05/24/2012 archive

Compounded Prescription Recall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 25, 2012This is to inform you of a product recall involving:

All Sterile Human and Veterinary Prescriptions Distributed by Franck’s Pharmacy From November 21, 2011 to May 21, 2012.

This recall is being initiated after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) notified us that environmental sampling of our clean room revealed the presence of microorganisms and fungal growth. In light of the FDA’s findings and the resulting possible risk of infection, we have decided that it is imperative that we recall all human and veterinary sterile preparations that have left our control. Accordingly, we are extending the recall to all sterile preparations we have provided to you since November 21, 2011.

If any of these sterile preparations remains under your control, it is essential that you do not use them and that employing appropriate practices, you destroy all such sterile preparations and all remaining portions of such sterile preparations.

This recall should be carried out to the User/Physician level. Your assistance is appreciated and necessary to prevent patient illness. Physicians should be advised to review and evaluate their patient records to determine if any adverse events may have resulted from use of the recalled products. Please report any adverse events to Franck’s Compounding Pharmacy and FDA’s MedWatch program.

FDA will expect us to be able to account for all of the sterile preparations subject to this recall. As a result, it is critically important that you read, complete, and return the enclosed response form as soon as possible.

We will update you with any relevant details as they become available to us. If you have any questions please call us at 352-690-6773, Monday through Friday from 9AM to 5 PM, EST.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration.

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

Robert Reich: Why Obama Should Be Attacking Casino Capitalism

I wish President Obama would draw the obvious connection between Bain Capital and JPMorgan Chase.

That way his so-called “attack” on private equity is neither a personal attack on Mitt Romney nor a generalized attack on American business.

It’s an attack on a particular kind of capitalism that Romney and JPMorgan both practice: Using other peoples’ money to make big bets which, if they go wrong, can wreak havoc on the economy.

It’s the substitution of casino capitalism for real capitalism, the dominance of the betting parlor over the real business of America, financial innovation rather than product innovation.

Paul Krugman: Europe’s Leaders Double Down on a Failed Strategy

I guess we knew this was coming, but in the face of the French and Greek election results and the broader evidence that Europe’s economic strategy is an utter failure, the usual suspects are, you guessed it, doubling down.

Simon Wren-Lewis, an economics professor at Oxford, has looked on in horror as the Dutch have agreed on completely unnecessary austerity measures, as a way of showing their commitment to Europe’s totally misguided fiscal pact. “Towards the end of April the Dutch conservative coalition government collapsed when the far-right party refused to discuss further budget cuts,” Mr. Wren-Lewis wrote on his blog on May 7. “The prime minister resigned. And yet a few days later other parties rallied round to give their support to a similar package of austerity measures, which now have majority support in parliament.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed “no going back” on his failed austerity strategy in a speech after the elections.

Mark Weisbrot: Can Renewed ILO Help Fight Back Against Global Austerity Trend?

Poised to elect a new director general, the International Labor Organization needs to challenge the pro-austerity consensus

The Troika – the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission, and the IMF – is dragging Europe into its second recession in three years. The ECB by itself has the ability to end this crisis, by guaranteeing low interest rates on the sovereign bonds of countries such as Spain and Italy. Member governments would then be able to restore normal economic growth and employment.

But the ECB refuses to do this – partly because the Troika is using the crisis as an opportunity to force changes, especially in the weaker eurozone economies, changes that the people residing there would never vote for. These reforms include shrinking government, privatization, “labor flexibility”, and reduced public pensions.

Since, however, Europe has by far the largest banking system in the world, the eurozone crisis is also a significant drag on growth and employment throughout most of the world. This could easily do more damage if it is not resolved.

