Monday, April 08, 2013

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dies after suffering stroke | Fox News

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dies after suffering stroke | Fox News:

"Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, an outspoken woman known to many as "The Iron Lady," has died at 87 after suffering a stroke. 
"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” Thatcher spokesperson Lord Bell said in a statement. 
Thatcher led Britain's Conservatives to three election victories from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century. Alongside former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Thatcher battled against communism and saw the Berlin Wall get torn down in 1989."

She was the first (and thus far the only) woman to break through the gender barrier to become a three-time prime minister of Great Britain, during a time when the Soviet Union collapsed. In fact, according to this article, it was the Soviets who gave her the nickname by which she is known -- The Iron Lady.

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Saturday, April 06, 2013

Café Justo

"Café Justo is a coffee grower cooperative based in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico. We market a pure, organic cofee which is grown, harvested and marketed in the spirit of justice. Our goal is to provide incentives for people to remain on their family lands."
When I wrote my previous posting on on the issues with Fair Trade commodities, I was not aware of this organization based out of Chiapas Mexico.  The Presbyterian Church in the USA has worked with Café Justo for years and has its own set of criteria that rely primarily on the World Fair Trade Organization list of 10 Principles of Fair Trade, but are not limited to those groups that has gone through the fairly expensive process of getting certification by the WFTO.

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Friday, April 05, 2013

Unfair Trade | Foreign Affairs

Unfair Trade | Foreign Affairs:

"Last month, the Fairtrade Foundation staged a march on the British Parliament, a campaign featuring various celebrities and more than 13,000 petitioners, urging UK Prime Minister David Cameron to put issues of ethical consumerism at the center of the upcoming G-8 summit. At first glance, the decision by self-proclaimed ethical consumers to buy fair-trade products seems harmless. What could possibly be wrong if individuals, exercising their right as consumers, choose to promote certain niche markets? Quite a bit, as it turns out. ..."
I saw this linked on The Kruse Kronicle this morning and I think it is worth commenting on.

This is of particular interest to Christians, as many congregations are convinced by fair trade proponents to buy their coffee, since it serves to put more money in the pockets of the growers.  But is that really true?  According to the authors of this article, "only one or two percent of the retail price of an expensive cup of “ethical” coffee goes directly to poor farmers". In addition, the poorer of the farmers cannot afford the high cost of certification as "fair trade", thus limiting this subsidy to more affluent farmers.

I make no claims of knowing enough about economics to really understand all of what is going on, but the questions raised in this article are definitely worth pondering. Is this a move toward a more just economic system, or is it yet another "feel good", but ineffective response to real problems of justice and poverty?

Read the whole article....

NOTE:  the linked article makes several references to the OECD, but does not seem to clearly define it.  More information about the OECD can be found on their web site,

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Apple's iMessage encryption trips up feds' surveillance | Politics and Law - CNET News

Apple's iMessage encryption trips up feds' surveillance | Politics and Law - CNET News:

"Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals. 
An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices" even with a court order approved by a federal judge. ..."

Well, well, well...

Of course, having used iMessage for communication with other iPhone users, it is obvious that there are TWO plaintext copies of the messages -- one on the sending device and one on the receiving device. And if you have other devices that are tied to the same AppleID and phone number, then they will appear on those devices as well.

Seizing an iPhone that is not protected with a strong passphrase kind of defeats the advantage of the end-to-end encryption.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Should the government tax your email? One California official thinks so | Fox News

Should the government tax your email? One California official thinks so | Fox News:

"Your property is taxed. Your income is taxed. Your investments are taxed.
But ... your email?
A California official is bringing new life to the argument that the Internet -- including emails -- is an untapped revenue resource that should be taxed to help local economies. "
Oh good grief!

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