Sunday, April 30, 2006

Why Income Trusts Fail

Sure they make huge payouts to their investors and managers but because of this they are suseptible to becoming a ponzi scheme, whereby their payouts are more than their earnings as we find with the recent collapse of one of the oldest Income Trusts in Canada; Superior Propane. As the old saying goes it its too good to be is.

Superior is one of the earliest business trusts, having traded publicly since 1996. It became one of the blue-chip names in a hot investment sector that since 1999 has seen 31 business trusts, or 22% of the sector, cut or suspended distributions. DISTRIBUTIONS: Have exceeded more than 90% of available cash in each of past five years. Superior units drop 25%
And this is why Income Trusts ran into trouble in the last two years, not because of the Federal government but the 'gold-rush' mentality to invest and get quick payouts encouraged by managers who were dipping into the till in these Trusts.

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Headlines from the Progressive Blogosphere

I am running two news aggregators in my sidebar, that ugly thing to the left everyone seems to hate. They are both from Sustainable blog. Introducing the "Headlines from the Progressive Blogosphere" Tool I reccomend those folks in the Canadian Progressive Blogger community consider joining to make this a more continental aggregator.

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Cut Income Taxes Now

Even at the highest wages the average worker in Canada is still not making what our Politicians and Corporate CEOs or heck even an NHL player makes.

Albertans continue to make more than residents in any other province, according to Statistics Canada.

StatsCan's monthly report on payroll employment, released yesterday, showed people in this province had average weekly earnings of $794.72 in February.

That's up 0.5% from January and 5.1% from February 2005.

Ontario was second, at $786.75, followed by B.C., where the average weekly earnings came in at $742.82.

Only residents in Canada's north made more than workers in Alberta.

Employees pulling in the highest salaries in the country work in the mining and oil and gas sectors, where the average weekly earnings in February were $1,330.35, up 2.8% from a year ago.

That makes the annual salary for these mining, oil and gas workers $63,856.80

For the average Albertan,earning just under $800 weekly,makes $ 38146.56 annually. That works out to be $19.86 per hour. These are in unionised trades.

The average Albertan working currently in our hot market is making $10 hour. Which works out to still be below the povery level at $19,200 annually.

And that does not include the many working at minimum wages still, which is means they are earning far below the poverty level, but are still not able to benefit from tax credits.End Welfare Create A Living Wage

For a real break for working class families in Canada no one should have to pay income tax until they earn OVER $100,000 annually. Because for example those highly paid workers listed above, will earn that much annually in overtime wages on top of their annual salaries.

Salaries between $30,000 and $100,000 pay the MOST income taxes in Canada.

Those earning $200,000 or more pay less.
Quick Tax Facts 2005

And you have till midnight May 1st to file your annual tax return.

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I Don't Do Mornings

Do not disturb takes on new meaning in a billybog in Australia.

Best to leave sleeping crocs lie, even Captain Hook knew that.

A crocodile in northern Australia has chased a storm-clearance worker up a tree and made off with his chainsaw.

The 4.4m (14.5ft) saltwater crocodile called Brutus apparently took exception to the noise of the saw.

The worker was clearing a tree that fell on the crocodile enclosure at the Corroboree Park Tavern, 80km (50 miles) east of the northern city of Darwin.

Tavern co-owner Linda Francis said: "Fred virtually gave him the chainsaw, shoved it at him.

"It was still going and he took the chainsaw onto the ground and proceeded to smash it and it stalled. The crocodile didn't cut himself, just broke a few teeth."

Mr Shappert said the saw was destroyed.

"He chewed on the chainsaw for about an hour-and-a-half, then we finally got it out."

Saltwater crocodiles are known to attack small boats, apparently disturbed by the sound of outboard motors.

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End Welfare Create A Living Wage

It was a policy of the NDP and Red Liberals in the 1960's to call for a Guaranteed Annual Income, a social wage. Today we call it a Living Wage.

