Showing posts from May 3, 2016

How We Got The Electoral College

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[An interest short excerpt explaining how the weird system for choosing US Presidents was originally put in place. The framers of the US constitution were far more concerned that there not be too much democracy involved than with explaining precisely how this system would meet their goals. "It will be the work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction: it will be like the election of a pope by a conclave of cardinals." Is it time for this antiquated system to get the heave-ho? *RON*]
Delancey Place, 2 May 2016
Today's selection -- from The First Presidential Contest by Jeffrey Pasley. The Electoral College was perhaps the least successful element of the U.S. Constitution. (And not unexpectedly, modifications to the Electoral College process came quickly). The Founders did not want the public to directly elect the President, since previous experiments in direct elections at the state level had reinforced the conclusion that pure democrac…

Refugees revive fading Italian villages

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[This illustrates how refugees can, and do, make a positive economic difference to fading and poverty-stricken areas of Europe. This should be studied closely by other European nations in designing resettlement programs. Domenico Lucano, mayor of Riace, sees the flow of refugees in Italy as an opportunity. Meanwhile: Dozens of Syrians forced into sexual slavery in derelict Lebanese house. *RON*]

Thomas Bruckner, Al Jazeera, 2 May 2016

Riace, Italy - As the continuous influx of refugees is seen as a cause for concern for many European nations, which are employing strict border controls to stop the unprecedented flow of people, one community in the southern Italian region of Calabria has taken a different perspective of the matter.

The village of Riace had seen its population drop from 2,500 to 400 since the 1990s, when people moved to northern Italy for better economic opportunities.

Domenico Lucano, Mayor of Riace, saw the flow of refugees in Italy…

Second refugee at Australian detention centre in Nauru sets herself on fire

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[Australians should be ashamed of their government and outraged at the hellish conditions still maintained at the Nauru detention centre. The young woman, from Somalia, has severe burns and is being treated in a hospital on the island. Where the first dead refugee is concerned: Widow of refugee who set himself alight 'being kept in hotel and denied a lawyer,' and Tragedy on Nauru: we do not need to act like a stupid and brutal nation. Meanwhile, in the vaterland: Far-right AfD says Islam not welcome in Germany. *RON*]

Helen Davidson and Ben Doherty, The Guardian, 3 May 2016

A young refugee woman from Somalia has set herself alight at an Australian detention centre on Nauru, just days after a 23-year-old man, Omid, died of injuries sustained in a similar act.

It comes amid moves by the Australian immigration department to shift detainees out to other mainland facilities, a worsening mental health crisis in the offshore processing centres, …

Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal

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[There are really two stories here. One is the leak itself: the more you are allowed to read about TTIP the worse it sounds. The second, a counter-balancing piece of good news, is that the US and EU seem to be so far apart that its hard to imagine a deal going through. Greenpeace says internal documents show US attempts to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health. See also: What is TTIP and why should we be angry about it? *RON*]
Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 1 May 2016
Talks for a free trade deal between Europe and the US face a serious impasse with “irreconcilable” differences in some areas, according to leaked negotiating texts.

The two sides are also at odds over US demands that would require the EU to break promises it has made on environmental protection.

President Obama said last week he was confident a deal could be reached. But the leaked negotiating drafts and internal positions, which were obtained byGreenpeace

America now has nearly 5 PR people for every reporter, double the rate from a decade ago

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[Meaningful public discourse is necessary for a meaningful democracy. "One of the scariest responses I’ve received to these stats is from two separate professors, who tweeted to me that not one student in either of their most recent journalism classes was actually looking to get into journalism." Add to this the concentration of media ownership by the 1% and you simply cannot depend on mainstream media for news about the world: Concentration of Media Ownership and the Imagination of Free Speech. *RON*]
By Mike Rosenberg, Muck Rack, 14 April 2016

As I’ve spent the last several months looking for a full-time journalism job, I keep noticing something depressing.

When you search job sites for “journalism,” “reporter” or other similar keywords, what you’ll find is a whole bunch of roles that have nothing to do directly with producing the news.

For every one job result for a reporter, photojournalist or TV producer, you’ll get 10 results f…

B.C. continues to neglect climate recommendations, favours LNG projects

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[What the Pembina Institute proposes is a climate test that includes asking two critical questions: is the region on track to meet its climate targets and is carbon pollution from the project being minimized? If either of these questions has a negative answer, the project should not proceed." *RON*]
By Alyse Kotyk,, 3 May 2016

As Trudeau's Liberal government meets its six-month mark of being in office, climate group the Pembina Institute is calling for a clear, comprehensive climate change test for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects.

"Canada's federal government was elected last October on a platform that contained many environmental commitments. One of the most…hotly debated was their commitment to establish a pan-Canadian climate change framework," said Erin Flanagan, Program Director of Federal Policy at the Pembina Institute. "Since the government's election they have confirmed that working with the pro…