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Member since: Wed Dec 12, 2007, 11:59 PM
Number of posts: 36,988

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Mercer hardship allowance recommendations
Mercer evaluates local living conditions in all the 420 cities it surveys worldwide. Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

1) Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc)
2) Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc)
3) Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc)
4) Health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
5) Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc)
6) Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc)
7) Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
8) Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
9) Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc)
10) Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

City Rankings

Mercer Quality of Living Survey - Worldwide Rankings, 2011
Rank City Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Bern Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
11 Sydney Australia
12 Amsterdam Netherlands
13 Wellington New Zealand
14 Ottawa Canada
15 Toronto Canada
16 Hamburg Germany
17 Berlin Germany
18 Melbourne Australia
19 Luxembourg Luxembourg
20 Stockholm Sweden
21 Perth Australia
22 Brussels Belgium
22 Montreal Canada
24 Nurnberg Germany
25 Singapore Singapore
26 Canberra Australia
26 Dublin Ireland
28 Stuttgart Germany
29 Honolulu, HI United States
30 Adelaide Australia

Personal Safety Ranking,

Rank City Country
1 Luxembourg Luxembourg
2 Bern Switzerland
2 Helsinki Finland
2 Zurich Switzerland
5 Vienna Austria
6 Geneva Switzerland
6 Stockholm Sweden
8 Singapore Singapore
9 Auckland New Zealand
9 Wellington New Zealand
11 Copenhagen Denmark
11 Düsseldorf Germany
11 Frankfurt Germany
11 Munich Germany
11 Nurnberg Germany
16 Dublin Ireland
17 Amsterdam Netherlands
17 Calgary Canada
17 Montreal Canada
17 Ottawa Canada
17 Toronto Canada
17 Vancouver Canada
23 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
24 Oslo Norway
25 Canberra Australia
25 Melbourne Australia
25 Perth Australia
25 Sydney Australia
29 Muscat Oman
30 Ljubljana Slovenia
31 Kobe Japan
31 Nagoya Japan

Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Jul 11, 2012, 07:11 AM (30 replies)

Pope Takes German Satire Magazine to Court

Heavenly justice can only be administered by God, but on Earth, it is a job for the courts. Which is why Pope Benedict XVI has now had a cease and desist order filed against the German satire magazine Titanic. Matthias Kopp, spokesperson for the German Bishops' Conference, confirmed to SPIEGEL ONLINE that archbishop Angelo Becciu has contracted a law firm in the Western German city of Bonn in the name of the Pope.

The front and back covers of the current issue of the magazine are illegal and harm the holy father's legal rights, says Kopp. "Titanic oversteps every measure of decency," he says.

On Tuesday, a state court in Hamburg issued a temporary injunction against the magazine, a court spokesperson said. Under threat of a fine, Titanic is no longer allowed to distribute the issue and the picture is not allowed to be published on the Internet. Issues already in circulation, however, don't have to be recalled, the court ruled.

In the current cover, Pope Benedict appears in a religious cassock that is soiled yellow below the waist. Above the picture appears the headline "Hallelujah in the Vatican: The leak has been found!" On the back cover of the issue, the pope appears from behind and the stains are brown rather than yellow.

The picture and headline are in reference to the recent scandal that has rocked the Vatican: a flood of private letters to the pope and his close associates have been leaked to the Italian media in recent months, eventually making their way into a book, which has become an instant bestseller.
Big Fan of Fanta

Titanic editor-in-chief Leo Fischer refutes the claims that the pictures damage the Pope's personal rights. "Benedict must have misunderstood," says Fischer. The title, he says, merely shows a pope that had spilled his drink when celebrating with a glass of soda after the Vatileaks scandal was solved, he says. "Everyone knows that the Pope is a big fan of Fanta," says Fischer.

Fischer expressed disappointment following the Hamburg court ruling. "This is a huge mistake," says Fischer. He noted that satire is given significant leeway in Germany -- and said he is prepared for a long court battle.

