Showing posts from April 27, 2014

US Govt Can Search Private Emails Stored Overseas: Judge

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[Hopefully it won't simply be Microsoft that's complaining about this and other governments will have something to say about the US government's belief that it can demand access to emails across the planet. *RON*]

First-of-its-kind ruling likely to have far-reaching ramifications as concerns over online privacy continue to rise following Snowden's revelations
By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams,  27 April 2014

In the first decision of its kind, a federal judge ruled this week that the U.S. government has the authority to force cyber-companies to hand over customers' emails and other digital data, even when that data is stored overseas.
Issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in New York, the decision pertained to a case in which Microsoft was given a warrant to search the email account of one of its clients whose email data is stored in a server located in Dublin, Ireland.

Microsoft challenged the warrant on the grounds that the…

No Community is Prepared for Major Oil-By-Rail Accident, Senate Hearing Told

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[A classic example of a massive negative externality, i.e., an unintended consequence of an economic activity experienced by a third party that no one wants to pay for. And, by extension, an excellent illustration of why 'free markets' aren't. *RON*]
 Justin Mikulka,, 27 April 2014

Just as you aren’t supposed to try to put out an oil fire in your kitchen with water, you aren’t supposed to try to put out a crude oil fire with water either. But in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that is all firefighters had for the first two days of battling the catastrophic oil-by-rail fire last July.

The fire burned until 8,000 gallons of firefighting foam finally arrived from Toronto, an eight-hour drive away. Forty-seven people were killed in the accident.

Corporate CEOs Demand That They be Tipped Off When a Whistleblower Reports Their Crimes

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[It's astonishing that CEOs publicly fight for and win, from the courts, the ability to actively stifle and seek punishment against people who draw their illegal activities to light. *RON*]
Written by Bill Black, posted on Naked Capitalism by Lambert StretherApril 26, 2014

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

I’m writing on the flight returning from the XIIth International CIFA Forum in Monaco. CIFA is an NGO. It is a confederation of independent financial advisor organizations that works with the UN in promoting the protection of investors. This means that their clients are often very wealthy and that many of the participants are speakers are very conservative or libertarians (or an admixture). One of the speakers, Dr. Hans Geiger, gave an impassioned denunciation of …

Why British Columbians Want to Speed the Shift to Clean Energy

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[A good illustration of the chasm between public opinion, public versus private interests, and our provincial government's priorities. *RON*]

By Merran Smith, Dir. Clean Energy Canada, Huffington Post, 27 April 2014

A new poll released this week not only reveals that most British Columbians are keen to transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy, but also highlights their motivations for doing so:
More than three quarters of British Columbians (78 per cent) agree that B.C. should transition away from using fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy to prevent climate change from getting worse.More than two thirds (67 per cent) agree the province should decrease its reliance on fossil fuel exports to avoid future "boom and bust" economic cycles.Three quarters (74 per cent) agree that the province has a good opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by developing the solutions needed to transition away from fossil fu…

Reporters Should Use Original Language Instead of Repeating Politicians' Misused Phrases

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[A good decoding of the political language Conservatives use to talk about (vilify) refugee claimants, and a strong call to less lazy journalism. We need one of these translations for each and every pronouncement by the Harper government. This is something we need to see more of in Huffington Post. Blogs like and try to uphold this standard, but they have a small readership. *RON*]

Dana Wagner, Huffington Post, April 27, 2014

I never meant to take my journalism professor seriously when she advised reading Politics and the English Language by George Orwell once per year. But at least annually, there's a reason to dig up his essay.

It's a manual because of the maxims for clear, vivid writing. (My favourite is to avoid dying metaphors like iron resolution, Achilles' heel ... gravy train.) But it's timeless for the connection from bad language to politics. Each ready-made phrase, each vague metaphor, and each pr…