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April 28, 2011

Pillow Fight World Cup

ENTERTAINMENT - A few years ago we published an article in the Entertainment eZine about the Pillow Fight League.

At the time we just thought it was an amusing oddity.

But by now the Pillow Fight League has become rather professional... to the point that they are now hosting the first ever Pillow Fight World Cup.

Sounds like fun to us!

A week ago we were contacted by Christian, who is working on a film about the first Pillow Fight World Cup event. Christian is also a member of a team trained by Carola, an Austrian kickboxing champ who lives in Vienna. Their team of pillow fighters are going to New York for the first Pillow Fight World cup ever on May 17th 2011. Learn more about their team at

Against the Austrian team will be 'Punk Rock Pillowfighters' from the USA, a team of Swedish pillow fighters and a lone pillow fighting girl from Japan.

There is also hopes to get two more contestants from India and Syria. Ideally they want there to be 8-10 teams competing for the gold in 3 weeks.

What we don't understand is how come they haven't managed to spin this into a reality TV show. Or maybe that seems too corporate and they want to keep Pillow Fighting on the grassroots level.

Liberal and NDP merger predicted

CANADA - The Lilith News is going on the record to predict a merger between the Liberals and NDP following the Canadian election on May 2nd.

We are making this prediction based on surging support for the NDP, which has gone ahead of the Liberals in the polls and is now poised to possibly forge a coalition NDP/Liberal government and would signal the eventual merger of the two parties.

The Greens are so far behind they're practically non-existent.

With 4 days left until the election the current polls are as follows:

Conservatives 35%
NDP 30% and growing
Liberals 25% and dropping
Bloc 8%
Greens 2%

We predict the Conservatives will win a majority or minority government, thanks to vote splitting. We estimate over 150 seats.
The NDP approximately 85 seats.
The Liberals approximately 50 seats.
The Bloc approximately 25 seats.
The Greens 0 seats.

So initially the Conservatives will win a minority or majority government. If the Liberals and NDP join forces to form a new party they might have enough to form a majority government. HOWEVER, if the Conservatives win a majority the NDP and Liberals will have no choice but to merge sometime between now and 2015.

The NDP has made huge headway in Quebec, where they are now expected to sweep most of the province (which might place the Bloc lower than our current estimate of 25 seats).

Please Note! The above prediction is based on the sudden upsurge in NDP voters, particularly amongst women and young adults who are suddenly more interested in voting. Pollsters are referring to this as a Quebec/Facebook phenomenon as young people and women are realizing they could make a big difference in this election. Also many would-be NDP supporters often voted Liberal at the last minute, but this year it might be the other way around since Liberal support is dropping.

Young adults (18 to 24) typically don't vote, but they number 6 million and could make a big difference if the majority of them vote.

UPDATE: The Canadian Political Spectrum.

April 26, 2011

Huge Quarry to be dug in Ontario

CANADA/ENVIRONMENT - Wow. Watch and be horrified.

Hopefully enough people will protest against this to prevent it from happening. It seems too big to actually go forward.

Kids average over 2,000 hours in front of TV/computer per year

By Ai Lung Nguyen - April 2011.

HEALTH/TECHNOLOGY - According to new statistics released the average kid in Canada now spends over 40 hours / week (2,080 hours per year) in front of the TV and/or computer.

The 2011 annual report card from Active Healthy Kids Canada points the finger at a combination of TV, video games, Facebook, other internet websites and computer games. For the 5th year Canadian children have earned a failing grade for physical activity.

The report also points out that the ideal time for children to exercise is after school, the 3 hours between school ending at 3 PM and meal time at 6 PM, wherein they could be exercising. Instead the average Canadian kid spends only 14 minutes of that time doing moderate or vigorous exercise.

Only 9% of boys and 4% of girls meet Health Canada’s recommended minimum of one hour a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day. Of both sexes only 7% are getting the recommended amount of daily exercise.

44% of kids meet the one-hour guideline three times a week and 80% get half an hour of exercise.

Ottawa spends less than $10 million a year on exercise programs, with real dollars per capita half of what they were in 1986. 72% of parents say their kids don’t have access to after-school programs that encourage physical activity. Its no wonder our children are as fat as Stephen Harper.

When polled 75% of kids said they would like to be doing some kind of physical sport after school, but are not able to because there is either no program or the programs available are too expensive.

Canada's controversial Prime Minister...

CANADA - Someone in the Conservative Party of Canada has leaked a controversial list of quotes made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The 500 page dossier contains damaging remarks made by Stephen Harper and has opposition parties drooling at the mouth and people wondering why the document was leaked.

Perhaps Harper's Conservatives aren't all happy with his leadership? Maybe they're tired of a leader who can't even win a majority government.

Harper's controversial quotes, listed alphabetically by subject matter, covers everything from abortion to western alienation and reaches as far back as the 1980s.

Harper has a penchant for blunt, uncompromising talk and boasting about things he wants to do but often later changes his mind when he sees his popularity (which is already low) drop.

In 2002 Harper boasted: “I'm not ashamed to say that, in caucus, I have more pro-life MPs supporting me than supporting Stockwell Day.”

Harper is insisting currently that he can erase the deficit by 2014 simply by cutting $4 billion a year in wasteful spending. But in 1995, Harper said it would be impossible to eliminate the deficit without slashing social programs, which he noted accounts for two-thirds of federal spending.

“We would have to look at everything, you can't spare anything,” he said in 1995.

In 1995 Harper also said that “providing for the poor is a provincial, not a federal responsibility.”

Since becoming prime minister, Harper has tried hard to woo Quebec, including recognizing the Quebecois people as a nation. But the quote dossier shows Harper's past refusal to give any type of special status to Quebec.

In 1992, he argued against a proposal to ensure Quebec a 25% share of seats in the House of Commons, regardless of the province's share of Canada's total population.

“In fact, what's even more repulsive than the 25 per cent guarantee is the giving 18 new Commons seats to Quebec, which isn't even on the basis of population.”

In 1999, Harper argued that Quebec's language law was designed “to suppress the basic freedoms of English-speaking Quebecers and to ghettoize the French-speaking majority into an ethnic state.”

The document was compiled by Harper's former chief of staff, Tom Flanagan.

Flanagan declined to comment Monday on the binder of material.

A cover note on the 2004 section of the quotes says that section has “the potential to be the most problematic are the quotations dealing with health care.”

In many quotes from that section Harper extols the virtues of allowing private, for-profit health delivery and a parallel private health-care system.

