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Canada: Gas Prices Could Leap by Up to 20 Cents a Litre

Image
© Reuters/Frank Polich
When Canadians head out on road trips this spring and summer, they can expect gas prices to take a bigger bite out of their wallets. But energy experts on this side of the border are divided over whether these hikes will be as high as U.S. motorists are bracing for.

Media reports Monday out of the U.S. were suggesting gas prices could rise in some areas this spring by up to 60 cents per gallon (roughly equal to 15 cents per litre). But Calgary-based petroleum industry analyst Michael Ervin sees nothing to suggest hikes of that magnitude in Canada.

Instead, he's predicting "modest" increases of about five to 10 cents per litre - "much much less than what we had become accustomed to seeing prior to the slump in the North American and global economy."

Every year, gas prices tend to rise when warmer weather and school vacations lure more people onto the highways and energy experts are expecting the same pricing habits this spring and summer.

Arrow Up

US: Students Donate Water to Families in Dimock Township

Water
© CellarThief
Shohola Township, Pike County - People from Susquehanna County who say their water has been contaminated by natural gas drilling got some help Monday from an unusual source.

Students from a school in PIke County, which is more than an hour away, donated hundreds of gallons of water to help them.

As part of a community service project, students from Shohola Elementary School donated all the water. It took dozens of students to load car after car Monday afternoon.

"I did it to save the people so they don't drink dirty water," fourth grader Nicole Traxler said.

After Eyewitness News first broadcast word of the water collection last week, organizers say the donations started pouring in.

"It's really important because a lot of people can't even take showers," fourth grader Jimmy Vanorskie said.

Heart - Black

US: Teen gets life for killing 9-year-old; called the murder 'pretty enjoyable'

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© Associated Press
This Nov. 18, 2009 file photo provided by the Cole County Sheriff's Department shows Alyssa Bustamante.
Jefferson City, Missouri: A U.S. teenager who confessed to strangling, cutting and stabbing a 9-year-old neighbour because she wanted to know how it felt to kill someone was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Alyssa Bustamante, 18, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 slaying of Elizabeth Olten in their small Missouri town. In her diary, she described the experience as "pretty enjoyable."

Bustamante had been charged with first-degree murder. By pleading guilty to the lesser charges, she avoided a trial and the possibility of spending her life in an adult prison with no chance of release.

Bustamante was 15 when she confessed to strangling Elizabeth, repeatedly stabbing her in the chest and slicing the girl's throat. She led police to the shallow grave where she had concealed Elizabeth's body under a blanket of leaves in the woods.

Bomb

Japan: Frying Dutchman - HumanError

Word was passed around among the people - rich and poor, employer and employee, worker and foreman, and one day, six months later, the entire nation came to a standstill. -- the nuclear power stations shut down, transport systems halted, freeways were blocked. everything stopped. the farmers didn't deliver their produce, radio and television networks ceased transmitting, communication systems shut down. The police were helpless in the face of such unity, for, in a matter of hours, millions of people had joined in the 'cease work'. it seemed, for that time, the people had forgotten their hates, jealousies, differences of opinion as they united against injustice and tyranny. a police force and an army comprise human beings and these human beings had relatives and friends among the crowd...

Dollar

Social Fractals and the Corruption of America

fractal graphic
© Psytrip, by psion005
Social fractals and social control myths help explain the complete corruption of America.

Correspondent Kathy K. recently elucidated a powerful concept: social fractals. We typically think of fractals--structures that are scale-invariant--as features of Nature or finance. For example, a coastline has the same characteristically ragged appearance from 100 feet, 1,000 feet and 10,000 feet in altitude. It is scale-invariant, i.e. its characteristics remain constant whether it is viewed on a small, medium or large scale.

This is how Kathy described social fractals:
"This dishonest, self-serving individual behavior is a fractal of what is happening in our society at large: dishonest and self-serving people are extending and pretending, and their complicity keeps the system going."
The concept of social fractals can be illustrated with a simple example. If the individuals in a family unit are all healthy, thrifty, honest, caring and responsible, then how could that family be dysfunctional, spendthrift, venal and dishonest? It is not possible to aggregate individuals into a family unit and not have that family manifest the self-same characteristics of the individuals. This is the essence of fractals.

