Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner Cable headquarters in New York February 13, 2014.
(Reuters) – Representatives of Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N) are preparing to meet officials from the U.S. …
Bidness Etc reports on the latest insider selling activity at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD), Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), and Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP). The details of the trade at each company are given below. Gilead Chief Scientific Officer and EVP Research and Development, Norbert W. Bischofberger sold 70,000 shares (reflecting 22.93% […]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BMW is recalling 91,800 Mini Coopers in the United States to replace a defective sensor that may prevent the front passenger seat air bag from deploying in a crash, the German automaker said on Saturday.
Facebook Inc. (FB: Quote)-owned messenger application WhatsApp now has 800 million monthly active users, according to WhatsApp founder Jan Koum.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Kuom said, “WhatsApp – now serving 800,000,000 monthly active users. Reminde…
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) talks to Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis during the first meeting of new cabinet post elections in the parliament building in Athens in this file photo taken on January 28, 2015.
Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones in a shift that’s expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.
The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as “mobile-friendly.”
Websites that don’t fit the description will be demoted in Google’s search results on smartphones, while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.
To stay in Google’s good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices.
If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on smartphones and the columns of text don’t all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.
Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.
The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated.
While most major merchants and big companies already have websites that will probably meet Google’s mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven’t had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.
[…] new pecking order in Google’s mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division is nearing a recommendation to block Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA: Quote,CMCSK: Quote) proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC: Quote), Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people fam…
As May 1 date draws near for the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the hype increased for the DC Comic’s two big superheroes, Batman and Superman, being together in one film, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as its first trailer gets leaked online. The Time Warner Inc’s (NYSE:TWX) movie division Warner Bros. […]
“Ham” the robot drew crowds at a Hong Kong electronics event this week. Designed by US firm Hanson Robotics, Ham can recognize and respond to human facial expressions in natural way. Please consider Aye, robot? With his lively eyebrows, winkled cheeks and eyes that follow you around the room – this state-of-the-art robotic head is […]
Combines GPS navigation, traffic reports, text messaging and meeting organizing in one app.
Whether it’s dinner with that special someone or just hanging out with friends, you can use Telenav’s Scout to organize the event.
The app has texting to plan the meet-up, maps and audio navigation to get you there, traffic reports to avoid congestion and suggestions to find the cheapest parking.
Cisco Systems had a public relations problem: Having invested $16 billion in the Chinese market, the technology giant was suddenly facing congressional scrutiny over its alleged complicity in building the so-called Great Firewall that helps China’s authoritarian regime censor information and surveil its citizens.
The San Jose, California, company endured a high-profile Senate hearing about its Chinese operations in 2008 and reaffirmed its “continued commitment to China.” But the issue wouldn’t die. A group of investors stormed the company’s annual meeting in November 2009, pressing a shareholder resolution that would force the company to prevent the Chinese government from using Cisco technology to engage in what critics said was widespread human-rights abuse.
That’s when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tossed the company a lifeline. Weeks after Cisco executives killed the shareholder initiative, Cisco was honored as a finalist for the State Department’s award for “outstanding corporate citizenship, innovation and democratic principles.” The next year, the company won the award. While the honors were for the company’s work in the Middle East, they gave Cisco a well-timed opportunity to change the subject and present itself as a champion of human rights.
What Clinton did not say at the State Department award ceremonies was that Cisco had been pumping money into her family’s foundation. Though the foundation will not release an exact timeline of the contributions, records reviewed by International Business Times show that Cisco had by December 2008 donated from $500,000 to $1 million to the foundation. The company had hired lobbying firms run by former Clinton aides. After the money flowed into the foundation, Clinton’s State Department not only lauded Cisco’s human rights record, it also delivered millions of dollars worth of new government contracts to the company.
Internet freedom advocates say Clinton’s moves helped Cisco whitewash its image and also raise questions about the sincerity of her often-stated commitment to human rights.
“Crony capitalism has defined Clinton’s career, from her tenure on the board of Walmart, to the Wall Street execs whom she surrounded herself with at the State Department, to her allegiance to Cisco, even as it violated principles on which she staked her tenure,” said David Segal, executive director of the Internet freedom advocacy group Demand Progress.
But the issue of Chinese repression — and Cisco’s role — was already known by then. In 2009, weeks after Clinton’s State Department had named Cisco a finalist for the secretary of state’s Awards for Corporate Excellence (ACE), a report from the Electronic Freedom Foundation noted “Cisco’s deep involvement” in building the Chinese government’s censorship system. The report pointed out that “Cisco engineers gave a presentation acknowledging the repressive uses for their technology.”
In 2010, the Clinton Foundation gave Cisco CEO John Chambers a high-profile speaking role at its “Turning Ideas Into Action” annual meeting. Cisco also won an ACE that year — just before the Human Rights Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against Cisco outlining what the foundation’s executive director, Terri Marsh, said was the “key role Cisco played in the design, construction, and maintenance of China’s Internet surveillance system.”