In 1997 Harper claimed that “the best system means having a system where you have as many tiers as possible and you bring in as many health-care dollars into this country as possible.”

In 2002 Harper said that “the private provision of publicly insured services should be permitted. The monopoly of provision of services is not a value that, in and of itself, is worth preserving.”

In 2002 Harper said that the Canada Health Act “rules out private, public-delivery options, It rules out co-payment, pre-payment and all kinds of options that are frankly going to have to be looked at if we're going to deal with the challenges that the system faces.”

In 1995 Harper said “the federal government should contemplate” a proposal wherein the federal government would transfer tax points, instead of money, to the provinces for social programs. With no cash transfers, Ottawa would lose its only hammer to enforce the Canada Health Act.

Thus different provinces would be responsible for setting their own standard for health care.

Stephen Harper's other controversial comments:

“I, too, am one of these angry westerners ... We may love Canada but Canada does not love us ... Let's make (Alberta) strong enough that the rest of the country is afraid to threaten us.” Report Newsmagazine, December 2000.

“As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produces no unity and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions.” Calgary Sun, May 2001.

“You've got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.” Report Newsmagazine, January 2001.

“If a person doesn't want to vote, for whatever reason, that's their decision. It's not the business of the government.” On a proposal to make voting in federal elections mandatory. Freedom Watch, January 2001.

“(He) is not a serious scholar ... Saul is such an intellectual lightweight that a 10-km wind would blow him right off the ground.” On John Ralston Saul, husband of then-governor general Adrienne Clarkson. Report Newsmagazine, April 2000.

“Let's face it, the average backbench MP is little more than a bench warmer for his/her political party.” Letter to The National Post, February 1998.

“MPs are bit players in a top-down parliamentary system and role players on their own top-down partisan team.” The Bulldog, August, 1998.

April 22, 2011

2012? Pfff! You're probably doomed.

RELIGION - Before we get into this topic we feel it is important to point that anyone who believes the world is going to end in 2012 is committing blasphemy. The Mayan calendar is not a Christian source and believing in non-Christian ideals is automatically heresy and blasphemy.

Therefore, if you do believe that the world will end in 2012 (regardless of whether it happens or not) you are just dooming yourself.

If you don't know what this fuss about 2012 is, here it is in a nutshell: The ancient Mayans have a cyclical calendar, and when converted the Mayan calendar ends on December 21st 2012, the Winter Solstice. The calendar then starts over again. However some religious fanatics have interpreted this to mean that the Apocalypse, End of Days, the events of Revelations, etc. will happen either on that day or in the lead up to that day. Its blasphemy to borrow ideas from non-Christian beliefs, but whatever. That won't stop heathens and idiots.

However lets pretend for a moment that these 2012 Apocalyptical Nutjobs actually have it right. Lets pretend that the events of the book of Revelations will actually play out...

Chances are likely, if such events did come to pass, you would be doomed anyway.

And the reasoning is simple: According to the book of Revelations only 12,000 people from the 12 tribes of Israel will be saved during the 'rapture'. (The rapture is a prophesized event in which all the good saintly people are sucked up to heaven and spared the destruction of the apocalypse.)

So if you do the math that is only 144,000 people who will be saved, out of the world's population of the almost 7.28 billion (7,278,527,603) people that will be on the earth by December 21st 2012. Only 1 out of every 50,545 people will be saved. Less than 0.002%.

Soooo... mathematically speaking you're probably doomed. Lets face it, as nice a person as you may like to think you are, you're probably not that nice are you? And even you are nice, are you a descendant of one of the 12 tribes of Israel?

The only question remains is how you will die: Conquest, War, Famine and Death. Will you die trying to conquer another nation? While fighing a hopeless war, starve to death from food shortages or die from pestilence, disease or something else?

We should also note that wanting the Apocalypse to happen and thinking you are somehow morally supeior than other people are both cardinal sins (namely wrath and pride).

April 21, 2011

Conservatives gaff on abortion funding

CANADA - Conservative Saskatchewan backbencher Brad Trost says his government cancelled funding to International Planned Parenthood Federation because the organization supported abortion. Trost reportedly told a pro-life meeting in Saskatchewan last weekend that the government is anti-abortion and cancelled the funding because they don't want to fund safe abortions overseas.

The Conservative Party is now in damage control mode, trying to cover up Brad Trost's comments and dissuade the public from the idea that the Conservatives don't want to fund safe abortions.

Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas met with reporters early today in Newfoundland and reiterated the basics of the government’s G-8 “Muskoka Initiative” on child and maternal health.

Soudas says his political party is willing to work with groups like International Planned Parenthood, but refused to say if it would receive its funding.

He also repeated the Harper government’s often stated position that it would not re-open the debate on abortion in Canada, but wouldn't comment on Canada's funding of safe abortions overseas (or lack thereof).

International Planned Parenthood is a global non-governmental organization with the broad aims of promoting sexual and reproductive health in an effort to combat HIV/AIDS, prevent unsafe abortions and promote proper condom usage. The USA also cut its funding during George W. Bush's time in the White House.

IPP also provides doctors and midwives to help deliver babies safely. Maternal deaths are significantly lowered by having trained people available to deliver babies.

FACT: Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 women annually according to the Guttmacher Institute. More than half the deaths, about 38,000, are in sub-Saharan Africa where access to doctors is significantly scarce.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates that the number of abortions worldwide fell from 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003 thanks to increasing availability of condoms, the Pill and other contraceptives. Poverty is also a huge factor.

Refusing to fund safe abortions effectively kills a % of women who then choose to have an unsafe abortion because they have no other option.

See Also
Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists

Toronto man towing solar car in stunt to legalize it

CARS/CANADA - Toronto man Marcelo da Luz has towed his solar car 160 km from Niagara Falls to Toronto, using a harness strapped to his chest, because the Ontario government won't let him drive the solar car legally on Ontario roads.

The final stretch of manually hauling the vehicle will be to the Ontario Legislature today where he hopes to convince the government to make it street legal. He has been towing the 213-kilogram car an average of 15 kilometres per day.

The 42-year-old from Toronto says the Ontario government has made it virtually impossible to drive it legally in the province.

“Ontario has been fantastic, they have been the leader on so many fronts in terms of sustainability with a lot of green initiatives,” Da Luz said yesterday. “Unfortunately we haven’t seen that leadership in the [Federal] Ministry of Transportation."

“This is an opportunity for us to develop new technology that we could be using every day. Engineers that could be developing projects like this, and secure the technology right here are moving away.”

