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Links 8/2/2011: Xfce Foundation e.V. Launched, Firefox 7 Expected in 2011

Posted in News Roundup at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux gets work done!

    So instead of wasting time I went straight to a method which I knew would work. I booted the computer using a Linux Parted Magic CD. This ran straight from ram so was super fast and freed up the CD drive for other uses. I mounted the hard disks via the graphical mount manager then copied the files via the graphical file manager and had no problems whatsoever.

  • Do not be a Nerd!

    This is important to know, because if you are a nerd and you want to be an entrepreneur, you are in trouble.

  • Server

    • Johannesburg Stock Exchange to move to Linux

      The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has announced that it is moving to an all Linux based trading platform when it relocates to Johannesburg. The JSE currently operates out of London and runs on the TradElect platform which is based on Microsoft .Net and SQL Server 2000. It plans to move to MilleniumIT’s Millennium Exchange platform by the first half of 2012.

  • Applications

    • Shotwell – First date was a ruin, second date was nice
    • Top 5 Linux DVD RIP Software

      Please note that most of the following programs can rip encrypted DVDs, as long as you have libdvdcss2 installed as described here.

    • Sabayon KForensics Available

      As of February 7th 2011, the KDE edition of Sabayon Forensics is available, see link for info and mirrors. Same tools as the GForensic, but in the KDE desktop environment. The forensic spins are based on the Daily KDE and Gnome x86 editions. Kpkglist can be viewed to see the packages on the Kforensics iso.

    • 6 Linux Groupware Servers

      The Linux/FOSS world offers a wealth of excellent Linux-based groupware server choices, suitable for small shops to giant enterprises. Eric Geier rounds up six to get you started.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distro: Linux Console

      The strangely named Linux Console seems to be designed to work equally well as a Live distribution and as a permanent installation. It offers an LXDE based desktop alongside a collection of standard applications. It could be used as a typical desktop Linux distro, but I have a feeling that it could see some use as a front-end in appliance type set-ups that need to be a bit more of a typical desktop layout than some of the kiosk or media player distributions. However, I’m not absolutely sure what the aim of this distro actually is.

    • Reviews

      • Free time experiments: GhostBSD, Zorin OS4, Mandriva 2011 TP

        I have to say that I loved Zorin OS 4 and I agree, it’s a wonderful distro. My concern is that it is an Ubuntu derivative. Please do not misinterpret me; I’m not an Ubuntu hater. I’m only thinking about what srlinuxx commented: with the new moves that Ubuntu is taking, its derivatives might have a hard time (Read the comment on Tuxmachines). It would be sad to lose a project like Zorin.

      • Reviews: First impressions of Saline OS 1.0

        When I began this review Saline 1.0 had just been released and, as I concluded my trial, I noticed Saline 1.1 was already available. I haven’t tried it yet, at least not from scratch (I have applied all pending updates), but the release announcement claims fixes have been made to the Update script, which will hopefully fix my biggest complaint. Saline is a pretty good Xfce distro; it’s fast and comes backed with a large collection of software on a stable Debian base.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Linux shakedown: Testing both GNOME 3 and Fedora 15

          The good folks at the Fedora Project decided to do something very intelligent – they released a candidate of Fedora 15 along with what will be the new default desktop – GNOME 3 for testing purposes. I decided to download the special GNOME 3 test ISO image and shake it down to see what happens. I have to say, I was fairly surprised at what greeted me. Not only had GNOME 3 undergone some changes since I last used it, but the release, as a whole, was in very good shape for such an early candidate.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux

        Free Software versus non-free software is still as relevant an issue as it ever was. The monopoly is not quite dead. Businesses are still suing each other over ideas. A distro that leaves itself open to this attack by competitors is not long for this world. When Ubuntu is nothing but a crater in a courtroom because M$ and its partners have sued it into oblivion Debian GNU/Linux will still be going strong and so will its partners. GNU/Linux is taking a bite out of M$’s bottom line and when that bite is big enough, M$ will fire all of its guns and it will bring to bear all of the “intellectual property” guns of all its partners including hardware manufacturers. A distro that is making money and not staying true to the principles of Free Software will be toast.

        The non-free binary blobs in device drivers is not irrelevant.