In an interview with IBTimes, Marsh said that “Cisco’s conduct has enabled an unprecedented and widespread crackdown on religious minorities, Tibetans, and democracy activists in China.” Cisco’s work in China, she said, “runs contrary to Secretary Clinton’s stated commitment to ‘a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.’”
She added: “We are disappointed that the State Department has chosen to reward rather than condemn such a company, and believe that the United States should instead be sending a clear message to American technology corporations that complicity in global human rights abuses is not acceptable.”
Daniel Wade, an attorney who represented Chinese dissidents in a lawsuit against Cisco, told IBTimes that “Cisco knew full well that its products were going to be used to suppress and facilitate the torture of democracy activists.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which today works with Cisco on an Internet encryption project, said Cisco technology enabled violent repression by the Chinese government.
“We have ample evidence to indicate that the technology Cisco created was instrumental in the tracking down of religious minorities, detaining them, and murdering them,” said Rainey Reitman, the EFF’s activism director. “Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a full public accounting.”
On Monday, antitax crusader Grover Norquist talks at the Commonwealth Club about ending the IRS.
Venture capitalist Steve Jervetson talks about Silicon Valley innovation at a Commonwealth Club event in Palo Alto on Tuesday.
The National Association of Realtors reports March existing-home sales on Wednesday, then the Commerce Department releases March new-home sales on Thursday.
A potload (sorry, couldn’t resist) of earnings reports: on Tuesday, Yahoo, Intuitive Surgical, VMware and Broadcom; on Wednesday, Facebook and eBay; on Thursday, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Pandora Media, Juniper Networks, KLA-Tencor and Maxim Integrated Products; and on Friday, SunPower.
Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5
The Panasonic delivers really good photo and video quality, a great set of features, and class-leading performance.
The bottom line:
With really good photo and video quality, a great set of features and generally class-leading performance, the Panasonic is probably one of our favorite compact cameras ever.
Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5
The Sony delivers excellent photos, speedy performance and plenty of features in an attractive, compact package.
The camera tends to clip bright highlights, and the slippery body lacks a grip.
The lack of a manually triggered macro mode might put off some fans of close-up photography.
The bottom line:
The combination of looks, speed, flexibility and photo quality makes this Sony camera a great choice for enthusiasts who can afford the price.
The Lensbaby is a cheap, entertaining way to do special effects the old-fashioned way.
The bottom line: A fun-to-use lens system, the Lensbaby Spark’s low price makes it a great add-on for entry-level DSLR users who want to try their hands at special effects sans filters.
The Canon is an all-around excellent bridge camera with a competitive zoom range and features that make it easier to use.
Some users probably won’t be impressed with its photos, especially indoors or in low light.
The bottom line:
The following Cnet staff contributed to this story: senior editors Joshua Goldman, Lori Grunin and Laura K. Cucullu.
Having previously explained the 175,846,629,768 reasons why former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke would join Citadel – the most-levered hedge fund in the world and alleged conduit of fed put protection; we thought it intriguing to note what billionaire Citadel Ken Griffin had to say about Bernanke and his policies just 2 years ago…
The revolving door between Wall Street and Washington doesn’t often involve big banks like Citigroup or Goldman Sachs anymore. Instead, as Forbes’ Nathan Vardi reports, hedge fund and private equity firms have become the destination of choice. They are richer and guys like Bernanke feel they are less controversial than the big banks.
But, ironically, Griffin has been publicly critical of some of the more prominent Federal Reserve policies that were implemented on Bernanke’s watch. He particularly took some shots at those policies in 2013, as Bernanke was coming close to finishing his run at the Fed.
In a statement on Thursday,
Griffin said that Bernanke “has extraordinary knowledge of the global economy and his insights on monetary policy and the capital markets will be extremely valuable to our team and to our investors.”
But two years ago – he was not so sure…
Here are some of Griffin’s criticisms of Federal Reserve policy during the Bernanke years.
To The Economic Club of Chicago, May 2013:
“I think QE3 is a terrible idea because we are now reaching the point where the Fed is becoming captive to our political institutions. You see with the Fed owning several trillion dollars of U.S. Treasuries it’s easy to imagine that at the next confirmation hearing the questions posed by politicians will be of the nature, will you continue to help subsidize the cost of the U.S. federal government’s borrowings even at the ensuing risk of potentially creating uncontrollable inflation? That last part won’t be asked but that will be the risk. And I think there will be real pressure on picking people to the Federal Reserve board who will appease our politicians and continue to try to drive interest rates to an artificially low level, very worried about that, very worried about that.”
To The Milken Institute Conference, April 2013:
“The Federal Reserve is really trying to counteract a number of the very poor policies that are coming from our legislative and executive branches and it’s damn near impossible to overcome the headwinds created by Obamacare, an inability to reform tax policy, inability to thoughtfully create jobs in our country and the Fed’s policies are doing two things that I am very gravely concerned about. Number one is we have all learned over the years that if you reduce the cost of capital you increase your use of fixed assets and you take out jobs. Corporate America seeing an ever increasing cost for its employee base and extraordinary low interest rates is taking every step they can possibly take to reduce employment, to build factories abroad and domestically to substitute technology and automated processes for people. So one of the very sad negative characteristics of the Fed’s policies is it’s leading to job destruction.”
