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Showing posts from April 20, 2014

Further Notes on Sweden

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[In Canada, by comparison, we've been pretty good about this - the Bank of Canada has held rates steady and low and even right-wing think tanks like CD Howe have been sticking fairly close with this message. *RON*]
Paul Krugman, Conscience of a Liberal, NY Times, April 20, 2014

I’m still thinking about Sweden’s slide into deflation, which actually offers several lessons relevant to the rest of us.

First, it’s an object lesson in the power of sadomonetarism, the desire of many monetary officials to raise interest rates because, well, because. Look at Swedish macro data over the relevant period:

In 2010 Sweden had high unemployment and low inflation; Econ 101 level macro should have said that this was no time to raise rates. Yet the Riksbank went ahead and did so anyway. Why?

15 Years After Columbine, How "Never Again" Became "Oh Well"

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[Welcome to America, the land of blue jeans, rock & roll, and sporadic meaningless mass murder. *RON*]

By Ben Dreyfuss, Mother Jones, Apr. 20, 2014
On April 20, 1999, two teenagers walked into a suburban high school outside of Denver and shot 13 people to death. The massacre at Columbine was not the first mass shooting in America. It was not the first mass shooting at an American school. Indeed, Peter Jennings began the news that night, "The reaction of so many people today was 'oh no, not again.'" But Columbine was different. It became a national trauma in a way the others hadn't. Yes, it was the deadliest American school shooting on record at the time—though it is no longer—but what really amplified its significance was the fact it was the first mass shooting that played out in real time on television. The shootings began at 11:19am. By noon, local television stations had broken into regular programming with uninterru…

B.C. environment minister warned about LNG greenhouse gas emissions

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[The science is what everyone knew already. The surprise is twofold: a) that Ministry staff are saying this to the BC Environment Minister, and b) this specific phrase, which indicates that Ministry staff are confirming this directly with the press, "the ministry said in an emailed statement to The Canadian Press." *RON*]

By Dene Moore, CP / Huffington Post, 04/20/2014

VANCOUVER - British Columbia Environment Ministry staff have warned their minister that the province's dreamed-of liquefied natural gas industry poses some big challenges with greenhouse gas emissions.

Internal briefing notes prepared for Environment Minister Mary Polak since she took office last year and obtained by The Canadian Press, single out methane emissions for concern.

On top of emissions from combustion and flaring of natural gas, methane and carbon dioxide escape during hydraulic fracturing process, or fracking, the documents said.

"Methane emissions are a…

Traumatized refugees lose most of their federal mental health funding in B.C.

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[Harper cuts about two-thirds of mental health service funding for refugees, including funds for the treatment of (often suicidal) victims of torture with post-traumatic stress disorder. *RON*]

By Steven Chua, CP / Huffington Post, 04/20/2014

VANCOUVER - Months after his mother was murdered by gang gunfire, Mauricio Osorto recognized he would be next if he didn't escape Honduras.

He abandoned his life as a university teacher and lawyer who shared his mother’s law practice to go to Canada where he had to start again.

A Vancouver refugee-assistance program helped him get through the grief and trauma of what he left behind and allowed him to build a new life in Canada.

But many others after Osorto, 33, won't have the same opportunities in British Columbia after the federal government cut almost of all of its funding for agencies that had been offering mental health services to thousands of traumatized refugees.

Dylan Mazur, with the Vancouv…