Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why Conservatives Don't Like the Census

Here's a perfect example of the type of thing that the Harper Reform-Con government definitely doesn't like.

It is a study of poverty and pollution in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Valley, where everything is broken down according to census subdivision.

I am pretty sure this particular study would have been possible using only the info from the short form.

However the point is quite clear. Factual, transparent statistics are the enemy of the demagogue, whose desire is to control people and events by whim and take decisions based on incremental benefits to their own agenda.

SH: "Someone just tell me how to make this information go away:"

"Generally, the census subdivisions with lowest amounts of pollution also have the lowest poverty rates for all pollution groups."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Time to polish up your climate change denial myths

Bring em on...'s a cycle...'s the volcanoes...'s all normal...'s a CBC plot...'s a blip...

all welcome!

Hottest June on record worldwide

The article also mentions that the periods of Jan-June and Apr-Jun were the hottest ever recorded worldwide.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"If Hell Freezes Over He'll Be Skatin' On It"

Red Sox and Expos legend Bill The Spaceman Lee saying what everyone else was thinking but too chicken shite or too politically (Republican style) correct to say about George Steinbrenner's passing yesterday.

How Does an Oil Company Go Broke?

In recent years, we have witnessed windfall profits in the oil business. Even in 2008, the year of the oil price crash, the large oil companies profited more heavily than ever.

Yet, we get news yesterday, and later denials, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp is "insolvent".

How can this be possible, I asked myself. Especially considering that Nigeria sells crude on the world market yet pays domestic wages to the majority of its workers. My initial reply to myself was that it must be a combination of corruption and the inefficiencies of government run business.

Then I read further down the article. Seems that even though Nigeria is one of the largest crude oil producers in the world, more than 85% of the gasoline used in the country is imported!
There have been attempts to privatize the country's four refineries since around 2002 and as far as I understand at least some of them have now been privatized since 2006. However, the local refineries are totally unable to keep up with the burgeoning demand for gasoline. No wonder, the Kaduna Refinery was shut down this March due to vandalism of the crude oil pipeline supplying it.

It becomes clear that the problems go beyond mere corruption and inefficiency. It fact, the Nigerian oil industry is disaster area of rampant pollution, extreme safety and working condition issues (the pipeline explosion pictured above killed 22 people), political interference, revolutionary actions, terrorism, profiteering by multinationals and vandalism and extortion.

It is often written that the oil industry, responsible for 80% of Nigerian economic output, is nevertheless the curse of the nation. What a pathetic situation.

Imagine - if a disaster on a scale of the BP spill can occur in the Gulf of Mexico, right off the coast of Louisiana, what type of tragedies could occur in the dog-eat-dog world the oil industry has spawned in Nigeria.

The first refinery in Nigeria was initiated in 1965. Since that time, it could be argued that the industry has abused the country to the hilt right up to the present, where the state of affairs is such that I couldn't even imagine a viable solution to the ongoing problems in the country.