There is a lot going on that we can't do a damned thing about, so...let's go out and play in the yard!
Thanks to our good friend rj at Global Glass Onion for links this morning. We'll have a big Friday news post and for Saturday, I've found a good documentary for us to watch.
Don't forget Sunday is gardening day and we'll talk more about tomatoes. The difference between hybrid, GMO, and heirlooms. Should be interesting.
Have a great day! Remember to smile. :D
Hosted: Japan emperor makes first trip to disaster zoneJapan's widely respected emperor made his first visit Thursday to the disaster zone devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, kneeling on mats to commiserate with survivors who bowed in gratitude and wiped away tears.
LegitGov: Tepco Wants to Hasten Restart of Kashiwazaki Kariwa Reactor
WSJ: Companies Vie for Plant-Closing Job
TOKYO—Two Japanese corporate giants submitted preliminary plans to conduct the long-term shutdown of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex, introducing a cast of players who stand to be active at the site for decades.
BBC: Japan quake: Police search for bodies near plant
Bloomberg: Bank Lobby Urges Japan to Pay Half of Tepco Claims, Asahi SaysJapan’s government should take responsibility for half of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s compensation claims from the accident at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, the Asahi newspaper reported, citing the head of the nation’s banking lobby.
RealityZone: Libya all about oil, or central banking?
CSMonitor: Palestinians build support for statehood at Brussels meetingThe Palestinian Authority has gained a crucial boost from the IMF and World Bank ahead of a possible UN vote on statehood in September, as Arab unrest adds urgency to their cause.
Reuters.UK: UPDATE 1-Qatar says marketed Libyan oil, delivered product(Reuters) - Qatar has marketed 1 million barrels of Libyan crude oil on behalf of Libya's rebels, and delivered four shipments of petroleum products to the eastern port of Benghghazi, the Qatari state news agency QNA said on Tuesday.
BBC: More bodies found in mass graves in northwestern MexicoForensic experts in Mexico have found 13 bodies buried in shallow graves in northwestern Sinaloa state.
The find comes at the same time as officials unearthed another 10 bodies in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, bringing the total to 126.
Bloomberg: Gulf Rulers Backing Democracy Anywhere But Home May Risk Unrest
Persian Gulf rulers say they understand that this year’s wave of pro-democracy uprisings has changed the Middle East. So far, they haven’t allowed it to change their own countries.
Wweek: 9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes
BBC: Goldman Sachs accused of misleading investorsA US Senate probe says Goldman Sachs misled investors selling mortgage-backed investments it knew would fail.
MyBudget360: Banks gone wild – The temporarily embarrassed millionaire syndrome.
Bailout recipient JP Morgan Chase pays CEO what amounts to 843 times the median US household income.
Reuters: Republicans responsible if country defaults: Geithner(Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday told Republican lawmakers that they would shoulder the blame if the country got too close to defaulting on its debt and roiled markets worldwide.
RawStory: Gold prices to strike records ‘above $1,600 this year’
Record-breaking gold will likely surge past $1,600 per ounce for the first time later this year, driven by fears over high inflation and low global interest rates, consultancy GFMS forecast Wednesday.
Mish: Recession by End of the Year
John Taylor, CEO of FX Concepts, a currency trading firm with $8 billion under management says "We'll be in a recession by the end of the year. Three reasons: QE2 will end, Republicans are running the House, and the price of gas is heading up."
BusinessInsider: Finland Getting Closer To Killing The Portuguese Bailout
Finland could kill the Portuguese bailout by vetoing the terms of the deal in the country's parliament, according to Reuters.
YahooFinance: Foreclosures continue to trend down in first quarter 2011
On the surface, the foreclosure crisis seems to be easing. The number of foreclosure notices filed during the first three months of 2011 fell 27% compared with the first quarter of 2010, according to a report from RealtyTrac released Thursday.