Quick. What radical social policy has had the support of the Liberal Party, the former Reform Party, the NDP, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, free-market economist Milton Friedman, the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Canadian Manufacturers Association, certain taxpayers and poverty groups, and even Richard Nixon when he was president? The guaranteed annual income. No, I would not have guessed it either. If such a radical idea attracts such a motley crew, two thoughts come to the cynical mind: they can't all be talking about the same thing; and, why don't we have it yet?Guaranteed annual income

Whether you call it a GAI or LW it is the same, a social wage based on the value of each person in Canada. Real welfare reform can only be made through a policy of GAI/LW.

As a recent CCPA study of Welfare Rates in B.C. shows;
There is currently no rhyme or reason to how welfare rates are set,” says Steve Kerstetter, author of A Better Way to Set Welfare Rates, also released today by the CCPA, “In theory, welfare incomes are supposed to cover the basic necessities of life. In practice, they are set arbitrarily by the provincial cabinet with no regard for the actual cost of living.”

Whether it is provinical minimum wages or AISH or welfare, the fact remains that these social wage programs do not meet the needs or real social value/social captial of Canadians.

That can only be met with a social wage, as studies done by the Federal Government have shown. HRDC/SRC studies found that single mothers on welfare got jobs and stayed in those jobs if their welfare benefits WERE NOT CUT OFF. That allowed them both cash and benefits supplements to their minimum wage. In other words it created a social wage, a GAI or living wage.

That this study has been ignored is an understatement. As all such studies have shown, the working poor, who pay taxes, are hurt most by government tax credit programs, becuase the benefits are aimed at those who earn less than poverty levels, while those who work for minimum wages earn just above the poverty level.
Income Poverty in Canada: Recent Trends among Canadian Families 1981-2002

In earning this amount, their benefits and tax credits get clawed back. Such will be the case when the Harpocrites issue their baby bonus, child credit. The working poor who need all the money they can get will face a double burdern, they will lose their existing tax credit for children, because the Harpocrite baby bonus is taxable income, and will boost their earnings above the current Liberal child tax credit means. Secondly they will then be ripped off because the $1200 will be taxed income.

In order to have genuine social reform of welfare and all income assistance programs, which affect women in particular whether as single mothers or seniors surviving their spoouses, we need to have a GAI.
Why Women Would Gain from a Guaranteed Livable Income

This is something that was supposed to have happened by now, but continually is placed on the back burner because it affects women as social wage earners who do not get paid for their social labour.
Whose Family Values? Women and the Social Reproduction of Capitalism


GAI-Forum Info Page

Rise of Capitalism and Social Welfare

Welfare Reforms in Canada

Also see:

Living Wage articles

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Harpers Secret Deals wth the US

We learned about the softwood lumber deal because the Americans announced it first, now we learn a secret deal over NORAD has been signed by the Harpocrite, again from the Americans. This is the real meaning of his statement that Canada will have a new relationship with the United States. More arbitrary autarchic decisions by the Harpocrite, with no consultation with Parliament. Reminds me of Oliver Cromwell.

"I was astounded, absolutely astounded ... There's been no consultation with opposition parties ... no consultation with Canadians whether these are steps they want to take," said New Democrat MP Dawn Black, the party's defence critic.She wondered why Canadians had to learn from American officials on Friday — rather than the federal government — that the two nations had renewed their long-standing defence partnership. Opposition slams `secret' NORAD deal signing

As for NORAD well it wasn't very effective in halting the attacks of 9/11 now was it. - Panel: US unprepared 'in every respect' on 9/11

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Federal Aviation
Administration "struggled, under difficult circumstances, to improvise a homeland defense against an unprecedented challenge they had never encountered and had never trained to meet," the commission's staff concluded in a report read at the hearing's opening.

Oh yeah that's because VP Dick Cheney who was hiding out in the Presidential bunker, was in charge, while el presidente Georgie Porgie was flying around unavailable for two days. - Exposing NORAD's Wag The 911 Window Dressing Tale ...

So what was the use of NORAD? Besides tracking Santa Clause.

