Showing posts from December 29, 2014

Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change

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[Plant a tree! Part of a good, constructive NYT series of articles on potential solutions to climate change called The Big Fix. *RON*]

By Justin Gillis, New York Times, 23 December 2014

LA VIRGEN, Costa Rica — Over just a few decades in the mid-20th century, this small country chopped down a majority of its ancient forests. But after a huge conservation push and a wave of forest regrowth, trees now blanket more than half of Costa Rica.

Far to the south, the Amazon forest was once being quickly cleared to make way for farming, but Brazil has slowed the loss so much that it has done more than any other country to limit the emissions leading to global warming.

And on the other side of the world, in Indonesia, bold new promises have been made in the past few months to halt the rampant cutting of that country’s forests, backed by business interests with the clout to make it happen.

In the battle to limit the risks of climate change, it has been clear for…

Sources of Real Wage Stagnation

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[This has been an area of abysmal failure by President Obama. Crappy wages has become the new normal under his administration, as has permanent disemployment (lousy jobs, part time jobs, jobs with no benefits, etc., etc.). That Presidential Library will be raking in the dough from the Koch Kontingent when he leaves office! *RON*]

By: Barry P. Bosworth, Brookings Institute, 22 December 2014

Despite increased evidence of economic recovery, real wage gains have been niggling over the past decade and have given rise to growing claims of unfairness. I agree that all of the evidence points to uncommonly small gains in workers’ real (adjusted for inflation) wages, but it is instructive to understand the reasons for the poor performance. We can trace the change in real wages to three primary determinants of: (1) gains in labor productivity, (2) the division of earned income between labor and capital (profits), and (3) the allocation of labor compensation …

Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security

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[The Five Eyes views all forms of encryption as a 'threat.' More on the endless, relentless attack of our governments on our privacy, and so, our democracy. "Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSEC) even monitors sites devoted to the country's national pastime: 'We have noticed a large increase in chat activity on the hockeytalk sites. This is likely due to the beginning of playoff season,' it says in one presentation." *RON*]

By By Jacob Appelbaum, Aaron Gibson, Christian Grothoff, Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, Michael Sontheimer and Christian Stöcker, Der Spiegel, 28 December 2014

US and British intelligence agencies undertake every effort imaginable to crack all types of encrypted Internet communication. The cloud, it seems, is full of holes. The good news: New Snowden documents show that some forms of encryption still cause problems for the NSA.

When Christmas approaches, the spies of the F…

Top managers’ pay reveals weak link to value

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[Gosh what a shocker! Executive pay is only tenuously linked with meaningful corporate performance measures. Who appoints board members? Who appoints compensation committee members? And, by the way, using the word "incentivise" should be a capital offense. *RON*]

Sarah Gordon, Financial Times, 28 December 2014

Executive managers’ pay is still determined by simplistic measures of performance that bear little relation to long-term drivers of companies’ value, according to an analysis of pay at FTSE 100 companies over the past decade.

Research from CFA UK and Lancaster Business School, which examined executive remuneration over the 10 years from 2003-2013 at 30 FTSE 100 companies, found there was scant correlation between the key performance indicators that companies highlighted to shareholders and the measures used to incentivise and reward senior staff.

“Much of the discussion [around executive compensation] focuses on the magnitude of bon…

"No Easy Fix for Income Inequality" vs "Some Solutions to Income Inequality"

Click here to view the original "No Easy Fix" and "Some Solutions."
[These short articles from the Lethbridge Herald make for a good pairing so I decided to put them in one posting. *RON]
"No easy fix for income inequality"

The Editor, Medicine Hat News Opinion, 29 December 2014

Everyone is no doubt aware of the widening gap between the rich and poor in society. In fact, economic inequality was the primary focus of the Occupy Wall Street protest which made headlines a few years ago.

But a recent survey from the Broadbent Institute suggests Canadians actually underestimate how wide that gap really is.

“Canada is much more unequal than Canadians think it is and a far cry from what they think it should be,” Rick Smith, executive director of the Broadbent Institute, said in a news release. “That holds true for people of all political stripes, including Conservative voters.”

According to the report titled “The Wealth Gap: Perceptions and Misconceptions in Canada,” Ca…