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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 36,445

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Thursday TOON Roundup 1 - Options and risks
























401(k)s are replacing pensions. That’s making inequality worse.

By Lydia DePillis,

The once-dominant defined benefit pension plan–which pays out a fixed amount after an employee retires–is on its way to becoming an historical artifact. More and more employers are offering 401(k) plans instead, which require employees to pay into their own accounts, sometimes with and sometimes without a matching contribution. And according to a new analysis from the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute, the effect has been a stratification of retirement savings by education, income, and race–which could deepen inequality among the elderly as the population ages.

...


But the moral starts to change as you look underneath the numbers. Those benefits split among a smaller share of the population: Overall, the percentage of workers participating in all employer-based retirement plans declined over the past couple decades, across all age groups.

That’s because the top-earning people are choosing to put a lot more money away, while those who earn less can’t afford to. Retirement savings by the top fifth of income earners have risen markedly, while they’ve declined or risen only slightly for most everyone else.

more, with charts

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/03/401ks-are-replacing-pensions-thats-making-inequality-worse/

Senators Authorizing Syria Strike Got More Defense Cash Than Lawmakers Voting No

BY DAVID KRAVETS
09.05.136:30 AM



Senators voting Wednesday to authorize a Syria strike received, on average, 83 percent more campaign financing from defense contractors than lawmakers voting against war.

Overall, political action committees and employees from defense and intelligence firms such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies, Honeywell International, and others ponied up $1,006,887 to the 17 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who voted yes or no on the authorization Wednesday, according to an analysis by Maplight, the Berkeley-based nonprofit that performed the inquiry at WIRED’s request.

Committee members who voted to authorize what the resolution called a “limited” strike averaged $72,850 in defense campaign financing from the pot. Committee members who voted against the resolution averaged $39,770, according to the data.

The analysis of contributions from employees and PACs of defense industry interests ranges from 2007 through 2012 — based on data tracked by OpenSecrets.org.

more
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/09/syria-war-authorization-money/


As predicted. There is a term for someone who takes money for services I can't use here, but is there a term for the person who actually provides the money in the first place but gets screwed instead? Taxpayer?

Toon: McCain's Judgement

Sweden grants blanket asylum to Syrian refugees

Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.

"All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it," Annie Hoernblad, the spokeswoman for Sweden's migration agency, told AFP.

"The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future."

The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad.

more

http://www.france24.com/en/20130903-sweden-grants-blanket-asylum-syrian-refugees

Dallas Cowboys Stadium uses more electricity than the entire country of Liberia.

BY ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

In the developed world, reliable energy is something that can be taken for granted. People pay attention only when something goes wrong, like when the power goes out during the Super Bowl, forcing players and fans to sit uncomfortably in the dark for 34 minutes.

In my country, the West African nation of Liberia, living without power has become a way of life. For the last decade, we've been digging out from the aftermath of a 23-year civil war that left our energy infrastructure in shambles. In a country of 4.1 million, only about 1 percent of urban residents -- and almost no rural residents -- have access to electricity. Everyone else depends on unreliable and inefficient sources of energy such as firewood, charcoal, candles, kerosene, battery-powered flashlights, palm oil, and small gasoline and diesel generators. Many of these energy sources are toxic and create pollutants that have serious health consequences for our country.

This is why I was delighted when U.S. President Barack Obama put energy poverty at the center of his trip to Africa this summer. His new initiative, called Power Africa, aims to double electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by responsibly building on the continent's potential in gas and oil as well as its huge potential to develop clean energy.

Initially focusing on six key partner countries, including my own, Power Africa will mobilize the U.S. private sector to add 10,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity, while also increasing electricity access by at least 20 million new households and businesses. The White House has pledged $7 billion over the next five years in support of the initiative (most of which will be returned to U.S. taxpayers because of the structure of the plan's public-private partnerships). In addition, the American private sector has committed an additional $9 billion in direct assistance.

more

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/29/let_s_power_africa_ellen_johnson_sirleaf_liberia_energy

Syria Strike Wouldn't Be Cheap

By MARCUS WEISGERBER

WASHINGTON — A cruise missile strike against Syria could cost the Pentagon hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons, according to experts and government documents.

Since any type of US military action is expected to last just a few days, the price tag would be similar to costs accrued during the early days of the 2011, five-month NATO operation to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, defense analysts say.

The first few weeks of the Libyan operation cost the US about $600 million. About $340 million of that was directly was to replenish munitions, specifically sea-launched Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles and air-launched Boeing Joint Direct Attack munitions, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (T-LAMs) cost about $1.4 million each, according to government budget documents.

more

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130828/DEFREG02/308280030/Syria-Strike-Wouldn-t-Cheap

Siskiyou supervisors support withdrawal from California


The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to support the county's split from the state of California.

It's the first in a long series of steps to form the proposed state of Jefferson, which proponents of the effort say would bring representation to rural North State counties that currently are beholden to the whims of representatives of the more heavily populated Southern California and free them from burdensome state regulations.

”We have to have government that's local, understands our issues and has empathy” for those affected, said Mark Baird, a Scott Valley rancher who's also president for Scott Valley Protect Our Water and vice president of the Siskiyou Water User's Association.

Baird is leading the charge to form a new state from rural counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon, though he certainly wasn't the only voice in support of the move.

More than 100 people packed the supervisors' chambers Tuesday for the discussion on whether the county should issue a declaration that it wants to secede from the state. Nearly all those in attendance appeared to be for the move and about a dozen spoke in support of it.

”Many proposed laws are unconstitutional and deny us our God-given rights,” said Gabe Garrison of Happy Camp. “We need our own state so we can make laws that fit our way of life.”

more

http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_24011588/siskiyou-supervisors-support-withdrawal-from-california

Tom the Dancing Bug Toon: The Wizard of Oz-The Aftermath

JPMorgan subject of obstruction probe in energy case

By Emily Flitter
NEW YORK | Wed Sep 4, 2013 12:01pm EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into whether several employees of JPMorgan Chase & Co tried to impede a regulatory investigation into alleged manipulation of power markets, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

The probe, which is in its early stages, is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors in Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office. It comes after a JPMorgan subsidiary agreed on July 30 to pay a $410 million penalty to settle a manipulation case brought by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The sources said investigators aim to determine whether individuals at JPMorgan - including three Houston-based employees - gave regulators all the information they needed to investigate JPMorgan's power market deals in California and the Midwest.

Deliberately withholding information from investigators or lying during interviews conducted as part of an investigation is considered obstruction of justice, a criminal offense.


more

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/04/us-jpm-ferc-doj-idUSBRE9830QM20130904
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