America's Last Journalist, Greg Palast, describes Liberia's efforts to fight "vulture funds." Vulture funds sound pretty ominous, and, in fact, they are -- speculators buy up poor government debt, often for a fraction of said debt, and then sue in court to be paid. And often these speculators wait until the government is in dire straits to sue -- as with Messrs. Straus and Hermann in 2002, who sued Liberia in U.S. court the very same week Liberia's capitol was under siege from rebels. You may be surprised to learn that the vulture fund (or, as its practitioners call it, the "distressed debt" or "special situations" fund) came about in the 1950s as a response to an actual injustice perpetrated by sovereign governments -- governments used to default on loans with impunity, and buying up government debt and then suing for its recovery is, in theory, a good way to prevent governments from abusing their creditors. But in practice, vulture funds seem to go after the weakest governments -- governments weakened, I feel compelled to add, by international lending policies.
Meanwhile, the Electronic Freedom Foundation has published a report called "Digital Books and Your Rights," which confronts issues of privacy, transparency, ownership, and censorship as they relate to digital books. I don't think digital books will ever really replace books you can hold in your hand, but I could be wrong, and with the ascent of Google Books and the Nook and Kindle I could be wrong pretty quickly. Furthermore, corporations tend to create a lot of confusion about "rights" every time a new technology comes along. The rights of privacy (i.e., the reader's privacy, not the corporation's) should be exactly what Michael Chabon says they should be, regardless of what new trinket comes along. And the "Digital Books Checklist" should help clarify our minds about that.
Finally, Progressive States gives us a report entitled "No Crisis in Public Retirement Systems: Debunking the Hype and the Attacks on Employee Benefits." You will find many points worth repeating, over and over again, to the corporate Useful Idiots who whinge on about Social Security (for example) being "on the brink" of "insolvency": like, that pension plans do better when they're invested conservatively just as their designers intended, or that most public employees do not live high on the hog when they retire, or that fairly common-sense reforms (even against worker abuses, which do exist) can solve many of the problems pension funds do have. A caveat, though: the attacks aren't going to stop. Paul Craig Roberts, America's Last Conservative, has often suggested that pension funds comprise the last source of equity in America, and when the corporations run out of money for good, they will raid them. So it's not exactly that there's "no crisis" in public retirement systems, then, but that the "crisis" emanates precisely from the thugs who cry wolf the loudest.