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04/22/10

Permalink 05:39:08 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Commentary

New NHT, NIS benefits, PATH beneficiaries

This years budget debate has come and gone and thanks to some fervent praying by nearly everybody in Jamaica, we will not become victims to anymore new taxes. It seems that the Prime Minister and his team have decided to actually come to aid of Jamaicans instead, as they move to cut NHT rates, and lift the NHT loan ceilings so that people will be able to access more money from the NHT. Another thing that the government has done is increase the people who will be able to benefit from the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH... dunno where the E is), and increased the cap for people who will be able to benefit from the NIS. This so far adds to 2 things that the government has done which I am in complete agreement with, since I've started writing in this journal... I dont completely agree with the move though, but I can see its merits.

For those who dont know, the NHT (National Housing Trust) is essentially a revolving loan that all Jamaicans have access to as long as they have contributed to it. NHT deductions come directly from your paycheck, and all businesses (even self employed people) have to pay money to the NHT deductions. You may gain access to these funds only if you are building a house, or upgrading/renovating a house, and you gain access to the funds at a lower interest rate than what the banks offer and as such you can pay off your loan with a fair amount of speediness.

What the government has essentially done is reduced the interest rates for people who want to access these loans. Currently interest rates are determined by your earnings and there are 3 bands a 3%, a 5% and a 7% bands, which apply to people making minimum wage weekly, between 10-20000, weekly and those making above 20000 weekly and above respectively. Now these people will be able to access loans at 1%, 3% and 5% respectively. So this is a nice move as more people will be able to move into houses. Furthermore these people will now be able to access more money, whereas before the maximum amount one could get from the NHT was $3.5 million, this number has increased to $4.5 million. But I guess a better way to say this in my opinion, is that the loan ceiling has been adjusted for inflation as $3.5 million's value really isnt what it used to be.

The PATH programme is one which is funded by the world bank, and is a programme in which cash grants are given to the most vulnerable and needy in the society. Therefore Children who are orphaned, elderly people who have no access to a pension, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and general poor adults are able to gain access to funds to help them in their lives. What the government has essentially done is taken on an extra 10,000 people under the care of the program thanks to the help of a grant from the Japan Social Development Fund to the tune of US$2.6 Billion Dollars.

In addition people who benefit from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), will gain access to increased benefits ranging from 25 to 50% more. So people who need to purchase medicine or access health services under the NIS will get a boost there. The contribution to NIS will also increase to $50 per person, per week as well.

As far as the moves by the PATH and the NIS, I cannot disagree with the government's stance, this move does help the vast majority of Jamaicans and it is certainly a welcome one. However I am forced to criticize the increased NHT loan... not because I think it is excessive or anything like that, but because upon reading about this I was forced to ask, who will really benefit from this move? The lower income earners will certainly have more on their minds than building/purchasing a house, especially in these economic times. Middle income earners will also mainly be trying to stay afloat in a market where the government is selling out all our jobs to foreign countries. So it seems the only people who will see the real benefit from this is the rich...

But then again, maybe I am just being too cynical...

Permalink 05:13:05 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Business

Taxing the Jamaican Business

“We must never forget that it is the private sector - not government - that is the engine of economic opportunity. Businesses, particularly small businesses, flourish and can provide good jobs when government acts as a productive partner.” –Bill Richardson.

Most of the economically viable countries in the world have specific plans and or tax breaks aimed at stimulating small businesses in their countries. Several countries take it a step further and launch campaigns with the view to educate the public about the various taxes payable to the government by new and existing businesses. In 2007, the Bahamian government embarked on a month long campaign to educate their public about certain taxes. Representatives of the Bahamian Business Licence and Valuation Unit appeared on radio and television programmes, newspaper advertisements and disseminate pamphlets and brochures to get its message to the public.

