Archive | April, 2012
According to some “experts,” as reported by Michelle Maisto in Forbes:
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Shifting the world’s reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is important, certainly. But the world’s best chance for achieving timely, disaster-averting climate change may actually be a vegetarian diet eating less meat, according to a recent report in World Watch Magazine. (While I’d happily nudge the world toward a vegetarian diet, the report authors are more measured and simply suggest diets containing less meat.)
“The entire goal of today’s international climate objectives can be achieved by replacing just one-fourth of today’s least eco-friendly food products with better alternatives,” co-author Robert Goodland, a former World Bank Group environmental advisor wrote in an April 18 blog post on the report.
A widely cited 2006 report estimated that 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry. However, analysis performed by Goodland, with co-writer Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, found that figure to now more accurately be 51%.
Are we headed for a future in which people are jailed for “branding crimes”? A special set of laws passed by British Parliament, at the behest of the International Olympic Committee, criminalizes “brand violations” related to sponsors of the London Olympics. It will be illegal for local businesses to publicly display words such as ‘twenty-twelve’, ‘medals’, and ‘London Games’. Athletes are banned from publicly mentioning companies or products that are not sponsors. Crack teams will patrol Olympic Village bathrooms, taping over manufacturers’ logos on soap dispensers and toilets. The Guardian writes:
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With just a little more than three months to go until the opening of the London 2012 Games, attention is increasingly turning to what many legal experts consider to be the most stringent restrictions ever put in place to protect sponsors’ brands and broadcasting rights, affecting every athlete, Olympics ticket holder and business in the UK.
It is certainly very tough legislation,” says Paul Jordan, a marketing specialist at law firm Bristows, which is advising both official sponsors and non-sponsoring businesses on the new laws.
These practices do not receive enough attention in the press. As Davis K. Shipler writes in the NY Times:
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The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.
But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.
When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I.
"Mr. President, I hope you don’t think I’m out of line here, but marijuana is something that real people care about. The fact that you believe Speaker Boehner when he tells you he still has control of his party leads me to believe that you must be smoking some crazy great weed yourself."
Josn Gerstein writes on the Politico:
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President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser offered a rare public defense Sunday of the use of armed drones to target terrorism suspects – a technique widely discussed by national security experts outside government and by human rights activists, but almost always treated as secret by U.S. officials.
“Drones, the remotely piloted vehicles, [are] a tremendously capable tool to use against the terrorist abroad. It has capability to monitor their activities. It provides a good insight to our intelligence analysts and operators in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It has the capability of carrying out strikes as well,” Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said on “Fox News Sunday.”
In response to a question about a recent decision by Obama to give the Central Intelligence Agency and the military broader authority to carry out drone strikes in Yemen, Brennan emphasized that such strikes are always done with approval of the countries where they take place, though he stopped short of saying that local authorities had advance notice of each specific strike.
In the latest phase of the foreclosure crisis, our nation’s biggest banks have reached a Zen-like state in which they resemble snakes eating their own tails, reports Forbes:
Here’s a sign of just how big and messy the foreclosure problem is: Bank of America has sued itself at least nine times in April.
That’s what lawyer and fraud expert Lynn Szymoniak discovered recently during a search for foreclosure filings in Palm Beach county Florida.”There are likely at least 100 examples of the same thing happening across the state,” Szymoniak says. “The company is literally seeking damages from itself in order to foreclose on the condo owner.”
“We are servicing the first mortgage on behalf of an investor and we own the second mortgage,” said Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens [in regards to one case].
Claire O’Sullivan and Ann Cahill write in the Irish Examiner:
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Justice Minister Alan Shatter reiterated that everyone, including priests, were obliged to report child sex abuse and other offences, including white collar crime, to the gardaí, even if they hear about it in the confessional.
The minister described the issue as a media obsession and said priests had been obliged to provide gardaí with information about a whole series of crimes since the 1998 Offences Against the State Amendment Act.
Nobody had raised any question about this or the 2011 Criminal Justice Act that placed the same obligation on the whole community, including priests, to assist gardaí with information.
The confessional was a diversion from the real issue, which had nothing to do with the confessional but with the fact that sexual abuse of children by clergy had been known about by religious orders and leaders as a result of parents, victims and others telling them, outside of the confessional.