Daily Archive: 05/10/2012

May 10 2012

Donkey Show

May 10 2012

DocuDharma Digest

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DocuDharma

May 10 2012

The Price of Arrogance

Insight: When the Exxon way stops working

By Tom Bergin, Reuters

9 hrs ago

London (Reuters) – When Exxon boss Rex Tillerson walked into a meeting with the President of Ghana on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, he thought he was set to strike a deal with an important new oil producing nation.

Instead Tillerson – who had flown into town aboard an executive jet bigger than those used by many heads of state – was rebuffed by an irritated John Atta Mills, who had expected to be wooed rather than given a tough contract to rubber-stamp.



Exxon has struggled to access new oil and gas reserves in recent years. In March the company slashed growth plans and by some calculations slipped behind PetroChina as the world’s biggest listed producer of oil. Last week it revealed a fall in output and profits that knocked its share price.

A bossy approach worked well as long as oil-rich nations signed purely financial deals, and stuck to them. But when oil prices began to ramp up around a decade ago, a wave of resource nationalism blew through countries like Russia, Venezuela and Libya and changed the game.



There is little doubt that Exxon’s disputes have contributed to an increasing reliance on domestic fields. In 2011, 27 percent of Exxon’s reserves were in the United States, up from 19 percent in 2006. By comparison, only 17 percent of Chevron’s reserves are in the United States and 21 percent of Shell’s.

The problem for Exxon is that, while places like Ghana, Russia and Venezuela offer less legal certainty than developed markets, they have more oil and offer better returns.

May 10 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Joseph E. Stiglitz: After Austerity

New York – This year’s annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund made clear that Europe and the international community remain rudderless when it comes to economic policy. Financial leaders, from finance ministers to leaders of private financial institutions, reiterated the current mantra: the crisis countries have to get their houses in order, reduce their deficits, bring down their national debts, undertake structural reforms, and promote growth. Confidence, it was repeatedly said, needs to be restored.

It is a little precious to hear such pontifications from those who, at the helm of central banks, finance ministries, and private banks, steered the global financial system to the brink of ruin – and created the ongoing mess. Worse, seldom is it explained how to square the circle. How can confidence be restored as the crisis economies plunge into recession? How can growth be revived when austerity will almost surely mean a further decrease in aggregate demand, sending output and employment even lower?

Paul Krugman: Britain’s Leaders Force Nation Down Wrong Economic Path

When David Cameron became prime minister of Britain and announced his austerity plans – buying completely into both the confidence fairy and the invisible bond vigilantes – many were the hosannas, from both sides of the Atlantic.

Pundits in the United States urged President Obama to “do a Cameron”; Mr. Cameron and George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, were the toast of Very Serious People everywhere.

Now Britain is officially in double-dip recession, and has achieved the remarkable feat of doing worse this time around than it did in the 1930s.

Rev. Al Sharpton: War on Students

When most people hear the word ‘war,’ they instinctively think of conflict, the battlefield, mayhem and other adjectives used to describe the concept of fighting over land, resources etc. But there’s another kind of warfare that exists, one that is ideological rather than physical. And perhaps nobody knows the concept of waging these sorts of wars better than Republicans. As a collective, they have waged virtual wars against women, immigrants and progressive groups. Now, in their latest move to reward the rich while punishing hard-working Americans, they have blocked a bill that would have prevented student loan interest rates from doubling. The latest victims in Republican warfare are the most defenseless among us — our children.

Mike Lux: The Only Way to Fix the World Economy

Europe is a mess, and not because voters there are rejecting the austerity policies that are driving the European Union straight into recession. The USA’s economy is picking up in some ways, but is still stalled out in others. And looming over everything are all these toxic assets the world’s biggest banks created for themselves, and the mountains of debt piling up everywhere — not only or even most importantly government debt, but trade deficits, underwater mortgage debt, student debt, consumer debt as well.

