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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

Journal Archives

FBI Wants to Fine Companies That Refuse to Hand Over Your Online Communications

Get ready, Facebook and Google users: your online communications may be spied on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) if they get their way. A federal task force is writing a bill that would pressure online companies to enable law enforcement to intercept communications online. The legislation would fine companies who refuse to hand over the communication records of people who use their programs, the Washington Post reports.

The FBI says they need the legislation, a top priority for the law enforcement agency, to pass in order to facilitate work combatting crime and terrorism. Currently, when companies like Facebook resist a law enforcement inquiry, the government backs off because they have no desire to go through a contempt proceeding, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper gives the details of the proposed legislation: a court would begin by fining firms that don’t comply with wiretap orders--fines that could reach up to tens of thousands of dollars. If the firm still refuses, a court proceeding and more fines would commence. It’s already being criticized, though. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/fbi-wants-fine-companies-refuse-hand-over-your-online-communications

This straw-bale urinal turns your pee into compost

from Grist:

This straw-bale urinal turns your pee into compost
By Sarah Laskow

Next time you find yourself drunk at a festival, instead of finding an isolated patch of grass to pee on, consider the public tower of straw that turns your pee into plant-friendly compost.

I refer to L’Uritonnoir.

Yes, it is French.

But also, it is quite clever. Those white plastic receptacles funnel pee into the center of the straw bale where, one hopes, it begins to fester without smelling too terrible. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/list/this-straw-bale-urinal-turns-your-pee-into-compost/

Ted Cruz -- A right wing whackjob and proud of it.

Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) continued to relish his position as a tea party favorite last week, going out of his way to claim that the actions he's taken to bolster his conservative credentials have made him unpopular with some Republican colleagues.

Making a surprise appearance at the FreedomWorks Texas Summit on Friday, Cruz spoke about the backlash that he, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have faced for leading a failed effort to filibuster any gun control measure to prevent such legislation from being debated on the floor. Cruz boasted about the eventual failure of a range of gun control measures -- including a popular bipartisan amendment to expand background checks -- recalling the "look of shock" on senior Democrats' faces. He then made a claim about the broader divisiveness of gun control.

"I dunno that there is an issue that has generated more heat internally in the Republican conference," Cruz said. "We've had probably five or six lunches with a bunch of Republican senators standing up and looking at Rand and Mike and me and yelling at us at the top of their lungs, I mean really upset. They said, 'Look, why did you do this? As a result of what you did, when I go home my constituents are yelling at me that I have to stand on principle.'" .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/ted-cruz-gop-senators_n_3178206.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

Why American Airlines Employees Loathe Management

The mistrust that labor harbors for American Airlines management is a feud with a history filled with a powerful vitriol that only duplicitous behavior engenders. It all began back in 2003 when then CEO Don Carty, after multiple years of billions in losses, used the threat of bankruptcy to wring $1.8 billion in wage and other concessions from the three major constituent unions; the APA (American Pilots Association), the TWU (Transit Workers Union, an AFL-CIO affiliate), and the APFA (Association of Professional Flight Attendants). While a somber Mr. Carty preached to labor that in this dark hour the necessity for “shared sacrifice” he failed to mention the deca-millions in retention bonuses of 200 percent of salary that management had concurrently approved for top executives.

The second tranche of perfidy was the major commission of the omission of disclosing the creation of a new “secret” supplemental executive retirement plan (think pension) being squirreled away only for top executives. Apparently, Mr. Carty felt no comfort in being on equal footing with rank and file employees whose primary pensions may potentially be at risk in a bankruptcy scenario. So the CEO in October 2002 clandestinely funded an irrevocable trust for the top 45 executives which specifically delineated in the trust agreement that trust assets “shall not be subject to the claims of the creditors of the corporation in a bankruptcy”….

Employees were so indignant they threatened to abrogate the recently ratified pay cut labor agreements. The retention bonuses were hastily cancelled but the supplemental pension plan remains in place to this day. Further fallout was the swift “resignation” of the woodenheaded Mr. Carty who received no severance package. But thanks to that recently created executive retirement plan, magically Mr. Carty was gifted $8.2 million. The award was actually closer to $12 million as the $8.2 million was an after tax figure. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardfinger/2013/04/29/why-american-airlines-employees-loathe-management/?partner=yahootix

Carnival seeks dismissal of Triumph lawsuits

MIAMI -- Carnival Corp. is seeking the dismissal of lawsuits filed by passengers who endured days of difficult conditions aboard a disabled cruise ship.

The biggest is a potential class action seeking to represent about 3,000 passengers of Carnival's Triumph. Carnival said in a motion filed last week in Miami federal court that its cruise tickets clearly state passengers cannot file class actions.