      • Sweet Six: Falling In Love With Debian, Again

        Debian used to be my favorite distro, just before I made a switch to Ubuntu. The reason was fair and simple – I wanted latest packages. Over time I realized I need stability more than newest packages.

      • Why Debian matters more than ever

        Debian has never been a user-friendly distribution, or one that was really targeted at a mainstream audience. Debian 6.0 continues a long tradition of shipping a brand-new stable release that is already outdated, with little to appeal to new users. This was true more than 10 years ago when a Vancouver-based startup tried offering a prettified Debian with a simple GUI installer called Storm Linux. Stormix failed, but many others tried and finally Canonical has had a measure of success popularizing Debian with Ubuntu.

      • First look: Debian 6.0 Squeeze

        Debian 6.0, alias Squeeze, has been nearly two years in development. The new version is the first completely free Stable Release – and also the first Debian distribution that not only has the Linux kernel, but also the FreeBSD kernel.

      • Joining the fray: Why Debian matters

        Debian never gets the credit it deserves by the wider public, and that may be OK with them; or not. Personally, I think this is a tragedy — my first distro in 2006 was Debian, and while I went to Ubuntu and then to Fedora, Debian was the one where I started. If you started with Ubuntu, you really started with Debian.

      • Debian Squeeze: an Overview

        Debian was, in a sense, my first distro. I actually started out with Ubuntu, but it’s extreme bugginess quickly sent me in search of alternatives. I settled on Debian, and used it’s stable branch (first Etch, then Lenny) exclusively for three years. More recently I’ve switched over to Slackware and Arch, but a new release of Debian stable is still something I get excited about, so when Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) hit the streets late last week I installed it on a VM and took it for a test-drive.


        Debian is now shipping with a completely free kernel…

      • Richard Stallman: Re: The “Free” Kernel In Debian Squeeze

        It sounds like the new Debian version of Linux will recommend specific nonfree firmware programs, which is undesirable.

        I talked with Alexandre a few months ago, and we decided to change the way Linux Libre deals with outside nonfree firmware.

        The current practice is to change the code to fail instead of trying to load any firmware.

        The change is to obfuscate the names of the firmware files in the Linux source code. That way, if a user tracks down what firmware to install and installs it under the name that the code wants, it will.
        But Linux Libre will still not suggest installation of the nonfree firmware file to handle a particular device.

        In either case, it is possible to run the nonfree software. Free software has no way to stop users from doing something, since users an change it.

        Alexandre, how is progress on this?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Constructors

          At the Honeycomb event today, I was immensely pleased to hear both Andy Rubin and Chris Yerga shout-out to the engineers; Andy followed up on Twitter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Alternatives to Google

    Is it feasible to drop Google for a period of time in exchange for unfettered open source alternatives?

    When I first pondered the notion of such an idea, I figured I must be losing my mind. Drop Google? The search giant, regardless of how well-intentioned it may be, has an octopus-like hold on the Internet – its tentacles are everywhere.

    Oddly enough, though, it turned out to be easier than I expected. Let’s look at the mindset, software choices and habit changes needed to make this idea doable.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 2011 Roadmap Updated, Expect Firefox 7 in 2011

        News made the round at the end of January that Mozilla had plans to accelerate the development of the Firefox web browser by releasing major version updates more frequently.

      • Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 to be released before the end of 2011

        Firefox’s official roadmap has been updated, and boy are there some interesting changes afoot. Most notably, Firefox 7 will ship in 2011. The second biggy, and the main focus of Firefox development in 2011, is to make sure there is no more than 50ms between any user interaction and feedback from the browser.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is it time to refer to mitochondria as bacteria?

      In the article Pallen argues for giving mitochondria their own family w/in bacteria. I think that would be a good idea as they are really just a highly reduced form of bacteria. We give endosymbionts, even those with tiny genomes, their own groups. So why note organelles that are derived from bacteria? After all – phylogenetically they are bacteria.

    • Don’t let them “Shirley Sherrod” Planned Parenthood

      The rightwing smear machine that took down Shirley Sherrod, Van Jones and ACORN is at it again. This time they are going after Planned Parenthood.

