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Let's hear those ideas: In America and Britain governments hope that a partnership with “social entrepreneurs” can solve some of society’s most intractable problems POLICYMAKERS on both sides of the Atlantic are keen on a new approach to alleviating society’s troubles. On July 22nd Barack Obama’s administration listed the first 11 investments by its new Social Innovation Fund (SIF). About $50m of public money, more than matched by $74m from philanthropic foundations, will be given to some of America’s most successful non-profit organisations, in order to expand their work in health care, in creating jobs and in supporting young people (see table). - As well as the CEO, the fund chose Venture Philanthropy Partners and New Profit, two of the leading intermediaries created by a new generation of philanthropists. These people take a businesslike approach to giving that The Economist christened “philanthrocapitalism” in 2006. Both organisations invest donors’ money in a portfolio of non-profit groups. They take a close interest in the growth of these groups and measure their performance obsessively.
In building his Big Society, Mr Cameron also expects to rely on such intermediaries, of which the Big Society Bank is likely to be foremost. Indeed, in some respects Britain may be ahead of America in using public funds to drive social entrepreneurship and innovation. “Unlike America,” notes Mr Goldsmith, “Britain has benefited from a decade of deliberate thinking about how government should work with the social sector.” A new corporate form, the public-interest company, has given British social entrepreneurs greater flexibility in using the profit motive to scale up social innovations. America is starting to follow suit, with the B-corp, a hybrid of for-profit company and non-profit organisation. (The Economist)
Matt Simmons Dead: Oil Man and Energy Investment Banker Dead at 67 Matthew Simmons, an investment banker who started out in the oil industry and later became an advocate for offshore wind energy, died Sunday in Maine. He was 67. According to an e-mailed statement from the Ocean Energy Institute, Simmons “passed away suddenly.” No further details on his death have been released. The Maine-based Institute was founded by Simmons in 2007 to explore opportunities for harvesting energy from the seas. He retired in June to devote his time to the think tank.
Simmons founded Texas-based Simmons & Company International, which grew into one of the largest investment banking companies serving the energy industry. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, and their five daughters. (Long Island Press)
Was Matt Simmons Right About The Oil Spill? Back when BP and the government were talking about a 5,000 bbd leak, Matt Simmons boldly predicted a rate of 120,000 bbd -- and he wasn't far off. His apocalyptic predictions were often right, like the existence of underwater oil plumes, and sometimes wrong, like the imminent bankruptcy of BP.
But the prominent oil investor, who died at his home yesterday, dropped out of the news recently, as BP appeared to get ahold on its leaking well. (Business Insider)
Stuxnet Introduces the First Known Rootkit for Industrial Control Systems As we’ve explained in our recent W32.Stuxnet blog series, Stuxnet infects Windows systems in its search for industrial control systems, often generically (but incorrectly) known as SCADA systems. Industrial control systems consist of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), which can be thought of as mini-computers that can be programmed from a Windows system. These PLCs contain special code that controls the automation of industrial processes—for instance, to control machinery in a plant or a factory. Programmers use software (e.g., on a Windows PC) to create code and then upload their code to the PLCs. (Symantec)
Feds admit storing checkpoint body scan images For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they're viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded."
Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all. The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.
This follows an earlier disclosure (PDF) by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for "testing, training, and evaluation purposes." The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports.
Body scanners penetrate clothing to provide a highly detailed image so accurate that critics have likened it to a virtual strip search. Technologies vary, with millimeter wave systems capturing fuzzier images, and backscatter X-ray machines able to show precise anatomical detail. The U.S. government likes the idea because body scanners can detect concealed weapons better than traditional magnetometers. (CNet News)
'Just Say Now': Left-Right Coalition Launches Campaign To Legalize Pot A transpartisan coalition of prosecutors, judges, cops, students, bloggers and political operatives on both sides of the aisle launched a campaign Tuesday to bring an end to marijuana prohibition, focusing on ballot initiatives in 2010 and 2012. The campaign, "Just Say Now," gets its name from Nancy Reagan's iconic anti-drug slogan from the 1980s that has become synonymous with the government's black-and-white approach to drug policy.
