to act favourably towards all species, the environment, and our physical and mental health.

Consider the starship Enterprise only multiply its size by 25 billion times. Add about 6 billion more crew members including 300 Captains with their own advisory bodies, and 900,000 nuclear weapons. Plus enough land, water and air to sustain the crew for an indefinite amount of time. There you have it. Spaceship Earth.

So far, our travel trajectory is fixed at circular, and leaving the ship is expensive, risky, and distance limited. Not all the crew get along with each other, with serious skirmishes breaking out occasionally, some lasting for years. And our average on-board birth rate is too high, too many of us have extensive illnesses and/or live in poverty, our biosphere is degenerating while heating up the ship, our sprinkler/cooler systems and our ambient air and thermostats are operating erratically. Plus our insect and animal friends have food and other survival issues.

Once a person adopts this perspective, his/her values and behaviour may change towards being more inclusive of the human condition and more engaged in propelling Spaceship Earth in the right direction. Time will tell.

How Republican Response to Robert Mueller Broke With History | Time

GOP lawmakers sought to defend Donald Trump in part by digging into the investigation itself, something historians say is unprecedented.
— Read on

When the guardians are investigated by the guardians who investigate the guardians: circular paranoia as an excuse to hide the truth from implicating the President and moving democracy forward.

No Christmas salary for Catholic priests |

The Catholic diocese of Waterford and Lismore have been using internal funds for priest’s salaries rather than money collected from Mass goers due to a major downturn in the amounts collected from parishioners. The collections refer to three envelopes distributed each year are supposed to fun priests’ salaries.
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Empty pews, empty pockets. The price paid for religious failures of morality, of all things.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Announces He’s Running For President in 2020 | Time

“Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump,” the democratic socialist said. “Our campaign is about transforming our country.”
— Read on

Hail to this vanguard of (leftist) democracy, and to the fact that age makes no difference to commitment and to following the moral high-ground.

At Munich, Russia and China Widen Rift Between US and Europe | Time

As the tension boiled over, America’s adversaries didn’t waste time gloating, but moved instead to pry the West even further apart
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Dividing and not (yet) conquering, inside a Trump fire-starting political quagmire.

How the New Attorney General Controls Who Will See the Mueller Report | Time

The new Attorney General is the most important person in America when it comes to access to the Mueller report.
— Read on

The dangers inherent to this partnership, if not held without POTUS interference , will eventually cause the greatest public revolt in America’s political history.

Jeff Sessions brands Irishmen “drunks but could be trusted” in FBI slam |

‘The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,’ a new tell-all book by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, will be released on Feb. 19.
— Read on

Coming out politically and going in socially: McCabe tells truth to the world.

I did it for my daughter, says woman arrested for headscarf protest in Iran | Article [AMP] | Reuters

I did it for my daughter, says woman arrested for headscarf protest in Iran | Article [AMP] | Reuters
— Read on

“…written by men….” (edit)

I did it for my daughter, says woman arrested for headscarf protest in Iran | Article [AMP] | Reuters

Azam Jangravi’s heart was pounding when she climbed atop an electricity transformer box on Tehran’s busy Revolution Street a year ago. She raised her headscarf in the air and waved it above her head.
— Read on

Patriarchy and religious misogyny in action. Women are still chattel, owned, governed, and punished by laws written by me. Disgusting. And it’s now 2019.

Maduro Has Nowhere to Go

Maduro Has Nowhere to Go

Maduro Has Nowhere to Go

— Read on

Dictators and ruthless reactionary movements like ISIS cannot survive in a world now in total communication within itself. Thus the internet has become a democratizing force, but also suffers from rogue-led scam abuse and insufficient regulation. Once the world’s technologies can be coordinated and steered by agreed-upon ethical imperatives, an international travel visa could be granted to everyone. Spaceship Earth may survive then, well into the 25th century.