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Current Topic: Current Events

India's Surveillance State
Topic: Current Events 7:29 pm EST, Jan  7, 2014

India is currently implementing some of the scariest surveillance schemes in the world. This lecture will shed light on India’s surveillance industry, its UID scheme which aims at the collection of all biometric data and on various controversial surveillance schemes, such as the Central Monitoring System (CMS).

Talk from 30c3.

India's Surveillance State

Topic: Current Events 11:03 pm EST, Dec 30, 2012



SOPA: Put your money where your mouth is
Topic: Current Events 2:13 pm EST, Dec 19, 2011

Boycott these organizations for supporting SOPA.

I will not buy any more music or see any more movies if they have anything to do with any of these entertainment conglomerates. I will shortly be cancelling my Comcast home internet and replacing it with DSL. I am going to tell them the reason why is because of their support for SOPA.

I will not be watching any more major league baseball, basketball, or football games. It's going to be harder not to support organizations such as 3M and Underwriters Laboratories, but for consumer goods like shoe makers and entertainment industry content providers, the choice is easy to live by.

Hit them where it hurts: the almighty dollar.

1-800 Contacts, Inc.
3M Company
ABRO Industries, Inc.
Acushnet Company
Adidas America
Advanced Medical Technology Association
Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
American Association of Independent Music
American Federation of Musicians
Americans for Tax Reform
Association of American Publishers
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
Beam Global Spirits &Wine
Blue Sky Studios, Inc.
Bose Corporation
Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)
CBS Corporation
Concerned Women for America
Council of State Governments
Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc.,
Directors Guild of America
Dow Chemical
Electronic Components Industry Association
Eli Lilly and Company
Entertainment Software Association
Estee Lauder Companies
Ford Motor Company
Greeting Card Association
HarperCollins Publishers
Independent Film & Television Alliance
International Association of Fire Fighters
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Trademark Association
Johnson & Johnson
Kekepana International Services
Let Freedom Ring
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Major League Baseball
Motion Picture Association of America
National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Theatre Owners
National Basketball Association
National Cable & Telecommunications Association
National Confectioners Association
National Criminal Justice Association
National District Attorneys Association
National Electrical Manufacturers Association
National Football League
National Music Publishers' Association
National Retail Federation
NBC Universal
News Corporation
Nike, Inc.
Outdoor Industry Association
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Philip Morris International
Recording Industry Association of America
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Screen Actors Guild
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
Society of Plastics Industry
Software & Information Industry Association
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association
Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.
The Walt Disney Company
Tiffany & Co.
Timberland Company
Time Warner
U. S. Chamber of Commerce
Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
Universal Music Group Inc.
Walt Disney Company
Warner Music Group
Xerox Corporation

SOPA: Put your money where your mouth is

The Militarization of Police
Topic: Current Events 10:15 pm EST, Nov 23, 2011

All the time, we hear new horror stories of night raids gone bad, where women, children get hurt, and dogs, get shot. The best example being a raid in Columbia, Missouri just a few weeks ago. Alyona discusses these cases with police militarization expert, Reason Magazine's Radley Balko.

The Militarization of Police

Wave of Debt Payments Facing US Government
Topic: Current Events 10:23 am EST, Nov 23, 2009

Treasury officials now face a trifecta of headaches: a mountain of new debt, a balloon of short-term borrowings that come due in the months ahead, and interest rates that are sure to climb back to normal as soon as the Federal Reserve decides that the emergency has passed.

Even as Treasury officials are racing to lock in today’s low rates by exchanging short-term borrowings for long-term bonds, the government faces a payment shock similar to those that sent legions of overstretched homeowners into default on their mortgages.

With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher...

The United States will not be the only government competing to refinance huge debt. Japan, Germany, Britain and other industrialized countries have even higher government debt loads, measured as a share of their gross domestic product, and they too borrowed heavily to combat the financial crisis and economic downturn...

The White House estimates that the government will have to borrow about $3.5 trillion more over the next three years. On top of that, the Treasury has to refinance, or roll over, a huge amount of short-term debt that was issued during the financial crisis. Treasury officials estimate that about 36 percent of the government’s marketable debt — about $1.6 trillion — is coming due in the months ahead...

Wave of Debt Payments Facing US Government

RE: Gunman, guard shot at Holocaust museum - Crime & courts-
Topic: Current Events 9:44 pm EDT, Jun 11, 2009

Mike the Usurper wrote:

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as James Wenneker von Brunn, born in 1920, from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, NBC News reported. NBC said he may have had connections to hate groups or anti-government groups.

For those who started something when the terror book came out about right wing groups, this and the Tiller murder are the sort of thing it was talking about. How many lefty attacks have there been? Oh that's right, none.

Reality does have a liberal bias, and it's because of people like these guys.

And also people like these guys.