However it seems that the Jamaican government has no specific campaigns to educate the public about the tax schemes and unfortunately, it is commonly felt among Jamaicans that the tax system used by their government is against local owned businesses and is especially hard on persons starting a new business.

Carlette Deleon, Public Relations Manager, Headline Entertainment explains what she sees as the main problem. “I don’t find that the government is really helpful to new business owners with regards to the tax system. There are channels that you can go to for some information, their website is appealing and you can call. But when it comes to high end, more complex tax matters, there is no definitive source or guide that you can get good advice from.”

Navigation on the internet would give you a quick rundown of some simpler taxes in the Jamaican scheme. Small Business Association of Jamaica’s website provides a direct link for new taxpayers to learn about the general kinds of business taxes such as National Housing Trust (NHT) and National Insurance Scheme (NIS), however more intricate taxes and their breakdowns are not so easily available online.

Read more »

04/20/10

Permalink 11:27:34 pm, by Melba
Categories: Health

Home Garden Possibilities –Cauliflower

Cauliflower
Cauliflower
Cauliflower Bed
Cauliflower Bed

In my previous article on home garden possibilities, I had told you that one of the produce that my husband had planted was cauliflower. Well this weekend we were able to enjoy the first of the crop. OK, so I’m a ‘show off’.   I can’t help it. It just feels so great to grow something, see it flourish and get to eat it. I must admit the end results could have been bigger however considering we are still in a drought, I’m very proud.

In this article, I would like to share with you some information on cauliflower and how we grew ours. The botanical name for cauliflower is Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is related to cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It is an inflorescence vegetable where the part that is eaten is part of the inflorescences of the plants themselves (buds, flowers, stems, etc.). The head of the cauliflower is sometimes called ‘curd’ or ‘button’. Most of us are familiar with the white heads that are most often sold in supermarkets but cauliflower can also be found in colors such as green, orange and purple.

Cauliflower grows best in cool temperatures with moist atmospheres so avoid an area with too much direct sunlight, some shade is good. It requires a rich soil and lots of nutrients. A bag of horse manure at Caymanas Park is about 200.00JMD and it makes a great fertilizer. Prepare the soil before planting by digging up the area mixing with the manure. This is best done a few weeks before you’re ready to plant.

Cauliflowers do best when set out as transplants rather than planted from seed. It is important to use sturdy transplants and that they become established quickly or the plants may not develop properly. Set the plants in their holes, cover them just short of the bottom leaves, and build a little saucer of soil around each plant to help hold moisture. Young plants should be kept moist.

As cauliflower plants begin to mature and the flower head (or curd) is about the size of an egg, gather together and tie the leaves over the curd with soft twine or tape. This "blanching" is required to ensure the curd will be white and tender at harvest. Make sure neither it nor the foliage is wet; otherwise the plant may rot. The aim is to keep light and moisture out, but to let air in and also leave room for the flower to grow inside its shelter.

Harvest the curd when it reaches the desired size but before the buds begin to separate. This is about two months after transplanting. Start checking plants daily when the heads reach 3 to 4 inches across. If growth is interrupted, the heads may not develop or may develop poorly. Growth can be interrupted by plants’ being held too long, causing hardening and cessation of growth before transplanting; or by drought. Principle insect and disease problems are the cabbage looper and imported cabbage worm, cabbage root maggot, aphids, flea beetles, blackleg, black rot, clubroot, and yellows.

Cauliflower is nutritious, low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C. It is reported to contain several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. It is also said to contain the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, slowing or preventing the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. In addition Cauliflower contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances.

Cauliflower may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled. Personally I prefer cauliflower cooked barely tender and snowy white. To prepare, remove green stalks, wash and soak the curd, head down, in cold salted water. Leave the head whole, or break into flowerlets. Cook covered in a little boiled salted water until tender or uncovered in water to cover. Season to taste; add butter or cream sauce or cheese sauce or brown buttered crumbs. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded.

