Showing posts from January 6, 2015

One for the Record Books: 2014 Officially Hottest Year

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[Denialists beware - the global temperature continues to go nowhere except up. *RON*]

 By Brian Kahn, Climate Central, 5 January 2015

It’s official: 2014 has taken the title of hottest year on record. That ranking comes courtesy of data released Monday by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the first of four major global temperature record keepers to release their data for last year.
The upward march of the world’s average temperature since 1891 is a trademark of human-influenced global warming with 2014 being the latest stop on the climb. All 10 of the hottest years have come since 1998.

The average temperature was 1.1°F above the 20th century average according to JMA’s data. That edges out 1998, the previous warmest year, by about 0.1°F.

One big difference between 2014 and 1998 is that the latter was on the tail end of a super El Niño, which has the tendency to spike temperatures. In comparison, 2014 was the year of the almost El Niño.

Instead, …

Nine reasons why banking growth cannot be taken for granted

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[A typical Financial Times article with the subtitle, "What if centuries of steady expansion in the banking industry were about to go into reverse?" With the bizarre subtext that more growth would be good when we already have an over-sized and predatory financial services sector. *RON*]

By Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 5 January 2015

One of the more surprising financial facts of recent years is that, even as some banks have foundered amid the worst crisis in a century, the banking system as a whole has continued to grow. The tally of assets held by the world’s banks is now well more than $100tn. Conventional wisdom — as exemplified by International Monetary Fund predictions — suggests this asset growth will continue, with the total potentially quadrupling over the next few decades.

But the new year is a good time to be unconventional. What if centuries of steady growth in the banking industry were about to go into reverse? What if Ci…

For Second Week, Arrests Plunge in New York City

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[Does this not imply that the New York police are either in collusion with criminals or completely superfluous? With their business down 90% in some areas, they are trying to make it a selling point that no police have been laid off. And NYC is not falling apart, it is doing just fine. This campaign deserves to back-fire big time. *RON*]

By J. David Goodman and Al Baker, New York Times, 5 January 2015

For two straight weeks, New York City police officers have sharply cut back on making arrests and issuing summonses throughout the five boroughs, magnifying the growing divide between the city’s police force and its mayor, Bill de Blasio.

Officers made half as many arrests in the seven days through Sunday as in the same week a year ago. In the entire city, 347 criminal summonses were written, down from 4,077 a year ago, according to police statistics. Parking and traffic tickets also dropped by more than 90 percent.

Most precincts’ weekly tallies f…

‘High error rate’ found in Canada’s immigration processing

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[The impact of ideologically driven austerity cuts. Internal government reviews find CIC employees often fail to use correct form letters or provide accurate timelines. *RON*]

By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Mon Jan 05 2015

Internal government reviews have identified a “high error rate” in immigrationprocessing, from permanent resident applications to refugee work permits, prompting fears over the system’s integrity.
The human errors — staff failing to use correct form letters, address missing documents and provide accurate timelines, among other shortcomings — could not only cost individual applicants a chance to live and work in Canada but affect the “efficiency of the system” and create unnecessary backlogs.

“An important area of concerns resides with the letters. The number of request letters not sent, sent incomplete or unclear at initial stage and later on create a negative impact on both clients and the Case Processing …

Julian Fantino Out, Erin O'Toole In At Veterans Affairs After Cabinet Shuffle

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[Typical. To protect his own position, Harper throws the widely despised Fantino under the bus, yet offers no change to the (Harper-ordered) policies that made Fantino so despised to begin with. "Changing the messenger will only help if the message is changed.'' *RON*]
By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 5 January 2015

OTTAWA — On the night of last year's infamous televised showdown between Julian Fantino and angry veterans, one of those sent in ahead of time to smooth the way was Erin O'Toole, the man who on Monday took over the troubled portfolio.

Prior to the confrontation, O'Toole, two other Conservative MPs and Fantino's chief of staff met with the group of ex-soldiers, but failed to ease the concerns of the veterans, who were upset over planned office closures.

As recounted by some who were in the room, the encounter is instructive for the veterans community, which is wondering whether O'T…

B.C. needs pipeline for public safety, says Tory minister: ‘People of Lac Mégantic wished they had pipelines’

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[Gall and desperation: when the government that refuses to implement safety changes for the rail industry on a timely basis says pipelines are needed because rail transport is unsafe. *RON*]

Peter O'Neil, Postmedia News, National Post, 2 January 2015

OTTAWA • Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s B.C. lieutenant said he’s confident a new oilsands pipeline will eventually be built to the West Coast, and one of his key arguments for such a megaproject is public safety in the Lower Mainland.

Industry Minister James Moore raised the spectre of the deadly Lac Mégantic rail disaster that killed dozens in an inferno of blazing oil that engulfed the Quebec town in the summer of 2013.

“The people of Lac Mégantic wished they had pipelines instead of rail,” said Moore, who represents the Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam riding.
He pointed to the huge rail yard that is in the heart of Port Coquitlam and is the second-largest employer in his riding. He said a…