As Paul Krugman and so many other economists, and history itself point out, the austerity solution when facing a recessionary economy is a vicious cycle: you make cuts to lower the government’s deficit spending, which puts more people out of work, which erases the savings you make from cut and then some. It’s also not politically sustainable, as elections all over Europe are making clear.

Jim Hightower: Monsanto, Dow and Genetically Modified Trouble

Thanks to the blessings of nature and good farmers, you and I can enjoy such scrumptious delights as fresh corn-on-the-cob, popcorn and many other variations of this truly great grain. And now, thanks to Dow Chemical and federal regulators, we can look forward to “Agent Orange Corn.” The chemical giant is in line to gain approval for putting a genetically altered corn seed on the market that will produce corn plants that won’t die when doused with high levels of 2,4-D.

This potent pesticide was an ingredient in Dow’s notorious Agent Orange defoliant, which did such extensive and horrific damage to soldiers and civilians in the Vietnam War. However, the corporation and the feds claim that 2,4-D was not the deadliest ingredient of the killer defoliant and has not yet been proven to cause cancer in humans, so they’re pressing ahead to let this corporate-constructed seed be planted across America.

Hugh Gustertson: The Drone Summit, the Lunchbox and the Invisibility of Charred Children

I kept finding myself thinking about the lunchbox.

I was at the all-day Drone Summit in Washington DC organized by Codepink, the antiwar group whose mostly female members are famous for putting on theatrical protests while wearing bold pink. I spent the day listening to human rights activists talking about civilians killed by US drone strikes, lawyers who complained that the strikes violated international law, and scientists worried that the United States is on the brink of automating the use of lethal force by drones and killer robots.

And I kept thinking about the lunchbox.

The lunchbox belonged to a schoolgirl in Hiroshima. Her body was never found, but the rice and peas in her lunchbox were carbonized by the atomic bomb. The lunchbox, turned into an exhibition piece, became, in the words of historian Peter Stearns, “an intensely human atomic bomb icon.” The Smithsonian museum’s plans to exhibit the lunchbox as part of its 1995 exhibit for the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II enraged military veterans and conservative pundits, who eventually forced the exhibit’s cancellation.

May 10 2012

Salmonella in Pet Food

Perhaps I don’t point it out often enough but The Stars Hollow Gazette and DocuDharma are group blogs and without member contributions they wouldn’t be much.

My activist brother thinks I’m intimidating and perhaps he’s right, however my intention is to be nurturant and encouraging in my internet interactions.

A case in point- seakit posted some interesting links to pet food recall notifications for salmonella contamination in Monday’s On This Day In History which I’ll reproduce for you.

Diamond Pet Foods

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 5, 2012 – Diamond Pet Foods today announced that it is expanding a voluntary recall to include batches of nine brands of dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012 due to potential Salmonella contamination.

In April 2012, Diamond Pet Foods initiated three voluntary recalls of Diamond manufactured dry dog food. Although none of the additional products being recalled have tested positive for Salmonella, the company is pulling them from store shelves as a precaution. Diamond Pet Foods is coordinating efforts with federal and state health and regulatory agencies and decided to independently expand the recall to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and their pets.

The company stated: “We have taken corrective actions at our Gaston, S.C., facility and voluntarily expanded the recall out of concern for our customers and their pets.”

Brands included in the recall include:

  Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul

  Country Value

  Diamond

  Diamond Naturals

  Premium Edge

  Professional

  4Health

  Taste of the Wild

FDA

_________________

Wellpet

Wellpet LLC Voluntarily Recalls One Recipe Of Dry Dog Food Due To Salmonella At Diamond Pet Foods’ Facility

Contact:

Consumer

877-227-9587

Media

Megan McCutcheon, Hunter PR

212-679-6600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 4, 2012 – WellPet LLC announced a voluntary recall of one recipe of Wellness® dry dog food after being notified by Diamond Pet Foods regarding the presence of Salmonella in Diamond’s Gaston, South Carolina facility.