* * *
This ‘flip-flopping’ though, is understandable – the only ‘edge’ any fund has anymore is an inside line on monetary policy headlines and actions and the fee generation from running the Fed’s trades likely came with some quid pro quo…
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The tech world is famous for shunning hierarchy and structure in the office.
Lunchcruit matches job hunters with tech companies that are hiring.
“Our platform is less a recruiting platform and more a way to create these organic professional relationships,” said William Hsu, co-founder of the San Francisco startup.
A company simply posts a blurb about itself (“Our people are passionate, talented and know how to get (stuff) done”) and the positions it’s hiring for on the Lunchcruit website; job seekers can request to pop in for a bite.
Really, Lunchcruit functions more like a matchmaker setting up two pals on a blind date than it does like a recruitment agency.
Pham is a 26-year-old freelance software engineer who recently quit a job in finance and moved to San Francisco to go to coding boot camp.
Pham was impressed by NerdWallet, a personal finance startup that was her first Lunchcruit date.
NerdWallet needed senior engineers and Pham is in the market for a more entry-level position.
While waiting for lunch to be set up by Zesty, a catering startup, the two made small talk about Lunchcruit, the company’s makeshift fitness area and their work histories.
Since Lunchcruit started two months ago, 65 companies in eight cities have signed up for the site.
“It really takes the stress off a candidate and makes it more fun for the employer,” said Ahmad.
Over stuffed peppers and chicken breast in a tiny concrete-walled conference room, Pham and Ahmad chatted more about the company.
The company founder, Ahmad offered, is “a party animal.”
Fitmob sells monthly passes that allows a user to attend fitness classes at any gym or studio that’s a member of Fitmob — the idea is to fill up all the empty spaces that a yoga or boxing class might typically have.
Elizabeth, a Long Island native identified by her middle name, with her Adderall. Credit Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times
Fading fast at 11 p.m., Elizabeth texted her dealer and waited just 30 minutes for him to reach her third-floor New York apartment. She handed him a wad of twenties and fifties, received a tattered envelope of pills, and returned to her computer.
Her PowerPoint needed another four hours. Investors in her health-technology start-up wanted re-crunched numbers, a presentation begged for bullet points and emails from global developers would keep arriving well past midnight.
She gulped down one pill â€” pale orange, like baby aspirin â€” and then, reconsidering, took one of the pinks, too.
â€œO.K., now I can work,â€ Elizabeth exhaled. Several minutes later, she felt her brain snap to attention. She pushed her glasses up her nose and churned until 7 a.m. Only then did she sleep for 90 minutes, before arriving at her office at 9.
The pills were versions of the drug Adderall, an amphetamine-based stimulant prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that many college students have long used illicitly while studying. Now, experts say, stimulant abuse is graduating into the work force.
Elizabeth uses texts to talk with her dealer.
Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants does not exist, several experts said.
But in interviews, dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or access to the medication.
Doctors and medical ethicists expressed concern for misusersâ€™ health, as stimulants can cause anxiety, addiction and hallucinations when taken in high doses. But they also worried about added pressure in the workplace â€” where the use by some pressures more to join the trend.
â€œYouâ€™d see addiction in students, but it was pretty rare to see it in an adult,â€ said Dr. Kimberly Dennis, the medical director of Timberline Knolls, a substance-abuse treatment facility for women outside Chicago.
â€œWe are definitely seeing more than one year ago, more than two years ago, especially in the age range of 25 to 45,â€ she said.
Elizabeth, a Long Island native in her late 20s, said that to not take Adderall while competitors did would be like playing tennis with a wood racket.
â€œIt is necessary â€” necessary for survival of the best and the smartest and highest-achieving people,â€ Elizabeth said. She spoke on the condition that she be identified only by her middle name.
Most users who were interviewed said they got pills by feigning symptoms of A.D.H.D., a disorder marked by severe impulsivity and inattention, to physicians who casually write prescriptions without proper evaluations. Others got them from friends or dealers.
Obtaining or distributing stimulants without a prescription is a federal crime, but the starkest risks of abuse appear to be overdose and addiction.
A 2013 report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that emergency room visits related to nonmedical use of prescription stimulants among adults 18 to 34 tripled from 2005 to 2011, to almost 23,000.
The agency also reported that from 2010 to 2012, people entering substance rehabilitation centers cited stimulants as their primary substance of abuse 15 percent more often than in the previous three-year period.
Just how stimulants like Adderall might improve work performance, and to what extent, remains a matter of scientific debate.
But many young workers insist that using the drugs to increase productivity is on the rise â€” and that these are drugs used not to get high, but hired.
â€œGiven the increase in rates of abuse in college students over the last decade, it is essential that we understand the outcomes as they leave college and assume adult roles,â€ Dr. Wilson Compton, the deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in an interview.