Henry A. Giroux: The Occupy Movement and the Politics of Educated Hope

American society has lost its claim on democracy. One indication of such a loss is that the crises produced on a daily basis by crony capitalism operate within a discourse of denial. Rather than address the ever proliferating crises produced by market fundamentalism as an opportunity to understand how the United States has arrived at such a point in order to change direction, the dominating classes now use such crises as an excuse for normalizing a growing punishing and warfare state, while consolidating the power of finance capital and the mega-rich. Uncritically situated in an appeal to common sense, the merging of corporate and political power is now constructed on a discourse of refusal-a denial of historical conditions, existing inequalities and massive human suffering-used to bury alive the conditions of its own making. The notion that neoliberal capitalism has less interest in free markets than an enormous stake in the dominance of public life by corporations no longer warrants recognition and debate in mainstream apparatuses of power. Hence, the issue of what happens to democracy and politics when corporations dominate almost all aspects of American society is no longer viewed as a central question to be addressed in public life.

Chris Hellman and Mattea Kramer: The Nearly $1 Trillion National Security Budget

Recent months have seen a flurry of headlines about cuts (often called “threats”) to the U.S. defense budget. Last week, lawmakers in the House of Representatives even passed a bill that was meant to spare national security spending from future cuts by reducing school-lunch funding and other social programs.  

Here, then, is a simple question that, for some curious reason, no one bothers to ask, no less answer: How much are we spending on national security these days? With major wars winding down, has Washington already cut such spending so close to the bone that further reductions would be perilous to our safety?

In fact, with projected cuts added in, the national security budget in fiscal 2013 will be nearly $1 trillion-a staggering enough sum that it’s worth taking a walk through the maze of the national security budget to see just where that money’s lodged.

David Cole: Can Obama Say He’s Sorry for US Role in Torture of Innocent Man?

Can the President say he’s sorry to an innocent man whom the United States delivered to Syria to be tortured? Sixty thousand Americans have done so, signing a petition that begins, “I apologize to Maher Arar for the torture he suffered because of the actions of US officials and I urge you to do the same.” Today, the petition’s organizers-Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Religious Coalition Against Torture-delivered the petition to the White House. An apology is the least President Obama can-and should-do.

Maher Arar is the Canadian citizen US officials intercepted in 2002 when he was changing planes at JFK airport on his way home to Canada from a trip to Europe. He was held incommunicado, interrogated by FBI officials and ultimately ordered deported-not to Canada, his home and destination, but to Syria, where he was handed off to Syrian security officials long condemned by the State Department for their use of torture in interrogations. The Syrians did in fact torture Arar, while posing the same questions that the FBI had asked him in New York. After a year in detention-ten months of it spent in an underground cell the size of a grave-the Syrians released Arar, concluding that there was no basis for concern about him.

Third Way Electoral Victory!

How The Blue Dog/DCCC Axis Really Operates

Howie Klein, DownWithTyranny

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

(T)he Blue Dogs lost half their members in the 2010 elections because Democratic voters refused to show up at the polls to vote for them, a completely rational decision since the Blue Dogs refuse to support Democratic principles, policy or values. This weekend the Salt Lake Tribune explains how Matheson is trying to grow the Blue Dog caucus and has “hired the Blue Dogs’ first campaign strategist and overhauled the coalition’s recruitment effort, trying to get stronger candidates to run in districts he thinks Democrats can reclaim.” The article doesn’t mention Steve Israel’s insidious role in this venture, embracing all 11 right-wing Blue Dog candidates this year, many of them running against progressives in primaries where the DCCC has promised to stay neutral, a lie that never goes away.

Here’s how it works in district after district across the country.

A real Democrat enters the primary and along comes a Blue Dog. The Blue Dog PAC and the Blue Dog incumbents fill the Blue Dog candidate’s coffers with contributions. The most corrupt corporate whores on Capitol Hill, the Blue Dogs get their sleazy lobbyist friends– many of whom are Blue Dog ex-congressmen and former Blue Dog staffers– to shower even more cash on candidates who they know will “play ball.” Then Matheson and Barrow go to a very sympathetic Steve Israel and whine about the neutrality policy, claiming it isn’t a real contest because the real Democrat has raised so little money and their candidate is flush with cash. Israel then “reluctantly” adds the Blue Dog to one of the bogus “Red-to-Blue” lists– lists that signal wealthy Democratic donors that these are the candidates the party is backing.

