Saturday, December 30, 2006
Plans for the temporary shelter at St. Aidan's Anglican Church, located in the affluent Beach neighbourhood, have been put on hold after a group of neighbours threatened the church with a legal injunction.
Toronto lawyer Peter Silverberg, who represents the group of residents threatening legal action, told the Toronto Star their concerns did not stem from the 'not in my backyard syndrome,' but rather from the lack of consultations and questions over whether the program is the best use of resources. He refused to speak with the CBC.
The project would have been part of the Out of the Cold program, under which dozens of churches and synagogues throughout the city open their doors to provide shelter and food to the homeless."
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Investing Insight - Sympatico / MSN Finance - U.S. housing market drop tops the year's business news, says AP survey
1 Housing slips Lower since the great depression
2. ENRON'S FINAL ACT
Convictions of former CEOs Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay looked like the final act of the Enron drama, but Lay died in Aspen before he was sentenced and a federal judge vacated his conviction, halting a federal effort seeking millions from Lay's estate. Skilling, 53, reported to a Federal prison in Minnesota Dec. 13 to begin a sentence of 24 years and four months.
3. BACKDATING SCANDAL
News that executives and directors manipulated their option grants to inflate their gains rocked the executive suite. At least 195 companies disclosed federal or internal investigations and at least 59 senior executives or directors have left their companies as of Dec. 19. Among the highest profile to fall were UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s William McGuire, who was pushed out as the company's chairman and CEO, and Jacob (Kobi) Alexander, the former CEO of Comverse Technology Inc., who fled to Namibia, where he is fighting extradition.
4. AUTO WOES
Demand for U.S. auto makers' vehicles, especially sport utility vehicles, shrunk and their market share eroded. About 38,000 unionized Ford Motor Co. workers, more than half the company's U.S. hourly work force, said they would take buyouts. Through buyouts and early retirement, General Motors Corp. cut 35,000 jobs, nearly one-third of its hourly U.S. workers. Companies' bonds sunk into "junk" ratings and they were reduced to using plants or inventories as loan collateral.
5. OIL PRICES
War in the Middle East and soaring demand sent oil prices above $78 a barrel, an all-time record. The big winner from the sky-high prices were oil companies, whose profits hovered near their 2005 records. Oil prices have since fallen, but the summer's run has renewed rumblings about conservation and oil dependency.
6. GAS PRICES
Summer gas prices hit highs of $3.04 a gallon thanks to soaring crude oil prices, tight refining capacity and fears of another disastrous hurricane season. Increased prices began to sour the U.S. romance with gas-guzzling SUVs, hitting U.S. auto makers with another blow. Gas prices have since dropped, too, but drivers remain nervous.
7. FED HALTS
The Federal Reserve halted the rate hikes that had lifted its target short-term interest rate from one per cent in early June 2004 to 5.25 per cent in June 2006. While stock traders saw a slowing economy and looked forward to rate cuts, the Fed's Bernanke said the central bank was keeping a sharp eye on inflation, which could take rates higher.
8. HP SPYING
HP's boardroom infighting ended in humiliation. Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was hauled before Congress, ousted from her office and indicted for her role in a boardroom spying scandal in which private investigators lied and schemed to obtain the phone records of directors and reporters. Now the company's CEO is being asked to tell Congress about the $1.37 million worth of options he exercised just before the scandal became public.
9. CHINA TIGER
China's economy continues to grow more than 10 per cent a year and its trade surplus with the U.S. is the largest ever. While officials are trying to slow growth and questions linger about whether Chinese banks are too loose with loans, the economy has showed only modest signs of slowing.
10. RECORD DOW
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed above 12,000 for the first time ever, outpacing broader indexes. The Standard & Poor's 500 edged closer to its 2000 high and the Nasdaq composite index was miles behind its own record
Monday, December 25, 2006
Blogger: Venusian Issues :: Manage Posts: "Arnold Toynbee, the historian, developed what he called the 'challenge-response theory' of history. In studying the rise and fall of 20 major world civilizations, Toynbee concluded that each civilization started out as a small group of people - as a village, as a tribe or in the case of the Mongol empire, as just three people who had survived the destruction of their small community. Toynbee concluded that each of these small groups faced external challenges, such as hostile tribes. In order to survive, much less thrive, these small groups had to reorganize themselves to deal positively and constructively with these challenges. By meeting each of these challenges successfully, the village or tribe would grow. Even greater challenges would be triggered as a result. And if this group of people continued to meet each challenge by drawing upon its resources and winning out, it would continue to grow until ultimately it became a nation-state and then a civilization covering a large geographical area.
Toynbee looked at the 21 great civilizations of human history, ending with the American civilization, and concluded that these civilizations began to decline and fall apart when their citizens and leaders lost the will or ability to rise to the inevitable external challenges occasioned by their very size and power.
