Archive for the ‘USA’ Category
Very enlightening read on the USA Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…..
” “WHY extremists always focus on women is a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they want to control everything about us.” So said Hillary Clinton last month to a young Arab woman who had asked her at a public meeting about wearing the hijab. This encounter was in Tunis, where Mrs Clinton had just taken part in an international summit on Syria. She had come straight from London, where she attended a meeting on Somalia, and went on to Algeria and Morocco before making the nine-hour hop back to Washington, DC.
If Barack Obama is re-elected in November, one big thing is going to be different in his second term. He will no longer have his relentlessly globe-trotting former presidential rival at his side. As the frazzled aides and reporters who travel regularly in the back of her converted Boeing 757 attest, the job is punishing, especially the way she has chosen to do it.
Since taking office, Mrs Clinton has visited 95 countries (see map) and logged some 730,000 miles, sometimes cramming more than a dozen meetings into a single day. This marathon came hard after the titanic Democratic presidential campaign of 2008. “I’ve had an extraordinary 20 years. I’ve been really at the highest levels of American political life,” she told The Economist in a recent interview, “I need a little time to reflect, step off the fast track I’ve been on.”
Evaluating her record is a complicated business. The job of a secretary of state has at least three parts: implementing foreign policy, acting as America’s global ambassador and running the behemoth that is the State Department. “
via American diplomacy: What Hillary did next | The Economist.
“The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities today announced the release of the National Conservation Easement Database (www.conservationeasement.us), the first resource to offer detailed information on the nearly 18 million acres now protected by more than 80,000 easements across the United States. Until its development, land and natural resource practitioners and decision-makers lacked a single system for sharing, accessing, and managing nationwide information about conservation easements.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements through which landowners, public agencies, and land trusts protect essential natural resources like drinking water, wildlife habitat, and land along lakes, rivers, and streams. By bringing together easement data that was previously scattered and incomplete, the database serves conservationists, planners, and policy-makers across the country.
“For the first time,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment, “it will be possible to see the location, size, and purpose of conservation easements on a nationwide basis. By having all this information in a single place, the easement database will save organizations precious time and money, because each won’t have to create their own system.”
The National Conservation Easement Database provides government agencies, land trusts, and conservation professionals with new insights for strategic conservation efforts. Users can search for individual properties by date, property size, and other characteristics, or view a State Report for a quick summary of the area. Map-savvy practitioners can benefit further by choosing to download geographic datasets for advanced analysis. This wealth of information identifies those who have conserved nearby lands, reveals critical lands that are not yet protected, and presents new opportunities for collaboration. Such information is essential, for example, in effective planning of wildlife migration corridors or prioritizing critical lands and waters to protect.
Senator Max Baucus of Montana noted “the easement database is a great example of government and the private sector working together to save money, increase efficiency, and deliver better results.” Sen. Baucus is an ardent supporter of conservation easements, which help ranchers, farmers, and other private landowners to continue working the land and building strong communities.
Combining the easement database with data on America’s public lands reveals the most complete picture yet of protected areas across the country. “We’ve had to work for years without information on privately held easements,” said Jim Hubbard, Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, U.S. Forest Service (USFS). “Creation of the easement database fills a critical gap of information that we need to make better ecological and financial decisions.”
The easement database balances public interests in land conservation and management with respect for the confidentiality and rights of private owners. The database currently has information on an estimated 60% of all easements, a percentage that will continue to grow.
Three federal agencies—the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U. S. Forest Service—partnered with the Endowment in support of the easement database. Other key partners include The Nature Conservancy, the nation’s largest private lands conservancy, and the Land Trust Alliance, which represents the views and concerns of the nation’s 1,700 land trusts.
“We think creation of the National Conservation Easement Database will serve everyone’s interests and needs,” said Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance. “Hundreds of land trusts rely heavily on volunteers, and have limited access to technology and planning tools. The easement database, a state-of-the-art technology available for free online, offers a new dimension never before accessible to local conservationists and planners.”