That’s how a reactionary and corrupt operative like Hayden Rogers, who opposes almost every single plank the differentiates Democrats from Republicans, has wound up as the Democratic candidate in western North Carolina. Israel is already spending money on the race even though there is virtually no chance that Rogers will win.

It’s a scenario that plays out endlessly in district after district. Millions of donor dollars will be wasted to rescucitate the all-but-extinct Blue Dogs but smart money says that 2013 will find less of tehm– not more– in Congress.

And all those wasted millions… could have been used to elect actual Democrats like Dave Gill in Illinois, Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire and Patsy Keever in North Carolina, who beat, against all odds, well-financed conservative challengers but are now being starved for cash by Israel and the DCCC.

If you’d like, you can help real Democrats here — while the DCCC fights to elect anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-working family fanatics like Hayden Rogers and the 10 other Blue Dogs they’ve taken under their wing.

(h/t Gaius Publius @ Americablog)

Formatted for presentation.

JP Morgan: Oops, They Did It Again

Yes they did it again, JP Morgan profited from the Facebook loss by betting against it. Casino Royale:

The concerns center on Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and other banks involved in the I.P.O. that shared a negative outlook about Facebook with a select group of clients, rather than broadly with all investors.

In the days leading up to Facebook’s debut, analysts at several banks ratcheted down their growth estimates for the social network. The move came after the company told them that quarterly and annual revenue would be on the softer side, said people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

As is typical in the I.P.O. process, research analysts at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and other firms contacted certain clients to discuss their revised expectations, while other big investors called on the banks to get their new take. But ordinary mom-and-pop investors did not have the same access to the valuable information.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has issued a subpoena over the discussions that analysts had with certain investors over those “revised expectations”:

The analyst’s revisions came after Facebook revised its prospectus on May 9, which the firm forwarded to all of its retail and institutional clients, according to the statement. [..]

As of Monday afternoon, some customers of Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab were still waiting to see if their trades for Facebook shares were completed on Friday.

Then Reuters reported late Monday that the consumer Internet analyst at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley cut his revenue forecasts for Facebook in the days before the offering, information that may not have reached many investors before the stock was listed.

Cenk Uygur cuts to the chase:

As Cenk noted and Matt Stoller at naked capital reported, over 99% of these investigations are resolved without an admission of guilt:

In a hearing last week titled “Examining the Settlement Practices of U.S. Financial Regulators”, various regulators tried to justify their practice of settling with financial firms and not requiring them to admit wrongdoing. In that hearing, Federal Reserve General Counsel Scott Alvarez, stated that only seven of the roughly one thousand enforcement actions taken in the last decade were resolved without consent.

   The vast majority of the Federa Reserve’s formal enforcement actions are resolved upon consent, which is fully consistent with the goal of resolving supervisory concerns with bank management quickly and firmly. In crafting enforcement actions that are entered by consent, the Federal Reserve typically sets out summary recitations of the relevant facts in “Whereas” clause provisions; however, like our fellow banking regulators, it has not been our practice to require formal admissions to the misconduct addressed in our enforcement orders given the remedial nature of our enforcement program. Requiring admission of fact and legal conclusions as a condition of entering into a consent action is likely to have a deleterious effect on our supervisory efforts by causing more institutions and individuals to challenge the requested relief in contested administrative proceedings, which typically takes years to reach final resolution, and which could delay implemenattion of necessary corrective action.

In other words, the Federal Reserve will only punish banks who break the rules if those banks consent to punishment.  This attitude is pervasive among all regulators.

Can you imagine of our criminal court system ran like that? Oh wait, if you have money . .

The Red Pill

Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

Because I choose to.

Cory Booker wants back on the bus

By Gaius Publius, Americablog

5/23/2012 09:15:00 AM

A look behind the curtain tells a different tale

Who is Cory Booker? Behind the curtain, beneath the branding, he’s this guy.

