Thursday, April 12, 2012

Breaking News Thurs. April 12, 2012

Hope you all are having a nice day today. We got a freeze last night and the night before and it sure did a number on the potatoes but fortunately, most everything is still in the little greenhouse. Whew!

Much thanks also to RJ at the Global Glass Onion and the Ozarker at Conflicted Doomer , and to Doug at 3Es News and David at ETF Daily, for their help today!
These good friends help make this blog what it is so do, go by and help support their efforts and hard work.

Also, for new people passing through, if you're looking for your old friends from LATOC, I'll bet you'll find many of them at one of the great forums linked at the bottom of this and every, post.

Peak Oil and Energy News
Zerohedge: Oil and Natural Gas Ratio Explodes to 52:1
UPI: Iran offers oil at zero-percent interest - Iran is trying to overcome U.S. and European sanctions by offering oil to potential customers at zero-percent interest for six months, industry officials said. 
FuelFix: IEA Says Oil Supply Easing
Bloomberg: Frack Freely But Disclose Chemicals Pumped Into the Ground: View - The shale gas boom sweeping the U.S. is prompting states to make energy companies disclose what chemicals they are pumping into the ground to extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing. The new rules, adopted in places such as Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas, should provide a nervous public with information it needs. Unfortunately, many of the rules contain large loopholes that could jeopardize public health and will only cast further suspicion on fracking, a practice with no shortage of critics.
CNBC: Oil Supply Tightness Coming to an End: IEA
WashingtonPost: New drilling technique leads to vast supplies and cheaper energy bills for homes, businesses - The price of natural gas has fallen below $2 per 1,000 cubic feet for the first time in more than a decade, a remarkable decline for a commodity that not long ago was believed to be in short supply.
NYT: The High Cost of Gambling on Oil

DetroitNews: U.S. Energy Dept.: May gas will top $4 - Gasoline prices in the U.S. will peak in May at $4.01 a gallon, said the U.S. Energy Department, which increased its pump-price forecast for this summer and all of 2012.
Regular-grade gasoline will average $3.81 a gallon this year, the highest level in data going back to 1976, up from $3.79 in last month's forecast, the department's Energy Information Administration said Tuesday in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Prices will average $3.73 in 2013, up from the previous estimate of $3.72, the EIA said.
FuelFix: Futures Movers: Oil rallies on dovish Fed comments, dollar
EnergyBulletin: America: The Gasoline War

Global Conflict
NYT:  In Syria, Activists Report Quiet, but No Pullback of Forces - An uncertain cease-fire went into effect in Syria early on Thursday with none of the familiar reports of shelling by government forces
TimesodIndia: China cracks down on 'rumours', removes 210000 online posts
BBC: Syria quiet as ceasefire begins - A ceasefire appears to be holding in Syria after 13 months of fighting, but Western countries publicly doubt the government's intentions.
Businessweek: Syrians Take to Streets in Test of Annan Cease-Fire Plan
VOA: Sudan Warplanes Bomb South Sudan - South Sudan says Sudanese warplanes dropped several bombs early Thursday in their first attack on a major southern town. 

NYT: In Poppy War, Taliban Aim to Protect a Cash Crop
UPI: Philippines, China still in standoff - The Philippines sent a second naval vessel to the Spratly Islands Thursday in an ongoing standoff with China over territorial claims, officials said.
The incident began when a Philippine gunboat found eight Chinese fishing boats in the disputed territory. 
TheAtlantic: How to Evacuate 100,000 Israelis From the West Bank - A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still possible. As part of my debate on this question with Robert Wright, who says "it's too late" as "there are just too many settlements," I offered some proposals on how to include the vast majority of settlers within a new Israeli border that would still allow for a viable and contiguous Palestinian state. Wright was not convinced, arguing that there are practical and political barriers to implementing those proposals. I still think he's wrong, and here's why.
Telegraph: Tony Blair: 'Syria crisis can still be solved with negotiations'
Tony Blair has said that it is still possible for President Assad to engage in a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.
MSNBC: Satellite spies on North Korea's countdown to launch
NPR: 2 Marines Killed, 2 Injured In Osprey Crash In Morocco
VOA: Japan Remains on Alert Awaiting N. Korean Launch
NYT: Few U.S. Options as North Korea Readies Missile Launching - With North Korea poised to launch a long-range missile despite a widespread international protest, the Obama administration is trying to play down the propaganda value for North Korea’s leaders and head off criticism of its abortive diplomatic opening to Pyongyang in late February. 

