Showing posts from December 5, 2015

Throne Speech is most notable for what it does NOT say

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[There's nothing newsworthy about content-free Throne Speeches. This may be a bit disappointing, but it's still early for Trudeau to have a lot of detail on large policy issues. That he re-iterates his commitment to electoral reform is encouraging. Most disappointing is the dead silence on Bill C-51 and the statement that "Canada will, the Liberals promise, 'work toward' putting a price on carbon. 'Work toward' are the key words here. The Liberals do not commit to actually do anything." Meanwhile let's not forget that we're currently in a hole that it took Stephen Harper - with unflagging enthusiasm - nearly a decade to dig. *RON*]
By Karl Nerenberg,, 4 December 2015

Speeches from the Throne are generally short on details and long on rhetoric, and the new Trudeau government's first is no exception -- in spades.

This Speech is, in fact, virtually bereft of any detail whatsoever.

It may set a rec…

Corporations Will Never Solve Climate Change

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[The corporatocracy and the environment. From Harvard Business Review, yet! "When groovy VW admitted to gaming emissions tests, many green-business enthusiasts reached their breaking point. It became clear that the idea of business leading the charge was flawed, because as consumers we cannot take companies at their word. Like the scorpion who asks the frog for a ride across the river and then stings him, killing them both, it is simply in corporations’ nature to internalize profit and externalize costs." *RON*]

Naomi Oreskes and Auden Schendler, Harvard Business Review, 4 December 2015

The American climate activists who have flocked to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this week tend to have one thing in common: many own the “it” car for their tribe, the VW Jetta Wagon TDI. At 49 MPG, the Jetta does better than many hybrids, and drives German, too. Car and Driver magazine celebrated it as a “green” car that eve…

Man’s hoard of nearly 5,000 guns shows ease of amassing arms in U.S.

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["This has completely changed our definition of an ass-load of guns,' said Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks... The sheriff still hasn’t determined precisely how many guns in Nicholson’s cache were stolen, noting that hundreds have had their serial numbers removed so they can’t be traced... South Carolina is a common starting point for firearms moving up the Iron Pipeline, a route for many of the 230,000 or so guns stolen nationwide each year." *RON*]
Peter Eisler, Reuters, 3 December 2015

As sheriff’s investigators threaded past the battered cars, cast-off tires and rusted farm equipment cluttering Brent Nicholson’s front yard, there was no hint of the sinister stockpile hidden behind his windowless front door.
Inside, the guns were everywhere: rifles and shotguns piled in the living room, halls and bedrooms; handguns littering tables and countertops. Outside, when they rolled up the door on the pre-fab metal garage, more arms…

Every 16-year-old in Sweden to receive copy of We Should All Be Feminists

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[Scandinavian vs US education in a nutshell. Campaign hopes to 'open up conversation about gender' with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's feminist call to arms. Or try bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody. *RON*]
Alison Flood, The Guardian, 4 December 2015

Less than a month after it was revealed that the UK is planning to drop feminism from the politics A-level, every 16-year-old in Sweden is being given a copy of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s call to arms, We Should All Be Feminists.

The essay, adapted from Adichie’s award-winning TED talk of the same name, is being distributed in Swedish to high-school students by the Swedish Women’s Lobby and publisher Albert Bonniers. Launching the project at Norra Real high school in Stockholm this week, they said they hoped the book would “work as a stepping stone for a discussion about gender equality and feminism”.
“My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem…

U.S. First Shields Its Torturers and War Criminals From Prosecution, Now Officially Honors Them

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[War criminals and realpolitik US style. The Obama administration just literally put Dick Cheney on a pedestal. *RON*]
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, 4 December 2015.
As vice president, Dick Cheney was a prime architect of the worldwide torture regime implemented by the U.S. government (which extended far beyond waterboarding), as well as the invasion and destruction of Iraq, which caused the deaths of at least 500,000 people and more likely over a million. As such, he is one of the planet’s most notorious war criminals.

President Obama made the decision in early 2009 to block the Justice Department from criminally investigating and prosecuting Cheney and his fellow torturers, as well as to protect them from foreign investigations andeven civil liability sought by torture victims. Obama did that notwithstanding a campaign decree that even top Bush officials are subject to the rule of law and, more importantly, notwithstanding a treaty signed in 1…

Republicans’ Climate Change Denial Denial

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[It's quite true. American political myopia means that "people don't realize how extraordinary the G.O.P.’s wall of denial is, both in the U.S. context and on the global scene." This isn't conservatism, it's suicidal irrationality in support of the corporatocracy. *RON*]

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 4 December 2015

Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe.

Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.

O.K., I know the reaction of many readers: How partisan! How over the top! But what I said is, …

Lighting Rwanda & Tanzania With Solar & LEDs — SolarCity-Backed Off Grid Solar

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[It's amazing this hasn't been seriously pursued previously; I hope their business model works out well. Many small businesses and poor communities in Africa live basically off stolen electricity generated using dirty non-renewable resources. But if there's one thing Africa has, it's an endless supply of free sunshine. Combined with energy efficient LED lights, it's a good thing. *RON*]

By Jake Richardson, Clean Technica, 5 December 2015

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

Off Grid Electric is a leading small business advancing clean energy in the developing world. It has created a distributed solar power model and currently provides services in Tanzania and Rwanda. Many people in these countries don’t have enough money to buy solar power systems, so Off Grid makes them affordable. Otherwise, kerosene and candles are used, which generate harmful indoor air pollution and can be expensive — especially over the long term. They…

Men at work

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[Aeon often has high quality articles. This is a thoughtful piece - scholarly in a good sense - on how the age of austerity has transformed work, but how what it means to be a man has not caught up. *RON*]
by Allison J Pugh, Aeon, 4 December 2015.
How important is work to manliness? Join the conversation →

When Gary Gilbert lost his job, it was devastating. A tradesman, he had joined his employer’s company only because he thought it offered a bit more security than endlessly chasing the next gig as a freelance operator, and that he could then provide a better future for his son. The layoff came without warning. ‘I was crushed,’ he recalled. ‘Oh God. I’ve cried at night about it.’

While the layoff shattered his hopes and, Gary believes, was unwarranted, he refused to blame his employer. ‘I had no reason to take that job,’ he explained. ‘I thought I was going to make a more stable environment, you know. And I was wrong, you know, but that – that was m…