To create, design and implement the easement database, the Endowment assembled five conservation organizations with extensive local and regional experience working with conservation easements and data systems: Conservation Biology Institute, Defenders of Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, NatureServe, and The Trust for Public Land. These partners will continue to collaborate to maintain and update existing information.
Envisioned and funded by the Endowment, this important project received generous support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, the Knobloch Family Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the U.S. Forest Service. The easement database is online here.”
via The Trust for Public Land – Easement Database Is a Big Boost for Conservation Effort.
“Chicago’s proposed rate increase, the centerpiece of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push to create jobs while fixing a century-old utility, would end the long tradition of cheap water in the third-largest U.S. city. And it would force Coleman to pay up.
“I don’t like it, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” said Coleman, 49, a radiation therapist. “I see it irritating residents of Chicago, me included.”
Emanuel is pitching the increase as an economic stimulus bill whose cost would be shared by suburban water users. If approved by the City Council, the program would add 18,000 jobs over 10 years to both the municipal payroll and private companies hired to do the work, said Bill McCaffrey, an Emanuel spokesman. It’s a Chicago version of President Barack Obama’s plan to boost some taxes to pay for recession-proofing jobs.
Coleman joins a line of complainers stretching from coast to coast as as utility companies, towns and cities propose or enact steep water-bill increases as pipes and sewer systems crumble. The rate boosts acknowledge concerns that have been ignored for years, partly because they are underground, water experts say.
“Cities, especially east of the Mississippi, where the infrastructure is older, are having their comeuppance now,” said Peter Annin, author of “The Great Lakes Water Wars.”
‘Super-Tight Revenue Times’
“Their water systems are more than a century old and people have put off the upgrading, and now they are breaking,” Annin said. “Mayors and city councilors in older urban areas are in a real spot because here we are in super-tight revenue times, and there is no more basic infrastructure need than the water system.” “
via Emanuel Ends Cheap Water Era’s Drain on Chicago’s Finances as Pipes Burst – Bloomberg.
“Jennifer Palmieri, a former longtime aide, said Mr. Panetta has a straightforward formula for survival in Washington. She has packaged them into what she calls The Five Rules of Panetta:
¶“You can’t slam dunk anyone.” Work with opponents.
¶“Any [expletive] can burn down a barn; it takes a leader to build one.”
¶“He who controls the paper controls the outcome.”
¶“Never let them see you sweat.”
¶“In a negotiation, take what you can get. And then come back for more.”
Those negotiating skills will prove critical as he guides another president on federal spending while jousting with other security agencies, including his former agency, the C.I.A., over a shrinking pie. “He’ll be particularly well suited to take on the budget challenges at the Pentagon,” Mrs. Clinton said.”
via At Pentagon, Leon E. Panetta Charts Change of Course – NYTimes.com.
“From this lofty perch, he has come to two conclusions about American evangelicals.
The first is that they have become too callous, a somewhat ironic charge coming from a protege of Falwell, who blamed gays and pagans for the Sept. 11 attacks and called the Islamic prophet Muhammad a “terrorist.” Moore says evangelicals have cared too much in recent decades about building massive megachurches for the upper-middle class and too little about getting their hands dirty serving the poor.
His second conclusion is more Falwell-esque: Evangelicals are becoming too liberal about their faith. To Moore, if you say you believe in the Bible as literal truth, but privately believe it’s a metaphor, you’re a phony. In a new book called “Honestly: Really Living What We Say We Believe,” Moore rails against “fake cultural Christianity.”
“When I choose to believe in God, I don’t get to choose what I want to believe, and I don’t get to decide what truth is worth believing. I choose whom to believe, and he gets to tell me what to believe,” he writes. For Moore, Christianity leads to conservative politics.
The Bible says man, not government, is responsible for his own behavior. God, not the government, should decide when life begins or ends. The Bible says people will take the easy route if offered them, which is what he believes the new Obama-backed health-care law does for young adults, many of whom can now remain on their parents’ health plans.