Da Luz is a flight attendant and spent his life’s savings, mortgaged his home, took out loans, and worked with engineers to build the car in 1999.

Da Luz has since driven it across North America, to the North West Territories, the U.S.-Mexico border, the Florida Keys, and back to Canada. He has broken a world record for distance traveled in a solar car. The solar car can travel about 500 kilometres on a sunny day or 200 kilometres at night, runs on less power than a toaster. It can hit maximum speeds of 120 km/h.

He was once pulled over by police in Alaska when someone called to report a UFO.

Ontario placed a moratorium on solar cars in 2004 after a fatal accident.

Da Luz points out however that fatal accidents in regular cars happen all the time, so one in a solar car shouldn’t mean an outright ban.

Japan imposes fines on evacuation zone

By Ai Lung Nguyen - April 2011.

ENVIRONMENT - Japanese residents rushed back into the 20-kilometre evacuation zone around Japan's radiation-spewing Fukushima nuclear power plant today, grabbing whatever belongings and valuables they could before an order went into effect legally banning entry to the area.

After today any people entering the zone will be arrested and fined 100,000 Yen ($1200 USD). They can also be detained for up to 30 days.

The area effected was home to over 80,000 Japanese.

After today residents will have to apply to get brief visits, up to a max of 2 hours to collect necessities. Participants would have to go through radiation screening, and there will be a cap of 1 person per household allowed to take the risk.

No visits will be allowed in a three kilometre area closest to the plant, says Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, that zone would be completely off-limits.

The Japanese government is sending mixed messages about the severity of the radiation leakages.

See Also
Japan ignored Tsunami threat
Japan hit by 7.0 earthquake
Fukushima evacuation widened as radiation spikes

Gold, Oil and Canadian Dollar soaring

CANADA - The prices of gold and oil keep going up, but Canadians aren't noticing as much because our dollar keeps going up too.

Spot gold prices today rose to an all-time high of $1,505.70 USD an ounce. Gold prices usually rise during times of economic instability. Gold prices have risen six-fold from just $250 an ounce in 2001.

Silver prices also soared above $45 USD for the first time since 1980.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar rose by 0.35 of a cent to close at $1.049 USD, its highest point since November of 2007.

The Canadian dollar is mostly effected by oil prices (see The Canadian Petro Dollar), which is now over $110 USD / barrel.

The average price of a litre of gas is $1.32 in Toronto today, according to Gas prices were up 18.9% in March, compared to a year ago, and continue to soar.

Higher transportation costs will also increase the price of food.

Apple is spying on you

TECHNOLOGY - Your iPhone 4 and/or iPad 3G are tracking and recording all of your GPS movements and storing the information in public easy-to-access files, two British scientists revealed today.

Working on a different project Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden stumbled upon the unencrypted data buried inside their iPhones. They presented their findings today at a conference in Santa Clara, California.

“All iPhones appear to log your location to a file called ‘consolidated.db,” says Allan in a YouTube video he and Warden made. “This contains latitude and longitude coordinated along with a time-stamp. The coordinates aren’t always exact, but they are pretty detailed.”

The tracking software is embedded inside Apple Inc.’s newest iPhone software, iOS 4, and on iPads with a cellular plan. The data are stored in your devices and automatically backed up on your computer when you synchronize them with iTunes. This data is then relayed back to Apple via iTunes so Apple can track your movements...

“Apple have made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movement,” explain Allan and Warden. The data could be used by pretty much anyone.

The bad news is that it is ridiculously easy to crack the code and track you.

“But why this data is stored and how Apple intends to use it, or not, are important questions.”

The two scientists have asked Apple to explain and Apple hasn’t answered.


Intel's net income for the 1st quarter of 2011 are up 29% on the back of traditional PC sales. Intel earned $3.16 billion USD or 56 cents per share, in the first quarter. Traditional PCs will continue to dominate the market because they are still more versatile than tablets and laptops.

The RIM PlayBook sold out in 11% of stores on the first day. The launch day (Tuesday) sold over 50,000 PlayBooks in North America. While this doesn't come close to iPad's launch day figures of 300,000, it should be noted that is simply because iPad was released on the market a year earlier and without any competition at the time.

Today the tablet market is becoming flooded and the PlayBook (which is superior to the iPad in every way) will be around for the long haul while other tablet makers will be falling by the wayside and unable to compete.

April 19, 2011

New poll suggests Conservative majority

CANADA - A new poll shows that the Conservative Party is dangerously close to forming a majority government. The Angus Reid poll shows the following:

Conservatives 36%, down 2%
Liberals 25%, down 2%
NDP 25%, up 4%
Bloc Québécois 9%, holding steady
Greens 5%

If elected to a majority government Stephen Harper would finally be able to unleash his full power and start radically undermining Canadians by privatizing everything from health care to education, while simultaneously increasing military spending, building more prisons and turning Canada into a police state...

In other words, make Canada more like the USA.

And do so while continuing to receive kickbacks from Alberta's oil industry.

This could also spell the end of the NDP and the Green Party. Far too many Canadians are throwing away their votes on the NDP and Greens and this could spell disaster. Its true, many of the NDP and Green voters will end up voting Liberal at the last minute, out of fear of a Harper majority, but will it be enough to prevent it?

If a Harper majority was put in power, Canadians will be left with no other option 4 years from now. They will HAVE TO vote Liberal in order to put an end to Harper's corruption and tyranny.

What is silly is how this government was thrown out of parliament on charges of corruption and is now dangerously close to winning a majority just because of leftwing vote splitting. Without vote splitting the Liberals would have 55% and easily win a majority government.

The online survey used a sample of 2,032 Canadian adults took place April 15 to 16 and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

NOTE: According to Elections Canada 41.2% of Canadians didn't even vote during the last federal election. In 2006 35.3% didn't vote.

Its estimated that 45% of Canadians won't vote during the May 2nd 2011 election. Possibly because they're so upset with the current system and don't think their vote matters.

"People who don't vote get the horrible government they deserve." - Charles Moffat, Canadian artist and activist.

April 18, 2011

Toronto Waterfront a Financial Success

CANADA - A decade ago Toronto's waterfront was a long neglected wasteland of old factories, disused port lands and an eyesore. It was a stain on Toronto's otherwise beautiful landscape.

The 2,000+ acres was not the type of place people would even live. Who wanted to live next to old crumbling steel buildings that were ugly and rusting?

"Waterfront Toronto" infested in the land, cleaned it up, created such places as Sugar Beach and other hot spots along the waterfront for tourists... and the land has since become “the most valuable property in Canada”.

