Sunday, 30 August 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG
  • How to Grow More Food With Less Water

    Scientists and farmers are collaborating on a quest for more efficient irrigation. Now, software is adding piles of new data to help manage water on the farm.

  • Time to Kill the Death Penalty

    The debate over the death penalty is situated in a tragic little corner of the US "culture wars," where some Southerners insist that their moral beliefs require them to execute thy neighbor.

Speakout

Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4. 

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state'oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. 

The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.

In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.

A vote at Google's annual meeting indicates that shareholders want the company to provide more information about its spending on lobbying, Public Citizen said today.

At the meeting, 9.6 percent of shareholders voted favorably on a resolution calling for the company to be more transparent about how it spends funds to lobby Congress and regulators. The vote was significant because when shares owned by Google executives are removed, the proposal was favored by 37 percent of investors. The proposal had similar support at last year's meeting and may have contributed to Google's exit from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

An editorial in Science magazine which calls for isolated tribes to be contacted for their own benefit has been slated as "dangerous and misleading" by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights.

The authors, Professors Robert S. Walker and Kim R. Hill, maintain that "a well-designed contact can be quite safe," but the examples of contact they choose to illustrate their point were in fact catastrophic, and left many of the tribespeople dead.

I believe passionately in the power of women as peacebuilders because I have witnessed their power of nonviolent love in action. In l976 when Northern Ireland was on the brink of civil war, it was the civil community, particularly women, who marched in their thousands against the ongoing violence, and articulated a clear moral message 'stop the violence, stop the killing, there is another way to solve our problems.'

When my sister Anne's three children were killed in 'the troubles' in August, l976, their deaths, preceded as they were by thousands of violent deaths, touched the conscience of us all.

Washington DC - The President of international soccer's governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), is resigning amid corruption allegations. Sepp Blatter led FIFA for 17 years before resigning June 2 after winning re-election to another term as the organization's leader. Just before his resignation, Swiss authorities arrested seven FIFA executives as part of an FBI probe that indicted 14 people on bribery and corruption charges. Twenty-six banks are named in the indictment, including major US firms such as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

The economic justice periodical In These Times recently ran this important article on the mass rolling strike wave of teachers and educators across Washington State - including now some 65 different union locals - who are standing up to a lawless state legislature that refuses to obey a court order to fully fund education. As I point out in the article, Washington State has the most unequal tax structure and it is time we taxed the rich to fund our schools.

I'll begin by noting that most terrorism has not been perpetrated by Islamic-identified people. In fact, despite the relentless deluge of publicity to the contrary, Islamic-identified people commit only a fraction of the world's terrorism.

Most terrorism is large scale. In the 20th and 21st centuries most terrorism is high tech and airborne...whether over Guernica or Dresden or Nagasaki or Hiroshima or Tokyo or Laos or Viet Nam or Baghdad or Gaza. Airborne violence primarily murders civilians. Airborne terror is shooting fish in a barrel.

Legislators passed three amendments today to prohibit the DEA and U.S. Department of Justice from undermining state marijuana laws, as part of the U.S. House of Representatives' consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. A fourth amendment failed. The House also passed an amendment last night ending the DEA's controversial bulk data collection program. It also passed three amendments cutting $23 million from the DEA's budget, and shifted it to fighting child abuse, processing rape test kits, reducing the deficit, and paying for body cameras on police officers to reduce law enforcement abuses. 

"There's unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states set their own drug policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "The more the DEA blocks sensible reforms the more they will see their agency's power and budget come under deeper scrutiny."

Jun 04

Wall Street's Psychic Adventurers

By Jeffrey R McCord, Truthout | Op-Ed

Old timers recall the days when investment decisions were based on presumably sound principles of securities and financial analyses back when the federal Glass-Steagall Act separated commercial banking from investment banking. In those storied times, the sources and uses of a given corporation's revenues and profits, its industry's performance and outlook, and macro-economic trends were among fact-based data used to make seemingly rational decisions. And the more regulated market was perceived to be pretty efficient and fair.

Those principals of financial management and regulations arose from the 1929 Market Crash and earlier catastrophes. Several classic scams and bubbles were immortalized in "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," published in London in 1841 by Charles MacKay, LL.D. MacKay, a Scottish journalist and scholar, informed the 19th century world in detail of such financial follies as the British "South Sea Bubble," Dutch "Tulipomania," and the lesser-known French "Mississippi Scheme." 