Toynbee's theory of civilizations can be applicable to our life as well. You are continually faced with challenges and difficulties, with problems and disappointments, with temporary setbacks and defeats. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. But, as you draw upon your resources to respond effectively to each challenge, you grow and become a stronger and better person. In fact, without those setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qu"
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
our mission statement
“Always enjoy the feast at customers expense”
How to stop the Government spending crisis
How not to save public money- being the politically farsighted and specially “gifted” person that you have become
Learn how to spend it even more unwisely by:
Promising what you can not deliver
Give yourself and your staff more money-a minimum of 25% or more should do
Pretend to give services that don’t exist-afterall a public sucker is born every minute
Pretend to be service oriented and friendly by having impersonal phone answering systems in place to minimize customer contact and increase annoyance levels so they don’t call back
Confuse and scare customers and everyone with irrelevant ,high sounding Jargon
Hire more people to insulate yourself from the customers or people you are serving
Hire more friendly outside consultants to propagate and expand your government legacy
Use proven concepts that work in industry and subvert them to a lower government standard
Buy out all competition using your political and public money strengths
Fine or Jail anything that competes with you if they don’t run away , pay homage or conform to your wishes
Stifle any opposition by starving them to death with talk or by wasting their resources
Pretend to care about what people really want and need
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
winnipegsun.com - Editorial - Federal reforms warrant debate: "Harper introduced Senate-reform legislation this month that puts us on the road to having an elected upper chamber. He is also in favour of fixed election dates for general elections, as well as giving more autonomy to individual MPs.
An elected Senate. Fixed election dates. A national legislature where the power resides in individual lawmakers, not the parties.
Each of these changes may seem relatively minor in isolation. But, taken together, they add up to a U.S. form of government -- or at the very least a hybrid that would function in a different manner than the Parliament we now have.
Nobody should be opposed to change. Canada's federal government, patterned after the British model, has evolved over the decades by taking on new wrinkles that serve the needs of Canadians. The structure of our government should never be frozen in time; it should continue to evolve.
And there's nothing necessarily wrong with becoming more like the United States. It's perfectly fine to adopt practices from other countries if they suit our requirements.
The point is that there's a fundamental question underlying all of the reforms that Harper would like to introduce.
And before we go modifying our institutions beyond recognition, all Canadians should have the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons before we move forward."
Monday, December 18, 2006
The hottest pick this year!
It just doesn't get any better than this. Booming sector, tightly held, with
an incredible PR blitz starting up. Not only that, but the company is set to
release some smashing news.
Physicians Adult Daycare, Inc.
Current Price: $1.90 (+18% Friday!)
Short-Term Projected Price: $4.25
Long-Term Target Price: $10.20
As the population ages, the economic value in the US market for adult
daycare is projected to grow nearly 600%. Globally the potential market
is a staggering $45 billion.
PHYA is already hitting it big in the sector. With solid acquisitions,
expert management, and a red hot sector, PHYA is looking at record
Check your favorite news source. Check your Level 2 market data. You
will see that this one is set for an explosion.
With the huge publicity that is on the way THIS is where you want to be.
Make sure you get in early on December, 18th. Win big with PHYA!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is not doing enough to ensure
that only those people who are eligible for OHIP services receive them
and that health-care providers are paid for only those billings that are
appropriate,' McCarter said in his report.
Among the problems the auditor found:
* Ontario's health ministry is already six years behind schedule
with plans to replace old red-and-white health cards with new photo
cards and estimates it will take another 14 years to finish the job;
* As first identified in a 1992 audit, there are 300,000 more
health cards than people in Ontario, most of them in border communities
and the Greater Toronto Area;
* The ministry has failed to verify citizenship documents for 70
per cent of all existing health card holders. Citizenship status for
health cards is supposed to be checked with the same provincial and
federal officials in charge of birth certificates and citizenship
documents but a huge verification backlog exists;
* Some 11,700 card holders submitted clams from different regions
across the province within a short period of time, 'possibly indicating
health-cards were being used inappropriately.
McCarter also found potential over-billing by one group of physicians of
$9.7 million since 2001; a health provider who billed $800,000 on six
health cards over four years; medical claims paid to 40 doctors whose
licences had either been taken away or expired and 'even deceased
doctors being paid OHIP claims.'
Despite evidence of fraud, including a 2004 consultant's report that
estimated OHIP fraud in the $11 million to $22 million range annually"
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Interesting self help tip for the holidays=PR
Help for the holiday blues
Article By: Jennifer Gruden
For many of us, the holidays aren't always merry. Here are 10 ways to address the holiday blues.
