Friday, February 29, 2008

The scourge of fair taxes

Here's a clever little video put out by the good folks at CUPE on how to understand corporate tax cuts:

Via audrawilliams in the ndp LiveJournal community. Please pass this one on.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Not quite clear on the concept

You know those bumper stickers that say "Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign"? Well, last week I saw one of those on a Jetta. I guess in the city formerly known as Berlin a lot of folks don't see VW as foreign.

Actually, on a car forum someone recently posted a pic of a Corolla with the same sticker, though that actually is less absurd (most Corollas sold around here were made in Cambridge).

In other economic news, here's an ominous piece of news:

For what one expert thought was the first time, the number of monthly foreclosures exceeded the number of monthly home sales in California in January, according to data compiled by two research companies.

The data is a grim reflection of the worsening housing market, as the number of homeowners who can't or won't make their payments rises and the number of home buyers dwindles.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A sinking feeling for the (US) dollar in China

SHANGHAI -- On a frigid winter afternoon, an old dumpling of a man with buzz-cut hair was holed up in his usual spot, the corner of a busy bank lobby here. He reached into his beige fisherman's vest, pulled out a wad of bills and turned to the people hovering over him waiting to trade currency.

There was the young woman with 40,000 Japanese yen to exchange. Another had a stack of euros. Then an elderly couple, each clutching a handbag, sidled up to the man and asked if he would change their U.S. dollars into Chinese yuan.

"No, I don't want dollars," he snapped, shooing them away with a wave of his pudgy hands.
Source. Via

Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama 'would be killed'

The Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing says she believes Barack Obama would be assassinated if he were elected president.

Asked if she supported Hillary Clinton or Mr Obama, Lessing told the Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter "it doesn't matter," but suggested the two should join forces in the election.

"It would be best if they ran together. Hillary is a very sharp lady. It might be calmer if she wins and not Obama," Lessing was quoted as saying.

"He would probably not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would kill him," Lessing said on Saturday. She did not specify who she believed would kill Obama.

Source. Actually, my dad has said the same thing; he thinks that Obama would be at risk not only from white supremacists, but from some Islamic fundamentalists as well, since he's a Christian whose ancestors were Muslim, and thus, in the eyes of some, an apostate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Canada whitewashes the death of its own

Canada's official report on the deaths of four United Nations peacekeepers - including a Canadian officer - at Israeli hands during the summer 2006 war in Lebanon is a slap in the face to those who died and their families, to those who wear the same uniforms, and to those who selflessly serve the UN around the world. In essence, it took an official board of inquiry almost 17 months to determine less than what was obvious within hours of the attack: that the incident was "tragic," that the deaths were "preventable" and that the Israeli military was "responsible."
Source. I am disgusted and appalled; I guess that makes me an anti-Semite!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

So it's Super Tuesday...

... or Super Duper Tuesday, or whatever the heck it's called these days. I'm kind of glad that I don't have to choose between the slate of candidates, or indeed take responsibility for the direction the US has taken (although the situation in Canada is embarrassing enough). If I were an American, though, I'd probably pick Obama out of the remaining candidates (now that Dennis Kucinich, the closest thing they have to a social democrat in that country, is out of the race). Arianna Huffington, whose opinion I generally respect, seems to like him, and apparently some lady who has her own TV show likes him too. And my mum said he sounds like someone who'd be a good fit if he applied to work for a social service agency she's involved with, very big on things like grassroots democracy. Mind you, she did add, "but let's not kid ourselves, he's still a Yankee".

One thing my mum has said is that she wants the most progressive US president possible, so that Harper will be completely isolated. Myself, I hope that's irrelevant - I will be severely disappointed if Harper is still prime minister when the next American president takes office.

On a positive note, sometimes ethical behaviour comes from the oddest places:
When paparazzi have a crisis of conscience over the wellbeing of their celebrity prey, events have clearly reached a serious level. So it is with Britney Spears, the troubled pop star and America's favourite tabloid fodder, who was back under psychiatric evaluation in a Los Angeles hospital last night after the latest in a series of highly publicised meltdowns.

As the singer's family and manager bickered over the right to direct her treatment after a court-ordered commitment into mental health care, a British photographer who has quit the chasing media pack warned the hounding could kill her.

Nick Stern has resigned from Splash, a Los Angeles-based, British-owned celebrity picture agency, in protest at the "aggressive" tactics employed in pursuing Spears, and predicted tragedy.
While I happen to believe that Ms. Spears is a musician of, how shall I say it, modest abilities, the shit that she has had to put up with at the hands of folks in Mr. Stern's profession are a travesty. Good on him for recognizing that, however belatedly.

Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise

This sounds like something that might happen in the US, but it happened in fucking Brampton. Crazy:
A 17-year-old student has been expelled from his Brampton, Ont., high school for a fictional essay he submitted in a creative writing class about a disgruntled student who murders one of her teachers.

Brendan Jones, a Grade 12 student at Heart Lake Secondary School northwest of Toronto, was expelled last week, leaving him facing an uncertain future. Brendan is just three credits shy of graduating from high school and was hoping to study criminology at university next fall. But it is not at all clear whether he will be able to transfer to another high school in the province.

From here, via Bread and Roses. If this fucks up his life, I hope he spends a lot of time panhandling in the superintendent's neighbourhood.

Monday, February 4, 2008

With friends like this, who needs enemas?

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russians visiting a health resort received a rude shock when a nurse used hydrogen peroxide instead of water to give them enemas.

Itar-Tass news agency reported Thursday that 17 tourists in the Caucasus spa town of Yessentuki had to be treated in hospital after the mix-up.

Weirder and weirder...

The Dean of Arts and Sciences at Bob Jones University has endorsed Mitt Romney:

A top official at Bob Jones University, the Evangelical Christian school with a history of anti-Mormon rhetoric, plans to throw his weight behind Mormon presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Robert R. Taylor, dean of the university’s college of arts and sciences, said he believes the former Massachusetts governor is the only Republican candidate who both stands a chance of winning the White House and will reliably implement the anti-abortion, antigay marriage, pro-gun agenda of Christian conservatives.
Seems a little funny for the BJU folks to be endorsing a guy who belongs to a religion that they consider to be an evil cult, but then his evil cult's political agenda is pretty much the same as that of their own evil cult, so I guess it makes sense.

Funny thing is, my mum was sent to a boarding school run by BJU as a kid, and she actually knew Taylor; he was a year ahead of her.

Via Suddenly South.