    • First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate

      To combat last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead nearly one mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, as scientists begin to assess how well the strategy worked at breaking up oil droplets, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) chemist Elizabeth B. Kujawinski and her colleagues report that a major component of the dispersant itself was contained within an oil-gas-laden plume in the deep ocean and had still not degraded some three months after it was applied.

      While the results suggest the dispersant did mingle with the oil and gas flowing from the mile-deep wellhead, they also raise questions about what impact the deep-water residue of oil and dispersant—which some say has its own toxic effects—might have had on environment and marine life in the Gulf.

  • Security

    • FLAMING RETORT – Cooling the friction when Linux meets anti-virus
    • Scareware: How Crime Pays

      Scareware is fraudulent software that uses deceptive advertising to trick users into believing they’re infected with some variety of malware, then convinces them to pay money to protect themselves. The infection isn’t real, and the software they buy is fake, too. It’s all a scam.

    • $100 Bribe to Ticket Agent Allows Unknown Package to Fly on JetBlues

      Although millions of dollars are spent on airline security each year in the United States, it only took $100.00 for a JetBlue ticket agent to allow a unknown package to go onto a flight, coming from an unknown person.

      On November 19, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was at Charlotte Douglas Airport testing out JetBlue’s security. Their goal was to try and get an unaccompanied package onto a flight headed to Boston and unfortunately, they succeeded. An undercover TSA agent told a JetBlue ticket agent that he needed to get a package to Boston that day and would pay the agent $100.00 for helping. The agent took the $100, put it in his pocket and proceeded to follow the unknown person’s instructions. The ticket agent chose a passenger’s name at random, which just happened to be an unaccompanied minor, and the package went through the screening process with no problems. Although the package was harmless, the TSA pulled the package just before being loaded onto the aircraft.

    • The Moscow Attack and Airport Security

      The Jan. 24 bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport killed 35 people and injured more than 160. The attack occurred at approximately 4:40 p.m. as passengers from several arriving international flights were leaving the airport after clearing immigration and customs. The attacker (or attackers; reports are still conflicting over whether the attack was conducted by a man or a man and a woman together) entered the international arrivals hall of the airport, a part of the facility that is outside the secure area and that is commonly packed with crowds of relatives and taxi and limo drivers waiting to meet travelers.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Deputies: Fla. man stabbed because he was Muslim

      Authorities say a Florida man is accused of stabbing another man in the neck after learning he was Muslim during a discussion about religion.

    • John Ivison: Security Perimeter could make Canada a very different place

      In his excellent new paper: “Now for the Hard Part: Renewing the Canadian-American Partnership,” former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson offered some advice for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on the eve of his departure for Washington to sign a new perimeter security deal with President Barack Obama.

      He quoted Daniel Burnham, the great Chicago architect, who once said: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Mr. Robertson suggested that Mr. Harper should think big.

    • Reagan: Killer, Coward, Con-man

      You’re not going to like this. You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. But in this case, someone’s got to.

      On the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, as we suffer a week of Reagan-kitcheria and pukey peons, let us remember:

      Reagan was a con-man. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer.

      In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.

    • Berlusconi and Murdoch: Two Fascists Peas in the Pod?
    • Bush to face torture case whenever abroad: activists

      Activists vowed on Monday that former U.S. President George W. Bush will face a torture case against him wherever he travels outside the United States.

      Human rights groups had planned to lodge a Swiss criminal case against Bush on Monday, before his address to a Jewish charity in Geneva on February 12. Organisers canceled his speech last weekend, invoking security concerns.

    • George Bush issued travel warning by human rights organisations

      Human rights groups have vowed to track George W Bush round the world after their success in forcing him to cancel a trip to Switzerland amid concerns over protests and a threatened arrest warrant.

      Katherine Gallagher, a lawyer with the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, said: “The reach of the convention against torture is wide. This case is prepared and will be waiting for him wherever he travels next.

      “Torturers, even if they are former presidents of the United States, must be held to account and prosecuted.”

    • Extrajudicial Killing in Egypt

      [T]here are estimates of up to 300 deaths as a result of the protests and reactions.