The pressure over the holiday season to be merry and bright can be overwhelming. For those who suffer from the holiday blues – and especially those going through a difficult transition such as loss of a parent or spouse, or divorce or illness – the season represents an obstacle course over emotional pitfalls. Here are 10 ways to address the holiday blues – and when you should seek additional help.
1. Don’t cover up your feelings. It's just fine to calmly let friends and family know that you just aren't feeling the festive spirit this year. Allow them to be supportive or to give you the option to opt out of particular events. This is particularly important if you are grieving a loss.
2. Set reasonable expectations. A lot of the pressure from the holidays can stem from perfectionism. It’s just fine to buy pre-prepared treats at the store, use a gift-wrapping service, or take other shortcuts.
3. Delegate tasks to other family members. If you don’t feel up to cooking the turkey or trimming the tree this year – don’t.
4. Take time off from the holidays. Don’t feel that all your time has to be focused around the season. Get out to a park or other area that’s not all bedecked in bows and lights. If you live near a multicultural area it can be refreshing to spend time in shops and restaurants that aren’t as likely to over-emphasize the season.
5. Don’t over-spend. Financial worry is not something you need to add to your stress levels. Your family and friends will appreciate simple cards or gifts.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
By Michael-Allan Marion, expositor staff
Local News - Thursday, December 14, 2006 Updated @ 12:23:12 AM
The outrage over MPPs voting themselves an eyebrow-raising Yuletide 25 per cent pay hike are a necessary price to pay to stop the Ontario legislature from becoming a political 'farm team.'
So say Liberal Dave Levac and Progressive Conservative Toby Barrett.
Levac, who represents Brant, and Barrett, from Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant, support the warning of integrity commissioner Coulter Osborne that the legislature could soon become a “farm team” for the House of Commons.
Both MPPs defended Wednesday their decisions to join a Grit-Tory alliance to vote an increase in their base pay to about $110,000 from $88,771, less than two weeks before Christmas. "
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
winnipegsun.com - Business - Back away: CWB: "The Tories maintain that they want to give producers choice in how they sell their grain. But that's not what farmers have indicated they want, said wheat board chairman Ken Ritter.
In the House of Commons yesterday, Strahl refused to back down, insisting he will proceed with a vote among barley farmers by February. "
winnipegsun.com - Editorial - Err on side of compassion: "After decades of both Liberal and Conservative governments denying this spraying even went on — some of it during the testing of Agent Orange for use in Vietnam — the previous Liberal government finally admitted the truth and approved a handful of compensation claims.
But, as reported by Sun National Affairs columnist Greg Weston, the federal bureaucracy has now got hold of the issue and has been trying to minimize the scope of the problem. It has also set what critics say is an impossibly high standard of proof for those making claims.
It’s time Canada erred on the side of compassion on this issue, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to do in the last election.
(American experts have linked overexposure to Agent Orange to such diseases as cancer and various immune, reproductive and nervous system disorders.)
Some of the vets now planning a class-action suit over this issue have been advised by their lawyer not to accept any federal offers of compensation because they will have to give up the right to sue.
We think our vets are capable of deciding for themselves whether a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Which is why the Tories should do what they said they would do and offer them a fair compensation deal. Now. "
Sunday, December 10, 2006
winnipegsun.com - Editorial - Resignation too long in coming
Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "However, we are pikers compared to the Europeans. In U.K. for example,
the government has ruthlessly targeted billions in efficiency savings,
for example, by aggressively expanding the use videoconferencing between
jails and courts.
Ontario has identified $806 million in annual savings through efficiency
reviews, however, it's a far cry from what's needed.
We should be pursuing measures long called for - such as electronic
health cards to reduce waste, prescription errors and medical mistakes.
If the government can declare a war on public obesity, McCarter's report
gives ample cause for government to do the same with its own fat. "
This was a year of unpredictability and even downright weirdness. In our annual report, you'll find leaders, products, and ideas that left their mark—or their stain—on A.D. 2006 "
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Unintended Consequences of the Law
By Tom Dyson
In 1996, an Indian software developer named Anurag Dikshit wrote a program to allow people to play poker against each other on the Internet.
It turns out people love playing poker against each other on the Internet. Since Dikshit got there first, everyone went to his website. It’s called Party Poker, and it’s now the biggest name in the online poker industry.
Party Poker isn’t the boiler-room scam you might think. It has offices all over the world, including a large call center in India with a staff of thousands. It owns a world-renowned brand name and a listing on the London Stock Exchange. Its founders can be found in Forbes’ list of billionaires.
Its no surprise the founders of Party Poker are wealthy. The business generates tons of cash. In 2005, Party Poker generated $977 million dollars in revenue.
Online gambling is illegal in the United States, yet 80% of the online poker industry’s revenue was coming from American residents. So in September 2006, the United States government tried to kill the online poker industry.
