Friday, May 6, 2011

Breaking News Fri. May 6, 2011

TGIF! Getting a little more rain here this morning, a nice shower. Should help the recently planted beans to wake up.
If you can, be sure to check out tomorrow's documentary.  It's something to think about to say the least.

Check out Megadoom's blog. I always enjoy his writing.
You only have to look outside to see that nature doesn't care about our worries, our fears, our rules, and our effects. It only gives and takes....freely. Something so resilient, so lasting of hardship, so endowed with wisdom can surely endure us. 
And, don't forget to check out our friend rj's weekly wrap up at Global Glass Onion this afternoon!
Much thank rj for some really important stories this morning!
Also, this story, really caught my eye this morning. Are we coming to the end of the age of American Astronauts?
USAToday: U.S. astronaut corps evolves
At this point, NASA isn't even accepting applications for astronauts, Ross says. With the shuttle program winding down and the loss of its four extra seats, the astronaut corps has shrunk from about 80 to 60 in recent years. A new astronaut class accepted in 2009 will graduate into full-time status later this year, enough to meet the space agency's current needs.
These days are long gone now it seems.

Bin Laden
TPM: CIA Spied On Bin Laden From Safe HouseThe CIA had for months been spying on the compound where Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. forces earlier this week, according to reports.
A variety of technologies were used, according to The New York Times:

    "Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels."
WashingtonPost: Al-Qaeda data yield details of planned plots
Documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound have yielded a bonanza of new intelligence, from names and locations of terrorist suspects to chilling details of al-Qaeda plots to attack targets in the United States and beyond, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Spiegel:'We Will Remain a Curse' Al-Qaida Confirms Bin Laden's Death
WashingtonPost/Bloomberg: FBI warns computer users of malware threat involving purported video of bin Laden’s death
The FBI is warning computer users against unsolicited emails purporting to show photos or videos of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Reuters: Bin Laden, two others didn't fire on SEALs: sources
(Reuters) - Only one of four principal targets shot dead by U.S. commandos in the raid which killed Osama bin Laden was involved in any hostile fire, a person familiar with the latest U.S. government reporting on the raid told Reuters on Thursday.
TruthDig: The New Story: Bin Laden Was Unarmed, Shot Quickly
USAToday: Al-Qaeda confirms bin Laden's death, threatens more attacks on Americans 
Reuters: Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden death, vows revenge(Reuters) - Al Qaeda confirmed the death Osama bin Laden Friday in an Internet message that vowed revenge on the United States and its allies, including Pakistan, according to the SITE monitoring service.
Attack on Bin Laden Used Stealthy Helicopter That Had Been a Secret
ForeignPolicy: Congress preparing options to cut Pakistani aidCongress is up in arms over the Pakistan government's possible involvement in the sheltering of Osama bin Laden, and lawmakers are readying a long list of ways to place pressure on Pakistan until it gets answers.
Guardian: Osama bin Laden lived in two rooms for five years, wife saysThree of al-Qaida leader's wives, including Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, questioned by Pakistani intelligence officers after raid

FinancialTimes: Japan shuts down more nuclear reactors
Report Instruction regarding Improvement of the working environment inside the reactor building of Unit 1, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Tepco Press Release

Global Conflict

Time: Sorry, We're Closed: Amid Migrant Fears, Europe Could Bring Back Border Controls

Reuters: Assad deploys his troops before Friday prayersSecurity forces have moved into central Syria and coastal areas ahead of Friday prayers in a test of will for demonstrators determined to maintain protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Financial News