    • Corruption in Egypt

      The violence/repression in Egypt is not just about power or ideology, it is about corruption.
      “The wealth of Ahmed Ezz, the former NDP Organisation Secretary, is estimated to be 18 billion Egyptian pounds;

      The wealth of former Housing Minister Ahmed al-Maghraby is estimated to be more than 11 billion Egyptian pounds;

      The wealth of former Minister of Tourism Zuhair Garrana is estimated to be 13 billion Egyptian pounds;

      The wealth of former Minister of Trade and Industry, Rashid Mohamed Rashid, is estimated to be 12 billion Egyptian pounds;

    • Egyptian Government Must Release International Human Rights Observers, Stop Crackdown on Civil Society

      We are happy to report that our Amnesty staffers have been released! Thank you so much for your incredible outpouring of support.

    • Senators decry link between Egypt, ‘kill switch’ bill

      Three U.S. senators who want to give the president emergency powers over the Internet are protesting comparisons with the “kill switch” highlighted by Egypt’s Net disconnection.

      In a statement yesterday, the politicians said their intent was to allow the president “to protect the U.S. from external cyber attacks,” not to shut down the Internet, and announced that they would revise their legislation to explicitly prohibit that from happening.

    • WikiLeaks: Israel’s secret hotline to the man tipped to replace Mubarak

      As a key figure working for Middle East peace, he once suggested that Israeli troops would be “welcome” to invade Egypt to stop weapons being smuggled to Hamas terrorists in neighbouring Gaza.

      The details, which emerged in secret files obtained by WikiLeaks and passed to The Daily Telegraph, come after Mr Suleiman began talks with opposition groups on the future for Egypt’s government.

      On Saturday, Mr Suleiman won the backing of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to lead the “transition” to democracy after two weeks of demonstrations calling for President Mubarak to resign.

  • Cablegate

    • Political Instability

      A recent political trauma occurred in January at the Churchill Club WikiLeaks event. The featured speaker was Daniel Ellsberg, a an old lion of the left, and boy was he ever convincing. I realized that I was listening to someone apparently positioned several leagues left of where I see myself, and admiring every word. Just one example: his pointing out, in terms that made anger unavoidable, the Obama administration’s refusal to prosecute anyone for the widespread torture conducted by its predecessors (both direct and via extraordinary rendition, which is what they call it when you hand your political prisoners over to Arab autocracies for them to do the dirty); and simultaneous willingness to unleash the Justice Department against whistleblowers and leakers.


      EGIS Chief Omar Soliman told Ambassador and
      a visiting Codel led by Senator George Voinovich December 31
      that he is optimistic progress will be made on
      Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, Soliman was
      concerned with continuing Israeli criticism of Egyptian
      anti-smuggling efforts. He was worried that the Egyptians
      would not be able to work out an arrangement with the
      Israelis for Hajj pilgrims to return to Gaza. On Iran,
      Soliman said that the USG’s release of the National
      Intelligence Estimate had altered the calculus through which
      Arab states are interacting with Iran. On Iraq argued that
      the Iraqi government needed to amend its constitution and
      that Prime Minister Malaki should not deal with the Iraqi
      people in a “sectarian way.”


      Egyptian-Israeli communications have suffered because of Egypt’s management of the Gaza border, its contacts with Hamas and the impact of both issues on Congressional action to impose conditions on Egypt’s FMF. The Israelis charge that Cairo is soft on Hamas and not just tolerating, but complicit in smuggling. The Egyptians insist that they are doing their best to stem smuggling and claim national interests, including security, require them to sustain communications with Hamas. They also blame Israel for the Congressional debate over conditioning USD 200 million of FMF on improvements in Gaza border security, and call this a “hostile act.” The Egyptians are so aggrieved that they now welcome U.S. mediation in their discussions with the Israelis. Each side appears seriously to misjudge the other’s national security and political interests at stake over Gaza/Hamas, and much else. We believe our offer to help get things back on track by joining Egyptian-Israeli border security discussions should remain on the table. The offer alone may help repair the seriously strained Egyptian-Israeli bilateral dialogue and thereby enable more cooperation.