Elizabethâ€™s sleep tracker was confused. Her nightly rests were so brief, the iPhone software thought they were just naps. It recorded her average sleep over nine months: from 4:17 a.m. until 7:42.
After founding her own health technology company, Elizabeth soon decided that working hard was not enough; she had to work harder, longer. Sleep went from an indulgence to an obstacle.
So she went to a psychiatrist and complained that she could not concentrate on work. She received a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. and a prescription for Adderall in about 10 minutes, she said.
â€œFriends of mine in finance, on Wall Street, were traders and had to start at 5 in the morning on top of their games â€” most of them were taking Adderall,â€ Elizabeth said. â€œYou canâ€™t be the one who is the sluggish one.â€
A Texas lawyer whose abuse of the pills cost him his job. Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times
Researchers in the field are quick to caution that, despite stimulantsâ€™ reputation as â€œsmart pills,â€ few studies suggest that they improve a personâ€™s ability to learn or understand. But they often improve attention and motivation, particularly for tedious tasks, which can increase productivity â€” or at least the appearance of it.
Some industries have banned the use of stimulants for reasons of safety or fairness. The Federal Aviation Administration forbids pilots to use the medications under any circumstances. Major League Baseball players and other athletes had long abused amphetamines to increase focus and endure exhausting travel schedules, but the drugs are now considered performance-enhancers allowed only with a confirmed A.D.H.D. diagnosis.
Interviews with people who have misused the pills showed them to be a diverse group. A dentist in eastern Pennsylvania prescribed herself Adderall and other stimulants for years because, she said in a telephone interview, she could see 15 patients a day rather than 12.
Lisa Deese of Fishers, Ind., said she had abused Adderall as a stay-at-home mother of three for years. The pills, she said, â€œwere like mommy crack.â€
â€œI got so much more done during the day,â€ she added. â€œI was hooked by my first pill.â€
While many studies have assessed the prevalence of misuse among college students, no doctor or researcher contacted for this article could cite a formal assessment of misuse among adults to improve job performance.
But Dr. Anjan K. Chatterjee, the chairman of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and an expert in the field of cognitive enhancement, said that even without conclusive data, misuse was undoubtedly rising. â€œKids who have been using it in high school and college, this is normalized for them,â€ Dr. Chatterjee said. â€œItâ€™s not a big deal as they enter the work force.â€
A Slow Realization
Sitting in a conference room at Timberline Knolls, the treatment facility, and hearing the details of Elizabethâ€™s professed harmless misuse of Adderall, a New York native in her mid-20s said pointedly, â€œThat was me 17 days ago.â€
The woman said her road to addiction had begun at her East Coast college, where Adderall was readily available from classmates for $5 or $10 a pill, she said. When her postgraduate job involved extensive early-morning driving and detailed paperwork, she began taking more. She said friends in accounting and teaching were doing the same thing.
â€œEverything was just â€”â€ she said, snapping her fingers loudly. â€œI did my job faster than anybody. I was on a mission, and I was not going to stop until I succeeded and got what I wanted.â€
When she became too wired to relax or sleep, she added the tranquilizer Xanax to calm herself. She tried to stop taking Adderall, she said, but â€œbecame terrified that I couldnâ€™t perform without it.â€ She turned to alcohol, then cigarettes and other prescription drugs to modulate her intensifying mood swings, before entering Timberline for five weeks.
The number of stimulant misusers who become addicted is unclear. But supply has risen sharply: About 2.6 million American adults received A.D.H.D. medication in 2012, a rise of 53 percent in only four years, according to Express Scripts, the nationâ€™s largest prescription-drug manager. Use among adults 26 to 34 almost doubled.
Most experts say a proper evaluation for the disorder typically requires an extensive inquiry into a patientâ€™s history of impulsivity and inattention. Yet misusers routinely described brief chats with doctors to get a prescription. Two lawyers in Houston said wearing a suit to their appointments guaranteed no scrutiny.
Those lawyers said they and dozens of young colleagues at their firms had casually traded pills to work into the night and billed hundreds of extra hours a year in the race for partnerships.
One said he had originally taken 20 milligrams of Adderall a day, moving up to 100 milligrams â€” almost double the highest dose recommended by the Food and Drug Administration â€” by getting prescriptions from multiple doctors, a felony in Texas. His productivity, he said, thrilled his unquestioning bosses and clients.
Then came the downside: rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating and acute anxiety due to sleep loss. These overwhelmed any positive effects on his work performance, he said, and transformed his personality to the point that his wife divorced him. After he lost his job, he spent six weeks at a drug treatment center.
â€œItâ€™s a crutch, and it becomes a crutch immediately,â€ said the lawyer, who recently joined a smaller firm in Texas.
In her New York apartment, where floor-to-ceiling white boards were scribbled with nascent projects, Elizabeth considered what her generation appears willing to swallow for success.