Fortune: If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. And one of the fastest-growing ones, too – this year. See how total sales at America's 500 largest corporations stack up against GDP among the world's biggest and fastest-growing economies over the past decade.
ZeroHedge: Charting America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society (Part 2) And Parting Thoughts On The Household Survey 
WSJ: AIG: We’re Practically Tax Free!After needing taxpayer bailouts to avert corporate death, AIG now has some pleasant news from Uncle Sam: tax breaks the insurer values at $23 billion.
CSMonitor: Silver plunge spreads to oil prices, copperOil prices fall below $100 a barrel. Silver, down 27 percent since Friday, is leading the charge down for oil and other commodity prices.
TheGrowthStockWire: Where Silver Goes From HereThe silver trade blew up this week.
It was bound to happen. The trade was too crowded. Everybody was making gobs of money as silver hit new high after new high. "To the moon!" silver bugs cheered as the precious metal went parabolic.
ZeroHedge: JPMorgan Subpoenaed For Mortgage Debt Records 
BusinessInsider: CHART OF THE DAY: How To Know If A Recession Is Really On Its Way
YahooFinance: One Year Later, Traders Expect a Flash Crash Repeat
FDL: Wrong Way: Obama Flirts with Vehicle Miles Tax
The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.
Guardian: Oil plunge hints at end of commodities boom
Price slump of nearly $10 a barrel drags down precious metals, lead and tin as Glencore float looks like top of the market
WSJ: Oil's Drop Tests Russia's Budget
Good: House Passes Offshore Drilling Legislation, But It Won't Lower Gas Prices at All

BusinessInsider: Now Here's The Bad News From That Good Jobs Report
YahooFinance: Job gains largest in 11 months
WSJ: Ripples From Commodity Rout May Be Limited 
Forbes: U.S. Economy Adds 244K Jobs, Unemployment Ticks Back To 9%
BusinessInsider: Here's Who's REALLY Making Money On Surging Gas Prices 
WSJ: How did U.S. unemployment rise to 9% when the economy added 244,000 jobs in April?
Bloomberg: Senate Republicans Plan to Block Consumer Bureau Nominee
U.S. Senate Republicans told President Barack Obama they will block any nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless Democrats agree to change the agency’s structure and funding.
The warning, delivered in a letter to the White House, adds to the uncertainty surrounding the agency, created by the Dodd- Frank Act last year over the objections of Republican lawmakers and financial-industry lobbyists.
AngryBearBlog: EMPLOYMENT REPORT (w/ 5 charts) The headline number of payroll jobs was strong and the markets are reacting strongly to the report that 224,000 jobs were created last month. Moreover, the job gains were widespread with the only secctors to show an employment drop were temporary jobs and government. Private payroll employment rose 268,000, the largest increase this cycle. But the household survey reported an employment drop of some 190,000.

Peak oil and Energy News
theAustralian: Iraqi oil production cutback plan adds to global supply fear IRAQ is preparing to halve its official oil production target, forcing companies including BP and Shell to renegotiate their contracts.
The country's Oil Ministry, with backing from the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, will set a new target to produce between 6.5 million and 7 million barrels per day by 2017, down from original plans to pump 12 million barrels, according to industry insiders.
Grist: Rwanda to power itself with plentiful, domestic geothermal energy If the first thing you think of when I say "Rwanda" is "Don Cheadle looking worried while a radio booms 'Hutu Power!' in a basso profundo," it's time you updated your thinking. The country is currently looking into meeting its need for electricity by tapping into the hot rocks that underlie much of the country, which is in Africa's geologically active Rift Valley.
RawStory: Offshore drilling bill ‘decreases safety, increase Big Oil profits’
ABCNews: Gas Prices Continue to Rise While Oil Drops Below $100 a Barrel 
WashingtonPost/Bloomberg: Oil drops below $100 on concerns about demand; percentage drop is biggest since April 2009
Oil plunged nearly 9 percent to settle below $100 per barrel. Investors who had ridden a months-long rally fled the market Thursday because of concerns about weakening demand for fuel in the U.S.
EnergyBulletin: ODAC Newsletter - May 6
Economist: Aberdeen After Oil: Seeking The Next Wave
Although there are still thought to be around 20 billion barrels of the black stuff under the waters off Aberdeen, extracting it is getting ever more difficult and costly. Britain’s North Sea production peaked in 1999 at 4.5m barrels a day, and will decline to just 2m by 2016, according to Oil & Gas UK.
Guardian: Shell and Cairn Energy announce 'risky' drilling plans in Arctic 
A new battle between environmentalists and Big Oil over drilling in the Arctic was triggered today when Shell unveiled "risky" plans for the Beaufort Sea while a Cairn Energy rig set sail for Greenland. Shell, Europe's largest oil group, has submitted plans to the US government for permission to drill 10 exploration wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the north coast of Alaska in 2012 and 2013.
TheOilDrum: Drumbeat: May 6, 2011 
ClimateProgress: Gas prices reach new record in six states - Gas prices have gotten so high that in six states they’ve reached a new record above the levels set in 2008. Prices in West Virginia inched above their 2008 record today, with the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline edging above $4.15, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
PatriciaShannon: April's tornado outbreaks the two largest in history - The largest tornado outbreak and greatest one-day total for tornadoes in history occurred during last week's historic super tornado outbreak, said NOAA in a press release on Wednesday. They estimate 190 tornadoes touched down during the 24-hour period from 8:00 a.m. EDT April 27 to 8:00 a.m. EDT April 28 (132 tornadoes have already been confirmed, with several weeks of damage surveys still to come.)