    • 05CAIRO8938,

      Thank you for including Cairo in your travel to the Middle East. Your visit presents an opportunity to review and upgrade our law enforcement/intelligence cooperation with the Egyptians. The CIA already has a strong and growing relationship with the Egyptian Intelligence Service (EGIS). We would like the FBI to establish a similarly robust and productive partnership with the State Security Investigative Service. The Ministry does not yet recognize the benefit for their side of enhanced ties with the FBI. But leaders like Omar Soliman and especially President Mubarak, with whom we hope you will be able to meet, have the vision and influence to overcome these reservations. On our side, we should be ready with concrete proposals to kick start new levels of practical cooperation. Exchange of forensic and biometric data and associated upgrades of Egypt’s capabilities in this field could provide a good beginning.


      Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s August 23 visit to Egypt was a success, according to MOD Arab Affairs Adviser David Hacham. Barak’s meetings with President Mubarak, Intelligence Minister Soliman, and Defense Minister Tantawi focused on reviving negotiations for the release of Corporal Shalit, the Israeli assessment of the Tahdiya (Calming) with Hamas in Gaza, and Egypt’s anti-smuggling efforts. Hacham said the Israelis were “shocked” by President Mubarak’s aged appearance; their most substantive exchanges were with Soliman. Hacham said Iran was also on the agenda, with the Israeli and Egyptian sides agreeing they had a common strategic interest in containing Iran’s regional ambitions. Our sense is that the Israeli-Egyptian relationship is gradually improving since the beginning of the Tahdiya in June. Barak and MOD in particular are committed to maintaining a strategic relationship with Egypt. MFA Director General Abramovich reportedly also is planning to visit Egypt next week to meet Foreign Minister Abul Gheit.


      Deputy Assistant Secretary Rob Danin and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Mark Kimmitt met November 6 with Israel Security Agency (ISA) Director Yuval Diskin to discuss relations with Egypt regarding the Gaza border. Diskin said the ISA had provided detailed information on smuggling networks, but the Egyptians had failed to take action. Concern about Congressional moves to link Egyptian aid to Gaza smuggling has prompted new bilateral discussions, and Diskin indicated some flexibility on Sinai troop levels in return for serious cooperation on this issue. Diskin contended that Egypt generally seeks to avoid conflict with Hamas and Bedouin tribes, and tolerates their activities outside Egyptian borders. He also suggested that the central government has weakened in recent years, and has less control over security officials in Sinai. The ISA asked for U.S. support in efforts to establish direct ties with security services within the Egyptian Ministry of Interior. Diskin provided specific details on smuggling from Egypt, and warned that trained personnel returning from Syria and Iran were of even greater concern.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Swimming accessories presented to Russian Governor for a swim in the Neva River

      This morning Greenpeace activists brought a very unusual gift to the Governor of St. Petersburg – a set of swimming accessories: beach towel, air bed, diving pipe, underwater mask, flippers and beach umbrella. Also attached to the gift was a set of measures on what needs to be done to make the Neva River clean and safe for swimming.

      Two weeks ago the Governor of St. Petersburg Mrs. Valentina Matvienko announced that in 2012 the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland waters will be so clean that it will be possible to swim there. But unfortunately without adequate measures from state and business only a miracle can make the Governor’s dream come true in such a short period of time.

    • The Koch Brothers’ Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy

      Last June, Glenn Beck paused in the middle of a rant about the economy and climate on his television show for an important, if rather unexpected, aside. “I want to thank Charles Koch for this information,” he said. Beck’s statement was totally without context, thrown in amid jabs at Al Gore and endorsements of the free market. Months later, it came to light that he recently had been a guest of honor at a semiannual confab sponsored by fossil-fuel billionaire Charles Koch and his brother, David, an event the pair hosts to connect conservative think tanks, politicos, and media types like Beck.

      Koch Industries, a Kansas-based company founded in 1940 by father Fred Koch, is the second largest privately held company in America. Charles and David Koch are tied as the fifth wealthiest people in the nation, worth a combined $43 billion. Their money comes through a variety of business interests—ranching, mining, oil refining, and production of paper products, fertilizer, and chemicals. It would be an understatement to say that they have much at stake when it comes to efforts to cut climate-changing emissions.

  • Finance

    • Ontario beer too expensive, Tory leader says

      Ontario’s opposition Progressive Conservatives are considering lowering beer prices in the province if they win power in the fall election, aiming to reduce the cost of living.

