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Stephen Boyle

Remarks of the President in Welcoming Senior Staff and Cabinet Secretaries to the White... - 0 views

  • However long we are keepers of the public trust we should never forget that we are here as public servants and public service is a privilege. It's not about advantaging yourself. It's not about advancing your friends or your corporate clients. It's not about advancing an ideological agenda or the special interests of any organization. Public service is, simply and absolutely, about advancing the interests of Americans.
  • They also deserve to know that there are rules on the books to keep it that way. They deserve a government that is truly of, by, and for the people.
  • The executive order on ethics I will sign shortly represents a clean break from business as usual.
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  • The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. And the way to make government accountable is make it transparent so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they're being made, and whether their interests are being well served.
  • Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but those who seek to make it known.
  • It will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well grounded in the Constitution.
  • the way to solve the problems of our time, as one nation, is by involving the American people in shaping the policies that affect their lives
  • I will also hold myself as President to a new standard of openness. Going forward, anytime the American people want to know something that I or a former President wants to withhold, we will have to consult with the Attorney General and the White House Counsel, whose business it is to ensure compliance with the rule of law. Information will not be withheld just because I say so
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    Transparency of government pledged through Executive Order
Stephen Boyle

Petroleum coke protest campaign launched in Detroit | Windsor Star - 0 views

  • The petroleum coke a few months ago started to be produced in greater amounts at the nearby Marathon refinery in Detroit. The refinery completed a massive $2-billion facility upgrade last fall allowing it for the first time to process heavy Canadian crude oil brought in by pipeline from the Alberta oil sands.

  • Although not officially listed as a toxic or hazardous product, petcoke can contain heavy metals or sulphur found inside oil sands crude, according to experts.
  • MDEQ officials have continued to keep a watch on the petroleum coke, focusing of late on how the oil byproduct is being loaded on to freighters since the shipping season began about 10 days ago.
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  • “But subsequent visits by our air quality staff have identified issues with the petroleum coke as it’s being put on to the conveyor belts leading on to the ship. They did notice dust issues loading on to the conveyor. We have brought that concern to the company’s (Detroit Bulk Storage) attention and asked them to address it in their fugitive dust plan.”
  • The state environmental regulators have requested the companies involved provide an official site plan for fugitive dust and storm water runoff before the end of this month. They have not yet received a response, Hartz said.

Stephen Boyle

Examining Halliburton's 'Sweetheart' Deal in Iraq : NPR - 0 views

  • Iraq has become an important profit center — contracts there netted the company $900 million for the quarter, 15 percent of its operating budget. The Iraq contracts are cost-plus: the government reimburses the company for its costs, then adds on a profit of 2 percent to 7 percent. Critics say this creates a perverse incentive: the more you spend, the more you make. The Pentagon says this type of flexible contract is necessary in a war zone.
  • In the mid-1990s, a whistleblower revealed that the company, then known as Brown & Root, had overcharged the government on a contract to convert military bases to civilian uses. Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root agreed to pay a $2 million dollar fine, but admitted no wrongdoing.
  • Despite the current controversy, Halliburton does not have a reputation of defrauding the government, says Jim Moorman, president of Taxpayers Against Fraud.

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    Haliburton's KBR. Dick Cheney was CEO of Haliburton and in 2003 was US Vice President.
Stephen Boyle

PA 4 not dead yet; Bing ready to impose union contracts … it's a race to July... - 0 views

  • The consent agreement between the state and the city of Detroit grants Bing some powers that are normally granted only to an emergency manager. Specifically, a month after the agreement was signed, Bing gained the power to impose union contracts, but only on unions whose current contracts have expired.

    This is why July 1 is important: About 80 percent of the city’s union contracts expire that day.

  • State law says that if the petition is certified, PA 4 is suspended until the vote.
  • The full court declined to do that, and the appeals court told the board of canvassers to go back and certify the Stand Up For Democracy petition, with the effect of placing the question on the ballot.
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  • Citizens For Fiscal Responsibility plans to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. Now, the high court’s rules say that if there’s an appeal, the appellate court’s decision is stayed for 42 days, which carries us well past July 1.
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    Union contracts are at stake if the order to place the Repeal of PA4 on the ballot is not moved forward immediately.
Stephen Boyle

Backers of emergency manager law repeal vote win a round in Michigan Appeals Court | De... - 0 views

  • Bob LaBrant of Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, the group opposing the ballot initiative, said an appeal will be filed with the Michigan Supreme Court in the next one to two weeks. LaBrant said today’s ruling was not unexpected.

    If the repeal question is certified for the ballot, the emergency manager law will be suspended until the Nov. 6 election. But for that to happen, the State Board of Canvassers would have to meet and act as the appeals court has ordered. LaBrant said an appeal will be filed and the order will be stayed before the question is certified.