Now that you know more about cauliflower and all the good it can do to your body make sure you try planting some. Here are some pictures for encouragement.

Nuff Love 

Permalink 03:29:38 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Culture, Commentary

Access to alcohol in Jamaica

On the past sunday, there were a number of articles published in the Gleaner regarding the availability of alcohol to below age children. This is an issue that has existed in Jamaica for about as far back as I can remember. I know this because I grew up here... and essentially I have been able to not only go inside of bars but I've been able to order literally anything I want off the menu of the bar (drinks included) for as long as I've been able to walk and talk. On the rare occassions where the bartender pauses and asks why I'm ordering the drink, I could get away with simply stating that "I am buying it for (Insert name of adult here)". That is how simple acquiring alcohol is for Jamaicans. Multiply this by the fact that if I walk a mile in any direction from wherever I am, I am guaranteed to find myself a bar.

Bar

I contrast this with the experience I've been through when I go to the United States of America where the rules with regards to alcohol are much more stringent. Even now in my adult life while sporting a full beard and what I hope is a deep enough voice, when I go into any establishment and order a drink the first question out of the mouth of the bartender is "can I see some ID?". Only after that will I be able to acquire a beverage. As a matter of fact the problems begin even before getting to the counter of the bar as there is somebody at the door at all times checking IDs just so you can enter the bar. So all my childhood experiences inside bars would easily be rendered impossible.

It seems however that somebody (specifically Mary Clarke) has decided that this is a problem that needs to be solved immediately. In the gleaner article she has made the call that bars that serve alcohol to minors should have their liqour licences recoked so that they will no longer be allowed to serve liqour. The gleaner did some investigative journalism and found unsurprisingly that all the locations they went to served liqour to the minors without even so much as batting an eyelid. The article further stated that

Vendors are not asking the age of the children before they sell to them, and that is a challenge, because the law does require it, but they are not doing so in most cases

...

It should be mandatory for all relevant establishments and public functions to display notices forbidding children underage to be served intoxicating liquor or alcohol

I will not deny that these calls are worthy of note, as after all it is the law that alcohol should never be sold to minors, and that any person who is convicted of selling alcohol to minors can be jailed for their actions. However the application of this rule will be quite problematic... the main problem being what I mentioned earlier, that I can walk a mile in any direction and get to bar. With this many bars there is the question of how exactly will the police be able to enforce this rule across the island, after all there are more important things to focus on such as the 4 murders per day that are happening.

However this is not to say that this is a minor problem that we dont need to look at. After all, harmless as it is, the fact that alcohol can cloud one's judgement and can be (but isnt always) addictive, make makes it high on the list of things that we should try to keep away from minors.  But maybe we dont want to be giving our policemen extra work, until we have gotten rid of the more dangerous problem.

04/19/10

Permalink 11:13:14 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Air Jamaica Deal

In 2007 Air Jamaica's London, Heathrow slots were sold to Virgin Atlantic airlines for £5.1million (US$10.2 million). Jamaican’s former Finance Minister, Dr Omar Davies was the person with overall responsible for negotiating the deal. Today, 2010, Dr. Davis is being accused of unlawfully and improperly intervening in the sale of the London Heathrow slots. Reports are that Dr. Davis made false statement to mislead, or attempted to mislead, a contractor general, contrary to Section 29(a) of the Contractor General Act". The Jamaica Constabulary Force has asked the Greg Christie-led Office of the Contractor General (OCG) to carefully craft a formal complaint against Dr. Davies.

Today, Air Jamaica is being given away. Not sold, but being given away. Not given away with its debt, but being given away free of debt. Who will pay the heavy debts which Air Jamaica now owes? Believe it or not, the Jamaican Government. Sorry that is the Jamaican tax payers, you and I. What about the present routes that Air Jamaica now has, how much is the present Finance Minister, Audley Shaw getting for them? Not to mention the level of secrecy (deception) surrounding the divestment of Air Jamaica from day one.