â€œItâ€™s like this at most of the companies I know with driven young people â€” thereâ€™s a certain expectation of performance,â€ she said, banging away on that PowerPoint presentation as her own pills kicked in. â€œAnd if you donâ€™t meet it, and Iâ€™m not really worried how, someone else will.â€
Is mainstream media really going to ignore that Marco Rubio’s campaign is named after the late 1990′s think tank called a ‘Project for a New American Century’ (PNAC), founded by Head Neocon – Bill Kristol? And this is no coincidence. Guess who’s doing the Sunday talk show circuit campaigning for a Rubio presidency? You know it…
Now as a reminder the PNAC is a lobby group formed by a host of neocons at the end of the 1990′s with an objective of war in the Middle East. See if you recognize a few of the notable names of people that signed the PNAC’s founding statement of principles; Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Ron Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. You’ll note these guys became Vice President, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board and Deputy Secretary of Defense, respectively, under president Bush about six months before 9/11.
Have a look at the following recommendations from the Project for a New American Century’s apex report sent to President Clinton in September of 2000. One year exactly before the 9/11 tragedy that became the sales pitch for an unendable war on terror similar to Reagan’s war on drugs some 35 years ago, both still going strong with no signs of slowing. The report titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” recommends that while the world was in the longest sustained period of global peace (acknowledged in the report) that America should establish four key objectives as it headed into the new century. Pay particular attention to the second ‘core mission’ in the following excerpt from the report.
Funny thing about these four core missions is that each and everyone of them came to fruition. Not surprising given the authors became the senior military policy makers about 6 months after the recommendations were sent to outgoing President Clinton. Now there is more than meets the eye to all of this and I won’t get into the details here but for those interested, if you want to understand the very ugly truth about how and why America is in the midst of a seemingly endless war on ‘terror’ in the Middle East have a read of an article I wrote some time ago called “The Most Essential Lessons of History that No One Wants to Admit“.
You will realize that our boy Bill Kristol is just the face of an immense amount of money and political persuasion. Money talks and our government is for sale. Just ask Marco Rubio what the going rate for naming rights is on a presidential campaign these days. The power and money that Kristol represents do not provide their support without expectations. These thugs absolutely want their return on capital. The returns come by way of a currency only a President carries.
Anyone not interested in WWIII should be very wary of a Rubio presidency. Marco Rubio’s financial backing will absolutely guarantee a war with Russia and a war with Russia means a war with China for it must protect its future energy supplies. Bill Kristol and his band of armchair warriors have been lobbying for a war with Russia since at least as far back as 2004 as evidenced in the following letter to group of European heads of state.
The letter really depicts the kind of rhetoric used by these neocons. You can see from the list of names supporting this effort at the end of the full letter, these neocons are the very same neocons recommending the US start a series of arbitrary wars in the name of peace via the Project for a New American Century, as noted above. Now they lack any substantive facts in their letter and so use implications and conjecture about Russia being a dictatorship, which is no more true, and probably less, than it is for the US meaning we are throwing stones in glass houses. President Bush and Obama remember have signed several executive orders, such as the AUMF and NDAA that negate an American citizen’s constitutional rights.
The best evidence that indeed Americans’ constitutional rights to things like Habeas Corpus are negated under the combined executive orders of AUMF and NDAA is depicted in the United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit District Judge, Lewis Kaplan’s ruling statement. He explains their plurality decision was a compromise that gives authority to suspend a citizen’s constitutional rights but only until the respective ‘war’, is over. However this is not a compromise at all. When the ‘war’ is a war on terror it is not only indefinite but infinite for when would we ever suggest we are no longer fighting against terrorism. So while the District court’s ruling suggests that it limits the negation of a citizen’s constitutional rights, for all intents and purposes it limits the negation to a duration of forever, which is by definition not a limitation.
But as I so often do I digress. My point is that Bill Kristol and his armchair warriors have been lobbying for a war with Russia in the very same way they lobbied for “multiple simultaneous major theater wars”, which they got in the Middle East. One can only conclude then that given a Rubio presidency, war with Russia is all but guaranteed.
One of Kristol’s armchair warriors is the one and only Victoria Nuland, wife of a Kagan boy, he himself a general in the armchair army. Note that Nuland was the conductor of the coup d’etat in Ukraine as evidenced in a recording of a conversation between her and a fellow US diplomat discussing who they were going to place as head of state in Ukraine. Now the recording begs two questions. What gives US diplomats the right to decide the head of state for a foreign ‘democratic’ nation? And perhaps more interesting, how did Nuland know that there would be an opening for head of state in Ukraine given the recorded conversation took place prior to the coup d’etat and so prior to any rational notion that a replacement would be needed? Unless of course Nuland was aware that there would soon be an opening for the role of President of Ukraine.
Anyone that still believes the US is not the most corrupt government in the world is simply in denial. All the facts are there and to discount them is to deny them. I’m going to leave you with perhaps the best interview I’ve ever seen with Bill Kristol by a character we can all appreciate. Enjoy it but don’t miss the message. Kristol is nothing but a muppet, however, the men behind Kristol are extremely dangerous and men who work in political shadows to get what they want by purchasing and threatening the careers of American legislators. These men who work in the shadows are just the current members of the same group that forced Woodrow Wilson to approve the Central Banking Act against his better judgment in 1913 and 30 years later forced Harry Truman to support taking land from the Palestinians and calling it Israel against his better judgement. Ample evidence shows that both took those personally regretful actions under extreme political duress by a group we now call the neocons.