Passengers' lawyers argue Carnival was negligent in letting the Triumph sail with its history of past mechanical problems and so the suits should be allowed. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/29/3370890/carnival-seeks-dismissal-of-triumph.html#storylink=cpy

NY: BoltBus Eyes Nassau, More Rush-Hour Routes

NY: BoltBus Eyes Nassau, More Rush-Hour Routes

John Callegari
Source: Long Island Business
Created: April 29, 2013

BoltBus, the budget transportation company that initiated Suffolk-to-Manhattan runs in December, plans to add Nassau County stops later this year as the service shifts into second gear.

Operated by Bohemia-based Classic Coach, Long Island Bolt has been making daily roundtrips to New York City from Riverhead, Ronkonkoma and Melville. While the service has seen steady growth from East End commuters, it has suffered from the lack of stops west of the Route 110 area.

“Someone in Woodbury doesn’t want to drive back to Melville to get on a bus going west,” acknowledged Michael Schoolman, the local service’s president.

BoltBus currently runs 14 daily roundtrips each weekday and eight or nine roundtrips Saturdays and Sundays. The weekday morning and evening commuter runs sell out consistently, Schoolman said. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/10930074/ny-boltbus-eyes-nassau-more-rush-hour-routes

Philadelphia: Study Says SEPTA is Strapped

PA: Study Says SEPTA is Strapped

Paul Nussbaum
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Created: April 29, 2013

SEPTA supports nearly 26,000 jobs, contributes $3.21 billion in economic output, and generates $62.5 million in state tax revenue, according to a study released Monday.

The study, commissioned by SEPTA, comes as the financially strapped transit authority seeks a fare increase and lobbies state officials for more funding.

SEPTA provides more bang for the buck than other transit agencies in Pennsylvania and gets less than its share of state funding based on ridership, the study found. SEPTA also has a much smaller capital budget for such things as bridge repairs and new buses than other major transit systems in the United States, it said.

The study by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and Econsult Solutions Inc. concluded that SEPTA is a major economic force in the region and state. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/10930068/pa-study-says-septa-is-strapped

Thousands rode RTD's new light rail line from Denver to Golden Saturday

Posted: 04/28/2013
Last Updated: 22 hours ago

DENVER - Transportation officials said tens of thousands of passengers rode the new light rail line from Denver to Golden Saturday.

Regional Transportation District spokeswoman Lisa Trujillo says the agency estimated 35,000 passenger trips on the West Line on Saturday. That count was tallied at 6 p.m., and the line remained open past midnight. Rides were free Friday and Saturday to celebrate the opening.

RTD expects about 20,000 passenger trips on the line each weekday. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/thousands-rode-rtds-new-light-rail-line-from-denver-to-golden-saturday

Twin Cities: 'Dan Patch moratorium' bans talk of south metro commuter rail

'Dan Patch moratorium' bans talk of south metro commuter rail

by Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio
April 29, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Buried deep in the Senate transportation bill at the Minnesota Legislature is a dead horse -- actually, a rail line named after him. The Dan Patch line, named for a famous early 20th century race horse, carries freight between the Twin Cities and Northfield.

The idea of bringing back passenger service along that route is so controversial that lawmakers passed a special law to halt discussion of it more than a decade ago.

The Dan Patch rail line snakes through St. Louis Park, Edina and Bloomington, before connecting south to Savage, Lakeville and Northfield.

The rail line has been in operation since the early 1900s. The president of the company that started the train service, M.W. Savage, also owned Dan Patch. His plan was to use the railroad to bring passengers to the town of Savage so they could view his famous horse. The rail line became known as the Dan Patch line and was used as a promotion for the horse. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/04/28/news/dan-patch-commuter-rail-line-moratorium

Gas stations are vanishing from Washington’s inner suburbs

from the WaPo:

In Bethesda, in the middle of car-loving suburbia, gas stations are going the way of the drive-in movie.

Along busy Wisconsin Avenue, two Exxons and a BP have stopped selling gas or have closed completely, making way for a high-rise apartment building and a new bank. A Sunoco, the area’s last Wisconsin Avenue station, is being sold to a developer with plans for a six-floor office building.

On nearby Old Georgetown Road, the owner of a BP station at Fairmont Avenue had the pumps removed in March in hopes of building a 17-story condo building. A Shell station just across Old Georgetown at Woodmont Avenue also is being eyed for redevelopment.


The dwindling number of stations reflects a transformation underway in some of Washington’s innersuburbs as they continue to evolve from car-centric sprawl into more densely developed hubs built around walking, cycling and public transit. It also underscores recent changes in the gas station industry that have made it more difficult for stations on smaller parcels to make money, leaving owners more eager to sell. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/gas-stations-are-vanishing-from-washingtons-inner-suburbs/2013/04/28/bff34762-9bb9-11e2-9a79-eb5280c81c63_story.html

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