LifeInc: Who works hardest? Answer may surprise you
Fortune: 10 companies with the most untaxed foreign income
According to U.S. tax law, any profits earned overseas must be taxed by 35% when returned to the U.S. That's why many companies park their cash on international soil - cash that could be shared with investors. Accounting expert Jack Ciesielski crunched the numbers on the biggest overseas balances.
BusinessInsider: The Phoenix Coyotes May Be Telling Us Something Huge About Commodities And The Global Economy
The most interesting thing we've read this morning comes from Cannacord Wealth Management, which sees a major sign of a top in the Canadian Dollar, and thus, by implication, a possible top in commodities (since the Loony is so tied to commodities, especially oil).
MoneyWatch: Credit Cards on Campus: One Student’s Tale of Disaster
Student loans are easily the biggest financial issue for most new college graduates. The average total: $24,000. But credit card debt is right there, averaging $4,100 for new grads, and in some ways it’s far more insidious than the debt students incur to get an education.
USAToday: More Americans leaving workforce (great graphic!)
Reuters: Credit raters triggered financial crisis: panel
(Reuters) - Moody's Corp and Standard and Poor's triggered the worst financial crisis in decades when they were forced to downgrade the inflated ratings they slapped on complex mortgage-backed securities, a U.S. congressional report concluded on Wednesday.
Guardian: Abolition of cheques to be reconsidered
MPs will examine decision by Payments Council to dispose of cheques in 2018 following consumer pressure
FinancialArmageddon: No Disguising This Horror Story
BusinessInsider: Simon Johnson Explains "What The Banks Did To Us" And Why "Seriously -- Goldman Sachs Can't Fail"
Simon Johnson, the former IMF chief economist who is now a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management recently spoke at INET's conference in Bretton Woods on a panel on "Too Big to Fail."
AlterNet: Hedge Fund Gamblers Earn the Same In One Hour As a Middle-Class Household Makes In Over 47 Years
How do they make so much money? Where does it come from? How can hedge fund firms with fewer than 100 employees make as much profit as firms with thousands of employees?
Peak oil and Energy News
TheBarrel: Saudi Aramco seeks staff at Australia's biggest-ever oil gathering
RitHoltz: Are Oil Prices Driven by Speculators?
YahooFinance: Oil hovers near $107 after US gasoline supply drop
Oil hovers near $107 in Asia after large US gasoline supply drop suggests demand still strong
WSJ: Gas Pains - The budget battle between President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders may have pushed angst about rising gasoline prices temporarily off Washington’s center stage, but voters haven’t forgotten. The price of regular gasoline hit a national average of $3.79 as of April 11, the Energy Information Agency reported Monday. That’s up nearly 19% since Feb. 21. Regular gas prices are now higher than they were during the same week in April 2008. By June 16, 2008, the average price of regular hit $4.00 a gallon, touching off a political and economic storm. The official prediction from the EIA is that gasoline prices will stop short of the $4 a gallon level, peaking by early summer at $3.91 a gallon. For residents of coastal California and certain other parts of the country (including Chicago) that prediction’s already out of date. Regular’s already above $4 a gallon in those places, in part because of regional requirements for cleaner burning blends.A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday says 69% of respondents say the country’s on the wrong track, and high gas prices are a big reason for the sour mood. (thanks rj!)
NatGeo: Journey Into Inner Space: Conquering The Abyss
TreeHugger: U.S. Congress Removes Wolves from Endangered Species List -- A Legislative First
EconomicsIntelligence: How Free Trade killed the Buffalo
Never before in the history of mankind had humans destroyed so much nature in such a brief period of time. Over about 15 years, the American bison was hunted to extinction. Up to 1870, 10 to 15 million bison had been living in the American West. Less then two decades later, about 100 animals remained.
