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12.10.11

Links – Education Watch, SOPA’s Honest Intentions, B&N Anti-Trust news.

Posted in Site News at 3:06 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Roll-outs of GNU/Linux in Small and Medium-sized Organizations

    “We were really surprised by how easily everyone adjusted to the new operating system [Ubuntu]. We’re talking about users who are between 25 and 50 years’ old. Some of them are coming up to retirement age. They all made the transition with barely any support required from the IT team.” Whoah! That’s quite a different picture than the naysayers tell. … It’s a GUI folks, point and click.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The NDA closest to your heart.

      [Hugo Campos has a cardiac defibrillator implanted in his chest] “Who owns the data collected in my body?” he says. “Should it benefit the company, so they can use it for post-market surveillance? Or me, so that I can make better decisions about my health?”

      These issues were also voiced eloquently and personally by Karen Sandler[2]

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pesticide firms must be held to account for bee poisoning

      There is an overwhelming body of evidence pointing the finger at the sub-lethal impact of pesticides on bees

    • The Health Toll of Climate Change in 2005 and 2011

      Today, NRDC released a new, online extreme weather mapping tool. It lets users track the impacts of extreme weather in 2011, explore how climate change increases risks, and learn how best to protect themselves and their communities from extreme weather events. The bottom line: climate change is affecting our lives and our health right now.

    • 130,000 FEMA trailers are still in use but still not safe to live in.

      An air quality test done in October in a FEMA trailer housing Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi showed levels of the carcinogen that exceeded levels deemed safe by the federal government. The test, done by University of Oxford researcher Nick Shapiro, indicated a level of exposure of 105.6 parts per billion within the trailer, which was sold by FEMA in 2008 to a retired Mississippi couple who had lost their home to Katrina and could not afford to rebuild.

    • The Fracing industry turns to lobbying, Psyops, PR and astroturf to combat regulations.
    • Accidents continue to plague Louisiana’s oil refineries

      Oil refineries in Louisiana self-reported 354 accidents in 2010 — what safety advocates call an “embarrassing and dangerous continuation” of the industry’s high accident rate. … The accidents — which the industry calls “incidents” or “upsets” — resulted in the releases of 487 tons of air pollution and 200,000 gallons of water and ground pollution. In all, oil industry operations were responsible for the release of over 5 million pounds of toxic air pollution and 4.4 million pounds of surface water pollution in Louisiana last year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory.

  • Education Watch – Stacked Panels in Washington State

    • Education Watch invites us to Follow the Money

      Education Watch is an evolving database constructed to illuminate the connections between wealthy individuals, the proliferation of newly formed tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, and the policy that diverts public money to these private ventures.

    • Teachers at Ballard High School in Seattle came up with a way to pay dues into the school PTSA and not have their dues kicked up to the state level to fund charter legislation.

      the Washington State Parent Teacher Student Association leadership has turned to actively promoting charter schools, despite their own survey of their membership that found a majority opposed to charters … teachers are vastly underrepresented and now misrepresented in the PTSA

    • Can’t get a straight answer from the Washington State PTA

      See Whoa! Where did that come from Washington State PTA? Charter schools? Part 1. After further research, it was discovered that the primary writers of this one-sided proposal were also Stand for Children members. Stand for Children (SFC) is all about union busting and thereby creating a cheaper workforce to staff charter schools.

    • Videos: Garfield High School Student Walkout and March Against Budget Cuts

      After the arrest of Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at Garfield High School, on Monday, November 28th, the students at Garfield organized a march to Seattle City Hall in response to their teacher’s arrest and to his demands to fully fund education in the state of Washington.

    • Education Reform=Turmoil and Disruption

      When something keeps on appearing as a byproduct of an activity, eventually you might begin to wonder if perhaps the byproduct is actually the objective. The one result that education reform efforts seem to have in common is turmoil in our schools, especially those where there is high poverty. Let’s take a look at the strategies being employed, and what they are yielding:

    • Some Pointed Questions for Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield

      Enfield is accused of having a poor background and bad attitude for the job. Worse, she’s accused of ignoring a pool of well qualified teachers and parent demands to instead promote Teach for America substitutes and charter schools.

