Jack Layton 1950-2011

Jack Layton passed away this morning and I feel that in his passing we need to remember all the good that he has done for Canada. Obviously, it is in no way a good thing that Canada has lost such a strong and inspiring leader, but it is up to Canadians now to keep his momentum of positive change moving forwards.

To me, Layton was a beacon of hope in a rough political sea that used dirty tactics and horrible policies to further confused political or ideological goals. Layton always relied on honesty, facts, and a commitment to the betterment of all of Canada to get his political goals met.

Under his leadership the NDP gained historic victories against a rising tied of overtly hostile Conservative recklessness and a growing apathy about Canada and Canadianism amongst the people of Canada. Throughout his political career from city councillor to federal opposition leader he spoke passionately about his beliefs and lived up to them. He inspired many young Canadians to get into politics and to be passionate about their beliefs. He encouraged people to stand up for what’s right; to champion the causes of the downtrodden, the oppressed, working families, the environment, the right to a good education, and all other causes of social justice.

Indeed, if Layton wasn’t around to lead the NDP when he did I fear what Canada could have become. It is now up to all Canadians to carry forward the torch of positive change and to champion social justice. As Canadians we need to live up to what Jack Layton wanted Canada to be: a caring country that espoused respect and honesty within and outside our borders.

We have lost one leader in Canada, but we must not forget all the good that Layton has done. We need to remember, we need to keep makings all things good.

The CBC has a good obituary on his political career.

Edit: Layton’s final letter to Canadians can be read after the break:
Read more

The Dark Side of Hope

You’ve probably heard people say that we should have reasonable goals and, you know what, they’re right. If you have reasonable expectations about the world around you, you can have a happier life – some new research backs this idea up by studying happiness in people after a major surgery.

GIVING up hope can actually make some people living with a serious illness happier, according to US researchers who have found a “dark side of hope”.

A study by the University of Michigan Health Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine involved a group of adults who had their colons removed.

In total 41 people were told their colostomy was reversible and they could undergo a second operation to reconnect their bowels after several months and get rid of their colostomy bag.

Another 30 individuals were told that the colostomy was permanent.

The study, published in the latest issue of Health Psychology, found the second group, the one without hope, reported being happier over the next six months than those with reversible colostomies.

“We think they were happier because they got on with their lives,” researcher Peter Ubel said.

Read the rest of the article.

Hope in America

There’s a renewed hope in the USA thanks to Obama’s win. The symbolism of his victory is huge for America and for the world as it marks a shift in how that country will run.

Across Europe, Asia and the Americas millions spent all night celebrating the Obama win, and even in much of the Islamic world Muslims celebrated a new start for relations with the U.S.

“What an inspiration. He is the first truly global U.S. president the world has ever had,” Pracha Kanjananont, a 29-year-old Thai in Bangkok told The Associated Press. “He had an Asian childhood, African parentage and has a Middle Eastern name. He is a truly global president.”

Nizar al-Kortas, a columnist for Kuwait’s Al-Anbaa newspaper, wrote that an Obama victory was “a historic step to change the image of the arrogant American administration to one that is more acceptable in the world.”

America: Your Turn to Make Good News

To American Things Are Good readers, today YOU can make good news for the rest of the world by going out and voting for Obama.

Here’s ten reasons to vote for Obama:

Look to the future
Senator Obama offers the most comprehensive energy plan of any Presidential nominee in history, it will end our dependence on foreign oil and create as many as 5,000,000 jobs. Senator McCain’s plan continues the Bush Administration’s policy of appeasement to Big Oil, does nothing to reduce our dependence on oil, and isn’t as good as Paris Hilton’s.

You pollute, you pay
Obama and Biden support plan to make polluters pay for pollution credits and to clean up toxic waste. McCain wants us to foot the bill for clean-up and to give polluters billions in tax breaks and subsidies.

Keeping us healthy
Obama and Biden have fought to keep our air and water clean. McCain has voted against clean water ten times and voted six times to make it harder for states and the EPA to keep our air clean.

Listening to the scientists
The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that America must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Obama’s plan will reach that goal. McCain’s plan falls far short.

The record speaks for itself
Senator Barack Obama earned a lifetime environmental voting score of 86%. Senator Biden earned an 83%. Senator John McCain earned a 24% score.

Decisions are made by those who show up
In the last two years, John McCain missed EVERY SINGLE major vote on energy. One vital 2007 bill, to move billions of dollars in tax credits from the oil industry to wind, solar and other clean energy sources, failed by one vote: John McCain’s. Obama and Biden, also running for President, voted for it.

Saving money at the pump
Obama proposes to double the fuel efficiency of our cars in 18 years, reducing our oil consumption by at least 35% or 10 millions barrels per day. McCain voted against increasing fuel efficiency in 2003 and 2005. He missed the 2007 vote. Presumably, he ran out of gas.

We’re not alone
For more than 20 years, Joe Biden has been at the forefront of the fight against global warming. In 1986, he offered the first Senate bill to fight global warming pollution. Since then, he has been the Senate’s strongest voice for making America the international leader in reducing global warming pollution and exporting clean technology.

Higher standards
To create millions of new jobs, we must boost production of renewable electricity. Obama plans create 25% of our electricity from clean energy by 2025. McCain opposes any national renewable energy standard.

Judge him by his friends
Senator McCain accepted more than $2 million from the oil and gas industry, more than half of that since he changed his position on offshore drilling last month. His forthcoming plan to open America’s playgrounds and sandboxes to drilling is expected to net another $1.2 million.

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