And if it is a joint command, between the Canadian Forces and the US Armed Forces, then why can it be overruled by the executive branch of the US government?

Oh right NORAD will be the command centre for Ballistic Missle Defense, the new Star Wars program that Derek Burney has been promoting since he entered the Harpocrites PMO.

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Jane Jacobs RIP

Jane Jacobs was one of Canada's most influential public intellectuals, along with Marshall Mcluhan .

While an American by birth she was Canadian by choice. Her work on cities and urban culture changed the view of the metropol for many an urban planner, architect, and municipal libertarian/socialists.

The life and death of Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs, one of the greatest legends of Greenwich Village, died on Tuesday. Though she had moved to Toronto some years ago, Jacobs — who was 89 — will never be forgotten here.

Greenwich Village, Soho, Little Italy and the Lower East Side would not be the same today without Jacobs’s pivotal efforts to save large parts of them from misguided planning and transportation schemes.
In 1969 Jacobs moved to Toronto, and was involved in stopping the Spadina Expressway, arguing that cities are for people not cars. Although cited as the originator of the term “social capital,” Jacobs’ concept of urban development is the struggle by neighbourhoods for “self-government,” and her ideas are far removed from advocating accumulation of any kind of capital.

She was an original thinker and activist intellectual like Saul Alinsky and Noam Chomsky.

Her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, became a bible for neighbourhood organizers and what she termed the “foot people”. Her views embraced the marketplace, supported privatization of utilities, frowned on subsidies, and detested the intrusions of government, big or small. “I’m kind of an atheist,” she said. “As for being a rightist or a leftist, it doesn’t make any sense to me. I think ideologies are blinders.”

Her work influenced the Montreal Citizens Movement and folks around Black Rose Books, as well as hearlding a libertarian municipalism that Murray Bookchin would later promote.

Mrs. Jacobs scorned nationalism and argued in her 1980 book, The Question of Separatism, that Quebec would be better off leaving Canada. Moreover, she argued that some cities would be better off as independent economic and political units.

She published her last book in 2000 at the age of 83. She passed away this week in Toronto at the age of 89.

The central premise of her book, The Nature of Economies, is that economics is a web of connected forces subject to the same laws as all other living things in nature. At the time in March, 2000, she told The Star’s Judy Stoffman: “This will be a radical idea to those who think of human beings as being outside nature. Human beings are neither adversaries of or the inevitable masters of nature. They live by the same processes as all nature.”

Outgrowing Jane Jacobs and Her New York New York Times

Jane Jacobs, mischief-maker and contrarian

Jane Jacobs, 1916–2006 In a way, Jane Jacobs, who died this week, did to urban renewal what Rachel Carson did to DDT and Ralph Nader did to the Corvair.

The Rich Life of Jane Jacobs CounterPunch,

What Jane Jacobs did for Ottawa

My friend Jane Jacobs

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

PC Non Smoking

The Calgary Conservative MLA who oversees the provincial agency on the attack against addictions, figures a new-look Alberta Tory government, complete with a fresh-out-of-the-box frontman, could nix nicotine in public places as early as spring next year. So the politicians ready for battle, once the Conservatives pick their general. As for the smokers who feel their rights are being denied, Dave doesn't blink. "They still have the right to smoke. They just can't smoke everywhere." Smoke ban battle heats up

We don't smoke everywhere, we can hardly smoke anywhere anymore, in fact we can't smoke in public period. And the draconian attacks on smokers go unabated, we are such whimps when it comes to standing up for our rights.

One of them is the right to smoke in a well ventilated, smoke free environment. But such an alternative is not enshrined in any of the anti-smoking laws in the province. A combination of electorstatic dispersion systems and effective air exhaust would be required, but such systems have not been an option in bylaws passed in Alberta.

Because the taxpayer funded lobby groups like ASH claim that even that is too much for them. They, like the vegan anti-hunting types who are opposed to all hunting period, want NO SMOKING period.