■ Booker is Wall Street’s man in Newark. Zaid Jilani at the amazing Republic Report:

Cory Booker’s Political Career Guided By Top Wall St Donors To Romney’s Super PAC

Booker said his defense of private equity firms comes from a “very personal level.” … [But] Wall Street has been a huge backer of Booker’s campaigns. In 2006, “Lee Ainslie, the founder of hedge fund Maverick Capital Management LLC and a former protégé of Tiger Management LLC’s [Julian] Robertson; and D. Ian McKinnon, the managing partner of Ziff Brothers Investments,” maxed out in their donations to Booker’s campaign.

… Bloomberg chronicled in 2010 how Booker worked to raise as much as $240 million from Wall Street and other American financial services hubs to invest in urban renewal in the city of Newark. …

[Julian] Robertson, the prominent Booker campaign supporter [see above] who helped finance a Newark Charter program on behalf of Booker, is a close ally to Mitt Romney. … Robertson’s $1.8 million in contributions to Restore Our Future [Romney’s SuperPAC] make him the second biggest contributor[.]

Of course there’s more; this is the Republic Report.

From the linked Bloomberg article:

Booker, 41, a Rhodes Scholar and son of International Business Machines Corp. executives, has raised $240 million for parks, schools and police since taking office in 2006 by convincing some of the wealthiest business people in the U.S. that Newark can be a model for urban renewal.

With the support of New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie, Booker, a Democrat, obtained a $100 million pledge last month from Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and a $25 million promise from Ackman.

Of course, Chris Christie, friend of the poor – and Democrats. Well, one Democrat.

Booker looks like Bain’s man in Newark as well. ThinkProgress:

Bain and Financial Industry Gave Over $565,000 To Newark Mayor Cory Booker For 2002 Campaign

A ThinkProgress examination of New Jersey campaign finance records for Booker’s first run for Mayor – back in 2002 – suggests a possible reason for his unease with attacks on Bain Capital and venture capital. They were among his earliest and most generous backers.

Contributions to his 2002 campaign from venture capitalists, investors, and big Wall Street bankers brought him more than $115,000 for his 2002 campaign. Among those contributing to his campaign were John Connaughton ($2,000), Steve Pagliuca ($2,200), Jonathan Lavine ($1,000) – all of Bain Capital. While the forms are not totally clear, it appears the campaign raised less than $800,000 total, making this a significant percentage.

As usual with these depressing stories, there’s predictably more. Do click.

No wonder he doesn’t like jumping down Bain Capital’s throat. Whatever Bain coughs up, Booker feeds on.

But wait? Where’s the quid pro quo? Here’s one of several.

Booker, in return, likes his Michelle Rhee-style education "reform":

Sacramento, California, New Brunswick, NJ (August 9, 2011) StudentsFirst and Better Education for Kids, Inc. (B4K) announced today that the two non-profit organizations would enter into an exclusive partnership to reform New Jersey’s public school system.

B4K and StudentsFirst share the same vision – bipartisan, common sense education reform that puts students first, empowers parents and rewards great teachers and principals. … Launched in early December by Michelle Rhee, former Washington, DC Public Schools chancellor, StudentsFirst has signed up more than 500,000 members and released a comprehensive policy agenda that transcends party lines.

I’ll decode this for you:

  • Student First = Teachers last
  • Non-profit = Tax-exempt political organization
  • Bipartisan = Republican dominated
  • Empowers parents = Sets up trap-like parent triggers
  • Rewards great teachers = Kills union-protected seniority and firing rules
  • Michelle Rhee = Friend of for-profit education

You don’t need the nose of a pro sommelier to smell the payback. The whole New Jersey public school system? Bold, sir; very bold.

■ All of which make him the model of a Clintonian DLC golden boy. Just for good measure, this – the corp-friendly folks who brought you the Futures Modernization Act, brought you Booker as well.