That is a startling turnaround. So far private developers have invested $1.5 billion in new projects in the waterfront, building hotels, condos, restaurants, stores and more. Developers now WANT to invest in Toronto's waterfront. They're practically fighting over it.

Last week it was the developers and investors who rushed to defend Waterfront Toronto when Councilor Doug Ford (and brother of Mayor Rob Ford) started insulting the Waterfront development and threatening to cutback on city projects designed to boost business in the area.

Toronto only has one waterfront and the pressure to get it right is intense... it doesn't need meddling penny-pinching and corrupt politicians like Doug Ford and Rob Ford. See Rob Ford's Nepotism Knows No Bounds.

When the agency Waterfront Toronto was set up its mandate was to ensure this sort of visionless and corruption filled development never happens again, by preventing backroom deals which would lead to poor choices. The kind of corruption that led to the "condo curtain" west of Queen's Quay... horribly designed and cheaply built condos that in 20 years will be "the new slums of Toronto" according to one Toronto city planner.

Scrapping Waterfront Toronto would be a return to that level of corruption and create more eyesores. Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common, Corus House and the new George Brown College campus are part of an emerging landscape that will reinvigorate and beautify Toronto's waterfront.

Mayor Rob Ford has a seat on the Waterfront Toronto council... but he hasn't even shown up at any of the meetings. Not one.

That suggest Rob Ford either plans to snub the waterfront, or doesn't even want to discuss his plans to cut the agency's funding and bring in a new era of corruption filled development and backroom deals.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty LOVES Waterfront Toronto. He is one of its strongest supporters and holds it up as a paragon of corporate and civic virtue as well as a model of co-operation between governments, private sectors and business.

Doug Ford, announced last week that government has no business in the affairs of urban revitalization. He thinks the city should just let developers do whatever they want, even if it does become an eyesore and is rife with corrupt backroom deals (which no doubt will fatten the wallets of councilors like Ford).

Doug Ford wants the city to SELL the waterfront off to the highest bidder and privatize Waterfront Toronto.

April 17, 2011

Ah... Muskoka, land of filthy rich!

CANADA - If you live in Muskoka you might be a millionaire.

In fact its pretty much a statistical average. Probably some overpaid executive from Toronto, a celebrity (Canadian or American) and you probably think you're better than everyone else.

And what is strange is how so many people in Ontario (especially the Greater Toronto Area) seem to think Muskoka is the ideal place to go on vacation. Probably because all the rich yuppies go there and brag about it and this therefore creates a sense of envy for the rest of us.

Well, not me, but only because I hate over-crowded mosquito infested land on the ever shrinking Georgian Bay. To me going to Muskoka would be a horrific experience due to a combination of too many people despoiling the natural beauty of the region, a constant reminder that climate change is causing the lake to dry up, and I really, REALLY don't like mosquitoes.

Go camping up north, fine. Sounds like fun to me. Bring the Muskol, the tent and the marshmallows...

Muskoka on the other hand... well, let me put it this way... Ever been to Yorkdale and seen all the really expensive shops there? You know, the ones with $600 shirts. Or how about Toronto's financial core with the underground tunnels and the maze of expensive shops? They all stink of cash, capitalism and greedy capitalists sucking on lattes while bragging about how much they're cheating on their wife. You get the idea.

Its the kind of people who would NEVER use buy second hand items, wear someone else's used clothes, or a printable coupon because they would be sooooo embarrassed! They take pride in their belief that they're better than everyone else and would never lower themselves to the standards of commoners.

Muskoka has been bought up by developers selling resorts and millionaire "cottages" which look like huge mansions, but have been designed to look more 'woodsy'.

A Muskoka cottage will set you back a couple million easily. You'd have to be as rich (and possibly as corrupt) as Conrad Black to buy one. [Note: Conrad Black isn't rich any more, his wife squandered most of his money and his legal bills have practically bankrupted him.]

Which means 99.99% of people can't afford a 'cottage' in Muskoka. And it should be noted that even the cheap resort packages cost at least $700 for a mere 2 days-2 nights for 2 people.

What it makes you realize is that Muskoka is basically a big waste of money just for bragging rights.

Indeed, the big wigs of Muskoka have apparently been trying for years now to convince the University of Waterloo (the highest ranked university in Canada) to set up shop for its Environmental Department in Muskoka. It would no doubt costs millions and millions to do so. University of Waterloo officials eventually rejected the proposal because...

It was too expensive.

“We would never have been able to afford a building like that,” said Mark Seasons, interim dean of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment.

It was a wise move on the part of the university.

Muskoka is also rife with real estate corruption. For example realtors there often ask people to sign "buyer agreements" before they will show them any properties. This they say is a formality, but in reality what it is is a contract stating that you agree to ONLY buy via that real estate agent. It gives that agent exclusive right to your money if you want to buy a cottage... and the agreement locks you in for 6 months or longer.


If you are really stinking rich you could also "rent an island" in Muskoka... ooooh la la!

The Moffat Dunlap Real Estate Ltd. specializes in properties on the Georgian Bay islands. But they're not cheap.

The Byng Inlet rental offers a 32-acre island with a 5,000-square-foot lodge and two guest cabins for $6,300 a week.

The Spindrift Cottage offers nine acres, one cottage and a protected cove on Sans Souci Island for $2,000 a week.

Cottage Country Travel Services ( has a few rental properties on the Georgian Bay shore. Prices are around $1,600 a week during the peak season. See also,,

Heck, just renting a basic aluminum fishing boat with an outboard motor runs $100 a day or $600 a week. A nicer fibreglass boat with a bigger outboard motor is $300 a day or $1,800 a week. Boaters are required to have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which is basically a license (cough cough, tax) you have to pay for in advance.

I'd like to go back to the topic of cottages now...

If its not made of logs, its not a cottage or a cabin!

If it is connected to the electricity grid it isn't a cottage or a cabin either.

Okay, if you build a place out of wood or logs, and if you have electricity from solar panels or a windmill I can look the other way on that... but if you have a big screen high definition TV, a fully decked out kitchen and leave the lights and AIR CONDITIONING turned on all the time! Well... you're delusional if you think that is a "cottage".

Okay, sure, you might be able to experiment a bit some of the building materials by using commercial roofing or metal panels during the construction process, but the majority of the building should be made of wood and it certainly should not be attached to the electricity grid. If it is then it is a house like any other. It just happens to be near a lake.