    • Gates Foundation pushes quack math program, “Everyday Math”

      The NSF is not the only funding source for defective math programs. Corporate foundations also contribute. In 2001, for example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation teamed up to award the San Diego Unified School District $22.5 million, but only under the condition that the school board retain its superintendent and chancellor of instruction so that they could institute educational “reforms.” The two administrators required schools to use a controversial high school physics program, an ineffective reading framework for elementary school, and Everyday Mathematics, an NSF-funded, K-6 series not aligned to the state’s standards.

      People who write about this are often confused by Gates’ other propaganda and conclude the efforts are an honest effort to improve education. They think, for instance, that Microsoft hires foreign workers for quality reasons rather than the cheapness and control the H1B visa program gives employers.

    • Dumping Everyday Math program improves scores in Washington State
    • The Everyday Math fight in Texas as of 2007.

      Great resources on this page. Texas recently pushed out textbooks with creationism in them, so things may not be going well there now.

  • Anti-Trust

    • ITC Recommends Finland and Canada Help Barnes & Noble Get Evidence from Nokia and MOSAID ~pj

      The International Trade Commission has granted [PDF, 70 pages] Barnes & Noble’s request that the ITC recommend that Barnes & Noble be granted international assistance from the Ministry of Justice of Finland under Article 3 of the Hague Convention to obtain testimony from Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, and other key executives of the company, as well as help to obtain certain documentary evidence, like the signed agreements between the three entities Microsoft, Nokia and MOSAID.

    • Verizon ends satellite deal, FiOS expansion as it partners with cable

      Another of Big Telecom’s Big Lies Finally Exposed as Verizon Goes Big Time Anticompetitive – Blatant lies to consumers, legislators, and regulators regarding broadband expansion, and an obvious move toward even further anticompetitive behavior.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wikipedia edits verify Bell Pottinger boasts

      Evidence seen by the Bureau shows the company made hundreds of alterations to Wikipedia entries about its clients in the last year. Some of the changes added favourable comments while others removed negative content.

    • Wikipedia investigates PR firm Bell Pottinger’s edits

      Wikipedia has suspended at least 10 accounts linked to the public relations firm Bell Pottinger as it investigates allegations of content manipulation. … “I offered to pop by their office next week and give them a speech on ethical editing of Wikipedia – but I guess they didn’t think that was too amusing so they didn’t respond,” Mr Wales said.

      Microsoft should be banned outright after putting bounties out to the public for edits favorable to Microsoft.

    • California Relaxes Ethics

      State lawmakers and city council members can accept expensive gifts from lobbyists without disclosure if they are dating, and can receive meals and lodging in lobbyists’ homes without telling the public, under rules approved Thursday by the state ethics agency.

    • Twitter Bots Drown Out Anti-Kremlin Tweets

      Thousands of Twitter accounts apparently created in advance to blast automated messages are being used to drown out Tweets sent by bloggers and activists this week who are protesting the disputed parliamentary elections in Russia, security experts said.

  • Censorship

    • Senat Open Washes SOPA

      The same nasty intent and arbitrary censorship, now by ITC demanded financial blockade like the one previously used against wikileaks, but they have covered it with the word “Open” and ask for “feedback”.

    • US Courts will do the DNS and Search Engine censorship removed from SOPA

      Two prior cases are cited but there’s also “Operation in our Sites” and an porn clean up that blasted thousands of innocent parties off the internet.

    • Hollywood Admits It: Goal Is China-Style Internet Censorship

      On the eve of the House Judiciary Committee vote, the head of the Motion Picture Assocation of America admitted that he’s pushing a censorship regime just like China’s. According to Variety, he said: “When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn’t do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites.”

    • The Internet’s Intolerable Acts, You should be very afraid of a pair of bills that threaten Internet freedom.

      Rather than blocking online copyright infringement, legislation like SOPA and Protect IP would instigate a data obfuscation arms race … This counterproductive cat-and-mouse game of censorship and circumvention would drive savvy scofflaws to darknets while increasing surveillance of less technically proficient Internet users.

      This is another reason technical countermeasures to censorship are not good enough, they leave most people in the dark which then leads to even more oppressive laws and policy. The best reason is that technical counter measures can’t be counted on and may just lead the user to another information trap.

    • Senator Wants Answers from DHS Over Domain Name Seizures

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said Friday he would demand answers from the Department of Homeland Security about its domain seizure program known as Operation in Our Sites … Wyden also wants to know why there was no court record of the case, other than the initial seizure filing a year ago.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

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