Oh did I mention they are taxpayer funded, with taxes made off cigarettes. We actually pay for these loon's to ban us from public. Did I mention smokers are whimps, we are so guilt ridden that we can barely put up a fight against these extremist laws. And they have only 300 members. 300!!! But they have the doctors monopoly on their side. And whimpy politicians, who have a moral agenda because they are opposed to smoking due to their belonging to a religious cult.

Yep the Alberta PC party is living up to its initials by being Politically Correct. Typical they continue beat up on the poor, the disabled and addicts.

Environmental Tobacco Smoke
in the Nonsmoking Section of a Restaurant:
A Case Study
This study tested the concentrations of environmental
tobacco smoke (ETS) components in a small
restaurant/pub with smoking and nonsmoking areas—
a facility outfitted with a heat-recovery ventilation
system and directional airflow. The ETS levels in the
nonsmoking area were compared with those in other
similar restaurants/pubs where indoor smoking is altogether
prohibited. The results indicate that ETS
component concentrations in the nonsmoking section
of the facility in question were not statistically different

See Smokers Rights

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Whyte Trash Avenue

Ah spring has sprung in Edmonton, how do I know, let me count the ways....broken windows up and down Whyte Avenue. The usual trash blowing down the street, and heck that was before the Oilers were in the playoffs. Now with the playoffs there are more cops on Whyte and we should see a reduction in trashing. Cops on Whyte

After the playoffs the trashing of Whyte will continue because the city still has not restricted the amount of bars opening, nor have they effectively developed a community based policing policy for Whtye.

One of those policies would be that bar, lounge, alcohol serving establishments would pay a head tax to the Old Scona Business Association, and the Strathcona Community league, a per person capacity charge. This tax would then pay for damages to stores along Whyte. Cause that damage is going to occur, Oilers or no.

The street from Mill Creek to 109th cannot handle the thousands of drunks and partiers that it attracts on weekends as soon as the weather warms up. And this year the warm weather means we had trashing all the way up and down Whyte between 99 St. and 109St. already even before the playoffs. And before the dreaded July 1 Canada party, which in 2001 resulted in a drunken riot.

And for those folks who live off Whyte, the funds could be used for community clean up of the broken bottles and trash that gets left around, and for propety damage.

Yep tax the bars who serve the booze that causes the probelms, oh and while we are at it, a bit of capacity enforcement by the beat cops would put the owners in line as well. Shut a few bars and lounges down and folks will enforce the laws on their own.

Unfortunate but true. Taxes and regulations work in making capitalists do 'the right thing'.

Old Strathcona: building character and commerce in a preservation district
Journal article by Karen L. Wall; Urban History Review, Vol. 30, 2002

Following civic celebrations for Canada Day 2001, Edmonton's Whyte Avenue in the Old Strathcona Historical Preservation District was the scene of the worst riot in the city's history. Hundreds of people headed to the area and more emerged from the bars as they closed. Violence was directed mainly toward property destruction, vandalism, and looting--and toward the police riot squad that responded to reports of disturbances. Analysis of the event attributed blame to several influences, including actions of the media in associating Canadian patriotism with beer and partying (hockey sticks were a favoured weapon), and the reportedly aggressive and confrontational attitude of the police. Most common contributing factor, though, was previous calls to City Council to finally act on the long-standing problems related to the fact that activity in the Old Strathcona area was not regulated. It's Edmonton's party street, a dense concentration of bars and dance clubs and coffee houses and restaurants, where people come to play ... the street is also packed with young people cruising in their cars. They head there, almost out of herd instinct, because Whyte Ave is 'the' place to go. (1) In thirty years, a community-driven heritage conservation program had evolved into a commercial leisure magnet for the entire city, raising questions about the definition of "successful development."
Old Strathcona's Challenge

Old Strathcona - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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There's one born every minute

So I read the headline and thought uh oh this is serious, we could be in for trouble.

Beware the sophisticated style of spam to come
Unless new weapons are designed to keep junk mail at bay, spammers are about to get the upper hand in the war in cyberspace.