Rubio has essentially made a deal with the devil. He has accepted the help of perhaps the most powerful political force in Washington but it will cost him a Presidential executive order to initiate military aggression against Russia. If we allow this to play out the blood of so many more young Americans and other young men and women around the world will be on the hands of we the people for again failing to uphold our duties as Americans, a self governed people, rather than as subservient fools.
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In Hawaii, where 12 percent of the homes have solar panels, handling the surplus power is putting pressure on the stateâ€™s biggest utility, which is fighting to reduce what it pays for the energy.
By Erik Braund and Eugene Yi on Publish Date April 18, 2015. Photo by Kent Nishimura for The New York Times.
HONOLULU â€” Allan Akamine has looked all around the winding, palm tree-lined cul-de-sacs of his suburban neighborhood in Mililani here on Oahu and, with an equal mix of frustration and bemusement, seen roof after roof bearing solar panels.
Mr. Akamine, 61, a manager for a cable company, has wanted nothing more than to lower his $600 to $700 monthly electric bill with a solar system of his own. But for 18 months or so, the stateâ€™s biggest utility barred him and thousands of other customers from getting one, citing concerns that power generated by rooftop systems was overwhelming its ability to handle it.
Only under strict orders from state energy officials did the utility, the Hawaiian Electric Company, recently rush to approve the lengthy backlog of solar applications, including Mr. Akamineâ€™s.
It is the latest chapter in a closely watched battle that has put this state at the forefront of a global upheaval in the power business. Rooftop systems now sit atop roughly 12 percent of Hawaiiâ€™s homes, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, by far the highest proportion in the nation.
Household panels for solar power and hot water in Kapolei, Hawaii. Installing new electrical panels was blocked there until recently. Credit Kent Nishimura for The New York Times
â€œHawaii is a postcard from the future,â€ said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a policy and advocacy group based in California.
Other states and countries, including California, Arizona, Japan and Germany, are struggling to adapt to the growing popularity of making electricity at home, which puts new pressures on old infrastructure like circuits and power lines and cuts into electric company revenue.
As a result, many utilities are trying desperately to stem the rise of solar, either by reducing incentives, adding steep fees or effectively pushing home solar companies out of the market. In response, those solar companies are fighting back through regulators, lawmakers and the courts.
The shift in the electric business is no less profound than those that upended the telecommunications and cable industries in recent decades. It is already remaking the relationship between power companies and the public while raising questions about how to pay for maintaining and operating the nationâ€™s grid.
The issue is not merely academic, electrical engineers say.
In solar-rich areas of California and Arizona, as well as in Hawaii, all that solar-generated electricity flowing out of houses and into a power grid designed to carry it in the other direction has caused unanticipated voltage fluctuations that can overload circuits, burn lines and lead to brownouts or blackouts.
Load dispatchers monitor the electrical grid at the Hawaiian Electric Company’s operations center in Honolulu. The utility says power from household solar panels can destabilize the system. Credit Kent Nishimura for The New York Times
â€œHawaiiâ€™s case is not isolated,â€ said Massoud Amin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota and chairman of the smart grid program at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a technical association. â€œWhen we push year-on-year 30 to 40 percent growth in this market, with the number of installations doubling, quickly â€” every two years or so â€” thereâ€™s going to be problems.â€
The economic threat also has electric companies on edge. Over all, demand for electricity is softening while home solar is rapidly spreading across the country. There are now about 600,000 installed systems, and the number is expected to reach 3.3 million by 2020, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The Edison Electric Institute, the main utility trade group, has been warning its members of the economic perils of high levels of rooftop solar since at least 2012, and the companies are responding. In February, the Salt River Project, a large utility in Arizona, approved charges that could add about $50 to a typical monthly bill for new solar customers, while last year in Wisconsin, where rooftop solar is still relatively rare, regulators approved fees that would add $182 a year for the average solar customer.
In Hawaii, the current battle began in 2013, when Hawaiian Electric started barring installations of residential solar systems in certain areas. It was an abrupt move â€” a panicked one, critics say â€” made after the utility became alarmed by the technical and financial challenges of all those homes suddenly making their own electricity.
The utility wants to cut roughly in half the amount it pays customers for solar electricity they send back to the grid. But after a study showed that with some upgrades the system could handle much more solar than the company had assumed, the stateâ€™s public utilities commission ordered the utility to begin installations or prove why it could not.
It was but one sign of the agencyâ€™s growing impatience with what it considers the utilityâ€™s failure to adapt its business model to the changing market.
A technician adjusts a power meter in Honolulu. Credit Kent Nishimura for The New York Times
Hawaiian Electric is scrambling to accede to that demand, approving thousands of applications in recent weeks. But it is under pressure on other fronts as well. NextEra Energy, based in Florida, is awaiting approval to buy it, while other islands it serves are exploring defecting to form their own cooperative power companies.