He’s DLC to the core (h/t Twitter friend FogBelter):

DLC | New Dem Of The Week | February 18, 2009

New Dem of the Week: Cory Booker

Mayor, Newark, NJ

As the leader of New Jersey’s largest city, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has worked to improve not only the city, but the lives of its citizens. An advocate for government reform and community engagement, Booker’s innovative ideas continue to revitalize Newark. Even in these tough economic times, Booker reinforced his commitment to mutual responsibility …

Et cetera.

Bottom line

Cory Booker is not your friend, but he played one on TV.

At the level of the Matrix, this is a story about “Booker wants back on the bus” after accidentally stepping on Obama’s PR-offensive against Romney. It’s hard not to watch his Maddow interview without seeing the begging. He wants back his place at the trough.

Behind the Matrix though, it’s yet another tale of a faux-progressive, bought-and-paid Dem with good looks, successful branding, a great story, and a future he’s desperate to salvage. He’s not just begging Obama; he’s begging you as well.

He wants back his branding, his faux-liberal costume. Will you give it to him?

You can read this story either way and get your money’s worth. But only the second has a cherry at the center – a view of the actual world, should you choose to accept it.

On This Day In History May 24

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.

May 24 is the 144th day of the year (145th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 221 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, John Hancock is elected president of the Second Continental Congress.

ohn Hancock is best known for his large signature on the Declaration of Independence, which he jested the British could read without spectacles. He was serving as president of Congress upon the declaration’s adoption on July 4, 1776, and, as such, was the first member of the Congress to sign the historic document.

John Hancock graduated from Harvard University in 1754 at age 17 and, with the help of a large inherited fortune, established himself as Boston’s leading merchant. The British customs raid on one of Hancock’s ships, the sloop Liberty, in 1768 incited riots so severe that the British army fled the city of Boston to its barracks in Boston Harbor. Boston merchants promptly agreed to a non-importation agreement to protest the British action. Two years later, it was a scuffle between Patriot protestors and British soldiers on Hancock’s wharf that set the stage for the Boston Massacre.

Hancock’s involvement with Samuel Adams and his radical group, the Sons of Liberty, won the wealthy merchant the dubious distinction of being one of only two Patriots-the other being Sam Adams-that the Redcoats marching to Lexington in April 1775 to confiscate Patriot arms were ordered to arrest. When British General Thomas Gage offered amnesty to the colonists holding Boston under siege, he excluded the same two men from his offer.

President of Congress

With the war underway, Hancock made his way to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia with the other Massachusetts delegates. On May 24, 1775, he was unanimously elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding Peyton Randolph after Henry Middleton declined the nomination. Hancock was a good choice for president for several reasons. He was experienced, having often presided over legislative bodies and town meetings in Massachusetts. His wealth and social standing inspired the confidence of moderate delegates, while his association with Boston radicals made him acceptable to other radicals. His position was somewhat ambiguous, because the role of the president was not fully defined, and it was not clear if Randolph had resigned or was on a leave of absence. Like other presidents of Congress, Hancock’s authority was limited to that of a presiding officer. He also had to handle a great deal of official correspondence, and he found it necessary to hire clerks at his own expense to help with the paperwork.

Signing the Declaration

Hancock was president of Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed. He is primarily remembered by Americans for his large, flamboyant signature on the Declaration, so much so that “John Hancock” became, in the United States, an informal synonym for signature. According to legend, Hancock signed his name largely and clearly so that King George could read it without his spectacles, but this fanciful story did not appear until many years later.

My Little Town 20120523: My Dad the Salesman

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.

Dad was a born salesman.  He could sell anything to anyone just about.  It took him some time to find that calling.  Before sales he pumped gasoline, worked odd jobs, trained as a jewellery designer and maker, and even tried farming.  He hated farming.

But it was sales that Dad was the very best.  Different people have different talents for different things.  I did some direct sales at summer jobs at a paint store and at a small engine repair shop and lawnmower store, but in those jobs the customers came to you.  Dad went to the customers.

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