In which case, why didn't you just buy a house in Toronto in the Beaches area?

See Also
Building a Cabin
Muskoka Cottage Prices are Ridiculous!
The Toronto Real Estate Market
The Housing and Mortgage Industry

Tornadoes, Floods kill 40 people in America's Midwest

ENVIRONMENT - At least 37 people are dead and many more are missing as a juggernaut storm of 62 tornadoes, flash floods and hail swept through Oklahoma to North Carolina and Virginia, leaving carnage and death in its wake.

Emergency crews today are searching for victims in collapsed homes as the death toll skyrockets, the worst Spring storm in over 20 years to hit the region. Ten people were confirmed dead in Bertie County, North Carolina alone. Another 3 people were trapped inside a mobile home in the North Carolina capital city of Raleigh.

State emergency management officials say more than 20 people were killed by the storms in North Carolina alone, but have yet to release final numbers of fatalities. One emergency management agency said it had reports of 22 deaths, but the numbers don't match what the government is saying.

At least four more deaths were reported in Virginia, where they expect the toll to rise.

The storm killed more people on Thursday night in Oklahoma, then roared through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. 7 people died in Arkansas; 7 more in Alabama; 2 in Oklahoma; and 1 in Mississippi.

The last time there was such a big Spring storm in the region was when 62 tornadoes were reported in March 1984, a storm which killed 57 people — 42 in North Carolina — and injured hundreds.

“He did two tours of duty in Iraq and the scene was worse than he ever saw in Iraq — that’s pretty devastating,” said one of the emergency volunteers, speaking about a friend a fellow volunteer.

NOTE: Scientists say that thanks to climate change and global warming we can expect these storms to become more intense as hotter temperatures will cause more extreme weather.

April 13, 2011

Natural Parenting

ENTERTAINMENT - Find more comics at

US Debt Woes, Whoas and Wows

POLITICS - America's National Debt is $14.3 trillion USD, ironic when you consider it was about to be paid off completely when Bill Clinton left office. Blame George W. Bush's poor fiscal sense, two wars and a deep recession (the biggest recession since the Great Depression).

The problem is that this huge debt will be a drain on the US economy for decades to come, unless it is fixed.

The problem is that the US Fiscal Budget is currently in a deficit, due to the economic recovery currently going on in the USA. But there are ways for the USA to fix their problem.

#1. Cut discretionary spending. For example the US military has $660 billion in discretionary overseas spending. A chunk of that is maintaining troops and equipment currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, a pair of countries bogged down in what is effectively civil wars.

#2. Raise taxes on the rich. Fastest, most effective way to get more money to pay off the debt. (Besides, the rich usually just store their cash in banks doing diddly squat.)

#3. Sell off government assets (ie. old military equipment).

#4. Cut government salaries to the highest paid workers. (There are quite a few who are OVERPAID.)

#5. Put a cap on government pension payouts. Far too many former government employees are receiving unnecessarily huge pensions.

#6. Increase educational spending while simultaneously cracking down on crime. An educated crime-free society is more likely to result in a strong economy.

#7. Increase physical education programs. (Fat, lazy people are a drain on the US economy and the US health care system.)

#8. Print more money. (Already being done.)

The problem however is that due to partisan bickering between the Republicans and Democrats, Barack Obama will have a difficult time balancing the US budget and paying off the $14.3 trillion national debt.

It won't be solved now either, too many Republicans are in the Senate and pootahing plans to cut back.

Which means this will be a major topic during the 2012 U.S. presidential election... Americans will be faced with two choices:

Barack Obama, fiscal prudence and economic prosperity.

Sarah Palin or Whomever Wins the Republican Nomination, more unnecessary wars and economic disaster.

What is mindboggling is the number of Americans who would willing vote for war and disaster.

Fukushima evacuation widened as radiation spikes

By Ai Lung Nguyen - April 2011.

ENVIRONMENT - Radiation levels coming from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan spiked today, reaching level 7 (complete meltdown!!!), making it on par with the level of disaster that Chernobyl was in 1986.

As a result Japanese authorities has widened the evacuation radius around the nuclear plant, and the workers trying to bring the radiation leak under control are now in greater jeopardy as the increased radiation exposure will be killing them that much faster. (It only takes 5,000-10,000 milliSieverts to kill a person.)

When the tsunami crippled the plant a month ago, causing the diesel shutdown and cooling system to break, the radiation levels in the days that followed was 400 milliSievert / hour. Today that number went up dramatically, but Japanese authorities won't comment on how high radiation levels now are.

Japan's Prime Minister meanwhile outright lied on camera today, claiming radiation levels are actually coming down.


A couple weeks ago just being within a 20 km radius of the Fukushima plant a person would be getting approx. 1.5 milliSieverts / hour. It would be enough to give a lethal dose within 4-5 months of living near the plant.

When Chernobyl happened the 47 closest workers all died from receiving a dose of 6,000 milliSieverts over a short time period. Its unclear what the milliSieverts / hour was.

The workers trying to fix Fukushima should be dying right now, but the Japanese government is keeping the number of radiation exposure deaths quiet. Japan claims they have workers going in shifts, but there is a limit to the number of workers who are trained in what to do.

See Also
The Fukushima Meltdown and Fallout
Japan hit by 2nd earthquake

Stephen Harper lies during leadership debate

CANADA - If you go to the CBC website and watch their highlight reel of last week's leadership debate you can clearly count the number of times Stephen Harper lied (or misled people) during the debate.

Kudos to Gilles Duceppe who poked fun at Stephen Harper for taking a question from a citizen — via video — for the first time in the campaign. (Harper has only been taking questions from the media, and limiting them to 3 per day. He has been avoiding the public entirely, afraid they will ask tough questions he is unable to answer.)

Kudos to Jack Layton who pointed out Ignatieff and many of the Liberals kept abstaining during 70% of votes because they didn't want to support Harper's policies.

Kudos to Michael Ignatieff who pointed out Canadians don't trust Stephen Harper and that Harper's government hasn't earned a majority and certainly doesn't deserve it after cooking the books and lying to Canadians.

April 12, 2011

Time Magazine rips off Charles Moffat painting

ART HISTORY/POLITICS - Time Magazine has ripped off a famous painting by Canadian artist Charles Moffat. The painting in question, "United States Censorship", was painted in September 2001 shortly after the events of September 11th.

The painting "United States Censorship" has been featured in two documentaries, including F*CK, The Film That Dare Not Speak Its Name. Its also been used by various anti-censorship organizations over the past 9 1/2 years and has become an iconic painting from the time period. The painting was also featured in a Hip Hop video.