Then I read the article and realised, nope not me. I am not stupid.

"If you get a piece of email from someone you know, it's written the way they normally write their email and signed the way they sign their email [and] it says, 'Hey, click on this link,' what are you going to do? Well, you're probably going to click on the link," Aycock told CBC News. Spammers get increasingly sophisticated: Calgary study

That's why I use mail washer, to prescreen my email, and you should too, after all it's free.

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Softwood Baseball Bat

Well the Harpocrites have given the American protectionists a big stick with which to beat us with.

US lumber producers may use softwood deal money to sue Canada

A stick bought and paid for by us with illegal tarrifs,ouch.

But the pain doesn't stop there.....

The agreement includes a cap on Canada's share of the U.S. lumber market and a sliding tax triggered when the North American price falls below $355 US for a thousand board feet. UBS Investment Research analyst Jaret Anderson said "the fact Canadian producers will pay a larger export tax in a weak lumber market may be problematic for Canadian producers."Good in good times, but . . .

ouch, ouch, ohh stop the pain.

But at least the Harpocrites made this guy happy.....which was all that mattered to them......U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins yesterday called the softwood lumber deal the proof that Canada matters in Washington, and the precursor of a new era of co-operation between the two countries.US hails new era after deal

That's just adding insult to injury. Stop already. Oh the pain, the pain.

More criticism of the Softwood Sellout

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Friday, April 28, 2006

The Green Goddess

Absinthe, the word conjours up artistic dwarves, Can-Can, Degas, Ravachol, the tinny piano stylings of Erik Satie.

And now the Green Goddess ,or Green Fairy, as the drink was known has returned.

Over the past couple of years it has reappeared at clubs and amongst the student crowd. It has been mostly the name combined with overproof alcohol.

The only real Absinthe available for some time in Europe that actually contained wormwood, the active ingrident, came from the
Czech Republic

Banned as a psuedo-narcotic, it is actually a sporific against narcotics and an antidote to the poision of the blowfish (used to create le Zombie). The hysteria around Absinthe causing madness and addiction is not unlike the establishments hysteria around drungs period.

Just Say No to Drugs hysteria didn't begin with the Reagan Era but earlier at the turn of last century around Absinthe, and of course then spread to Marijuana, morphine and opiates and cocaine. All mythologised as leading to either madness, or social debauchery, or gasp, the white slave trade, or all of the above. It was a moral crusade, the politics of social control, and had nothing to do with whether any of these drugs actually did the damage the anti-drug propagandists used as their excuse to ban them. Such was also the case with LSD.

Return of the Green Fairy: absinthe is back after chemist clones drink banned in 1915

By the turn of the century - the "Belle Epoque", when Paris was the artistic and literary centre of the world - the smell and taste of absinthe pervaded France but especially the bohemian world of artists and writers in Parisian cafés and dance halls such as Le Rat Mort and Le Chat Noir.

David Nathan-Maister is a British-based trader in antique and new absinthes and absinthe memorabilia, who runs the best absinthe site on the internet - the Virtual Absinthe Museum ( He says that absinthe was the victim of a manipulation. "There never was anything dangerous about absinthe, so long as it was made properly and drunk sensibly," he said.

By the end of the 19th century, the French wine industry had recovered from the phylloxera infestation and wanted its market back.

An unholy alliance formed between the wine lobby, the temperance lobby and conservative politicians who associated absinthe with avant-garde bohemianism. There are now several makers of reasonably authentic absinthe, in France, Spain and Switzerland. However, David Nathan-Maister believes that Ted Breaux's "Jade" absinthes are the only ones to get close to the taste of the pre-1915 original.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

To make absinthe, take an ounce of Wormwood, specifically Artemsia Absinthium (there are many forms of Wormwood so you need to use the Absinithium specifically) herb add it too two bottles of Pernod, soak for a week to ten days, strain, take the herbal residue and cook up as a tea, let tea sit for five days, mix the two extracts together, and let sit for a week to ten days. The longer it cures the stronger it gets. This is my personal recipe (c) Here are some others.

