Monday, February 26, 2007

Poverty under George W. Bush

Poverty in the United States of America: It rose drammatically under George W(ar) Bush.

The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data.

Whole Story: Independent

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Europe: Fake bloggers soon to be 'named and shamed'

In Europe consumer protection is still king:

Hotels, restaurants and online shops that post glowing reviews about themselves under false identities could face criminal prosecution under new rules that come into force next year.

Businesses which write fake blog entries or create whole wesbites purporting to be from customers will fall foul of a European directive banning them from “falsely representing oneself as a consumer”.

From December 31, when the change becomes law in the UK, they can be named and shamed by trading standards or taken to court.

Source: Times Online

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Conservatives and Big Oil - dealings behind closed doors

Do you want to know the connections between the Conservatives and Big Oil? Too bad; meetings are behind closed doors.

A handful of industry chief executives met behind closed doors with Environment Minister John Baird, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice and Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn to discuss the Conservative government’s new green agenda.

As [Mr. Baird] reiterated, the Prime Minister wants to do this in a way that doesn’t harm the economy, and that recognizes that capital stock and technology take some time to bring into place,” said Pierre Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The two-hour meeting was part of the government’s consultations ahead of firming up policy to deal with Canada’s growing greenhouse gas emissions. The three ministers held a series of private meetings in Calgary, where there’s rising anxiety about how aggressive the government will get to boost its environmental credentials at the expense of oilpatch growth plans, particularly in the oilsands.

But why behind closed doors? What's there to hide?
Mr. Baird described the meeting as “a good exchange of ideas. We learned more about some of the challenges, some of the opportunities.”
Yeah, it's better not to confuse the people with "exchanges of good ideas". Transparency, Conservative style.

Read the full article: Royal Dutch Shell PLC

Also at the meeting: Tim Hearn, CEO of Imperial Oil Ltd.; Clive Mather, CEO of Shell Canada Ltd.; Randy Eresman, CEO of En Cana Corp.; Hal Kvisley, CEO of Trans Canada Corp.; Steve Snyder, CEO of Trans Alta Corp.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Minister John Baird on YouTube: he doesn't seem to know the essential basics about the environment portfolio

Ask people on the street who John Baird is, and probably, many still won't know. But things could be worse, and when it comes to the current Conservatives, they almost always are.

Ask John Baird what the difference is between carbon tax and carbon trading, and he won't have the answer.
(he could just look here and here)

Ask John Baird which countries have a carbon tax today, and he won't have the answer.
(he could just look here)

Ask John Baird how much his department has spend the past year, and he won't know.

Meet John Baird, the "all new" Conservative Minister of Environment for the New (so-called) Government. And be amazed:

John Baird on YouTube

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Iraq slaughter takes more than 132 lives

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A suicide bomber driving a truck loaded with a ton of explosives hidden beneath cooking oil, canned food and bags of flour obliterated a Baghdad food market on Saturday, killing at least 132 people in one of the most fearsome attacks in the capital since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Guardian : Scores Killed in Baghdad Market Blast

Exxon's "hidden" product placement; in PM Harper's speech.

Wondering where it was "hidden" yesterday? Well, when Harper was talking about how to curb greenhouse gas emissions, this is what he had to say:

"I don't think realistically we can tell Canadians stop driving your car, stop going to work, turn the heat off in the winter; these are not realistic solutions."
Yes, less driving is, according to our prime minister Stephen Harper, not realistic. Given the booming economy, Canadians should probably be driving more, realistically speaking of course.

Wonder why PM Stephen Harper supports driving more?

Exxon Mobile supports Conservatives, so Conservatives support Exxon; it's THAT simple. So where does the environment fit in? Well, it doesn't. Don't expect the Conservatives to move on the environment any faster. After almost a year of so-called "governing", the first environmentally friendly move from the CPOC still has to be made; let's call it "getting things done" liberal style.

So is PM Harper corrupt? Legally maybe hard to prove - but morally? Without a doubt.

- Toronto Star