RE: Gunman, guard shot at Holocaust museum - Crime & courts-

Goodbye Dubai | Smashing Telly - A hand picked TV channel
Topic: Current Events 11:05 pm EST, Feb 17, 2009

Short of opening a Radio Shack in an Amish town, Dubai is the world’s worst business idea, and there isn’t even any oil. Imagine proposing to build Vegas in a place where sex and drugs and rock and roll are an anathema. This is effectively the proposition that created Dubai - it was a stupid idea before the crash, and now it is dangerous.

Dubai threatens to become an instant ruin, an emblematic hybrid of the worst of both the West and the Middle-East and a dangerous totem for those who would mistakenly interpret this as the de facto product of a secular driven culture.


But if there is one problem with the shallow and the fickle, its that they are shallow and fickle, they won’t put down deep roots and they won’t remain loyal to Dubai. The people who appear in People magazine need to be told what is cool by Wallpaper magazine who in turn will discover something after the hipsters have moved on. The problem is that Dubai was never hipster-cool and is no longer Wallpaper-cool. This realization will have the same impact as suburbanite bachelorette party in a Wallpaper-cool nightclub. It will spread like the sighting of a floating turd in a public pool, flushing people to the exits with silent panic, unacknowledged for fear of embarrassment.

As people scramble for the exits in Dubai, there is no ‘key mail’, like in America, where people can often mail back their house keys and walk away from a mortgage without the immediate threat of jail. People are literally fleeing this place, to date leaving 3000 cars stranded at the airport with keys still in the ignition. And the reason for this is that if you default on your Dubai mortgage, you can end up in a debtors prison. Perhaps Dubai will at least create a new Dickens?

Goodbye Dubai | Smashing Telly - A hand picked TV channel

Climate Debate Daily - A new way to understand disputes about global warming
Topic: Current Events 2:54 pm EST, Feb  5, 2009

Calls to Action:

Essays and research supporting the idea that global warming poses a clear threat to humanity, that it is largely caused by human activity, and that solutions to the problems of climate change lie within human reach.

Dissenting Voices:

Essays and research challenging the view that the world warming that began around 1880 is caused by human activity, that it poses a serious threat, or that the vagaries of earth’s climate are within human control.

This is where I've been getting my fix for the past few weeks. Pro's and Con's site, simple to navigate, and current. Can't beat that.

Climate Debate Daily - A new way to understand disputes about global warming

Iceland teeters on the brink of bankruptcy
Topic: Current Events 1:54 pm EDT, Oct  8, 2008

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- This volcanic island near the Arctic Circle is on the brink of becoming the first "national bankruptcy" of the global financial meltdown.

Home to just 320,000 people on a territory the size of Kentucky, Iceland has formidable international reach because of an outsized banking sector that set out with Viking confidence to conquer swaths of the British economy _ from fashion retailers to top soccer teams.

The strategy gave Icelanders one of the world's highest per capita incomes. But now they are watching helplessly as their economy implodes _ their currency losing almost half its value, and their heavily exposed banks collapsing under the weight of debts incurred by lending in the boom times.

"Everything is closed. We couldn't sell our stock or take money from the bank," said Johann Sigurdsson as he left a branch of Landsbanki in downtown Reykjavik.

The government had earlier announced it had nationalized the bank under emergency laws enacted to deal with the crisis.

"We have been forced to take decisive action to save the country," Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said of those sweeping new powers that allow the government to take over companies, limit the authority of boards, and call shareholder meetings.

A full-blown collapse of Iceland's financial system would send shock waves across Europe, given the heavy investment by Icelandic banks and companies across the continent.

One of Iceland's biggest companies, retailing investment group Baugur, owns or has stakes in dozens of major European retailers _ including enough to make it the largest private company in Britain, where it owns a handful of stores such as the famous toy store Hamley's.

Kaupthing, Iceland's largest bank and one of those whose share trading was suspended last week to stop a huge sell-off, has also invested in European retail groups.

Iceland teeters on the brink of bankruptcy

The Bailout Round II: Adult Version?
Topic: Current Events 11:55 pm EDT, Sep 30, 2008

Watching Dean Baker on CSPAN at the moment, visited his think tank's site, lots of interesting talking point memos.

With much of this equity now eliminated by the collapse of the bubble, many families can no longer sustain their levels of consumption. The main reason that banks won't lend to these families is that they no longer have home equity to serve as collateral. It wouldn't matter how much money the banks had, they are not going to make mortgage loans to people who have no equity.

And house prices are not going to come back. This is like We are not going to get the price of $200,000 homes in central California back up to $500,000.


How do we go about getting the banks in order? Almost every economist I know rejects the Paulson approach and argues instead for directly injecting capital into the banks. The taxpayers give them the money and then we own some, or all, of the bank. (That's what Warren Buffet did with Goldman Sachs.)

This isn't about begging for a sliver of equity as a concession for a $700 billion bailout, this is about constructing a bank rescue the way that business people would do it. We have an interest in a well-operating financial system. There is zero public interest in giving away taxpayer dollars to the Wall Street banks and their executives.

The Bailout Round II: Adult Version?

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