A great roundup of the myths surrounding the Drug War, and the cogent arguments against continuing our ridiculous, harmful, and expensive policy of ideological prohibition.
I’ve been in New York since Monday for a short workshop on the finances of the coal industry and coal burning utilities. It was put together under the auspices of the NYU Law School’s Institute for Policy Integrity. The audience was mostly grassroots campaigners from all over the country — people working to shut down coal mining and coal based power plants for environmental reasons, both climate related and more traditional pollution. The two day program included panels of utility specialists from rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch, Bruce Nilles from the Sierra Club’s Bloomberg funded Beyond Coal campaign, as well as financial analysts from UBS, Bloomberg New Energy and Jeffries. Tom Sanzillo, the former comptroller of the state of New York, gave us a run down on how to read a utility company’s 10-K. Several community leaders in successful fights to keep new coal plants from getting built told their stories too. All in all, it made for some strange bedfellows. It was great overall, and I think pretty much everyone learned something. Here’s what I remember learning.
Ever wonder if you’ve been watched by government spooks? You can use the tools at Get My FBI File to find out. Of course, that FOIA request will also probably get put in your file. Whoa… beware police state bureaucratic recursion.
Uh… so a bill in the US Senate with bipartisan support would allow the military to lock up citizens indefinitely without trial. That would be unconstitutional, right? Like, the Supreme Court would overturn it, right? Obama will veto it, right? Am I dreaming here? And both parties are in favor of this? Are you kidding? How fucking timid can you be? Any statement even remotely resembling this should be a clear poison pill, with the bill going down in flames, even if it is the Defense Authorization.
An essay about the militarization of campus police, in response to the pepper-spraying of peaceful protesters at UC Davis this week. William Gibson (@GreatDismal) reminisces:
Glad I had opportunity to visit overtly fascist nations as a young man. Good to know the smell. Like skunk, state terror.
In Berlin, Pirates have won 9% of the vote, and now have 15 seats in the city-state’s legislature. This kind of gradual integration of supposedly “fringe” issues into mainstream politics is valuable, and also impossible in an electoral system like the US has.
A city-scale bike and pedestrian omnibus bill is coming before City Council. Among other things, it creates a well-defined cross walk speed limit for bikes (8 mph), requires bikes and peds to activate the blinking lights at mid-block crossings, and legalizes back-in angled parking, which the city wants to experiment with on University, near the intersection with 17th, to make the bike lane safer.
A scathing review of an official German government trojan by the Chaos Computer Club. They decompiled the binaries and reverse-engineered the software, and found that not only did it fail to comply with the German constitutional court’s mandate to limit its capabilities, but was so poorly designed and secured as to enable “even attackers of mediocre skill” to completely compromise any machine on which it had been installed. Clearly not the best of German engineering!
Crowdfunding, Why the SEC Bans It, Obama Wants It, and Banks Fear It. Kickstarter would be illegal if you were making investments in a business, instead of donations to a cause. Even so, people have raised on occasion hundreds of thousands of dollars via the site for honor-system bound innovation. Hopefully this will be legitimized soon.
Apparently the agricultural industrial complex is willing to take down its competition with a hail of lead if necessary. A multi-agency SWAT team descended upon a raw milk and cheese buying club in SoCal, and is holding the proprietor without bail. How can this be a serious law enforcement priority?