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Noted with Interest, August 2008

Sep 01, 2008
Here are a few items noted with interest over the past month:

A Community Guide to Environmental Health
Field workers will find this guide of great value in developing community environmental health. From organizing communities, to fixing water problems, improving farming and health care, and other issues. Take along a .pdf of this manual in your digital backpack. (From Hesperian. Accessed August 3, 2008)

E-Voting Activist More Optimistic About Voting Systems
Aviel Rubin, computer professor at Johns Hopkins University, was one of the earliest experts to sound the alarm about electronic voting. In his 2006 book, Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting, he pointed out several fatal shortcomings in the systems that had been introduced since the 2000 election, and his warnings have resulted in some important improvements. The system you are likely to use this fall is still not perfect. In this interview, Rubin summarizes the good, the bad, and the ugly that characterize our electronic voting systems today. (From Computerworld.com. Accessed August 3, 2008)

Child Well-Being Index (CWI) 2008 Report
The report finds that following an upward trend for eight years, from 1994 to 2002, progress in American children’s quality of life has now moved into a stall/slow growth period. (From Foundation for Child Development. Accessed August 3, 2008)

International Monetary Fund Programs and Tuberculosis Outcomes in Post-Communist Countries
“IMF economic reform programs are associated with significantly worsened tuberculosis incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates in post-communist Eastern European and former Soviet countries....” (From Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine. Accessed August 3, 2008)

Top One Percent of Tax Filers Pay Highest Share in Decades
As well they should. (From Highbeam Research. Accessed August 3, 2008)

Bad Ballot Design Results in Staggering Numbers of Lost Votes
Even after the infamous “butterfly ballot” in Florida’s Palm Beach which resulted in 30,000 lost votes in the 200 election, problems continue to plague elections. View some really poor ballot design. (From Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. Accessed August 6, 2008)

Hydrogen Vehicles Making Impressive Progress Toward Commercialization, But Continued Government Support Needed Before Substantial Reductions Are Seen in U.S. Gasoline Usage and Carbon Emissions
Good summary of costs and schedules involved in the move to hydrogen vehicles. (From The National Academies. Accessed August 7, 2008)

Our CEOs, Their Foreign Agents
How CEOs, colluding with foreign dictatorships, bring totalitarianism home rather than deliver democracy abroad. (From The American Prospect. Accessed August 7, 2008)

Changes in wages and salaries in constant dollars, June 2007-June 2008
The beat goes on, as our salaries again drop, this time 1.8 percent in June from a year ago. (From The Editor’s Desk at the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed August 9, 2008)

Oil Companies Escape Billions in Royalty Payments to Americans; Drilling Expansion Will Enrich U.S. and Foreign Corporate Freeloaders
Thanks to a “bureaucratic oversight by the Department of Interior during the implementation of the [Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995], oil companies that secured leases in 1998 and 1999 were exempted from royalties, regardless of the prevailing market price of oil.” This will end up costing the American taxpayer over $60 billion over the lifetime of the leases. Oil drilled on federal (read “your”) land earns a free ride for 24 oil companies, half of them located in foreign countries. (From Public Citizen. Accessed August 9, 2008)

U.S. Military Covering Up Possible Murders of Female Service Members
The John Birch Society(!) joins the growing number of voices questioning the deaths of LaVena Johnson and other females in the military whose causes of death may have been covered up by officials. (From The John Birch Society. Accessed August 30, 2008)

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