tagged w/ Commerce Department
Based on the 3-month average of the index, a sustained reading of above +0.20 that follows a period of recession has historically signaled the end of the recession. A sustained reading of greater than +0.70 more than two years into an expansion has signaled an increasing likelihood of a sustained acceleration in inflation. A sustained reading of less than -0.70 following a period of economic expansion is indicative that a recession has begun. The current signal is..... http://bit.ly/V16B9oBased on the 3-month average of the index, a sustained reading of above +0.20 that... more
Los Angeles Times...
Environmental groups want ships to slow down to avoid killing and injuring whales
June 6, 2011 | 7:21 pm
A coalition of environmental groups is asking the federal government to require ships traveling though California’s marine sanctuaries to slow down to avoid fatal collisions with whales, a problem that they say has climbed to “unsustainable levels.”
Four groups filed petition Monday asking the Commerce Department to establish a 10-knot speed limit for large commercial vessels traveling through California’s four National Marine Sanctuaries in the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank.
Some freighters travel through those waters at more than twice that speed.
Nearly 50 whales have been hit by ships traveling off the California coastline in the last decade, according to experts, who believe the number is probably much higher because many of the accidents go unreported.
Shipping groups says a speed limit would greatly slow down cargo reaching port and more than double the time it takes the fastest vessels to travel through the sanctuaries.
The petition from the environmental groups is meant to prod the federal government to take steps to fight the growing problem. Some of the most heavily trafficked shipping lanes leading in and out of the ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco Bay run through the migratory paths and feeding areas of endangered whales.
In the 61-page document, the Environmental Defense Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Pacific Environment say a speed limit would help protect endangered blue, humpback and fin whales from being run over by big ships.
"The overlap of these shipping lanes with California’s national marine sanctuaries puts sanctuary wildlife at great risk,” the petition reads. “While we cannot likely change the behavior of whales and other species so as to avoid ship strikes, we can and must regulate vessel practices to minimize this risk.”
Slower speeds would give whales more time to detect approaching ships and would lower the chances that injuries would become fatal if they are hit, the groups argue. A speed limit also would cut back on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and underwater noise that can harm whales.
In a statement, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a branch of the Commerce Department that oversees National Marine Sanctuaries and endangered marine species, said it is also concerned with ship strikes to whales and would review the petition.
Shipping groups said a speed limit may not make it any safer for whales and has suggesting realigning shipping routes as an alternative.
“It's just premature to assume that slowing vessel speed is the solution to the ship-whale interaction issue,” said T.L. Garrett, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn., a trade group representing ocean carriers that dock at West Coast ports.
Where possible, vessels would probably navigate around the sanctuaries to avoid the restrictions, he added.
Four blue whales were struck and killed by vessels in 2007 near the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to designate shipping lanes from Point Conception to Point Dume a “Whale Advisory Zone.”
Since then, the agency has conducted aerial surveys of the area and broadcast seasonal advisories to ship captains traveling through the channel suggesting they limit their speed to 10 knots – or roughly 11.5 mph -- to avoid hitting whales when they’re in the Santa Barbara Channel in high concentrations, usually from May to December.
Because the advisories are voluntary, environmental groups say, they have gone largely unheeded. Shipping groups said most vessels have not opted to lower their speeds.
Photo: Pete Thomas For The TimesLos Angeles Times...
Environmental groups want ships to slow down to avoid... more
Only a few days after the U.S. government reported that the economy expanded 2% in the third quarter on consumer spending, where they claimed that, "Household purchases, about 70 percent of the economy, rose at a 2.6 percent pace, the best quarter of the recovery that began in June 2009," a new conflicting report says otherwise.