GET DAILY TRUTHOUT UPDATES
Optional Member Code

FOLLOW togtorsstottofb


Speakout

Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on Thursday, June 4. 

DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state'oil and gas industry. Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. 

The Center for Biological Diversity today warned the federal government not to allow the pipeline behind the Santa Barbara oil spill to resume pumping crude without a legally required analysis of threats to California's environment and endangered wildlife.

In a letter to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Center says shutting down the pipeline "was essential to protect public health and the environment" and urges the agency to comply with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act before letting thepipeline restart operations.

A vote at Google's annual meeting indicates that shareholders want the company to provide more information about its spending on lobbying, Public Citizen said today.

At the meeting, 9.6 percent of shareholders voted favorably on a resolution calling for the company to be more transparent about how it spends funds to lobby Congress and regulators. The vote was significant because when shares owned by Google executives are removed, the proposal was favored by 37 percent of investors. The proposal had similar support at last year's meeting and may have contributed to Google's exit from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

An editorial in Science magazine which calls for isolated tribes to be contacted for their own benefit has been slated as "dangerous and misleading" by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights.

The authors, Professors Robert S. Walker and Kim R. Hill, maintain that "a well-designed contact can be quite safe," but the examples of contact they choose to illustrate their point were in fact catastrophic, and left many of the tribespeople dead.

I believe passionately in the power of women as peacebuilders because I have witnessed their power of nonviolent love in action. In l976 when Northern Ireland was on the brink of civil war, it was the civil community, particularly women, who marched in their thousands against the ongoing violence, and articulated a clear moral message 'stop the violence, stop the killing, there is another way to solve our problems.'

When my sister Anne's three children were killed in 'the troubles' in August, l976, their deaths, preceded as they were by thousands of violent deaths, touched the conscience of us all.

Washington DC - The President of international soccer's governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), is resigning amid corruption allegations. Sepp Blatter led FIFA for 17 years before resigning June 2 after winning re-election to another term as the organization's leader. Just before his resignation, Swiss authorities arrested seven FIFA executives as part of an FBI probe that indicted 14 people on bribery and corruption charges. Twenty-six banks are named in the indictment, including major US firms such as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

The economic justice periodical In These Times recently ran this important article on the mass rolling strike wave of teachers and educators across Washington State - including now some 65 different union locals - who are standing up to a lawless state legislature that refuses to obey a court order to fully fund education. As I point out in the article, Washington State has the most unequal tax structure and it is time we taxed the rich to fund our schools.

I'll begin by noting that most terrorism has not been perpetrated by Islamic-identified people. In fact, despite the relentless deluge of publicity to the contrary, Islamic-identified people commit only a fraction of the world's terrorism.

Most terrorism is large scale. In the 20th and 21st centuries most terrorism is high tech and airborne...whether over Guernica or Dresden or Nagasaki or Hiroshima or Tokyo or Laos or Viet Nam or Baghdad or Gaza. Airborne violence primarily murders civilians. Airborne terror is shooting fish in a barrel.

Legislators passed three amendments today to prohibit the DEA and U.S. Department of Justice from undermining state marijuana laws, as part of the U.S. House of Representatives' consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. A fourth amendment failed. The House also passed an amendment last night ending the DEA's controversial bulk data collection program. It also passed three amendments cutting $23 million from the DEA's budget, and shifted it to fighting child abuse, processing rape test kits, reducing the deficit, and paying for body cameras on police officers to reduce law enforcement abuses. 

"There's unprecedented support on both sides of the aisle for ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states set their own drug policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "The more the DEA blocks sensible reforms the more they will see their agency's power and budget come under deeper scrutiny."

Jun 04

Wall Street's Psychic Adventurers

By Jeffrey R McCord, Truthout | Op-Ed

Old timers recall the days when investment decisions were based on presumably sound principles of securities and financial analyses back when the federal Glass-Steagall Act separated commercial banking from investment banking. In those storied times, the sources and uses of a given corporation's revenues and profits, its industry's performance and outlook, and macro-economic trends were among fact-based data used to make seemingly rational decisions. And the more regulated market was perceived to be pretty efficient and fair.

Those principals of financial management and regulations arose from the 1929 Market Crash and earlier catastrophes. Several classic scams and bubbles were immortalized in "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," published in London in 1841 by Charles MacKay, LL.D. MacKay, a Scottish journalist and scholar, informed the 19th century world in detail of such financial follies as the British "South Sea Bubble," Dutch "Tulipomania," and the lesser-known French "Mississippi Scheme."