Most use sugar and vodka, or a combination of macicated herbs, using Pernod avoids the complication of using other herbs, as the wormwood is actually the missing ingrident from Pernod.

Absinthe is still illegal in the United States, so again most so called absinthe drinks are not, they are falvoured overproof alcohol.

Noxious Weed Information:
Artemisia absinthium L.

This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete noxious weed list for that location.

absinth wormwood
B list (noxious weeds)
North Dakota:
absinth wormwood
Noxious weed
absinth wormwood
Class C noxious weed

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Battle of Alberta

Will there be a battle of Alberta?

With both the Flames and Oilers tied with their respective opponents, after last nights games, who knows?

It's edge of your seat NHL hockey.

Yikes this actually makes the playoffs exciting.

For Albertans.
Klein slip shows split allegiance: Oilers vs Flames

Rock-solid Roloson gives Oilers confidence

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Told Ya

Nice to be right about the Harprocrite.... Harper's staff behind media ban, sources say

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Boom Boom

It looks like David Dodge head of the Bank of Canada is stuck back in the eighties when thanks to constant high interest rates the Canadian economy flatened out. Now with the Loonie replacing the pound as the Petro Dollar our economy is booming, and once again Dodge is planning to raise interests rates. Which would be counter-productive.

David Dodge sounds alarm about inflation

The Bank of Canada issued its semi-annual report and solidified expectations another rate hike is pending, despite having raised rates six times since September.

The Canadian dollar closed at 89.04 cents, up from Wednesday's close of 88.61 cents -- the highest since November, 1991, and continuing a surge that started earlier in the week. Mr. Dodge's comments yesterday clearly exposed his fear that inflationary pressure, which has been negligible for more than two years, is no longer as benign as once thought.

"Given these divergent signals from the Bank of Canada and the Fed, look for the Canadian dollar to strengthen in the near term, trading decisively through 90 U.S. cents," said Craig Alexander, deputy chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Indeed, Peter Frank, a Chicago-based currency strategist for ABN Amro, wrote yesterday that the loonie would break through 95 cents by the end of this year, the strongest since May, 1977.

And Bank of Montreal economist Sal Guatieri sees the loonie at 92 cents by next year, assuming that commodities prices soften somewhat. If they strengthen, he sees the Canadian dollar moving up to 95 or even 96 cents -- a level not seen for nearly 30 years.

But a growing number of economists say the Bank of Canada should stop raising rates before that happens. Earlier this week, CIBC World Markets warned that the central bank risks overshooting by raising rates when there are few signs of inflationary pressure.

Yesterday, TD Bank added its voice, saying the central bank should hold off on further increases because there is no evidence higher energy prices are causing other prices to rise significantly.

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Blogging Iraq

A great news aggregator blog on Iraq is Today in Iraq. And no there are no planted Pentagon stories.

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In Defense of Migration

Two thoughtful articles on migration and the current white whing wascist hysteria in the U.S. about 'illegal aliens' appear on the Thomas Paine's Corner blog. Well worth the read.

Your Huddled Masses are my Wretched Refuse:

African-Americans, Economic Well-Being, and Immigration

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Bank Charges

Here is a good news story for banking customers for once; CIBC to refund $27M to clients who were overcharged

However one has to ask why we pay service charges period.

Especially when this happens;
Citing more than 1,000 mistakes a day in preauthorized bank debits across Canada, a coalition of consumers' groups is calling on Ottawa for consumer protection legislation on electronic payments.

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Ashamed of Being A Tory

This nutbar is ashamed of being a blogging Tory....except he has also been a Liberal and a Green blogger.

Of course the Blogging Tories have never heard of him as he is not on their roll.Which is a shame since he tries so hard to be one of them.

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No Rae Days For Liberals

This is why Bob Rae will not be elected Leader of the Federal Liberals; "Former Ontario NDP premier".

This appelation will follow him where ever he goes, and in any stories about him.