All Wellness products are tested for Salmonella and all lots tested negative prior to shipping to customers. The company is voluntarily recalling the select products below. This voluntary recall is being done out of an abundance of caution as these products were produced at the facility that has been linked to recent recalls of Diamond brand foods due to the threat of Salmonella.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

FDA

_________________

Canidae Pet Foods

Contact:

Consumer Contact: 800-398-1600

Media Contact: Michael Lopes 800-398-1600 ext. 516 mlopes@canidae.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 5, 2012- Canidae Pet Foods announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of certain dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011, and January 31, 2012 at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant.

Although there have been no animal or human illnesses related to Canidae Pet Food, and the product has not tested positive for Salmonella, the company has voluntarily initiated this recall out of caution to ensure the health and safety of consumers and their pets.

The below list of product with production codes that must have both a number “3” in the 9th position AND an “X” in the 10th or 11th position with best before dates of December 9, 2012, through January 31, 2013 which are being recalled.

  Canidae Dog, All Life Stages

  Canidae Dog, Chicken Meal & Rice

  Canidae Dog, Lamb Meal & Rice

  Canidae Dog, Platinum

FDA

_________________

Natural Balance Pet Foods

Natural Balance Pet Foods Initiates Voluntary Recall of Certain Dry Pet Food Due to the Potential for Salmonella Contamination

Contact:

Consumer:

(800) 829-4493

Media:

Daniel Bernstein

(310) 902-2554

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 4, 2012 – Natural Balance Pet Foods announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of certain dry pet food formulas manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods at their Gaston, South Carolina facility.

Although there have been no animal illnesses reported and none of the products included in the recall has tested positive for Salmonella, the company has voluntarily initiated this recall as a precautionary measure.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. We do not have any confirmed reports of pet illnesses.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to a contaminated product. Healthy people who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have received a limited number of reports of salmonellosis, the illness caused by Salmonella.

FDA

_________________

Now it’s not my point to put seakit or anyone else on the spot, but we are fast approaching June and during that month both TheMomCat and I have other engagements that require a substantial time commitment.

I am hoping our loyal readers will respond by providing the content they’ve come to expect.  It’s not really that hard and while my family and friends are careful to pronounce every emission a ‘gem’ I know that 98% of it is crap.  It’s all part of the ‘Poet’s Pledge’-

The Poet’s Pledge

I, [the Poet’s name], do hereby solemnly pledge:

  • To be peculiar in the most unusual way I can cook up
  • To write excellently, or more especially to be known to write excellently
  • To master bards of old and bards anew, or at least never give on that I haven’t
  • To advance in gestures of my own and not in the stirrings of a majority, except where money is at stake
  • To be perceived as morally suspect, no matter what the truth
  • To sniff at adulation and pooh-pooh honors no matter how much I crave them
  • To obey whim and eschew duty, or at least appear to
  • To rove ruffian-like across continents of poems with ease, or at least make them think so
  • To engage in ridiculous arguments, all hot and sweaty for my own position
  • To be judicious only in the judging of my own merits and mean about the others
  • To die young, or if I linger, to be ignored and abused well
  • To write tons of crap for every good poem I do write, and obfuscate the difference with rhetoric
  • To suck up to important editors with honeyed words, and cuff the assistant editors often
  • To bemoan the sorry state of poetry in my country and do not one damn thing about it
  • To speak so incoherently that everyone thinks I am a genius

It’s really not that hard to be a ‘world famous blogger’.

In Poland.

May 10 2012

Roubini: Eurozone Is a “Slow Motion Train Wreck.”

US stocks continue to dip and oil fell to below the $100 mark as the Europeans are balking at austerity only budgets that have exacerbated the recession. Nobel prize winning economist, Nuriel  Roubini weighed in on the crisis in Spain and Greece.

“Greece is going to be the first country that’s going to restructure and exit,” he said. “Others will leave also.”

“By the end of the year Spain is going to lose market access,” Roubini said in a subsequent CNBC interview. “They’re going to require a bailout. That will keep them out of the markets for a year or two. That’s not going to work out – then maybe two years down the line then you have a restructuring of the debt…And eventually even Spain could exit the euro zone-but it’s not something that’s going to happen in 12 months.”