"The stars are aligning in a very interesting way with Tea Party activists, who are generally libertarian," said Aaron Houston, head of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, on a conference call Tuesday afternoon announcing the formation of the coalition. "On the right and left it's a very popular issue."
The campaign will be backing marijuana initiatives in 2010 in Arizona, Oregon, California, Colorado and South Dakota. The group will back initiatives in Nevada and elsewhere in 2012. (Huffington Post)
Happy Birthday, President Obama -- What Do You Say Now? The Democrats are making President Obama’s 49th birthday on Wednesday a big deal. Our society uses birthdays to define responsibility and adulthood. The Constitution provides that a person is not mature enough to be President unless he or she is 35 years old. You have to be at least 30 to serve in the U.S. Senate and at least 25 to serve in the House of Representatives. If you are 18 years old, you can vote in federal or state elections, according to the 26th Amendment, but states or Congress could make the voting age even lower. (Fire Dog Lake)
Obama signs bill reducing cocaine sentencing gap President Obama signed a bill Tuesday reducing the disparity in penalties for the use of crack and powder cocaine, according to the White House.
The enactment of the law seals a hard-fought victory for civil rights activists who have argued for years that the differing punishments unfairly target African-Americans.
The Fair Sentencing Act repeals a five-year mandatory sentence for first time offenders, and for repeat offenders with less than 28 grams of crack cocaine. The old law set the mandatory sentence for conviction at five grams.
African-Americans have been far more likely than whites and Hispanics to be convicted for -- and receive the harsher penalties associated with -- possession of crack cocaine, according to government statistics. White and Hispanic defendants are more frequently charged with possession of powder cocaine. (CNN)
Senate Deducts Brownie Points for Devil's Food Dopers Don't get baked on baked goods.
That's the warning the Senate sent last week when it voted to toughen penalties for those who peddle pot brownies to minors -- a decision that drew gasps from drug policy reform advocates who were, momentarily, elated over a new law that drastically reduces the disparity between prison sentences for crack and cocaine offenses.
President Obama on Tuesday signed the law overhauling mandatory sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Crack users, who are mostly black, for the past quarter-century have faced far tougher sentencing guidelines than cocaine users -- under the prior law, a suspect would need to be found carrying 500 grams of cocaine to face a five-year sentence; a crack user had to be caught with just 5 grams to get the same sentence.
While the move was hailed by some drug policy groups, the pot brownie bill tempered their excitement.
"It's a black eye on the Senate. It's a mark of shame," said Aaron Houston, director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (FOX)
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request No. 2009USMS13697, Subject: Images To John Verdi, Esq. of the Electronic Privacy Information Center - In response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and the litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia pertaining thereto, the Marshals Service has completed a supplemental search for records relating to the component of your request seeking "All unfiltered or unoscured images captured using Whole Body Imaging technology." (Department of Justice)
U.S. says UAE BlackBerry ban sets dangerous precedent The United States said it was disappointed that the United Arab Emirates planned to cut off key BlackBerry services, noting that the Gulf nation was setting a dangerous precedent in limiting freedom of information.
"We are committed to promoting the free flow of information," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. "We think it's integral to an innovative economy."
The UAE said over the weekend that it would suspend Research In Motion's BlackBerry Messenger, email and Web browser services from October 11 until the government could get access to encrypted messages.
Crowley said the United States was seeking additional information from the UAE about its security concerns, but urged the country to allow BlackBerry services to aid the free flow of information.
"It's about what we think is an important element of democracy, human rights and freedom of information and the flow of information in the 21st century," Crowley said, adding that the United States makes the same argument to Iran and China. (Reuters)
United Arab Emirates to block key features on BlackBerrys Citing national security concerns, the United Arab Emirates said Sunday that it will block key features on BlackBerry smartphones because the devices operate beyond the government's ability to monitor. An official in neighboring Saudi Arabia indicated that it will follow suit.
The decision could prevent hundreds of thousands of users in the UAE from accessing e-mail and the Web on their devices starting Oct. 11, putting the Middle Eastern federation's reputation as a business-friendly commercial and tourism hub at risk.