Environmental News
Memphis Prepares for Historic Flooding
 ClimateProgress: Yes, the House GOP actually named their pro-warming energy task force ‘HEAT’
Members took over $4 Million from Big Oil to push planetary heating
On Wednesday, 26 House Republicans launched an energy coalition called the House Energy Action Team (HEAT) as a vehicle for the GOP (Grand Oil Party) to tout their oil above all energy agenda.
NYT: House Passes a Bill to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling
Economist: The Surge In Land Deals: When Others Are Grabbing Their Land
THE farmers of Makeni, in central Sierra Leone, signed the contract with their thumbs. In exchange for promises of 2,000 jobs, and reassurances that the bolis (swamps where rice is grown) would not be drained, they approved a deal granting a Swiss company a 50-year lease on 40,000 hectares of land to grow biofuels for Europe. Three years later 50 new jobs exist, irrigation has damaged the bolis and such development as there has been has come “at the social, environmental and economic expense of local communities”, When deals like this first came to international attention in 2009, it was unclear whether they were “land grabs or development opportunities”, to quote a study published that year. Supporters claimed they would bring seeds, technology and capital to some of the world’s poorest lands. Critics, such as the director of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, dubbed them “neo-colonialist”.  Most judgments are damning.

America in Decline

BusinessInsider: Half of Detroiters Can't ReadIn a nutshell, it says that roughly half of all the people who live in Detroit are illiterate. They can't read the back of a cereal box.  They can't read a weather report.  They can't read at all. (personally, I don't think this is a condition confined to Detroit. No doubt you would see similar statistics in many areas around the country.)
CSMonitor: Military interrogators: Waterboarding didn't yield tips that led to bin LadenSeveral former military interrogators refute assertions that waterboarding and other 'enhanced' methods provided intelligence that led the US to bin Laden. Some lament lost opportunity to grill Al Qaeda's leader.
SHTFPlan: Americans, Everything You Do Is MonitoredA lawsuit filed on Tuesday alleges that Aaron’s, a huge furniture rent to buy company, used software and a special device on their computers that enabled them to spy on PC renters.
According to the lawsuit, the company is able to track keystrokes and snap webcam pictures in the home of their customers.
CharlesHughSmith: What The Empire Creates, It Can Also Destroy 
The Empire creates what it needs in the moment, and then abandons what it has created. The world is littered with the remains of America's various proxy wars; the C.I.A. recruited hill tribes as a proxy army in Vietnam, and when that war was abandoned, so were the hill tribes.
Grist: Girl Scouts censor Facebook criticism of palm oil in cookies Looking for a lesson of how not to respond to green consumer demand in the internet age? Check out Girl Scouts USA.
EmptyWheel: The Weird Circumstances Surrounding Hassan Ghul’s Interrogation