VOA: Scenarios for Iran Retaliation Vary if Israel Strikes Nuclear Targets

OccupyWallstreet: OWS Forecloses on Bank of America 
Alternet: UC Davis Officials, Officer Critiqued in Occupy Protest Report

Domestic Financial News
FT: How Illegals Pay Billions in Taxes and Reap Rewards
DailyFinance: Corporate Tax Kickbacks: Busting Our Budgets, State By State - Alabama and Louisiana, two of the poorest states in the nation, recently battled to host a new ThyssenKrupp steel mill. Alabama "won," but getting the mill cost the state $734 million in tax breaks -- or $272,000 for each of the 2,700 jobs the steelmaker will create.  
FuelFix: Core PPI, minus food and energy, up 0.3% in March
IBTimes: US Q1 Foreclosure Activity Lowest In Four Years: Report - The foreclosure activity in the US for the first quarter declined to the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a report by RealtyTrac.
PalmBeachPost: ‘Tsunami’ of foreclosure complaints swamps Fla. Bar - The Florida Bar has fielded nearly 1,400 complaints against attorneys relating to the housing crisis, an unprecedented amount that has buried investigators and forced the group to rethink how it will handle widespread grievances in the future.
IPEZone: I Knew It: 61% of Treasuries Purchased by the Fed - As it turns out, the Federal Reserve flow of funds report for the entire year of 2011 reveals how "strong" demand is in the "market" for US treasuries. With 61% of Treasury purchases accounted for by Federal Reserve buying, both terms in quotation marks are cast in doubt.
MJPerry: Youngstown, OH: America's Next Boom Town?OurFuture: Why Do So Many Elites Hate Social Security? - This week there was another big attack on Social Security by another elite. This time the attack comes from an elite columnist, other times it comes from Wall Street types, wealthy CEOs or the kind of politicians that have been in DC way too long. These attacks never come from people who depend on these programs (i.e. almost all of us.) Why do the privileged elites hate Social Security so much?
MarginalRevolution: Exponential economist meets Physicist - Here is an imaginary dialogue between a physicist and an economist who is not Georgescu-Roegen. The physicist is skeptical about the prospect for continued exponential growth,
CalculatedRisk: Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increase to 380,000

NakedCapitalism: Growth of Income Inequality Is Worse Under Obama than Bush

OffTheCharts: Reality Check on Who Pays Taxes - Have you heard that close to half of U.S. households currently don’t owe federal income tax?  Does that mean, as some policymakers and pundits claim, that low- and moderate-income families don’t pay taxes, or don’t pay enough of them?  Not at all, as our updated analysis of this widely misunderstood issue explains. Here are some of its key points:
EconWatch: Jobless claims rise, boosting worries about labor market
UPI: Beige Book broadly optimistic - The U.S. Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the economy expanded in each of its 12 districts from mid-February through March.
GlobeAndMail: Subprime lending, the crisis catalyst, making a comeback
CNNMoney: DOJ sues Apple over price-fixing scheme - The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday brought a lawsuit against Apple and several publishing companies over a scheme to fix e-book prices.
BusinessInsider: Amazon Blows Walmart Out Of The Water On Value Survey
Zerohedge: Pick Your Poison With Barton Biggs - A Monetary Cliff or a Fiscal Cliff: these are the two poisons that Barton Biggs sees rushing straight toward America, with little hope of an uneventful collision.
CNNMoney: Mack is back: Wall Street's new agitator
OrlandoSentinel: Most Florida Albertsons will shutter - Albertsons said Tuesday it is pulling almost entirely out of Florida, leaving only one supermarket in the Orlando area.
FiscalTimes: Taxes: 10 Expenses You Should Never Deduct

Global Financial News
TAE: Spain WILL Need a Bailout Soon
Bloomberg: China Growth Seen at Slowest Since ’09 With Wen Revival Due This Quarter 
CommodityOnline: China GDP to slowdown to 8 2% in 2012: World Bank

TheStar: Royal Canadian Mint to create digital currency

Reuters: U.S. walks dangerous line to support Argentina in bond cases - Distressed debt investors don’t have much credence as victims. These are, after all, hedge funds that buy up bonds in or near default, typically at a steep discount, in the hope they’ll be able to boost the value of the debt through the bankruptcy process or litigation in U.S. courts.
CuriousCaptialist: Why Germany Should Leave the Eurozone