Comment: This author might benefit from reading Bob Altemeyer's "The Authoritarians" and Lobaczewski's "Political Ponerology." It is certainly possible for a nation of honest, thrifty, caring and responsible people to be ruled by pathocrats. In fact, that is the most likely scenario because psychopaths in power use the decency of human beings against them.


Bizarro Earth

What Happened to Canada?

G20 Protest Photos 2010
© G20 Protest Photos
Police confront protesters outside 2010's G-20 meeting in Toronto, Canada, June 25, 2010.
What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment.

But that was the old Canada. I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010's G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.

The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.

Family

US: Faces of Poverty: Childhood Sexual Abuse (Trigger Warning)

Image
© unk
I grew up poor in the late seventies and early eighties. My mom stayed home with my two sisters and me until I went to kindergarten, our family couldn't afford childcare. Kindergarten was a half day affair so Mom asked my aunt, who lived across the street, if she would babysit in the afternoons. She had no way of knowing she was making a decision that would change my life forever.

My mom went to work at a sewing factory for piece work, meaning that her hourly wage was based on how many items she sewed. In order to make a decent wage she had to work her ass off, and she indeed worked her ass off. She was one of the fastest operators the company ever had and when she came home she was exhausted. Kaput. My dad was welder who was also a decorated Vietnam Vet, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross twice for bravery and courage in combat. He was distant and didn't say much, he was too busy reliving his own private horrors. There was a lot of stress and tension in the house due to financial worries; no matter how hard they worked they never could seem to get ahead.

I remember being really excited about school, I badly wanted to be like my big sisters who were the coolest girls ever! But once I stood in front of that huge building? Uh-uh. No, no, no, no. No way was I going into that creepy building where everyone was a stranger. Enter epic 6-year-old little girl fit. Complete with howling and begging. I'm sure Mom was horrified, she despised being embarrassed, and making a scene was guaranteed to embarrass. (I'm equally sure I knew this and tried to use it to my advantage). At some point she left and I made that long, lonely walk into unfamiliar territory with unfamiliar faces staring at me.

Card - MC

US: Old Mortgages Rise From the Dead, Haunt Homeowners

Jennifer Wilson, a former nursery school teacher
© Reuters/Tim Shaffer
Jennifer Wilson, a former nursery school teacher from Philadelphia, poses with bank papers in front of her residence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania January 20, 2012.
In July 2009, Roy and Sheila Bowers refinanced the mortgage on their suburban ranch home in Topeka, Kansas. The couple wanted to take advantage of the low interest rates that were all the rage at the time.

Roy, a truck driver, and Sheila, a former hotel housekeeping supervisor, knew their new loan from Wells Fargo would enable them to save $198.86 a month - a nice chunk to help with gas and groceries.

But what the Bowers never imagined was that their old loan, the one Wells Fargo told them was paid off, would resurrect itself, trashing their credit report, scotching their son's student loans and throwing the whole family into foreclosure. All, they say, even though they didn't miss a single mortgage payment.

The Bowers are not alone.

More and more, homeowners say that mortgages they thought were dead and buried are springing back to life, sometimes haunting them all the way into foreclosure.

Handcuffs

Uganda Bill Punishes Homosexuality with Life in Prison

Uganda's Parliamentarian David Bahati
© n/a
Uganda's Parliamentarian David Bahati
A Ugandan member of parliament has reintroduced a bill that increases criminal penalties for some homosexual acts, but dropped a provision that allows homosexuals to be executed by the state.

Parliamentarian David Bahati on Tuesday reintroduced the so-called "kill the gays" bill that he had first introduced in 2009. It was later shelved in 2011 after an international outcry.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but under the original bill, some homosexual acts would have been punishable by death. The latest iteration of the bill increases current punishments for certain acts to life in prison.

Ugandans would also face criminal prosecution if they failed to report homosexuals to authorities.

In 2010, President Barack Obama called the first version of the bill "odious."

Chalkboard

US: Los Angeles Miramonte school suspends entire faculty over sex abuse claims

Police guard Miramonte elementary school in Los Angeles
© Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty
Police guard Miramonte elementary school in Los Angeles.

Two teachers are accused of committing lewd acts on children, leading to extraordinary move by distric

The entire teaching staff has been suspended at Miramonte elementary school in Los Angeles, where two teachers have been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing children.

The Los Angeles school superintendent, John Deasy, announced the extraordinary move, telling parents that replacement teachers would be taking over classrooms and psychiatric social workers would be placed with each class to help students and staff.