      PC party leader Tim Hudak left the door open to a return to “a buck a beer” — or $24 per case of 24 beers — in a scrum with reporters Monday. While Hudak wouldn’t commit to the policy change, he said rising beer prices “are just one of the many things that hitting Ontario families in the pocket.”

    • Why Obama and the chamber are getting friendlier

      There was a lot of hype surrounding Barack Obama’s speech at the Chamber of Commerce today, but not much reason for it. The speech was an articulation of the agenda that the White House has already laid out. Indeed, Obama previewed as much at the beginning of the address. “I’m here in the interest of being more neighborly,” he said. Not in the interest of announcing a new policy, or telling some tough truths, or cutting a deal. In the interest of being neighborly. “Maybe we would have gotten off on a better foot if I had brought over a fruitcake when we first moved in.”

    • Obama to CEOs: Ask what you can do for America

      Echoing John F. Kennedy, President Barack Obama prodded business leaders Monday to “ask yourselves what you can do for America,” not just for company bottom lines, even as he sought to smooth his uneasy relations with the nation’s corporate executives.

    • Republicans call for swift action to weaken Fannie and Freddie

      Republicans are calling on Washington to begin winding down mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the first step in a longer-term plan to get the federal government out of the housing business.

    • By one measure, federal taxes lowest since 1950

      Actually, as a share of the nation’s economy, Uncle Sam’s take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way.

      And for the third straight year, American families and businesses will pay less in federal taxes than they did under former President George W. Bush, thanks to a weak economy and a growing number of tax breaks for the wealthy and poor alike.

    • FDIC seeks delay in bonuses for top bank execs

      Federal regulators are proposing that top executives at large financial firms wait at least three years to be paid half of their annual bonuses, a move designed to cut down on risky financial transactions.

    • “To Blame Wall Street For the Financial Meltdown Is Absurd”

      The absurdity here is that we have created Too Big To Fail banks (and insurance companies) and that we are allowing them to become Too Big To Save – while our political elite blithely looks the other way.

    • Wall Street needs stricter regulations

      Wall Street is known for big bonuses — the kind of bonuses that let investment bankers make more in a day than many people make in a year. But the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is looking to combat that a little. Regulators have proposed a rule that, if approved, will force financial firms like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to defer at least half of bonuses for top executives for three years. The FDIC hopes that, by making these institutions defer payment over longer periods of time, it will force them to more closely analyze their executives’ long-term performances, thereby deterring them from making impulsive, high-risk trades or investments. While the FDIC’s intentions are noble, there are some flaws in this plan that need to be patched up if they want it to work successfully.

    • Finance: Shadow boxes

      Reaching for a metaphor to depict where the next crisis in the global financial system might emanate from, Larry Summers invokes the futile fortifications built by France along its eastern border between the world wars to deter invasion.

    • Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

      Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It’s time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy was pursued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with little impact). Or will Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller take the lead in wrestling a real settlement out of the banks, so that families hammered by unemployment and underemployment can stay in their homes?

    • Organized Labor in the Crosshairs

      First you had a French company, Roquette Freres, announcing to its Keokuk, Iowa, employees that management had decided to unilaterally cut benefits and slash wages by $4 per hours, despite the fact that its Keokuk corn milling plant was profitable and its workers loyal and efficient.

      When the BCTGM (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers) Local 48G’s 240 members balked at what they saw as plain, old-fashioned extortion, the immediately company locked them out. No talking, no compromising, no willingness to move. They locked the doors on them.

    • To us, it’s an obscure shift of tax law. To the City, it’s the heist of the century

      ‘I would love to see tax reductions,” David Cameron told the Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, “but when you’re borrowing 11% of your GDP, it’s not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn’t.” Oh no? Then how come he’s planning the biggest and crudest corporate tax cut in living memory?

      If you’ve heard nothing of it, you’re in good company. The obscure adjustments the government is planning to the tax acts of 1988 and 2009 have been missed by almost everyone – and are, anyway, almost impossible to understand without expert help. But as soon as you grasp the implications, you realise that a kind of corporate coup d’etat is taking place.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • AriannaOL

      The only thing that makes me nervous is hearing Arianna talk with Kara Swisher about the center. No, Arianna, don’t heed the siren call of the view from nowhere! But I can’t believe that’s possible for her. Arianna’s not going to be buying Glenn Beck. Arianna must be Arianna.