Now, I think the arguments re the divestment of Air Jamaica has been exhausted. The company continues to make a lost and must be removed from the government’s budget. The present CEO, Mr. Bruce Nobles is reported to have had a great business plan which is supposed to be improving the company’s position. Apparently, too little, too late. What about the Air Jamaica’s pilot and employee’s bid for the company? Not sure why that option was treated with such contempt by the government, but it never seemed to have been a consideration. The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Edmond Bartlet appears very happy to pay any other airline but his national carrier to ensure that tourist have a means of getting to Jamaica. Not sure who his advisors are or why Mr. Christie is not investigating his statements, however the country continues to suffer because of Mr. Bartlet’s follies. I hope when the other airlines just up and leave Jamaica, Mr. Bartlet has a plan. And it puzzles me greatly how so many other carriers are willing to snatch up the unprofitable routes that Air Jamaica has discarded.   

Three years ago one minister sold a piece of our National carrier. Many Jamaicans disagreed with the move at the time however it was done and we all accepted it. Today that minister is being questioned about it. Today the rest of Air Jamaica is being given away and again we are all standing by and allowing it to happen. It is time for us Jamaicans to be proactive instead of reactive. I think we all agree that something needs to be done about Air Jamaica, but is giving it away free, in the best interest of Jamaicans. Maybe Mr. Greg Christie could use his office to lead a formal investigation on the matter now and not some years in the future.

Nuff Love

04/16/10

Permalink 02:22:04 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Education, Culture

Get Ready For W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney

Jamaicans can tell you a bit about Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley or Usain Bolt to varying degrees. Outstanding personalities indeed, but what about the just as compelling icons of other nationalities? Walter Rodney is a noted champion for Pan-African liberty during the 1970’s. Ironically, he is virtually unknown among young Jamaicans despite hailing from neighbouring Guyana, a CARICOM member state. W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney is a well directed documentary on the heroic life of this revolutionary figure. Its authenticity derives from interviews conducted with some of Rodney’s closest friends and associates. Emotionally intense, W.A.R. Stories affects the senses like a suspense thriller. The project is the brainchild of Guyanese filmmaker and lawyer, Clairmont Chung, in partnership with Jamaican director-editor, Mykal Cushnie, Creative Director of DSE Media. Rodney spent critical years in Jamaica while attending, and later, teaching at the University of the West Indies (UWI). He was known to invite Rastafarians on campus during an era known for aggressive anti-Rasta sentiment. Eventually he was banned from Jamaica before being assassinated in Guyana. These are just some of the issues touched on by the documentary. W.A.R. Stories is set for official release in June 2010 but has been screened privately across North America, including New York, Toronto and Montreal. A number of screenings have taken place in Jamaica as well. One person, having missed the occasion in New York, purchased a plane ticket to the island in order to see it firsthand. Chung and Cushnie are currently in Tanzania where they were invited by the University of Dar es Salaam for the ‘Second Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival Week.’ Walter Rodney himself did significant work in Tanzania while teaching at the university.
Permalink 02:13:32 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Commentary

About the Gleaner publishing murder totals

Now I don't normally respond so publicly to what another person posts on this site. However I felt somewhat compelled to respond directly to Skillachi last post about the Gleaner publishing murder numbers on the front page. Make no mistake I am not blind to the epidemic of violent crime in this country unfortunately I do not believe that putting the numbers on the front pages serves any purpose at all. Fact is that murders happens across the globe and unfortunately in many countries or districts comparable to our population, murders are under reported or basically dismissed as a non issue. Some murders are filed in police reports as different crimes such as manslaughter and if a person's body happens to be missing well then they are officially a missing person. In reference to the Jamaica Gleaner, what is the ultimate goal? How does this help anything? Maybe if they published the numbers along with some ideas as to how to change this sad fact then it would be helpful. There is no movement to change anything about the situation asking the hard questions such as "How can we stop the flow of weaponry within our shores?", "Are the political parties each doing enough to protect those within the populace who don't carry a firearm?" In the end,I argee with Skillachi that what the Gleaner is doing is revolutionary and I wish more media outlets around took this stance and tell the complete truth about the ills in their society but my question to the Gleaner, Skillachi, the Jamaican public and even to myself, ultimately is "What now?"
Permalink 12:40:31 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Nas & Damian“Jr Gong” Marley - Distant Relatives