http://globalpoliticalawakening.blogspot.com/2010/11/incomes-fall-consumer-spending-weakest.htmlOnly a few days after the U.S. government reported that the economy expanded 2% in the... more
Access to live energy use data can reveal if people are in the dwelling, what they are doing, where they are in the dwelling, and access to data use profiles that can reveal specific times and locations of electricity use in specific areas of the dwelling can also indicate the types of activities within the dwelling over a period of time. The information revealed is a type of surveillance. We need layers of privacy protections throughout the entire smart grid to effectively address privacy concerns and prevent privacy invasions and breaches.
http://information-security-resources.com/2009/11/30/smart-grid-privacy-standards-proposed/Access to live energy use data can reveal if people are in the dwelling, what they are... more
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have privacy certifications for the organizations that are part of the large smart grid and for the smart meters to help ensure they are appropriately addressing privacy and providing households with informed decision-making capabilities for how the information collected from their homes through these devices are used?
http://information-security-resources.com/2009/11/15/fifteen-more-smart-grid-privacy-concerns/Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have privacy certifications for the organizations... more
Next Thursday the Commerce Department is expected to announce that the US economy has expanded for two successive quarters meaning the end of a long, slow, painful recession. So, John Cassidy of The New Yorker asks, what's next?Next Thursday the Commerce Department is expected to announce that the US economy has... more
Establish energy industry standards that require each utility to perform at least annual PIAs for their area of responsibility on the Smart Grid, in addition to performing PIAs when significant operations changes occur, to show the privacy vulnerabilities and threats for consumer meter and power collection points.Establish energy industry standards that require each utility to perform at least... more
President-elect Barack Obama is expected to nominate New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to head the Commerce Department, a senior Democratic source said on Tuesday.
Obama is expected to announce the appointment during a news conference scheduled for 1140 EST/1640 GMT on Wednesday in Chicago, his fifth since he began naming nominees for his Cabinet.
The appointment of Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary who became an Obama supporter earlier this year after dropping his own presidential bid, would make him the first Hispanic named to Obama's rapidly filling Cabinet.
[Credit: Reuters; Photo: Alex Brandon, AP]
Bill Richardson. Good pick? Bad pick? Or, and I have to take a turn to the cynical, is this a proverbial bone to the Latino vote?President-elect Barack Obama is expected to nominate New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson... more
The U.S. Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bipartisan bill backed by groups like the recording industry and the labor movement that would increase federal protections over intellectual property.
Introduced in July by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act now moves to the House of Representatives, where it will be taken up either Friday or Saturday, before Congress adjourns.
The bill was stripped of a controversial measure that would have given federal prosecutors the power to file civil lawsuits against peer-to-peer users who violate copyright laws. The Commerce Department and Justice Department voiced their opposition to the provision in a letter this week, saying it would create "unnecessary bureaucracy."
The legislation still provides increased resources for the Justice Department to combat intellectual property theft and provide coordination for federal and state efforts against counterfeiting and piracy. It also increases penalties for intellectual property infringements.
Not all of the Bush administration's objections with the legislation were addressed, however. The bill replaces the body that currently enforces intellectual property law with a White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. The new coordinator will chair an inter-agency committee to combat counterfeiting and piracy. In its letter, the administration said the establishment of a White House IP coordinator was "objectionable on constitutional grounds."
The Commerce Department said it is still reviewing the legislation as it was passed.
The Recording Industry of America gave resounding praise for the bill.
"At a critical economic juncture, this bipartisan legislation provides enhanced protection for an important asset that helps lead our global competitiveness," RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said. "Additional tools for intellectual-property enforcement are not just good for the copyright community but for consumers who will enjoy a wider array of legitimate offerings."
Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel of NBC Universal, said concerns that the bill goes too far are unfounded.
"Over the last 20 years, the flood of physical counterfeit projects and the scale of digital theft (have) gone off the chart," he said. "What drives (the U.S. economy are) precisely technical invention, innovation, and creativity--if we don't protect that, we dramatically undermine our economic future."
Along with the recording industry, the bill is backed by the Chamber of Commerce, and labor groups like the AFL-CIO and Change to Win.
The U.S. Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bipartisan bill backed by groups like... more