GlobeAndMail: World Bank trims China’s growth outlook - The World Bank cut its growth forecast for China on Thursday, adding to warnings the world’s second-largest economy might slow too abruptly, and said Beijing should be ready to launch a new stimulus if needed.
Mish: Rats on Sinking Ship Scramble for Last Exit; Get While the Gettin' is Still Possible - Like rats on a sinking ship, the Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos seeks his exit before the total and complete destruction of Greece.
Zerohedge: A Glimpse Of What Is Really Happening In China - Earlier today, the Chinese Internet (yes, it is its own category) experienced a glitch in the matrix. Whether this is due to further potential confusion over the fate of Bo Xilai (and/or any rumors of a concurrent/past/future military coup), or just overall confusion as to what is actually happening in the country, or simply mere censorship gone uber-wild is unclear.

Commodityonline: South Africa's gold production declines sharply by 14 5% Y o Y in Feb: Stats SA
ETFDaily: Useless Gold Overtakes Platinum (GLD, IAU, PALL)
Mineweb: Fighting dust at Teck's Carmen de Andacollo copper mine
ETFDaily: Despite The Common Gloom, Gold Is Still Shining

M 5.6, near the east coast of Honshu, Japan
M 4.8, off the west coast of northern SumatraWashingtonPost: Strong earthquake strikes off the coast of Mexico, no immediate reports of damages inland
ExtinctionProtocol: Italy’s Mt. Etna volcano rocked by 6th eruption in 2012 
MSNBC: Why this Indonesia quake didn't spark a monster tsunami  - Unlike 2004 disaster, faults in crust moved from side to side, instead of up and down
CNN: How are earthquakes measured?
CNN: Earthquakes shake Gulf of California - A pair of strong earthquakes rocked Mexico's Gulf of California only minutes apart early Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
EnvironmentReport: Hard Freeze Hurts Michigan Cherry Crop

CNNMoney: Shell spots 10-mile oil sheen in Gulf of Mexico - Royal Dutch Shell says a sheen of oil, 10 square miles in size, has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.
FuelFix: Coast Guard checks Shell report of Gulf oil slick

ExtinctionProtocol: Unusual spring storm dumps up to four feet of hail in Texas Panhandle 
April 12, 2012 – TEXAS – An unusual spring storm in the Texas Panhandle Wednesday afternoon dumped two to four feet of hail near Dumas. Trucks were reported sliding off the road on Highway 287 as a result of the unexpected weather phenomenon. Snow plows were being used to clear the roads. Some vehicles were trapped in the drifts of hailstones. Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus said a tornado watch was in effect for the Panhandle region through 10 p.m. Wednesday, and the storms were moving very slowly between Pampa and Dumas north of Amarillo and to the east of Dalhart. Melting hail and heavy rain triggered flash flooding in the Panhandle.
IcelandVolcanoAndEarthquakeBlog: Scary news about eruptions in Iceland in The Telegraph 

Zerohedge: Pool Near U.S. City Contains More Radioactive Cesium than Released By Fukushima, Chernobyl and All Nuclear Bomb Tests COMBINED
ClimateCrocks: Hey Deniers. Corn Called. CO2 Not all That Good for Plants. - National Science Foundation: Global warming may initially make the grass greener, but not for long, according to new research results.
ArsTechnica: Surprising Indonesian earthquakes set record

ThinkProgress: Sea Level Rise And Extreme Weather Are 'Happening Faster Than We Thought,' Says Energy Sec. Chu
- Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday that scientific evidence of climate change is getting more and more powerful, comments that come as global warming legislation remains moribund in Congress and Environmental Protection regulations are facing ongoing GOP assaults. [The Hill]

America in Decline
(the below 2 articles are from RJ. Stick a fork in us, we're done.)
Bloomberg: Strip-Search Case Reflects Death of American Privacy - The plaintiff in the strip-search case was arrested after a routine traffic stop and jailed for a minor outstanding warrant that may well have been a mistake. Before entering the jail, he was forced to strip, lift his genitals, squat and cough. If that isn’t an assault on human dignity, you might think, what is? The short answer is that Kennedy couldn’t find a violation of dignity for the petitioner because almost everyone committed to a jail or prison gets similar treatment. (Some states have banned the practice after minor arrests.) Every arrest, even for major offenses, is supposed to take place on the basis of suspicion, not proven guilt. Everyone in jail is equally presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial -- or until he or she admits guilt in a plea bargain. To find that all of these people are having their most basic rights violated every day would have been too disruptive to the basic practices of American criminal justice. As a result, instead of arguing about dignity, the justices disagreed about the practical question of whether invasive strip-searches are reasonably necessary to serve the interests of the jails and prisons. Kennedy’s majority opinion said that they were.