Distant Relatives traces the direct line from dancehall reggae’s breakthrough moment forty years ago to the rise of hip-hop several years later—from Run D.M.C. and Yellowman’s groundbreaking collaboration “Roots Rap Reggae” through Supercat introducing Biggie Smalls to the world on the “Dolly My Baby” remix and Shabba Ranks and KRS-One joining forces on “The Jam.” That line continues right up through Damian Marley and Nas’ double-Grammy-winning “Road To Zion.” Unlike all previous collaborations between Jamaican and American artists, Distant Relatives is neither a remix nor a featured guest spot on a single track. The recording is a fully collaborative effort filling an entire album, opening new avenues of musical expression. Distant Relatives is an album created by two serious artists to explore and celebrate the correlations and deep-rooted connections between reggae and hip-hop, tracing both sounds back to the African motherland that is both the cradle of humanity and the wellspring of mankind’s music. And who better to fulfill this mission? The youngest son of the legendary Bob Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley garnered his own place in music history when he became the first ever reggae artist to win a Grammy Award outside of the Reggae category, taking home an award for Best Urban/Alternative performance for his smash 2005 single “Welcome To Jamrock.” The acclaimed breakthrough album of the same name also won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. A hip-hop icon since his immortal guest verse on Main Source’s 1991 “Live At The Barbeque,” Nas burst out of the Queensbridge housing projects, a hotbed of rap artistry since the early ’80s. The son of jazz trumpeter Olu Dara, Nas has since gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide over the span of his legendary career, and has acted as an ambassador for hip-hop culture throughout the globe. “When we first started working, I was thinking about what direction we should go in,” Nas explained during a recent discussion at the Grammy Museum. “Cause it’s all kinda like the same—reggae, rap. But it went to its own thing… We had a few concepts. All basically around empowerment in a way, cause if we’re talking about Distant Relatives we’re talking about the human family.” The sound of Distant Relatives features live musicians as well as studio production by Damian Marley and his elder brother Stephen Marley, a distinguished award-winning artist and producer in his own right. Featured artists on the album connect other diasporic dots— New Orleans’ own Lil Wayne as well as the critically acclaimed Somali-born, Canadian-raised MC K’NAAN. “I didn’t want it to sound like something that would be typical of me, neither typical of Nas,” said Damian Marley, who produced much of the album. “But something where you can still see how there’s a middle ground in the music… where you can still hear something that is reminiscent of either of us… It’s been really fun. Cause we’ve been going in the booth together. Especially as a lyricist, it’s really like iron sharpen iron. You can’t slack off right now. It’s a great learning experience for me too.” And that experience extends to young listeners who will surely be enlightened and educated about the shared cultural legacy of Africa, America, and the Caribbean. “The whole process is gonna be fun,” Nas adds. “I think we can have fun helping people. When I think about things we wanna do with this album, it’s just limitless.” In addition Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley have announced the official tour dates for their groundbreaking "Distant Relatives Tour," set to kick off May 21 in Arcata, CA. The tour will follow the May 18 release of their highly-anticipated collaborative studio album, Distant Relatives (Universal Republic), and will include performances at Bonnaroo, June 11 and Gathering of The Vibes, August 1. The pair recently performed at the annual music festival SXSW in Austin, TX, as well as WMC's Ultra Music Festival in Miami this past weekend. They will also make one more special performance on May 2 at West Palm Beach, FL's SUNFEST before kicking off the tour. Opening for Nas and Damian during their landmark tour is Nigerian-born singer-songwriter Nneka, who recently introduced her sound to the America earlier this year through her US debut release, Concrete Jungle. In addition to announcing tour dates, Nas and Damian have released the official album cover, which was shot by Nabil Elderkin and designed by Nesta Garrick.
Permalink 03:19:17 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary, News

