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Daily Digest 12/29 - The Year Of Living Dangerously, Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Even Greener

Saturday, December 29, 2012, 12:56 PM

Economy

Sci-Finance: The Great Cybernetic Experiment (adam)

Right off the bat, the first thing we should recognize is the following: big banking and finance have fully merged with cutting edge math, science, and technology—the very reason those “who yield more power than any potentate in the history of the world” are getting their PhDs from MIT and not your typical business school.

2012 - The Year Of Living Dangerously In Review (JimQ)

The best case scenario for European bankers and politicians came to pass in 2012. The GDP for the European Union went negative in the 3rd quarter of 2012. The southern European nations are experiencing depression level conditions with soaring unemployment, social unrest, and higher interest rates. But even Germany is experiencing a dramatic slowdown. The bankers continue to call the shots, with various debt schemes designed to keep the bankers whole, while throwing the people to the wolves. They have postponed the day of reckoning, but it is coming. They do not have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. You cannot resolve a debt problem by creating more debt.

As Walmart Makes Safety Vows, It’s Seen as Obstacle to Change (jdargis)

Just two weeks before Mr. Duke’s vow, a top Walmart executive acknowledged in an e-mail to a group of retailers that the industry’s safety monitoring system was seriously flawed. “Fire and electrical safety aspects are not currently adequately covered in ethical sourcing audits,” Rajan Kamalanathan, the executive, wrote to other board members of the Global Social Compliance Program, a business-led group focused on improving the supply chain.

Obama Urges Senate Leaders to Put Together a Tax Deal (jdargis)

Senate Democrats want Mr. McConnell to propose an alternative to Mr. Obama’s final offer and present it to them in time for a compromise bill to reach the Senate floor on Monday and be sent to the House. Absent a bipartisan deal, Mr. Reid said he would accede to the president’s request to put to a vote on Monday a plan to extend tax cuts for all income below $250,000 a year and to renew expiring unemployment compensation for as many as two million people, essentially daring Republicans to block it and allow taxes to rise for most Americans.

Hurricane Sandy Alters Utilities’ Calculus on Upgrades (jdargis)

Consolidated Edison, for example, expects to spend as much as $450 million to repair damages to its electric grid in and around New York City. Since utilities are generally allowed to recover their costs through electric rates, customer bills in the region, which typically run about $90 a month for residential customers, would have to rise by almost 3 percent for three years to cover those expenses alone.

Carbon Taxes Make Ireland Even Greener (Mike K.)

Over the last three years, with its economy in tatters,Ireland embraced a novel strategy to help reduce its staggering deficit: charging households and businesses for the environmental damage they cause.

Sprawling Memphis Aims to Be a Friendlier Place for Cyclists (jdargis)

In 2008, Memphis had a mile and a half of bike lanes. There are now about 50 miles of dedicated lanes, and about 160 miles when trails and shared roads are included. The bulk of the nearly $1 million investment came from stimulus money and other federal sources, and Shelby County, which includes Memphis, was recently awarded an additional $4.7 million for bike projects.

Tories mull a Chinese plan for Izok Corridor that could bring billions of dollars to Nunavut (westcoastjan)

MMG also wants a processing plant that could handle 6,000 tonnes of ore a day, tank farms for 35 million litres of diesel, two permanent camps totalling 1,000 beds, airstrips and a 350-kilometre all-weather road with 70 bridges that would stretch from Izok Lake to Grays Bay on the central Arctic coast.

MMG plans a port there that could accommodate ships of up to 50,000 tonnes that would make 16 round trips a year — both east and west — through the Northwest Passage.

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