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marmar

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Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 70,184

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Oh (No!) Canada



brought to you by Stephen Bonaparte Bush Harper


from the BBC:



Canada will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the minister of the environment has said.

Peter Kent said the protocol "does not represent a way forward for Canada" and the country would face crippling fines for failing to meet its targets.

The move, which is legal and was expected, makes it the first nation to pull out of the global treaty.

The protocol, initially adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, is aimed at fighting global warming. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16151310



Paul B. Farrell: Our decade from hell will get worse in 2012


Our decade from hell will get worse in 2012
Commentary: Market crash, political gridlock, revolution, new class wars

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Fasten your seat belts: 2011 was far worse than expected. Our earlier predictions for America’s Worst Decade just got worse.

As financial historian Niall Ferguson writes in Newsweek: “Double-Dip Depression … We forget that the Great Depression was like a soccer match, there were two halves.” The 1929 crash kicked off the first half. But what “made the depression truly ‘great’ …began with the European banking crisis of 1931.” Sound familiar?

Yes, huge warnings: But America’s deaf. In denial. When we predicted the 2011-2020 “decade from hell” we didn’t see the big macro events dead ahead: Arab Spring virus that’s now Occupy Wall Street, promising to explode into an even more powerful force in 2012 … war on the middle class … widening inequality gap. … Washington gridlock … the Super Rich’s blind resistance to all new taxes.

As Ferguson puts it: “To understand what has been happening in our own borderline depression, you need to know this history. But hardly anyone does.” Get it? America’s already in a “borderline depression,” and virtually nobody gets it. American leaders are dummies about history. Worse, nobody may be able to stop our depression from turning “great.” .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/our-decade-from-hell-will-get-worse-in-2012-2011-12-13?link=home_carousel



Der Spiegel: The Durban Climate Agreement 'Is Almost Useless'


The climate talks in Durban ended with an agreement to agree on a new agreement on emissions cuts in coming years. The outcome was hailed as historic by the organizers, but German commentators say the pledges remain too vague and the progress too slow -- while global warming is accelerating.

Countries from around the globe agreed on Sunday to forge a new deal forcing all the biggest polluters for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions. A package of accords agreed after two weeks of United Nations talks in Durban, South Africa, extended the 1997 Kyoto Protocol -- the only global pact enforcing carbon cuts -- allowing five more years to finalize a wider pact.

Delegates agreed in the early hours of Sunday to start work next year on a new, legally binding accord to cut greenhouse gases, to be decided by 2015 and to come into force by 2020. The process for doing so, called the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, would "develop a new protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force." The phrasing was vague enough for all parties to claim victory.

.....(snip).....

Left-wing Frankfurter Rundschau writes:

"The Kyoto Protocol is saved. After a hard diplomatic battle, the summit meeting agreed to a continuation of the historic climate agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise have expired in 2012. That makes for good reading. As does the fact that the US, China and the other emerging markets want to take part in a new global agreement from 2020. The only problem is that it's almost useless. The UN summit wasn't a debacle like the Copenhagen conference two years ago, but it only narrowly avoided complete failure -- like most of the 16 summits before it." ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,803158,00.html



Detroit Free Press: Lowe's faces increasing backlash for pulling ads from 'All-American Muslim'


A decision by the retail chain Lowe's to pull its ads from a TV show based on Dearborn's Muslim community has sparked an intense outcry from Muslim-Americans and their supporters.

The unfolding controversy has gained attention worldwide, as media news outlets including NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, the BBC, and Time magazine, reported on it today.

Over the past few days, Muslims have launched an online campaign against the home improvement store, urging it to apologize and start running ads again on TLC’s “All-American Muslim,” a reality TV series that showcases the lives of five Lebanese-American Shia Muslim families.

Lowe's stopped running commercials during "All-American Muslim" after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association e-mailed companies to ask them to stop advertising on the show. The group said the program is "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20111212/NEWS02/111212022/Lowe-s-faces-increasing-backlash-pulling-ads-from-All-American-Muslim-retailer-apologizes?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE



Facing Funding Shortfalls and Protest, Better Rail for Boston Region is Delayed





from the Transport Politic blog:



Facing Funding Shortfalls and Protest, Better Rail for Boston Region is Delayed
December 11th, 2011


Just northwest of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville are some of the nation’s exemplar cities when it comes to promoting transportation alternatives. In Somerville, 48% of the population rides transit, walks, or bikes to work; in Cambridge, 57% do. The explanation likely comes down to a strong commitment to livable streets in both cities, a large student population, high residential densities, community activism against limited-access highways, and big concentrations of jobs both in the traditional office center of Downtown Boston but also in the walkable Kendall Square-MIT and Harvard Square areas, both along the Red Line rapid transit corridor.

Yet, with the exception of the Red Line — extended north of Harvard Square in the early 1980s — reliable transit access in the two cities is limited. Buses crisscross the area, but they are stuck in traffic at all periods of the day due to the lack of reserved lanes. Commuter rail lines that extend through the area only stop once, at the Porter Square Red Line station. These limitations have strained the Red Line, which now suffers from overcrowding at peak hours, and limited the potential for growth. In addition, partially because of the penury of transit stations around which to build up, the Boston region is one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

For years, plans for transit access improvements, clearly merited considering the area’s demographics and potential, have been under development by the Boston-area transit agency, MBTA. A circumferential bus rapid transit line, the Urban Ring, would have allowed commuters from Cambridge and Somerville to get to Boston’s jobs-heavy Longwood Medical Area or Logan Airport without passing through congested downtown — but it was put on indefinite hold last year due to a funding shortfall. Now, an extension of the Green Line light rail line into Somerville is threatened by similar concerns. And the reactivation of the Grand Junction commuter rail corridor through Cambridge has been put off by community resistance.

