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More Groups Than Thought Monitored in Police Spying

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 20:49 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Privacy, Security


The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored — and labeled as terrorists — activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.

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George Monbiot on climate change and Big Tobacco

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 17:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


ExxonMobil is the world’s most profitable corporation. Its sales now amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil, and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle climate change. To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that HIV causes Aids. So what’s its strategy?

The website Exxonsecrets.org, using data found in the company’s official documents, lists 124 organisations that have taken money from the company or work closely with those that have. These organisations take a consistent line on climate change: that the science is contradictory, the scientists are split, environmentalists are charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy for no good reason. The findings these organisations dislike are labelled “junk science”. The findings they welcome are labelled “sound science”.


While they have been most effective in the United States, the impacts of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon and Philip Morris have been felt all over the world. I have seen their arguments endlessly repeated in Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the UK. By dominating the media debate on climate change during seven or eight critical years in which urgent international talks should have been taking place, by constantly seeding doubt about the science just as it should have been most persuasive, they have justified the money their sponsors have spent on them many times over. It is fair to say that the professional denial industry has delayed effective global action on climate change by years, just as it helped to delay action against the tobacco companies.

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The atheist bus campaign is bigger and better then ever

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 17:01 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News



From today’s launch, two hundred of the buses will run in London, because the campaign was originally started as a positive counter-response to the Jesus Said ads running on London buses in June 2008. These ads displayed the URL of a website which stated that non-Christians “will be condemned to everlasting separation from God and then you spend all eternity in torment in hell … Jesus spoke about this as a lake of fire prepared for the devil”. Our rational slogan will hopefully reassure anyone who has been scared by this kind of evangelism.

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US arms sales to Israel in 2007

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 16:59 by John Sinteur in category: News

I found I could only quote this in full, so I’d better just point you to the source.

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Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 14:16 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!, Software

From here:

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Third Bush push for president

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 11:38 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


Former president George HW Bush, father of the outgoing US commander-in-chief, has touted another son, Jeb, for a future presidential bid.

“I’d like to see him run. I’d like to see him be president some day,” the elder Bush, 84, who was the 41st president, told Fox News yesterday.

“I think he’s as qualified and able as anyone I know,” he said in an interview, adding however that “now is not the time” to push another White House run by a member of his famous family dynasty.

The only reasonable explanation must be that all the people known to George HW Bush are incompetent nincompoops.

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  1. Well, don’t say we didn’t see that one coming… My only hope is that the American people will be sensible enough to keep ANY Bush out of the oval office for the coming… let’s say… twenty centuries. But I readily admit that they did vote for the leaving president. Twice. Or did they…?

  2. Can’t figure out what’s noteworthy about this. Of course the parent of a reasonably qualified son thinks this. And Jeb is possibly far more able than W. And GHWB acknowledges a break from the Bush dynasty is appropriate.

    Actually the only noteworthy bit I see is that this is labeled as a “push” and that you borrowed that headline, John. I regularly wish you’d write your own rather than copy the crackpots.

Korea vs. Japan

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 10:00 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

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Italian Pensions Sapped by Private Funds Bush Backed

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 9:55 by John Sinteur in category: News


Italy did for retirement financing what President George W. Bush couldn’t do in the U.S.: It privatized part of its social security system. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

The global market meltdown has created losses for those who agreed to shift their contributions from a government severance payment plan to private funds meant to yield higher returns. Anger is rising both at the state, which promoted the change, and money managers such as UniCredit SpA and Arca Previdenza, which stood to profit.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s administration is now considering ways to compensate as many as 1.2 million people who made the switch, giving up a fixed return for private plans linked to financial markets. It’s also letting people delay redemptions on retirement funds to avoid losses after Italy’s benchmark stock index fell 50 percent in 2008, destroying 300 billion euros ($423 billion) in wealth.

“The reform didn’t help anyone,” said Gabriele Fava, who heads the Fava & Associati law firm in Milan and writes about labor law. “Not the government, which was hoping everyone would make the switch to take the strain off its coffers, nor the workers who have not resolved the problem of needing a supplement to their social security pensions.”

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Passenger forced to cover Arabic T-shirt receives $330,000 compensation

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 9:55 by John Sinteur in category: Security


An airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded US$240,000 (A$337,000) in compensation, campaigners said Monday.

Raed Jarrar received the pay out on Friday from two US Transportation Security Authority officials and from JetBlue Airways following the August 2006 incident at New York’s JFK Airport, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced.

“The outcome of this case is a victory for free speech and a blow to the discriminatory practice of racial profiling,” said Aden Fine, a lawyer with ACLU.

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  1. Does anyone know what the shirt actually said?

  2. It said “We will not be silent” http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0830-02.htm

Campaign to Stop File-Sharers Being “Guilty Upon Accusation”

Posted on January 6th, 2009 at 8:58 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


However draconian these proposals might appear, they are nothing compared to the proposed ‘Section 92′ of the Copyright Amendment Act in New Zealand. Scheduled for introduction at the end of February 2009, the act assumes that any individual simply accused of sharing copyright works on the Internet, is guilty. The punishment for ‘guilty’ is summary disconnection from the Internet. Understandably, this proposal hasn’t been well received by many outside of the entertainment industries. Indeed, RIANZ, New Zealand’s answer to the RIAA, has been a vocal supporter.

All you need is a phone book and some time. They would either have to disconnect the whole country or rethink this utter stupidity.

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  1. I am *so* getting a unlisted number!!!

  2. Does NZ constitution allow this law to stand? If so, let me know and I’ll cross NZ out of my “places I’d love to visit” list