Sunday, May 4, 2008

Randomly bouncing around the net.

I recently found a little site called Newsfire.  It allows you to download a free program which alerts you when news sites you follow have updates.  Some of what is below is what I found using the program.  It should be interesting when I finally work through it.

Here is an interesting notion.   The Malaysian government seems to think that protect women from being duped into smuggling drugs while they travel abroad.  So it wants to institute laws which require women to get written permission from employers or families to travel abroad.  At least women's groups are putting up a fight.

Saying you're sorry is a lot cheaper than good management from the beginning.  "The company, the largest oilsands operation in the world, says it will learn from what happened, will improve its practices and will meet the public's expectations for "responsible development.""  Sorry to be a skeptic but I think they will not improve in any meaningful way.  More likely they will hunker down until the flap goes away and then go back to business as usual. This was an entirely foreseeable problem.  We have coal companies that want to lop the top off mountains while filling nearby valleys with the rubble and think that is acceptable behavior.  We have gold mining companies who want to get at veins of gold while polluting precious water resources and devastating the landscape.  I could go on but it would be more of the same: companies for whom environmental and human devastation are costs others will bear while they reap the profit.

But then there is this story I really didn't want to read but did anyway.  We have had stories for several years about the sea lions and their competition with humans for the salmon.  They aren't that different from the stories of third world farmers slaughtering endangered animals that compete with them for land and resources.  Unfortunately, we can't seem to find a balance.  I noticed several weeks ago that western states are planning to authorize hunting of wolves now that they are no longer on the endangered list.  And our Federal government still wants to allow oil exploration in the Alaskan refuges.  

Globalization in action.  Seems we have heard this song and dance before.  Over on this side of the pond we have seen ridiculous competition between states and cities trying to induce business to locate (or, more likely, relocate) by giving tax waivers and other financial inducements.  I have yet to see where this strategy has yielded positive results.  Companies have only one loyalty--the bottom line.  They are American or British or French or whatever in name only.  They should be taxed on ALL their income and, if they move overseas to cut labor costs, their products should have high import duties applied to them.  

I wonder how much of Wal-mart's clothing comes from Bangladesh.  We had better hope that no cyclone hits the country any time soon since the rice harvest is underway.  But how many of us spend a similar proportion of our incomes on food?  Not yet, anyway.  I do applaud the manufacturers move to subsidize their lowest paid workers food bill.  But I don't expect they will really foot the bill.

Given that this is an election season and our potential candidates are all pushing healthcare reform perhaps they should read this.  But then we have heard for a long time now that we pay more for less over here.  And we know that the biggest obstacle to any reform will be the medical and medical insurance industries.  

I wonder if there is something in the air or water.  Not too long ago several Chicago schools were shut down for several days because of threats in a washroom.  Similar threats had been found at Northern Illinois University before the shooting there.  It seems to me there are a lot of unhappy people looking for their few moments of fame (or infamy.)

I found this little thing which opens questions in my mind.  The story clearly slants toward the notion that this was a deliberate attempt to discourage voters by making them question whether they were in fact registered to vote.  However, it reminds me of all those credit card offers I receive in the mail that promise me that they have 'pre-qualified' me for a card.  It is a bunch of hooey and I know it.  Once some years ago, when I was still in the mode of believing that somehow my self worth was tied up with being 'credit worthy,' I did respond to the offer only to be told that I did not qualify for the offer.  These jackasses just go down some directory and mail out the offers to everyone they find.  They don't waste the time or money to check whether the person is in fact qualified or even if they still live at that address.  It smacks to me of stupidity and carelessness but that isn't how the opposition, which has a big stake in this, will spin the situation.  But another question is why target unmarried women?  It also reminds me too much of the telemarketing strategies which led to the 'no-call' list.  Unfortunately, political groups are exempt. 

This cute little story came from the Daily Mail.  It seems that the local police in Britain are getting just as sneaky as those over on this side of the pond.  A number of years ago, when my former husband and I were traveling through Kansas on the interstate, we were curious about a 'farmer' on a tractor who seemed to be more interested in the traffic than plowing his field.  Luckily my husband's lead foot was a little light on the gas pedal that day.  A couple of miles down the road we passed several cars that had blown by us at considerable over the speed limit.  They had been stopped by other Highway Patrol officers who had been tipped off by the farmer who had photographed them, complete with license plates, and radioed a heads up to his buddies.  The furor over the speed trap made local news as far away as Denver.

Over the weekend, when Hillary Clinton said that no one criticized the Bear Sterns/JP Morgan shotgun wedding financed with a very large chunk of public money (dowry??), I was very surprised.  As I mentioned to my mother who was also watching the news,  Most of the political blogs I read made exactly the same comments.  I am so glad that several contributers on  TPM Cafe are calling her on that bit of self-serving drivel.

I think I will leave this post here for now.  I expect to have more fun with this later.

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