Indeed if you do a Google image search for United States Censorship the painting is the first one in the list and there is 9 copies of it on the first page of results.

Moffat himself has been asked to sell the painting several times, but keeps refusing. He insists that if the painting is ever sold it will be to a public art gallery so it can be seen by the general public.

The Time Magazine cover in question features Julian Assange as the muzzled person in the picture, but what confirms it is a rip off is how the person is done in black and white with high chiaroscuro and only the American flag is in colour, and the background is also done in a similar way.

So did Time Magazine ask to use Moffat's painting?

"No," says Moffat. "I don't really care either. I consider it an honour and an homage. Its nice to know my painting has been so far reaching."

Moffat says he won't be pursuing any legal action for the clear rip off of his painting. "As long as they're using it for something I agree with, I don't have a problem with it. Julian Assange has been dealt a huge injustice and I fully endorse Time Magazine wanting to help clean up his reputation," says Moffat. "I painted it because I wanted to fight censorship in the wake of September 11th. I think its definitely doing that, even if the topic has changed over time."

April 11, 2011

High gas prices hampering Canadian economy

CANADA - Rising gas prices is going to cost the average Canadian household over $950, according to a study by CIBC World Markets Inc. released today.

As a result the Canadian economy will be feeling the pinch, to the tune of a whopping $11.02 BILLION CDN (there is 11.6 million households in Canada).

That means the average Canadian household will be spending less money on food, entertainment and other consumer goods... a double whammy effect since the price of food and goods will be going up due to higher transportation costs.

During the previous oil shock, the 40% increase in prices between October 2007 and July 2008 caused only a minor change in gasoline consumption. People NEED gasoline to get to work, its not really an option.

Indeed most people (80%) would rather buy gasoline to get to work than pay their mortgage, the logic being that if that if you can't get to work you certainly can't pay the mortgage anyway.

Thus Canadians will be cutting back on buying new vehicles and parts, and discretionary spending. Higher gas prices causes Canadians to buy more food on sale and to cut back on unnecessary snacks.

Gas prices in Canada are up 23% since September 2010.

Gas prices in the USA are up 32% since September 2010 (the gap is due to the Canadian dollar going up in value 8% during the same time period).


1. Turn off your car's air conditioning. Or at least turn off the AC a few minutes before you arrive at your destination.

2. Use cruise control on open stretches of road. If your speed remains constant, without the need to accelerate, it can save you about 5% of your gas.

3. Get rid of junk in your trunk and get rid of the ski rack. Every extra lb of weight you remove will save you a chunk of cash / year. Remove excess trash and clean your car regularly.

4. Tighten the gas cap. Evaporating gasoline will hurt your wallet.

5. Don’t fill up until you have less than ¼ of a tank left. A lighter load of gasoline saves more on your fuel economy.

6. Go on a diet. If you lose weight, your car will need less gas.

7. Consider a gas membership. Some gas stations and grocery stores give discounts for being a member. Canadian Tire, Real Canadian Superstore, Costco all offer discounts.

8. Don't idle. If you’re stopped for more than a minute turn off your engine.

9. Keep your car well maintained. Properly inflated tires, oil and air filters changed regularly.

10. Change your commuting strategy. Taking a less direct route might help you bypass the traffic congestion or leaving 15 minutes earlier or later could make a huge difference in traffic flow, and thus save you money by not having to accelerate and brake so much.

11. Combine errands. You can save at least twice the fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip. Avoid unnecessary errands.

12. Walk or ride your bike, especially for shorter distances.

13. Carpool with people at your office or in nearby businesses.

13. Check out Gas Buddy before you fill up. They also have a smart phone app for iPhones, Android and Windows devices so you can check where the cheapest place is to buy gas.

Japan hit by 7.0 earthquake

By Ai Lung Nguyen - April 2011.

ENVIRONMENT - Another earthquake has hit Japana's northeast, the most powerful aftershock since the 9.0 earthquake hit a month ago today. The new earthquake was magnitude-7.0 according to Japanese authorities (US sources claim it was 6.6). The epicentre of was inland and about 160 kilometres north of Tokyo, about halfway between Fukushima and Tokyo.

No reports of injuries from the aftershock has been made, the biggest of the aftershocks in recent weeks.

In Japan people gathered for ceremonies at 2:46 p.m., the exact moment the massive quake hit a month earlier. Earlier in the day 4 Buddhist monks in the city of Natori, one of the hardest hit, rang a prayer bell there as they chanted for the 25,000+ people killed by the tsunami.

April 10, 2011

John Wayne memorabilia on auction

ENTERTAINMENT - The family of the legendary Western actor John Wayne is offering a huge collection of memorabilia on the auction block.

The items include a black eye-patch worn by John Wayne in his 1969 Academy Award-winning role in True Grit, and the cowboy hat he wore in the film's 1975 sequel, Rooster Cogburn.

There will also be more than 400 other costumes, scripts, personal documents and awards available to fans for the first time. Heritage Auctions, the world's third largest auction house, will conduct the sale at a hotel in Los Angeles.

Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, says the collection is a time capsule of classic Hollywood that has remained carefully preserved since John Wayne died 32 years ago in 1979. "We anticipate attracting a wide range of people to the auction, from serious collectors and loyal fans to movie fans and the simply curious."

The family hopes some of the items will end up in museums about American film history.

Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979) is better known by his stage name John Wayne. A film actor, director and producer John Wayne epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. John Wayne is famous for his distinctive voice, walk and height. He was also known for his conservative political views and anti-communist positions during the height of the Cold War.

Among the items in the auction are John Wayne's Golden Globe award for Best Actor for his role in True Grit, costumes from movies such as 'Sands of Iwo Jima' and 'The Green Berets', and more than 50 movie scripts from such celebrated Wayne films as 'True Grit', 'Stagecoach', 'Rio Lobo', 'Hellfighters' and 'The Sons of Katie Elder'. Many of the scripts include John Wayne's handwritten notes.

There is also a selection of John Wayne's cowboy boots and hats, a saddle, personal correspondence with U.S. Presidents and letters from Hollywood's biggest stars of the era.

Heck, they're even auctioning John Wayne's driver's license, passport and his American Express card. (A tad ridiculous we think...)

See Also
Cowboy Hats are back in fashion
Mens Hats

April 7, 2011

Liberals & NDP asking people to vote strategically

CANADA - You know its going to be a close battle to beat Stephen Harper and his corrupt band of Conservatives... but the Liberal and NDP parties aren`t taking any chances.