The Gleaner publishing murder numbers on its front page

Over the past few days, the Daily Gleaner has been publishing on its front page (with large bright text) a graphic which states, the number of murders that has been reported for the year 2010, states how many of those murders were of policemen and then below that it states "Who is accountable". This has caused alot of mixed emotions coming from people from all walks of life who read the newspaper. Some are saying that this is a good and necessary thing, some are saying its a bad thing... However whichever way you look at it, there is something about it that alot of people are forgetting, and that is that what the gleaner is doing is both revolutionary, and disturbing.

Gleaner front page with murder numbers

I say it is revolutionary and disturbing because of the arguments that are being used by the people who say that what the Gleaner is doing is a good thing. It is revolutionary because it serves as a constant reminder of the downward spiral that Jamaican society is currently going through, as we have more deaths than even some war-torn countries in the world, we are more or less the murder capital of the world. I mean, all these figures show is that there are 4 deaths a day in Jamaica, I'll let that number sink in for a while... Now when we look at the fact that we are a small island, with a population of just about 3 million people, with more murders than countries 5 times our size, I think it should give us reason to look inwards and see what we can do to stop this problem.

However there are people who say that what the gleaner is doing is wrong. I've heard people say that seeing something like this on the front page is disgusting, and it embarrases the entire nation, as the gleaner is not only read in Jamaica but also in the US and UK. Then there are those that say that children read the papers too and when they see something like this they are exposed to a side of life that they shouldn't have to see at such a young age. Instead this side argues that the gleaner should be posting good news and trying to focus on what good people have done. A recent editorial in the paper on this same topic stated that:

..."443 murders in 102 days" or "461 in 103 days" is better than 2009. Here is the arithmetic: 443 ÷ 102 = 4.343 per day, and 4.343 x 365 = 1,585 for 2010. Now, 461 in 103 days is 1,633 for the year, averaging 1609. Compare this with 2009: 1,680; and in 2008, it was 1,611. Instead of the negative hype and fear, the media should be saying that although we are nowhere near where we should be, we are heading in the right direction, at least for the time being, with a four per cent improvement on last year. We should all hope for better, and citizens should do their part to contribute to the downward trend ...

One can certainly see the merit in this writers argument, but it isnt the only side of the equation. There are the people who say the gleaner is doing a good thing... They say the gleaner is trying to highlight how much of an outrageous situation we are now in. They (The Gleaner) aren't trying to propose a solution to the murder problem, or state that there is nothing that we can do. Instead they are just trying to repulse the population into realizing that we must do something about our current situation. Maybe the gleaner is hoping that people who have witnessed crimes and have not reported them, may see this and realize that it would make more sense to report the crime and put somebody behind bars. Another editorial, that isnt exactly on the topic, but presents something that I think will help this side of the argument states that:

If the corpses of the 463 people murdered in Jamaica in the past 104 days were lined up head to toe, they would stretch for nearly the entire length of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. When they were alive, these people packed a dozen Jamaican Urban Transit Company Buses. The same group would have formed a healthy crowd in Montego Bay's Sam Sharpe Square, and could occupy the seats around the cabinet table 29 times.

This to me states just how much people we have lost. Imagine if all these 463 people were qualified to work at the Airport and how efficient they would allow it to run, and how they could help the JUTC with their patronage to and from work, or that one of them may have been the next Bolt, Powell, Fraser, or Campbell. Or the fact that out of those 463 people they could have formed the government of Jamaica, and one of them may just have been the Prime Minister Jamaica needs to lead us out of our current situation. It kind of gives you a whole new perspective on how to look at the amount of people who are being murdered in Jamaica, and the possibilities that may have left us with these victims.

