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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Grain Companies' Profits Soar As Global Food Crisis Mounts

    [...]

    The robust profits are emerging against the backdrop of a food crisis some experts say is the worst in three decades. The secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on Tuesday called for the creation of a high-level global task force to deal with the cascading impact of high grain prices and oil prices. He said that countries must do more to avert "social unrest on an unprecedented scale" and should contribute money to make up for the $755 million shortfall in funding for the World Food Program, which feeds the world's hungry.

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    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Ben-ami Kadish a U.S. citizen who worked at an Army base in New Jersey, took home classified documents for six years, let the Israeli photograph them

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    Those documents included information about nuclear weapons, a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet, and the U.S. Patriot missile air defense system.
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    Bruce Goldstein, a lawyer for Kadish, had no immediate comment. Calls requesting comment from the Israeli consulate in the United States were referred to officials in Israel, where foreign ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said: "We know nothing about it. We have nothing to say."
    [...]

    The United States, Israel's closest ally, provides about $2.2 billion a year in military assistance. In the last few years, the two nations have conducted tests to integrate the Israeli-made Arrow anti-ballistic missiles with the Patriot system to create a multilayered air defense system.

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    Privatized Outsourced VA covers up Risk of Suicide Among Veterans

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    After a public records request, the VA provided CBS News with data that showed there were a total of 790 attempted suicides by VA patients in the entire year of 2007. This number was nowhere near what Katz was saying privately in his email.
    [...]

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    My God! McCain, the Moron, opposes equal pay bill in Senate

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ...

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    When a Nut Job Like McCain Vows War oN Poverty, the Poor better wear flak helemts

    Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to  reporters at the Fabart factory in Youngstown, Ohio, during his 'It's Time for Action' campaign tour Tuesday, April 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)Facelift?

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    What the U.S. needs is more regulation

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    Iwan Azis, professor of professor of management and regional science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said comparing the U.S. and Japanese lending fiascos weren't particularly useful because the causes and mechanisms were so different.

    What the U.S. needs is more regulation, while Japan needs to do away with restrictions to open its markets to foreign investment and new businesses, he said in a telephone interview.

    [...]

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    I would Like to throw Horse shit instead of Pie at Neocon Scum Thomas Friedman

    http://www.littleshamrocks.com/image-files/million_dollar_pie.jpg

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    Psychopath George Dubya Bush Temporarily Stopped From More Punishment forthe Poor he helped Create in America by House of representatives

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    Free Trade Deals Benefit Only A Few Wealthy People Which is Why the Worse President Ever Loves them so Much

    Sieg Heil! I am the Chimpy in Chief and I Rule!President Bush, accompanied by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, gestures during their joint News conference, Tuesday, April 22, 2028, at the North American leaders summit in New Orleans. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Tom Hanson)

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    Economist: Housing slump may exceed Depression

    [...]

    Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of the widely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index, said there's a good chance housing prices will fall further than the 30 percent drop in the historic depression of the 1930s. Home prices nationwide already have dropped 15 percent since their peak in 2006, he said.

    "I think there is a scenario that they could be down substantially more," Shiller said during a speech at the New Haven Lawn Club.

    Shiller's Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index is considered a strong measure of home prices because it examines price changes of the same property over time, instead of calculating a median price of homes sold during the month.

    Shiller, who admitted he has a reputation for being bearish, said real estate cycles typically take years to correct.

    Home prices rose about 85 percent from 1997 to 2006 adjusted for inflation, the biggest national housing boom in U.S. history, Shiller said.

    "Basically we're in uncharted territory," Shiller said. "It seems we have developed a speculative culture about housing that never existed on a national basis before."

    Many people became convinced that housing prices would increase 10 percent annually, a notion Shiller called crazy.

    Shiller, who said it's difficult to forecast prices, endorsed legislation proposed by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., that would allow the Federal Housing Administration to back as much as $300 billion in mortgages for struggling homeowners. Servicers would have to agree to take a loss on the existing loans, while borrowers would have to show they could afford to make new payments on their refinanced mortgages.

    [...]

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    Collection Agencies Outsource to India to get Money From Impoverished Americans

    [...]

    Financial services clients are saying, “We want you to collect my debt, to analyze it and change the way that we sell” the loans, said Tiger Tyagarajan, executive vice president at Genpact, the business processing company spun off from General Electric that has roots in India. Genpact, which works with lenders to get customers to pay, rather than buying loans directly like Encore, employs thousands of debt collectors in India, Romania, Mexico and the Philippines, and is hiring in all those locations.

    In the past, the prevailing wisdom about wringing money from late payers has been “if you’re calling the Midwest, you want someone from the Midwest to twist their arm,” said Mark Hughes, an analyst with Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey who covers the industry. That theory is changing as the pool of trained phone professionals in India and other locations deepens, and companies look outside the United States for lower costs.