  • it believed that earlier case was wrongly decided.
  • Last week, a three-judge panel of the appeals court reluctantly ruled the question should go on the ballot, saying it was compelled to reach such a decision by a precedent set in an earlier case. But the panel unanimously said it believed that earlier case was wrongly decided.
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  • Today, the full panel rejected that step without stating its reasons.

    “The court orders that a special panel shall not be convened,” it said in a terse order.

  • Pugh noted that the consent agreement wasn't solely based on that law, and large portions of the city's deal with the state may stay in place no matter the impact of the court's ruling. Gov. Rick Snyder's administration has said much the same.
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    A panel of seven judges from the State Board of Appeals will NOT be formed. This places the repeal of PA4 on the ballot for Nov 6. However Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility vows to have the order stayed and take the case to Michigan Supreme Court.
Stephen Boyle

Check Out This Giant Spy Blimp Before the Air Force Kills It | Danger Room | Wired.com - 0 views

  • Mav6, whose key executives include a respected retired Air Force general and a former Northrop Grumman program manager, once envisioned building a fleet of Blue Devil 2 airships to fill an important gap in U.S. surveillance capabilities
  • The Blue Devil airship initiative [is] urgently needed to eliminate combat capability deficiencies that have resulted in combat fatalities,” then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote. His opinion was seconded by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, or JIEDDO, which explores new technology for finding and disabling improvised bombs in Afghanistan. JIEDDO hoped a long-endurance airship would help spot more Taliban bombers.
  • The Blue Devil 2 effort quickly ran into problems. In November 2010, as the airship began to take shape in the Elizabeth City hangar, the Air Force shook up the program structure. JIEDDO bowed out. The flying branch transferred the Blue Devil 2′s management responsibilities to a secretive Air Force office called Big Safari, which traditionally oversees specialized reconnaissance planes — planes, not airships
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  • Big Safari just “didn’t like” the airship, the Mav6 employee told Danger Room on condition of anonymity: “They tried to terminate it from day one.”
  • Blue Devil 2′s development schedule slipped a year. The so-called “big Air Force” — the flying branch’s fighter and bomber commanders — proceeded to complain, loudly and publicly. Mav6 actually shot back on its blog, describing the Air Force as a “hostile government customer.”
  • The employee estimated the Blue Devil 2 was 95 percent complete when the kill order came down.
  • What went wrong? Officially, the Air Force balked at the estimated $188-million cost of operating the Blue Devil 2 in Afghanistan for a single year. Mav6′s Deptula disputes the figure, and argues that killing the all-but-complete airship prototype will waste the $211 million already invested. The Blue Devil 2 cancellation is “penny-wise but pound-foolish,” Deptula has said.
  • “I have [an] interest in hybrid airships,” Gen. Raymond Johns, Jr., the flying branch’s top airlift officer, told Air Force Magazine, praising airships as representing “about one-third the cost of fixed-wing [planes].”

    “There may be a huge niche — logistically, operationally — with this hybrid airship construct,” Johns added — perhaps failing to appreciate that his fellow officers just killed a huge airship that was already paid for and almost ready.

Stephen Boyle

Classified information: Return of the plumbers | The Economist - 0 views

  • Mr Drake, a former official at the National Security Agency (NSA), tried to report mismanagement and illegalities at the agency to government officials, but was ignored. He then went to the press. The government charged him with misappropriating classified material, though he denied he had shared any secrets. Prosecutors, wary of revealing sensitive material in court, tried to tempt him with a generous plea deal, but he held out until last week. Originally facing up to 35 years in prison, he will now receive a much milder sentence, perhaps including no time in jail.
Stephen Boyle

Occupy Wall Street and the media: Talking about a revolution | The Economist - 0 views

  • For most journalists, accustomed to clear leaders and talking points, this makes the movement a slippery and exasperating subject. The flip side is that from the activists’ point of view, as one of the writers in “Occupying Wall Street” puts it, “mainstream coverage of Occupy Wall Street has been a fickle, ornery beast,” alternating between indifference and obsession.
  • The theoretical principles of the movement, total horizontality and openness, run counter to what seems to make effective media
  • For potential sympathisers, a coherent, collective story may be easier to grasp than lots of personal ones.
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    The theoretical principles of the movement, total horizontality and openness, run counter to what seems to make effective media
Stephen Boyle

Barack Obama: Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Ye... - 0 views