PrivacySOS: The monster in our midst -- It’s no secret that the Department of Homeland Security with some 200,000 employees is a federal bureaucracy on steroids. Just think of everything it has brought us its creation in 2003 - fusion centers, 800,000 local and state operatives filing suspicious activity reports, “If You See Something, Say Something” citizen snoops, high tech surveillance paraphernalia for local police, naked body scanning machines at airports, searches of people getting off trains, border fence (and many other) boondoggles, patrolling drones: all the building blocks of a half trillion dollar national security surveillance state. We know that the focus on “homeland security” has led to a breathtaking squandering of funds and out-of-control duplication of domestic “intelligence-gathering” efforts, extending to the competing ISE (Information Sharing Environment) of the DHS and the FBI’s e-Guardian system. But what has received almost no public attention is the out-of-control duplication of the DHS’ internal oversight mechanisms. In addition to the DHS inspector general’s office with 200 investigators in 33 offices across the country hunting down corruption, waste, fraud and abuse, there are six other DHS agencies with authority to conduct corruption investigations. Many of them have overlapping jurisdictions. And sometimes separate DHS corruption-hunting agencies unknowingly investigate the same allegations or employee at the same time.
OverheadBin: In the hole to Uncle Sam? Bill aims to strip your passport - Have passport, will travel?
Not if you’re delinquent on your taxes and some of your elected officials have their way. With tax season upon us, it seems that old dictum — No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session — may also apply to Americans’ international travel plans.
Chron: Toy grenade prompts NYC building evacuation - A toy grenade was to blame for an evacuation Thursday at a building near New York's ground zero, authorities said.
Salon: Wells Fargo’s prison cash cow - Despite, or rather because of, its role as one of the leading sub-prime mortgage lenders prior to the 2008 crash in the housing market, Wells Fargo was handed $37 billion from the U.S. government, a transfer of wealth from the foreclosed upon have-nots to the haves doing the foreclosing. As Wells Fargo has grown over the years, using its bailout funds to gobble up rival Wachovia and expand to the East Coast, so has the U.S. prison population. By 2008, one in 100 American adults were either in jail or in prison – and one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34, many simply for non-violent offenses, justice not so much blind as bigoted. Overall, more than 2.3 million people are currently behind bars, up 50 percent in the last 15 years, the land of the free now accounting for a full quarter of the world’s prisoners.These developments are not unrelated.
KVUE: Texas teacher fired for out-of-wedlock pregnancy - ROCKWALL, Texas — Cathy Samford, a volleyball coach and science teacher, was fired from Heritage Christian Academy for getting pregnant and not being married, the school acknowledged.

Food and Water
CivilEats: Study Links Autism with Industrial Food, Environment
ScientificAmerican: Feeding the World, While the Earth Cooks [Live Webcast] - How can we feed a growing population while at the same time coping with the impacts of climate change on agriculture?
EPI: Peak Meat: U.S. Meat Consumption Falling

NYT: 48% of Chicken in Small Sample Has E. Coli - A recent test of packaged raw chicken products bought at grocery stores across the country found that roughly half of them were contaminated with the bacteria E. coli.
MSNBC: FDA wants limits on antibiotics given to animals
Reuters: U.S. farmland price boom to slow but not plateau - The surge in farmland prices, which doubled in a decade amid an agricultural boom, should cool in the coming year as prices bump against the ability of cropland to pay for itself, said a panel of experts on Wednesday.
BigPictureAgriculture: Comprehensive Update on Farmland/Cropland Cash Rent Rates for the Midwest - With farmland prices escalating rapidly in recent years, rental rates have also been rising, and since half of Iowa and other Midwestern area farmlands are rented, a common and difficult question to answer is how much to charge for cropland rent. Of late, we have seen a rapid rise in the price of farmland, input costs, and farm commodity prices. Both risk and reward are increasing, creating volatility and difficulty when it comes to rental rate decision making time.  

Internet and Online Privacy News

Counterpunch: 13 Ways the Government Tracks You
Counterpunch: Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us
Bloomberg News reports the newest surveillance products “can also secretly activate laptop webcams or microphones on mobile devices,” change the contents of written emails mid-transmission, and use voice recognition to scan phone networks.