    Telephone debt collection represents new, more aggressive territory for India. “This is really a sales job,” Mr. Hughes said. “It is commission-intensive, and you’re paid on your ability to collect.”

    [...]

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    World food crisis hits home

    [...]

    Such problems in the U.S. pale in comparison to what is happening in desperate countries.

    The World Food Program says that rising food prices -- and a corresponding food shortage -- threaten 20 million of the planet's poorest children.

    Food prices have risen 40 percent on average since mid-2007, and have led to riots in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

    At a summit in London on Tuesday, the executive director of the World Food Program said that a "silent tsunami" of hunger is sweeping the world's most desperate nations.

    "What we are seeing now is affecting more people on every continent," Josette Sheeran told a news conference.

    The price of rice has more than doubled in the past five weeks, she said.

    The World Bank estimates food prices have risen by 83 percent in three years.


    [...]

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    Global Food Prices Dubbed a 'Silent Tsunami'

    An additional 100 million people, previously not requiring food assistance, are now not able to buy food, said WFP executive director Josette Sheeran in a statement before the meeting.

    "This is the new face of hunger -- the millions of people who were not in the urgent hunger category six months ago but now are," she said.

    The summit in London brought together 25 experts in the field, scientists and representatives from the European Union and Africa. The goal was to find ways to boost food supplies, which have dropped low enough to incite riots and protests in several developing countries.

    Unrest tied to food prices has been reported in Cameroon, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Egypt. Widespread riots in Haiti have resulted in several deaths.

    The prices of rice, maize and wheat have hit record highs and have doubled in the past year, according to Bloomberg News.

    The price escalation has been especially evident in recent weeks. In Asia, the price of rice has more than doubled in less than two months, from $460 a ton at the beginning of March to more than $1,000 currently, Sheeran told the BBC.

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    Cambodian Kids Get No Free Breakfast as Rice Aid Cut

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    High gas prices mean big business for pawn shops

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    Soaring Food Prices Cause a Run on RIce

    [...]
    The price of rice globally has now nearly trebled since the start of the year, sparking food riots in African countries and Haiti and adding to growing fears that millions of the world's poor may soon struggle to feed themselves.

    China, Vietnam and India have curbed rice exports to safeguard domestic supplies. Thailand, which ships one third of the world's exports, may also restrict sales, a World Bank official said this week.

    Benchmark Thai rice prices leapt more than 5 per cent to a record high above $1,000 a tonne today.
    [...]

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    We Are What We Eat

    We Are What We Eat
    Corn is the keystone species of the industrial food system, along with its sidekick, soybeans, with which it shares a rotation on most of the farms in the Midwest. I'm really talking about cheap corn — overproduced, subsidized, industrial corn — the biggest legal cash crop in America. Eighty million acres — an area twice the size of New York State — is blanketed by a vast corn monoculture like a second great American lawn.

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    At Least 36 U.S. States Face Water Shortage

    [...]
    Rising temperatures due to global warming have increased evaporation rates across the country and reduced the availability of important water sources. One of these is the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which supplies a significant portion of California's water. Across the West, similar trends are expected to reduce flows of the Colorado River, which supplies water for seven states.

    Meanwhile, rising sea levels are expected to cause saltwater to infiltrate freshwater aquifers in coastal states, rendering that water unusable.

    California uses about 23 trillion gallons of fresh water per year. The United States as a whole uses more than 148 trillion gallons for all purposes, including agriculture, manufacturing and other uses.

    Other threatened regions include the Midwest, where the Great Lakes are shrinking, and upstate New York, where reservoir levels have fallen to record lows. Georgia's crisis has already arrived, and Florida's is expected to hit soon.

    [...]

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    Melting mountains called a water 'time bomb'

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    Oil hits new record as investors flee the falling dollar

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    Venezuela approves $9 bln oil windfall profit law. Go Hugo!

    [...[

    The government will take in about 92 cents for every extra dollar when world prices are above $70 a barrel and then 97 cents when they are above $100 a barrel, his oil minister, Rafael Ramirez told reporters.

    "Through the concept of this tax, there's going to be income around $9 billion. That's $770 million a month and an average of $150-$200 million a week." Ramirez said after explaining the law to Congress before it was passed.

    World oil prices hit a record above $114 a barrel Tuesday.

    Chavez's new move against oil companies is part of a worldwide trend where oil-producing nations have sought to extract more revenue from foreign companies who are benefiting from high prices.

    [...]

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    Russia Hits Peak Oil

    [...]

    Russian oil has peaked already according to Leonid Fedun, vice-president of Russian oil giant Lukoil,

    10m barrels a day from the world’s number two oil producing country is as good as it gets in his lifetime he reckons. He’s 52 but given the average life expectancy of Russians that may not be too long. And it’s not going to be stable. Oil rich Western Siberia is more like Mexico and the North Sea i.e. output is sliding fast. “The period of intense oil production growth is over” claims Fedun. They’ve sucked up the oil fast and now the party’s over.

