Jan
28
2011

Always a silver lining. I salute Admiral Guillermo Wong. This shows how someone who is a party to corruption can be more damaging. By removing the person who should have been a beacon of hope towards reforms in the Armed Services, he dimmed the light of reform and even showed the younger officers how moral uprightness becomes a cross against keeping the position.

“When I was there..the programmed P40 million every month for PCDA was being controlled by the chief of staff. If we cannot come up with the amount, this is augmented by the major services – Navy, Air Force and the Army – and the key budgetary units, the PMA, the PSG and AFP Medical Center or V. Luna (Hospital) so that we could generate the P40 million a month which is equivalent to about P480 million a year and that is the so-called PCDA that is readily available to the disposal of the chief of staff,” Rabusa said.

For his part, Trillanes said the PCDA was given various names such as incentive pay or core command staff representation.

He added that while a representation allowance for the chief of staff is understandable, a P5 million monthly allowance is “staggering.”

“That’s a systemic form of corruption. The leader loses his moral authority to cleanse the system because [the corruption] is automatic,” he said in Pilipino.

He noted that only one military official, Admiral Guillermo Wong, had the guts to turn down the offer of discretionary funds from the military comptroller. He thus had a free hand to clean up the Philippine Navy.

However, he was later removed from his post by Reyes.

Garcia can still testify

via Send-off money to AFP chiefs ‘staggering’: Trillanes | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

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Apr
07
2010

Finally a little sanity.  If he could just stop snooping on the phone calls and other extreme actions the govt has been doing then he might just get what he lost when he just slapped the bankers in the wrist instead of throwing them in jail.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s advisers will remove religious terms such as “Islamic extremism” from the central document outlining the US national security strategy and will use the rewritten document to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.

The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war and currently states: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”

The officials described the changes on condition of anonymity because the document still was being written, and the White House would not discuss it. But rewriting the strategy document will be the latest example of Obama putting his stamp on US foreign policy, like his promises to dismantle nuclear weapons and limit the situations in which they can be used.

via Obama bans Islam, jihad from US security strategy – World – GMANews.TV – Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs – Latest Philippine News.

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Apr
06
2010

There was the book taxing travesty last year and now we have secretary teves trying his best to increase government revenues by increasing E-Vat. Simply put, I am against any increases in the E-VAT. VAT’s are regressive taxes in nature. Regressive in our cases means falls more heavily on the people who can least afford it.  Processed foods such as some canned goods etc, or worst the chicheria (junk food) that extremely poor people use to give a little taste to a bowl of rice. All this while politicians maintain multiple houses and businesses , very large businesses evade taxes. This is unacceptable. Tax the poor and the near poor and the middle class (I and most classmates are probably part of the near poor and middle class)while you let the big businesses and even small businesses go to the bank with the paper because their accountants know how to run make money out of accounting software. Increase tax efficiency. Catch the big tax evaders. Close the fucking loop holes that unsavory but slick accountants use to hide profits, revenues etc. In short I salute the creative ways Sec Teves is trying so as to close the budget gap but what he is doing is declaring defeat against the big evaders while lording it over the people like most salaried employees and consumers who have no way of evading the the tax.

PS:: I usually go with the crowd in decrying taxes, but honestly I believe in a fair and equitable society where we help each other out. The fortunate sharing some of their fortune to make the lives of the unfortunate just a little more livable. I am not against taxation. I just hate the thought that people who can least afford the tax are the same people who are the easiest targets for taxation.

Noynoy opposes Teves’s plan to raise 12% E-VAT to 15% PDF Print E-mail

Written by Butch Fernandez / Reporter

Tuesday, 06 April 2010 20:21

FINANCE Secretary Margarito Teves’s plan to jack up the 12-percent expanded value-added tax (E-VAT) to 15 percent met immediate objections from opposition stalwarts, led by Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“This [planned E-VAT increase] is the easy way out,” Aquino said, adding: “We can collect more taxes at the Bureau of Internal Revenue and higher duties at Bureau of Customs if we become more serious in curbing and punishing tax evasion and smuggling.”

In a statement, Aquino assured that if elected, his administration would instead focus on raising revenues by increasing the government’s tax collection efficiency to 17 percent.

via Noynoy opposes Teves’s plan to raise 12% E-VAT to 15%.

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Apr
06
2010

Reading this gives me hope that my dream of a culture for a high level of political discourse for our country becomes a reality within 3 national elections including this one.

Thanks to chuck for posting this on facebook!

Political ideologies and the 2010 electionsApril 5, 2010By BenCyrus G. EllorinThe contest between the top two pre-election survey leaders in the Presidential race has the trappings of the age-old conflict between the progressive/militant National Democrats and the moderate Social Democrats.

via Political ideologies and the 2010 elections | 100ARAW.com.