Despite being the Chretienite/Demarais/Power Corporation candidate . Barely out of the gate and he got La Presse's editorial endorsement, the voice of the Power Corp and his inlaws.

But not all the criticism will be from the right, nope there is a good left hook out there with elder NDP statesman Ed Broadbent's latest column in the Globe and Mail.
Mr. Rae and the Grits deserve each other

And not to be outdone Ontario MPP Peter Kormos gets in a couple of shots;
"He began his political career as a Liberal and Bob Rae is going to finish it as a Liberal. And, as far as I'm concerned, there was no hiatus in the interim. He was the best Liberal premier this province ever had."

Bob has baggage alright but not just his past as Premier of Ontario. He has more recent baggage, that of screwing post secondary students.

Student-loans Catch-22 lurks

In 1994, Manning introduced a motion in Parliament calling for the creation of an “income contingent loan repayment system”. Manning claimed that this would reduce costs for taxpayers and ensure postsecondary institutions generated enough funding to maintain quality. He made no mention of the potential impact on tuition.

Just over 10 years later, Rae submitted a report to the Ontario government on postsecondary education that also called for an income-contingent student-loan-repayment plan. He suggested that this could come in the form of payroll deductions.

“In the Canadian context, such a system will take time to establish because of the need for federal- provincial consensus,” Rae wrote in his report. He added that governments would also “necessarily involve the future of tuition tax credits, and other tax expenditures”.

Payne said that Ontario students have opposed Rae’s proposal for that province. “I think that myself and students across the country are concerned about Bob Rae potentially becoming the leader of the Liberal party,” Payne said.

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Atlantis Discovered

Is this the discovery of Plato's Atlantis?

Volcanologist says past blast wiped out Plato's Atlantis

Olive tree rewrites classical history

Scientists have detected ash from the explosion as far away as Greenland, the Black Sea and Egypt. They have also discovered signs of frost damage caused by the volcano on preserved plant material excavated in Ireland and California.

That means that many of the cultures that researchers once assumed were trading with each other, may have existed at completely different times. In particular, researchers have generally thought that the civilisations on the islands of Crete, Cyprus and in Greece had many ties to Egypt.

But, the new timeline indicates that these civilisations may have been more tightly linked with cultures of the Levant, which today includes Israel, Lebanon and Syria. The cultures were contemporaneous with Egypt's Second Intermediate Period - when northern Egypt was controlled by a Canaanite dynasty with links to the Levant - instead of the subsequent New Kingdom.

It could also explain some anomalies that have long puzzled historians. For example, it's been speculated that there is a connection between Anat, a virgin goddess of war worshipped in the Levant, and Athena, one of the most important goddesses in Greek culture. Olive Branch Buried by Volcano Revises History

Of course there are other contenders as well, Cyprus and Ireland.

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Telcos Limit Internet Freedom

This is a damn good reason why the United States should not have proprietary control over the Internet.Faced with the challenge by the big Telcos, AT&T has returned like the ghost of Trusts past, net neutrality has been shot down in favour of the corporate Telco oligopolies. Suddenly the concerns raised by the EU and others about the US control over the Internet seem less chicken little than prescient.

A host of tech outfits, from Google to Intel, suffered a setback in a battle over access to the Internet on Apr. 26. At issue is whether telcos like AT&T and cable operators such as Comcast, which maintain the country's vast broadband networks, can favor one provider's Web traffic over another's. A measure that would bar the practice was shot down by a Congressional committee. Tech Giants' Internet Battles

And wouldn't you know it but the guy who is responsible for this travesty is none other than Colin Powell's little boy Michael. You know the guy who got upset over a nipple being shown during the Superbowl. Who then pushed for 'decency' regulations over both non cable and cable networks in the US. Censorship by any other name.