  • The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
  • Section 1028 modifies but fundamentally maintains unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch's authority to transfer detainees to a foreign country.
  • I reject any approach that would mandate military custody where law enforcement provides the best method of incapacitating a terrorist threat
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  • signed this bill on the understanding that section 1022 provides the executive branch with broad authority to determine how best to implement it, and with the full and unencumbered ability to waive any military custody requirement, including the option of waiving appropriate categories of cases when doing so is in the national security interests of the United States
  • My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.
  • like section 1027, would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles.
  • provision represents an intrusion into the functions and prerogatives of the Department of Justice and offends the longstanding legal tradition that decisions regarding criminal prosecutions should be vested with the Attorney General free from outside interference.
  • Like section 1244, should any application of these provisions conflict with my constitutional authorities, I will treat the provisions as non-binding.
  • My Administration has worked tirelessly to reform or remove the provisions described above in order to facilitate the enactment of this vital legislation, but certain provisions remain concerning. My Administration will aggressively seek to mitigate those concerns through the design of implementation procedures and other authorities available to me as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief, will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future, and will seek the repeal of any provisions that undermine the policies and values that have guided my Administration throughout my time in office.
Stephen Boyle

The Avalon Organic Gardens, Farm, and Ranch Report » Blog Archive » CSA News ... - 0 views

  • OSGATA and company finally got their day in court on Jan. 31. Approximately 200 farmers and supporters showed up in front of the Federal District Court in Manhattan for opening arguments. Occupy Wall Street’s food justice working group helped organize the rally, though they are not plaintiffs in the suit. “We’re part of OWS, which is all about corporate consolidation, and you can’t discuss that without addressing agriculture,” says Corbin Laedlein, a member of the working group.
  • idea of a suit to the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a group that wants to change how patent law works in the U.S., and PUBPAT took on the case pro bono
  • if Hantz comes in, it will be like the Walmart of urban farming, and will annihilate the small producers who are dependent on restaurants to buy the high-end produce so they can run these socially beneficial programs.
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    Hantz comes in, it will be like the Walmart of urban farming, and will annihilate the small producers who are dependent on restaurants to buy the high-end produce so they can run these socially beneficial programs.
Stephen Boyle

Barack Obama sits on Rosa Parks bus | Detroit Free Press | freep.com - 0 views

  • Said Obama at another stop: "It takes ordinary citizens to bring about change, who are committed to keep fighting and keep pushing, and keep inching this country closer to our highest ideals."
Stephen Boyle

Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests | World news | guardian.co.uk - 0 views

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    Graphic chart showing linked reported actions in various Middle Eastern countries. EXCELLENT TOOL 
Stephen Boyle

Energy Department Launches Apps for Energy | Department of Energy - 0 views

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    Funding through Department of Defense and Department of Energy - bring the money out of military spending please
Stephen Boyle

Transportation - 0 views

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    Title 49 of Code of Federal Regulations - Transportation
Stephen Boyle

Obama Administration Seeks More Secrecy for Govt. Files - 0 views

  • Justice Department Director of the Office of Information Policy, Melanie Ann Pustay (pictured above), called on Congress to weaken the Freedom of Information of Act [FOIA] and strengthen the ability of the federal government to prevent the disclosure of documents deemed critical to the safety of the nation's cybersecurity and infrastructure.
  • In Fiscal Year 2011, agencies were faced with an increase in the number of incoming FOIA requests, which rose from 597,415 in Fiscal Year 2010 to 644,165 in Fiscal Year 2011. Notably, the Department of Homeland Security experienced a 35% increase in the number of incoming requests.
  • Under provisions of the FOIA, anyone may compel agencies of the government to surrender copies of federal records. According to applicable exceptions to the law, a petitioner is entitled to receive the requested documents unless the disclosure would demonstrably negatively impact national security, violate personal privacy, or unnecessarily reveal business secrets or other confidential decision-making considerations.
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    Justice Department Director asks Congress to weaken FOIA, and prevent disclosure.
Stephen Boyle

Electoral College v. The People - Infoplease.com - 0 views

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    Four times in election history a candidate has won the popular vote and lost the election.
Stephen Boyle

Jesse's Café Américain: Critical Mass: The Mispricing of Derivatives Risk And... - 0 views

  • In 2002 Warren Buffett famously referred to derivatives as 'financial weapons of mass destruction.' But beyond that headline, few in the media took the time to actually communicate what Buffett was really saying, and the risks that the unregulated derivatives markets posed to the banking system.
  • It would have been more effective to have nationalized the banks and cut the risk out at the source, but the new president Obama was badly advised to say the least, by advisors he himself appointed, who were in fact long time insiders in the creation of the risk situation itself.
  • In the case of the 2008-9 crisis, Bush-Obama failed to dictate terms, and essentially allowed the banks to do whatever they wished to keep going without reforming the system, taking huge sums of money and paying off their bets while maintaining their bonuses and most of their positions. And this was a monumental political failure indeed, and history will probably not be kind.
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  • it appears that the money in derivatives was too good for even Mr. Warren Buffett to pass up. Berkshire Profit Falls 30% On Insurance, Derivatives.
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    Understaning financial market derivatives and how they undermined the banking world.
Stephen Boyle

blekko - 0 views

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    Search engine that quiets down commercial placement and arbitrary linking. CONTENT matters to Blekko.
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