BlackBerry transmissions are encrypted and routed overseas, and the measure could be motivated in part by government fears that the messaging system might be exploited by terrorists or other criminals who cannot be monitored by local authorities.
However, analysts and activists also see it as an attempt to more tightly control the flow of information in the conservative country, a U.S. ally that is home to the Persian Gulf business capital Dubai and the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi. (Washington Post)
EPA to Crack Down on Farm Dust The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a crackdown on farm dust, so senators have signed a letter addressing their concerns on the possible regulations. - (World Now)
Hacker builds $1,500 cell-phone tapping device A computer security researcher has built a device for just $1,500 that can intercept some kinds of cell phone calls and record everything that's said.
The attack Chris Paget showed Saturday illustrates weaknesses in GSM, one of the world's most widely used cellular communications technologies.
His attack was benign; he showed how he could intercept a few dozen calls made by fellow hackers in the audience for his talk at the DefCon conference here. But it illustrates that criminals could do the same thing for malicious purposes, and that consumers have few options for protecting themselves.
Paget said he hopes his research helps spur adoption of newer communications standards that are more secure. (Associated Press)
Flu jab linked to fits in under fives: officials GPs have been told not to use a particular flu jab on 110,000 children under five after it was linked with a tenfold increase in fits, it can be revealed. - Doctors should stock alternative vaccines for under fives who are due to have the seasonal flu vaccine this winter, a letter from the head of immunisation at the Department of Health has said.
The action is being taken as rate of convulsions caused by high fever among children in Australia given the jab was ten times higher than normal.
Up to one in 100 children given the jab, made in Australia by CSL and marketed in the UK by Pfizer, suffered febrile convulsions in the following hours and days.
It is not known what is causing the problem and no other flu vaccines have been linked to an increased risk of fits. Adults given the vaccine do not appear to have been affected.
Children under five are only routinely vaccinated against seasonal flu if they are in designated 'risk groups' because they have chronic asthma, have been admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection previously or have other long-term conditions which means they would be particularly badly affected if they caught flu.
NY reps. spar in House over 9/11 responder bill The House's rejection of bill that would have provided up to $7.4 billion in aid to people sickened by World Trade Center dust has opened a sharp rift between two New York congressmen, Republican Peter King and Democrat Anthony Weiner.
The verbal jousting came on the House floor Thursday night as the vote neared. The results fell largely along party lines, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats supporting the measure, but it failed to win the needed two-thirds majority.
Arms flailing and his voice rising, Weiner took sharp aim at King, a Long Island Republican. (Associated Press)
A Critical Examination Of Matt Simmons' Hyperbolic Claims On The Deepwater Spill Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert, has long been one of the most famous and influential voices on the subject of peak oil. After the release of his book, Simmons rose to fame as Saudi Arabian oil production declined and global oil prices skyrocketed.
However, Simmons has lately been making hyperbolic claims related to the deepwater spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on the scenarios Simmons has outlined, he argues for responses such as using a nuclear explosion to seal the well and evacuating 20 million people from the Gulf Coast. Extraordinary responses such as these would impact a great many people, so The Oil Drum staff felt that a critical look at some of Simmons’ claims was in order. (Business Insider)
Anthony Weiner MAULS Republicans on 9/11 Health Bill "The gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing," bellowed Weiner, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens. "Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of heroes. It's a shame, a shame." (CSPAN)
NY Times Money Shot The screenshot below comes from the NY Times article ”This Land: Redwood Hideaway for Elite Goes on, But Protest Days Fade“, by Dan Barry. The print edition came out on July 28th, the article was released online on July 27th. BLAM! Dedication pays off, and my efforts were not in vain as the article states! Look at that beautiful banner, the NY Times could have cropped out the Architects and Engineers website, but did not, so thanks to the editors. (Nor Cal Truth)
9/11 responders aid bill nears vote in House The House is nearing a vote on a bill that would pay billions of dollars to people exposed to toxic World Trade Center dust in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The House on Wednesday is expected to take up the measure, sponsored by New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, to provide health care for more of the 9/11 first responders and others sickened by toxins emanating from the ruins of the World Trade Center. (Associated Press)
BP Oil Spill: On Day 100, Gulf Coast Has Some Reason to Hope Oil Slick Has Shrunk in Size, Marshes Remain Cleaner Than Expected - BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began 100 days ago, a spill that has changed the Gulf of Mexico, causing immense economic hardship and environmental disaster. At this milestone, though, it appears that the tide has turned and there's reason to hope.