Instead they`re asking their supporters to VOTE STRATEGICALLY during the upcoming election in an effort to win a Liberal government (and if its a minority, at least then the Liberals and NDP can work together).

Today on Yonge Street in Toronto a woman was handing out fliers encouraging people to vote strategically in their local riding for whichever person (Liberal or NDP) is most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate, especially in key battleground ridings.

The idea is to prevent the Conservatives from forming another minority government.

There is even a grassroots campaign to encourage Canadians to vote for whichever candidate will defeat Stephen Harper, and the website is going viral!

The Catch 22 Campaign

Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter! Together we can defeat Harper and throw the corrupt Conservatives out of office!

Learn which ridings are vulnerable.

To some extent the Liberal and NDP are also behaving strategically by not putting candidates in the other party`s strongholds. Or if they are running a candidate, its low key with not a lot of signage.

ie. Chinatown in Toronto is Olivia Chow`s stronghold, a guaranteed win for the NDP. The Liberals are running a candidate in Chinatown, but they are not making much of an effort judging by the lack of signage, and the Conservative candidate doesn`t even stand a chance.

Deadly Supervirus found in New Delhi

HEALTH - A deadly supervirus has been found in 24% of New Delhi's water supply.

The new drug-resistant bacteria, known as NDM-1, known as the New Delhi Supervirus is rapidly spreading through India's water supply and health experts say it could potentially spread to the rest of the world.

The new superbug can only be treated with a couple of highly toxic and expensive antibiotics, so toxic that the patient has a small chance they might die from the antibiotics rather than the virus itself. The superbug was first spotted in 2008 when it popped up in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and Sweden... and were all infections caused by people who had recently traveled to or had medical procedures in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Last Autumn British scientists took 51 samples of drinking water and found the supervirus in 2 of the samples. The new results show the same superbug in 11 of the samples collected.

The superbug in question is a hybrid of 11 different bacteria including dysentery and cholera. Its the kind of virus that would normally only be found in a laboratory, but due to India`s growing medical vacation industry seems to have evolved naturally from too many viruses being in a contained space.

Mark Toleman, a senior researcher investigating the superbug, estimates about 500,000 people in New Delhi are now carrying the superbug gene naturally in their gut bacteria, but they aren`t getting sick because many Indian people have become immune to these bacteria strains.

For travelers visiting India however the best advice is to not drink the water.

Rob Ford's nepotism knows no bounds

CANADA - The new mayor of Toronto has only been on the job since November, boosted to his position on the promise of putting a stop to "the gravy train" in Toronto's City Hall.

Except apparently this was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Since becoming the mayor Rob Ford has been giving one job posting after another to his closest friends, giving all his friends raises in salaries, and to top it all off... the gravy train seems to have gotten bigger and faster.

Former North York councillor Gordon Chong is the latest friend of Mayor Rob Ford to be appointed to a high paying public job — this time working with the TTC - gaining a salary of $100,000 / year plus perks.

A month ago former councillor Case Ootes was named head of Toronto Community Housing Corporation, with another big fat salary and perks.

Both of these people are also SIMULTANEOUSLY collecting pensions for their previous work as councillors. (Pensions stack BTW.)

On top of that Rob Ford has given a major TTC infrastructure building contract worth billions (the most expensive project in Toronto history at $4.2 billion) to a company which, surprise surprise, is run by 2 directors:

Rob Ford's friend and Councillor Norm Kelly (Ward 40, Scarborough-Agincourt) and Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), Rob Ford's brother.

The appointments and billion dollar contracts have led many City Hall councillors to accuse the mayor of sole-sourcing senior government jobs to his friends and relatives.

The TTC has given the job of heading one of the most important projects facing the city to someone who didn’t even go through a job search, says Councillor Joe Mihevc.

The $4.2 billion being given to Rob Ford's brother is more than "all the accumulated debt of (former Mayor) Mel Lastman, plus all the accumulated debt of (former mayor) David Miller … This has to be one of the two or three biggest decisions that will face the commission and face council in the next three or four months,” says Councillor Joe Mihevc.

Note: Nepotism is a crime because it constitutes fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

In comparison however Rob Ford's gravy train is not illegal, but it should open the eyes of the idiots who voted for him just so they could get rid of the vehicle registration tax (the only good thing Rob Ford has done so far).

Green Party losing popularity, fad status gone

CANADA/ENVIRONMENT - The Green Party of Canada, which boasted 6.78% of the popular vote during the October 2008 election, has dropped below 3.2% according to a new poll by Nanos Research.

The Green Party of Canada was founded in 1983, but in 27 years they've never won an actual seat in parliament. The only seat they've ever had was when independent MP Blair Wilson joined the Green Party in August 2008, but he was defeated in the election 2 months later before he even got a chance to sit in parliament as an official Green party member.

Since that election the Green Party has wallowed in a trail of disappointment because of their inability to even get their leader, Elizabeth May, elected.

Plucky Elizabeth May, whom might remind you of your mother or grandmother, may be a good leader of her party, and she might be fiery and able to hold her own, but Canadians don't seem to be interested in her beyond the 6.78% of Canadians who voted Green back in 2008.

FACT: Green Party membership is down over 60% since 2008.

FACT: The Green party is in debt and cannot afford many ads this year, relying instead on the internet.

And we should note WHY some Canadians voted for the Greens in 2008.

"I am voting Green because I want them to become an official party," was the common refrain of Green supporters during 2008. This idea of wanting the Greens to become an official party was repeated again and again, begging the question of whether their supporters even knew what the Green Party's platform was beyond environmentalism.

Well, to be blunt, they don't have much of a platform beyond that. Their idea of health care is basically to keep throwing money at Canada's healthcare system and hope that fixes the shortage of doctors and personnel. (What actually should be done is more scholarships and grants to help people go through university for medical fields.)

And on the economics side the Green Party wants to create more green jobs. Yeehaw, no brainer there.

What you realize in the wake of that election and the increasingly status of the Green Party is that they were just a fad.

I am sorry Elizabeth May, but your party was nothing more than a fad driven by voters under the age of 30. (Author's note, I am friends with Elizabeth May on Facebook so there is a small chance she will read this and be none-too-happy.)

And while the Green Party (and their supporters) like to claim they got 10% to 14% support in polls, the fact that they got only 6.78% of the popular vote suggests that during this election they will do even worse.

Polling at 3.2% suggests that is either the hardcore refuse-to-die never-say-quit supporters who will show up on election day and have a choice to make...