Link added sorry

BTW Fanta was a company created by Coke
to make soft drinks in Nazi Germany by passing US laws on trade with the Nazis.

Also the Vatican Leaks are a big thing in Europe exposing banking, pedophile and other malfeasance of the Catholic Church hierarchy.
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Jul 11, 2012, 06:18 AM (5 replies)

INFOGRAPHIC: The LIBOR Scandal Explained ..Dialup warning

Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Jul 11, 2012, 05:41 AM (2 replies)

Sado-Monetarism The Role of the Federal Reserve System in Keeping Wages Low

Author’s Note: My book The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism (Monthly Review Press, 2011), from which this article is adapted, tells the story of how orthodox economists have systematically excluded all consideration of work, workers, and working conditions from mainstream economic theory, as well as the damage created as a result of that distortion. Neoclassical economists are concerned about the workers’ transactions with capital, but they care little about the workers themselves or their working conditions. Workers merely accept a wage bargain, go to work, and finally collect a wage. What happens at the workplace is irrelevant. The wage bargain is presumed to be voluntary, agreeable to both workers and their employers. In fact, the relationship between labor and capital is anything but voluntary. Capitalism uses a variety of weapons to make labor conform to its needs. The book compares this control to a Procrustean bed. According to Greek legend, Procrustes was an innkeeper who made his guests fit into an iron bed. He stretched the short ones and amputated the tall ones until they were the proper dimensions. Monetary policy is a Procrustean weapon. What follows is adapted from the book. It tells the story of how the Federal Reserve System sadistically wields monetary policy to keep wages low.
Economist Edwin Dickens has written a series of significant articles analyzing the minutes of the meetings, dating back to the 1950s, of the Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve Board. (The Committee is the main policy-making body of the Board.) Dickens’s research shows convincingly that the Federal Reserve’s partisan behavior is designed to tilt the economy in the direction of the wealthy by making workers more compliant.

Dickens reported numerous occasions when participants voted to tighten the money supply just before major union contracts were about to expire. The minutes indicate that the specific intent was to force employers to be less generous with their wage offers during contract negotiations.1

A recent study formalized Dickens’s work by attempting to distinguish whether the policy actions of the Federal Reserve were responses to inflation or to low unemployment. The study concluded that “a baseless fear of full employment,” rather than the prevention of inflation, was the guiding principal of the Federal Reserve.2 The conclusion of this study should come as little surprise to people familiar with the Federal Reserve’s obsession with the danger of high wages.

Defenders of such policies justify the temporary restriction of job creation, contending that the Federal Reserve is merely trying to curb excessive growth. According to this school of thought, the Federal Reserve is simply preventing the kind of excesses that lead to severe recessions or depressions. Slowing down growth today may be necessary to provide for a higher sustainable growth rate in the future. Most economists argue that the cumulative effect of even a fairly small increase in growth rate can be substantial—more than enough to compensate for a temporary slowdown........

Long well researched article: Don't miss what Volker had in his pocket at all times

More: http://monthlyreview.org/2012/04/01/sado-monetarism
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Jul 11, 2012, 05:09 AM (2 replies)

Fox and CNN screen capture

Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Jul 11, 2012, 04:26 AM (7 replies)

Robot Monster and the Thing that wouldn't die


Political Sci/fi double header
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Jul 11, 2012, 04:24 AM (6 replies)

Romney to attend London fundraising dinner hosted by Barclays boss Bob Diamond

The price of invitations dwarfs the amounts paid for such fund-raisers in British politics. Each guest must pay between $25,000 (£17,000) and $75,0000 (£50,000) for a seat at the dinner, which will be hosted by Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays.

On Wednesday, Diamond, who is from Massachusetts, announced that this year he would forgo his bonus — which was £2.7 million in 2011 — after Barclays was fined £290 million by the American authorities for attempting to manipulate the interbank borrowing rate Libor.

Guests at the dinner, which will take place at an unspecified venue in central London, have been told that they must provide a copy of an American passport.

Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Tue Jul 10, 2012, 08:25 AM (6 replies)

Harold Ford, Jr.: smirking sociopath

Harold Ford, Jr. is the walking, breathing embodiment of virtually everything rotted and corrupt about the American political class. He entered Congress at the age of 26 only by virtue of nepotistic benefits: while in law school, he ran for the seat long held by his father of the same name (he then promptly failed the test for admission to the Tennessee bar). In Congress, he voted for de-regulation of Wall Street (which helped precipitate the 2008 financial crisis); to authorize the Iraq War (and then harshly criticized Democrats who opposed it and refused to admit its error even as late as 2007); in favor of a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages (The Advocate branded him “anti-gay”); and was one of the few Democrats to support the credit-card-industry-demanded bankruptcy “reform” bill that made it harder for impoverished consumers to discharge consumer debt.

After Tennessee voters drove him from Congress by rejecting his 2006 Senate bid, Ford immediately cashed in on his servitude to Wall Street and peddled his D.C. influence by becoming Vice Chairman and Senior Policy Adviser of Merrill Lynch. During Ford’s tenure, “Merrill Lynch nearly collapsed, was bailed out by US taxpayers, and went through a troubled merger with Bank of America,” yet he nonetheless received $2 million a year in guaranteed salary plus what were almost certainly substantial annual bonuses. He left what had become Bank of America Merrill to become a Senior Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, at which time he bought a $3 million co-op in Manhattan. Upon leaving Congress, Ford also cashed in by becoming the last Chairman of the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council (“last” because, typifying his career, the DLC ceased to exist under his leadership). He cashed in further by becoming a Fox News contributor, until he left for MSNBC.

Reflecting the interests he typically serves so eagerly, Ford recently attacked Democratic criticisms of Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital on the ground that “private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.” So that’s Harold Ford, Jr.: opportunistic, craven, sleazy nepotistic corporatist who has made a career out of converting his unearned political influence and loyalty to the banking industry into large wads of cash.

This morning, Ford, as he often is, was on Morning Joe (independently significant is that fact that one of the most prolific NBC/MSNBC political commentators — a Democrat — is also a senior Wall Street executive). The show devoted a six-minute segment to Esquire‘s Tom Junod, who — as I noted earlier today — has just published a worthwhile and heartfelt article entitled “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama,” which examines in depth the multiple ways the President has seized the power to kill; in one section, Junod reports on the U.S. killing of 16-year-old Abdulrahman Awlaki in Yemen, and Esquire has published that section separately under this headline: “Obama’s Administration Killed a 16-Year-Old American and Didn’t Say Anything About It. This Is Justice?” In the Morning Joe segment, Junod repeatedly documented the numerous innocent Muslims — including children — that are continuously killed by Obama’s attacks, such as the 16-year-old Denver-born son of the Islamic preacher, a mere two weeks after his father was killed.

More at link
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:01 AM (11 replies)

The Night Sky and Milky Way on Mars

Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Mon Jul 9, 2012, 06:24 AM (15 replies)

Global Warming Denier George Will Blames Historic Heat Wave On ‘One Word: Summer’

Washington Post columnist George Will spent much of 2009 denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that man-made global climate change is a real and dangerous phenomenon, sometimes publishing objectively false information.

At one point, for example, Will claimed that “according to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.” The Arctic Climate Research Center almost immediately responded will real data contradicting Will’s claim, adding “[w]e do not know where George Will is getting his information.”

On ABC News’ This Week this morning, Will resumed his crusade against science, this time trying to blame the record heat wave spreading across America on an ordinary summer:

WILL: How do we explain the heat? One word: summer. I grew up in central Illinois in a house that had air conditioning. What is so unusual about this? . . . We’re having some hot weather. Get over it.


No wonder I'm watching Dexter right now and not
the morning news lie crap.

Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Sun Jul 8, 2012, 03:13 PM (1 replies)
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