Jeffery Kofman returns to the Gulf where the oil is quickly disappearing.
As of tonight, some 180 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, but the leaky well remains capped, and crews are on track to complete the relief well that will plug it for good within the next few weeks. (ABC)
Democrats attacking GOP as tea party Democrats are planning to link the tea party and Republicans, overlapping the two groups to paint the GOP as a party of extremists and the grassroots activists as tools of the establishment.
Democratic National Committee sources say the party's strategy is to pose the November midterm elections as a contest between Democrats and a joint GOP-tea party plan for the country. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official launch of the plan Wednesday by DNC Chairman Tim Kaine.
Democrats plan to cite tea party activists' statements and GOP support and introduce a "Republican-Tea Party Contract With America," a send-up of the 1994 GOP Contract With America that helped Republicans win control of the House for the first time in four decades.
Democrats plan to say the tea party is "the most potent force in Republican politics," according to a DNC source familiar with the plan. (Associated Press)
Document leak part of U.S. plot, says Pakistani ex-general with ties to Taliban From the deluge of leaked military documents published Sunday, a former Pakistani spy chief emerged as a chilling personification of his nation's alleged duplicity in the Afghan war -- an erstwhile U.S. ally turned Taliban tutor.
Now planted squarely in the cross hairs, retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul seems little short of delighted.
In an interview Tuesday, Gul dismissed the accusations against him as "fiction" and described the documents' release as the start of a White House plot. It will end, he posited, with an early U.S. pullout from Afghanistan -- thus proving Gul, an unabashed advocate of the Afghan insurgency, right.
President Obama "is a very good chess player. . . . He says, 'I don't want to carry the historic blame of having orchestrated the defeat of America, their humiliation in Afghanistan,' " said Gul, 74, adding that the plot incorporates a troop surge that Obama knows will fail. "It doesn't sell to a professional man like me." (Washington Post)
House GOP leaders: 9/11 first responders aid bill 'a massive new entitlement program' House Republican leadership is advising its members to vote against a bipartisan bill that would, among other things, bolster medical support to Sept. 11 victims.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), would provide medical monitoring to those exposed to toxins at ground zero, bolster treatment at specialized centers for those afflicted by toxins on Sept. 11 and reopen a compensation fund to provide for the economic loss of victims.
And it’s all paid for by closing a tax loophole on foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries, Democrats said.
But according to Republicans, it’s a job-killing growth of government that would create a new entitlement and waste taxpayer dollars. (Politico)
Mitsui Says Oil Tanker Possibly Attacked Near Hormuz Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world’s second-largest oil-tanker fleet, said one of its ships may have been attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, deemed by the U.S. to be the most important chokepoint for oil supply.
An explosion, which “may have been caused by an external attack,” occurred at 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time, injuring one of the crew, Mitsui said in a statement. The vessel, M. Star, was on its way to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates to assess the damage and no oil is leaking, Mitsui said. The tanker was damaged by rough seas, the official U.A.E. news agency WAM reported, citing Musa Murad, director of the Port of Fujairah. (Bloomberg)
Report: Billions for Iraq reconstruction unaccounted for; lax oversight blamed A federal audit of $9.1 billion targeted for reconstruction in Iraq cannot account for more than 95 percent of it, a federal report said Tuesday.