It is also upgrading its circuits and meters to better regulate the flow of electricity. Rooftop solar makes far more power than any other single source, said Colton Ching, vice president for energy delivery at Hawaiian Electric, but the utility can neither control nor predict the output.
â€œAt every different moment, we have to make sure that the amount of power we generate is equal to the amount of energy being used, and if we donâ€™t keep that balance things go unstable,â€ he said, pointing to the illuminated graphs and diagrams tracking energy production from wind and solar farms, as well as coal-fueled generators in the utilityâ€™s main control room. But the rooftop systems are â€œessentially invisible to us,â€ he said, â€œbecause they sit behind a customerâ€™s meter and we donâ€™t have a means to directly measure them.â€
For customers, such explanations offer little comfort as they continue to pay among the highest electric rates in the country and still face an uncertain solar future.
â€œI went through all this trouble to get my electric bill down, and I am still waiting,â€ said Joyce Villegas, 88, who signed her contract for a system in August 2013 but was only recently approved and is waiting for the installation to be completed.
Mr. Akamine expressed resignation over the roughly $12,000 he could have saved, but wondered about the delay. â€œWhy did it take forceful urging from the local public utility commission to open up more permits?â€ he asked.
Installers â€” who saw their fast-growing businesses slow to a trickle â€” are also frustrated with the pace. For those who can afford it, said James Whitcomb, chief executive of Haleakala Solar, which he started in 1977, the answer may lie in a more radical solution: Avoid the utility and its grid altogether.
Customers are increasingly asking about the batteries that he often puts in along with the solar panels, allowing them to store the power they generate during the day for use at night. It is more expensive, but it breaks consumer reliance on the utilityâ€™s network of power lines.
â€œIâ€™ve actually taken people right off the grid,â€ he said, including a couple who got tired of waiting for Hawaiian Electric to approve their solar system and expressed no interest in returning to utility service. â€œThe lumbering big utilities that are so used to taking three months to study this and then six months to do that â€” what they donâ€™t understand is that things are moving at the speed of business. Like with digital photography â€” this is inevitable.â€
A version of this article appears in print on April 19, 2015, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Utilities See Solar Panels as Threat to Bottom Line .
Brent Johnson straddling a tilled field and wetlands on his farm in Calhoun County, Iowa, one of three counties that have been sued over nitrates seeping into water supplies. Credit Ryan Donnell for The New York Times
MANSON, Iowa â€” The flat, endless acres of black dirt here in northern Iowa will soon be filled with corn and soybean seeds. But as farmers tuned up their tractors and waited for the perfect moment to plant, another topic weighed on their minds: a lawsuit filed in federal court by the stateâ€™s largest water utility.
After years of mounting frustration, the utility, Des Moines Water Works, sued the leaders of three rural Iowa counties last month. Too little has been done, the lawsuit says, to prevent nitrates from flowing out of farm fields into the Raccoon River and, eventually, into the drinking water supply for roughly 500,000 Iowans. The suit seeks to make farmers comply with federal clean-water standards for nitrates that apply to factories and commercial users, and requests unspecified damages.
â€œItâ€™s very clear to me that traditional, industrial agriculture has no real interest in taking the steps that are necessary to radically change their operations in a way that will protect our drinking water,â€ said Bill Stowe, the chief executive of Des Moines Water Works. High nitrate runoff, which can result from nitrogen-rich soil and applied fertilizer, places Des Moinesâ€™s drinking water in danger of violating federal quality standards, Mr. Stowe said, and increases costs and poses health risks for customers.
Filter pools at Des Moines Water Works, the state’s largest utility. The company said nitrate levels had put drinking water in danger of violating federal standards. Credit Ryan Donnell for The New York Times
The lawsuit raises not only the legal question of whether the government should regulate the water that drains off farmersâ€™ land, but also the existential issue of whether rural and urban Iowans can collaborate to solve vexing problems. In a state where agriculture drives the economy, grain silos are featured on license plates and people pride themselves on a certain brand of â€œIowa nice,â€ farmers like Brent Johnson have criticized the litigation as an antagonistic overreach that comes at the expense of cooperation and neighborliness.
â€œItâ€™s a confrontational approach,â€ said Mr. Johnson, who farms corn and soybeans here in Calhoun County, one of three counties whose boards of supervisors were named as defendants in the lawsuit. â€œI think thereâ€™s been a lot of progress made. I donâ€™t know any farmer who wants to increase nitrates in the river.â€
The nitrate issue is, in many ways, an unfortunate side effect of one of Iowaâ€™s great assets: the nutrient-rich dirt that makes for some of the worldâ€™s most productive cropland. Though that nitrogen-filled soil helps Mr. Johnson and others grow prodigious amounts of corn and soybeans, a significant rainstorm can wash many of those nutrients, along with nitrates applied as fertilizer, into tributaries of the Raccoon River. The Raccoon is one of two rivers that provide drinking water for Des Moines, the stateâ€™s capital and urban center.