    [...]

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    Traitor Elitist aqnd Senile Fuck John McCain opposes bill to help soldiers

    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/mccain.jpg

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    Climate change: Time is running out

    art.wilkins.ap.jpgThe Wilkins shelf covers 5,600 square miles. It is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula. Over 160 square miles has broken away since February 2008. The melt is happening twice as fast as scientists predicted.

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    American Enterprise Institute allegedly offers bribes to scientists for disputing UN climate change report

    The image “http://schema-root.org/people/political/think_tank/american_enterprise_institute/aei_logo111.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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    U.S. bankruptcies soared 38 percent in 2007: government

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    Big Tax Breaks for Businesses in Housing Bill

    The Senate proclaimed a fierce bipartisan resolve two weeks ago to help American homeowners in danger of foreclosure. But while a bill that senators approved last week would take modest steps toward that goal, it would also provide billions of dollars in tax breaks — for automakers, airlines, alternative energy producers and other struggling industries, as well as home builders.
    [...]

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    Monday, April 14, 2008

    More Food Poisoning From Deregulated, Centralized Agribusiness

    At least 23 people in 14 states have been sickened by the same strain of salmonella found in two breakfast cereals recalled by Malt-O-Meal, the federal Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

    Officials in Minnesota are investigating whether a case in that state might be linked to the cereals produced by the Minneapolis-based company, the state health department said.

    Malt-O-Meal voluntarily recalled its unsweetened Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat cereals April 5 after finding salmonella contamination during routine testing. The affected bags were produced in the past 12 months in Northfield.
    [...]
    Symptoms of salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It can be life-threatening for people with poor health or weakened immune systems, including young children and the elderly.
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    Drowing the Poor in Literal Shit

    Chris Peot shows biosolids, applied to a farm, in Mitchells, Va., Wednesday, June 6, 2007. No one can say exactly what is in sludge. It's a constantly changing brew of human, commercial, hospital and industrial wastes. The primary organic ingredient is human excrement, which proponents say makes sludge a useful fertilizer. Critics worry about the metals and pathogens that remain. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Nine low-income families in Baltimore row houses agreed to let researchers till the sewage sludge into their yards and plant new grass. In exchange, they were given food coupons as well as the free lawns as part of a study published in 2005 and funded by the Housing and Urban Development Department.

    The Associated Press reviewed grant documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and interviewed researchers. No one involved with the $446,231 grant for the two-year study would identify the participants, citing privacy concerns. There is no evidence there was ever any medical follow-up.

    Comparable research was conducted by the Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Agency in a similarly poor, black neighborhood in East St. Louis, Ill.

    The sludge, researchers said, put the children at less risk of brain or nerve damage from lead, a highly toxic element once widely used in gasoline and paint. Other studies have shown brain damage among children, often in poor neighborhoods, who ate lead-based paint that had flaked off their homes.

    The idea that sludge — the leftover semisolid wastes filtered from water pollution at 16,500 treatment plants — can be turned into something harmless, even if swallowed, has been a tenet of federal policy for three decades.

    [...]

    The Maryland Court of Appeals likened the study to Nazi medical research on concentration camp prisoners, the U.S. government's 40-year Tuskegee study that denied treatment for syphilis to black men in order to study the illness and Japan's use of "plague bombs" in World War II to infect and study entire villages.

    "These programs were somewhat alike in the vulnerability of the subjects: uneducated African-American men, debilitated patients in a charity hospital, prisoners of war, inmates of concentration camps and others falling within the custody and control of the agencies conducting or approving the experiments," the court said.

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    Bad Advice from Right Wing Idiot Henry Paulson

    Paulson Says Developing Countries Should Avoid Price Controls

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    U.S., Europe Warn of Further `Bad News;' Strengthen Regulation , though not nearly enough

    You have to ask yourself why the regulations were tossed aside in the first place.

    [....]

    New York Fed President Timothy Geithner indicated that regulators may have relied too much on financial companies and investors to police themselves.

    [....]

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    US banks Citigroup and Merrill Lynch reveal fresh $15bn loss

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    Huge exposure to American mortgages is expected to result in Citi taking a $10 billion hit to its accounts, dragging the bank to a first-quarter loss of almost $3 billion. Some analysts believe Citi’s write-downs could stretch to as much as $12 billion.

    Merrill will suffer $5 billion of write-downs, analysts say, which would push the bank $2.7 billion into the red.

    It is expected to knock a further 20% from the value of its sub-prime holdings, in spite of the fact that it announced $18 billion of write-downs only three months ago.

    The new rash of Wall Street losses and write-downs come in addition to the billions that have already been recorded.

    The world’s biggest banks have suffered losses and write-downs totalling almost $250 billion since the beginning of 2007, according to analysts. Last week the IMF shocked markets by saying that global losses from the credit crisis could rise to $945 billion.

    [...]

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    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Handy List of GOP Offenders

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