March 26, 2005

Optics & High Flyers, UNSCAM: Credibility-Sevan-Annan, AB: Parental Power, Gomery Inquiry in Quebec Justifies its Cost, Press Release Economy

I know someone who has been picked up by a Crown Corp. or government helicopter--I forget which--for urgent business reasons, quite legitimate reasons, so this may not really be as profligate as it sounds to those of us whose work is not important enough to warrant such transportation. To the great unwashed (me), of course, the optics are very bad. Additionally, do you think our PM, for example, warrants a Bombardier jet? Did JC? Ever? You get the point.

Hydro One chief took helicopter to cottage -- Liberals defend use of aircraft for 'business' April Lindgren, Mar. 24, 05, CanWest

Hydro One chief executive Tom Parkinson had good reasons to use a company helicopter for trips that included twice ferrying him to his Lake Muskoka cottage last year, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan says.

[. . . . ] "Optically, obviously these sorts of things are always difficult to explain to people," acknowledged Mr. Duncan, who this month gave his blessing to a 35% raise for Mr. Parkinson.

Search: pay will be $1,475,923, Eleanor Clitheroe, Hydro One's board, The helicopters are used to, Last July 23, could not provide the names, hypocrisy, hydro rates are increasing

Un takes new heat on oil-for-food, congo -- 'Impotence and cowardice' Steven Edwards, March 24, 2005, CanWest

UNITED NATIONS - The credibility of the United Nations took knocks from New York to the heart of Africa yesterday as officials at Manhattan headquarters defended against embarrassing new revelations in the Iraq oil-for-food scandal and a leaked internal report accused UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo of apparent cowardice.

Days after Canada backed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's bid to have the UN lead the world towards international peace and prosperity, the organization is looking more beleaguered than ever.

At headquarters, the UN admitted it will pay the legal bills that its top oil-for-food official, Benon Sevan, incurred to defend himself in the UN's investigation of corruption in the multi-billion-dollar aid program for Iraqis.

The payment will be made even though initial results of the probe, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, found Mr. Sevan guilty of wrongdoing.
What's more, Mr. Sevan's legal bills will be paid from the same Iraqi oil money that is being used to finance the Volcker inquiry. [Does this sound like Canada? Think of whose expenses were paid for in coming before the Gomery Inquiry.]

[. . . . ] Votes on various solutions are scheduled to begin today, but the United States and France are at odds over what type of war crimes court should be established to try those accused of the killing, while China and Russia are not keen on imposing sanctions on the Khartoum government, with whom they have business deals. [. . . . ]

Search: Iraq's ambassador to the UN, "Mark Malloch Brown, Mr. Annan's chief of staff", "Mr. Annan's son, Kojo", Swiss-based Cotecna, next Tuesday, an investigation by Britain's Financial Times, policing in the eastern Kivu region, sexual abuse, Canada has backed Mr. Annan's

Treating addicted teens -- The View From Calgary March 24, 2005, Calgary Herald

When you're under 18, adults reserve the right to make decisions for you -- especially when your life is spinning out of control. If a long overdue and most welcome private member's bill passes the Alberta legislature, then parents will have the legal power to force their drug-addicted children into treatment and rehabilitation.

[. . . . ] If the promise of a young life is being destroyed by drugs, this bill allows for the calling of assistance.
As with a similar Alberta law that allows for the mandatory detainment of child prostitutes, Jablonski's bill is intended to help children get their lives turned around. [. . . . ]

The talk of Quebec L. Ian MacDonald, Mar. 24, 05, National Post

MONTREAL - John Gomery has the monkey off his back. No one is talking any more about the cost of his inquiry into Adscam, or his ill-advised interviews with the media, which served as the pretext for Jean Chretien's bid to have him removed.

Just three of the revelations produced in recent days serve to justify the Gomery commission's existence, [. . . . ]

Search: Jacques Corriveau, a senior Quebec organizer for Chretien in the 1984 and 1990 Liberal leadership campaigns, $10,000 each to the Quebec wing of, to individual Liberal organizers, The Lafleurs, 200,000 viewers daily, petty and sleazy

Ottawa attacks racism. Racism needn't worry William Watson, Mar. 24, 05, Financial Post

[. . . . ] Markets may not give us universal love. They may not change the hearts of men, just so long as they change men's behaviour. By that standard, what are we to make of the federal government's new anti-racism "action plan," A Canada for All, which will cost $56-million over the next five years?

How do you suppose they decided on $56-million? After a careful cost-benefit analysis? "We'll put 1000 man-years in the field (at $56,000 per) doing such-and-such and such-and-such, and that will give us such-and-such a reduction in racist incidents. Failing which we'll try something else."

More likely they debated what would look right. [. . . . ]

Search: the first thing they did with the new money, stakeholders, 12 specific actions, Equality of outcome

Frankly, it's a hoot. Watson captures it.

Hydrogen bomb Terence Corcoran, Mar. 24, 05, Financial Post

It's here! The energy miracle of the millennium, an amazing technological advance that will transform the way we live and the way the world works. When there is no more oil and all the gas is gone, we will get our power from press releases issued by government, oil companies and carmakers -- the Press Release Economy. Entire nations will be able to generate all the energy they need to keep their economies buzzing along in the fast lane by filling up on media announcements and marketing campaigns.

This is no pie-in-the-sky scheme based on pipe dreams. It's here today in the energizing flood of reports on hydrogen fuel for cars. There is no functioning hydrogen-vehicle industry, and due to unfortunate laws of thermodynamics, no known way to make it work on a large scale. But who needs the reality when we have a press release industry that creates the industry without there actually being one.

Just yesterday I pulled into the Press Release Economy station right at my desk and filled up on the following:
[. . . . ]


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