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Apr
05
2010

Posted by: Giancarlo Angulo in Categories: Better Government, Election, Praise.
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Apr
05
2010

Praise for Pimentel, Fail for Comelec!!!!!

Comelec cancels P690-M contract for ballot folders

KIMBERLY JANE T. TAN, GMANews.TV

04/05/2010 | 07:12 PM

Amid allegations of overpricing, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday canceled the awarding of the P690-million contract for the supply and delivery of the ballot secrecy folders that will be used in the May 2010 polls.

The decision was announced a day after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. revealed that the poll body bought nearly two million ballot secrecy folders at an overpriced rate of P380 each.

via Comelec cancels P690-M contract for ballot folders – Nation – GMANews.TV – Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs – Latest Philippine News.

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Apr
01
2010

I-Witness documentary wins Peabody Award

04/01/2010 | 10:27 AM

Ambulancia de Paa, an I-Witness documentary that showed how a mountain community worked as a team to transport the seriously ill through rugged mountain trails, has just won the prestigious George Peabody Award, the awards’ board announced on its web site Wednesday night.

Among 36 annual winners of the award, Ambulancia de Paa “memorably chronicled how residents of a poor, remote town can only get their sick and injured to medical care using the ‘ambulance on foot,’ woven hammocks that they carry over dangerous terrain,” according to the Peabody Awards site.

via I-Witness documentary wins Peabody Award – Nation – GMANews.TV – Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs – Latest Philippine News.

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Apr
01
2010

Read the whole thing.

A child would not hesitate to pack up a sleeping bag and sleep on a pier under the stars with you.

Since that flight, whenever people asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I replied, “I want to be a child.”

So if you ever wonder why I share so much of myself with the world, from the sacred to the profane, the answer is that I think everyone could use this license to be who they are and enjoy what that means. We do live in a society with norms about what we can and cannot share, what we can and cannot do, but as Einstein once said: “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” That’s what I want to do – I want to change the facts.

Your wants are beautiful, your truths are powerful. Maybe you want to sleep on a pier or share a fairytale kiss under every triumphal arch in the world. Maybe you dream of diving the wreckage of a galleon or quitting your job and starting your own company.

They’ll say you’re crazy. They’ll say, “I wish I could be as impulsive as you are,” and that you should grow up. Life isn’t like that – there are norms, you know. There are ways to do things. You don’t talk to people at the security line at the airport. You get through it as fast as possible, go to your gate, wait for them to board you, sit down and be quiet. You go to your job, bust your ass, go home, change, go to some social thing, entertain the same questions, go home, watch bad television and do it all over again. Polite, proper, efficient. That’s life, right? Then you get old and maybe play some golf, then you die.

Fuck no.

via “a child would not hesitate to pack up a sleeping bag and sleep on a pier under the stars with you” | gapingvoid.

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Mar
30
2010

Finally some minor victories against the corporate interest .

ACLU prevails: US Fed Judge invalidates gene patent

Cory Doctorow at 10:15 PM March 29, 2010

United States District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet has invalidated Myriad Genetics's infamous “breast cancer patent” — a patent on genetic mutations that cause breast cancer, which Myriad has exercised in the form of a high lab-fee for analysis on samples (Myriad threatens to sue any independent lab that performs the analysis).

The suit was brought by the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation, who argued that US Patent and Trademark Office was wrong to grant patents on genes, as these are not patentable subject matter. The judge agreed, saying that gene patents are patents on a “law of nature” and called the isolation of genes and filing patents on them “a lawyer's trick that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result.”

Which sounds to me like a precedent against all patents that rely on isolated genes. Of course, this isn't over: the pharma/biotech stalwarts interviewed in the linked NYT piece are talking appeal, and I'm sure they'll try to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

via ACLU prevails: US Fed Judge invalidates gene patent – Boing Boing.

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Mar
26
2010

The best obituary I have seen memorializing Sir James comes from the UK Telegraph.

Black was called the father of analytical pharmacology and was said to have relieved more human suffering than thousands of doctors could have done in careers spent at the bedside. Certainly, no man on earth earned more for the international pharmaceutical industry.Yet though he became joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988, Black derived little personal financial benefit from his discoveries. Among businessmen he had a reputation as an irascible maverick and this prickly independence, combined with an antipathy to big institutions, led him to flounce out of jobs whenever he felt corporate short-sightedness was getting in the way of research.

Others can be read at The Independent, The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman, and BBC News.

It is rare for a scientist to discover one drug that makes it to market. Sir James not only led the discovery of two major drugs, propranolol and cimetidine. As if that were not enough, each drug was a “first-in-class” agent, the first approved drug that acts via a novel mechanism of action.

via Sir James Black (1924-2010) – Physician, Pharmacologist, Gentleman : Terra Sigillata.

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