The report, by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, blamed "weaknesses in DoD's [the Department of Defense's] financial and management controls" and called on the Pentagon to improve its financial and management controls. (CNN)
Development Fund for Iraq: Department of Defense Needs to Improve Financial and Management Controls (SIGIR 10-020) Weaknesses in DoD's financial and management controls left it unable to properly account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in DFI funds it received for reconstruction activities in Iraq, This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receiving DFI funds did not establish the required Department of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization was designated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds. The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss. - SIGIR recommends that the Secretary of Defense take a number of actions to include specifying procedures for the accounting and reporting of non-U.S. funds in future contingencies, designating an executive agent to establish and oversee policy on the use of funds, establishing milestones for issuing guidance consistent with our DFI recommendations made in October 2009, and determining whether DoD organizations are still holding DFI funds. (Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction)
Obama pledges swift response after Battle Creek oil spill; Granholm tours site President Barack Obama has pledged a swift response to requests for help in dealing with a spill that dumped more than 800,000 gallons of oil into waterways in southern Michigan.
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich says U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, D- Battle Creek updated the president about the spill Tuesday. Lehrich says Obama asked what the U.S. government could do to provide additional help.
Schauer told reporters on a conference call that the spill is a "public health crisis." (The Detroit News)
SIGIR: Defense can't account for $8.7 billion The Defense Department is unable to account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in Development Fund for Iraq monies in received for reconstruction in Iraq. This according to a study published today by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
"This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receiving DFI (Development Fund for Iraq) funds did not establish the required Department of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization was designated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds," the report states. (Federal News Radio)
The year America dissolved It was 2017. Clans were governing America.
The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable.
As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and
the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities. The newly formed tribes expanded to encompass the relatives and friends of the police.
The dollar had collapsed as world reserve currency in 2012 when the worsening economic depression made it clear to Washington’s creditors that the federal budget deficit was too large to be financed except by the printing of money.
With the dollar’s demise, import prices skyrocketed. As Americans were unable to afford foreign-made goods, the transnational corporations that were producing offshore for US markets were bankrupted, further eroding the government’s revenue base. (Paul Craig Roberts)
'US psywar plan includes 2 hot wars' Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the United States and Israel plan to attack two countries in the Middle East as part of a conspiracy to apply pressure on Iran.
"We have precise information that the Americans have devised a plot, according to which they seek to launch a psychological war on Iran," Ahmadinejad stated in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Monday.
"They plan to attack at least two countries in the region within the next three months," he added.
He said the US seeks to achieve two main objectives with the scheme. (Press TV)
BlackBerrys pose 'security risk' say UAE authorities The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said that it could move to restrict or monitor BlackBerry mobile phones, as they pose a "national security risk".
The region's telecoms regulator said "BlackBerry operates beyond the jurisdiction of national legislation" as it stores its data offshore.
It said it was concerned that misuse may have "serious social, judicial and national security repercussions".
Critics branded the moves as "repressive".
The media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders told BBC News that while the UAE was playing a "technological leadership role in the Arab world" this was backed by "repressive laws" and a "general trend of intensified surveillance". (BBC)
David Rosenberg: You Know You Are In A Depression When... Congress moved to extend jobless benefits seven times, as has been the case
over the past two years, at a time when almost half of the ranks of the
unemployed have been looking for at least a half year.
The unemployment rate for adult males (25-54 years) hit a post-WWII this cycle
and is still above the 1982 recession peak, and the youth unemployment rate is
stuck near 25%. These developments will have profound long-term
consequences – social, economic and political.
The fiscal costs of the depression continue to mount, with the White House on
Friday raising its deficit projection for 2011 to $1.4 trillion from $1.267 trillion.
That gap in the forecast – $133 billion – was close to the size of the entire
budget deficit back in 2002. Amazing.
You also know it is a depression when you find out on the weekend that the FDIC
seized and shuttered another seven banks, making it 103 closures for the year.
What a recovery! - You also know it's a depression when a year into a statistical recovery, the
central bank is still openly contemplating ways to stimulate growth. The Fed was
supposed to have already started the process of shrinking its pregnant balance
sheet four months ago and is now instead thinking of restarting Quantitative
Easing. Of course, we are in this bizarre environment where bank credit
continues to contract – last week alone, bank wide consumer credit outstanding
fell $2.2 billion; real estate lending contracted $9.2 billion; and commercial &
industrial loans slid $5.1 billion.
