Big Macs, Small Horizons America isn't Beautiful – and that's Thanks Largely to an Avaricious Clown who is the Spirit of the New Millennium

For The Observer/Guardian UK
My mother was a hypnotist for McDonald’s. In 1970 one of the chain’s biggest franchisees, moving millions of burgers in Hollywood, feared for their managers, who worked 15-hour shifts scattered over nights and days for little more than £2 an hour.

How George Dubya Won The Lottery Game For GTech It's Rollover Time for the Lottery Fixers roll over again

For The Observer/Guardian UK
Governor George W Bush was a fighter pilot during the war in Vietnam – not in the US Air Force, where one could be seriously hurt or injured – but in the Texas air force, known as the Air Guard. Membership excused these weekend warriors from the draft. Young George W tested at 25 out of 100, one point above ‘too dumb to fly’ status, yet leapt ahead of hundreds of applicants to get in.
Baby Bush’s good fortune 30 years ago is connected in a strange and edifying manner to the victory by GTech Corporation and its Camelot partners in beating Richard Branson for the new contract to operate the National Lottery, starting in 2002.

Gates on the Ropes Microsoft will be Forced Back to the Negotiating Table after US Judge Rules that Software Giant 'Harmed Consumers'

By Ed Vulliamy in Seattle, Emily Bell and Jamie Doward for The Observer/Guardian UK
It’s official. Microsoft is a monopoly. But those hoping to see the break-up of Bill Gates’s empire are likely to be disappointed. The 207-page judgment delivered by US district court judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on Friday found in favor of the US Justice Department’s anti-trust team, lead by Joel Klein.

Inside Corporate America The Few Cyberati Dial Handouts from the Many

For The Observer/Guardian UK
It’s 2022 and my grandchildren ask, ‘Grandpa, when did the communications counter-revolution begin?’ As we huddle round the cyberfire, they guess it all went wrong in October 1999. That was when MCI WorldCom paid $115 billion for Sprint Corporation which, once it had merged with AT&T in 2002, gave the telephony behemoth 80 per cent of America’s long-distance market.

Jack Straw's Plan to Keep it Zipped

For The Observer/Guardian UK
I am convinced the only person in Britain with a true understanding of the consequences of Freedom of Information is Jack Straw. The home secretary’s critics claim his resistance to FoI is rooted in some pathological distrust of open democracy. That’s quite unfair. His concerns are rational indeed. This government has some very specific information – records of meetings,phone calls, deals – it would hope to keep very un-free.

UK Fat Cats? Mere Kittens

For The Observer/Guardian UK
It’s that time of year again, when executive pay league tables hit the headlines and set off a chorus of union leaders, professors of ethics and the plain jealous who yowl about fat cat pay.
The Monks Partnership issues the most-watched listing and has given The Observer a sneak preview. This year, the finger-waggers won’t be disappointed. The bosses’ pay is up by an average 9 per cent over last year’s 546,000, excluding share options. Take away inflation and that’s three-and-a-half times the percentage pay hike for the average British employee.

Bank Appoints Controversial TV Evangelist

The Bank of Scotland has appointed the controversial American TV evangelist Dr Pat Robertson as chairman of its US retail banking holding company. The fundamentalist minister is known in America as founder and president of the 1.2-million member far-right Christian Coalition and for his statements attacking feminists, homosexuals, Democrats and Hindus.

Are Scots on the Oregon Trail a lot Smarter than they seem?

While we were in jail in Washington during the war in Vietnam, my comrades and I spent part of our night as guests of the state singing several choruses of the song, ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’.
I would not compare Scottish Power chairman Ian Robinson to President Lyndon Johnson. And Robinson’s invasion of the US power industry through his plan to purchase PacifiCorp of Oregon is not exactly the landing at Da Nang. But there is a little bit of LBJ’s resolute optimism, while marching deeper into the quicksand, which has me humming that old song.

Don't Buy Exxon's Fable Of The Drunken Captain

For The Guardian UK
Thirty years ago this month, Alaskan natives sold Exxon and its partners an astronomically valuable patch of land — the oil terminal at Valdez for a single dollar.
The Chugach Natives of the Prince William Sound refused cash. Rather, in 1969, they asked only that the oil companies promise to protect their fishing and seal hunting grounds from oil.