Just days ago, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias planted the 5 millionth tree of the year near his office in the capital San Jose. Costa Rica is aiming to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero, and has set a target date of 2021. “I don’t know if we will end up being carbon neutral in 2021 as we have proposed, but the important thing is the audacity of the goal and the work we have to do,” Arias sai…
“Whoever imagined that you would hear from the United States and from Britain the same arguments for detention without trial that were used by the apartheid government,”
Proposed legislation that would mandate the use of the Open Document Format (ODF) across the entire Dutch government has infuriated Microsoft. A group promoting open standards sees no threat, however, and has invited Microsoft to join its ranks.
On Wednesday the Dutch parliament will discuss a plan to mandate use of the Open Document Format (ODF) at government agencies. The proposal is part of a wider plan to increase the sustainability of information and innovation, while lowering costs through the reuse of data.
Policy makers see interoperability as the key to achieving these goals and therefore recommend that open standards should be used whenever possible. Bodies that wish to deviate from the open standards policy can request a temporary stay, but have to show a timeline showing a planned implementation date — a policy described as “comply or explain.”
“This plan is not about Microsoft, it’s about ensuring the perpetual availability of data without any obstacles. Currently there are issues with OpenXML, they aren’t an official ISO-standard yet. And the way they tried to get the specification certified is questionable at least,” charged Vriens. “We would like to encourage Microsoft to join our ranks by becoming a participating member of our society. That would enable us to work with them to ensure an innovative and durable future so they can remain open for business.”
The greatest propaganda coup of the last century wasn’t birthed at a stadium in Nuremberg or in the the dark recesses of the Kremlin, it was given life by an American president in an Oval Office meeting with his top advisers. That president was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his propaganda victory was the acceptance of the idea that the role of government was to serve the people.
Prior to FDR, government served only those who deserved it: the corporations. Indeed, it was merely a few decades earlier that corporations were granted personhood and at least one senator, after proudly stating he represented Standard Oil, proposed that Senate representation should be given to corporations rather than the states.
But all that changed with FDR. He and his successors perverted government’s purpose by forcing it to address things like the 40 hour work week, workplace safety regulation, state subsidies for the elderly and the sick, and eventually, even civil rights.
The election of Ronald Reagan signaled the beginning of the end of this tyranny of the public good. We’ve come a very long way in the last 28 years in restoring the important master/servant relationship between corporations and government. I think a recent incident involving Haliburton subsidiary KBR and the US State Department serves as a great example of just how far we’ve come.
A little over two years ago, a group of KBR employees drugged and gang raped Jamie Leigh Jones, a 20-year-old female American staffer. Jones responded by attempting to report the incident and management reacted by ordering their security division to lock her up in a shipping container.
A sympathetic guard eventually allowed her to use his cellphone and she called her father. He, in turn, called his congressman who contacted the State Department and asked them to dispatch embassy personnel to free her and take her to a medical facility for treatment.
Jones was examined by a doctor who determined that she had been vaginally and anally raped multiple times by the KBR contractors.
At this point, the State Department had a decision to make. Should they allow the rape kit to be sent to the FBI and the Justice Department or given to Jones for a potential lawsuit (contractors are shielded by law from being arrested for anything) and by doing so, side with the young woman against the contractor, or should they seize it and give it to KBR–the company that had imprisoned her to keep her from complaining–and thus honor the sacred covenant Our Leader made with the owners in his ownership society.
As one would expect from any agency run by a good Republican soldier like Condi Rice, State sided with the contractor and gave the rape kit to KBR security, who promptly lost it.
No rape kit; no problem; the Republican revolution delivers again.
Ada Wasson and Mary Ellen Walters vanished.
The elderly pair left their Warren County, Ohio, retirement home on April 19 for a day of shopping at an outlet mall. They never arrived. Days turned into weeks and months, with no clue about their fate. Their car was missing, their credit cards had not been used, and no one had reported seeing them.
Police were puzzled, and their families were desperate. The case was widely publicized, attracting attention, sympathy—and psychics.
While the news media often report on a psychic’s introduction into missing persons cases, reporters very rarely follow up on the psychics. The result is that the public hears about psychics being involved, but doesn’t hear about whether or not psychic information actually recovered the missing person or solved the case.
According to Silverman, police were contacted by about 30 psychics over the course of the six-month investigation. They sent maps, audiotapes, letters, dream journals, and e-mails. One supposed psychic said that the numbers 42 and 27 were significant and would help police find the missing women. Another said the pair would be found about five miles from where they were last seen; another said searchers should look in the Ohio River; still another said the women were within 300 feet of a rural, white church somewhere. Thirty different “psychics” gave 30 different answers.
The women were found, not by psychics, nor by police.
All the information that all 30 psychics gave was wrong. The numbers, the dreams and visions, the river, the white churches—every detail was not only completely wrong but wasted time and resources. Police spent about 40 work hours sorting through the information.
The psychics are largely to blame, but journalists bear some responsibility. If more journalists covering missing persons cases followed up on their reporting and publicized psychics’ consistent failures, perhaps fewer would contact police with their visions and hunches, wasting police time and falsely raising the hopes of the missing person’s family.