It couldn’t go after the website’s operators – they are all based off-shore – so Congress went after the banks and credit-card companies that process poker players’ deposits. It passed legislation that made it illegal for payment processors to do business with online casinos.
The announcement caused a stampede... Party Poker and the other market-listed operations got nailed. Party’s stock price fell from around 150 pence to 30 pence.
Now, three months later, it’s clear the Feds’ attempt to kill Internet poker has totally failed.
1) The game hasn’t changed. I played last night. Internet poker is as easy to play for American residents as it was before.
2) Illegal offshore casinos have cleaned up. Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars are now the biggest poker sites in the world.
Conclusion: The U.S government drops a very lucrative industry into the laps of offshore gambling criminals, while stock market investors in regulated casinos lose around $20 billion.
Congratulations, senators. Nice work.
I’m always looking for unintended consequences of the law. They almost always create juicy investment opportunities. In this case, I think Party Poker’s stock may bounce back to its former glory as the poker boom goes global. We'll see.
If the poker business is not your idea of investment grade, here’s another “unintended consequence of law” opportunity:
Sarbanes-Oxley was a piece of legislation designed to toughen up American corporate accounting standards after Enron and WorldCom. It makes companies produce an “internal control report,” which must be certified by the auditors and signed off by two company executives.
The thing is, this “internal control report” costs several million dollars to produce. For a large firm, that’s fine. But small firms can’t afford it. So instead of complying with Sarb-Ox, they ditch their U.S. stock market listing and seek financing in London instead.
According to the Economist, “50 American firms have already done so, most of them since 2004. Hundreds of others are said to be considering it.”
And according to the Financial Times, last year, only one of the top-25 IPOs by value took place in New York.
While the FT and the Economist declare the death of American financial hegemony, I’ve been looking for ways to profit. The giant financial service conglomerates, like HSBC and JPMorgan Chase, are one group I’ve identified. Their stocks have gone nowhere, while more nimble investment banks, like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, have soared.
I suspect the banking conglomerates could get carved up in a push for greater efficiency. This should release billions of dollars in pent up value and enrich shareholders. More to follow on this idea.
Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "Great Glasses fighting another battle
Local News - Saturday, December 09, 2006 Updated @ 12:00:03 AM
The embattled Great Glasses optical chain is now fighting court battles on two fronts.
Bruce Bergez, the owner of the southern Ontario chain that has a store in Brantford Mall, is appealing a judgment and a $1-million fine ordered by Justice David Crane, who found him guilty of contempt two weeks ago for for blatantly violating a court order in 2003 requiring him to follow a provincial law that says glasses and contact lenses have to be prescribed by an optometrist or physician.
Meanwhile, the College of Opticians of Ontario is launching a court action against 15 Great Glasses franchises, including the one in Brantford.
The opticians college is seeking an order restraining employees, agents and independent contractors associated with each franchise from prescribing or dispensing eye glasses or contact lenses without the prescription of an optometrist, optician or physician.
An application for the order is scheduled to be heard in a Toronto court on Dec. 19."
Thursday, December 07, 2006
winnipegsun.com - Canada News - Top cop packs it in: "'TRANSPARENT'
'I have always tried to be transparent and accurate in my dealings with the government. That is precisely why I felt it important to appear again before committee, notwithstanding the risks,'he said. 'The continuing controversy, however, makes it increasingly difficult for me and for the institution to fulfil its responsibilities to the Canadian people.' "
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
05/12/2006 3:03:53 PM
A number of Ontario's public sector workers can't account for millions in charges on taxpayer-funded credit cards, the province's auditor general finds.
Jim McCarter, Auditor General of Ontario
'I'd have to say that we noticed examples across all broader public sector areas that we looked at,' Jim McCarter said in his annual report released Tuesday.
'The number of questionable examples that we noted across the system were certainly of concern this year ... we have a lot of examples in here of what we would call really questionable expenditures.'
The report highlights include:
Spending abuses at several Children's Aid societies, which prompted an outcry last week after a draft report was leaked to the media, included purchases of SUVs worth $59,000 and expensive trips to all-inclusive Caribbean resorts.
One staff member, who was given a society-provided vehicle, also received a $600 a month tax-free car allowance.
'Numerous expenditures of hundreds of dollars at a time were made at high-end restaurants, but the purpose and reasonableness of these could not be determined,' McCarter wrote.
'The society paid, on behalf of a senior executive, for an annual gym membership worth $2,000, along with quarterly personal trainer fees of $650. Several car washes were purchased at $150 each.'
McCarter said the province must aggressively address misspending at several Children'"
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Dion tells Liberals to think about next election : Top Stories : News : Sympatico / MSN: "Dion tells Liberals to think about next election"