      One wonders why big, old media companies didn’t buy Huffington Post. The better question is why they never started their own HuffPos. Only one did: The Guardian.

  • Censorship

    • Online Media Fight Internet Clampdown

      A government plan to control online media has sparked widespread protest from journalists and lawmakers who say the move is a sign of the ruling party’s desperation as it prepares for a “do or die” general election.

      The plan, announced mid-January, is to apply strict publication laws to online news media for “national security” reasons.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Super Bowl’s Homeless Problem

      In December, the Dallas City Council outlawed panhandling in the city’s most prominent tourist areas, including several zones where big Super Bowl events are planned. For several weeks, the the city has been removing homeless people from the areas as it spruces them up for football fans. Anyone who sticks around to ask for handouts from all the high rollers and corporate junketers who’ll be passing through could be fined up to $500.

    • Rights group: PA banning freedom of expression

      Palestinian rights group on Thursday warned of deteriorating freedom of expression in the West Bank, as the PA banned “unlicensed assembly” in response to rallies in solidarity with Egyptians.

    • Resolution Calling to Amend the Constitution Banning Corporate Personhood Introduced in Vermont

      “Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires,” wrote Stevens.

    • Noam Chomsky (Part 2): “This Is The Most Remarkable Regional Uprising That I Can Remember”

      In recent weeks, popular uprisings in the Arab world have led to the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the imminent end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, a new Jordanian government, and a pledge by Yemen’s longtime dictator to leave office at the end of his term. We spoke to MIT Professor Noam Chomsky on Wednesday’s live program about the situation in Egypt, and then continued the interview for another 50 minutes after the show to further discuss what these popular uprisings mean for the future of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region, how U.S. fear of the Muslim Brotherhood is really fear of democracy in the Arab world, and what the Egyptian protests mean for people in the United States.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • U.S. Has Secret Tools to Force Internet on Dictators

      When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt’s internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind. But the American military does have a second set of options, if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes.

    • ‘CRTC’s faulty UBB foundation’

      The controversy over the CRTC’s usage based billing decisions took centre stage yesterday with an Industry Committee hearing and comments from politicians from all parties.

      After Industry Minister Tony Clement earlier advised that the government would send the CRTC back to the drawing board on UBB if the Commission did not do so itself, Chair Konrad von Finckenstein told the Industry Committee that the CRTC was delaying implementation of the decision by at least 60 days and that it would review it to “verify” that it protects consumers, ensures that heavy Internet users pay for their “excess use” and that small ISPs retain maximum flexibility. Yet immediately after the hearing, Clement told reporters that “regardless of the outcome of that review the ruling will not be implemented.”

    • Clearing up the confusion over the caps

      Caps on Internet service — referred to as usage-based billing (UBB) — took the political world by storm this week. More than 350,000 Canadians signed a petition calling for an end to the common practice, and the government indicated it would order the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to reconsider its decision to allow large Internet providers such as Bell to implement UBB when it sells wholesale access to smaller providers.

      On Thursday, CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein told a House of Commons committee that the commission will do just that.

    • Geist: The real reason we pay so much for Internet

      Last week, public concern with Internet bandwidth caps hit a fever pitch as hundreds of thousands of Canadians signed petitions against Internet provider practices of “metering” Internet use.

      The government responded with a commitment to order the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to revisit the issue. Hours later, the CRTC announced that it would delay implementation of the decision by 60 days and review it with fresh eyes and an open mind.

      While addressing the CRTC decision is a good start, Canadians will be disappointed — some even surprised — to learn that Internet “metering” is already almost uniformly in place. The “caps” are the existing and common provider limits on usage, above which you are billed extra. They are unlikely to disappear anytime soon, what ever the CRTC decides after its review.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto

      In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.


      The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away. Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM’s $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs. We and our allies have tested their so-called “natural” products (no doubt WFM’s lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they’re all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.

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DecorWhat Else is New

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  2. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

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  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021

  4. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

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  8. Media Coverage for Sale

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  9. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

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  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

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  11. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

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  12. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

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  13. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

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  14. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

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  15. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

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  18. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

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  19. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

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  22. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

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  29. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

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