Food and Water
SFGate: Climate change disrupting food production: study

The world's rising temperature is slowing production of major food crops, and as global warming continues, the trend will significantly disrupt the economies of many countries and impair the health of their people, Stanford researchers say.
If the impact is to be averted, farmers in many parts of the world will have to change the types of crops they grow, and the planting of many crops - particularly corn and wheat - will have to be shifted to regions where they are not now grown.
FT Alphaville » Food prices and crop yields  - The day’s commodities focus understandably has been on the big oil sell-off, but earlier today the Food and Agriculture Organization also released its April tally for world food prices. The short story: Grains, and maize in particular, were up big as bad weather has depressed stocks; but sugar and dairy were down considerably while oils/fats and meats were mostly unchanged.

Science and Technology

WiredThreatLevel: Feds Demand Firefox Remove Add-On That Redirects Seized Domains
Kurzweil: Are We Too Dependent on Technology?
WiredScience: Cluster of Craters Caught on Mars

ScientificAmerican: Trust Me, I'm a Scientist
Why so many people choose not to believe what scientists say
TheExtinctionProtocol: NASA experiements confirms space-time vortex around Earth
Wired: Grounded! Stealth Fighter Fleet KO’d by Oxygen WoesThe Air Force began to put the boot on the Raptors after pilots reported “hypoxia and decompression sickness” — a good sign they weren’t getting enough air from their planes’ systems. Before the full stand-down, the flying branch tried limiting the F-22 to flying below 25,000 feet, but the problems apparently continued.
BusinessInsider: THE FUTURE: Check Out This Paper-Thin, Bendable Smartphone

Medical and Health

Reuters: Special report: Big Pharma's global guinea pigs(Reuters) - The Polish port city of Gdansk is famous for its shipyards. Hungary's fifth largest city, Pecs, is known for its ancient architecture and brewery. Neither is particularly renowned for medicine. Yet when AstraZeneca Plc tested its big new drug hope Brilinta on heart attack patients in a major clinical study, it was hospitals in these places that enrolled some of the highest number of patients anywhere in the world.
NewScientist: Easily distracted people may have too much brain Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have "too much brain".
So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted.


NewScientist: Absurd rules make WSJ's new leak site a non-starterThe Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal has become the latest news outfit to launch a website where people can leak documents, Wikileaks style. It's certainly an interesting move for a publishing firm currently under legal and regulatory scrutiny for allowing journalists at its weekly tabloid, The News Of The World, to intercept the voicemails of celebrities and politicians.

Other News 

ABCNews: FBI Investigating White Powder Letters Sent to Washington D.C. Schools 
ABCNews:Fox News Ends Gingrich, Santorum Contracts
MotherJones: Ex-Romney Campaign Chair: I'm Done With Mitt
A key Romney '08 campaigner jumps ship, saying he can’t handle the candidate's ever-changing persona.
WashingtonPost: Poll: Number of ‘birthers’ plummetsThe number of Americans saying President Obama was born in another country has been sliced in half, according to a new Washington Post poll.
RawStory: David Koch: ‘Hardcore socialist’ Obama is ‘scary to me’Oil baron David Koch has made it clear he is no fan of President Barack Obama, but Wednesday night he provided a fresh reason for his anti-Obama views: the president is frightening.
ibtimes: Chinese teenager carries friend on back for eight years [PHOTO]
WiseBread: College Move-Out Days: The Best Time to Dumpster Dive?

The Forums
TinfoilPalace: Mystery Cosmic Rays Zapping South Pole
TinfoilPalace: More aminal die offs reported

TheOilAge: Frances Food Crops "all dried up."
TheOilAge: Canada's elite prepare assault on Medicare
Hubberts-Arms: Researchers propose 'whole-system redesign' of US agriculture
Hubberts-Arms: It's bank eated Friday
SilentCountry: Jim Rodgers: UK will need a bailout from EU allies
SilentCountry: Kraft set to raise food prices again this year

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