The Green Line extension is one of the most promising transit projects in the country. It is expected to carry about 45,000 daily riders along its four-mile, two-pronged route, with termini in Somerville’s active Union Square neighborhood and Tufts University, just across the Somerville city line in Medford (see map below of the green dotted line), following two existing commuter rail corridors in a fully separated right-of-way. The state has previously said it plans to begin construction at the end of next year, with the opening of the first stations planned for 2016. The program is expensive — about $1 billion for its completion. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/12/11/facing-funding-shortfalls-and-protest-better-rail-for-boston-region-is-delayed/



Presenting America’s Ten Greediest of 2011


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:



.....(snip).....

10/ Paul Hoolahan: Skimming the Sugar

Greed has never been a stranger to professional sports. But this year’s most avaricious sports character works for a nonprofit. Meet Paul Hoolahan, the chief exec at the Sugar Bowl, one of four annual college football postseason games that rotate hosting the national collegiate championship.

The Sugar Bowl enjoys tax-exempt status and regularly touts its contributions to good causes. But Hoolahan’s favorite good cause may be his own. He took home just under $600,000 in 2009, the latest year with figures available, almost quadruple his $160,500 paycheck for the same job 13 years earlier.

.....(snip).....

2/ Don Blankenship: Prepping for a Comeback

This past May, West Virginia state investigators found Massey Energy directly to blame for the 2010 blast that left 29 miners dead at the company’s Upper Big Branch coal mine. Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s management team, probers charged, had nurtured a “culture bent on production at the expense of safety.”

Earlier this month, federal regulators agreed. They found “systematic, intentional, and aggressive efforts” to flout basic safety regulations. Under Blankenship, Massey managers kept two sets of books, one accurate for internal use and another fake for regulators. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/presenting-america%E2%80%99s-ten-greediest-of-2011/



My kind of Christmas tree !!!!




from www.failblog.org


Europe's Top Bank Regulator: 'The Crisis Has Reached a Systemic Level'


from Der Spiegel:



A stress test performed on European banks last week found a capital shortfall of some 115 billion euros. In a SPIEGEL interview, European Banking Authority head Andrea Enria defends the decision to perform the stress test and discusses the huge challenges facing the European banking sector.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Enria, the European Banking Authority was established with the aim of stabilizing the banking system. Has that plan worked out?

Andrea Enria: It is far too early to say. We started in January, in a very difficult market environment. It is like we are building our house and living in it, while outside there is a storm. But there are some very positive indications: One of the major shortcomings before the establishment of the EBA was the inability to decide and coordinate policy actions within the European Union. Already in the first months of its activity, the EBA has shown that this is different now.

SPIEGEL: At the moment it looks like the European banking system is more fragile than ever. What went wrong?

Enria: The banking sector has made major efforts to strengthen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. But now the sovereign debt crisis is putting a lot of pressure on bank funding, especially in countries under stress. Since July, only a few banks have been able to finance their operations, and only at very high prices. If banks don't have funding, they don't lend, and this affects the real economy. We are locked in a vicious circle and we must try to break it. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,803127,00.html



Presenting America’s Ten Greediest of 2011

from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:



.....(snip).....

10/ Paul Hoolahan: Skimming the Sugar

Greed has never been a stranger to professional sports. But this year’s most avaricious sports character works for a nonprofit. Meet Paul Hoolahan, the chief exec at the Sugar Bowl, one of four annual college football postseason games that rotate hosting the national collegiate championship.

The Sugar Bowl enjoys tax-exempt status and regularly touts its contributions to good causes. But Hoolahan’s favorite good cause may be his own. He took home just under $600,000 in 2009, the latest year with figures available, almost quadruple his $160,500 paycheck for the same job 13 years earlier.

.....(snip).....

2/ Don Blankenship: Prepping for a Comeback

This past May, West Virginia state investigators found Massey Energy directly to blame for the 2010 blast that left 29 miners dead at the company’s Upper Big Branch coal mine. Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s management team, probers charged, had nurtured a “culture bent on production at the expense of safety.”

Earlier this month, federal regulators agreed. They found “systematic, intentional, and aggressive efforts” to flout basic safety regulations. Under Blankenship, Massey managers kept two sets of books, one accurate for internal use and another fake for regulators. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/presenting-america%E2%80%99s-ten-greediest-of-2011/



Another round of climate negotiations, another slow-motion step toward disaster.


via truthdig:



The Durban Deal Is No Deal
Posted on Dec 11, 2011


Another round of climate negotiations, another vague promise to commit to something in the distant future and another slow-motion step toward disaster for the world’s poor and vulnerable. The Durban deal puts the U.N.’s 194 nations on track to begin negotiating a legally binding pact by 2015, six years after we were told to expect such a treaty in Copenhagen.

After two days of deadlock, delegates salvaged the talks by changing the words “legal outcome” to the substantially more slippery “agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties.” That injection of hot air into a corpse of a deal was enough to bring Indian negotiator Jayanthi Natarajan back to the table to declare the process operable. The earlier language made her concerned that India would be legally bound to curtail its economic development.

Negotiators did not commit to renewing the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in December 2012, and instead called for an extension until 2017 or 2020. That leaves the “real” deciding for next year’s talks in Qatar. —ARK

Kate Sheppard with Mother Jones:

Of course, the change still leaves the agreement, termed the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action,” somewhat vague. Even if negotiations on a new legal agreement are set to begin ... in 2015, it’s not clear when they’d conclude. It also reaffirms the goal of holding global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), notes with “grave concern” that the pledges listed won’t meet that goal, and launches a “work plan” to consider improving those targets. But countries are still continuing pledges that put the world on a path toward 4 degrees C warming (7 degrees F).

Read more



http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/the_durban_deal_is_no_deal_20111211/


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