Unfortunately for one side I will have to say that I agree with what the gleaner is doing. I think people have grown used to hearing that a large number of murders continue to happen in Jamaica and the act of murder has lost its shock value to us. I dont believe that a society that looks at murder like a everyday thing (which it is really), is a properly functioning society, and the gleaner is reminding us that we are in a bad way and something needs to be done.

(Isn't it funny that I give props to the Gleaner right after bashing its poor presswork).

04/15/10

Permalink 11:15:51 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary, News

Is the Press Hiding news

For the past couple of weeks or so I've realized that the majority of the up to the minute news I'm getting, is not in fact coming from the newspapers or the TV stations. But instead are coming to me through friends who themselves are willing to testify that their sources are beyond accurate, and are actually super accurate. Of course I may just be getting critical and/or impatient here but its certainly disturbing to me that for some reason or another the news outlets have not been one day or a few hours behind... but closer to 3-5 days behind the news I am receiving. And these are really important news items... things that become front page news the whenever it is published, which has lead to me wonder. Is it that our news outlets, are withholding the news?

I have to ask this question because, quite frankly it is becoming disturbing. Another thing that is important to add is, the accuracy of the "word of mouth" news has increased to the point where I no longer take these pieces of information with a massive level of skepticism and disbelief, but now believe them almost word for word to be true. Am I to believe that the news outlets no longer have the same sources for news that they did before, the same sources that found out things like how much the new BOJ governor was paid are now failing or late?

The news items in question that I am talking about in fact have all occurred since the start of the year. So things such as the entire Fiasco with the Don; The revocation of the visa's of Wayne Chen and other business men; The revocation of the visa's of artists Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Movado; The fact that the US had suspected 3 high placed government officials of doing illicit business.... All of these things I had heard about days before it was reported by any of the media outlets. The last article regarding the government officials I actually saw on the Associated Press' website about 2 days before the TVJ or CVM news even caught wind of it.

To be fair to the news outlets (or... at least being somewhat fair), maybe the proper argument should be have the news outlets simply gotten outdated? I mean all of the news items I have spoken about so far I got either through messages from friends on my blackberry, or through twitter or through the internet. Maybe its just that the news outlets are not able to transmit the news as quickly... Well normally I would agree with and see the merit in this argument, but that would be forgetting the fact that as I stated before, it wasn't just a day (For the newspapers) or a few hours (for the TV news), its multiple days.

Which leads me to ask the question that is foremost in my mind, is the press being slow because they are trying to protect somebody? and Who are they trying to protect? Yes most people will state that alot of the news media are severly partisan, but even then I would assume that these outlets would still need to make money, and to make money the most effective way (and I'm just throwing this out there), would be to do their jobs and report the actual news. After all how much can these people really be paying to protect themselves in the news, when the fact remains that the news is going to get out eventually? So you see the whole notion of protecting whosoever really does nothing at all but make you seem like a horrible news reporter.

If you aren't going to report the news properly, then please stop calling yourselves news carriers.

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Three Ministers

Three ministers - a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Southern Baptist and their wives were all on a cruise together. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship, and they all drowned. The next thing you know, they're standing before St.Peter.

As fate would have it, the first in line was the Presbyterian and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly and said, "I can't let you in. You were moral and upright, but you loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny."

St.Peter waved sadly, and poof! Down the chute to the 'Other Place' they went. Then came the Methodist. "Sorry, can't let you in either," said Saint Peter "You abstained from liquor and dancing and cards, but you loved food too much.

You loved food so much, you even married a woman named Candy!" Sadly, St. Peter waved again, and whang! Down the chute went the Methodists.

The Southern Baptist turned to his wife and whispered nervously, "It ain't looking good, Fanny."

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