Science and Technology
ScienceDaily: Astronomers discover sandstorms in space
CNNMoney: Verizon to charge $30 to upgrade your phone
ScientificAmerican: Cooperative Neural Networks Suggest How Intelligence Evolved
ScienceDaily: Could 'Advanced' Dinosaurs Rule Other Planets? - New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs -- monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans -- may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe. "We would be better off not meeting them," concludes the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
IBTimes: UFO Sightings: Did NASA Astronauts See UFOs During Atlantis Mission? (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
ScienceDaily: Do I look bigger with my finger on a trigger? Yes, says study
ArsTechnica: Dying Sun-like stars drive off dust that seeds other solar systems

Medical and Health
NewScientist: Drug-resistant malaria spreads across Thailand - health - 12 April 2012
Vitals: Out-of-whack sleep habits can cause diabetes - How hard is shift work on a worker's body? Research out Wednesday from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston demonstrates very precisely the way fighting the body's natural sleep patterns can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.
DoctorTipster: Study Shows That Vitamin D Does Not Improve Brain Activity in Teenagers
BlacklistedNews: Fast Food America: Hospitals Serving Up McDonald’s to Patients
Reuters: Is high spending on cancer care 'worth it'?  - With the United States spending more on healthcare than any other country — $2.5 trillion, or just over $8,000 per capita, in 2009 — the question has long been, is it worth it?

Doomsteading, Gardening, Urban Farming
WaldenEffect: Nonini on biodynamics
Hosted: Doomsday shelters line Kansas missile silo - Tucked deep beneath the Kansas prairie, luxury condos are being built into the shaft of an abandoned missile silo to service anxious -- and wealthy -- people preparing for doomsday. So far, four buyers have plopped down a total of about $7 million for havens to flee to when disaster happens or the end is nigh.
BackdoorSurvival: Budget Prepping for A Buck

PreppingToSurvive: Homestead Geese, part 1 - Long time readers may remember me mentioning last spring that we were extending our animal menagerie and experimenting with ducks and geese.
CityFarmer: Helen Babbs Looks at Urban Agriculture in London

Other News
Be sure to check out Matt Cardin's new post at The Teeming Brain!

New documentary follows Vatican-approved exorcist
I'm with Matt, that film looks pretty interesting indeed.  
CBSNews: Zimmerman prosecution to be uphill battle
Guardian: George Zimmerman to plead not guilty to murder charge as lawyer seeks bail
MSNBC: Trayvon Martin's mom says she thinks his killing was an 'accident'
BoingBoing: Mr. McFeely’s purple panda terrifies children
MSNBC: Minneapolis mom drops son at day care, then returns to find triple murder - A woman who became suspicious and called 911 after dropping her son off at a suburban Minneapolis day care provider's home stayed on the line as she went back to the house and discovered three people shot to death, according to transcripts of the call.
Alternet: White House Nixes Executive Order Prohibiting LGBT Discrimination by Federal Contractors
BBC: Serb police find stolen Cezanne
 The painting is said to be worth $109m
IBTimes: Top Five Unexplained Mysteries of the World [PHOTOS]

NYDailyNews: Rep. Allen West says '78 to 81' House Democrats are communists
FT: How Romney’s China Pledge Could Backfire
Reuters: Biden to attack "Romney Rule" on taxes for rich
WSJ: GOP Redistricting Bolsters Vulnerable House Members
Supreme Court Agrees to Reconsider Citizens United – The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer say will give it a chance to rethink its infamous Citizens United v. FEC decision. The court is being asked to look into a Montana Supreme Court decision stating that its law restricting corporate election spending in state elections is fine, because it "arises from Montana history," UPI reports. Essentially, Montana is arguing that Citizens United only applies to federal laws and elections, not state ones. 
CBS: Santorum: I left GOP race because money dried up
IBTimes: Romney's General Election Weaknesses Highlighted In New Poll
LegitGov: Romney's wooing of female vote hits early snag

TinfoilPalace: iBrain can ‘read your mind’; enlists Stephen Hawking
TinfoilPalace: Woman who died in apparent chemical suicide in South End was Boston University researcher
TheOilAge: Is Frakking causing swarms of microquakes?
TheOilAge: MIT / Limits to Growth update
HubbertsArms: Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran's Northern Border Waiting For A Western Attack
HubbertsArms: Do you live in Poverty County, USA?
SilentCountry: Video - Guy's talk and Q & A session in Ithaca NY...
SilentCountry: Boy, 5, brings 50 packets of heroin to school for show and tell

DestinyCalls: Living In Limbo - Understanding Bardo Realms
DestinyCalls: The black knight satellite

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