Notably, most everyone involved agrees that the nitrates in the water supply are a problem, and that farmers can play a role in solving it. But while Mr. Stowe and the utility want to hold farmers to strict federal water quality standards, Mr. Johnson and the stateâ€™s powerful agricultural groups favor a voluntary system.
Last year, months before the lawsuit was filed, the state associations for corn, soybean and pork producers formed the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, which bills itself as a farmer-led effort to improve water quality. The groupâ€™s executive director, Sean McMahon, said that many farmers were eager to employ conservation practices, but that education and time were needed to see more results. Money, he said, would be better spent on outreach and cost-sharing programs than on lawyers for the lawsuit.
Leaders of other agricultural associations expressed similar sentiments, while saying they still appreciated the urgency of the problem.
â€œWe need to scale it up,â€ said Roger Wolf, director of environmental programs and services for the Iowa Soybean Association. â€œWe know that.â€
Mr. Johnson, whose family has worked these fields for more than 100 years, says he and his neighbors care deeply about the land and understand the concerns raised in the lawsuit. On his property, Mr. Johnson uses a limited-tilling method, and he has planted rows of switch grass on the edge of one field and has filled wetlands with native grasses. Experts say those tactics can help keep nutrients in the field and out of the water system.
Mr. Johnson, who serves on the county soil and water conservation commission, made those changes on his own. He said he feared that the lawsuit, if successful, would add a regulatory burden just as many farmers were making voluntary changes. â€œThatâ€™s not healthy for agriculture, I donâ€™t think, to take the voluntary out,â€ he said.
In Des Moines, Mr. Stowe said years of encouraging changes through voluntary programs had simply not brought about significant results. Nitrate levels in the Raccoon River remain stubbornly high, which required the utility to run its nitrate removal facilities for three months last winter, a rarity. In 2013, he said, Des Moines was barely able to remove nitrates quickly enough to keep up with demand, and nearly violated federal regulations. Just last Thursday, the utility turned its nitrate removal tanks back on, citing high levels of runoff upstream.
Jeff Jansen, a control center operator at Des Moines Water Works. The utility wants to hold farmers to federal standards to limit nitrates, but agricultural groups favor a voluntary system. Credit Ryan Donnell for The New York Times
However the issue is addressed, there are costs. Mr. Johnsonâ€™s conservation practices required taking land out of production, potentially reducing profits at harvest time. For Des Moines Water Works, operating the tanks that remove nitrates is expensive.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court forÂ the Northern District of Iowa, names the boards of supervisors in Buena Vista and Sac Counties, along with the board in Calhoun County, as defendants, saying they are responsible for overseeing drainage districts that have allowed nitrate-heavy water to make its way into rivers.
Water with excessive nitrates can cause serious health problems, especially in infants, and some environmental groups, including theÂ Iowa Environmental CouncilÂ and theÂ Sierra Clubâ€™s Iowa chapter, have expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of voluntary reductions.
Individual farmersâ€™ efforts and anecdotal reports of success, Mr. Stowe said, have not been enough to counter othersâ€™ reluctance to make major changes. At this point, he said, collaboration with agricultural groups would have to come in addition to regulation, not instead of it.
â€œTalking the game and walking the game were two very different issues,â€ Mr. Stowe said. â€œThis is not â€˜Alice in Wonderland.â€™ This is Iowa. Our waterâ€™s getting worse, and weâ€™re going to fight forward to protect it.â€
That fight, however, has drawn the ire of many politicians. State Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican, wrote in a recent blog post that the lawsuit was proof of an â€œarrogant mentality against rural Iowa.â€ He called for rural Iowans to start an economic boycott of Des Moines.
Iowaâ€™s elected agriculture secretary, Bill Northey, has also criticized the lawsuit, though with less pointed language. Mr. Northey, a Republican who farms corn and soybeans, said the effects of the lawsuit could resound far beyond the three counties named as defendants if the water utility succeeded. The state has recently invested in programs to limit nitrate runoff, he said, and more time should be allowed for those programs to work.
Several farmers agreed, and many said they had seen significant progress in just the past few years. On his farm in Greene County, in central Iowa, David Ausberger planted cover crops last fall, which can help keep dirt in place between the harvest and planting seasons. In Ida and Sac Counties, Jolene Riessen said her family was reducing tilling and using other methods to limit runoff.
â€œFarmers want to do the right thing,â€ said Ms. Riessen, a farmer and seed dealer. â€œBut sometimes, itâ€™s learning what is the right thing, or the combination of right things, and having the finances to do it.â€
In the meantime, as planting season begins, farmers say they are discussing the lawsuit, figuring out what it could mean for them and bracing for a contentious court battle that could last years.
â€œSome guys are mad; some guys are sad,â€ Mr. Johnson said. â€œEverybodyâ€™s concerned.â€
A version of this article appears in print on April 19, 2015, on page A16 of the New York edition with the headline: Conflict Over Soil and Water Quality Puts ‘Iowa Nice’ to a Test.