“If I’m confused on something, I go to a higher source,” he says, “the Bible.” “
via Liberty University’s Johnnie Moore speaks the language of young evangelicals – The Washington Post.
A significant philanthropic gift by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomgerg to assist in the phasing out of coal burning energy generation plants in the USA and in their stead , use clean energy sources. Private capital supporting Public good. This is a measureable social benefit to the environment .
“Coal, he said, may appear to be a source of cheap electricity but “the real price tag is hidden” in medical costs. Coal pollution, he said, causes $100 billion in annual health costs.It’s also responsible for mining deaths and water pollution caused by mountaintop mining.“This is about the air we breathe, the water we drink, our health, today,” Bloomberg said.Still, while climate wasn’t on his mind today, his Bloomberg Philanthropies has become a leading backer of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group C40, which attempts to drive action to curb global warming at the local level. In New York, meanwhile, he has promoted a range of environmental initiatives in New York City, ranging from bike lanes to solar power at city landfills to his failed effort to impose a congestion tax on private cars entering Manhattan.”
via NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg vs. Big Coal | The Energy Collective.
Is it the Chinese ? Is it the Europeans ? Is it the Treasury? The stated conclusion is partially correct but the answer as to “Who is the Who” begs to be looked at further.
“If you ever try comparing the debt situation in the US and Japan, someone will invariably say: Well, Japan can afford a lot more debt because its all domestically owned, whereas US debt is owned by the Chinese.It turns out this isnt really true, though unfortunately this destructive myth continues to dominate political/economic debates.Yes, China holds a lot, but theyre not dominant, and when you add it up, most debt is actually domestically held, just like in Japan.Click here to see who owns American debt “
via The TRUTH About Who Really Owns All Of Americas Debt.
The role that governance plays in our organizations , Institutions and Governments is under estimated Not only should there be benefial rules but also well defined roles of the representative leadership of the members and stakeholders. In the current case of the US debt ceiling negotioations this model of governance is being put to a key test of its efficiency and effectiveness of its leadership, neotiatiating and decision making abilities.
“The idea of a brief U.S. default, sometimes called a technical default, has been growing among some members of the Republican Party, who believe it would be an acceptable price to pay if it forces the White House to deal with runaway spending.
“Even a so-called ’technical default’ would suggest a crisis of ’governance’from a sovereign credit and rating perspective,” Fitch said in a statement.” “
via U.S. Treasuries could be rated ‘junk’ in August: Fitch | Economy | Financial Post.
Murdock’s misdeeds…the view from an Obama confidant … and yes , the feeding and the dining at the table of the media slant from Fox News etc does affect a certain significant portion of the USA public’s views on political issues.
And they wanted to create a ” Fox News Canada”….
“Here’s Mr. Podesta on troubles at a media company that has made a mission out of harassing the U.S. President:
“Fox in particular … is a significant factor in the structure of the dialogue and media in the [United] States … if you look at people’s attitudes by where they get their news from – you can go back to the Iraq war, climate change, a number of factors – regular Fox viewers’ knowledge of just the factual basis of public debates, you see it’s quite different from people who get their news from other sources.
“So there’s no question that it’s been significant in public life and political life in the United States …”
via Obama confidant on Murdoch’s misdeeds – The Globe and Mail.
Another twist reported in the behind the scenes intelligence gathering re Ossama bin Laden. Quite facinating what glimpses we get in these reports.
“In the months before Osama bin Laden was killed, the Central Intelligence Agency ran a phony vaccination program in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as a ruse to obtain DNA evidence from members of Bin Laden’s family thought to be holed up in an expansive compound there, according to an American official.
The vaccination program was set up as the C.I.A. was struggling to learn whether Bin Laden was hiding in the compound, and adds a new twist to the months of spy games that preceded the nighttime raid in early May that killed the Qaeda chief.”
via Vaccination Ruse Used In Pursuit of Bin Laden – NYTimes.com.