The version of the bill passed on Wednesday includes four "principles" put forward by Michael Powell, former chairman of the FCC, the communications regulator. It would allow the FCC to take action against service providers if they block subscribers' access to legal websites or services but does not prevent price differentiation. Telecoms groups win 'net neutrality' battle in Congress

And if you don't think that the issue of 'decency', affects you well check this out;

Wireless Carriers Set Strict Decency Standards for Content

As music and video programming becomes widely available for cellphones, major U.S. wireless carriers are quietly setting strict decency standards for their content partners in an effort to stave off criticism from customers and regulators. Many of the rules go far beyond those set by federal regulators for television and radio.

The rules, which bar sexually explicit or graphic content, have sparked concern among media providers. Some have already been forced to alter or remove hip-hop ringtones, video clips or other material that wireless operators considered offensive, people familiar with the situation say. The wireless industry trade group, CTIA-The Wireless Association, issued broad content guidelines in November, but largely left it to the carriers to implement their own policies.

As we all know decency is just the excuse to limit free speech period. And the worst offender is not the State, but the corporations themsleves as they self censor. Now the Telcos will be able to limit access to the Internet, censor it and charge you more for it. Oh joy.

According to the watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, "large corporations are a more common source of censorship than governments ... The most frequent form of censorship is self-censorship." Revealing images contrary to the official narrative often end up on the cutting room floor. Hustler Magazine's editorial director, Bruce David, asserts: "The job of the media is to keep the American people calm. It won't show them anything that threatens the ruling elite. It'll show eating bugs on `Survivor' because it doesn't threaten the system. But it won't show casualties of war and flag-draped coffins, because they look at that as a dagger at the heart of the system the corporate media protects."Anything goes today, or does it?

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Left Wing Engineer

Will wonders never cease. A Left Wing Engineer with a blog.

A Left Wing Engineer. And an Engineering Prof at that.

Most Engineers I've met tend to wander into the world of Ayn Rand Objectivism. Being such linear thinkers, it's the trade you see, they think that Ayn is both a great philospopher and a great novelist. Ah poor deluded Engineers, but then again the slogan of Engineering school is 'Geers Rule the World, to which my reply has been; No wonder it's so messed up.

The old left wing Engineers tended to read Veblen and join Technocracy, so it's interesting to see a 'new left' in Engineering. And about time too.

Anyways our good Herr Doctor Professor Filippo A. Salustri has great little
Atheist Workbook and a guide to the falacies of Intelligent Design.

Ya gotta like a guy who quotes Marx on his Ryerson home page;

"Je ne suis pas Marxiste."
--Karl Marx, 1818-1883

To which I can only reply; Oui, oui.

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Blogging Medicine Hat

For an overview of the reaction of this little corner of the blogoshpere to the triple murders in Medicine Hat click here.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Work Creates Addiction

Once again another study puts the cart before the horse.
Addictions bleed nearly $40Ba year from economy: study
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse said that figure, based on data from 2002, includes the cost of providing health care, losing millions of days of productivity, and handling court cases and jail sentences.

The reality is that our wage slavery under capitalism alienates us from our productive labour, for we are selling our time, our lives for x hours per day, working at drudgery. In order to overcome our alienation we escape in drugs, legal or no. Such has always been the case of the slave.

Coke was used to ease the burden of the Indians oppressed in the mines by the Spainish Conquistadores, later opium was used by the British to enslave the Chinese. Vodka was the drug of choice of workers in the USSR who faced the drudgery of Stankovism.

Today alcholol and drug use in Northern Alberta by construction workers is seen as a major work issue by the government, employers and building trades unions. What does this tell us? Our lives are empty of meaning. Our work is not productive self fullfilling expressions of our lives but enslavement to the capitalist machine, to the production of profit, not real human needs and values.

Addiction is the direct result of capitalism and its labour relations. It should be seen as a cost of doing business rather than as a 'social problem' which then calls for more taxpayer (addicts) funding, or moral rules (laws against the victims of addiction) as such business should give workers more pay, more time off, and more varied work, including more time for being with their families.

Heck we should only work a four hour day four days a week, and then you would see addictions decline. Of course that will only happen when we have a self-managed society not a capitalist one.

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