What did the banks do this past week? They replaced cash with government
securities – the $47.5 billion net buying was the second largest in the past three
years. As the banks find few opportunities to lend – households are either not
creditworthy enough to lend to or are busy paying off debts and companies that
do have any expansion plans have enough cash on their balance sheet to
finance their initiatives – they are likely to use their $1 trillion in excess reserves
buying government and related securities, especially with the yield curve so
steep and the Fed ensuring that it has no intention of taking the 'carry' away for
a long, long time. (Business Insider)
Leading Ocean Scientists Issue Consensus Statement to End Dispersant Use in Gulf Leading ocean researchers and conservation leaders have issued a joint Consensus Statement calling for the immediate halt of the use of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has used nearly two million gallons of Corexit chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the cleanup effort with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The massive volume of dispersants and the way they have been applied—both on the surface and one mile below the surface —is unprecedented. Once oil is dispersed in deep water, it cannot be recovered. (1 Planet 1 Ocean)
Mainstream Media Implodes on 9/11 along with WTC 7: TV Coverage of Remarkable Building Collapse Analyzed The shocking collapse of the 47-story World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11 caused great alarm, not only in the architectural and engineering community (among those who have become aware of it) but with mainstream media – right from day one. While Dan Rather’s commentary on the remarkable collapse (that it looked like it was knocked down by well placed dynamite) is more often quoted, Peter Jennings also had similar thoughts as he reflected on the shocking 47-story collapse shortly after the event.
Jennings showed the building coming down in slow motion. As he reflected on the enormity of it he said, “Well, there’s Building 7 coming down. When you think that part of the component of news coverage around the country every year is the excitement, the fun, that people get watching an old building being demolished, and they wire it very carefully for days. It’s a very careful operation in order to make sure a building comes down safely. I think the last one we saw was when they brought down one of the old casinos in Las Vegas. It’s just stunning to see these buildings come down...and now, number seven World Trade Center which is 47 stories tall.” (Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth)
New York Times reporters met with White House before publishing WikiLeaks story The administration "praised" New York Times reporters for their handling of leaked Afghan war material - The White House was very upset with WikiLeaks for its decision to publish thousands of pages of classified reports and documents describing our mission in Afghanistan. But according to Yahoo's Michael Calderone, it was very pleased with how the New York Times dealt with its semi-exclusive access to the documents.
Times Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet took reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt to the White House last week to brief the administration on what they planned on publishing. And they all got gold stars.
“I did in fact go the White House and lay out for them what we had,” Baquet said. “We did it to give them the opportunity to comment and react. They did. They also praised us for the way we handled it, for giving them a chance to discuss it, and for handling the information with care. And for being responsible.” (Salon)
NYT defends publishing leaked military records The White House condemned Sunday night's leak of more than 90,000 secret military records covering the Afghanistan War by WikiLeaks, an organization that posts secret documents online.
National Security Adviser Jim Jones, in a statement, said “the United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.” - Baquet, along with reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, went to the White House last week to discuss what they planned on publishing. (Politico’s Glenn Thrush first reported on aspects of the meeting, but did not speak with Baquet.)
“I did in fact go the White House and lay out for them what we had,” Baquet said. “We did it to give them the opportunity to comment and react. They did. They also praised us for the way we handled it, for giving them a chance to discuss it, and for handling the information with care. And for being responsible.”
Jones said that WikiLeaks, unlike the Times, did not contact the U.S. government first.
That's not too surprising, given the recent friction between WikiLeaks and the military. In April, WikiLeaks posted a classified video of a U.S. attack in Baghdad that killed several civilians and Reuters employees. (Yahoo)
Ex-CIA chief: Strike on Iran seems more likely now A former CIA director says military action against Iran now seems more likely because no matter what the U.S. does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its suspected nuclear program.
Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, says that during his tenure a strike was "way down the list" of options. But he tells CNN's "State of the Union" that such action now "seems inexorable." (Associated Press)
Letter to the EPA, signed by 21 senators including Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn We write to convey our continued concerned regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest actions in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) as required every five years under the Clean Air Act. The Second Draft Policy Assessment (PA) for Particulate Matter (PM) released on July 8, 2010 in the Federal Register, if approved, would establish the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation's history. - If approved, would establish the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation's history. - We respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of common sense. These identified levels will be extremely burdensome for farmers and livestock producers to attain. Whether its livestock kicking up dust, soybeans being combined on a dry day in the fall, or driving a car down the gravel road, dust is a naturally occurring event. (US Congress)
Oakland Okays Indoor Medical Marijuana Mega-Farms In a marathon session Tuesday night, the Oakland City Council Tuesday approved an historic plan for large-scale indoor marijuana farms, but only after hearing from a cavalcade of medical marijuana patients, growers, and dispensary operators intent on ensuring that small and medium-sized growers are not squeezed out. While the ordinance is aimed at medical marijuana, the council, which has endorsed the Proposition 19 tax and regulate cannabis initiative, clearly sees the potential for tax revenues and jobs under a perhaps not-so-distant marijuana legalization in California.
The council passed a proposal that will authorize city officials to issue permits for four indoor marijuana farms to supply the city's four allowed existing medical marijuana dispensaries. The ordinance sets no size limitations. Some would-be medical marijuana cultivation entrepreneurs have proposed growing operations as large as 100,000 square feet.
Applicants for the four permits would submit proposals to the city. Permit holders would have to pay a $211,000 annual fee, as well as any taxes imposed by the city. The city currently taxes dispensaries at 1.8% and has plans to increase that tax to 8%. The large-scale grows would have a similar tax burden. (Drug War Chronicle)
Tropical Storm Bonnie Forms, Heading for Florida and BP's Gulf Oil Spill Tropical Storm Bonnie has formed south of the Bahamas and is on a track to move across the southern tip of Florida and into the oil-fouled waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers), and is expected to build strength as it bears down on the Florida Keys tomorrow, according to a special hurricane center advisory issued at 6:15 p.m. Miami time. (Bloomberg)
Virus Attacks Siemens Plant-Control Systems Computer hackers have designed a virus that targets industrial control systems built by German engineering giant Siemens AG, activating a kind of malicious software that analysts say represents a growing corporate-espionage threat.
The virus, dubbed Stuxnet, is spread by devices plugged into USB computer ports. It is programmed to try to steal data from computer systems that are used to monitor large automated plants built for anything from manufacturing to power generation to water treatment. Siemens is one of the world’s largest makers of such industrial automated systems, though it doesn’t break out its annual revenue from such sales. (Wall Street Journal)
Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act "An Act to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes." (Wikipedia)
Making the economy more just by Katrina vanden Heuvel - Congress has passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but the task of transforming our economy into one of shared and sustainable prosperity has only just begun. Structural reform will come not through the sweep of a single piece of legislation but with new, innovative economic models that better reflect the democratic values of this country.
The good news is that some of these transformative ideas are already taking root. Here are five ways to build a more just economy that Americans are experimenting with across the country.
The answer is 'B'
Corporations are compelled to pursue a single objective: maximize profit. In fact, a company can be sued for following goals that veer from that statutory obligation.
That's why Maryland State Sen. Jamie Raskin sponsored the Benefit Corporation legislation that was signed into law this spring. It gives businesses the option to register as a "B corporation," an entity legally obligated to maximize both shareholder value and advance a common public purpose such as cleaner air, open space or affordable housing. The B corporation's stated public goal is vigorously monitored by independent, third-party groups. It's a new business model with social consciousness in its DNA.
B corporation legislation has also been passed in Vermont, and it is being considered in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. (Washington Post)
Obama Is Preparing to Bomb Iran After about two and a half years during which the danger of war between the United States and Iran was at a relatively low level, this threat is now rapidly increasing. A pattern of political and diplomatic events, military deployments, and media chatter now indicates that Anglo-American ruling circles, acting through the troubled Obama administration, are currently gearing up for a campaign of bombing against Iran, combined with special forces incursions designed to stir up rebellions among the non-Persian nationalities of the Islamic Republic. Naturally, the probability of a new fake Gulf of Tonkin incident or false flag terror attack staged by the Anglo-American war party and attributed to Iran or its proxies is also growing rapidly. (Webster Tarpley)
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