Guardian: Protesters target BP annual meeting
Anger at executive pay deals in wake of gulf disaster Protest includes fishing boat owners and climate activists
MSNBC: Nuclear neighbors: Population soars near US reactors
Map of census data shows a 17 percent increase in residents within 10 miles in a decade
WATERFORD, Conn. — Who's afraid of nuclear power? Not the American people, judging by where they choose to live.
AmericanProspect: Don't Treat Dirt ... Like Dirt
We don't value dirt. It's bad to be dirty. Taboo words are "dirty." An object of little to no value is "cheaper than dirt."
But dirt deserves some respect. It's incredibly valuable: Without dirt, we would not eat. And, like oil or coal, dirt is a nonrenewable resource. When topsoil disappears from erosion, it takes thousands of years for that layer of dirt to build back up. And we're running out of it.
America in Decline
CSMonitor: Feds' request: Let us take on jail that bans all books except the Bible
The US Justice Department is asking a federal judge in South Carolina to allow it to intervene in a lawsuit against a sheriff who allegedly forbids prisoners in his jail from receiving books, magazines, or printed materials other than copies of the King James version of the Bible.
Borowitzreport: Exporting Democracy Has Led to Shortages of it in U.S., Experts Say
RawStory: Spanish judge drops Bush admin torture probe, draws fire in U.S.
The Center for Constitutional Rights excoriated a Spanish judge's dismissal Wednesday of a request to investigate six top former Bush administration officials over crafting a legal basis for torture.
Reuters: Parents of 6-year-old outraged over airport patdown
(Reuters) - The parents of a 6-year-old girl who got a pat-down at a New Orleans airport security checkpoint earlier this month said on Wednesday that there should be different screening procedures for children. (There shouldn't be ANY procedures for children! Hell, there shouldn't be procedures for adults either for that matter. This whole story in monstrous!)
BlackListedNews: Continuity of Government Police State: The Day After
NewScientist: Smart camera learns to recognise you from any angle
BlackListedNews: Police Increasingly Peeping at E-Mail, Instant Messages
Law enforcement organizations are making tens of thousands of requests for private electronic information from companies such as Sprint, Facebook and AOL, but few detailed statistics are available, according to a privacy researcher.
Police and other agencies have “enthusiastically embraced” asking for e-mail, instant messages and mobile-phone location data, but there’s no U.S. federal law that requires the reporting of requests for stored communications data, wrote Christopher Soghoian, a doctoral candidate at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, in a newly published paper.
Food and Water
FarmWars: USDA Certified Organic Milk NOT Tested for Radiation Contamination
Grist: How some Iowa farmers keep the land fertile, while others salt the earth
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a new study out about the sexiest subject ever -- soil erosion! Wait, don't go, this is important: Topsoil takes forever to make, so as it washes off of fields, it's literally taking our ability to feed ourselves with it.
FarmPress: How much tillage do producers need this spring?
Guardian: Food price rises pushing millions into extreme poverty, World Bank warns
The World Bank's food price index shows wheat, maize and soya costs have soared, requiring a relaxation of export controls and a rethink on biofuels
Green: A Reprieve for Western Water UsersNot quite five months ago, on Nov. 27, the level of Lake Mead, the massive federal reservoir that serves faucets and fields in Nevada, Arizona and California, hit an all-time low level of 1,081.85 feet above sea level. Seven feet lower, and the first water shortage ever would have been declared in the river’s lower basin.
Pravda: Biofuel pushes millions of people towards povertyThe growing production of bioethanol increases the shortage of food. Corn, sugar, other types of farm crops are required for the production of the biofuel. In addition, the growth of sowing for the green fuel reduces the square of lands designated for food cultures, which leads to smaller harvest and higher prices on food.
Time: Gluttony, Not Just For Americans: Burger King Launches 'Meat Monster' in JapanJapanese Burger Kings are about to “double down” a new burger that wants to make veganism passé.
The burger consists of two hamburgers, a chicken breast, two slices of cheese and three slices of bacon – with just a few veggies, of course, to balance it out. It also comes with lettuce, tomatoes and onion.