Roubini also predicted that Spain economic situation was similar to Greece and Portugal and would require a bail out but with caveats:

And yet despite the clear signs of failure in the existing bailout countries, the EU looks set to pursue an unchanged plan in Spain. But the crucial difference between Spain and the bailout countries is size. If things go wrong in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, a second bailout is affordable. But there can only be one roll of the dice for a country as large as Spain.

A bailout package would buy some time for Spain, but time will only help if it is used to generate economic growth. By making private claims on the sovereign junior to the claims of the troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) even a bailout risks reducing the chances of it regaining market access. Moreover, with economic indicators showing Spain sinking further into recession, a turnround in the country’s economic performance would require a significant shift in policy: monetary easing by the ECB, a weaker euro, fiscal stimulus in the core, less front-loaded austerity in the periphery, more international firewalls and debt mutualisation.

May 10 2012

On This Day In History May 10

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 10 is the 130th day of the year (131st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 235 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train, and the West would surely lose some of its wild charm with the new connection to the civilized East.

Since at least 1832, both Eastern and frontier statesmen realized a need to connect the two coasts. It was not until 1853, though, that Congress appropriated funds to survey several routes for the transcontinental railroad. The actual building of the railroad would have to wait even longer, as North-South tensions prevented Congress from reaching an agreement on where the line would begin.

Route

The Union Pacific laid 1,087 miles (1,749 km) of track, starting in Council Bluffs, and continuing across the Missouri River and through Nebraska (Elkhorn, now Omaha, Grand Island, North Platte, Ogallala, Sidney, Nebraska), the Colorado Territory (Julesburg), the Wyoming Territory (Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River, Evanston), the Utah Territory (Ogden, Brigham City, Corinne), and connecting with the Central Pacific at Promontory Summit. The route did not pass through the two biggest cities in the Great American Desert — Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. Feeder lines were built to service the two cities.

The Central Pacific laid 690 miles (1,100 km) of track, starting in Sacramento, California, and continuing over the Sierra Nevada mountains into Nevada. It passed through Newcastle, California and Truckee, California, Reno, Nevada, Wadsworth, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko, and Wells, Nevada, before connecting with the Union Pacific line at Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory. Later, the western part of the route was extended to the Alameda Terminal in Alameda, California, and shortly thereafter, to the Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point in Oakland, California. When the eastern end of the CPRR was extended to Ogden, it ended the short period of a boom town for Promontory. Before the CPRR was completed, developers were building other railroads in Nevada and California to connect to it.

At first, the Union Pacific was not directly connected to the Eastern U.S. rail network. Instead, trains had to be ferried across the Missouri River. In 1873, the Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge opened and directly connected the East and West.

Modern-day Interstate 80 closely follows the path of the railroad, with one exception. Between Echo, Utah and Wells, Nevada, Interstate 80 passes through the larger Salt Lake City and passes along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. The Railroad had blasted and tunneled its way down the Weber River canyon to Ogden and around the north shore of the Great Salt Lake (roughly paralleling modern Interstate 84 and State Route 30). While routing the railroad along the Weber River, Mormon workers signed the Thousand Mile Tree, to commemorate the milestone. A historic marker has been placed there. The portion of the railroad around the north shore of the lake is no longer intact. In 1904, the Lucin Cutoff, a causeway across the center of the Great Salt Lake, shortened the route by approximately 43 miles (69 km), traversing Promontory Point instead of Promontory Summit.

May 10 2012

My Little Town 20120509: C. W. Clark and the TeeVee

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

C. W., Mr. Clark to me, was a very nice man.  He worked at a TeeVee repair shop in Fort Smith (yes, people actually had TeeVees fixed back then when they broke) and moonlighted some as well.  At the time, a TeeVee was relatively much more expensive that they are now, so repairing them was the norm.

We had the same TeeVee from since I could remember until my father finally upgraded to a color unit around 1968 or so.  Actually, that is not quite true.  I remember a very old console unit with a round picture tube and watching it, but that must have been before I was three.