Do they A, vote for the Green Party and throw their vote away.

Or B, vote Liberal and actually vote for a party that can defeat Stephen Harper and end 5 years of Conservative corruption?

And to make matters worse Elizabeth May has been shut out of the televised election debates and is whining about it worse than Preston Manning (ah, that brings back memories). The last thing Canadians will vote for is someone who whines about their situation.


Its time for Canadians to look to the future by changing the Conservatives and Liberals into more environmentally friendly political parties. Change them from the INSIDE.

We'd argue that the Liberal Party has seen the light and changed its ways. The Conservatives need to be defeated and cut off from their dirty oil money before they will see the error of their ways. The question now is how Canadians will vote and whether they will finally end 5 years of Conservative corruption.

Gas Prices to Soar in Summer 2011

CANADA - Economists are scrambling to try and get an accurate picture of how high gas prices in Canada will go.

Some economists think gas prices might go as high as $2 per litre.

Others say that it is unlikely gas prices will go that high.

But lets have a current look at the gas prices across Canada...

The average price of gasoline in Toronto on Wednesday was $1.28 per litre, up 24% compared to the same day one year ago.

Its worse in Montreal, $1.39 per litre, also up 24% compared to last year.

In Vancouver the price of gas is $1.35, up 25% compared to one year ago.

And what is causing this?

#1. Growing Demand due to the growing economy. More jobs = more people out there buying cars, going on vacations, traveling farther to get to work, etc.

#2. Revolutions in the Middle East... Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Revolutions are spreading like wildfire and its led to a shortage in oil exports from the region.

#3. The closing of several strategic refineries in eastern Canada. Blame Stephen Harper for that one. They're building new oil refineries in Alberta, basically stealing jobs from the eastern provinces and sending them to Alberta, but the rest of Canada will have to suffer higher gasoline prices while we wait for the new refineries to be built.

#4. Soaring demand for gasoline in China and India, causing oil prices to keep rising as more Chinese and Indian people buy cars.

#5. The Summer Driving Season is coming... with warm weather comes more and more people just going "out for a drive", along with vacations, road trips, etc.

#6. Speculation from the Stock Market. Basically investors jumping in there and jacking the prices up farther than they need to be.

But is this enough to push gasoline prices up to $2?

According to Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at the Bank of Montreal, oil prices would have to reach $215 / barrel for gasoline prices to go over the $2 per litre mark.

We disagree. We think Doug has his math backwards.

Based on the current ratio of $108 / barrel of oil = $1.30 for a litre of gasoline, we can expect that we would only need to see approx. $178 oil to get a result of $2 / litre gasoline.

According to Standard Bank they expect the average price of oil to rise 9% to $120 / barrel by the end of 2011, but they also say that we can expect higher oil prices during the Summer of 2011.

In 2008 we saw $147 / barrel oil, an all time record. Its possible if more problems happen that we could see oil prices go that high again, or even higher.

For example if Saudi Arabia got a full blown revolution on their hands it would really hurt oil exports to the USA, China and India, which in turn would cause a global shortage in oil.

On top of all this is the economic impact of higher transportation costs. The cost of food, retail goods, etc. all go up.

Jeff Rubin, former chief economist and managing director of CIBC World Markets, thinks $2 per litre gas prices could become a reality as soon as 2012 due to soaring world demand, fueled mostly by China and India.

“China alone added over a million barrels a day last year,” says Rubin, author of Why Your World Is About To Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization.

“We’re seeing absolutely no cessation in world oil demand. I think we’re looking at prices by the end of the year testing, and quite possibly exceeding, the $147 a barrel mark we saw in 2008.”

But those higher prices could lead to another recession as more people choose to put gasoline in the cars so they can get to work, as opposed to making their mortgage payments (the same problem which kicked off the liquidity crisis in 2008).

In the meantime check out

Blast from the Past: Hundred Dollar Oil recorded the 2008 oil crisis as it happened. If you look at the oil prices timeline you will note that it only took 4 months to go from

March 11th 2008 - $109.72 USD / barrel of oil.


July 11th 2008 - $147.27 USD / barrel of oil.

So a lot can change in a short time period.

April 5, 2011

Avoiding a Non-Confidence Vote

CANADA - The following is a list of countries and their leaders which suspended government in order to avoid a non-confidence vote:

1933 - Germany, Adolph Hitler

1936 - Spain, Francisco Franco

1939 - Italy, Benito Mussolini

1973 - Chile, Augusto Pinochet

December 2008 - Canada, Stephen Harper (to avoid being kicked out of office and replaced by a coalition government)

December 2009 - Canada, Stephen Harper (to avoid being kicked out of office over charges of knowing about abuse/torture of Afghanistan detainees)

Evidently Stephen Harper doesn't really believe in democracy and thinks he is above it.

Toyota not at fault for sudden acceleration

CARS - Toyota has won a landmark court case in New York regarding alleged incidents of sudden acceleration, as the first case related to the issue goes to trial and Toyota is found not at fault.

A federal jury in New York, ruled last Friday that Toyota wasn’t at fault for causing a 2005 Scion to suddenly accelerate and crash into a tree. The accident was the fault of the driver, Amir Sitafalwalla. It had nothing to do with the brake system or the floor mat.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour and returned with a not guilty verdict.

“It was all about how the mat came into play and obviously it didn’t,” explains juror Penny Overbeck, 38, of New York, after the verdict was delivered.

Overbeck says that the court went over all the theories regarding floor mats and the electronic throttle control system, but those theories were dismissed as rubbish because of “all the testing Toyota did. They had it all on video. It pretty much explained it.”

Dr. Sitafalwalla, an emergency room physician, claimed that an unsecured driver’s side floor mat caused his Toyota Scion to crash in August 2005.

An expert testifying also claimed the electronic throttle control system could have caused the accident, but later withdrew the statement after admitting they didn't have any evidence.

Thus, if it wasn't the floor mat, and if there wasn't anything wrong with the car's brakes or acceleration... then the only answer left is driver error.

A similar case was dismissed last year when it was determined that a driver in California had been faking it in an effort to get attention.

Following the incidents Toyota recalled 1.7 million vehicles in 2009 for testing to determine if there was anything wrong with the cars.

Toyota is currently the world's largest automaker and sold 8.42 million vehicles globally in 2010, beating even General Motors and other big automakers for 3 years now. It is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits from people claiming they experienced sudden unintended acceleration, lawsuits which Toyota intends to vigorously defend against.

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