Science and Technology
Wired: South Pole Neutrino Detector Comes Up Empty
After years of waiting, the world’s biggest and best neutrino detector has started its search for the source of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays that constantly bombard the Earth’s atmosphere.
And it’s seen exactly zilch.
NewScientist: Anatomy of a short gamma ray burst
Medical and Health
ScientificAmerican: Peruvian Gold Comes with Mercury Health Risks
Merchants, townspeople in Peru face similar risks to gold miners
NewScientist: Mind controls: Good vibrations reach deep in the brain
Everyone knows ultrasound can be used for seeing inside the body, but it is not supposed to affect the tissues it passes through - or it wouldn't be used on pregnant women. But by tweaking the frequency and intensity of the sound waves, a team at Arizona State University, Tempe, led by biomedical engineer William Tyler have overturned this dogma. Last year they made mice jerk their front paws by beaming ultrasound into the motion centres of the brain.
ABCNews: Pain Contracts: Would You Sign One to Get Treatment?
More and More Doctors Turning to Pain Contracts Before Treating With Opioids
RawStory: FAA: Sen. Inhofe ‘nearly killed’ airport workers by intentionally landing on closed runway
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) prides himself on being stubborn lawmaker, but it turns out that he's also a dangerously stubborn pilot.Workers at a Cameron Country Airport in Texas were forced to run for their lives late last year when the Republican lawmaker intentionally landed his Cessna on a closed runway.
Time: Top 10 Surprising Facts About the World's Oldest BibleAn online version of the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus reveals the many ways in which the Bible has evolved over the centuries
On July 6, 2009, the world's oldest Bible went digital. The 4th century Codex Sinaiticus manuscript ("the Sinai Book") is one of the most important texts in Christianity, dating to the time of Constantine the Great. Thanks to the Codex Sinaiticus Project, you can now see and read its raw animal-hide pages online. The photographs of the book's pages show not just the written text — an English translation accompanies the original Greek — but also skeletal imprints, insect bites, scar tissue and spilled candle wax. At nearly 800 pages, Sinaiticus is the largest edition of an ancient manuscript ever to hit the Web.RawStory: France arrests Muslim women as full-face veil ban begins
Police in France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim population, arrested two protesters wearing niqab veils on Monday as a ban on full-face coverings went into effect.
WashingtonIndependent: Tennessee court rules more than IQ test needed in death row cases
ColorLines: The Long Racial History of the Tea Party's Deficit Trojan HorseA New York Times editorial declared last weekend that, “It’s Not Really About Spending”, but rather the Republican Party’s social agenda. While partly true, the focus on abortion, the environment or even the deficit misses the long racial legacy behind the current debate. This is not simply a debate about the budget, but rather an all-out fight around the purpose and power of the federal government—and we’d do well to remember the history that still informs that fight. Simply put, we can draw a straight line from the Confederacy, to the Dixiecrats, to today’s tea party Republicans.
ABCNews: Police: Woman Sexually Assaulted By Ex-Marine At DIA
RawStory: ‘Birther’ bill passed by Arizona Senate
TruthOut: America and the Great Disappointment
I was considering having myself dusted with ash and measured for sackcloth last week, so many are the current predictions of impending apocalypse.
Gawker: Did Sarah Palin Carry Out the Biggest Hoax in American Political History?
TinfoilPalace: Interesting post on comet elenin alignments and earthquakes
TinfoilPalace: What Donald Trump's Birther Investigators Will Find in Hawaii
TheOilAge: Population - The Elephant in the Room
TheOilAge: Another Gulf Rig Sinks!
Hubberts-Arms: Make gold at home
Hubberts-Arms: World's Largest Pyramid Discovered, Lost Mayan City
SilentCountry: Saudi Oil Production to Plummet
SilentCountry: 1 second after? How about 1 month after?